Category: marriage


November 1, 2012
Raising Your Expectations
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full,” (John 10:10 NIV).

Friend to Friend
When I was in my early twenties, I did not have great expectations for what my marriage would be like, if I ever walked the aisle at all. My parents had a tumultuous relationship from my earliest remembrance. Cycles of heated arguments and physical violence followed by silence and passive aggression were as predictable as the seasons. The atmosphere in our home was tense. It was as if I lived on an earthquake fault line, never knowing when the “big one” was going to hit. There were many “big ones.”

I became a Christian when I was fourteen and resolved that if I ever got married, it would be to a man who loved Jesus with all his heart. Through the years, I dated many Christian young men. In my young mind, most of them were not very much fun.

So I had a conversation with God that went something like this: “OK God, if I ever get married, it will be to a Christian man. I’m committed to that. I won’t give a guy a second glance unless he is a man who loves You with all his heart. It is not enough for him to say that he is a Christian. I want to see it in the way he lives his life, the way he uses his words, and the way he relates to other people. I’m going to pay attention to what he laughs at, what he watches on television, and how he handles anger. I know what I’m asking here. I know what I’m getting into. I realize that I most likely won’t feel very passionate about this guy. I know that my life will probably be rather dull, boring, and lackluster. But that’s OK. I’m holding out for a Christian man, no matter how humdrum and ho-hum he may be. If I like him pretty well, that’s enough for me.”

Oh my goodness! Talk about low expectations! I’m sure God got a big kick out of my request.

Here’s what happened several years after that “prayer.”  When I was twenty-two, I returned to college to further my education. A young man from my hometown had a Bible study at his apartment and invited me to attend.  When I walked in, I saw a young dental student sitting cross-legged on the floor and leaning up against the wall. His dark chocolate eyes looked up at me as he said, “Hi.” I melted in a puddle.

After a few weeks, Steve finally asked me out on a date. But the venue of our rendezvous confirmed what I had expected all along.

“There is a missionary from Jackson, Mississippi speaking over at Murphy Hall,” he explained. “I’d like to go hear him. Would you like to go with me?”

Well that certainly lined up with my expectations! Steve was handsome; no doubt about that. He was a Christian, that was for sure. But going to hear a missionary on our first date? He was going to be boring after all. But hey, what did I expect? (Now remember, I was young. I love missionaries! I am one! Just keeping it real.)

When he came to pick me up for our date, I wasn’t quite ready. My apartment mate welcomed him and directed him to the sofa to wait. While he perused the scattered magazines on the coffee table, some of my favorite music played on the stereo. In the South, we call it beach music. It’s a type of 60s R&B Motown music.

When I finally emerged from my primping, Steve looked up and asked, “Do you like that kind of music?”

“Sure do,” I replied. (I must say I said it with an attitude of “and you gotta problem with that?”)

“I do too,” Steve said. “I have an entire collection. Do you know how to Shag (a traditional Southern dance similar to a slow version of the Swing)?

I think I heard God laugh.

“I’ve been dancing the Shag since I was in the fifth grade,” I said.

“Let’s see if we do it the same way,” he said as he grabbed my hand.

For twenty minutes, we separated and came together as if we had been dancing together all our lives. He held my hand up and I spun under. He pulled me in and then rolled me out like a scroll. His shuffle kick mirrored my own.

You know what? We did go and hear the missionary on that crisp fall night in 1979. And afterwards, we went to a favorite college hangout on the Campus of UNC the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and danced until the doors closed. We had fun, and we haven’t stopped having fun yet. We have grown in God’s grace, and we’ve graced the dance floor. Steve is the mostfunnest guy I have ever known, and he loves the Lord with all his heart. And to think I actually was ready to settle for a just a nice Christian guy. God exceeded my expectations beyond all I ever could have asked or imagined.

But this isn’t just about my love story with Steve. It is about my love story with Jesus. It is about yours too. And like my silly twenty-something prayer for a mediocre-but-nice husband, I fear we have lowered our expectations in our relationship with God. He longs for an intimacy with us that ushers in a deep abiding joy, but I’m afraid we’ve settled for simply nice.

Are you ready to raise your expectations in your relationship with Jesus? Oh sister, He got so much to show you, to tell you, to share with you. Don’t settle for “just nice.” Jesus is much more exciting than that!

Let’s Pray
Dear Jesus, forgive me for having such low expectations in our relationship. I know that You came to give me abundant life, not a so-so life. Today, I’m raising my expectations of life to line up with Your word. I’m expecting the abundant life that  You came to give!
In Your Name,
Amen

Marriage Tip of the Day

Husbands: Focus your energy on the word COUPLE!

Closeness – She wants you to be close.

Openness – She wants you to open up to her.

Understanding – Don’t try to fix her; just listen.

Peacemaking – She wants you to say, “I’m Sorry”.

Loyalty – She needs to know you’re committed.

Esteem – She wants you to honor and cherish her.

Wives – Focus on the word CHAIRS to remind you of what your husband needs.

Conquest – Appreciate his desire to work and achieve.

Hierarchy – Appreciate his desire to protect and provide.

Authority – Appreciate his desire to serve and lead.

Insight – Appreciate his desire to serve and to lead.

Relationship – appreciate his desire for shoulder-to-shoulder-friendship.

Sexuality – Appreciate his desire for sexual intimacy.

~ Dr. Emerson Eggerich’s

The key here is to serve the needs and desires of your spouse, not yourself.

View your marriage through the lens of eternity.

As believers, marriage must be viewed from an eternal perspective. No, marriage is not eternal, it was designed for our lives here on earth – However, marriage, when viewed through the perspective of eternal hope empowers us to see beyond momentary difficulties.

When we are able see the eternal perspective we can understand that what we are dealing with is bigger than us, but not bigger than God. We have the chance to glorify God in our marriages more than any other divine institution. The eternal perspective allows us to put aside our selfishness and egocentric mindset in lieu of honoring God by honoring our mate.

Marriage Tip of the Day: With a twist –

This tip of the day is not only to those that are married, but to those desiring to be married, as well as believers in general.

We wonder why things seem so distorted and enigmatic in today’s culture. There are women saying there are no good men and there are men who cannot decide what they should be looking for in a woman.

This happens when we conform to a secular culture in which the only Gospel that we hear consistently is that which is at the top of our playlist. Confusion with self is easily obtained when the media becomes our Bible and the scriptures we read are from secular magazines. God has been removed from the equation.

In the grand design, the Christian is to make an impact, create paradigmatic shifts in the culture that surrounds them, and take ground for the kingdom; however, believers have allowed the secular paradigms of this western culture to infiltrate our minds. We have become selfish and egocentric to the point of corporate narcissism.

Women, there are good men, but they are embedded in the trenches of Christian service, they are not in the clubs or at happy hour. Men, there are good women, but their hearts are hidden in Christ, so that nothing less than a man bearing His character can reach them.

For those of you that are already married, stop believing the cultural lie that it is about you. Stop believing the tenets of hedonism and secular humanism which tell you that you determine what is right and that your ultimate goal in this life is to accomplish happiness. My friend, it is not about you. Your marriage is an institution designed to reveal, reflect and glorify Christ. Your mate is not to be exploited, but honored. Your service is not only to your mate, but to God.

When we begin to stand out as a peculiar people, unwilling to compromise our Christian values, our ability to impact the world around us will once again be recognized. ~ Dr. Rick Wallace

Marriage Tip of the Day:

Men, be men of action. As much as your wife monitors the words you say, she is even more attentive to your actions. I was once told to always say what I mean, but more importantly do what I say. I don’t think there are too many things more disconcerting to a wife than to see her husband being praised by others because of his Godly words and presentation when she knows that it just a facade. Know that anyone that observes her will soon learn the truth because she is a reflection of you. Let your actions reflect a heart of love toward your wives.

*********

Wives, respect your husband’s desire and need to be the “man”. We as men have an innate desire to feel needed, much in the way you desire to feel wanted. Deep inside the innermost recesses of a man is the need to be respected and needed. As the one person that knows your husbands weaknesses it is easy to find yourself complaining and murmuring, subsequently developing and ungrateful spirit. Are we perfect? Far from it. No one knows that better than a man’s wife; however, he grows and becomes more favorable to his design when you accentuate his strengths while helping him strengthen his weaknesses. Your husbands greatness is inextricably bound to your support. ~ Dr. Rick Wallace

Marriage Tip of the Day:

C-O-U-P-L-E : Have you ever noticed that although it takes two to make a couple, the word itself is singular. Marriage requires connectivity in a way that two become inseparably one.

This means that marriage does not allow for selfish indulgence.

Strive to serve the connectivity and unity required in your marriage. Remember, it is not about you. ~ Dr. Rick Wallace

 

Marriage Tip of the Day:

Marriage is not about you; in truth, it is not about your mate. Marriage is about God. Marriage is a biblical institution designed by God for two primary reasons:

1. To reflect the relationship between God and His people (Christ and the Church). When the marriage is functioning optimally it reflects the unconditional love that Christ has for His bride, the Church, and it reflects the undying loyalty and surrender of the Church to Christ. It reflects total sacrifice and selflessness.

2. To develop Christ like character within us; to conform us to the image of Christ (this is a day by day process that continues until we die and pass into eternal life). The marriage is a place that exposes our areas of weakness, such as selfishness, and the inability to honor commitment. Marriage requires that we endure through inconvenience and discomfort.

*As a secondary function, it sets the proper context for the perpetuation of the human race.

When we view marriage as our greatest service to God, it will make it easier to love and honor our mate, because our relationship will not rest on the frailty of romance, but on the foundation of our faith. I’m not saying that there is no room for romance, but that romance is secondary to the responsibility of marriage. In fact, learning to honor God in your marriage will enhance the romantic experience within your marriage.

When you truly grasp this it will place you in a position in which you will look more to change yourself than your spouse. You will see your fallibility more than their faults. You will recognize that it is not reasonable to expect perfection when you are unable to offer it.

Dr. Rick Wallace

A Part of the “When Your House is Not a Home” series.

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Marriage Tip of the Day

Marriage Tip of the Day:

Husbands, as mature men of God, we must assume our roles of leadership in order to stabilize the home. No matter how much conflict is in your homes at the moment, your wives are looking to you for leadership. When I say lead, I don’t mean dominate. You lead by aligning yourself with God’s will for your life; by honoring your wife. Engage your wife with a love and gentleness, that is expressive of your faith. Let the reflection of Christ be seen by your wife first, because your wife will be the ultimate reflection of you. 1 Corinthians 11:7 says that woman is the glory of man. This means that she is his greatest accomplishment; she is the greatest reflection of who is. I once asked one of my spiritual mentors what he thought of new minister that had just joined the church. He said, “I’m not sure, I have not met his wife yet.” He told me that if you want to judge the character of a man observe the countenance of his wife. Her eyes will reflect his gentleness, and her smile will reflect his love and honor. Men, your wives are observing your every action, looking for confirmation of your love. It is your responsibility to make it easy for her to see.

 

Wives, your strength and fortitude is exceptional. No one has the power to affirm a man and help him to activate and actualize his potential in the manner and magnitude that his wife does. This also means she has the greatest potential to tear him down. Wives, your husbands, though they boasts a tough exterior, are extremely vulnerable to you. They thrive off of respect, adoration and reverence. They need to be affirmed and respected. When these things are absent, or worse; irreverence, disrespect, and contempt are present, it will cause your husband to shut down, become defensive and behave unloving. Behind every good man is a great woman. Why is she great? She is great because she is aware of his weaknesses, but instead of exploiting them, degrading him, and berating him, she comes along side of him and girds him. In doing this, she gives him the strength and confidence to function is his God-ordained design. Ladies, your husband needs to have the confidence that his home is his refuge. He needs the confidence to be vulnerable without being exploited and deprecated. He needs permission to be imperfect without being judged. I promise you that the benefits will be multitudinous. Proverbs 12:4 says, “An excellent (worthy, noble) wife is the crown of her husband…”. What are you?

Dr. Rick Wallace

Marriage Tip of the Day: A must read –

Husbands: Alright, this one is for you, but it will benefit the both of you and the marriage as a whole. Warning: For most, this will seem extremely awkward at first, as is the case with anything that you are attempting for the first time, Plus, it calls for a certain level of vulnerability, to say the least.

Loving Benediction – A loving benediction can be described as the husband providing a spiritual, emotional, and psychological covering of blessings conveyed through verbal affirmation. In essence, you are to speak the blessings and coverings of God over your wife daily.

Added Element – Physical touch. In addition to speaking blessings and affirmations over your wife, use the element of touch to create a more intense element of intimacy. When I say intimacy, I’m speaking complete unmitigated form of intimacy, not simply physical. As a man in the institution of marriage, you have been gifted to do this.

Example – There is no exact template to follow in performing a loving benediction, but it would go something like this: You would take both of your hands and touch your wife’s head and then you would say something like, “Lord, I pray that you would guard her thoughts against worry, anxiety, fear, and stress. I pray that you fill her mind with thoughts of your love and divine protection. God, use her exceptional mind to orchestrate blessings for others. Let every thought be filled with expectation of your movement in her life and day. Today, through her mind, her vision will be elucidated and expanded and focus will be intensified…”

Then you would move your hands to her ears and say, “Dear God, guard her ears from hearing corrupt and defaming words. Block them from the negativity that could drain her of her passion to serve you. Let her hear the whispers of your love as you serenade her with the subtle words spoken through your creation today…” Then you would move to her nose, lips, on down, until you have covered her from head to toe.

Lastly you would pray that God strengthen and guide you so that you can continue to be the covering that you were designed to be.

Now there are many variations of loving benedictions, but they are all extremely powerful when they are a normal part of the marriage.

As I mentioned earlier, this calls for you to be vulnerable to her response, but in this sense, your vulnerability reveals your strength to her in that you are willing to put her first. It also invites God into the deepest recesses of your marriage and gives Him control.

Remember that your wife and your marriage is God’s greatest conduit for blessings.

I encourage you to try this everyday for at least for a month and see how it impacts your marriage and how that overflows into every other aspect of your life.

Men, there is power in the words you speak to your wife and over her. There is also an immense power in the gentleness of your touch.

God bless, ~ Dr. Rick Wallace

#WhenYourHouseIsNotaHome
#ChristianMarriage

#LovingBenediction

Calling All Men

Marriage Tip of the Day:

Men, I spoke with the women on yesterday and so today I want to speak with you. As always, I do not approach you from a place of condescension, nor do I preach or teach from the platform of perfection. The words that you read and hear come from the transformed heart of a man of God that chose to surrender his cloak of selfishness, pride, and arrogance in exchange for the quiet, yet unwavering, confidence of walking in his anointed purpose.

As men, it is important that we understand that it begins with us. No matter what this secular society attempts to convince you of, you are designed to be leaders, providers, protectors, coverings for your women and so much more. You were molded in the hands of God to influence generations, forge meaningful alliances, and build lasting legacies. However, as a collective we have failed in our responsibility; we have abdicated our God-ordained roles in lieu of self.

You may be asking, what does all of this have to do with marriage? Well, in order to be Godly husbands you must first be a Godly man. A Godly man has surrendered to the will of God and he has committed himself to the building of the Kingdom.

Yes, we have failed. We have found it to be an acceptable course of action to procreate and then abandon our progeny. We have concluded that life is about us and subsequently emerged ourselves into a perpetual state of narcissism. We have abandoned our roles as husbands to seek selfish ambitions that feed our egocentricity. We have bought into secular world views such as: ethical relativism, hedonism, nihilism, pantheism, relativism, secular humanism and many others while denying the call of God on our lives.

Listen to what Paul had to say to Timothy:

2 For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane.
3 [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good.
4 [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.
5 For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them]. (2 Tim. 3:2-5, AMP).

How much of what we read here are we seeing in men, not just men, but men that have professed the faith? Paul told timothy that these type of men have a form of Godliness, but they deny its power and are strangers to it. Why are we powerless to impact our environment? We only need to look at our behavior, which is a reflection of the condition of our heart.

I’m challenging men to rise to the moment. The moment demands leaders that will stand for God at all cost. The moment yearns standard bearers that will not compromise in order to please the majority. The moment yearns role models who refuse to ponder at the pool of popularity. The moment is crying out for fathers to instill identity and self-worth in their progeny. The moment is crying out for men who are willing become masters of their God-ordained destinies. The moment is speaking to the souls of women who need their husbands to lead them. Will you rise?

In our Men of the House meeting yesterday, the theme was “Stir Up The Gift”. Men, my desire is to stir up a revolution. A revolution that will see mean returning to their rightful places in the home and community. I envision a revolution that will see men coming out of the maze of mediocrity and ambling into their destiny of greatness and kingdom living. This revolution will create the foundation on which believers will begin to claim and take back ground that the enemy has stolen through deceit and treachery. The power of Christian influence in a secular culture will once again be realized.

It all starts with us. We have to rise above self and live in sacrifice.

Over two-hundred years ago, a simple man of faith determined within himself that he would make a difference. He made this bold statement: “Give me 100 men that fear nothing but God and hate nothing but sin and we will change the world.” This man was John Wesley; the man known as the ‘great revivalist’ and the father of the Methodist Movement.” Wesley understood the power of Men to impact their environment and their designed ability to influence generations. I believe that we are resting on the cusp of the next great revival. Give me 100 committed men and through the power of the Holy Spirit we will change the world.

Who will join me?

Dr. Rick Wallace

Other sites for Rick Wallace Ministries:

Christian Impact, The Invisible Father, Anointed Inspirations, Battling Obesity,

P.S. This started out as the marriage tip of the day and as the spirit moved, this is where it ended up. The marriage tip of the day is an extension of the “When Your House is Not a Home Series”. To read more on the topic simply click the marriage tab.

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