Hi there! ....
This week at our midweek Bible Study we discussed the narrow gate and the wide gate. We compared the narrow way with the broad way – the ways of God with the ways of the world (society without God). Let me list some of these thoughts
- God’s way is to ask God what is right - the worlds way is to know what is good for yourself
- God’s way is that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life – the world’s way says there are many ways , may truths, and many ways to find life
- God’s way is to listen to the Holy Spirit – world’s way is if it feels good do it
- God’s way is to resist the lusts of the flesh – worlds way is if you want it, get it now.
- God’s way is to yield your rights to God – worlds way is you have rights, stand up for them, fight for them
- God’s way is to die to self (selfish desires) – worlds way is to look out for number one
How contrary are the ways of God to the ways of the world around us! Are we prepared to be this different? Are our children prepared to be this different?
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Reflections on Marriage
This week Peter and I celebrated 21 years of marriage. Over those years we’ve had good times and hard times, but mostly they have been times of sharing our heart and enjoying our life together. Usually on our wedding anniversary we like to reflect on our getting together, on our wedding day and on the good things that God has done. We haven’t done that this year (maybe we will on Sunday night).
Over the years Peter and I have reflected on what makes our marriage work – here are a few of our thoughts:
- Though we fell ‘in love’ and had all those butterflies and heart flips we also knew that marriage was bigger than that. God has a purpose in bringing two people together. There is companionship, children and the tasks that God puts in front of you. When we were first married we didn’t know what God had for us but we had a heart to serve him together.
- Marriage is a relationship based on the word of God. The Bible is full of encouragements (even commands) of how to relate to people. We often ignore these scriptures when talking about marriage – it is as if marriage needs a separate set of instructions. Marriage is a relationship and therefore every scripture that addresses good relationships address good marriages. Love. Be kind. Serve. Encourage. Forgive. Greet. Pray for.
- Respect the person – it is easy to think that because we become ‘one’ we lose our individuality. For sure we lose our ‘rights’ to an individualistic life, but we never lose who God made us be – our uniqueness. In fact it is our uniqueness, our gifts, talents, way of looking at things that makes us who we are – it is these very things that enhances our union, and strengthens our ability to do the task God has for us as a married couple.
Some practices that we work on in our marriage
- Greet each other – comings and goings can become pretty commonplace in a busy family but to pause and greet each other says ‘I’m pleased to see you’. In January we went to a live in conference/family camp and it was interesting to see the joy and enthusiasm that people greeted each other as we moved into breakfast. The challenge is to have this level of welcome to our spouse – every morning! We also like to say hello and goodbye as we move through the day. With Peter working from home this may happen more than in some homes but even on the weekend we can set ourselves to greet each other as we come and go with various activities (and we greet/farewell each other with a kiss!)
- Catch up with each other not just fill in our diaries together. It is easy to get together and catch up with our comings and goings, to do those admin things that needs to happen. I think back to our pre-marriage days – when we talked (for us it was on the phone) we didn’t just talk about what we did in the day, but our feelings, our dreams, our ideas. Married couples need these conversations too.
- Enjoy each other’s company – to the exclusion of all else. I'm talking about going on dates. A few weeks ago we had a stay at home date – we moved the children down to the other end of the house with their dinner, and Peter and I watched a movie together with our dinner. For our wedding anniversary we went out for lunch. When we arrived we went to sit down and there were our friends having lunch too. We moved to a different part of the restaurant in order to respect their privacy but also to claim our own. The owner said to us “Did you know so ‘n so is around the corner” She thought it a bit funny that we weren’t joining them, knowing that we were good friends. But dates are dates and both couples needed couple time.
- Recognizing each other’s needs and work with that. The idea of love languages has helped here but also knowing how each other handle stress, change, conflict, knowing how communicate to each other through those challenges. Peter and I have a huge discrepancy in how we handle these things – he likes to have all (and I mean ALL) the information before he discusses things and I like to talk through the discovery of all that information. We’ve had to come to a place where we respect each other – a little give and a little take.
- Don’t go to bed angry. There have been a few times where we haven’t thrashed out the issue but we have come to forgive each other for the anger towards the other person, to love each other and to be committed to working it out the issue tomorrow when we weren’t so tired. If we can’t hold hands and pray together as we go to bed there is something in our heart that needs to be resolved. Our hearts can be united and still have something to talk about – the thing is to get rid of the anger towards the other. I have heard some people say to make an agreement not to talk emotional stuff after 10.00pm. For Pete and I this should probably be not after 8.30pm.
- Pray together. We pray at any time of the day – especially if we are made aware of a concern – either in our own family or in the lives of people we love and care for. But we have recently been challenged to come together at the end of the day and pray.
It is often said that marriage is 50 – 50. A little from both parties.
Marriage is 100-100. Everything from both parties.
Marriage is under attack in our society. People don’t value it. It is in this context that we need to teach our children about marriage. We need to counteract the world’s values with God’s values. We need to teach them what God’s word has to say, and we need to give them a model of living out a marriage based on God’s word. One other thing that has been a conscious decision in our house has been to have a wedding photo in our living area. This makes a statement – Peter and Belinda are married. It may seem to be a small thing – afterall the marriage goes much deeper than the wedding day – but it is a symbol – and one that I want everyone who enters our home to see.
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