Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday's Marvelous Marriage Advice

Hello everyone! I hope you all had fantastic weekends. Today I will be sharing some personal marriage advice. Some advice that The Engineer and I have received over the years of our marriage and things that we have lived and learned to be true!

One of our very true and foundational building blocks of our marriage is to

1)Have low expectations

Now when I share that with people many are shocked. But friends let that soak in for a second. The truth of what keeps our marriage grounded is that we are to expect everything from God because only He can meet and fulfill all that we need. When we keep the expectations low for our spouse, we will be amazed every time because they will be able to ‘over achieve’! Does this make sense? If you expect them to be perfect all the time you will be disappointed every time. God has allowed for a freedom in our marriage, one that is surrounded with grace. Now I am talking in the realm of taking out trash, keeping a tidy house, and allowing for bad hair days! I however am NOT talking about abuse, infidelity and other issues that would be dishonoring the marriage covenant.
Now this next little piece of advice is a huge challenge for me. For it is one where my heart, mind and actions have to stay in alignment. And for a girl who functions in ‘creative organized chaos’ keeping things in alignment is a bit of a struggle. But it is my hearts desire to approach my marriage with a

2) Servant attitude

One great way to energize your marriage is to compete! Now there is a twist to this little competition. I would challenge you to compete with your spouse without letting them know they are in a competition, trust me your reward and payoff will be one that will last for eternity! Find ways to serve your spouse. Make them practical. Remember the attitude is the heart of the matter here.
Now for me this next little tidbit is so easy as I am usually given a whopper of an opportunity daily to live it out.

3) Don’t take ourselves too seriously

So how exactly does that fit in as a piece of marriage advice? I need to remember that I am not alone in this marriage. It’s not all about me and my needs. I am usually better off if I run all my thoughts, ideas, questions, concerns, complaints, issues, stresses, and most everything else through a trial run with God first. This means taking a few minutes, or more time if needed to allow God to help me filter and understand what I am thinking and feeling. Now The Engineer will be the first to testify that I SO don’t have this down, I speak often out of emotion an emotion which is tightly attached and becomes all of a sudden very serious. So as I am learning, I really do benefit by using this time with God and allowing Him to attach my emotions with the right issues!

Now this next one is quite often shared and spoken of, but the true power in it is released when actually practiced!

4) Pray for your spouse

Great things happen when Gods people pray! I know in my own life that God has changed my perspective and how I view a situation when I pray for The Engineer. Over the years our connection has been made stronger through prayer. 
I want to encourage you to focus on you and your spouse

5) Don’t compare

You and your spouse are in a unique relationship. Why? Because you are two unique individuals created by God just how He wants you. So with two unique individuals comes a unique marriage. As I type this I just have to add, to my sisters out there who are also married to an Engineer we have an extra little star added to the uniqueness factor…right? HA! I can share what works for our marriage, but remember that what works for us might not work for you. Be willing to find what works best for your relationship. And be okay with what works for you. Your love/marriage is unique to the two people that are involved; don’t get caught up in comparing.

Okay so there is a little bit of Marriage Advice.

Now lets make it ‘Marvelous’!!

**What advice would you give to a couple about to get married?

**What advice would you give a couple to energize their marriage?

**What is a favorite piece of advice that you have received that revitalized your marriage?

**How could we pray for you and your marriage? Feel free to leave requests anonymously!
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 The Message
Do what you do on purpose, love on purpose!


Nicole said...

I really need to work on the expectations one. Not just in my marriage but with other people in general. God really spoke this to me this weekend. I have these perceived perceptions in my mind that if this person or that person does or doesn't do this or that that means that they must not care about me let alone in some cases even like me. Once again, God is so good in confirming this one. It is so HUGE for me. I could really use prayers about this in my marriage but in general. God is really pealing back layers with me in regards to my relationships with others, and it is not pretty. I think I am seeing the most ugly sinful junk come out of inside of me when it comes to "feeling loved" or not loved by others. I have some crazy expectations and yep you guessed it, noone has yet been able to meet them. I think I've had these since I was a child.

Although, I would love to hear your thoughts in regards to love languages in a marriage. I know that I thrive the most and feel loved the most when I get quality time with my spouse. When I do not have that for a few days I feel very unloved and it starts to depress me big time. Evan knows this about me, but when work calls, work calls. He really truly tries to be sensitive to my needs. I feel as though I need to really work on this. Whatever that means. God's goona have to help me big time.

I was listening to Dr. Henry Wright with "Be in Health" talk about how Satan tries to destroy us and our relationships three ways. First he starts with our realtionship with God, then our relationship with ourselves, and then our relationship with others. God has healed my misconceptions about His love for me and healed that relationship. He has also mended my relationship with myself. I know who I am in Christ and what gifts and abilities He has given me, and I am so much more confident in my wants, desires, likes and dislikes. Now, the one God is working on is relationships with others. This is a HUGE one for me as I tend to isolate myself in a fear of getting hurt. You know why I get hurt, well probably because I have tooo high of expections. Oh Father God, please help me.

Sorry this was so long. I think it helped to type it out, and who knows maybe someone else will relate?

Love you friend.


More than Survival said...

The expectation thing is HUGE!!!
The comparison aspect goes hand in hand.... If I have expectations for my husband based on comparing him to other husbands than I am in the DANGER zone!!!!!!

My biggest marriage advice is: True lasting love is an ACTION, not a FEELING!!! There are days I don't FEEL the love, but I can CHOOSE to ACT in love and often the feelings follow! Sometimes you have to 'fake it till you make it'.... ACT in LOVE!!! Feelings are just so fickle..

Thanks for the post...
We must be of similar age. I married the summer of 1996, the year I turned 20... another young bride, but praise the Lord we are going strong (not without bumps along the way).

Amy said...

Loving this list. You have some great thoughts today, Nicole. I think #2 could prove to be interesting in practice. Blessings.

Julie Gillies said...

Hi Nichole,

What an excellent post. I think EVERY wife can learn something here. All GOOD advice. I happen to think that #4 ranks right up there at the top.

Blessings to you!

Irritable Mother said...

These are great bits of advice, Nichole.
I especially love to pray for my husband. But I need to remember at the end of the day that just because I have been praying for him, and he has been on my mind, and I therefore feel very connected to him, I still need to pay attention to him. He once told me that he didn't feel like I was giving him attention and I thought that was crazy, because he'd been on my mind ALL DAY.
But then I realized he had a good point.
Pray in his absence and love in his presence!

My Army Brats and Me said...

You are awesome! I love the picture of you on your sidebar. My marvelous marriage hits 15yrs tomorrow.

Love ya

Joyful said...

Wonderful post Nichole.

We're in the middle of a DVD series at our church entitled, "iMarriage" by Andy Stanley. It is excellent. The first week was about the difference between desires and expectations.

Regardless of how many years anyone has been married, we can always ask the Lord to help us make a good thing better.


Sue J. said...

Expectations are not helpful. I think we set ourselves up for a downfall if we lay expectations on us. Why do it to someone else, especially your husband? I'm learning now (it'll be 19 years of marriage this fall) that to successfully live means to live as God intends--one moment at a time.

Having that servant's heart is really important, too, because there are lots of tough days. If you keep to your calling--God first, then husband--He will grant you what you need.

The rest of the list is awesome, too, Nichole. Well thought through and really right on!

Since so much of our lives is out of control, to focus on prayer, keeping God at the center of our union, is probably the best advice anyone could receive.

[As for my bead post, I was definitely in prayer, knowing that God would be faithful to bring us through. I just couldn't discern how. And no way was I without tears. Would a Mama not weep a little bit? Talk about setting up your expectations....what do you mean I can't get the bead out?!....]

Tea With Tiffany said...

This is my weakest area. I'm always praying for wisdom with marriage. not that I have a bad husband because I don't. He loves God. But I have issues with men because of my past that still rise up and cause me to pull away. I'm learning all of the things you listed. But I'm a SLOW learner and I continue to have to relearn them. But I know God is working. If I look back over the past 18 years, I see growth. But I want lots and lots of baskets of fruit. Fruit that lasts so help me God!

Great post.


Lori said...

So much good advice here, Nichole. I'd agree with every one of your points! For me, praying for your spouse has drawn me closer to God and my husband. I'm a book lover, and happened to be in a book store several months ago...I noticed a book that looked interesting and picked it up. "The Power of a Praying Wife." Low & behold the author, Stormie Omartian, actually was the speaker at a woman's conference held at my church, soon after that. She talked about the power of praying for one's husband. I've prayed and prayed for my husband's salvation, but for many years that was it. We have a wonderful marriage and he's been a wonderful father involving himself in every activity throughout their lives. We've been very close and I've never even thought about praying for him! All I can say, is, WOW! Praying over your husband is an unbelievable experience. God has blessed me and shown His Glory over and over again. I feel so blessed to be apart of this Relationship Series, as it has given me so much to ponder over. Also, I'm seeing how important it is to take the time to work at the marriage. With kids, for me anyway, they tend to take my time. Chores, cooking, activities, etc. When we on purpose and intentionally take the time to think, hmmm, "how can I bless my husband today?" "How can I show him respect in front of my teenager's?" I've felt even more close and more in love with him. Each morning, specifically praying over him, and intentionally asking God to help me bless him...

We've been married over 20 years, and I'll have to say I love him more today than when I first married him. He's not saved, but I patiently wait on God as I pray for his salvation. God's timing. I know without a doubt it will happen. Glory so bright!

Thank you for your comments, everyone! Lori - AZ

Jill said...

Great words - we are approaching our 8th anniversary and i think advice is always a good thing. Thanks for sharing! I just had a young friend get married, think I'll share this with them.

Lori said...

Well, sister's as busy as I am right now, I've just returned from my prayer walk...God has been amazing to me this morning and I'm feeling lead to share what He has opened up to me...I've had a wonderful 20-plus marriage now and have never felt any need to work on it. I've always felt blessed and have spent many times thanking God for the family He has given me. However, just in the last several months God has spoken to me from many different angles. I've seen marriage from His eyes. The whole marriage concept is so important to Him, so Holy, so above all the other little details that take over our day-to-day happenings...Many of us take classes to further our education, we read countless child-rearing books, we take exercises classes, we prepare meals for neighbors, we jump on board to help the PTO, we serve, serve, serve, etc. God showed me just how much we do to get better at so many different "things." But, I will quite honestly say, I've never thought twice about trying to improve myself in the marriage department. I've just taken my good marriage for granted. I love my husband, but I've never thought about trying to make our marriage better, never even thought there was a need to. God in His mercy, through sweet Nichole has opened my eyes! Proverbs 31 gals have made available different books on marriage. By a whim I ordered one and began reading it. "What a Husband Needs from His Wife," by Melanie Chitwood. I have to tell you sister's it has been amazing to see what our AWESOME GOD can EVEN do to a marriage that is good! It has been a light-bulb experience from one day to the next! Why should we settle for good or even wonderful marriage, when it is God's desire to have FANSTASTIC marriages...I believe now without a doubt that marriage should be on the TOP of our list. God has poured out His blessings to me in ways I did not even think about! So, I just felt lead to share...even if you've got a good marriage...I believe you should even strive to make it better! I've only been reading a couple of pages a day...but, God has been speaking to me throughout the day...he's giving me an excitement on the topic...I guess he is getting me ready for the "empty nest," stage!!!!!!!! :) My boy's are teenager's and without a doubt their activities can take over! Help me Lord, put my husband before the needs of my kids. Help me bless him everyday.

Have a wonderful day dear sisters!
Lori - AZ

Marriage Counselor said...

Tips to save marriage relationship are as follows. If your marriage is in crisis, don’t show your partner that you’re panicking. Showing desperation will make them feel suffocated and will push him or her even further away. Never beg or plead with your partner to get them to return. You’ll then feel humiliated when they don’t respond to your pleas and feel your self esteem drop. If they want space, give them space. Spend time doing those things that make you feel strong and good about yourself. If your partner is aggressive towards you, do not lash out in return. Be calm and in control and if you portray this attitude, you will begin to feel this attitude. Finally and most importantly, you have to realize that you have a choice. Either reacts to the situation you’re in or change your behavior! Don’t focus on trying to change your partner’s behavior but focus on changing yours.

Jonathan said...

HI, you write very inspiring post! I like the "don't be too serious with yourself". I think you get me to realize more positive things in my partner.