Sunday, March 28, 2010

Praying for your Mate

We birthed Marriage Mondays a several years ago when friends of ours confided that they were having marital troubles. With our busy schedules we found it difficult to pray regularly and decided that we would come together at least every Monday to intercede on behalf of the marriages of family members and friends as the Lord directed us.

I have to admit that one of the hardest things for us to do as a married couple is to find time to pray together and that is not altogether accidental. There is power in prayer and the enemy of our souls and our relationships knows it.

God hears the prayers of His righteous children. Just as a good mother hears and responds to the cry of her helpless child, God promises that when we cry out to Him, He will hear us. Not only does He hear us, He also will answer with what we need. Prayer gives us access to our Creator and Him access to us. No wonder the enemy fights to keep us out of His presence through prayer.

But something wonderful happens when God's couples pray. Prayer fosters and promotes intimacy between couple because there is power in agreement when a husband and wife pray earnestly together.

Prayer between couples also creates conversation. As we prepare for prayer, we talk about our hopes, dreams, even fears and then lay them at the altar in prayer.

Prayer between couples creates a connection. This connection is not just with the Master but with one another. When we finish praying together, we feel as if we've accomplished good.

Prayer between couples creates communication. This communication often takes place long after we've finished praying. Sometimes in prayer a concern will be made known to the other and we will talk about it at length together.

Don't let the enemy keep you from prayer. It is the source of power through Christ Jesus!

It's Marriage Mondays ...

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Process of Becoming One

Are you and your mate one? Are you working on oneness in your relationship?

We realize that you both are two wonderful, powerful and fierce individuals in your own rights but God's goal for marriage is that the two put aside differences and personal interests in pursuit of becoming one.

Listen to God's account of the creation of man and particularly the creation of woman found in Genesis 2. The chapter begins with God marvelling at the completion of His work and "resting" from His labor. But later in the verse He marvels at His most wonderful creation - man - and realizes that every thing else in the garden had something to complete or complement it, except man. God then puts man to sleep and removes a rib from which He fashions woman.

Upon awakening, Adam realizes that something wonderful has happened to him. Genesis 2:23 tells us: The man said, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman' for she was taken out of man.

Then Genesis 2:24 tells us that they were to leave or cut ties to their primary relationship at this time - parents - and work at becoming "one flesh." There may be other ties you will have to sever or make secondary as you work at becoming ONE with your mate.

We certainly worked on oneness when we dated. We can remember spending almost every available moment with each other or planning dinner dates and outings to the mall. Jim went shopping with me even though it was a painful as having dental work and I remember watching football with him and praying for a power outage.

Now that we are married we realize that we must be consistent with date night or getaway time or time alone without the kids if we are going to foster oneness.

It can be difficult to become one when the other spouse isn't reciprocating. We may think it isn't worth it when the other isn't even trying. God doesn't want us to keep score; He already is and has promises greater rewards in the life to come. God also promises that we will reap on earth if we don't get weary in doing what is good and right.

It's Marriage Mondays ...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Do you have a vision for your marriage? Where do you see yourself and your spouse in a year, five years or even 10 years from now? Do you see your marriage thriving and standing through the tests of time? Do you see yourself growing more loving and more in love with your spouse as the years pass?

It amazes me how some couples can plan their vacation time and honeymoons, even painful dental procedures, weeks, months and years in advance but fail to have the foresight and insight necessary for a lasting relationship.

Proverbs 29:18 says that "where there is no vision, the people perish." Could that be why so many of our marriages are failing? We lack effectiveness in our families, communities and churches because we embarked on our marriage journeys with no real plan for what we want our marriage to accomplish.

The word "vision" is a noun, meaning that it is a tangible thing. It is defined as "the act or power of sensing with the eyes," or the "act or power of anticipating that which will or may come." Having a vision for your marriage is something you have to do on purpose. Good businesses may start out with an idea, but the best one's have a mission or vision statement.

Vision statements are called the future picture of a company and serves as the inspiration and framework of the company's strategic planning.

I think every marriage could follow that model and be blessed. But first we've got to talk about a couple of things that are detrimental to the vision of a good relationship. They are impaired vision and blindness.

I think when we first get married we all have impaired vision. We know we are going to be together forever and because are so "in love" that we can't imagine ourselves EVER having a bad day in our marriage. Impaired vision doesn't allow for us to anticipate us growing a part at times, getting sick, looking less attractive or becoming less spiritual. All of those things can happen in any relationship over time. But when we have a vision for our relationship, we anticipate those things and we can plan and pray for God to give us grace to go through.

Blindness on the other hand is having no clue and no understanding of what marriage really is about. You choose to go into a relationship without proper preparation and planning and the relationship derails because you hit obstacles you didn't see because you didn't look.

A few years back, we were walking about blindly in our relationship, hitting all kinds of obstacles because we weren't looking and we had failed to plan. We sat down and over a month's time drafted a mission and vision statement. We found purpose again and pressed on with new direction. What a difference it has made!

The mission statement had one sentence and it still drives us today: To make Jesus Christ the focus of all that we do, whether parenting, ministering or working. Our vision statement promised to never rewrite our mission but to always re-evaluate where we were in our relationship as we changed and grew.

It's Marriage Mondays ...