Before and After

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Holiday, MarriageLeave a Comment

Life is full of before and afters. I’ve learned that more and more over the last year and a half. Each person has defining moments in their life that left them different than they were before. Your before and afters may look different than the next persons, but each unique experience is the opportunity for God to shape you into who He wants you to be. Are you who you were before you finished school? Are you who you were before you met your significant other? Are you who you were before you had children? Are you who you were before they told you, you couldn’t have children? Are you who you were before you lost a child? Are you who you were before the adoption? Are you who you were before the deployment? Are you who you were before the accident? Are you who you were before the weight loss? Are you who you were before the addiction? Are you who you were before the affair or divorce? Are you who you were before the diagnosis? Are you who you were before your trust was broken? Are you who you were before they died? Chances are, you have been … Read More

We Cannot Guarantee Success in Marriage, But We Can Deserve It

Jen CudmoreMarriageLeave a Comment

I was surprised that my husband and I both reached a point in our marriage where we really didn’t like each other.  Expectations weren’t met. Dreams weren’t realized. And we blamed each other. Marriage is difficult when you feel like you’re doing all the giving and not receiving anything back. Over time I grew bitter because I felt that my husband didn’t connect with me. Didn’t appreciate me. Didn’t cherish me. We both made plenty of mistakes in our relationship. But God asked me to stop cataloging my husband’s faults – a task I didn’t realize I had been doing for months. God wanted me to see that no matter how my husband behaved, I needed to treat him with honor and integrity. It’s similar to how God tells us turn the other cheek when our enemies come against us (Matt 5:39). We are told to do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us, and pray for those who mistreat us (Luke 6:27). I heard a teacher once say that she overcame all sorts of trouble in her life when she learned to consistently do good (Rom 12:21). That’s what God wants from us when our … Read More

Marriage Communication Skills: Darts Vs. Clubs

Jen CudmoreMarriageLeave a Comment

I’m learning to throw darts at my husband.  Yup, you heard me right. Darts. And it takes a lot of practice to hit the target every time.  Let’s face it: sometimes men don’t get us. They can’t read our minds, and they can’t take a hint. And sometimes, they make mistakes. As a life partner, wives will have to properly deal with these deficiencies. That’s what darts are for. I’m not recommending a set of darts in the physical sense. I’m recommending a change in how we approach our husbands when we need to speak with them about important issues.  How do you speak to your man? Do you smash him with clubs, or do you influence him with darts? Several months ago a close friend recommended I listen to a lesson presented by a Catholic Priest to group of wives at a retreat. The topic: Understanding Your Man. He discussed how men and women think differently, and how many men tend to be a little slow at processing the needs of their wives. Counselors and therapists agree that because men are not as verbal, they don’t stay focused on long conversations nearly as much as women. That means, wives, … Read More

Sabbotage, Traps & Opposition

Jen CudmoreMarriageLeave a Comment

I tried to read a book. I know. Not a big deal, if you know me at all. My free time is typically spent reading. Novels. History. Blogs. Devotions. Bible Studies. But this was different.  Because as much as I love to read, and as excited as I was about this particular treasure, I had a hard time staying focused on the words. I spilled my coffee. My nose kept running. My eyes kept watering. My phone kept ringing. Why was I having such a hard time getting through this book? Why did external noises keep bothering me? Why did I keep thinking about my next task, what my kids were doing, or even the weather? I was halfway through when I realized something was very wrong. Sabotage. A very real enemy didn’t want me to hear God speaking through the words of this book – a book which described the common tactics this same enemy uses to trip up Christians. I finished the book the next day, determined to learn what God wanted me to hear and what the devil was so determined that I never find out. We know that according to Ephesians 6:12, our battle is not … Read More

Are You A ‘Good Christian Wife’?

Jen CudmoreMarriageLeave a Comment

I honestly believed I was doing all the right things in my marriage.  When I finally admitted things were beginning to unravel, it was a tough pill to swallow. I didn’t think it could happen to me. After all, I had studied many books on how to be a good Christian wife, so I knew what was required of me and how to take care of my family according to Scripture. So if I was a doing all the right things, how could my marriage be falling apart? I went over the checklist in my mind. What are the actions of a good Christian wife? + Put God first – Check. I spent time with God pretty much every day, reading a devotion of some kind, praying, skimming over a few verses in the Bible, listening to sermons on my iPod. I went to church twice a week and participated in two ministries. (And occasionally I would make note to myself that I spent much more time on those things than my husband did.) + Make your husband a priority – Check. I made sure he got dinner every night and had clean clothes to wear. I watched the clock … Read More

When Needs Are Not Met In Marriage

Jen CudmoreMarriageLeave a Comment

“But my needs are not being met.”  I never thought I’d be one to use that phrase. And yet I reached a point in my marriage where I felt abandoned. From my perspective, my husband was not doing what I believed he should be doing for me. Then I learned a new concept. I wasn’t supposed to be going to my husband to meet my needs. Yes, he has a responsibility to me, but it’s not his job to make me feel secure and complete.   God showed me that husbands were not designed to take care of all their wife’s needs. We’re supposed to let God meet our needs.  As a consequence of the ‘Fall of humanity’ in Eden, women and men now tend to look to each other for fulfillment. Yet that was never God’s plan. When I first talked to God about how empty I felt, how my husband wasn’t taking care of me the way I wanted him to, God’s first reassurance was that my needs are legitimate. God places those needs in every human being; they are not wrong. He gave us needs, all of which were meant to point us to Him.  The need … Read More

Why Are Some Marriages Harder Than Others?

Jen CudmoreMarriageLeave a Comment

Do you ever feel like nobody gets you? There were times over the past year where I would look around my church and just shake my head, because no one was talking about trouble in marriage. I felt very alone. It appeared (on the surface) that everyone had a stable marriage. Except me. During those chaotic months I sometimes felt dysfunctional and misunderstood. Over time I discovered that I’m not the only woman who has felt like a loser because I couldn’t seem to get it together. Some people look at us in troubled partnerships and wonder what could possibly be so hard about being married. They get along pretty well with their spouse; loving and serving each other comes rather naturally. Not only can these picture-perfect couples leave us wondering what’s wrong with us, but we often walk away feeling pretty lonely. I’ve had sweet, well-meaning people try to give me marriage advice. And while I knew they were just trying to help, it was hard not to take offense. Because their simple solution would have in no way fixed my problem. There were issues so dark and so deep that a communication formula or personality test could not … Read More

Something Has To Give In This Marriage! Maybe It’s Me…

Jen CudmoreMarriageLeave a Comment

“Husbands need to change, and their wives know it.” This statement, spoken by a pastor I really admire, took me off guard when I first heard it. Because the truth is, from the day the vows are said, wives dream of the day when their husband will become his absolute best. They assume their husband will spend his life working toward that goal of being the best husband (and father) he can possibly be. Yet husbands don’t typically change as fast as we want, or in the areas we want.  Here’s the trouble with marriage: First, many husbands get comfortable with their life and don’t want to be refined by God. They are happy to stay right where they are and not put any work into becoming more like Christ. Many times they make excuses and rationalize, ignoring that their complacency is the opposite of what God desires from them.  Second, many wives feel it’s their job, and their right, to convince their husband to submit to God. They say and do whatever they can to motivate their man to change when they ought to leave him alone and focus on their own spiritual journey. They forget that God said … Read More

3 Lies Women Believe About Marriage

Jen CudmoreMarriageLeave a Comment

Does your perspective of marriage align with God’s plan?  As I was working on a project over the weekend, I pondered the misconceptions I once had about marriage and how they lead to the unraveling of relationship. I realized these were misunderstandings that many women believe. Lie # 1: Many Christian couples believe that being ‘saved’ automatically guarantees marital success. They think that if God brought them together, they love each other, and they serve God, they will have a happy marriage, true relational fulfillment, and few problems. All they need is God and each other! The truth: We are all sinners, and while we may be saved by grace, we also have wounds (past and present) that will tear us apart if they are not healed. The more baggage we carry, the more complicated marriage tends to be – and we all have baggage. We must gain a proper understanding of our mate, learn positive ways of relating with each other, and deal with our brokenness.   Lie # 2: The picture of marriage typically portrayed in the local church is that men and women complete each other. When they marry and become one flesh, they make a proper … Read More

50 Years After “I Do”

Carol DunfeeMarriageLeave a Comment

Today is my parents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary. They married right after my dad finished college. Their honeymoon consisted of driving to a new state for his new job. They moved cross-country five times. They have had many adventures and many heartaches. They have had their rocky times and their happy times. Watching them has taught me a few things about marriage. 1.     Marry your best friend. As a culture, we idolize romance, but it is the friendship that helps you enjoy each other for the long haul. I saw them spend time together camping, boating, fishing, etc. They truly enjoy each other’s company. 2.     Respect each other. Again, our culture teaches us two extremes. In one extreme, the husband rules over a meek and quiet wife. In the other, the woman is so independent, she hardly needs her husband. My parents have mutual respect for each other. Each respects the other’s intelligence and areas of expertise. They need each other because they complement each other. 3.     Don’t hold on to anger. They let each other cool off after an argument, but they didn’t stay angry for long. Early in life I learned my mom’s secret code. When she was done … Read More

Struggling In Marriage: When God Says “No”

Jen CudmoreMarriageLeave a Comment

Any time we’re faced with a trial, our first prayer is often “God, save me – quick!” And usually, when we beg for immediate deliverance, He tells us “No.” I really don’t like it when He does that. He is God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, the One who commands the oceans and lights the sky. Nothing is too big for Him to handle, if He chooses to intervene. So why doesn’t He rush to the rescue? When I first admitted that I was really unhappy in marriage, I asked God for help changing my attitude. But many of my prayers revolved around Him changing my husband. He said “No.” Then I asked God to intervene in my home, to prevent my husband from doing things that would deeply hurt me. He said “No.” I prayed that He would give me a list of things to fix so we could get on with life and find happiness once again. He said “No.” I wasn’t brave enough to ask God to release me from my wedding vows, although I did reach a point of total despair where I actually considered it. I knew He would say “No.” So when God … Read More

4 Things To Remember When Other Marriages Seem So Perfect

Jen CudmoreMarriageLeave a Comment

When your marriage is failing, sometimes it’s hard to be around other couples who appear so happy. You know the ones I mean. They are free with PDA. They express nice gestures and brag about each other. They say romantic things on Facebook and post cute pictures. Their sweetness is just another painful reminder of what we don’t have in our own life. Sometimes seeing them makes us mad. Sometimes it makes us jealous. Sometimes it makes us lonely. And sometimes we just want to hide away and cry our eyes out. If, like me, you’re struggling in your marriage and every one around you seems to have a perfect relationship, don’t feel bad. It’s normal to cringe a little. But it doesn’t have to be torture. Here are some things to remember: 1) Right now we’re overly sensitive, and that’s okay. We need to accept that this is a season of life and we won’t be this sensitive forever. We just have to be careful not to let our emotions get out of control. We can’t be snippy or rude, because it’s not their fault we’re having problems.  2) Everyone struggles with something. So they got the marriage part … Read More

When Mercy Meets Your Mess in Marriage

Jen CudmoreMarriageLeave a Comment

We’ve talked about the Unchained conference here before, but there’s one thing I must confess. It took everything in me to just to show up there. When I purchased my ticket, I was ecstatic! I had read 4 of Vicki’s books and couldn’t wait to actually meet her. Yet when I arrived at the Sheraton Friday evening, a little early so I could help with check-in, my heart was so heavy I had a hard time plastering on that fake smile. Because all week I had been struggling with a huge burden– I thought my marriage of 15 years was over. I was pretty unhappy with God for letting me endure so much hardship. I didn’t want to be in a room full of Christian women where I would have to pretend I was fine. I was not fine! I had reached one of the lowest points of my life, and I felt God had let me down. But I knew God wanted me to go to the conference, so I went. And I had a good time. Vicki gave some great tips on letting go of the fairytale women so desperately desire and the shame we harbor in our … Read More