Glue and Paper: Lessons in Purity

Carol DunfeeFaith, Marriage0 Comments

Glue can be a great thing when you need something to stick. It holds precious pictures in a scrapbook. It reattaches the corner our kids knocked off our dining room chair. Glue can also be destructive…like when my kiddo smeared glue in her math book. Or when my favorite picture was glued into a child’s art project. No amount of careful manipulation could prevent the inevitable tears. Try gluing two pieces of paper together. The glue makes them stronger and sturdier together. Then try tearing them apart. The glue will shred the two papers as they rip apart. Like glue, sex can strengthen a marriage bond, carry a married couple through hard times, and of course, produce beautiful, sweet babies. Misused sex, however, becomes terribly destructive.  God designed sex as a gift to marriage. It is wonderful and beautiful. Satan wants to manipulate God’s gifts until they become perverted, twisted, and destructive. The same glue that made the two papers stronger can also cause the papers’ destruction. Satan doesn’t want us to be whole. He wants us to be torn and wounded by casual sex, sexual abuse, pornography, and sex outside of marriage. The more we misuse sex, the more … Read More

The Power of God’s Word

Heather GillisBible Study, Faith, Marriage4 Comments

I will never forget the first time I opened my Bible to read for the first time.  I didn’t know where to start or what to read.  I felt overwhelmed and lost.  There were so many words and pages.  How did I even begin? Once I opened the Scriptures and started reading, a whole new world was open for me.  At times I put prayer and reading the Bible on the back burner.  I let life get the best of me.  I was distracted by everything the world offered me.  The truth is, I’ve been a Christian my whole life and didn’t truly see the value in opening up the Scriptures and reading them until brokenness entered my life. Nothing makes a person examine their priorities more than when tragedy enters their life (Click to Tweet).   Tragedy makes us listen and pay attention.  My brokenness exposed what was I really filling my life with?  What was the meaning and purpose of my life? The Bible took on a whole new meaning in my life once tragedy got my attention.  The Bible verses I read became living and breathing in my life.  Opening the Scriptures is where I really met Jesus.  … Read More

Why is Prayer so Important in Marriage?

Heather GillisFaith, Marriage, Prayer & Fasting, Trials2 Comments

Marriage is one of the biggest blessings in life, yet 40%-50% of marriages end up in divorce.  If marriage is such a blessing, then why do so many marriages fail?  I think there are many factors at play–a person’s background and upbringing, parents who had a loving successful marriage, children, poor role models, trials, dysfunctional habits.  But I think one of the most important factors that help couples STAY together is PRAYER. A study written by the National Association of Marriage Enhancement stated out of 1156 couples, those who prayed together on a daily basis less than 1% ended in divorce.  The study went even further to analyze what the couples did at home together.   Were they apart of the same denomination?  Did they attend church together?  Did they share the same beliefs and values?  Did they do any worship activities at home? The study found there was a higher level of marital satisfaction when the couples shared the same religious practices at home which included reading the Bible together.  Unfortunately despite knowing this information, only 4% of Christian couples pray together on a daily basis.  The important message from the study was if you want a strong marriage that … Read More

When Motherhood & Ministry Collide

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Marriage, Motherhood0 Comments

I haven’t written a new blog post in several weeks, and if I’m being honest, that really bothers me some days.  I have committed to contributing to this blog and serving in this ministry on a weekly basis, but as time goes on, and my seasons of life change, sometimes motherhood and ministry collide.  I have good intentions, I have a brain swirling with thoughts that just beg to be shared, but sometimes it’s really hard to make sense of anything at all when you haven’t slept in a really long time, and you have a screaming toddler in your lap slapping the keys on the keyboard faster than you can push her little hands away. The insecurities deep within me shout the loudest in times like these. “Look at you! You signed up for this, and once again you can’t follow through. All of these other women have busy lives! They have families, jobs outside of the home, and other commitments just like you…so why can’t you keep up? They keep up! They’re faithful week after week, but then there’s you. There you are writing something last minute again,  as night creeps into another day.  You say it’s because it’s the only time you have, … Read More

The Wedding Vows I Never Planned To Keep

Rosalynn LasleyMarriage3 Comments

Last night my husband left the house with all three of our children in tow. He knew that today is the day my blog is posted and it’s hard for me to focus on writing when I’m hiding from my children, trying to write. Yes there’s something sacred in a little “me” time, but there’s something very unholy about blogging for the Lord, while shouting “CAN YOU NOT LEAVE ME ALONE FOR ONE MOMENT?! WHERE IS YOUR DAD?!!” No sooner than the garage door closed signaling their departure, I decided to do what any tired woman with a few extra moments does…I turned on my favorite romantic comedy. Our wedding video. Now, it’s not the original version that I watched last night. We’ve been married long enough to need the “digitally remastered” version. Our original wedding video was VHS.  We no longer own a VCR so after some rummaging, I found and popped in the dvd of our wedding. The dvd copy was a Christmas gift one year. No sooner than the music started on the disk, I began to cry. Everything about life was so different back then.  Our wedding was a humble affair. I wore flip-flops with my … Read More

Dear Younger Me

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Motherhood0 Comments

 One of my favorite things to do is to think about how life has ended up for me.  I know I’m still young, and my story is still unfolding, but when I look back at how things have gone so far, it’s so different from what I had imagined it would be.    I love to think about times like before I fell in love with my husband, before I even liked him.  I love to think about how life has changed over the last 16 years.  I think about that young girl, the high school freshman who thought he was a total jerk.  I think it would be fun to whisper to her “you’re going to marry that guy someday…and have his babies.” I’m certain the look on my 14 year old face  would have been priceless. Every time I think of our love story I smile, and thank God that He had better plans for me than I could see for myself.  The funny thing is that before I started really getting to know my husband (back when he was just a guy in my P.E. class I wasn’t fond of) I had been praying about our life together.  I didn’t know it at … Read More

Marriage Is A Lot Like Bodybuilding

Rosalynn LasleyMarriage0 Comments

During a conversation with a pastor last week, a thought came upon my heart.  Marriage is a lot like bodybuilding.  It might seem odd that I would compare marriage to bodybuilding especially considering that I haven’t exercised on purpose, in years. The last time I went to the gym my 11 year old, was a newborn, and the last time I went for a brisk walk, I was hoping to go into labor with my middle child (she’ll be 6 next month.) I followed every one of those miles around the track that summer, with a few unproductive contractions, and a “love it” sized ice cream from Coldstone.  Some might see that as counter productive, but whatever.  There was peanut butter in the ice cream, and there’s protein in peanut butter.  We all know that protein is good for you, so I see that as a win. If I’m being honest though, exercise really isn’t my thing. It’s difficult, it’s exhausting, it takes work, it leaves you sweaty, the results take forever.  Being unfit and even lazy is easy, but exercise is hard work and I’m just not willing to put in the effort, but even if I’m not really into fitness I still know enough to make the … Read More

The Porch

Sarah OlsonMarriage0 Comments

Exhausted, I sat sobbing on the porch in the crisp evening air as my husband sat just inside working on his paper. (I had come home shortly before, flushed and trying not to be argumentative about small, petty things that he couldn’t control. To avoid an unneeded argument, I told him I was going to sit outside and enjoy the weather to which he gently replied, “Okay, sweetie.”). Through my sobs, I heard him suddenly get up and come outside, floppy-sock footed and wrapped in a blanket. He plopped himself down beside me and wrapped the blanket and his strong arms around me and held me tightly. I completely lost it, shoulders slumped, silent tears, snorting sniffle. A strong, bold voice came from my man as he pled with God for my heart and our marriage and ministry – it was as if his voice was mine! The cries of my heart came alive as I listened to his earnest prayer. I straightened up, still sniffling, but feeling so much more alive and brave than I ever had before. A true picture of intercession had just displayed itself before me. A true oneness of marriage had suddenly become so real … Read More

Want a Quick Fix for Marriage Trouble?

Jen CudmoreMarriage0 Comments

She said her marriage was transformed in 30 days. All she did was commit to no complaining. She only voiced positive comments about her husband. Words of encouragement. Gratitude. Affirmation. And I wondered: How in the world did that work for her, and not for me?  I’ve always been interested in marriage tips. So when I admitted I was struggling to find fulfillment at home, I knew some tools I could use.  Write down all his mistakes, speak forgiveness over them, and burn the paper.  Pray for him every day, not just a few words here or there, but detailed petitions for a good 10-20 minutes.   List out all his good qualities, all the things you loved about him, one at a time for 30 days. None of these things fixed my marriage. And I was bummed. While these tools definitely raise marital satisfaction and encourage a positive attitude, they are not long-term solutions by themselves. One day God shared with me that marriages are like vehicles. Every so often, they need a tune-up, such as a little grace here or gratitude there. And sometimes, they need a major overhaul.  God told me to stop looking for a quick fix … Read More

Teetering on the edge of proud and insecure

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Marriage0 Comments

I’m insecure. It doesn’t feel good to write that. It’s an embarrassing thing to admit to even my husband, the person I’m closest to on this earth. It’s even more embarrassing to tell that on a blog that may be read by many people.  I’m also proud.  It doesn’t feel very good to write that either.  For me, it is a constant battle between being insecure and ashamed of who I am. Feeling unworthy, unlovable, lacking talent, character, worth while qualities, and being proud.  I find myself most often wanting to boast or be proud, when I’m struggling with a deeper insecurity.  At times I feel like “look at how nice I look in this top!” Because I feel super uncomfortable in my own skin. I’m 4 months post-pregnancy, and it’s hard to dress myself most days. I never cared about my body until someone criticized me along the way. Growing up I was told I was too skinny in many cruel ways, and that it has hugely changed the way I see myself. Now I’m not thin enough in some people’s perspectives, even though I just had a baby. It’s strange, I never cared how I looked, until someone … Read More

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

Jen CudmoreMarriage0 Comments

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 CudmoreMarriage0 Comments

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

Are You A ‘Good Christian Wife’?

Jen CudmoreMarriage0 Comments

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 CudmoreMarriage0 Comments

“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

50 Years After “I Do”

Carol DunfeeMarriage0 Comments

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