Holiness, Happiness, and Marriage

You may have heard the question before: Did God design marriage for our happiness or for our holiness?

My answer would be, “Yes, He did!”

Let me explain.

We tend to think of holiness as something that has to do with being good, staying in line, and doing the right things. But when we understand principles of covenant, we realize that “keeping all the rules” is an inadequate description of holiness.

Holiness is the essence of a fully honored relationship. Holiness is a covenant term which describes both the complete, undefiled union of marriage, as well as the complete, undefiled union of the Godhead.

Continue reading article by Tami Myer >>

Do They Really Love God?

Why do Christians sometimes criticize each other? Recently I heard a man say, “I don’t understand these people who spend all of their time in church singing praise songs. If they really loved God, why don’t they work in the soup kitchen. I think God must get sick of their singing the same old songs week after week and never doing anything to show their love by serving others.” This man does not understand that people express their love to God in different ways, because they have different love languages. If Acts of Service is your love language, then, yes, you work in the soup kitchen. If Receiving Gifts is your love language, then you show your love to God by giving. While Quality Time people love God best by having extended daily quiet times.

Q&A: Commitment vs. Love

Q: Gary, my husband says he’s in the marriage now more for the commitment that he made rather than love for me. How can I stay married to him if he’s only committed, but not in love with me?

Gary: Many many people are where your husband is, they’re just not ready to admit it. The reality is that all of us come down off the high of the emotional experience of being in love and if we don’t learn how to speak each other’s love languages, then we may be staying there out of commitment. Thank God for commitment! Because that gives us an opportunity to learn how we can advance our marriage. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to read and discuss a book like the 5 Love Languages and then look over the past and see what happened and how you missed each other. Life can be different, I assure you, if you make changes.

Q&A: Loving Someone and Being Loved

Q: Gary, I thought the ability to truly love someone and to feel loved is directly linked to the ability to love oneself first, so can someone who doesn’t love themselves ever really feel loved?

 

Gary: Well I think you’re wise to address the issue. The answer is to learn to love yourself. Listen, if the Holy God loves you, then you need to love yourself. Accept his love. If you’ve done wrong things, fine! Repent of those things. Ask God to forgive you and you then become a child of God, and God loves you with an everlasting love. So if you’ve experienced God’s love —whether you’ve experienced love from people or not — you’ll be able to love others.

Sexual Healing

One of the realities in contemporary society is that many couples come to marriage with previous sexual experience, either with each other, or with other partners. The commonly held idea is that sexual experience before marriage better prepares you for marriage. All of the research indicates otherwise. In fact, the divorce rate is twice as high among those who have been sexually active before marriage. The Christian answer is the confession of wrongdoing and genuinely forgiving each other for past failures. The scars of the past may remain, but the scars serve as a reminder of the grace and love of God. When God forgives us, He no longer holds it against us. We in turn, forgive each other.

Getting Good at Love

After five years of marriage, the question remains as essential and poignant as the night years ago in the car: Am I loving well? Although the answer stings at times, it is a trustworthy means of clearing the debris from the path to intimacy.

 

Continue reading article by Sarah Siders >>

Work is Not a Curse, but a Blessing

Today, I want to take you back to the first chapter in the Bible. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Interesting, that God ordained ‘work’ before the fall of man. Work is not a curse, but a blessing. Man was created to be active – to do something worthwhile. Do you see your work as an assignment from God? All work, both that for which we get paid and that which we do without pay, is designed to bring us satisfaction and to glorify God. The Scriptures say, “whatever you do, do it as though you are doing it for God.” With this attitude, use your abilities; work hard, and you will gain the smile of God. If you don’t have a job, then work hard at finding one, and trust God with the results.

Q&A: Should I Apologize to Those from Past Relationships?

Q: Gary, I will be getting married soon and I want to have a clean conscience. Should I apologize to those whom I might have hurt in previous relationships?

Gary: I think a good basic pattern is that we always apologize to the people we’ve hurt in the past. Sometimes we haven’t learned that and we leave a whole string of relationships that are fractured because we never accept that responsibility. If you’ve hurt people in past relationships, then yes, I think it’s good to go back and apologize for your part in that relationship and for what you did. You’re not asking for reconciliation because you’re getting married to someone else, but you are acknowledging responsibility for your failures in the past.

Fall Reflection

This is the time for Fall reflection. Are you pleased with the way you invested your time and energies so far this year? Are there changes you need to make in your lifestyle as we move into Fall? Do you need to drop some activities and add others? Family, church, vocation, and neighbors are all important. The key word is ‘balance’. The greatest satisfaction in life is in investing your life in the lives of others. But you also need to take care of yourself. Proper food, sleep, and recreation keep the body strong. A daily quiet time with God, and weekly involvement with other Christians energizes the spirit. Could a minor change in your lifestyle make a major difference in your effectiveness?

Your Unhappy Marriage May be More Harmful to Your Children than You Realize

We’re often warned about the detrimental effects divorce can have on children: It can make them insecure, worried, or harm their ability to have a successful marriage later on in life. If you find yourself in an unhappy marriage and have decided to stay for the sake of the children, it is vital to realize there are repercussions to that decision. Below are three consequences of maintaining status quo in an unhappy marriage which will hopefully serve as motivation to reignite the process of healing and restoration in your marriage.

Continue reading article by Nancy Pina >>