Cruising Toward Valentine’s Day: Resolutions for a Happier Marriage

lovein-the-airIt’s February 8th. Do you know where your New Year’s resolutions went?

Hope they are going well. Meanwhile, as we cruise toward Valentine’s Day, why not resolve to enhance your one flesh union?

Disclaimer: My husband and I are not marriage experts. We both failed at it the first time. We are divorced, Reformed and remarried…remember. Here are some things we’ve learned (and are still learning) from this day forward

How can I love thee better? Let me count the ways…

Schedule regular devotions and prayer together. We all know how important this is, but we often neglect doing this as a couple. It is crucial if we want to keep our marriage intact.

Assume the best of him (her). How often do we come to conclusions about our mate before all the facts are in? Ladies, we (well I know I do!) try to read his mind and motivations, then assume the worst. Not good. Stop it.

No dumping. When he calls from work, or comes home from work at the end of the day, don’t dump problems on him. He’s been stressed for 8 hours or more, don’t add to it. Save the problems, discussions, bills for later.

Guard one another’s souls. This would be the opposite of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’. We all struggle with sin. Confess when you’re curt, wrong, or have lost your temper. Ask for forgiveness and mean it. Ask if your honey has slipped, needs prayer, or needs a broom over his head.

Guard your tongue. This is a biggie. And stop that muttering under your breath. It would be good to do repeated studies on the tongue throughout the year. It’s astounding how many bible verses there are on misuse of the tongue! Many of them come from Proverbs, one of the wisdom books. So here is wisdom:

  • He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction (Proverbs 13:3).
  • Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him (Proverbs 29:20).
  • Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment (Matthew 12:36).
  • Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers (Ephesians 4:29).
  • Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles (Proverbs 21:23).
  • A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. . . . A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit (Proverbs 15:1,4).
  • Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. (Proverbs 18:8)
  • For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: (1 Peter 3:10)
  • And the tongue [is] a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. (James 3:6)
  • If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion [is] vain. (James 1:26)

sources: Scripture to Help Tame My Tongue and Bible Verses About Power of the Tongue

If those verses don’t convince you to be careful with that tongue, there are many more. Continue reading

True Soul Mates and the Uncommon Union of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards

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Soul mates is a phrase I love to hate. I hate it because our culture has warped its true meaning. Poets and writers have expressed the concept. These, I love. What heart does not flutter at this thought?

Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.
-Emily Brontë

or this one:

He felt now that he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know where he ended and she began.
-Leo Tolstoy

SIGH.

America’s first published poet, Anne Bradstreet, penned these lines for her soul mate husband, Simon:

My head, my heart, mine Eyes, my life, nay more,
My joy, my Magazine of earthly store,
If two be one, as surely thou and I,
How stayest thou there, whilst I at Ipswich lye?

 

Jonathan and Sarah

If ever there were soul mates they had to be Jonathan and Sarah Edwards. Jonathan Edwards died at age 54 after he was inoculated with smallpox vaccine. He was aware the vaccine did not work and knew he was dying. I was touched to read that Jonathan Edwards, austere preacher of ‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God’, could also convey this loving message to his wife while on his deathbed:

“Give my kindest love to my dear wife, and tell her that the
uncommon union which has so long subsisted between us has been of such a
nature as I trust is spiritual and therefore will continue forever: and I hope she will be supported under so great a trial, and submit cheerfully to the will of God.”

The uncommon union. Spiritual. One flesh, bound together in Christ. This is the stuff of true soul mates.

 “…therefore will continue forever”

The bible clearly says there is no marriage in heaven. Yet these true soul mates, since they are knit together in Christ, will forever be one, as we, the bride of Christ, are all One in Him. What a glorious thought. Earthly roles of husband and wife do not continue, but the spiritual oneness does.

Continue reading

No Shades of Grey: Real Love 50 Ways in Old Love Letters

Fifty is a good number. When you’ve been married 50 years, it’s your golden anniversary. The Bible calls every 50th year a Jubilee. Personally, I feel splendid in my 50s. The fabulous 50s. Our culture seems to be obsessed with this number when it comes to destroying marriage and sexual purity. Some may recall when Paul Simon sang about 50 ways to leave your lover. Now there’s 50 shades of grey that sound so depraved it’s hard to fathom anyone would be enticed by it.

An artist’s palette blends black and white to make grey. While it’s useful for making shadows, it is rather dull and forlorn. I don’t like what lurks in shadows. Grey can’t be trusted. Grey is undecided. I prefer absolute distinctions. Wrong or right. Love me, love me not. No in-between. There are no shades of grey in love.

We need a renaissance of real love. Put the electronic devices away. Stop the curt, lazy texting. Look away from the deviant culture of contemporary literature and film. This Valentine’s Day, write a love letter.  What a lost art! Love letters can be tied with ribbon and saved in shoe boxes. They are monuments of heartfelt love and passion. Real love. Once again, we go back to the past to rediscover such relics of love.

Love letterMay I present to you fifty ways to say you love her/him with the following snippets from old love letters? This is an example of real love:

“…the passing of the years does nothing but deepen and intensify my love for you…and yet I see that there is no end to love…there is no lover, anywhere, writing to his girl who is quite as mad about her as I am. ” — Ever yours, Martyn   (Martyn Lloyd-Jones to his wife, Bethan)

Try constructing a letter, on real paper, this Valentine’s Day. Pick up a pen and express unfeigned devoted love to your spouse. (Honey-do lists don’t count.) I know you’re busy this weekend so I’ve pulled out 50 words and/or phrases to inspire you. These were taken from The Christian Lover: The Sweetness of Love and Marriage in the Letters of Believers. Here is a great review of the book by Tim Challies. I highly recommend adding this little treasure to your bookshelf.

  1. deep

    renoir_dance1883
    Renoir: A Dance in the Country, 1883
  2. intense
  3. endless
  4. mad (about you)
  5. ever yours
  6. your letters are more efficacious to cure my headache than all the drugs of the  apothecaries’ shops
  7. delight
  8. loving kindness
  9. I now covet your heart
  10. the prospect of calling you my own
  11. the life of my life is bound up in your love
  12. abound
  13. beauty
  14. unaffected modesty
  15. fire enkindled
  16. burning and increasing ardour
  17. real regard
  18. sincere affection
  19. anxiously await
  20. felicity
  21. temporal blessing
  22. my dearest friend
  23. communicate your thoughts with freedom
  24. invariable affection
  25. pray for me
  26. humble servant
  27. unfeigned friend
  28. honorable esteem of a wife
  29. he loved her soul
  30. constant
  31. often thought of you
  32. most fondness
  33. many comfortable days and weeks and years with you
  34. perfectly happy
  35. I long for
  36. reading…your letters is more to me than any other company or entertainment which books or friends can here afford mevalentine3
  37. remembering you
  38. to be much together
  39. cast myself at your feet
  40. your devoted servant
  41. great pleasure to find you love me so tenderly
  42. let us stir up each other to return sincere and vehement love for all His benefits
  43. ardent desire
  44. genuine piety which eminently adorns your person
  45. spend my life in happy union
  46. dearest of mortals!
  47. I sincerely love you
  48. my sweet love
  49. pleasing painful passion
  50. passions are blind and dangerous leaders, but when they faithfully follow conviction they preserve their proper place and are not amiss…

Note that last one! It was written by Thomas Charles to his intended wife, Sally Jones, in the year 1780. What wisdom. Thomas Charles is also quoted in #6 about Sally’s letters as a cure for his headache. I bet you thought a woman wrote that one!

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and remember to express real love to your spouse using the ancient form of communication known as the love letter.

Red rose on love letter