3 Dates…70 Years of Marriage…True Love

I wouldn’t necessarily advise my children to try this, but…so far…it’s worked for my grandparents. This week marks 70 years of marriage for them…and they only had 3 dates prior to being engaged. They knew each other a grand total of 10 days.

I can honestly say that watching my grandparents has always been like watching a newlywed couple. Today our local paper interviewed the happy couple. Read a great story of true love HERE.

Are you hanging with your marriage even during difficult days?  Take some encouragement from my grandparents.

(This picture was taken at their 50th wedding anniversary!)

Addressing Major Problems in Marriage


 
Sometimes in marriage, things have to get worse before they can get better. Don’t be afraid to let that process work. If there is a continuous major problem in the marriage, find the courage to address it.

I’ve met numerous couples where there is an obvious major problem, but the offended party is afraid to deal with the issue. I’m not referring to minor differences, such as whether the toilet paper should roll from the top or the bottom…that’s easy stuff…(top, of course)…I’m talking about those non-negotiable concerns in a marriage.

Things such as…

Physical or verbal abuse…Confidence crushing negativity towards the other spouse…Substance abuse…Extreme laziness or not supporting the family… blatant neglect…

If you have a serious issue in your marriage, you have to push through the problem as difficult as that process will be.

I realize when I give this advice some immediately rebel against it, because they fear their marriage will be pushed over the edge if they address the problem. When there is a severe crippling problem in a marriage that goes unchallenged, however, one spouse will suffer in more areas of life than just the marriage. (If this is your situation, you already know that to be true.) The problems in the marriage will affect the person’s health, job performance, and entire well-being, not to mention the marriage will never be all God intends it to be.

When the injured spouse refuses to face reality and address the issue, I usually ask him or her one question:

Are you going to be satisfied with your life and this marriage if nothing changes or improves with this situation for the next 20 years?

The fact is that more nagging won’t help. Worrying about the problem will not make it go away either. If the answer to my question is no, then some action must be taken if you have any hope for improvement.

Obviously, I can’t offer specific advice in a short blog post. Your situation is unique, complicated, and personal, but I can encourage you to get some personal counseling. Force the issue. Work through the problem together. Allow it to make you stronger in the end, but don’t be afraid to address the hard stuff.

Do you have an example of this principle in your marriage? Have you and your spouse had to work through a serious problem before you could make your marriage better?

When Your Spouse Doesn’t Measure Up

The best thing you can do for your marriage is to find your personal worth first in Christ.   When your spouse doesn’t meet your expectation, which many times he or she will not, you will still feel fulfilled.

When your worth is held captive by an imperfect person, you will find yourself facing unmet expectations throughout your marriage.  While I believe strongly that each spouse has a responsibility to develop him or herself personally (You can read some of my thoughts in the marriage category HERE), the fact remains that your spouse will never totally meet all your needs, regardless of how mature he or she becomes as a person.

Are you holding your spouse to a standard he or she can never meet?

What if you found your worth first in Christ, would it release some pressure from the marriage and the spouse that doesn’t measure up to expectations?

7 Things Your Wife Is Not

man woman talking

Many men are relationally challenged. It’s not that we don’t want to have great marriages, but we are often weak when it comes to knowing how to build them. One problem is that we often have the wrong ideas about the role each of us is to play in the marriage and it affects how we treat them. Men, see if any of these fit for how you’ve been relating to your wife.

Your wife is not:

  • A trophy to be won…
  • A puzzle to be solved…
  • A solution to be found…
  • A fixture to be ignored…
  • A problem to be fixed…
  • A maid to be paid…
  • A cause to be championed…

Ladies, what am I missing?

Your wife is to be your partner, companion, lover, completer and friend. She’s to be the love of your life…second only from your love of God.

Men, are you seeing your wife for who she really is? How could you show her this week how much she means to you?

Model Your Marriage

Cheryl and I believe strongly in premarital counseling. The lack of appropriate training for marriage is, in my opinion, one of the leading causes for problems in marriages. If you go into anything unprepared, you are likely to get into trouble quicker than if you prepare in advance. Make sense?

I would be curious to know how much effective premarital counseling some of my readers have had and what difference it made. You can leave a comment about that on this post. My suspicion, however, based on the people I have spoken with through my ministry, is that most have had very little effective premarital counseling.

If this is your case, it may not be too late. Obviously if you are married, you can’t do “premarital counseling”, but you could get some marriage counseling, before your marriage needs it. That’s being proactive about your marriage.

Knowing that most readers will not take me up on my suggestion let me offer another solution. This is something that every couple can easily do. It’s less threatening, inexpensive, if not free, and highly effective at helping your marriage.

My advice today: Find a couple whose marriage you can model. Allow the strength of someone else’s marriage to impact yours.

What you will find, when you see a marriage that appears to work, is that two imperfect people found a way to make their marriage thrive. There may have been hard times, probably were, but they weathered through them and made their marriage better as a result. Their process of making their marriage work will help you learn to strengthen yours.

Stop for just a minute and think of one couple whose marriage you would love your marriage to look like. Ask them if you can hang out with them once in a while, or  at least exchange emails with them, and if they will make themselves available to your marriage. Let their iron sharpen your iron.

Finally, pay tribute here. Who is one married couple you would love your marriage to look like? What about their marriage encourages you in your marriage?

The Two Shall Become One Flesh

I’m not good with art, but if you were sitting in my office, however, I would attempt to draw this diagram on my dry erase board.  I hope you can get past the crude drawing to get to the intended meaning, because it really is important to understand in shaping a marriage.

Taken from Ephesians 5:21-33, I believe this is the model of a healthy marriage that God is attempting to build. It is by design that two unique and imperfect people are called to become one. To accomplish that task, two things must occur.

First, as indicated with the upper left and right triangles, each spouse must get rid of the “baggage” he or she brings into the marriage. While most of us come with lots of baggage, in simple terms, this is anything that will not help the couple become one.  If for example, one spouse is selfish, while that may be allowed in some relationships, it will not work in making one flesh.  Discovering what parts of each spouse will not work in building one flesh becomes one goal in building a strong marriage. This could even be natural bents or personalities, but they must be considered as to whether they make the marriage stronger or weaker.

The middle two triangles, with the words “One Flesh”, illustrate the process of taking the best of each spouse, that part that helps completes the other spouse, and using it to build God’s design for the marriage.  As an example, my wife is the compassionate one in our relationship. (You could have guessed that most likely.)  In our life together, she helps me be more compassionate.   At the same time, Cheryl would enable others to take advantage of her if I were not around. Many times, I provide the strength that makes us strong as a couple and protects our family life.

So what do you do with this information?  Well, first working together (if you can’t do this together in love you have other issues to work through first), begin to make lists of those things that could keep it from becoming one flesh (your baggage).  Over the course of time (don’t rush this process), each spouse begins to work on his or her baggage.

Second, make an opposite list of those qualities in each spouse that add to the strength of the marriage bond. Obviously, this is a more pleasant list to put together, but it’s most helpful if each spouse share the strengths of the other spouse. Once this list is in place, over time, begin to yield the marriage to the each of these strengths.

The seemingly impossible goal of becoming one flesh is not only challenging, but it is a lifetime process. Learning to communicate strengths and weaknesses each spouse brings to the marriage can help build the marriage God intended for you to have.

What strengths or weaknesses do you and/or your spouse bring to the marriage? Feel free to share a few here.

Guest Post: Cheryl Edmondson (“Just” a Pastor’s wife?)

Karen on our staff has been asking Cheryl to do a guest post for the Grace Community Church website for months and she finally agreed. She chose the title “Who me – a pastor’s wife?”. Let me say that I believe one of the most important jobs in the church is that of the pastor’s wife. I’m thankful I have such a good one. For more of my thoughts on Cheryl, click HERE or if you want to know how to honor a pastor’s wife, click HERE.

This is what Cheryl wrote:

Who me – a pastor’s wife??

 

Who me – a pastor’s wife???

After numerous requests to do a Guest Blog for Grace, I realized I had resisted as long as I could. It may be because there are so many great bloggers living at my house that I feel so intimidated at just the thought of trying.

The thought that kept going through my mind was what do I have to say that anybody would WANT to read? I feel God told me to just take this opportunity to share a little about myself….Ron’s wife … a mom to Jeremy (21) and Nate (18) … a daughter … a sister …. a friend …. a co-worker (again) … most importantly a follower of Jesus Christ and oh yeah – a pastor’s wife.

I am Cheryl Edmondson and the proud wife of Ron, who is one of the amazing co-pastors of Grace Community Church and together we have two awesome sons. I was born in Clarksville to J F and Earlene Burney and except for four years in Tuscaloosa, AL (Roll Tide!!) while my dad received his doctorate and my mother her undergraduate degree – I have lived in Clarksville all my life. I have two older brothers (Mike & Steve) and one younger sister (Laurie). I recently lost my dad due to several health issues. I was a “daddy’s girl” and miss him very much!!

I am blessed with more friends than I can count. I have been reminded lately during the time of my dad’s death and then again today as I attended the funeral of a longtime friend – how precious friendships are. There is a childhood poem that I was reminded of today – “make new friends, but keep the old ones…one is silver, but the other gold.” During both these times, I saw friends that I had not seen for years. Friends that I was very close to at one time …. But you know what? Our hearts were still connected when we saw each other again …. My biggest regret was that I had let so much time pass without spending time with these friends. That I had allowed myself to get too busy …. But we all do that – don’t we? Yes, what a sweet reminder of how precious our friends truly are.

My degree is in accounting and I have been employed in several positions over the years from the electric company to co-owning a small manufacturing company with Ron to working on a church staff to public accounting. After a short break from the working world, I have recently accepted a part-time position at Hope Pregnancy Center as Administrative Director. My passion is to do ministry and for as long as God allows me to work part-time – I pray that He will allow me to do ministry at HPC, but also be more flexible to do ministry for GCC.

Oh yes, the one I keep forgetting – I am a pastor’s wife!! It is the one I have to keep reminding myself of probably because it is the one I feel the least worthy to be. I’m just a regular person …. I have good days and bad days …. I make lots of mistakes …. I don’t read my Bible as much as I want to …. BUT I love Sundays!! My passion is to see others growing in their relationship with Christ!! I love it when God allows me to use things from my past to minister to others!!! (2 Cor 1:3-7) But I don’t have to be a pastor’s wife to do any of these. I loved these same things before Ron was called to vocational ministry. Maybe that’s why I have such a hard time remembering that I am one ….

And yes – I am a follower of Jesus. I am so thankful for the amazing grace that God has poured out on my life. I became a Christian well into adulthood and regret all the wasted years. That’s why I am so thankful that God allows me to be a part of Grace Community Church and see the lives that He is changing in and through the various ministries… I pray that as long as I live God will use me to point others to the saving grace of my Lord and Savior – Jesus Christ!!!

That’s who I am …. a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend … follower of Christ … and … oh yeah … a pastor’s wife.

Only by HIS grace,

Cheryl

 

Marriage Couple Dreaming

One way to strengthen and protect your marriage is for the couple to share some common dreams…

Some time back, I started a series of posts on dream stretching. You can read that post HERE. I believe dreaming is a healthy practice, because it stretches the mind and imagination and keeps life from becoming routine or stale.

I have tried to practice this principle in my marriage. Cheryl agrees with this principle also, but since I am the one better wired for dreaming, one year I gave Cheryl a set of large letters for her office that simply spelled the word DREAM. It serves as a reminder to her that we want to continue to dream together as a couple.

Let’s be honest. Routines can settle into a marriage and the relationship can become dull and even boring if not cultivated. (Not mine, of course, but yours could. HA!) The fact is most of us live mundane lives unless something tragic or unexpected comes along. Isn’t one of the things that made dating so much fun exploring the unknown about each other together?

One solution to boredom in marriage is to have some new dreams together. The dreams may never come true, and yet they might, especially if you work towards them. The most important value, however, is that dreaming will help keep the creative energy flowing in your marriage, keep the marriage relationship fun and protect either spouse from boredom.

What is a dream you and your spouse have together?

What dream have you buried? Could your marriage use a new dream?

Don’t be afraid to stretch yourself again as a couple, explore some unknowns (on purpose) and bring some new life into the marriage.

Giving Credit for Differences in Marriage


 
Marriage is the bringing together of two very different people in the attempt at creating what the Bible calls “one flesh”. There in, however, lies the challenge that keeps many marriages from thriving.

If you are a parent of multiple children, then you know how different your children are, even when raised in the same house with the same parents. How much more so the blending of two people from different family backgrounds and life experiences, that also happens to be anatomically different. Marriage is tough many times because of those differences.

One very simple practice (at least in theory) that will dramatically improve the communication and working relationship between a couple, is when the man and woman begin to give credit for who the other person is, who they are wired to be.  When the differences are understood and valued rather than criticized and battled, the marriage is strengthened rather than hindered by those differences.

One example in my marriage is that I will never be as deeply emotional about life as Cheryl is. I can wish that I were, Cheryl can pray that I will be, but most likely Cheryl is always going to be the more emotional one of us. In the same way, Cheryl will most likely never see life from the rational perspective that I see it. I can get frustrated about it, try to force reality on her, but when she is emotional about an issue, she is not likely to see the black and white of life that I see. While this is challenging in building the relationship and often causes conflict, if we allow those differences to balance us rather than separate us, the differences have proven countless times to be a blessing to our marriage.

This does not mean that the person, for instance, that is intentionally hurtful should continue to be hurtful without attempting to change, but it does mean that the core being of who we are should be taken into consideration in building a healthy relationship. When differences are appreciated rather than fought against, it improves communication, limits tension, and strengthens the relationship. You will likely spend a lifetime together continuing to explore differences…make the journey fun rather than disruptive.

What are some ways you and your spouse are different? What are some ways you can make those differences work for your marriage rather than against it?

Share some of what you’ve learned here so we can learn from your experience.

7 Reasons I Choose My Kindle Over an iPad

I am not a techie, but I am Mac guy, so I was mesmerized, like many of my techie friends, with Apple’s new iPad.  This week when Steve Jobs introduced it, I felt an instant urge to hold one.  Did anyone else get that urge?  (Please don’t give me an idolatry lecture…I know my priorities…I’m not obsessing, but I am fascinated.)  Being one that is always looking for ways to improve my productivity, I can see how I would make use of such a product.

The most frequent question for me this week, however, has been what would I do with my Kindle if I got an iPad.  If you don’t know, my boys got me a Kindle for Father’s Day and I love it.  I wrote about it HERE. Granted I haven’t held an iPad in my hands, but I have pondered my “dilemma” this week, and I have come to the following conclusion:

I can think of 7 reasons I will keep my Kindle.  Here’s why:

  1. The Kindle feels more like a book than I think the iPad will.  Putting the Kindle in a leather binder gives me the look and feel of holding the “real thing”.
  2. The screen on the Kindle seems more like a book. If the screen on the iPad is like my MacBook Pro, I wouldn’t want to read long passages on it.
  3. The Kindle is limited to being a reader.  This has been seem as a plus for the iPad, but when I’m considering it as a reader it’s a criticism for me.  When I’m doing serious reading, I don’t want to be distracted with other things I can do with the device.
  4. Amazon is so easy to work with.  I’m confident that Apple will pull off a great database of books, but Amazon certainly knows what they are doing.  (I wonder if the two great companies will find a way to partner.)
  5. The battery life on the Kindle is amazing.  I don’t get that kind of result from my iPhone or MacBook.   (As a matter of fact, my Mac power is running low now…)
  6. My boys gave me my Kindle.  ‘Nuff said…
  7. Sometimes simplicity is a good thing….Complex is often overrated.

There are my top 7 reasons for keeping my Kindle and not being disappointed if I don’t immediately get an iPad when they are released.  Still, if my boys are tired of socks and underwear again this year…

What about you?  Do you want an iPad?  Will you get one?  Do you own a Kindle? Will the iPad cause you to put aside your Kindle?

Start the discussion here.