- the importance of praying for our husbands, their hearts, their decisions, their work, their choices, their minds, and their faith.
- promoting our husbands self esteem by offering words of encouragement, instead of words of discouragement
- changing our perspectives, and trying to see our husbands through Gods eyes
- providing for their emotional, physical and spiritual needs
- protecting their reputations and giving them honor
- remembering to spend quality time and 'play' with our husbands
- putting what we know into practice
- pursuing a close with with Christ ourselves which benefits our marriages
- seeking peace through Christ when times are tough
- being our husbands helper
- planting seeds of love, blessing, intimacy, and actions into our marriage gardens
- and focus on the transforming of our minds.
When I look at the list above in its entirety, all on one page, I have to say, it seems very overwhelming. It almost seems impossible to think that we can really implement these practices into our marriages, remember to do them daily and/or weekly, and stay motivated to keep trying even when the road seems hard, long, unchanging, and unrewarding.
So today, my friend, your challenge is to simply embrace perseverance, because there is no doubt about it, marriage is hard.
Marriage can be the biggest blessing in our lives, bring the biggest heartache we have ever known, and be the greatest adventure we have ever been on, all at the same time. It is a breeding ground of emotions from one end of the spectrum to the other, but we can take heart in knowing that God knew marriage was not easy.
He knew we would need guidance and support, encouragement and strength. Even the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:28 that "...But those who marry will face many troubles in this life..."
As a result of the importance of marriage, and the fact that He knew it would not be easy, God chose to make more than 500 Old and New Testament references to the words "marriage", "married", "husband", and "wife".
Marriage was a challenge in biblical times, as it is today, because it is a union of two different, imperfect people coming together in a world that is full of sin. It is the joining of two people who each have good and bad traits, habits, sins, and selfish desires, while trying to become one, coexist, stay in love, and deal with life.
If we only look at marriage by that description though, we will remain discouraged, instead of encouraged; frustrated, instead of hopeful; and disheartened, instead of joyful.
Marriage is one of the important parts of life where God knew we would need His strength, courage, ability to forgive, grace, mercy and hope, and one of the many reasons why He encourages us to persevere if we want to see our dreams come true, our faith come to life, and our marriages be a blessing in our lives.
To persevere means to persist in anything undertaken; to maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; and to continue steadfastly. Here are a few verses that reiterate Gods take on perseverance:
Hebrews 10:36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
Hebrews 11:27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
Romans 5:3-4 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Perseverance is not always fun, but in Christ, we can do it, and reap the rewards of His love, protection, and blessing as a result. Only God knows the problems or blessings in each of our marriages, and only He knows the future of each relationship. But our role is to continue to trust Him in whatever we are facing, and to persevere through His strength and not our own.
All things are possible with God. Smiles.
Sweet friends, these past two weeks have been such a blessing for me. I have been amazed and awe struck at what God has done in all of our hearts through this challenge, especially my own.
I want to share with you that the day before my devotion Love, Respect and Admiration was published, I had no intentions or plans for a marriage challenge.
As I was writing the accompanying blog post for the devotion, God gave me this 14 day assignment, and I just threw it out there as an invitation to see if anyone was interested. I was blown away by the response.
That afternoon, my husband came home from work, and having read my blog post that day, asked me if I had everything prepared for the challenge. I hesitantly, and anxiously, admitted that I had not written a word, and actually had no idea what I was going to write about for fourteen consecutive days.
But I knew that this was a God-assignment, and I trusted Him to come through - and He did.
As I look back over the posts from the past two weeks, I am literally shocked. God provided every thought, every word, every bible verse, every idea, and every memory of experiences that I have gone through. And it wasnt until the second day of the challenge, that He prompted my heart to consider using "p" words for each challenge. I would have never come up with that on my own! God is so cool.
I only tell you all this, because I want to give God all the credit for this little marriage challenge, and take none for myself. It was all about Him, and what He wanted each of us to hear, and nothing about me. I am truly praising Him today for the opportunity to be a tiny vessel to share His Word, and my prayer is that He has spoken to your heart in a special way through the past couple weeks.
Five to six hundred women every day have been following this marriage challenge, and I stand amazed at how God has moved. I want to personally thank you for all of your precious emails, Facebook comments, and blog comments. I have been blessed and encouraged, and sometimes brought to tears, by all the things you have shared with me. Thank you!
Thank you for being a part of this exciting, yet challenging 14 day journey with me, to strengthen our faith and our marriages.
Even though the official challenge is over, I hope that you will continue to come back and visit me, as we walk together to embrace the adventure of trusting God in every big and little aspect our lives.