Category Archives: personal reflection

The Prince of Peace

This post is written by Laurence Vance and copied here today to remind everyone what we celebrate on Christmas Day.  See his entire post on the Lew Rockwell blog here.

Prince of Peace

The Prince of Peace bids men to come to him (Matthew 11:28); the god of war bids men to go fight foreign wars.

The Prince of Peace says it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35); the god of war says it is more blessed to kill than to be killed.

The Prince of Peace says to love your enemies (Matthew 5:44); the god of war says to kill your enemies.

The Prince of Peace is righteous (1 John 2:1); the god of war wants men to commit unrighteousness.

The Prince of Peace says to bless them that curse you (Matthew 5:44); the god of war says to curse them that curse you.

The Prince of Peace witnessed a good confession (1 Timothy 6:13); the god of war spouts lies.

The Prince of Peace says to do good to them that hate you (Matthew 5:44); the god of war says to do evil to them that hate you.

The Prince of Peace is the Son of God (Acts 9:20); the god of war is the enemy of God.

The Prince of Peace is the creator (Colossians 1:16); the god of war is the destroyer.

The Prince of Peace died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3); the god of war wants men to die for no reason.

The Prince of Peace rose from the dead (Acts 26:23); the god of war sends men to their deaths.

The Prince of Peace was sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:7); the god of war wants men to sacrifice other men to him.

The Prince of Peace died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6); the god of war wants men to commit ungodliness.

The Prince of Peace was born of a virgin (Matthew 1:23); the god of war encourages men to violate virgins.

The Prince of Peace came in the flesh (1 John 4:20); the god of war is a destroyer of flesh.

The Prince of Peace glorified not himself (Hebrews 5:5); the god of war glorifies war.

The Prince of Peace is the bread of life (John 6:35); the god of war is the slayer of life.

The Prince of Peace redeems (Galatians 3:13); the god of war condemns.

The Prince of Peace is the light of the world (John 8:12); the god of war plunges the world into darkness.

The Prince of Peace is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25); the god of war is the wounder and taker of life.

The Prince of Peace was made to be sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21); the god of war wants men to commit sin.

The Prince of Peace is the mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5); the god of war is the separator of God from men.

The Prince of Peace is the Saviour of men (Titus 1:4); the god of war is the enemy of men.

The Prince of Peace forgives (Colossians 3:13); the god of war punishes.

The Prince of Peace suffered for us (1 Peter 2:21); the god of war wants men to suffer on the battlefield.

I hope you have a Merry Christmas, not a military one. Worship and serve the Prince of Peace, not the god of war.

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When people say “God is my Husband” or “Jesus is Enough”

 Heart Puzzle

I was reading “Is Jesus Really Enough?” by Lilly Grace, and her blog really got me thinking.  In fact, it inspired me so much I wanted to write about it!  

My “blog sister” Lilly Grace is in a difficult marriage–her husband reminds me of Abigail’s first husband, Nabal.  He is not loving and gentle and kind toward her, but she doesn’t give up.  I would say I’m in a difficult marriage, but not because my husband is abusive or because our marriage is sexless!  Nope, my Dear Hubby who writes here often is a WONDERFUL man and a loving husband, but my Dear Hubby is very ill and so I do have many things I have to do “by myself” where others might have their spouse to support them.  And I’m sure that many of you here who read my blog can relate–if your spouse is committing adultery, whether it’s an emotional affair or a physical affair, your marriage is DIFFICULT.  It can feel very lonely.  You may not have your spouse there for you.  Your Disloyal Spouse is probably angry, abusive, deceptive, dishonest, and hurtful.  Chances are good that your sex life is suffering, and you miss the hugs and kisses and loving physical touches.  

But I still hate it when people say cliche kind of responses like these because they don’t really HELP. I don’t need some meaningless cliche–I need some understanding, sympathy or at least something that’s actually helpful! LOL I will say one thing about these sayings though: they aren’t utterly inaccurate.

To me, when I think of “God is my husband” what I truly, honestly think of in my head is that as a woman, I want a male person to treat me with love and kindness and gentleness, and God is not a male human in flesh and blood in front of me. But when I think about marriage, I think that it is an image of the way God wants to be with us…with ME. Marriage reflects the intimate knowledge of one male person to one female person–full, deep, true KNOWING and BEING KNOWN with covenant commitment to each other. This is what God wants: He wants me to fully, deeply, truly know Him and been known by Him.  He wants covenant commitment to each other. And in that sense, He is my Husband.  

Likewise, I think of “Jesus is enough” I think of Jesus, who is fully the Maker and Creator of the Universe, but who humbled Himself and took on flesh. He was fully GOD, but he experienced the hunger, tiredness, frustration, limitation and yes physical sexual hormones and everything that comes with a human body…and He voluntarily gave Himself to torture and death to atone for us! If He can endure that for us, then yes, I can endure what physical discomforts this short time here on earth  may give me, even if it’s being horny or without sex.  After all, the point of sex is not “to relieve my horny physical itch” but to physically share in the pleasure of my spouse and serve them!  My focus in sex is on intimacy and on my spouse.  

And the last thing I think of is actually adultery, and I think of that because so often we think of our little pain or our loneliness or our lack of sex and try to justify to ourselves “Well, God would want me to be happy” or some such nonsense.  But in real life, marriage is a mirror of our relationship to God (as the Bride of Christ)…and adultery is a mirror of our relationship to God before Christ!  He loved us, as a husband loves his bride, and we “cheated” on Him by loving other gods and chasing them rather than being faithful to Him.  We were rageful, hateful, deceptive, dishonest, and followed our lusts–and despite all that, God kept His covenant with us and sent Jesus to pay the price in our place.  

So at times, the frustration and loneliness and longing for just loving physical touch can feel overwhelming and be very hard to bear–but then I think of what marriage is, what a covenant commitment means, and how God loved me (His Bride) when I was committing adultery.  And with His help, I can endure this small trial here.  

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Adultery: An Equal Opportunity Evil

Lust sin

 

I received a comment today that was so good, I decided to make a blog post about it.  This was a comment to my blog post: “What NOT To Do If Your Spouse Is Cheating” and the person who commented wrote:

“Interesting. I know in hindsight that I did a little bit of spineless sniveling. Further hindsight would probably show that reparations would have been more sincere had I shown some dignity. Even to this day I harbor some resentment that I did not just laugh at the despicable nature of a dignified spouse of some class and worth stooping to build such a pathetic fantasy with HER mentally-challenged little welfare drunk. Today I know for a fact that I harbor even more anger towards “ladies” such as yourself who have this facade of purity wrapped around you as though you could do no wrong. You will be the first to spout lie after lie about how you never planned your rendezvous, you never committed certain acts of lust, and the warts on his genitalia never alarmed you. Newsflash ma’am. Ladies are perfectly capable at stabbing their partners in the back also.”

There is no one who is immune from sin, so we all know that anyone who tries to “look” pure is truly just presenting an external, hypocritical image.   “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23)    So every single one of us–you, me, our spouses–we have all disobeyed God, not done what He has told us to do, and done what He has told us not to do.  This is why Christ came to the world and became flesh–so that He could live the life we should have lived and then pay the penalty we should have paid!  The Good News is that while we were yet sinners, and at enmity with God…Christ died for us.  His righteousness is imputed to us.

As God would have it, I do happen to be a female person.  My male spouse did cheat on me, break up our family, and end my first marriage.  My current, second spouse is a male person, and his female spouse did cheat on him, break up his family, and end their marriage.  Together, we have worked with hundreds of couples, and I want to be sure this is crystal clear:  Adultery is an Equal Opportunity Evil.  It does not matter if you are male or female, you can still be the Loyal Spouse (whose spouse is unfaithful), and you can still be the Disloyal Spouse (who is the one who is unfaithful).  Your wealth, race, and creed do not exclude you from infidelity, and there is no demographic that is shielded.    In fact, if you think about it, in order for there TO BE an affair, there has to be TWO PEOPLE who are actively participating in actions which are inappropriate.  Now one of the two may be single, but they would still have to be acting that way with someone whom they know is taken and committed to someone else.  Yes, a single person is available to flirt–but the very FIRST thing you find out is whether or not the other person is also available.

So again, to be crystal clear, unless a person knows them self and their own weaknesses, and unless a person put limits and boundaries around themselves to protect themselves, their spouse, and their marriage from infidelity–it can very literally happen to anyone.  Any gender, any race, any religion, any socio-economic class, any location…  I do my best to write “Loyal Spouse” because it could be a man or it could be a woman.  I do my best to write “Disloyal Spouse” because any one who is a breathing human being could do the wrong thing and choose the evil choice.  In fact, we know that we all do:   “There is no one righteous,  no not one.”  (Romans 3:10)

What To Do When You are Hurting for the Holidays

As I mentioned in my previous article, not everyone has perfect holidays.  Many people are hurting for a variety of reasons.  So today let’s talk about what to do when you are hurting for the holidays.

Let’s talk about WHY you’re hurting:

Have you lost your job this year?  Are you running out of ways to keep your house out of foreclosure?  Are you behind on your bills?  Is you electricity and water shut off?  Can’t afford to eat AND pay your bills?  No money for the presents you think your family or children want?

Dear reader, our God is not a vending machine.  If you have made some bad choices and are now experiencing the costs of the decisions you made, God is not magic and He won’t just magically make money appear out of thin air.  But He IS the King of the universe and the Creator of heaven and earth.  He is omniscient and He CARES for you (I Peter 5:7 says “Cast your cares on Him for He careth for you”).   Like Jesus told his disciples, the birds of the air and the lilies of the field do not worry about their next meal or their clothes, and yet God provides for them, and He will provide for you too.  It may not be what you “want” but I guarantee it will be what you “need.”   Go to the Lord with your financial cares and have faith in His promises.

During this holiday season, remember this is a time of giving…AND RECEIVING, and it is completely okay to allow others the joy of giving to you!  Yes it can be hard to swallow your pride and admit you need help, but there are people who care about you and your family–let them help you.

Are you ill?  Is someone you love ill?  Are you utterly SPENT emotionally and physically just taking care of someone and don’t have the energy to also “celebrate”?  Are you facing death?  Are you afraid?

Dear reader, our God is the Creator of each of one us and He even numbers the hairs on our head  (Matt. 10:30).  He IS the Great Physician and although that doesn’t mean you should stop your medication or stop your treatments, it does mean that our God is more than capable of healing you, emotionally or physically.  We all get older; we all feel the changes as we age and grow more frail; and our lives do end, but in this time of illness or caring for a loved one, our God is a very present help in times of trouble (Ps 46:1).

During this holiday season, remember this is a time of loving, and it is completely okay to love your ill spouse by serving them when they can not pay you back.  It is completely okay to love your own self when you are ill and give yourself time to recuperate…and to only do the holiday things that you can do.  If you can only lie in bed and unwrap presents then so be it…that’s fine.

Are you struggling with personal issues like depression, bipolar mania, or a spouse or child who has mental health issues?  Does this time of year bring up triggers of old hurts such as a loved one passing away or your spouse’s infidelity?

Dear reader, our God is a God of compassion.  Sometimes issues like this can cause guilt or shame that stop a person from praying, and I encourage you to speak out the sorrow of your soul in prayer.  King David wrote in the Psalms: “I am losing all hope; I am paralyzed with fear.  I remember the days of old. I ponder all your great works and think about what you have done. I lift my hands to you in prayer.  I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain.” (Psalm 143:4)  King David was PARALYZED in his pain!  Does this strike a cord with you?  I encourage you to follow King David’s example and bring it to the Lord…as it is…a big, old, blob of painful mess.  God knows you’re having a hard time so don’t try to hide it–be honest.  Come to Him as you are.  But then follow his example further: King David purposefully brings to mind the ways God has helped him in the past.  He takes control of his own thoughts and examines them.  Where he has been believing lies, he changes.

During this holiday season, don’t depend on your spouse or your family to make you happy.  Don’t depend on your church to make you feel welcome or accepted.  Look to the Lord and bring your burdens to Him.  And as a little challenge I would challenge you to reach out to one person…one.  I will bet you that all around you are people just like you who are sad or hurting, who are wishing that someone would notice their pain and reach out in comfort.  If you are wishing someone would notice you and hug you and help…offer that to one other person.  It could be a co-worker, a family member, a neighbor, the “perfect lady” at church, a person in the nursing home down the road, or a homeless person.  Offer to one other person the caring and hug that you wish someone would offer you.

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Not Everybody Has Perfect Holidays

charlie tree 1_edit

Not everybody has perfect holidays

The economy is tough right now and many people are out of work, so they can barely pay there bills.  There just isn’t money for presents.

Some people are ill or have a loved one in the hospital.   Some people are alcoholic, addicted, mentally ill or clinically depressed, and the holidays just are not HAPPY.

Some people have a spouse who is committing adultery or who had an affair, and this year they are with the other person having the time of their lives, while the faithful spouse is home alone and left trying to explain to kids why “mommy” or “daddy” isn’t with them for Christmas.

Coping with “less than perfect” holidays starts with going easy on yourself. Here are some ideas to accept:

  • It’s okay if the holidays can’t be what they once were.  Just because you once had thousands of dollars to spend on presents doesn’t mean you do this year…and if you did it last year it doesn’t mean you have to do it this year.  Let the past BE in the past, and do what you can do this year.
  • There is no right or wrong way to celebrate the holidays.  You don’t have to get brand new electronics for Christmas, or spends thousands of dollars on decorating and the electric bill for lighting the whole house in Christmas lights.  Ask yourself what you want and ask your children what they want.  It is perfect acceptable to celebrate Christmas by spending the day in your pajamas, watching all 3 Lord of the Rings movies, and ordering a pizza if that is what would be celebrating to you.  Sometimes you feel like it’s expected of you…and other people don’t expect it at all!
  • Taking care of yourself must be a priority.  Yes I know the Holidays are a season of giving and thinking of others, but it is okay, during this season, to also take care of yourself .  I don’t mean you should be selfish or self-centered but it is reasonable, especially if you are going through financial worries, illness, or marital difficulties to take some time to care for you.

Here are some coping techniques:

  1. Don’t lose your faith.  Many people become angry with God when they lose their job, encounter a chronic illness, or lose their spouse.  “Where was HE?!!” they wonder.  “Why didn’t He stop this?”  During this time of trial, it can feel very painful and even lonely, but feelings do not determine the truth;  GOD determines the truth.  He has made promises to us:
    • that He will never leave us or forsake us (Deut. 3:16),
    • that He has plans for good and not for harm for our future (Jeremiah 29:11),
    • that He will give us rest  if we are weary and our burden is heavy (Matt. 11:28 and 29),
    • that He will give power to the weak (Isaiah 40:29-31)
    • that He will supply all our needs (Phil 4:19),
    • that NOTHING will separate us from Him (Romans 8:37-39).  
  2. Give yourself permission to “not be perfect”.  So often we hold ourselves to just IMPOSSIBLE standards.  If you can not decorate a tree–see if the kids want to do it, or enjoy the tree at the courthouse this year.  Make some adjustments in what you can do, and do the things you can do with joy.  If it’s not perfect….well oh well!  Big deal.
  3. Make new traditions.  Your old traditions about sharing a big family dinner together may not work anymore, and since there is no “right” and “wrong” way to celebrate the holidays, make NEW traditions that fit with the circumstances you’re in right now.  If you don’t have the finances–go to a meal at your church and enjoy the company of your church family.  If you are ill–go out to Christmas dinner and enjoy not having to do the dishes!   If your family is torn in two by an affair or the kids are grown up and out of the house–have a potluck meal and invite those who don’t HAVE a family to share the day with you.
  4. Volunteer.  So often we think of “what we don’t have anymore” and get depressed that we don’t have the money or don’t have the health or don’t have the family…and we forget what we DO have.  To break out of that cycle, instead of staying home and thinking of what you’ve lost, go to a nursing home and volunteer time with someone who would love to talk to you.  Volunteer to be Santa and pass out candy canes at your child’s school.  Go to the homeless shelter and share coffee and a meal with someone who has no home in the winter.  Go to your local animal shelter and care for an innocent, faithful, loving animal.   Trust me, suddenly your life won’t seem quite so bad and you’ll remember what you DO have.

What if my spouse won’t meet my needs?

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There is an age-old question we are asked here at Affaircare pretty regularly.   “So if my needs are not being met in my marriage, and I told my spouse but they just aren’t interested…what do I do?”  I think married couples throughout the centuries have struggled with this question, and since it’s often the justification for an affair, I thought it would be a wise idea to address this question.

The first thing is that we are looking at marriage backward.  In our society we’ve been taught/told that love is a feeling, that the person who loves you will automatically know what to do and how to do it, that when you love someone it will “come naturally,” and that the person you love who loves you will “complete you” and meet your every need almost intuitively.  The reason we get married is because we feel some sort of deep feelings that bond us together, and we marry to have OUR needs met.

In real life ….love is an ACTION, not a feeling at all.  When you love someone, you may not know them all that well, may not know their entire life history yet, may not know how they deal with the ups and downs of life, but you make a commitment to spend a lifetime studying them and learning how to love them.  You volunteer to share your thoughts and feelings and life with your spouse, so that they see the True You and come to KNOW you deeply…intimately…and you come to KNOW them.  You learn how to love them and what to do, because not everyone is shown love in the same way.  And if they aren’t shown love the same way you are, it can be really confusing or hard …. or feel unnatural!  In real life the reason we get married is to spend a lifetime meeting OUR SPOUSE’S needs!

So if you look at it from the proper point of view, “having your needs met” is not a goal of being married.  The goal (well….ONE of the goals) is for you to learn how to meet your spouse’s needs.  Let’s look at a few Biblical examples:

1. Abigail — 1 Samuel 25.  King David is in this sort of rural area, and some bad guys are hassling some farmers and shepherds–you know bullying.  So King David and his group fend off the bullies, and then ask the owner of the land they just defended if he would mind sharing some food and supplies.  The owner is pretty much a JERK!  His name is Nabal, and you guessed it, he is Abigail’s husband.  He pretty much tells King David and his men to shove it and is very disrespectful to the men who just saved him.  Naturally the men with King David are angry about being disrespected,  so they grab their weapons and head to Nabal’s to give him a piece of their mind.  Here’s where Abigail comes in!

Abigail hears about her husband’s bad attitude and the bad choices he made, and she wisely knows he’s about to be in a world of hurt!  So she prepares a feast and the supplies that King David’s men asked for and more, and she gets on her own donkey and rides to meet the angry mob of men.  She risks her own husband’s anger, but even moreso she risks her life confronting these angry men!  Then she does the most amazing thing possible: she humbles herself before King David and asks him not to be mad at her husband. but to place the blame on her in his place.

Now Abigail could have easily thought “MAN why am I married to such a jerk?  He’s mean; he pisses off the neighbors; he’s cranky; and now he’s made a whole group so mad they’re about to attack us!  What about MY emotional needs!  Why should I put up with such a curmudgeon?  Surely I deserve to be happy and loved…right?”  But do you see that anywhere in this bible passage?  No.  Nor do we see God “telling her” that she deserves to be treated gently and that it’s okay for her to break up her marriage and leave her husband to get her needs met!  Nope we see that Abigail is admired for her virtue, and what was her virtue?  She was loyal and faithful.  Her husband was a jerk, and she showed him by her ACTIONS what a woman of God would act like.  She ACTED in wisdom and love even when he was a spouse with whom it was hard to live!

What does Abigail teach you about when your spouse won’t meet your needs?

2. Hosea — The whole book of Hosea!   In this book of the Bible, through this prophet, God chooses to reveal our problem that we have with Him by using the biblical model of marriage to show us that our sinful behavior is like adultery to Him.  Hosea is commanded to find a woman of harlotry and marry her, and in the first chapter he reveals the problem at hand.    In the second chapter, Hosea catches his wife, Gomer, in an affair, and he responds as expected; in a furious rant!  After all, adultery is the most painful thing a person can live through, even more painful than a death in the family.  In the third chapter, Hosea is told by God to “Go Find Your Wife!” and when he does find her, she is being sold in the slave market as a prostitute.  He has to pay such a great price to get her out of the slave market that Hosea literally loses EVERYTHING.

In this entire book, nowhere does God tell Hosea it is okay for him to leave his prostitute wife “to get his needs met.”  In fact, God specifically uses Hosea’s faithfulness to an adulterous wife as an image of how faithful He has been to us even though we have been like wives selling ourselves to others!  And the third chapter… not only does God NOT say “Okay now your needs will finally be met, Hosea” but in order to redeem Gomer out of the slave market he has to lose EVERY THING.  The adultery is painful; the cost of redeeming her is STEEP!!!  But still he does it, and it is a wonderful image of how God has treated us.

What does Hosea teach you about when your spouse won’t meet your needs?

3. Mary — Matthew 1:18-25, 2:1-12, Luke 1:26-38, Luke 1:46-56, Luke 2:1-7, Luke 2:8-20.   We are all familiar with Mary, the mother of Jesus.  Her story is an amazing one–miraculous really.  For His own reasons, God chose HER as the means by which His Son, our Lord, would come onto this planet in human form.  But think about Mary for a moment.  She was a younger Jewish girl, in an area that was not particularly “well to do”…at a time when Jews were pretty oppressed by the Romans.  She was engaged to a nice young man in her town, looking forward to her wedding, and BOOM here comes God saying He’s going to make her pregnant and it will be the Messiah.  Okay that’s all well and good, but how is she going to explain that to her fiance?  According to Jewish law, he would have every right to throw her out on her ear and she’d NEVER get married because her reputation would be tarnished.  But does Mary say “Hey God, what about MY needs?  I’ll be an outcast!  No one will love me!  I’ll end up homeless or who knows what!”

No.  Her reply is to magnify the Lord!!  Verbatim, she said “Here I am” giving herself fully to the Lord to do as He wills.  Then she follows that up with “My soul glorifies the Lord  and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant”  WOW.  Her needs were not going to be met at all and she gave glory to GOD!!

What does Mary teach you about when your spouse won’t meet your needs?

When you are looking to your spouse to meet your needs, you are looking in the wrong place.

I link up with this godly link-ups:

The Alabaster Jar Beholding Glory

My Vows

Do you remember the vows you took on your wedding day?  Word for word?  I remember mine.  My Dear Hubby and I were not dewy-eyed youths when we got married, and we wrote vows to really express the covenant we were making.

I,      Affaircare    , in faith, honesty and love, take you,     Dear Hubby    , to be my wedded husband to share with you God’s plan for our lives together united in Christ.–In the first sentence, I wanted the part in there about sharing with my Dear Hubby God’s plan for our lives, because I wanted to express that we weren’t just here to live for our happiness individually or “our” happiness as a couple, but rather, we were put together specifically to perform a plan that God had for us.  I was to do my wifely duties; he was to do his husbandly duties; and TOGETHER we were to do God’s plan for us…not our own!  Furthermore, that sentence ends with “together united in Christ” because we are both believers–so not only do Dear Hubby and I unite to each other…but we also unite in Christ.

As you have pledged to me your life and love, so I too happily give you my life and love.–This sentence is all about one thing: being married is not about “what’s in it for me?” but it’s all about “What am I going to voluntarily and willingly give TO YOU?”  As a married person, my job and my focus are on studying my husband and learning how to be the best wife I am able to be.  When you become focused only on yourself and your own happiness, rather than focusing on your spouse and on doing what pleases God–that’s when marriages can be torn apart!

It is my prayer and desire that you will find in me the helpmeet God designed especially for you, and in confidence submit myself to your headship as to the Lord.–This part of my vows was my way of acknowledge the authority in my new marriage and the role I saw myself playing, namely that my husband would be the head, that I would willingly submit to him, and that I saw my role as being not just “his helper” but someone who would be fit to help him grow and assist him in his work.

Through the pressures of the present and the uncertainties of the future, I promise to be faithful to you—for better, for worse; in sickness and in health, in joys and in sorrows until in death do we part.–Boy, I bet when everyone says this part of their vows they THINK they mean it, but wow…life can really throw some zingers at you!  For example, this part of the vows means: “I will not threaten to leave when your ex-spouse is a hassle and tries to interfere in our marriage.”  It also means “When your ex stops paying child support and the kids are living at our house all the time, I will stay with you and work it out.”  It also means “When we hit menopause and our sex drives change up, I won’t just leave because I’m not happy.”  It also means “When you get a chronic, life-long illness I won’t just up and leave you when you are too ill to meet my needs.”  It also means “When you lose your job and feel like the dirt on a worm’s shoe, I’ll be the one standing by you.”  It also means “When you parents die and you close up to deal with it, I will patiently wait for you.”  DO NOT take this part lightly, because it means that through every trial and tribulation of life, you promise to turn TOWARD your spouse.

Therefore I pledge you my life as an obedient, faithful and loving wife and pray I will fulfill God’s place in our home.–Yep you see it there–that scary “obey” word.  To me, this sentence is once again stating what I see as the role in the marriage.  It’s not my job to make sure the marriage steers in the right spiritual direction.  That’s my Dear Hubby’s job.  When I’m standing up there before God, He’s not going to put the responsibility of directing the family on me–He’s going to ask me “Did you respect your husband’s authority?”  If I did, that would be fulfilling my place in our home.

“Whither thou goest I will go; whither thou lodgest I will lodge. Thy people shall be my people and they God, my God.”   In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.–Ah the conclusion.  I’ve always liked the story of Ruth.  I love how she was originally from Moab–grew up outside the covenant and just happened to marry a guy who was an Israelite but who was disobeying God.  So she learned about I AM from her husband and she “got it”… through God’s gift of faith, she understood!  Then when her husband died, her mother-in-law says “Hey you’re young yet.  You go to your own family and have a good life and I’m heading back to Israel” but what does Ruth say?   She says THIS VERSE, because she knows that her duty is to help take care of her mother-in-law, and she knows that her mother-in-law’s God is The One God!  She does the honorable thing, pleasing God, and as the rest of the story progresses, she ends up meeting Boaz, they get married and is the grandmother of King David and in the lineage of Christ.  So yeah I love her.  She was an “outsider” and God loved her and added her to His elect.

So there you have it!  My vows:

I,      Affaircare    , in faith, honesty and love, take you,      Dear Hubby     , to be my wedded husband to share with you God’s plan for our lives together united in Christ.   As you have pledged to me your life and love, so I too happily give you my life and love.   It is my prayer and desire that you will find in me the helpmeet God designed especially for you, and in confidence submit myself to your headship as to the Lord.  Through the pressures of the present and the uncertainties of the future, I promise to be faithful to you—for better, for worse; in sickness and in health, in joys and in sorrows until in death do we part.   Therefore I pledge you my life as an obedient, faithful and loving wife and pray I will fulfill God’s place in our home.   “Whither thou goest I will go; whither thou lodgest I will lodge. Thy people shall be my people and they God, my God.”   In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Do you remember your vows? If you do, post them in a comment and let’s talk about them.

This is post is part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge!

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And on Tuesdays I also join this Godly Link-up:

The Power of We

Today is Blog Action Day, which may not sound like a big deal to you…or maybe you’re wondering what it is exactly.  Well Blog Action Day started in 2007.  It brings together bloggers from different countries, interests and languages to blog about one important global topic on the same day, and this year the topic is “The Power of We.”

After a four, seven-step series (The Love Extinguishers, The Love Kindlers, The 7 Steps to Ending an Affair, and Rebuilding After an Affair) and after having a week-long hospital visit interrupt the well-laid plans of mice and men, I thought it might be nice to write blogs for the rest of this month that are just from my heart, topics with which I see people struggling, or topics sharing about us and our life and our reconciliation after an affair.  Today, with Blog Action Day’s topic of “The Power of We” I thought it would be appropriate to offer some thoughts on being unity or on the same team with your spouse, and to offer some thoughts on the people and other bloggers without whom I just COULD NOT do this!

The first “Power of We” that I’d like to discuss is the power a marriage can gain when the husband and wife are united by being Christians.  When both the husband and the wife are part of the consecrated Bride, set apart for God‘s glory, then both of them will be pursuing one thing: pleasing God.  In many, MANY verses the apostles asked us (Christ‘s Bride) to be united:

1 Peter 3:8
“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.”

Philippians 2:2
“Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”

As Christ’s Bride, The Church, both the husband and the wife would be living a life that is worthy of the gospel, and the way we LIVE would be a mirror to those around us of the holiness of God.

Philippians 1:27
“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel”

So how does a man and a woman become “of one mind” when one is an Introvert and the other is an Extrovert?  How are spouses supposed to be united when one is a Thinker and one is a Feeler?  They just aren’t alike!  Here’s how (peek at Romans 12:2)…by not going along with and being like “the world” but by being TRANSFORMED so that our minds become more and more and more like GOD’S mind!!  We are supposed to have the mind of Christ.

NOTE: even the verses above mention some of the ways that our minds would be changing: by developing “sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and humility” according to 1 Peter 3:8 and by having the same love (Love of GOD) in Philippians 2:2!   But want to see something AMAZING?  Look at the very next verse, Phillipians 2:3

Philippians 2:3
“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

So often in marriages, and especially when there’s been an affair, one of the spouse’s thinks something like: “Well my needs aren’t being met.  I need more affection!  He never talks to me anymore.  She isn’t interested in sex.  I can’t remember the last time they complimented me!”  Where is that focus?  It’s a rivalry isn’t it?  Instead of being a united marriage, it’s Spouse A vs. Spouse B in a royal rumble!  And rather than focusing on humility or being sympathetic toward the tough things in your spouse’s life or being gentle and tender when they make a mistake…it’s become HIM against HER.

God has a plan for marriages.  The plan is “The Power of We.”  The husband and the wife are to be His Bride and be united to Him pursuing His mind.  And the husband and wife are a mirror to the world of what that unity to God looks like, by being united themselves.  He says:

Genesis 2:24
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh”

This does include sex–sure of course it does!  But it also includes things like not letting your mom tell your wife she doesn’t cook right!  It includes the wife turning to her husband when she is sad, and not her mom.  It includes backing up your husband in front of the kids when he says something to them (“Did your dad tell you no?  You know I back your dad”)  and if you do think he’s wrong you speak to your spouse privately and explain your reasons, and if they change their mind, then THEY announce the change and why.  It includes doing fun things together.  It includes doing work together.  It includes having an attitude of US on the same page, doing things together as a team, and we’ve got each other’s backs.  After an affair, reconciliation begins when the spouses are a “we” again, because there is Power in We.

The second “Power of We” that I’d like to discuss is the power of working with a group of associates.  I have learned, over the course of my blogging career (lol), that there are  the people and other bloggers without whom I just COULD NOT do this blog and this whole website.  Together, we all minister in our own ways for better marriages, and we are all more effective because we work together.   So my hat tips to these folks:

Christian Marriage Bloggers Association:  You know I started with this group when it was pretty small–and from this group I’ve found mentors and been a mentor.  We’ve shared group topics (like writing about “50 Shades of Grey” and my own “50 Shades and Infidelity–There is a Connection!“), and challenges.  And always these brothers and sisters in Christ continue pursuing godly marriages in their writing and encouraging each other.  I love this group and learn more as part of this association than with any other.

I’m going to mention a few of the newer bloggers I’ve just met recently, in hopes of “paying it forward” a little for them, and in hopes of encouraging them to continue writing:

The Alabaster Jar – Jolene has a wonderful, personal writing style and is very gentle, but extremely biblically accurate.  She’s not afraid to tackle the tough topics either.  She’s pretty much who I hope to be when my blog grows up.

Auntie Em’s Guide To Life — Okay maybe it’s just me, but Auntie Em cracks me up.  I don’t feel like I’m such a dork when I read her blog because she writes like she lives in my life.

Becoming His Eve — I love Hannah.  She is a newer married person and it reminds me so much of what it was like to be relatively newly married and all the things you face in those first years.

Cassandra’s Marriage Mints Ministry — I used to wonder why Cassandra’s blog was called “Marriage Mints” but if you read her blog you’ll understand.  She is cool and smooth in her writing, and yet full of zest … just like a mint.

Hot, Holy & Humorous — “J” is another blogger who just cracks me up.  I guess I should clarify that means that their enthusiasm and energy makes me smile big, full-face smiles.  Her approach is Bigger-than-Dallas, face those issues HEAD ON, and she does not back down from anything.   Ever.

My Beloved Is Mine! (SongSix3) — Jason and Tiffani remind me so much of my Dear Hubby and I just a few years ago (you know…before the kids moved out and we “got old”).  They have been inspiring friends moreso behind the scenes but I’d definitely tip my hat their way!

PeacefulWife’s Blog — Okay I don’t know any other way to say this: here is a woman who knows what she’s talking about.  Listen to her.  I used to be a disrespectful wife myself, and Peaceful is ON THE MONEY.  If only I could have learned this while I was younger it would have helped SO MUCH.   Plus, her vlogs are fun to watch 😉

Pearl’s OysterBed — You know I can’t put my finger on what it is about Pearl.  Maybe it’s because I’m a huge Jimmy Buffett fan and hula girl at heart.  But she puts me at ease even when addressing a difficult topic, and I just like her stuff.

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On Facebook I’ve met several invaluable associates as well.  In particular, I’d like to mention:

I want a Godly marriage — I learn more just from their little status quote and tweets than I do from most folks.  You have GOT to follow them.  No…I mean it.

A Proverbs Wife — It’s one thing to read Proverbs 31 and quite another to live it…and she’ll help you live it day by day.

Marriage Works! — It’s weird, I haven’t as much gotten into their website and whatnot, but I get their statuses on FB every day all day, and again I just learn about having a great marriage.

Making Love in the Microwave — Okay I love this lady!  Her name is Aja and I think I found her when she was relatively new.  But are you one of those time-crunched, two-earner families with kids who have activities?  Yeah–she’ll show you how you can STILL make love even when all the time you have is a few nuclear seconds.

Ruby Wives — A good wife is more valuable than rubies, but who teaches regular women like you and I how to be that kind of wife?  Why Ruby Wives!  Every day I get statuses from them that are helpful that I can put into action today.

Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage — This is Lamar and Ronnie Tyler, and they are into EVERYTHING– Twitter, FB, blogging, podcasting, TV, movies…you name it!  But what they provide is invaluable: an image of black marriage that is something people can LOOK UP TO and admire.  Personally every Wednesday they host a chat at 6pm PT/9pm ET called #marriagechat.  I usually attend and HIGHLY recommend it!!

More Precious Than Rubies — I love these women and sadly they are the only ones I know who are working this ministry.  They train regular women like you or I to reach out to and minister to the women who are in the sex industry (for example, strippers).  Now I realize this isn’t everyone’s cuppa tea, but these ladies help us remember that women who sometimes “get stuck” in the sex industry are our mothers, aunts, sisters, daughters, lovers and the dearly beloved daughters of the Most High God who may not have had someone reach out a hand in love…yet.

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Finally I most assuredly would not be who I am today without one forum:

Talk About Marriage: Coping with Infidelity Forum — I actually hang out here.  I answer PMs and try to reply on threads, and I write quite a bit in the Private Forums.  So I don’t do it as a “business generator” — I do it because it is SO NEEDED.   Infidelity is so painful, so confusing, and so counter-intuitive that someone has to do it, right?  So I’m there on that forum every day and my user name is just what you’d expect: “Affaircare.”  Come say and discover the “Power of We” being with others who understand what you are going through.

This is post #15 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge!

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I also join this Godly Link-up on Mondays:

The Alabaster Jar

How to Rebuild After an Affair: Step 7: Rebuilding Tools

Before there can be reconciliation, there are three things that need to happen for true growth and rebuilding to occur:

  • No Contact,
  • Transparent Honesty,
  • Agreement to work on yourself and your marriage

I will write about those three topics in the Affaircare newsletter this coming weekend–Sunday October 14th!  If you want to hear more, please feel free to subscribe right there on the right sidebar.   But TODAY, the topic is how to rebuild after the affair has ended.  How do  you pick up the pieces and build a new marriage?  What steps should we take to start making a marriage that is mature, healthy, loving and happy for both of us?

Step One: Forgiveness

Step Two: Let’s talk about Commitment

Step Three: Take Some Time

Step Four: Mutual United Understanding

Step Five: W-T-F-S

Step Six: Selfless, Selfish, and Self-aware mode

Step Seven: Rebuilding Tools

Ending the affair is not enough to keep your marriage together. A marriage is hard, continual work – with equally bountiful benefits. Most things that come easy aren’t worth much, and a good marriage is evidence of this. It is quite common for a couple to believe that they have ‘something special’ and that the work other people have to do to keep their relationship happy and healthy is not necessary. These are quite often the very marriages that end in divorce. Happiness is not something that is automatically yours – you have to work to achieve it. And, just as with any other type of work, tools make that work much easier, and more productive. Not only must the affair end, but you need to build a relationship that creates an environment in which an affair seems the least necessary choice. Along with the help of a third party, there are several other tools you can use to help you work toward a better marriage.

Tool #1: Myers-Briggs Personality Type indicator

We use this as a tool with the aim of improving communication and understanding between you and your spouse.   We’ve found that one of the biggest reasons marriages end is that people do not understand their personality differences, and instead spend countless hours resenting the fact that their spouse does not do things the way they expect. We’ve heard countless arguments that ‘my husband doesn’t like my friends,’ or ‘my wife never wants to be home!’ – and after just a little investigation, we’ve found that this is a personality difference.  Understanding your spouse is the biggest tool to creating a healthy marriage. We can’t stress the importance of this tool enough.

Tool #2: Love Languages

Although there are many tools that we suggest a couple use to help rebuild their marriage, we are not the authors of every single tool. Some are just so good, we thought, “Why re-invent the wheel?”  The 5 Love Languages at www.5lovelanguages.com is such a tool.   Dr. Gary Chapman discovered there are five key categories, or five love languages, that proved to be universal and comprehensive:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch

Which is YOUR love language?  And which is your spouse’s love language?  Have you been showing your spouse love in YOUR love language and that’s why they haven’t “gotten the message”?

Tool #3: Love Kindlers Questionnaire 

Back in the day, you and your spouse were drawn together like magnets!  Some of HIS actions and character traits were attractive to HER…and likewise some of HER actions and character traits were attractive to HIM.  Find out which actions and which traits really kindle your spouse’s love flame and really turn it into a blaze of passion! Each one of you take this Love Kindlers Questionnaire  and share your answers with each other.  How well does your spouse do this kindler:

1) Emotional Commitment
2) Spiritual Commitment
3) Physical Commitment
4) Financial Commitment
5) Family Commitment
6) Social Commitment
7) Security Commitment

Tool #4: Love Extinguishers Questionnaire 

Have some of your actions been “extinguishing” the love flame in your marriage?  Each one of you can take this Love Extinguishers Questionnaire and share your answers with each other.  How much does you spouse extinguish the love in your heart by doing this extinguisher:

1) Emotional Neglect
2) Spiritual Neglect
3) Physical Neglect
4) Financial Neglect
5) Family Neglect
6) Social Neglect
7) Security Neglect

Happily Ever After: How to maintain an affair-free marriage
Ending the affair and rebuilding your marriage is not the end. Now  how do you live “happily ever after”?

An affair is a severe symptom of a marriage that is suffering  It is rarely, if ever, the cause of the problems in the marriage. A marriage, as a commitment between two people, is only as healthy as the work the partners put into it. Unless that work is aimed at the health of the marriage, unless that work is ongoing, the marriage will begin to suffer. You can restore your marriage from the devastation of an affair. On a practical level, in order to reach “happily ever after” you keep on building.

When you have taken the steps to end the affair, and you have worked together using all the steps to rebuild your marriage, start again. Every six months, retake the Love Kindlers and Love Extinguishers Questionnaires, and revisit your Myers-Briggs Personality types and Love Languages. You may have missed essential points or you may pick up new ones! Update your married life plan, and then work your plan together as a team.

There is no guarantee to success at ending an affair and saving your marriage, but by using the steps we’ve laid out for you here, you have the best possible chance of rebuilding a relationship that is healthy, happy and loving for both of you. In the end, isn’t that what “happily ever after” means?

This is the final post in the CMBA 1/2 Marathon Blogging Challenge to post everyday for 13 days in October … AND is part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge!

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