This past week, I met with a friend for coffee as I listened to her tell me about the complicated layers within her marriage. After we had covered miles of sidewalks with hot cider in hand, I asked her what I could pray for moving forward. She thought about it and came up with nothing until I was given two words: ENGAGE & CRAVE.
As the years move at a fast pace through appointments, birthdays and day in celebrations, marriages often times loose the focus and it becomes hard to engage into what the other is saying or doing amongst the chaos around us. It's easy to get caught up in life and forget to engage in the pursuit of your spouse, the engaging of ones love language or engagement of our relationship with Jesus. The word ENGAGE covers many areas in our lives. It takes discipline, commitment and motivation to actively engage into a marriage and to grow your faith.
Let me take this a step deeper…
Today at church we were blessed to hear of the amazing things happening in China from Christina Graham. As I was siting there, I heard the word ENGAGE once more and felt challenged by it. Is my heart fully engaged into the Word and my faith to be used and to reach my full human potential? Am I trusting God with my life to create His plan for my next steps, with my family and marriage? How engaged or in-tune am I to intently listening and seeking the Lord?
We read in Proverbs 16:3, "Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established." Is my work, my life, my home fully engaged on the work of the Lord? I'm sure if we were all honest with ourselves, we could all be guilty to some level of not being fully engaged on God's purpose for our lives.
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2
How engaged are you in your marriage, your home and most importantly in your faith walk with Christ? I pray that my heart and lifestyle shows a pattern of commitment to my Savior and also to My Love and family. The chorus to the popular song, "Lead Me" by Sanctus Real, reminds us how a spouse fully committed and in-tune to his spiritual purpose as a husband and father, can be a positive or negative example in his life. A plea or cry if you will, from a spouse not feeling the benefits of an engaged spouse.
"Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, what about us?
Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone."
I truly believe that the more engaged you are in your marriage the more you CRAVE your spouses presence, his/her touch and oneness with one another. When you've been in a relationship where the spice has expired and the daily activity consists of passing along the mail, craving becomes stagnant and somewhat of a chore.
When Tim was aggressively pursuing me the summer before we dated, he would often times wait by my car after a shift waitressing at Goldie's Bar & Grill. Sometimes he would leave a note to say "hi" or be there with an invite to sit at the bay where we'd find ourselves in hours of conversations followed by hot chocolate at Shari's. We craved to be with each other as our relationship grew and deepened.
Over time as our marriage matured, kids came into view and our responsibilities became greater; the craving of time turned into a competition for other things. I'm not saying we ever lost the need for each other, but the level of passion that was there at the beginning had lost it's fierceness a bit. I'm sure it's true for most couples.
It's the few couples who have given so much of themselves and tried to make things work that simply don't have any leftover juice to crave the intimacy and depth that marriages need to survive. Yes, they desire to have the sexy brought back, but when you're so depleted it's hard to think about the marathon of intimacy when surviving is the only thing you have energy to do.
Think of the word 'crave' as yearning for your spouse. Desiring to be desired more; noticed, wanted. Do you yearn for your spouse? Do you crave his/her touch? When was the last time you got the butterflies when your spouse entered the room? I pray that my crave, my desire for my husband never grows stale. As the kids grow older having those private moments become a game of sneaking a butt slap between glances or keeping quiet to not wake the babies. Longing for one another should be fun, spontaneous and FUN!
When our lives are out of balance with our faith and God's pursuit for His plans in our lives, the consequences can be great. One way to protect your marriage and to stay in sync with God's purpose is to ask yourself "Am I engaging my heart into God's Word? Am I craving more of God's presence in my life?" Once your faith is inline with God's truth for your life, then ask yourself, "How engaged am I towards my spouse? Do I crave for his presence, his intimacy and to do life together with my spouse?"
"The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied." Proverbs 13:4
My prayer is that you and I together can find the fight to engage and to crave for our spouses and to deepen our faith. Whether you need a complete overhaul in your marriage or a reminder to continue to grow and explore within your relationships, we can always use some work. No union is without it's faults and will always have room to better itself. I pray that God will grant you strength to fight for your marriage. Fight for your faith and for your family. As Isaiah states, "FEAR NOT, FOR I AM WITH YOU!"
"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10
Monday night during small group, we were discussing the topic of education, communication and support as we move forward after betrayal. It is fundamental to understand the importance of support not only for the betrayer, but also the betrayed. Reason being is that our society has made us numb to the staggering amounts of visual sexual sin in every aspect of our world. Whether it's a commercial, magazine, books, TV or through the internet, boobs and butts are everywhere!
Knowing this may be an area where you stumble is critical to healing and having someone as your "buddy" to support you in the struggle.
Rick Warren wrote a perfectly fitting daily devotion that touches on this subject:
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so God can heal you. When a believing person prays, great things happen.”
(James 5:16 NCV)
People don’t go to war by themselves. It would be a suicide mission. Someone has to have your back.
You need a battle buddy.
The same is true in the spiritual battles we all face. You can’t go to war against lustful thoughts, dishonesty, addictions, and fear by yourself. You’ll be doomed to fail.
If all you want is to be forgiven, admit your sin and brokenness to God. If you want to make a change, admit it to someone else.
Revealing your sin is the beginning of healing. You don’t have to admit your sin to everyone. But you need to admit it to someone. You need one person who’ll love you unconditionally, accept you completely, and pray for you constantly. You need someone of the same gender to be open and honest with.
The Bible says in James 5:16 “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so God can heal you. When a believing person prays, great things happen” (NCV).
When you confess your sins to someone else, you open the relief valve and take the pressure off. Suddenly, the boogieman isn’t so big.
Often sin is a cycle. You start out humbly asking God for help, so he gives you the power to make it. After about six months of success, you start getting prideful. Then, you fall. And, in humility again, you ask God for help. If you could stay in that spirit of humility, you’d be good. But pride always returns.
You can’t kick that kind of cycle without friends who’ll pray for you, care for you, encourage you, and keep you on track. When success comes, they’ll help you keep your perspective so your humility stays in check.
That’s why local churches are so important. But you can attend many churches for years and never put yourself in a situation where you know others and are known by others. Make the effort to find a small group of believers in a local church with whom you can be open and honest.
To think you can quit a bad habit without being honest about it with others is simply a cop out. It never works. You guarantee failure when you do that.
Go find yourself a buddy!
For months now, My Love has been teasing and laying on the guilt trips THICK for not wanting to go for a motorcycle ride with him. Our older kids have turned on me and have become biker kids themselves. I just have no real desire to be outside the cage without a seatbelt and with a throttle happy Honey mounted in front. I've been a bit nervous about this potential happening ever since the bike came home.
For most men, including my husband, their love language is PHYSICAL TOUCH. I've known this about my husband since the "I do's." A few weeks ago, I had stumbled across this terribly addictive website called 'Zulily' and found myself some new
boots. Now to try to sell the deal to My Love…got it.
"Hey Love, new boots in exchange for a bike ride?"
So, this weekend, in the autumn afternoon, I strapped on a helmet, put my new, adorable boots on and held on for dear life! I have to say, I did look quite cute for a biker mama. My husband was in love with me and couldn't wipe the smile off his face for the 3 hours we ran errands. Yep. We took the round about way of getting to town without having to go on high speed busy roads to Costco, Starbucks and the grocery store. There may have been a moment or two where the fingernails dug in deep around My Love's waist, but otherwise he got me to and from safely.
All in all…without it getting out there…I really enjoyed myself! Nothing better than being forced to straddle My Honey in attempts from not getting road rash. I'm pretty sure he too would agree with me.
Love Language Number Six: Strap on a Helmet
Marriage Life Date Night
Date: Friday, October 10, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Location: Student Center at North County Christ the King Chruch
Description: Join Ross & Taya Black for a fun evening for married & engaged couples featuring dessert, a photobooth, an "ask anything" panel of experts and some encouraging tips on being married to your best friend.
Cost for the evening is $10.
Free childcare is provided for ages birth to 5 yrs.
About the Author
Stephanie is a stay-at-home mommy to four little blessings. Married for 16 years, Tim and Stephanie find new ways to enjoy intimate time together while raising the young family.