Showing posts with label Marriage Tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marriage Tips. Show all posts


Being a Lover

Being a Lover is a part of the Being series where we look at the honest and practical truth about sex. God made sex for pleasure yet many women struggle to be truly free in this area. A must read for women with great benefits for men too.

You are very welcome to join us at our Girl's Nights or even start your - we will provide you with study notes.  More info Girl's Nights and how to start your own Girl's Night, here.

Heterosexual and Married   
The Five Stages of Sex   

Being a Lover   
    For the First Time   
    With a Past   
    Who Plans   
    Who Understands   
    Who Helps   
    Who has Fun   
    In Her Mind   
    Who Communicates   
    Who Does Not Grow Cold   
    Who Seduces   
    Who Expresses Her Feelings   
    Who is Naked   
    Who is Unashamed   
    Who is Healthy   
    Who is Pregnant   
    Who is Ageing   

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Study Notes:
For small group study, printable PDF notes and worksheets are available for each chapter at £1.20 per chapter.  Once you have purchased the PDF's you are welcome to print off as many copies as you need.  These notes offer thought provoking conversation guides that will guarantee a lively women's study group.


Marriage Tip #14 - Be a Wise Neck

My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a fantastic movie and this scene has so much truth in it. In recent years, I've noticed how much I truly am the neck in my marriage, both by supporting my husband and holding him high as well as by influencing his direction and turning his attention to certain things. Being the neck is a very important role and can easily be abused.  A wife that understands and values her role as the neck will be an awesome wife indeed.  

At times I fear the responsibility of being the neck.  What if I turn the 'head' in the wrong direction or cause him to see things that I should not have exposed him to?  It is this fear that has caused me to think carefully before using my 'neck power' to influence my husband.  It is this fear that has lead me to pray and carefully consider what I say to my husband.  

Wives, you are the neck, embrace it and be careful with what a neck can do. 


Marriage Tip #13 - Keeping Winning Their Heart

I was telling Eric one morning how much I loved all the things he did to try and win my heart while we were dating.  It was his intentional words and cute poems he used to write for me that wooed me and made my heart melt.  Since those early days in 2004 until today, I have kept all his cards, handwritten notes and other cute things from him.  These are my treasures and if ever I had to leave our home in a hurry I would grab my treasure box, a small box in my desk full on little notes from Eric, my children and some even from friends.  As I was chatting to Eric about how I missed his efforts to win my heart I realised that I too needed to continue to win his heart as I once did.  It's the age old story of plank and speck syndrome! Marriage can get pretty dull if we live only to get through each day!  Making an effort to keep marriage magical, mysterious and romantic is essential!  With that in mind I determined to find out what I did that won Eric's heart so that I could continue to win his heart daily. Just because we are married doesn't mean we should stop winning each other's hearts.

What things won your heart in the early days or what did you do to win his heart?  Let's swap some ideas to spice up our marriages and keep the romance alive!


Marriage Tip #12 - Embrace Differences

Following on from Marriage Tip #11 - Discuss Expectations, I wanted to mention the importance of having reasonable expectations of each other. Discussing your expectations is one thing but trying to make your husband be just like you is another.  Sadly many people cross the fine line between the two and feel that their husband should be exactly as they want him to be. I have heard of some wives expecting their husband to wash the dishes a certain way, just like they do.  To be honest, who cares as long as the dishes are clean and packed neatly in the cupboard.  Be grateful that he washes the dishes, some husbands don't.

Men and women are totally different and on top of that each person is totally different from the next.  In marriage it is easy to be annoyed and frustrated by our differences and many wives attempt to CHANGE their husband to suit them.  This is our nature, I am sure we have all done this at some point, perhaps some more than others.  A great marriage however, is one where we recognise that our differences can be the strength, not the weakness, of our marriage.  Take a good look at your differences and see how they can benefit your relations if harnessed wisely.  You will often here Eric and I say, 'OK, you take that are as you are good at that and I will do this.'  For example I am good at admin and Eric is good at graphics, if we need to get something done on the church website for example, Eric will design the graphics and I will take care of the admin or the coding.  It's not that I am unable to do graphics and it's not that Eric can't do admin, it's just that we work so well together when we harness our differences. Now imagine how drained Eric would be if I kept on nagging him to do admin, when clearly it is not his forte!  I would be totally unreasonable too if I expected him to do all the admin.

Perhaps that example is too practical, I am sure many of you don't have the sort of working relationship that we have and might not have to face such practical issues.  What about areas such as saying 'no!'  I really struggle with saying no to people and Eric has no problem at all as he is very unemotional and I am totally emotional.  Rather than me getting myself into all sorts of trouble for saying yes to everything, I choose to lean on him when I am unsure whether to say yes or no.  I trust him to make a rational, reasonable decision about something that I feel very emotionally about.  Rather than expect him to always agree with my decisions and try and change him, I actually use this difference to benefit our relationship.


Marriage Tip #11 - Discuss Expectations

Marriages often start falling apart when the communication dies down.  While Eric & I  were dating we were eager to chat about all of our plans for the future and spent hours talking about how great out life would be.  After we were married these conversation became less and less and day-to-day real life kicked in.  One of the things I realised that we stop talking about was our expectations of each other.  I have an internal list of things that I would love Eric to do for me and ways I would like him to treat me.  This list can range from really small things like emptying the bin to very important things like how he treats me in public or in front of his parents.

As soon as we stop communicating our expectations, bitterness and disappointment sets in.  Bitterness and disappointment, if left unchecked can lead to a failed marriage and even divorce.  It's a scary thought, to think that our marriage could fail just because we stopped talking to each other.  Take time to remember where it all began and get chatting again like when you were first in love - I know Eric & I are going to :)

Once you have had a good trip down memory lane, sit down with your husband and lovingly discuss the expectations you have of him and any disappointments you may have.  The trip down memory lane is essential before you begin the conversation, to ensure that your heart is in the right place.  Be reasonable and explain to him that this is just a discussion about how you are feeling, it's not a list of criteria that he has to meet.  Once you have shared you feelings, allow him to respond about how he feels about it. Don't demand that he meets all your expectations but reasonable work out how you can come together in understanding.  Accept the things he says he can't meet right now and thank him for the things he is willing to work on.  Most importantly, allow him to share his expectations and disappointments and be willing to work on a few things yourself too.


Marriage Tip #10 - Be Thankful

I wrote thankful & not grateful for this tip as I realised the importance of saying thank you. Especially for the little things. Sometimes I feel grateful when I see Eric do something for me but I have to remind myself that he doesn't know I am feeling grateful. It's so important to express gratitude by saying thank you. Lately I have been making a point of noticing the small things as I have been taking them for granted and even worse - I have started to expect things that I used to be grateful for. That's not nice & that can damage our marriage! Like my nice cup of coffee in the morning. I am so grateful that Eric brings me coffee but it has become a bit of a habit now and I have started expecting it. So just to make sure I don't become ungrateful and expect this nice treat I make sure I say thank you and from time to time I get up before him and make him a nice cup of tea.
A while ago Daniel & I didn't feel very well at all so Eric took care of us, did the grocery shopping, took Daniel to the doctor and took care of a whole lot of things. I made sure I said thank you for every single thing he did that day as I know he sacrificed his whole day to take care of us. I never want to take any of what Eric does or who is for granted so I constantly say thank you because I am truly grateful for the wonderful man that he is.


Marriage Tip #9 - Humble Yourself

Sometimes we are just too proud & selfish. We think it's all about us & all about our needs & the fact that every single one of our needs are not being met. If you find yourself going there just humble yourself before God & before your husband. Say sorry for being selfish & ask what you can do to make things better. This will work every time & win you loads of points with God & with your spouse ha ha. No one can resist a humble person. Remember you are no longer your own, you belong to God as you were bought with the precious blood of Jesus & when you got married you became one with your spouse. You are not your own anymore, you are a part of something much bigger. From time to time I get into selfish mode & make things all about me. The first thing I do to humble myself is to remember that Eric & I are working on having a great marriage - it's about our marriage not about myself.


Marriage Tip #8 - Have Fun

Don't forget to have fun!!! This is why you got married in the first place wasn't it? Didn't you enjoy your time together? Making time for dates is essential. Eric & I have our date night every Wednesday & it is the highlight of our week. Also we have our family day every Saturday so we can have fun with the children. These two dates really make our life special & FUN! We also love to play games either just the two of us or as a family. Playing is so important & if we neglect this we tend to just focus on work which can make us boring :( Our motto is to work hard & play hard!

Perhaps do what you first did when you were dating. I say perhaps because you may not have been a Christian when you first dated & I would not recommend you go back to ungodly things ha ha. Spice things up - no one likes Mr or Mrs boring :) What do you like to do for fun together?


Marriage Tip #7 - Work on Your Marriage

I know this may sound simple & obvious but recently I have been surprised at how few people actually intentionally work on their marriage! At church we are running a couples evening called The Love Dare, based on the book by the same name. We are working through one dare a week over a lovely meal. It has been so amazing & such an eye opener. When Eric & I started this I thought that our marriage was just fine. I went thinking we were just there to lead & help other couples. Much to our surprise we realised how many things we need to work at. The Love Dare is an awesome book & so is the Fireproof movie that this book is based on. As we have begun highlighting areas in our marriage we have seen how essential it is to take time to work on our marriage.

I have realised that if we don't intentionally build our marriage we may actually be breaking it. You end up getting familiar, tolerating mediocrity & generally slacking at the things that used to be important to you as a couple. There is no doubt in my mind now, that it is essential to always be working on our marriage. We have several marriage books that we work through from time to time but there is something more powerful about getting together as a group & being accountable & real with other couples.


Marriage Tip #6 - Enjoy Every Season

A lot easier said than done I know, but really try to get the most out of every season of your marriage. Try see the bright side & if you are lucky enough to be married, try to remember how great it is to have someone to walk with you through the season you are in. In this photo we are in the pouring rain, it was our wedding day & it was an outdoor wedding in a lovely park in London. Thankfully the rain only came towards the end as we were leaving. But take a look at our faces, we are so unbelievably happy & the fact that it was raining didn't bother us at all, in fact it made quite a nice photo for the final photo in our wedding album :) I can't really take credit on this occasion for choosing to enjoy this particular season (the rainy season) as I was too ecstatically happy to notice! There are other season though when I have chosen to ignore the "rain" & look at the brighter things in my life. Most of all when things get tough I just choose to be grateful that I have someone with me to help me get through the tough times. And when things are tough with the one I love (my husband), I choose to remember the good times & season... then things seem to be a little less tough.


Marriage Tip #5 - Influence

I have come to the conclusion that as wives we influence our husbands. No matter whether we are good, bad or ugly wives we do influence him. I have noticed in my own life & watched others & I can see clearly that when a man really loves a woman he wants to please her. I also noticed that he needs her approval & it frustrates him when the woman he loves doesn't approve so he does whatever he can to please her. As women, if we realize this we can see how we can easily use this to our advantage or to his advantage. Sadly I have also observed that woman use this to manipulate & control their husband. It's a easy trap to fall into & I am always careful of this trap!

In Genesis 2:18 God said that he will make him a helper comparable to him. I believe that what we should do with our influence is use it to help our husbands. Since we have this influence in his life let's not use it for evil but we can use it for good to help him, to build him up, to help him be all he can be in this life. I have only been married for 5 years now but I can clearly see how I have a great deal of influence in my husbands life because he loves me so much. I am very grateful for his love & in return I do my best to use my influence to support & help him in his life. Observe your marriage for a while & let me know what you see - do you find this to be true & do you feel challenged to be very careful with how you use your influence? I would love to hear your thoughts about this...


Marriage Tip #4 - Remember

Take time to remember what you first loved about each other. It is so easy to get sidetracked with real life & it is so easy to forget all the good things that made you attracted to each other in the first place. Occasionally Eric & I intentionally look back & reminisce. We remember our first meal together, our special walk along the river Thames in London that lead to us dating, we remember our honeymoon. Our memories are so precious to us & we love to remember to good times.

From time to time Eric & I also take out the photo albums & flip through them. We treasure our memories & once we have finished looking through the albums we manage to see things back in their proper perspective. Sometimes you forget that your life is really good but looking through the photo album can easily remind you. Take time to remember the good things - don't wait for a memory to come to you, be intentional about it, make yourself remember - it is so worth i


Marriage Tip #3 - Leave the Past Behind

One of the nicest things Eric ever said to me is; "I don't care about your past, I care about your future". The best part is that he totally meant it, he has never brought up my "colourful" past or used the mistakes of my past against me. Sometimes I even feel like he doesn't believe the stories I have told him about all the bad things I have done in the past. It is so amazing to be loved for who I am not not based on what I did (good or bad) in the past.

In the photo above are two of our most wonderful friends, it's so important to have great friends who will also leave the past in the past. One of my best friends ever, Michelle (above), has seen me at my best & at my worst, she has seen me single & married - and still she is my friend (whew!). I can't tell you how amazing it is to have a husband & great friends who all believe in my future & don't judge me on my past!


Marriage Tip #2 - Respect

Men need respect & women need love. If we simply learn to meet the one main need that our spouse has then we may eliminate many other battles or problem areas.

Ephesians 5:33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

This is all that Eric needs to either make him or break him as a man. When I show him that I respect him he is stronger but when I disrespect him, especially in front of people, he is a broken man with no power at all. As women we don't realise the importance of our respect, it either releases our husband into his full potential as a man or without it we cripple our man & make him unable to be what God has called him to be.
Here are some tips for wives:

1) Go to God - he already has all the answers & will very happily help you

2) Watch Your Words - communicate only words of life that will build him up, if you have any complaints just shut up & chat to God about it. If you are creative you can use positive words to have what you need in your marriage, this will build him up & at the same time you will be able to have what you need too. For example rather than nagging & complaining that he never washes the dishes rather say something like, "Darling I really love it when you help me around the house, it makes me feel so important to you, I especially would like it if sometimes you helped with the dishes". I am not talking about manipulation or control here, don't misunderstand the heart you need to have behind your words. You are simply communicating your needs in a positive way rather than in a nagging, controlling way. There is not a man alive on this planet who likes nagging. This way you can still show him respect but also tell him what you need.

3) Support Him - be passionate about what he is passionate about. Eric is passionate about his guitar so I have taken the time over the years to learn about the guitar & other music stuff. He is a brilliant guitarist, the best in the world in my eyes & although I have been careful not to let this define him I have done my best to make music a big part of our life. If Eric was into racing motor cars then I would be out in the garage right now passing him tools to help him get ready for a race. If Eric was into golf I would be on the green right now passing him a wedge. I am sure you get the picture... don't take what he is passionate about and hold it against him rather be a part of it if he wants you to & if he doesn't want you to be a part of it give him space & time to get on with it.

Do you have any tips for either husbands or wives? I would love to hear your thoughts but most of all these are just some tips to help us, I get it wrong more often than I get it right so don't feel bad if you still have some work to do, I do too so let's work on our marriages together :) If you are reading this and are not married you can still practice, the way you treat men in general in your every day life is probably how you will treat your own husband one day. Start showing respect to the men in your world & see how you will release their potential.


Marriage Tip #1 - Go to God First

I can't tell you how many arguments Eric & I didn't have because I went to God first. Also I can assure you that the ones we did have was when I didn't go to God. It's quite simple really, God is so much smarter that we are & has a much better perspective on things so why not get his advice first. I have gone to God when I am angry, when I am sad, when I am hurt & even when I need some inspiration or creativity to make Eric feel more loved. For me God is definitely the source of our marriage & my love for Eric. I would have completely wrecked things by now if I didn't go to God - and I go often. Some women seem to be such perfect wives & I am happy for them, but as for me... well I just keep going to God ha ha. For me it's as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Don't you love Eric's big smile in our wedding photo above? Even Gary Clark (in the background) had a nice cheesy grin... do you want to know why?