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Monday, February 29, 2016

Deep Family Relationships

Ephesians 6:1-4

Introduction
We were made for deep relationships.  A deep relationship is a profound, caring connection of mutual support, cooperation, and trust.  Deep relationships can be with family, friends, someone we date, a spouse, or a co-worker.  However we find them, our souls yearn for deep relationships.  Today, I want to offer some advice to deepen family relationships. 

Ephesians 6:1-4
Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

Advice for Children
Writing about how deep family relationships should function, the Apostle Paul offers his advice in two parts.  The first part is for children and the second part is for parents.  Let’s look at Paul's advice for children first.
Recalling the Ten Commandments all the way back from the Old Testament, the Apostle Paul said, “Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. Honor your father and mother.””
What does it mean to honor your parents?  To honor them means to treat them as very important people.  When we are young, we sometime start to think nothing important happened before we came along. We might think we are younger, smarter, and more in touch with what is going on in the world.  How can our parents know more than we do?  It can give us a careless attitude about those who are older.  We feel they just don’t understand.
But God says it is not good to have an attitude like that. He knows our parents have earned a lot of wisdom through their life experience. It is in our own interest to listen to them, to respect their opinions and wisdom, to honor them as important people who have helped us very much and who still have a lot to offer. We must fight the tendency to think our parents are too old and out of touch.  We must honor them, because they deserve it and it is in our own best interest.  God promised to give us a long life if we honor our parents.
 

Here are five practical ways you can honor your parents:
 
First of all, spend time with your parents.  Time is one of the most precious gifts you can give.  Your parents gave a tremendous amount of time to raise you.  Now it’s your turn to honor them with your time.

Second, be patient with your parents.  Do you realize your parents needed great patience to care for you?  When you were teenager, you sometime broke their hearts with mean words.  When you were a toddler, you threw temper tantrums and embarrassed them.  When you were an infant, they changed your dirty diapers.  (Once I took my son to a movie and he got sick and vomited on me in the theater.  I didn’t have any clothes to change into.  It took 20 minutes to drive home before I could change.  Then I had to take care of him all night.)
Your parents have done many things like this for you. With God’s help, mothers and fathers do it with patience because we love our children.  They have been patient with you.  Now you can honor them by being patient with them even if you feel they don’t deserve it.

Third, be respectful.  When you disagree with your parents, do it respectfully.  If they make you mad, be gentle.  Refuse to look down on them.  Don’t speak negatively of them.  Don’t do anything that would shame them.  Deliberate speak well of them to others. Protect their dignity and defend their honor.

Fourth, help your parents.  Go with them to the doctor or to get groceries.  Help them clean the house or cook dinner for them.  As you get older, you might even help pay some of their bills.  There are many ways you can help your parents.  Look for ways to do favors for them as an expression of your honor for them.

Fifth, celebrate your parents.  As a pastor, I often go to funerals.  And people pay tribute to all the best qualities of their parents.  Why wait until the funeral to pay tribute to your parents?  You can do it now.   

Advice for Parents
         Paul said, “Fathers, [and what he says applies to mothers as well as fathers] do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”
As a parent, I can tell you it is quite impossible to never provoke your children to anger.  Sometimes kids are just going to be angry with their parents.  But what I think Paul means here is: don't let anger be the prevailing attitude in your home.  Instead, create a healthy home where your children can thrive and become all God wants them to be.  

Here are five practical ways to raise your kids well:
First, spend a lot more time appreciating your kids than you do criticizing or disciplining them.  Of course, parents have to set rules and discipline their kids when they go astray (and all kids do).  However, don’t let that be the only interaction you have with your children.  Encourage them.  Let them know you love them.  Let them know how proud you are of them.  And since we know we will have to discipline our kids, we should make sure we spend lots and lots of time appreciating them. Hear are seven things every kid needs to hear:   
   1.  I Love You
   2.  I’m Proud of You
   3.  I’m Sorry
   4.  I Forgive You
   5.  I’m Listening
   6.  This is Your Responsibility
   7.  You’ve Got What It Takes
 
Second, talk to your kids.  Practice by talking about the little things--like what they did at school, what they like, etc.  Abigail and I went to Red Lobster on Friday and she had a great idea for conversation.  Maybe it will work for you.  We had a personal life quiz.  She would ask me one question about her life and then I would ask her one question about mine.  So she would ask me something like:  What are the names of her closest friends?  And then I would ask her a question like:  What is my favorite hobby? Sometimes I would ask her questions about herself:  what was her earliest memory?  We had a great time going back and forth and we learned a lot about each other.  When you practice talking about the little things, your children will feel more comfortable talking to you about the big things like the struggles they are having at school or with their friends, etc.

Third, your kids need to know you are 100% committed to them.  You let them know you are committed by your actions.  You need to be there for them.  Spend time with your kids.  Find ways to play and have fun together.  Pray together.  Eat together.  Go to church together.  Take a family vacation.  If you can’t afford a vacation or can’t take the time off work, then take a short trip or outing together.  It can be as simple as hiking at Fort Mountain or taking a walk in your neighborhood.  The point is to do stuff together--just you and your kids.  There is nothing more precious that you can give you kids than your time.  And nothing shows you are committed to them better than when you share your time with them.

Fourth, discipline your children and hold them accountable.  This is very important.  Remember, your primary job is not to be your child’s best friend.  A parent's primary job is to train their child to be a well adjusted adult.  This includes teaching them integrity, responsibility, self-discipline, and good morals.  Believe it or not, children are happier when they have clear rules to follow and consistent consequences when they violate the rules.  By holding your children accountable to right behavior, you are training them the be happy, successful human beings.

Fifth, love your spouse.  That might seem counterintuitive, but it’s very true.  Your kids need stability and nothing reinforces their sense of stability than when they know their mom and dad’s marriage is rock solid.  Furthermore, you will be a better parent if your marriage is strong.  I see marriages get into trouble a lot because parents make the mistake of focusing too much time, energy, and resources on their kids at the expense of the marriage relationship.  I understand why it happens.  At an immediate level, your kid’s needs often must come first.  But in the long run, you will soon find your marriage in trouble if you always put your kids before your marriage; consequently, your kids will suffer too.  Remember, your kids will be in the home only 18 or so years, but your husband or wife is for life.  If you truly love your kids, you better love your spouse more.  If you want more advice on how to strengthen yourmarriage, you can look back at my blog from last Sunday.  Or, perhaps you would like to make an appointment to come talk with me.

Conclusion
God created you to have deep relationships.  The most natural of these relationships is with the people in your own family.  However, that doesn’t mean having deep relationships with your family comes naturally.  It takes effort and I encourage you to put in the effort; it is worth it.  What our world needs is strong, godly families.  That could change our nation.
As with all the other types of deep relationships in your life, your deep family relationships will suffer if your relationship with God is not right.  The sin in our life impairs our relationship with God, but the Good News is there is forgiveness through Jesus Christ.  When we we ask forgiveness and let Jesus take control of our lives, we will find our relationship with God growing stronger and all our other relationships--including with our family--begins to grow stronger too.  I invite you to get your heart right with God today.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Biblical Advice for A Better Marriage

Genesis 2:18-25

Introduction
We were made for deep relationships.  A deep relationship is a profound, caring connection of mutual support, cooperation, and trust.  Deep relationships can be with family, friends, someone we date, a spouse, or a co-worker.  However we find them, our souls yearn for deep relationships.  Today, I want to offer some biblical advice to help strengthen the deep relationship between a husband and wife.
In the beginning, God created a man named Adam as a living, breathing being to have a deep relationship with God.  God also made a woman named Eve because God wanted people to have relationships with each other.  Let’s read the story from Genesis of how God made the first woman.

Genesis 2:18-25
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” 19 So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. 20 He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.
21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.
23 “At last!” the man exclaimed.
“This one is bone from my bone,
    and flesh from my flesh!
She will be called ‘woman,’
    because she was taken from ‘man.’”
24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.
25 Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.

Women and Men
God made Adam and Eve because deep human relationships are as important as a relationship with God.  Adam and Eve were so much alike.  The story says Eve was made from Adam’s own rib.  Yet Eve was also different from Adam.  She was a woman, not a man.  Even young children splashing around in a bathtub together perceive there is a very basic physical difference between boys and girls.  Then as they grow up, they perceive the differences are more than just physical appearance.  For instance, men tend to be logical and rational and women tend to just be completely crazy...  :)
Of course, I jest, but jokes like these are funny because of the deep differences we perceive in the way men and women tend to think, communicate, and view life.  It almost seems as if we are from two different planets and speak different languages and have different customs.  Yet, these mysterious differences between the sexes makes for one of the most complicated and rewarding deep relationships known to humanity.
It’s important to remember that the differences between the sexes was designed by God.  So when you get frustrated that your spouse thinks or acts so differently from you, take a moment to relax and remember God made them that way for a reason.  Ultimately, you need them to be different and their differences enrich your life.  Yet it also means you have to be patient and be diligent to build a deep relationship with your spouse. 

Biblical Advice about Marriage
            The best very place to get marital advice is from the God who designed the human heart and created the institution of marriage.  Here are four passages from the Bible about marriage I think will help improve your marriage. 

Matthew 19:6 – "Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” 
These words, spoken by Jesus, remind us that God unites husband and wife as one in marriage.  It is a deep and mysterious union meant to last a lifetime.  Therefore, when it comes to your spouse, keep a lifelong perspective about everything.  As you are choosing a spouse, understand that you will be with this person for the rest of your life.  As you argue with your spouse, remember you will be with them for the rest of your life.  As you make decisions about your friends, your career, your children, your church, remember you will be with your spouse for the rest of your life.  Always have an attitude of life-long commitment in your marriage.  Avoid people, situations, or attitudes that threaten to split apart what God has joined together.  Work hard to invest in a happy marriage, knowing you are investing in your own happy life. 

Ephesians 5:21 – "And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."
The love between a husband and wife is meant to be an illustration of the way Christ loves the Church.  Remember, Christ laid down his life in sacrifice for the Church.  That was true, sacrificial love.  And that is the kind of love we aim for in our marriage. 
Sacrifice for your spouse as service to Christ.  You won’t always feel like it, and your spouse won’t always deserve it.  Do it anyway, out of reverence for Christ.  Make your own desires secondary and put your spouse ahead of yourself.

Hebrews 13:4 – Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.
Honor your spouse.  Speak well of them—to others and to them.  Point out the very best in them and look for ways to show them how much you appreciate their best qualities.
And be faithful to your spouse.  It almost goes without saying that you shouldn’t cheat on your spouse.  Few would argue with that.  But faithfulness is deeper than just sexual faithfulness.  Guard your eyes that you don’t seek enjoyment from other people in ways you should only find in your spouse.  Guard your emotions; don’t seek emotional and relational fulfillment from other people in ways you should only receive from your spouse.  Be faithful to protect, honor, and respect your spouse.  Be faithful to the life-long partnership you are building together.  Ultimately, don’t put anyone or anything above you marriage—not kids, not parents, not friends, not hobbies, not anything.  Only God has primacy over you marriage.  And the truth is, God is not really above your marriage, but an equal part in it. 

Proverbs 5:18-19 – "Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.  Rejoice in the wife of your youth.  She is a loving deer, a graceful doe.  Let her breasts satisfy you always.  May you always be captivated by her love."
That verse is a little risque for church! But it’s from the Bible so...   Find reasons and ways to keep falling in love with your spouse.  Meditate on the ways you are attracted to them.  Remember often the qualities that initially attracted you to them. 
I once had a husband and wife come to me for marriage counseling.  The husband wanted a divorce because he said he no longer loved his wife.  He admitted he had already kissed another woman.  His wife was devastated, but she still loved her husband and they came to their pastor as a last resort.
I asked the husband what initially attracted him to his wife and what he had loved about her before he "fell out of love".  He talked about the way she had made him feel special, the way she had made him feel like her hero, and many other qualities that he had been so important to him.  Through our discussion, I helped the husband to see that his wife was the same person she had always been and he just had to remember not to take those important qualities for granted.  The couple agreed to give the marriage another try.  They both spent time intentionally loving each other and focusing on what they loved about each other and it brought real healing to their marriage.  It has been several years and I still get emails from the couple sharing how happy their marriage is now.
Remember why you fell in love and find ways to let your spouse know how deeply attracted you are to them. 

Conclusion
            You will struggle to have a good relationship with God if you do not have deep relationships with other people.  If you are married, work diligently to have a strong, healthy relationship with your spouse.  If you are not married, work diligently to have strong, healthy relationships with other people—friends and family.  God designed you for deep relationships with other people and you will not find satisfaction in life without them—even if you have a relationship with God.
You will also struggle to have deep relationships with your spouse or with other people if you neglect your relationship with God.  He is your creator and you will not find true satisfaction in life without a deep, personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  Yet when you submit and let Jesus be your Lord and Savior, all your other relationships will begin to fall into place.
So I encourage you today, get your heart right with Jesus and then delve deeper in your relationships with other people.

Click Here for more advice about marriage shared by other people - 62 Words of Advice About Marriage

62 Words of Advice About Marriage

The following excerpts are advice about marriage that was shared via email, Facebook, and handwritten notes.  Some statements were shared by people from Pleasant Grove UMC; others came from people outside of our congregation.  The advice is not in any particular order and I make no claims about the accuracy of these statements.  I simply share them for your consideration.  I would welcome the opportunity to counsel with you privately about how to have a happier marriage. For Biblical advice about marriage, click here.

How do you have a life-long, happy marriage? What marriage advice would you give to a young couple? What advice helped you most in your marriage?

1.     Open communication, honesty, teamwork, forgiveness, and common interest/hobby.

2.     Do not be jealous or do anything to cause your spouse to be jealous.  Think “we” not “me.”  Support your spouse.

3.     Marriage is NOT a 50/50 relationship.  Both have to commit 100% to the marriage and keep God at the center of everything.

4.     When things get tough go straight to his (God’s) word and read and pray together.  Talk about everything even if it is uncomfortable.

5.     Do you want to be "right" all the time or do you want to be happy?

6.     I can tell you what my Dad told me 47 years ago, "Never go to bed mad at each other. Even if you have to sit on the side of the bed for hours to work it out." We have done just that a few times.

7.     Marriage is not just a covenant between you and your spouse but between you, your spouse and God.

8.     And, marriage is not 50/50. It's 100/100. You give 100%. That's your end of it. You, however, are not the judge of whether or not your spouse is giving their "fair share".

9.     Marriage and love is about taking as much heart ache the other person can throw at you and still love them at the end of the day.

10.  Take a good long look at the baggage you bring into your marriage. Don't punish your partner for something someone else did to you. Work hard to make sure you both mean the same thing. Words can mean different things to different people. You are building a brand new world; make sure it's one you both love.

11.  Just because you are talking to each other doesn't mean you are communicating. So many times [my wife] and I have had a conversation come back later wondering what happened. After further discussion it turns out the words and phrases we used meant different things to each of us. Keep talking and clarifying with each other.

12.  Talk about your family of origin and how they did things and said things. It matters more than you think.

13.  Don't always be right, and make a scene to prove you’re right, learn to say I am sorry, I was wrong!

14.  Our question we add to pretty much every stress event going on in our life is: what can we do about it right now? And more times than naught, it's absolutely nothing. Example: It's Monday and I don't get paid until Wednesday and I get a cancel notice in the mail, is there anything we can do about it right now? No. But we can sit down and work out a plan of action for tomorrow. My point is, there's no since in arguing about something you cannot solve right now. It serves no purpose.

15.  Never go to bed mad at each other or without praying together.

16.  That Christ's (and the Bible's) command to love our neighbor with self-sacrificial love applies to the neighbor with whom we share a life, a family, and a bed.

17.  Be the first to forgive...  everyone makes mistakes even yourself...  so don't forget to forgive yourself.

18.  Learn the concept of sacrifice! Love is about sacrificing the "mine" for the "ours". Right & wrong doesn't matter. What matters is what you can do for the other part of the marriage. Learn to swallow pride.

19.  Go to church regular & move away from family for a while so you can stand on your own 2 feet & figure it out for yourself.

20.  GOD: put him smack dab in the center. Think of your marriage relationship the same way you think of how your relationship with God should be!

21.  Pride: move it aside. No room for pride in a marriage.

22.  Selfishness: no room for that either! Be willing to move yourself out of the way and really think about your spouse.

23.  Percentages: marriage is not 50/50. It is 100/100. And there will be times one spouse is 170 and the other is 30. You lovingly help carry their load!

24.  Respect: seriously important!! No explanation necessary!! If you want it, give it-even when it isn't deserved!!

25.  LAUGH! LAUGH!!LAUGH!! It makes everything better!! Be willing to laugh at yourself!! And about the craziest little thing!!

26.  Humble: be humble!! Humility is a powerful thing! You are no better than your spouse and all sin is the same.

27.  Speech: if you got nothing good to say then shut your pie hole. It is perfectly ok to walk away from an argument and not have the last word. What if your last word was truly your last word that you ever said to your spouse? Could you live with the guilt? It is ok to walk away, leave the house, do whatever is necessary but ALWAYS come back!! Leaving forever isn't an option (except in abusive situations of any sort)!! And yes, sometimes going to bed angry will happen but tell your spouse you guys need to shelve the discussion until you can both pray and then speak out of love and not anger. This is coming from a couple who has been married for 21 years not including time off for bad behavior. We divorced for a year and a half and have been married longer this time than the last. The Lord has had His work cut out for Him but oh what a blessing this second chance has been. He really did a work on both of us and changed our hearts!

28.  If you argue, argue naked. It won't last long. J

29.  If the person you married got cancer right after your first anniversary and EVERYTHING changed, could you stay and cope with a totally different, difficult life? If not... Don't get married!

30.  Couples fall in & out of love. The key is to be patient to fall back in love stronger each time.

31.  Always say I love and I sorry and mean it!

32.  Do not marry someone you don't know. If you haven't had a fight, a real fight, you do not know one another yet.

33.  a. With life comes growth, and growth isn't always at the same time. Your spouse won't always be the same person you married, and neither will you. You have to wake up every day and remember to fall in love with that new and different person every single day! Change is inevitable, learn to love the changes or ignore them one (just kidding on that last part!).
      b. Sometimes you just have to pick up the slack... And remember your partner will have to too.
      c. The most intimate thing you can ever do with your spouse is pray together. It improves ALL areas of your marriage. 
      d. marry someone who doesn't chase after your heart, but chases after the Lord’s.
      e. Most importantly, remember your spouse cannot "complete" you or your life, only God can. You can improve each other's lives, but you can't complete each other.

34.  When you’re mad at your spouse, pray for them. It's hard to be mad at someone once you start praying for them.

35.  Define love: tangible, sacrificial, committed, and compassionate. God has displayed His love for the world by giving us Jesus Christ. (God's love is tangible). Jesus gave His life as a ransom. (God's love is sacrificial.) Jesus loved us all the way to the cross. (God's love is committed.) God offers us forgiveness before we even ask. (God's love is other directed - compassionate). Those same four attributes should be displayed in marriage - you can't just say "I love you" and not tangibly display it. You must be willing to lay aside your desires for your spouses - be sacrificial. You must be committed thick and thin, good and bad, like or dislike, feeling "in love" or not. You must realize the other person will not always live up your dreams or be perfect. Thus be compassionate.

36.  Obviously God first. After that, life will bring its own struggles; there is no need to fabricate them. Don't assume that your spouse is acting maliciously; if they upset you, they might not be aware of it. Discuss the issue rationally in lieu of emotionally. Treat your relationship as a team effort working towards the same goal. Forget about my car and your car, or my keys and your keys, it's all ours. If he scratches the car you both have to pay for it. If she loses her keys you both have to replace them. In the end it's just a car, they are just keys. We took a class at our church a few years ago and were surprised at the insignificant things couples argue about. Life will bring significant struggles; there is no need to spend much time on the insignificant. If you respect each other and collectively work towards established goals there is little you cannot achieve.

37.  NEVER go to bed angry with, or at, each other, and always kiss each other goodnight! It has worked for us for 24 1/2 years!

38.  Be patient and understanding.

39.  It's not always about love sometimes it has to be about commitment because you don't always love the other person.

40.  I have always remembered the advice of Tom Lanford, the pastor that married us; don't run to your parents tattling every argument because they will remember it long after you've both forgotten it!

41.  Live within your means. Financial worries put extra stress on a marriage. Work as a team and set goals together. Pray about your decisions.

42.  Marriage is not a 50/50 proposition. It takes both partners giving 100 percent all of the time. Listen to your partner and stop thinking of the next thing you want to say in a disagreement. Stop and think how you would feel if your partner never came home again.

43.  Budget together. When both of you try to actively stay on the same page with the household finances, it leaves much less room for an argument to start over money.

44.  Remember that your roll is to be their spouse, their sidekick, NOT their parent! The concept of being a team has worked for us for close to 35 years.

45.  Don't be a quitter...things are not gonna work out like you think they should in your head...reality TV is not real...50% divorce rate is real...communication is good even if it gets loud sometimes...work hard to guard your heart....Pray for your spouse...give grace...never give up!

46.  Two things I have learned:  First, seek ye first the kingdom of God and all other things will be added unto you!!  Second, when one spouse is having a tough time the other spouse has to be strong and vice-versa.  Never fall out of love with each other on the same day!!!!

47.  Date night matters more after kids. You have to remember to be a couple.

48.  Putting God first and tithing together with money and service. I watch money and the pursuit of material goods become the most important thing in a relationships and it destroys marriages.  Find out what really makes each other feel loved and do those things each day.  Love language is really important especially to us girls!  There is even a book "The Five Love Languages".

49.  In all things be evenly yoked.

50.  Of course never go to bed angry! Always be able to apologize without a "But" afterwards!

51.  "Do you want a personal victory or a closer relationship?" I ask myself that question often. Serve your spouse. Don't keep a ledger and keep on serving.  "A happy marriage is the union of two forgivers" Ruth Graham SO TRUE. Forgiveness.

52.  If you get stuck in "something" in your marriage, get help right away, don't wait until a little thing becomes a BIG thing and it is too late. As a pastor, I could have saved a lot of marriages if they would have just come to me sooner.

53.  Never say or do something that you wouldn't say or do in front of your wife/husband!

54.  Marry your best friend. You can love someone but if you don't like them very much it isn't worth it...and pray to continue to love each other till death do you part.

55.  Be a good listener for each other. Communication is key to a healthy relationship.

56.  Never stop courting.

57.  When you marry someone, you become one with them.  To have a good and happy life, don't down grade each other, build each other up.  Love is never mean.

58.  It's never 50/50. Some days 80/20. Others 20/80. From my Daddy. 52 yrs. marriage to my dear mama.

59.  In fairy tales the stories always end and they lived happily ever after.  Know in life once you say I do that is when the real work begins.  Remember each day to give your partner the best of you.  Times will be hard; don't let divorce be an option.

60.  When your spouse walks through the door, give them a warm greeting! Plant a big kiss on them or give a great big hug. Remind them why they come home every night and that they are appreciated. Also, make sure you kiss them EVERY day. Not a grandma kiss either... give them a 3-6 second "Knock Your Socks Off" kiss and occasionally do it in front of your kids, because it's important that they see that their parents are in love! Lastly, learn what makes your spouse feel loved and appreciated!  Is it bringing them a gift, spending time together, doing something sweet for them, whatever it is...DO it and do it often! 

61.  I believe a couple has to take a long term view of the marriage. Will today's "crisis" really matter a year or two down the road? If not, then it has to be viewed in the proper perspective. Very few things are really as bad, or as good, as they first appear.  I also believe that it very important for wife and husband to stay tuned in to each other during the child rearing years. It's very easy to let our children take over our lives. But then they grow up and leave to start their own lives and wife and husband are left looking at each other and asking, "Who are you?"
 
62. My marriage advice, love is a choice.  Honoring your commitment is a choice.  Honoring each other is a choice.  There will be ups and downs, peaks and valleys.  At the end of the day, you just have to decide that come hell or high water, you are going to hold yourself accountable to the choices you made.  God first, marriage second, kids third, then everything else.  Oh... And you can save yourselves decades of heartache and hardship, by taking this to heart before you make a permanent choice.  2 Corinthians 6:14 NASB  “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?”
 
The best very place to get marital advice is from the God who designed the human heart and created the institution of marriage. Click Here to read about four passages from the Bible about marriage that will help improve your marriage - Biblical Advice for A Better Marriage.