October 24, 2011

Living in Love

This was a wonderful book on how to live in love in your marriage. My husband and I have been married for over 22 years and I have to admit I've never read a book on marriage before! I think I was a little afraid of being preached at and feeling like my marriage didn't measure up. The only reason I picked this book up was because I love and respect James and Betty Robison. When I watch their show I see a real genuine love for each other.

This book covers a lot. Starting with how they met and the baggage they brought into their marriage. They go on to talk about commitment, communication and challenges. Their honesty and candor in this book were so refreshing. Right away I could relate to Betty, and how being an introvert affects your relationships. Unlike extroverts, who thrive on interacting with people, Betty says of being an introvert:

"I like people too, but I also need to have some space, because I'm an introvert, and extensive interactions with lots of people wear me down."

This was somehing I could relate to and it made me want to keep reading and listen to want they had to say. I thought I'd share a few things that stood out to me in this book and were helpful and encouraging.

At one point where James is talking about forgiveness and grace in your marriage he says:

"If you receive the grace of God, you'll release it to others. If you don't release it, you haven't really received it."  

Wow this took me aback. It made me think of all the times I'd not been so gracious with my husband and that I needed to look at myself and receive the grace God has extended to me, so I in turn could extend it to my husband.

James goes on to talk about the woman at the well: 

"Jesus did not condemn her or take her to task for her past. He offered her forgiveness and a chance to start anew."

Then about the woman caught in adultery:  

"Jesus didn't condemn the woman for her sins; He gave her a fresh start."

He concludes this part with:

"So no matter where you've been or where you are today in your marriage, God offers you forgiveness and a fresh start. All He asks is that you come to the source."

They give some great communication tips in 3 simple steps. Stop, Repeat, Clarify. Meaning stop what you are doing when the other spouse wants to talk and listen to what they have to say, let them repeat  to make sure you fully understood and then you clarify by trying to explain what they've said in your own words. I've found when I've done something similar to this it is really helpful.

I felt what James says here was also extremely important to move on in a good relationship:

"Every sunset is a conclusion, and every sunrise is a new beginning. This is exactly what you want in your relationship: you want a conclusion to whatever situation you're struggling through, and after you've achieved this conclusion, you want to leave the past behind you and live in a new beginning. you want a  fresh start."


When you need council for problems in your relationship, I found these quotes solid advice:

"You don't ever want to get into a pattern of running to someone other than your spouse when there's a problem."

"Also-and this should go without saying, but just to be clear--never talk about your marital challenges with someone of the opposite sex, even if he or she is a close friend. All too often this type of counsel leads to an inappropriate emotional relationship."
 
On counsel from friends:

"Many well-intentioned do-gooders will look at the challenges in your marriage and offer opinions about how you should proceed. Sometimes these opinions will be correct; many times they will be incorrect, unbiblical, and unhelpful. This is when you need to diligently seek the Lord for guidance. Check your friends' advice against what you read in the Bible. Do their words line up with the words of God as recorded in Scripture? Do they bring peace to your heart? If you can answer yes to both questions, then their advice is worthy of consideration."

The next few chapters were on challenges within  marriages such as money, parenting, sex, the invisible enemy and lastly, the power of encouragement. I found this book solidly based on biblical principles and emphasized putting God first in your marriage and looking to better yourself, with God's help, instead of trying to fix your spouse. In the final chapter, on encouragement, Betty says:

"If you don't feel that your husband is the spiritual leader of your home, realize that you can't push spiritual leadership down his throat, and you don't want to make him feel inadequate. Instead, I think you have to start with your own heart by asking God, 'What changes do I need to make that will be an example to my husband and give him a hunger for a more meaningful relationship with You and desire to love You with his whole heart?' This is the approach we have to take if we want to see positive change."

I believe Betty's advice to wives is crucial and timely. She goes on to say:

"Your husband is much more likely to be drawn to God if he sees the life of Christ lived out through you...Prayer is the key for transforming your own heart as well as your husbands."

Betty quotes 1 Peter 3:1-4

"Wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external-braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God."


Betty concludes with this great advice that I have taken to heart:

"If you will allow God to change you first and trust Him to make your relationship beautiful, He will do wonders in your life and in your marriage."

There is so much more to this book and I highly recommend it. These are just some quotes that spoke to me and I hope are encouraging to you as well.

This song is from Casting Crowns new CD and I thought I'd share it because it goes well with the theme of marriage in this post. It's a beautiful song about the Bride (the church) and the Bridegroom (Jesus Christ)


Wedding Day by Casting Crowns

There’s a stirring in the throne room
And all creation holds its breath
Waiting now to see the Bridegroom
Wondering how the bride will dress
And she wears white

And she knows that she’s undeserving
She bears the shame of history
But this worn and weary maiden
Is not the bride that He sees
She wears white head to toe
But only He could make it so

When someone dries your tears
When someone wins your heart
And says you’re beautiful
When you don’t know you are
When all you long to see
Is written on His face
Love has come and finally set you free
On that wedding day
On that wedding day

She has danced in golden castles
She has crawled through beggar’s dust
But today she stands before Him
And she wears His righteousness

She will be who He adores
This is what He made her for

When someone dries your tears
When someone wins your heart
And says you’re beautiful
When you don’t know you are
When all you long to see
Is written on His face
Love has come and finally set you free

When the hand that bears the only scars
In Heaven touch her face
And the last tears she’ll ever cry
Are finally wiped away
And the clouds roll back as He takes her hand
And walks her through the gates
Forever we will reign

When someone dries your tears
When someone wins your heart
And says you’re beautiful
When you don’t know you are
When all you long to see
Is written on His face
Love has come and finally set you free
On that wedding day
On that wedding day
On that wedding day
On that wedding day




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