As this ‘month of love’ continues, now is a good time to stop and really listen to your spouse. He should be our number one friend, the one we go to first to confide in or to share a happy or sad part of our day. Here are some questions that might help you two get back into a friendship:
1. Do you know your spouse’s background? His childhood, activities, schools attended? Any painful times?
2. Who are his best friends?
3. What stresses is he currently facing? Do you know the best way to help him?
4. Do you know his life dreams?
5. What are his favorite things to do? Favorite sports, hobbies? Favorite foods?
6. Where is he spiritually? What is his basic philosophy of life?
7. How does his family relate with each other? Is either of your families a stress on your relationship?
8. Do you two like to be together? What are your favorite couple things to do together?
9. Do you know what his Love Language is and does he know yours? (Explained in next week’s Blog!)
10. Can you talk together about your sex life? Is there enough passion in your marriage?
11. Is there give and take in most of the areas of your marriage?
12. Can you share with each other what buttons you two push that can be irritants?
13. How can you express love to each other so that it is felt?
As wonderful as questions may be in bringing to focus areas we may need to talk about, unless we sit down with our spouse on a regular basis and talk / listen they won’t help us at all.
I attended a marriage event at my church where Chuck Swindoll, who is the pastor, spoke along with his wife, Cynthia.
One valuable idea they mentioned is that every morning they sit together and talk for at least one hour. Every morning! I realized after hearing their story how truly important it is to stop our life and spend time with our spouses. Now mornings may not be the best time for you. Scott and I try to have our “Talk Time” each night after dinner. But I pray that you find a time in your schedule.
Now, I want to share a scripture that God gave us which I believe is the perfect ingredient for any relationship.
Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. If you love someone you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.
All the special gifts and powers from God will someday come to an end, but love goes on forever.
It’s like this: when I was a child I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I became a man my thoughts grew far beyond those of my childhood, and now I have put away the childish things. In the same way, we can see and understand only a little about God now, as if we were peering at his reflection in a poor mirror; but someday we are going to see Him in His completeness, face to face. Now all that I know is hazy and blurred, but then I will see everything clearly, just as clearly as God sees into my heart right now.
There are three things that remain – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:4 – 8, 11 -13 TLB
One thing I have realized through the years is that the people who are the most mature, especially in the emotional parts of their life, are the ones who will have the best relationships (see the above verses). Why? Because they have learned how to be content and comfortable in their own skin.
They don’t have to be defensive because they already feel secure. They don’t have to be negative or strike out at others because they already feel positive. They wait until they have found a person they like with similar values and goals to marry rather than allow themselves to get involved over and over again in sexual relationships. They are mature enough to put themselves last so that they can be there for their spouse and for their children. They understand what sacrifice means and how to be unselfish in all their dealings with others.
They understand the real concept of LOVE. And that without the Love of God full in their lives by the power of the Holy Spirit, they would not be able to be the spouse that is needed in a marriage.
February is heart health month and next week, I will give more tips on preventing a heart attack. But today, I would like to share one risk; new research recently reported on WebMD.com shows an increased risk of heart attack following a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) diagnosis.
For 12 years, researchers followed RA patients to document their heart disease and heart attack rates compared to people without RA. The risk of heart attack was 60 percent higher for RA patients, and the risk of other forms of ischemic heart disease was 50 percent higher beginning one year following diagnosis.
If you or a loved one has RA, talk to your doctor about the heart attack risks, as many of RA’s associated pains are similar to those of a heart attack.
One thing that experts agree on is that money problems can really hurt a marriage. In fact, when we continue to put our family into debt with out of control spending, it is a sign of disrespect.
Peter Walsh in his book, Lighten Up: Love What You Have, Have What You Need, Be Happier With Less, writes about honoring and respecting your relationship with money. He offers the following tips for setting financial boundaries in order to keep to a budget:
1. Obey the 48-hour rule. “Don’t buy until you’ve spent two days asking yourself why you need to buy this item,” he writes, “and how you’ll pay for it.”
2. Go with cash. Pay with cash, and use your credit cards strictly for emergencies, if you can.
3. Set limits. Set a dollar limit with your spouse above which you must discuss any non-essential purchases.
4. Have a pay-in-full rule. Live by this commandment: If you can’t afford to pay in full for an item you want (or able to pay off the credit card full at the end of each month) then don’t buy it.
5. Consider layaway. If you truly need an item but can’t afford to pay for it full today, think about buying it on layaway.
I hope you had a nice Valentine Day on Monday! I don’t mean did you get chocolate, flowers and a nice dinner but did you have time to understand what this holiday means? I think it is a day to remember all those people in our lives that we love and that love us. Nothing is more important than having loved ones in our lives.