How to Deal With Differences In Marriage

How to deal with differences

All marriages deal with differences. If we traded in our marriage for another, we would just be trading problems with this guy – for problems with that guy – because the reality is, all marriages have problems to varying degrees.

Sometimes I wonder why God made men and women so incredibly different.  And while I understand that our differences should make us complement each other – some days it just feels like a huge hurdle.

My husband and I are very, very different people.

I am an extrovert – the more the merrier is my mentality!

He is an introvert – he is very private.

I love social media and social gatherings fill me up!

My husband does not participate in social media, and social gatherings drain him.

I am a very cautious person when it comes to safety.

My husband loves to shoot guns and ride motorcycles and prefers I be on the back of the motorcycle with him…which is not really my cup of tea!

motorcycle riding

He even bought me this jacket……let’s just say, I wear it for him ;) and pray the entire ride!  I appreciate how he has enhanced my prayer life! Lol!

motorcycle jacket

He has also enhanced my prayer life by taking the kids on very long road trips on the back of his bike. ;)

I like pop music (anything with a beat), Christian and classical piano music (weird mix right? Lol!).

He likes country music and talk radio.

I like Diet Coke.

He drinks Sweet Tea by the gallon.

I prefer new cars – you know with a cup holder and a DVD player.

He loves old classic cars…without cup holders and DVD players.

I love big cities and living in a neighborhood.

He prefers to live on a huge piece of land and not see the neighbors!

I love to sing.

He does not.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg friends.  Our temperaments are very different.  Our family histories are very different. Our school experiences were very different. Our hobbies are very different.

And while I list all these things and wonder how in the world we ended up vowing our lives to each other –”till death do us part,”  I am amazed at how like-minded we are on faith, our view of the world, our morals, values, love for each other and love of family.

I could sit all day and focus on the things that are different between my husband and I and get very frustrated.

Let’s face it – you can’t change a zebra’s stripes. God absolutely changes people from the inside out and I’ve heard testimonies of dramatic changes in marriages where God was at work on sin in their lives…but I don’t foresee my husband’s taste of country music or sweet tea or personality traits, such as loving social gatherings, changing anytime soon.

During different seasons of life, I have tried to get my husband to change. This always brings fights and it’s miserable and he feels disrespected.

Philippians 2:3 -5 says:

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.”

This is truth!  When we look only toward our  own interests, our own selfish ambitions will ruffle feathers in our marriage and stir up trouble.  We will create misery and though it may feel unintentional – it is very real and it can put a wedge in our marriage.

So how do we deal with differences in marriage?

1.) Do not be selfish. (verse 3)

2.) Humble yourself and look at your husband as more significant than yourself. (verse 3)

3.) Do not discount your husband’s interests. (verse 4)

4.) Have the mind of Christ. (verse 5)

This my friends, is nothing like how the world would advise us.  But this is God’s way.  Number 4 is vital to overcoming the selfishness and pride in marriage.  We must pursue having the mind of Christ.  Christ was humble to the point of death on the cross for us.

Have you humbled yourself and considered laying aside your own interests for the sake of your husband, for the sake of your marriage and for the sake of Christ?

**Chime In: What differences in your marriage has God brought to mind while you were reading this?  Will you selflessly put that issue in the hands of God and trust Him with it?  

And one final thought, when we pray that God changes something about our husband – if it is done in selfishness, most likely it will not be answered. One thing I have learned is to pray for these changes for one reason alone – so that our marriage would be more unified and bring more glory to God by the way we love and care for each other.

Next week, we’ll talk more about unity in marriage but until then – let’s pray humble, selfless prayers that focus on God’s will for our marriage rather than our own will.

Walk with the King,

Courtney

**This post is a part of the…

Embrace[3]

Coming next:

September 22: Embracing Oneness
September 29: Embracing Your Friendship

This week’s group marriage challenge is:

Embrace Your Differences – Don’t just tell your husband that you love him today. Tell him some of the reasons you love him.

Today my friends pictured above are also writing on
Embracing Your Differences in Your Marriage.

Please visit them!

Darlene Schacht at TimeWarpWife.com
Jennifer Smith at UnveiledWife.com
Sheila Gregoire at ToLoveHonorandVacuum.com
Ashleigh Slater at AshleighSlater.com
Lisa Jacobson at Club31Women.com

 

For Better…or Worse {When Seasons In Marriage Change}

for better or worse

 

1For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven:

2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Ecclesiastes 3 describes 28 different seasons of life and one thing is guaranteed, change.

Change is absolute.

In John 14, when Jesus met with his disciples he told them change was coming. He was going to depart but they were to have no fear because he was sending them the Holy Spirit.  The Greek word for “Holy Spirit” is parakletos which means: one who comes along side and helps and comforts.

God uses change to shape us and to open our eyes to his presence. We are not alone. The Holy Spirit is with us helping us through life’s changes.

Change is what turned Mary the peasant girl, into the mother of God Almighty! Change is what turned David the shepherd boy, into the King of Israel! And the change of Jesus’ blood covering over our sins, is what turns you and me from sinners to saints!

In our marriages, we will all face seasons of change.

Change comes from job changes, location changes, friendship changes, sickness, new births and the loss of loved ones.

Sometimes our likes and dislikes cause distance in our marriage.  I know in my marriage our hobbies have heavily influenced the way we spend our time.   Never did my husband and I foresee me being a blogger or a homeschooler.  As change comes into our lives – each spouse has to readjust their expectations, grace needs to be made, sacrificial love needs to be poured out to sustain the marriage.

Changes from the college days to starting a family or raising teens or taking care of ailing parents can be rough. When exhaustion and stress sets in – it changes people.

Some of these changes in life have not brought out the best in us…but rather the worst.

When iron sharpens iron – sparks fly.  Have sparks been flying in your home lately?

You aren’t alone. All marriages go through these seasons. Some last longer than others.  But this one thing I know….

God is using marriage as a great sanctifier in all of our lives!

What is sanctification?  Sanctification means to make holy or to purify, to set apart for God’s use.

When we were born again, we were declared justified in the eyes of the Lord.  Jesus’ blood covered our sins but we still need to be sanctified and made more like Christ.

Do you see how God is using your marriage to sanctify and purify you?  Marriage brings out our selfishness, anger issues, score keeping abilities, pride and trust issues.  God reveals our sin to us through the marital relationship and as we read His word and confess our sins, he purifies us and makes us more like Him.

Marriage is a sanctifier and this sort of spiritual growth is vital in the lives of all Christians.

Sometimes we are tempted to think that we are the only ones experiencing the pains of life. But changing seasons are normal, as Ecclesiastes 3 shows. Some are pleasurable and some are painful. There are positive things and negative things that happen to all of us and sometimes we just have to ride the wave as it goes down because a swell is coming on the other side and it’s going to be okay.

This week’s marriage challenge is:

Consider some of the ways that your marriage has changed over time. Start counting the blessings that these changes have brought. Write them down.

Chime In:  Which season are you in – a “For Better or…For Worse” season.  How has God sustained your marriage and what blessings has been brought through these changes?

Walk with the King,

Courtney

**This post is a part of the…

Embrace[3]

Coming next:

September 15: Embracing Your Differences
September 22: Embracing Oneness
September 29: Embracing Your Friendship

Today my friends pictured above are also writing on
Embracing Change in Your Marriage.

Please visit them!

Darlene Schacht at TimeWarpWife.com
Jennifer Smith at UnveiledWife.com
Sheila Gregoire at ToLoveHonorandVacuum.com
Ashleigh Slater at AshleighSlater.com
Lisa Jacobson at Club31Women.com

 

5 Ways to Embrace Grace In Your Marriage

5 Ways to Embrace Grace

 

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8

Grace is the free and unmerited favor of God.  We see this best through the death of Christ given for our salvation so we can receive present and eternal blessings.

Grace is what we receive when we have messed up, fallen down, made wrong choices, and sinned.

And this grace we have received – we need to humbly extend to our husbands when they mess up, fall down, make wrong choices and sin.

But how do we live this out practically in our marriages?

Here’s 5 Ways to Embrace Grace In Your Marriage

1.) Grace sees with fresh eyes and a new perspective.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

Grace is foreign in many marriages because wives have not experienced the grace of God. Once we have experienced this lavish grace, we have the strength to turn around and give it to others.  The first person we should look square in the eyes of is our husband. He needs grace.  Often times, we give grace to our children, friends, even strangers – but we expect our husband to meet our expectations. The first step in extending grace is recognizing every human needs grace…including your husband.

2.)  Grace does not focus on failed expectations and the shortcomings of our husband.

David Platt writes: “[God's] gift of grace involves the gift of a new heart. New desires. New longings. For the first time, we want God. We see our need for him, and we love him. We seek after him, and we find him, and we discover that he is indeed the great reward for our salvation…. [W]e are saved to know God. So we yearn for him.”

Sometimes the expectations we place on our husband are higher than he can attain.  We have to take into account our husband’s God-given personality, the home he was raised in and his current walk with God.  Sometimes the very needs we want our husband to meet – our husband will never be able to meet.  Only God can meet them. Releasing our husband from these expectations will bless not only your husband – but you as well.

Grace includes new desires and longings and a turning to God with our disappointments and trusting him to meet our needs.  Grace releases our husband from a wife who criticizes his shortcomings or whines about her unmet needs and replaces her disappointment with the joy of the Lord.

3.) Grace Forgives.

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. ~Matthew 18:21-22

I don’t know what your husband has done or said, but if you hold on to it and refuse to forgive, it will poison your thoughts, your heart and your marriage.  Every.single.marriage has hurts and heartache that must be left at the foot of the cross and exchanged for mercy and grace that only God can give. This is supernatural friends! We do not have it in ourselves to forgive – but with God’s help – we can!

Are you holding on to a hurt that your husband cannot heal for you? Take it to the cross today.

Let . It . Go .

And restore your marriage.

4.) Grace puts on compassion and gentleness.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. ~Ephesians 4:32

We need to be a safe refuge for our husband.

Paula Rinhart says “Man lives with a challenging combination of great expectations amid great isolation. Hunter, gatherer, warrior, husband, brother but don’t let anyone see you sweat.”

Your husband needs to know – it’s okay to sweat…or fail, be frustrated, have a hard day, need alone time…or cry.  As wives, it’s easy to forget the heavy burden that our husband’s carry. God made our men with broad shoulders and they carry the weight of the family on those shoulders every day.  But don’t be fooled by those broad shoulders – they carry insecurities as well.  Compassion will give your husband the space to be open about those burdens and give you the ability to speak into his life and build him up as he bears his burdens.

5.) Grace prays.

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. ~ James 5;16

It’s easy to nag, criticize, or try to control your husband.  It’s hard to sit back and pray.  But grace prays.

Grace recognizes the power in prayer and trusts the frustrations you have with your husband – into the hands of the loving heavenly Father.

Do you see how vital grace is?  

It is vital in the reconciliation we have with our heavenly Father and it is vital in our marriages!  Let’s start living it out today!

This week’s challenge: 

Before you can extend grace to others, start with the preparation of a pure and tender heart. Pray asking God for wisdom and guidance in this area. Think of how God’s grace has impacted your life, and acknowledge the areas where you have been forgiven.

Consider – what area in your marriage do you need to extend a wee bit more grace? Now begin this week extending the grace  you’ve received from God, to your husband.  Watch as God transforms your marriage!

Chime In: Which of the 5 Ways do you need to work on in your marriage? 

Walk with the King,

Courtney

**This post is a part of the…

Embrace[3]

Coming next:

September 8: Embracing Change
September 15: Embracing Your Differences
September 22: Embracing Oneness
September 29: Embracing Your Friendship

Today my friends pictured above are also writing on
Embracing Grace in Your Marriage.

Please visit them!

Darlene Schacht at TimeWarpWife.com
Jennifer Smith at UnveiledWife.com
Sheila Gregoire at ToLoveHonorandVacuum.com
Ashleigh Slater at AshleighSlater.com
Lisa Jacobson at Club31Women.com

 

The Effects of Feminism On Women in the Church

Rural Church, Midwest, Ohio, near Akron, USA

 

Today we conclude our series titled: {Radical} Women –Living Well.

As we study Titus 2:3-5, we find the passage quite simple to understand:

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbandsthat the word of God may not be reviled. (esv)

It’s simple to understand Titus 2:3-5.

So extremely simple.

But so extremely difficult to live out, in a world where feminism has blurred the thinking of women in the church.  Women who have been taught by the world rather than God’s Word, what to value.  Then they bring these values into the church.

But we are not to value the world’s philosophies – but rather obey the Word of God.  Conflict is raised – even within the church – when we talk about women’s roles and this is why living according to Titus 2 is truly {Radical} living!

Last Friday, I mentioned in my blog post how I have emptied trash cans, hung towels, emptied laundry baskets and hung my husband’s pants probably a thousand times.  A woman commented:

“Aren’t you treating your husband like a child, cleaning up after him?”

When we take care of our husband by doing work in the home for him –are we treating him like a child?  Should he be left to take care of himself – do his own laundry, cook his own meals, empty his own trash cans, make his own bed, and hang his own pants?

This is a very real and valid question to ask – especially within the culture we live where both men and women work and both men and women split household chores.  In our home, I homeschool 20 hours a week during the school year while balancing around 30 hours a week of blogging.  My plate is full…but my husband’s needs remain at the top of my to-do list.

Some women are married to neat freaks who never leave a towel on the floor and always do their own laundry. Others are married to a man who shows love through acts of service and so though he may not enjoy doing these things, he lovingly does them to help out.  While others – like my husband, prefer to not do these sorts of chores after a long day of work.  The Bible does not clearly tell us how to divide housework in the home.  So there is not a “one-size fits all” approach.  But all husbands have needs in the home and their needs should be a priority to us.

Now in answer to the reader’s question, my husband certainly does not feel like he is treated like a child in our home. He is the respected head of the house. And when I do these things for him – he feels loved and cared for.  If anything – he feels like a king (Lol!) and he knows his wife is unique and I think that makes him love me all the more.

Many women go to work and do whatever their boss asks them to do.  It’s interesting that these women are willing to do so much for a paycheck – yet so little for the man they make love to.  Does the work of cooking, cleaning, rocking babies and teaching children only become valuable if we are paid to do it for someone else’s kids or home?

Feminism would lead you to believe this.  But the Bible flip flops this completely and tells women in Titus 2 to love our husband and children and do work in our homes – not for a paycheck or man’s praise but for a more important reason…

“that the word of God may not be reviled.” (Titus 2:5)

Revile means to discredit, dishonor, or condemn.

So why does God ask women to do these counter-cultural things?

That the word of God would not be dishonored and discredited.

Have we considered that living just like the world discredits the word of God?  Have we  allowed feminist thoughts to   deceive us?  God does not tell us to do this just for our own sake – but for His sake – for His glory.

Feminism is as old as the garden of Eden. In Genesis 2, God commanded Adam to not eat fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  Eve was deceived by the serpent and took a bite despite being told by Adam to not eat of the tree.  Then she gave some to her husband Adam to eat.  Eve usurped her husband and sinned first in Genesis 3  but in Romans 5 – it is Adam who is held responsible, as the head of the household, for their sin.

You see, {radical} living requires {radical} obedience to God’s word.  And obedience is hard – and so like Eve – we make excuses for why we should not obey God’s word.  It’s easy to come up with excuses because the feminists have been training us through media for years.  It’s easier to follow their ways than God’s but like Eve in the garden, in the end, it leads to pain and suffering and it leads to Christianity being discredited.

And Titus 2 is pretty simple to read…and understand. But it asks a lot of us as women. It requires us to think differently than the world, differently than the feminist agenda and differently at opportunities that come our way.

Are you willing to be a {Radical} Woman –Living Well?

It’s more simple than some would like you to believe.

Go love on your husband and children, be self-controlled, pure, do your work at home, and be kind and submissive to your husband.  Obey Titus 2:3-5.

Walk with the King,

Courtney

***This post is a part of the Summer {Radical} Women Living Well Series.  Here are the other posts in this series.

{Radical} Women –Living Well

4 Qualities of {Radical} Older Women

4 {Radical} Ways to Love Your Husband and Children

5 {Radical} Qualities Young Women Should Pursue

5 {Radical} Qualities Young Women Should Pursue

5 Radical qualities young women should pursue

Older women are not off the hook with this post…because all of the qualities listed for young women to learn –older women should be role-modeling for us.  Now remember, grace.  We are all a work in progress and none of us will have these mastered perfectly…ever.   That is why we need the power of Jesus in our lives.  He helps us become the {radical} woman he calls us to be.

Titus 2:3-5 says:

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

This list from Titus 2 is truly {Radical}.

Let’s take a look at the 5 {Radical} qualities young women should pursue according to Titus 2:5.

1.) Self-Control  

A {radical} young woman pursues self-control.  She is self-controlled with her spending habits, her words, her temper, her appetites, her priorities, and her use of time.  As she pursues intimacy with God, her soul is satisfied and she finds contentment and strength through his Spirit.  A woman who has self-control is a woman who has a strong prayer life.  I find myself regularly calling out to God in moments of weakness asking God to please give me strength to have self-control.  If you are in this place today – go to God’s throne and ask him for self-control.  He wants to help you.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. ~ I Timothy 6:6

2.) Purity

The greek word for purity here is ‘hagnos’ and is referring to moral and sexual purity.  A {radical} young woman is faithful to her husband. She is not a flirt, she dresses modestly, she is trustworthy and has a pure heart.  In a world where purity is mocked and immorality is glorified, she stands out as one who is not polluted.  Singers and actors applauded with Oscars, Emmys and other awards, flaunt their sexuality and the world idolizes it.

But God says ” Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Hebrews 13:4

3.) Working at Home

First I want to focus on the word – “working“.  A Godly woman is not lazy – she is to be a hard worker.

Now the “at home” part. Oh dear, must we get so controversial?  Scripture says it – so I can’t skip over this.  When Paul wrote Titus 2 – he did not feel the need to qualify it.  In his culture, women would have been expected to sew the family’s clothing, plant a garden,  grind her own wheat, cook over fire, wash the clothes down by a river, care for the children, care for the poor and open her home to guests.  Her work in the home was a necessity to survival.

But many of these women helped the family out financially by selling some of the things they had sown (like the Proverbs 31 woman or Lydia the seller of purple), or selling baked goods or teaching children.  This passage does not forbid women to earn an income.   But a {radical} young woman should be especially skilled in her homemaking abilities.

{Radical} women – we should shine like lights in a dark world. We should love maintaining a warm cozy home for our family and those passing through.  Our home should stand out as the most inviting place in the neighborhood – and  I’m not talking about having the best decorations. Let’s not treat housework as a mindless, brain numbing, waste of time —as the world would convince us to believe.  Clearly – God values women “working at home” so much that he put it in scripture.  We should value what God values.

 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. ~ Proverbs 31:27

(for more encouragement on diligence in the home, subscribe to Women Living Well and receive my free Proverbs 31 ebook and video series.)

4.) Kind

A kind woman is a {radical} woman who is careful with her words, generous, thoughtful and compassionate.  She is cheerfully helpful and gracious when wronged.  Her husband and children see her as a kind woman.  Would your family describe you this way?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22, 23

5.) Submissive to their own husbands

First, I love that this passage specifies — submission “to our own” husband.  Women are not inferior to men and we are not to submit to ALL men.   There’s just one specific relationship where God has called us to submit and it is to our husband.  This is where feminists unite and have a bra burning.  But a {radical] young woman – doesn’t participate in those.  She stands out in this modern world as a woman who allows her husband to take the lead.  Like a couple doing a ballroom dance, the husband leads as she follows and together their life is beautiful. Is learning the dance difficult and frustrating at times?   You bet. That’s why we need older women – role modeling and teaching younger women how to dance well.

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. ~ Colossians 3:18

In conclusion, every woman should strive to be a Titus 2 Woman.  Some of us need to work on becoming the Titus 2 older woman.  Others of us need to work on becoming the Titus 2 younger woman.  Most churches fail to encourage and create an environment where this sort of mentorship takes place.  We have organized retreats and events – but real life connections where older women connect and teach and train younger women – specifically how to love their husbands and children and how to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind and submissive to their husbands…are woefully lacking.

{Radical} Women – I plead with you – reach out to each other.  Connect with each other. Give each other grace and love and kindness and together let’s pursue becoming Titus 2 {radical} women – to the glory of God!

Chime In: Young Women – what are you pursuing?  Are you pursuing the above 5 qualities that God has called us to pursue?  Which do you find the hardest?

Older Women, who are you teaching and training to become like the above?

Walk with the King,

Courtney

***This post is a part of the Summer {Radical} Women Living Well Series.  Here are the other posts in this series.

{Radical} Women –Living Well

4 Qualities of a {Radical} Older Woman

4 {Radical} Ways to Love Your Husband and Children

The Effects of Feminism on Women In the Church