Saturday, June 18, 2011

Chapter 2 - A Merry Heart

"The bible tells us that the JOY of the Lord is our strength.  For this marriage-making journey you're on, you will need all the strength afforded by the joy of the Lord." This is the opening line of the chapter, and it  could not be more true.  What type of strength? you ask. Here are some things I've needed strength for:
-Strength to keep my mouth closed (sometimes nothing but God's power can do that)
-Strength to put my beloved first (getting out of bed at 6 am to make his lunch and/or drive him to work is HARD!)
-Strength to give a soft answer
-Strength to repel bitterness (it's not fair that I have to...*insert bitter answer here*)
-Strength to "get over it" (instead of overanalyzing the situation until the cows come home)
-Strength to forgive (myself and him)
-Please feel free to share what type of strength you've acquired from having the joy of the Lord!

Debi suggests Proverbs 17:22, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine." She says that a merry heart is the foundation of health and happiness. Remember this. Write it down. Say it out loud.

The early stages of dating are always so fun and exciting. We ladies are sweet and charming. There's always laughter in the air, and we can't stop smiling.  When does that smile stop?  It shouldn't ever, but too often it does (even in the first year due to disillusionment)! Do you still smile at him like you did when you first fell in love? Do you plan fun activities for you to do together like you did when you were dating?  "Are you still the same sweet little thing, or have you become a long-faced, sickly complainer? Is he still your lover? What would he say?"

One Ugly Hillbilly!
Debi told a story about an overweight hillbilly woman that worked in a local hardware store. There were always several men standing around her, laughing.  Her appearance was not appealing whatsoever, but she was always smiling, laughing, and giggling.  One day Debi and her husband were in the grocery store and they saw the same hillbilly woman yelling at her daughter. "Gone were the smiles, giggles, and radiance that had so captivated everyone at the hardward store. In their place was a bitter, ugly snarl."  As they were leaving the store, Debi's husband said that she looked familiar.  Debi told him who she was, and he could not believe it...he said he did not remember her looking like that.  She looked the same, but "all she lacked was her glorious smile.  It was her most valuable asset.  Her face was always so radiant, her smile so infectious, her laughter so sweet, and her eyes so earnest that people simply saw her as cute!"

Debi goes on to say that everyone is drawn to a smile, and men are highly attracted to smiles.  Such a simple concept, yet how often do we consciously make an effort to smile and laugh at our mate (and others as well)? I've been really trying to do this more, and I find that it improves MY mood to smile! It's a win-win.

The Desparate Wife
Debi received a letter from a desperate wife whose husband was having an emotional affair with his secretary.  Debi gave her an AMAZING response, I wish you could read it all.  If you are in this situation, PLEASE track down a book and read pages 28-32. It will empower you. Basically, her points were:

  • The husband is wrong for his actions, but if you want to win him back, change your game plan.
  • Stand by your rights and stand alone, or play by his rules, "court" him, and WIN back his favor...
  • He finds his identity in a woman's approval and admiration. Let that be YOURS.
  • No man has ever crawled out from under his wife's criticism to be a better man - no matter how justified her condemnation - this statement will forever ring in my ears.
  • "Forget your rights as a wife and forget his Christian obligations to his vows. You must act as if you and the secretary are engaged in open competition for this man."
  • "The tool of your warfar is your loving, kind, delightful, radiant, adoring self."
  • God is on your side. Fight and WIN.
When a woman humbles herself and forgives her husband (for anything, really), she wins back not only his affection, but hopefully he will realize his foolish actions and she will be cherished.

The day you have a merry heart will be the first day of rebuilding your marriage into the heavenly gift it was meant to be. :)

Time to Consider
~Do a study on the word JOY. Write down and memorize your favorite verses on joy.
~"Every morning, let the first thing your husband sees on your face be a gentle smile, even if your eyes are still closed."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chapter 1 - God's Gift

Everyone says first year of marriage is hard.  I didn't quite know what that meant until I was screaming and angrily throwing a spoon at my love's neck. Yeah. Surprised? I threw lots of things. It was disgusting. It's actually really embarrassing.
What happened to newlywed bliss? What happened to young love? It was nowhere to be found the months. I was a monster.  Seriously. Then I started reading the book Created to Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl.  And my life changed. My mindset transformed, attitude turned around, disposition lightened, and heart softened.  I had NOT been fulfilling my role as the help meet God created me to be. Therefore, I was not happy. And neither was my husband.

Chapter 1

"A wise woman doesn't take anything for granted. She is thankful to be loved and seeks to make herself more lovely." - Debi Pearl

As you wedded ladies have probably already discovered, you didn't just marry "the right man" and are living happily ever after. Both parties involved in matrimony are selfish sinners, so it takes a TON of work to create a heavenly marriage. Debi says, "Just like anything worthwhile, it takes doing the right things every day...every hour...every moment."
Boy is that the truth.

In Genesis 2:18 God said that it is not good that man should be he made a help meet for him. That's where we come in. We are indispensable. God made us for the specific purpose of meeting the needs of a man.  This is our purpose for existing!  Debi asks some tough questions to start things off:
  • If God created a special woman, perfectly suited to be your husband's helper, would you be that woman?
  • Does your husband share Adam's feelings of delight when he looks upon you?
  • Do you wake each morning ready to make your husband happy and blessed, to serve him to the best of your ability - to be his helper?
  • Are you engaged in active goodwill toward your man?...This is God's perfect will for you.
She makes some convicting analogies as well:
  • When you are a help meet to your husband, you are a helper to Christ.
  • When you honor your husband, you honor God.
  • When you obey your husband you obey God.
These words honor, obey, help, serve...these are the words that should define us.  They don't seem so bad when you're care-free and single, or falling in love, or happily planning a wedding, or jest hitched. But just wait until the dishes are piled up, the house is a mess, the phone is ringing, the kids are screaming, and your husband just walked in the door expecting dinner on the table.  THAT is when those words need to define us the most. And it won't come naturally. No...naturally, we would want to scream and run away. So we have to train our hearts and minds to see ourselves as designed for the sole purpose of honoring, obeying, helping, and serving GOD through honoring, obeying, helping, and serving our man. Sometimes, knowing that we're serving our Lord is the only thing that will carry us through those challenging times.

"God's will is that you be a suitable helper to your husband." But what if we know we can do a better job at leading than our husbands?  Sometimes we just have more experience with something, or we're plain 'ol better at something than he is. I bet you can think of a job he has as the leader that you know you can do better. Debi says, "It is not a question of whether or not you can do a better job than he; it is a matter of doing what you were 'designed' to do. If you successfully do the job of leading the family, you will not find satisfaction in it. It is far better that the job be done poorly by your husband than to be done well by you." God's design for the marriage relationship is perfect. How dare we think we can do a better job.

Being a helper does not equal inferiority.  It just means we are in a position to help one in authority do their job - better!  Men are created to be helpers of God, and we are to help our man in that goal...making him more productive and efficient at whatever he chooses to do.  You have no authority to set the agenda. But if he can trust you, he will make you is closest advisor...

Here's how Debi describes what a perfect help meet looks like:
  • Does not require a list of chores, as would a child
  • Her readiness to please motivates her to look around and see things she knows her husband would like to see done
  • She should not use lame excuses to avoid these jobs
The very fact that you are reading this indicates that your heart's desire is to honor God by becoming a real help meet to you man.

*At the end of every chapter, she gives ways to apply what we've learned....

>Make a new habit: Think of ways you can be a helper to your husband. Start today!