Marriage of the Minds

“Love never gripes.”

Ouch.

I’m pretty sure it doesn’t nag, pester, and stomp around, releasing exasperated sighs, either. Yet I’ve done my fair share of all those. But over the years, God has been showing both my husband and I a better way.

livingbygracepic-jp

Marriage of the Minds
By Gail Kittleson

Our marriage of nearly thirty-eight years has certainly tested the waters. The first decade, engrossed in childbearing and rearing, simplified life. So much to do, so much to child-1065633_640focus on, I rarely felt unfulfilled.

My husband agrees—his work provided purpose and satisfaction, although it took some time to settle into that work. Our missionary stint in Africa ended in seeming failure, but led to him finding his niche stateside.

We divided duties much as our parents, Greatest Generation members, did. I took care of the household and children, while my husband brought in the bacon. However, he helped out with the children in many ways—his mother commented more than once that his dad definitely never changed a diaper or took turns with night watches.

The “love chapter,” I Corinthians 13, read at so many weddings,
sets high standards for us, married or not.

“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:7, NLT).

And Shakespeare agrees:

SONNET 116 PARAPHRASE
Let me not to the marriage of true minds Let me not declare any reasons why two
Admit impediments. Love is not love True-minded people should not be married. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds, Which changes when it finds a change in circumstances …

 

My husband and I married in 1978, after age 25 and earning master’s degrees. We were settled. But the third decade of our union brought more strife and tension than either of us expected.

Some of this might have been due to my husband’s two year + deployments to Iraq. But my slow emotional development played a role, too. During the early years, more than happy to take care of everyone and everything, I saw rescuing and fixing as my spiritual gifts.

Oops.

In fact, I neglected my own growth and gifts along the way. Looking back, I think I’d have old-people-275319_640been happier if I’d enjoyed the self-confidence to pursue my writing career. But I didn’t, and building confidence takes a long time. A patient spouse helps too.

I’m happy to say we continued our journey together in spite of some nasty bumps that jostled us out of complacency. This winter, we spent one of our most memorable months together, my husband enjoying his relatively new photography hobby, and me editing away on a novel.

I hope our story encourages anyone enduring a bumpy time right now.

“It (love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes,
always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:7, NIV).

***

In This TogetherAfter losing her only son to World War II and her husband soon after, Dottie Kyle takes a job at a local small-town Iowa boarding house. Her daughter Cora moved to California straight out of high school to work for the war effort, married a sailor and settled down in the Golden State—another loss.

Dottie cooks and cleans, volunteers at her church, and tends her garden. But she hungers to meet her two precious grandbabies on the coast. When troubles arise in Cora’s third pregnancy, Dottie longs to help, but old fears prohibit that arduous, cross-country train journey.

At the boarding house, complications arise that force Dottie to speak up for what’s right, and as her confidence grows, so does the unexpected interest of the widower next door. Dottie has no idea second chances wait right around the corner.

Find In This Together on Wild Rose Publishing, Amazon, Bookstrand, All Romance eBooks, and Kobo.

 

***

Gail KittlesonGail, a late but sincere bloomer, taught college expository writing and ESL. Now she focuses on women’s fiction and facilitates writing workshops and women’s retreats. She and her husband enjoy family in northern Iowa, and the Arizona Ponderosa forest in winter.

Meeting new reading and writing friends is the meringue on her pie, as her heroine Dottie would say.

Connect with Gail on her web site, Facebook, her Facebook Author’s Page, LinkedIn, and Goodreads.

***

livingbygracepic-jp

Let’s talk about this: Gail talked about how her marriage went through some rough times, and pointed us to Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians. How do you and your spouse work through rough moments in your marriage? How do you bring–and keep–God as the center of your relationship with your spouse? Share your thoughts in the comments below, because we can all learn from one another!

Advertisements

Are You a Noise Maker or a Loving Ambassador?

We all have friends, co-workers, neighbors that grate on us. Those who appear to be seeking a ready and devoted audience, who’s only aim is to convince others of their beliefs and opinions… at all costs.

Then we have those friends who vacillate between varying ideologies, whatever one is the most popular at the time, so as not to create strife or offend. Or perhaps they say nothing at all, so fearful of other’s opinions they become emotionally paralyzed.

Web1Is there a balance? Today Tamera Kraft, author of A Christmas Promise, attempts to speak to this question, but before you read her thoughts, I encourage you to read the passage I alluded to in my title, 1 Corinthians 13. You can do so here.

I also encourage you to visit Tamera’s blog to read a piece I wrote suggesting five ways writers can strengthen their writing. Yep, she and I did a blog swap! How fun is that? On another fun note, I received my author copies in the mail yesterday. You know what that means, right? This is really happening. 🙂 It also means reviews should be coming out any day now. Eek. That makes me nervous. Add to that the fact that I have an interview on KCRO Wednesday, (You can read about that here.) and that I’ll be speaking down at the Streets in a week from Saturday… (You can read about that here.) Um… I think I’m being stretched, but in a good way.

But enough blabbering.

Speak the Truth in Love

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

Because of our politically correct society, as Christians, we sometimes feel we have to walk a tightrope when it comes to speaking the truth in love. If we adhere to Biblical truth, we’re ID-10035039considered hate mongers and bullies. But if we water down the Gospel of Jesus Christ, are we really showing love?

For instance, if I don’t want to offend somebody who believes all ways lead to God and don’t tell him the truth, that Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven, how much love am I showing? The truth will set him free. Telling him what he wants to hear will send him to Hell.

Nobody enjoys being cornered by a legalistic, uncaring Christian who only wants to prove others wrong. But we have an obligation to show the love of Christ and build a rapport with those who don’t know or who don’t care about the truth.

The old adage is true: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

If we really care about someone, we will tell her the truth of God’s Word. We will tell him sin leads to death, and that God has provided a way to life through Jesus Christ. Jesus, God’s only Son, is not one way of many to reconcile with God, He’s the only way to God.

We need to speak the truth in love, but we need to speak it. Our politically correct society sends the wrong message to this generation, a message that will condemn them to darkness. But we have the truth. Woe to us if we keep silent.

Psalm 86:11 Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in  Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.

John 8:31-32… So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the  truth, and the truth will set you free.

1 John 3:18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed  and in truth.

Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures and writes Christian historical fiction set in America because there are so many adventures in American history. She has two novellas published: A Christmas Promise through Harbourlight and Soldier’s Heart through Helping Hands Press. She is married to the love of her life, has two grown children, and lives in Akron, Ohio.

Tamera is also the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire For Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist. She has curriculum published and is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.

You can contact Tamera online at these sites.

Word Sharpeners Blog: http://tameralynnkraft.com

Website: http://tameralynnkraft.net

Facebook: http://facebook.com/tameralynnkraft

Twitter: @tamerakraft

AChristmasPromise_medA Christmas Promise:

A Moravian Holiday Story, Circa 1773

During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away to help at another settlement two days before Christmas, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day.

When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas.

Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

Available at these online stores:

AMAZON

PELICAN BOOK GROUP

CHRISTIANBOOK

 

Let’s talk about this. I suspect each of us tend to err on one side of this issue. I think I jump back and forth between one of two extremes–keeping my mouth shut when I should speak, or blurting out massive amounts of forceful, potentially hurtful, words when I should be quiet and prayerful. It’s a hard balance to find.

LivingbyGracepicHow do you believe we find the perfect balance between speaking the truth and loving our listener? When we find we’ve erred on one side or the other, what can do? Share your thoughts in the comments before or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

 

Cherishing Your Spouse

Today’s reading: Proverbs 5:15-23; Song of Songs 5:9-16

Today’s focal verse: Proverbs 5:18 Be happy with the wife you married when you were young. She gives you joy, as your fountain gives you water.

This week’s memory verse: Proverbs 6:16-17 There are six things the LORD hates–no, seven things He detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent. (To keep this verse manageable, I cut it off at 17. If you want to memorize all six things God hates, you can find it here: Proverbs 6:16-19

You’ve probably heard the saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side.” Have you also heard, “The grass is greener where there’s more water?” Or, in other words, if your neighbor’s lawn looks more vibrant than yours, chances are he’s spent a bit more time with the upkeep. 😉

photo-1 copyIn today’s devotion, author and social-media-guru, Edie Melson, encourages us to cherish our spouse for who they are and not who we wish they’d be.

Cherish Your Spouse

Be happy with the wife you married when you were young.
    She gives you joy, as your fountain gives you water. Proverbs 5:18

 

Early on in our marriage, I decided it was my job to help my husband improve himself. I thought I was just acting like any good wife, but you men have another word for it—nagging. I never thought what I was doing qualified as nagging; after all, I was just trying to help!

What I was actually doing was getting ahead of God. He knows, so much better than anyone else, what each of us needs to become more Christ-like. But He knows something else—the order in which those changes need to be made. And my attempts to help were actually hindering my husband’s growth.

When I was looking for ways to help my husband grow, I wasn’t cherishing the ways he’d already grown as a husband and as a man. And it was driving a wedge between us as a couple.

There was another problem with my focus, it kept me from concentrating on my own growth. It’s amazing how easy it is to see someone else’s faults and not your own.

This attempt to help God doesn’t just apply to married couples. Nagging can enter into any relationship. Once I started waiting on God and concentrating on the things He wanted to accomplish in me, the rocky road of a new relationship began to smooth out.

I could see the long way God had yet to go with me, and the long way He’d come with my husband. I once again found joy in the man I’d chosen to share my life with.

Challenge: Who are you trying to help God with? I invite you to join me, and give the responsibility of change over to God and let Him work.

Edie Melson is a freelance writer and editor with years of experience in the publishing industry. She’s a prolific writer, and has a popular writing blog, The Write Conversation. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, as well as a popular faculty member at numerous others. Her new book, Connections: Social Media & Networking Techniques for Writers will be released on February 1, 2013. She’s also the social media columnist for Southern Writers Magazine and social media coach for My Book Therapy. Connect with her through Twitter and Facebook.

DSC_5705 - Version 2Connections:

Social Media & Networking Techniques for Writers:

“So how much time do I really have to spend on social networking?”

It’s the question that plagues every armchair marketer. What is Social Media? How much time do I need to spend on Facebook and Twitter? Do I need Pinterest? What about my blog—who is going to follow it?

Social Networking can be overwhelming—yet it’s essential for a successful writer. With the right techniques, it can be streamlined and maximized to produce exactly the results you need to further your writing career.

Edie Melson puts this crazy world of social media into perspective and gives writers the tools needed to succeed and still find time to write.

***

Let’s talk about this. Pause for a moment to consider how you view your spouse. More often than not, are you seeking out and appreciating his/her positive qualities, or do you tend to zero in on their weaknesses? I think we all have times when we’re a bit more negative than others, but that doesn’t mean we need to stay in negativity. I’ve often said, if you look for the negative, you’ll find it every time. But the converse is also true. If you look for the positive, I suspect, you’ll find it’s been there all along.

Today, I encourage you to write your spouse a letter, listing the five things you most appreciate about them.

What is one thing you can and will do to show your spouse you love and appreciate them today?

Few things wrench my heart like listening to one spouse speak negatively about the other. I’ve often wondered how I would feel to know Steve were talking negatively about me. Honestly, it’d break my heart. I’m blessed that he doesn’t do that, and I hope you can say the same.

Pause to prayerfully consider your marriage–your heart–in light of the words in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

What are some situations that challenge your patience? How can you show more patience in that situation? And more importantly, will you choose to?

What is an area your spouse has shown you patience? (I must admit, my list would be quite long here! Which is a great reminder to me to offer my husband the same grace!)

How does pride increase quarrels?

When I consider verse five, I’m reminded of Romans 12:10

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Quite honestly, I tend to honor myself above everyone else, including my spouse. But marital intimacy and growth demands the opposite–that I die to myself and think of my spouse first.

But if I’m truly honoring my spouse, I will refuse to make cutting or negative remarks. I will find ways to bless him, even when it is inconvenient or I am tired. I will not demand my own way but will instead, seek out what’s in his best interest and the best interest of my family. I will find ways to build him up throughout the day.

What about you? How has today’s devotion challenged you, or, what are some changes you’ve made personally that have blessed your marriage? Join the conversation in the comments below or by joining our Yahoo Proverbs study group.


Click to join ProverbsStudy