Soul-Care Articles: Christ-centered, Spirit-led, Biblically-based, Clinically-sound, Truth-oriented

Archive for the ‘Miracles’ Category

What To Do When You Are Lonely In Marriage

SOURCE:  Mark Merrill

As humans, we are not meant to be isolated. We all crave deep and lasting connections with other people. But we know it’s possible to feel alone in the middle of a crowd, and it’s possible to sleep in the same bed with someone for years and still feel lonely. Many of us never expect to be lonely in marriage, hoping that our spouse will be the lifelong companion who saves us from loneliness. Over time, however, couples can gradually disconnect from one another and find themselves feeling isolated and withdrawn.

Loneliness is not just about physical proximity, it’s about emotional connection. FamilyLife’s Dr. Dennis Rainey and his wife, Barbara, explain, “You may have sex, but you don’t have love. You may talk, but you don’t communicate. You live together, but you don’t share life.”

If you’re feeling lonely in your marriage, here are some ways to reconnect with your spouse:

Make the first move. Feelings of loneliness are seldom felt by only one person in a relationship. If you’re feeling isolated, chances are your spouse is, too. Take the first step to reconnecting with them, even if it’s just a small gesture. Open up to them about how you feel and give them an opportunity to do the same. Healing cannot begin if you hide or mask your pain.

Forgive past hurts. Especially if you have been feeling alone for a long time, hurts have likely been building up in your marriage. Nothing breeds loneliness more than unforgiven hurt and conflict. If you have been wronged, make the decision to forgive your spouse. And if you have wounded them, seek their forgiveness immediately.

Spend time together. This seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes couples get so busy or caught up in their individual lives that they neglect to simply spend time together. The less time a couple spends together, the more likely they are to feel distant from each other. This can be resolved by deliberately scheduling date nights in, date nights out, TV-free nights, and occasional weekend getaways—just for the two of you.

Make your time count. The quantity of time together is important, but so is the quality of that time. Couples have to be intentional about their time together to create a marital connection. When you and your spouse are talking, put down your cell phone, set aside distractions, and focus on each other. Find ways to bond over shared experiences: taking a walk, cooking dinner, going to a concert or sporting event, or playing a board game or cards together. Encourage and compliment your spouse. Make your moments together count.

Prioritize physical closeness. This is not just referring to sexual intimacy, though that is certainly an important part of marital closeness, but also to the little things that may have fallen by the wayside like holding hands or snuggling on the couch. The key to resurrecting physical touch is to start small. Sit close to each other, give neck massages, and pull out a surprise kiss. Getting closer physically will naturally lead to feeling closer emotionally.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. While the idea of seeking outside input on your marriage can be intimidating to many people, nearly every couple can benefit from marriage counseling. Getting an outside perspective can be extremely helpful to you and your spouse. Read my post to help determine if you should get counseling, and find tips to make sure you find the best counselor for you.

You may feel lonely in your marriage, but you are not alone in the struggle for marital intimacy. We have all experienced loneliness in our lives, but you don’t have to feel it in your marriage.

Advertisements

Articles: “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” and “Jesus, The Perfect Man”

Source:  Bill Bellican

Article_ CA_Yes Virginia_Jesus Perfect Man

The linked articles (above) have run in the Memphis Commericial Appeal in years past.  I don’t know if that still is the case.

“Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” originally was first printed in 1897; “Jesus, The Perfect Man” was first printed in 1912.

I cut these out of the paper a number of years ago and still enjoy them.  I hope you enjoy them, too.

Blessings in Christ……

Marriage: Making it happen without robbing a bank

SOURCE:  Today’s Christian Woman

Looking for a way to make your marriage a priority in the midst of rearing your family?

Consider these strategies:

Childcare Options:
  1. Hire a teenager to commit to one night a week as your babysitter. This keeps your dates regularly scheduled and allows your children to become accustomed to a regular sitter.
  2. If grandparents, aunts, or uncles live in town, ask them to consider having a special night with the kids every week or every other week.
  3. Trade sitting with another family. One night you watch their children and the next week they watch yours.
Inexpensive Dates:
  1. Share a meal when you eat out. (Make sure to tip the waiter the estimated cost of two meals because he’s serving two people.)
  2. Check out the local ice cream shop and order a root beer float complete with two straws!
  3. Explore the zoo or a museum.
  4. Take ballroom dancing classes at the local Parks and Recreation Center.
  5. Go out for pie.
“No Cost” Dates
  1. Take a walk in the park, holding hands and talking.
  2. Spread a blanket on the ground and enjoy the night sky.
  3. Take a bike ride.
  4. Go to a bookstore and find books to look at and dream together.
  5. Revisit the location of your first date and reminisce.
  6. Put the kids to bed and watch your wedding video or look at your wedding photos.
  7. Take a drive in the country and talk about your dream home.
  8. Slow dance in your bedroom or living room.
  9. Have a quiet evening at home, make a meal, light some candles, and rent a movie.

When Jesus Makes You Wait in Pain

SOURCE:  Jon Bloom/Desiring God

The reason there was a “Palm Sunday” was because Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 12:17–18). It was perhaps the most powerful, hope-giving miracle Jesus ever performed during his pre-cross ministry; the capstone sign of who he was (John 5:21–25).

That’s why the Apostle John wrote, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was” (John 11:5–6).

The word “so” connecting those two sentences is stunning. The most loving thing Jesus could do at that moment was to let Lazarus die. But it didn’t look or feel like love to Martha.


“Martha, the Teacher has come. He’s near the village.”

Martha’s emotions collided. Just hearing that Jesus was near resuscitated hope in her soul — the same hope she had felt the day she sent word for him to come.

But it was quickly smothered with grief and disappointment. Lazarus had died four days earlier. She had prayed desperately that Jesus would come in time. God had not answered her prayers. What could Jesus do now?

And yet… if anyone could do something, Jesus could. He had the words of eternal life (John 6:68). Martha hurried out.

When she saw Jesus, she could not restrain her grief and love. She collapsed at his feet and sobbed, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Jesus laid his hand on her head.

He had come to Bethany to destroy the devil’s works (1 John 3:8) in Lazarus. He had come to give death a taste of its coming final defeat (1 Corinthians 15:26). He had come to show that now was the time when the dead would hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who heard would live (John 5:25).

Martha did not know all this. Neither did she know that what was about to happen would hasten Jesus’ own death—a death that would purchase her resurrection and both of Lazarus’s. She didn’t know how this weighed on him, how great was his distress until it was accomplished (Luke 12:50).

But Jesus’ wordless kindness soothed her.

When Martha’s sorrowful convulsion had passed she said, “But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”

Jesus gently lifted Martha’s eyes and looked at her with affectionate intensity. “Your brother will rise again.”

His living words revived her hope. Could he mean…? No. She dared not let herself hope in that way. Not after four days.

“I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”

Yes. Lazarus would rise again on the last day. Martha had no idea how deeply Jesus longed for that day. But Jesus meant more than that.

He replied, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

The power with which Jesus spoke caused faith to swell in Martha’s soul. She wasn’t sure what this all meant, but as he spoke it was as if death itself was being swallowed up (1 Corinthians 15:54). No one ever spoke like this man (John 7:46).

She answered, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”


We know how this story from John chapter eleven ends. But in the horrible days of Lazarus’s agonizing illness and in the dark misery of the days following his death, Martha did not know what God was doing. He seemed silent and unresponsive. Jesus didn’t come. It’s likely that she knew word had reached him. She was confused, disappointed, and overwhelmed with grief.

And yet, Jesus delayed precisely because he loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus. He knew that Lazarus’s death and resurrection would give maximum glory to God and his friends would all experience maximum joy in that glory. It would make all their suffering seem light and momentary (2 Corinthians 4:17).

When Jesus makes a trusting saint wait in pain, his reasons are only love. God only ordains his child’s deep disappointment and profound suffering in order to give him or her far greater joy in the glory he is preparing to reveal (Romans 8:18).

Before we know what Jesus is doing, circumstances can look all wrong. And we are tempted to interpret God’s apparent inaction as unloving, when in fact God is loving us in the most profound way he possibly can.

So in your anguish of soul, hear Jesus ask with strong affection, “Do you believe this?”


Jon Bloom (@Bloom_Jon) is the author of the forthcoming book Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith (April 30, 2013)

Romantic Differences

SOURCE:  Adapted from an article by by Barbara Rainey/Family Life Ministry

The Same, Only Different

Male and female created he them.

Genesis 1:27

Dennis and I received a cute email about the romantic differences between men and women. It began by asking, “How do you romance a woman?”

Answer: “Wine her, dine her, call her, cuddle with her, surprise her, compliment her hair, shop with her, listen to her talk, buy flowers, hold her hand, write love letters, and be willing to go to the end of the earth and back again for her.” I could go along with that.

But when it asked the same question the other way–“How do you romance a man?”–the answer was much more brief and to the point.

Answer: “Arrive naked. Bring food.”

Ahhh . . . men.

But in a way, this blending of our romantic differences is similar to how you make a good salad dressing.

Oil and vinegar are about as dissimilar as condiments get. The only thing they have in common is that they are liquids. Other than that, they’re night and day. Oil is smooth; vinegar is sharp. Oil is thick; vinegar is thin. Left alone in the same bottle, the two will always migrate to opposite ends and remain there forever–unless shaken.

Interestingly, however, even after the bottle has been shaken, the two ingredients retain their unique identities. And yet they complement each other in a savory unity. Together, they serve as a zesty finish to an otherwise bland mix of lettuces.

And so it is in marriage.

No matter how many times a husband and wife come together, they always remain unique. He will always think like a man; she, like a woman. And although their innate design will never change, they can better understand each other and move to love one another with compassion, knowing that in so doing, they create a savory blend of romantic intrigue.

Pray for patient understanding and for new ways of embracing and loving this wonderful person you married.

Children: The Biggest “Need Machines”

SOURCE:  Adapted from an article by Barbara Rainey/Family Life Ministry

Need Machines

Over our doors are all choice fruits, both new and old, which I have saved up for you, my beloved.

Song of Solomon 7:13

Without question, the biggest deterrent to romance for moms is children.

These sweet, precious, innocent little ones given to us by God are also self-centered, untrained, unending “need machines” who can suck the life out of our marriage. They often leave us feeling like the mother who said, “It’s ironic. Romance gave us our children, and children ended our romance.”

But motherhood can simply be a tempting excuse for giving up sex.

Caught up in her day-in-day-out responsibilities, a mother can experience a slow shift in loyalty from husband to children. She thinks the needs of her children, since they are so helpless and formative, are more important than the needs of her husband. After all, he’s an adult.

True. And yet one reason why this reasoning is faulty–one reason why it’s easy for us to have little sympathy for our husband’s sexual needs–is that we as women are able to experience our femaleness simply by nurturing our children. We feel fully alive as women when we’re caring for them (that is, when we’re not totally exhausted!). We feel a deep, innate sense of well-being and fulfillment; it is an indescribable privilege that brings us profound satisfaction. It’s what we were made to do.

But it’s only part of being a woman. God didn’t create you with the capacity and compulsion to nurture just for the sake of your children. He also meant for you to nurture life in your husband. Maintaining this balance is one of the biggest challenges of the parenting years; your children need to see Dad and Mom in love.

Nurturing life in your husband may not be as automatic as it is with your children, but it is no less important. God will help you balance the needs of both husband and children when you depend upon Him.

Pray for God’s wisdom in balancing life’s demands.

30 Ways to Start a Conversation With Your Spouse

SOURCE:  Family Life Ministry/Tracey Eyster

Recently a friend told me she sometimes has trouble talking with her husband. And I thought,Wouldn’t it be nice if someone made a list of conversation starters that could be used by a husband and a wife for a whole month?

Which then got me to thinking, Well, I am a writer.

1. My funniest memory of our dating days is when …

2. Our kids would freak out if they knew we …

3. Before we are together in heaven, I pray that here on earth we …

4. I have this memory of you in a certain outfit. Remember …

5. The most scared you have ever been was …

6. The happiest you have ever been was …

7. I remember thinking I was courageous when I was young because I …

8. I used to always wish I could …

9. If I could spend a day just talking to any one person, it would be …

10. I wish I had learned to …

11. I picture us old, sitting in a rocking chair and you looking over at me and saying, “Daggum it, we never …”

12. If I could spend 24 hours doing anything in the world with you, it would be …

13. I like it best when you refer to me as …

14. The song that always makes me think of you is …

15. My sweetest memory of us in our youth is when we …

16. My favorite memory of our wedding day is …

17. My greatest need right now as a woman is to …

18. My greatest need right now as a man is to …

19. If I could have any super power, it would be …

20. If I could eat anything and it not affect my health, I would feast on …

21. If I could have lived during a different time period, it would be …

22. I laugh every time I think of you doing …

23. I would so enjoy reading out loud together …

24. If we could be roadies for any musical talent, I would choose …

25. If I had it to do over, I would propose to you by …

26. The world’s best anniversary trip would be to go to …

27. My favorite photo of us is the one where …

28. Did you know that it scares me so much to …

29. When we fell in love, my favorite thing about you back then was …

30. I feel you love me the most when you …

——————————————————————————————————————————————————

This article originally appeared on MomLife Today, FamilyLife’s blog for moms.

[Tracey Eyster is managing editor of MomLife Today and author of the new book, Be the Mom.]

Tag Cloud