Yesterday,, we discussed the topic of benefits!!  

When you hunt for a job, often you look at the benefits the company offers.  Sometimes, you may even be prone to choose the job with the better benefits over the pay.  Benefits can draw you in or deter you from anything!!

Marriage offers many benefits as well; companionship, help, support, physical intimacy, friendship and a partner who hopefully always has your back. But most importantly, if you have a spouse that loves the Lord and places God above all else in his or her life, you reap the wonderful and beautiful benefits of their relationship with Christ as well!

A spouse that loves the Lord will never be perfect, but God will show them how to prioritize their life and how to love others.  God is a master at both things!!

Garrick and I have walked through seasons where we were both doing very well with placing God first and prioritizing well and we have also reaped the negative consequences of failing to do so.  

As we discussed this I shared that a struggle I have consistently struggled with after having children, is giving my spouse my left overs at night.  Being home with the kiddos all day and homeschooling does not wear me out physically, but can mentally drain me to the point where all I want to do when Garrick gets home is stare mindlessly into space in a quiet room filled with chocolate!

I don't want one more person to ask one more thing of me!  When I see Garrick's truck pull in I came to look at it is my reprieve finally arriving rather than my husband being to home spend time with me!

This has been especially difficult as Garrick's top love language is physical affection and verbal affirmations.  So here he comes home from a long day at work and all he wants is  hug, kiss and a welcome from his wife and instead he gets me whizzing past him, passing the baton of parenting with zero affection.  

Though he understands and most all parents can understand that type of mental drainage from constant parenting demands, this is a sure sign of misplaced priorities.  It is not purposeful, yet once I realize this, it is my job to ask God how to curb it.  

I am currently reading a book that is helping me learn how to do just that!!!  Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson.  It gives practical ways to care for myself during the day, so I am not completely drained when my husband walks in the door.  I am also still working how my issue with taking other's emotions and problems on to carry.  I have to learn that some burdens are not mine to carry and I need to leave them with the person they belong to.  This is very hard for me and has been a lifelong battle.  I trust God will deliver me from this in His timing!
Garrick shared that now that he is healthy and completely sober from anything mind altering, he is able to prioritize very well and I totally agree with this.  

He shared that when we first became Christians  and when we first started the church, he struggled with putting so much emphasis on ministry and church functions he neglected his family.  I remember feeling resentful at times when he was prepping a sermon for hours on end or leaving to go to another church function, continuously leaving me to care for the children.  The hard thing is this would appear like a good thing from the outside, he was focusing on God, however, God would never ask so much of him that his family be neglected.  That was his struggle with learning to prioritize.  

Obviously during his season of addiction it was hard to prioritize anything.  God certainly went to the wayside and in turn, everything became out of balance and neglected.  We would both agree this was an ugly time and in turn our family was not flourishing the way God intended.  
Now that God has us back on track.... I can see the beautiful benefits slowly reappearing in our lives.  Garrick is extremely diligent in prioritizing God now, and in turn he is placing everything else in his life in proper order.  I never feel neglected by him, even with his full time job and trying to build a garage and raise four children, he always makes his love for me known and obvious.  

I feel blessed every day to have my God loving husband back!!! 

What did you and your spouse assess were your struggles with prioritizing???

It is never too late to get on the right track!

Ask God what need to be done, be obedient and then sit back and watch your family grow and flourish!!!

Peace and Blessings
Your Friends
Missy and Garrick
 
 
Meaningful, Messy Marriage
❤Moments ❤

(Learning to Let God Lead….. One Day at a Time)
-A Woman Redeemed
Hello my friends!!!!  

Today's marriage devotion is about benefits!!  

 Did you know that there are many benefits to being married???? LOL  I know, I know, there may been times that you have questioned if this is true.... but I promise.... it is!!!  

Aside from the benefits of having one another for company and for help when we need it.... and to help meet needs only our spouse can meet..... the benefits we will talk about today are the benefits we reap when we have a spouse that loves the Lord above all else!!!

Believe it or not..... we receive direct benefits from our spouse if they have a solid and established relationship with God.  Consequently, we also reap the negative effects of a spouse that does not know the Lord or place Him above all else in their life.  

God is very good at keeping our priorities straight and our thoughts and action Godly.  Without Him, it is VERY easy to slip into a pattern of embracing idols and neglecting the very things God desires for us to place first in our lives.  Satan LOoooooVVVVeeeessss this!!  And Satan is so crafty, that he will often present these things as "good" things; things that are beneficial to you.  

An example is a hobby.  Hobbies are good right?  Hobbies allow us to express our creativity and are used an a stress outlet and much needed relaxation.  HOWEVER, hobbies are often placed above God and when this happens, people often struggle prioritizing their hobby in it's proper place.  A hobby should never become more important than our relationship with the Lord or our spouse and family.  

We are going to focus in on this scripture.....

"Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of your labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it all should be well with you.  Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table." Psalm 128:1-3

Though this scripture sounds as though it is mainly focusing in our men, we can apply this scripture to both husband and wives!!!  

What we can learn from this scripture is very simple...... when we put the Lord first...... the rest of our lives will fall into their proper place.  Our spouses will flourish, our children will flourish, you will be blessed.  It takes the guess work out of prioritizing because God will make sure your priorities are in proper order.  

In this last difficult season Garrick and I went through, the effects of misplacing God in our lives were devastating.  They always are, be assured of that.  We are still reaping the negative consequences from this and though God will no doubt, completely restore us, we will never be able to erase the past from our memories or our children's. 

This is where we discuss balance......when you put God first..... your spouse will reap the benefits.... naturally.  In order to do this.... you have to have your daily priorities in proper order.  

Today.... this is what we shall work through in this devotion.  

1.  Take some time and make a list with your spouse of your daily priorities.  

2.  Assess how your prioritize these daily priorities.

3.  Is your current way of prioritizing helping your spouse and children flourish?

4.  Do you need to adjust your way of prioritizing???

In order for our marriages and families to flourish, we must have our priorities stacked God's way....

*God
*Spouse
*Children
*Work

A great acronym I learned to prioritize life is JOY!  Jesus Others You.  This does not mean you should not take care of you.  That is also a necessity, however, we should not constantly be placing our self and our needs above everyone else's and never above God!

This also does not mean we slack off at our jobs, what it means is, you have to be willing to pass up the promotion to make it to your date night with your spouse or your child's game.  Money means nothing if you die alone.  You may climb the corporate ladder, but when you reach the top, you are standing alone.  

Tomorrow, I will share with you what Garrick and I discovered about our own priorities and how this negatively or positively effects our marriage!!!

Peace and Blessings
Your Friends
Missy and Garrick 
 
 
Our focus for this week is focusing on God's promise in Romans 8:28 to work ALL things for good for those that love Him!  There is a very important disclaimer here.... this promise specifically applies to "those that love God," this is not promised to those who do not walk with the Lord.  Those who choose the world and run from God, forgo all of God's beautiful and hope filled promises.  

The other important little tid bit to point out here is what loving God looks like.  Jesus states in John 14:15 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." Loving God goes way deeper than just a verbal expression of loving Him, loving Him means, though you are not perfect at it, not will you ever be, your heart is focused on living for Christ and upholding His commandments.  

CHOOSE GOD! LOVE GOD! FOLLOW GOD!

Okay... so back to the marital focus regarding this scripture.  Our goal was to look at all of the seemingly bad and difficult seasons we have had in our marriages and begin identifying all of the ways God used that situation for good, as He promises.  

We can get our minds and hearts so fixed on the negative and struggle that we fail to see what God was using that situation for to our benefit.  He promises to do just that..... if we love. Him.

In yesterday's post I shared just ONE of the ways that God used our recent painful season for good, as our son expressed he believes God allowed him to live through that painful season with his parents to see the devastating effects substance abuse has and to deter him even more from wanting to use drugs or alcohol.  

That is a MAGNIFICENT praise for Garrick and I.  We are not so naive to believe our son could never fall prey to such things, but we are so grateful that out of a horrible season in his life, God used it to teach him something extremely beneficial and life changing!

As I pondered all of our difficult seasons and all of the "good" God made out of them, I compiled a list of the "good."  God has not wasted one painful experience He has given us.  Here is a short list of the beauty we have seen come from ashes.....

1. Teaching our children how strong they are and that even the seemingly hopeless.... can be restored with God.

2. Building our faith in God's restoring and sovereign power!
Picture
Author Unknown

3. Teaching us to find contentment even when life is uncomfortable and scary.

4. Learning the God will always provide, even when your hands are empty!

5. Giving us a whole new level of empathy and compassion for others that may travel the same road. 

6. Taking judgement out of our hearts, understanding that not one person in this world is beyond a great fall. And when you walk away from God.... that fall is sure to come!

7. Teaching an entirely new level of forgiveness and what this does in growing our hearts to be more like Christ. 

8. Teaching us the strength God can equip us with.  That we are "warriors" and more than conquerors!

9. Learning to lean on and trust in God, not man, not even our spouse.  God is our everything... when everything falls. 

10.  Learning that God's timing is perfect!  Not always in our eyes, but He has the perfect timing laid out for the perfect purpose.  

What are ways God has used your painful seasons for good????  You would not have the strength you have today.... without the seasons that required you to build it!  

Peace and Blessings
Your Friends
Missy and Garrick


 
 
Meaningful, Messy Marriage
❤Moments ❤

(Learning to Let God Lead….. One Day at a Time)
-A Woman Redeemed
I will be the first to admit that it can be very easy for me to slip into a "negative" funk.  Unfortunately, this has always been a bit of my personality.  When something stressful or difficult happens, it is very hard for me to find the silver lining while I am walking through it.  I tend to be a reactor.  I react then I calm down and ponder, allow God to speak and work and then I am able to take it down an notch or 80!! LOL  This kind of runs in my family.  I really don't like this trait, but I have found it to be one of the most difficult to break.  It is a deep rooted stronghold, very much imbedded into my personality.  This is by no means an excuse to keep allowing it to govern me, but it is most difficult to break!

This little struggle of mine has become significantly better since becoming a believer.  Others may not agree, but believe me, I know it has!! LOL  And truly, the biggest issue with the overreacting is it takes God completely out of the equation and puts the circumstances and my catastrophic thinking on His throne.  If I truly believe, which I most certainly do, that God is in control and has purpose for every single thing He does in my life, there is no reason to overreact!!  This is a hard one for me to grasp!  

What I would like to share and focus on today is God's promise in the book of Romans, that I can see playing out right before my very eyes and I will explain to you how!  The other day my husband shared with me that he had a pretty significant talk with are 14 year old son.  I will not share the details of the conversation, but what I will share is my son asked Garrick if he though that maybe God allowed my husband to go through the struggle with addiction just to teach him, never to use drugs or alcohol?  My son told my husband that he has no desire to do such things as he experienced the devastating effects that they had on him and our family.  

That.... was a huge praise to Garrick and I.  Now, I am not at all saying that my son could not fall prey to these destructive substances in the future, but I am extremely grateful that my son learned something valuable and good from a devastatingly horrible situation in our home.  This is a prime example of God's promise to His faithful believers in the book of Romans....

"And we know that in all things God works for good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28


Today, I am encouraging couples to look over the history of struggles and difficult seasons God has allowed in your marriage and how now, that you are over are approaching being over the hump, how He has faithfully used this for good in some way, shape or form! 

1.  What are some difficult seasons we have walked through that we saw no light or silver lining through at the time?




2. How did these seasons change us for the good?





3. How did these seasons change others for the good?





4. How has God used these seasons for good in miraculous ways we never thought possible?





Through every struggle, God's promise remains for His believing children.  I pray through this devotion you are able to see and discover how very faithful God is!!!  

Peace and Blessings
Your Friends
Missy and Garrick

 
 
Many moons ago, Garrick and I read a book called Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs.  The focal point of the book is getting couples to understand the basic need for both the husband and the wife.  Women need to feel loved to thrive in a marriage and men need to feel respected. 

These specific needs are not the problem, the problem is the crazy cycle couples get into with these two vital needs.  If a wife does not feel loved by her husband, she will very often not treat him in a respectful manner.  On the flip side men who do not feel respected by their wives will very rarely put a whole lot of effort in showing them the love that they need.  

What happens is, the wife refuses to show respect to a man that does not seem to really love her and a man refuses to put forth effort in showing love to a woman who disrespects him daily.  Emerson goes on to say that one person has to be the hero in the relationship and put a stop to the crazy cycle.  Either the husband needs to begin extended love to his wife he does not feel she deserves or the wife need to begin respecting her husband even though she does not feel he has earned it.  

This is just ONE of the many stumbling blocks in marriage. One of the other things Emerson digs into is communication.   I know, I know, we hear so much about communication in marriage and how vital it is for a healthy successful marriage. 

And while yes, it is important to talk and share your thoughts, feelings and dreams, effective communication can often be extremely difficult to achieve in marriage.  You may have no problem expressing your feelings and thoughts but the problem may be how either you express them or how your spouse perceives them.  

Emerson calls this the blue and pink communication.  A woman hears things through a pink hearing aid, while a man hears things through a blue one.  He gives the example that this is why a woman can call her girlfriends and share her feelings and feel completely understood and a man can do the same with his guy pals.  

Over the past few years and many hurdles we have had to jump over to get to the point of restoration, our communication skills were greatly affected.  We have never noticed the pink and blue hearing aids at work as much as we do now!  

Things my husband will say to me, will come out of his blue mouth in one way, but hit my pink ears in a totally different context.  We thought we would have a little fun with this and share with you so common blue/ pink communication glitches that take place between husbands and wives!

I pray you get a little chuckle out of them if nothing else!

*Wife (pink) asks; How do I look?
*Husband (blue) responds; You look fine, as he barely looks up from the TV.
*Wife (pink) hears; I look boring and unappealing  and like I put no effort into my appearance.  He doesn't care about me and would rather look at the woman on the TV screen!

*Wife (pink) says; I bought some new underwear today!
*Husband (blue) hears: WOO HOO let's go baby!!!! My wife can't wait to get in the sack with me!
Picture
Photo Credit: nywici.org

*Husband (blue) says: If you get around to it could you wash my jeans today?
*Wife (pink) hears: What? He doesn't think I get laundry done in a timely fashion?  What does he think I do all day?  Those jeans have only been in the hamper for 2 days!

*Husband (blue) says; Could you make cookies today and use my mom's recipe?
*Wife (pink) hears What?  He doesn't like my cookies?  He would rather have his mommy's???

*Wife (pink) says; I am exhausted, I need a break!
*Husband (blue) says: From what? Don't I help you enough? What else can I do? She doesn't recognize anything I do.  Why do I bother, it doesn't help anyway. 
*Wife (pink) responds: She is angry and hurt that he would not recognize why she is so exhausted. If he really loved and cared about her, he would see her needs. 

*Husband (blue) says; Can I give you a back rub tonight to help you relax?
*Wife (pink) hears: Do you want me to rub your back in hopes that it will lead to something MORE!!! She may even turn down the back rub!

*Husband (blue) says; Wait up for me, I'll be coming to bed in a little bit! WINK WINK!
*Wife (pink) says: You know what I'll be doing by the time you get in there.... I'm exhausted!
*Husband(blue) thinks; She doesn't love me.  She doesn't care about me.  She loves sleep more than me!

So... as you can see... the difference in the way we express and receive communication as men and women can cause A LOT of unnecessary problems in a relationship!  Every single one of those statements was taken out of context, even though that was the loud and clear message that individual received!

The only remedy to this is to A. understand that you often are hearing what the other person is not saying or intending and B. be consciencely aware of how you speak and express yourself to your spouse!

This is a continuous problem we have to be aware of around here and I pray this sheds some comedy and light on possible communication miffs in your own marriage!!
Peace and Blessings
Your Friends
Missy and Garrick 







 
 
Meaningful, Messy Marriage
❤Moments ❤

(Learning to Let God Lead….. One Day at a Time)
-A Woman Redeemed
Tuesday is Valentine's Day.... the day of "Love!"  Even though we should be making a conscience effort to express our love daily, let us all face it, Valentine's Day makes us a little more intentional about doing so!  

Even though February 14th has been the assigned date for this heart filled holiday..... the "real" Valentine's Day in my mind, took place on Good Friday, when Jesus died a horrendous death. He willingly sacrificed His life to save ours.  He did this with a pure heart, without hesitation, without the expectation of appreciation (actually receiving quite the opposite by most), without reward and without any  selfish gain.  He simply loved in an unconditional, pure manner, esteeming others greater than Himself. 

Though we can strive and aspire to be like Jesus and that is the main focus of our Christian walk, we will never be able to inhabit all of His pure and sinless qualities.  Jesus was and still is the only perfect and sinless man that ever lived.  Even though we will never achieve this level of selfless love, we can aim our arrows to hit that bulls eye.  

As we have talked about many times in these devotions, it becomes to incredibly easy to focus on the negatives in marriage, forsaking the little blessings that we have been given each day.  

This week, we are going to take a trip down memory lane!  I have found that when I am feeling selfish in my marriage, or when I just need a boost of loving energy, it helps me greatly to pull out old photos and letters of Garrick and I.  It removes me from the present, where I may be feeling selfish and lacking that loving feeling and brings me back to a place and time where I felt those feelings at a very strong level!!  It takes me back to the reasons I feel in love with Garrick in the first place.  

So for your Valentine's Dad devotion.... go through some old photos, when you were first dating or your wedding day photos.  Remember the feelings you felt and relish in those.  They are still in there, perhaps buried under children, loads of dirty laundry and stacks of bills, but I assure you, they are there.  

Then, read this scripture and give an example of each time your spouse expressed this kind of love to you.  If you cannot remember any times, perhaps this is an issue that needs to be prayed about.  If your spouse is struggling to remember the last time you expressed this kind of love toward them..... discuss why and pray about God's intervention.  

"Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self seeking, is is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, it always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

1.  When has your spouse shown you patience?


❤Husband’s Response:








❤Wife’s Response:









2. When has your spouse shown you kindness?


❤Husband’s Response:








❤Wife’s Response:







3. When has your spouse shown humbleness, refrained from being proud and boasting of themselves, even if they has reason to?


❤Husband’s Response:








❤Wife’s Response:








4.  When has your spouse shown you forgiveness without bringing up past wrongs, showing great grace and mercy?


❤Husband’s Response:








❤Wife’s Response:









5.  When has your spouse shown you great honor, by placing your needs above their own without expectation?



❤Husband’s Response:








❤Wife’s Response:








6. Share a time that you felt protected by your spouse?


❤Husband’s Response:








❤Wife’s Response:








7.  Share a time when you and your spouse pushed through and persevered through a dark or difficult season, even if you wanted to give up?  Share the hope that you had?


❤Husband’s Response:








❤Wife’s Response:







8.  Can you trust your spouse?  This may be a difficult question for some couples.  But discuss it, if the answer is no, this is definitely an area that needs prayer and God's touch.  If we are to trust our spouse with our lives.... we must be able to trust them in the every day little things.  A marriage without trust... is headed down a very dangerous path. Try not to dwell on the negative but take this need to God and commit to making the answer to this question an eternal... YES!  


❤Husband’s Response:








❤Wife’s Response:






This devotion can breathe fresh life into your marriage!!!  I pray you have a beautiful, blessed and God filled Valentine's Day!!!

Peace and Blessing

 
 
Meaningful, Messy Marriage
❤Moments ❤

(Learning to Let God Lead….. One Day at a Time)
-A Woman Redeemed
YEAH!!!  It is our final week on our journey to forgiveness segment!!  And if you have made it this far my friends.... it is a step WELL deserved!!!!  

Forgiveness is a journey I will go to my grave stating that.  Though little transgressions can often be quickly forgiving and moved past, larger, life altering ones, often require a journey of dedication and God leading strength.  

Garrick and I have been on a journey.  Throughout this journey, just as the stages of grief, it is common to move back and forth through the different stages several times.  I often have to be reminded that I am a NEW creation in Christ and have to ability to forgive, even when my flesh does not agree (step 1).  I often have to continually be aware of when I begin to idolize my husband's love and place it above God's desiring for him to meet all of my needs (step 2).  I have had to ask God to humble my heart on more than one occasion, reminding myself, that though my husband's sin has had tremendous negative effects, in God's eyes, sin is sin and my sin is just as devastating to God (step 3). I daily, have to train my mind to focus on what which is lovely in our marriage, that which is honorable and worthy, not the negatives and painful memories of the past (step 4). It is still a struggle for me to give and receive the physical and emotional affection God longs for us to express in our marriage.  It has gotten much, much better, but when I fail to keep on track with steps 1-4, this step becomes increasingly difficult (step 5). 

We are now on our LAST step... and what may you ask is it?????  CELEBRATING!!!  YES.... YOU MUST CELEBRATE the progress you make in healing your marriage!  We don't bat an eye at celebrating other things; children's achievements, birthdays, promotions, awards or any type, but our marriage my friends.... trumps ALL OF THESE!  

A strong marriage is the glue that holds all of those other things in place!  You need to celebrate each step you make!  Celebrate as you an your husband find enjoyable to you;

  • In at home date night!
  • A night out, dinner and movie or just dinner!
  • A night out with friends to toast your achieved step!!
  • A romantic evening of affection expressing (I will let you fill in those blanks!!! LOL)
  • Exchanging little gifts!
  • Writing each other a heartfelt note!
  • Doing something together you have always wanted to do and haven't!!  


The options are endless!  God has lead Garrick and I to do the last item on this list!!  We are both pretty frugal people.  We try to spend our money wisely for the most part and both of us struggle greatly with making BIG purchases, especially for ourselves.  This is how we know this celebration suggestion is ALL God!  

We try to celebrate our successful journey by doing little things such as; date nights at home, going out to dinner, surprising each other with little things (Garrick has gotten very good at this). Last week we celebrated Garrick's first Sunday back in the pulpit preaching by going out for lunch as a family!  But Garrick and I could not be more excited about the celebration we are going to enjoy in April!

God told us about a month ago that we are to take a trip together!  Somewhere that requires a plane ride, without children.  A place we can relax, enjoy one another and also provides some romantic elements.  God assured us.... we earned it!  

So on April 7th we are flying away to Puerto Vallarta!!!!  We are staying five nights in an all inclusive resort, with an ocean view room!  We are going to enjoy long walks on the beach, romantic dinners, massages, beautiful scenery and most of all.... one another, without interruption!  We are going to celebrate God's restoring power and pray that God lays individuals in our path that allow us to share out testimony!  

We are so excited... we are like two little kids waiting for Christmas!!!! LOL  And though money is required.... we could not care less about the cost!  There is not one part of us that does not feel God is leading us on this trip, which makes it even more exciting!  

So please, please, please... CELEBRATE!!!  Your marriage is worth every moment of celebration!  It makes God smile to see His children nurturing their marriage and it is a beautiful testimony to the world.... that marriage is worth the fight and the prize!!!

Thank you for joining us on this journey!!!  We continue to pray for marriages!  May God continue to restore and rescue even the seemingly hopeless marriages!!

Peace and Blessings
Your Friends
Missy and Garrick 
 
 
Meaningful, Messy Marriage
❤Moments ❤

(Learning to Let God Lead….. One Day at a Time)
-A Woman Redeemed
Welcome to week 16!!  FOUR MONTHS!!!  We are getting close to completing our segment on Forgiveness in Marriage!  Last week we focused on allowing God to humble our hearts.  A prideful heart, that looks down on our spouse for their wrongdoings, will very rarely produce forgiveness.  Understanding that we are a sinner, just like them, will begin allowing our heart to extend the grace that we so greatly need on a daily basis.

Now, it may be very true, that your spouses transgressions have been far more devastating and hurtful than your own, however, no matter what the sin, grace is the only answer.  And, as I have mentioned previously, you would be both shocked and disheartened if you were to be privy to the evil your heart is truly capable of.  Never become so prideful to assume you could "never do such a thing."  When the perfect storm of stress, pain and tribulation come sweeping into our life, we can become people we don't even recognize. People, capable of much darkness.  

But God.  I praise Him for His constant protection over my heart and actions.  Boy can I mess up, but He has guarded me from some of the colossal "mess ups" I may have participated in, without His protection.  

This week, focusing on step 5, we are going to dive into the Song of Solomon.  The Song of Solomon is a inspiring book expressing the deep love and attraction a couple has for one another.  This book has often been referenced when discussing the married Christian sex life.  Now that we have worked on;
  • Accepting our new identity in Christ.
  • Placing on trust and faith in Christ not our spouse. 
  • Humbling our hearts and letting go of our pride.
  • Focusing on whatever is lovely.... and striving to let go of negative thoughts and mindsets.

This next step is putting something "lovely" into our hearts and allowing it to take action.  This week we are going to read the Song of Solomon and begin allowing affection back into our marriage.  This is an area that often has to go slowly and each spouse needs to be extremely patient and unselfish.  I encourage you to read the entire book at some point, however there are a few scriptures that I really love that I am going to have you focus on.  This book shows the intense love and passion a couple has for one another and truly, this is God's desire for all marriages.  

For whatever reason, this world portrays the unmarried, single flinging individuals with the most passionate and fulfilling sex lives, however, God intended for this intensity and passion to be the stronger in the marriage bed!!!  

Here are the scriptures we are going to read and discuss as a couple!!  ENJOY!!

"Behold, you are beautiful my love. behold, you are beautiful.  Your eyes are like doves." Song of Solomon 1:15

"The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes, leaping over mountains, bounding over hills." Song of Solomon 2:8

"when I found who my soul loves, I held him and would not let him go." Song of Solomon 3:4

"My am my beloved's and my beloved is mine." Song of Solomon 6:3

"Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it." Song of Solomon 8;7


1.  Tell your spouse something you find both physically and internally beautiful about them.


❤Husband’s Response:








❤Wife’s Response:








2. Think back to when you felt excited just to hear your spouses voice or when you saw them coming, the butterflies you would feel inside.  Remember when you would rush through whatever you were doing, just to be with one another.  Discuss your favorite memory with one another.



❤Husband’s Response:








❤Wife’s Response:








3. Discuss the life struggles and stressors that allowed you to begin "letting go" of your spouse.  Talk about the moments that spark that desire in your heart again.



❤Husband’s Response:








❤Wife’s Response:









4. Our desire for love should never be quenched!!  We should continue to long for our spouse like the day we began loving them!  AND, no flood should be allowed to drown that love! We will face many floods throughout our marriages.... but God... is King over the floods!!! Discuss how you will combat the floods of life and never allow the love for one another to be quenched or drown!



 
 
IOne of the biggest consequences of conflict and pain in marriage is the loss of emotional and physical affection.  

I recall during the darkest times of Garrick's addiction I not only didn't want him anywhere near me, I didn't want to speak to him or hear his voice.  

It was devastating to feel this way inside.  I recall the crazy making confusion I felt inside of wanting SOOOOO badly to be close to my husband but feeling SOOOOO hurt and angry it was not even remotely possible.  

So now that we have worked through the first 4 steps of forgiveness it is time to move on to step 5 which is learning to reconnect in your marriage.  The Song of Solomon is the perfect book to use for this step as the entire book is flooded with depictions of a couple madly in love with one another.  They had certainly achieved becoming ONE flesh.  

Garrick and I used to share an intensely close relationship, but when the addiction took over this are of our marriage was greatly affected.  

Today we are on an uphill fight to regain what Satan came to steal, kill and destroy!!  

Garrick shared with me that basically any skin showing on my body is beautiful to him.  Now, I thought this was a little excessive, however, he informed me it was very true, even my belly button.  He also shared that apparently he could not keep his eyes off my ankles in church today, as that was really the only skin that was appropriate to show in church! LOL  

Internally, he shared he loves what he referred to as my innocent and silly sense of humor.  He stated that even though he does not find a lot of the same things as funny as I do, he can't help but laugh because I think they are funny!

What I find most beautiful physically about Garrick is his manly physique!!  Now, Garrick has been  a rough and tough construction worker type since I have known him.  Even in High School you saw him in nothing but t-shirts and jean.  I told him I am most turned on by him when he is in his dirty construction worker clothes than a three piece suit.  That is just him.  He is a hard working, strong manly man and that is what I find beautiful about him. 

As for internally, it hands down his patience and calmness.  In the 20 years I have known Garrick, I am not lying when I tell you, I have NEVER EVER heard him yell or scream in our home.  Ever.  I know he gets angry and frustrated but he has an uncanny ability to express his anger appropriately.  The last few years have not been our norm but as a whole, he has self control with his emotions like no one I have ever known.  

Garrick shared that he still feels excitement when he hears my voice and sees me coming.  He shared that when he is on the road and gone for a few nights, he gets excited just to hear my voice on the phone or face time.  

I shared that my best memory or most recent memory of feeling that excitement to see him or hear his voice was one time in the past few years during the depth of his addiction.  It was a Sunday morning and we were getting ready for church. Garrick was not preaching and was also feeling extremely anxious and depressed from withdrawals.  He didn't want to go to church.  I took the kids and went.  We were standing up for worship and began singing when I saw him walk in the back doors. My heart jumped and I ran to him.  I remember feeling so excited to see him walk in, especially when I did not expect him.

 I also get very excited to see a sweet unexpected texts from him throughout the day!!! AI text with no demands from the world, just a simple I love you or I miss you.

Garrick shared that the only thing that makes him feel separated from me is when I am worn out, tired and exhausted because it makes it very hard to connect with me.  
I, on the other hand, struggle more with pulling away with daily stress and/ or marital stress.  I have especially struggled throughout Garrick's addiction as it has made me feel "unsafe" which has caused me to self protect and pull away.  One of the ways I am beginning to heal from this is to put step 2 in action and placing my faith and trust in God rather than in Garrick.  This is allowing me slowly to reconnect with Garrick on every level. 
 
I loved the last scripture that we focused on.  "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it." Song of Solomon 8:7 When we discussed how to keep the spark alive in marriage we both agreed it was imperative to learn to separate our daily stressors from our marriage.  Garrick told me he is easily able to do this, as when he has had a bad day he longs to come home to spend time with me.  I shared that often I look at him as more of a reprieve coming than my husband coming home.  

I shared that part of the struggle in me not being able to separate my day to day stress from our marriage is when I feel like I my feelings are not acknowledged.  Garrick is learning to do this much better.  Just to listen and understand.  

A couple years ago, I gave a mother's day speech at church.  I told men that they make things way too difficult. It is actually fairly simple to speak to a woman's heart.   I explained that women just need them to have compassion.  I told the men to come home with a candy bar or her favorite drink or candy, tell her to go take 15 minutes to herself in her room or hot bath and eat it. Acknowledge her feelings and show her you care.  It is that simple.  

This is why women most often call women and may choose not to confide in their spouses.  Women will take the time to understand and even if they can't completely understand, they will listen, they will extend compassion and they will offer to help in any way they can.  They won't try to fix it or make the problem go away, they will just support her and help her to feel as though she is not alone. 

For most women... the most painful place to be.... is alone.... with her emotions. 

When I know my husband cares, that spark is very hard to put out!!! I love him even more and long to be with him, snuggle with him and feel his arms of protection around me.  When I feel he makes no effort to hear me or care.... I want to do bodily harm to his arms!! LOL  Joking aside, we agreed the spark is kept alive by a constant intentional striving to hear our spouse, help our spouse and be the extension of Christ in our spouse's life.  

We also agreed that another vital thing is to always remember who our spouse is at their core.  Why we fell in love with them in the first place and trust in faith that even though the core of who we are can get buried under the stress of life..... it is always there is we dig hard enough.  

When life happens.... it can change us...not always for the better. Helping our spouse to remember who they truly are at their core...... is a priceless gift.... with eternal benefits.  

Peace and Blessings
Your Friends 
Missy and Garrick 
 
 
STEP 4!!!  

This step take MEGA training for most of us and I will be the first to admit, 13 years of knowing these scriptures and I still struggle more than I care to accept.  

I have come to recognize and believe that my mind is hands down, my worst enemy.  It really always has been.  I am in no way blaming my  childhood for any of my current shortcomings, however, growing up in the very stressful and anxiety inducing home as a child, I am certain plays a huge role in my battles of the mind.  

I am an adult now and know I can choose to live and think differently.  I do not blame my history for my present issues; as God has given me the resources to wipe the slate clean and choose a different way of thinking and living.  

The problem is.... I often become exhausted from the struggle and cave to that stinkin thinkin, rather than falling at the feet of Christ and at least asking Him to shut my mouth!!! LOL 

This has been quite the battle for me in recovering from our recent marital struggles. Garrick's addiction came in waves.  The positive thing about this, was we had seasons of normality and peace; the negative thing about this is, I came to always expect those seasons to end.  Too many times I place my hope and faith in my husband, trusting we were on the REAL road to recovery this time, opening my heart back up, letting go of past hurts, only to find out the addiction was still alive and well, he had just gotten even better at hiding it.  

The last episode we had really crushed me.  More so than any of the other instances.  When Garrick and I were going through counseling, our wonderful counselor warned us this would happen.  He told us marriage is like a rubber band, you can stretch it and often it will snap back, however, if you stretch it one too many times, it may snap and recovering will be extremely difficult.  Not impossible, but very difficult.  

This last episode, the rubber band snapped.  I could feel it, literally.  It felt different.  I was mentally, absolutely, 100% done.  I was at the point that I could not take ONE. MORE. TIME.  I was numb.  My mind didn't leap to ending the marriage and I was not even sure how I was to handle the situation; all I knew is I was mentally and emotionally bankrupt and getting back was going to take nothing short but the work of God. 

Therefore, as you can well imagine, putting Philippians 4:8 into practice has been somewhat of a challenge for me.  God has been doing magnificent works in both Garrick's life and our marriage.  I can see it.  I can feel it.  I am beginning to trust it.  Yet, that devil won't let me forget the past and there are certain things that will trigger those thoughts and memories that make it even more difficult.  

That is why these steps I am blogging about are so imperative.  Trust me when I tell you, that I am working through these steps as I post them!  This is a recorded journey of our road to restoration and recovery!  God is good.... all the time.  I refuse to waste the pain we have experienced!! God longs to show the world His power that is made PERFECT in our weakness.  Garrick and I will willingly and humbly allow Him to use our story to achieve His greater purpose.  
As Garrick and I pondered these scriptures, it was very refreshing to tell one another the characteristics we find lovely, honorable, noble and praise worthy in one another.  I can clearly remember the day, when I really had nothing negative to say about my husband. Aside from some of the petty every day things husbands and wives nit pick about, I saw him as an exceptional man, husband and father.  

The addiction stole that from me, but I am very slowly getting it back!  

I was able to list the following things for Garrick that I love about him....
  • He knows where God belongs in his life!
  • He is extremely patient with myself and the kids
  • He can fix almost anything!
  • He is a wonderful provider and works hard for it!
  • He can build and remodel to perfection!
  • He has become more and more compassionate and nurturing!
  • He is resourceful.
  • He always wants me to feel loved.
  • He loves to surprise me with things.
  • He is generous.

I,know there are many more, but these rolled off my tongue easily.  Garrick shared things he loved about me as well....


  • My unwillingness to give up.... even wen I want to.
  • A constant strive to grow my relationship with God, even though I may struggle!
  • My sense of humor (it's a little out there.... ask our church family..... Fozzy my dog... may or may NOT have sang at church yesterday!! LOL)
  • My dedication to our children and family. 
  • Doing the right thing, even when it hurts to do so.
  • He has called me a very strong woman.... I don't know if he will ever know how much that meant to hear, as throughout our painful journey... I have often felt anything but strong. 

I willingly admit I have to learn to take the negative thoughts of the past captive immediately and allow God to put them to death.  My taking them "captive" that means they are locked up, unable to rule and reign in my mind.  I have failed at being able to do this, thus far.  I do give myself grace, as it takes time for a heart to heal.  I am able to take my bad thoughts captive more now than a month ago, so I praise God for progress!!!!  

Garrick shared he struggles with similar issues.  During the past few years, in heated moments of anger I was very guilty of saying and sharing hurtful things with him that are very difficult for him to forget.  One f those issues was something that I had not been honest about with him throughout our marriage.  Without getting into uncomfortable details, it was something significant that I had allowed to become insignificant over the years. It was very hurtful to Garrick and worse yet, came out in a moment of heated anger.  

We both have many thoughts that have to be taken captive..... regularly.... and failure to do so will cripple our ability to heal.  

The bottom line is this.... neither a husband or wife is perfect and unlike the Almighty God, we do not have the ability to wipe things from our memory.  

Even bad memories serve their purpose.  They are a constant reminder of where we do NOT want to be, ever again. They are the signs pointing us down the narrow path, attempting to divert us from the wide and destructive one.  

Today.... I shall challenge myself and my spouse to see even the bad memories with an outline of "lovely" as God calls me to count it all joy.... when I fall into various trials.... knowing the trials will be the instruments He uses to carry His work in me.... to completion.  

Peace and Blessings
Your Friends
Missy and Garrick