Category Archives: Marriage

The New Face of “Hate”—and the Message of Grace

The Supreme Court is not the Supreme Ruler::it cannot redefine what God has already defined: marriage is between one mane and one woman.

My heart hurts a little today. Not gonna lie. Turns out that God’s word is unpopular. I have gay friends. I love them. I’ve never said an unkind word to them. I’ve never been rude, disrespectful or the least bit “hateful.”

However, apparently my stance that God created marriage and that His word is authoritative and inerrant on all matters pertaining to life and death has made me hateful.  As such, I have become the target for some truly hateful comments. People have said they wished I would die, called me a bigot, said that their god is “disgusted” with me. Several posters questioned whether or not I should be allowed to keep my “indoctrinating” my own children.  “I hate you!” one woman yelled in a Facebook post, “You should not be allowed to live in this country!” Shortly after that, another woman said I was the “most ignorant, hateful person she had ever encountered.”

Really? Does she not get out much? If I’m the meanest person she has ever encountered she should meet some of my social media “followers.”

 

In a breath-taking departure from the rule of law, the Supreme Court has mandated a new moral code for you. So how do we…

Posted by The Busy Mom on Monday, 29 June 2015

 

A few days ago, when our president colored the White House with God’s rainbow in celebration of what God calls sin, my heart broke. Like many of you reading this, I felt I could barely breathe.  It was an affront to the millions of people in this nation whose very souls ached at the sight—but more importantly, it was an affront to God.

As I was being publicly mocked for “sheltering” my kids via homeschooling them, the US Department of Education changed their Facebook profile to celebrate what God calls sin. As I have said before, education is never, ever neutral. In Luke 6:40, the Bible teaches us that when a “student is fully trained, he will be like his teacher.” And now, if you dare to disagree with the state teaching your children their version of morality—get ready—you’ll be called hateful.  I can almost guarantee it.  This is the new “tolerance.”

US Dept of Education makes their position on homosexuality clear

 

Listen. Can I just say again that I stand on the word of God? Shoot the messenger if you must, but one day, I’ll stand before the Lord and give an account of my life. I’m clinging to the only thing in this life that is true: the gospel. I have my own sin. I myself am in need of a savior; of His grace. It is ungrace to deny His power and saving grace in my own life. For me to not love other people would be an affront to the One who gave His life for me.  Lord! Help me to love like Jesus loves!

In my grief, I wonder: could it be that these attacks toward anyone who dares to hold to the authority of Scripture betray a deep longing for grace? I believe many who post such things live just beneath a thinly veiled search for grace, a desperate longing to be truly loved. We were created by God and for God … and love is here. Love won at the cross.

Because of the cross, grace is here. The message of the cross is grace; and in the same way I have felt personally wounded, it occurs to me that grace is just that—deeply personal. God’s grace abounds, even now. He rejoices when even one of his lost ones comes home.

Grace baffles those who have never experienced it. The world us the opposite of grace. The world, and unfortunately, the church is known for it’s lack of grace, not for grace. In this context, I understand why one man said I was “just like the Taliban.” He’s never experienced grace.  It’s hard to comprehend why or even how God could extend outstretched arms to us even in our sin. And yet, that’s what He does. He freely offers grace, mercy and forgiveness. He says, “I love you—and you’re wrong.” This is a dichotomy that is almost impossible to comprehend in our world.  Grace, God’s grace, is only free because God has paid the cost.

We cannot stop saying that grace is for everyone anymore than we can stop speaking the truth about sin.

This is the message of the cross: the hope and change this nation is looking for will never be found apart from faith in Jesus. This is where I stand, battle weary and bruised, wearing humbly the criticism that really is aimed at the cross of Jesus Christ. He gave His very life for me. I can do no less than proclaim His love and mercy until He brings me Home.

Only God’s Love Wins: Love Apart from Truth Is Not Love

Most of you know that I am a Christian. As such, I believe stranger things than the idea that marriage is between a man and a woman. I believe that Jesus is risen from the dead; that God created us and thereby gets to decide how His created beings should live. God has given us parameters to live in the same way we give our own children parameters; not because we don’t love them, but because we do.

I believe we can be forgiven because the Son of God sent His son to die for our sin.  In short, I believe the Bible. I take God at His Word.  In the Bible, God, the creator of sexuality, clearly defines how He intended for it to be enjoyed: in marriage, between one man and one woman.

In the seventies, we used to say, “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.”  This is my stance where God’s Word is concerned, not just over the issue of marriage, but over all issues God addresses.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court wildly overreached it’s role—which is to interpret the Constitution. My heart is heavy over this breach of trust placed in our judicial system—but more than that, I grieve over the trouble that is sure to follow this blatant disregard for the expressed will of our Creator.

Our grief as Christ followers over our nation’s rapid departure from the truth of God’s word is real. God is not silent on the issue of marriage. He defined it, and the Supreme Court of United States, though it may try, can never re-define it.

It’s been coming for a long time, but yesterday, we witnessed the turning of the tide in this nation against God’s word. Many Christians will stay silent, not wanting to be labeled as haters or bigots or homophobes. Can I challenge you to speak instead of being silent? As Christians, we are called to love, and to bear witness to our Savior. As Christians, God’s word is the standard by which we live our lives. As Christians, we do not rejoice over evil, we weep over it.

Sin is certainly nothing new; but what is new is how quickly those who claim the name of Jesus are rejecting the truth of His Word in order to have the wind of culture at their back. Following God today will make you unpopular.  Can I challenge you to be among those who will be unashamed of the gospel?

Love apart from truth is not love.

So why is this such a big deal? As Christians we grieve over what is coming, not only because the Bible clearly tells us, but because we have tasted the bitter fruit of our own sin. Apart from the Holy Spirit, we are slaves to sin. Colossians 3:5-6 warns us that the height of sin’s self-destructive power “sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” brings with it the final wrath of God.  “On account of these the wrath of God is coming.”

Christian brothers and sisters, Jesus was the ultimate example of speaking the truth in love, and if we are to follow Him, we can do no less. Don’t worry about anyone trying to label you. You have already been labeled. If you claim the name of Christ, you wear the label: redeemed. You have been bought with a price, and you belong to the One who made you.

We often worry that if we speak for the truth of the Bible, we will be labeled—but if you claim the name of Christ, you've already been labeled! You wear the label, "redeemed!" Let the redeemed of the Lord speak out! Psalm 104:7

The culture has pushed an idea that we can no longer disagree and still be loving, yet that’s exactly what Jesus does. Love apart from the truth is not really love. Christians who disagree with this ruling (and all of them should) and proceed to demonstrate hatred don’t speak for Christ. Instead, the fuel exactly what the gay “marriage” movement wants. Don’t give them that chance.  They will know we are Christians by our love.

Yesterday’s ruling issues a challenge to Christ followers everywhere—to not only live in such a way that our lives do not make us hypocrites, but to talk about marriage the way Jesus did—as part of the gospel itself, a picture of the way Christ sees Himself and His church.

God gave His Son as a ransom for all our sin.  He saved us, He spoke the truth in love.

We can do no less.

The battle is not ours, but the Lords. Take heart. Keep loving. Keep praying.
There will come a day when God will make all things new.

Dear USA Presbyterian Church: Read Your Bible

Years ago, when I was a student at Multnomah University, I had the privilege of sitting under the teaching of Dr. John G. Mitchell. He always used to say, “Don’t you folks ever read your Bibles?” I wish he was still here. He died in 1990 at the age of 97, but I heard him enough to get the message: we need to read and know our Bibles if we’re going to live for Christ in this world.

I am troubled by something I see happening in our churches. Christians, the people who bear the name and image of God, are trending away from the truth of God’s Word and careening toward fear-based living. This generation of Christians is in a full-blown spiritual crisis. We’re listening to everyone but God. We’re not reading our Bibles.

Don’t believe me? Look no further than the USA Presbyterian church (not to be confused with the PCA.) Last week, millions watched as it finally caved into cultural and political peer pressure and fear, turning a blind eye to the Word of God and declaring that God is cool with homosexuality—when His Word, the Bible, clearly states the opposite.  And they’re not alone:  just weeks ago, controversial former pastor Rob Bell flat out told Oprah Winfrey that the church is “moments away from embracing” gay marriage.

Ummmm.  Mr. Bell. Read your Bible. You’re making emotional arguments for spiritual problems. God says this is a sin issue. It’s not up for emotional debate. This is an issue for God alone to decide. And please. Don’t speak for the the Church. (Big “C” here.)

Brother and sisters, read your Bibles! God is not silent on the issues we are facing today.  God’s view on sexual sin, including homosexuality, can be clearly seen in the Bible:  Romans 1:24-27 Lev 20:13, Leviticus 18:22

While we cannot (and should not) expect the world to understand or apply God’s Word to their lives— surely we can and should expect those who claim the name of Jesus Christ to live by God’s standard. The USA Presbyterian church, in sanctioning homosexuality, is in sin. They’re not reading their Bibles.

Romans 8:5-8 tells us that when we live by our flesh, we have our minds on what our flesh desires. Denominations like the USA Presbyterian church are doing nothing short of granting a license to live by the flesh, which is the opposite of living by the Spirit.

We are living in a world that is full of fearful, spiritually immature Christians. Rather than learn to rightly apply God’s word to our lives, have chosen to “go with the flow” of the culture and remain “Christian” in name only. We have bought into religion instead living in right relationship with Jesus. We have allowed sin to run rampant in our churches and have become complacent—an overcorrection from the equally damaging legalism and hyper-judging we’ve engaged in for years.

It’s fear that drives Christian pastors to accept homosexuality and fail to protect the unborn. It’s fear that keeps Christian men and women from speaking the truth in love. Fear drives “Christians” to hold hateful signs on street corners.  Fear says, “God hates homosexuals,” when in fact, He loves them! Fear whispers, “It doesn’t matter. God doesn’t care,” and the fearful Christian leans in to listen, either unaware of the price God paid for His freedom or unwilling to obey the call of the cross. Fear is not from God.

We must return to the Word of God.  “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Power. A sound mind—and love. Yes, we can speak the truth in love. The truth and love are not mutually exclusive. In God’s economy, they’re one in the same.

It was love that caused a holy God to send His only son as a ransom for mankind. It was love that drove Jesus to talk that long walk to the cross. What message are we sending to our children when we disregard the truth of God’s Word?  We cheapen the message of the cross when we live in disobedience to the Bible. We mock the One who gave His life for us when we decide to turn a blind eye to sin.

Dear Christian, you have the mind of Christ. You can know His will for your life!

Our lack of Biblical knowledge has made us impotent in the spiritual battle we are facing.  We want the love of God, but not the sacrifice it takes to walk rightly with Him, and the USA Presbyterian Church is a perfect example of this. It’s time to get back to reading—and living out—the Word of God.  And yes. Standing up for what’s right may cost you, but in the end, we answer to a holy God, not people. We need to do a better job of loving people like God loves them. 

Christian parents need to teach their children how to live in the world and not be "of" it.

Christian mom, let me ask you—are you teaching your children about God’s love? About His standard? About sin?

God’s Word should change people, not the other way around.

Read your Bibles, women of God! Let love transform you—and then speak the truth in love.
You can do it. You have the power of Christ in you!
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For more, listen to the podcast on this important topic:

Christians in this generation are facing a full-blown spiritual identity crisis. We must be set apart from the patterns of this world, and we will either choose to follow God's Word or reject it. Join Heidi St. John as she talks about this very important topic.

 

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Resources for today’s podcast:

New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp

Mornings can be tough. Sometimes, a hearty breakfast and strong cup of coffee just aren’t enough. Offering more than a rush of caffeine, best-selling author Paul David Tripp wants to energize you with the most potent encouragement imaginable: the gospel.

Forget “behavior modification” or feel-good aphorisms. Tripp knows that what we really need is an encounter with the living God. Then we’ll be prepared to trust in God’s goodness, rely on his grace, and live for his glory each and every day.

Only God Can Make a Kitten by Rhonda Greene

Only God Can Make A Kitten, written by award-winning author Rhonda Gowler Greene and illustrated by bestselling artist Laura J. Bryant, follows a conversation between a mother and child as the child repeatedly asks “Mama, who made . . . ?” In the end, children learn that God is responsible for everything in creation—including kittens!

Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live. by David Platt and Francis Chan

In this new book, David Platt, author of the New York Times bestselling book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, contends that multitudes of people around the world culturally think they are Christians yet biblically are not followers of Christ.

Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World by Craig Groeschel

As standards of conduct continue to erode in our shock-proof world, we must fight the soul pollution threatening our health, our faith, and our witness to others. Without even knowing it, people willingly inhale second-hand toxins poisoning their relationship with God and stunting their spiritual growth.

Soul Detox examines the toxins that assault us daily including: toxic influences, toxic emotions, and toxic behaviors.

By examining the toxins that assault us daily, this book offers the ultimate spiritual intervention with ways to remain clean, pure, and focused on the standard of God’s holiness.

The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living As If He Doesn’t Exist   Craig Groeschel

“The more I looked, the more I found Christian Atheists everywhere.” Former Christian Atheist Craig Groeschel knows his subject all too well. After over a decade of successful ministry, he had to make a painful self admission: although he believed in God, he was leading his church like God didn’t exist. To Christians and non-Christians alike, to the churched and the unchurched, the journey leading up to Groeschel’s admission and the journey that follows—from his family and his upbringing to the lackluster and even diametrically opposed expressions of faith he encountered—will look and sound like the story of their own lives.

 

How to Love Your Husband While Bringing Up Special Needs Kids

I thought it would be a great time to begin a discussion about helping your marriage thrive while bringing up special needs kids. Being a parent of a special needs child adds an extra challenge to what is already a difficult job! I know that, at least in the case of autistic children like my daughter, these children often take years to potty train, may be non-verbal, may not be able to feed or bathe or dress themselves even as teenagers and adults, and may not sleep well. It can be kind of like having a baby or toddler for a lifetime instead of a few years. Most parents eventually reach the years during which their children are more independent, but for the parents of special needs kids, that day may never come.

The Busy Mom February 2015 Resized

Having a happy marriage, though, IS possible! Yes, we face difficult circumstances, but we do not have to sacrifice our marriages because of our circumstances. (With all that said, though, ALL of us–those with special needs kids and those with “neuro-typical” kids–could probably stand to do more to help our marriages thrive, right? So whether you have special needs kiddos or not, I hope this information blesses you!)

I don’t remember when I came across The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary D. Chapman, but I wish I had come across it much sooner! I think it would have been so helpful for my husband and me to have known about love languages and affirming each other’s love language 24 years ago when we were first married. We didn’t know that we spoke different love languages or that we needed to each meet the other’s needs to be loved in the way each of us understood. We probably each thought we were doing all we could do to love the other.

And to be truthful, when our autistic daughter was younger (She’s 19 now.) and required so very much care and attention for so many years, we were both exhausted and burned out much of the time. I wonder sometimes how we survived–much less how we stayed married! But we had promised God and each other that we’d stick together, so we were determined to do it! The love languages book surely did make it easier, though!

Basically, there are 5 love languages. You can read about them here, but it’s even better if you can read the book since it goes into much more detail with a lot of helpful information. They are:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Acts of Service
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Quality Time
  5. Physical Touch

I realized that my husband has 2 primary love languages. (Most of us have more than one.) His are quality time and physical touch. My husband loved (and still loves) movies and television shows. He has always enjoyed sitting down in the evening—especially after the children are in bed or in their rooms for some quiet time before bed—and watching a movie or TV show. I never took the time to sit and watch a show with him because I was always too busy. Once the kiddos were in their rooms or in bed was the only time I had to catch up on everything I needed to get done! When I reminded myself that quality time was one of his love languages, it became easier for me to set aside what I thought needed to be done and spend 45 minutes or an hour watching something with him simply because he enjoyed it when I did. (Keep in mind that it’s his idea of quality time, not mine, that meets his need!)

His other love language is physical touch. I think most men speak that one! I realized I also was not spending time giving my husband the physical affection he needed—inside or outside of the bedroom. That was difficult for me for a long time because my children were so physically needy that I felt like I had nothing left to give at the end of the day. I didn’t want anyone touching me or needing anything from me once the children were in bed. But once I began to understand that physical touch was one of his most important love languages and that he didn’t feel loved if his physical needs weren’t being met, it helped me understand his needs and that he wasn’t being selfish or uncaring. He simply needed me.

This doesn’t mean that my husband doesn’t appreciate acts of service, words of affirmation, or receiving gifts. It just means that those aren’t as important to him. Those are the love languages that he might appreciate having met now and then, but they aren’t necessary for him to feel loved on a day-to-day basis.

You can probably guess that, as a busy work-from-home, homeschooling mom, my most important love language (at least right now) is acts of service! My sweet hubby is wonderful about helping with the laundry (my downfall!) as well as helping to keep the kitchen clean. Now that the children are older, they are required to help a lot more too, but my husband makes sure it gets done one way or another, and that means so much to me! (It also helps free up more time for me to spend with him—and he knows that!)

Over time, we began to realize that meeting the other person’s needs made each of us happier too! We didn’t start out doing a very good job of it at all, but we have improved with time and effort, and you can too!

Heidi St John Guide to Romance

What if your husband doesn’t speak your love language? What can you do? Is there a way to have a happy marriage when only one spouse cares enough to work at it? Those are some of the questions I plan to address in the future, so be sure to come back! And if you have specific questions you’d like to see addressed, please leave them in the comments.

Only YOU—Ten Traits of a Porn-Free Marriage

young couple sitting near lake smiling having good time sunset

A few days ago, a post called I wrote  25 Ways to Stay Married for 25 Years. Toward the end of the article, I spoke to the importance of keeping our bodies only, always, for each other.  I made a short remark about the devastating effect of porn on women in general and wives in-particular, and it sparked an age-old debate: Does it really matter? Is porn really that big of a deal?

It’s a great question, really, and I’m here to tell you: yes. It matters. If you don’t care about it, you should. Porn is more accessible now than ever—and more damaging, too. As a pastor’s wife and conference speaker, I’ve been privileged to hear the stories of thousands of women who have first-hand experience with the pain that porn brings into a marriage. In ten years of speaking, I have yet to hear even one woman tell me that her marriage has been positively impacted by the use of porn, whether it’s viewed by the couple as part of their private lives or not—because here’s the thing: sex is natural. Watching other people engaging in it is not.

On our wedding day, we commit to sexual fidelity.  That means we stop searching for sexual gratification anywhere except within our marriage.  When we vow to “forsake all others,” we’re really saying “only you.”

Porn says “only you” is not enough, and yes. I believe it is cheating.

Twenty-one years ago, I sat in the living room of a beautiful young woman as she tearfully told me that her husband was addicted to pornography. For the sake of privacy, I’ll call her “Anne.” Anne said it started out with magazines that he brought home. Her attitude was “boys will be boys,” and so she didn’t tell her husband how wounding “David’s” use of porn was to her spirit. In reality, it was suffocating their marriage. Anne assumed it was all about her. If she was only prettier, blonde, sexier. Of course, it wasn’t about Anne at all. Porn is like a drug. No matter how hard Anne tried, she couldn’t compete with the images David had in his mind of what porn said said sex should be.

Eventually, David was no longer interested in sex with his wife unless he could view porn during or before sex. Distance and bitterness settled over their relationship like a cold, damp blanket. Resentment replaced intimacy.

Pornography, Anne felt, had forced her to compete with the seductive, flawlessly shaped and, apparently, never tired—ghosts of other women. Anne was broken in a hundred different ways—but so was her husband.

It was just “too accessible,” she told me. Like millions of other men, Anne’s husband was living in a virtual world, far away from his real life—and his real wife. Like millions of other marriages, the results of porn on Anne and David’s marriage was devastating. They tried to get help, but it was “too embarrassing” and neither Anne nor David wanted to talk to to anyone else about it. Two years later, David’s virtual world crossed over into an even darker, real world—and eventually, he confessed to taking his addiction a step further by soliciting prostitutes.

Their marriage didn’t survive.

Why is porn such a big issue? Why not “leave it alone?” Because viewing porn breaks the most fundamental and intimate bond  between a husband and wife: the promise of only you. When a husband and wife make love, they should always have the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of the other person in mind. Watching other people having sex brings someone else into the equation; and the promise of “only you” is broken.

Real relationships are complicated. Real love desires to actually know and love another person—flaws and all.

“In porn, all of that can get edited out: any physical flaws can be quickly Photoshopped away; no matter what’s happening to them, the people on screen can be made to look like they’re having a good time ; and no one seems to have any needs of their own, opinions, or feelings to consider. Besides, if anyone fails to immediately satisfy, there’s always someone new to click to.” – See more at Fight the New Drug

Since we live in a world where porn is very easy to access—is it realistic to have a porn-free marriage? Yes. We might not be able to keep from being exposed to it, but we can definitely keep it from getting a foothold in our relationships. If you want to to establish a porn-free marriage—here’s a good place to start.

Look at your spouse and commit again: ONLY YOU.

Ten Traits in a Porn-Free Marriage

  1. Pre-Emptive Action

    I remember the first time I had to ask my husband an uncomfortable question. My heart was racing. What if I couldn’t handle the answer he gave me? What if he was angry with me for asking? What if he was viewing porn? What if?

    Yes, the questions are hard, but they need to be asked. When the chips are down, healthy married couples ask the hard questions before porn becomes a problem. They don’t wait for it to become a problem. Porn-free marriages are marked by open, bold communication. They take necessary steps to protect their marriage before it takes root.

    Don’t presume to know what’s going on, and don’t run from a possible porn problem: bring it into the light.

  2. HEALTHY SEXUAL EXPRESSION

    I wrote a book on marriage in 2009. You would think in our culture, we’d be talking more honestly about sex in marriage—but it remains a difficult topic. Porn-free marriages value true intimacy and understand work toward mutual satisfaction that does not violate the trust or well-being of the other person.

    God’s Word says that the marriage bed is undefiled. (Hebrews 13:4) This means that as long as you don’t cross into sin (such as porn, adultery, etc.) you are free to express yourselves sexually in whatever ways make you both happy. Honestly: Fewer things make my husband happier than knowing I desire him, so I’ve made this a priority! I want to be the best reason for him to come home after work. Porn-free married couples enjoy healthy, adventurous sex. They don’t need porn for that!

    What about sex toys and other sexual aids? This is where you have to use godly discernment.  If what you’re doing causes either of you to feel pain, disrespected, or ashamed, then take a step back and talk about it. Intimacy between husband and wife is a sacred gift that should never evoke feelings of guilt, shame, or disrespect.

    Communicate openly with each other. Married sex should be an beautiful expression of love; a gift between a husband a wife; a secret garden that only the two of you get to enjoy.

  3. ACCOUNTABILITY

    Porn-free marriages are not afraid to be held accountable. Period. My husband has access to my computer, my phone, my life. He knows my passwords and I know his. We hold each other accountable—and at times, other people help us. If a husband or wife does not want accountability in this area (or any other area) … it’s a red flag. Get help.

  4. HONESTY

    Married couples who want to guard their marriage against the infiltration of porn lay their desires out there. They are not embarrassed or ashamed to talk honestly about their desires, including how often they would like to have sex. They share their struggles and they are honest when they blow it. If there is honesty—there can be trust. When trust is violated, problems follow.

    Share this!

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  5. VULNERABILITY

    When I was a young married woman, I struggled with being vulnerable with my husband. I was embarrassed by the sight of my own body; so learning to be vulnerable took time. My husband’s patience and pursuit eventually gave me the confidence I needed to be completely myself with him—but it took time and patience.

    Husbands: give your wife the gift of shelter. By this, I mean, if you want more from your sex life, be a safe place for your wife. DO NOT demean your wife’s body in any way. Encourage and build her up. The best advice we ever received about this tender topic was from a couple who had been married for many years. They said that we should always be looking for the things we loved in each other and verbalize it! Verbal expression of love and appreciation allows for vulnerability.

    Vulnerability requires absolute trust in the other person. Porn damages that trust. Couples who want to keep trust and vulnerability in the marriage keep porn out of it. Remember—only you.

  6. COMMITMENT TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE OTHER

    We go through seasons in life. Twenty-five years of marriage has seen my husband and me through many of them: pregnancy, newborn exhaustion, financial stress, family trouble.  All things things have an effect on libido. When we’re committed to meeting each other’s needs, that means we also roll with the seasons we’re in.

    My husband knows I’m committed to meeting his needs—and he trusts me. If I say “not tonight,” he knows it’s not going to be forever. Successful couples make the needs of their spouse a top priority in every area, not just sexually—and they put actions to their words. If you say, “later, honey” but later never comes—trouble is sure to follow.

  7. TRANSPARENCY

    You’ll be a lot less likely to struggle with porn in your marriage if you are willing to allow unfettered access to your devices. Period.

  8. ZERO TOLERANCE FOR PORN

    Does this seem “hard core?” That’s the point. When you see it, or even think you see it, address it. Don’t ignore it.
    Talk about it.
    Don’t tolerate the enemy worming his wicked way into your marriage in any way. Remember: Only you.

  9. COMMITTED TO PRAYER

    If you’ve been reading my blog for long, you know I am a woman of faith. I believe that God is listening to us and that He wants us to take our struggles to Him. I know for a fact, because I’ve experienced it—that healing is found in Christ.

    My husband and I are committed to protecting our marriage through prayer We don’t always pray together every day, but at the very least, we’re praying for each other every day. I pray for protection in this tender area especially, because I believe it is a spiritual battle. I’ve seen first hand the power of prayer. Prayer heals marriages.

    No situation is beyond God’s healing touch. Porn is no match for the power of prayer.

  10. MOTIVATED BY LOVE

    One thing I have observed in couples who have successfully won the battle over porn or been able to keep their marriages free from it is that their motivation truly is love.

    Love for eachother. Love for their children. Love of God.

    When we’re motivated by love, our first instinct is to protect and nurture the relationship. A wife who loves her husband will want to protect him from porn (and vice-versa.) A husband who loves his wife can demonstrate that by not doing anything that he knows would damage their marriage.

Only you.

Commit to making your marriage bed a sacred place—and do the work it takes to keeping it that way.

Your marriage is worth it.

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By the way, I’ve written a book on marriage—and it it, I talk about some of the pain my family has experienced. The book was written for homeschooling community but it’s for every married woman who’s trying to juggle her life, her kids and her marriage.

Check it out—be encouraged! Below are more resources for you to look into.

Online help

The Effects of Porn on Your Marriage – Sheila Gregoire

What to do when you discover your husband is using porn – Sheila Gregoire

Your Brain on Porn – Covenant Eyes

Fight The New Drug – website

Books

Jailbreak – by Vincent and Allison Newfield
Momentary pleasure… followed by lasting guilt and shame. You keep going back for more. But why? Will the Jekyll and Hyde struggle ever cease? Countless men are imprisoned in the vice-grips of porn—many of which are Christians. Years ago, Vincent Newfield was one of them. In JAILBREAK, he and his wife, Allison, candidly share their journey to freedom, along with a proven pathway out of porn’s prison.

Every Man’s Battle – by Stephen Arterburn
From the television to the Internet, print media to videos, men are constantly faced with the assault of sensual images. It is impossible to avoid such temptations…but, thankfully, not impossible to rise above them.
Shattering the perception that men are unable to control their thought lives and roving eyes, Every Man’s Battle shares the stories of dozens who have escaped the trap of sexual immorality and presents a practical, detailed plan for any man who desires sexual purity-perfect for men who have fallen in the past, those who want to remain strong today, and all who want to overcome temptation in the future.

Shattered Vows: Hope and Healing for Women Who Have Been Sexually Betrayed – by Debra Laaser
Infidelity doesn’t have to ruin your life—or your marriage If you have been devastated by your husband’s sexual betrayal—whether an isolated incident or a long-term pattern of addiction—you need to know you don’t have to live as a victim.

When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography: Healing Your Wounded Heart – by Vicki Tiede
When your husband’s addiction to pornography leaves you shattered, betrayed, and alone, where do you turn? Who do you turn to? Vicki Tiede, writing from personal experience, gently guides women toward God and away from despair. Through daily readings and questions on six important topics: hope, surrender, trust, identity, brokenness, and forgiveness, you will grow in healing and hope.

You might also enjoy:

25 Ways to Stay Married for 25 Years

 

 

25 Ways to Stay Married for 25 Years

Couple With Hot Drink Relaxing By Fire

In September of 2014, my husband and I celebrated twenty-five years of marriage. Our two oldest daughters put together an evening of remembering.

Pictures. Songs. Friends. Children. Grandchildren. Parents.

…we, my husband and I, are one less parent now. Jay’s dad passed away a a year ago on a misty October morning surrounded by the family he started nearly fifty years ago. And we were all there. Grandchildren, great-grandchildren. A lot happens in fifty years.

Time goes by fast, doesn’t it? Something about December turning to January reminds us all that time is passing.  On Christmas morning, I watched as my husband unwrapped his present from Mom—a watch that belonged to his dad. He spent the rest of evening cleaning and polishing it—and remembering.

For forty-nine years, dad stayed faithfully married to mom. My grandparents were married nearly sixty years. I can still see grandpa chasing grandma around the kitchen. Sadly, these kinds of marriages are fast becoming the “exception” and not the rule.

This generation struggles to do what Jay’s parents and my grandparents did—but somehow, we need to figure it out.
Times are surely not harder now than they were then. My grandparents struggled through infertility, the depression, loss and heartbreak. What set them apart? Commitment. Sexual fidelity. Longing and vision—a longing to create a legacy of love and a vision for how to get that done.

I want that longing in my own marriage. I want that vision. When we had three twenty-four-hour days right.in.a.row to just “be,” over our anniversary, I made a list of things that I believe have helped to get us to the twenty-five year mark. By God’s grace, we’ll make it to 50 beautiful years. That year will be beautiful. It will be 2039. And it will be here before we know it.

Good marriages don’t just happen. They’re built, nurtured and protected. They start with love and longing and make the distance through dedication and sticky resolve.

You’ve got what it takes. Be committed.

greatMarriages

 Twenty-five Ways to Stay Married for Twenty-Five Years

  1. Take your vows seriously

    We say our vows and kiss and people clap—but I wonder… do we know what we’re doing when we say “I do?” Probably not. A vow is meant to be forever… until death do us part. It better be serious if we even consider breaking a covenant like that. There are deal breakers, I get that–but “I’m just not happy” should not be one of them.

  2. Expect adversity

    The battle lines were drawn the day we said “For better or worse.” Us against whatever may come. Expect the “worse” and hang on to the “better” when it comes.

  3. Be the best reason to come home

    I want my husband to think of me as the best reason to get off work early. I want him to know that a warm house and the president of his fan club is waiting for him. A respite. A warm embrace. A bowl of cereal or filet mignon is all the same when it’s served with love, grace and affection.

  4. Date each other

    Why do we stop doing this? Men: it’s not that hard to get a card for your wife or leave her a little note on the bathroom mirror. Wives still want to be asked out—husbands still want to know their wives desire them.

  5. Laugh

    I have to force myself to laugh when money is tight and babies are crying and teenagers are demanding; but the reward is worth it. Life is hard. Laugh at the rain.

  6. Dream together

    We start out dreaming—and when the dreams die, a little piece of ourselves die with it. Don’t stop dreaming. Create new dreams, set new goals. Begin again, together.

  7. Don’t play emotional games

    Enough said. Less Jersey Shore, ladies.

  8. Be second

    What would happen if we made the happiness of our spouse … first? A lot less divorces, I imagine.

  9. Try new things

    A few years ago, we became foodies—together. #truestory

  10. Work it out

    Look each other in the eyes and say the hard thing—with love. Work it out. Don’t take ANY advice from Washington. Compromise is essential in every successful relationship.

  11. Let it go

    “Frozen” is on to something. Just don’t slam the door as you turn away. Don’t hang on to hurt. Let it go. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Bitterness makes you the prisoner. Let it go.

  12. Chase him around the bedroom

    Hey. After 25 years, we’re realizing we are not going to stop the clock. Don’t waste time playing hard to get. NO REGRETS.

  13. Love your own body

    After seven children, my body looks like something out of a National Geographic magazine. That’s okay. My husband wants me to love my body—so that I can love him without embarrassment or shame. Those are our stretchmarks… his and mine. So I own them. They’re badges of honor… and reminders of a love we share and life well-lived.

  14. Eat together

    As often as you can. The dinner hour is precious time to connect. Leave time for candles—even if you’re serving cold cereal.

  15. Protect your time

    Gardens that are not tended to die. Gardeners make time to garden. Give your marriage the time it needs and watch it flourish.

  16. Compliment each other

    Let me help you:
    “I love the way you look in that color.”
    “You look smokin’ hot today!”
    “Baby, you are gonna turn a lot of heads today. Mine first.”

  17. Don’t withhold sex from your spouse

    Pat Benetar said it best: “Stop using sex as a weapon!” We were too young to understand that song when we first heard it but there comes a time when we figure it out.

  18. Have babies

    You know how I feel about that. Yes. They’re all ours. They’ve made our lives richer and our days louder. Share the load and grow.

  19. Explore together

    Why do we stop exploring? The same reason we stop dreaming. My grandparents were always up for an adventure—and we are, too.

  20. See the bright side

    Harder than it sounds when life knocks the breath out of you. Try.

  21. Don’t give up

    Too many marriages end because they give up just a day before the answer comes. If couples can survive the holocaust and the Great Depression, we can surely make it through financial setbacks, disappointing outcomes and bad days. I’d say my husband and I have made it through entire bad years. Not fun, but keep your eyes on what’s to come. Grandbabies are coming. Better days are coming. Don’t give up.

  22. Tell the truth

    Even when it hurts. Trust is not easily rebuilt.

  23. Forgive each other

    Seventy times seven.

  24. Do things that make you both happy

    When we were younger, we loved to go garage-saleing on Saturday mornings. Now, we like to sit in our bedroom with a cup of coffee on Saturday mornings and hope the kids sleep in just long enough for us to drink it while it’s hot. It makes us happy.

  25. Be faithful

    Your vows include fidelity. Nothing drains the life out of a marriage faster than adultery. (I put porn in that category.Women who share their husbands with the ghosts of other women are broken in a hundred different ways.) Save your bodies, all of your lives, only for each other.The culture has lied to you. It’s not “just sex.” It’s more than that. It’s the embodiment of all your hope, your trust, your deepest giving—in a sacred, beautiful gift.

“To have and to hold.”

Be faithful. Marriage is a beautiful, gut-wrenching, free-falling, faith-building adventure—and it’s worth it.

Heidi St. John

 

In Celebration of Old {Married} Love

Old_love_knows

I’ve got a little bone to pick with the culture. Everywhere I look, I see signs that while we all love a good wedding, we don’t give marriage the honor it deserves.

Jay and I recently celebrated our 25th anniversary. Our daughters did something unexpected and wonderful for us—they threw us an anniversary party.  It was a sweet time of looking back. Together, with some precious friends and family,  we watched a video that told the love story of a rock-n-roll boy with a mullet and a girl with funky, thick glasses. Wow. Just wow.

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The following day, we left for a rare two day retreat in Central Oregon. On the drive, Jay confessed to me that he had not expected marriage to have so many ups and downs. Right? As it turns  out, life is full of more twists and turns than we imagined it could be. New love paints marriage with a broad brush. And that’s okay. It needs be broad to cover a lifetime’s worth of canvas.

In 1989, we thought the big deal was simply to get married. We were wrong.  The “big deal” was—and is— the commitment we made. As our friends helped us mark a milestone, we were reminded that marriage is about much more than a wedding. Our marriage has impacted not just our lives, but the lives of our children and grandson.

A good marriage provides the foundation on which the next generation is built. At least, it should.

Maybe that’s part of what’s wrong with our culture—and our families. It seems we’re more interested in other people’s weddings than we are in protecting marriage. And we’re suffering for it.

A few days ago, I glanced at a some magazine covers while waiting in line at the grocery store.  Apparently, “Brangelina” tied the knot after years of living together. Kim Kardashian spent a gazillion dollars on a lavish ceremony that was made for reality TV and George Clooney decided to take the plunge in a ceremony worthy of … well, a guy with a lot of money.

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The magazines were all about the money invested in the wedding and trappings of the big day, but there was not a single word written about the commitment that was being made.

What is marriage for? I think we’ve forgotten.

Our culture is focused on the wrong thing. Divorce is just part of a byline now in a Wikipedia rundown of a person’s life.
Married xx times. Divorced xx times. That’s life.

Are we investing in what really matters?

Every year, parents pour thousands of dollars out to to see their children into a new season of life… the married season.  It calls for a celebration, but I can’t help but wonder: does a wedding day really call for the lavishness we give it? I don’t think so. Not that we shouldn’t celebrate: we should. But I think our “lavish” celebrations should be reserved for, well, the deserving.

I figure this isn’t gonna make me very popular, so hear me out:

Weddings are important. The moment is monumental— but the test—the test is yet to come.

We commit to the “test” when we get married, but we can’t really know what it means. Not really.

When was the last time you saw a magazine dedicated to anniversaries? Have you tried to get a 50th Anniversary cake topper at your local Hallmark store lately? Trust me, they’re hard to find. Why? Because not many people make it to those special anniversaries, that’s why.

New love is awesome because of the potential it holds—but there’s something even better: Old love.

Old love is potential that’s been realized.

Old love deserves a Pinterest inspired chandelier hanging from an old oak tree. Old love should dance under that tree until dawn.

Old love has weathered the storms of this life. It has seen a couple through the addition of children. It’s been up all night with newborns and waited up until dawn for teenagers to arrive safely home.

Old love has struggled through the loss of a child and held on.

Old love knows the pain of shepherding a prodigal.

Old love has cried over the loss of a dear friend’s marriage and sometimes even wept it’s way through it’s own infidelity—and hung on.

Old love has weathered financial setbacks. It may have known poverty—but poverty did not destroy it.

Old married love has struggled through seasons of sexual insecurity—and found it’s way through to mutual satisfaction.

Old married love knows the lows and the highs living with someone for better or worse.

Old love has discovered that hanging on is it’s own reward. It knows the depth of joy that comes with a lifelong commitment.

Old love appreciates wrinkles and stretch marks—because it knows they are markers. Time is passing.

Old love’s house has stood firm.

New love is worthy a beautiful wedding—but old love… old married love is worthy of  a celebration. 

Anniversaries. That rare 75th. The 70th. 65th. FIFTY YEARS. Forty. Thirty. Twenty-five. Twenty.

If you have parents who have been married for twenty years, you have reason to celebrate. Believe me. Throw your parents a party they’ll never forget. Let them know that you appreciate that they did more than simply “fall in love.” They persevered through life’s trials and remained faithful. They didn’t give up. They didn’t quit.

Next year, my husband’s parents will celebrate 50 years. If us old folks can stay up all night celebrating, that’s what we’ll do.

Because old married love has earned itself a celebration.

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