The last post I shared some of the things that killed our relationship. Today I want to share one simple formula and principle which restored our relationship, our marriage and our love life – again from Love Life for Every Married Couple – how to fall in love, stay in love, rekindle your love. I will guarantee if you incorporate these basic principles into your daily life, you will see other relationships improve as well. I know this works because it worked for us and I am a HUGE testimony about how this simple phrase can change your life. Anything good that has happened to me by my own will and chosing to do RIGHT thing (I have made horrible and destructive decisions and thank God I am forgiven) is based upon the Bible.
In Romans 12:2, we are told to
… not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
I believe this scripture with my whole being and Bill knows that I have allowed it to work to improve our marriage. However, he will be the first one to tell you, I still have a lot of renewing to do!!! It is never too early or to late to put this into practice.
As a reminder, I used to do some husband bashing. I focused on everything bad about Bill. I stopped looking at his goodness and all the traits I initially “fell in love” with and began to not like him. I gave up on our relationship, felt it was hopeless and sought the divorce. I did not previously write that when we divorced, it was three strikes and Bill was out. There were two other key times when I cried out to Bill there was something wrong in our marriage.
In our seventh year of marriage, called the typical “7 year itch” that I was not happy with the direction of our marriage. So after lots of heart to hearts and lots of yelling and acting out (we also were not in a church or even really looking to God for direction at this point), Bill decided it was time to have a baby (yes, my biological clock was ticking and I really wanted a child for years. Bill was holding off until he thought we could “afford” a baby.) I did love Bill and he loved me and we wanted a child. But our marriage was on shaky grounds. I really wanted to be back in church, but Bill was still soured on some bad past experiences.
I looked to God during this time and even prayed “Hannah’s prayer.” We read about it in 1 Samuel that Hannah was greatly loved by her husband but she was unable to become pregnant. She became more and more distraught and we find the account in 1 Samuel 1:10-11 “In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord. And she made a vow, saying, ‘O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.'”
While I did not look this up and fully identify, I remembered that Hannah really wanted a child and prayed this prayer and offered her child back up to the Lord. And that was what I did. I did not ask for a son or a daughter, I simply asked God to give us a healthy child. God gave Hannah Samuel and we know the rest of that story, hopefully! Well, God gave me Jessica and those who know her know, what a blessing she is to everyone she meets! She has a heart of gold and helps people everyday in her work. She helps her friends and her neighbors. But mostly, she loves her mom! Oh, and she also loves her dad and her husband (note added: She has since had two boys and she loves them as no other mother could!)….she is amazing and to know her is to know love!
After 10 years of marriage, I “cracked up” again and tried to separate. We went to counseling for one session. The marriage counselor said we had to tell her what we wanted her to do. Did we want her to help us restore and save our marriage or did we want her to help us dissolve the marriage? I said I didn’t know, I wanted her to tell us what we should do! Needless to say, we never went back and somehow we muddled through and did all we could to be the best parents possible! Jessica was such a good child and so easy to raise, she really was the glue we needed at that time.
But as you read in my earlier posts, things came to a head again and I just decided the marriage was over. I had tried to get Bill on three separate occasions to change as he promised (each time he knew he needed to do something, but honestly, he just didn’t know what he needed to do! ) No one told us there was a marriage manual (the Bible or if you need it spelled out succinctly, Dr. Ed Wheat has done all the hard work and put it in an easy to read book mentioned above), so our marriage fell apart…but our God is faithful! He not only restored our relationship, He gave us the new and improved version! We continue to praise Him and thank Him everyday for our miracle!
So what did we learn to make our lives better? Not bash my husband nor he cut me down. How I now wish I not only applied this to our marriage, but to other relationships – at least the BE part of the principle. So under conviction, I am now going to stop bashing ANYONE!!! Ok, even politicians. Our Lord knows they need our prayers and love more than anyone, jerks that most of them are…OK, so I am a work in progress….
Before Dr. Wheat gives this principle, he hopes you have accepted all the five ways of loving and he devotes several chapters to each of the different ways a couple should love each other. He even gets pretty explicit with the sex part, so buy the book as I am not going to post any of that part!
Here is our SECRET!!! Starting in his Chapter 13, page 237, Prescription for a Superb Marriage, he says this involves a practical course of action for husband and wife (but trust me, it applies to all relationships) that is both uncomplicated and effective. “You will be able to remember it easily because it is called the B-E-S-T, acronym which represents the four positive elements that will transform any marriage. These are not steps to be tried one at a time, but four measures to be taken simultaneously and maintained consistently. If necessary, they can be implemented by either partner alone. In many cases you will have to make the first move without any promise of cooperation of the other (my note: if your marriage or relationship is on rocky ground). So if you want the best marriage possible with the mate you have chosen, then give your partner the BEST!”
So after we learned this principle and allowed God to renew our minds about each other, we no longer cut each other down or bash each other to others. Think about it, if you know either one of us, have you ever heard us say a negative thing about each other? Or heard us even jokingly cut one another down? If one of us started down that road, we simply whispered lovingly, BEST, and the bad words stopped!
I have summarized the principle and keep it handy on my computer to share with anyone as needed. So not quoting directly from the book, here it is:
1) Blessing – Perhaps you have never thought of blessing as a practical element to be introduced into marriage. The principle of blessing is a biblical one, and the Christian is commanded to practice it, most particularly in response to annoyance or provocation. Learning this important technique of response will carry you through the difficult moments that occur in any marriage and will bring peace to the troubled waters of your relationship. The practice of blessing puts an end to the volley of sharp words that mars so many love affairs, and that is only the beginning of its benefits for you.
The word “blessing” (eulogia) in the New Testament is based upon two Greek words: eu meaning “well” and logos, meaning “word.” The first way of blessing your marriage partner is to speak well of him or her, and to respond with good words even when your partner’s speech becomes harsh, critical, or insulting…..To put this in the most practical terms, you have the power to bless your marriage by the words you speak to your partner. You can also bless by learning when to be silent.
Three other aspects of blessing are found in Scripture. You bless by bestowing practical benefits upon, simply by doing kind things for another person….You also bless by showing thankfulness and appreciation….Finally, you bless by calling God’s favor down in prayer.
To sum up: 1) through your good and loving words spoken to him (her) about him (her); 2) through your practical behavior, which shows loving kindness toward him (her) in actions large and small; 3) through conveying your attitude of thankfulness and appreciation; 4) through your prayer to God on your spouse’s behalf. Good words, kind actions, thankful appreciation, and intercessory prayer for your spouse.
Ephesians 4:29: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
2) Edifying – A biblical term often used in the New Testament, refers to the building up of individuals…in every aspect of your spouse’s personality, cheering him (her) on in every area of life, and increasing his (her) sense of self-worth with the result that his (her) capacity to love and give of himself (herself) would be increased as well….
The New Testament Greek word for “edify” is oikodomeo, a combination of two words: oikos, meaning a family, home, or house, and demo, meaning to build. While you are edifying and building each other up, you are also building a home together….We find as we study the New Testament passages that speak of edifying that three golden strands are interwoven: personal encouragement, inner strengthening, and the establishment of peace and harmony between individuals….
”Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV). 1 Corinthians 8:1 sums up the matter of edifying: “Love builds up” (NIV).
But how do you build up your mate? A careful study of New Testament principles and the example of the Song of Solomon indicates that husbands and wives each have their own ways of edifying. In brief, the husband edifies his wife by praising her. The wife edifies her husband by her loving response to him.
Husbands are commanded in Ephesians 5 to nourish and cherish their wives. This is at least partially accomplished through the giving of verbal praise and encouragement. A wife’s sense of her own beauty depends greatly on what her husband thinks of her. She needs to be nourished emotionally with praise and never diminished by criticism, especially in the areas where she feels most insecure and vulnerable. She needs to be cherished in public and the test if this is how her husband treats her socially…. Remember, edification builds up, never tears down. So love gives your partner freedom to grow and develop as a person without fear of failure and fear of hurtful criticism.
Biblically, the wife best edifies her husband by her response to him. In the full meaning of the language of the Greek New Testament, the wife is told to respect, admire, be in awe of, defer to, revere, adore, esteem, praise and deeply love her husband….God has designed marriage so that a husband is dependent on the affirmation of his wife, the appreciation she shows him for all that he gives her, and her demonstration of respect for his manhood.
Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”
3) Sharing – The more ways you can find to be in relationship with each other, the stronger your love will become. Sharing should touch all areas of life—your time, activities, interests, concerns, ideas, innermost thoughts, spiritual walk, family objectives, goals, etc. Sharing demands giving of yourself, listening to your partner, and as you live life together, developing a sensitive awareness of moments that offer possibilities for deepening the love between you. Yes, this too is a biblical principle as the husband and wife are to become one flesh.
Genesis 2:24 and Ephesians 5:31: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
4) Touching (non-sexual) – God created us with hundreds of thousands of microscopic nerve endings in our skin designed to sense and benefit from a loving touch. A tender touch tells us that we are cared for. It can calm our fears, soothe pain, bring us comfort, or give us the blessed satisfaction of emotional security. As adults, touching continues to be a primary means of communicating with those we love, whether we are conscious of it or not. (My note: I think the more non-sexual touching a woman gets the more of the other the man gets!)
After 36 years of marriage (ok, on and off, as we did divorce but we have been together in one flesh since April 11, 1975) we testify that this prescription will help your marriage be as full and loving as God intended it! We call this the BEST principle!
35th Anniversary Picture
We are celebrating 46 years years of marriage as I type this, 4/10/2021 – a day early. Needless to say, I am way behind on blogging. And now I really need to decide what to do with this blog since we are no longer traveling (much). But this month, as we celebrate, I am reviewing, updating and re-blogging our Marriage Blog Posts. We are still so passionate about the state of marriages. I plan to download these and put into a “table”book for our old age! So if anyone sees any typos or errors, let me know. It will be much appreciated. To catch up if you want to start at the beginning or see why these posts are still relevant, we now have a “Marriage Blog Posts” link on our header.
Near Pawley's Island on a warm winter day, February 27, 2021. Perhaps we should buy new hats to celebrate our anniversary!