Tag Archives: marriage

what Hilary Duff got wrong

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Yesterday everyone’s favorite Disney channel blonde, Lizzie McGuire herself, had an interview in Cosmopolitan hit the internet newsstand. Maybe it hit the actual newsstands, but I haven’t walked by one since August of 2010 so I just can’t speak to that.

ANYWAYZ. If you haven’t heard, Hilary Duff has filed for divorce from her hockey playing husband and in her Cosmo interview she speaks to their relationship:

“We spent the majority of our time together really happy. It wasn’t working well enough to stay together, but there was still a lot of love involved. It was just a slow set-in of us not being the match that we used to be.” (from cosmopolitan.com. link to original article here)

While I appreciate her not using this high profile interview to bash her significant other, I find it hard to agree with her reasoning. I get really bummed out when people pull the “We just don’t work well together anymore” card. Loving my sister can be hardbut I don’t stop being her sister because she makes me pay for Mexican food and never gives me $4 back.

Life is difficult when people are involved, but that doesn’t mean we bow out as soon as the water starts to rise and things are looking like there’s no way out.

I should say, I don’t know if Hilary is a follower of Jesus or not. If she isn’t, then the only ground she really has to stand on are her own feelings.

BUT.

If you love Jesus and He is the Lord of your life, then you don’t get to throw the card that Hilary threw. You don’t get to say, “we just don’t match anymore.”

Too often, even as Christians, when things get hard in life we decide to just leave it behind. We move on to the next person, ministry opportunity, friend, coffee shop, *insert thing here* because we don’t want to push through the tough stuff.

My church is currently going through the book of Ruth and discovering hesed love. Hesed love is steadfast, rock-solid faithfulness. In the book of Ruth, when everything in Naomi, Ruth, & Orpah’s life is gone, it is hesed love that allows Ruth to cling to her mother-in-law and pledge to follow her wherever she may go.

It is hesed love that says, “No matter how hard things get, no matter what feelings may bubble up inside of me, I will cling to the covenant between us and stay. I won’t go anywhere. My feelings won’t sway the commitment I have made to you.”

It is an action that lays down one’s own life for the sake of the other.

It is Jesus dying on a cross and raising again to save and redeem us of our sins, allowing us to stand righteous before God the Father.

Because of this love, we don’t get to bow out when it gets hard. Instead, we get to rely on God to fill us with covenantal, hesed love that transcends our understanding. We get to know that we are called to live above our feelings and to remain in steadfast commitment to those we love.

highly encourage you to listen to the sermon series on Ruth and continue to follow along with us as we take this journey of love. And I highly encourage you push back against cultural norms that say our feelings are what matter most.

Hilary got this one wrong, and I really don’t want you to do the same.

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misconceptions of marriage: part 3 – devotion to the Lord alone

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Welp, here it is – the last post of Whit’s series, the last post of 2014, and the post that marks the 1 year anniversary of the blog. As I’ve mentioned in weeks past, I’m so glad we’ve been able to learn from my dear friend these few weeks, and I pray that the Spirit would speak to us all and draw us into Christ as the year comes to a close. In starting this blog a year ago my desire was to learn who I am in Jesus for the sake of Jesus – to go to God just to get God. I’m glad Whit gets to close out the year sharing her heart in marriage, and that it’s all the same: whether we are single, married, divorced, whatever…the goal is Jesus, always. Enjoy the blog and we’ll see you in 2015!

With New Years Eve here, it seems like so many people are getting engaged. It is an exciting time for them as their whole world changes with the future of marriage on the horizon. With pictures of engagement rings, beaming faces, and happy couples it can be a trying time for those looking in from the outside. Engagement is wonderful….but there are many misconceptions with engagement and marriage.

So let’s us continue to go through the top 5 Misconceptions about marriage. Here are the 2 misconceptions we addressed last week:

#1 Finances Misconception

#2 Misconceptions of Loneliness
You can read about those misconceptions in the blog from last week by clicking here.

Are there more than these 5 misconceptions within marriage? Certainly. But I think you will catch onto the essence of truth in the 5 misconceptions: marriage is great, but it should point you to a greater relationship: Jesus.


#3 Misconceptions of Sex: “Once you are married you and your spouse will not struggle with temptation or lust; sex will complete you and make you happy.”

I wish this was true. But it’s not. Lust creeps into marriage, and satan is constantly trying to tempt and drive a wedge between husband and wife. Pornography is an ever present danger, that can entice and lure even the most noble of spouses. Look at this proverb, lust seduces and can deceive quickly—whether single or married we must be careful to protect ourselves from the temptations of lust.

Proverbs 7: 21-23 “With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life.”

Sex does not complete you. Sex is an amazing part of marriage, but it doesn’t complete you. Jesus Christ as your personal savior completes you. Sex is designed by God and is meant to join husband and wife and help them to become one, like Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:32).

Genesis 2:24 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

#4 Misconceptions of Insecurities: “What I’ve done, the sins I have committed, make me not good enough for marriage; that I won’t be accepted; that God is holding out on me.”

Beloved, if this is your misconception of marriage know that I am praying for you. This misconception breaks my heart. This is a straight up LIE. This is a lie from satan that you won’t be acceptable before God or from a potential spouse. There is nothing we have done to earn the love of Christ, yet He still loves us —–grace upon grace (John 1:16). And that is a picture of the kind of spouse you want, the kind of spouse that is centered on Christ, will not hold past sins against you, but forgive you. That is the kind of potential spouse you should date, someone who shows you the grace of Christ.

My hubby loves me, and forgives me for my past mistakes. He does not hold those over my head and make me feel unacceptable. He shows me the grace of Christ daily, grace upon grace.

God is not holding out on you. God loves you and has a plan for your life. You are not acceptable because of what you do; you are acceptable to God because of Christ alone.

 Romans 14:18 “Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.”

#5 Misconceptions of Completion or feeling “Good Enough”: “If I’m married to a man that has made a covenant to love me always in front of God and man, then I will always feel good enough around him.”

Again I wish this misconception was true. Wouldn’t it be nice to always feel good enough from your spouse? But as much as my wonderful hubs loves me, he does not complete me. Christ alone completes me. I need to be fully devoted to my savior, and sometimes in marriage it can be challenging to not put your spouse before Christ because your interests can be divided:  

1 Corinthians 7:32-35I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.”

I struggle with not feeling good enough, but my husband cannot solve this problem for me. Sure he can tell me he loves me, or I am pretty, or good at my job, or that I make a good dinner…but no matter the amount of flattery I am still insecure at times, especially when I burn dinner or have a bad hair day. Insecurity is me believing the lie that I am not good enough…having anxiety about myself. God’s word is clear. I am not to be anxious about anything, neither are you, God commands us not to be anxious/worried/insecure:

Matthew 6:31-34 “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

We can rest assured that we are secure in Christ, and not our own efforts, looks, jobs, or cooking abilities. And that is where you can find your security, not in a marriage but in Jesus Christ.

I don’t know where you are in your thoughts of marriage…maybe you think marriage is the ultimate, and that those that are married have it all. Maybe you are married and confused why it seems like everyone else’s marriages “look” perfect, and yours is in disarray. Maybe you think marriage sounds like a prison cell, and you are with your “ball and chain” for life. Or maybe you honestly don’t see the point in marriage, and consider it old-fashioned. Wherever you are coming into reading this, my prayer is that you would begin to see marriage for what God intended it to be: a relationship to point you towards Him.

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misconceptions of marriage: part 2

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When I first asked Whitney to guest post (back in June or July but we are BUSY PEOPLE), we both probably thought it would be a one and done topic. Whit would write a post for one week and then you’d get my sassy self back right after that. But as she and I began to talk through what the Lord had laid on her heart to write, it became quickly clear that it was at least a 2 week stint. And this morning we decided at to go for 3. So, here’s week 2. Again, I’m so glad you all are getting to learn from my dear friend. Let these words and the truth of Scripture soak in this evening. And enjoy Christmas – celebrating God coming to dwell with His people and make us whole. – Kayla (ps, I’m going to continue posting some of their engagement photos as long as Whitney writes, so, get used to it. I loved taking them and I love sharing them.)

What do singles think are the benefits of marriage? What are you treasuring?

What are the benefits of marriage? As Kayla and I sat in my kitchen listening to Christmas music we began to discuss the preconceived notions she had. As she talked a slight smirk started to grow on my face. She would suggest an idolized expectation about marriage, and I tried to hide my facial expression by sipping my tea but I knew I couldn’t, especially not with her. As they say in the south I wanted to tell her, “Bless your heart.” (Imagine I said that in a southern accent…because if you don’t it will lose the effect.)

Every single misconception of marriage she mentioned I could give countless examples to refute her claims. This view of marriage as perfect, prim, and pressed is unrealistic and unfair to singles. Marriage is wonderful, and hard because it’s a relationship of two sinners together in a covenant relationship for life.

I would like to help unveil the image of “perfection” that masks true struggles within marriages. Let’s get real, because that is where true growth happens…

#1 Finances Misconception: “Things are easier because of having 2 incomes; can have more things and do more stuff because you have more money; don’t have to monitor finances as closely.”

Money is not one of my favorite topics. But ask my hubs. He will give you spreadsheets for your spreadsheets. He loves to budget, work on his checkbook, and calculate our finances…it relaxes him. How is that even possible? I don’t get it. Praise God he enjoys that. I like to budget and save, but he is on a whole other level, thus sometimes we disagree on how to spend or save money.

Marriage does not solve our money problems. I wish it were that simple. For me, marriage magnified my finance issues and forced me to pray and seek God on what to do with finances. Why? Because when I was single my spending choices only affected me, now my decisions on spending/saving affect my spouse.

It’s God’s money that we steward together prayerfully. This has been crucial for us to realize it’s the Lord’s. Now we have monthly budget meetings to make sure we are unified in our stance on handling money (that are actually really helpful – I used to dread these).

And regarding the misconception about finances in marriage allowing for “more things/do more stuff” and “not have to monitor finances as closely,” that is a heart issue about money, rather than a marriage v. single issue, because anyone could say that whether married or not. I could covet another married person’s income or compare my income to single persons. This is simply a sin issue of coveting and comparing with money.

Money can quickly become an idol with loans, debt, wanting new shoes, or even hoarding money and saving it can be an idol. Jesus spent roughly a fourth of His time talking about money while on earth, clearly it was important since He knows our hearts and how fallen we are to turn to money for our comfort or security:

Matthew 6:24 Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Our lust for money can divide our hearts from worshipping God to worshipping dollars, and because it is a tempting idol it is essential we learn what God’s word says about it, no matter our marital status.

Good Finance Questions To Ask Yourself:

  • Do you love money over your love for God? Do you trust in money or God?

1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

 

  • Whose money is it anyways? Question you need to ask yourself often. Maybe like me, before you go to the mall? Seriously I’m not kidding. Every time I go into the mall I have to pray about my purchases. Know yourself, and know your limits and pray that you would use your money to glorify God.

Matthew 6:21 “…for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also.”

3.)    What is the purpose of your money?

Read the Widow’s Offering, Mark 12:41-44. I want to highlight verse 44, “For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

If you believe it is your money, then you spend/save it as you see fit. If you see it as money God has entrusted you with to steward, then you spend/save as you feel the Lord is leading you.

#2 Misconceptions of Loneliness: “You always have someone that loves having you around; you don’t feel alone as you would if you always came home to an empty apartment—there’s always someone around.”

If this is a misconception you have about marriage, I can see your rationalization. I thought the same thing too; that once I was married I would never feel lonely. I believe this problem of loneliness is growing partially due to social media, we think we are connected to our “friends,” when it is not a real face-to-face relationship instead of the computer screen.

Our pastor’s wife recently shared how marriage has been a lonely time for her. I thought, surely she is not alone, she is married to a great guy and has so many connections, but it was true- she felt lonely. I greatly appreciated her sharing this, because it showed me that I wasn’t alone in feeling lonely…which was oddly comforting. Authentic vulnerability in relationships is rare, but it’s possible. Look at Acts 2: the body of Christ loved people well, whether single or married and they were in true fellowship with each other.

At times I have felt alone in marriage. My husband has felt alone in marriage. Sure marriage is great because you are living with your best friend, but there are times when I struggle to express what I am feeling or maybe I want to talk with someone else who is a female and can relate differently to me than my spouse. Maybe I am putting unfair expectations on my husband / friends to meet my neediness, which can result in feeling alone. But I have to go to Jesus when I feel alone or insecure first, because my hubby or friends can’t fulfill me.

I asked Pat what he thinks is the opposite of loneliness? He said, “Feeling loved.” I love that answer so much. Because we are loved, by the most perfect one: Christ. A relationship with Christ allows us to have communion with the God of the universe, who loves you and cares for you. We are never alone. Ever.

            Psalm 73:23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.”

Good questions about loneliness to ask yourself:

  • When I feel alone, how has my time been with the Lord? This should be the relationship I hold above all other relationships…it is with our Maker.

Isaiah 54:5 For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. “

  • Am I in good Christian community? If not, how can I get more connected?

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”

  • Am I comparing my life with others lives? Especially on social media?

I struggle with the temptations of comparisons, this verse helps me I pray it helps you too:

2 Corinthians 10:12  Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.”

When have you seen someone post a picture of themselves online in a fight with their spouse over money, or a picture of bills to pay, or they are by themselves?? People post what looks “good” and we then filter our views through what we see online. Which isn’t a clear picture of someone’s life, we are without understanding.

We will continue to try to pull back the claims that once you get marriage you are healed or that life is easy. If marriage was a special medicine that would eliminate all insecurities, hurts, and fears then I must be too sick to be healed by my spouse. Because after 2 years into marriage I still have insecurities, hurts, fears and so many more sinful thought patterns. Luckily I know the one who can heal my heart and continue to sanctify me to be more like His son, and Beloved He is available to heal your heart as well.   Trust Him.

Until next time…

Misconceptions of marriage to discuss next time:      -Sex      -Insecurities        -Feeling good enough

*If you missed last week’s post, catch up here!

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misconceptions of marriage: “and they lived happily ever after”

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Whitney (@whitneyarthur24 on Twitter) has lived a lot of life with me. She’s spoken words of encouragement and love into my life on a regular basis and I’m so excited to share a glimpse of that with you over the next 2 weeks!! She also taught me how to walk in heels…she’s pretty great. She’s also married to Pat who makes really tasty chocolate chip cookies and can cut a pretty good rug on the dance floor. I’m so honored that one of my best friends has opened her heart to us on this blog, and I pray that her experience and the truth of Scripture would encourage your heart! (ps, that’s one of Whitney & Pat’s engagement pictures posted above that I got to photograph!) Enjoy!!

There she was. The bride. Dressed in pure white, with a long veil, and beautiful white flowers. I was enamored. As she kissed her groom and they walked down the magical aisle into wedded bliss, I was hooked. After that my love affair with romance started as a little girl. I would draw brides in my coloring books, get “married” to my friends at preschool, and wear a towel on my head as a veil and prance around the house-singing “Someday my prince will come.”

To say I am a hopeless romantic is an understatement. I LOVE love (and weddings and fairy tales). A lot. Probably too much—I will let Kayla comment on that later to confirm.

I wanted to be a bride someday: a woman who is the essence of beauty and perfection. She glows, as if all her worries are gone, and life is easy. Her groom always looks at her the way all women want to be looked at. A bride must be the ideal of womanhood, I thought. Peering over my pages in my fairly tales I memorized every outfit and every line…until the fantasy turned into what I thought was a reality.

I would beg my dad to read me Cinderella, and eagerly await the phrase “and they lived happily ever after,” for that is what all little girls wish for. This is what little girls are conditioned to believe, what marketers and Disney mold into this fairy tale world that captivates the souls of little ones…and carries over into adult lives of women everywhere…hence our obsession with movies like “The Notebook,” or shows likes “The Bachelor.”

As I grew from a little girl into a young woman the idea of love fascinated me still. And I dove head first into relationships, for I wanted to be loved. Every relationship was another opportunity to finally feel wanted, desired, and cared for. So I had to be in a relationship to fulfill the void I felt. I put my heart in the hands of boys who made me feel as though they could complete me, and quickly I realized that I still felt alone, not good enough, and incomplete.

Yet, I was still hopeful that love would complete me as my inner-child cried from within, “This isn’t fair, you DESERVE a happily ever after.” And with a broken heart I would move to the next boy…and maybe he would be the one to complete me.

Praise God, I met Jesus during that sweet time of adolescence. That I was in the care of the ONLY one who could make complete: Christ.

Col. 2:10 NASB “…and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.”

Thank goodness Jesus is the author of the most intriguing, beautiful, and radical love story of all time. He has had my heart since I was 15 and I began to fall in love with Him.

 Romans 5:8 “…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Sanctification is a process and I have continually tipped toed around the idea that LOVE with a man would satisfy more than my LOVE of Jesus.

When I met my husband I knew he was the one, because he told me that he would always love Jesus more than he loved me. I knew Jesus had to be at the center of our relationship, but I quickly put this man above Jesus for he seemed more tangible. God taught me a lot during our dating, and then 5 years later we got engaged…and the world of weddings and pure bliss was opened. My forever man had put a ring on my finger, and told me I would be his forever. Finally I thought I would feel secure, and good enough.

Sure, sure I had heard marriage would be hard. But I truthfully believed it would be different for us.

Our wedding day was magical – it was amazing to make the covenant of marriage with my hubby and the Lord before our friends and family. But a wedding-high doesn’t last. Again I put my hope into a relationship with a person, now my husband, rather than my relationship with my Savior.

Matthew 22: 37-38 “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.”

This simple truth in the greatest commandment is so evident to not idolize anything or anyone but God. Yet I idolize my husband at times.

I put him above God, yet he doesn’t make me happy 24/7, we get in fights, he chews gum with his mouth open, he is different than me: he likes the show COPS….he isn’t perfect. As much as I love him he isn’t. He is a sinner. As am I. And so marriage is not a perfect relationship: a sinner marrying a sinner doesn’t equal complete bliss, it equals 2 sinners in a covenant relationship for life.

Marriage doesn’t complete me and it never will. I love my hubby, but I love Jesus more. And I don’t complete my hubs: and I can’t, it hinders his relationship with Christ if I try to get in the way.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

I pray that you would realize what or who you are idolizing before God. What are you seeking after? Is it a wedding? Is it an engagement ring? Is it marriage? Anything other than JESUS doesn’t suffice and you will be left feeling empty and striving for more. Beloved, I promise no one, no man, no husband will complete you…as hard as you may try, Jesus is better and truly is the “happily ever after,” we long for. Seek hard after Him and the desires of God’s heart will become the desires of your heart, Psalm 37:4. Eternity with the perfect Bridegroom: Jesus. He is the only one who I will idolize.

Next week we will discuss the 5 Top Misconceptions about marriage…get ready as we unpack: “What do singles think are the benefits of marriage?”

  • Finances
  • Sex
  • Loneliness
  • Insecurities
  • Feel Complete or “Good Enough”

Until next week….

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when you act like marriage is my savior

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I’m learning not to be legalistic. It’s Thursday. Deal with it. (Whitney told me to write this.)

I’ve been in the church my entire life. I often say that the only two things I’ve known my entire life are sports and Jesus. I’ve been around church people for a long, long time. And I’ve loved most of it. I’m grateful for having grown up in the environment I did. I glad I’m involved in a Gospel centered church with a community of believers that love and encourage me daily.

What I don’t always love is when people act like marriage is my savior.

Please hear (read) what I’m about to say in love:

Dear well-meaning people in my life, marriage cannot & will not save me. When you ask me if I’m dating someone, and I answer with a “no,” don’t feel sad for me. Don’t look at me with discomfort and say something like, “well, it’ll happen when God wants it to happen,” or, “I’m sure God is just making you in to the wife you need to be!”

Sure, I may struggle with God’s timing. I may be a tad bummed that I’m not in a relationship. I might desire marriage and a family.

But don’t act like that is better for me than Jesus. If I’m struggling with singleness, that doesn’t help me. In fact, it feeds the idolatry in my heart and pushes me away from the cross.

I appreciate people showing care and concern in my life. I don’t mind questions regarding my dating life.

But please, can we all agree to stop acting like dating is better than Jesus? Can we stop pretending that marriage is our savior?

“If Christ is not your fulfillment…marriage will never be.” – Trey Herweck (@therweck)

So let’s stop acting like it can.

*I chose this Weekend Update sketch because the way they say “Really?!” is often how I react in my head to what’s described above. Click here to watch!!

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