We just wanted to stop by your inbox and let you know we’re cheering you on! This quarantine thing is not going to get to us because we have the love and hope of Jesus in us and all around us. Hang in there! You’re doing a great job working from home, schooling from home, and just having to be home, because you love and care for those around you! Thank you for all you’re doing to flatten the curve of Covid-19.
Grow Your Marriage
Waiting for things to go back to the old normal or struggling with being productive at home? Struggling with keeping the kids entertained or the cat off your laptop? Here are a few tips from our friends at FamilyLife:
1. Ask for patience.
2. Pray for greater love.
3. Think before you speak.
4. Try a little thankfulness even during quarantine.
Our current situation is not only a struggle on us individually, our relationships are struggling too. If things are feeling a bit messy right now, or you and your spouse simply need some encouragement, or just need some inspiration to see this quarantine through, join us and our friends at Prepare/Enrich for a special YouTube livestream event, Rallying for Relationships, this Thursday, April 23 at 5pm (7pm CT). Let’s learn practical ways we can strengthen our relationship during this time.
Have Some Fun
Get ready for Your Best Night In, a time to laugh, love, and chill, hosted by Married People. Grab some popcorn and gather on the sofa for a free online event for couples this Friday, April 24 at 4pm (7pm ET). Watch on Facebook Live.
Make sure to tell your friends and small group! They need it too!
Hope isn’t cancelled. Home isn’t cancelled. Let’s take advantage of these wonderful tips and fabulous gift of technology to grow our marriage and enjoy some laughs during this time in quarantine!
Be sure to subscribe to be the first to get new posts! Share them with your friends. And give us a follow on Instagram @npmarriage.
COVID-19 has certainly changed things a bit, or perhaps a lot, for some of you. With enforced quarantine, schools closed, vacation plans cancelled or delayed, and what we thought would blow over in a short time, has now turned into weeks. Our patience is running thin, our anxieties are high, and the snippiness with our spouse may seem like the only communication between us these days. Friends, you’re not alone.
We have a real enemy who is standing or sitting close-by, rubbing his hands together, with devious eyes, ready to attack anytime. You may have noticed he’s already been playing with your mind, filling it with lies and worry. Gosh, the news itself is enough to make our thoughts turn upside down and the enemy is all over that. Friend, the enemy is not our spouse. We can stand shoulder-to-shoulder, with our husband or wife, and fight against the enemy’s attacks. Satan likes to magnify even the smallest of annoyances we may have. And when we’re not close to the Lord and in his Word, Satan knows it, and becomes an unwelcome guest in our lives.
Satan wants us to think that we have to do our own thing, as individuals, to make it through these hard days. You may or may not know this, but men and women are different. We see things differently, we process things in different ways, and our perspectives may not always line up. I encourage you: Don’t let the enemy in on this. This is how he destroys marriages, especially in stressful times like we’re in now, to turn you against each other. Instead, let’s not give in to the temptation to do things our way, and be honest with each other in how we’re feeling or what we’re struggling with. Then, take some time to dig into God’s Word and remind ourselves that we’re on the same team, fighting the same spiritual enemies, united as one in Christ.
When we find ourselves snapping at our spouse or family, we need to take a moment and ask ourselves: What is at the root of my sinful reactions right now? Am I getting frustrated with my husband or wife because I’ve put my security and hope in them more than the Lord? Am I annoyed with my children because their being home is interrupting my normal routine? Am I taking my fears out on those closest to me because it’s simply easier than bringing my fears and anxieties to Christ and my spouse in humility?
If so, let’s remind ourselves that these circumstances, both globally and personally, are not out of our sovereign Father’s hands. Reminding ourselves of this truth can bring peace when life feels chaotic and when these circumstances seem never-ending. We may not know and understand God’s ways, but we can be confident that he is in control and he is good. He wants us to draw closer to him in times like this. He wants to build our trust and wants us to deeply rely on him.
Is this hard? Yes, but we can, and must, trust that God’s got this. Instead of allowing fears, stress, and anxieties to creep in and wreak havoc in our marriages, let’s kick them to the curb and invite peace and rest in. And this peace and rest will only grow as we remember to trust the One who has control.
We can look at times like these as “growth opportunities.” As we face these difficult days, squeezed in close quarters, remember, God’s grace is sufficient for each day. We have a choice to grow. How? We can look at the day as we see it, or we can lift our eyes to a hope beyond what we can see. And each day, we can look to the cross. The cross was the darkest moment in history, and God initiated it. God allowed his Son to give more, and lose more, than we ever could. Satan thought he won this battle. The little smirk on his face turned into great defeat.
It’s not difficult to imagine Satan smirking today, hoping to throw us into a frenzy for control, to snap at each other, and to doubt God’s goodness in allowing COVID-19. But! We get to send him away with his tail between his legs after he discovers that circumstances like this only draw us closer to the Lord in dependence and trust, growing our marriage in the process. And this “growth opportunity” in our marriage and family only reflects more of Christ.
So, we need to be in God’s Word to fight against the enemy’s lies. As our marriage becomes grounded more in his Word than the circumstances around us, we as individuals, and our marriage, can only reflect God’s peace and joy, even with the storm raging all around us.
The enemy may have tried to knock us down in the past, and we may be thinking he has won. But we can look back and see how God not only got us through, but he has grown us, strengthened us, and brought us closer to him. And he’s going to get us through this, even stronger.
Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 5:10-12 (ESV) – I encourage you to read Ch 5: 10-20.
Let’s build each other up. Let’s be like Aaron and Hur with Moses and hold up each other up when we’re feeling weary. Stay strong. Keep the faith. Hold on to hope. We will get through this, because we are BETTER TOGETHER.
Please, if you need anything during this time, whatever your need, or if you just need prayer, let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the most important minute of the day in your marriage? In Drs Les and Leslie Parrott’s study, Your Time-Starved Marriage, they mention that the most important 60 seconds of marriage is the moment you walk in the door, when you greet each other at the end of the day.
These are the moments that are unplanned and spontaneous. A simple greeting, hug, and maybe a kiss to look each other in the eye to say “Hello” and connect. It doesn’t have to be long, maybe 5 minutes. These moments, or possibly a ritual that you can put into practice to grow your marriage, can be so special. Maximize on them, friends.
Rather than going straight to your office, your phone, your computer, your to-do list, or that few minutes you need to breathe after a long day, take advantage of these ordinary, day-to-day moments with your spouse and kids. This first 60 seconds when you come home, to reconnect, can set the tone for your evening as well.
How can you maximize these moments this week?
To learn more, visit lesandleslieparrott.com to get a copy of the book or to check out other resources to grow your marriage.
2020. New Year. New Decade. Renewed Marriage. Same gracious and faithful God.
God knew in advance the two of you would marry. He chose you
to be together, to live out your life as an example of Christ and his church. What
does this look like in our marriage? How do we live a married life “worthy of
the calling” we have received? We may be obedient in our call as individuals to
do everything in the name of the Lord, giving thanks to God, living in harmony
with others, loving and serving others; but how are we doing this as husband
and wife, as one flesh?
Building a marriage “worthy of our calling” means that we
pay attention to our call, our part, in the most glorious work ever known: the
advancement of God’s kingdom. What if we focused on a portion of Ephesians
4:1-3 to read like this?
I urge you to build a marriage worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Author Gary Thomas, calls the advancement of God’s kingdom
the “magnificent obsession.” We bring dignity to our marriage, but we also have
something greater to aim for. Happiness is wonderful, but this magnificent
obsession is even bigger (not fighting our happiness, just bigger).
Humility and Gentleness
As we are creating a marriage worthy of our calling, we are
creating a marriage where the character of Jesus is displayed for all to see.
Our calling is to become more Christlike. We should seek the kind of marriage
that serves our calling, rather than seeking to build the kind of marriage we
want. According to Paul’s words in Ephesians 4, we need to be humble and
gentle. Humble with our spouse, our children, our co-workers, other parents at
the soccer games, other moms at the school, our neighbors, and people we see
and serve at church, because Jesus is gentle with his church. We are to be
humble, because Jesus was humble.
Without God’s word, his instruction, we may never give a
second thought to gentleness or humility. There may be times we don’t give it a
first thought. We may find compatibility with our spouse, in liking the same
Netflix series or the same restaurant. We find security or something as
fabulous as making each other laugh. These things are not wrong, but there is
something wrong when there is a lack of gentleness and humility. I’m guessing
most clients are not requesting to meet with a counselor to learn how to be
gentle and humble in their relationships.
Care For Each Other
So how can we aspire to have a marriage worthy of our
calling? We do not act or speak harshly to each other. We do not pressure each
other, dropping our own expectations or dreams on our spouse. God calls us to
be a servant, mutually caring for one another. This is the best way to model
our calling. When people see the way you treat your spouse, they are reminded
Our culture screams everything but humility, yet Jesus
showcased humility, so we must showcase humility as we proclaim Jesus to the
world. Pride destroys relationships and wrecks marriages. Pride is not worthy
of our calling to proclaim a Savior who “made himself nothing, taking the form
of a servant” (Philippians 2:7).
Do you see the difference? Instead of trying to grow a
marriage we want, a magnificent obsession leads us to seek to build the kind of
marriage that reveals Jesus to the world.
To Do This Week:
Spend some time together. Take a look at your
marriage. Does it reflect the character of Jesus to the world?
Be intentional in the way you act and speak to
each other. What are some humble and gentle ways to communicate and encourage
each other through the craziness of life?
In your Bible study this week, take a look at
the character of
Christ. Pray. How can you put these into practice as you build a marriage
“worthy of his calling?”
Summer is here! While you’ve been busy making plans for vacation and activities, what are you planning for you and your spouse? For your marriage? A weekend getaway? A fabulous cruise? What about plans to grow and strengthen your marriage? Quality time together is definitely a need, but what are doing for your marriage in light of eternity?
We’d like to share a resource with you! We are hosting a Couples’ Study, You and Me Forever, on Thursday nights, beginning July 25 at 7pm. Summer plans will be winding down. School for the kiddos will be right around the corner. Gather with some other couples from NP to learn from Francis & Lisa Chan (via video teaching) and enjoy some small group discussion. There’s nothing better than walking alongside others (of various ages and stages in life) who have the same goal as you–to have a Christ-centered marriage.
In their book, You and Me Forever, Francis and Lisa Chan tell us that marriage is great, but it’s not forever. Remember those vows you said on your wedding day, “Til death do us part?” Marriage is only until death do you part. After that is when the eternal rewards or regrets come, depending on how you spent your life. The Chans go on to say, “While we cannot allow lesser things to destroy our marriages, we also cannot allow marriage to distract us from greater things.”
As we pursue God first and foremost, life begins to make sense, and everything else starts falling into place. We enjoy love, laughter, and intimacy in our marriages because these were created to be enjoyed. There is a way to love our spouse and family without ignoring heaven. It all comes down to our focus.
The Chans believe Jesus was right; perhaps, we have it all backwards. The way to have a great marriage is not by focusing on marriage. You might be thinking, “What?” Many of us believe our priorities should be God, Marriage, Family, Work, etc., but are you really prioritizing and living your life in this order? Let’s get together and learn more. Join us on July 25. Get your book today and read the Introduction and Chapter One before we meet the first week. Invite your engaged and married friends. Help others grow and build Christ-centered marriages.
Joy in Him,
NorthPointe Marriage Ministry
**Be sure to subscribe to our blog for encouragement, resources, and upcoming events.