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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Third Way to Restore Love

No matter how many years you've been married, the third barrier to restoring love can affect you: boredom. It takes creativity and effort to restore your love by removing this obstacle.This can be especially true in the romantic area of your relationship. You know what I mean.

I'll never forget the evening I decided to jazz up our intimacy. Larry was working the night shift at the time and got off work at 2 a.m. I called him at work before he got off and with my alluring voice said, "There will be a surprise for you when you get home." When he walked in the door, I greeted him wearing a silky nightgown and led him into our bedroom lit with candles.

In what area of your relationship do you find boredom creeping in? What could you do or plan within the next week or month that could jumpstart you out of that rut? Maybe a simple, quick idea would be best rather than planning some extravagant event. Then your enthusiasm won't wane. But do something!

If you want more ideas, check out the wonderful books by Pam and Bill Farrel. Their book Red Hot Monogamy will inspire you! Here's another possibility written by Pam: 52 Ways to Wow Your Husband

Friday, August 19, 2016

Second Way to Restore Love

We are talking about different ways to restore love in a marriage and displacement is the second way. Or I should say, recognizing displacement is the second way. 

When Larry and I were at odds, I didn't realize this was affecting me. In reference to this insight, it had more to do with the anger I was giving to our toddler daughter. Displacement is the transference of an emotion to an inappropriate object.

I thought I was angry toward Darcy because she didn't obey me.  But my over-reaction had many causes including transferring my anger from Larry onto her. She looked just like him--everyone said so--and without realizing it, I took the anger I felt toward Larry and dumped it all on her.  She reminded me of him.

But here's another example that refers directly to displacement within a marriage. It occurred at one of my speaking engagements.

Carlissa sat across from me in the retreat center and said, "I know it's wrong but I'm just so mad at John. He won't go watch our daughter's drill team performances and it just infuriates me! Why is he so unloving?"

Having learned that emotional baggage from childhood often contribute to our present problems, I asked Carlissa about her youth. She men­tioned several things, and then said, "My father never watched me be a cheerleader. I was so disappointed."

"That's it, Carlissa. You aren't just reacting to John but to that disappointment from your childhood."

Carlissa smiled as understanding spread through her mind and tears floated in her eyes. "You're right. I'm overreacting to John because I've never forgiven my father. I guess I'm going to have to forgive both of them for not meeting my expectations.”

Many times, we become upset with our spouses and wonder why our frus­tration is so great. It may be that we're not just reacting to the present situation but some incident from our childhood that reminds us of this present circumstance. Healing can come when we forgive the person from our past and healthfully respond to the present.

The next time you overreact, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal if it brings up similar experiences from the past. 

In our next post, I'll address another option for restoring our love: overcome boredom.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Winner! And...Have You Fallen Out of Love?

Drum Roll... The winner of Erica's Wiggenhorne's book The Unexplainable Life is...

Jeanne Doyon!!! Congratulations, Jeanne.

Now, I'd like to begin a new series on restoring love in a marriage when we've "fallen out of love." 

I remember those horrible years when I was convinced I had fallen out of love with my husband. Larry was working two jobs and flew airplanes as a hobby. He was rarely home. I felt overwhelmed mothering a two-year-old and an infant all by myself. 

If Larry would just stay home more often and help me with these kids, then I'd know he loved me, I thought again and again. As my pleas for help turned into nagging, he stayed away more. 

I hated him! I even prayed the plane he was flying would crash. (Check out that story.)

I thank God there are some prayers He doesn't answer "yes." Otherwise I wouldn't have enjoyed the last forty years of joy after He healed our marriage. 

 He taught us some very important concepts. For the next several posts, I'm going to feature ideas that helped us. Now we've been married 46 years and we love each other to the moon. I'm amazed at God's work. I hope these ideas inspire you.

Cycle of Love

When I believed I no longer loved Larry, I had succumbed to the world's concept of love: if you don't feel loving, you must have fallen out of love.

God's kind of love is different; it isn't based only upon feelings but upon "making a choice for the person's highest good." It can be the same with us when we realize that every mar­riage travels through three steps in a cycle of love: romance, disillusionment, and joy—repeatedly.

At times we feel very loving with all the wonderful, cotton ­ball emotions. But then something happens. He or she doesn't keep a promise. He doesn't love us according to our definition of love. Anger wells up inside us. Where did all those wonderful emotions go? But we can take the next step into joy by making a decision to love.

That’s what God challenged me to do many years ago, even though I didn't understand what I was doing. Larry was off flying and I was furious. God whispered in my heart, "Tell Larry you love him." I refused because it wasn't true. Even when God told me again, I refused again. I feared Larry would think I was approv­ing everything he did wrong if I expressed love. Then God said, "Then think it the next time you see him." I could do that because Larry couldn't use it against me.

When he returned, I stared him straight in the eye, gulped, and thought, I love you. Then seconds later ...but I don't really.

Continuing to love him with my will began to change my at­titude. I saw good qualities in him I hadn't focused on for a long time. Soon my feelings of love returned. Eventually, God changed Larry's heart also, and we were united in love again.

Taking the step from disillusionment into joy requires we forgive our mates for disappointing us or not meeting our needs. Ultimately, only God fully meets our needs or never disappoints us.

In my next post, I'll concentrate on something called "displacement."

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Book Drawing! "An Unexplainable Life"

I'm so pleased to feature a book give-away of An Unexplainable Life: Recovering The Wonder & Devotion of the Early Church covering Acts 1-12 by Erica Wiggenhorn.
Erica's book is a Bible study for groups or individuals filled with insightful commentary and thought-provoking questions. 

Read below how you can submit your name in the drawing to win a copy of An Unexplainable Life.

Here's an excerpt from the book from Erica Wiggenhorn.

What are you waiting for today? Is it a medical diagnosis, a paycheck to arrive, a promotion to be announce, a relationship restored, a prodigal to return, to hear the words, “I’m sorry,” a heart to mend or a healing to occur? We’re all in the waiting room of life--for the first time or the hundredth time.

I’m in God’s waiting room right now too. Again. Truly, I hate it, and I wonder why I have to be here. 

Sometimes I think God put me in the waiting room so I’ll finally be still and listen. Perhaps I’ve used the waiting room as an excuse to run ahead of God and take matters into my own hands because my circumstances felt too dire to just sit around and do nothing. When I’m in the waiting room I often stomp my feet, pound my fists, and wring my hands demanding an answer. It’s unfair of God to make me wait.

Tweet this:

Yet I’ve noticed something in Scripture. There’s a lot of waiting. Even after the call. Even after a huge miracle of revelation. God tells His children what He wants them to do, but then He locks them up, casts them aside, or sends them away--to wait. Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Elijah, and Paul; all of them had long seasons of waiting. Giants of the faith built up over the sands of time. It’s so counterintuitive, but it’s what He does.

And during all of that waiting, He is working in us, through us, ahead of us, and alongside of us, as well as in the hearts of those watching us in the middle of the waiting room. Is it possible we haven’t discovered the reason for our waiting because we’re unwilling to take our eyes off of ourselves? Maybe those watching us haven’t been paying close enough attention, so God continues to ask us to wait--for their sakes.

While I still don’t like being in the waiting room, I can honestly say this go-around is different. While I’d love to ask you to pray that God will provide an answer and direct me to the nearest exit out of here, my request this trip is to ask the Lord for ears to hear what He’s trying to show me, teach me, tell me while I’m here. Maybe that could be your prayer also? Pray, too, that others will hear what He’s trying to show them, teach them, tell them while they are watching you and I in this place of waiting.

There is always a reason behind the waiting, every time. So lean back in your chair and take a deep breath. Listen intently and rest in the stillness.

Wait, did you hear something? I think I just heard Him call your name. 

1. What is hardest for you during your time of waiting?

2. What is something you’ve learned while waiting that you could offer to others to encourage them in their wait?

Thank you, Erica, for sharing about something that every one of us experiences. I relate!

Readers, to put your name into the drawing for Erica's fabulous book, please make a comment on my blog or send me an email: KathyCollardMiller AT gmail DOT com. 

And here's a new twist: if you tweet the above statement, tell me in your comment (on blog or email) and I'll give you two entries into the drawing!

I will draw the winner Monday evening, August 15th and post the winner August 16th.

Erica is an author, speaker, and the Founder of Every Life Ministries, bringing you the truths of scripture to transform your life. For more information about Erica, her Bibles studies or to connect with her, visit www.EricaWiggenhorn.com
Twitter: @wiggenhorne
Facebook: Erica Wiggenhorn

Friday, August 5, 2016

If You Change, I Won't be Embarrassed

Here is another post on the theme of "I'll get him to the altar and then I'll alter him." This time, let's look at the idea of "If you change, I won't feel embarrassed."

If we think that, it's because we believe our spouse is a reflection of us! We may even have stopped appreciating the very thing that drew us to him/her in the first place. 

For instance, you may not value your husband's love for details, yet friends call him to find out his opinion on buying a car because he's read the latest consumer magazines. Maybe you don't appreciate your wife's gift of gab, but she receives invitations to everyone's party because she brings it to life.

Or you might think your husband is boring for telling everyone all the details. Or you might think Susie is being silly for needing so much attention.  It could feel like it's a reflection of you because you should be correcting Don or toning down Susie. Isn't that what a spouse is supposed to do: help them change their flaws? Since I'm not able to do that, I must not be important to my husband/wife.

You might further argue saying, "But everyone is calling Don on the phone and he doesn't have time for me." Or "Susie is the life of the party, but she rarely talks to me."

Could it be that your lack of appreciation or criticism of your mate's strengths (which you perceive as weaknesses) has caused him/her to seek love and significance from others? He or she may have given up trying to get it from you.

That's why Larry found lots of extra reasons to work and fly early in our marriage.  Tweet that!

I could only see his flaws and point them out. Certainly that would change him and he wouldn't embarrass me with his cop demeanor if I even got him to go to a public or family function. He didn't want to talk to anyone. So I went overboard with trying to be friendly to counter-act his lack of it. I was embarrassed. Why did I pick such a non-social guy?! How stupid is that!

But in time, I realized I was fulfilling Proverbs 27:15: "A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike" (NASB).

We need to see that no amount of criticism, manipulating, nagging, or any other creative thing we think of is acknowledging God's ability to change another person. We think we should be our mate's Holy Spirit. 

Next time I'll be featuring a book give-away but after that we'll examine how to motivate instead of manipulate.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

If You Change, We Won't Have Any Problems

I hope you are being blessed with our theme of "After I get him to the altar, I'll alter him." Today we'll look at the manipulation myth: "If you change, we won't have any problems." Don't laugh. I actually thought that. Tweet that! That's what motivated my need to change Larry into my image!

This myth is especially prevalent in a marriage where one mate is a Christian and the other is not, or is not growing spiritually. The saved spouse can easily believe that if he/she will come to know Christ, Jesus will change him/her. Then "I won't have any problems because together we'll be able to take them all to Jesus."

Pat DeVorss, who has been married to an unbeliever for many years, says, "The problems that bother a saved spouse may not be the result of being married to an unbeliever at all. Every person has flaws whether or not he's a Christian. Even if your mate becomes a Christian, his or her basic temperament and personality will most likely not change that much."

Every one of us has a God-created temperament with strengths and weaknesses. The basic temperament of someone who comes to know Christ will not be altered. She most likely will change to some degree, as we all do, but she won't become perfect.

In case you've never studied the temperaments, here's a fast description of the basic four temperaments:

  • Expressive: loves people and activities, is talkative, and tends to be insensitive to the need for others to talk. Wants to have fun.
  • Analytical: loves to analyze and gather details, and values time alone. Can have "analysis paralysis" trying to gather every detail before making a decision. Wants to become perfect.
  • Driver: loves to be in charge. They never question their decisions and believe they know best. Wants to have control.
  • Amiable: values people but doesn't want the spotlight on themselves. Is a wonderful negotiator because he/she can see the perspective of everyone. Wants peace at any cost.
Regardless of our temperament, God desires to bring glory to Himself through our strengths and diminish our weaknesses' impact on our lives. If your spouse is a Christian or becomes a Christian, it doesn't mean you won't have problems. Without problems to challenge us, we won't seek God and grow in our dependence upon Him.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

If You Change, I'm Assured Your Old Habits are Corrected

We are examining the theme of "When I get him to the altar, I'll alter him." Here's manipulative myth #2:

In all these myths, the motive is to alleviate ourselves of pain caused by our spouse. We are eliminating God as the source of our joy and contentment, and instead trying to change someone else to be come through for us.

Here's another story, this time, from Alan and Tina who have been married thirteen years.

Because of Alan's drug use and workaholism, Tina felt lonely and isolated. After becoming a Christian, Tina prayed for Alan continually, yet his addictions grew worse. She saw no alternative other than to divorce him.

Threatened with losing his family, and challenged by some godly men, Alan dedicated his life to Christ.

Together they began a wonderful adventure in seeking God. But the fear of Alan's sliding back into his old sin patterns made Tina try to manipulate him to perform as a Christian. She hounded him to read his Bible. She bought him every book she could find about becoming a man of God. She became angry if he wouldn't go to church. She felt responsible to keep him sober and making wise choices. She became a complainer and controlled by fear, not trusting God. 

Tina explains, "Everything I said was meant to make him stay on the straight and narrow. Now I understand all my manipulative devices were meant to guarantee that Alan wouldn't go back to that old lifestyle and leave me. I felt insecure. Now I tell myself over and over again the truth: my security doesn't have to rest on Alan. Besides, Alan's love for God is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit, not me. It's a burden I'm not supposed to take on."

It boils down to whether we trust God to change and help someone to grow. We can certainly influence them, but if we get tense, angry, or discontent, it shows we're trying to take responsibility.

Next time, we'll talk about:
"If you change, we won't have any problems."