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Archive for Marriage Articles

Jun
30

What Kind of Farmer Are You?

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Pam Bass, When Marriage Matters bloggerWhat Kind of Farmer Are You by Pam BassI have been seeing too many couples lately, who have been married 25+ years, and who are ready to divorce.  The problems have been there for a long, long time.  They are reaping what they have knowing or unknowingly sowed. It is a bit hard to think that they did not know what they were doing, but in my office, the sad but truthful facts are right there. Painful and in plain view, for us to see.  I am no farmer, but I do know that if I plant lettuce, I will not reap tomatoes!  If I sow beans, I will not grow corn!

How do they not know? you might ask me.  My guess is that

1. they (or one spouse) saw and ignored it;

2. they tried once or twice to uproot it;

3. they thought it was NBD (No Big Deal) at the time;

4. they lied to themselves about #1-3.

Denial is part of the problem usually.  Deception is right up there, beginning with myself:  I deceive myself, I think its NBD.  I tell my clients that that is a Red Flag Waving!  Jeremiah 17:9 states: “The heart is deceptive above all else; who can know it?”  Another Red Flag is when you start a sentence with, “It’s just a little problem” or “He’s just like that/he’s always been like that”. Or some version of that.

You can’t say, “she’s just a little pregnant”.

You look the other way.

You don’t want to deal with it now.

Later, you tell yourself.

You work around the problems, hoping they’ll “just go away”.

Resentment begins to build.

You begin to pull away or turn away from your husband.  You tell yourself lies and make adjustments and concessions.  “I’m taking care of the kids! They need me more!”  “It’s only for a little while, just ‘til I get my business up and running, then we’ll take that weekend getaway”.  “It’ll get better after the kids ___________”.

Galatians 6:7 warns us that we “reap what we sow”.  Are we sowing words of affirmation into our husbands’ soul?  Are we sowing kind deeds?  Are we answering harsh words with a gentle response as Proverbs 15:1 tells us?  Am I going regularly to the Lord asking Him to cleanse my soul, so I don’t deceive myself?  What seeds am I watering today that will bring forth good fruit and not bad fruit?

Read More→

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Jun
19

Some Thoughts on Power, Prayer, and Pleasing

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Pam Bass, When Marriage Matters bloggerSome Thoughts on Power, Prayer, and Pleasing by Pam BassI’ve been reading in 2 Chronicles lately, through my daily bible reading plan. It always amazes me amidst all the wars and violence of the Old Testament there are verses tucked away that speak to me. One verse in ch. 25 is, v. 2: “Amaziah did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, but not wholeheartedly.”  It appears he started off well, but it didn’t stick. [he didn’t finish well?] He did seek God via a prophet and in verse 9b it states: “The man of God replied, “the Lord is able to give you much more than this!” But it seems that God’s abundance wasn’t enough for him. His son Uzziah then becomes king at age 16 and “He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done.” He rebuilt towns, he sought God, and listened to Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of the Lord. And as long as the king sought the Lord, God gave him success.” (v26:4-5).

What’s amazing is I think we’re a lot like him: we start off well in our marriages, saying to ourselves, ‘I’m gonna be respectful, wise, kind, and loving; I’m gonna be the modern version of the Proverbs 31 lady”. And bless our hearts, we try and try. But then he does something stupid or unkind, or totally thoughtless, etc. and we stop trying. We stop seeking God on our marriage, on ourselves. We think, ‘well, he’s not doing his part, I’ll just quit doing my part and wait for him. After all, he’s supposed to be the leader (head) of our family. This is not good, ladies.

Read More→

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May
25

My Advice: Twice Is Just As Nice

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NWhat is your marriage modelingothing is more important to a blissful marriage than finding a point of agreement. Every veteran husband knows if he wants to change his wife’s mind about anything, just agree with her. It is amazing how this works. The technical name for this is “re-wife psychology.”

The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I have been married since 1971 and have not had a serious argument or disagreement. (She does not allow me to talk back.) We have had rough times, but not with each other.

We have survived nine congregations, 19 homes, three children with nine grandchildren and all without compromising our relationship. My sanity is another issue.

Throughout our marriage, we have always held to the advice not to go to bed angry. Of course, there have been a few sleepless nights. I have a simple rule: do not close your eyes if there is an angry woman in the vicinity.

I honestly can say our marital relationship through the years has been most amicable. Since our marriage, my wife and I spend a lot of time working together and we never seem to get bored with one another.

We are a great team. She puts up with me and I let her. It works wonderfully and we have been able to accomplish a good deal together.

Only one area where we disagree and there may not be much of a remedy for this departure in company.

Never fear. Our marital dissolution is not near.

We have just learned to live with this dissent and, I might add, have survived quite happily.

I suppose no relationship is absolutely perfect this side of the Pearly Gates. Not to boast, but I have my wife beat in this one area. I do not often get the upper hand with her; in fact, I cannot remember any other occasion where this has occurred.

Nevertheless, we have come to a meeting of the minds on this subject. Really, if you don’t mind, the meeting doesn’t matter. Read More→

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May
17

Running the Race

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Pam Bass, When Marriage Matters bloggerRunning the Race by Pam BassI was out riding my bike this morning.  The trail was particularly busy for a Saturday.  After going a little ways I saw a water station.  That’s when I noticed a bunch of runners with numbers on them.  Ah, a race is going on.  Then I saw the yellow mile markers (whoa, I was already on mile 6, not really!).  Then the seven mile marker came up.  And I remembered my running days: 2 blocks, 3 blocks, ½ mile, 1 mile, 5k, 6k, 10k, and finally made it to my goal of 10 miles before I turned 40 years old.  As I looked at their sweaty, wet, tired-looking faces, I had a number of thoughts run through my mind: What race are they in? Are they running for a special cause? What could I say, if anything, to encourage them?  So, I was at my turning-around spot (of 5 miles, in case you’re wondering) and I stopped and asked one of the monitors some questions.

She informed me that it was the 10-mile Peak to Peak race. She was there to make sure “the kids didn’t change the direction of the signs.”  So, as I rode on I decided that it would probably be nice and kind to give a thumbs up signal to the runners. So I did. Then I added a few words like: “good job!” “keep going!” “almost there!” “way to go!” I tried to smile too, though sometimes I don’t think I did. Some ignored me. Someone said thanks. Most seemed to be listening to their iPods. I thought, “they probably wonder who this crazy lady in a green shirt is and why is she doing this?” I did it for a couple of reasons: Read More→

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Apr
20

The High Cost Of Speaking Your Mind

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What is your marriage modelingOne thing I have learned throughout my life is sometimes speaking your mind only gets a piece of somebody else’s mind – and not the good piece.

The old saying goes that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. However, I’m surprised the old dog doesn’t know the old tricks. What good is a new trick if you have not really mastered and learned from the old tricks?

My experience in this area stood me in good stead for many years. An incident happened recently bringing to light how valuable this “old trick” really is. I may not be good in the new tricks, but I think I have mastered a few of the old tricks.

I really do not know when this incident started, but somewhere along the line I said something resembling a guttural “uh huh,” and forgot about it. What you say in these odd moments may determine your quality of life for many years to come. This points out the difference between husbands and wives.

The only way a husband can remember what he had for lunch is to look at his shirt. A wife’s memory, on the other hand, is so keen she can remember things that never happened.

In the midst of a mild domestic discussion, any wife worth her salt can bring her husband to his knees by simply stating, “But, Honey, you promised me.”

At that point, no husband has the equipment to counter that argument. He may well have promised, but there is no way to prove one way or the other.

About a month ago, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage got it into her mind to remodel the kitchen. During this time, I did a pretty good job of staying out of her way. When the rare opportunity came soliciting my personal advice on a matter associated with this remodeling project, I quickly and enthusiastically supported her decisions.

The man who carefully measures his words will add happy years to his life. I sure don’t know how long I’m going to live, but I want that time to be happy.

Following the kitchen remodeling my wife proceeded to remodel her bathroom. At this point I should have had some suspicions, but I didn’t. As a husband, I am not equipped with a “suspicion detector.” Experience should have taught me that if one project is done successfully it only inspires another project.

When a wife gets it in her mind to remodel part of the house that thought gets stuck and there is no stopping her. After each remodeling project is completed, my wife always asks my opinion of the job she has just done. Read More→

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Apr
18

Busyness is not Next to Godliness

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Pam Bass, When Marriage Matters bloggerBusyness is Not Next to Godliness by Pam BassI’ve been hearing people say over and over, “I’m too busy” “We wish we could, but we’ve got something going on”.  I wonder, why are we Americans SO busy?  What’s the point, really?  Going at breakneck speed drains us, stresses us out, makes us grumpy—or at least it does me!

How can I reasonably expect to hear God’s voice if my head is overloaded with stuff? My to do list, my fears, worries, prayers? My head is overflowing with noisy thoughts! I believe I need to go on a walk, dump out all my feelings, thoughts, concerns, you-name-it. And then wait.  And wait some more.  God is not going to jump in my head when a few seconds opens a space.  I believe He’ll wait ‘til I have a receptive heart. And I think to have that, I need to clear my head first.  Sometimes, I think God speaks to our hearts through our heads.  So, ergo, if my head is overflowing, how can I possibly hear God’s voice?  I need to make room for Him. So, I need to get rid of stuff in my head first.   I need to invite Him in so that I can listen to Him, not for me to dump all my stuff on His lap. (Although at times, that’s a good idea too!)

Sometimes I wonder:  “What if, every God-fearing person really slowed down and listened to God’s voice and actually did that crazy thing they heard in their head?” Like, give $20 to that homeless man? Or join that mentoring teen program? Start a non-profit to bring shoes to shoe-less kids in Haiti? Or  to collect all their neighborhoods’ unused items and reuse, or give them to Goodwill, or to orphans in another country? Foster a child. Adopt an orphan. Go use your talents/skills and help provide clean water to the millions who don’t enjoy fresh, clean, uncontaminated water like we Americans do. Or whatever the crazy idea. It’s probably not that crazy and maybe God is calling YOU to do that idea. Everyone can have their own corner of “Crazy for God.”

This ties in with another thought about why we don’t do those ideas listed above.

“I’m too busy”  “I wouldn’t know where to start” “I can’t do that!.”  “What would so n-so think?”  Most of our excuses our fear-based, not love-based.  2 Timothy 1:7 states, that “For God has NOT given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind” (KJV) Shouldn’t I be motivated by the love of God? He is the One who first loved me (1 John 4:19) 1 John 3:18 states, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and truth”.  My love for others must be put into action.  I know some are saying, “But I’m  (we’re) just too busy!” Was Jesus “just too busy” to stop and help, heal, pray, or give? I don’t think so. Maybe we should stop and adjust our priorities. I know I have to at times! I don’t presume to say I’ve got my act together!

Our culture doesn’t help-it keeps pushing us to go, go, go and never slow down! I for one remember a time when Sundays were really a day of rest. NO, I’m not 100 years old, but old enough to remember stores being closed on Sundays. I for one, would support any team or league that purposefully CHOSE to NOT have games on Sundays. I’m just saying you might want to consider that. Jesus was never hurried or rushed.  He didn’t say, “Aw, come on Peter, James, & John! I have to finish this, and get moving. So hurry up!”

Here’s one take away point: quit one activity this week. If  you’re in your car driving your kids around, try and carpool with one of the other parents. Trade off babysitting  It worked great for ours and another couples’ marriage. No money involved and our kids loved it! And it help keep our marriage healthy and happy. Win win!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Pam Bass is a wife, mom, and licensed Christian counselor, who has helped hundreds of people over the last 23 years.  She desires wives especially to be cognizant of the way the American culture can influence our stated Christian values.  Through her blog, she hopes to encourage women (in particular) to know and trust what God tells us in His word.  Find out more at www.pambass.com   

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Apr
12

Wanting a Fire by Night and a Cloud by Day

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Pam Bass, When Marriage Matters bloggerWanting a Fire by Night and a Cloud by Day by Pam BassI have been reading in Numbers lately.  Yeah, not straight through 🙂 My bible reading plan gives you about four chapters at a times and jumps around quite a bit.  So, one day I’m in Psalms, next in the New Testament, and now, in Numbers.  I am always amazed how God does two things:

  1. Gives me a fresh word or thought from some passage I’ve read a million times;
  2. How reading each day draws me closer to Him and also increases my desire to know Him more.

After you’ve been a Christian for awhile, you sometimes get lazy. You skip  a few days. You tell yourself things like, “Oh yeah, that fire and cloud story; I know all about that.” You take God for granted. Okay, maybe it’s just me who does that. {Confession is good for the soul! We on the Protestant side could learn a few things from our Catholic brothers and sisters.} This topic of confession is a “Look-there’s-a-bird!” moment, my thanks to Patrick Lencioni. {Google him, he’s pretty funny and has a number of good things to say about leadership, work, life}. But, I digress.

In Numbers 9, verses 15-23, to be exact, we find God leading His people. How? “This was the regular pattern—at night the cloud changed to the appearance of fire. When the cloud lifted from over the sacred tent, the people of Israel followed it. And wherever the cloud settled, the people of Israel camped.” Basically when the cloud lifted and moved, then would move. Then stay wherever they were,  whether it was two days, a month, or a year. (v. 22).  I don’t know about you, but sometimes I wish following God was that simple. I don’t know if I’d call moving every two days, two months, or two years easy, but I’m drawn to the clearness and certainty of it all. “Yep, the cloud’s a moving, time to pack up Jethro!” Okay, no doubts, no confusion. Simple enough. In our American hustle and bustle, I wonder if God did make us a cloud by day and fiery cloud by night would we even notice it?  If we did, would we follow it? Read More→

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Mar
28

Why Your Marriage Matters

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Pam Bass, When Marriage Matters bloggerpam-why-mattersI’ve entitled my blog When Marriage Matters for a couple of reasons:

  1. It sounds good
  2. 5 people agreed with me that it sounds good
  3. It really does matter.
  4. It is succinct
  5. I forgot this reason already 🙁   (and five is a much better number than four!)

What I’d like to share is why it matters and what purpose marriage provides society. Don’t worry, I won’t share a million links on studies or that. I think this comes from the “Common Sense” vault that we all share. What any great society has shown is that the family is the bedrock of a great society. The bedrock of a great family is, of course, a great marriage.

Marriage affects everyone. It is the foundation for one’s views on marriage, how we treat our future spouses, and how we raise our children, to name a few. We learn about life, how to deal with stress, anger, joy, sadness, shame, all while living under our parents’ roof. Their marriage affects us greatly and in many ways we don’t or didn’t realize until we left and started our own marriage and family. In short, we learn how to treat one another via our parents’ direct and indirect behavior we saw demonstrated in their marriage. We see the good, bad, and the ugly. Hopefully, we also see some joy, happiness and peace that they model for us.

I believe that marriage matters greatly even though its’ been knocked down and dragged through the media mud in the last several decades. Unfortunately, those attempting to follow God’s ways on marriage have also been adversely affected. A lot of people believe the lie, “Well, God wants me to be happy, s/he’s not making me happy anymore, so divorce is okay with God.”  Another popular (but so untrue) lie  is “the kids will adjust; it really won’t negatively affect them/they’ll bounce back—look, I did!

Our American culture has consistently and persistently chipped away at the following:

  • The basis of marriage
  • The value of marriage
  • The definition of marriage

I think it’s been very hard for Christ-followers not to be affected by all the clamoring and noise about marriage, just like it’s hard to go into a bar and not smell like smoke when you come out

Or to go to a rock concert and not have your ears still ringing. Or like getting near a swimming pool without getting splashed. We’re surrounded by negative statements and doubts about marriage wherever we turn. The media is quick to jump on our mistakes etc and loudly proclaim, “See, you guys can’t even do it right!  And indeed we cannot get it right, not without Jesus.  I cannot respect or love my husband without Jesus giving me the strength to. Because I don’t always feel like loving him or respecting him. I am very selfish.  I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it! That attitude is very destructive in marriage if left unchecked. A quick look at 1 Corinthians 13 should help motivate me back to square one: Am I being patient with my spouse? Am I being kind? Am I not getting my own way? Am I being selfless? Pleasant and not irritable or resentful? Read More→

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Nov
08

I love you and Thank you

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Alovet my mom’s house with my aunt, I asked for a little help as I struggled with writer’s block. Here’s the conversation:

   “Either of you have any ideas of what I should write about for my next stay-at-home-mom blog?”

   “You could write about how husbands don’t appreciate stay-at-home mom’s and don’t appreciate everything they do.” My mom offers.

   “No way, I can’t write that! It’s not true in my house. Dennis appreciates everything I do. Just the other day I was complaining that I have not contributed financially to the house and he said I definitely contribute to the house, just not with pay. He helps me around the house and with the kids. He always says thank you for everything even the little stuff. We both do.”

   “Well, there is your next blog Dri. Your uncle and I always appreciate each other and say thank you too.” My aunt added.

There you have it, that’s where I find my writing magic. I pick other people’s brains and manage to find something worthy of writing. Thankful is a fitting topic for November, the house of Thanksgiving. While I will always be grateful for my country, my husband is my rock and an amazing person. No, this blog is not going to be a brag book for my favorite man, but it could be. What I want to talk to you about today is why appreciating your spouse is so important. Here is our secret to a successful marriage.

  1. Always say thank you for everything. When Dennis makes me coffee, I always say thank you. When he fills my gas tank, sweeps the floor, remembers to check the kid’s homework when I forget, I thank him. He does the same. Something so simple has made a world of difference in our marriage. We both feel wanted and needed. This is not something you should ever stop, because if you do stop, you will always wonder if the appreciation is there. No appreciation equals bad feelings and animosity.
  2. Notice the little things. Another way to keep the appreciation alive inside of a union is to see the little things. My hubby never leaves the toilet seat up. Never. Because this is such a cliche action by so many men, I always notice. When he makes the bed in the morning, I acknowledge. When he lets me watch another re-run of Gilmore Girls instead of watching Top Gear, I notice. When you notice you appreciate, when you appreciate you are thankful.
  3. Have perspective. I always sort problems into man problems and Dennis problems. I expect him to have a similar list because some problems just can’t be combatted. Some problems just need to be accepted. So, when I get emotional for no reason at all, I expect Dennis to chalk this up to women problem. But when I leave my shoes all over the house, and he talks to me about it, that’s an Adrina problem not typical of all women. The same for him, when he waits until Christmas Eve to do his shopping for me, I don’t flip out, but if he folds his clothes before putting them in the basket and I can’t tell if they are clean or dirty, that I fight. Just toss them in, I do not need help being confused. Read More→
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May
23

What To Do When Your Marriage Is No Longer A Happy One

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When you first met your husband (or wife), you were most probably crazy about each other. You would spend all your time together, dream about the future, and talk about what you would do when you were old and gray. However, after being married for a few years, you may have noticed that your relationship has changed. Perhaps your once happy, fun marriage has all but disappeared, and in its place is a couple that seems to have very little to talk about.

Don’t worry; you’re not alone. A lot of couples find that after a few years, their marriage is not what it used to be. If your marriage is no longer a happy one, you may be thinking about divorce. However, that’s not the only option; you may be able to get your relationship back on track. It’ll take time, but it is doable.

Seek help

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If you’re unhappy with your partner, the first step is to seek help. You can’t fix your problems all on your own; you may need a helping hand. Talking your problems through together will often lead to an argument, which is why marriage counseling can be a good idea. This allows you to chat about your problems in a calm, controlled environment. This will allow you to work things out by talking to one another, instead of arguing.

 

Keep talking to each other

In any long-term relationship, it’s crucial that you keep talking to each other. Instead of eating dinner in front of the television, sit at the table and talk about your day. Don’t spend your time in bed on your electronic devices, chat about anything and everything. Be intimate with one another, take the time to show affection. As you chat, you’ll find that you’ll start to grow closer again, and you’ll realize what it was that made you fall in love in the first place. Read More→

Categories : Marriage Articles
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