God’s Timing – Is it a cliché or an opportunity?

It’s tough enough to wait as an individual, but it’s compounded as a married couple.  Waiting?  Why do we have to wait so much for God? 

Why the wait?

Do you remember what it was like to wait before you got your driver’s license? Graduate from high school? Turn 21? At the time it seemed like forever.

But now the questions have gotten more serious…

            …Why can’t we get pregnant?

            …Why won’t God provide a job I love where we can make ends meet?

            …When will God heal our marital brokenness?

Why do we have to wait so much for God?

But can you imagine waiting 400 years, as the Israelites did for their release from captivity?

They’d been stuck in Egypt as slaves. The land promised to them by God seemed like distant history. And so after over four hundred years, they wondered where God was.

What is god up to?

Then, as they groaned in slavery and daily cried out to God, He heard them and remembered His covenant with Abraham.

God began applying pressure to Pharaoh by sending Egypt a series of plagues, making it clear that whether or not Pharaoh wanted to let the Israelites go, God had other plans. Finally, Pharaoh told the Israelites to leave, which is exactly what they’d been waiting for over 400 years—the promised land.

is married Life a Promised LanD?

To most of us at one time or another, married life looks like a Promised Land flowing with all kinds of wonderful things.

When we want something in our marriage so badly, imagining the “good stuff” in that Promised Land comes easily. But as the Israelites soon found out—and as you may find facing tough issues—the difficulties getting from point A to point B can make the journey more than you bargained for.

The truth is, it will take some wandering, doubting, and perhaps even circling back around, as the Israelites did in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. Patience with this meandering path can be difficult, and too often we hurry ahead in our minds to that destination we want to reach so badly, forgetting all the ground that lies between here and there.

when will we see the big Picture?

From God’s perspective, the pressure we experience along the way is part of what makes “the good stuff” of our lives very good. For He uses those pressures in our lives to help clarify both where we are and where we’re going.

What happens along the journey affects what that destination looks like when we finally get there.

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”
(Louisa M. R. Stead, 1882)

Can Two Really Become One Spiritually?

Most of us are looking for a simple formula to follow God. It is sad, but true, that many Christians are often just religious enough to be miserable, thus God’s ordinances become legalities that exasperate us.

Then we bring these intentions into a marriage where the Scripture declares “and the two will become one flesh” (Mark 10:8, CSB). It begs the question – Can two really become one Spiritually? 

If someone pulled us aside during our engagement and told us that becoming one spiritually would be one of the greatest challenges in our marriage, we would have denied it.

If someone pulled us aside during our engagement and told us that becoming one spiritually would be one of the greatest challenges in our marriage, we would have denied it.

When the honeymoon was over, we began to realize the complexity of growing together in Christ. Reluctantly we have recognized our struggle is due to

individual selfishness,

     ego,

          and pride.

What adds to the difficulty is that spiritual growth takes place daily. In other areas such as money, in-laws, and even communication, a couple can take a break for a couple of days. Only when you begin to understand yourself, and more importantly God, will you begin to understand and experience how two can really become one Spiritually.

In our thirty-seven years of marriage, we can point to three areas that have assisted in this “two becoming one” process.

Practice Oneness in the Disciplines of the Faith

Shortly after our wedding, our faith journey felt like it was on a treadmill. We were busy doing things for God and attempting to impress God. Yet, completely missing Jesus in the process.

We began to realize that discipline brings freedom. The inner spiritual disciplines that we practiced unleashed God’s Spirit in our lives. Experiencing as a couple the disciplines of Sabbath rest, solitude, simplicity, prayer, fasting, and Bible study, can take you off the treadmill and move you forward toward Spiritual oneness.

Understanding True Agape Love

As we strive to become less ego-centered and more Christ focused, we realize how much our marriage relationship facilitates spiritual growth. Our relationship is a constant opportunity for us to live out the truth we believe about God.

Spiritual oneness is one of the toughest issues Christian couples face in marriage because it requires dying to self, but the perks are well worth it.

Spiritual oneness is one of the toughest issues Christian couples face in marriage because it requires dying to self, but the perks are well worth it.

Oneness Benefits

Scripture calls the two becoming one a “mystery.” A good mystery is known by only those who stay connected to the plot. God is in the business of making Himself known a piece at a time.

Spiritual oneness:

  • deepens our conversation and thought level.
  • deepens our intimacy.
  • increases our commitment and compatibility.
  • increases our capacity to express love for one another.

To personally unleash the Spirit of God in your life is the greatest thing you can do for your marriage.

Why is Valentine’s Day Sometimes Awkward?

One of our buddies lightheartedly says Valentine’s Day is a mere holiday created by Hallmark. If he is right, it worked. Approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine’s Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas.

Approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually.

It is a day that celebrates romance. A day set aside to openly express our love and appreciation. Yet, for married couples it often brings awkward pressure.

Our first year of marriage, Byron tried to be so creative. He planned a week of surprises. The day before Valentine, he gave Carla a set of hubcaps. Yep, HUBCAPS! Long story, but it made sense…sorta.

It was fun. And our car needed them?!?

Except the next day in Carla’s office all of the women received flowers delivered to their desks. Byron had planned a romantic dinner, but Carla was so hurt. “ALL the women got flowers…I got hubcaps!”

In defense of Byron, he showered her with meaningful gifts all week, but the last gift was hubcaps. The dinner was ruined with conflict.

We had disappointingly missed each other.

Why is Valentine’s Day so awkward? How can couples take full advantage of such a special day?

Understanding Valentine’s Day

Why celebrate Valentine’s? Various legends say:

  • Valentine was a priest who was put to death for continuing to officiate weddings for young soldiers,
  • or the church wanted to “Christianize” a fertility festival,
  • or it marked the beginning of the birds’ mating season.

Although the truth is murky, the age-old stories emphasize St. Valentine as a heroic and romantic figure.

Make it Personal

There is evidence that the church has been involved in this romantic day for centuries. Why? Not sure, but we suspect it’s because God is love.

God is for meaningful relationships.

God is for romance.

He is in the business of teaching us to love. And we need the help.

Holidays and celebrations help guide us into new perspectives by

  • creating a communal remembrance.
  • slowing us down to think.
  • helping us re-center on what matters.

Therefore, the best way to enjoy Valentine’s is to take a communal event and make it personal. More importantly, determine what works best for you as a couple.

Suggestions for Expressing Your Love

If you have been dating for a week or married for 60 years, hopefully you have learned to express your love by speaking your spouse’s love language—not yours. Thank you, Dr. Chapman.

[If not, take a quiz at http://www.5lovelanguages.com.]

Here are four simple thoughts:

  • Be creative. Do something out of the ordinary that truly communicates your love.
  • Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Be you, and make Valentine’s week fun.
  • Allow Valentine’s Day to be a reminder of Jesus’ sacrificial love for us.
  • Most of all keep an element of surprise for your sweetie.

So, take full advantage of “the month of love” by letting the one you love know it. Our recommendation is to avoid giving hubcaps or toasters as you make it a special day.