Untitled Document

Succeeding In Marriage

By: Randy Jordan

New Life Bible Bookstore

Three Characteristics
for Success


My wife and I have had the privilege of facilitating a Christian recovery program in which we sought to mentor, coach, and disciple those who struggled with addictions and or folks who desired greater freedom from poor habits and hangups in life. One thing I have discovered as an absolute truth is that we all - including you and me, have addictions and poor habits in life that limit our health, relationships, thinking, prosperity and success. There are three characteristics in a person’s life that must be active for a man or woman to remove any and all limitations that may be keeping them from life’s full potential. The first characteristic is “openness.” A person must be open to growth. He or she must be open or willing to hear counsel, instruction, biblical teaching, correction, and direction. In recovery, an unopened person is one who is in “denial.” The lack of openness is replaced with an abundance of excuses. Folks who are not open for growth, increase, and maximizing their potential are normally stuck in the grave of satisfaction. Such folks will often admit that their life, marriage, finances, and relationships could be better, but “it is what it is.” This is the opposite of an open minded person.

The second characteristic needed to remove any and all limitations that may be keeping a person from their full potential in life is sincere “appreciation” for counsel, instruction, biblical teaching, correction, and direction. Appreciation breeds value and worth to what is appreciated.

Appreciation empowers a person to remain open to hearing and learning. However, it does not matter how open or appreciative a person may be to learning and training towards a better life, if they do not possess the third characteristic, they will remain the same even while attending advance courses on personal growth.

The third characteristic needed to remove any and all limitations that may be keeping a person from their full potential in life is “personal responsibility” in applying counsel, instruction, biblical teaching, correction, and direction in their life. You simply cannot help someone who is unwilling to help themselves. Studies have shown that nearly 90% of addicts who successfully recovered from their addiction did so without the help of any program at all, rather, they became personally responsible for their recovery. Counseling, instruction, biblical teaching, correction, and direction in and of itself has never helped any one.

Change happens when personal application is applied. Without personal responsibility, counseling, instruction, biblical teaching, correction, and direction all remain as mere information.

Kain, a professional Life Coach, awoke every day with a passion to help people reach their full potential in life. Having a office near his home, Kain would walk to work each day passing by homeless folks on the streets. There was a young homeless man named Chris, who had a drug addiction, that caught Kain’s attention. Kain began to reach out to Chris with empathy and compassion. He bought him clothes, food, and shoes. For 18 months, Kain worked with Chris pouring all he knew into him, yet Chris remained the same. Chris was open to hear all that Kain would say and sincerely appreciated all Kain’s efforts to help him. But Chris had no personal responsibility.

There are a lot of folks just like Chris. They are open to read an article on success in marriage, open to hear a sermon on marriage, and even open to hear counsel, but because they lack personal responsibility, they do nothing with what they hear and learn. Kain did not lack understanding of the power of Chris’s addiction for Kain himself came out of a life of addiction because he choose to become personally responsible for the direction of his life. Most folks are not struggling in life because they lack having heard the right information for a better life but because they lack personal responsibility in the application of the right information.

Maybe you have been a Chris all your life. You go to church and hear the right messages but fail to apply the message in your life. It is a personal choice to be a Chris or a Kain. Life is better with personal responsibility.

Everyone, and I mean everyone can have a magnificent marriage through the application of the right information. No marriage has or ever will end in ruins because wisdom and knowledge was unavailable or out of reach for success in marriage.


Are You An Encourager?

The word “encouragement” means…”the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.” One of the most precious qualities that I value the most concerning my wife is that she is and has always been my greatest encourager. If my wife has ever criticized me or put me down, I sincerely do not remember it. Believe me, she has had amble opportunities or reasons to be critical, but she simply has not. She has been my greatest cheerleader and supporter. An encourager is easy to love.

When your spouse is your greatest encourager, your home becomes a place of safety and rest. When your day has been rough and difficult, coming home to an encourager is refreshing. William Barclay (a minister) once said, “One of the highest of human duties is the duty of encouragement. ... It is easy to laugh at man’s ideals. It is easy to pour cold water on the enthusiasm. It is easy to discourage others. The world is full of discouragers. We have a Christian duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept a man on his feet. Blessed is the man who speaks such a word.”

In the well-known book, “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” the following story is told, which shows the significant impact a little encouragement can have on the people in our lives.
A college professor had his sociology class go into the Baltimore slums to get case histories of 200 young boys. They were asked to write an evaluation of each boy’s future.

In every case the students wrote, “He hasn’t got a chance.” Twenty-five years later another sociology professor came across the earlier study. He had his students follow up on the project to see what had happened to these boys. With the exception of 20 boys who had moved away or died, the students learned that 176 of the remaining 180 had achieved more than ordinary success as lawyers, doctors and businessmen.

The professor was astounded and decided to pursue the matter further. Fortunately, all the men were in the area and he was able to ask each one, “How do you account for your success?” In each case the reply came with feeling, “There was a teacher.”

The teacher was still alive, so he sought her out and asked the old but still alert lady what magic formula she had used to pull these boys out of the 41 slums into successful achievement. The teacher’s eyes sparkled and her lips broke into a gentle smile. “It’s really simple,” she said. “I loved those boys.”

If we as spouses and friends want to motivate our family members or people around us, we must be encouragers. We must choose to give sincere appreciation and honest praise for even the slightest good that people do. Thus we can create homes filled with joy and peace.

Encouragement is a powerful force in marriage. It makes forgiveness easy. It makes the bedroom sweet. It makes faithfulness stronger. However, there is nothing more damaging to a marriage than taking your spouse for granted and or failing to be a encourager. Never forget that your spouse is a person with real feelings that is indeed aware when he or she is not appreciated and supported. Daily look for something positive and encouraging that you can do or say to your spouse or to the people around you to strengthen them in this life’s journey. Showing appreciation to people and to acknowledge even the little things that they do goes a long way. Never underestimate the power of positive words or a pat on the back. We all know too well the feelings of being unnoticed, unappreciated, and unimportant. May it never be at home in marriage.

Know that when you encourage your spouse and others, you become part of God‘s plan that day for your spouse. God, the Father, wants blessing and goodness to fall to everyone.  There may be no greater blessing for you than being a small part of allowing God’s mercy and grace fall on your spouse and family through your encouragement.
Start becoming a better encourager by practicing at home…to your spouse and family.

Make your spouse and family your highest priority to encourage. All it takes is thoughtfulness. Never assume that strong people do not need encouragement. We all do!


How to Stay In Love Forever

Just as food feeds your physical body, so thoughts feed your emotions. What healthy blood is to the function of the heart, healthy thoughts are to the function of the brain. A man can have a strong and healthy heart, but if his blood is poor, though his heart is healthy, he will have serious health problems. A man can have a healthy brain, but if his thoughts are poor, he will have a poor life.

A man’s physical brain creates emotions according to the thoughts of his heart. God created man’s brain to respond to how he thinks in his heart. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. When a man’s thoughts are lovely, kind, and of a good report, so his brain creates corresponding emotions and feelings. Man’s physical organ called the brain is lifeless without thoughts. So as his thoughts are, so he programs his brain to create corresponding emotions and feelings.

The brain does not create emotions based upon reality or facts but upon how it’s being programmed with and by thoughts. Dreams prove this point well. We all have experienced a dream in which we were in some frightening circumstance such as being chased by a monster or falling from a building, only to wake up in the safety of our own bed, yet our feelings and emotions, at least for the moment, were fearful because our emotions corresponded to our dream. The physical organ called the brain did not know reality from the dream but rather created emotions and feelings based solely upon the thoughts. On the other hand, many of us have experienced a dream in which we fell in love and we woke up feeling emotions of love in that we wished we could go back to sleep and continue dreaming. In both cases, the brain was creating corresponding feelings based upon the thoughts that it was being fed through the dream – not upon real events and circumstances.

When a couple understands that they are the creators of their own emotions and feelings, they are well on their way to staying in love with each other forever. With thoughts we program our brain to create emotions and feelings. This truth this is also proven by those who have had a family member that has passed away and upon every remembrance of them emotions and feelings follow. Our thoughts tell the brain to create wonderful and beautiful emotions or they tell the brain to create anger, hate and bitterness.

This is the power that is in thoughts. Thoughts create emotions. A man never falls out of love. Rather he falls short of thinking lovely thoughts. This simple truth is profound. A man can fall in love with his wife over and over again if he chooses to think well of her, speak well of her, and make it a habit of defending her in his thoughts and with his words.

As long as a couple is dependent upon a conflict free marriage for their love to flourish, they will struggle to grow in love. Conflict and negative circumstances are never the thieves that steal love and romance from a marriage. The thieves of joy and peace are never from outside circumstances. It is a man’s thoughts programming the brain that destroys or increases how he loves his spouse.

Just as a carpenter uses his tools to build beautiful cabinets, so you can use thoughts to build a beautiful marriage. With your thoughts you build up or destroy. If you will choose to deliberately and on purpose think precious thoughts toward your spouse, you will program your brain to create corresponding feelings. Behind every negative emotion is a negative thought. Locate the negative thought and you will pinpoint the root of the emotion. Where love has died, thoughts of love died first. No man can feel love for that which he thinks poorly about. There are no prescription drugs that can be prescribed nor is there any heart operation that can be performed to improve a marriage. Marriage can only be improved by improving a couple’s thoughts toward each other. As a man thinks in his heart, so is his marriage.

Removing negative circumstances may temporarily improve a marriage, but until a couple discovers that thoughts program the brain to create corresponding feelings, they will continue to find negative circumstances that eat away at the quality of their marriage.


The Law of Attraction in Marriage

The law of attraction as explained in this article is founded upon biblical principles. Two such biblical examples are: (1) Luke 6:31… “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” (2) Proverbs 18:24… “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly…” The law of attraction is simple yet profound when put to work building the marriage of your dreams. Our words, behavior, and actions faithfully serve as a magnet pulling or attracting unto ourselves corresponding words, behavior, and actions from others. If you are friendly, you attract friendly behavior back unto you. Love, peace, and joy are attracted into your life by and through loving, peaceful, and joyful words, behavior, and actions. Every married couple attracts into their marriage whatever their words, behavior, and actions are drawing. It’s the law of attraction.

This law works in your life and marriage every day all day. Like the law of gravity, it does not need your belief in the law to work. You may refute the law of gravity…reject it as false…and laugh at its reality, but the law of gravity continues to be a force in your life.

So it is with the law of attraction. It has been working and will continue to work in your life regardless of your race, color, education, culture, and belief. However, when understood and used for your benefit, both the law of gravity and the law of attraction can make life beautiful.

You may not be responsible for the choices and actions of other people, but you are responsible for what you attract into your life. Everything that you go through in life you did not attract unto you and therefore it had nothing to do with the law of attraction. The law of attraction is connected to your own words, behavior, and actions.

If a spouse nags, fuses, and complains a lot, the law of attraction will pull and attract back to them arguments, resistance, and isolation. Because of the reality of the law of attraction, you play a huge part in how other people treat you, love you, and respond to you.  

A classic example of the law of attraction works is in the following story. A woman met with her pastor and told him that she wanted to divorce her husband. She expressed how angry she was with him and how she wanted to take everything she could from him in the divorce. The pastor listened and then gave her this advice. “If you really want to get back at your husband and hurt him deeply, then let me suggest that you do the following. For the next 30 days I want you to treat your husband as a king.

Prepare for him his favorite meals, make sure that his clothes are always washed and folded, and treat him as if he was someone special and important. Then after 30 days of spoiling and pampering him this way, then serve him the divorce papers and it will be like stabbing him in the heart with a knife.” The pastor quickly explained that if she served him the divorce papers now because they have been fighting and arguing, her husband might actually welcome the divorce, but if you treated him like a king for 30 days and then serve him divorce papers it would do much more painful to him. Thinking it over, the wife said, “You know what Pastor, I’m gonna do just what you have suggested. Because after 30 days of this treatment, he will really miss me and after I’m gone, he’ll realize that he make a big mistake but it will be too late.”

Three weeks later the pastor met with the wife and asked if she was ready with the divorce papers. She responded, “Oh pastor, we’re not going to get a divorce. We are more in love with each other now than we’ve ever been.” She went on to explain how that during the first week nothing seemed to change, but then after that something begin to happen. She continued,  “I don’t know what happened, but my husband begin to treat me like a queen and we fell in love with each other all over again”               

This is the law of attraction at work. If the law of gravity is and has been working for you, then so is the law of attraction.


Identifying the Real Problem

Thomas is thirteen years old yet has been to several private schools because of behavioral issues. In Thomas’s eyes others have been and is the problem for his poor behavior. Thomas has yet to learn that when a person has a problem everywhere they go, they are the problem. Despite much counsel, Thomas fails to understand why he is the problem.  For an example… The other day Thomas enters the gym where several boys were playing basketball and sees Tim, a classmate, run to the center court with the ball and take a shot but missed. Laughing, Thomas shouts, “You throw like a girl.” Tim turns and shoots a dirty bird at Thomas with his middle finger. Running to a near by teacher Thomas complains of Tim shooting him a dirty bird. The teacher explains, “Well Thomas, if you are willing to call Tim over here and apologize for saying he throws the ball like a girl, I’ll address Tim’s conduct of shooting you a bird.”  “I knew you would say that,” Tim responded as he ran out of the gym.

Thomas has a common problem of not realizing that his very own words and behavior provokes others for good or for bad. Though Thomas argues that he is not responsible for the choices others make, he has not made the connection that his bad choices influences the choices of other for bad. Another example… One day in the cafeteria, Thomas sets his food tray down at a corner spot at the table only to realize he forgot his drink. So he leaves his food tray and goes to get his drink, but when he returns to the table, Tom, another classmate, had pushed his tray aside and was sitting in the chair Thomas was going to sit in.  “Get out of my seat,” shouts Thomas. Tom responded, “I didn’t see your name anywhere, go sit somewhere else.” “You know that I was there first because you saw my food tray, so get out of my seat,” shouted Thomas. Tom jumps up and throws Thomas’s food tray on the floor just as Mr. Smith, a school teacher, steps between Tom and Thomas to avoid them from getting into a physical fight.

Because Thomas fails to understand how words and behavior provokes others for good or bad, Thomas takes everything personal. Taking everything personal makes everything a big deal. It never even entered Thomas’s mind to simply sit at the corner of another table because all Thomas could see and think of was how Tom had done him wrong. Making as big deal out of small stuff makes life hard.

Often times couples enter marriage and develop similar flaws as Thomas. They fail to realize that speaking words of criticism and belittling provoke like responses. Take for an example, Susan and Bill. Susan comes homes after work and finds Bill, who also just got home from work, laying on the couch watching the news. Frustrated, because the outside grass has been in need of mowing for over a week now, Susan walks over to Bill and says, “It looks like I am going to have to mow the grass myself because you are obviously too lazy to do it.” Bill jumps up off the couch and storms out the front door slamming it shut behind him. Susan then calls her friend crying as she explains how awful Bill treats her. Just like Thomas, Susan fails to understand how her very own words and behavior towards Tom provoked Tom’s behavior of which Susan is crying about to her friend. Yes, Tom should have been more mature than to have stormed out the front door. Yes, Tom should have already mowed the grass. But please do not miss the point, your words and behavior provokes others (your spouse and kids) for good or bad. And when your own words and behavior has provoked your spouse for bad…it only empowers you to know that you could have avoided an unnecessary conflict with better words and behavior.

It would do couples good to learn how to provoke or motivate their spouse for the best. The Golden Rule works every day for every body… “Treat others as you would have them treat you.” The day Thomas learns to treat others better will be the day that others will begin to treat Thomas better.


Never Yield Your Authority

Your authority in life over all things and in all circumstances is your voice. With your voice… you conquer or surrender. Nothing can overtake  you, destroy you, or defeat you without you surrendering your voice from speaking in power and authority over circumstances to speaking murmurings, complaining, and excuses. With your voice you build or destroy. This is true in every culture and society. This makes every human being equal in life. No one has the advantage over another. We all have a voice even if that voice is just the inward voice within the heart. Before you fall, your voice is silenced. Before you can get back up, your voice must speak out in authority once again.

God needs your voice agreeing with Him to work in your life as He desires. Because your voice is your authority in your life, your voice speaking and agreeing with God’s word and promises gives God authority to work on your behalf in life. Without your voice of agreement with God, you work against God. Consider: Numbers 14:27 KJV…How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. When we murmur and complain, we work against what God can do us for if we were to speak in agreement with God in what He can do and of His possibilities, murmuring would be replaced with words of faith and hope.  So by our own authority, we limit what God can do for us.

God cannot bless what you are not blessing. God will not override your authority. If you choose to murmur and complain, God will yield to the authority of your voice and allow the murmuring and complaining to run its destructive course. A serious consideration is understanding that giving up your authority to agree with God’s word actually yields your authority to the enemy. Consider: 1 Corinthians 10:10 KJV…Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

You are either yielding your authority to God or the destroyer. Adam and Eve yielded their authority to the destroyer in the Garden with their voice. They failed to speak against the destroyer. They yielded their authority in that they failed to rebuke the destroyer and command him to go away. Jesus did just the opposite of what Adam and Eve failed to do when Jesus was tempted of the devil. Jesus used his voice to speak God’s word against the devil. The point is powerful: “With our voice, we either provide God opportunities to bless and help us or the destroyer opportunities to kill, steal, and destroy.

Consider: Malachi 3:13 ESV…”Your words have been hard against me, says the Lord. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’”  How does your words or your voice stand against or for God? Because what you believe you speak. Spoken words are expressions of what you believe. Consider: 2 Corinthians 4:13 KJV…”We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;” How you speak is what you are believing.

So what do you do if you are experiencing difficulties in life and marriage? Have faith in God. So what does that mean? What does faith in God look like? Faith in God looks like the man who takes God at His word and if His word says…Proverbs 24:3-4 KJV…”Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches” …then the man who has faith in God seeks out wisdom and understanding for success in marriage and life. Couples who seldom read or study marriage books and so forth are working against the advice and instruction of God. Faith in God means that if God has commanded…Ephesians 5:25 KJV…”Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”…then a husband with faith in God chooses to love his wife as Christ loves the church which means blessing and protecting his wife with his voice.

God cannot bless what you are not blessing. With your voice you are either working with the destroyer or with God.


The Way of Freedom in
Marriage (Part 7)

Our last principle in “The Way of Freedom in Marriage” is “Learning to Talk Right.” By way of quick review, following are the six principles that create The Way of Freedomin Marriage. These six principles all deal with changing a person’s life on the inside creating a new life from within the heart. The old life of addiction and bad habits will always change when a new life is created on the inside. Remember, The Way of Freedom is not so much about stopping unwanted behavior as much as it is starting right behavior. The stopping is accomplished by the starting of something better. The Six Principles that we have been developing over the last several weeks are: (1) Confess Your Need for Freedom… (2) Make a Stand for Freedom… (3) Learn to Believe Right… (4) Learn to Think Right… (5) Learn to See Right… and in this article (6) Learn to Talk Right.

Your marriage will never be greater than how you talk about your marriage. Your love for a person will never be greater than the praise you speak towards that person. If you talk and speak average about your spouse your love for your spouse will be average. This principle is a God-given gift to mankind. The power of blessing and cursing is in your tongue or your words. Every married couple got married because of desirable and pleasant words. It was words that created the marriage and words will grow it and maintain it or destroy it.

“Let me illustrate a very famous experiment on the power of words performed by Dr. Mararu Emoto using water over cooked rice. Dr. Emoto used three different containers with three different labels for each. He filled each container with cooked rice and then labeled them: “Thank You,” “You’re An Idiot,” and left one unlabeled. Every day for one solid month, Dr. Emoto would speak to the container based on the labels. He spoke pleasant, affirming words to the rice labeled, “Thank You.” He yelled harsh, demeaning words to the “You’re An Idiot” jar; and the third jar, he simply ignored altogether. After thirty days of consistent treatment, the “Thank You” rice began to ferment, look appealing and give off a strong, pleasant aroma. The “You’re An Idiot” rice turned mostly black and mushy giving off a sour milk aroma, and the neglected rice simply began to rot and mold turning a disgusting greenish-blue color. Since then, other scientists, college students and even homeschoolers have duplicated this experiment witnessing the same or similar results proving how powerful your words are in producing the outcome in your life. Words are carriers of life or death. If rice can be affected by positive and negative words as well as total neglect, then how much more can your circumstances be dramatically affected by the same? Words are vehicles taking you closer to or further from your dreams! My question for you is this: Are your words limiting you or are they promoting you? Are your words demoralizing and destructive or are they courageous and constructive?” (Taken from “Pep Talk” pg. 185 by Terri Savelle Foy)

You can talk yourself into a great marriage or out of a great marriage. Notice in the experiment that just to avoid speaking negative words yet failing to speak positive words still creates a negative outcome. Your words play a key role in your ability to love and be loved. Attempting to improve your life or marriage while talking the same is like trying to start a car with no gas in the tank. So often couples with challenges in their marriage focuses upon unwanted behavior issues from their spouse. But if couples would learn to guard their words as they guard their cell phones, much of the unwanted behavior would go away. What you cannot talk about with a positive mindset you cannot improve. As long as couples use negative words to address negative issues, the negative issues will live on. Unproductive conflict demands negative words either in self-talk and or verbal talk. Fighting and yelling and cussing each other out all demand or require a self-talk that is self-centered and self-focused.

Learning how to talk right is so much more than talking positive. Learning to talk right starts with learning to get your inner self-talk right and only then will the verbal talk get right. Negative talk always flows from a negative heart.


The Way of Freedom
in Marriage - Part 6

The marriage you see is the marriage you experience. Your heart and life follows your eyes. God created you this way. What you see as treasure, there your heart will be. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21) Your heart follows your eyes. How you see your spouse, is how you will love your spouse. Your affections and desires can always be found on what your eyes treasures. Learning to see right is important.

Learning to see right is our fifth principle in The Way of Freedom in Marriage. If you missed any of the other four principles, you can review them in Suwannee Valley Times website at Suwanneevalleytimes.com and click on Marriage Articles.

Be careful how you see. The focus of a man’s life depends upon how and what he sees as treasurable. As long as a man sees alcohol as enjoyable and delightful, he will be drawn to it with the intensity of how joyful he sees alcohol. As long as a man sees pornography with enjoyment and pleasure, his desire will be heavily pulled that way.

This principle of learning to see right can change your life. Seeing your spouse with compassion and mercy opens your heart to love your spouse as treasure. Seeing your spouse as a gift from God fuels emotions of thanksgiving and gratefulness for your spouse. You simply cannot see your spouse poorly and yet love your spouse intimately. The reason you do not crave for can dog food with any desire is that you do not see can dog food as tasteful and desirable food to eat. Your behavior and habits follows your eyes - that is, how you see.

A common reason why folks live with immature behavior, bad habits,and hang ups is that they see themselves through eyes that justify and excuse what they do and say. As long as you see poor behavior as explainable, you will keep your poor behavior. But when a man learns to see his poor behavior with eyes that reject and distain the poor behavior, the will and discipline to overcome the poor behavior is created.

We are a generation that widely sees ourselves defensively. We see ourselves deserving more than life is giving us because in our eyes we are entitled to more. Self-centered eyes breeds poor behavior and poor habits. Eyes that justify and excuses feeds addiction and bondage. When a man sees his wife and children as treasure and deserving better, the will to become better is awakened.

One of the first lessons of life we learn from the Bible is that man’s choices are connected to how he sees. A man’s choice always follows his eyes. Consider: “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:6 ESV) Adam and Eve’s choice to eat the forbidden fruit followed their eyes. Satan took their strength (the power of seeing) and used it against them. Satan do not out muscle Adam and Eve, he out smarted them by using their own eyes to see what was forbidden with desire.

Beware of Satan’s trick. He still seeks to use a man’s eyes to see his spouse and marriage in the most negative way. He is the “pointer out” of all the flaws and weaknesses of your mate. Satan will never attempt to point out your spouse’s strengths but only flaws and blemishes. Don’t allow the enemy of marriage to highjack your eyes to see poorly. Learn to see the best. Learn to see poor behavior and bad habits as a rattle snake in your bedroom that must be addressed and taken care of. Learn to see yourself as more than a conqueror over all addictions and poor behavior. Learn to see the beauty of freedom and love. Learn to see the grass greener on your side of the fence.
And one last thing. Give your spouse good reasons to see you with joy and pleasure. By your words and actions, let your spouse see the best in and out of you. You control how your spouse sees you and thus how they love you.


The Way of Freedom
in Marriage - Part 4

Over our last three articles, we have been discussing “The Way of Freedom in Marriage.” The foundation for The Way of Freedom in Marriage is found in Proverbs 28:13 (NIV)… “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”  

There are six principles that make up The Way of Freedom in Marriage and we have discussed the first two already which are: (1) “Confess Your Need for Freedom” and (2) “Make a Stand for Freedom.” In this article we will discuss (3) “Learn to Believe Right” and in our upcoming articles we will discuss (4) “Learn to Think Right,” (5) “Learn to See Right,” and (6) “Learn to Talk Right.”

“Learning to Believe Right.” There are many lies that married couples commonly accept that keep them from real freedom in marriage. One such lie is, “Every marriage experiences fighting and heated conflict.” This is a lie. For this to be true, love and the institution of marriage itself would have to be flawed. God did not create a flawed institution called “marriage.” Love is not flawed because God is Love and God is not flawed. It is man who refuses to make a stand and fight for personal growth and freedom who brings flaws into love and marriage. Society may indeed produce a sorry picture of what marriage is like, but the “sorry” is not marriage but people who choose not to follow hard after real love in marriage. Anger in marriage is not freedom. Hurtful and mean-spirited words are not freedom in marriage. The lack of communication is not freedom in marriage. If you can tolerate and excuse this kind of behavior in your marriage, you are indeed in bondage. Freedom is found in real love.

So let us allow the flawless One, God, to explain what real love is… “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians ‭13:4-8‬ ‭ESV‬) God would be unjust and unfair to expect us to walk in this kind of love if it were impossible or unrealistic. The truth is, you can love this way. It is a lie that you cannot.

The Message Translation reads 1 Corinthians 13:3-8 this way… “If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. Love never dies …”
This love is built upon believing right that you can love this way.

This kind of love can be within your marriage. But it takes fighting for it. It takes a made up mind and an established heart that refuses to love less than God’s way. This kind of love is a choice. After the choice is made to love this way, the feelings of this love can follow. Believing the lie that all marriages have fights and heated conflict is not only a lie, but it excuses such behavior as normal. Of course conflict itself is normal in relationships and can actually be healthily for the relationship, but the conflict we are speaking of is conflict where love as seen in 1 Corinthians 13 is ignored and trampled upon.

Making a stand for freedom in marriage includes fighting for and making a stand for unconditional love. If you believe it is not possible, it will be. Entering into marriage believing the lie that it is only normal for marriages to experience fighting and heated conflict only opens the door for such experiences. Learn to believe right!


The Way of Freedom
in Marriage - Part 3

The foundational verse for “The Way of Freedom in Marriage” is found in Proverbs 28:13 NIV, “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Creating a new life of freedom in marriage is built upon the foundation of developing a new mindset where you learn to “renounce” that which you seek to be free of. Renouncing is a choice…a deliberate action of choosing to see and think differently about that which you confess you need and desire freedom from. To renounce poor behavior is an attitude with a strong refusal to be subject to and bound by the poor behavior. Renouncing goes beyond confession and begins to work at changing oneself from the inside out. Renouncing is the process of changing on the inside

To renounce means: To disown; to disclaim; to reject; to refuse to own or acknowledge as belonging to; to renounce, deny, reject and disclaim the pleasure, desire, and enjoyment for something; to renounce allegiance; to cast off or reject, as a connection or possession; and to forsake.

The choice to renounce is an important step in freedom from any poor behavior or habit. Learning to renounce can be one of the most powerful tools in programming the brain to create feelings and emotions that reject and resist unwanted behavior. Renouncing is like holding up a defensive shield helping to defend yourself from temptation. Defeat is certain where there is no active renouncing. Renouncing is a mental and emotional choice to reject, resist, and overcome that which you desire freedom in. There is no lasting and permanent freedom without pro-activeness in renouncing unwanted habits and behavior.
So just how do you renounce bad habits and behavior?

Renouncing involves: 1) speaking against whatever behavior you seek to get rid of, 2) learning to see the poor behavior with rejection and hatred, and 3) deliberate thinking towards the poor behavior that rejects and despises the behavior. Renouncing is thinking thoughts of authority and power over the habit or addiction. Rather than a victim attitude, renouncing speaks against the habit or addiction with boldness and strength. Renouncing is a process of talking yourself out of any joy or pleasure of the habit or addiction. Renouncing talks of the benefits of freedom. Renouncing sees or ponders the end of where the habit or addiction will take you as it sees the rewards and benefits of freedom. Renouncing is seeing yourself better and above the habit.

Many couples confess their weaknesses but never renounce them. In others words, they never make a quality choice to reject, resist, and renounce their weaknesses. Confession without renouncing produces no permanent change.

‭‭In Genesis‬ ‭39:4-12, we find the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife tempting him to commit adultery with her. ‬‬

The key lesson in Joseph’s life is not his choice in running away from Potiphar’s wife but what empowered his choice to run. One of the biggest mistakes folks make in dealing with temptation is that they focus far too much attention and energy on resisting temptation after it arises rather than daily working the principles to reject temptation before it comes with all its enticement.

Let’s consider how Joseph renounced the temptation from Potiphar’s wife. Following are the words of Joseph as he talked himself out of temptation:

(A)”Behold, because of me my master (Potiphar) has no concern about anything.”
(B) “He has put everything that he has in my charge.”
(C) “He is not greater in this house than I am.”
(D) “Nor has he kept back anything from me except you.”
(E) “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”

Joseph’s attitude, his way of seeing the temptation, his thinking, his reasoning, all empowered Joseph to run. Joseph’s character and integrity was founded upon his thought life…not his religion.

The Way of Freedom in marriage is to become serious about change and personal growth. Most couples are not ignorant of their weaknesses and poor behavior that causes conflict and trouble within their relationship. Freedom is not out of your reach. You can learn to renounce any behavior for this authority you possess right now. Your authority over poor behavior is not in your will power but in your voice. You don’t have too settle with bad habits. Life is too short to live with poor behavior.


The Way of Freedom in Marriage (Part 2)

Overcoming Bad Habits and Unwanted Behavior

The battle to overcome bad habits and unwanted behavior is a battle over focus more than a battle of discipline. When you only focus on your weakness, your weakness will remain your your weakness. The struggle many experience is that they are so aware and focused upon their weakness that it keeps them from becoming motivated about change.

Your focus determines motivation. When all you see is your weakness along with emotions of condemnation, your motivation for change will be greatly hindered. However, focus on what and who you can become creates motivation to change. Whatever your weakness may label you, you are not that label. You have only become that label. And if you have become that label, then you can become another label. Because others may label you as an addict does not mean that you are an addict. You only became an addict and if you became an addict you can become a free person. Your label is not you. It is only who you have become and therefore you can become someone different.

This truth is important as we approach our first principle of The Way of Freedom. The first principle is… “Confess your need for freedom” as found in our foundational verse… “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy”  Proverbs 28:13 (NIV). True confession is not merely admitting your weakness or sin but acknowledging the weakness with the conviction that you do not have to be limited or controlled by the weakness. If confession does not have intent and hope of change, then confession is just admitting the weakness. Many admit they have weaknesses yet without any hope, intent, or evening a willingness to change.

Confession has no power without the willingness and intent to change. I know addicts that freely confess they are addicts. But they lack motivation to change because their focus upon their addiction and its shame. Their addiction is their identity. They fail to focus upon an identity free of addiction. The power of confession is that you acknowledge weakness for the purpose of confronting weakness for positive change.Students enter college because they confess weakness in being who they seek to become. This confession does not condemn them but empowers them to confront their weakness with study to become the person in the field they desire. In the same way everyone seeking to become someone better must confess their need with the intent to do something about it.

Married couples often go through life admitting their weaknesses but never confessing their weakness with the intent to change. There is no power in admitting you are not perfect. This false humility only strengthens imperfections. It is not uncommon to hear a spouse boast in referring to their weaknesses as if they deserve honor for admitting them. But until they confess their weakness with the intent to change, they will not. How many times have we heard of an abusive spouse that afterward the abuse poured on the apologies freely confessing their wrong but with no intent to change.

Confession is not true confession without the intent to seek help for change. Confession without the intent to change is an habitual game many play to smooth over the negative effects of their poor behavior. Confession without the intent to change can also be self-centeredness seeking to make self feel better. Feeling better is not the intent of true confession, rather becoming someone better.

So our first principle is the cornerstone for all the other principles to build upon. The day one stops confessing their need for growth and to become better in life is the day one dies to becoming better and continuing in positive growth. The confession of pride may acknowledge they are not perfect but quickly follows the admission with, “But no one is perfect.” Such seek to justify their own weaknesses by magnifying the weaknesses of others. Real freedom is rooted in a lifestyle of confession that acknowledges room for improvement with the intent to do something about improving one’s self.

The journey to freedom begins with confessing weaknesses, hang-ups and habits that must be, can be, and will be overcome. Next principle will be discussed in the next issue.


The Way of Freedom in Marriage (Part 1)

Freedom from anger is within your reach. Freedom from pornography is easier than you may think. Freedom from what limits and controls you is realistic and doable. Over the next several weeks we will be sharing and explaining “The Way of Freedom” from habits, hang-ups, and addiction. “The Way of Freedom” is not so much about stopping unwanted behavior, rather, it’s more about starting right behavior. What we focus our attention upon we empower and give life into. “The Way of Freedom” is about changing our focus upon developing right habits from within that empowers right outward behavior.

Marriage is the one place where bad habits, behavioral hang-ups, and addiction effect the most. Attempting to build a better marriage without building a better you is not only frustrating, but a sure set up for repeated failure. The steps to a better marriage cannot be walked out until the steps to a better you are practiced. When you change for the better, the marriage will automatically change for the better.

Real and lasting freedom is not found in merely stopping unwanted behavior. Self discipline may stop or keep in control a bad habit but it can never create a new life from the inside out. True freedom is not simply stopping a bad habit but creating a new life from the inside out where the desire for the bad habit is replace with better desires that motivates better habits. If you don’t create a new life on the inside, then all the factors that brought you to your unwanted behavior will eventually catch up with you again.

The more that you continue with your old life….that is your old way of thinking, seeing, and talking…the greater you will struggle, fail, and come short of true freedom. Example, just because a person overcomes slamming the door with anger does not mean they are free from anger. Just because a man gets rid of his iPad, iPhone, and computer doesn’t mean he is free from porn. Freedom starts from the inside out.

Often, a major life experience will jump start a person to turn his or her life around. “Hitting rock bottom” is such a life experience. Life experiences that help jump start change could be a tragedy, some personal crisis, or experiencing a true touch of God. It must be understood that no life experience that jump starts change will ever remove the necessity of creating a new life on the inside within the soul and mind.

The Way of Freedom is not designed just for sobriety, but for a new way of living from the inside out. The foundation that a new life is built upon is accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. However, because The Way of Freedom is built upon principles, they can work for anyone who is willing to practice the principles. Nevertheless, the power and benefits of a new life is not really possible without accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior because only He offers such a new life called being “Born Again.” I have had those who have walked away from The Way of Freedom because they wanted a new and better life while holding on to their old way of life.

Following are six principles that create The Way of Freedom. These six principles all deal with changing a person’s life on the inside creating a new life from within the soul. The old life of addiction and bad habits will always change when a new life is created on the inside. The Way of Freedom’s six principles, when practiced, creates a new life from the inside out. Remember, The Way of Freedom is not so much about stopping unwanted behavior as much as it is starting right behavior. The stopping is accomplished by the starting of something better.

The foundation for The Way of Freedom is found in Proverbs 28:13 (NIV)…
“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”  

The Six Principles that we will be developing over the next several weeks are:

(1) Confess Your Need for Freedom.
(2) Make a Stand for Freedom.
(3) Learn to Believe Right.
(4) Learn to Think Right.
(5) Learn to See Right.
(6) Learn to Talk Right.

Learning and practicing these six principles can, will, and do change a persons life from the inside out.


Honoring Your Spouse

Giving your spouse honor and respect is not measured in times of peace but in times of conflict and disagreement. Showing honor towards another is rooted in how a man sees and thinks about another. How a man sees and thinks about his wife and marriage will determine the level of honor he gives his wife, especially during times of frustration in the relationship.

Honoring your spouse can be defined as esteeming the value and worth of your spouse. Honoring your spouse can also be defined as the expression of respect or high estimation by words or actions towards your spouse.

Conflict in marriage is not evil nor destructive. It is dishonoring choices in words and behavior made in times of conflict that hurt and destroy. Showing honor is not a personality trait; it is a character trait of the eyes. This is why a humble observation of how a man treats and speaks to the waiter at the restaurant when she messes up his order is a good picture of how he treats and speaks to his wife when she frustrates him at home. Showing honor is deeper than good manners. Showing honor is founded upon how a man sees and thinks about others. Seldom will you find a man that faithfully honors his wife yet dishonors his sister or mother. Why? Because such a man has learned to see and think about others through his feelings and emotions rather than unconditional love. Where there is love for others there will be honor toward others.

So how does a man develop greater honor towards his spouse? The Bible teaches man not to think of himself more highly than he ought to but to think soberly (Romans 12:3). When your opinion of yourself is higher the your opinion of your spouse, showing honor will be inconsistent at best. The man who thinks or sees himself as a “know it all” will struggle showing honor when his opinions or whys are challenged. Honor cannot be developed in pride and self arrogance. Showing honor towards others is built upon humility. If a man sees himself better than his wife, he is already dishonoring her. Of course, this is true of the wife as well. If a wife sees herself better than her husband, she will struggle to honor him especially in times of conflict.

To illustrate just how powerful it is to see your spouse right, let me ask this question. How would it change the way a man sees his wife if he saw her as a precious gift from God that God has entrusted him to care for and protect? How you see is how you protect and value. The respect you have for your spouse’s feelings will be the respect you will show. The only way a man will honor his wife as a queen is if he sees and thinks of her as being a queen.

Another foundational corner stone that showing honor is built upon is having empathy towards others. The word empathy can be defined as: “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.” Empathy is showing honor to the clerk at the grocery store who may have been rude to you but because you understand that the clerk may have just been screamed at or cussed out by the previous customer you are empowered to maintain honor towards the clerk. Empathy is rooted in how one sees and thinks about another. Better marriages are built upon better seeing and better thinking towards each other. It can never be overstated… “As a spouse thinks in his/her heart, so is their marriage (Proverbs 23:7 KJV). Empathy empowers a spouse to show mercy and grace. Empathy makes it easier to be quick to forgive and forget. Empathy is a key in not allowing the offenses of others to destroy your joy and honor.

So many folks are walking landmines exploding every time their toes are stepped upon through some offense. With such people all you have to do is just look at them the wrong way and they explode in defensive reaction to you. What joy and happiness that is sucked out of such people all because they see and think without empathy. Quality of life is founded in showing honor to others. Learn the joy of giving unconditional honor.





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