It’s about time to go back into the garden and pull some weeds. My mom actually enjoyed pulling weeds. You could literally see the joy in her face after she had managed to get to the root of each weed. Something I did not inherit, I’m afraid.
However, it is a job we will have to do. As long as we are on this earth we have to continue weeding. No matter how much we will ignore the weeds in our gardens, they will not disappear by it. They will grow as quick as lightning. The longer we procrastinate pulling them out the more stubborn they become; until they are almost unmanageable to handle.
As it is with weeds, so it is with problems in our families. What will start out small, if left unnoticed, will grow bigger and bigger and turn into a real threat for us and our loved ones.
One way of keeping them under control is through prayer and praises to God. Now what could offer us a better pattern for prayer than the Psalms? They are inspired by the One who knows all about us and our problems. Many who have gone before us have used these very words to express their needs and their helplessness to God. They have used them to offer their heartfelt praises to the LORD.
Girl, pull the weeds early enough to avoid unnecessary hardships in your life. However, if the weeds have become so unbearable and unmanageable, don’t despair. Instead, take the Word of God and sit down in a quiet spot — perhaps right now — and read, meditate on, and pray the Psalms.
Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
They make it a spring:
The rain also covers it with pools.
(Psalm 84:5-6 NKJV)
Emotional or spiritual turmoil fragments a marriage.
Both, men and women, long to have peace in their marriage. So why, at certain times and in certain cases, doesn't it work? Are there any "tricks" to make a marriage work?
1 One evening per week to work on problems.
Meet for a few hours, once a week, to discuss differences in your marriage and to workout solutions. This is absolutely not the time to criticize your man. Pray before and/or at the start of each meeting. Be patient. Remember problems that have a deeper root may take a good amount of time to get solved. Peace might not be restored all at once.
Beware that if problems are not dealt with they might turn into bitterness and pride. Don't let this happen.
Talking about working on problems, we have to watch our words. We know that. But we often forget to check on our thought-life. We need to do that not just once a week but daily. Readjust as necessary. Read and remember Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
2 One date per week, or at least one in every two weeks.
This is an extra special time you spend alone with your husband. Remember the days when you have just started dating? Oh the hours you could talk to each other about so many things. Drive to a nice cafe and enjoy a cup of coffee together. Sit across from each other. Talk, looking at each other, holding each other's hands. Be close. Plan a special meal together, take a long walk, or go on a day-trip. Be together to enjoy each other's company.
Yes, of course, it could also be a time of having breakfast in bed or a planned ahead time to be intimate. You don't always have to feel like it. Surprise him now and then! Put your man first and go the extra mile for him! Imagine him bending over backwards to create an amazing romantic time with you. (Think: candlelit, dinner, fragrance in the bedroom.) How would you feel? Would you be convinced? Your man might not care for all of this but he will go the extra mile to show you his love. Treat him. "Think man"... let him know you are about to hop into the shower, just for him. Tell him that you are ready to meet him. Give him the assurance that he is your man, "the" man for you.
"We have small children," you say. Then take them to their grandparents for a few hours or half a day every other week or so, or hire a babysitter. Or bring your children to your close friends to stay overnight. And at another time you can pay them back by taking their children into your home. How about that?
3 Go For Success! Let him know...
In German we have a saying: "Liebe geht durch den Magen." In English: The way through a man's heart is through his stomach. That may or may not be true. But it isn't the only way to reach out to your husband. Men like to be praised. Don't focus on what he can't do or what he isn't. Instead, capitalize his strengths. Focus on what he is good at. Let him know his unique qualities that you so love. Let him know that you appreciate them, that they are precious and that you find them wonderful.
"He doesn't have any," you say. Really? What about the things you so loved when you first started dating? That's a long time ago... That doesn't matter. Surely you can recall one or the other quality. Go from there. Even if it is just one small thing you can praise him for. Tell him! Show him that he is your man. He will appreciate it when you are proud of him. Give it a try. You will see your marriage improve and your man grow.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her:
(Proverbs 31:28-31 NKJV)
This is for you, my precious friend and beloved sister in Christ - and to you, girls, who are insecure whenever praises are directed at you.
Notice that the praises the woman of Proverbs 31 is receiving are not coming from herself, which wouldn't be right (Proverbs 27:2). Instead, her children, her husband, others, and her works are the ones who praise her.
This woman is a great blessing to her family, her friends, and her neighbors. Her children stand up for her mom and call her blessed. Her husband praises her for he is convinced neither his own nor any other daughter could ever keep nor make his house the home his wife does. His love looks beyond her charm and beauty; he acknowledges that because of her love to God she is able to help him in the way she does. Her works are praising her, they speak louder than any words could ever do.
Back to you, my precious friend. ...
Did you see that soft glance in your husband's eyes while you were sharing something about the good old days? Have you noticed how his shoulder moved closer to yours after you've taken your seat next to him? Did you hear his tone of admiration when he mentioned that dish you are cooking so well? How about your children? You may think you have failed in one or another way but have a good look at them! Not too close, my friend! Keep a bit of a distance to see them through the eyes of someone who isn't part of your family. You will see how comfortable they feel in your home and how much they love you.
Myself? At times, yes, I find myself having trouble accepting praise. That usually happens when I'm in doubt of deserving it or if I question the honesty of it. And, sadly, I do find myself desiring approval from others now and then. On the other side, whenever I read Proverbs 31:23, I become more and more aware of what is giving me the greatest pleasure of all (praise):
Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land.
(Proverbs 31:23 NKJV)
Now, understand, this doesn't necessarily regard his place in the church. It might talk about his achievement at work or a position he is having within the community. A wife has quite an influence in her man's life: she can either support and encourage him and advance his reputation, or she can nag and drag him down. Remember, encouragement and praises mean a lot to your husband. I'll share some ideas about this in one of my future posts.