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What We See in Each Other

I received this in my email box from Biblegateway’s “Devotions for Couples” and this really reminds me of my own marriage.  I thought I would share it with you.

1 Samuel 16:1–13

“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7

Samuel was sent to the house of Jesse to find a new king. When he got there, Samuel saw Eliab, one of Jesse’s sons. “Surely, he is the one God has chosen to be the next king,” Samuel thought. Evidently, like the previous king, Saul, Eliab was tall and striking. But Eliab was not the one God had in mind.

God warned Samuel not to assess people by their physical appearance. God reminded the old prophet that he doesn’t look at the outside; he looks at the inside. So each of Jesse’s sons passed before Samuel, but God did not indicate that any of them was the man God had sent him to find. Finally, David, the youngest son, came in from the fields. Then the Lord spoke to Samuel, telling him this was the right one.

When we look at someone’s outward appearance, we often fail to see what God sees. This message was clearly illustrated to writer John Fisher when he was speaking at a seminar. “A couple came in late, and I could see that they were in love,” Fisher said. “I couldn’t help but notice the woman was very attractive, while the guy was a real nerd.

“What could she see in him?” Fisher wondered. From the outside, this couple didn’t look like a match. “Then I realized she was blind,” Fisher said.

“What did she see in him? She saw everything that was important in a person. She saw love. While another woman might not have gotten past this man’s unimpressive exterior, she was blind to that. She only saw his heart. Blessed are the blind, for they can see people as they really are.”

Like Samuel, we often make judgments based on what people look like. But God doesn’t use looks as his criteria. He evaluates people by what’s in their hearts. He sees their character, their faithfulness and their commitment to him.

During courtship, we can be charmed by someone’s good looks, attentiveness or flattery. All of that can be fleeting. Over the course of a marriage, the real person breaks through. Perhaps as your marriage ages, your spouse’s outward appearance starts to change. Your spouse grays, loses hair or gains a little weight. Perhaps the two of you fall into a rut, and the special treatment that marked your dating period begins to wane. That’s when we need to remember what the Lord said to Samuel about focusing on what’s in the heart rather than what’s physically noticeable.

The success of a marriage comes, not in finding who we think initially is the “perfect” person for us, but in our willingness to adjust to the real person we married.
Jennifer Schuchmann

Let’s Talk

  • What characteristics initially attracted us to each other? What qualities do we treasure most today?
  • The blind woman never saw her partner’s appearance. Like God, she only saw his heart. Would we rather have people look at our appearance or at our heart? Why?
  • What steps are we taking to improve our faith, our character and our commitment to God?

Conquering Regrets

This comes from a Couples Devotional study I received in my inbox from Biblegateway.com.  All credit for the italicized areas are directly from the devotional.

Genesis 19:1–29

“Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
Genesis 19:17

If only we hadn’t married so soon. If only we had more money. If only I had married Jake instead of John. Regrets in marriage are damaging. They keep our eyes fixed on the rearview mirror instead of on the road ahead. While reviewing the past and assessing what we’ve learned through mistakes can be a healthy exercise, regretting the past only serves to fuel discontentment and impede growth.

When Dan and I decided to close a three-year-old business, I struggled with regret. I had used up all of our nest egg to pursue a business venture I had believed in. When the business failed, I regretted so many decisions I had made, especially not listening to Dan’s advice along the way. My failure meant that we would be struggling financially again after having enjoyed several years of monetary comfort. Even though I knew God had walked us through this difficult time and taught us invaluable lessons, it was tempting to think, “If I hadn’t tried to start that new business, we’d be financially set right now.” Instead of keeping my eyes focused on God’s plan for my life, I chose to get stuck in my tracks with if-only thinking.

Lot’s wife had a similar problem. She and her husband were running for their lives from Sodom and Gomorrah, knowing that God had judged the culture they were living in and was about to decimate everything they had ever known. While Lot was running full steam ahead, his wife kept looking over her shoulder. Eventually, the distance between them became so great that Lot literally left his wife in the dust.

Regret is like that. We keep looking over our shoulder, wondering if what we’ve left behind might have been better than what we’re moving toward. God’s angel warned Lot and his wife not to look back, and it’s a warning for us too.

If you routinely catch yourself starting a sentence with “If only,” regret may be an issue you need to deal with. While dwelling on what might have been is never healthy, regret can be an important signal to stop and examine your emotions. For instance, if you catch yourself thinking, “If only I had married Jake instead of John,” it may be time to evaluate why John isn’t measuring up. In your private time with God, pray about the emotions you’re experiencing. Perhaps you’ll discover that your disappointment is springing from unmet needs. With these needs clarified, you can then have a forward-thinking conversation with your spouse about how to improve your relationship.

When I caught myself saying, “If only I hadn’t tried to start this business,” I realized that my fear of God’s inability to meet our needs in the future was driving my regret. Once I discovered that, I could stop looking to the past and begin focusing on a vision for what God might accomplish in our future.
Marian V. Liautaud

Let’s Talk

  • What, if any, regrets do either of us have in our lives?
  • What unmet need might those regrets indicate?
  • How might we use regrets to improve our relationship with each other? What do we need to entrust to God to move forward in our marriage?

It’s me, again!!  Here’s my approach to this article…. there is absolutely no point in “what if’s”   I used to play that game with myself when I was younger…. What if I had never moved to the Metroplex in my mid-20’s?  Well, if I hadn’t moved to the Metroplex, I would have never gotten the job I had… which means I would have never moved here…. which means I would have never met my husband…. which means I would have never had my kids…. which means I would have probably dated more dead end losers …. see where I am going with this?  It can drive you crazy.   Any time I catch my mind going here, I remember the first time I heard God tell me, “So what?  All of these things made you who you are today.  All of these choices were made with Me right by your side.  Nothing happens in your life today that I have not seen.   I will be with you always.”    Just like Lot’s wife should have learned, there is really no point in going back and living in the past with all your what if’s.   My Dad used to tell me growing up not to second guess my decisions in life…. He used to say “at least you made a decision” which in itself can be hard sometimes!  We learn so much from the decisions we make and it affects our future.  I’d like to think that I have learned from the past and choose to make better decisions now, and I am thankful that I have the Lord to lean on and the smartest husband in the whole wide world to walk by my side as my teammate in life on all the decisions we make.   So, don’t let yourself be frozen into a pillar of salt like Lot’s wife.  Put one foot in front of the other with your spouse and lean on the Lord.

~Spicy~

Q&A: Is Spicy Sex in the Bible?

This is an email we received from someone who found our blog.

“God intended married sex to be spicy. OK, but where in the Bible did He say that?
Sorry but coming up with your opinion and then attaching God’s name to it doesn’t mean God is attached to it.”

Oh, where do I begin…

Well, let’s start with the Bible. Does the Bible say that God wants married sex to be spicy? In the very beginning this is what God said about married sex.

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. Genesis 2:24-25

Our first reference in the Bible to married sex is that we would separate from our birth families and unite as one with our husband or wife; unite physically and relationally. God desired that a husband and wife have no shame between them in the most vulnerable of situations; nakedness. Adam and Eve had freedom to explore and enjoy one another without shame, and this did not surprise God. He created them naked in the garden with all their sexual parts in full function. Can you imagine how great it would have been to be naked all the time, in the sun with your husband and not have to carry any emotional baggage? They didn’t work, so they weren’t tired. They walked around all day enjoying the Lord’s creation, chatting without the distraction of a phone ringing or an email coming in. They had all the time in the world to connect emotionally and physically, and they were still without sin. What ideal circumstances for which to build a passionate love life.

Further, if we step out of this story and into another, the Song of Solomon is an incredibly erotic and passionate love story. In this book of the Bible we look at the marriage of Solomon and his bride. Specifically we look at how they relate sexually. After the bride and groom in the story have had a sexually charged encounter this is what is written, believed to be the only time that God speaks out in the book:

Eat, O friends, and drink;
drink your fill, O lovers.

Just as God was pleased with the unity of Adam and Eve, so was He pleased with this union. He encourages the lovers to take pleasure in one another. He wants them to enjoy their sexuality as much as they can. In the Song of Solomon, we find that the couple enjoyed a wide variety of pleasures. The specifics of what they enjoyed are not as important as the fact that they had the freedom and confidence to express their desires, and to meet those of their spouse. They most certainly had a spicy marriage bed.

Perhaps it would be helpful to pause here and explore what it means to have a spicy marriage bed. It doesn’t mean that everyone has hot, steamy, intense sex every day, twice a day, doing everything that is talked about on our website. It means that your sexual encounters with your spouse, whatever they look like for you, are intentionally focused on growing in passion. A spicy marriage bed is where you can be honest about your desires and trust that your spouse is a safe place for you. A spicy marriage bed is one where you desire to meet the sexual needs and passions of your spouse and they yours. Husbands and wives who have impassionate love lives are really missing out on the beauty of God’s plan for our sexuality. This is why it is such a terrible and damaging sin for a husband or wife to withhold their passion. It robs their spouse from expressing a desire that God put in them.

We haven’t attached God’s name to our opinion about sex. We look to Him to guide us into how He regards sex and we submit what we know to His Word. For many years many of us lived under many lies, but we are on a journey with the Lord and our husbands to fully embrace who God made us to be. We don’t claim to have arrived at perfection, but we have caught a glimpse of where our marriages are going and are fill with hope at the thought of what amazing thing God could do with two lives submitted to Him, united to each other.

original article