5 Ways to Cultivate Your Marriage in the Midst of Stress

Do you find yourself facing stress and wondering how to keep your marriage together in the midst of it? Even the fairy tale marriage is not exempt from tension! Check out these tips to keep the love alive in your marriage in spite of stress!Stress? What stress? Whether you’ve been married for ten minutes or ten years, you’ve experienced some kind of stress along the way, right?  Maybe it has been finances, illness, accident, injury, disease, or some other earthly trouble. Marital stress exists in all forms. The question is:

How do we cultivate a thriving marriage in spite of stress?

On Sunday afternoon, the girls and I went to watch the movie, Cinderella, while the guys of the family went to play footgolf and frisbee golf. The movie visually stunned me and in spite of knowing the storyline, I felt myself anticipating the glory of the pivotal moments. In case someone reading plans to go see the movie, I don’t want to disclose too much. But essentially both Cinderella and Prince Charming journeyed through stressful times, before they ever even made it to the marriage altar. Even the fairy tale marriage is not exempt from tension.

Today I wanted to share 5 ways to cultivate your marriage in the midst of stress. Each of these hints have been gained through my own experience. My husband and I have endured the death of a parent, the death of family members, the death of friends, financial struggles, terminal illness of a child, job changes, miscarriage and the list could go on.

1. Keep the communication open in the midst of stressful times.

It’s so easy to get centered on the daily grind when extra stress has entered the picture.  The focus to get through another day can cause our voices to disappear. My husband and I are not big morning talkers. We joke at the fact that we can both say nothing for the first hour of the day and be perfectly content. Regardless, remembering to talk to each other is a courtesy you don’t want to lose, especially when life is stressful.

2. Schedule time to be alone together, even if it’s only for a half hour.

When a loved one is in the hospital, someone usually stays with him or her. If your spouse is staying away overnight for a stressful reason, then be sure to schedule time together the next day. Even if you just take a quick lunch break together or take a walk to relieve a little stress, this short time can be rejuvenating.

3. Determine that the stress is going to draw you closer.

My daughter’s sickness has taken a toll on our family more in the last year as she has declined. Although we have in-home healthcare to help with her needs, even this can become stressful. People are always coming and going and sometimes we crave sitting down to a meal without an “outsider.” While our current staff is mostly family or ladies we’ve grown to love, we’ve gone through many stages of trying to find the right balance to caring for Taylor ourselves and having help. In the midst of all the transitions, we’ve determined that the stress will not tear us apart, but draw us closer.

4. Make the most of “small” moments.

Write a note, buy a card, be sure to pick up his favorite coffee at the grocery store…put a letter in his lunchbox, make an easy dessert for a normal weeknight. Embrace life on a daily basis.

 5. Plan hallmark events to create purposeful memories.

This tip is not as simple as the ones listed above. It takes a little more time to figure out what event you’d like to highlight or when you can obtain the resources and time needed to create a lasting memory. Whether you have a married getaway or anniversary celebration, take the time to plan an event that will give you the opportunity to laugh and love without dwelling on the stress.

Wisdom for Wives Conference

I feel like we could spend a ton of time discussing this topic, but the cool thing is that at the Wisdom for Wives conference, one of the sessions will be covering this very topic to nurture your marriage in the midst of a storm. So be sure to check out all the conference material and in the meantime, I’d love to know:

What do you do to cultivate your marriage during stressful times?

Rachel

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Every Word of God Is True

every word of God

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Proverbs 30:5

I know it’s not Friday, but I started preaching to myself from the April Topical Trusting God Bible Reading Challenge and God whispered to my heart. Yes. Share that.

Believing God

Some think religion is for sissies, wimps or the faint of  heart. I know a few people who believe that it’s crazy to believe in God when you can’t see him. How do you believe in what you cannot see? Faith. Faith has the power to move mountains. (Matthew 17:20) Then what does it mean to trust God? Trusting God means that we believe he is who he says he is and he will do what he says he will do.

For Christians, we believe he is who he says he is. The God of the universe saved our souls when we believed in him, received his free gift of salvation, and trusted him for an eternal home in heaven.

But the struggle often lies in trusting God with our daily affairs.

I believe that struggle begins with the first portion of the verse above.

Every Word of God Proves True

As Christians, we believe God’s Word. But two things happen at this critical point of knowing every word of God is true.

First, we often don’t know what God’s Word says. So we form our own opinions and then try to fit our opinions in the Bible somewhere. And when what we believe doesn’t fit with what God says, we’re upset. We think:  Why didn’t God do such and such?  or Why did God do such and such? 

We must know God’s Word to believe God’s Word. That’s why Bible reading and study are so vital to daily Christian life.

How can we base our beliefs on the truth of the Bible if we don’t even know what it says?

The second problem is that we like to pick and choose the parts we want to believe. We forget about “every word” and snag the ones that fit our own agendas. We cherry pick the Bible and then wonder why the jam we make from the pickings is bitter.

Every word. Not some. Not a few. Every word of God is true. So how can we pick and choose which verses we want to believe? How is it that we trust God for eternal salvation but fail to trust him for everyday solutions?

he is a shield to those who take refuge in him…

Oh Friend, this morning I woke up with a heavy burden after receiving some news late last night. The news is not devastating, just disappointing and the struggle was real this morning before I even got out of bed.

  • Am I trusting God for his hand in daily affairs or not?
  • Do I believe that every word of God is true?
  • Do I believe that he knows every detail of the situation and has the best plan for our family’s good and his glory? (Thank you for the reminder yesterday, Pastor Dale and Pastor Ken!)

So I ran to Jesus- the shield to those who take refuge in him.

The choice is yours today as well.

Run and take refuge or resist and gain nothing.

What struggle keeps you from believing that God’s plan is best for your good and his glory?

Rachel

Trusting God Bible Reading Challenge Summary Week 2

Welcome to the Bible reading challenge summary for week 2 of Trusting God, our April topical Bible reading challenge. The reading was so wonderful this week! Let’s take a peek at the play by play.

Isaiah 26:1-13

Isaiah 26 is a song of celebration for the Israelites. Verses 3&4 both use the keyword “trust” and talk about how great God is- he is worthy of our trust. But the phrase that stood out to me in this passage appears in verse 3:

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

The key to trust? Not to allow our minds stray from placing our trust elsewhere. That was food for thought for me!

Psalm 37:1-13

Psalm 37 opens with the command not to fret. Worry is the enemy of trust. So when we keep ourselves overly concerned with anyone or anything, then our trust in the Lord is affected. My favorite verse from this section of the chapter:

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.

Psalm 375

This week I read this verse and then posted the above to instagram. I went on my merry way for the day and then noticed as I walked past the same flowers that the Lord was giving us an example of his action for the day. Look what happened:

open flowers

 Did you have a moment to experience how God was acting on your behalf this week? 

Psalm 37:14-26

This section of Psalm 37 outlines many of God’s characteristics that prove to us he is worthy of our trust. He upholds the righteous, he delights in establishing the steps of men… this continues to the end of the chapter….

Psalm 37:27-40

He loves justice, he will not forsake his people, he is a stronghold in time of trouble! This entire chapter encourages trusting God because he is worthy of our trust!

What verse or thought did you have in this chapter that encouraged you to trust God more? Is there a particular area in your life with which you know you’ve not been trusting God?

John 14:1-10

John 14 is a beautiful passage of Scripture that includes one of my favorite quotes of Jesus.

““I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

You know what I find interesting? Thomas is the one who gets a bad rap for being the doubter, right? How many sermons have you heard about Thomas and his request to feel the nail scars in the hands of Jesus? As someone who grew up in church, for me, it’s a ton. But here’s what Philip said to Jesus:

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”

So Thomas was a doubter, but Philip? He just laid it out to Jesus. “Show us God and we’re good.” I don’t know about you, but if I were Jesus, I would have been extremely frustrated with this guy. Don’t you think Jesus was thinking “I am  God. You’re looking at him. Have you learned nothing?” Thankfully, Jesus doesn’t think like I do. But seriously, Philip was the disciple whose job was to push the easy button. Boom. Done. And that wouldn’t be so ludicrous, except, isn’t that just what we do today? We pray prayers like “God, you just show me and I’m done.” Meanwhile, God could be standing right in front of us and we don’t recognize him.

How do you feel about Philip’s desire to trust God if he could just see him?

John 14:11-21

I love this section of the chapter and the special note Jesus makes of sending the Holy Spirit to be our helper.

What role does the Holy Spirit play in helping you know that God loves us and wants the best for us?

John 14:22-31

Jesus explains all the reasons he should be trusted and why his Father in heaven is worthy of trust. The Creator of the universe, he has kept his promise from the beginning to redeem his people. How do people know to trust him? Because God is love.

Wow- what a wonderful week of studying God’s Word on the topic of trusting him! I can’t wait to read about what you learned this week as you read  the passages.

What did you learn this week through the reading? Have a fantastic Friday!

Rachel