Unequally Yoked

 Posted by on September 17, 2013  1 Response »
Sep 172013
 

Are you married to someone who does not share your faith? Maybe they have never known Christ or maybe they once did, but have drifted from Christ. Whether you married an unbeliever or are married to a prodigal spouse, being unequally yoked can be is a challenge for your marriage.

Unequally Yoked at www.habitsforahappyhome.com Although challenging, I believe God is calling us to be faithful and remain in our marriages. Continue reading »

Sep 052013
 

SONY DSCMy nest isn’t completely empty yet, but one chick has flown the coop and the other stays out on long flights most of the time only coming home at night to roost. So I do experience on a regular basis the empty nest.

When I homeschooled, I planned ahead to the days when I would be finished and what I would do to fill those hours previously spent nurturing and instructing my children. My dreams were to write full time and to develop my writing career. For the last few years, having reached my goal of being a published author and realizing that life is about so much more, I’ve been thinking a lot about the next phase in life—when everyone is out—and what I will do with myself then. I work two regular part time jobs, blog, review books, I’m a freelance editor, work with the women’s ministry at my church, and continue to write Christian Romance. So wondering what I’m going to do with my time now that the kids don’t need me on a daily basis isn’t an issue for me.

But it’s not all about me. There’s so much more to life than what I want. And there’s more to it than just the passing of time.

I’m a married woman. That means that I now have the opportunity to go back in time to the days before children. It also means that I must examine my heart to see if I actually want to go back to those “good old days”. Do I want to stoke the fire that I had twenty-five years ago or do I want to move forward in life just being a partner with my husband and making my days be all about me?

I decided that I want to feel like a teenager again. I want to not only love my husband but I want to like him too. I now have time to spend with him uninterrupted, thinking about him when he’s not with me like I used to do before life got so crazy busy, and being his sweetheart. This doesn’t happen without being purposeful though. Why? Because I’m human. I have a selfish human nature. I naturally will fill my time with things that revolve around me and my personal pursuits if I’m not intentional.

064Recently, we took our second ever trip without the children. This trip was for our 25th anniversary. We went back to Gulf Shores, Alabama, where we went on our honeymoon. I decided before we left that I would not spend my time on the computer working on my most recent novel nor would I spend any more time than I had to checking in with work. Although I brought a book or two to read, I didn’t want to hide between the front and back covers of those books and miss out on this time with my husband. 040So what did I do? I spent time with him. And I got him to “re-teach” me how to fish. We spent every evening together fishing into the wee hours of the night. We laughed. We talked. We ate way too many calories. And guess what he did for me. He sat with me for hours at a time on the shoreline, basking in the beauty of the surf. We spent time together without the kids. Do you know what we re-discovered? We like each other. And we still love each other.

So how do women with empty nests (or nearly empty nests) find balance between “me” and “us” when the world is against our Holy unions?

  1. Spend time with the Lord (separately and together). This is most important of all. When you are walking with the Lord and encouraging (not nagging) him to do the same, you will naturally grow closer to one another. This will help you not to drift apart as the years go by.
  2. Make it important to spend time together. Watch television with your husband even if you aren’t interested in the show he’s watching. Chat about something other than the bills or the children. Play games and read a book together. You know what the two of you have in common so start there. What one couple will find fun, another will not. Use your imagination.
  3. Learn how to speak your spouse’s love language. The five love languages are: Words of affirmation, physical touch, time spent together, acts of service, and gifts. What is your husband’s love language? Spend a little bit of time figuring that out and then minister to him that way. Remember that we often love others according to our own love language and then get our feelings hurt when they don’t respond with the enthusiasm we would. If you learn his language and help him learn yours, your spark will be rekindled.
  4. Going back to how I started this post, spend time alone exploring your hobby so you don’t resent his. There is nothing wrong with having a hobby—something that you can call your own. As long as it isn’t contrary to your marriage, that is. But wives can easily become jealous of their husbands and their hobbies if they don’t have some little something they like to do themselves.

004There are many things women can do to make sure that they don’t fly the nest when their children do and that they don’t fill the empty space with things that aren’t God-honoring. This can be a lonely time in a woman’s life or it can be a time that she reaches way down deep into her heart and digs out her “old self” and rejuvenates her marriage, her life, and the lives of everyone around her.

Beach pictures and picture of me (with terrible beach hair) were taken on our anniversary trip.

Bird’s nest: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1209474

 

 

 

 

~written by Sherri

Apr 092013
 

As homeschool moms, we’re used to taking charge of our households during the day, managing the kids, their schooling, the pets, and the telephone all while juggling a laundry basket on one hip and a laptop on the other. When we finally sit down, we’ve got a school book in one hand and the Bible in the other—trying to improve as a teacher and attempting to live out the walk of the Proverbs 31 woman all at the same time.

1380931_68482931Some days, we’re rockin’ and a’rollin’ like we’ve got super powers and other days we’re hiding in the bathroom hoping no one remembers that there’s supposed to be a wife or mommy in the house. Too often, we try to do it all or at least act like we think we can and inadvertently we get things around the home out of balance. We become of the boss of everything and everyone and then no one wants to help us when we need them.

One relationship that often gets out of whack nearly as easy as your back—and becomes twisted like your neck when there’s a crick in it—is the relationship you have with your husband. When you spend all day bossing (I mean, directing) kids around, it’s kind of easy to do the same thing to your husband when he comes home at the end of the day. It’s sometimes second nature to tell him to pick up his socks or to put his dishes in the sink, just like we’d tell our children. Then when we all of a sudden feel like mommy to not only the kids but to our husbands, as well, we start to blame him and wonder where in the world our manly man we married all those years ago went. We wonder why he won’t step up and be a man.

Just like when your immunity is low and you’re exposed to toxins and viruses and bacteria, forgetting the God-ordained order of your household will cause serious illness in your family and maybe even in the future generations. The best cure for this “disease” and the way to have a happy home is to remember that while we cannot change our pasts, we can direct the future and make a difference. We can make sure our households reflect the Biblical model. 549466_10150920471056213_35500123_n

How can you show your husband that he’s “the man” and not your child? How can you make sure you’re not showing your kids (and others) that you’re your husband’s mommy and not his wife?

Respect your husband. Keep your words and attitudes toward him and about him kind, gentle, and loving. Avoid speaking in harsh tones and being condescending to him.

Encourage your husband. Proverbs 16:24 says: “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Tell him how thankful you are that he works hard to provide for your family. Make special time with him without the kids. He wants to feel like a “grown-up” with you. Although words of affirmation from co-workers and bosses mean a lot to a man, those encouraging words spoken by his wife are priceless to him.

Be his helpmeet. Sometimes we do things for our husbands because we think we can do them better than they can. And then we complain because we have to do everything ourselves. Be a helpmeet without doing everything for him. He is a man, after all. He is quite capable of doing things.

408839_10150468673946213_730756276_n Stop complaining. If you complain that you have no help around the house or complain about how he does things, it makes him want to help you less. If he doesn’t know how to do what you need him to do but he desires to help you, then show him how. Tell him how thankful you are when he helps you with the kids and around the house.

Kids will do things halfway so you won’t ask them to do them again. Is your husband doing things halfway? Maybe he’s trying to get out of helping. Maybe he feels like you’ll go behind him and redo it. Let him fold the towels his own way. Believe it or not, there really isn’t a right way to do it. Let him see that his way is okay too and that you appreciate his efforts. Make sure he knows how valuable his help is to you.

Children naturally want to rebel against what mommy tells them to do. They want to play first and do chores or schoolwork last. If you treat your husband like your child he will not want to help you. He will not want to be with you. He will find something to do elsewhere. He won’t feel like a knight in shining armor or superman.

A word of caution: Check your motives before you lavish your husband with words of affirmation and make sure that you are not showing him false respect and pouring empty words out on him just so he will do things for you. Philippians 2:3-4 says: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.Remember a marriage and a family is a team.

As the mother of a girl, I want to exemplify what a Biblical woman is like and I want to show her how she should treat her husband. As the mother of a boy, I need to show him how he should want to be treated. I do not want my daughter to take charge of her husband like she will her children. I do not want my son to buckle underneath the badgering of a strong-willed woman. I want him to be respected in his household by his wife and his children. I want my daughter to be blessed with a man who knows he’s the one who provides for and protects her.

As helpmeets and wives we help our husbands tremendously when we don’t treat them as children. When they know they have a wife who loves them, respects them, honors them, and desires their leadership in their lives, men exemplify God’s original design for them.

Photos: Wedding photo and couple hugging photo courtesy of http://www.kaylajohnsonphotography.com

Milkmaid: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1380931 

Feb 122013
 

10 Ways to Spice Up Your Marriage at Habits for a Happy Home I love being married.  But let’s face it… there is always something that tries to put a damper on the romance so carefully kindled during courtship and the newlywed period.  Whether it’s dirty diapers, screaming toddlers, financial troubles, a leaking septic tank… I could list 100 things, but the fact is, God designed romance in marriage and it’s in our best interest to keep the fire kindling, no matter how low the flame has dwindled.

At first, I couldn’t think of ten items to list.  Then I began chatting with my husband about it, and between us, we came up with about twelve!  Since several involved food, I edited some out.  These Top Tens are from the wife’s perspective, though I’d love to see what was on the husband’s list!

1.  Admire something about him.  Make sure it’s genuine… there’s nothing so unflattering as an insincere compliment.  Does he have muscular arms?  Artistic talent?  Business sense?  Even if it’s something such as bringing home a paycheck, every man loves to be praised for his accomplishments.  They thrive on it!  Make it specific—“You’re so good with people… of course they gave you a promotion!  You deserve it!”, “Because you are so good at fixing things, we saved money by not having to take the car to the shop!”, “ I love the paint job in the dining room!  How did you get the lines so straight?”  See if he doesn’t beam at your admiration.

2.  Flirt.  Whether or not you flirted before you were married, do it now.  It’s fun, and adds a bit of spice to a marriage.  How you flirt is up to you!  Just have fun with it and enjoy the man God gave you.

3.  Snuggle up to him in public.  In our church service, I see the younger married couples do this.  So I scoot over closer to my man. Why should there be space between us just because we’re in our forties?

4.  Fix yourself up.  Put on that perfume he bought you long ago that you stashed in a drawer for a “special occasion.”  Brush your hair.  Put on decent clothes.  When he comes home, don’t let him see you in torn sweatpants, sighing as you clean a toilet.  He’s worked hard all day, too, and deserves a pleasant wife, not a martyr.

5.  Fix his favorite foods.  Buy the snacks he likes, and keep them at eye level in the pantry.  Listen to his culinary likes and dislikes, and cater to them cheerfully.  He’ll notice!

6.  Pull a surprise once in awhile.  One morning, as soon as he got into the shower, I got into the car and drove to Chick-fil-a, bought my husband’s favorite chicken biscuit and orange juice, and brought it home.  It was at his desk when he came downstairs to work.  The delight on his face was worth the trouble I took to do it!

7.  Write him notes… in his lunch, emails, private facebook messages… even a special “love” card mailed to his work, scented with perfume.  Mention little private jokes known only to the two of you.  He’ll feel special and know that you’re thinking of him throughout the day (and you’ll probably get a note or two from him!).

8.  Be interested in what he’s interested in.  Oh, this is hard for me.  But I try.  I ask questions about software programs and graphic design terms, and know a surface amount of information about them, enough to understand what he’s trying to tell me when he wants to talk about work.  The sci-fi movies are another story.  I just do my best, knowing that I can enjoy the action and costuming without really understanding the plot (or why anyone would want to watch it!  Shhhh!)  We can’t always enjoy things at the same level, but I can appreciate that HE enjoys it.

9.  Say thank you.  For his bringing home a paycheck, helping you with dishes, washing your car.  A little thanks goes a long way, especially when it’s for something typically done out of duty.

10.  Be mysterious.   Don’t always talk about yourself.  Let him find some things out for himself.  Get a hobby, or read up on a new subject, and spend some time developing yourself in that area.  Make time to be that interesting woman he first fell in love with.

As Valentine’s Day approaches and the subject of love is on our minds, what are some things you would add to this list?

~Written by Kim, The Daisy Muse
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Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings

Hearts and Trees: Art, Handicrafts and Nature Study for your Homeschool

Jul 052012
 

All of the things I have shared have definitely helped to tone down the chaos in our home. But the reality is that it is not possible for my house to be as quiet and clean as I would like. Even if I spent every minute of the day cleaning, people live here. Precious boys and their pets live here. And you can see the evidence of it everywhere you look! But for my own sanity, I needed one space that was clean. One space that I could go to escape the clutter and the noise and the toys and the pets.

A couple months ago I mentioned that I was working on a master bedroom makeover with several ideas I found on Pinterest. I decided to do it as a surprise for my husband. He works from home in our bedroom twice a week and I knew the chaos and clutter were getting to him too. I tried to keep everything a secret over several months. I worked on the projects during the times he was out of town and I put it all together one day while he was at work. I went as all out as I could on our budget. Even bought a new (used) canopy bed on Craigslist.

Now it is complete, and like so many other parts of our family life, it has rules. No clutter allowed. No rowdying allowed. No toys allowed. Quiet, calm, still boys with no toys are absolutely welcome. In fact, our bedroom is the only room in our house with a VCR, so we occasionally have a family night with all of us snuggling under that canopy watching some of our old Veggie Tales & Thomas the Tank Engine videos.

Don’t have room in the budget for a makeover? No problem! Just instituting a few of these boundaries will go a long way toward creating a sanctuary in your home. And most of the Pinterest projects were fairly cheap. One of the cheapest & easiest things I did that really makes our bedroom my favorite place in the house was filling every surface in the room with pictures of us and places we’ve been. Old and new. Years of memories pulled out of a box and tucked in frames.

The last thing that really helps to make it a sanctuary is keeping it clean. I know that I can’t possibly keep the whole house as clean as I would like. But I can handle one room! The bed is made first thing every morning. I dust at least once a week (if only that room) and keep it vacuumed and clutter-free.

So summer is here and school is out. Now is the perfect time to create a sanctuary of your own!

Surviving Life with Boys Series:

~ By Kendra, Frogs, Snails and Puppy Dog Tales