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Marriage Posts in April

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I know I really didn’t end up writing each day in April about marriage, but I came close to it. I wanted to touch on the most important things on marriage for the month of April. I chose the month of April because that it the month that my marriage got the biggest wake up call.

So, how is your marriage? What do you have the most issues with? Finances, kids, addictions, disconnections? We would be lying to ourselves and in complete denial if we didn’t believe that our marriages will occasionally have issues. All marriages go through trials and tribulations, but  the most important thing to always remember is to never give up on our marriages. Just like it says in the movie Fireproof, “Never leave your partner in a fire.”
On your worse times of your marriages, remember that you and your spouse are not on seperate teams, but are on the same team. If you look at all of the marriages that have lasted over 25 years, you will probably hear of couples having issues–disagreements–separating for one another and maybe even at the brink of divorce. The longest couples have been through the most.

Make up your mind that your marriage will not fail. Pray for your marriage. Forgive your spouse. Try your hardest. Never mention the “D” word. Know that you will have bad times in your marriage, bad times doesn’t equal a bad marriage. Strive to make your spouse happy. Strive to make your spouse smile. Know that your spouse isn’t perfect and never put them on that pedestal. Make time for your spouse. If you have issues, talk about it.  Love your spouse.

Lord, I pray for everyone who is reading this blog, everyone who has subscribed and is following this blog. I pray that marriages are being restored. I pray that marriages are getting stronger. I pray that couples are loving the most through their most hardest times. Lord, guide us in our marriages.

Stay tuned for what else Holdstohope.com has to offer. In the month of May, we will be talking about parenting. Don’t hold me to posting something everyday, because yes, that became a bit of a challenge in the month of April! I hope you will follow, like, pin, share the posts that you think will benefit yourself or even people in your life.
Don’t forget, if you have a prayer need, there is a prayer wall that I can add you to. If there are any questions or concerns, you can e-mail me at Encouragemovement@gmail.com!

Looking for a guest blogger on your blog? Or, want to be a guest blogger on mine? Ask me how!
Until next time….be encouraged!!!!

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What Does Your Marriage Look Like?

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I was scrolling through Pinterest and read a quote from Marquis Clarke that says, “I want my life and my marriage to look less like the world and more like Christ.” So, with that reading that statement, I really began to think about what my marriage looks like and how my marriage looks to the world. Does it reflect Christ or is it more “worldly?”

I would like to say that my marriage reflects something that was created by Christ. I mean, I believe God created marriage but we have the capability of either letting our marriage look like it was created from God or having our marriage look like it was created from God but looks like the world got a hold of it.

I would say that at one time in our marriage, it would look very messy. People wouldn’t think we would make it. It was completely out of control. But, that is one of the reasons why I wanted to create this blog. I wanted to encourage them and show them what a marriage looks like. Now, with me saying that, I am by no means saying that my marriage is perfect…nor am I saying that my marriage has always been perfect. Obviously, if you have been reading this blog, you know it’s not.

So, what does your marriage look like? Would you say it looks more like Christ or more like the world? That might be hard to answer, especially if you and your spouse are not in the same spot. At one point in my marriage…my husband and I were not. I was in church and he wasn’t. So, I believe that in that point in our marriage that it was messy!

I just believe that the “world” is all around us! It is on the radio, on TVs, out in the store. We can be influenced by so much that is around us. That is why it is important for us to stay focused on what we are surrounded by. I believe the world creeps in a little at  a time.

John 10:10, I know I have quoted it before, but it is one scripture that I constantly have to remind myself of. “The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy…BUT God comes to give us life, so that we may live more abundantly.” We have to be on guard for the enemies and what he is throwing at us.

So, what do you say? What does your marriage look like? How has the world influenced your marriage? How can you change that?

Lord, we are surrounded by temptation, we are surrounded by things on the television, things on the radio and the worlds all around us. Let us be more aware of our surroundings and what the enemy is trying to throw at our marriages because sometimes the enemy throws things that we don’t realize and before we do realize it, it’s too late. Help us to have a more Godly, God-centered marriage. When the world sees our marriages, may they see you in the center of it and want a marriage like the ones we are showing them instead of the marriages that are on the television. Show us where we go wrong in our marriages.

Until next time…be encouraged!!!!

Praying for Your Spouse

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Many years ago, I was going to a church that was so prayerful. They were constantly telling us how important it was to pray about everything. Things that we needed, things that we wanted, and people in our lives. I don’t know if I just didn’t know how to pray or I just never really thought about praying for people. I mean, I prayed for people, but only if they were sick.
It wasn’t until a lady came up to me and asked me boldly if I prayed for my husband. I told her that I didn’t really pray for him. She was completely shocked. She told me everyday that I went without praying for my husband it was like a day was going by that I was not putting an investment into my marriage. I really began to think about this. How would I pray for my husband? What would I say?
I started going to these prayer meetings and women’s conferences and really began to learn how to “Pray for my husband.” So, maybe you are in the same position that I was in and either don’t pray for your husband because you don’t know how or you really haven’t thought about praying for anyone if nothing was actually wrong with them. I’ve also heard, “Why would I pray for someone when God already knows?” I believe that that is true. God does know, but how much more significant your prayers mean to God or how closer praying for your spouse you will become.
I know, it sounds crazy about becoming more close. But, as you begin to pray and the more you pray, the more you will start caring and really learning more about your spouse. We have a prayer chain at our church. People that are needing prayers will add themselves to the chain and the prayerful people in the church will pray for them. I can recall one man that was on our prayer chain. He had cancer, and it was very quick that he was diagnosed and he became very sick. I kept up with this man–his doctors appointments, his test results..everything. I really didn’t know this man, per say, but I really felt connected to this man. I really began praying for this man. A couple months passed, and this man passed away. I had known of this man, but not really had a personal relationship with him and it completely broke my heart when he passed away. Not like the, “Oh, I feel so sorry for his family,” no, this was sad, depressing, crying over this man’s death.
When we truly care about something, we invest time in it. So, start investing in time praying for your spouse. If you don’t know how, start out small. If you become disconnected and feel like you know nothing about your spouse, it can be difficult to pray for your spouse. But, it is doable. You can pray for the stranger you see on the street AND you can definitely pray for your spouse!
When is the best time to pray? In the shower? On the way to work? Getting ready in the morning? Take a couple minutes out of your day and really begin praying for your husband.
Several things to pray over-

  • Pray over your spouse’s day. Do they have a stressful work day? Pray that they will have a productive, stress-free day. Is there temptation at work? Pray that your spouse will not have any temptations of this world distract them from your marriage. Promotion coming up? Praying favor, that if it is God’s will they get the job, that they will. You get the picture, right?
  • Pray deeper into your spouse’s life. Do they have anger issues? Pray that God will reveal their anger issues to them. Sometimes things happen in our spouse’s lives that causes them pain..so the default emotion? Anger. Pray for your spouse and their issues.
  • Pray protection of your spouse’s life- As they travel, as they are at work, as they are at the gym.
    You know your spouse, I don’t! You know their needs, so pray for them! I am challenging you to start small and pray for your spouse!

Lord, I pray that you show us how to pray for our spouse. We may feel disconnected from one another, but Lord, they have needs just like we have needs, so please show us how to pray. Let communication open up between us. As we pray for our spouse’s, let us feel more connected and begin to care more for our spouse. If we are feeling disconnected, help restore our marriage!
Until next time…be encouraged!!!!

When Pornography Creeps Into Your Marriage

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When Pornography Creeps Into Your Marriage

I know the picture attached to this blog post is a man that is viewing his computer. But pornography is not just a problem that men deal with, there are also women who deal with pornography as well. I wanted to touch on this subject because I feel that many marriages deal with the issue of having pornography in their marriage.

It wasn’t too long ago, a friend of mine and I were talking to each other. She told me that her and her husband had a major issue in their marriage. I surely wasn’t expecting to hear that pornography was the issue..but it was. She admitted that her and her spouse had really hit a drought in their marriage after they had two children together. They were trying different things to spice up their marriage and so that led them to the sex store! While in the sex store, a video was playing. Her husband recommended maybe they buy one (a video.) So, they did. This really spiced up their marriage. Now, 4 years later, she still catches her husband viewing pornographic videos and she was getting her spiciness from romance novels, 50 Shades of Grey, ect. Since they had started reaching out for spiciness in their marriage, they have gotten out of church. They know what they are doing is wrong, but they just can’t stop.

I wanted to share this story, not to air my friend’s dirty laundry, but to let the readers know that it can happen in any marriage. It can happen to men and women who attend church. It can happen to pastors. Many people have this issue and being male or female is no an issue! ‘

Many people will not admit that they are having this issue because they are embarrassed. It is like talking about sex, it is personal and nobody wants to talk about it! If you or your spouse is having an issue with pornography in your marriage, here are several tips of advice for you!

Seek help! If you are having an issue with pornography, be open about it with your spouse. There are many Christian counselors that are willing to counsel with you and your spouse because they deal with a lot of issues like this! Most Christian counseling in the church is free, especially if you are already a member. Don’t try to hide your secret. I am not saying go yell it around the world, but don’t keep it to yourself either.

Know and realize it’s an issue- Admitting that you have an issue is the first step,right? Realizing that pornography is an issue is the first step. Pornography will never make a marriage stronger, it will not spice up the bedroom (for a long period anyway), it will not fix your marriage issues, and it’s really a trap!

Pornography usually creeps into someone’s life at a young age. When a young man (or woman) catch that glimpse of a pornographic image, they become addicted. Sometimes they can contain it, but then they think about it later in life. The issue follows them through life! Seriously! Other times, pornography creeps into marriages when there is a drought in the bedroom. Either the man or woman seeks more spiciness or like my friend’s case, they viewed it together. Men and women who seek pornography, whether it be books, magazines, videos, ect, means that they are lacking something in their marriage and once pornography wears off, affairs start happening because pornography can only remain exciting for a short period of time.

Pornography can be a major issue in a marriage. If you or your spouse are dealing with pornography. Seek help. It’s so hard to kick the habit and pornography addiction when pornography is literally at our fingertips. It pops up on our computers, there are apps for it, it is on television (whether we realize it or not!)

Steps that you can take when helping your addiction to pornography:

  • Have someone that knows about your issue. Someone that knows your issue (that isn’t dealing with the issue themselves) whether it be your spouse, pastor, friend, mentor, ect, they can hold you accountable for your action. In AA meetings, you have a ”sponsor” and that sponsor holds you accountable.So find someone that you can trust and someone that will hold you accountable. NEVER seek help from someone of the opposite sex! If you are a female that is dealing with pornography, don’t counsel alone with your pastor, make sure their wife is present during counseling sessions or make sure your husband is present! Asking the opposite sex for help on this kind of subject is just asking for trouble!
  • Think about what gets you looking at pornography. Is it on your phone? Delete the apps. Do you search for it? Put something on your phone/computer that blocks it.(even if it’s child’s PG-13 settings) Throw away all books that involve it. Don’t set yourself up. When you are having a hard time, confide in someone!

Lord, I pray from the men and women that struggle with viewing pornography. I pray that you give them the strength to turn away from it when they are being tempted. I pray that you give them the wisdom to know when they are being tempted! I pray that they would have the courage to step out into faith and talk to someone, even if it is their spouse when they are having issues. I pray that they will find support. I pray that any marriage that has been torn apart from pornography issues, that Lord, you start building it back up. Lord, you start restoring these marriage!

Please, share this post. If you know someone is dealing with pornography, share it with them (privately.) If you need prayer, please don’t forget my prayer wall. You can be added to the prayer wall anonymously.

Until next time…be encouraged!

Keeping the Fights Clean

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Keeping the Fights Clean

Ok, so obviously we are all married or in a relationship and obviously, we are going to have arguments and disagreements with one another–sometimes, even fights. I heard or read one time that it is good to have disagreements with our spouse. I don’t know about you, but I completely hate it. I guess when I got married, I thought we were so in love and that everything would be perfect, but GEEZE was I wrong! I mean, we were and are still in love, but our marriage has been far from perfect.

My husband and I have gotten into the worst of fights. We have screamed cussed, slammed doors, broken things and even gotten physical (not in the good way) with one another. Looking back, I feel so ashamed for acting like such a fool. I read constantly on Facebook about couples who are like this…because yes, they post it! So, what about you and your spouse? Do you keep the fights ”clean?”

I believe that love can be messy. It can sometimes be ugly. We might not intend on our relationships becoming ugly. We never intend to be ugly…or sometimes we do, but we shouldn’t. If you and your spouse do not get along, or sometimes it may even seem like you hate each other..that is never good! So, what are some steps that you can take in order to getting your relationship back on the right track?

Don’t “plan” to argue with your spouse- Of course, our spouses are going to do things that are going to tick us off. But, we have control over how WE act. We might not have control over how they are going to act, but we do have control over how WE react to what they have to dish out to us. Here are couple tips.

  • When our spouses do something that upsets us, do not think bad thoughts. Do not plan your arguments in your head. Depending on what your spouse has done, think of the BEST way you can approach them. Do not start text messages blasting off how big of pieces of crap they are. That’s never good and will never solve anything.
  • Instead of planning on the ways you can be ugly to your spouse for their wrong doings, plan on how you can do right. Pray before reacting.

Never, ever name call- I know that when arguments get deep, every name in the book can come out of your mouth. But, guess what?! You have control over that. If your spouse happens to call you a name or say something that offends you, simply say to yourself (in your head) “I forgive them for that.” It’s easier said than done, I know.

Learn when to walk away- If you and your spouse gets into overheated conversations, know when to walk away. Know when the conversation isn’t going anywhere and know when to stop the fight before it gets started. If you feel yourself getting upset, learn to tell your spouse that you love them during the argument. Let them know that you love them more than this argument.

Learn to not sweat the stupid stuff- Do you know how long my husband and I had arguments because I didn’t cook the spaghetti like he was used to eating it? Or how many arguments we had because I didn’t fold his jeans correctly? Or how many times I argued at him for not cleaning up his hair in the bathroom after shaving. Or the pee droplets on the toilet seat?! Or how many times we argued over stupid things that no longer matter to us. Sometimes, we have to live with the stupid, irritating habits our spouses have. I finally started making the spaghetti the way my husband likes it. I still fold his jeans incorrectly. He still leaves a lot of hair in the sink after shaving. We’ve learned to not have stupid arguments over little things that can easily be fixed. Look over the small stuff!

Know when to seek help- I hate to see divorces happen, but I never want to encourage people that have HAD to leave their spouse because they are in danger. Maybe you are in that position. If you and your spouse are very abusive to one another, learn when it’s time to get help. Maybe that doesn’t mean getting a divorce, but maybe that means simply seeking counseling. And my biggest excuse for not wanting to go to counseling was, “it cost too much.” Well, there are many churches out there and many pastors that counsel FOR FREE. Don’t raise a family in an abusive home. Seek help!

Remember your children- I don’t care if your child is 1 day old or if they are 18 years old, they are watching you and how you act can and will damage their lives. For babies, they can always sense stress. It is the weirdest thing ever. When my babies were babies and I would fight with their fathers, they would scream and holler and it happened that way EVERY TIME! Babies sense stress. For the older children, they are watching. You may keep thinking to yourself, they will never remember this. Well, if nothing changes, yes they will remember it. You are teaching your daughters how they are to be treated by their husbands and your sons how they are to treat their wives. We are teaching our children either how to have negative relationships or positive ones. What are your children seeing you do?

  • If you and your spouse is arguing, do it away from the children. Go to your room. Make it to where they can not hear or see the things that are going on. They are too little and young to be involved in your problems.
  • I don’t care how bad your spouse is, never bad mouth your spouse to your children.

Do not bring up old stuff- I do struggle with this, I’m not even going to lie. I have a habit of throwing up my husband’s past hurts that he has done with me. “Hey, you wrote a check and now we have an overdraft fee and are in the negatives!!” “Well, remember that time 6 years ago when you forgot to pay the bill?!?” If you mess up, own up to your mistakes. Sometimes we are wrong. Sometimes we need to own up to our mistakes. Don’t throw up something from the past, because a past is called a past for a reason! Just because your spouse has an issue with you doesn’t mean you have to have an issue with them!

Lord, I pray for these marriages that don’t do clean fighting! Lord, help us to learn to communicate with each other! Help us to not be ugly and to be smart about having arguments! Help us to know when to get help if we need it. Most couples may think counseling is dumb, but Lord, sometimes we need wisdom! Help us in our marriages today and everyday!

Until next time…be encouraged!!!

Making Time for Your Spouse

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Making Time for Your Spouse

I have talked a lot about the importance of spending time with your spouse and making time for them. When is the last time you and your spouse had a date? What about having a conversation without any interruptions from children or distractions of technology? Or, how about the last time you let your spouse know that you were thinking of them or doing a kind gesture to let them know how much they mean to you?

A couple of year ago, my husband and I never had date nights! If we did have date nights, it was we had at least one child with us. Which, looking back, that wasn’t a date night. If we tried to have time to ourselves at home, like a movie date night, my youngest child was probably stuck to my breast because I had made myself a human pacifier. Which, looking back on that, that wasn’t a date night either! Let’s face it, my husband and I did not know how to separate ourselves from children, from technology, from work and just have one on one time!

Do you ever wish that you would have known then what you know now? If my husband and I would have known how disconnected we were getting from another another just by not making time for one another, we probably would have saved ourselves from a lot of issues a long the way But, we didn’t! So, I am encouraging all couples to make time for their spouses.

I have given some ideas on the blog post of mine, “Getting back to the butterflies and fireworks in our marriage.” But, in case you missed that blog post, I’m giving several ideas and challenging you to start making time for your spouse! Starting TODAY!!!

Plan a date night- I am not talking about the the date nights that I described above. There are no kids, technology, or distractions allowed on the date nights I am talking about. If you can’t get a sitter, then that’s okay. My husband and I have started once a month letting the kids have a “kids night.” Which means, the kids get the house to themselves…kind of. We fix pizzas, nachos, get junk food. We take them to Redbox and let them pick out a movie or a game for the Wii. And they love the thought of kicking us out on the porch so they can have the house! If you have younger kids, maybe put them to bed early (even if it’s 30 minutes) and spend that 30 minutes talking to your spouse. Try when you are talking to your spouse, not to bring up kids or work or problems in your marriage. Just hang out like you would if you were dating. Laugh. Bring up silly memories. Make silly memories. Hang out!!!

Text/E-mail your spouse- Make time during your busy day to text your spouse a silly selfie of yourself. If you need some romance, send a sexy picture of yourself! Ha! I’m serious! Text your spouse an “I love you and miss you” text message. Think of something recently that your spouse has done and text them that you appreciated that gesture.

Do an act of kindness- Sometimes, it can be hard to make yourself do an act of kindness for your spouse if you are not having a good period in your marriage. But, an act of kindness might be JUST what your spouse needs to perk up. Do an act of kindness for your spouse. Wake up a couple minutes before them and take them coffee in bed, start their car on cold mornings, pack their lunch, do a chore that they absolutely hate doing, leave them a sticky note on their windshield, have flowers delivered to them, buy their favorite candy and leave it on their side of the bed for their bedtime snack,surprise them with a date night that you have already planned, or post a picture of you two on Facebook. There are many different ways to show you care. It doesn’t always have to involve money.

Lord, I pray that you allow couples to really start reuniting! That you show them how to make time for their spouses! I pray that marriages are being restored! I pray that couples are feelings a love and connection for their spouses that they have never felt or haven’t felt in a long time. Help us with our marriages!

Until next time…be encouraged!

Making Up Our Minds That Our Marriages Will Not Fail

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Making up your mind that your marriage will not fail!

Have you and your spouse ever thrown up the “D” word? Yeah, I am talking about divorce. A lot of couples, in their marriages have. If you are a couple that hasn’t, then that is great! You see, we live in a world where is our marriages aren’t working, then we can just get a divorce. You are encouraged to get a divorce. It isn’t looked down on anymore. The world just doesn’t see marriage as something to be taken seriously or something that is supposed to be valued.

Before I even thought about getting married, I had it in my mind that if I was going to get married, then I wanted it to be a marriage that lasted forever! When thinking of divorce, it never was a pleasant, easy fix to a sucky marriage. Divorce was awful to me. Divorce was something that broke up families and I never wanted my family to be torn apart.

Our first year of marriage was complete chaos. Ha! Looking back on the “young girl” I was. I had no idea how to be a wife. We argued over the things that really shouldn’t be a big deal. Things like, how to cook the supper properly, folding his jeans the correct way, paying the bills on the correct day. I know what you are thinking! I was a mess and I will admit it! I don’t know how many times my mother came to my house and gave me the lecture on how to be a wife! Anyway, we argued…a lot! And, it wasn’t long after we had married, we had a huge knock-down, drag-out fight and I threw my wedding ring at him. I didn’t want to be married anymore. I wanted a divorce. This was an open door..and it wasn’t the kind that Elsa and Anna sing about.

After we opened the door and spoke of divorce, that became our default. We would have huge arguments, and we would just “get divorced” to fix things! But, in reality, we never got divorced, nor ever even went forward with filing for divorce…ever! We just liked to bring it up that that’s what would happen if we didn’t straighten up and get out of the stupid argument we were in! I know, it’s dumb, right?

After a marriage conference we attended about a year ago, the speaker said to never bring up divorce unless that’s what we truly wanted. We both felt like it was really speaking to us. We never wanted to lose each other, but on the other hand, we didn’t know how to fix our problems, so the “We’ll just get a divorce,” became our default. Even after our worse issues in our marriage, it still comes creeping into my mind that, “maybe he and I would be better apart.” “Maybe like would be easier.” Although I don’t voice that I want a divorce, or even want to use the word, the enemy plants thoughts that we should leave one another.

Is your marriage like this? Have you had thoughts like this? Do you want a divorce? Do you really want to go through that? If you truly love your spouse and they love you, then make up your mind that your marriage is not going to fail. Make up your mind that you and your spouse will NEVER mention the word divorce unless it is something that you two are truly prepared to go through. When you are having times where you thing that you would rather be divorced, or maybe that you and your spouse should end it– really spend some time in prayer. Don’t keep agitating your spouse. Get to yourself, pray, think, and fix the problem. The truth of the matter is, when people “seriously get married” and I say it that way because some people go through with getting married with the attitude, “if it don’t work, we’ll get a divorce!” If you were not that person, then seriously, work on it. Make up your mind TODAY that your marriage will not EVER fail.

Lord, I pray for marriages that often have arguments and bring up the “D” word. I pray that they learn to control themselves and communicate with each other in a way that won’t offend each other. I pray that they choose their words wisely and that while they are speaking to their spouse, their ears will be open and they will think about what they are saying. I pray that marriages start feeling closer to one another. That divorce will never be the answer. I pray that couples that are talking about marriage are serious about it and never go into their marriage with divorce on their minds.Help us, Lord, and guide us! In Your name we pray! Amen!

Until next time…be encouraged!