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Encountering Life's Issues - Is there a God? Is God real?
OpenHeaven.com Forum : Encountering Life's Issues - Is there a God? Is God real?
Subject Topic: Resurrecting Your Marriage - By Patrick Conaty Post Reply Post New Topic
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Ron McGatlin
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Posted: 02/19/2005 at 9:36am | IP Logged Quote Ron McGatlin

Resurrecting Your Marriage

By Patrick Conaty

A marriage is like a physical body. A healthy body needs a regular and balanced input of diet, exercise, and rest. Without these life-giving factors, over a period of time, deterioration and disease will eventually settle in ­ death is bound to follow. If a marriage is to succeed, certain life-giving factors ­ resurrection factors ­ should be downloaded in a regular and balanced way over a lifetime. So what are God’s resurrection factors that we need on a regular basis if we are going to grow and enjoy the marriage to which God has called us?


Resurrection Factor One: God Himself

The first resurrection factor is God Himself. This may sound self-evident, but it bears repeating. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). “He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals His thoughts to man, He who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth ­ the LORD God Almighty is His name” (Amos 4:13).

Before God created marriage (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:18-25), He created the entire universe (Gen. 1:1-25). The God of the material universe is the God of the marriage covenant. Marriage is a part of something much larger than itself. And until a married couple comes to this realization, their marriage will tend to be self-focused, looking inward rather than upward and outward.


Resurrection Factor Two: The Word of God

The one true God has made Himself known through His Word, the Holy Bible: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

God’s Holy Word not only reveals what the God of the universe is really like, but also how we can know Him in a personal way. And beyond this, His Word directs us into His perfect blueprint for marriage. Without His Word, we would not know where to begin in our marriages, let alone how to grow and enjoy them.
 

Resurrection Factor Three: The Church of God

The one true God, who has revealed Himself through His Holy Scriptures, is building a community of believers where marriages can thrive and glorify Him. Jesus said, “ … I will build My Church and the gates of Hell will not overpower it” (Matt. 16:18).

Marriage may begin with a single man and woman, but if it is to grow and mature, it should find its way into a living expression of the body of Christ, the Church of the living God. Lone Ranger marriages, like Lone Ranger Christians, tend to eventually suffer shipwreck in regard to their faith.

Before the Apostle Paul laid out His divinely-inspired directions for Christian marriages and families (Eph. 5:22-6:4), he grounded marriage and family in the Spirit-filled, worshipping community of God (Eph. 5:18-21): “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.”

Resurrection marriages (Eph. 5:22-33) are grounded in a Spirit-filled, worshipping community (“speaking,” “singing,” “making melody,” “giving thanks”) that expresses itself in mutual subjection and encouragement under the lordship of Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church (“submitting”). Without the instruction, encouragement, equipping, and accountability found in the fellowship of the Church, your marriage will die a slow and agonizing death.

Resurrecting your marriage is really not so difficult. All that it requires is a growing dependency upon and obedience to God. If you are serious about resurrecting your marriage, prayerfully interact over the following questions:

Have you personally come to know and trust in the One God of the universe: Creator, Savior, and Sustainer? If you were unequally yoked when you were married, don't worry about it now....just pray and seek God to unify your marriage!!

How has His Holy Word, the Bible, influenced your marriage over the past six months? If you don't study the Word together--get into a bible study together!!!

How can it direct your marriage in the next six months? Apply it!

Are you and your mate committed to a Christ-centered, Bible-believing Church? Pray for a home church and go every time the doors are open.

What is your personal involvement in such a church? Get involved!!!

In the mean time, Be Radical for God!!!

Please listen to my testimony and pass it on!!! Located on my website below. Click My Testimony!!

Patrick Conaty
IamRadicalforGod@aol.com
www.RadicalforGod.com

For Prayer or help with your marriage or if you would like to communicate with someone about knowing Christ and knowing Him better, send an email to: Larry Silverman nhministry@yahoo.com  or post a reply to this message.



Edited by Moderator on 10/17/2005 at 2:51pm
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Posted: 07/04/2006 at 5:17pm | IP Logged Quote Moderator

 

Building Your Husband’s Self-Esteem
by Barbara Rainey

It’s important to understand where your husband needs your support.

Our children and I once watched a new shopping center go up near our home. Initially, progress was rapid; the lot was cleared and the concrete pads were poured in one week. Then the walls went up, quickly followed by the framing for the roof.

But one day, we turned the corner and slowed our van in disbelief. The entire structure had collapsed! The wooden roof trusses lay flat in neat rows, surrounded by the remains of the crumbled brick walls. It appeared that there had been an explosion.

Puzzled, we asked what had happened and learned that the carpenters had failed to secure and brace the new structure properly. The building's roof, held in place only by two boards, had collapsed under the weight of two carpenters.

As I reflected with amazement on the need for support in the building's structure, I saw a parallel in our marriage. The roof is like my husband's self-esteem.

Ephesians 5:23 teaches that the husband is “the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church.” When we first married, I committed to being under the roof of Dennis' protection. He had all the structural basics, but he was brand-new at being my protector. Like that roof, he appeared to be solidly in place, but he needed me to help secure him—to brace him by believing in him.

Fortunately, I did come alongside him. Through the years, the weight of life's pressures has sometimes shaken him, but he has remained solidly over me as my roof, my protector. Today, although still not perfectly secure, my husband's structural integrity is much more stable. He tells me that I have had a major part in helping him to feel more sure of himself as a man and as a husband.

Likewise, you can strengthen your husband's self-esteem. But first you must recognize where he needs bolstering. Many women today are so caught up in finding their own identity that they, like the carpenters who were building the shopping center, make assumptions about their husband's self-confidence and security. Your mate may be full-grown on the outside, but inside he undoubtedly feels some insecurity. He's not so sure how to be a man in this world where women have growing independence and society is changing the traditional rules of relationships.


Seek to Understand

The book of Proverbs is probably my favorite in the Bible because it contains such practical wisdom about everyday life. One of its main themes is the value of developing understanding. Consider each of these verses on understanding:

  • Incline your heart to understanding (Proverbs 2:2).

  • Understanding will watch over you (2:11).
  • Call understanding your intimate friend (7:4).
  • A man [or woman] of understanding walks straight (15:21).
  • Understanding is a fountain of life to one who has it (16:22).

At a Weekend to Remember® marriage conference I talked to more than a dozen women who were experiencing problems in their marriages. One woman resented her husband's schedule. Another disagreed with her husband regarding how to discipline their children. A third was a young woman whose mate was jealous of the time she spent with her sister.

My advice to these women was basically the same: Seek to understand why your husband is feeling or acting this way. Focus on him, not on the negative circumstances and how you are affected. Is he communicating by his actions some deep needs for affirmation, commitment, or loyalty?

Also, give him your complete acceptance, even if you don't totally understand him. It may be necessary to ask God to help you accept your husband, for it may not be easy to live with your situation.

Why is acceptance so important to a man? Because without it, he will feel that you are pressuring him to become something he's not. With it, he will sense that you love him for who he is today and not for what you hope he will become.


Understanding His Need for Work

One area of struggle for many wives is her husband's job and the pressures it imposes on him and everyone around him.

Man was given the responsibility by God to toil, sweat, and gain from the labor of his hands. His work gives him a sense of significance and importance in the world as he sees his efforts affecting life for good in the present and the future.

But this drive for significance sometimes pushes a man to extremes. In his effort to gain a sense of well-being and significance, he often becomes enslaved to his job. Attempting to gain importance through wealth or position, he makes his work his god. For hundreds of years, men have confused their net worth with their self-worth.

On the other hand, a man who is out of work lacks true self-respect. In this age of workaholism, losing a job is a traumatic blow to a man's esteem. It strikes at the core of his dignity. A man who doesn't work can't enjoy the satisfaction of a solid day's productivity.

Your husband needs you to help him keep these two extremes in balance. He needs you to praise him for his work, but not to push him to gain too much too quickly. When a man loses or quits his job, his self-esteem can sink. During these times, he needs you to stand beside him and encourage his efforts at finding employment. Men need to work.


Understanding His Sexual Needs

Another sphere in which we wives, for the most part, do not really understand our husbands is in how his self-image is vitally linked to his sexuality. Sometimes we women judge our husbands' sexual needs by our own.

Many wives express that they are offended because their husbands are such sexual creatures. This attitude communicates rejection to a man. To ignore his sexual needs, to resist his initiation of sex, or merely to tolerate his advances is to tear at the heart of his self-esteem.

Jill Renich points this out in her book, To Have and to Hold. She states that for a man, “Sex is the most meaningful demonstration of love and self-worth. It is a part of his own deepest person.”

The truth is, the typical man worries about his sexual performance, his wife's enjoyment, and his ability to satisfy her. He worries about the future and all those tales he has heard about losing his ability to make love. These worries are signs of a low self-confidence. Thus, a man who feels like a failure in the marriage bed will seldom have the deep, abiding self-respect for which he longs.

But, as Jill Renich writes, “To receive him with joy, and to share sexual pleasure, builds into him a sense of being worthy, desirable, and acceptable.”

What if, on the other hand, your husband expresses little sexual need? Are you naively content because that means less risk for you? Or are you accepting or even resentful of his indifference without seeking to understand why?

Your husband may lack interest in his sexual relationship with you for one of several reasons:

  • He may be too busy. Many workaholics have nothing left over for home.
  • He may be burying his sex drive, along with many other emotions. (You or a good Christian counselor need to begin to help him open up.)
  • He may be experiencing depression, which takes away other basic drives as well.
  • He may be deeply afraid of further rejection if you have in any way communicated rejection in the past.
  • Unfortunately, he may be involved with another woman.

Women are generally security-minded, but too often a woman's need for security leads her into a sexual rut. Her husband may not say much, so she assumes that he is satisfied too. But he may not be. Beware of complacency. Be willing to make some personal sacrifices to protect your marriage.

Great sacrifice communicates great love. Freely giving of yourself to your mate will make you a magnet to him, drawing him home, keeping him safe. The wife who really loves her husband will choose to take risks to please her man.

As you spend time together physically, be sure to reassure your husband verbally of your unconditional acceptance of him, especially if he is insecure in this area. Tell him that you like his body and that his imperfections and mistakes don't matter to you. His confidence will grow if you allow him the freedom to be himself and to be imperfect.


Understanding His Need for Respect

Part of God's specific instruction to wives is found in Ephesians 5:33 (ESV): “Let the wife see to it that she respects her husband.” In the Amplified Bible, this verse reads, “And let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband--that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly.”

Why does God focus on this quality of respect? Why didn't He select other positive and necessary traits, such as kindness, sympathy, and forgiveness? Why didn't he emphasize love?

I believe that God, as the designer of men, knew that they would be built up as they are respected by their wives. When a wife respects her husband, he feels it, is supported by it, and is strengthened from it. A man needs respect like a woman needs love.

Your husband wants and needs to make a contribution in life that is worthy of another's respect. He needs to know that you feel he is important. Without your respect, he can't respect himself. You are his mirror. When you express your respect, he feels valuable and esteemed.

Perhaps you are thinking, But I see little, if anything, to respect. Perhaps you are like the young mother I know whose husband drank heavily and spent little time with the children. She had a difficult time viewing him with respect and honor. A deliberate change of focus from his weaknesses to his few strengths enabled her to begin to see her mate in a positive light. Gaining a better perspective may aid you in esteeming your husband too.

Philippians 4:8 tells us: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Pay attention to your husband's admirable qualities rather than the negative ones. You can then offer him the respect that will build his self-esteem.


It Takes Years for Him to Become a Man

Months after that small shopping center near our home collapsed, it was finally completed. The builders made changes and structural modifications. Some were external, obvious to us as we passed by, while others were internal and couldn't be seen.

Your husband, like that shopping center, is still under construction. His self-esteem will take time, modifications, and improvements. Internally, your attitude of acceptance, respect, and adaptation are all essential to his structural integrity. Your external behavior matters, too, because your words and actions can help to construct a secure man.

Remember, it takes years for a man to become a strong husband. Be patient with him. Put aside your high expectations of how a perfect husband would lead his family spiritually, or behave socially, or perform intellectually. Keep your hope in God, not in your man. Then you will not be disappointed.


Adapted from Building Your Mate’s Self Esteem by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers. Copyright © 1995 by Dennis Rainey. Used with permission.

<strong>Barbara Rainey</strong> Barbara Rainey has co-authored several best-selling books with her husband, Dennis Rainey, president of FamilyLife. Their books include Moments Together for Couples, Building Your Mate's Self-Esteem, and Rekindling the Romance. The Raineys have six children and eight grandchildren.
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Posted: 09/05/2006 at 11:24am | IP Logged Quote Guests

This was really good....I have came to this thread many times, cant say that I really ever read it all the way through though....

I know that I do not respect my husband.....and I really have a hard time respecting men in general for it has been 'men' who have hurt me, sexually, physically, and emotionally.....I have looked at ALL men as being a disgrace or punishment to women........

As the Lord has really been dealing with me, He is really beginning to give me a whole new prespective on how I see men in general. The fact of the matter is, I need healing.....and the funny thing is, I thought I was free, but Im not, because if I was, I wouldnt be having such a hard time respecting the man in my life. So the man in my life is not perfect.....so what man is?? My expectations have been so high, no man on this planet could reach it! The Lord is really beginning to soften my heart towards this matter for I have cried, Lord change my heart......because I know that it starts with me.....I am greived within to know and see how I have treated the man in my life as I have, for I have pretty much been punishing him for something someone else did to me......It is not a wonder that he is never around, or acts or does what he does....it of couse gives him no excuse to do some of the things he does, but I feel I am partly to blame.

I have built walls all around me to protect me from being hurt by another man, and in doing so, I have not let my husband in.........I relize that this is something that only God himself can change, restore, and heal....I am not capable of doing so on my own. My question is, is it too late? I cant go back to when we first met and start all over, all I can do is start where Im at......Can someone like myself truely find freedom in this? I have carried this for so long I find it very difficult to see myself anyother way.....I find it very difficult to respect what has not respected me........I only allow people (men) to get so close to me, then I freeze and my walls come up and I back away....

I really do want things to be diff. I dont want to be like this.......I look in the mirror and I think, oh God, how could you love me as you do, how can any man for that matter love me..........I look in the mirror and I sometimes hate the person that I see, cause I see those things in me that should not be there and I so much want to be a better person, I so much want to love as my Heavenly Father loves.....I guess that in time, as I soak, seek, and surrender my all to Him, that all will fall into place huh......

One of the prayers that I have been praying is. Lord change and soften my heart, and help me to love as you love.............

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Posted: 04/16/2008 at 5:58am | IP Logged Quote Moderator

The Devastating Cost of Family Fragmentation
—Michael Medved

An important new study of divorce and out-of-wedlock birth shows that taxpayers lose more than a hundred billion each year to cover the costs of family break-up.

The Institute for American Values and allied organizations analyzed the additional costs to the legal system, welfare programs, and anti-poverty efforts as bureaucrats, cops and social workers try to cope with the tens of millions of kids and adults in fatherless households.

The report proves that even a minor improvement in family stability would save the taxpayer billions. A mere 1 percent decline in family fragmentation would, for instance, save the taxpayer at least $1.1 billion every year. Defending and repairing the institution of marriage is therefore not just a moral issue: it's a major factor in healing a wide range of social problems, rejuvenating our troubled economy, and avoiding governmental bankruptcy.

Those who can't depend on strong families far too often become the dependents of government.



Michael Medved is the host of The Michael Medved Show.

Michael Medved is the author of Right Turns: Unconventional Lessons from a Controversial Life.
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