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Marriage couple older togetherBlogger, lead pastor and writer Kevin Thompson penned an excellent piece on the one trait he believes is the most important one you need to look for in prospective partner for life.  Thompson explains that the vow “in sickness and in health” is more than just a saying.  It involves the one characteristic that is a “must have,” or a “deal-breaker” in the person you are considering marrying.

When the going gets rough, is this the person you want to suffer with?  Can you work together through the pain?  If the answer is “No,” you have a serious problem.

Read more of Thompson’s advice here.

Kylie Bisutti and her husband

Kylie Bisutti and her husband

Is it possible that a Victoria Secret model could serve as a great role model for the sacrament of marriage? It’s more than possible.

Superstar model Kylie Bisutti has decided to leave Victoria’s Secret because it clashes with her Christian beliefs.

“I just became so convicted of honoring the Lord and my body and wanting to be a role model for other women out there who look up to me,” Bisutti said on “Good Morning America” on February 9, 2012.

“It was more of just a heart issue for me,” Bisutti said.

Though she has cited her husband and her desire to keep their marriage special as factors in her decision to leave her lingerie modeling days behind, it was her decision alone.

Bisutti’s decision to leave the lingerie company was also spurred on by a powerful encounter with her 8-year-old female cousin.

“I was doing my makeup in the mirror one day and she was watching me,” Bisutti said.  “She looked at me and was like, ‘You know, I think I want to stop eating so I can look like you.’”

“It just broke my heart…”

Bisutti gave this explanation when she failed to show up for a Victoria Secret Fashion Show: “I have decided not to model lingerie Because I personally feel that I am not honoring God or my husband by doing it. My marriage is very important & with divorce rates rising I want to do everything I can to protect my marriage and be respectful to my husband. God graciously gave me this marriage and this life and my desire is to live a Godly faithful life, I don’t however judge others for what they do. Everyone is convicted on different levels.”

We commend Bisutti for her courageous decision to leave her glamorous life as a Victoria Secret model and choose her marriage instead.

Visit this ABC Link to view the GMAC interview with Bisutti:  http://soc.li/UE5iw2Q

by Jean LeStourgeon

“All things were created by Him and for Him…and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16b-17a). Having a successful marriage first requires you to understand what God had in mind for marriage. After all, If you want to understand the purpose behind an invention, you consult the One who invented it, right!

Since marriage is God’s creation, He is in the saving marriages business. God created marriage for three very specific reasons, just like He created you, for very specific reasons. Our lives are more satisfying when we cooperate with God in fulfilling our purposes. Marriage is no exception…

First, you’ve probably learned that men and women were made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-27). But, did you know that within the marriage relationship husbands and wives also bear the image of God? They do this by demonstrating love and faithfulness to each other…like God does with us. You see, God covenants with His people, husbands and wives covenant to each other and God. So marriage was created to reflect God’s faithfulness in the world.

The second reason God created marriage was to meet human needs. Needs for food, shelter and clothing as well as needs for love, acceptance, intimacy, and faithfulness. In that way marriage is a picture to the world of how God provides for His people.

Marriage is God’s conduit for love. It was designed to be a safe harbor where a man and a woman could be totally naked and unashamed. A place where they could experience the unconditional love and acceptance of God through each other.

Third, marriage is one of the ways God expands His Kingdom and accomplishes His work in the earth. He commanded men and women to go forth and multiply, be fruitful and take dominion over the earth(Genesis 1:28).
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to do as God commanded when you are at odds with your spouse. Conflict drains our emotional and creative energies. Sadly, many husbands and wives feel like they are sleeping with the enemy instead of with their comrade in arms.

Marriage was designed with unity in mind. When a husband and wife are on the same page, so to speak, they are reflecting the unity of the Godhead. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Unity is so important that Jesus told us it would be a great sign to the world testifying that He truly is the Son of God (John 17:23).

Okay, now you have the general idea God had in mind when He designed marriage, but saving marriage requires a plan.

First, you need to decide, once and for all, are you going to commit to honoring God through your marriage. Are you going to do it God’s way? Are you going to trust His word, His plan and His design? If you answered yes, let’s move on…

If you’re making a plan to improve or save your marriage you need to start out on the right foot. That means getting right with God and your spouse first! To get right requires humility. It requires taking responsibility for the negative, sinful things you have contributed to your marriage without justifying yourself or blaming your spouse.

Confession of sin can be a turning point in our lives. It means we are in agreement with God about our sin and we are choosing to turn away from it. When we do this, God’s word promises to give us the power to accomplish that. Some of the things you may want to consider confessing are: the ways in which you have not trusted and honored God, the ways you have not obeyed His word, the consequences of your choices to you, your spouse and your marriage.

Exercising humility is a crucial part of any saving marriages plan. Making confession of sin a regular part of your marriage will keep you humble and help to maintain emotional intimacy. Apologies go a long way in keeping our hearts pliable and loving towards our spouse and God.

The next step in the saving marriages blueprint is making a plan for knowing your spouse’s most important needs. You also must become intentional about meeting those needs. Your spouse will feel more connected and in love with you when you are meeting his/her most important emotional needs.

Regular prayer is necessary for a successful marriage. Pray that God would show His love and faithfulness to your spouse through you. Prayer is how we experience the personal relationship we have with God through Christ. It is also where we avail ourselves to the grace of God. Therefore, your plan for saving marriage must include daily prayer for your spouse and your ability to love them.

A marriage that reflects God’s image is a safe marriage. God is our refuge, therefore your marriage should be a refuge for both you and your spouse. A safe relationship is one where both husband and wife feel accepted even if there are disagreements. A plan for saving marriages needs to include a plan for safety. Neither spouse should ever have to worry about the proverbial nuclear bomb being dropped on them!

That’s why a plan for saving marriages must address conflict. Your marriage can be free from condemnation, contempt, critical attitudes and defensiveness. It’s your choice! It can be a place where you are quick to take responsibility for your own actions and slow to point your finger of blame. It is not, however, a marriage that is free from conflict. But, yours can be a marriage where both parties fight fair.

Finally, your saving marriages plan needs to include specific goals, goals that are written down. After all, God wrote down His plan…we call it the Bible! Isn’t that a good enough reason for you to write down your plan for your marriage. Written goals are powerful. They help move a plan into motion.

Keep in mind, your goals need to be consistent with God’s purpose for your marriage. Your goals will help you stay on track and give more purpose, meaning and direction to your marriage and family life. You may want to have goals in the following areas: Spiritual (we will study and pray together regularly), parenting (we will always be unified when disciplining the children), finances ( we will decide on a budget and stick to it), health (we will exercise regularly and eat right), communication (we will speak lovingly and respectfully to one another).

Well, that should be enough to get you started developing your own personal saving marriages plan. Remember, the Creator of marriage is in the business of saving marriages. Put your hope in the Lord for with Him is unfailing love and full redemption (Psalm 130:7).

Get valuable Marriage and wedding advice @WeddedWisdom

Jean LeStourgeon, MA, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in private practice in Palm Bay, Florida. She also operates the website Christian Counseling Online where you can find lots more information and tools on topics like marriage problems and marriage advice.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jean_LeStourgeon

by Chelsey Swanson

Marriage counseling is an attempt to help a couple resolve any number of types of problems they may be having in their marriage, and to empower them to go forward and have a more successful relationship. No matter what combination of problems, couples seek counseling to get a better understanding of what has gone wrong in their marriage.

Throughout a marriage it is common for resentment due to unresolved issues to build up to such an extent that one or both partners may feel hopeless enough to consider divorce as an option. Frequently, by the time a married couple decides to seek professional help; they have so much resentment built up to such a high level that their issues are much more difficult to resolve, if not impossible. This does not mean that the marriage can not be restored. Although one or both partners may think that seeking counseling is an admission of failure, counseling can help a couple rebuild or restore their relationship.

Even though marriage counseling is usually conducted with both partners present, there are times when a more motivated partner may greatly benefit from individual sessions in regards to the marital relationship or any personal issues affecting their relationship. Counseling usually lasts a short period of time, until the problems are resolving or the couple feel empowered enough to handle any remaining issues on their own.

No one goes into a marriage thinking their marriage may end in divorce. However, because almost half of all marriages do end in divorce, there is an increased need for couples to seek marriage counseling. Although many couples enter counseling as a last-ditch effort to save a troubled relationship, marriage counseling can be seen as a proactive way to improve or enhance something worth preserving. Many couples struggle for years before they make the decision to go to a marriage counselor in an effort to”save” their marriage.

Couples do not have to wait to pursue counseling until they think the only way out is divorce. In most cases marriage counselors can be very effective earlier in the marriage or when the couple first notices some problems. The main exception to the potential effectiveness of marriage counseling occurs when there is severe domestic violence; or even mild domestic violence in which the offending partner or partners will not seek help for violence issues.

In most other situations, the earlier couples seek marriage counseling the better. The longer the couple waits and the greater the marital conflict; the harder it is to resolve marital issues. However, if a couple has struggled for years, it is not too late to get counseling in which the partners may renew their energies and mutual goals, refocus their attention, as well as adding a whole new perspective to their relationship.

Frequently marriage counseling can and often does help couples open the lines of communication. How many times do marriage partners say, “We just can’t communicate”? Couples often look to marriage counseling when they can no longer communicate with each other and are so frustrated that they no longer know what to do. It is well accepted that communication is a key to healthy and happy relationships. Marriage counseling often includes the learning of communication and conflict resolution skills, as well as increased understanding of family dynamics.

Marriage counselors are trained in family dynamics; psychoanalysis; and know how to identify client’s needs, interests, and problems. They also have training that allows them to help clients work through the problems and come to mutually beneficial compromises and solutions. Equipped with therapeutic skills the counselor is able to identify underlying problems of which the couple may not have been aware or were not able to confront on their own. Even a very highly functioning person may have difficulties in a marital relationship. A skilled marriage counselor will not do or say anything to trigger a client to feel guilty or blame themselves or their partner for their problems. They will teach clients to work through problems, forgive for the past, and get over negative feelings.

Marriage counseling is worth the time and effort. Couples who are having marital difficulties that they have been unable to resolve on your own and would like to renew and repair their relationship are well advised to try marriage counseling. If a couple is heading toward a possible divorce and have not tried counseling, they will never know for sure whether they could have preserved their marriage unless they make the effort. Even if the couple eventually decides to divorce they will most likely have benefited by the work they have done, the insights they have had, and the skills they have learned during marriage counseling. These benefits can help them in the decoupling process that takes place during and after a separation or divorce.

Chesley C. Swanson, LMSW An Austin Area Counselor
http://www.ParentingSpecialist.com
Chesley@ParentingSpecialist.com
512-784-4888

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Chesley_Swanson

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By Sanjay Kali

It is said that marriages are made in heaven and marriage vows are sacred in nature. Whatever may be the truth, marriage is one of the oldest human institutions surviving through ages and still doing fine. In fact it is one of those primary relationships which give rise to a family which in turn leads to the higher social structures and the society. Marriage has undergone tremendous change over thousands of years. Today in few parts of the world and in few societies, marriage is an established social structure for a primary relationship between a Man and Women based on equality and shared bonding.
Marriage vows: The reality

But this may not be true as black and white. If we analyze the marriage structure across societies around the world we will find lot of grey areas which are of concern. We may find that in many societies women are purchased like commodities at the market place. Here the criterion for selection is the amount of dowry the Women brings with her. In many more societies the only role of women in marriage is reproduction, procreation and bringing up the next generation. In such marriages it has been seen that women has to sacrifice her individuality at the expense of the family. Ironically such sacrifices are accepted as strict norms and rules for the women involved in the marriage but they are not applicable for the men. So in real terms marriage becomes a burden for the women involved. It becomes one of the classic tools of suppression and exploitation of women. All kinds of evil deeds against women are seen in the guise of marriage like the physical and mental torture of women in the name of dowry or covert and overt ways of control of women through the marriage including a check on their physical, psychological, financial, social and religious independence.

Marriage vows: The positive side

Nevertheless marriage is an institution which is worthwhile to preserve for the sake of all the positive advantages it offers to the society. Marriage allows the couple a life of love and commitment to each other and it provides a stable and protective environment for bringing up the next generation. Marriage helps us to live a life of love, compassion, sharing, caring and commitment which not only involves the self but also others in the family. In fact this is an institution which if properly understood and incorporated as part of our lives, can help us in evolving as a more refined human being who is capable of caring for others and who cares for the nature itself. Therefore marriage vows are sacred in nature.

Marriage vows: Interpretation of love in marriage

On the other hand marriage can also become a living hell if there is no love between the partners in the marriage. Now love in today’s society has a very-very narrow meaning. Most of the marriages which have failed have sown the seeds of their own down fall either because of the evil practices which I had mentioned earlier or because of the “lack of love, bonding & mutual care” between the partners. When a person interprets lack of love and caring most of the times he/she ends up telling about only his/her needs which are perceived not to be fulfilled ignoring the other persons unfulfilled needs from the marriage. This is pure selfishness based only on one’s self interest. This is not love. In fact this might have been a relationship where both the individuals only cared about their own needs ignoring the other person’s aspirations and his/her needs. Always it has been seen that a marriage which is moving towards a failure has self interest as the primary cause of failure. Further the negative and manipulative developments due to the so called friends and relatives compound the problem to a great extent.

Marriage vows: No single answer for failure or success

There can be lot of angles through which we can analyze why a particular marriage was a failure or for that matter why majority of marriages are a big success even in today’s materialistic world.

Marriage vows: Building the essential structures for married life

Speaking in a broader sense, I feel every marriage can work if people can look at their marriage through the spiritual, intellectual, mental, emotional and the physical planes strictly according to the order that I have mentioned. When we start looking the marriage through the spiritual dimension then the whole “scheme of the nature” opens in front of us. Then we can see the larger purpose of the marriage and we can see the meaning of the marriage in terms of what it can offer to the individuals involved, what it can offer to the family that is raised, what it can offer to the near and dear ones from both the sides and most importantly what it can offer to the society and the humanity at large.

Marriage vows: Living the real life

For the germination of a thinking based on holism and unification, we need to come out of our “outer exterior” that we portray to the world and live the real life we cherish and value. It is paramount for the couple to discus and open up their soul’s true urge to each other and then synthesize a common structure at the spiritual level. They should know why they are coming together and how they see themselves together in the short term, the medium term and the long term. The couple should discuss their purpose of coming together in depth which in turn will provide the awareness and inclination to lay a structure and framework towards achieving their mutually synthesized purpose.

Marriage vows: Marriage with a mutually synthesized purpose

When the couple starts living their life dedicated to their mutually synthesized purpose, they will find that they are truly becoming independent and free in their growth as an individual and still remaining complementary and beneficial to each other, their near and dear ones and the society at large. Such a mutually complementary life sows the seed of real love and commitment which considers the total well being of not only the self but also the other person, the extended family, the society and the world.

Marriage vows: Highest foundation of spiritual awakening

Once a couple start living their life with their inner voice as the supreme guiding force, the world will start respecting them as individuals as well as a couple. People and society will then seek suggestions and advice from the couple and further they will have only suggestions and advise to offer to the couple. In fact the world will lose the power to interfere in the couple’s day-to-day life.

Such a marriage based on the highest foundation of spiritual awakening based on our soul’s desire is bound to succeed. A life lived with our inner soul’s voice can never ever lead us to a wrong direction. It may throw up hurdles and barriers but it will also help us develop the strength and resourcefulness to invent ways to overcome these hurdles and barriers.

Marriage vows: Solid foundation for a marriage

Once we have a solid foundation based on the spiritual and the intuitional wisdom, we can start expanding the same into the intellectual, mental, emotional and physical planes. We can then think about the way we will use our keen intellect and mental energies to deal with the issues and people in our life. We will be then able to handle the negativity around us more rationally. We will then stop condemning a negative person and also stop becoming ourselves negative. On the other hand we will then try asking questions like, why this person is generating so much negativity. Are we the cause of it? Or is this person so negative because of his/her circumstances and past experiences? Whatever the cause may be, we will be then able to either solve the negativity or avoid the negativity without condemning the person involved and without we falling into the negativity trap. This will also help us to come out of the “blame game” which is so typical of today’s society.

Further this kind of thinking will allow us to understand the negative and positive structures and help us to build on the positive structures of life and simultaneously either resolve, downplay or avoid the negative structures. We therefore prevent ourselves from getting into the negative spiral.

Thus with strong spiritual and intuitional wisdom as our foundation in life and with sound intellectual and mental balance to distinguish between the negative and positive structures of life it will become very easy for us to live in the emotional and physical planes. This will make us live a life with emotional and physical commitment to our near and dear ones, it will help us in starting a family with true commitment and dedication, it will help us in bringing the next generation in a protective and nurturing environment and it will help us in creating financial and material resources to look after us, our families and to be helpful to the society at large with the additional resources in hand.

Marriage vows: Integration of life at every level

Only by living a life which synthesizes and integrates the spiritual, intuitional, intellectual, mental and physical planes, we can think about living a life in sync with nature and our inner self. This makes us part of the nature’s scheme of things in bringing the unification of forces. We need to believe in this unification of forces and actively practice in establishing it through motivating and strongly cajoling each other towards it. Only if this is done, we can think about bringing positive forces in our life and only then we can move ahead in life taking everybody along with us.

Marriage vows: Rupture in the marital relations

Now if a couple can work on the above mentioned platform from the beginning, the synthesis of life becomes easy. On the other hand if the marriage is already in trouble because of all the negative structures of the past and if the couple is trying to work out the process of rapprochement then they should keep one thing in their mind that is the whole process of rapprochement is a slow and steady process and it will evolve as per the will of the nature.

We should not think of pushing it or hastening it as nature has its own course of action. We are nobody to control nature. It may take months and years to break the negative structures and thus clear the bad blood and animosity between everybody involved. The miracles of nature happen slowly and steadily.

We need to understand the fact that to break and destroy things is easier and faster. To build a new structure from the ruins, it takes great courage, commitment and lot of time. As they say the real character of a person is known by how he/she acts in the times of adversity.

Marriage vows: Finding a win-win situation

In the troubled times, the rapprochement and counseling session should work on the immediate goal of finding a working solution to prevent the complete collapse of the marriage by offering a win-win situation to everybody involved.

Marriage vows: Open communication

The most important thing in this regard will be an open and free communication between the couple involved as well as the true well wishers of the couple who want to see them back together. This communication should not become a blame-game session nor should it become a session of dominating each other. These communication sessions should explore the possibility of constructing a middle ground to live a life based on the structures of spiritual, intellectual, mental, emotional and physical well being of everybody concerned.

Marriage vows: The choice is with the couple

Therefore it is indeed in the hands of the partners involved in the marriage to either make marriage vows sacred or make marriage a living hell for themselves. The choice is indeed with them and nobody else.

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