DO OVER: 3 Keys to Unlock a Lasting Love.

 

We are reading Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts by Dr. Les and Leslie Parrott.  We love this book.  We have walked through it with a soon-to-be-married couple and we are learning so much even as we encourage them toward a God-centered, thriving marriage.

Why read a book meant for those just starting this journey of marriage?

I don’t know about you, but my days and weeks are filled with “do overs.”  For example,  I have had to humbly ask my husband for a “do over” because some heinous statement has just come barreling out of my mouth and I wish I could stuff it back in my face.

Or my husband asks for a “do over” when he realizes he was trying to show me love with HIS love language rather than mine.

Or I create a “do over” for our family’s schedule because I become aware of an alarming statistic about a person’s need for rest and how it affects health and wellbeing.  New information tends to create new thoughts and ways of functioning.

“Do over’s” are simply…grace.  Allowing someone another chance.

When our marriage was riddled with lies, betrayal, anger, hurt and pain, it was a lifeless marriage.  So, when God provided a way through the storm and we began to heal our marriage, it became very clear to us that it was going to be a NEW marriage.

Reading books meant for newlyweds was amazing, because it helped us to look at our marriage with fresh eyes.

Every new day is a fresh start to get closer to the life God wants us to live.

That includes our marriages.

Do you want a marriage that lasts a lifetime?  Let’s think like a newlywed and hear from Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott!

Lifelong love does not happen by chance but is an art that must be learned, practiced, and honed.

-Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, Save Your Marriage Before It Starts

A marriage must be nurtured well in order to grow and flourish in a healthy way.

The Parrotts share 3 ways to cultivate a healthy, thriving marriage:

Making Love Last a Lifetime

1.  Cultivate Passion

2.  Cultivate Intimacy

3.  Cultivate Commitment

Let’s dive deeper into those 3 keys for a lasting love.

Here are some ways to CULTIVATE PASSION, according to our esteemed authors:

  • Practice meaningful touch.
  • Plan mutually enjoyable experiences.
  • Compliment your partner daily.

I don’t know which of these is most difficult for you, but mine is the complimenting.  You see, I tend to see flaws first.  I am not proud of it, but I am hard-wired to “make things better.” I have a hard time giving praise if everything isn’t “perfect.”  Meanwhile, my husband feels most loved with “words of affirmation.”  Tough combo.  So, this is what I am working on right now…complimenting my husband DAILY!

How will you apply these principles of cultivating passion?

Let’s strive to CULTIVATE INTIMACY, shall we?  Here are ways to do so:

  • Spend time together.
  • Listen with a third ear.  (not just “half-listening”)
  • Practice unconditional acceptance.
  • Focus on commonalities.
  • Explore spiritual terrain together.

Which one of these resonates most with you?  Which one feels completely foreign?  The book goes deeper into what each of these means, so we highly recommend you consider grabbing Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts to read more.

Do note that cultivating intimacy isn’t just “have more sex.”  Many of us equate intimacy with sex.  I surely believe that when a couple is cultivating a higher level of intimacy, more sex comes quite naturally.  But the act of just having more sex isn’t going to gain you a deeper level of intimacy.  This is especially true for women.

(This is a topic I have considering writing about….if you would like to hear more about sex and intimacy in marriage, let us know in the comments or send us a private message)

Our third key to lasting love is to CULTIVATE COMMITMENT.  Here’s how:

  • Assess the high level of commitment.
  • Meet your partner’s needs.
  • Honor your partner’s promise.
  • Make your commitment part of being.

There may be nothing more important in a marriage than a determination that it shall persist.  With such a determination, individuals force themselves to adjust and to accept situations which would seem sufficient grounds for a breakup, if continuation of the marriage were not the prime objective.

-from the book Sexual Behavior in the Human Male

One of the most important changes we made in our marriage after the betrayal was to not allow an OUT.  We have agreed that we are married until death.  Period. End of story.

There is a huge amount of freedom in that choice.  It is a choice.  We ALL have that choice.

Is that a choice you and your spouse have made?  Are you completely committed to your marriage or is there an “out?”

Friends, in order to have love that lasts a lifetime, we must cultivate passion, intimacy and commitment.

When we do, we experience a love like NONE OTHER.

Based on this truth, what will you “do over” TODAY?

www.sidebysideministry.org

 

 

 

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Sincere or Fake Love?

Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil, cling to what is good.  Romans 12:9

My husband was being downright mean.  Plain and simple.  He was deliberately trying to get me to divorce him by treating me poorly.  True story.

What would be the reasonable response as a wife?

In our worldly, sinful nature, our response tends to be defensiveness, protecting ourselves from the pain.  I mean, that makes sense, right?

Another response is to serve it back to him.  Oh yea….you think I am a (fill in the blank!) Well, YOU are a (FILL IN THE BLANK!!!!!!!)

And even worse, we may just retreat, remove ourselves physically or emotionally.  You’ve heard of the ol’ fight or flight thing.  Well, it’s real.

So, how did I respond to my husband’s treatment??

First, let me tell you that his treatment was not abusive.  It was rude and mean-spirited and selfish, but it was not abusive.  Had it been, the correct response would have been to remove myself from an unsafe situation and seek professional help.

Second, my OLD way of responding including all of the above I listed: Defensiveness, Serving it back to him HARD, or retreating with a good, old-fashioned silent treatment.

But. GOD.

One of our former pastors favorite two words in the Bible.  But God.  (not recommended for children’s sermons…just sayin’)

Once God was back at the center of my existence–after a long rebellion–none of those old responses felt right.  What response did feel right?

Love.  Sincere love.

Sincere love is “without hypocrisy.” It isn’t fake. It isn’t pretend.  It is true.  And most importantly, it is NOT something YOU can conjure up on your own.

Sincere love comes from GOD.  

That same husband who was treating me so poorly before knowing God, NOW–with God as His guide–shares this profound statement:

I learned that the more I love God, the more I am capable of loving my wife.

-Steve Goldberg (Side By Side Live Storytelling Experience)

**Here’s another post about Steve’s statement.

In Romans 12:9, it says “Love must be sincere.”  And it goes on to say, “Hate what is evil, cling to what is good.”

What is good?  GOD.

Cling to Him and we have the ability to love sincerely.  The closer we are to Him, the easier it is to love people from a true and right place in our heart.

In our Side By Side presentation, I share a story of how I was able to give genuine (sincere), unconditional love to Steve when he was doing the exact opposite.

For months, I would wake up and pray to God to give me a clean heart–because love doesn’t come from a resentful heart—I would pray for God to give me a clean (sincere) heart, so that I could….love Steve unconditionally.

-Lisa Goldberg (Side By Side Live Storytelling Experience)

Sincere love comes from God.

He is the good we need to cling to.

What is evil?  SIN.

Our own selfish desires and human responses to hurt and pain are part of our sinful nature.  Sinful nature is part of the evil we need to hate.

God is asking us to turn away from our sinful human nature and cling to God’s perfect loving nature.  Through HIM, we love sincerely.

Is there someone in your life that you find difficult to love?

Are you trying to be a more loving person in your own strength?

Are you exhausted from the “fake love” mask you wear everyday, trying to be a good person?

If any of these ring true, consider taking that to the Lord.  Ask Him to give you sincere love.  Take time every day to read a couple verses in the Bible about God’s unconditional love for us.  Consider reading Love As A Way of Life by Gary Chapman, our book of the month!

Fill your days with God’s love…and you will be loving sincerely in no time!

 

Have you ever heard our story? You can watch for free right now! We’ve even split our live event into short, easy to watch (or binge on) episodes!

View Our Journey From Hurt to Hope.

SBS 20170723 008

www.sidebysideministry.org

15th Anniversary Fundraiser Event Recap + Testimonials

Have you ever been on a road trip and looked around at all the other people in cars and thought to yourself…where are they going? Or where have they been? Sometimes, I will look over at a car and see that it’s the same person that was in line next to me at the last rest stop.  Or I will see that someone I passed earlier in the day is now passing by me.  We are all on a journey, seemingly going along on the same path in the same direction.  But when you look closely, though we travel along simultaneously, we are having vastly different experiences at varying paces.

Recently, we shared Side By Side: Our Journey From Hurt to Hope at our 15th Wedding Anniversary Fundraiser.  Nearly 150 people experienced our story and learned more about the future of our ministry, Side By Side.

 

Looking from the outside, you would see many people in the same room having the same experience.

But each and every person in that room was in a different place in their own personal journey.  So, their experiences were completely different.  Just like the cars on the road traveling next to you.

In the days following our event, we have heard comments from many of the people that attended.

It’s amazing to hear how they receive the story of our journey based on where they are in their journey.

The story we tell is “our journey from hurt to hope.”  Well, the people that came to see Side By Side are all over the spectrum of that journey from hurt>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>to hope.  People tend to gain different insights from our story based on where they fall on that spectrum.

From a godly couple that has come to Side By Side three times:

“Our marriage is better since being introduced to Side By Side.”

From a couple that viewed it on video when headed for divorce (and now have seen it live, too!):

“If it weren’t for Side By Side, we wouldn’t be married.”

From a couple that has been married over twenty years, and seen Side By Side twice:

“God shows me something new each time.”

From a ministry leader seeing it for the first time:

“It’s like Christian Broadway!”

From a couple experiencing marriage difficulties:

“This was life-changing.”

From a single woman:

“I can apply much of what you talk about to any of my daily relationships.”

Every person at our event was in a different place in their journey….all over the spectrum from hurt to hope.  As we shared how God has worked in our lives, He was working in theirs.  He uses our mess, on a daily basis, to speak to people and show them that He has a beautiful plan for their life, no matter where they are on their journey.

So, how did our event go? (People have asked us that a lot in the last couple weeks!)  It went exactly as God intended it to!  We shared our journey and, through God’s providence, spoke directly to each person in the way they needed to hear it.  For some, God used our story to make radical changes in their lives.  For others, God helped people to see how they can support Side By Side.  For us, He faithfully reminded us of His goodness and His love and His grace.

Thank you to each journey that was represented that night.  We pray that we are all journeying on God’s path toward the HOPE that can only come from Him.