Christian Devotionals





Marriage Rights (1)
'Live joyfully with the wife whom you love...' Ecclesiastes 9:9 NKJV

In discussing marriage on his TV sitcom, Jerry Seinfeld tells his friend why he's not married: 'No healthy person would want the neglect I have to offer.' Let's face it, even the best marriages are made up of two imperfect people who sometimes neglect each other. And when you've been hurt it's easy to react in the flesh instead of responding in the Spirit. Some hurts go deep. At this point we must remember that forgiveness is a decision, but trust is a process; when it's been torn down, it takes time to rebuild. Men and women often perceive trust differently. When a woman's been hurt, her husband may think an apology should immediately enable her to trust him again, move on, and not talk about it. That's not so; two things need to happen. First, the offending partner needs to acknowledge what they've done. Don't just tell your partner to 'get over it'. Validate their feelings, even though they act like they don't want you to. Acknowledge their pain. When others rationalize or trivialize what's hurting us, it only makes us angrier. Only when we feel validated do our wounds begin to heal. Second, the offended partner needs to make sure that bitterness doesn't creep in. 'How can I do that?' you ask. By refusing to stay hurt any longer than is absolutely necessary, and by allowing God to heal your heart and restore your love. The Bible says, '...If you hear His voice today, don't be stubborn!' (Hebrews 4:7 CEV) When God gives you the grace to forgive and release the hurt, you need to seize it!

Marriage Rights (2)
'Live joyfully with the wife whom you love...' Ecclesiastes 9:9 NKJV

Sonja Ely writes, 'I was watching my five-year-old granddaughter play with her toys. At one point she staged a wedding, first playing the role of the mother who assigned specific duties, then suddenly becoming the bride with her 'teddy bear' groom. She picked him up and said to the 'minister' presiding, "Now you can read us our rights." Without missing a beat, she became the minister who said, "You have the right to remain silent, anything you say may be held against you, you have the right to have an attorney present, you may kiss the bride." To know what your marriage rights are, you must understand that, first, marriage is God's idea. In Eden He said, 'It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.' (Genesis 2:18 NKJV) The word 'comparable' means 'compatible with his (or her) needs'. When you marry someone, you marry everything they've been through. Each of you brings your own baggage. Unless you sort out what to keep and what to discard, things can quickly erode. You must also understand that when you leave God out, you have problems. Satan has made marriage one of his prime targets. He loves to promote strife. When it comes to marriage we must learn to forgive, 'lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.' (2 Corinthians 2:11 NKJV) God's plan for your relationship is strength and harmony, not strife and confusion. He wants to help you build a strong, loving union that glorifies Him. To do that, you must show grace, and resolve to make Jesus Lord of your relationship.

Marriage Rights (3)
'Live joyfully with the wife whom you love...' Ecclesiastes 9:9 NKJV

After the death of the child David fathered with Bathsheba, we read, 'Then David got up...washed himself...changed his clothes...went to the Tabernacle and worshiped the Lord. After that, he returned to the palace and...ate. His advisers were amazed. ?We don't understand you,? they told him. ?While the child was still living, you wept and refused to eat. But now that the child is dead, you have stopped your mourning and are eating again.?' (2 Samuel 12:20-21 NLT) Why did David mourn more intensely before the baby died than he did after? Because men grieve hard, but not necessarily as long. Once something's over, they've a tendency to move on. This can cause problems. Often men genuinely don't understand why their wives can't accept that 'what's done is done', and move on too. Listen to David's logic: '...I fasted and wept while the child was alive, for I said, ?Perhaps the Lord will be gracious to me and let the child live.? But why should I fast when he is dead? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me.' (2 Samuel 12:22-23 NLT) The Bible says that God '...comforts us...so that...when they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort...' (2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT) David's next move was crucial. He '...comforted Bathsheba, his wife...' (2 Samuel 12:24 NLT) Notice, David didn't ask, 'What's wrong with you? When are you going to get over this?' He recognized that even though he was beginning to heal, his wife was still hurting. The healing process accelerates once you begin to empathize with and comfort your mate.

Marriage Rights (4)
'Live joyfully with the wife whom you love...' Ecclesiastes 9:9 NKJV

When your husband loses his job and you find yourself suddenly going through a season of financial uncertainty, here are three things you need to keep in mind. First, remember it's just a season. The important thing is to guard your attitude while you're waiting for things to turn around. Unless he's lazy or an outright freeloader, your husband already feels bad because he can't provide. He knows the children need shoes, the bills are piling up and that you're tired of eating noodles or beans on toast, so don't keep reminding him! Second, now is the time to get behind him and strengthen his ego, not deflate it. 'How?' you ask. By asking yourself, 'Am I always complaining? Do I highlight the things we don't have? Do I covet stuff that's beyond our budget right now? Am I doing my part to cut back and make ends meet, or am I splurging on non-essentials, going shopping every day and wanting to eat out every night?' Finally, remember 'this too shall pass'. Now is not a good time to remind your husband (or your wife if she's the breadwinner) about the new car your brother bought or the great house your friend just acquired. Now is the time to practice saying with Paul, '...I have learned to be satisfied with the things I have and with everything that happens...I have learned the secret of being happy...' (Philippians 4:11-12 NCV) Has God ever failed you? No, and He won't now, so make up your mind to trust Him. How you handle this season may well determine whether your relationship emerges weaker or stronger.

Marriage Rights (5)
'Live joyfully with the wife whom you love...' Ecclesiastes 9:9 NKJV

You say, 'My mate is a terrible housekeeper. What can I do?' Although keeping house is historically seen as a woman's responsibility, today roles have changed. Financial necessity may dictate that you both work outside the home. In many instances the husband helps run the house. It's not a 'right or wrong' issue; what's important is that you make sure you're both singing from the same song sheet concerning your expectations. When you expect one thing and your mate expects another, there's trouble ahead! So, here are a few suggestions to help you. (1) Pick the right time. Don't discuss difficult issues when you're upset, wait until you both feel better. The Bible says, '...be willing to listen and slow to speak...anger will not help...' (James 1:19-20 NCV) When emotions run high, instead of solving problems you just end up making things worse. (2) Try to compromise. Look for the middle ground. Recognize that what seems important to you may not be important to your mate. Maybe it wasn't important to you either in the early days, so you let it slide. (3) Learn to negotiate or you'll always be frustrated. Aim for a 'win-win' solution. This may mean washing the dishes or helping put the children to bed so you can have more time together. It involves giving on both sides. (4) Pray with and for one another. Ninety per cent of couples today don't do this, yet it's the most important thing you can do, because Jesus said, '...if two of you agree... concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in Heaven.' (Matthew 18:19 NKJV)

Marriage Rights (6)
'Live joyfully with the wife whom you love...' Ecclesiastes 9:9 NKJV

Men and women often speak a different language. Men tend to be physical while women tend to be more verbal. Sometimes a wife's memory for details can make her husband wonder if he's losing his mind. And when you don't understand each other it can feel like you're living in the Tower of Babel. That's the place in the Old Testament where families were divided because they couldn't understand each other's language, all progress stopped and confusion reigned. Before that happens, here are a few basics you need to weave into your daily communication. First, start by asking your partner to share why they do what they do, and say what they say. Study their methods of communication, and try to explain yours. In many instances you'll be surprised, if not shocked. You may be saying one thing while your mate is hearing something entirely different. Second, men tend to avoid confrontation, so cornering and interrogating your husband may bring you the opposite result to what you want. Solomon said, 'It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman.' (Proverbs 25:24 NKJV) The goal is to win your mate over, not win the argument. Finally, the Bible says, '...God...creates new things out of nothing.' (Romans 4:17 NLT) The love you planned to show once your partner has changed, show it now, be patient, and watch things improve. Grace can transform your Tower of Babel into a home of love and unity. Ask God, He'll show you how!

Marriage Rights (7)
'Live joyfully with the wife whom you love...' Ecclesiastes 9:9 NKJV

What if you're single, looking for a mate and haven't found one yet? God created Eve specifically for Adam. 'Then...He brought her to the man. And Adam said: ?This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh?...' (Genesis 2:22-23 NKJV) When God brings you the right person, a spiritual and emotional bonding will take place. When you try to get ahead of Him you end up with regrets and recriminations. Peter de Vries explains it this way, 'The difficulty with marriage is that we fall in love with a personality, but must live with a character.' So, wait on God! When God looked across eternity He saw you. He gave you certain traits and abilities that make you unique. He knew exactly who you would need to help fulfill His purposes and develop the gifts He's given you. Until that happens, remember, He is your spiritual partner! He's been caring for you all along: protecting you, providing for you and directing your steps, right? So be careful how you treat Him. If you can't keep your vow to the Lord, it's doubtful you'll keep it to anybody else. Speaking to those who are single, Paul writes, 'Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called...Do not be concerned about it...rather use it.' (1 Corinthians 7:20-21 NKJV) Stop wrestling with your singleness and use this time to develop your relationship with God. Never forget that one of the greatest visitations of the Holy Spirit happened to a single, small-town girl named Mary, proving that when you trust God's timing He always sends you the best!



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