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Wedding Words

When Dave and I married in 1984, we set up a tape recorder to capture the songs and words of our ceremony.  Thanks to some digital magic performed by our son Eric since then, we are still able to listen to the recording.  A few weeks ago, we marked 33 years of marriage and are now anticipating Eric’s marriage to Amanda in just a few days.

Dave and I listened to our wedding recording during a recent car ride that was sandwiched between attending our Best Man’s mother’s funeral and taking our sons and future daughter-in-law to a concert.  That may have been more sentimentality than my husband needed in one day!

What fun it was to listen to the love songs of that time.  We were blessed to have the music played by Molly Rondeau and sung by our friend, Julie (Schoenberger) Monk.  I laughed as we drove along, remembering how I forgot to have my mom seated until most of the theme from Ice Castles was over.  Meticulous plans are sometimes forgotten during the excitement of the day!  Dave experienced his own nervousness that day when our participating priest didn’t arrive until just before the ceremony began.

I was definitely paying attention as the first chords of the Bridal March were played.  I took the arm of my 14 year old brother and walked the aisle with a  smile that never gave way to tears.  However, listening to the recording in the car over three decades later, I heard words that caused me to weep with JOY.  Father Missler opened with a blessing, praying, “Increase their faith in you and in each other and, through them, bless your church with Christian children.”  Hearing those words, I suddenly realized that the prayer was answered!  Dave glanced over to see me crying, barely able to say, “He did it!  God did it!”

There was more to come. We repeated our Words of Intention, Dave being cued by the priest, and I following my pastor.  We promised to love, honor, cherish and sustain each other and to be faithful to each other as long as we both shall live.  What we didn’t say is something that I sheepishly tell the wives in my marriage classes about.  When Rev. Steindam previewed the wedding vows with us, I asked if we could leave out the word “obey” since we wouldn’t be bossing each other around!  He consented.  (I cringe when I remember how smart I thought I was at 23 years old.)

Riding along, we listened to Father Missler read from the fifth chapter of Ephesians about wives being submissive to their husbands and husbands loving their wives as Christ loved the church.  Rev. Steindam then gave a message describing how two people who were strangers to each other are drawn together in an irresistible way – a gift from above – and how we must not allow commonplace experiences or difficulties to cause us to lose the vision that brought us to this day of commitment.  He finished by challenging us to read the Bible passage from the book of Ephesians many times throughout the years.

My eyes welled up again as I thought with amazement how God has brought us through every life experience to this moment in 2017 when I am honored to share with women in our church what the apostle Paul taught to the believers in Ephesus about a wife’s respect and submission (see A Different Approach for Wives).  Because of Love and Respect Ministries, I have come to better understand why my husband needs respect and how blessed a couple is when they obey God’s instructions for marriage.

On that day in March of 1984, Dave and I lit a unity candle as a “symbol of one new life that has been created out of two lives”.  Praise be to God!  We are His and He has made us one. I eagerly anticipate hearing the joyful music and  the Wedding Words as our son and his beautiful bride marry.  We will pray with them, applaud them, and celebrate with both families as their new life as husband and wife begins.

The LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:23

 

 

 

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6 Ways to Energize Your Marriage

Have you ever found yourself saying, “I just don’t understand why my husband doesn’t (insert pet peeve here)!” or asking “How in the world did we get to such a crazy place in our marriage?”  Earlier this month, I led another group of wives through the video-based marriage course called “Respectfully Yours”.  There are two main reasons why I keep on offering to do this.  The first is that I can’t get enough of helping women gain insight into a very common reason for marital tension.  Secondly, as I keep on leading, I also keep on personally taking in this effective and encouraging teaching from Love and Respect Ministries.  Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, his wife Sarah, and their daughter Joy, present a challenging message to wives.  Those of us who have ears to hear it learn something very important about men and about ourselves.  And when we accept the challenge given, we find our marriages energized!

Here’s a crash course.  Research has revealed that if a marriage includes two things – love and respect – it has a great chance of lasting.  Husbands and wives need both of these elements.  But during a conflict, most women identify as feeling unloved, while most men feel disrespected.  What makes it CRAZY is that when she feels unloved, she negatively reacts in a way that feels disrespectful to him.  And when he feels disrespected, he negatively reacts in a way that feels unloving to her.

At this point, I want so badly to share all the things I have learned during a dozen times through “Respectfully Yours”, but this is a crash course entitled “A Different Approach.”  So here it is.

I’ll identify 3 things a wife can do to keep from unintentionally showing disrespect to her husband.

  1. Recognize that men and women are different by design.  Don’t blame him for not always understanding or dismiss him as uninterested in resolving issues.
  2. Be careful to say what you need to say with respectful words, tone, and facial expression at a time when both of you are calm.  Remember “It’s not what you say.  It’s how you say it.”
  3. Resist the temptation to point out his flaws or failures in front of your kids, parents, relatives, and friends.

Oh, how I want to keep going, but I’ll move on to 3 practical, proactive, and possibly surprising  things you can do as a wife to meet your husband’s need for respect.

  1. Be friendly!  Sadly, many husbands feel like their wives don’t like them.  Greet him at the door to show him you’re glad he’s home.  Smile more!
  2. Show how much you appreciate him by saying thank you.
  3. Recognize that while women love face-to-face talking, men often enjoy what Dr. Eggerichs calls shoulder-to-shoulder communication.  Just hang out with him while he’s working on a project or hobby and keep talking to a minimum.

Once again, I have to make myself stop at three suggestions, but if you give this different approach a try,  you may very well find your husband energized and your marriage moving in a positive direction.

If you want to know more about the effect of love and respect in marriage, please check out the free content (blog posts, videos, podcast episodes) on the ministry’s website.   You’ll also find downloadable content and books for purchase.  Perhaps I’ll see you in a future “Respectfully Yours” class.  That would truly make my joy complete.

“Ephesians 5:33 (ESV) However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. ”

 

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