Tag Archives: Relationships

No Halfs or Steps About It

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Sister Meets Sister

I met my younger sister Janet when I was 17.

I remember being nervous as I got out of the car and looked up at this beautiful, vivacious 15 year old. What do you say in such an auspicious meeting? Would there be tears or resentment? Would we even like each other?

Janet and me in our first meeting.

I think I said “Hi.”

She didn’t skip a beat. “Hi! Ooh, I like your nail color!”

I looked down at my purple frosted toe nails. Then I noticed her nail color in a similar hue. “I like yours, too.”

We both smiled. We hugged. We visited for hours.

I don’t remember everything we talked about that day, but we agreed we wanted to be in each other’s lives. I was happy to have another sister, and—as it turns out—Janet had always wanted an older sister. (Go figure!)

Thankfully, someone took photos of our visit that day. It’s amazing to see us standing the same way, sitting the same way, and laughing the same way. There was simply no denying that we were sisters.

 

Mom Meets Sister

Janet and I share the same father but have different mothers. And though my mother is full of grace, accepting your ex’s daughter into your family is a bit of a stretch for anyone. Would Mom be okay with me hanging out with Janet? Would it be best to not talk about Janet in front of Mom? I was in uncharted territory, and there didn’t seem to be any good answers.

Not long after I met Janet, we were all together at some sort of family function. I can’t even remember what the occasion was, but I do remember the outcome: Mom turned to me and, with some emotion in her voice, said of Janet, “How could I not love her? She reminds me so much of you.”

My mother’s compassion and love for me is not limited to me alone; it extends to those I love. From the day Mom opened her arms to Janet, our entire family has embraced her, and now we welcome her husband and children (which makes me an aunt!). We also welcome other relatives who aren’t really related to us at all, from the families of in-laws and step-parents to just great friends. That’s because Mom has set a standard that the rest of our family follows. We don’t say “half-sister” or “step-father;” we’re just family, no halfs or steps about it.

 

Redeemed Meets Redeemer

Acceptance—true acceptance, filled with love and genuine affection—is a hard thing to find. It makes me think of the time I rededicated my life to the Lord.

I imagine the day my spirit stood before God, the darkness of my sins and rebellion replaced with the brightness of the Holy Spirit in me and the robe of righteousness covering me. I imagine the Father turning to the Son and saying, with great emotion, “How could I not love her? She reminds me so much of You.”

That’s how salvation works. When we accept Jesus’ sacrifice, we are made alive. And as we live for God, His brightness in us testifies to others that we are His. There’s simply no denying our relationship with Him.

As if that weren’t enough, God then welcomes us into His family, not as interlopers—not as “the girl who doesn’t belong” or “the guy who doesn’t deserve to be here”—but as full-fledged members of God’s eternal, holy family.

We are more than redeemed; we are accepted, and we are loved!

Have you accepted Jesus into your heart? Then rejoice that you belong in God’s eternal family…no halfs or steps about it!

 

[Click to Tweet: You’re in God’s eternal family…no halfs or steps about it!]

To Romance Your Wife, Consider Her Love Language

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The following post was first published on OneChristianVoice.com. Check out their site for news, entertainment, events, and inspiration.


I don’t like roses. I never read romance books. And under no uncertain terms do I want anyone reading poetry to me!

According to the media and most romance movies, I am not a “romantic person.” But that’s not really true at all.

You see, my primary Love Language is Quality Time. A romantic evening to me involves hanging out with my hubby on a Friday night. I don’t need gifts or flowery speeches, just the sacrifice of his time.

In other words, my Romance Language coincides with my Love Language—and I bet the same holds true for your wife!

According to Gary Chapman, author of the hugely successful series The 5 Love Languages, all of us have a primary Love Language. When our spouses and families speak to us in this language, we hear them loud and clear, and we feel truly loved.

So if you want to introduce a little romance this Valentine’s Day (or any day for that matter), stop and consider your wife’s Love Language. Here are some suggestions.

 

Words of Affirmation –

  • Tell her you love her. If you miss this one, you’ll miss the boat entirely.
  • Tell her why you love her—and be specific.
  • Write a love letter. It doesn’t have to be long or filled with quotes or poetry. She’ll love the fact that you made the effort, no matter what you write.
  • Write a bunch of little notes (e.g. “Be Mine” and “I’m lucky to have you,”) and scatter them throughout the house. This is a great option if you’re uncomfortable writing an actual letter.
  • If her secondary Love Language is Receiving Gifts, then memorialize your love by giving her a necklace, bracelet, or wall art that tells her what she means to you. (You can find homemade, personalized gifts on Etsy.com.)

 

Acts of Service –

  • You know that honey-do list? She wrote it down for a reason. Start there.
  • Write her a coupon that entitles her to a “day off.” When she redeems it, let her put her feet up while you do all the things she would have done, from cooking dinner to doing the dishes. (Make sure you put in the same amount of work she would have. Avoid Chinese takeout and paper plates.)
  • If her secondary language is Physical Touch, then incorporate it by giving her a foot rub or a back rub…after you do the dishes.

 

Receiving Gifts –

  • Has she been dropping hints about something she wants? If it’s within reason, get it for her.
  • See if she has a “Wish List” on Amazon. You can find what she wants and order it as a surprise. She’ll think you read her mind!
  • If she mentions items she wants, write them down. She’s telling you for a reason.
  • Give her something that fits her secondary Love Language. If it’s Physical Touch, get her a spa certificate. For Quality Time, buy tickets for the two of you to see a play, watch a special movie, or see her favorite band.

 

Quality Time –

  • Dedicate a day to spend time with her. Let her pick the activity or destination. If she likes surprises, plan the whole day and let each event be a little surprise.
  • Don’t assume your time together has to be fancy to be considered “quality time.” If she’s more of a home body, or you can’t find a babysitter, order takeout from her favorite restaurant and enjoy it together while watching her favorite movie.
  • If her secondary Love Language is Physical Touch, hold her hand while you’re spending time together. If it’s Acts of Service, then spend the day helping her with whatever activity is on her to-do list, from cleaning out the garage to shopping for groceries.

 

Physical Touch –

  • Be physically affectionate. Even something as small as holding her hand can go a long way to filling her love cup.
  • Think outside the box. Consider activities that involve touching, such as going dancing. She may also appreciate different physical sensations, such as a late-night swim in the pool.
  • If her secondary Love Language is Receiving Gifts, then give her a gift certificate for a couple’s massage. If it’s Acts of Service, give her a foot rub and then paint her nails (which you’ll both find hilarious).

Being romantic with your wife is easy when you know her Love Language and you’re willing to make the effort to make her feel loved.

If you don’t know your wife’s primary Love Language, then have her take the quiz at www.5lovelanguages.com. She’ll appreciate that you want to know more about her, and you can take the quiz, as well. You can also research the latest books in the 5 Love Languages series.

You only have one wife; make sure you’re speaking her Love Language!

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Does it fit her Love Language? I’d love to hear from you!

[Click to Tweet: This Valentine’s Day, I’m considering my wife’s love language!]

[Click to Tweet: My romance language is my love language.]

4 Dating Rules I Never Learned

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No one taught me how to date. Odds are, no one’s taught you, either.

At some point, my parents deemed me old enough to hang out with friends and to have boyfriends, and that was that. (I’m pretty sure no one taught them how to date, either.)

A couple years ago, I met the award-winning author Bethany Jett. Although I was already happily married, I read her book The Cinderella Rule: A Young Woman’s Guide to Happily Ever After. I liked Bethany, but I wasn’t really expecting this book to be much different from the others that fill the market (most of which just focus on abstaining from sex before marriage). But Bethany’s book is totally different! I just wish I had read it in middle school; it could have saved me from a lot of heartache.

Since Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and we’re all inundated with romantic movies and images, I thought I’d share the most important dating lessons I never learned until I read Bethany’s book. You can find these in the “Availability” chapter under “God’s Authority.”

 

  1. Don’t Submit to Your Boyfriend

“Maneuvering the blurred roles of wife and girlfriend seem tricky, but thankfully, we have a God who laid it out for us. God gave us three commands when it comes to the men in our lives. ‘Honor your father’ (Eph. 6:2), ‘respect [your] husband’ (Eph 5:33), and ‘submit to your husband as to the Lord’ (vv. 22-24).

God never mentions your betrothed. The rules that apply to your future spouse do not apply in your dating life…. When you’re dating, you are not required to ‘submit’ to your boyfriend. Don’t do it.”

The section above may be commonsense for you, but it was news to me. I had grown up in a church in which “submission” was spoken of a lot, but no one clarified that it didn’t pertain to boyfriends.

So, if you’re dating someone now, and he wants you to follow him to another city, to get a different job, to change your friends, or even get married, guess what? You don’t have to!

[Click to Tweet: Don’t submit to your boyfriend. Leave that honor to your future husband.]

  1. Make Sure Your Boyfriend Listens to God

“A marriage is a partnership. You’re a team. So while you’re dating, you need to make sure that you trust that boy to listen to God when it comes to every decision. Because when you’re married, and he says, ‘I think God wants me to take this job 500,000 miles away from our friends and family,’ you’re gonna be faced with a choice. If you don’t trust him to be in daily communion with God, then don’t you dare agree to marry him.”

Robby and I will celebrate our seven-year wedding anniversary next month—whoop whoop!—and I can testify that what Bethany is saying is spot-on. Life is full of a million little decisions, and in marriage you have to know that your husband’s antennae is in tune with God’s frequency. (Thankfully, Robby continuously seeks God’s will for our family and future.)

[Click to Tweet: Make sure your boyfriend listens to God. If he doesn’t, then don’t marry him.]

  1. Don’t Give Your Boyfriend Unlimited Access to Your Life

“Spending unlimited amounts of time with your honey is a marriage perk. Until that boy slides a wedding ring on your finger, unlimited access denied.

What does that look like? When we were dating, I didn’t have to answer Justin’s phone calls. I didn’t have to explain where I spent my money. I didn’t have to do everything with him, because we weren’t married. I don’t have to do those things now, but the accountability level has changed, and as my husband, partner, and teammate, he gets more access. Every activity, phone call, date was a choice and a privilege. I loved being with him, and I chose to share aspects of my life with him, but he wasn’t entitled to it.”

Not entitled. Let that sink in for a moment. If you have a bossy boyfriend, and he wants to know everything about your life, you do NOT have to tell him. In fact, you don’t have to continue dating him.

[Click to Tweet: Don’t give your boyfriend unlimited access to your life. That honor is reserved for your future husband.]

  1. Let Your Boyfriend Pursue You

The whole message behind The Cinderella Rule is that women are meant to be pursued by godly men in a godly way. Here’s an excerpt from the Introduction:

“When you allow yourself to be pursued, you give the guy the opportunity to invest in you while you determine how much of yourself to share…. if you pursue him, you won’t ever be sure whether it’s his heart or his hormones that loves you more.”

I was smitten with Robby from the beginning, but he was careful to take the lead. He called me every day like clockwork, and if I couldn’t talk, that was fine. He wrote me letters, brought me flowers, cooked me dinner…he pursued me, and he’s still pursuing me. Bethany is right:

“When a guy sees a girl he wants, he goes after her…. I’m talking about romantic, I-can’t-get-her-out-of-my-head intensity. When a worthy guy desires you like that, girl, watch out!”

[Click to Tweet: Let your boyfriend pursue you. If you pursue him, you’ll never be sure if he loves you or lusts you.]

 

If you’re in the dating scene, take heart! I believe your guy—the one God has in mind for you—is out there. Prepare yourself now so when you meet him, you’ll be able to date in a godly way.

I highly suggest you check out Bethany’s book, The Cinderella Rule, whether it’s for yourself, a family member, or a friend. You can also follow Bethany on her website at BethanyJett.com.

 

Want a free copy of The Cinderella Rule? Be sure to enter the #publishgirlswithgusto giveaway, where one lucky winner will receive an autographed copy of this book! The drawing also includes five other books from award-winning authors, an Amazon gift card, and other prizes. Visit the Giveaway section of my Facebook Author Page to enter the drawing. (Available only within the U.S. Drawing closes on 2/28/18.)