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Entries in Elaine W. Miller (3)

Thursday
Sep152016

3 Ways to Make Nice in Your Marriage

Elaine W. Miller wrote a book with a funny title, We all Married Idiots. In this Marriage UPGRADE, she gives a little insight into why that’s true!

“Why are we such idiots?” Elaine said. “We smile, open doors, and run to rescue strangers. In the workplace we hold our tempers, fearing a job loss if we don’t. Yet when we enter our homes, we frown, slam doors and lose our tempers with no fear of the consequences.”

Oh ugh. I (Dawn) am guilty as charged. Why do we hurt the ones we love?

Elaine continues . . .

As married men and women, we should make every effort to make nice behind closed doors as well as in public. I know we can control our tempers. We do what we need to.

In the heat of anger, we politely answered the phone, “Good morning!” Yes, it is under our control. But for some reason I don’t understand (except that we are all sinners), we find it easier to make mean than to make nice to the ones we love. How foolish!

Making nice is something we need to do; it may not necessarily just happen. I like the synonym “do.” Just do it.

Do nice. Cause nice. Build nice. Create nice. Accomplish nice.

Making nice is a choice.

“Nice,” it turns out, comes from the Latin nescius, meaning “ignorant.” The computer dictionary defines “ignorant” as “unaware.” When our loved ones do something idiotic, be unaware of it. Ignore it. Overlook the mistake. Make nice.

One day I watched a husband make nice when he certainly could have made mean. He and his wife and my husband and I climbed an Adirondack mountain together. Inexperienced at climbing, the other wife wore sandals. What a mistake! This trip required sneakers at the very least – hiking boots at best.

As we trekked up the mountain, her discomfort became evident. Reaching the summit, her feet Rob with blisters, she agonized about her ability to descend the mountain.

What was your husband to do? He had a choice. He could yell from the top of the mountain, “I married an idiot! Why didn’t she wear better shoes?” He could have humiliated her with words like, “You are such a wimp! Stop your complaining.”

This husband didn’t choose those options. He chose to make nice. Without a word, he lovingly scooped up his love and carried her down the mountain.

This man realize the truth that on his wedding day he and his wife became one. When her feet hurt, it hurt him. Instead of making the pain grow deeper with thoughtless words, he decided to alleviate the pain.

I once wrote,

“Every day we decide the words and actions that will serve or suffocate our marriages.”

Every new day begins with choices. We choose what clothes to wear and what to eat for breakfast. We choose to sin. We choose to act like idiots. We choose to make nice or not.

Making nice is an investment that pays big dividends. Kind words and considerate deeds deposit love into our marriage love bank. Mean remarks and thoughtless actions count as love withdrawals. Take out too much, and there is no love left.

Making nice manifests itself in every aspect of your life, but especially in the bedroom. When you are unkind or unfaithful, it affects sexual intimacy. You can’t treat your spouse shabbily and then expect your beloved to jump into the sacred marriage bed.

Making nice makes a nice marriage. When meanness becomes the norm, marriages fail to thrive.

Here are three ways to make nice in your marriage:

1. Watch your words

Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

If in our desire to build ourselves up we put our spouse’s down, every derogatory remark registers in the brain creating a chill in the marriage vault. Negative words are like icicles stabbed into your loved one's heart that only kindness and forgiveness and making nice can melt.

When unkind words come from our condemning mouth, who benefits? No one. Certainly not the little ears that listen. Most are aghast when their children repeat words to the world that their parents say in private.

2. Don’t Demand Your Own Way

Love strives to live in peace (Hebrews 12:14), and God says love does not demand its own way (1 Corinthians 13:5). When we become angry and impatient and rude, most likely it is because we have not gotten our way. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”

When we choose not to be self-seeking, we then become more patient and kind and not so easily angered. Then, as much as it depends on us, our homes will be peaceful.

3. Root out bitter roots

Hebrews 12:15 says, “See to it that… no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Our bad behavior does not come without consequences. It destroys our marriages.

The hurt of bitterness hurts not only the one the arrow is aimed at, but also others we love. That arrow penetrates our children’s hearts. Sometimes the wounds never heal, and the scars remain for a lifetime.

Marriage is not a competitive sport. The one who gives the most verbal punches does not win. You both lose because condemning your spouse is condemning yourself. God has declared you to be one flesh.

Verbal punches leave you both knocked out and too tired to fight for your marriage. Don’t let it happen. Make nice!

What did you say today that built up your spouse? What did you say that put down your partner? How can you make every effort to live at peace?

Elaine W. Miller is an international author and speaker known for sharing biblical insights with warmth, enthusiasm, and humor. She is the author of three books including her latest We All Married Idiots: Three Things You Will Never Change AboutYour Marriage and Ten Things You Can (available in English, Spanish, and Bosnian). Residing in upstate  New York with her husband of 45 years, she enjoys having three married children and 11 grandchildren close by. Visit Elaine's website/blog to learn more about her unique ministry.

This blog post was adapted from Chapter 9 in We All Married Idiots.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of christinevitved for Pixabay.

Tuesday
Aug022016

Keep Your Marriage Full When Your Nest Is Empty

Elaine Miller encourages married women to consider the things they can do to improve their relationship with their spouse. This is especially important when the nest is empty, as we see in this Marriage UPGRADE.

"Marriage seems to take a backseat during the child-rearing years," Elaine says.

I (Dawn) know this is true, even when we were cautioned in the early years of marriage to keep our spouse priority number one after our relationship with the Lord. Sometimes, we don't wake up until after the children have left home.

Elaine continues . . .

I remember taking my oldest to college. Sobbing, in the fetal position, I was sure our sweet sunshine had left our home forever.  

Our 12-year-old, trying to soothe his distraught mother, announced, "That's it! I'm never going to college! I will live with you forever!"

Well, he did go to college, and this time I wept in the bathtub wondering where the time had gone.

Never did I wonder how my husband felt watching his wife's world fall apart, because now all I had was him.

With the arrival of the empty nest—it's time to upgrade your marriage. 

No doubt the empty nest is a time of transition in marriage. Here are some tips (and some winks from God) to help you transition well.

1. Rejoice!

Honeymoon! The day your littlest walks out the door, grab your honey's hand and you walk out too. Don't stay home and grieve.

Go away with your spouse and celebrate your new life as a twosome. Pick a romantic spot. Perhaps revisit your honeymoon destination. Or choose a place on your bucket list. Just go away and enjoy each other and your new life together.  

It won't be long before your empty-nest heartache is healed and you are thinking Well, this isn't so bad, after all!

"Come, my lover, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages" (Song of Songs 7:11).

2. Recreate!

Find a common activity to enjoy with your spouse.

My Dan was over-the-top thrilled with his 50th birthday present to me. "Wait until you see it! Oh, you'll be so excited!" He couldn't miss my not-so-thrilled surprise when I opened the huge wrapped package and found, not diamonds, not a cruise, but golf clubs.

Dan loved to golf and wished to share this activity with me. Oh, the hours of fun we've enjoyed together in the quietness and beauty of the golf course.

"May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth" (Proverbs 5:18).

3. Romance!

Reconnect as a couple again. Plan romantic dinners. Laugh! Make love!

"Kiss me and kiss me again..." (Song of Songs 1:2).

4. Redecorate!

Prepare your bedroom as your love sanctuary. The children are gone. The house belongs to you. Wow! You can even leave the door open.

Turn the music up! Go wild with candles! Decorate your bed with Christmas lights! Use your imagination and redecorate your bedroom.

Forget the bedroom! You have the whole house to yourself!

Enjoy your newfound freedom for uninterrupted intimacy.

". . . may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love" (Proverbs 5:19).

My prayer as a wife has always been:

"...Thus I have become in his eyes like one bringing contentment" (Song of Solomon 8:10 NIV).

Ha! Well, with the nest empty, we have time to actually make that happen.

What steps can you take to keep your marriage full when your nest is empty?

Elaine W. Miller is an international author and speaker known for sharing biblical insights with warmth, enthusiasm, and humor. She is the author of three books including her latest We All Married Idiots: Three Things You Will Never Change About Your Marriage and Ten Things You Can (available in English, Spanish, and Bosnian). Residing in upstate  New York with her husband of 45 years, she enjoys having three married children and 11 grandchildren close by. Check out Elaine's website and blog.

Tuesday
Jan192016

Don't Say You're Too Old

Elaine W. Miller's practical humor never fails to make me smile, while I'm getting a kick in the pants spiritually! In this special UPGRADE for the senior set, she encourages us to keep on "running the race" with the Lord in the stewardship of our years.

"'It ain't over till it's over!' is one of my favorite Yogi Berra-isms," Elaine said.

You had me (Dawn) at "Yogi," Elaine. I thought, what can Yogi teach me about spiritual things? Aha!

Elaine continues . . .

I agree with Yogi! As long as we're breathing, our work on this earth is not finished. God still has a plan for our lives and a race for us to run whether we're 25 or 75, whether we're healthy or ill, whether we feel like it or not.

As birthdays come faster and faster, let us resolve to keep running the race God planned for us since before we were born. Will you run with me?

Let's be encouraged by what God says and enjoy a few more Yogi-isms to "drive home" the point.

1. God ordained all of our days, not just the days before we turn 65.  

"All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be" (Psalm 139:16b, NIV). God knows all our days. If we're alive, we still have races God wants us to run. 

   Or as Yogi says, "If you come to a fork in the road, take it."

Because . . .

2. God has work for us to do.

"The righteous . . . . will still bear fruit in old age. . .  " (Psalm 92:12-14, NIV).

If we wake up and our names aren't in the obituary, then hop to it. God has fruit for us to bear!

   Or as Yogi says, "You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there."

So . . .

3. Let us persevere to the end.

". . . let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" (Hebrews 12:1, NIV).  Let's not walk, let's run with all the energy we have (which is enough when God is our power source).

   Or as Berra said of Joe DiMaggio " . . . he never walked off the field."

Because . . .

4. Life is worthless unless we complete the task God planned for each of us.  

May our hearts resound with these words, "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace" (Acts 20:24, NIV).

   Because, as Yogi says, "It ain't over till it's over."

Jesus has our days planned. He has work for us to do. We must persevere to the end and complete the task. 

In our older years, let us be encouraged by some who lived these principles:

  • Benjamin Franklin signed the Declaration of Independence at age 70.
  • Grandma Moses began painting at age 76 because her hands were too crippled to hold embroidery needles.
  • Roget published his Thesaurus at age 73 and oversaw every update until he died at age 90.
  • Peggy Smith, (age 84 and blind), and her sister, Christine (age 82 and crippled), were key people in the world-famous revival in the Scottish Hebrides.

God may have a home run planned in our extra innings.

Let's not walk or strike out, but let's go the distance for the Lord. I want to die a winner, don't you?

Which of these four "Don't Say You're Too Old" tips helps you move forward today?

Elaine W. Miller is an international author and speaker known for sharing biblical insights with warmth, enthusiasm, and humor. She is the author of three books including her latest We All Married Idiots: Three Things You Will Never Change About Your Marriage and Ten Things You Can (available in English, Spanish, and Bosnian). Residing in upstate  New York with her husband of 45 years, she enjoys having three married children and 11 grandchildren close by. Visit Elaine's website/blog to learn more about her unique ministry.

Graphic adapted, Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.