The Alphabet for Marriage

The fundamentals of maintaining a caring marriage are easily summed up in The Alphabet for Marriage. Read through each letter and it will help you think of some ways to improve your marriage. God’s name isn’t mentioned in this list but I guarantee you can see there are spiritual principles to back up this practical advice.

Ladies, don’t let the ministry (of house, children, and church work) get too busy that you neglect your husband. Your purpose of ministering is to do it together, as a married couple because marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. This list came from a special sermon I found (more on that at the end of the post) and hope it will bless your heart too.

The Alphabet for Marriage

Adaptability – Cultivate a liking for the other’s tastes.

Belief – Trust one another.

Children – Be of the same mind on the subject, whether boys or girls, or money. Agree on their training.

Devotion – Not only feel love but show it.

Entertainment – Keep each other amused and interested.

Finesse – Handle each other with love and tact.

Generosity – Don’t be stingy with love, money, or praise.

Health – Keep well as long as you can.

Interests – Enter into everything the other does. Play the same games, read the same books, like the same people.

Jokes – Learn to make ’em and take ’em.

Kindness – Never fail to share with each other tenderness and sympathy.

Love – Never let your supply of that run low.

Money – Is for both and should be for the mutual happiness and well-being of each other.

Need of each other. – Make yourself necessary to your husband or wife’s happiness.

Observation – See what each other needs and supply it. Notice when your husband or wife looks nice.

Politeness – Show as much courtesy of each other as you would to strangers.

Quiet – Don’t argue, keep a peaceful home.

Respect – Show deference for each other’s opinions and intelligence.

Sportsmanship – Take marriage on the chin, don’t complain of hardships you may have to endure.

Tenderness – Whatever you are to other people, be all heart to your husband or wife.

Understanding – Enter into thoughts or feelings of your mate so you will know when each other is low.

Virtue – No philandering around on either side.

Willingness – Both husband and wife must be willing to help each other pull weight in the boat.

X-tra Attention – especially when down-hearted or sick.

Yes Them – Be agreeable as you can as often as you can.

Zero – Your marriage will never be a zero if you follow these rules.

~Author Unknown*

This was found in my great-grandfather’s sermon notes. My husband inherited his books and many files when he passed away and a yellow legal sized paper appeared after recently going through our personal library. I just loved reading it and truly believed it was his own outline until I saw just under the letter “z” that it was copied. *If you know the author of The Alphabet for Marriage please let me know and I will gladly update it on this post.

Ideas: This would be a great help to use at a couples retreat, banquet, or even marriage counseling. This could also be used as a fun wedding shower devotional or as a thoughtful thing to read in a married Sunday School class.

 

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11 Ways We’ve Made Our Marriage Special

11 Ways We've Made Our Marriage SpecialIn celebration of our eleventh anniversary I want to share eleven ways we have tried to make our marriage special through the years.

1. Our anniversary date is 9-11 so usually when we see the time is 9:11 am or pm then we will say to each other “Happy Anniversary.” This lets us know that we’re thinking of something only we share.

2. We have given our children a routine bedtime. Once things get settled down 15-20 minutes after we make the kids go to bed then we usually share our one-on-one time together for at least a couple of hours.

3. We eat late night snacks together…it’s our weakness. It’s true, one of our children (it’s a conspiracy) is always peeking or coming up with an excuse after they go to bed to see what we’re going to be eating together. While we chow down we are talking and discussing life in our adult after-kids-go-to-bed-life.

4. We follow our favorite marriage advice from my husband’s grandparents who have been married for over 50 years to “do everything together.” Okay, so maybe not EVERYTHING, but we try to do a lot together, making dinner, going on errands, and etc. My husband is very good at participating in our family even though he is tired and I think that it helps our marriage tremendously.

5. We like to play games together. Yahtzee is our latest addiction, among other games like Battleship, Checkers, Ticket to Ride, other card games and even two-player games on the tablet.

6. We bought a book about romance. One year we went to Barnes & Noble and bought a really big book of romantic ideas. It has helped us tremendously when we have needed a quick idea to get our creative juices going in our everyday love life (being sweet to each other all the time) as much as our intimate love life.

7. One of my favorite things we have done as a couple to keep ourselves dating each other is that we printed off the Passport to Love year of dates from The Dating Divas.  In the passport you pick countries you want to “visit.” When you choose a country like Mexico you will eat Mexican food, listen to mariachi music, and come up with a fun or other romantic idea to go with that country’s theme. We each took six of the dates and locations and had the responsibility to come up with the ideas for that country. It made it fun, sometimes we dressed up and had a fun home date and other times we scheduled activities on a night out.

*Note: You may not be able to visit this website if you have a strong internet filter but you could still take the idea and come up with your own passport and share the date destinations around the world for a year.

8. Before we were married we passed a small wooden red heart back and forth between each other. We would leave it on the dashboard of each other’s car, in a love note, or in a surprising place. We still pass that little heart around when we find it. Recently while we’ve packed to move we found it again and it gets keeps getting passed or put in a place for the other person to find. It’s just a fun way to think all the way back to the beginning of our relationship and continue what has become a small and meaningful tradition.

9. Going out on dates has been a treat when we are able to do it. When someone we trust offers to watch the kids and let us have some alone time then you know we are going to take it! Whether it’s for a trip to the grocery store when my in-laws are in town or going out for dinner when a lady or family in our church has volunteered to be a blessing we do it! Sometimes going out just isn’t possible, that’s why we really emphasize the one-on-one time after the kids go to bed.

10. Showing affection in front of our kids. Often my husband says out loud to our children, “Who wants to see Papa give Mama a big kiss?” The general roar of the mini crowd says “I do!” and we proceed to lip-lock in a fairly conservative way. Then, we smile at each other and applause and laughter breaks out before the next “Again, again!” We will usually indulge the kids a few rounds before they want to be close to us and give us hugs too. We hold hands, kiss, and hug regularly in public to give our children the security of knowing their parents really do love each other.

11. Helping each other with our responsibilities whether it is work/ministry related and/or home related. This was partly mentioned earlier but we blend our lives by stepping up at times to meet the needs of the other person in our daily life. I am a planner and organizer and many times my husband has been able to execute special ministry jobs better when I have been able to help him sit down and think through the planning. On the other hand, I don’t know how many times I’ve told my husband, “I don’t know why God calls me the helpmeet when you help me so much.” Putting each other first and seeing the needs of the other person can really magnetize you together if you do it in the right spirit and attitude.

We’re not perfect people and we’re certainly not the best example of marriage out there, but these are the things we have enjoyed doing together to keep our marriage special. I would encourage you if you have been married for any length of time to make a list like this, it really makes you think and it creates an endearing moment of sweetness when you realize all the love that has been passed between you through the years. It’s a blessing to say the least!

You can read about what I’ve learned from 10 years of marriage, the article that I wrote this time last year.

Encouraging Your Husband When He Feels Like a Ministry Failure

You, as a ministry wife, have an ability to be able to get in behind the scenes and see the real man your husband is and hear his heart in his lowest of times. All of them face times in which they feel like they are a ministry failure.

You and God can make a difference in helping your husband see he is NOT a failure just because times are hard or there is opposition. This is a list that I found that I had written for my husband when he was disheartened over a year ago and thought it might be something worth sharing. When your husband feels like a failure then please encourage him in a special way – share this blog post, or write your own list, or do some of the other things the other ladies suggested below.

Encouraging Your Husband - TMM

This is what I wrote:

5 Reasons Why You Are Not a Ministry Failure

1. Your calling is fulfilled by obedience, not numbers.

2. So much of ministry is not about being busy, but loving God’s people. You have a unique ability to love people and make them feel cared for.

3. Your lows give you humility and a launching pad for future goals – they do not define you, your ministries, or your God.

4. God is not finished with you yet. God won’t be done with you and your duty to follow Him (your ministries) until you see His face.

5. God’s Word accomplishes His purposes – Sown into the hearts of people through the songs the choir sings, your preaching or teaching, or the children’s ministries you have worked in. Make it your responsibility to keep sowing, not weight yourself down with making it grow. God gives the increase.

Encourage yourself in the Lord.

“The Lord shall increase you more and more, you and your children. Ye are blessed of the Lord which made heaven and earth.” Psalm 115:14,15

Love,

Your Girl


 

To expand this thought this question was asked on the Ministry Mamas Facebook page:

If your husband were discouraged today and felt like a failure and you were going to give him a reason why he was NOT a failure, what would that reason be?

This is what some of you had to say:

“He’s doing his best to faithfully follow the path that God has placed before him with the knowledge and experience that God has given him so far, and that’s the best thing that he can do.

He has me who is head over heels in love with him as a person not a title, and four healthy happy adjusted children that adore him! …followed by some spontaneous planned affection.”

When you truly live for God, no one is a failure. Yes we miss the mark but we are never failures in Christ.

God alone is the author & finisher of our faith. He sees the beginning, the ending, and everything in between. We have to focus on the Master of all our circumstances, whether it’s in good times or bad. He works all things together for our good – even when it doesn’t feel like it. We’ve been down this road several times and it’s not ever easy, but in the end…always good.

I do believe this is a tool the devil uses to get to our men serving in the ministry. I have had to deal with this a few times in our marriage and these are some things I did to encourage my man: Pray, listen when he wants to talk, be silent when words will only sound like nagging, be there (women are not the only ones who need held sometimes), love him, tell him you love him, show him you love him, write little notes and leave them in places only he will find (underwear/sock drawer, suit coat pocket, wallet, etc.). Knowing you are there at his side through anything will help him get through anything. If he doesn’t ‘thank you’ or acknowledge your acts of encouragement, keep it up he will in time. God might be using this time to not only make him stronger, but you both stronger in faith and your marriage and love for each other.

I always think about when David was in such despair after his wife, children and fellow townspeople were taken captive and the people wanted to kill him and he wanted to die. The Bible says he encouraged himself in the Lord. One of the best things for our husbands is to sit together and talk about all the things the Lord has accomplished through them, remember the good times, the lives changed, the blessings He has given us. Just naming the blessings of the current day can help lift the spirits even a little.

I read this out loud to my mom and my six-year-old piped up ‘Only Satan wants you to believe you’re a failure but God made you special,’ I think that pretty much sums it up.”

These ladies have good comments and I love to get other perspectives from ladies who have served for different lengths of time in ministry.  For yourself, allow the Holy Spirit to guide you when you have the discernment to see that your husband really needs encouragement. Make sure that you’re sensitive to his sensitivities (in words, things you do, and etc.) and as the Lord leads you, encourage him to keep serving the Lord.

If you have some other ideas, thoughts, or advice on how to encourage your husband when he feels like a failure please leave them in the comments!