How to Grow a Flourishing Marriage in a Weed Patch

Every flourishing marriage has had to deal with their fair share of weeds. Those character flaws of ‘self’ that we’d rather not look at, much less talk about.

Yet if you’re serious about growing a flourishing marriage in a weed patch, it’s important to understand the strain of weeds you’re dealing with. Without that self-awareness, those weeds will get the better of you and your marriage. I promise.

For a better understanding of which weeds you’re dealing with, answer the question “Where do you experience pain in your marriage?” Your answer will provide clues about where the Holy Spirit is already at work to lift out the weeds making room for more fruit.

When you discover where the Spirit is moving and you join Him there, you can expect wonderful results! In fact, I can promise wonderful results because the fruit or work of the Spirit contains everything you’ve ever wanted for your marriage: Unconditional love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control. This is the epitome of a flourishing marriage!

So let’s get back to the question, ‘Where does it hurt in your marriage?’

What’s causing the pain?

  • Selfishness
  • Pride
  • Cynicism
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Harshness
  • Critical spirit
  • Greed
  • Envy

This list represents weeds which block the Spirit’s fruit production in your life. And without the fruits of the Spirit growing in you, the weeds will eventually choke the life right out of your marriage.

So how do you fight back and regain or secure a flourishing marriage? How do you get rid of the weeds and grow more fruit? The best defense is often a good offense. Author Gary Thomas said, “Grow a virtue that is opposite the vice and thereby suffocate the vice.”

That logic certainly proved true in my flower garden. The more my plants grew and thrived, the less space was available for those pesky weeds.

So let’s take a look at the corresponding fruit to weed breakdown so you can increase your self awareness.

FRUIT                                    WEED

Unconditional Love             Self absorption, Pride.

Joy                                       Cynicism

Peace                                   Fear, Anxiety, Envy

Patience                               Anger

Kindness                              Critical Spirit, Sarcasm

Goodness                            Greed, Unethical

Faithfulness                         Disloyalty, Disregard

Gentleness                          Anger, Harshness

Self-Control                         Lustful, Addictive Lifestyle

John 6:63 reminds us, “The Spirit brings life, but the flesh has nothing to offer.” And nowhere is this made more clear than when contrasting the Spirit’s fruit with the weeds of our humanness.

Are you willing to surrender to the work of the Holy Spirit and to intentionally focus on bearing greater fruit this year? This isn’t about a will to weed, but a willingness to be weeded.

As I examined the list, I recognized that fear and anxiety have caused pain in my marriage. So the fruit I need more of is peace.

During this 21 Day Fast for a Fruitful Marriage Challenge, I’ve realized my need for greater, God-given peace. So I’ve asked for more.

In response, the Spirit did the work of bringing to my attention one area where I rob, not add to, my peace. In his book, Fasting, Jentezen Franklin says that fasting helps unstop your ears. And God spoke straight to my heart through my husband’s lips. What he said helped me understand exactly where the weeds of fear and anxiety were hurting my marriage.

I have a tendency (nice word for habit) to minimize my husband’s feelings in an attempt to preserve my peace.  When he’s concerned about something or has been hurt, I don’t always ask him about his feelings. I don’t always want to go there! Instead, I minimize his feelings for fear they will rob me of peace.

Growth isn’t easy but I’ve begun listening fully to some of my husband’s deep emotions. It’s tremendously satisfying when that fruit produces good in your marriage.

The reason they call it fruit is because you were made to taste good to the world. You manifest God’s presence through your maturity and love. So that others say God is so good through you!  -AJ Sherrill

When you determine where it hurts, ask the Spirit for more of the fruit you need! Watch and listen as he reveals your next steps.

How to Drop the Dead Weight Which Weighs on Your Marriage

Is there a drag on your marriage? Something that weighs it down and creates pain?

During the 21 Day Fast for a Fruitful Marriage, I unpack how God guides you to shed the weight and experience unconditional love, greater joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. These fruits will bring life to a marriage!

Listen in…

 

21 Day Fast for a Fruitful Marriage Challenge

Would you like to see a greater harvest of the good stuff in your marriage in 2017? More love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?

Fruitfulness is exactly what God desires for your marriage and mine. In fact, fruitfulness is very important to Jesus. Fruitfulness was the topic of Jesus’ last message to the disciples before He was betrayed in Gethsemane’s Garden. Think about that: He was about to die and fruitfulness was the message He wanted to leave ringing in His closest friend’s ears.

During my 21 day Fasting for a Fruitful Marriage Challenge, I’ll share with you the secrets that encourage sweeter, abundant fruit from your marriage.

Understanding fruitfulness will

Help you identify how God is dealing with you
Eliminate misery due to fruitlessness
Answer the question: ‘What is God up to in my life?’ and ‘Why isn’t my life turning out as I expected?’

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Making Peace in Relationships

I’m wrestling with the concept of peace this Christmas. Estranged from certain family members, I suffer more anxiety than peace when musical strains depicting warm family gatherings penetrate my conscious mind. Honestly, it’s difficult not to grow anxious or cynical.

Can you relate? Are you robbed of peace worrying about a stressed or broken relationship this Christmas?

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Wives Celebrating Advent

advent messages or wivesAre there encouraging messages within Scripture for wives celebrating advent? Can you plumb the depths of Bethlehem and discover gifts of blessing for your marriage?

In fact, there are several messages for wives within the miracle of Jesus’ arrival on Earth and I’ll be unpacking these treasures during December’s series of blogs. These blogs are written specifically for wives seeking the King of King’s best gifts this Christmas.

A Priesthood At Home

Hebrews 5 describes the ‘why’ behind Jesus advent or arrival on Earth as a baby. He was sent by God to be a high priest on our behalf.

The job of every high priest is reconciliation: approaching God on behalf of others and offering Him gifts and sacrifices to repair the damage caused by our sins against God and each other. High Priest’s should have compassion for those who are ignorant of the faith and those who fall out of the faith because he, himself, has wrestled with human weakness. And so the priest must offer sacrifices both for his sins and for the those of the people.

The office of high priest and the honor that goes along with it isn’t one that someone just takes. A high priest must be called by God.

You, my dear reader, are called to be priests in your home. In fact, I believe some of you have been sensing the nudge of the Holy Spirit to perform the role of priest without realizing that it was to the priesthood you’ve been called. Incidentally, the role of priest does not include preaching.l

Whenever you pray for your husband or share a cup of cold water with him in Jesus’ name, you’re a priest. You’re communicating the grace of God.

Lessons for Wives Celebrating Advent

When Jesus lived on earth, He offered up prayers and pleas, groans and tears to the One who could save Him from death. He was heard because He approached God with regard and deep respect.

  1. When you recognize that God alone has the answers you need, and when you enter His gates with thanksgiving, in spite of the difficulty you face, you’ve donned priestly robes.
  2. When you ask God to bless your husband rather than dress him down, you’ve just been promoted to the office of high priest.

Although He was a Son, Jesus, our high priest, learned obedience through the things He suffered. And once He was perfected through that suffering He became the way of eternal salvation for all those who hear and follow Him.

Did you catch that? Although He was a Son. If Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God was not spared suffering, His daughters won’t escape it either.

So don’t be surprised or feel you’ve been forgotten if you find yourself in deep struggle this Christmas.  Let the reason for Jesus’ Advent remind you that you’ve been called to a priestly duty: to offer gifts and sacrifices to God on your husband’s behalf. These are the gifts God treasures most.

What gift is fit to bring your King this Christmas? An affirmative response to the role of priest He’s calling you to.

What priestly sacrifices is the Holy Spirit prompting you to make on behalf of your husband?

When Biblical Marriage Strategies Fail to Produce

Ever been introduced to biblical marriage strategies that failed to produce satisfying results? Having your hopes dashed like that sucks the air right out of your lungs.

When you’re facing marriage challenges, you’re looking for ideas and strategies that lead to a place of re-connection with your spouse. So you strap on your hiking boots and begin the climb with anticipation of a favorable outcome.

Yet many times these strategies fail to produce the results you’d hoped for. After laboring upward for days, weeks, or months all you see is barren wilderness in all directions.

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Why a Child-Focused Marriage is Dangerous

Do you have a child-focused marriage? On Sunday, I heard a message that challenges conventional wisdom and the marital safety of focusing too much on children.

If you’re short on time, fast forward to point #2 at 1:05:25. If not, I promise the whole message will be worth your time.

Unmet Expectations and What Wives Can Do About Them

Have unmet expectations concerning your husband got you ‘stuck’? When things don’t turn out as you envisioned, it’s easy to get discouraged and lose your way.

Thankfully, God has given us strategies in His word that have the power to dislodge a marriage suffering from unmet expectations. I’ve uncovered 3 so far in this series.

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Feel Stuck in Your Marriage?

If you’re in a place where you feel ‘stuck’ in your marriage, you’re not alone. In fact, almost every wife under the sun has felt stuck at one time or another.

Because so many women stay ‘stuck’, I’m sharing 4 strategies this month that will dislodge your marriage from the mire.

Strategy #1 Listening

Strategy #2 Ask God for a Word

Strategy #3 Fasting

When I was stuck in a toxic marriage, I became desperate for wisdom and direction because none of my own efforts seemed to dislodge our stuck marriage.

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