Marital Guidelines for Communicating

Marital Communication Principles

  • I am always communicating – even when I am silent.
  • I must allow my words and my nonverbal actions to communicate the same message.
  • I must make our home a loving home which offers the security my spouse needs in order for  my spouse to share  his/ her innermost thoughts.
  • I must not allow troublesome relationships outside my marriage interfere with communication.
  • I must maintain close physical contact, when I am seriously communicating with my spouse.
  • I must develop my listening skills and try not to interrupt my spouse when I communicate.
  • I will focus on the problem and will not attack my spouse when I communicate.
  • I will be responsible for initiating communication.
  • I will make sure what I say is true and endeavor to communicate it in love.
  • I will be aware of my tone of voice, my inflection and volume when I communicate.
  • I will endeavor to avoid nagging and complaining when I communicate.
  • I will endeavor to use kind words and be a source of my spouse’s happiness. 

Proverbs 12:18 There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.

 Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

Proverbs 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

 Lord, You know I want to communicate with my spouse in a kind and loving way.  Remind me of these principles as I communicate.  I realize that You are the only One who can help me communicate properly.    

Love (Read I Corinthians 13) Is God’s love evident in your home? Are you patient, kind, not jealous, not prideful, and not easily provoked? Do you rejoice when your child does something good or truthful? Do you bear all things? Do you believe the best? Do you hope in all situations? Do you endure all things?

This kind of love is only possible as you yield to the Holy Spirit and allow His supernatural love flow through you.

Spiritual Leadership (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Ephesians 6:6; I Timothy 4:7-8) Do you bring Christ into your home through natural sharing of what He is doing in your life? Do you read God’s Word and discuss it with your children? Do you pray together as a family? Do you encourage your children by your example of self-discipline for the purpose of godliness? If your children are Christians, do you teach them how to have their own quiet time with the Lord?

Time (Titus 2:4-5) Are you too busy to spend time with your children? Are other things more of a priority? Does the time you spend with your children include play as well as work?

A mother needs to be available in all kinds of circumstances to develop rapport, to be an example, and to teach.

Disciple (Proverbs 29:15) Do you faithfully set down standards and carry out discipline consistently and fairly? Are you too permissive?

Authoritarianism (Ephesians 6:4) Are you a loving leader to your children? Are you provoking your children to anger? Are you overbearing, critical and intolerant?

Mothers are not to try to create their children into their own image.

Humility (Philippians 2:3) Are you seeking to portray a false sense of perfection? Are you trying to make it look like you don’t struggle with sin in your life? Do your children see your sorrow and repentance for your sin? Do you show yourself to be a servant to others or do you expect others to serve you? Do you seek forgiveness from your children?

Recently, I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport as the daughter’s departure had been announced. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said, “I love you and I wish you enough” The daughter replied, “Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom.”  They kissed, and the daughter left.

The mother walked over to the window where I sat. Standing there, I could see she wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy, but she welcomed me in by asking, “Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?”  “Yes, I have,” I replied. “Forgive me for asking but why is this ‘a forever good-bye’?” The mother shared with me. “I am old, and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead, and the reality is the next trip back will be for my funeral,”

I then asked the woman, “When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, ‘I wish you enough’. May I ask what that means?” She began to smile, “That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.” She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail, and she smiled even more. “When we said ‘I wish you enough’ we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them”.

Then turning toward me, she shared the following, reciting it from memory:

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright. I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more. I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.  I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger. I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting. I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess .I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

She then began to cry and walked away.

They say it takes a minute to find a special person; an hour to appreciate them; a day to love them; and an entire life to forget them. I shall never forget the day that I witnessed a loving mother give her daughter a forever good-bye.

Author Unknown-Copied from my files

Project for My Last Class-Give 3 Smiles

An Unusual Breakfast at McDonalds:

 I am a mother of three and have recently completed my college degree. The last class I had to take was Sociology. The teacher was absolutely inspiring. Her last project of the term was called, ‘Smile.’ The class was asked to go out and smile at three people and document their reactions. I am a very friendly person and always smile at everyone and say hello anyway. So, literally, I thought this would be a piece of cake.

Soon after we were assigned the project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald’s one crisp March morning. It was just our way of sharing special playtime with our son. We were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of a sudden everyone around us began to back away, and then even my husband did. I did not move an inch ….. An overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of me as I turned to see why they had moved. As I turned around I smelled a horrible ‘dirty body’ smell, and there standing behind me were two poor homeless men. As I looked down at the short gentleman, close to me, he was ‘smiling.’ His beautiful sky blue eyes were full of God’s Light as he searched for acceptance He said, ‘Good day’ as he counted the few coins he had been clutching. The second man fumbled with his hands as he stood behind his friend. I realized the second man was mentally challenged and the blue-eyed gentleman was his salvation. I held my tears as I stood there with them. The young lady at the counter asked him what they wanted. He said, ‘Coffee is all Miss’ because that was all they could afford.  (If they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy something.  He just wanted to be warm.) Then I really felt it – the compulsion was so great I almost reached out and embraced the little man with the blue eyes. That is when I noticed all eyes in the restaurant were set on me, judging my every action. I smiled and asked the young lady behind the counter to give me two more breakfast meals on a separate tray. I then walked around the corner to the table that the men had chosen as a resting spot. I put the tray on the table and laid my hand on the blue-eyed gentleman’s cold hand.

He looked up at me, with tears in his eyes, and said, ‘Thank you.’ I leaned over, began to pat his hand and said, ‘I did not do this for you. God is here working through me to give you hope.’ I started to cry as I walked away to join my husband and son ….when I sat down my husband smiled at me and said, ‘That is why God gave you to me, Honey, to give me hope.’ We held hands for a moment and at that time, we knew that only because of the Grace that we had been given were we able to give.  That day showed me the pure Light of God’s sweet love.

I returned to college, on the last evening of class, with this story in hand. I turned in ‘my project’ and the instructor read it. Then she looked up at me and said,  ‘Can I share this?’ I slowly nodded. She got the attention of the class began to read it aloud. I suddenly realized that, in my own way, I had touched the people at McDonald’s, my son, the instructor, and every soul that shared the classroom on the last night I spent as a college student. I graduated with one of the biggest lessons that I would ever learn.   

That lesson was UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE. Love and compassion are sent to each and every person. We all must learn to LOVE PEOPLE AND USE THINGS – NOT LOVE THINGS AND USE PEOPLE.   Many people will walk in and out of our lives, but only true friends will leave their footprints in our hearts.

(Copied- author unknown)

Dear Mom,                                                                               

Since I can’t spend Mother’s Day with you, I am writing you a letter. Mom, I love you so much.

There are many things that I didn’t understand when I was young, but I understand them now.  I didn’t have any idea how hard you worked, and the burdens you carried until I traveled the road myself.

I didn’t know how rough it was when you were having trouble with Dad and us kids, but now I know. I didn’t realize how lonely you were until I was lonely.

I didn’t realize how I hurt you, until I was hurt the same way by my own children.

I didn’t know how many times I could have made you happy by just saying, “I love you, Mom.” But now I know, because those are the words I long to hear from my own kids.

When I was growing up, we had our share of battles. I remember how I thought you were too hard on me because you insisted that I keep my room clean, turn off the TV and do my homework, hang up my clothes, do chores around the house, and write thank-you notes right away. You made me do a lot of things I didn’t want to do. You said it was good for my character. I couldn’t see the connection, and I thought you were nuts. But now I have kids of my own, and I understand a lot better. I am grateful that you didn’t let me wear you down.  I remember your strength; it gives me strength with own kids.

It seems like I found the times for everything and everyone but you. It would have been easy to drop in for a cup of tea and a hug, but my friends came first. Would any of them have done for me what you did? I doubt it.

I remember the times you called on the phone, and I was in a hurry to get off. It makes me ashamed.

 I remember, too, the times I could have included you when my family had outings, but I didn’t. It took me all my life to learn what a mother is. I guess it’s impossible to know until you become a mother yourself.

Believe me, now I know how rough you had it and how terrific you are. Time has a way of slipping away. We become so involved in living from one day to the next that before we know it, the tomorrows are yesterdays.

I hope this letter gives you an idea of how much I admire and respect you, Mom, you are the greatest!                    

Are You Fearful Today?

I was talking with a friend the other day, and I shared with her concerns that I had about  a close relative of mine who is dying. I told my friend, “I don’t know why my relative is so fearful about meeting the Lord.” 

As I later began to ponder our discussion, I realized that people’s fears are connected with either dying or suffering. Someone who fears flying, he fears dying. Someone who fears having a car accident, he fears suffering. Someone who fears losing a mate, he fears being left alone.  Most of these fears are fears of the unknown.

If you are feeling fearful today, meditate on promises from God’s Word

·         God is always in control  (Psalm 91)

·         He always brings good from evil. (Genesis 50:20)

·         The enemy can only harm your body but not your soul. (Matthew 10:28)

·         When you die, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8)

Try to focus more on fearing the LORD than fearing men or your circumstances. When you fear the LORD, you will reverence Him and realize His awesome power!

Set Some Organizing Goals and Deadlines

If you do not  set any personal goals or deadlines, it can rob you of  your time and keep you from being productive.

  • Decide on areas of your life where you want to be more productive and write out some goals.
  • Keep your plan simple. Do not want waste valuable time updating charts.
  • Set definite and obtainable goals. Write down a plan of action to achieve that goal. (I want to lose 50 pounds this year—I will join a gym)
  • Set a deadline to reach your desired goal.
  • Set a goal to organize seasonal  and party items: (Buy nine large plastic boxes that you can stack. Store boxes in a closet, basement, or attic. Label boxes according to your needs)  The following is a sample of labeling:
  1. January-February (winter decorations)
  2. March-June (spring decorations)
  3. July-August (Patriotic decorations)
  4. September-October( fall decorations)
  5. November (Thanksgiving decorations)
  6. December (Christmas decorations)
  7. Birthday party decorations
  8. Gifts (small gifts when you need a quick gift for birthday, shower, or anniversary)
  9. Tea party books, pots, and dishes

                 Miscellaneous Organizing Tips for Your Home 

  • For a large family, color-code children’s items. (toothbrushes, towels, and file folders)
  • De-junk! Give away clothes you do not wear, broken toys, and kitchen gadgets you do not need.
  • Rule to control clutter: One item comes in; one item goes out. (Give to Goodwill or to a friend)
  • If you have limited space for storage, rent videos and books instead of purchasing them.
  • Keep a file drawer or box in the kitchen with each person’s name on a different colored folder. Put coloring papers, notes from school, and future homework assignments in assigned folder.
  • If possible, do all house chores in the morning.
  • Do quick bathroom wipe-down of tub, shower, toilet, sinks, and faucets with disposable cleaning wipes.
  • Make your bed as soon as you get out of it. (It only takes two minutes to make a bed)
  • Teach children to make their own beds. Instead of  children having to struggle using many sheets and blankets, make it easier for them by using duvet covers. (To make an easy duvet cover, use two flat sheets. Place sheets back to back and sew around the edges, leaving a 1/2-inch seam opening at the bottom. For the closure,  make two ties or use velcro tape around  inside edges)
  • When preparing meals, fill sink with soapy water and wash preparatory dishes before sitting down to eat.
  • Immediately do dishes or place them in dishwasher.
  • If you have small children, keep a basket handy to pick up small items such as small toys, clothing, and clutter.
  • When picking up the house in the mornings, give yourself a deadline.
  • Pick up the rooms that visitors will see first.

GOOD RULE TO FOLLOW: LEAVE YOUR HOUSE AS IF YOU ARE EXPECTING GUESTS!

A few years ago, a group of seniors from our Christian school invited us to join them for dinner at a nice restaurant. They had hired a limousine for the evening. After they had eaten, they had a few hours to spare. Since they wanted to stay together, I invited them to our home. If I had said, “Oh, my house is not clean enough,” those teens would have missed out on having a fun time together and making a great memory.

Teaching Manners to Your Children

If you study the meaning of the two words manners and etiquette, you will discover that the two words have completely different meanings.  Manners are the way people do things, the way they behave.  Etiquette, on the other hand, is more like a set of rules to govern polite behavior. 

A person may have perfect etiquette but have very poor manners. You might have heard someone say, “Boy, is that woman rude!” The woman might know all the correct rules of etiquette, but if she is rude and not kind to others, she has poor manners.

Etiquette is not just eating with the proper utensils or putting on an act in front of other people in order to impress them, it is displaying genuine kindness toward others. Good manners and proper etiquette is really just being kind and unselfish. It is treating others the way you would like to be treated.

Matthew 7:12 says, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”

A good manner to teach a child early is: Do not interrupt other people when they are speaking. One way to teach a child this principle:

If the parent is speaking, and the child wants to speak to him, the parent should instruct his child to touch his arm. The child’s touch on the parent’s arm signals the parent that the child wants to speak, and it signals the child that his parent will speak to him after he has finished his conversation.

If a parent fails to teach his child good manners at home, he should not expect that child to have good manners in public.

The greatest manner a parent can teach a child is treat everyone with respect and dignity. 

Many times parents teach a child a lesson when a various situation arises. If his child stares at a handicapped child, the parent says, “Don’t stare! It is not nice to stare!” It seems it might have been better to teach the child in advance. The following are a few manners that you might like to discuss with your children.

Manners when he walks on the street: 

  • Do not walk in groups so that you block others.
  • Do not stop to talk in the middle of a sidewalk. Step to the side to allow people to move around you.
  • Do not stare at or make fun of anyone, no matter how strange he may look.
  • Do not be a litterbug.
  • Do not mark on buildings or other public property.
  • If you bump into someone, say you are sorry.

Manners before he spends time in another person’s home:

  • Do not open a closed door until you have knocked and waited for permission to enter.
  • Do not go through anyone else’s belongings without asking his permission.
  • Do not read another person’s mail unless he asks you to read it.
  • Do not discuss the private affairs of your family with outsiders.
  • If you make a mess, offer to help clean up the mess.
  • If you spend the night with someone, make your bed and straighten up after yourself.
  • Be sure to say thank you for a meal or if he spends the night at his friend’s house.
  • Do not listen in on private conversations.
  • Do not whisper in front of another person.
  • Do not whine, tattletale, brag, or say mean things about others.
  • Do not ask personal questions like, “How much did that cost or how much do you weigh?”

Manners at the table:  Children do not learn proper table manners overnight. It takes years of repetition and training to teach them. Constant repetition and practice of good manners are the best teachers.  The best way to teach children good manners is by example. One of the benefits of families eating meals together is that it gives parents an opportunity to teach their children good table manners.

  • Even if you have a busy family, you should find times during the week to sit down with your family and enjoy meals together.
  • Use proper settings for table even for take-out meals.
  • Give young children the responsibility of setting the table. This is the best way to begin teaching them good table manners. Put place mats, napkins, silverware, plates, cups and bowls within the reach of your children so that children can easily reach the items to set the table.
  • For small children, buy dishes that do not break. If he drops a dish, it will not matter.
  • Demonstrate to children the proper place and use for each piece of utensil.
  • Demonstrate to children the correct way to hold their utensils.

If parents begin teaching manners to their toddlers, they will have a grasp on basic manners when they get older.

The following is a list of table manners that children should know: 

  • Wash hands and face before sitting down to the table.
  • Sit down in proper seats and put napkins in their laps.
  • Do not begin eating until everyone has sat down and been served.
  • Stay in seats without wiggling in chairs, going under the table, or getting up and down.
  • Say, “Excuse Me,” and ask permission to leave the table.
  • Do not put elbows on the table.
  • Keep mouths closed while chewing.
  • Do not put large pieces in mouths; pieces should be bite sized.
  • Never reach for any food that is not directly in front of you. Ask someone to pass it using the words, “May I please” and “Thank you”.
  • If you are passing food, do not help yourself first.
  • Participate in conversations during meals, but do not interrupt others when they are talking.
  • Do not make slurping, burping, squealing, singing, humming sounds at the table.
  • It is never kind or polite to make negative comments about the food.
  • When finished eating say, “May I please be excused?”
  • Thank the Cook.
  • If your food is too hot, wait for it to cool. Do not blow on it.
  • If you put food in your mouth that is too hot, do not spit it out. Reach for water and take a quick swallow.
  • Bring your food up to your mouth rather than bending over to reach it.

Manners for formal restaurants:

  • Do not be upset if you spill something. It happens all the time. The waiter will clean it up.
  • Do not pick up your silverware if you drop it on the floor. Ask the waiter to replace it for you.
  • Spread your napkin on your lap as soon as you sit down.
  • For different courses, use silverware farthest from your plate first.
  • Do not comb your hair at the table.
  • Never place handbag, glasses, or keys on the table.
  • Never blow your nose with your napkin.
  • Do not use a toothpick in public.
  • Avoid the tendency to mix your foods together.
  • Place used knife or fork on the plate not on the table.
  • Use the tip of a knife or a small piece of bread to push small pieces of food onto fork; never use your fingers for this job.
  • If you need to leave the table say, “May I be excused for a moment, please?” Fold your napkin and place on your chair until you return.  

Ideas for Resurrection Sunday

Because of Easter’s pagan origins, my husband and I choose not to be involved in the commercialization of Easter. We like to call the day Resurrection Sunday. Here are a few ideas to celebrate the day with your church and family.

  • Make Resurrection Rolls for your family.

Recipe: Provide a large canned biscuit for each person.  Flatten the biscuit out until it is about 5 inches across.  Spread melted butter, sugar and cinnamon on it.  Explain that the spices represent the spices used to anoint Jesus’ body before His burial. Give one large marshmallow to each person.  The marshmallow represents Jesus.  It is white because it stands for His purity and sinless life.  Place the marshmallow in the center of the biscuit. Then fold the sides around it forming a “tomb”.  Put more butter, cinnamon, and sugar on the outside.  Talk about the sweet taste of the spices and that Jesus is the sweetest gift we will ever receive.  Place the biscuits crease side down on a greased baking sheet so that they will not open while cooking.  Bake according to directions on biscuit package.  Allow time to cool because the marshmallow will be very hot. When you bite into the rolls, you will be surprised to find the center empty.  The marshmallow has melted.  As each person discovers the empty tomb, discuss the Scripture Matthew 28:6 “He is not here: for He is risen. . .”

  • Two weeks before that Sunday, pass out printed invitations to your congregation. Ask them to give an invitation to one person and invite him to services for Resurrection Sunday. Tell them to either mail or hand-deliver the invitations.
  • Purchase an Easter lily and send as a donation to a local business, hospital, law enforcement, or school. Attach a small card from your church, “With appreciation for all you do for our community during this Resurrection season.”
  • Give children small gift bags of Jelly Beans with the Jelly Bean Story.

Jelly Bean Story 

Little jelly beans, tell a story true
A tale of our Father’s love –
Just for you and me.
Green is for the waving palms
Red is for His precious blood
Black is for the sin He washed from your soul and mine
White is for our hearts now clean from sin
Purple’s for the sadness of His family and friends
And Yellow is for the glory of the day He rose again.
Now you’ve heard the story, you know what each color means.
The story of our Father’s love told by some jelly beans.
So every morning take a bean, they’re really very yummy.
Something for the soul, you see, and something for the tummy.

Google: Jelly Bean Story of Easter to get graphics and ideas for gifts

Are We Giving Our King Our Whole Hearts?

The Bible tells us that we will be blessed if we keep the Lord’s testimonies and commandments and seek to please Him with our whole hearts.

Psalms 119:10   With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

Psalms 119:34   34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

Wholehearted means that our hearts are not divided into parts. Are our hearts being divided in one of these areas?

  • The way we talk about God’s goodness to others? Do we talk one way to our pastor and other church members, but then talk a completely different way to those who are not Christians.

Psalms 9:1 I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works (to everyone)

  • The way we treat our husbands and other family members? Many times the hardest people to be sweet and kind are those who are closest to us.

Proverbs 31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

  • The way we pray for others. It is easy to say, “I will be praying for you.” …but then we forget to pray.

1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

Colossians 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

  • The way we dress? Are we dressing the way God, our husbands, and our pastors desire for us to dress. We must be willing to submit ourselves to those who are an authority in our lives and submit ourselves to them.

Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

  • The way we encourage others. Sometimes, we get our feelings hurt, because others haven’t encouraged us the way that we think they should…but think back…when was the last time that we encouraged them?

Mark 12:33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

I once read an article about Queen Mary. She made it her practice to visit Scotland every year. She was so loved by the people that she often mingled with them freely without an escort. One afternoon, while walking with a group of children, some dark clouds came up unexpectedly.  She stopped at a nearby house to borrow an umbrella. She knocked on the door and explained to the woman who answered the door, “If you will lend me an umbrella, I will send it back to you tomorrow.” Since the woman did not recognize the Queen , she was reluctant to give this stranger her best umbrella, and she handed the Queen an umbrella that she intended to throw away. This umbrella was torn in several places and had several broken ribs.

The next day another knock was heard at the door. When the woman opened  the door, she was greeted by a royal guard, who was holding in his hand the woman’s old, tattered umbrella. “The Queen sent me,” he said. “She asked me to thank you for loaning her your umbrella.” For a moment the woman was stunned, then, she burst into tears. “Oh, what an opportunity I missed,” she cried. “I did not give the Queen my very best!”

What a great illustration to consider. Are we giving the King of Kings our very best and our whole hearts?

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