Category Archives: Love

Time to Dust Off Your Marriage?

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Reminders are a way of providing a tune-up in order to keep our marriage in the appropriate priority with all the things that compete for our attention in this crazy world.

Let’s consider some key elements about marriage that we may have forgotten.  Here are a few that help us to demonstrate the practice of love in our relationship:

A key component in revitalizing your marriage is the understanding that your marriage is not about you. Realize that God has created uniqueness in both of you. The more you come to accept and love the differences between the two of you, the sooner you can learn to let go of the little stuff that the enemy loves to use to distract you from the goal.  The goal of every couple should be to live for the other, to live for God. That doesn’t mean you sacrifice your individuality; it simply means that consideration for what is most beneficial to your relationship will outweigh what is solely beneficial to you individually. From that you will begin to reap increasing dividends.

Creating a richer, fuller marriage begins with a decision: the decision to die to oneself.  This is not only in relationship to God, but also in our relationship to one another.  Whether our dysfunction stems from attitudes, behaviors, past experiences, or simply choosing to believe the lies of the enemy, it is essential that we step out of ourselves and move into alignment with our creator.  As you continue on your journey of marriage, begin to step out of the shame and guilt of the past. No matter what you may have done, no matter what you may have partaken in, you are not out of redemption’s grasp.

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.     – Colossians 1:13-14

Be comforted; your past doesn’t have to be a blueprint for your future. The time to start living intentionally is right now. Let your marriage be an example that glorifies God. The benefits of such a decision are countless, not just to you, but to your children, future generations, and everyone you come into contact with.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.      – 1 Peter 4:8-11

Perhaps it’s time to assess yourself?  That’s not a bad thing; we should ALL do it from time to time.  Maybe it’s time to dust off some of these elements and place them front and center in your life so that your marriage will to an extent that you never thought possible.  Marriage is work, hard work, but some of the most rewarding work you will ever do.  Just a thought…

Be blessed as you continue your marital journey!

©2016 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Behavior, Love, Obedience, Priorities, selflessness, Shame, Unity

I Still Like the Biggest and Best Gift (Part II)

gift

As my post continues, open your heart to the circumstances that confronted my two young boys.  Perhaps something within you will be awakened as we approach the day that signifies the birth of love and great joy to all mankind, now let’s continue our story.

…We needed to make one additional stop.  One of our dear friends, a neighbor to my mother, whom we have known for many, many years was going through a trial and we wanted to pay a visit.  Her elderly husband was confined at home with hospice care and we thought he might like a visit from us and the “crazy kids”, they have loved our boys for as long as we have!

It is always a bit shocking to see the frailty of life thrust in your face.  Over a very short period of time this strong, joyful hardworking, spirit-filled man had become very sickly, gaunt, having great difficulty breathing.  Not the man I remember working in his garage, constantly building model planes that he loved to fly and gifting our children his latest woodwork toy.  He was dying.

The boys slowly moved closer to him, they had never seen anybody dying before, not like this.  My youngest shared with him that he had just been baptized.  As tired and sick as he was, the neighbors eyes lit up!  He was overjoyed, lifting his arms toward the heavens, thanking God for Derek’s decision.  The boys asked if they could pray with him.  He couldn’t have been more receptive!  The prayers were short, but sweet and most definitely heartfelt.  The boys went back to their grandmothers while everyone hugged out their goodbyes.  This was a visit much appreciated by these special friends.

Moments later, my wife and I walked next door, back to grandma’s house.  We were both very happy that we had decided to bring the boy’s with us.  I could feel the sadness hanging over the living room like a heavy, dark veil.  My oldest sat quietly, very quietly on the sofa.  This was most unusual for a boy that typically exuded energy.  My youngest was curled up in the over-sized easy chair, with great futility, trying to contain his tears.  Their Oma came out of the kitchen, wiping her eyes, trying to be strong for the boys but cracking under the atmosphere.

Those two spirit-sensitive, compassionate young boys were struggling with their emotions and struggling with the concept of life itself.  They were trying to make sense of the very thing that many grown adults battle, the question of, “Why?”  What followed were a series of marvelous conversations that took place then and throughout that day.

Just as in the baptism that Derek had undergone, it was a symbol of death to restored and resurrected life.  I was able to help young Derek understand in a very practical and age appropriate way, the meaning of being “born-again”.  There is no “born-again” state without death to our old self, death to our own selfishness nature.  Death is a cycle we all endure, however, as a believer, we hold the  promise; the gift, of everlasting life with our creator.  Death is not the final word, it is simply a transition, a new chapter, if you will.  Our precious friend was merely transitioning before us.  There is no need to fear death.

What shall we say, then?  Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?  By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?  Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead  through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.”           Romans 6:1-5

 There is also no need to fear the questions when you have the answer.  Thank you Lord that you have given us the answer and that answer comes in the gift that you have given all those who would accept you into their hearts, the gift of everlasting life.  Thank goodness life is not a “gift exchange”, I could never come close to matching that value.  But then again, none of us has too, just be thankful and show it to others!

The great thing is that there is plenty to go around.  My blessing for you this Christmastime is that you accept it and simply thank Him, whose birth we celebrate this time of year and whose sacrifice was the “biggest” and “best” gift of all.

If you feel the tugging on your heart, if you know that contentment has never been within your grasp, if you know that things can and must be different I would be remiss if I didn’t give you the opportunity to share in the gift that has been given me by asking Him into your life.  It begins as simply as a prayer:

Lord God, I thank you for your presence here today.  I come before you a flawed and weak person, undeserving of the gift you offer me.  Despite my sin, I ask you into my heart.  I do believe I can be saved through the blood and sacrifice on the cross of your son Jesus Christ who died for our sins.  I come to you for complete restoration as I begin this new life in you.  Cleanse me of my sins and reside in me.  I welcome you with open arms and seek to follow you all of my remaining days.  I thank you and in your Holy name I pray.  Amen.

Now get plugged into a local church and they will provide further guidance as you begin your new walk.  I pray that as we look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus that today would be a day to celebrate your rebirth in Him.

God bless you and your family this holiday season and every day!

©2016 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.  It’s a thoughtful Christmas gift for any couple’s in your life.

 

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Filed under Baptism, Beliefs, Christmas, Love, Restoration, Salvation, Thankfulness

I Still Like the Biggest and Best Gift (Part I)

gift-box

It’s that time of year again when the incurably curious sift among the beautifully ornate boxes and bags littered under Christmas tree.  The gifts come in all shapes and sizes and we always envy the one with the biggest gift.  They say “Don’t be selfish, it’s the thought, not the size of the present!”  I suppose that’s human nature to want the best and the biggest, this is what society teaches us.  As a pastor, I probably shouldn’t say this, but, I concede.  Sometimes the biggest gift is the best!

Let’s step back a few months, weeks before we even ventured into this holiday season…

I came through the front door of my mother’s home. I could feel the sadness hanging over the living room like a heavy, dark veil.  My oldest of ten years sat quietly, very quietly on the sofa.  This was most unusual for a boy that typically exuded energy.  My youngest, age seven, was curled up in the over-sized easy chair, with great futility, trying to contain his tears.  Their Oma came out of the kitchen, wiping her eyes, trying to be strong for the boys but cracking under the atmosphere.  The image was in stark contrast to the joyous way the day began…

I was about to participate in an event that would fill my heart with joy!  I had the pleasure of experiencing the same excitement a scant year ago with my eldest son.  I helped him up the steps as I walked around to the side.  He found his position and sat down on the step, he looked out at all the people, there to celebrate this event with us, then he turned to me with that ever familiar smile.  In spite of occasional displays, shy he is not.  The senior pastor held the microphone out as I asked, “Is there anything that you would like to share?”  “I would like to thank everyone who came out today to see me get baptized.  I love all of you and most importantly, I love God.”  He smiled, my heart nearly burst from my chest with happiness.  The congregation was clapping, my boy was obviously pleased with their response.  “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?”  “Yes, I have.”  “Then I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.”  I leaned him back, completely submerging him for a moment, then back to his upright position.  I bent down to his ear and whispered, “I love you.” He returned my words with a big kiss. “I love you too!”

Once he had decided that he was ready to be baptized, I had shared with him more specifically the purpose and symbolism of the event.  Baptism is an outward expression of your decision to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, the lord of your life.  Although baptism does not save you, it is a testimony to others that you will strive to live your life for God and die to sin.  Your decision to accept Jesus is the key to eternity following our life here on earth.  The submersion in water represents our burial or death to self.  Coming up from the water is symbolic of resurrection into our new life with Christ.  The entire ceremony is symbolic of what Jesus did for us on the cross that most important day several hundred years ago.  Yes, even at the young age of seven, my boy understood the importance of baptism and the gift that was given to us, in spite of what we may have done.  As a believer and follower of Christ we are assured a glorious eternity with Him.  But, I digress.

After a wonderful celebratory lunch with family and friends, all were in high spirits.  At that moment, it hadn’t occurred to me that God would use the events of the day to make a practical, hard-hitting point to all.  We needed to make one additional stop.  One of our dear friends, a neighbor to my mother, whom we have known for many, many years was going through a trial and we wanted to pay a visit.  Her elderly husband was confined at home with hospice care and we thought he might like a visit from us and the “crazy kids”, they have loved our boys for as long as we have!

His wife welcomed the visit and was thrilled to see the boys, hugging us all as she took us to his room.  It is always a bit shocking to see the frailty of life thrust in your face…

This life lesson will conclude in my NEXT POST, “I Still Like the Biggest and Best Gift (Part II)

May you all be blessed as you ENJOY this Christmas Season!

©2016 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.  It’s a thoughtful Christmas gift for any couple’s in your life.

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Filed under Baptism, Beliefs, Christmas, Emotions, Love, Priorities, Restoration, Salvation, Thankfulness

Addressing the “Self” in Selfishness

selfishness 2-children

Filling the cracks of an eroding marital foundation begin with addressing areas in which YOU bear responsibility.  Blaming your mate will produce nothing but further distance between you.  Besides, you don’t have the ability to change your spouse, but you can change the dynamics by focusing on areas in which you need to grow.  After identifying areas in which we may be exhibiting selfish behaviors, what can we do about it? How can we change our selfishness?

  1. Present yourself to God; ask him to make you aware of your own selfishness. BE PREPARED: if you ask God to show you, he will be faithful. Your job is to be ready to receive it and do something about it.
  1. Meditate and internalize the following scriptures:

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. -John 15:13

Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.  -1 Corinthians 10:24

These particular scriptures remind me that my relationships are not about me but about loving others.

  1. Try doing the opposite of what you feel. It sounds unusual but consider that your autopilot may currently be guided by your hurt (not the best compass), so your natural tendency is to self-protect that hurt. Take a chance and see what happens. We can only update our script by taking chances and gathering new evidence to see if our childhood beliefs are still accurate. Have these childhood beliefs skewed our adult perception of relationships, of life? Challenge your adult perceptions. Are they accurate?

Remember, in spite of what happened in your childhood, regardless of the pain that may have been inflicted, intentionally or unintentionally, you are no longer that child. You are an adult and bear the consequences of your adult actions. Ask yourself, “What am I going to do about it?” It’s time to take responsibility for your own behavior. Seek God’s strength and help as you begin to take responsibility for the one thing that you can control: your own behavior.

In spite of the hurt and frustration you may be feeling, depending on the current state of your marriage, it is be important to begin taking responsibility for your own behavior and the decisions that you make. After all, who pays the consequences of your actions? Ultimately you do and perhaps your children.

Bless you in your desire to change.

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Behavior, Beliefs, Love, Self-Talk, Selfishness

Do You Want to Draw Closer to Each Other, Draw Closer to God

 

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As with anything else, identifying areas that need to improve and actually putting forth the efforts to improve are two different things. Now you need to make the decision to change and act on it! Ask God to give you the strength, courage, and healing to put these new improvements into practice.

 Worship has to be on the top of the list. It is a broad category that includes attending church together, praying together, and reading the Bible together. There are other ways of worshiping together, but we will narrow our focus to these facets. Church attendance is very important as an outward expression of what you believe. The teachings serve to offer new input into your mind and soul. New input can challenge those unhealthy thoughts and at least give opportunity for change. Second Corinthians 10:5 states, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

How would this be possible if we don’t know the knowledge of God? This is my personal life verse, and I highly recommend that you commit it to memory as a reminder. Get yourself plugged into a congregation that will challenge you. If you are sick, you go to the doctor, because he is the expert and authority. God is the expert and authority on marriage, and since he designed it, it would behoove you to find out what he has to say.

Praying together is a surefire way to increase intimacy in your relationship. You sit before God together, searching his heart and what he wants for the two of you. You don’t have to feel obligated to fill the air with words. You can keep your prayers simple and heartfelt. Sit together and listen—listen to what God would stir in your heart. Ask God to show you the things you need to change. But be careful; if you ask God to show you yourself, he will, so be ready to receive what he has to say. Remember he only wants you to be the best you can be, the way he created you.

The best and simplest way to visualize how God fits into the marriage commitment is as follows: envision a pyramid. At the top of the pyramid is God, the designer of marriage. He is at the pinnacle of the triangle. At the bottom left angle of the triangle we find the husband. At the bottom right angle we find his lovely wife. Now, place one finger on each bottom angle, representing the husband and the wife. Slowly slide your fingers up the sides of the triangle, moving toward the name God. What do you notice? As you move closer to God, you move closer to each other. Point taken?

 Reading the Word together has great marital benefits as well. It sparks great conversations as you contemplate what God would speak to you through the Scriptures. It provides a time for growing together in Him, which in turn increases intimacy. You will also get to know your spouse better as you share thoughts on God’s insights.

Do you demonstrate your love to your spouse by demonstrating your love to God? If you are reluctant to give God your love, It would only go without saying, how much less your mate? What are you willing to do to improve your relationship with God?

©Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Behavior, Beliefs, Character, Commitment, Love, Meditation, Obedience, Prayer, Unity, Worship

Age and Wisdom

senior citizens 2

You know, a funny thing happened on my way to the bacon and eggbeaters sandwich on white buttered toast…

This particular morning had already been agendized.  Wake up early, go grab a nice, but quick, breakfast, spend some time in the Word and off to the office for what I had anticipated to be a challenging day of counseling.  Little did I know what God had in store for me on this particular day.  The entire restaurant was empty except for a group of about thirty older men who were chatting, eating and sipping their coffee.  I would have to estimate the average age of this group to be eighty.  The server seated me in a booth that was very close to the congregation of “seasoned” citizens.  There was a sign posted behind the men (which they obviously posted themselves, with pride) that read “United States Veterans Club”.  As I sat, many of them greeted me with a warm “Hello”, which I reciprocated.  I will admit that it was nice to be regarded as a “young whipper-snapper” amongst these crusty codgers.

Without a beat one of the men came over to me and asked if I was a veteran, to which I replied, “No, sir, I am not.  But I have a great deal of respect for those who have served our country in its defense.”  “What do you do?” he asked.  “I’m a pastor.  I counsel and offer guidance to those in need.”  He smiled, “Oh, my friend, the battles that you fight are every bit as real as the battles that we have been involved in.”

Pretty soon, another gentleman slide out of his seat and right into my both, directly across from me.  Another joined us.  I felt like I had become an honorary vet.  They began sharing some of their life experiences, their struggles and victories, and lessons learned on their journeys.  They shared their stories of faith while presenting their personal testimonies to me, a complete stranger.  I said very little, just listened intently.  I had a rare opportunity to glean from approximately 225 years of accumulated history.  They shared with honor, yet humility.  It was my time to learn.  My quiet, solo breakfast turned into a colorfully and richly detailed lesson in human endeavor and perseverance.  I cannot minimize, and they will never fully understand, the impact that these men left on me at that fateful breakfast.

As a Christian, I walked away from the encounter with several lessons that I need to practice always.  I pray that I am so welcoming and open to experiencing the lives of others and willing to be so bold, yet humble in sharing my faith.  I pray that I will take the time to listen to what those older than myself have to offer, because there is much to glean.  I also pray that I never develop a “I have arrived” attitude; that arrogance will never deflect what I have yet to learn (which is much!)

My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.  Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck.  When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life,…    Proverbs 6:20-23

 Solomon’s wisdom speaks volumes to us all and transcends the confines of a familial relationship.  There is wisdom all around us in the minds of those often written off by our society.  I encourage you, don’t let the fear of a wrinkled, faded, well-worn stage curtain prevent you from peering into the wisdom and illumination that may lie just beyond it.  Those extra years may give you wisdom that you seek.

James, the gentleman who first slid into my booth concluded our interaction by stating, “I know I’m just rambling on and I don’t have much of a formal education, but thank you for letting me sit with you.”  Smiling, I replied, “My friend, there are far too many who have exchanged a fancy piece of paper for their faith.  Never underestimate the value of what you have learned and the importance that it is to the next generation.  I thank you.”  And so we all parted.  I can’t speak for them, but I can say that I am richer for the experience.  Again, God’s agenda is better than my own.

Love our senior’s, remember, you will be one before you know it!

Be Blessed!

©2016 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Elderly, Fellowship, Love, Misconceptions, Respect, Role Modeling

LOVE and Our Emotional State

Key

Let’s take a journey down memory lane. In all likelihood, the following scripture was recited at your own wedding. Let’s revisit as I share a well kept secret,

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.        1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Do you notice anything unusual about this passage of scripture? Note that it is all action driven, contrary to what our society would have you believe. Lasting love is not emotionally fueled, although feelings are certainly produced. What this tells me is that a healthy, long-lasting and loving relationship is based on my desire to put forth the necessary efforts to keep it healthy. I do not determine my effort by what I feel like doing.  Oh, yes I know, that’s NOT really a secret.  But you’d think it was!

Bill comes home after a grueling day at the office; nothing came off as planned. His head wouldn’t stop pounding. His computer was being its normal stubborn self. The traffic on the way home was horrendous. In general, Bill feels lousy. He pulls into the driveway and walks up to the front door. Now Bill has a decision to make. He has a choice. He can walk through the front door and meet his family behaving exactly how he feels—cranky, agitated, and aggressive, dumping that anger on his wife.

How do you think that delightful presentation will be received? She will shoot back with both barrels, taking all of Bill’s behaviors in a personal way. After all, she is the new target of his aggression. What alternative does she have? He attacked her. That just makes Bill angrier, so he escalates the confrontation. His voice increases in volume, and maybe he throws down his briefcase for dramatic effect. Offended, she comes right back at him. So the conflict escalates right up the scale! Bill’s feelings dictated his behavior, to his disadvantage, and the unfortunate recipients were his family.

Here’s an alternative scenario. Bill stands at the door, feeling lousy but aware of it. He decides that regardless of how he feels, he is going to demonstrate love and affection toward his wife and family. Bill enters his home and gives his wife a kiss and tells her how much he loves her. How do you think that reception will be met? If she is monitoring her behavior (maybe she had a rough day with the kids, etc.) the odds are great that she will respond to her husband’s loving display and reciprocate. That will affect Bill’s emotional state in a positive fashion, actually reducing some of the aggression. Then he reciprocates and back and forth it goes. Bill begins to feel those negative emotions dissipate.

You might say to yourself, that’s just being fake! No, it is you doing what is right by your spouse, which in the end has the potential for great benefit for you. Do you enjoy conflict in your relationship? Keeping your feelings in check is a very practical way of facilitating that goal.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.       – James 3:17-18

Being aware of your emotional state and choosing your behaviors is one method to restore some peace in the relationship.

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Behavior, Beliefs, Character, Communication, Conflict Resolution, Emotions, Love

Relationship Priorities (Part III): Developing Confident Assurance

balance

In this series on relationship priorities we looked at the first two elements necessary to grow great relationships (model Christ and focus on other people).  In this, the final post in this series we will examine the third and final element of our priority list.

3. Focus on yourself. It’s amazing how when you initiate the first two priorities, the attitude about the third changes drastically. When you demonstrate Christ and put others first, what you get back in the contentment of joy carries you through most of your other trials. Joy is the confident assurance and trust of God in our lives. Throughout his letter to the Philippians, Paul explains how his joy carried him through some pretty intense tribulation. Read through Philippians and discover for yourself the difference between happiness and joy.

Do what is “right” and let the appropriate emotions follow the behavior.

 It’s exciting to see how the confidence and security of right actions affect our emotional state.  I always refer to the Bible in determining that “right” position.  Imagine having a tough day, traffic was terrible and you almost got into an accident, you got into an argument with one of your co-workers, your head has been aching all day and to top it all off you leave work only to be greeted by a flat tire!  It stinks, right?!  Now finally you get home, emotionally you are frustrated to say the least.  You have a decision to make.  In choosing to do what is right and behave in a loving fashion toward your wife and family you will have a direct impact on what you will receive from them.  Loving behavior is usually reciprocated thereby affecting your negative emotional state.  It can directly affect your well-being.  You will begin to feel better because of the consequences of right behavior.

 Live intentionally. As I stated in the introduction, the Scriptures are a guidebook to life, written by the one who created us. You benefit by living with intention and making decisions that guide the path of your life, with God’s direction, rather than living haphazardly, just letting life happen to you.  Understand that none of us is perfect, not by a long shot! But if we make selflessness our goal rather than serving our own self-interest, the odds of receiving God’s best in our lives increases tremendously.  Mark sums up our priorities the best.

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.   Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’   The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”  -Mark 12:28-31

By modeling and loving God and investing in others, the impact that behavior has on YOUR well-being will lead to personal peace, satisfaction and joy.  Be Blessed!

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Behavior, Emotions, Love, Priorities, Role Modeling, Selfishness

Relationship Priorities (Part II): Putting Others Before Yourself

People focus

In our last post we began to address the relationship priorities that grow and enhance our interactions and our lives.  Previously we examined the importance of modeling Christ in our daily walk rather than expectations of happiness.  Now, let’s take a look at the second element.

2. Focus on other people. If you take the focus off yourself and spend more time focusing on others, you make it less likely that your motivations will be driven by your own selfish desires. This is not to say you should neglect yourself, because you can only pour into others if you stay emotionally, physically, and spiritually full. You simply do not become the priority as we shall see shortly.

Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.  -1 Corinthians 10:24

The therapeutic effect of stepping out of your own emotional state to serve others is amazing. Mary was diagnosed with cancer.  Her knee-jerk reaction was to withdraw from the world. She lived in fear that any exposure to the outdoors, to the sun, would accelerate the cancer. Mary locked herself away, covering all the windows and never taking a step out of the house. She withdrew from other people, embarrassed by the hair loss associated with chemotherapy. She stopped coming to church, essentially stopped living.

What Mary had chosen to do is eliminate any new input or thought that would challenge her emotions. She simply recycled all the negative fear messages through her head. Her behavior followed suit and was dictated by those emotions. After consultation, she began challenging the fears and weighing the possible consequences of stepping outside her home. Commonly, we assume that things will be much worse than they actually end up being. One thing appeared certain: if Mary didn’t take a chance, her fear would eat her alive.

The following week she came to church. The outpouring of love and acceptance was heartwarming and had a great impact on her. Having all these people walking alongside her gave Mary a new lease on life. Her hair grew back following the chemo treatments, and her joy and confidence returned even faster. This dear lady made the decision not to follow her feelings but choose her own behavior, in spite of those destructive feelings.  She stepped forward, in spite of her emotions and engaged and invested in the lives of others to the benefit of all concerned.

Investing in others reaps dividends far greater than monetary riches!

As a matter of habit, do you find yourself more inwardly focused than investing in others?  What do you fear might happen if you extended yourself to others?  I want to encourage you to take a chance, you have much to offer others…God says so and that’s good enough for me!

In my last post in this series I will reveal the final priority in creating stability in our relationships and in our lives.

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Behavior, Emotions, Love, Priorities, Role Modeling, Selfishness

Relationship Priorities (Part I): They Go Beyond Your Happiness

priorities

Being aware of your emotional state and choosing your behaviors is one method to restore some peace in the relationship. Some of the other methods include the following.

 Don’t make happiness (a feeling) the ultimate goal in your marriage.

It sounds contrary to what you hear; everyone says, “I just want to be happy in my marriage.” Your desire should be to seek that deeper contentment known as joy. Emotionally we can be like a rollercoaster depending on what the day might bring. Happiness tends not to be consistent whereas the deeper sense of contentment or satisfaction (joy) remains constant regardless of what’s going on around us. True contentment is based on selflessness with a distinct priority system made up of three elements.

1. Model Christ in your life and in your relationships. The example Jesus sets in Scripture is the one we should follow while interacting with others. Christ’s example is demonstrated in the following passage:

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…  -Philippians 2:1-5

Has the goal of “happiness” been an issue in your relationship(s)? How realistic is it to expect others to make you happy? How effective are YOU at making others happy? Do your relationships experience much emotional turmoil?

Modeling Jesus in our lives transcends personal happiness. When we strive to emulate him it produces in us a sense of inner contentment that those around us will only benefit from.

In my next post I will reveal the second priority in creating stability in our relationships and in our lives.

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Behavior, Emotions, Love, Priorities, Role Modeling, Selfishness