Marriage After God

by Aaron & Jennifer Smith

38m

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Marriage After God is a weekly marriage focused podcast hosted by Aaron and Jennifer Smith, authors of Husband After God and Wife After God and their newest book titled Marriage After God: Chasing Boldly After God's Purpose For Your Life Together. Marriage After God is intended to encourage, inspire and challenge marriages to chase boldly after God together and to cultivate an extraordinary marriage with each other. Stay tuned each week for awesome marriage encouragement. We hope that we can shine a light on why God has brought you and your spouse together and how you can pursue His purpose for your life and family with joy and excitement.

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Last updated on September 22, 2020, 5:57 pm

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MAG 012: How To Know God’s Will For Your Marriage - w/ Sam & Amanda Ciurdar

May 01, 2019 • 43m

Order Marriage After God today and get a ton of free bonuses https://marriageaftergod.com Today we’re in part 12 of the marriage after God Series and we’re gonna be talking with Sam and Amanda Ciurdar about God’s Will for your marriage A Quote From Marriage After God “As the people of God and as children of the Creator, it is our inheritance to take on the family business of proclaiming with our words, actions, and love for one another that Christ came to reconcile the world to God.” PRAYER *Dear Lord, Thank you for your holy word. Thank you for sharing with us what your will is for our lives and what your will is for our marriages. We ask that we would continue growing in knowledge and understanding of your word. As husbands and wives, please help us to build and keep your word as our strong foundation. We pray against our flesh from getting in the way of doing your will. When we start to wrestle with our flesh, Holy Spirit please defend us and help us to have victory over our flesh. Renew our perspective of life and marriage, so that we may see what you see. Reveal to us the bigger picture of how your will is being done in us and through us. Motivate our hearts to use every part of our lives to live for you! May we understand the impact our ministry has as we walk faithfully every day with you and with each other. May we fulfill our part as your body to share your gospel with this lost world. In Jesus’ name, amen!* READ TRANSCRIPT Hey, we're Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God. Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage. And today, we're in part twelve of the Marriage After God series and we're gonna be talking with Sam and Amanda Ciurdar about God's Will For Your Marriage. Welcome to the Marriage After God podcast, where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after. I'm Jennifer, also known as Unveiled Wife. And, I'm Aaron, also known as Husband Revolution. We have been married for over a decade. And so far, we have four young children. We have been doing marriage ministry online for over seven years, through blogging and social media. With a desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage, encouraging them to walk in faith every day. We believe that Christian Marriage should be an extraordinary one, full of life Love And power That can only be found by chasing after God. Together Thank you for joining us on this journey, as we chase boldly after God's Will for our life together. This is Marriage After God. So, today's guests are Sam and Amanda Ciurdar. They're great friends of ours and we're really excited for you guys to hear what they have to share with you today. But, before that, we just want to encourage you guys to leave a review. This is just a way to get the podcast out there, to share what the message is of, you know, having a marriage after God. So, if you could, just take a minute to just go review the podcast. And, also if you love this podcast, and you want to support us, the way you can support us, is going to shop.marriageaftergod.com and picking up a copy of Marriage After God. It's our new book, it's what this series is about, and it's why we're talkin' to Sam and Amanda today. And, so, let's just get into the conversation. Sam and Amanda, we are so happy to have you on the podcast, so let's start with who you are, and how long you've been married, children, stuff like that. Cool, well thank you for having us. It's our pleasure to be here. Who are we? Who are you? I am Sam, right, or are you Sam? Yes I'm Sam. I am a filmmaker, and photographer, based out of Southern California. This is my wife, Amanda, and loving mother of our daughter, who is two, and a baby to be, our son coming in, like, about a month or so. So awesome. Gettin' really crazy up in here. Yeah, we've been married for seven and a half years. June will be eight, which is insane we've been together for ten years, now? It's two hands. Yeah, two hands Yeah, you have to count on two hands now. I think that, yeah, I stay at home with our daughter, and soon our son, and it's just a blessing the life that we get to live together. Awesome. So awesome, guys, thanks for sharing and letting everyone know that, and, you know, we've known you guys for just over, you know, seven years. Because, we remember going to your wedding Oh yeah, I was trying to think, did we know them before they were married. I actually have a really embarrassing moment from your wedding. I don't know if you guys ever knew this, but I tripped and fell coming out of the wedding into the reception, and yeah, it was really embarrassing. Was it high heels that you were wearing? I was wearing high heels, I never wear high heels, and I was like, I'm gonna dress up, yeah, so I fell right on my face. That can be. That's awesome. I think I remember that. So we've known you guys for quite a while, you guys are good friends of ours. We live separately now, but I think we still keep in touch pretty regularly. Yes! And, we're excited to have you on the show today, because you guys have been a part of our journey for a long time, we've been a part of your journey. Just growing in God, growing in marriage, becoming parents, and you know, we're talking about God's Will For Your Marriage. It's from Chapter 12 in our book, and we love that you guys have constantly been pursuing that in your life. And so, we're not expecting you guys to have all the answers, we just love talking to you, we wanna discuss this idea of what that looks like. And, we have some questions for you guys, and hope you are ready. Well, probably not. So, where to start. Start with the icebreaker. Being honest. Yeah We're gonna start with the icebreaker, so you know, this is lighthearted stuff here. Where have been your favorite place to travel together? We probably agree on this one, I would say Iceland. Yeah, we went to Iceland. It took us two years to get pregnant with our daughter, and in those two years, we traveled a lot. And those two years, are some of the best years of our life, and I think God really allowed us to Well, I'm thinking that in the year that we ended up getting pregnant, I know I personally had been on thirteen trips in twelve months, and I think you were on twelve of those with me. Yeah, so it was crazy, but Iceland was during that time, and so, it was a really kind of vulnerable time in our life. But a really special kind of unifying trip, and Iceland is an incredibly beautiful place, so it was definitely unique for multiple reasons. Iceland, that's the green one, right? Yeah, the green one. Greenland's the white one, and Iceland's the green one. Thank the Vikings for that. Yeah, they switched them on purpose, yeah. Well, that's awesome. What's our favorite trip that we've ever been on together? Canada? Corona Corona? No, not Corona. I would say our last trip to Maine, that was really wonderful. That was actually, Maine, I want to go back to Maine, you're right that was a good one. We've been to Maine, too. Especially in the Fall, the leaves were changing, yeah. Beautiful Good food. Awesome, good answers to the icebreaker. Iceland, icebreaker. Oh, there you go, yeah. So, I'm gonna share a quote real quick from, and this might set a tone for us, its from Chapter 12 from the Marriage After God book, God's Will For Your Marriage, and this is the quote "As the people of God and as the children of the Creator, "it is our inheritance to take on the family business "of proclaiming with our words, actions and love "for one another that Christ came "to reconcile the world to God." And so, that's kinda this big, big, big picture, like the overall, large Will that God has for His people. So, but, you know, how does that play out in the everyday, how does that play out in all the unique details of our lives and what God's doing with us. It's kinda what we wanna talk about today, so. Yeah, which leads us into our first question, and that's when you hear the term God's Will, what do you guys think of? That's a big question. That's a loaded question. That's a loaded question. Honestly, for me, when I think of the word, God's Will, I kinda substitute it for the word, plan. And, that His Plan, is far superior than my own, so that's kinda what I think of my mind I guess. What I think of is that God has His Perfect Will, and His Permissible Will. His Perfect Will being His Perfect Plan, of course, the trajectory for our lives that He would have us take. And then, Permissible, as what He allows to happen in our lives, or decisions that He allows us to make. And, so, that's kinda where my mind goes when I think about that, when I think about those two, kinda, avenues Yeah That's good. So, I think, I like those words you used, you know, His Perfect Will, His Permissible Will, we've talked about that a lot in the past, and just the two different varying ideas of that. And, then, I liked the word, Plan, you know, what's His Plan like, what is His Plan for my life, you know. What's my Will for everyday, you know, like, and we'll probably jump into that more. Like if I change the word, Will, to Plan, it kinda, I don't know, pretty much grounds it a little bit more, for me. Right, yeah, I think that's a good word for listeners to be like, okay, God's Will is like His Plan. And, I feel like that many Christians want to know God's specific Will for their lives, I feel like, especially, Millennials and these younger generations, what's my call, what's my passion, what am I supposed to do in this world? You know that we hear that a lot. But, in the Christian terms, what is our unique ministry, or call on our life? And, we wonder that, but it can feel elusive or ambiguous. Do you guys feel that way in your life? Do you feel like God's Will and Plan for your life, specifically, is ambiguous, or elusive, or do you guys feel otherwise? For me personally, I would say no, because I guess I'm kind of a unique case, that ever since I was a kid, I've always known what I wanted to do with my life. And I wasn't going to, I was going to fight for it, like you know, I had no extra, I had no plan B, there was no extra alphabet letters for me, it was plan A, or bust. For me, I always knew I wanted to be a filmmaker, photographer, and be like, a storyteller through visuals. And, I know, it's been something that God placed on me, because it's allowed me to effortlessly to somehow work in the Church world, doing video work, that's kinda led to other opening, doors opening, and it's kinda been like a chain reaction. And, I know that God's called me to do it, I don't know on what scale, but I know His Plan is still unraveling for me in that sense, and what He wants me to do in that realm. So, for me, it's kinda hard, because I have friends who always go, like, I don't know what I'm supposed to do with my life, I don't even know what my passion is. You know, for me, I've been passionate about this one thing since I was probably five years old, you know. I know ever since I've known you. Yeah Ever since I've known myself You've had a natural draw toward it, and a talent to go with it. And I know, that's not the case for a lot of people. A lot of people don't even know what they want to do 'til college years, you know, so for me, it's literally been through from my DNA, and I know God placed it there on purpose. Definitely Go ahead, Aaron, did you have a question for Sam? I was just going to say, Amanda, how does that planned out the question for you? So, Sam having this call on his life has, God has worked through and allowed me to be able to stay at home. Which, becoming a mom for me was a total identity shift, because this question was, I would say for me, so does it feel elusive and ambiguous? I would say, yes and no, for me. It seems to have ebb and flow through the different seasons that life brings. I think for a long time, I felt kind of maybe lost, maybe less than, because I didn't have this big pull toward something specific, towards starting an organization, or you know, being a missionary in Africa, or you know, doing things just really big scale, like, just things like that, and so, it's kind of made me feel like, well, other people are doing these big things, like does God have this big grand plan for my life, and I Being a mom is no joke Being a mom is no joke, but anybody who is a stay at home mom, or mom, I guess, on any scale, would probably agree and say that the day to day doesn't really feel very grand. You know, when I'm sitting and reading a book with my daughter, or I'm coloring Minnie Mouse on the next coloring book, like we did tonight You color very well though I did stay inside the lines, so, but I've learned that it doesn't have to be one big thing, and that it looks different for everybody. And, that God calls some people to really big things, multiple things, smaller scale things, and I think for right now for my season of life, my season is being a mother. That's what He's allowed me to do, that's what He's brought Sam's career to a place where I'm able to do that. But, even in terms of since I've known you, like our first date, I think I asked you what is your dream in life. And, you didn't have a career dream, you literally said I would love to be a stay at home mom. Yeah So that's here we are seven years later. But, I see these amazing women, who are moms that also have these, you know, careers that they're pursuing, so that was a struggle for me, when I first became a mom, I guess let it feel like a nothin' So, for me I think what it could mean for my life is living out the Fruits of the Spirit intentionally each day in my home, and when I go out. And working at being obedient, and open, and flexible as a vessel for God's Purposes, whether it's big and grand to me, or small. Like I was telling Sam earlier, it feels a little bit like, you know, if you put five bucks, if you donate five bucks to the Church, or wherever, like, what we could do with that five dollars is so much different than what God could do with that five dollars. Do you know what I mean? So, that's kind of how it feels like. What may seem small and insignificant in my day to day, like, I never know the impact that God's gonna take, how He's gonna, how it's gonna manifest in the future. If that makes sense. Right Yeah, I mean, like, being a stay at home mom, she's able to share that lifestyle on her social media, and I think it's just manifested into something else that I don't think either one of us really knows what's happening behind that digital curtain, you know what I mean? Right The lives that we impact, we don't even know, it could be one person, it could be hundreds of people. But, I know a lot of people, you know Amanda's not going to say this, but I know a lot of women look up to her as a woman and as a mom. That's a powerful thought. Seriously, we're only two questions in, and I'm like, you guys this is so powerful. And I think those listening are being so encouraged right now, because so many are, you know, stay at home moms, or are moms with, you know, businesses or careers in other things that they're doing, or even dads, you know, and I think that it can, I just feel like you guys are hitting so many points right now that are encouraging people's hearts. And I just wanted to say thank you for your authenticity, and your transparency right now, because we need to hear it. Yeah, and I also think the idea that we sometimes think, you know, ministry or God's Will for my life, it doesn't look like that other person, that comparison idea, so I must not be doing it. We talk about that all the time We do Someone who could be on a pastor or, you know, preaching in front of thousands of people, people go like, oh man, this guy is doing things for the Kingdom, you know, but at home you don't know what's happening. You know, it's because of putting on this facade Could be It could be, yes, of course, I'm not saying it's everybody, obviously, but you know, we try not to put up any facades or anything like that, and we both work from home, so not a lot of people see what we do. And, here's the thing you guys, if you guys are a parent, you're doing something every single day for God's ministry, you're building up His Kingdom by raising godly children, and children who will know Him, and will walk in His ways, and so, that right there, is such a powerful ministry, regardless if anyone on social media ever knows. Yeah, and that's what, you know, one of the things we want to draw out in this book so much, is that God does have a Will for our life and marriage, and just because it doesn't look like what other people are doing, God wants us to be obedient where He has us. He wants us to serve Him and love Him and worship Him where He has us. And, not to, you know, that's coveting, we don't, He doesn't want us to covet anything, let alone someone else's, you know, talent or resource, or what God's given them. And, so it sounds like you guys, have settled into the idea that what you have, is what God has for you to do. Yeah, absolutely Yeah And it's not someone else's thing, and it's not some other thing Yeah, the only way, like I get, I've tied it in somehow going back to social media is, you know, when you have a decent following on a platform, a lot of people think to themselves, I wish I had this because I wish I had this many followers because then I'd get more people to see my work, or something like that. But, I've always encouraged people that if God has given you an audience of a hundred, those are a hundred hearers for you to preach to, or, you know, send a message to, or whatever, and if you're, you know, get blessed to have more, that's just more hearers, you know. And more responsibility And more responsibility, absolutely, so if you have five people who follow you on a social platform, what do you want to tell those five people, you know. It's kinda equals out, that's for sure. I love that, so do you guys, and that's exactly what we're getting at with this, is like, we're in God's vocation. What we do with our life, whether it be a filmmaker, a photographer, a mom, it's the, we have the same, God has the same Will for us as He does for everyone. It's to do His Will, it's to spread His message, to our children, to our coworkers, to that person that we are going to the coffee shop with, or you know, do you guys see yourself in ministry together? Even in these separate roles? Do we see ourselves in ministry together? We do, well, we're both home, with Lucy. Sam's work is often at home, he doesn't have to travel very often, and so I think that, Lucy has a bit of a unique childhood, in that she has both parents home. And so, like I said, I really believe, well I haven't said it yet, but I'm sure that I will, but the ministry at home is the most important some of the, you know, just what you do at home. And so, having a mom and having a dad, being able to influence her, discipline her, et cetera, I think that's a huge thing, and then, a lot of our lives are also on social media, and Yeah, I really think that the ministry word, can be such a larger scale, 'cause it's literally at least for me, I try to live in my house the same way I do out and about and in public. That's good, yeah. So like, you know, I'm not, I don't try to be all loving with other people out and about, and come home and I'm like mad, or like short with my wife and daughter. You know, if I'm short and frustrated with my daughter at home, I'm short and frustrated with other people out and about, you know. Nah, I'm just kidding, like You're consistent I try to be consistent But, I think, you know, the ministry that we're called to do is to literally love one another as much as we possibly can, you know, and on this Earth as Christians we are not here to judge. That's not our place, we have one Judge. So, while we are here on Earth, I feel like our calling is just to literally love on every single person. And, I think in doing that, it creates a light, and people are attracted to light, and people will naturally be like, oh, what's so different about you, and why, you know, who is this person, and I'm curious about it, and that can open up doors, you know. And that's simply as, if you're a barista, saying hi, or like, picking up a coffee for somebody, they'll be like, ah, that doesn't happen very often, and that even comes down to generosity, it's contagious, you know. So, that's what I feel like my ministry in life is to try and lead, but like lead as much by example, as I possibly can, you know, not necessarily walk around with a soap box, and like, shoving things down people's throat, you know. Yeah, I love that, so you know, we asked the question if you see yourself in ministry together, and sometimes it's hard to think of well, yeah, he does this and I do this, and yeah, sometimes we do that together. But, there's so much more in this idea of it being on the same team, being one in our ministry. So, you know, Amanda and the way she is around you, and the way she serves you, and loves you, gives you that energy and ability to go and do the same to others, and then the way you love and cherish your wife, allows her to have the energy and strength to not only, you know, disciple her children well, and love them well, and be with them and have the energy to do that. But, then also her girlfriends and, you know, her people that she sees when she's out and about, and so it's this oneness that we have, that we get to fulfill the Will of God, together. That's kinda, it's exactly what you're saying. Like, you're like, you know, it's our life, we are a light in this world, and we're preaching God's message, not our own. And, even though, it looks different in our individual ways of being during the day, we do it together, you know, that's kinda where we're hoping to encourage those listening. Whether you can perfectly verbalize it, that's what you are doing, that's how you explained it. It's a sport It's a team sport, yeah. And you're not playing singles tennis over here, you know, you're playing like a huge team sport. And, the funny thing is, we've already won, so that's like you should be able, can you imagine if every team knew that they won, how much boldly they would play. Yeah, we actually have a question up here. We skipped it because you guys kinda answered it already. But, I love that you just said, that if they knew they were gonna make every goal, how boldly they'd play. It says if you knew exactly what God's Will was for your marriage, would it encourage you to pursue it? Right. Yeah, we were talking about that one earlier. I'll say my answer first. I honestly believe that if you're in your Word, and you're praying, you know, continuously, daily, that your heart ends up aligning with God's heart. And that you're, at the end of the day, your will almost becomes His Will, and vice a versa. Yeah, I love that It's aligned, so naturally, sorry, so of course I would want to pursue God's Will in marriage, and in all things, because I feel like my heart is aligned with what He wants, you know. And, again, it comes down to God's Will, right, God's Will, actually change the word from Will to Plan, why would I not want His Plan, because His Plan is definitely gonna be way better than my own plan. And His timing Amen More than my own timing I love that, I think you nailed it too. Real quick, sorry, in God's Word, in prayer, I thought it was good that your will begins to align It does And it's funny because, you know, being a Christian, I've been a Christian for as long as I've known myself. You've known yourself a long time A very long time, and I've been a Christian, not the entire time, but Amanda and my resolution for last year was to read the entire Bible in a year's time. Oh cool You know we've read the Bible in pieces over our lives, and stuff, but actually never in its entirety. And in doing that, every single day, you know, I literally sought Him more, you know, it's like hanging out with your best friend every day. You get to know that person so much more, you're in more conversations, you know, it's hard to know somebody if you're not talking Amen, I love that, thank you for encouraging our listeners to read through the Bible this year. I love that. Honestly, if you guys want, I If we can do it, you can do it Yeah, and it's just really just the Holy Bible, the YouVersion, there's plans in there, 'cause we were thinking about how do we do this, you know Genesis, Chapter One, is the beginning of the Bible Yeah, it's written chronologically Yeah, there's a chronological plan that was in there. For me, as a storyteller, I've never read the Bible in this way, because it literally was, you know, the events from the beginning to the end, in chronological order, wasn't just reading Genesis to Revelation. Right, 'cause that's not necessarily in chronological order, yeah. Yeah, and so for me, I'm like, whoa, this makes so much more sense, to see literally the whole like, especially, the New Testament, I mean the Old Testament, literally, kinda like, flow and me playing it as a movie in my head, you can see like the cross space between each book, and stuff like that, where the new characters are coming in but they're related, it's just, it just really opened up my eyes in a whole new way. Love that So, for me, for this one, if you knew exactly what God's Will was for your marriage, would it encourage you to pursue it? My answer is maybe, and that's because I know in having lived life, and seen other people live life, that God's Will can be scary at times. Because we sometimes don't understand it, we sometimes question it, it takes faith, a tremendous amount of faith, to trust in the unseen and in the uncertain. So, if He were to reveal that to me, would I jump in with both feet, and be like, okay cool, I'm on board. I don't know that I would, because I think a majority of us would probably agree with you Right, and because I have flesh, and you know, God's Will is amazing, but it's not always Easy Designed, yeah, to make us happy, and so. But that's not why we're here, that's not our purpose, you now, and so, we're here to love God and love others, and to establish and further His Kingdom. And so And living a, you know, in God's Will is literally hard. Living a Christian life is hard, because you get tried all the time, and it's just funny, it's one of those things where it's like, you know, you pray that you want patience, for whatever reason, and God doesn't just grant, He's not a genie, He's not gonna grant to you patience, He's gonna test you He teaches you With patience, like, oh my God, why am I going through this again. He's like, well, you stopped learning your lesson It's a scary thing to pray for He doesn't just grant you wishes, so it's definitely hard. He gives us His Spirit, and then empowers us to walk in the things that He tells us to walk in. Like, endurance, and patience, and peace when everything's chaotic But I love Sam's answer too for this one, in just that your will really does, that's how you know, you know, that's how you know God's Will, because you're in His Word and you're praying, and your will will align with His, so even if He were to reveal that Will to me, if I was close enough to Him, I would understand this isn't about me, this isn't about my happiness, this is about other people, and about furthering His Kingdom. And, like you said Aaron, it's the Spirit would give me the strength, and the courage to accomplish what He's called me to do, and us to do in our marriage. Yeah, I don't even remember what the question is, but I'm just going off on a tangent Go for it, go for it Two things, one of our pastors told us within this past year that has absolutely stuck with me is, if your vertical relationship with God is aligned, and good, your horizontal relationships with people on Earth, are that much better as well. So, if I can't have a good vertical relationship with God, my relationship with my wife isn't gonna be as great. Strained So, if I focus, naturally, if you're having a bad relationship with somebody, bad relationship with your wife, you stop focusing on that person specifically, and start focusing on your vertical relationship with God, naturally, you'll start aligning and then your horizontal relationships start to align as well. That was just a big thing that I heard, and it just really stuck with me. And the other thing is, a lot of people just want joy in their life, and the pastor broke it down, if you want JOY, what's called an acronym, or whatever Yeah, acronym, yeah So if you put J, you put Jesus first, at all times, and then you put Others second, and you put Yourself last, naturally, you become joyous. And, that's how I've always been, and I don't know if that's something that my parents instilled in me, actually, once you become a Christian, that's when you put Jesus first, but I've always put others before myself. And, it's kinda like that saying where it feels better to give than to receive, you know. So, I think about, that's where a lot of joy comes from. When you're selfish, it's really absolutely hard for you to be joyous, because you're not being fulfilled. So, what you're saying is, in our marriage how we can fulfill God's Will for our marriage, and our lives, is to love God, love each other, and love others. I love that, because that's essentially Relationship, focus on Jesus, focus on your wife, and don't even think about yourself. Yeah, yeah, more specific Can you imagine if your wife just focused on you, and you focused on your wife, like you're filled with so much love. Oh, man, it's that I'll take up the cross thing, right? Lay myself down, you know Super easy I love that. Well, I really enjoyed just sitting back listening to you guys, this has been great. Did you guys even know that Sam could talk this much? I didn't, this is great. This is the most that I've ever heard Sam talk I wanna jump in and just again, just thank you for your vulnerability, and Amanda you had mentioned in saying that sometimes if we were to have known God's Will, the big picture, we would be scared, or it would be hard. So in keeping in line with that theme, have you guys ever passed up participating in something that God's invited you to do because you were afraid or because you thought you weren't qualified to do it? That's a hard question. The main thing for me that comes to mind, just off the top of my head, is I had kinda always felt a pull to sing on our worship teams at different churches and stuff, but just never felt good enough to do it. And, I did actually get up the courage, I've been a Christian most of my life, and so I ignored kinda that pull for many years, until our, a couple churches ago, so that was like maybe three, four years ago. And I got up the courage and I sang in a little audition thing, and they loved it, and I got out there, and God gave me the courage to kinda do that, and so, but the fear of kinda not being good enough, which is so ridiculous, and I know its ridiculous, but you just get in your head and you wonder what people are gonna think. I don't know, we all have some form of comparison in our lives, you know, and then we all have those insecurities speaking in our ears. Sometimes we're great at casting them down, and sometimes we believe them. So, that's kinda the only thing that I can think of, and I'm so glad that I did it. Cool, that's a good little story I don't think I really have an answer for it, because I went through a season where I was passionate about music, and I was drumming, and God put it on me to see if I could do music in the church, and I played drums for awhile. I was nervous, but I did that. I feel like that whatever passions I've had, or callings, that He's given me, I've kind of at least tried it, but I've never had, for example, the desire to be a preacher, or anything like that. But you tell stories with your videos. Yeah, absolutely, but if someone would be like, hey, come tell us a sermon, I'd be like, no thanks. They'd be like, well why not, well, God hasn't put it on my heart to do so. Like, I don't feel comfortable doing it, and God hasn't like tugged me in that direction. I don't really see why Yeah, Sam doesn't really get nervous or anything And I really don't fall under peer pressure Right And at the end of the day, we just wanna be obedient to the things God's given us, and like you said, not just wanting that other ministry that someone else has, because it seems like a greater ministry. But, take what God's given us, you know, being a mother, being a filmmaker, and using our marriage to glorify God, and to love people, and to show them who Christ is through our lives, and through our actions, and through our words. That's what God wants. We want Him to say one day when we look at Him, well done, good and faithful servant. Absolutely You've taken what I've given you, and you invested it well. And, that's the purpose of this whole episode, actually. Is to encourage those listening that, like, hey, it may not look like what other people are doing, but it's still God's Will for your life to serve God this way, to love your wife, to love your husband, to disciple your children, to love them. To love others, and to proclaim His Gospel to the world, through our lives, actions and words. So, we're gonna, we're not gonna get through all the questions, and that's okay, But, we want to get to this last question, and it's a really important one, and you better get the answer right, Amanda. I'm just kidding. In your own words, what is a marriage after God? Want me to go? Yeah, sure I, you know, if you want to learn anything from God, I think you just need to open the Bible, and I feel like that God is very specific in the Bible, by giving us Chapters like Ephesians Chapter 5 and 1 Peter, and you know, there are specific instructions towards husbands and wives. And it's actually pretty insane How specific it is? Yeah, how specific it is, especially 1 Peter Chapter three verse seven, I have it pulled up right here, and it says "Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live "with your wives" It's funny that it says wives, 'cause I kinda think of it as one person living with multiple wives. It's not though, yeah No, no, no, no "And treat them with respect, as the weaker partner, "and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, "so that nothing will hinder your prayers." That part right there, hinder your prayers, meaning if you do not show your wife respect in all these things, either God will not receive your prayers in full, or You won't be able to pray Or, yeah Too frustrated or Find it difficult to pray, that's kinda a big deal. So, it's like God's given you all the blueprints on how to have a godly Marriage, and its all, I don't feel like He's just kinda given us this life just to try to figure it out, and tell each other how to live a godly life. It's like in the Book, He's giving this message specifically for us to read it, you know, generations to come, and I think its' important for me as a dad and as a man in the house to make sure that my daughter knows that this is how she needs to be treated by a man, and now, having a son, how he needs to treat a woman. So, honestly, for me, it's just literally read the Bible and all your answers And do what It says, yeah, I like that Seems very simple. I read a book once called Sacred Marriage, that I totally need to read again, it's just a fantastic book, I forget the author, Gary Thomas Yeah, it's such a great book, and I read it years ago at the beginning of our marriage, but there was a quote in it that has stuck with me ever since then, and it says, I don't know if this is verbatim, but it says "Marriage is not meant to make us happy, but holy" And that was a really huge idea when I read it, and just, like does God care about our happiness, of course He does, but not ever at the expense of our holiness. Amen Sam was talking about our journey through the Bible last year, and reading through the Old Testament, is like crazy, it's wild, it like strings together a lot of the stories that we've heard kinda growing up as Christians, it's linked things together, ideas. But, I think a lot of the Old Testament was included in the Bible because God, it just shows us the measures that God took to ensure His people were holy, and consecrated. And to make sure that they not only looked different, but they lived differently, and when they didn't, there were consequences. And a lot of the times, it was death. Which of course, there were incredibly high standards, and that led for our need for Jesus. Thank God, I'm so glad that Thank Him I don't live in those days because those were it says crazy days. But, a marriage after God, seeks to be holy, I think, and needs to be intimate, whole and aware and active in its pursuit of loving God and loving others. And I know that's what we try to do, and we pretty much fail most of the time. Then you get back up and keep going Sam is perfect, everybody before himself, but I just think that the idea of holiness is something that all marriages are called to. And it's not something that can be accomplished on your own, it has to be through the Fruits of the Spirit, and just the Holy Spirit in general. And inviting Him into your everyday lives, and specifically parenting too. We're trying to remember to invite the Holy Spirit into every aspect of your life, is something for me, I have to remember constantly to do that, whether we are in a argument, or in a heated parenting moment, or at just different things, whatever life throws at you. I love that Amanda Yeah, it's a lot of intentionality to strive for holiness. Both those definitions I thought were really powerful. Thank you for that, so Sam, Amanda, where can people find you on Instagram, what's you guys' handles? Our last name is very easy to spell, it's kind of like Smith is a breeze No, it's not Our last names are kind of difficult, but my Instagram handle is @SamCiurdar, and Amanda's is @AmandaCiurdar, and our last names are spelled C-I-U-R-D-A-R, good luck everybody. AmandaCi or SamCi we should pop up, I think Yeah, and you should pull them, they're great people they post about their life, and what's going on, so go follow them. And as usual, well first of all, thank you Sam and Amanda for coming on and sharing a little bit of your life with us, and encouraging all of the marriages that are listening that God has a Will for all of us, and we all get to walk in it, and we all get to be in it. So, yeah, thank you. Thanks for having us Absolutely, thanks for having us, for sure. Before we close, as usual, we're gonna close with a prayer, and Jennifer, would you like to pray for us? Sure Dear Lord, thank You for Your Holy Word. Thank you for sharing with us what Your Will is for our lives, and what Your will is for our marriages. We ask that we would continue growing in knowledge and understanding of Your Word. As husbands and wives, please help us to build and keep your Word as our strong foundation. We pray against our flesh from getting in the way of doing Your Will. When we start to wrestle with our flesh, Holy Spirit please defend us and help us to have victory over our flesh. Renew our perspective of life and marriage, so that we may see what You see. Reveal to us the bigger picture of how Your Will is being done in us, and through us. Motivate our hearts to use every part of our lives to live for You. May we understand the impact our ministry has as we walk faithfully every day with You and with each other. May we fulfill our part as Your body to share Your gospel with this lost world. In Jesus' Name, Amen. Amen, thanks for joining us this week, and we look forward to having you next week as we get into Chapter 13, Part 13 of this series. See you next week. Did you enjoy today's show? If you did, it would mean the world to us if you could leave us a review on iTunes. Also, if you're interested, you can find many more encouraging stories and resources at marriageaftergod.com. And let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

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#6

Our Favorite Parenting & Marriage Resources - Part 2

October 03, 2018 • 26m

Parenting resources have played an invaluable role in us navigate and grow into our role as Godly parents. There are a handful of parenting advice books and websites that transformed the way we saw parenting and discipling our children, we thought we would share them with you! In this episode, we share books, blogs, social media accounts to follow, and some insight into the power of our roles as mother and father. We also share a look at the some of the parenting resources we have created to inspire your prayer life for your kids. Here are all the links from our Favorite parenting books and resources we talked about in this episode. ***Books Large Family Logistics - https://amzn.to/2Nh38ZU ESV action Bibles- https://amzn.to/2QDfzNB Rhyme Bible - https://amzn.to/2MLNLDO Little Golden Books https://amzn.to/2QDBrbS https://amzn.to/2xjfuqd https://amzn.to/2xrKAeM https://amzn.to/2NhLFAp https://amzn.to/2MGNZvF Rod & Staff Bible Stories - https://www.milestonebooks.com/item/1-10002/ ***Audio & Video Jonathan Park - https://amzn.to/2xqSHbz Ken Ham Answers In Genesis - https://answersingenesis.org/store/media/ Nest Entertainment - https://nestlearning.com/collections/movies We Sing Songs - https://amzn.to/2D6EiHs GA Henty audio adventures - https://amzn.to/2MH7lRr Sing the Word from a to Z - https://amzn.to/2MJ9ITQ ***Sites/apps https://club31women.com http://courageousmom.com http://familylifetoday.com The Bible app for kids https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bible-app-for-kids/id668692393?mt=8 The Bible Project - https://thebibleproject.com/

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#7

Q&A Having Children, Birth Control & how many kids to have and more

January 27, 2020 • 37m

In this episode, we answer questions for our community about having children, birth control, how many kids to have and more.Please also take a moment and download our free 52 Date Night Ideas eBook.http://datenightideas.com PRAYERDear Lord,Thank you for the gift and blessing of children. Thank you for creating and designing us with the ability to recreate, what an incredible miracle life truly is. We thank you for the opportunity to build our family and have children. We pray for others who either have not had children yet or in awaiting their first in anticipation. May you lead them in the way you desire them to walk and to grow together. We praise you for all those who have children and we also pray for those who can’t have children for whatever the reason may be. You are sovereign and we trust you. We continue to surrender our hearts to you as you lead us in parenting and raising our children to know you. Please help us with our fears and insecurities. Please remind us every day of the purpose we have with our family. May your name be glorified.In Jesus’ name, amen! READ FULL TRANSCRIPT- [Aaron] Hey, we're Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God. - [Jennifer] Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage. - [Aaron] And today we're gonna answer some of your questions about having children. - [Aaron] Welcome to the Marriage After God podcast where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after. - [Jennifer] I'm Jennifer, also known as Unveiled Wife. - [Aaron] And I'm Aaron, also known as Husband Revolution. - [Jennifer] We have been married for over a decade. - [Aaron] And so far, we have four young children. - [Jennifer] We have been doing marriage ministry onlinae for over seven years through blogging and social media. - [Aaron] With the desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage, encouraging them to walk in faith every day. - [Jennifer] We believe the Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one, full of life. - [Aaron] Love. - [Jennifer] And Power. - [Aaron] That can only be found by chasing after God. - [Jennifer] Together. - [Aaron] Thank you for joining us on this journey as we chased boldly after God's will for our life together. - [Jennifer] This is Marriage After God. Hey, everyone welcome back to another episode of Marriage After God. We're happy to be with you and we're really excited about this episode, and just being able to answer your questions. So doing Q&As is gonna be just an awesome new feature of the podcast where every couple of weeks, we're gonna poll our trusty community on Instagram and ask you guys what questions you have, and hopefully get some answers, well I should say opinions. - [Aaron] Yeah 'cause we have all the answers. - [Jennifer] No. - [Aaron] On everything. - [Jennifer] We don't but you know what, we're happy to explore these questions with you. And so thank you to everyone who shared these questions with us, and specifically about about having kids which we have a little bit of experience with. And so we'll dive into that in just a bit. All right, so one thing that we really are excited to share with you guys is that we have a new freebie for all of you. - [Aaron] So everyone has already did the free prayer challenge. - [Jennifer] Right. - [Aaron] They already got the date night conversations. - [Jennifer] You better, we've been sharing about those two for a while. So I begged Aaron, and I was like, "Let's do something new. "We've gotta do something new." - [Aaron] So this one is date night ideas. It's a free download. It's a list of 52 date night ideas which you could do one a week for the whole year. - [Jennifer] So is this something we're committing to? We're gonna go through all of these and do them? - [Aaron] Sure. - [Jennifer] Let's do it. - [Aaron] Let's see how it goes. - [Jennifer] I think that would be so fun. - [Aaron] So if you wanna get this freebie, this download, you just go to datenightideas.com and you can download our free ebook with 52 date night ideas. - [Jennifer] And the goal is one a week but if you can't do one week, do three a week. It's fine-- - [Aaron] If you have to do one a day, you know what, you can get done faster-- - [Jennifer] Have fun with it. - [Aaron] And just do it all over again. - [Jennifer] Have fun with it. No, but you can use these whenever you want and you can even sift through them and pull from it. - [Aaron] You know what would be fun is if they downloaded this and then found another couple to do a challenge with. How many they can get done in a year? - [Jennifer] Interesting, the other thing you could do is print them out and cut them out and stick them in a jar and pull them out randomly. - [Aaron] Yeah. - [Jennifer] That would be fun. - [Aaron] That's a great idea. Datenightideas.com, one word and it's free. Go get it, so the topic we're talking about, these Q&As, they're all on a similar topic. We polled our followers on Instagram and many of the questions were around children. Having children, children after marriage. - [Jennifer] So we're like let's stick them all in one episode so we can hit them all at once. - [Aaron] And so we're just gonna, some of these we're gonna wing answering. If we don't have good answers, we might say we don't know. We're not afraid to say we don't know. - [Jennifer] And just keep in mind that these are just our positions on these questions. How we would answer them based off of our experience and knowledge and-- - [Aaron] And things that we know of the Bible. - [Jennifer] Things that we know of the Bible and what we believe in so-- - [Aaron] Take it for what it is. - [Jennifer] Yeah and thank you guys again for asking these questions and sharing them with us and we really appreciate that. If you wanna jump on board for the next Q&A, just follow along on Instagram @marriageaftergod. - [Aaron] And you can always send us your questions in a message and we may not answer it in the message but we'll take down the question and potentially answer it in a future Q&A episode. We'd love to get those from you. So why don't we just jump right in to the first question and this is a doozy I feel like 'cause it's controversial, it could be. - [Jennifer] It could be yeah. - [Aaron] And they ask us their question and they said, our view on birth control. - [Jennifer] So what's your view on birth control? - [Aaron] That's a good question. - [Jennifer] It's a big question. - [Aaron] Okay, next question is, no I'm just kidding. Our view on birth control. - [Jennifer] Let me share my point of view first. - [Aaron] Okay, go ahead. - [Jennifer] I'll just be honest. I went on birth control 'cause that's what I heard you do when you get married. And so I went on the month before I got married and I chose to go off of it a month after we were married. So I was on it for a total of two months and I got married at 21, you were 22. And we were so excited married and so excited to-- - [Aaron] Be with each other physically. - [Jennifer] Yeah, experience what sex was like and it was awful. I'm just gonna be honest. It was very painful for me and so I scrambled, you guys. I tried to figure out why is my body responding this way because it was my body that was keeping us from experiencing-- - [Aaron] Physical intimacy. - [Jennifer] Healthy, physical intimacy. And so one of the things that came to my mind was something that was super obvious because over the course of that month of being married, not only were we having these issues but I gained a lot of weight. I got acne. - [Aaron] There was a lot of things going on. There was emotional stuff. - [Jennifer] Emotional ups and downs and mood swings and it was awful and I didn't feel myself. And so the obvious question then is what happened in the last few weeks that has changed me? - [Aaron] Other than getting married. - [Jennifer] I know it's a big transition. - [Aaron] I that that guy you married can make you feel crazy, I get it. - [Jennifer] But we narrowed it down to birth control and so I chose to go off of it and I haven't regretted it. - [Aaron] And it didn't fix everything but it did actually drastically change your mood. - [Jennifer] And some of the physical things that I was-- - [Aaron] Some of the physical things you were experiencing. - [Jennifer] Yeah. - [Aaron] So that's an experience you had with birth control. We know tons of people use birth control. I also know that there is certain people that say birth control is a sin. I'm not gonna go that far. I'm not gonna make statements like that. What I will say is I'm not an advocate for opting to put a chemical in your body to adjust and manipulate how your body is naturally meant to work. So that's my, you're meant to do a certain thing. Your body has been created to do a certain thing and birth control is meant to stop that thing from happening, to manipulate the way your body responds to certain things and I don't think that's great. We have a lot of stuff going on this world. A lot of sickness, a lot of problems and for us to be healthy and to do something like that to our healthy body, I don't think is very wise, personally. - [Jennifer] So just to clarify for those listening, you're not saying that you won't put anything on or in your body that helps stimulate positive things to happen in your body. You're saying, you wouldn't do something that would stop the natural function of your body. - [Aaron] I'm saying I don't think it's a good idea to put something in our bodies electively to stop the natural. - [Jennifer] That alters the natural. - [Aaron] Yeah 'cause there's, again, I'm not gonna. The question is about all the other things that happen in this life, we know taking things when you're sick. - [Jennifer] I was gonna say there's supplements and there's oils and there's things that are out there. - [Aaron] Right, that's different than I'm gonna take this birth control to stop my ovulation so that we don't get pregnant. I'm not gonna do that. That's just my personal perspective on this. And to be honest, there's most things like medically that I'm a little hesitant on just because I like to stay mostly natural as much as possible. But this is about birth control. I'm just saying that taking a woman's body, putting something in it to stop her from doing what it's naturally meant to do doesn't sound wise to me. Now on the spiritual side of things, we have to always ask ourselves the question of why are we trying to stop ourselves from having kids? Why are we trying to protect against that? And there's tons of worldly wisdom that we receive on why we should wait and what, there's this and that. And don't you wanna travel? Why don't you establish your marriage first? And none of those things line up with the things that we hear about in scripture about children being a blessing. That it's good for women to have children. People prayed when they were barren because they wanted children and all these positive. It's positive, positive, positive but our generation and the last couple of generations has heard the message of negative. Children are a hindrance. Children get in the way. Children are difficult, they're expensive. They're hard, some of these things are all true. Not all of them but some of these things are true but not in the sense of they're not a blessings. Not in the sense of we shouldn't do it. I think we should always be asking ourselves about our heart posture towards children because God's heart posture towards children from the words of Jesus. "Let the children come to me", that's what he said. - [Jennifer] I love that, that's so beautiful. - [Aaron] Don't hinder the children. - [Jennifer] That's really good. I was gonna say that personally, we think that it needs to be thoughtfully considered not just in its physical impact on someone's body but its spiritual impact. And I think you just hit it on the head with being a heart posture. - [Aaron] Absolutely. - [Jennifer] And asking ourselves why. - [Aaron] Yeah and what do we believe about God? Is he good? Does it give us good things? And has he made us a certain way? And yeah those are all true. So we don't believe in birth control, the chemical form. I would say do any form of birth control, and we're about to have our number five so everyone can logically find out, we don't do birth control. We would probably lean towards just what's it called? The rhythm method? - [Jennifer] Natural planning. - [Aaron] Natural planning. And again, that's not even perfect. It's more of to our own abilities, we're just gonna try and plan around this and if God gives us a child, we're gonna be stoked. - [Jennifer] Yeah, all right let's move on to number two. Okay number two says, what made you wait to have kids? - [Aaron] Made us is a good word because half of it was physical. - [Jennifer] I was gonna say this is a two parter for us. - [Aaron] We just talked about how we couldn't have sexual intimacy. - [Jennifer] Yup. - [Aaron] So it was not impossible but highly unlikely 'cause it was . - [Jennifer] We weren't doing the thing that makes the babies. - [Aaron] Yeah, the thing that makes the babies wasn't happening so there was no babies being made. And then the second part of that is, and this might have been out of a bitterness because we couldn't be with each other. I have feeling that some of it was from that bitterness but also some of it just straight from our own selfish pride. We would tell people, they would ask us when are you guys gonna have kids? And we'd be like, oh we're not gonna have kids for a while or maybe ever because we're too selfish. - [Jennifer] We like sleeping in. - [Aaron] We like traveling. We like this, we like that. We said these things out loud. This isn't thoughts we had. - [Jennifer] And I would agree. Some of it was probably just to give them an answer 'cause we weren't gonna straight dig into well, we can't have sex. So we found a different way to answer it but I think at the core, we truly believe those things as well. We were selfish. - [Aaron] I remember I would pridefully say it like it was something to boast about. - [Jennifer] Looking back-- - [Aaron] You are too selfish. - [Jennifer] Looking back that's so embarrassing. - [Aaron] I know what a fool I was that I would actually say that. God's looking at me at like I know who you are. - [Jennifer] I love you Aaron. - [Aaron] I was like a little child to him and he's patient with me, thank God. But what a fool that I would just boast about my selfishness which is opposed to God, to be selfish. I was literally boasting about my opposition to God. - [Jennifer] I wanted to share a little bit about this question. What came to my mind is well the physical. We couldn't and the selfish but I was also really terrified of having children and I don't remember it being a super affirmed thing growing up. And even though I came from a big family, it wasn't like I had this dream to have a big family myself. - [Aaron] And it wasn't like children are good. Children are a blessing. All you saw was there's all of this chaos at home sometimes. - [Jennifer] Yeah, so I remember just being really scared about having children. And so I was actually okay with not having children for a long time if any. I didn't have a hearts desire to have children. - [Aaron] And I actually, now you bring that up. I remember specifically a thought I had and I had it regularly was I didn't want children because we couldn't be together. All I thought I was like yeah that would be so perfect. We'd get pregnant the one time we do come together and then now like we couldn't enjoy each other, and now we have a kid. This totally negative connotation on having children because it was just gonna get in the way of the thing I wanted. - [Jennifer] Yeah and I think we talked about that even back then. Something that I didn't talk to you about that I really struggled with was the thought that if in that turmoil, those first three years if we did have a kid how much more it would tie me to you which is really depressing and sad to think about. I just am broken-hearted over those kinds of thoughts now. - [Aaron] But that's when we were in our sinful hearts. - [Jennifer] But that's where I was and I didn't have hope in our marriage. I truly believe that we're coming to the end so it was like I have to make sure even more that I don't get pregnant which was avoiding you. - [Aaron] Which made the whole thing worse. - [Jennifer] Yeah, it was a mess, you guys. - [Aaron] The devil is good at what he does. And it's why we have to resist him and it's why we have to put on the full armor of God 'cause these thoughts and things will come if we're not focused right. - [Jennifer] Now I have a part of this question to ask you. It has to do with this question, that's not here but would you have waited if you could have sex? - [Aaron] Back then? Well probably 'cause again I had my selfish heart of I thought tons of horrible things. I was thinking about your body and I was thinking about our sex, and I was thinking about being inconvenience with now I have to raise a child, and we're doing all these things. So absolutely, I think back then, selfishly would have waited. Not because I thought it was wise but because I didn't want to have to deal with it. - [Jennifer] Okay and I was thinking more like answering now having had children. - [Aaron] No, I wished we didn't have waited. - [Jennifer] I like that you're answering really honestly. - [Aaron] No, if I knew what I know now. - [Jennifer] I wouldn't have waited. - [Aaron] We'd have a 13-year-old. - [Jennifer] That's weird to think about. - [Aaron] How incredible would that be? We'd have a teenager. - [Jennifer] Wow, lots more growth opportunities for us. - [Aaron] No, I wouldn't have waited at all but to be honest it's God's sovereignty. - [Jennifer] Yeah. - [Aaron] He knew who we were. Our sin kept us away from it and it's probably better back then because we had some maturing to do. Not that I'm telling anyone they should choose to wait. I just think God knew what he was doing and he let us through a lot of stuff to grow us and make us into the men and women he wanted us to be. - [Jennifer] Yeah, all right. Number three, do you think numbering your children is necessary? - [Aaron] Yeah, I'd give a 10 to Elliott and then like all if I give-- - [Jennifer] What are you talking about? - [Aaron] I'm just kidding. Numbering, I'm thinking like . - [Jennifer] That's not what they're asking. - [Aaron] Numbering, the question is about should we have one, two, three, how many should we have? - [Jennifer] I was gonna change the question to what we usually get is what number do you guys want or what are you looking for? Because we do get asked that. - [Aaron] Yeah and it's usually with this like are you done yet look. Do you realize how many you have? We know exactly how many we have. So the question is do you think numbering your children is necessary? And I'm imagining the heart but it is do you think it's important to consider how many children we're having? Should we only have one or two or three? That's a pretty common thought. Most of the time, it comes in the form of, we only one, two or three. That's where that comes from. So Jennifer, do you think it's necessary. That's how the question is phrased. - [Jennifer] No, I don't think it's necessary. I don't think that we need to have a set number and we personally don't have a set number. - [Aaron] Our answer when someone asks, how many do you want is whatever God wants. - [Jennifer] Yeah. - [Aaron] Because to be honest, I don't know. - [Jennifer] To couple with that though, I do think that there's wisdom in every situation and so what I like to say is we take every pregnancy as it comes. - [Aaron] Yeah. - [Jennifer] Submit it to the Lord-- - [Aaron] And in between the pregnancies, we submit those to the Lord as well. - [Jennifer] Yeah, and you know what, it's a journey of walking with God saying God I trust you and it's not easy but-- - [Aaron] And I'll say this. - [Jennifer] He's doing this. - [Aaron] I'm gonna be a little candid here. There was a challenge after we had was it? - [Jennifer] Elliot. - [Aaron] Elliot and we went right back to that place in our hearts of we don't want any more. Elliot was difficult. It was our first child. - [Jennifer] He had colic. - [Aaron] He had colic for a couple months. - [Jennifer] I had nursing issues. - [Aaron] It was really difficult. And we just were like no, we can't do this any more. This is crazy, we are also-- - [Jennifer] Honestly-- - [Aaron] Publishing a book and we're thinking like how we're gonna do all this stuff and have another baby and everything was coming together. - [Jennifer] When I look back on it too, I don't remember it being a negative feeling. I just remember being okay with it being one. - [Aaron] We're like, we're fine. - [Jennifer] Yeah. - [Aaron] But again from all selfish positions. How are we gonna keep doing these things? That was too hard, I don't wanna do that again. And we were challenged by someone really hard and I'm gonna just explain to you what was challenging to us, and I'm gonna leave it at that. And they came to us and we were just sharing our hearts with them. And they very softly and gently said, you know the reasoning that you were coming to with this deciding not to want any more. And he brought up, is like it's usually for Christians, we say things like we want one, some or none. And it's like that sounds great. It sounds wise. One summer night, I'm gonna choose the size of my family. I think that's wise based off of whatever. Then they said that's very similar to the reasoning that pro-choicers have. It's your choice. Christians aren't gonna choose the abortion option right, hopefully. That's where the heart of a Christian shouldn't be that direction at all. We don't do that. But one, some or none is very similar and it's my choice. Pro-choice, I get to choose what I want. And he's explaining this to us and it cut us to the heart, and we realize wow, we're telling God, who's in charge of this area of our life. We want God to be sovereign in every area of our life except for this one. And so when they were explaining to us that we were essentially making decisions very similar to the idea of pro-choice. It's our choice and I want it to be pro-me whatever I want. And it really challenged us and it actually made us go and pray and dig into what we believed about children, and what we believed about our family, what God wants for us. - [Jennifer] I remember shortly after that conversation maybe even walking out of the restaurant, I told you that as I was sitting there listening, I could picture myself holding my hand shut tight and it was me as a Christian telling God, you are sovereign, you have every part of my life. I love you, lead me oh but you can't have this over here. - [Aaron] Don't touch this over here. - [Jennifer] And I was gripping it so tightly and I remember explaining this picture to you and just saying I feel like God wants me to open up my hands and trust Him. And I feel like we got pregnant about a week and a half later. - [Aaron] Yeah really quick. - [Jennifer] Really quick. - [Aaron] And I'll say this. It's easy to say, hard to do. Every single pregnancy we've had to go to God and say God, we need your help. We need to trust you more. We need to know what you have for us because it's difficult. Pregnancy is difficult. Children are difficult. It's just part of life so it's not like all of a sudden everything became rainbows and unicorns. It was like we have to trust God every single time which is what he wants. And then I'll say this as gently as possible 'cause I know the person that asked this question. I'm not trying-- - [Jennifer] There's a lot of people out there that asked. - [Aaron] There's a lot of people who have this question. I think the question is irrelevant and here's why I say that. You can say I want three kids and God only give you two. Is God wrong? Nope, I God bad? No. - [Jennifer] You could want two kids and never be able to conceive. - [Aaron] You could want one kid and never be able to conceive. You could want whatever you want. We could desire whatever we want. We can have this picture for our life and it's so perfect that oh if we just had a boy and a girl, you have six girls. I know people like that, okay. You could say lots of things. - [Jennifer] You can say you don't want any kids and then get pregnant. - [Aaron] We know people that are on birth control and I've gotten pregnant. We know people that have been barren for years. - [Jennifer] And have gotten pregnant. - [Aaron] And then have gotten pregnant. We know people that have had their tubes tied and then unfortunately have still gotten pregnant and had to have surgery because of the dangers of that. - [Jennifer] We also know the word of God and in Psalms when it talks about God knitting together a baby, a human inside a mother's womb, we know that's true. So it's from Him. - [Aaron] What we wanna do is we wanna say instead of asking well how many do we want? What's wrong with saying, God how many do you want? What do you want our family to look like? How do you want us to shape our family? You could say you want two children, right? And you have those two children and you stop, and there's no way for you to know that that third child was gonna be another Moses, another David. You don't know what God wants for you. So that's why I think that question is a little irrelevant because you think you have control. - [Jennifer] This is what the question should be. Do we trust what you have for us Lord? - [Aaron] Yeah and if that's a zero, and that doesn't mean that doesn't come with heartbreak but if it's zero, then God gets to choose that. If it's one, then God gets to choose that. Me and Jennifer are on number five and this could literally be our last child. We have no way of knowing. Something would happen. We could just not get pregnant again. Things happen or we could have another five. I don't know. But we want to trust the Lord with everything. I wanna encourage you to do the same. Whether that's zero, one, two, three, five, 10. That's the question we should be asking. Number four, what's the best way to prepare for or not be fearful of having a newborn? This is a good one 'cause we're literally right there. - [Jennifer] Yeah and you know what fear is a natural thing and it always comes with that feeling of I don't know what's on the other side of labor, or delivery, or having a newborn, and I struggled with all those fears. But when I look back and I think about my first baby, holding him in my arms, it's the most beautiful, miraculous thing I can think of. - [Aaron] And you don't necessarily look back and dwell on the pain. - [Jennifer] No. - [Aaron] You know it's there. - [Jennifer] I know it happened. - [Aaron] You look back and we think about those-- - [Jennifer] The joy and the love and the incredible miracle that comes with having a child. And I think that we should also just note that this probably whoever asked this question is going to give birth to a baby but I think even for adoption. When you think of the other ways that people build their families. I think there's a lot of fear that comes. A lot of fearful thoughts that could come with the unknowns but we just wanna be an encouragement to you guys that you're not alone. God is with you and do everything in prayer. The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing, to pray constantly. - [Aaron] To pray for everything. - [Jennifer] To pray for everything and to be thankful. And so I think the first way that I would respond to this question is pray, and pray with your spouse. Pray together over your family and over every situation. - [Aaron] Present those fears to the Lord and say Lord, here's some things I'm afraid of. Give me peace, give me your peace. That's what he tells us to pray for everything. With thanksgiving, lift your request to Lord. - [Jennifer] And the other thing I would say is meditate on his Word. What does God say about children? What does God say about birth? What does God say about families? Things that comes to my mind is John 16:21. It says, "When a woman is giving birth, "she has sorrow because her hour has come "but when she has delivered the baby, "she no longer remembers the anguish "for joy that a human being has been born into the world." That's what I remember. - [Aaron] That's an awesome statement by the way. For joy that a human being has been born. That's so cool and it is true because the pain is real. It's a thing you get to experience. You can talk about that in a second about experiencing the pain but you remember the joy of that child, holding the baby, seeing their face for the first time hearing their coos for the first time. - [Jennifer] I know I said this. It's miraculous, it truly is. - [Aaron] Yeah and seeing them grow up is miraculous too. I can't imagine my life without any of these kids. - [Jennifer] I know and I feel so grateful that the Lord trusted me and gave me these gifts. It's so wonderful. Another verse that comes to my mind and something good to dwell on is Psalm 127:3. It says, "Behold children are a heritage from the Lord. "The fruit of the womb, a reward." - [Aaron] So preparing yourself for having a newborn is you're preparing to have a reward and to build a heritage that he's giving you. That's really cool. - [Jennifer] A good resource for becoming new parents, you should check out "Redeeming Childbirth" by Angie Tolpin. It was just a really good book to bring perspective to having children and what that looks like biblically. So if you wanna check that out just go to courageousmom.com. One last thing that I just wanna encourage you guys with, and this you can do prior to having your first baby but you should also be doing it throughout parenting, and that's just talking about those fears with your spouse whenever they come up. And using those opportunities to encourage one another. If the wife is afraid, the husband can go to the word of God and console her and comfort her and encourage her. If the husband has some fears and he's being vulnerable about them, she can encourage him through the word of God and through prayer, and I just think that is so vital for us to be one in the way that we are experiencing the same thing, right parenthood. And another thing you could do is find someone who you admire, who has experience that you can ask questions to. I know as a new mom, I had so many questions. I still have so many questions. And so finding someone who you can be in communication with even if it's just a quick text or if you can get into community with several people who you can have questions too, and really just have that support system. It's really important - [Aaron] Yeah and that actually leads into our last question, number five really well. This person asked us if we can talk about the best ways to invest in our spouse before having kids. - [Jennifer] Okay. - [Aaron] Which is a cool thing because we could have done this. - [Jennifer] I know we did this for, no, we should have been doing this for years. The first thing that comes to my mind is having regular date nights and when you don't have kids and you're married, it can be so easy to just make everything feel like a date because you're with each other but making it significant somehow. - [Aaron] Getting it on the calendar, making it a regular occurrence. - [Jennifer] And doing something out of the norm, right? So like if you guys regularly already do something together, don't consider that your date. Go do something else. - [Aaron] Yeah, and what's good about that is it puts you into a really healthy pattern and habit so that after the kids, you guys will long and be like, hey, we need to get back on track. - [Jennifer] Not after the kids are grown and raised, you mean after having kids. - [Aaron] I'm saying after six weeks of healing and getting better. You guys are like, hey, we need to get back on schedule with our date nights, that's important. And for awhile, you're gonna have the baby with you and then eventually you'll get a baby sitter. But you start that up and it's there. It's existing. - [Jennifer] And just to encourage you guys, we've gone on dates with babies before and it can be done. - [Aaron] Just find those restaurants that-- - [Jennifer] Are really loud. - [Aaron] Either really loud or mostly full of older couples 'cause they love seeing young couples with their babies. - [Jennifer] Most of the times. - [Aaron] Most of the times. - [Aaron] Some restaurants don't like it but the experience we've had, we have people come up and be like, oh, your baby's so wonderful. This is so cool seeing a couple with children now. Anyways that's a good tip. For the husband's preparing your spouse before kids just doing what a Ephesians five says, "Washing your wife with the Word." Continually speaking God's truth into her life over her reminding her what the word of God says, reminding of her of who she is, what she's capable of, how God made her and building her up because those are the things that are gonna continually give her confidence. Make her feel like she can be a mom that she can handle pregnancy and labor and that she is going to be a victor in that area. So it's immensely powerful the words that a husband speaks over her life which is why we're commanded to wash our wives with not any words but the Word. With God's Word, reminding her of who she is, what God's doing in her life. That the thing that she's going to do. Having a child is such a powerful and beautiful thing that as she disciples that child, she's literally making world changers. Growing the Kingdom of Heaven within your home. It's a powerful thing. - [Jennifer] That's awesome, I love that. Another thing that I would say and this is something to continually do throughout your marriage, but to get really good at it is practicing transparency. Aaron and I talk about this a lot and it's something that I feel like we were actually pretty good at in our marriage but could have been even better way sooner at, and that's just being transparent and honest with one another when you're struggling with sin. You confess that you repent. When you're wrestling with insecurities or doubt or frustrations, you talk about it and you find a way if you're at conflict with one another, you reconcile. All those really important-- - [Aaron] Getting better at those things. - [Jennifer] Communication things. - [Aaron] Which will be huge for your children to see and to benefit from. - [Jennifer] And your parenting because there's gonna be a lot of situational things that come up that you'll have to be transparent with one another in and talk about so that you're on the same page when you parent. - [Aaron] Which leads into the other thing, and this is hugely important. Overcoming sin and bad habits. So for the husbands, if you guys are struggling with pornography, and you think it's just like not a big deal. And you're like, oh it's every once in a while. Just realize what you do, you're gonna teach your children. And I wish I would have known that earlier. I wish I would have recognized the the magnitude of walking in what I saw as hidden sin or things that I was getting a handle on. But it's just every once in awhile, it's not that big of a deal, minimizing those things. Maximize them, take those things in your life and say no, I need to get this out of my life. I'm not gonna smoke any more. I'm not gonna show my kids that habit. The way I eat. The hidden sins of my life, pornography. The way I talk. If you have issue with bad language. Those are things that you're gonna teach your kids and so work on it. Confess them, find freedom from them. Walk in the freedom that Christ has already given us on the cross and walk in it so that you can teach your kids to walk in it. The same freedom. - [Jennifer] Have authority in their lives. - [Aaron] Yeah as a pastor once told me, purity is power. Walking in purity is powerful. Say that last line right there, babe. - [Jennifer] I just put a note on here. Have children, because the question was how do you invest in your spouse before having kids. - [Aaron] Which can be-- - [Jennifer] It could be any range of things. It could maybe you're already pregnant and you're just waiting for the baby to come but it could also be we chose not to have kids right now, so what can we be doing? Well I'll tell you what, if there's one thing in Aaron's and I life that has stimulated growth in our relationship-- - [Aaron] That God's used to sanctify us in huge ways. - [Jennifer] Absolutely, or to just grow closer to each other in opportunities in ways that we never would have known or experienced, it was through having children. And so I've really appreciated that about our journey and where we've been, and so hopefully that just encourages you guys. - [Aaron] Those are five questions that we received from the community. Again we're not the end-all be-all to these answers but we try the best of our ability to look at the word of God, to look at experience and see how God is trying to change the way we think about things. - [Jennifer] I'll say this, answering the questions is not easy for me. I'm a peacemaker and I don't wanna ruffle anyone's feathers or ever put things out there that make people feel uncomfortable, but at the same time I want you guys to know where Aaron and I are on some of these topics because you're you're listening in, you're following us. And for whatever reason, God has trusted us with an opportunity to share these with you. And so I hope that through our experience and through the things that we have shared with you today, if anything, you get to go back to the table with your own spouse and talk about them, and share your own perspectives, and thoughts behind them. And we just encourage you to, like Aaron said, get in the scriptures and dive into what God has to say about these and let that be the foundation for what you believe and your your viewpoints and your perspectives on some of these topics. - [Aaron] 1 John tells us to test every spirit and to discern. So don't just take what we're saying as pure gold. Go yourself to the word of God and find them out. But if you're not willing to go to the word of God, and you just wanna disagree and have your own opinion, you have to understand something that we're not called to just do that. We're called to trust the word of God. And so I wanna challenge you if you are in that place, go to word of God. Take the things we've said and go dig in. Find out what God thinks about all these questions. What God thinks about children in the womb and raising children. You find out for yourself and come up with your own conclusions based off of what the word of God says, not off of what we say. But we love you, and as always win in prayer so please join us. - [Jennifer] Dear Lord, thank you for the gift and blessing of children. Thank you for creating and designing us with the ability to recreate. What an incredible miracle life truly is. We thank you for the opportunity to build our family and have children. We pray for others to either have not had children yet or are in waiting their first in anticipation. May you lead them in a way you desire them to walk and to grow together. We praise you for all those who have children and we pray also for those who can't have children for whatever reason maybe. You are sovereign and we trust you. We continue to surrender our hearts to you as you lead us in parenting and raising our children to know you. Please help us with our fears and insecurities. Please remind us every day of the purpose we have with our family. May your name be glorified in Jesus' name, amen. - [Aaron] Amen. And guys as always, I just wanna invite you to leave us a review, a star rating. We love those. They're incredibly powerful and effective in spreading the word about the podcast. We love you all and we pray that you guys would just grow closer to God and you chase his will for your life and get his heart on the matter of children. See you next week. Did you enjoy today's show? If you did, it would mean the world to us if you could leave us a review on iTunes. Also if you're interested, you can find many more encouraging stories and resources at marriageaftergod.com. And let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

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#8

How to Live with an Unbelieving Spouse

July 25, 2018 • 32m

Take our 31-day marriage prayer challenge today and join the 1000's of couples who have done it. https://shop.marriageaftergod.com/products/thirty-one-prayers-bundle -- Being unequally yoked in marriage means that one spouse is walking in obedience to God and the other is not. This can become a source of contention that amplifies other marriage issues that can arise even in relationships when both spouses are both walking with God. This can be a painful situation to experience, but for anyone in this position there is hope and it starts with the spouse who knows God. The most important thing in a marriage with a spouse who doesn’t know God or isn’t obeying Him, is Salvation! The desire to see that spouse come to know and love God is more important than happily ever after! In this week’s episode of Marriage After God we discuss some important details about being unequally yoked in marriage. We specifically give 4 Biblical tips for those who are married to a non-believer or a spouse who claims to be Christian but does not obey God’s Word and the power that person has to influence the other spouse’s life! Get the right perspective. Don’t leave. Pray for them and yourself. Be an example. Scriptures we share include: 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 1 Peter 3:1-2 1 Peter 3:7 -- FOR MORE ENCOURAGEMENT https://marriageaftergod.com https://instagram.com/marriageaftergod SHOP MARRIAGE RESOURCES https://shop.marriageaftergod.com FOR WIVES https://unveiledwife.com https://facebook.com/unveiledwife FOR HUSBANDS https://husbandrevolution.com https://facebook.com/HusbandRevolution

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#9

The Importance Of Doing A Marriage Devotional Together

January 30, 2019 • 40m

Get the Husband and Wife After God 30-day devotionals today. https://shop.marriageaftergod.com/products/husband-and-wife-after-god-devotional-bundle Quote From Husband After God on page 16 “Marriage is an opportunity to bring glory to God as you share with the world His testimony by loving your wife the way Christ loves the church.” Quote From Wife After God on page 117 “Being a submissive wife is beautiful, as it reflects God’s divine order. When a husband loves his wife like Christ loves and a wife submits to her husband, that reflection clearly represents God’s grace-filled love story. The benefits in a marriage like this are extraordinary. Why its important to do a marriage devotional together: Cultivating oneness and intimacy Get on the same page Growing in the word of God together Stimulates conversation Being ready in and out of season give an answer for the hope that you have Investment for marriage Example for our children you have something to pass on suggesting do this... Firstly, we wanted to share this information with you today because we are going into a Podcast series starting next week about our upcoming book Marriage After God! We hope you are pumped for this, we are and we cant wait for this book release! This series launching next week will give you insight into the book and of course, leave you with wanting even more! So before we get into that series, we thought we would dive deep into our devotionals for husbands and wives BECAUSE those of you who have already been through them have asked us what's next...which was a catalyst for us to write the marriage after God book...and also for those of you who havent had a chance to go through these devotionals yet or any of you who want to go through them again, we wanted to let you know that right now is the perfect time to do them leading up to the Marriage After God book release. We have about 4ish months till then which is ample time to get through the 30-day devotionals. A few things people have said about these devotionals: "Life changing - This book is truly a godsend! My marriage is better using the books! My husband and I read them daily and it’s helping us to grow in our marriage and closer to God! We were just recently baptized December 31, 2018 and this has been an awesome read for us to continue to have God at the center of our marriage. Daily this book hits home and I’m learning more about being a good wife!! Thank you so much for this book and I truly hope all Christian couples read these!" - Diamond S. "Just what our marriage needed! Awesome! It brought us closer together while also enhancing our individual walk with God. Opened our eyes to things we were and weren’t doing and being accountable. Very powerful devotionals! Highly recommended! A+++++" - William M. "Simply AMAZING I bought both bundles; Husband/Wife After God and 31 Prayers for your husband/wife and my husband and I are doing both together. OMGOODNESS, it really is good. Very well written and when I say these will open up your eyes, I'm not kidding. And get your steel toe boots on. These two books have helped us start off in a place where God can show up and take over. We have only been doing these less than two weeks, and God shows up every day relating these books to our daily lives. God speaks through people and uses people to minister to others and boy has he here. If you want God to show up and you really want to love God through your spouse and how to do it. These books right here is where you start!!" - Krystal W. *Dear Lord, Thank you for creating marriage. Thank you for considering our counterpart and complement. Thank you that we do not have to endure life alone. Not only do we get to live with the presence of Your Holy Spirit and our spouse, but we also get to benefit from living in community with other believers. May we walk together in unity as You have always intended us to. Please continue to draw us closer to Yourself and closer to each other. Continue to transform our hearts and our minds, so that our character reflects your character. Help us to intentionally invest in marriage by learning how to fulfill our roles as husbands and wives. Thank you for revealing to us why You created marriage and the purpose it has in this world. May this purpose motivate us to walk righteously every day. Remind us daily that our marriage is a symbol to this hurting world of Your powerful and unconditional love. We pray that as Christian husbands and wives, we aim to minister to one another in our marriages by being obedient to all that You have commanded through Your Word. May we be prayer warriors who do not neglect to pray for one another. We pray that as we make ourselves known to You and to each other, that we experience extraordinary intimacy. We pray for your will to be done in our marriages and through our marriages and may You be glorified. In Jesus’ name, amen!* READ: [Aaron] Hey, we're Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God. [Jennifer] Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage. [Aaron] And today, we're gonna talk about the importance of doing a marriage devotional together. Welcome to the Marriage After God podcast, where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after. [Jennifer] I'm Jennifer, also known as Unveiled Wife. [Aaron] And I'm Aaron, also known as Husband Revolution. [Jennifer] We have been married for over a decade. [Aaron] And so far, we have four young children. [Jennifer] We have been doing marriage ministry online for over seven years through blogging and social media. [Aaron] With the desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage, encouraging them to walk in faith every day. [Jennifer] We believe that Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one, full of life. Love. And power. [Aaron] That can only be found by chasing after God. [Jennifer] Together. [Aaron] Thank you for joining us in this journey, as we chase boldly after God's will for our life together. [Jennifer] This is Marriage After God. [Aaron] Hey, thanks for joining us this week. We wanna invite you, as always, to leave a review on the podcast. The reviews, the star ratings, those all help other people, other marriages, find this podcast and get the content,. So if you enjoy what you been hearing, and you haven't done it yet, would you leave us a review today? That'd be awesome. [Jennifer] Also, if you've been enjoying this podcast, we would like to encourage you and ask you to shop on our online store as a way to support this podcast. So if you go to shop.marriageaftergod.com, you can see all of our resource there. We just want you to know that we wrote those for you guys, but also it helps support things like this podcast, so thank you so much for shopping with us. Also, I'd just like to highlight the discussion that we're going to be talking about today happens to be on marriage devotionals. So be sure to check out Husband and Wife After God. [Aaron] Yeah, those are our two devotionals that we wrote for husbands and wives to go through together. They can go through them separately, too, right? Yep. But we'll talk about that. [Jennifer] But if you're shopping on the store, you can check those out, and there's more information there for you, specifically on those devotionals. [Aaron] Awesome. So, icebreaker question, all right? [Jennifer] Dun dun dun. [Aaron] What is your definition of "and they lived happily ever after?" [Jennifer]Okay, so, we've talked about this before, but we're not really into this phrase. It's a hopeful and a happy phrase, for sure. [Aaron] Yeah, it's-- [Jennifer] But at the end of my book-- [Aaron] It's got a dead end on it, I feel like. [Jennifer] Well, I think at the end of my book, the end of our story, I'd much rather hear the line, and "they entered heaven, "and God said with a smile on His face, "well done, my good and faithful servants." To me, that's more powerful. [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] Than happily ever after. Which means that we used our marriage for His purposes, and not just our own, and in the process being happy is a byproduct of Yeah. serving Him. Yeah, just, it-- It might mean-- It feels one goal focused, and word focused of we're just going to be happy for the rest of our lives, and I don't, first of all, it's not even possible. The Bible tells us that we will endure trials and things like that, so when I think of it, I actually wanna reword it and say, "and they lived joyfully ever after God." [Jennifer] Oh, there you go. [Aaron] Like as a marriage, we're chasing after him. [Jennifer] Kinda the same thing. [Aaron] Yeah, but its with joy, which is more of, it's something that exists even when we're not happy. Because when things aren't easy and hard, we can have joy, but instead of just "happily ever after" like the white picket fence, just the American Dream, or just things going well for the rest of our marriage. We have a bigger purpose of, it's not just to make us happy, but it's to pursue God and what He's doing in His kingdom, so I would just change. Yeah, we've never really liked that phrase. It's not that it's a bad phrase. [Jennifer] No. [Aaron] It just doesn't feel deep enough Or complete. Or long, or long-lasting enough, yeah. [Jennifer] It's not complete. [Aaron] Alright, we'll move on to the topic. That was an okay question, we'll have a better question next week, one that's funnier I think, 'cause those are usually funny questions, huh? [Jennifer] Not always. [Aaron] So we're gonna be talking about our devotionals a little later, but we have some quotes from them to start off the episode with, and this is a quote from my devotional Husband After God. It's on page 16, it says, "Marriage is an opportunity "to bring glory to God as you share with the world "His testimony by loving your wife "the way Christ loves the church." [Jennifer] Okay, and I'm gonna share my quote from Wife After God, it's on page 117. "Being a submissive wife is beautiful, "as it reflects God's divine order. "When a husband loves his wife like Christ loves, "and a wife submits to her husband, "that reflection clearly represents "God's grace-filled love story. "The benefits in a marriage like this are extraordinary." So they kinda mirror each other, they go hand in hand. [Aaron] Well, now that's the reason we wrote the devotionals, was to highlight for the husband and wife, why they're married and why God has His order and His ways for us to follow. It's because we have a message to proclaim. [Jennifer] Mm-huh. [Aaron] We have a purpose in this world. Which again goes to the bigger picture of what we wrote Marriage After God for, which comes out in June, which is just that. That our marriages are a ministry and that when we walk the way the Bible calls us to walk. We actually proclaim His message to the world, which is pretty incredible. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] To think about that, our marriages have much more to do in this world than just make us happy, which goes back to our question, really. But let's start off the topic with why it's important to do a marriage devotional together. 'Cause I'm sure there's a lot of marriages out there, people listening, that are wondering like, "hey, we do our devotionals separately, but what benefit could it be for us to do one together? [Jennifer] Or maybe they're not doing any together or any at all, and they've been waiting for something, they're looking for something. We're hoping that this catches their attention and maybe inspire them to get started on one today. [Aaron] Yeah, so let's talk about some of the benefits, some of the things that come to mind that could be, that could come out as fruit, [Jennifer] Okay. [Aaron] from doing a devotional together. [Jennifer] So the first thing that comes to mind is just cultivating oneness and intimacy from the experience of doing it together. Right. So, focusing and being intentional in the act of doing something together like a marriage devotional. [Aaron] Right, 'cause usually, if we have books that we read at night, often it's just to ourselves. It's, we're the only ones benefiting from it, or enjoying it, but a devotional that we can do together. If it's in the evening or in the morning, or in the afternoon, whenever that works. It's an intentional time to be together in the Word of God. It requires conversation, introspective thinking, dialogue, lots of stuff that would go on, that which cultivates more and more intimacy. Yeah. Right? Instead of us just, I work, come home, how was your day, awesome. We actually can go deep and say, hey, what did you think of that scripture or how does that make you feel or hey, that reminds me of when I was a kid and... [Jennifer] Yeah, and just to take it one step further, when you consider a devotional, you're usually gonna find those kind of journal questions or discussion questions or, like you said, to think introspectively, that you can use as conversation starters. 'Cause some people, they want to share their hearts with their spouse, but they don't really know how to-- That's a good point, yeah. or where to start, and so a marriage devotional will usually take the hardness out of the equation and say, here talk about this. Right. [Jennifer] And both people can look at the paper and go, oh! Or look at the book or look at whatever they're looking at and say, that's what we have to discuss, so we're gonna talk about that right now. [Aaron] Yeah, so they could stretch our intimacy muscles. How deep can we go in the conversation? The things that we could talk about. Those questions are usually formulated to cause deeper discussion than you would normally get into. It's a good point, and you know what? Growing spiritually is a very intimate thing. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] The deepest part of us is our spirit and we're cultivating that with each other. Praying with each other is an extremely intimate thing. We're entering the throne room of God together, we are praying together, we are lifting each other's hearts up, we're hearing each other's hearts, and then discussing the Word of God together, those are super intimate things. [Jennifer] Yeah, growing in the word of God together, that's a powerful thing for a marriage to be doing. I think that we all should be doing that. [Aaron] Okay, well, of course. Like as Christians, we're called to grow and mature, but as marriages, as a single unit, as one, we should be growing and maturing together also. Not growing and maturing separately only. That should be happening, but growing together, and I think what's awesome about doing a devotional together, also allows us to be accountable to each other. Yeah. Right? If we've been discussing, self-control, or our anger, or anything that this devotional might be calling out of us, we can actually pay attention together instead of me trying to work on it privately, [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] and you don't really know what I'm working on. We actually could say, hey, remember the devotional last night we were just talking about this, like hey, let's working on that. [Jennifer] That's good. [Aaron] And I feel like you might've forgot the thing that we've committed to because of that question we answered the other night. So it helps us to be working on similar things throughout the day and keep each other accountable, and look out for each other's growth and maturity. [Jennifer] Another benefit is being an example for your children, and when those children become adults and they're married, you can say, have suggestions for them. Hey, we did this marriage devotional, we did that together. You and your spouse should try that. [Aaron] Yeah, and then they also see us, especially if we do visible, like in front of them, periodically, maybe not every day, but, hey, mommy and daddy are gonna do our quiet time together now, you guys can look at your books or go play quietly with your legos, and they know that that's an important thing to us, that we separate time to be in the Word together. It actually kinda convinced me thinking about it right now, we should do that more. [Jennifer] Yeah, we should. [Aaron] We should be getting away more together, so let's start doing that. [Jennifer] Okay, deal. [Aaron] I was gonna say, another thing I think about is, again, going back to the main purpose why we, our marriage exists, what God wants to do in us, is that there's a message to be proclaimed, there's a mission to be accomplished. I think of that scripture that tells us to be ready in and out of season, it tells us to be ready to give an answer for the hope that we have in us, and doing a devotional together and growing together on the same page, in the Word of God and learning what He has to say to us and what he wants to do through us. It helps us be ready for when our neighbor says, "hey, what's so different about your life, "why do you believe in this God of yours?" We're prepared together, instead of maybe you not-- Not knowing or... Not being ready or me not be in the same place. [Jennifer] Yeah, it's good. [Aaron] Yeah, but we would both be prepared to give an answer for our faith. [Jennifer] Yep, and the last thing I think of with all of these things that we've already shared about the importance of doing a marriage devotional together is simply that it's investment for your marriage. So, the quality time you're spending together to do it, the intimacy that you are cultivating when discussing difficult things or very deep things, and, like you said, being ready to share the hope that you have. All of these things are an investment into the marriage relationship, and when you invest into your marriage, you're growing in that relationship, you're building trust, you're building closeness, that bond between you, and I feel like that will strengthen a couple to go even further. [Aaron] Yeah, and keep going. [Jennifer] Like year after year after year. So I just wanted to make that note. [Aaron] That's good, so and the end result of pursuing God together, growing and maturing together, growing the Word of God together, doing a devotional together, all of these things to cultivate the oneness and intimacy and strength. The benefit and result is becoming and living as biblical men and women. [Aaron] We become more like what the Bible says. We represent that more, which has benefits also. When we just become the kind of people God desires us to be. There's benefits, and what are some of those? [Jennifer] So, you know, I just think of advancing as a Christian, and we get to do that together. So we see areas of our life that are weak, and maybe doing a devotional together could point to an aspect of our lives that needs to be transformed or worked on or practiced. Or cut out altogether. [Jennifer] Or cut out altogether, and we get to see us take steps towards growth in those areas. So we're moving forward not backwards. [Aaron] Yeah, when we walk in the way that the Word tells us to and calls us to, we experience more love, we learn about it more, we're filled more with God's love in us. So our marriage, we benefit from that, and our children benefit from that. [Jennifer] Totally. [Aaron] And our neighbors. The people that we interact with, there's more joy, more love, more peace. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] All those, you know, fruit of the spirit is in us. [Jennifer] Yeah, it's good. [Aaron] And that's a huge benefit of walking in obedience to the things that the Word calls us to. [Jennifer] Yeah, some other benefits are just, when you're working on areas of yourself to be more like God, I feel like He draws things out of your heart that need to be worked on, like being healthier with choices that you make, or being wiser, you know, like those kinds of things. [Aaron] Be better stewards of our resources, our money. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Which all benefit our marriage, our life, our relationships, and then the most important thing, and we brought this up a moment ago, is the Gospel, the good news about Jesus Christ and what He came to this Earth to do for us is spread because we are in His Word and we're growing. And we look for opportunities to talk to people about God, and to love on people for God, and to share our story with people. That's the fruit that comes out of us, it's an overflow of what God puts in us. So we're talking about the benefits of doing a devotional, of getting into the Word of God together, but is that, I think of the devotionals we made and how can we share with them more about our devotionals and whether or not they might wanna jump in today. Just getting in the Word of God. 'Cause even if you don't get our devotionals, ever, or anyone else's devotionals, being in the Word of God together is more than adequate. It's what God wants us to do, Yeah. invest in His Word. [Jennifer] And we don't have to over complicate it, like seriously, just open up the Bible, read a chapter or two and talk about it. Ask each other the simple question of what stood out to you, start there. [Aaron] Yeah, and we try and do that. Sometimes, some nights I just read out loud. We don't talk about anything, we just, I read out loud until Jennifer falls asleep, or until we're just like, okay, awesome. And usually it ends up in a really great conversation about something that was triggered by what we read. You know, oh that made me think of today when, or last week I forgot to mention, and we have these really good conversations around the Word of God, but you know, we've had a lot of people over the years ask us about devotionals and want things to do together, and we made two devotionals, Husband After God and Wife after God, separate ones, because there are some marriages where the spouse isn't in the same place and so, we've had many people just buy just the devotional for themselves and start going through and start praying for their husbands or getting into the Word of God. [Jennifer] Or sometimes they buy the bundle in hopes that the other person will read theirs. [Aaron] Yep, we've seen that a lot also. We've actually seen people say, "hey, I didn't think my husband was gonna do it," And then he did. and then he totally started doing it. But the main point is that you do it together. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] You get these devotionals, you read through them, and so let's talk a little bit about these devotionals. Why don't you start off and then we'll just dig in to some of the information about them and maybe people will love the idea. [Jennifer] Yeah, so like Aaron said, our biggest thing here today is just to give you guys a little bit of insight to our marriage devotionals, but overall just encourage you to be doing something together, because it will cultivate that intimacy and oneness. But we wanna give you some insight into our devotionals, just to give you an option and show you what's out there. So, I wrote Wife After God. The subtitle is Drawing Closer to God and Your Husband. It's a 30 day marriage devotional. I wrote this back in 2013, right after I had Elliot. That was a long time ago. [Jennifer] Yep, and, I wanted something that a wife could hold in her hands that would help her better understand God's purpose and design for marriage and her role as a wife and to see that reflection, that picture, that's talked about in Ephesians 5 of Christ's relationship to the church. [Aaron] Yeah, it started off with, we wanted to, you wanted to show wives the ministry they had in their marriage Yes. toward their husband. Yes. [Aaron] Which is what the Bible shows us on both sides that the husband has a ministry to his wife and the wife has a ministry to her husband, and the symbol, like you said, it shows to the world. [Jennifer] So I'm just gonna read couple of these, I'm not gonna read through all of them, but these are just some of the chapter titles, so that they can get an idea for it. God's Purpose for Your Marriage. The Need for Companionship. Ministry of Reconciliation. Perfect Posture. [Aaron] That's a good one. You actually get a lot of comments about that chapter. I do. Wisdom Calls Out. Who You Are Called to Be. The Parts of Marriage. Fruitfulness. Intimacy With God. Love Letter to Your Husband. That's what it ends on, which I love that one. But that's just a handful of them and we'll get to the Husband After God. [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] After we kind of, summarize Wife After God, 'Cause I want the guys to hear what's in yours, which is, Yeah. it's just as good. So anyways, the way that I outlined this is share about a page to a page and a half of whatever that topic is. [Aaron] And it's usually story-driven, it's either from our life, or another story we've heard to illustrate the point. [Jennifer] Yep, and then it goes into a prayer for that day specific to that day, and then you'll see a challenge, which is usually a challenge for you and your relationship with God or you in your relationship with your husband. So hopefully those inspire you guys just to do something you either have never done before or maybe haven't done in a really long time to cultivate that intimacy. Then there's the status update, which I don't know if a lot of people see in books, but we've decided to put the status update challenge in there for people who want to share this message that they're learning with people on social media. That's another way that this message of Wife After God gets out. It can be a catalyst for people to ask, hey what are you doing? What is that thing that you keep posting about? And it just gives a real quick glimpse in one sentence of that day's topic. [Aaron] Yeah, it's also a way of solidifying and vocalizing some of the things you're choosing to walk in. So you're stating it publicly. I'm going to be or I'm going to do, and then it makes it a real thing. Instead of it just in your mind, you're like oh, I'll work on that some day. [Jennifer] And what I love seeing is when people tag me in these and they post a picture of their wedding day with it, or a recent picture. They do that a lot. They post pictures from their wedding day, which is awesome. [Jennifer] Or a recent picture of them together. [Aaron] Yeah, I love that. And it encourages other couples, they say, "oh what is that?" And they want to be a part of it, and it's just a neat way of spreading the Gospel, spreading the message of being a godly wife, being a godly husband and what that means. [Jennifer] And each day has specific scriptures that support the topics that we're sharing, which I don't want to skip over, but just so you guys know, the reason we didn't quote the scripture in there is because we want you to get into the Word of God yourselves, so we just list the scriptures. [Aaron] Yeah, 'cause people always ask, "what version of the Bible did you use in the verses?" All we say, well, we just put the references, not the actual scriptures, so it's all our content, and what's awesome is it requires you to open your Bible. [Jennifer] Yep, and-- [Aaron] Which is the focus. [Jennifer] The last thing I wanna share is one of my favorite parts of these devotionals and it's the journal questions after each day's, at the end of each day, and you can use these. We gave space under each question that you can fill it out right then and there or you can use them and fill it out in your own personal journal, or you can use these as discussion questions either in a group setting. So if you're doing this with a handful of other wives, or you can use them as discussion questions between you and your spouse to answer. [Aaron] Or all of the above. [Jennifer] Or all of the above if you wanna, that'd be awesome. [Aaron] So, I'm going to go through the Husband After God and pull some of the points. It's formatted exactly the same way, but the content is complementary. It's different content focused on the husband with some different topics, but some of the topics are similar, but with different content, if that makes sense. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] So you could totally do this with your spouse and you would have different questions that you can go back and forth on. You would have different stories and different points to pull from, even different scriptures, but the themes might be the same in some areas, so I'm gonna read some of the topics. Marriage By Design. Lead By Example. Your Wife is a Gift. Sacrificial Love. Set Yourself Apart. Be Brave. The Good Fight. Pride. Everyone loves that chapter, I think. Forgiveness. Words Matter. Prayer For Your Wife. Avoiding God. Walk in Victory. And then the last one is The Husband Revolution, which is a fun one. It's proclaiming that mission that we have as husbands and that ministry we have. But yeah, there's a point in the beginning, a couple, a page and a half or two pages, and then there's a prayer for that day, specific to that topic. There's scripture to read. There's questions for you to answer. There's a status update, like this one says, "I will strive to reflect the image "and character of God in my marriage." That's status update, so it's like a statement. Statement, yeah. I'm going to do this and you're telling all your social media friends that you're gonna do it, and then it also let's people know, wait what is he doing? It says #HusbandAfterGod, what is that? [Jennifer] Yeah, what is that? [Aaron] Yeah, there's a challenge on every chapter. This one says share and discuss with your wife what you are learning about the purpose of marriage. So boom, right there, there's an intimate moment that I get to have with my wife where I share with what I'm learning, what God's teaching me about the purpose of marriage. 'Cause imagine if I sat down, or you sit down, husband, with your wife, and you say, oh, you know, I'm learning that God's purpose for our marriage is that I would love you like Christ loves the church. She's gonna be like, what, that's amazing! [Jennifer] And yeah, imagine what that would do to a wife's heart? I know personally, it just makes me feel like, oh my goodness, he cares about me, he loves me, he wants to do this with me and with God, and I don't know, I just love that. [Aaron] I wanna read another challenge. This one's from, what chapter is this? This is from day 21, Prayer For Your Wife, and the challenge is this. Spend time praying for your wife. Share with God why you are thankful for her. Lift up any needs she may have. Pray for her character to reflect Christ, and petition God to protect her. So, the challenge is go find some quiet time and just pray for your wife. [Jennifer] Which we all need those reminders. Every single one of us. [Aaron] So that's the Husband After God devotional. And the topics in each one of them are focused on the wife's role, scriptures that are aligned with that, and then the husband's role and scriptures that are aligned with that, but at the end of the day, what they're doing is they strengthen the marriage overall, making the ministry of that marriage more powerful, and more focused on what God wants for it. [Jennifer] And there's 30 days or 30 topics, so you could easily do this in a month's time. [Aaron] Yeah, well that would be the challenge, is do it every day for a month, for 30 days. [Jennifer] Yep, so I just, real quick, wanna jump into a couple reviews that people have left for these specific devotionals, just so that you guys get an idea of the kind of impact that it's making from other people, and other people's lives. So Aaron, you wanna read the first one? [Aaron] Yeah, this one's from Diamond S. and it says this, "Life changing! "This book is truly a Godsend. "My marriage is better using these books. "My husband and I read them daily and it's helping us "to grow in our marriage and closer to God. "We were just recently baptized December 31st, 2018," which is incredible, [Jennifer] Wow, recently! [Aaron] Yeah, "and this has been an awesome read "for us to continue to have God "at the center of our marriage. "Daily this book hits home and I'm learning more "about being a godly wife. "Thank you so much for this book "and I truly hope all Christian couples read these." [Jennifer] Awesome. [Aaron] Which, I was like, yay, makes me feel good. [Jennifer] Okay, I'm gonna read the next one. It's from Crystal W., "Simply amazing. "I bought both bundles, Husband and Wife After God, "and 31 Prayers For Your Husband and Wife, "and my husband and I are doing both together. "Oh my goodness, it is really good! "Very well written, and when I say these will open up your eyes, I'm not kidding. "And get your steel-toed boots on, "these two books have helped us start off "in a place where God can show up and take over. "We have only been doing these less than two weeks, "and God shows up every day, "relating these books to our daily lives. "God speaks through people and uses people "to minister to others, and, boy, has He here. "If you want God to show up and you really want to love God "through your spouse, and how to do it, "these books, right here is where you wanna start." [Aaron] That one's a good one. I like that one, she said "put on your steel-toed boots." [Jennifer] I know, it's great. [Aaron] Alright, so this last one is from William M. "Just what our marriage needed, awesome! "It brought us closer to God while also enhancing "our individual walk with God, opened our eyes to the things "we were and weren't doing and being accountable. "Very powerful devotionals. "Highly recommended. A++++." [Jennifer] Awh, some people are just so kind, and it always encourages us and we feel like, awesome. We have given couples a catalyst to get into God's word together and to do something that's impacting their relationship, and I'm just praising God. [Aaron] Yeah, and our goal all along, has not been to replace the Bible. Our purpose of these books was to point people to the Bible. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Always pointing back to the Bible, always pointing back to God. [Jennifer] Awesome, okay, so I wanna move into this next, sort of, sessions. [Aaron] These are kinda like questions, Q&As. [Jennifer] Yeah, Q&As on... [Aaron] Oh no, they're FAQs, that's what it is. [Jennifer] Okay, on the topic. So, can these be read together at the same time or not? [Aaron] Both! We recommend them being done together. They could be read separately, or they could be read together, taking turns, but our sentiment is, hey, do them, and then come together and discuss the chapter for the day, discuss the thought for the day, how you answered the questions, do the prayers together, pray- [Jennifer] Sometimes they pray the prayers out loud, too. [Aaron] Yeah, so I would say both. Like we said earlier, there's some marriages where the husband or the wife are not there, they're not doing it. So the other spouse is just doing it on their own. [Jennifer] And the great thing about these devotionals is you can utilize them more than just once, go back through it again, you know? It's really good content, so it's not wasted, just keep going through it again. [Aaron] Yeah, they're good reminders of what the Word says about who we are and what God's called for us. The next question is can they be used to lead a small group? [Jennifer] And the answer for that is, yes. So, some tips for this. If you're gonna do, host small group, let's say that you have five other wives who wanna go through Wife After God together, we would suggest everyone gets a copy, just so that they can go through it on their own throughout the week, and then meet up, once a week for a month or two, depending on how you want to do it, and just use the journal questions, in the back of each day as the discussion questions to talk about. [Aaron] Yeah, and you might be able to break up the chapters, so like the first four chapters on week one, and the next four chapters or five chapters on week two. [Jennifer] Yeah, and you don't have to use the journal questions, You can just simply say, okay, what have you been learning? What stood out to you? That kind of thing. [Aaron] Ideally, they would, whoever has these devotionals, the people listening, if they have these devotionals or if they're going to get them, when they're done going through them, they should invite married couples over to their house, and start a little marriage Bible study with those couples. [Jennifer] That would be awesome. And here's the other tip, if you guys were to do this soon, there's even enough time, by the time you finish that small group, Marriage After God will be out. The new book, yeah. The new book, and then you could do that same group study With that book. With book. [Aaron] Yeah, 'cause that book is significantly different than these devotionals. [Jennifer] Okay, so I want to give one more tip and this is just a fun thing to do with your group, if you're gonna do a group. I did a small group, which actually led me to writing this devotional. I did it for three months with a handful of wives from my church, we were all young wives, kind of in the same season of life, and-- [Aaron] No one had kids yet, back then. [Jennifer] No one had kids yet. One friend had one young, young baby. So, anyways, we got together weekly, once a week, for three months, and the second to the last, or maybe the third to the last one, we made handmade invitations for our husbands. [Aaron] Oh, this is definitely a good idea. [Jennifer] We planned and prepared a dinner that we were gonna host for our husbands on that last evening and talk about the discussion questions and what we learning on that night with everyone. And so we thought it was gonna be fancy, we thought we wanted to dress up, we thought we all wanted to cook together. So we made these handmade invitations and then a couple weeks later, we all got together, we got there early, set the table, got flowers, made the dinner, and all the husbands showed up, dressed super nice, we were just at a friend's house. [Aaron] That, I remember this. That was a lot of fun and I felt really honored. [Jennifer] Everybody just, everybody felt honored. Everybody had smiles on their faces and what's really cool about that night is the guys actually, because they knew it was coming, they all talked and prepared on how they were gonna encourage us women and share how they've seen us change over that time we'd been meeting together. So then at the dinner table, everyone went around and shared. It was incredible, it was so awesome. [Aaron] It was really powerful, and very enjoyable, and the food, I can't remember what it was, but I remember it was really good. [Jennifer] Yeah, so you could do something fun like that together. [Aaron] So last question is, why should they read these devotionals now, as a primer for the Marriage After God book coming out in June? [Jennifer] So, first thing you guys should know is, we did write these devotionals a couple years ago, and when we get people who have been through them asking us what's next, we want to give you something. We've been wanting to give you something since they first came out. [Aaron] We've had four kids since then, so... [Jennifer] Yeah, we've been a little busy, but this was a catalyst, you guys asking and desiring this has been a catalyst for why we wrote Marriage After God. So I feel like these devotionals are the brief version. [Aaron] I think they're the first stepping stone. [Jennifer] It's like a stepping stone, because then, I feel like your hearts will be ready. More unified. And more unified for jumping into the message that is in the book, Marriage After God. [Aaron] Yeah, the Marriage After God book. You're going to be hearing a lot about this, so we're starting to talk about it more because as it gets closer to launching, we want you all to know what it's about, and why we wrote these books. And we wrote Marriage After God as a culmination of everything that God's been teaching us over the years about the ministry that God has for our marriages. And so these devotionals are step one in that. [Jennifer] Yeah, they'll get you thinking about the purpose of your marriage in light of God's Word. [Aaron] Yep, and by the time the book comes out, you'll be ready to take that next step into what God has for your marriage and where He wants to take it. 'Cause that was the whole purpose of writing the book was, we want marriages all over the world who claim the name of Christ, who love God, to recognize the power in the ministry that they have in Christ as a marriage, as one. And so we're super excited about that. [Jennifer] Yeah, I think another thing is, is if you do these devotionals together, it will start to build that habit of spending time together and reading together and asking each other some deep questions. So that when the Marriage After God book comes out, that habit will already be there and you'll want to replace the devotionals with the book. So I think that it's just a natural step. [Aaron] Yeah, and I wanna go, I got really excited about something. I wanna go right back to the small group subject again. I love that idea, and I actually wanna challenge our listeners. We weren't planning on doing this, but I want to challenge our listeners to get a copy of our devotionals, the Husband and Wife After God devotionals. Go through them, and at the end of the 30 days, during the 30 days, be praying and asking God, what other couples are in your life that He wants you to invite to a study at your house, a Marriage After God study? And then invite them to get the books. It could be two couples, it could be one couple, it could be five couples. I wouldn't do more than maybe six couples, that's a lot of people. Do multiple studies, maybe, but I just wanna challenge you to be praying through the books as you do them, and asking God who it is. You might be thinking right now, oh my gosh, I have this friend, these friends, they would love to do this with us, and start a Bible study and walk through these studies, these books together and see what God has for all your marriages. What we're trying to start here is a movement of marriages after God, of marriages who desire to grow the kingdom of God, to see Him move through their marriages, and that we would use our marriages for ministry for Him. That's why we started the podcast. That's why we started our blogs. All of this goes back to that, that we're moving the kingdom forward with God, and that we see our marriages as the ministries He's given us and the tools that He's given us to serve Him. [Jennifer] Mmm, that's good. [Aaron] So would you agree with that challenge? [Jennifer] I agree, I like that challenge, and just to simplify it and make it easy for them to understand. Just tell these people it'll be four or six weekS, whatever you want the timing to be on it, which is not a long time to meet together. It's not at all. [Jennifer] It's once a week, for four weeks, or once a week for six weeks. [Aaron] Try the four weeks, I think the four week one, just one month to see if it works, see if you're like wow, this is awesome. And but first, I would say you go through the devotionals as a couple first. And during that 30 days, you pray, and fast if need to, and you ask the Lord. Say, Lord, reveal to us, who is it? And I know the Lord will. The moment we ask God, like God use me, He's like okay, He wants to use us. [Jennifer] Marriages need it, you guys, that's why we're doing this, because marriages need the support, the encouragement of other believers, they need to know why God has them together. [Aaron] The reminder of not just happily ever after, but it's that we're chasing after God together, that we're building His kingdom together, that we have a mission in this world and our marriage is the tool to accomplish the mission. Yeah, and going back to the message of the Marriage After God book, that's what the whole book's about, what is the mission God has for us? [Jennifer] And if you guys have already been through these devotionals, and this is old news to you, because you've already been through these, I want you to go dust them off, go get them, and go do exactly what Aaron is challenging you to do right now and consider- [Aaron] Let's start our movement. [Jennifer] Yeah, consider who you can invite over to go through them with you. [Aaron] Ooh, how can they let us know if they're doing it? 'Cause actually I would love to know. I'd love to see the groups-- Groups, a group photo! We wanna see a group photo- Tagged! [Jennifer] @MarriageAfterGod. [Aaron] Yeah, tag @MarriageAfterGod and #MarriageAfterGod, and we will look 'em and actually I think we'll repost them. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Not all of them, but we'll repost a lot of them. So if you do this, please let us know. We'd love to be praying for you, being part of it, and we are praying for you, but if you're going to be doing a group, we want to pray for your group, we want to pray for your Bible study. I'm getting all excited, okay. [Jennifer] Okay, so last note before we go into the prayer for this episode, and that is, get ready, because we have 16 weeks ahead of us of a book series for Marriage After God that we're going to be diving into starting next week with the introduction. [Aaron] That's true, and you know what's awesome? We forgot to mention this, this is episode 52. This is, we've been doing this for one year. Woohoo! Today. [Jennifer] Thank you guys for following along, and listening, this is awesome. [Aaron] Yeah, so for the next 16 episodes, we're going to be talking about content from the book. [Jennifer] And it's actually 17, 'cause it's 16 chapters, plus the introduction, so 17 weeks. [Aaron] So you're going to be learning a lot about the message of the Marriage After God book, which is essentially of the Marriage After God podcast, and how our hearts is to start a movement in Christian marriages around the world. And we'd love for you to be a part of that, and to take ownership in that, and know that God's gonna do something amazing. And we're excited to see what that is. So before we close, as always, we've dedicated to pray for you and your marriage and for what God's doing, and so Jennifer would you like to pray for us? [Jennifer] Dear Lord, thank you for creating marriage. Thank you for considering our counterpart and complement. Thank you that we do not have to endure this life alone. Not only do we get to live with the presence of Your Holy Spirit and our spouse, but we also get to benefit from living in community with other believers. May we walk together in unity as You have always intended us to. Please continue to draw us closer to Yourself and closer to each other. Continue to transform our hearts and our minds so that our character reflects Your character. Help us to intentionally invest in marriage by learning how to fulfill our roles as husbands and wives. Thank you for revealing to us why you created marriage and the purpose it has in this world. May this purpose motivate us to walk righteously every day. Remind us daily that our marriage is a symbol to this hurting world of your powerful and unconditional love. We pray that as Christian husbands and wives, we aim to minister to one another in our marriages by being obedient to all that You have commanded through Your Word. May we be prayer warriors who do not neglect to pray for one another. We pray that as we make ourselves known to You and to each other, that we experience extraordinary intimacy. We pray for Your will to be done in our marriages and through our marriages and may You be glorified. In Jesus' name, Amen. [Aaron] Amen, thank you Lord. We're excited to see pictures. We're excited to see what God's gonna be doing in your marriage through these devotionals, through the Bible study that you're gonna start, I'm making it a definitive. [Jennifer] And tag @MarriageAfterGod so we can see and cheer you along! [Aaron] Yeah, and just start praying and asking God how He wasn't to use you and your spouse. That's our heart, that's our goal, that's why we do this, is that you would recognize the place that you have in the body of Christ, and that it's a significant one. Doesn't matter who you are, doesn't matter where you live, God's got a plan for you, He's got a purpose for your marriage, for your life individually, and you are a part of the body of Christ. And God's got work for us to do, [Jennifer] Let's do it. [Aaron] as his children. Yeah, so let's do it and we love you guys. We thank you for joining us on our 52nd episode, one year in, here's to another year, and we'll see you next week! Did you enjoy today's show? Find many more encouraging stories and resources at MarriageAfterGod.com and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

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#10

Why A Heart Of Thanksgiving Is Important For A Marriage After God

November 07, 2018 • 42m

Thankfulness in marriage is necessary and unthankfulness is destructive. In the season of thanksgiving, the meaning of thankfulness can easily be lost. In this episode, we give some tips on how to have a biblical mind on thankfulness and how to walk in it every day. We all need to be reminded often to fill our hearts with thankfulness. -- Take our 31-day marriage prayer challenge today and join the 1000's of couples who have done it. https://shop.marriageaftergod.com/products/thirty-one-prayers-bundle -- FOR MORE MARRIAGE ENCOURAGEMENT https://marriageaftergod.com https://instagram.com/marriageaftergod SHOP MARRIAGE RESOURCES https://shop.marriageaftergod.com FOR WIVES https://unveiledwife.com https://facebook.com/unveiledwife FOR HUSBANDS https://husbandrevolution.com https://facebook.com/HusbandRevolution READ: Hey, we're Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God. Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage. And today, we're gonna talk about how a heart of thankfulness is necessary for a marriage after God. So today, we're gonna talk about thankfulness in marriage, and we may even hit on why unthankfulness is, you know, damaging to marriage. But we're excited about this episode, especially 'cause Thanksgiving's right around the corner, and I think that, you know, thankfulness is usually on people's mind. If not, it's written somewhere on a napkin or some sort of decor for Thanksgiving, so. Yeah, but one of the reasons we wanna bring up this topic is especially with a corporate holiday, you know, federal holiday being Thanksgiving, sometimes it might lose its meaning. We might think, oh, of course, yeah, I should be thankful, I should be thankful, but we forget actually the spiritual impact that thankfulness has on our lives and actually the command that we have from the Lord to be thankful. Yeah. And so we just wanna talk about what thankfulness does in a marriage after God, and how it could benefit our ministry. And why it's important to do it all year 'round, right? Yeah, not just one day a year when the food's amazing. So that's what we wanna talk about today, is thankfulness, and we're gonna give some tips on the end, just how to have a mind and heart surrounded with thankfulness, and the Bible's really clear on how thankfulness should be a part of our lives. It shouldn't be just something that comes and goes, and it shouldn't just be based on the circumstances, which we'll see, but thankfulness should be an integral part of the Christian's life. It should be something deep inside of us. And so I think it'll be fun to discuss this. I have some questions for us to answer candidly about thankfulness in our own lives, because we're never unthankful. Never. Yeah, our marriage is only ever full of thankfulness. We're always walking in the spirit, so like. Yeah, perfectly. That flesh never gets to us. I mean, we're just. No, of course we're being facetious. We're a perfect couple, really. No, we have to be reminded often to be thankful, to have hearts filled with thankfulness, and the fruit that comes from that is good, and the fruit that comes from unthankfulness is not so good. Yeah. It's actually very destructive. Yeah. So, we're gonna dig in. We have some scripture to talk about, and some questions to answer, and then some tips at the end, and I think it's gonna be really good, so I hope you enjoy it. Okay, so we kind of broke this down into two sections, and so the first one is it's necessary for a strong marriage relationship. So thankfulness is necessary in order to have a strong marriage. And the first question that we wanted to kind of ask each other is, how do you think that thankfulness might play a huge role in strengthening our relationship? Yeah, I was thinking about this based off of the scripture that we're gonna talk about later, but thankfulness, I feel like it keeps us in a positive place, it keeps us moving forward. You know, I think about the times that we're not thankful. Mmhmm. And what our relationship is like. If you go back to like, in the beginning of our marriage, I don't know if I was necessary thankful for you, right? And so, I would neglect you. I would be frustrated with you. I would be bitter at our relationship and the things that weren't going my way, 'cause I had these expectations, and since those expectations weren't being fulfilled, I wasn't thankful. It was like I got a bad gift, and I was like, oh, thanks for this, God. I remember all the years at Christmas, and I would, you know, as a little child, be expecting one thing. Like that bike. You should tell that story. Yeah, I know. So, one Christmas, I just wanted a bike. The only thing I wanted was a bike. I dropped hints everywhere. Disclaimer, my parents are awesome, right? So, I wanted a bike. And I remember getting to my grandma's house. We were all there, everyone was there, and my grandma just starts dropping hints, 'cause she knows exactly what I'm getting. She's like, oh, I know what you're getting for Christmas. Oh, what is it? And she's like, here's your first hint. It's red. And I said, red? I'm thinking, I'm like, oh, a red bike, yeah. And then she got me with the second hint. She's like, the second hint is it starts with a B. Oh, no. And I'm like, what? I'm like, my parents actually got me the bike I wanted! And then I get the present, and it's like this big. It's like, it's a small box. Oh, no. And I'm like, how does a, maybe it's like a helmet. Maybe it's the helmet for the bike, and they're gonna trick me. Stay hopeful here. And I open it up, and it's a red pair of boots. Oh, red boots. Cowboy boots, yeah. That's awesome, though. Yeah, that's the kind of thankfulness I'm talking about, that we had in our marriage, like, yeah, thanks, God, but it was more like a, I wasn't actually thankful. Now, I did wear those boots all the time. But you didn't get the bike that you wanted. But I didn't get the bike I wanted, and I feel like that's what, you know, thankfulness is being thankful for what you have. So I could have been thankful for you, and I would have seen you with eyes of thankfulness. Mmhmm. Whether or not I think you were what I should have gotten, or the things that we were going through were something great or terrible, I could have been thankful, and that probably would have changed a lot of things in the way I responded to you, in the way I walked with you. I can see that. Instead of drifting away from you, because it was like, I'm gonna put you in the closet, like those boots. He didn't ever put me in the closet. I didn't put her in the closet. But that's the spiritual, you know. Isolation. Isolating myself. Being apart from one another, yeah. But like, how have you seen thankfulness play a huge role in strengthening our relationship? Well, on the positive side, 'cause I also, in the beginning of our marriage, I wouldn't say that I was thankful for the gift of marriage. I was a little bit jolted in like, not receiving the thing that I wanted. It wasn't how it was supposed to be. Yeah, this isn't what I thought it was gonna be. Yeah, and the first few years were really rough, but I could see how, when we started to walk out with hearts of thankfulness, how it really affirmed our marriage. And so I just kinda wanna highlight the positive here, that it changed us, and it gave us eyes to see where, even in the really, really small stuff, how we can be grateful for what we have and who we're with. I mean, I can look at our relationship now, and I'm so grateful for being with you. I can even be thankful for the things that we went through in the past, because I know that God used it for good, and I don't know, I just think that it's important to have a heart of thankfulness for each other, even in the hard times. And we're gonna talk a little bit about that later as well when we get to the tips, but you're really good at reminding me to be thankful. Now I am, I didn't used to be. In the hard times, yeah. And I was actually, while you were talking, I was thinking about all those times in Africa when we were missionaries, and we would go to a family's home, and when I say a home, it was like either a hut or just a smaller building, not what we would recognize here, and they would present us with the most, in our minds, wasn't something amazing, food, but in their minds, it was the best they had, and I just remember recognizing, 'cause a lot of the missionaries that we were with, they were like, no, you're gonna honor them. You're gonna eat what they give you, and that's hard for us. And you eat all of it, 'cause if you leave some, then you're not using the value of what they gave. Yeah, you're not appreciating that. You're not showing them that you're thankful. And I'm just thinking about the relationship between the gift-giver, the person giving me their food, in their world was the best that they had, and I'm thinking, like, oh, this is not as good as I, you know, my selfishness. Not being thankful is looking at the relationship in a way that like, oh, you didn't give me enough, you didn't give me what I want, and therefore, I'm not gonna be in that kind of connection with you and that kind of fellowship with you, right? Yeah. And I'm actually like, you know, harming the relationship with that person, because I'm not satisfied with what they've given me. Now, on the other hand, let's say I'm hungry, and I have no food, and I crawl into their home, and they feed me, right? Whatever they give me, I'm thankful. The Bible tells us that, you know, when you're hungry, even bitter things taste sweet, right? So the mentality, the heart is different toward that person. I'm like, man, thank you. You saved my life. You saved my life. It's the same food, different perspective. Yeah. So when you think about it from that perspective, you know, of a perspective shift, it really comes from a place of pride. You know, I'm unthankful because I deserve something, I'm owed something. What you have given me isn't worthy of me, right? It's a very selfish way to look at it. Super selfish. And so, on the other hand, if I'm thankful, my perspective is like, what I have is better than what I deserve, is more than what I'm owed, is beyond what I could have asked for. It's exactly where God wants us to be. It's pride versus humbleness, humility. So that's why I think it strengthens our relationship when we are thankful for each other, during the circumstances we're going through with each other, for the things that God's given our marriage. How can or has unthankfulness hurt our witness and ministry as a couple? Well, some of the stuff I was just talking about, of the pride. Mmhmm. I feel like, no, I don't feel like. I know people can recognize pride and arrogance and cockiness, and I feel like being unthankful, that shows out. I actually, I'm telling it myself again. I like that, I like that. I realized I had a situation with this that's caused me to kind of think about certain patterns I have and certain characteristics I have. A lot of our friends know that I love good food, and I barbecue my own meat, and I'm particular about how I make it, and whenever I go to restaurants, when we're with friends, I get something, and I find myself critiquing what I've been given. Yeah, yeah. You know? I'm at this really nice restaurant, and I'm like, oh, you know, I would have done it this way, or oh, they didn't do it the way. It's supposed to be done. It's supposed to be done. And so I have this particular way, and it's just me kind of, the way I've justified it is just me walking in my passions with food, right? And a friend of mine said something to me, and I'm like, oh, that was interesting. And I don't think they were trying to be rude to me or mean, but they said, you know, Aaron, you should be a restaurant critic, right? And I think they were sincere, but when I was on the way home, I remembered talking to you. I was like, I think I'm a jerk. You know, I'm sitting at this nice restaurant, I'm enjoying my friends, and there was literally nothing there to complain about, not a single thing, and my critiquing, you know, I'm using my air quotes, is just my unthankfulness. It's me being prideful about my knowledge of things, or something not being good enough. Right. For me. Well, also, I would say for you, it was the value of, I'm paying for this. Like, let's say it was a steak, and I could have done it better for cheaper at home. Right, which is thoughts I have, you know? And who knows if that waiter's listening to me going back and talking to the chef, and like, I'm just one of those guys that complains about a really nice plate of food. You know? It was funny, it's all this unthankfulness is around food. It's not always food. It's not always food. These are just good examples, I think. But like, you know, our life is supposed to be a light in this world, and like, what if I'm sitting there, it could be embarrassing for you, too. I don't know if you've ever been embarrassed. No. I think you have stories in your own life of people acting like this on a bigger scale. Yeah, I was thinking though, like, I think we've shared this in another episode, but when it comes to our kids, especially around food, are we showing them an example of thankfulness when it comes to our food, or are they also going to be critiquing their food? I think you talked about them critiquing my food at home. Which is so dangerous. I'm like, that's your mom. Don't critique your mom's food. You enjoy it. Yeah. But you're right, that's another witness to our children. We're using food as an example a lot, but it goes for everything. Like, if we're not thankful for our car, our home, you know, and that comes out in the way we take care of those things and treat those things and talk about those things. I have an example of you know, just how our ministry as a couple can negatively impact or have that negative impact on our ministry to others, and it's more relational, but if you are doing something that I think you should have done different, or if I think you weren't doing right, and we're in front of a group of people or whatever. For you, or just in general? Just in general, or for me, it doesn't matter, and I don't respond with a heart of thankfulness, because I don't actually see your action as being good. I see it as all the wrong ways that you're doing it, right? Right. Because I don't have that heart of thankfulness, it comes out in my response to you, and then all of the sudden, I feel that. Other people are watching you. Yeah, other people are watching me, and I start to feel embarrassed of my own actions and responses towards you, and I feel like our marriage is weakened and kind of broken. Right, the witness that our marriage has, our unity's gone, 'cause it's like, oh, why'd you do it that way? Can you just go redo it? Yeah. I don't know if I'm making up that example, but, I think that's a good point, how we treat each other, especially back when we weren't thankful for each other. And even now, we still, you know, we go through days of just like, today's hard, this happened, this happened, this happened, this happened. Yeah, feeling overwhelmed by it. Right? And we're like, well, and we really forget all the good. But I guess the, you know, going into the verse we're about to talk about, sometimes we can think, well, right now there isn't good, so why should I be thankful? But that's actually not what the Bible teaches us. God actually has a way for us to be in the good times and in the bad, and so, I'm gonna read Ephesians five. This right here gives us the picture of how God wants us to be thankful and why, and in the book of Ephesians, Ephesians is the relationship book. It's about our relationship with the church, our relationship as a church, our relationship with God, and then our relationship with each other, and it's all relationships and how we relate to each other as Christians, as the new creature that God's made us. In Ephesians five, in verse 15, it says this, and this is talking, again, about the relationship between individuals in the church, as a global idea. It says, look carefully, then, how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for this is debauchery, but be filled with the spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and, right here is the keyword, for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Again, the context of this is how us as individuals in the body of Christ, in the church, the global church, are to act with each other, to relate to each other. You know, we submit to one another out of reverence. We greet each other with songs and hymns out of our hearts filled with thankfulness, and so what that means is when our hearts are filled with thankfulness, the sound that comes out of us, the tone that comes out of us, is melody to God. It's melodic, it's harmonious, it's beautiful, it's up-building, it lifts your spirits. That's what that heart of thankfulness does. But the keyword, again, is for everything. Giving thanks always, and for everything, which is kind of hard to understand. Like, wait, we're supposed to thank God for the hard things? Are we supposed to thank God for the difficulties we had in our marriage, in the beginning of our marriage? Yeah, and I would say in the midst of it, it was really hard to. I don't think we were thankful. I don't think we were thankful. I was not. I remember my prayers consisted of, why are you doing this to me, God? But looking back in hindsight, we have thanked him for that. Oh, yeah. So if we can encourage those listening, if you are in the middle of a hard spot, try practicing finding things that you can be thankful of, not finding things. I guess it's be thankful for them. Be thankful for them. Say Lord, this is hard; thank you. And here's the thing. We can always find something to be thankful for. I guess so, yeah. But God wants us to be thankful for everything. Yeah. For the hard things, for the easy things, for the painful things, for the joyful things, because God wants our Thanksgiving. Yeah. And you know what? Paul says this. He says, our current sufferings are not to be compared with the coming glory. So, even the hardest things we can go through, and if you think about Christians that are being persecuted all over the world, they should thank God for that, first of all, because they're gonna get an extra blessing. That's what the Bible says. But that's so short of a time. It's gonna be done with, and they're gonna be in glory with God. Mmhmm. That's what our lives are. So all of our little things, the little, painful things, the hard things we go through, the big things that we go through. God doesn't just want us to thank him for the good things. He wants us to thank him for everything, which is awesome. I think I was just talking to you this morning encouraging you, just saying, you know, do you have breath in your lungs today? Did you have food to eat? Do you have energy in your body? I mean, you went pretty far. You were like, do your legs work? Do your hands work? And I was just letting her know, letting you know, that we have so much stuff to thank God for, just in the fact that we're, the people listening right now are sitting there, breathing, listening. They have life in them, and God says, I want you to use your life for me, and I want you to be thankful for that life and all the things that happen within that life. I think a big part of being able to thank God for everything, for all of it, good and bad, it shows your amount of trust in him. Yeah. Because when you can say, God, thank you for this, even though it's really hard, you're trusting that he's either gonna walk you through it, you're trusting that his timing is best and that that hard time will end when he sees fit, or you're gonna trust that he's gonna use that hard stuff for something good later, right? Well, yeah. I feel like trust is such a big part of it. Being unthankful for it, like, God, why are you doing this to me, which is my heart, is presumptuous, to think, like, I know better. Right. God, you're doing it wrong. This thing I'm going through, I don't deserve it, it's not right, you're unjust. That's what I'm saying if I'm unthankful to God. And when we put it in that context, 'cause while you were talking, I was thinking. I was like, yeah, actually, unthankfulness is telling God we know better. Yeah. And the story I think of is Job. Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Which is one of the oldest manuscripts known in the Bible. It's the oldest one. It's not chronologically the oldest, but it is the oldest written manuscript. And it's a story of a man who goes through the most incredible suffering, and it almost looks like he doesn't even deserve any of it, right? And he's telling the Lord, like, I'm righteous, I'm just. God, I don't deserve any of this. And by the very end, what does God tell him? Where were you when I set the foundations of the earth and I told the water where to stop? Where were you when I created everything, right? And he's essentially telling Job, he's like, he's like, Job, you don't get to question me. And you know what, it doesn't tell us why, but God blessed him in the end. Doesn't mean he deserved it. Just God chose to bless him. That's what God can do, 'cause he's God, right? Yeah. So, that's actually a pretty scary thing to think about, that when we're unthankful for even the little hard things, the big hard things, we're telling God we know better, and that's, again, a prideful heart against God, but I'd rather be, no matter how hard it is, in a spot of being held by God, like God, I trust you, like you said. That was a good word. Yeah, that's good. I wanna also read I Thessalonians 5:16-18, 'cause I think it kind of affirms everything that you're saying right now. Yeah, this is like the other half of how we're supposed to be thankful. Yeah, so, it says, rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. And I think so many people are out there and they think to themselves, I just wanna know God's will for me. I just wanna know what he wants for me. It's right here, boom. It's right here. This is God's will for you. He wants you to rejoice always, and that reminds me of the verse that you were just reading about of, you know, having psalms and hymns. You told me one time, I think it was you, about how you know that someone's joyful when they're singing? I said that at church on Sunday. Oh, yeah. So you know that someone's joyful when they're walking around the house humming or singing, and their spirit's just light, and you feel their tone. You can hear it. Yeah. So I think being able to rejoice always is a testimony of God's power in your life. Whether the circumstances around you are good or bad, if you're able to rejoice, you're saying, hey, none of this stuff matters, because I know who loves me, and you know, part of our ministry as A Marriage after God, our ministry as Christians in this world, is to be a light to others, and how are we supposed to reflect him and bear his image? It's to be able to rejoice in all things. Which is a perfect transition into the second part of why it's necessary to have a heart of thankfulness, is because it's for a marriage to glorify and magnify God. Thankfulness, in our hearts, does that very thing, and we have some scriptures to back that up, if we haven't already proven it, just by some of the scriptures we've already read. But like you said, the magnification, the glory, there's nothing more powerful than meeting someone who's going through extreme suffering, and they have thankfulness in their heart, and they have joy, and it doesn't mean they're not in pain, doesn't mean they're masking it or hiding it. They just truly know who their Savior is, who their Father is, and who's gonna raise them up on the last day. They know who's gonna hold them when they get to heaven. They know where their life is held, and there's something powerful. You say, wow, how could you go through so much and still thank God, and still have joy in your heart? And I think that, I don't think that does magnify God. It shows how good God is, and that's where, if we're a marriage that's just bitter and angry. Or operating out of pride all the time. Yeah, we're contentious, and like, any time, man, I don't know if you've ever known someone that just, almost everything that comes out of their mouth is negative. Yeah, it'd be great if the car didn't always, you know, have that little tick in the engine. Oh, yeah, what a great day. Too bad it's gonna rain. Like, just everything they say is like, what's the word, Debbie Downer? Yeah, yeah. I feel bad for the person that they named that after, but. But that's not a good witness. What does that magnify? Like, that doesn't magnify God. You know, it magnifies your own self-loathing, your own view of the world, being so dreary and down. And again, would you think it could be easy to fake this? Like, 'cause that's not magnifying God, when we're faking that we're joyful, and we've got a mask on, but yet, we're hurting and broke and angry inside. No, 'cause it goes back to you always say, like, how you're living your life, can you tell someone else to live that way? You're always encouraging other men and even me to be aware. Be an example. Of how you are walking, and yeah, I don't think that you can say, follow my example or do what I'm doing if what I'm doing is smiling on the outside in the world and then running home to cry about it. You're not gonna have the authority in your life to say. It's hypocritical. This actually works, or God is actually with me, yeah. Yeah, and I think you're right. I think the example we need to set is that we're at home and outside the home the same. You know, in private and in public, we're the same. That's called integrity. It's the opposite of hypocrisy, where I'm one way in front of someone and another way in front of another person. And I think people can sniff it out. I think people know, even if they don't. If you're around someone long enough. Well, if they're not identifying it verbally, they feel it. Like, you can feel when someone has an ungrateful heart. Yeah, and it's not a pretty thing. I've had it. There's times that I get tempted to walk in ungratefulness, and then I have to remind myself, you know what, things are good, God's good. He's given me way more than I ever deserve, and that'll help when we get some of these tips at the end of how we can have hearts of thankfulness. But yeah, the second part of just magnifying God, the reason we have hearts of thankfulness is to magnify and glorify God. I wanna read a verse. It's Psalm 69:30, and it says, I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. And so I just wanna highlight two things here. One, I will magnify him with thanksgiving, that's an action. Like, going to God and saying, thank you for, thank you for being you, thank you for creating me, just thanking him, thank you for my spouse, thank you for my marriage and my family, and then the other one is, I will praise the name of God with a song. That's also an action, and I think it's really important for us to be aware and to know the types of music that, you know, we're putting on or listening to. Filling ourselves with. Filling ourselves with, and, you know, I'm not saying you can't listen to other things, but make sure that you are spending time praising God with a song, whether that's putting it on the radio or singing it out of a book or, you know, singing songs with your kids. I'll admit this. I make up songs. I just randomly sing them, whether I'm in the shower or walking around the house. I do, too. Are we a make up song family? I guess so. They don't always make sense, but I'll just like, instead of praying out loud, I'll sing it, or I don't know. I think that's kind of weird, but. I made up one last night with our friends. It was like, thank you God for friends and food and food and friends. I don't know. It was kind of silly. I do it silly, but I like it. I think it's fun, and I feel like I'm fulfilling this, when it says I will praise the name of God with a song. Yeah, and so going back to the magnify with him, magnify him with thanksgiving, I'm thinking about the first questions we were asking ourselves about the witness we have. There's another scripture that tells us to be ready to give an answer when someone asks us about the hope we have. And the first thing I thought of when I heard this was, oh, one of the best answers you can give is thanking God. Like, why do you have so much hope? How do you trust God so much? 'Cause I thank him. He's a good God. He gave me salvation in his Son Jesus. He's freed me from sin and death. He's empowered me to walk in purity. Like, all of the things that God has done for us, we can thank him for, and recognizing his goodness. So, magnifying him, so when someone asks, you be like, you know what? Thank God. So on the flip side to this, a person that's unthankful won't even ever get that question. That's a good point, 'cause you're not gonna go up to someone and be like, hey, you just seem so down. What's your trick? How can I get some of that? How can I get some of that? Every time we're somewhere, you're just complaining about everything. I want some of that. They won't be asked. That's a good point. Yeah, will never get asked, actually. People get avoided that are like that. Yeah. That are always down. So don't be them. Like, I saw this meme. I follow these nutritionists and strength training experts on Instagram, and there was this post he did. He said 10 things to stop doing right now, and the number one thing was stop hanging around negative people. So, like everyone, all of these positivity teachers and all these people that help people better their lives, they all say like, don't hang with negative people. So they actually got that from the Bible. It says bad company corrupts good morals. You know, we shouldn't be hanging out with negative people. 'Cause then we'll tend to have those tendencies. Yeah, and if you know someone that's negative, you should go out of your way to always be encouraging, and be like, you know what, I think that was a negative thought that you just, I don't think you're thinking right. God's good. Yeah. Look at how he's blessed you, and remind that person, 'cause what will happen is either they'll change or they'll stop hanging out with me, 'cause you're always encouraging them to see the brighter side of things. So what happens if that's your spouse? What if you guys are opposite there? Oh, well don't stop hanging out with your spouse. Do the other one. Pray for them. Pray for them, and constantly encourage them. Okay, I just wanted to. Yeah, constantly encourage them. But like, you know what, God's still good. I'm sorry you're going through that, but God's good. He's got us. Yeah, don't not hang out with your spouse. Thank you for highlighting that point. Okay, so I think you were gonna read Psalms 50:23. Yes, Psalms 50:23 says this: The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly, I will show the salvation of God, ooh. So it's interesting that it ties thanksgiving as a sacrifice, like it's something that you're giving to God, and you know what's funny, is, it's not funny, it just lines up with scripture. In the Passover meal, one of the cups that they drink filled with wine is the cup of thanksgiving, right? And so, and that was actually one of the Old Testament sacrifices, was a thanks offering, right? And we hear that at church sometimes, let's give a thanks offering, you know, but what it's saying is it's a sacrifice of thanks, and I feel like that ties so much when we think about being thankful for all things, almost like when we're thankful for the hard things, the suffering, we're actually saying, I'm gonna give this as a sacrifice to you, Lord. I'm gonna thank you anyway. That's really beautiful. You know, I'm gonna offer up my thanksgiving, even amidst the suffering. Thank you, Lord. And there's something immensely powerful in thanking God. It changes us. It transforms us. It gives us his perspective on life, and it tells him, God, we are lowly, and you are high. I also feel like it removes the power of the circumstances, 'cause I feel like so often, we can give power to our circumstances, and I don't know about anyone else listening, but for me, being a mom who works, but is also at home a lot and can get overwhelmed by just house management stuff, I feel like I can easily let my circumstances have power in my life to overwhelm me. And be controlled by them versus controlling yourself in them. Exactly. Yeah, that's a good point, because the thanksgiving stops the downward spiral. Yeah. Like, oh, you know, Lord? I'm just gonna stop right now and thank you. And well, it helps you, or it helps me, recognize who's got the power. Yeah, it's not us. It's God. It's God, and he's got the power to change our circumstances, and you know what, even when he allows us to go through hard things, he's still a good God. And we're gonna trust him. And we're gonna trust him. I loved what you said about that. Thanksgiving is trusting him. And so, where's your trust? Is it in yourself? Do you believe that you know better than God, or is he the one that knows better, and you trust him in it? Man, that's powerful. So I feel like we actually hit some of these tips already. That's okay. I think that we should go over them. But we'll give them the tips now. Okay, so we have five tips to give you guys, and these are just practical ways of kind of living out your day to day with a heart of thankfulness, and then one little bonus, so. Yeah. What's the first one? So the first one is say it out loud. Say it out loud that you're thankful. So when I bring you a towel, you tell me thank you, or. Yeah, it could be in the very simple things, especially in your marriage. Make sure your spouse knows that you're thankful for them. You're thankful for the ways that they do things, even if they're different than the way that you think they should be done. That was a tongue twister, but yes. I know. I get what you're saying. Being thankful when. I'm talking to myself. I'm preaching to the choir. Yeah, just saying thank you, and not just making it a passive like, oh, thank you, but like, wow, I really appreciate what you did. I really appreciate the way you did that like we do with our kids at the dinner table. I've been practicing, every single time I sit down, have you guys thanked mom for this meal? Oh, yeah, thanks, mom. Have you thanked dad for this meal? And they're like, thank you, thank you. Like, we're just trying to show 'em, when you're thankful, it shows that you appreciate what you have. Yeah, or how about when the waitress sets down the food at the table. Thank you, or when we're. No, they don't need to be thanked, right? 'Cause that's their job? I guess you could walk back to the kitchen. No, that again goes back to our witness. I was like, I guess you can go thank the chef, but. No, absolutely. They're doing a job, and that's, again, a part of our witness, is going out of our way. Speaking of waitresses, one thing I've been practicing is learning their name, and that also lets them know that they're appreciated and that they're thought of and that they're a person. Yeah. And they're doing a job, and we can thank them for the job they're doing. I was also gonna say like, when you're at fellowship or around friends and someone serves you or gives you something, make sure that they know that you're thankful. But don't just say it out of lip service. When we say say it out loud, it's an overflow of your heart, and you're verbalizing what is actually in your heart. And if you're someone who's not thankful for even the little things, maybe you can start practicing this, just saying it out loud. So actually, when I looked down at the tip, I thought it said we sing it out loud. Oh, you can sing it out loud. And I feel like that's a good little bonus, is that you were talking about music, is having hymns and songs and praises, you know, playing in the house, or just singing our thankfulness. Thank you. That's a good one. The kids like to sing, you know? So it's a good way to help them practice praising God. Okay. And thanking him. Okay, so number two is we remind each other to be thankful, and this goes back to when I said you're really good at this. Reminding your spouse, no matter what's going on, no matter how easy or hard your circumstances are, you're reminding each other, hey, let's be thankful today. Hey, you can do this. Let's be thankful for what we've got going on. Let's remember who our Lord is. Yep, so when I thought about this tip, most of the Old Testament is a story of remembering and forgetting. If you just read the whole Old Testament in context, it's remembering and forgetting. Remembering what God did, forgetting what God did. This is how the people of Israel's relationship with God went throughout the generations before Jesus came. And you know, we fall into those patterns sometimes, and God, right after he saved the Israelites in a powerful way, you know, the 10 plagues, going through the Red Sea, and they're into the wilderness, and they're going, and they just immediately start complaining. Lord, it was better off back then. Did you lead us out here to die? No, of course he didn't. He just saved them in a miraculous way. He can't take care of them? He did this amazing thing, and they just forgot. And so God, he warns 'em. He says, don't forget where you've come from. Yeah, that's good. And, you know, we forget. We can sit here in our home, in our nice home, and forget that we have a home, and think, oh, it's just so messy, and how, you know, I can't believe I didn't do this, or I forgot to go set up the thing, and all the things, we allow that to, woe is me, right? Yeah. And we both get into this on the various aspects of how we manage our home or our vehicles or our bank accounts or whatever it is, and we forget that God gave it all to us. Yeah. That God's the one that's put it in our trust, and that God's the one that can take it away, as Job tells us, you know? He says God giveth and God taketh away, and we forget that actually, God has that authority in our life. So, practicing what God told the Israelites to practice and what he gave them tons of things to do, all the ceremonies, all of the festivals, all the new moon feasts. All of those things were to remember what God did. It's why we take communion. Jesus said do this in remembrance of me and what I did on the cross, 'cause how often do we forget about our salvation? You know, if everything was taken away, babe, would you still have something to be thankful for? Absolutely. What? Salvation. Yeah, that we get to be with our Father in heaven forever. Yeah. So, that's that tip of just practicing remembrance. And so, when your spouse is going through a season or a time of like, they're down, they're unthankful, they're struggling with things in their life, the other spouse can gentle remind them, be like, hey, just remember. Remember what God's done for us. Remember, we don't deserve any of this. Yeah, and you don't have to be going through a hard time to remember. I think, I would suggest on your next date night, you know, have a conversation about where God has taken your relationship from and where he's brought you to. It's a thankfulness date. Yeah, yeah, have a thankfulness date. That sounds awesome. And then start off with thanking God that you're on the date. That means you probably got a babysitter. Yeah, that's great. So, yeah, I think it's important just to remind each other. So this is number three, and it says thank God through prayer. So when you're praying, you guys should be praying with your spouse and be praying at all times throughout the day. Remember, pray without ceasing. But be thankful in your prayers, so telling God why you're thankful and lifting those things up. Yeah, this is actually, so, for all the people that wonder how to pray without ceasing, 'cause people always bring that up, like, let's be in prayer without ceasing. You know, Matt, actually, our pastor, brought this up on Sunday. It means to be in constant communion with the Lord, and one way you can do that is thank God throughout the day for everything. Ah, thank you Lord for this car. Thank you, Lord, for this food that I'm having at lunch. Thank you for my partner that I'm working with that's helping me out. Thank you, Lord, for that friend that just gave me a smile as they walk by. Thank you, like, and just thanking God. That's a perfect way to commune with God throughout the day. Yeah, I think that this is how we taught our kids how to pray, too. Like, one of the biggest ways that we taught our kids how to pray is. Thanking God. Asking them, well, what are you thankful for? Oh, let's tell God that, you know? That's a good point. Yeah. Yeah, so, in prayer, thanking God through our prayer life, just thanking him directly. Thank you, Lord. So what's number four? So number four is make it a conversation in your home. Make it a conversation with your spouse. Make it a conversation with your kids, and we do something. We go around the table at dinner time, and we say, okay, what are you guys' highlights? So think about your whole day and what stood out to you, and we'd like to talk about it. Yeah, what was something that you really enjoyed, and usually it's a kind of thanksgiving. It's like, oh, I really enjoyed that one thing, or that awesome thing. Sometimes our kids say everything, the whole day. Or they mention something from three months ago. I feel like they're just trying to get out of having to think of something, but that's kind of cool, that they say the whole day. But I think that it is important to make it a conversation where you constantly talking about things that you're thankful for, because it goes back to that remembrance of like, we have to remind our flesh to be thankful, and so we're constantly talking about it. So, number five is practice putting scriptures about thankfulness on the walls. Oh, that's great. Like we have our chalkboard. You know, do a study on thankfulness. As a family, as a husband, as a wife, open up and find all the words and the stories about being thankful and what the Bible says, and meditate on those. Remember them. Put them on Post-It notes all over your home. Put them on your chalkboards if you have those, and just let the word of God translate and change our minds and the way we think, you know, about complaining versus thankfulness, which leads us into our bonus one. The bonus one, which is. Kinda the opposite. It's kinda like, yeah, here's the opposite. It's don't complain. So if you guys wanna tackle, you know, ungratefulness and unthankfulness in your heart, you gotta stop complaining. Yeah, so, as a family, when you hear complaining, maybe make a rule, like no complaining. We're not allowed to complain about something. Hey, that sounded like a complaint. Be careful how you bring it up, but. Like with the kids sometimes I'll say we're the Smiths, and we do hard things, or we're the Smiths and we don't complain. We're the Smiths. We're not bored. We're not bored. We can go find something to do. Yeah, so making a habit of not complaining, because complaint is, again, it's saying that we're not getting something we're owed, we're not getting something we deserve. And then you're just training your flesh to be okay with that. Yeah, and 'cause that's what the flesh wants. The fleshly response is to complain, like the Israelites did. The spiritual response is to be thankful. And so, that is our little discussion on thankfulness and how it can invigorate our marriages, how it can empower our marriages, and how it can be used by God as a ministry in the world when people see our thankful hearts. And so we just hope that you guys would discuss this as a family and as a marriage and walk in thankfulness. Let's stop complaining. Let's be men and women of God who thank God for everything and in everything. We love you guys. We thank you for joining us this week, and we look forward to having you next week. Did you enjoy today's show? Find many more encouraging stories and resources at marriageaftergod.com, and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

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MAG 013: The Power OF Dreaming Together In Marriage w/ Isaac & Angie Tolpin from Courageous Parenting Podcast

May 08, 2019 • 47m

Find out exactly WHY God brought you and your spouse together! https://marriageaftergod.com Quote From Marriage After God "Dreaming together is an exercise that is important for every marriage after God to participate in. Setting goals and casting a vision for the future strengthens the bond between a husband and wife, stirring up hope for what may come." "Casting a vision together for the future of your marriage is an intimate experience where hope for the future stimulates perseverance for today." Prayer Dear Lord, We pray we would be husbands and wives who dream together. We pray the dreams and the goals that we consider are ones that you put in our hearts. We desire to be used by you to fulfill your purposes. We want to build your kingdom and not our own. May we remember to submit our plans to you always. If there are things that we dream up that need to wait or need to be pushed aside, please help us to be humble. Help us to let go of any pride so that we don’t pursue what we want but instead only what you want. May we experience intimacy in marriage as we intentionally consider all that you have for us. We also pray we would have fun as we do this as a team for your glory! In Jesus’ name, amen! READ TRANSCRIPT [Aaron] Hey, we're Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God, [Jennifer] Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage. [Aaron] And today we're in part 13 of the Marriage After God series and we're gonna be talking with Isaac and Angie Tolpin about dreaming together. Welcome to the marriage After God Podcast where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after. [Jennifer] I'm Jennifer, also known as Unveiled Wife. [Aaron] And I'm Aaron also known as Husband Revolution. [Jennifer] We have been married for over a decade. [Aron] And so far, we have four young children. [Jennifer] We have been doing marriage ministry online for over seven years through blogging and social media. [Aaron] With the desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage, encouraging them to walk in faith every day. [Jennifer] We believe that Christian marriage should be an extraordinary, one full of life. [Aaron] Love [Jennifer] And power [Aaron] That can only be found by chasing after God. [Jennifer] Together. [Aaron] Thank you for joining us on this journey as we choose boldly after God's will for our life together. [Jennifer] This is Marriage After God. [Jennifer] So, we just wanted to take a moment and just ask you guys to leave us a review. That's just one way that other people will be able to find the Marriage After God podcast and spread the good news. So, if you could just take a moment and leave us a review, you could leave a star rating review or comment review and the comments are great too because they always encourage us. So thank you guys, for those of you who have already done that. [Aaron] And the reason we're doing this series is to promote our new book, Marriage After God. And if you go pick up a copy today that would just make us feel so blessed, is the reason we're doing all these interviews, all these episodes. And it's also how you can support us. And I hope that this book blesses you guys and we wrote it for you. [Jennifer] So today we have our good friends Angie and Isaac Tolpin from the Courageous Parenting podcast. Thank you guys for joining us. [Isaac] So great to be here. [Angie] Yeah, we're really excited to support you guys. [Isaac] And we love the book. [Aaron] Wow. [Isaac] Yeah. [Angie] It's awesome. [Aaron] Thank you. [Jennifer] Well, we just wanted to take a minute right here and just have you introduce yourself to everyone listening. So maybe share how long you been married, how many kids you have, and what you guys do. [Isaac] I'll start off with 19 years. It's been an incredible journey. How many kids Angie? [Angie] We have eight. [Isaac] So and we're in ministry courageousparenting.com. [Angie] And courageousmom.com. [Aaron] Awesome, so you guys have been doing ministry for a long time but now you guys are more specifically doing it together online with this podcast with your website. How did we meet? How did you guys meet because we do fellowship with you guys. A lot of the people we've been interviewing, we actually go to church with. So people like why do they know all these people, well? They go to our church but we met before gone just together [Angie] Yes we did. I think it was when, it was just years ago when Jen and I met because of Redeeming Childbirth. And she was pregnant with Olive at the time. [Aaron] And Redeeming Childbirth is a book you wrote about childbirth and redeeming it with a biblical mindset. [Angie] It's kind of a discipleship tool for women because I cover topics that normal pregnancy books don't cover like pain, fear, marriage from a biblical perspective-- [Isaac] Yeah the spiritual side of it. [Angie] Yeah, how to walk through pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum and young motherhood. [Jennifer] Yeah, and we had just moved to Bend you guys had just moved to Bend and so we met up for coffee and that that was the beginning. [Isaac] It's been a great journey. [Angie] It really has. [Aaron] Yeah, it is, we know how small the world is and how close you can become with someone that you didn't know before, and now you're like, I knew I feel like I've known you forever. [Angie] Now, we are like family. [Jennifer] Okay, so after we share this next story, everyone's gonna wanna be you guys as friends. This is how awesome you are. So we just celebrated an anniversary, our 12th anniversary and we didn't have plans and we're gonna go to dinner and Aaron's like, well, let's invite another couple and you guys were right there. We wanted to spend time with you. And so we invited you to go to dinner and-- [Aaron] To our anniversary dinner. [Jennifer] Yeah and it was gonna be awesome but we didn't know you guys on the way over had prepared questions for us to think about in this year. [Aaron] You use to like what's that game the marriage show where you, the Newlyweds Game? You guys, it's kind of that, you guys asked us all these awesome questions. And it made our date night, it was not just a double date where we just chatted, it was like so much fun. [Angie] It was. [Isaac] That means way we answered those questions, [Jennifer] So is that like normal for you guys or a special? [Isaac] That was the first time plus, you know what, the--- [Angie] So, it was just a special. [Isaac] You're special and anniversaries are so special. [Jennifer] That's true and what a great way to celebrate. And we just love that, it's gonna be a standout one for me, I know that. But I had to share that because I think it was super thoughtful. And for those listening, if you're gonna double date on someone else's anniversary, you should do that. It's time we say, we've got a bunch of questions for you. [Jennifer] Okay, so this leads me into the icebreaker question for today. And it came from one of your guys as questions that you asked us. [Aaron] I think it was the first one you asked us. [Jennifer] So here's the question and it's for you guys to answer. If your spouse was a superhero, who would they be? So you're answering this about each other. [Isaac] Why do you kick it off honey? [Angie] I was thinking about this and I think I choose the whole popular Captain America because when I met when Isaac-- [Aaron] His fist pumping right now. You know, that's right. When Issac and I, 20 years ago, when I met him, he was a new believer and had become a new creation like how Steve Rogers turns into the new creation and then he's just this man of vision that wants to do what's right. And he's a leader that people follow. So there's just a lot of qualities, and he doesn't hide behind a mask. So that, there's the boom. [Jennifer] I love that. Real deal. Cool. Transparency. Yeah. [Isaac] Well, that's cool, I think you're Wonder Woman. Because you are pure. Interesting Yes. And your middle name is Crystal, which means what, honey? [Angie] It means brilliantly clear. Or pure. [Isaac] Angie, you're really good at getting the truth out of people. That's true. Right, she's right. [Jennifer] She is drastic, it's true [Isaac] Exactly, that's all truth, she cares about justice. [Angie] That's true. [Aaron] And she cares about truth. And you have an unbelievable ability to do many things at once which everybody says you're not supposed to be able to do. [Angie] You truly are a super mom. [Isaac] A super mom, that's right. [Aaron] Super mom, it's new superhero I don't know if that show would go very far today. Okay, so Jennifer. [Jennifer] Sorry guys. [Aaron] So Jennifer, what would your superhero be for me? [Jennifer] Okay, so just so everyone knows when we were sitting there that night, the whole time, I was thinking about my answer for you. I was sitting there thinking, please don't say I'm Hulk. Please don't say I'm Hulk. Because out of all the superheroes I was just thinking that's the one that's not like attractive, and he's big and he's angry and I don't wanna be Hulk. And what comes flying out of Aaron's mouth, I think Jen would be Hulk. [Aaron] I did say that. [Jennifer] So, anyways-- [Aaron] But for good reasons, not because you're big and green, and angry. Because you have strength that comes out of you when you need it. And you're smart, and you're intelligent. Now, those were the qualities I was trying to get out of Bruce Banner, okay? [Jennifer] Thank you And then, what did I say for you? Oh, I said, Dr. Strange because you have-- [Aaron] A strange and-- [Jennifer] Yeah, you have gifted discernment and you you know things like-- [Aaron] Yeah, weird things, yeah, weird. [Jennifer] Yeah, that's true. [Aaron] There we go, okay, [Jennifer] Fun little question to ask. You guys can ask each other those listening. It's just fun, I like it, I like ice breakers. [Aaron] So why don't we so as we get into the all the questions we're gonna ask the Tolpins, our good friends. Why don't you read the quote from chapter 13 of the Marriage After God and then we'll get into that. [Jennifer] Okay, it says, dreaming together is an exercise that is important for every marriage after God to participate in, setting goal and casting a vision for the future strengthens the bond between a husband and wife stirring up hope for what may come. [Aaron] Awesome, how does that, does that sound right? Because you guys are dreamers. You guys are excellent at planning. It's when we thought about this chapter, we're like, oh, we have to have the Tolpins [Jennifer] They are like professional goal setters. [Aaron] The ones we interview about this because you are planners and goal setters and dreamers. I don't think you know how to have small dreams. You only know like large, big, like-- [Angie] I'd say Isaac definitely is a bigger dreamer than I am and so a lot of times I find myself running as fast as possible to keep up. [Isaac] And sometimes that's good and sometimes it's not. That's right. Yeah. [Angie] So we've learned over the years to be able to tell where each other are at and be there to support each other, it's been-- [Isaac] But I think it's vital as a marriage to have vision, we are called to have vision and to look ahead, otherwise, we just get sucked into the circumstances of the day and stuck in the mundane. And it's important to have vision. [Angie] And there isn't a lot of growth when you're just sitting there without vision either. So it's one of the things that I think has made us really enjoy marriage and life is just always looking forward to how we can be growing ad what's next, and looking forward. Isaac always makes this joke when his birthday comes around that he doesn't like looking back. He likes getting older. He doesn't care that he getting older too. Oh, it's the best thing. I like getting older too Oh, Yeah He just loves it. [Aaron] People really don't wanna stay young. I wanna, I can't wait to be gray haired. [Isaac] Yeah, wisdom, you get to see your kids get older, more experiences, you've learned more. [Angie] But one of the things that he said about that that's always stuck with me and challenges me because I'm not naturally like that is that if you're focused so much on the past, then you're not gonna be growing. You're always wanting what you had. And so it's just a challenge to look forward and it's a good challenge. [Jennifer] That's awesome, so, have you guys always been dreamers and goal setters in your marriage like from the very beginning? Or is it something that kind of developed over time? [Isaac] I would say that it was from early on actually. And in business, I've always played a proactive role in helping people have goals and vision, and so forth is really important. And I think, you know, husbands need to apply that to their marriages into their family. And I think it's super important. So we have done it early on. Of course, it's evolved over time. [Angie] Yeah, for sure. And now we involve our kids in it too, which we'll talked about later but-- [Aaron] Yeah, we love that because you're teaching them how to be in the moment, and do what needs to be done but also look ahead and prepare. So you've always been dreamers, you've always been planners but have you said it's evolved. What are some of the ways that it's changed over time, the way you used to plan, dream? [Angie] Well, you know what, Isaac actually, I haven't said this him out loud but I think he's actually the one who really taught me how to set goals. Because I worked for him when we met, that's how we met. And I was an independent contractor and had to set sales goals and different things like that. And he would coach the team through how to do that. And we just kind of took that into our personal life because it was so productive. And we saw good results from it. So we started applying it to life and other areas. [Isaac] There's a principle called the napkin talk in leadership, and I just took that same principle to our date nights. Not every single one, sometimes we just hanging out. We do do that. [Angie] I don't see, but we really absolutely enjoy it. [Isaac] But we really love, so we almost have to force ourselves just to go hang out sometimes, but we-- [Angie] We actually had friends who were like, don't you guys just go and like sit? [Isaac] Yeah, we do, we like that, but the napkin talk, I mean which means you pull out a napkin, you have a pen, you write down some goals, and you write down some initiatives, and there's an incredible power when you actually put thoughts to paper. I don't know what happens but it activates action in your lives and in your marriage. And I think that's really important. [Jennifer] I feel like there's a really good practical tip for people listening if this is something that they really haven't done in their marriage, or maybe they've done it in the past, but haven't done it recently, getting out that napkin, getting out that piece of paper, even after listening to this episode and just go for it. It's the kind of place to start brain dump and just get it out of your mind, out of your heart, and onto the paper. [Isaac] And I think you just think of one or two really good questions, it can be that simple. [Aaron] So, I just wanna, I love those tips, the napkin, what was it called, napkin talk? Where you just write down on a napkin and that's awesome. We do something similar. We don't ever do a napkin but we bring a pad or we bring a pad or we do it on our phone, or send ourselves an email. [Jennifer] Actually I have used napkins before. [Aaron] Yeah, I think you have, that's it or worse we get some receipt paper please. [Isaac] Yeah, exactly, whatever. [Isaac] Yeah, whatever you can. But I just wanna real quick highlight why we've been talking about dreaming. And we're talking about this idea of planning together because in this part of the book, we're encouraging marriages to take all of the things we've talked about up to this point, and actually start getting it out of their hearts, and minds and onto paper. Because once we do that, once we have it out on paper. You said, the power of goal setting, there's every single productivity book or success book has some form of write it down, put a checklist, have a to do list. And there's a reason for that is because once it's written down, it's a real thing. It becomes a, oh, that's actually visible and now I'm not the only one who is thinking about it. [Isaac] So true. [Aaron] Other people can see it, my kids can see, my wife can see it and now I can pray about it. And so I just, I just wanna highlight, that's why we're having this conversation is not just to like, let's have big dreams and shoot for the moon. And, but there's a there's a mission involved in what we're doing. So, that we're proactively use that word proactive, we're proactively chasing after God's will for our life and sometimes and oftentimes it takes dumping all of the things that are in our hearts and minds as a couple onto paper into notes and be like, okay, what does this look like in our life? How are we gonna get to from A to B? What is B, so I just wanted to bring that up and then, so that we all know, everyone that's listening is like, oh, like, that's why we dream, like that's why we plan. [Isaac] I think we're wired for progress too. And so when you're able to look at the end of the year, how you've made progress together, and the things you've accomplished together, it's so rewarding. [Angie] And do you have dreams when you first get married. You dream about your life together. And you may think about specific goals, even then, from when we were just engaged to newlyweds. And it's exciting to keep that going. I think it helps you tonight and become stagnant, like you're saying or becoming a marriage is just surviving but instead, you're thriving. And I think that the first few years that we were married too, the napkin talks, a lot of times were Isaac asking specifically how I was doing in my relationship with God, how I was doing in my relationships with my kids, and that this would become an opportunity for us to communicate about what was going on in their hearts and what I was seeing during the day so that he would know how he could back me up when he was at home or what their needs were, so that we could be a better team when he was off work and on the weekends because he worked during the day, [Isaac] It's so crucial because as husbands, if we want our wives' support, then we better be proactively supporting our wives. What things in our career do we want support with? Well, you're not gonna get it unless you've been proactively all along the way, supporting your wife and the things that really matter. [Angie] And I remember there was a time too, someone asked us years ago because Isaac would shoot for huge goals business wise, and he would hit them. And one of the wives of another manager came up to me and just said, wow, you must have to work so hard at home. Is he working all the time? And I said, well, he does work hard, butt we work together and it's a team, we're a team. [Aaron] It's a good little insight. [Angie] Yeah and in, she just kind of looked at me like, oh, and and I remember like we would go out and if Isaac had a goal for work, like if I was gonna shoot for a different amount of sales, let's say you're in sales, he'd always run that by me first at one of our visionary date nights. And he would say, hey, this is what it might end up costing us like, this much extra time, are you in? Are we, do we wanna do it? So it wasn't just him doing it? [Isaac] And then you being pulled along. [Angie] Right and so even though he was running a business and I was a stay at home mom, I felt so cherished and involved in his business because he was involving me in the dreaming process, and just sharing with me even those goals. And then years went by of us doing that. And one night, he just out of nowhere said Do you have dreams that we're not pursuing together? And then that's where Redeeming Childbirth came in and like, oh, in him encouraging me to have a blog. And so it's important that you both are drawing that out of each other. [Aaron] Well, and I think I saw in a second one ask you about the visionary date night thing. We'll get into that but you said that he would invite you in, involve you. I feel like you probably felt that way but it's even more than that. It sounds like you were a linchpin in the process where it not just being involved in like, hey, what do you think about this idea. It's more of a this goal won't work unless we're on the same page. [Isaac] It's crucial, it's crucial, because if the plan doesn't go well, and you didn't from the beginning decide to do it together, guess who your detractors going to be later? The wife, you can't accomplish big things by yourself. And if you set out to do things then they don't go well, it could harm the marriage, if you didn't set out to do it together. [Aaron] Well, and we talked about this a lot in the book is like, it starts without unity anyway. Like, if you're only doing it for if you're chasing after something and she's chasing after something, what are you doing? You're pulling against each other, and you never gonna get anywhere. [Angie] You won't be effective. [Isaac] No, and so you coming to your wife and it's not a permission based thing, it's purely a, we're one. This will only work if we're on the same page so that you show me where it's not gonna work, and let's figure out how to make it work. And not just in business but like, I love that you guys talked about children. And it actually in this chapter, we talk about the different categories that we could be submitting to the Lord and dreaming in. So when it comes to like children and raising our children and discipleship like, hey, what are some of the visions that we have? And it could be as simple-- For our kids. [Angie] as what character qualities do we see already being cultivated in this child? What is God drawing out of them? And how can we encourage that more? What are some of the flaws that maybe we need to work on? And so there's also those kinds of visions and goals with each child to those were always at the forefront of our family, visionary, and time for sure. [Isaac] Well, we would even write down each child's name and go, what does each child need? [Angie] And there were times to where we would evaluate like do we need to have special one on one time with each child like on a regular basis, like for a period of time to deal with a specific topic? So there are so many ways you could go about this. [Jennifer] That's so cool, and when I think about this chapter of the book and the reason why we wanted to encourage couples to do this very thing of dreaming together and talking about these kinds of things is because it is a really intimate experience because you have to communicate, you have to share your hearts with one another. And that's what I'm hearing. [Aaron] You are really transparent. Jennifer] You have to be transparent, you have to have a insights, you have to know your children, you have to know each other. And I just see how unity is built. Trust is built, love is cultivated when a husband and wife intentionally pursue moments like this together. [Aaron] Absolutely, so there's a quote in the book, it says this. Casting a vision together for the future of your marriage is an intimate experience where hope for the future stimulates perseverance for today. How has this been true in your guys' life? [Angie] Oh, I feel like that quote totally suits for the season that we just been in. [Isaac] We've gone through ups and some really tough times too, ups and downs, for sure. And it has been so crucial to have vision and a godly perspective and putting God at the center of our marriage as we go through the challenging times. [Angie] And really that our goals are centered on Him too. I think that that's the thing that keeps you going. He's the hope and when you know that what you're pursuing is for Him and it's not for gain in anything else then it gives you the hope to keep going every day. And you don't focus so much on the circumstances that you might be in. [Isaac] And we're called to not be of this world, be in the world but not of the world. And that goes for marriage. And so our marriage is a witness to the world. And what a great testimony during the hard times when we just grow closer together. [Jennifer] Amen, love that. [Aaron] Yeah, so you were just mentioning about like, they're like for God and human being in the center and Christ being our hope. And that's everything we want people to recognize but when we say dreaming, often we think like, we have lots of dreams. You said when you were married, you had lots of dreams. There's lots of people thinking, I want a big house, or I want to live in this location, or like we have this many dreams. And I'm not saying any of them are bad. But I wanna know, how do we set biblical boundaries? On our dream in planning, because we definitely could like dream of anything, doesn't mean anything should be done? [Angie] I think that that's one of the benefits of having marriage too is that you can hold each other accountable because there will be times you'll both need it, right? [Jennifer] So good. [Angie] And I think that also when it comes to boundaries, I have specific boundaries that I have set for how I react when he shares his dreams because he's a big dreamer. [Aaron] When is really big enough? [Angie] Yeah, I kind of hold my breath for a minute. Three deep breaths. because I'm like, okay, that's really big. [Isaac] Because she thinks we're for sure doing it because I speak with authority, even though I am just sharing ideas that haven't even been fleshed out yet. [Angie] Yes, and so we've had to learn that about each other. And so he always is really, he's a gentle leader with me in that that he'll remind me ahead of time and say, so I don't wanna do this right now but I was thinking, X, Y, Z. [Isaac] That's only after learning for a few years, in our first two years of marriage. [Aaron] Well then ever went to listening husbands. This is a great tip. Hey, this isn't happening right now or even soon but I'm thinking about doing X, Y, Z. That's a great way to prep your wife for a big conversation. [Angie] It totally is. And then it kind of gives me some time to like let it settle, think about it. And then I don't overreact because we had done a lot of really big things together in business and in planning a vineyard. And we had, yeah, we had six of them in those 10 years. So we really had done a lot. And so, his track record led me to believe that every time you had a dream it had to happen. [Aaron] Because it's been that way. [Isaac] Yeah, and if you want your wife's support then you've got a pre-frame ahead of time like that because otherwise, when I was shared dream without pre-framing it, she would instantly sometimes look for the challenge where I'm too optimistic, she's more realistic. And that's why God put us together, because the differences are such a blessing when you embrace those differences and you respect each other. [Aaron] It's almost like God had a plan for your marriage. [Angie] Amazing, right? [Jennifer] And something that I'm hearing as you guys talk or is that this practice of dreaming together is also practicing communication and learning each other. And so another tip for those listening is learn each other, figure out how each other's going to receive things and adapt your relationship so that you guys can work together as a team and not always end up in arguments or disappointments. [Angie] One tip in that direction is that timing is everything which is one of the reasons why I think our date nights were so successful. It wasn't in the heat of the household. [Isaac] Chaos. [Angie] You know what I'm saying and so-- [Isaac] Handling are you making dinner for our children and me and I thought about this idea. [Angie] Exactly, and I thought you would. [Isaac] So husbands, it's super important to think about the timing of when to bring certain things up, challenges, good things, dreams. And sometimes you're gonna save a list for your date nights, it's super important. [Jennifer] Angie, could you just share to the wives timing for when you're sharing things with your husband, maybe what does it look like on a wife's end? [Angie] On a wife's end regarding the dreams since-- [Jennifer] Timing. [Angie] So right away, when they come home from work if they're someone who's working away from home not a good time to talk to them. Give them some time to so and and I think that night times are actually good after the kids have gone to bed. That's also a good time to talk about it, I wouldn't suggest that for the wives though as much because we just kind of are starting to relax and then it's brought up it can create some anxiety for some women. But the guys generally can handle that but you would have to judge your spouse. [Jennifer] Yeah, for sure. [Angie] But I think that they appreciate us being considerate to them in the same regard that we appreciate being considered. [Aaron] So I have this thought about, we talk about boundaries because like we can dream again of anything but what is God one, and building a, this is for me and for you guys, and everyone that's listening. Beginning to build a track record where we as individuals, as a husband and a wife, and as a marriage, submit everything to the Lord. Instead of like, hey, I have this idea. Let's sell the house and let's move over across country and start a this organization. And everyone's like, whoa, whoa, what? What are you talking about? But having a track record of like, hey, here's an idea. Let's start praying about this today and see what happens. And then learning how to follow through with things or learning how to say no to things after it's been evaluated, prayed through and sought out with counsel, so that when a husband brings up an idea, there's not this fear of like, well, is this going to end up like what happened last time where we're going to change that do something and then fall on our face, and then have to start over again, and then chase after something that follows. Does that make sense? [Isaac] It makes perfect sense. And just because something is good fruit doesn't mean it's fruit we're supposed to pick. So it's really important to have God at the center and be praying about it. It's like in the vineyard, if you have a whole bunch of fruit on a plant, you can't leave all that fruit there. Otherwise, it's gonna make bad wine. But if you cut half of it off, all the energy goes into the right fruit that we're supposed to pick, and it makes great wine. And that's the same thing for a marriage. [Jennifer] I love that. So when dreaming together, there's going to be times where there's gonna be awesome things that come that come up and get on the list that you probably can't pursue, or maybe the timings not there, and you guys have to navigate that together. [Angie] And I think sometimes too, depending on if you're a natural dreamer and you like to dream about a lot of things, sometimes it's not God's will for your life. And that's where you have to be willing to dream but be willing for God to say no. Or to say, no, not now. Because sometimes that's His answer too. And so and that's part of why I think that he's given us protection and having a spouse because we can kind of ground one another in the times when we need to. But we can also be one another's biggest cheerleader in those times when we know God's pushing us forward. [Isaac] And that's crucial 'cause husbands if you get off track, and you're not listening to God and you're in the flesh, and you just go and do something, it could be catastrophic for your family. And I have an experience where we went all in on a business venture, and it failed. And we lost everything financially for a period of time. And that was my responsibility. Now, my wife faithfully supported me, followed me through the challenges, and through the good times but that was directly a cost of me being confused and not paying attention to what God wanted. [Aaron] Oh, it's awesome that you can you can see that. And for those that are listening can learn from what you guys walked through. So that gift that God gave you, that that resource that he's given you that story is now a testimony that can warn other believers. [Angie] Yeah, we have lots of stories like that was a good story [Isaac] Oh, we do. Winning and losing. [Angie] That's right. [Jennifer] Speaking of winning, what are kingdom benefits of dreaming together and setting goals? [Isaac] Well, I think the first Kingdom benefit is your kids are watching everything you're doing. And if you're trusting God, and surrendering everything to God and working as a team together, you're modeling for them for their future marriages because what we're raising future adults, right? [Angie] That's right, yeah. And we also want them to see us pursuing God's dreams and His visions and being workers in His fields also. And so, right now with Courageous Parenting, this is a new thing that we're working together in ministry, I've been doing it for many years. And Isaac, of course, was always a missionary wherever he was, but now we're full in with Courageous Parenting. And it's a different feel around the house, everybody is involved, everybody helps out in some way from Austin helping to edit podcasts to Megan helping with the baby, and it's just, and they're behind it. That's the cool thing is that they see the vision because they wanna see other parents get impacted and they are constantly encouraging us too so. [Isaac] And I think if God is for something, it's gonna have some impact on the kingdom of God and so that's the fruit too. [Aaron] And so it's constantly saying, Okay, Lord, what do you want? Here's what we have and here's ideas that we have. How does this work into your plan? [Angie] It's really about stewardship. Actually, all of the goal setting and everything is all about stewarding. I love that. Our hearts, our lives, our children, Our resources. [Angie] All our resources. And so I remember when we had the vineyard before we planted and cultivated the vineyard in our other property, we would look out at this field and go, what should we plant there? And we would pray about it, we'd dream about it. And we thought, all different kinds of ideas. And we did have a vision for hosting weddings there one day and different things like that. But God moved us on to a different vision which I'm glad that we're here. It was definitely God's will for us to move, but yeah. [Aaron] So, I think of this, I can't remember the how the quote exactly goes but the answer is no to 100% of the questions you never asked, right. [Isaac] Yeah. [Aaron] Because like if you don't ask her you can't get a yes or no. So it's just a no. And I feel like that's how we should see this idea of dreaming as a couple as marriages for the kingdom of God and saying, okay, Lord, we have this amount of resources, we have these relationships, we have these talents and gifts that you've given us. Man, we could do this, we combine this, and just throw it all out, and then start praying over it which is what how we we direct the readers and what to do when they dream. And then start making actions. So what's a practical way that you guys dream and then plan, like okay, here's a dream and we've actually feel like this is where God's leading us [Angie] Always involves a whiteboard. [Aaron] Turn aways because they are-- [Isaac] Whiteboard or journal, I think you start on a whiteboard, afterwards ends up on a whiteboard. But yeah, I think it's so important to get things on paper, pray over it, of course, and then really vet it out and have some action steps towards it and understand each other's roles. There was some dreams where Angie's role was to praise and be supportive and take care of the family while I was doing something. There's other dreams we've done where we're both very, very active and immersed together in it. [Angie] And then there were times where Isaac would take care of the kids so that I could write and he was more active with the kids in the vineyard and taking that on, and then I would pull back away from that once that project was done. And I was all in and he would be able to slip away more towards work. And so it's kind of a dance. [Isaac] But it's so important. [Aaron] I love that idea of a dance. [Isaac] Dance, so important to have good communication, though, because things are constantly moving. [Aaron] I think a part of that good communication is having end zones. Small, like if it was just an indefinite like, hey, you're gonna watch the kids and I'm gonna write, and who knows when, that wouldn't be a healthy season. [Angie] No, you do have to have boundaries. [Aaron] So, you set boundaries and then it wouldn't be how easy is it of, if Isaac said, hey, I'm gonna be working 12 hour days for the next, who knows how long and let's see what happens. That wouldn't be a healthy. [Isaac] Here's a super important point to that which is husbands when you set a deadline for how long the sacrifice is gonna be, you better deliver. Because if you go past that deadline, your wife is gonna lose trust for you as you dream together-- [Aaron] Track record. [Isaac] There's a cost. [Aaron] You wanna have good track records within this process. [Jennifer] Any want your word to be as good as gold. [Angie] Yeah, that's awesome and what I'm thinking when you guys are sharing all this is details. So when you're writing this down when you're making an action plan or strategy put some details and dates and times, and very specific things that will help guide these boundaries. [Aaron] That's good baby. [Isaac] That's was really good. [Aaron] So, as we come to a close, I want to ask you, it's so easy to just say, We're gonna be big dreamers and big planners, and we're gonna get all these practical steps and... What is the foundational perspective biblically that we should have in all of this because the Bible talks about planning. [Angie] And He talks a lot about our marriage, I think it comes down to what our marriages really for, God. [Isaac] To glorify God. [Angie] It's not about us. And so when you realize that your marriage isn't about you, and that it's meant to be a light to the world, and that you are bearing God's image to them, your perspective changes and that's for all of us. It doesn't matter what you're doing for work or if you're in ministry, we are all part of the body of Christ. And we all-- We're all in ministry, this is our, yeah. Exactly. Everyone is a missionary wherever they are. They're all lights and ambassadors. [Isaac] Yeah, it's to fulfill the greatest, the Great Commission, and to glorify God in everything we do, and we've always believed that the things we're gonna do, it's gotta have some kind of positive impact on people. And that doesn't need because every-- [Aaron] When you say positive, do you mean like in a faith way and in a biblical way? [Isaac] In a biblical, faith focused way. And I'm not saying everybody, every goal has to be like that. But I've had goals that weren't, like investing in resources, and I lost deeply. And I did not get my wife's approval. [Aaron] That's for another podcast. [Isaac] It's for another but I just want to warn you that God is in control, and we should fear Him, and not the world. And really obey him by our actions. [Angie] I think too, we mentioned stewardship, and one of the verses that comes to mind is about our treasures and building treasures in heaven. And I think that as we're setting goals as a couple, and we're remembering these foundational truths about marriage that we keep in the back of our minds that we're building for Him, and we're building for the kingdom of God in heaven because we're partnering with Him and the Great Commission and-- [Isaac] So good. [Angie] And that we're gonna experience pushback because whenever you do something that God's calling you to do, you're gonna experience some pushback. We have enemies, we have our own flesh And God cares about our sanctity through the process of the journey of life as well and so hard dreams are good because they bring out those things that need to be sanctified in you. [Isaac] Yeah, I mean, often I have said if you're not salty, you might not even realize there's a battle. But if you are salty, you're fully aware because you feel it. And there is a spiritual battle at hand. And as you press in and set goals together and try, and do things for God's glory, there is an enemy that hates that. The good news is God is way more powerful. but you need to be aware, and you need to pray. [Aaron] So, do you guys, in all of these conversations we have there just can be an inkling of, well, that's good for you. And I understand that God's got this call because we use this idea of call. Is there anyone in the body of Christ that's exempt from the things you're talking about? [Isaac] Not at all, you could be doing any position, it be in any kind of circumstances, any kind of financial situation. And it's the same truth for every married couple. [Angie] And the reason why is because God wants people, He wants their hearts, He wants to be reconciled to everyone. And so He may place you in a place that's really hard. But I think that God would ask of you to think big, think and view them the way He views them, and would He want you to have a goal or a dream that's gonna impact that other co-worker that's in the cubicle next to you. [Isaac] I would also say there's nothing worse than when you go out to dinner and you see couples not talking to each other, or looking at their phones, ignoring each other. And that potentially, is because they're not making progress together and doing things for God as a team. [Aaron] And I feel like, Jen, you might be able to speak into this a little bit, that setting, you said heavenly treasure like treasures in heaven, treasures above. The Bible tells us to look above to think on things above and not on things that on earth, and setting goals and pursuing heavenly things and always looking up. When I think of those couples that are sitting and not looking each other, it's because they are only looking in one direction, which is down, because we're not up, we are of the Earth currently. And I feel like that pursuing as a marriage, do you feel like as we consistently look up, it keeps our focuses off of us? [Angie] Yeah, yeah, totally. [Aaron] And that's what we wanna encourage everyone listening is this isn't just because we want plan that million dollar orphanage in another country that might be absolutely someone's calling in, and we gotta ask for them. But it's just the fact that we have we a heavenly calling. All of us as believers, we were part of the body of Christ. And that body is doing something and it's it's led by the by the head Jesus. [Jennifer] We all have gifts and to know those gifts in one another and call them out and say, hey, have you ever thought of like, I would have never even started a blog if it wasn't for Isaac starting it for me and saying here, you should write. I mean that's really your gift. [Isaac] You use your gift, here you go. [Angie] He kind of did that. I mean, this was way back before we had cellphones. He was crazy about the internet just came out sponsor. [Aaron] Oh man. [Isaac] Man, I think what happened is I said, you should start a blog, and you're like, oh, no. Some of you should start a blog, oh, no. Okay, I'm starting a blog, and I started a blog. [Angie] You edited it. [Isaac] And I started a blog, and I'm writing, I'm writing and the only reason I started a blog was so that she was started blog. And that's how she started hers. [Jennifer] Did he buy a book? That is actually, no. [Jennifer] That's awesome, before we wrap up, I really want our listeners to benefit from your guys' wisdom on parenting. And so I just wanna ask the question, how have you guys incorporated dreaming together as a family with your children? [Isaac] I think it's so important to include your kids in the process. It's fun. It is really fun. And one of the interesting things is that everybody has New Year plans and so forth. We just started start those more toward November going into the new year. And what we do is we run a session with the kids and we go, how did this year go? We have them. [Aaron] Is there a whiteboard involved? There's a whiteboard. Yes. [Isaac] And we have them rate the different areas of life, spiritual. [Angie] How did they do in that category? [Isaac] Yeah and we talked about it. And then then we do another session where they set intentions for the new year. And we just still got the-- [Aaron] I like intensions, it's better than resolutions. [Isaac] Yeah, intentions is good. [Angie] It good intentions and Isaac always takes a picture after they have shared what they are, and takes a picture so that he can put it up on the screen the next year. And he also kind of texts us randomly throughout the year goes, how are you doing on your goals? [Jennifer] Wow, [Angie] It's really for-- [Jennifer] Seriously, that's awesome. [Angie] Yeah, our oldest daughter, Kelsey, is at college and she actually just texted me a picture of her goals that are on her wall next to her bed. That was a huge win. So even like, all the kids really enjoy it, even our three year olds had goals this year to stay potty trained and get candy. [Isaac] What's awesome for that is-- [Jennifer] I would like to get candy bars. [Isaac] When they rate different areas of their life. It's so neat to see all the kids in the family rallying for them, no, you're more like an A, you are not a C. You're not-- [Isaac] It's awesome. [Angie] It was really encouraging because they would all give feedback and and say, oh, well, have you thought about this goal? And they would like add on to it and so it was really fun. [Isaac] Self evaluation is an incredible gift. [Jennifer] And it sounds like it doesn't matter what age children? [Angie] No, I mean, Eli was with us and he's four months old That's awesome. He was adamant. Sometimes in our age. [Angie] Self training. [Aaron] Taking solid foods, stay cute. [Jennifer] Awesome, thank you guys so much for your insight there. I know that it just is blessing everyone, everyone's probably gonna wanna redo all their-- Resolutions. --new goals for 2019. Okay, so the last question we have for you is, in your own words, what is a marriage after God? [Angie] Well, I think that we kind of talked a little bit about it before, just that our marriage would reveal the image of God to everyone, to our children to the world around us. And that we'd be striving to one another. One of the images that comes to my mind is in life trials because we have definitely experienced those in 19 years of marriage. When you're both chasing after God or running after him in that hard time I think you're gonna meet there and you're gonna be stronger versus if you're-- [Isaac] Stronger together. [Angie] Versus like if a husband loses a job or a wife is ill, or you could name whatever trial you're walking through, if one person starts working harder to fix the problem versus running to God first, there's a difference in how your marriage is revealed to your kids and the strength of marriage. [Isaac] And then when we say our wedding vows, almost everybody has in their wedding vows or some part of the marriage ceremony is to become one flesh. And do you really believe that? Well, if you do, then you're going to treat your bride or your husband like they are yourself. Because we really do become one. And when you become one, like Angie said, you become way more powerful for the impact for the kingdom of God. And we've always held that as the most important vision. [Jennifer] Well that was incredible. I could just listen to you guys all night, and that's awesome. [Isaac] Well, if people want to, they can go find them at courageousparenting.com, or through their podcast, Courageous Parenting but you can get anywhere podcasts are. And they should definitely go check out their podcast because we don't talk nearly enough about parenting. And that's all they talk about, like this. They talked about the painting like-- [Jennifer] This is we glean all of our needed parenting. [Aaron] You guys have blessed us over the years by your gift of knowledge and parenting, your wisdom in parenting. And so we've been totally blessed by that. So not just the planning stuff that we've seen in your life, but all aspects of your life we've been blessed by, so thank you for honoring us and blessing us by coming on our show. [Isaac] We've been so blessed by your friendship and love what's happening with the ministry here. [Aaron] Yeah, thank you. [Jennifer] I also wanna mention you guys are really active on social media. So where can people find you if they wanna follow you daily? [Isaac] Courageous Parenting and-- [Angie] Courageous Mom. [Isaac] And Resolute Man. [Angie] Yeah, so on Instagram, that's where we're the most active for sure, I'm courageous.mom and he's resolute.man. And then on Facebook. [Aaron] Awesome, so, at the end of every episode, we end in prayer. So if you guys wanna join me in prayer? [Isaac] Yeah. [Aaron] Dear Lord, we pray would be husbands and wives who dream together. We pray the dreams and the goals that we consider are ones that you put in our hearts. We desire to be used by you to fulfill your purposes. We wanna build your kingdom and not our own. And we remember to submit our plans to you always. There are things that we dream up that need to wait or need to be pushed aside, please help us to be humble. Help us to let go of any pride so that we don't pursue what of we want but instead only what you want. May we experience intimacy in marriage as we intentionally consider all that you have for us. We also pray we would have fun as we do this as a team for your glory. In Jesus name. [All] Amen. [Aaron] So, we just wanna thank everyone for listening. This has been part 13 in this 16 part series. There's a couple more, there's a few more awesome interviews coming up. So, I hope have you guys next week. Thank you for joining us. Did you enjoy today's show? If you did, it would mean the world to us if you could leave us a review on iTunes. Also, if you're interested, you can find many more encouraging stories and resources at Marriage After God calm and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary an marriage.

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#18

For Those Who Have Some Fears About Their Family Growing

July 10, 2019 • 31m

Download Our FREE 52 Date Night Conversations Starters eBook Today!!!! http://datenightconversations.com TRANSCRIPT Hey, we're Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God. Helping you cultivate and extraordinary marriage. And to day we're gonna be talking about fears of a growing family and how to combat them biblically. Before we get started today, because this topic is kind of surrounded around growing family and having kids, I wanted to share that we do have resources for parents called 31 Prayers For My Son and For My Daughter, and these are great resources for you to pray over your children. They're 31 prayers in each book talking about different topics in the child's life and there's also journal pages that after each prayer you can just make it more personal and we've had some positive feedback about these resources. Parents are really loving them, so make sure you get a copy. Yup. Well first off I just wanna thank everyone for joining us today, listening. And we want to encourage you to grab your Bible so that as we go through scripture you can participate. So the first thing we're gonna do before we start talking about these fears that a lot of us go through in our marriages as we start growing our family with children, is I just wanna go straight to scripture and read God's word about fear in our lives. And this is in Second Timothy. This is Paul talking to Timothy and encouraging him in his ministry. And he says, So I just wanna start off as we go into this idea of the fears that we all experience and explain that God has given us, just like He's given Timothy, just like Paul reminds Timothy, He hasn't given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of love, power, and self-control. And then second verse I wanna start us off with is in Psalms 127 and I just wanna get a biblical, godly perspective on children. And in Psalm, the psamlist writes, So God's perspecive in this one verse, there's hundreds of verses that talk about who children are to us and to God, is that they're a heritage, that they're a blessing. That they're a weapon wielded in the hands of parents for his purposes. I'm so glad that we started with those two verses 'cause I think above all else, it's so important to remember what God's perspective and heart is towards children. So as we move forward and navigate through these fears, how do we remember what God believes is true about growing family? And as we always say to the Christian marriages out there, that we found our, a marriage after God founds their marriage on the Bible, on the word of God. We don't do it in our feelings, we don't operate in our opinions, we don't operate in our ideas. What we try and do to the best of our abilities through the spirit that God's put in us is we run to the word of God. So as we talk through these fears that we're dealing with right now, our way of dealing with them is the word of God. And so that's why we encourage you to have your Bible and as we go through these fears that we're gonna bring up right now, we're gonna try and find scripture to combat those fears. So Aaron, you walked us through those two scriptures, which again were very powerful, and they're ones that I'm actually really familiar with, but how do we look at our lives and use those scriptures to encourage us in a practical way? So the first practical thing, the Bible tells us to meditate on God's word. And that word, meditate, it comes from this idea of like a cow chewing cud. And it's like we chew it, we mull it over, and over, and over again, and we continue to bring it up and remind ourselves of it. And we go back to it over, and over, and over again. We don't just hear it one time and then all of a sudden, oh that's just into my heart and got it forever. That might happen in some cases, but for the most part, like for you, you have to be reminded. Yeah. Especially when you're going through hormone changes. Yeah. Because you're going through hormone changes and that can feel totally chaotic. And so instead of just trying to address the symptoms and like, well you need to change the way you're thinking, you need to, which is how I tend to approach you. Sometimes. Which is not always effective. But meditating on scripture. So when we're in those moments of the things that we're specifically going to talk about, we go back those scriptures and be like, well, I'm thinking this way and I feel this way but this is the truth. And I just need to remind myself of that, even though it doesn't feel like the truth. That's good. So even having like maybe these scriptures written out on hand so that they're next to you bed stand or in the kitchen window, or some-- Or on our chalkboard right over there. Or on a chalkboard, in your house somewhere. I think that would be really encouraging for those listening to know that a very practical way of being reminded of these scriptures is to just put them in front of you. Yeah, have them on hand. Memorize them. So one of the reasons why I really wanted to talk about this topic today, about fears of a growing family, is because this is exactly where we've been for the last month. I am right almost into the second trimester of our fourth baby. Woohoo! We're so excited about that. And I've just been wrestling with having some fears about our family getting a little bit bigger. And I don't know for those of you listening, if you guys have jumped in and had any kids yet, or maybe you're on two or three, maybe some of you are on six or seven, like some of our friends. Yeah. But I know that some of these fears that we're gonna talk about are super relatable and so hopefully it's encouraging for you to hear what we're gonna talk about today. So why don't you share with us some fears that you're going through right now. Because, although we learn from scripture in second Timothy that we don't have a spirit of fear, when hormones rise up, when your body starts changing, when you start realizing the logistics of the day and you have an overwhelming morning you know, they come up. And it's our job to navigate that with God, so. So yeah, a lot of the things that I've been wrestling with is feeling like, I can't handle it. I can't manage my home, or keep up with the demands of all of the dishes, or feeding everyone, or keeping up with the laundry. And just little things like that. Getting all the crud off the floor after meals. Yeah, from our youngest spilling food on the floor. Yeah so, having to meet all those demands of the day and then looking to our future and saying, and we're gonna have another baby being added to the picture and it just feels overwhelming. That's just one fear that I've been wrestling with. So you're talking about not being to handle it. That just the demands of the day, of life. Feeling exhausted emotionally, mentally, physically. Which are real things because your body has limitations. Especially when I'm pregnant again. Exactly. And your home has limitations, and your time has limitations. The thing that I immediately thought of is acknowledging the weakness 'cause we all, moms out there, you look at any Instagram about moms-- We want to be superheroes. Superheroes, like you're the superhero mom and you're like, oh my gosh she's got a beautiful Instagram feed, and her home's always perfect, and her kids are beautiful and wonderful and act perfectly all the time. And that's just not reality. I think you might have a expectation of yourself that isn't a real expectation, and since you can't live up to it, it hurts. It does hurt. And it breaks you, and it makes you feel more emotional and like a failure. So one thing that husbands can be doing is reminding your wives that they are great. And that the things you're doing are wonderful and you don't have to do everything perfectly. Another thing we should be doing as husbands is cultivating an environment in the home where we're helping. I can't help all the time because I have a job. Many husbands, they have full-time jobs and a lot of wives and moms might have jobs also. That might be adding to the stress also, but cultivating an environment where you know you're helped. Yeah. And I remember reminding you, this morning even when you were dealing with this, I said, "Babe, I'm here with you also." Like you don't need to feel like you have to do it on your own. But the weakness part of this, it reminds me of the scripture of when Paul, in Second Corinthians, is talking about a thorn that's been given to him in his side. It's either an ailment, or someone who's pestering him and we don't know exactly what it is, he never says exactly what it is. But Paul tells us the torment that this thorn is causing him and this is what God's word to him was about this weakness, in Second Corinthians, chapter 12, verse nine it says, And so, reminding ourselves of like it's okay to be weak. We're human. Weakness is a part of who we are. We're in this weak flesh that has cravings, and desires, and hormones, and brokenness. But we have a savior and we have a god that's given us His Holy Spirit that we can actually operate in His strength. And that actually, when we recognize our weakness and we humble ourselves, we actually can glorify Him and his strength. And Paul says, I'll boast all the more gladly in my weakness. So my wife can actually say you know, recognizing that I can't do all of this reminds me of my need for God and His peace, and His comfort, and that I need to run to Him. Because, did you run to Him in those times when you feel the most weak? Not always. Is that your first-- It's not usually my first-- No but, that's what God wants 'cause he wants us-- It's not my first thing ever. I usually go like my own strengths, and my own like, oh I'm gonna get some consulting, I'm gonna get-- I don't run to him first, I don't follow my faith and say, "Okay, Lord, I cannot do this today." I feel like we continue to keep ourselves trying and striving for that ideal perfection or expectation that we've placed on ourselves that we don't slow down enough to do this, what you're saying. Right, and that idea that we can recognize our own weaknesses and our own limitations. You remember a long time ago, on our road trip, or actually we were driving up to the mountains, and we were talking about just time, and strength, and energy. I was telling you how frustrated I am because there's all these things that I wanna do and you told me-- And that was so long ago, and you're right back there. I know. But I explained, I said, being human, we're limited. We can only hold so much weight up. We can only speak so many words. We only have so many hours in a day. We can only stay awake so long. That if we want to accomplish something over here, then there inevitably will have to be other things that will have to be laid aside. Yeah. It's just the reality. So a good example of this is if we want to have, let's say you wanna stay quality time with all your kids. Right? The dishes probably go-- There might have to be some dishes in the sink. And I'm gonna be honest personally, I would rather you spend some quality time with our kids. I think that's really important to acknowledge real quick, just so that people listening can understand this. So understanding each other's expectations of what we're called to do in the home. So knowing that you're okay with dishes in the sink, helps me understand that I can spend that time with the kids and I don't have to rush to go do the dishes in order to please you. Like ultimately we need to understand-- Or please yourself, because you could easily see a clean house as the most important thing for the day, and drop the ball on the children. And then you still might feel like a failure at the end of the day. Yeah. You have a clean house, and kids that are vying for attention. So I do want to encourage those listening that it's really important for a husband and wife to vision together, and to talk about expectations, and figure out what are priorities for your family. And this brings me back again to a husband cultivating a safe environment in the home. If you come home from work and you're bothered that the dishes are dirty, yet your wife had spent all day with your children, and had taught them, and loved them, and fed them, and took care of them, and took them on trips, or did play dates, then you might need to-- You either let the dishes go, or clean them. Or clean them. And that's kind of, or find a time to give her time to herself. If she likes to take care of the house, take the kids and you go spend time with the kids and let her have an hour or two to herself to do what she wants. Yeah. Like I know that sometimes you just wanna clean the house. Yeah. "Hey, Aaron, go play with the kids, I just wanna just clean." Yeah, especially 'cause I like the way that I do it. And since we're a team, I should be like, "Deal, I'll take the kids we're gonna go to the park, we're gonna go for a drive, we're gonna be gone. You won't hear from us." But husbands, cultivating an environment that's healthy and safe for your wife, the mother of your children, because is she feels like you expect her to be everything, perfect for you, perfect for her kids, perfect for your home, you're gonna break her. And this something I have to learn, and we also have to balance, but it also takes communication. You know, talking through these things. And as we're talking about fears of growing family, when those conversations come up, where you guys are talking about maybe growing your family you need to be honest with yourselves and know that your wife might have fears of, well I can't do all the demands of the home if we bring another child into the world because I already can't do it. Right, because like if you're a husband that is just absent, you get home, turn that TV on, get into your video games, hopefully you're not playing video games, but you just kinda check out when you get home and you expect dinner to be ready, and you just view your home time as your sanctuary time, and your wife just kinda keeps going 24/7, I wouldn't wanna have your kids either. That's harsh, but-- I'm just being honest. But that's the kind of men we need to be. If you wanna have a marriage after God and one that's free from fears of a growing family, I think it's really important to talk about expectations and to be a team when considering how it needs to be done when you do have little kids running around and you wanna spend that time with them or do things that are a priority in your family. So you shared with us that you feel like you can't handle it, which is a totally normal and common feeling because of everything in life. What's something else that just wells up in you, just it's those emotions, those feelings, what else was coming up in you today? So another one was that fear of missing out. FOMO. Yeah, FOMO. I have that, all the time. All the time, with friends and things-- With everything. I have a fear of missing out with my children. The ones we already have. So we already have three and I see them growing up and every day I'm just amazed by them and I just feel like there's been certain seasons where I was either pregnant or had morning sickness where I did miss out a little bit. Post-partum with Wyatt, that was another one where I felt like I was missing out with Elliot and Olive a little bit. So I don't wanna miss anything in their lives. I just don't. And so one of my fears is if we have another child, what else am I gonna be missing with them that maybe I wouldn't have if we didn't have a growing family? And that's a totally legitimate fear that people have. It's not unfounded, you just look at numbers, you look at time, we just talked about this, how we're limited creatures. We're not infinite, we're finite. But what we need to do is we need to change our perspective on things. That's what this whole video's about is perspective. If the perspective is, unless we can spend equal amount of time with every single child, then we're not gonna be giving them what they need, I think is inaccurate. And this is a personal opinion but I do feel like there's a level of-- You know, if that's the case, then let's just have one kid. Because they can get all of our love. But in reality, the love and the experience that we want our kids to have, our oldest, it's gonna be inevitable that he learns that the world doesn't revolve around him. It's inevitable that he's gonna learn that he has other responsibilities. So where you wanted to spend time with our oldest, Elliot, but you also wanna spend time with Olive, and Wyatt, and then the new baby, well Elliot needs to learn how to spend time with his siblings. And they need to learn how to have alone time and play well with each other. This is true. One thing that I've been noticing lately in our relationship with our kids is we've been teaching them a lot about how to walk in the Spirit and they're free to the Spirit and so it is having siblings does give them the opportunity to learn compassion, and learn kindness, and learn sharing, and gentleness, and love, and all of that. Well, and responsibility. Responsibility. How they participate in the family. We can easily recognize just the spiritual state of our son that he does feel like he's not getting as much as he used to from us, as much attention. So a couple of things happen. We can recognize that and make sure that we're a being extra intentional with him, right? Which we do, and we try to do, and sometimes we drop the ball of course. But then we can also find other ways of redirecting, 'cause he's craving attention from us but usually that's a craving that God's wanting, right? And so we can slowly start teaching him about that desire that he has for that relationship, and that he's not gonna always get it from us, and that Mom isn't the only person to get energy from, and all those feelings met, and those needs met. Because what's gonna happen is one, two, three, four, five kids, however many kid we have, if every single one of them think that they're owed that same exact amount of attention from you, what are we teaching them? And can you possibly ever fulfill that? No, and we're essentially teaching them to have that same perspective toward God. They're gonna expect you know, that-- Yeah, they're gonna look at Joe over here-- That same perspective of God owes me this or that. Yeah, or they'll look at this, oh, so and so has been given so much and they have this ministry, and like He hasn't given me that. And that's just the wrong perspective. The Bible actually tells us that the entire body is knit together as one unit. And then it says that the lesser parts of the body are glorified, and the greater parts of the body are brought low for the sake of equality. So giving him a perspective that he actually can't get everything he wants from Mom, he has to understand that. And he actually can start, instead of wanting to just take from Mom, he can actually learn how to give to his siblings. And so we're teaching him responsibilities in the house. So instead of just going to Mom and being, "Mom, Mom, Mom can you just spend all the time with me," we're like, "Actually, Elliot, we need your help. Can you go put trash bags in the trash can? Can you go vacuum the floor? Can you go--" And you gotta be able to trust your kids because Elliot's been stepping up and doing great. And every time we ask him, you know require something of him he's been fulfilling that. So it's been great to see the maturity in him excel. It's amazing actually, he puts the trash bags in every time I ask perfectly. One thing that you did mention when I shared this fear with you was the reality that we will miss out. Even it if was just one kid. There are gonna be times that we miss out which means the time we are present we need to be so intentional, and that really meant a lot to me. Which is true. Again, the same way we recognize we are weak and that makes God more strong in our life. The other thing we recognize is we are gonna miss out. We can't control everything, we can't have everything and we have to be okay with that. We have to be okay that Dad's gone a lot of the day, but when I'm home, I should not be gone at home. Even if that means on the couch, on your phone. You should be present, you should be engaged. Which is something that the Lord convicts of me every single day. I'm trying really hard to not be on my phone in front of my kids 'cause I want them to know that they have my eyes when I'm here. But then there's also times when I'm around that I have to say, "Daddy's busy, and you need to go play quietly. You need to color, you need to--." So just understanding that we cannot be everything in all things to our children. We have to recognize where we're at. That's good. And that missing out is a part of life. And that's gotta be okay. I know it doesn't feel good, but it's gotta be okay. Yeah. So why don't you share this one more fear that you are currently dealing with know that we're about to have four kids. I don't know if everyone can relate to this but it's just that fear of losing my personal time. The time that I like to pour into things I'm passionate about. One of them spending time with the Lord. You know, I feel like with each kid I have to really fight for that time. Or working in blogging, you know. I feel like I have to really-- Or time with your girlfriends. Or time with my girlfriends. Just going to get a cup of coffee, you know, and sharing that time with either myself, or with a girlfriend. I feel like the thought of bringing another child would mean now I gotta find someone that could babysit four kids you know if I wanna go on date night with you, right? That's $5 a kid, that's two to four hours-- It's a lot. So, being conflicted with am I gonna lose more me time. And I know that's really selfish, but it does come up. But it's real. Yeah. You know so, I'm gonna keep going back to this, 'cause it's a balance of like, it'd be easy just to tell you like, "Well, you just gotta get over it, 'cause that's selfish." But the other side of it is, the Bible tells us husbands to walk with our wives in an understanding way. And it tells us to love you as Christ loves the Church. And it tells us to serve you, and to honor you, and hold you up in honor. So on one hand, recognizing selfishness. Yeah. Recognizing like, well like this is my lot in life. This is what God's given me. I've children to raise to know Him. And having a positive perspective about that. And having a positive perspective, having a biblical perspective knowing that our jobs as Mom and Dad is to raise children that know and love the Lord. Which is a super powerful purpose. It's the most powerful purpose. That our kids will actually go to Heaven. Yeah. Right? But on top of that, how can I, how can you as a husband, cultivate an environment for you to thrive in that? Not that you just hold all the weight of everything because remember, the Bible tells us that you are the weaker vessel and that I need to recognize that and be like, I can't just put everything I want on top of my wife and expect her to hold it all up. That's my job. I should hold everything up, right? So knowing that if I want you to just love your role as a mother, I'm gonna give you time to yourself. Do I ever do that for you? Yeah, I was just gonna say I feel like you've been really great at-- This pregnancy. This pregnancy, I've been really good at it. You've been learning with each one, but you do recognize a lot faster now when I'm kind of reaching that breaking point, or need a breath of fresh air. Just the other day you came home for lunch and you were like, "Hey, you wanna go take lunch by yourself?" And it felt really awkward saying yes 'cause I thought to myself, I'm not gonna go sit in a restaurant by myself, but I did it, and it was great. It was so refreshing. She came back, like kicked the door open, she's like, "Hey, kids, let's go do something." I missed my kids. And so it refreshed that positive perspective. Recharged you, gave you a new perspective. So, on one hand, yes we need to recognize that it's a self dying that happens every day. Not just in our child rearing, raising children. And be okay with that, embrace it, and accept that responsibility from God. On the mother's part. But on the husband's part is a self dying also that I would lay down my life for my wife and say, "You know what, I don't want to sacrifice my time, I'm going to though. Because I want you to feel energy and recharged." And also, husbands, dads out there, it's our jobs to be leading our families spiritually. Are you giving time for your wife to go and recharge in the word of God? So important. With no kids around? Not in the bathroom when she's on the toilet and the kids are trying to come in. This is like serious, do you like, "Hey, Babe, go and just spend an hour or two in the Word." And of course that can't happen every day, there's logistics in life, but is it on your mind? Are you saying, man I need to figure out a way to get my wife to just some her time. And that's you dying to yourself, and your desires, and lifting her up. So it's not just, "Well you need to get a right perspective, Hun. You need to just tough it out." Which she does. I do. But you need to tough it out too, men. You need to lay down your life and say, "Well, I need to make sure that my wife feels loved, cherished. I need to make sure that she has time for herself so that she can get regenerated, have a bath." Like, how often am I like, "Go take a bath." Yup. It doesn't happen all the time, but once a week maybe I just, I'll draw a bath for you. I'll give you a bath bomb, I'll put some essential oils on. Sometimes music. Yeah, I'll put some music on, and I put the kids to bed, and it's just her time. So that she can get her mind rested. And her spirit rested, and that's what we need to be doing. This is what a marriage after God looks like. It's not just all on my wife. It's teamwork. If you look at almost every scripture in the Bible about children, it's always tied to the fathers. So that should tell you how much weight should be on you as a father. That you are teaching your children, that you are discipling your children, that you are responsible for your children. That you don't just leave and say, "Oh, my wife's gonna take care of it. My wife's gonna read the Bible to them. My wife's gonna teach them the word of God." I will say if you assume that position and you put that weight on your wife, her fears will mount. Like she will have so many more fears. And those will be legitimate fears. 'Cause she is doing it on her own and she has a husband that's absent. And you don't wanna be that husband. You're not that husband. And because she'll be so drowning in her own fears that it'll probably stimulate fears to grow inside you. Oh, is my marriage not gonna work out. Or are we not gonna ever have intimacy because she's too tired to, you know what I mean. So like it starts spiraling to of control when there's not a team action. Yeah. So I hope this encourages you today. We're gonna read a couple scriptures to close out. As we're talking about fears today there was a specific scripture that was on my hear that I really wanted to encourage specifically the moms with, but dads too. Listen up, it's in Psalm 34, verse four. It says, Now when you are acting out of fears or you're spiraling in your mind, kind of out of control because of these fears that you have and you're motivated by your fears, you're not going to the Lord. Everything that you do in that moment is based off of what you believe to be true, which are the lies and the fears that you're struggling with, and it's just gonna get worse if you do not seek out the Lord. And I've experienced this first hand. I had a almost total meltdown today because I was so emotional over these fears that we just talked about. And so it's really important that we seek after the Lord and that we come back to His perspective and what His truth is for our life and family. So we walked through a bunch of fears, this is reality for us. It's something that we're gonna have to daily go through and we're gonna be running to the scriptures. I'm gonna be taking on my role as a spiritual leader in the home to encourage you, inspire you, remind you of the truth so that you can walk in it. And I think it's really important for me to clearly communicate to you when I am having these fears, when they are coming up in my heart because if I'm operating in them and letting them spiral in my mind, and I'm not confronting them or talking to you about them, then things are just gonna haywire in or whole family. And then we start feeling crazy. Yeah. So we just wanna thank you for watching today and we just pray that this message just encourages you if any of you are going through this right now and walking through fears of a growing family. And so if you enjoyed this video, please hit the subscribe button and also hit the bell next to it so you get notified every time we upload a video. And please leave us a comment. Let us know if you are planning on growing your family, 'cause we'd love to be excited and praise God with you. Thank you, we'll see you guys next time. Did you enjoy today's show? Find many more encouraging stories and resources at marriageaftergod.com and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

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#20

MAG 00: Kicking Off the 16 Week Marriage After God Series

February 06, 2019 • 41m

We will be interviewing, marriages about what it means to be a marriage after God. https://Marriageaftergod.com and order our new book Marriage After God Our friend Lara Casey, Author of Cultivate and Make it Happen said this about Marriage After God: “ There is a short list of books I’m stashing away for my three small kiddos to read when they are older—Marriage After God is one of them.” Also, would you take a moment today and follow us on Instagram https://instagram.com/marriageaftergod "Belief propels people from a place of dreaming, to a place of doing." - Jennifer Smith, Marriage After God Book Dear Lord, We pray for the husband and wife reading this book. May Your Holy Spirit use this book to inspire their hearts to boldly chase after You and say yes to the extraordinary invitations You have prepared for them. We pray this couple will grow in their understanding of the power and purpose of their marriage. Reveal to them the specific plans You have for them. We pray You would use this marriage to do incredible work to build Your kingdom. In this dark world, may You protect this couple from the attacks of the enemy! May You cleanse them from sin and continue to shape them into the husband and wife You created them to be. May they realize they bear Your image and that they are a light in this world and a beacon of hope to the lost and lonely. We ask You to guide this couple and unite them as a team to carry out the unique purposes You have for them in Jesus’s name. Amen! In Jesus’ name, amen! READ: [Aaron] Hey we're Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God. [Jennifer] Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage. [Aaron] And today we're kicking off our 16-week Marriage After God series. [Aaron] Welcome to the Marriage After God podcast. Where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after. [Jennifer] I'm Jennifer, also known as Unveiled Wife. [Aaron] And I'm Aaron, also known as Husband Revolution. [Jennifer] We have been married for over a decade. [Aaron] And so far we have four young children. [Jennifer] We have been doing marriage ministry online for over seven years through blogging and social media. [Aaron] With the desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage. Encouraging them to walk in faith every day. [Jennifer] We believe that Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one. Full of life. [Aaron] Love. [Jennifer] And power. [Aaron] That can only be found by chasing after God. [Jennifer] Together. [Aaron] Thank you for joining us on this journey as we chase boldly after God's will for our life together. [Jennifer] This is Marriage After God. [Jennifer] Guys I am so excited for this. I feel like as exciting it is to launch a new book, this podcast series is just as exciting. I feel like we need to celebrate. I feel like we need-- [Aaron] Ice cream. [Jennifer] Ice cream and cake and confetti. Or I don't know what to do [Aaron] Yeah, birthday cake, cake, ice cream. [Jennifer] I'll take any of it. [Aaron] On birthday cake cookies. [Jennifer] I'm just so excited for this series and we have some really exciting stuff for you guys. Thanks for joining us. [Aaron] Before we talk about the series and get into it. We just want to ask you if you've been following along in this podcast and you love the content, you love just the things that we're bringing up. How we're sharing the vulnerable areas of our life. And things that God's teaching us, would you please just take a moment and leave us a review. The reviews are how podcasts get seen by new people. They get ranked based off of how many reviews we get. If you would love to, we'd love to have you write a review. And the easiest way to do that is to leave a five-star review. It can be a four-star I guess. [Jennifer] Be honest. [Aaron] Yeah, a star review, be honest, is easy. Just tap the star at the bottom of the podcast app. But leaving a text review is the most powerful way you can help support this podcast if you want. When it comes to iTunes and how they rank this podcast. [Jennifer] Another way to support this podcast is to shop on our store. If you go to marriageafterGod.com, you can check out our resources and help support us through buying through our store. One of the books that we want to highlight, is our new book, which this series is based off of. And that's Marriage After God. Go to marriageafterGod.com and go order our new book. I also want to share with you guys our friend, Lara Casey, author of Cultivate and Make It Happen, said this about Marriage After God. "There is a short list of books I'm stashing away for my three small kiddos to read when they're older. Marriage After God is one of them." [Aaron] What a cool idea. [Jennifer] I know, I love that idea, and I wanted to share that because I think it's such a neat idea and I want to do that for my kids. I wanna have a list of books to give. [Aaron] It's good, because how many times you're like, "man what books should I read, or what books are out there." 'Cause we can't read every book. Having a stack of books and hey, we've read these. [Jennifer] And they matter. [Aaron] These books matter, they've blessed our lives. Here you go and handing that off as a wedding gift to your kids. We actually should start that. [Jennifer] Cool, and I also want to encourage you guys to take a minute and just go follow @marriageafterGod on Instagram. [Aaron] Yeah, that's our new page. Jennifer has her Unveiled Wife page. I have my Husband Revolution page, but our Marriage After God Instagram account is where we both come together and we share stuff and we share stuff about our podcast and things that are coming up. And it's a community for husbands and wives. [Jennifer] Okay, moving on to our ice-breaker question. [Aaron] What was the hardest part about writing our new book, Marriage After God? [Jennifer] I felt like the thing you kept saying over and over again is, "I really just wanna quote scripture." Throughout the whole thing. [Aaron] That was what's hard for me, because I kept comparing what I was writing to what the Bible already said. [Jennifer] The Bible's so much better. We just need to tell them-- [Aaron] I'm writing this thing, and the Bible already said this way better than I could ever say it. That's what it felt like. But what was hard for you? [Jennifer] I think for me it was figuring out how to write it together. We done it in the past, but-- [Aaron] Never to this extent. [Jennifer] Not to this extent. You wrote most of this book and I just helped I feel like. [Aaron] You wrote a lot. [Jennifer] Oh, I know, but-- [Aaron] I feel like we actually wrote pretty equal amounts. In the beginning I did a lot of the writing for the initial draft and then you added so much more color in the edit. [Jennifer] I feel like you did a lot of the teaching aspect. And I added the stories and things like that. But it was a really good balance I think of both of our voices. I did enjoy that about writing this book. I would say the other hardest part was, we started writing the book when we had three kiddos and I was pregnant and then we started the editing process after having four. [Aaron] I feel like we are always writing a book while we're pregnant or just having a baby. [Jennifer] Yeah, we like to keep things interesting. [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] That was, just logistical finding time to be able to do that. [Aaron] Yeah, and the other thing for me, not just that I kept comparing what I was writing to the Bible, which is good, because the Bible is everything anyway. And all we're trying to do it point people to the Bible. I think the hardest thing for me is this is the most I've ever written ever. And I've never written a book like this. It was challenging spiritually. It was challenging technically, 'cause I've never done it. But I'm really surprised at what we're able to pull off in this book. It had to have been Holy Spirit driven. [Jennifer] I'm excited about it. [Aaron] I'm really excited about it. I'm glad that we're starting this 16 week series to talk about the concepts that are in the book. The book is why the podcasts exist. The podcast came out of, we did the contract for the book, and we're like, "hey, let's do a podcast so we can actually start talking about it now. This idea of a Marriage After God." And encourage marriages with all this free content leading up to the book. And we're not gonna stop it after the books, this is our new thing. Doing a weekly podcast together, we love it. It's kind of funny, the Marriage After God book, the podcast, and now we're gonna be talking about the book more to pull the concepts directly out of the book and talk about them. We'll get into a little bit more about that in a minute. But, before we start, Jennifer, would you like to share a quote from the Marriage After God book? [Jennifer] Sure, this quote is found in the introduction, which this kind of kicking off the series is going to be centered on the introduction of Marriage After God. That's what we have for you guys today. This is a quote from the introduction of Marriage After God. "Belief propels people from a place of dreaming to a place of doing." [Aaron] Yeah, if we don't truly believe something, we're not going to act on that belief. No one ever does that. A belief is what causes us and propels us forward to do the things that we actually believe. I love that, "belief propels people from a place of dreaming to a place of doing." Instead of sitting back like, "oh, that'd be wonderful if it was true, or that's be wonderful if I could, but I can't so I'm not gonna." [Jennifer] Yeah, and I love that we're starting out with this quote because I feel like it's the whole purpose of why we wrote this book was to encourage couples to believe and do. [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] To believe what God can do with their marriage and then do it. [Aaron] Well and believe what God already says about us. Believe what the Bible says about us. Believe what is the truth. To open our eyes to what God has for us. [Jennifer] Okay, as we jump into the introduction of Marriage After God, which, are we gonna read for them? [Aaron] Yeah, I think we will read the whole introduction from the book. Not right now. [Jennifer] Okay. We're gonna do that in a little bit. But first we're gonna answer some questions. These first few questions are just ones that I came up with that I think will help you guys understand where we're coming from. From in writing Marriage After God. And then we're gonna also, after we read the introduction, answer some questions that they had, right? [Aaron] Yeah, I spent some time today on your Instagram. I don't know if you knew this or not. [Jennifer] I didn't know that. [Aaron] And on my Instagram doing live videos and asking our followers if they had any questions about the book. [Jennifer] Okay. [Aaron] Man some good questions came out of it. I wrote down as many as I could and some of them are similar so I think we complied them into a general question. And we're gonna try and answer your questions about the book, in the hopes that you guys get so excited about this because it's a book for you. We wrote this book for you, for all of the followers that have been following us since the beginning. [Jennifer] Well hold on, that's one of the questions I have. [Aaron] Oh, okay. [Jennifer] Let's jump in. Why did we write the book? [Aaron] For all of you. [Jennifer] No, why. [Aaron] We wrote the book, we wrote the book out of a necessity that we saw in our own life. We saw what God was doing with us and we saw where God had taken us. And I think we realized that there was some people that thought that we were special or that people like us are the only ones doing something and should be doing something and not everyone has something to do that God doesn't have a part and a role to play for everyone in the body. And our heart was like, "no, we're just being faithful with what God's given us, but we want you to be faithful with what God's given you." [Jennifer] Um hum. [Aaron] I think that's where it came from. It's why we did the Marriage After God gathering a couple years ago. [Jennifer] Um hum. [Aaron] Was like hey, how can we have an intimate gathering. We had 12 couples come and we're like how can we inspire these couples to just go and just chase after God boldly. Chase after his will for their marriage and to be used as a marriage in unity to move his message in his kingdom forward. [Jennifer] Yeah, that's our hope and desire for this book is that people would recognize that we are all part of his body building his kingdom. [Aaron] Yeah, there's no one part that, oh those are the people, 'cause they have something special that God's gonna use them. Actually the Bible tells us something very different. It says that we're all, all parts of the body, and not one part can say to another part that you don't belong. And that's what it is. This Marriage After God is that we belong to the body of Christ and that there's power in our unity. In our oneness. [Jennifer] Another reason we wrote the book was because we were actually walking out some of the things that we share over the last decade of time being together. The things that God revealed to us, little treasures and-- [Aaron] Things we're still learning of course. [Jennifer] Exactly, that's what I was getting to, is that we're even still learning what it means to be a Marriage After God, but the things that we have learned or the things we've overcome, or the victories we've had. We wanted to share about it as a catalyst to encourage marriages out there because we all need that encouragement. We all need to be reminded that we're here to do something and that our marriage has great purpose. We wanted to kind of come alongside them. I have this picture in my mind of holding each other, linked in arms and marching forward. [Aaron] Yeah, Christian marriages all over the world being used to glorify God, to spread the message of his goodness and it comes down to like this one sentence. The idea of the book. God has meant for more for our marriage than just happily ever after. [Jennifer] Um, hum. [Aaron] That our health in our marriage, our strength in our marriage, our joy in our marriage. All of those things are not just for us to enjoy. But that they're there to push us forward and be used for God. It's not just so that we can be like, "oh we're good, we reached it. Now we're like happy and this is all we need to focus on." We're excited. That's why we wrote the book. That's the big why. [Jennifer] Awesome. Okay, why did we title it Marriage After God? [Aaron] Ooh. See questions that I didn't know were coming. Why did we title it-- [Jennifer] The first thing that comes to my mind is we had originally wrote the devotionals which we shared about in the last episode, but Wife After God and Husband After God were 30-day devotionals that we really felt strongly were purpose to encourage husbands and wives to kind of chase after God in their individual role. Being a husband and wife-- [Aaron] His picture for them and what he wanted for them. [Jennifer] Right and to draw them closer to God and closer to each other. When we thought about this book, we wanted it to be unifying. The natural progression was Marriage After God and it's the idea and picture of a marriage chasing boldly after the purpose that he has for a marriage. [Aaron] There's mighty power in a husband chasing after God for their family even if his wife's not. There's mighty power in a wife chasing after God and serving him and loving him and being an example to her husband even if he's not. But man, the power of a husband and a wife chasing after God together and wanting his will for their life. Right there is the depth of this book. Is what we're trying to get at is, no no no. It's not just be happy where we're at, what does God have us together for? Why did he bring us to unity? Why did he make us one? 'Cause there is a meaning. There is a purpose behind it and we talk about it in the book. [Jennifer] Um, hum. That's so good, okay now that all of their ears are itching and they want to get their hands on this book, who's it for? [Aaron] This book is specifically for Christian married couples. I would not hesitate for a second to give it to someone who's not a believer. Because we preach the Gospel in the book quite a bit. [Jennifer] Even marriages who feel like maybe they're hanging on by a thread or maybe there's just some conflict there that they can't seem to get over. It doesn't have to be for a marriage that is mature, or is already chasing after God together, or both are equally yoked. It literally is for every marriage. [Aaron] Yeah, and the idea is that it's meant to be read together. It could totally be read separately, but I would totally encourage anyone who when they get the book, to read it with their spouse. Reading out loud together, or having their own copies and then talking about it as they go. But, it's for marriages. Also, I would see engaged couples reading this to prepare themselves where God wants their heart to be for marriage, so that they're working toward it now and they're praying about it now and they're saying, "okay Lord, we're gonna come together and we want this to be for you." It could totally be powerful for engaged couples as well. [Jennifer] For any age. For any however long married. [Aaron] Yeah, absolutely. [Jennifer] It doesn't matter how many kids you have. There is no prerequisite to read this book. [Aaron] Yeah, we didn't write it for a specific, the millennial Christian marriages. We wrote it for Christian marriages. Again, if they're not believers, this would be a great book to put in the hands of someone who doesn't believe yet and say, "hey, you want to see what God has for your marriage? Read this book." [Jennifer] Okay, so what do we hope the impact will be for the Marriage After God book? [Aaron] I hope that it sparks power and excitement in the hearts of husbands and wives around the world. [Jennifer] Um, hum. [Aaron] To say, wow, wait wait. God's good and he loves us and what he's doing in our marriage is awesome, but he wants us to move forward. He's got a plan for us together in how we're gonna use our talents, resources and gifts for his kingdom. And that we actually see action come out of this book. [Jennifer] That's what I was gonna say is action. [Aaron] Yeah, I think the other thing, and this is gonna go into some of the questions is, marriages leading and inspiring and encouraging other marriages. [Jennifer] Yeah, the same hope that we desire for this book to become a catalyst in your life, our hope would also be that then you become a catalyst in someone else's life. [Aaron] Oh absolutely, it's not just to point people back to us at all, actually. It's to point people to God. To His Word and to His will for their life. There's a few questions right around this idea and these are questions that people asked me in the live Instagram videos we did today. [Jennifer] Cool, okay, last question before we read the introduction and then we'll get into those questions from our listeners. It is, how can those listening right now join us in becoming a movement starter? This goes back to our hope of what we hope this book does. They might here the word movement starter and go, "what's that?" What can we encourage them to do right now? [Aaron] We called it a movement starter 'cause there's people that have been following us and are excited for what God's doing in marriages around the world and in their own marriage and for the kingdom of God. We hope that people are gonna take this book and they're gonna be like, "hey, we wanna spread the message of what God's doing, we wanna encourage other couples." The first thing I'd say is start praying. If you want to be a movement starter with us, start praying for the people that God is calling. That he wants to light a fire in. That he wants to draw out. The second thing I would say is pre-order a book. It's online right now, pretty much anywhere you buy books. Amazon, Barnes and Noble. I would suggest Amazon because they have a pre-order price guarantee where if the price lowers at any point during the next few months that you get the lowest price and they refund you the difference, which is awesome. [Jennifer] And I just want to note for people coming back to this episode or listening to it past the date and it's not necessarily for pre-order anymore, just ordering the book helps spread the message. [Aaron] Yeah, thank you for the ever greenness of that. Getting the book. And then I would say the last thing, and this is something you should start praying about now, is start praying about the two or three or four couples in your life right now that God might want you to invite over to your house to do a study with. Going through this book together. [Jennifer] That's good. [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] I wanna add too, one way that they can also participate in being a movement starter for this message of being a Marriage After God. Earlier we asked them to go follow us on Instagram @marriageafterGod and I wanna encourage you to post your Marriage After God story. Post a picture of you and your spouse together and share a little bit about what it means to you to be and have a Marriage After God and use the hashtag Marriage After God. Because we see those and it is such a powerful testimony of what God is doing in this world and when we share our testimony of what God's doing, his heart is revealed to the world. And so we want to utilize the power of social media to also further this message. And so if you do that and you tag Marriage After God, we see it, we're gonna repost as many as we can, and I just want to say thank you right now for those who already have been sharing their Marriage After God story and the ones that will. [Aaron] Now, whether we're allowed to or not, I don't know. We're gonna read the entire introduction. It's a few pages, it's not very long. And this is from the book, Marriage After God. What if I told you that your marriage has a purpose far beyond happily ever after? What if I told you that the unity between you and your spouse was created for something extraordinary? God, your Creator and your Savior, has created you and your spouse with complete and perfect thoughtfulness. God, your provider and your heavenly Father has unlimited resources in immeasurable creativity. God, who is patient and loving, is pursuing you and your spouse every single day. Inviting you to participate in the extraordinary things He is already doing. Do you believe God wants more for your marriage than for you to just make each other happy? Do you believe God can do anything? Move mountains, open doors and part seas to get you to the place where he wants you the most? Belief is powerful. Belief propels people from a place of dreaming to a place of doing. Belief in God is confidence and trust in Him. Believing God made you and your marriage with great purpose is the beginning of an incredible adventure you will never regret. When Jennifer and I consider what spurred us toward a desire to serve God together, we agreed that it was our belief that God could and would use us as team for His glory. And that belief gave us the courage to say yes to Him over and over and over again. Even and especially during the hard times of our story. We said yes to God when we decided to stay together when it felt easier to walk away. We said yes to God when we chose to love each other even when we didn't feel so in love. We said yes to obeying His word when we did everything we could to get out of debt. We said yes to God when he showed us ways we could serve His body. And we said yes to God when he invited us to share our story. Not all of our yes' to God were easy, however, our mutual desire to please God is what helped us to say yes and to persevere. When Jennifer and I got married, we had a united desire to serve God together. We didn't know exactly what it would look like, but we were willing to explore the opportunities He had for us as a married couple. Throughout our time of dating and being engaged we prayed we would have an extraordinary marriage. However, we didn't stop there. We didn't only ask God for an extraordinary marriage, we also prayed God would use our marriage to do extraordinary things to build His kingdom. Since we said, "I do." And committed our marriage to the Lord, we have been on a journey of saying yes to God. A journey we both agree has been quite extraordinary. Not only because of the experiences we have had, or the accomplishments we have reached, but because God is extraordinary. And he longs to bring his extraordinary into our lives. He is the reason we have been able to endure this journey together. We have experienced both poverty and abundance. We have traveled to different parts of the world as missionaries motivated to share the Gospel with others. We have started businesses and ministries. We have overcome destructive sin patterns. We have grown our family size intentionally striving to leave a legacy with our children. And we continue to participate in God's plan for our lives as He invites us to do all that He prepared for us to do together. But it is all because of God. He gets the glory in our lives. [Jennifer] Our journey has not been void of the enemies attacks to thwart God's purpose for our marriage. In fact, the enemies flaming arrows in combination with our own sin almost destroyed our marriage. Pornography addiction, emotional eating, irrational jealousy, foolishness and constant battles of selfishness and pride have all been difficult areas of our marriage that we have had to battle. The hardships we have encountered in marriage have been painful. We have often wrestled with doubt and insecurities about our relationship with each other and with God. Yet no matter what we faced, and no matter what we will face in the future, we continue to pray that God will give us an extraordinary marriage and that He will use our marriage for his extraordinary purposes. [Aaron] In 2011, Jennifer and I launched our online marriage ministries, husbandrevolution.com and unvieledwife.com. To share with husbands and wives what God was teaching us about marriage. When we began these ministries, we had no idea what they would become. Motivated by a perspective that our lives are a ministry for God to work through. We said yes to God when he invited us to share our story with the world. In a way we were already familiar with, blogging. [Jennifer] Through these two sites we share daily marriage prayers, encouragement, biblical teaching on faith and marriage, date night ideas and reviews of Christian books and movies. We share personal stories of what we have experienced in our own marriage and how God continues to transform us into the husband and wife he created us to be. Since the first day we created these ministries, our desire has been to encourage married couples to turn their hearts toward God and trust in Him with their marriage. With the few tools we had in our tool belt we got started and this adventure quickly grew into an unimaginable reach into the hearts and homes of couples all around the world. With the influence we were gaining in the lives of other married couples, we asked the Lord to use us to encourage them to be biblical men and women. We were confident that if we could inspire them and challenge them to be people who read God's Word and desire His will for their lives, that God would move in these marriages and use them for the marvelous work He desires His people to do. We imagined hundreds of thousands of strong, thriving marriages reflecting God's love story and impacting the lives of others as they faithfully live out all that God has called them to. We envisioned husbands and wives being unified in their relationship and in their parenting, full of joy and contentment. We could see communities being blessed by the lives and examples of these couples. We could see relationships being healed. Needs being met. Talents being used. Businesses and ministries being started. And the lost being saved. Because husbands and wives said yes to God. Working together to build his kingdom. [Aaron] Eager to see husbands and wives embrace what God has for them, we wondered how we could inspire them to start considering the purpose of their marriage and help guide them to set the foundation necessary to fulfill that purpose. We wanted to point them to the Word of God and prompt them to answer some challenging questions. We felt led to write two devotionals that would lead a husband and wife through God's Word and invite them to consider how they can actively pursue an extraordinary God-centered marriage. We co-authored and self-published Husband After God and Wife After God. 30-day devotionals that have been read by 1000's of men and women. Not long after publishing our devotionals, we began to receive messages from couples asking what they could read next to encourage them on their marriage journey. So we began to consider what resource we could provide next to inspire husbands and wives to consider chasing after God. This is the seed that would grow into the message of Marriage After God. We knew God wanted more couples to pray the same prayer we have been praying and to experience his extraordinary purpose for their lives. Yet, we believed it was also a message God wanted us to experience in our marriage for ourselves. He wanted us to mature in our relationship with each other and with Him. We wouldn't say we are done experiencing what it means to have a Marriage After God. In reality, this will be a message we will continue to live out and pursue until Christ returns or we are called home. However, God has given us an incredible opportunity to present this message to others through this book. To inspire husbands and wives who want to chase after Him. And to do His will together. And we are eager to see how God uses this book to do His work in all of our lives. [Jennifer] A Marriage After God is an extraordinary journey of making ourselves known to God, knowing God and being willing to let Him use our marriages for His purposes. And Marriage After God is one that can faithfully say what the people of Israel said in Exodus 19:8. "All that the Lord has spoken, we will do." Happily ever after is a nice thought and a good thing to hope for. But it should not be your end goal. There's an amazing purpose for your marriage. More than just making each other happy. We desire you to pursue kingdom purposes with your marriage. To be a testimony to others of God's love and amazing grace. This world we live in has been tainted by darkness, but you are called to be the light of the world. It is you and your marriage that should be the light people long to experience. But you cannot be a light for others if you are allowing your marriage to be overrun by darkness. Those who belong to God have been created for so much more. You have been created for so much more. And your spouse has been created for so much more. Our vision for this book is to get you and your spouse excited about using your marriage for God. We desire that you two experience the incredible intimacy of unity as you boldly chase after God's will and purpose for your marriage. [Aaron] This book is for the marriages who are ready to finally see what God brought them together for. Maybe you and your spouse have been having conversation about what is next. What you should be investing in, or how you can be used by God to effectively fulfill the purpose he created you for. The purpose he brought you together for. You have been in a great place in your marriage and with God, but there is a tugging on your heart to do something more. You picked up this book because you don't want to be stagnant. You want to experience this extraordinary. Our hope and prayer is that this book takes you on a journey of discovery, inspiration and affirmation as God invites you to work together as a team for His glory. [Jennifer] If you and your spouse are in a different place, a broken place where you are barely hanging on, our hope is that this book will be the very thing to convince you to turn your heart back toward God and have the courage to change your perspective of your spouse and your marriage. Maybe it'll be the very thing your marriage needs to push you closer to the only one who can help you put it back in order. [Aaron] So we welcome you. No matter what condition your marriage is currently in and we challenge you to take this adventure with us to commit your marriage to God. And see how he moves in your life, your spouses life, and the many other lives he will impact because you were willing to say yes to Him. Everything begins with a first step. Reading this book is your first step. We pray it won't be long before you and your spouse are running with your hearts aligned with God's toward the extraordinary good work God has already prepared for you to do. [Jennifer] You were created for this. Ephesians 2:10 confirms this declaring. "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." You and our spouse were made by God and your marriage relationship was designed by Him to do good works for His name sake. Works that he had in mind long before you were created. You can believe this truth and so be empowered to walk in the extraordinary purpose you have been uniquely created by God to do. [Aaron] So that was the introduction to Marriage After God. [Jennifer] Who's read to jump in? [Aaron] Yeah. [Aaron] Yeah, it's convicting reading our own books sometimes. [Jennifer] Yeah, we have tears in our eyes every time we have the chance to read it, which has been several times now. We get this stirring in our hearts and this question of what do we do next? What are we gonna do for Him? [Aaron] What we're gonna answer some questions that people from the community have given us about the book. And then we're gonna close with the prayer that was at the end of the introduction. It's actually in the book. There's a prayer that we put in there. The first question is, will there be questions in the book, journal or discussion questions? [Jennifer] Yeah, at the end of every chapter, there are a set of one to three questions that have to do with that chapters topic. [Aaron] There's another question that goes along with this. Is it a book or is it a devotional? A devotional is smaller chunks of content with questions to discuss. But we wanted to clarify that this is a 16 chapter, 50 plus 1000 word book with questions at the end. It can be used like a devotional, but it is definitely a book. It's a hard cover book with a jacket. It's definitely distinct from a devotional. Especially like our Husband and Wife After God devotionals. Which are like a hundred pages. This is significantly [Jennifer] Larger. [Aaron] Larger, yeah. [Jennifer] Okay, so the next question is, can the questions be done as a couple? [Aaron] Oh, absolutely. Our hope is that this book is done-- [Jennifer] Together. [Aaron] With your spouse. [Jennifer] Our recommendation is that you actually use the questions in the back as discussion questions going into a date night, or maybe you guys have time set aside to read the book together. Maybe you read that chapter and then you use the questions to stimulate that conversation. [Aaron] Yeah, maybe it's like a nightly routine. You guys read a chapter together. Discuss the questions together and that was the intention of them. But yes, there'll be questions at the end of each chapter. Yes, you can do them separately and then maybe talk about them together. But we totally always encourage couples to do them together. [Jennifer] Can small groups go through the book? [Aaron] We said this in the beginning. Our heart is that [Jennifer] You do. [Aaron] You do. Yeah, this would be so awesome if when we started hearing testimonies of couples saying, "hey we invited two of our married friends over and we're doing this every week now." 16 week Bible study would be amazing and just reading a chapter kind of like a book club. Read a chapter as a group and then come together and discuss the questions maybe. Some of the questions might be too intimate to do in a group, but hey. [Jennifer] You never know. [Aaron] Yeah, that would be amazing. I'm excited to hear about that. This is kind of along the same lines. Someone says would you recommend a husband and wife go through the book first and then do a group? [Jennifer] I would say yeah, just so that you can wrap your head around what the message of a Marriage After God is. And then jump into it. I feel like you would have a better experience overall facilitating a group like that. [Aaron] Yeah, but if you are wanting to do this right away. Let's say you have a bunch of friends or like hey let's just do this together and get-- [Jennifer] You absolutely could do that. [Aaron] Absolutely. Either or, but if you are the only one that got the book and your friends don't know about it yet, maybe go through it first. And then invite them. Yeah, absolutely if you wanted to do it together right away, that should probably be really fun because you'd be experiencing the book at the same time. [Jennifer] Cool, okay so the next question is. I can never say these two words together. [Aaron] Will there [Jennifer] Will there be video lessons with this book? [Aaron] Probably eventually. Definitely not when the book launches. Unless we like hustle. But yes, there's gonna be eventually a workbook. There'll eventually be videos to go along with it. [Jennifer] That was one of the questions too. Is there a study guide to go along with it? [Aaron] Yeah, those will come later. My wife and I do all those together. And it's pretty much just us, so we will produce stuff eventually. This was a really cool question I got. Someone said we'd love to know if there's gonna be other groups doing it together? And they said it in a way like it'd be scary doing it on our own, like being the only group doing it. And they said it'd be awesome if we knew that hundreds of other groups were doing it at the same time. Or doing it so you'd be like, "oh, we're not the only ones doing this together." [Jennifer] It's a global community, kind of doing the same thing. [Aaron] I don't know how we're gonna do this, but I think we, Jennifer, should think about how we can have some sort of sign-up where people can say, "hey, we're doing this just so that other people know that it's being done." [Jennifer] I love that and I know this. With so many people on social media, if you take a picture of your group and-- [Aaron] That's exactly what it should be, yeah. [Jennifer] Use the hashtag Marriage After God. When that posts and we see it, we'll repost that and then people will start to see it happening. [Aaron] That's a great way of doing it. If you're meeting with a group, every single time you meet, take a picture. And post it and we'll post about it. And what that'll do is, that'll encourage other people like, "hey, we got the book, let's do a group." That's a great idea. [Jennifer] Okay, you mentioned this already, but can engaged couples get the book and read it? [Aaron] I say yeah. I don't feel like that there's any content in it that's inappropriate for an engaged couple. [Jennifer] The only thing I will say is depending on the questions in the back of the book, if there's intimate ones or one's that maybe you can't relate to because you're not married yet, save them to discuss till after you're married. [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] Because if they're engaged, they usually have a date. [Aaron] What might also be cool, is if the couple wanna go through the book separately and then after they get married discuss the questions on how they thought they might answer or-- [Jennifer] Oh that's cool. [Aaron] Some sort of fun, like go through the book during the engaged season. [Jennifer] Maybe use them as journal questions. [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] Write about it. [Aaron] Talk about how I might answer that after I'm married, or after I'm a wife, after I'm a husband. And then come together and go through it together again and see how your answers match up maybe. That'd be a really fun exercise. Here's a question that someone asked. Will there be a bundle discount for churches, for groups? [Jennifer] First of all, what is a bundle discount? [Aaron] They buy a bunch of books, 20 books, 25 books, and they get a discount as a group discount. Yes, I don't know what that looks like and it's gonna definitely happen after the book launches and I don't know when, but we will definitely let people know how that'll work so churches can definitely get bundle discounts. [Jennifer] Okay, the next question is. Does it have our personal testimony as a marriage in it? [Aaron] That's what's cool about this book is much of the book is principles and ideas and concepts that the Lord taught us through very specific times in our life. [Jennifer] Yep. [Aaron] Difficulties, successes. [Jennifer] Conversations. [Aaron] Conversations, relationships we've had. You did the chronological story thing in the Unveiled Wife. [Jennifer] Yeah, which there's way more detail about our marriage story in there. [Aaron] But from your perspective. [Jennifer] And just from my perspective. [Aaron] Where this is the last 12 years of our marriage and it's lots of stories, lots of relational things. [Jennifer] And it's both of us. [Aaron] And it's both of us. [Jennifer] A lot of stories that I couldn't have shared in the Unveiled Wife because they happen after the fact. [Aaron] Exactly. Yes it does, but they're used as illustrations for the ideas that we're trying to convey, so yes and yes. What can a single person expect to get out of this book? This is kind of along the lines as the engaged thing. [Jennifer] I think that a single person reading this book will get really fired up for the desire of marriage. Which they probably already have. But they'll be really excited to jump into marriage with that heart of prayer to have an extraordinary marriage to use their marriage for God to build his kingdom. I think their perspective of marriage will be have a Godly and biblical foundation. [Aaron] Yeah, singles are definitely not the intended audience for this book, but if someone read it, that's thinking, "man, I wanna prepare for marriage, I wanna be preparing my heart and my mind." It'll definitely, introspectively point them to say, "wow, am I actually thinking this way?" What am I thinking marriage is gonna do for me versus what is our marriage gonna do for God? I think it'd be really powerful for someone thinking about marriage, preparing for marriage to go through it, although it's not the intended audience. That was a handful of the questions that we got. I love the group questions that people are excited to do them in groups and I can't wait to start seeing photos posted. I think that was a great suggestion. [Jennifer] I know. If someone wants to be a movement starter, a Marriage After God movement starter, remind them what they can do. [Aaron] Pray, just pray for the hearts that God's calling that who's gonna get this book. Pray for us. [Jennifer] Pray for marriages, because they're under attack just by the enemy. [Aaron] Pray that God's will just be done in this world through us. Get a copy of our book. [Jennifer] Go order right now, please. [Aaron] Amazon.com, search for Marriage After God. You'll find that it's a big read book. [Jennifer] With pretty sparkles of gold. [Aaron] Then start praying and asking what couples in your life God might want you to invite to do a home group at your house with this book. I hope that answered some questions for you guys. I hope you guys are excited like we are for the book Marriage After God. It comes out June 4th. And before we close today. Oh you know what we never told anyone? [Jennifer] What the series-- [Aaron] What the series is gonna be like [Jennifer] Okay, brace yourselves. [Aaron] Okay, the next 16 episodes of the Marriage After God podcast are all gonna be geared around topics from the Marriage After God book. [Jennifer] But how cool is this guys? We have awesome people coming on. We're gonna interview them about being and having a marriage after God. [Aaron] Yeah. We haven't done any interviews on this podcast. It's not every, actually no every-- [Jennifer] It's every episode. [Aaron] Is gonna be an interview. That's so cool. The next 16 episodes are gonna be interviews with friends of ours. People that we've done ministry with in the past. All sorts of cool people. You should be excited about that. We are excited about it. Before we close, I'm gonna read the prayer from the end of the introduction of our book. Would you join us in prayer? Dear Lord, we pray for the husbands and wives reading this book. May your Holy Spirit use this book to inspire their hearts to boldly chase after you and to say yes to the extraordinary invitation you have prepared for them. We pray this couple will grow in their understanding of the power and purpose of their marriage. Reveal to them the specific plans you have for them. We pray you would use this marriage to do incredible work to build your kingdom. In this dark world may you protect this couple from the attacks of the enemy. May you cleanse them from sin and continue to shape them into the husband and wife you created them to be. May they realize they bear your image and that they are a light in this world and a beacon of hope to the lost and lonely. We ask you to guide this couple and unite them as a team. To carry out the unique purposes you have for them. In Jesus name, Amen. [Jennifer] Amen. [Aaron] Thank you for joining us on the first episode kicking off our Marriage After God series on the Marriage After God podcast. [Jennifer] So much Marriage After God. [Aaron] Yeah, lots of Marriage After God. We hope you're being inspired. We hope you're getting excited. God's got huge plans for you. We know it. He's got plans for us. It's not like he's only got plans for us, that's why we wrote this book. He's got plans for all of us. We're part of his body and we just pray that you would know that. That you would know that he wants to show you why he created you and why he brought you and your spouse together. We love you. We thank you for joining us and I pray that you look forward to the next 16 episodes and we'll see you next week. [Aaron] Did you enjoy today's show? Find many more encouraging stories and resources @marriageafterGod.com. And let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

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