Where is Your Medicine?

Proverbs 28:26,“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool but he who walks wisely will be delivered.”

Can you remember the last time your heart got you in trouble? I can! In fact, just last night my husband and I got into an argument. The argument ended with him telling me to leave him alone and me letting him fall asleep on the couch and literally leaving him alone there.

I was alone in bed half the night.

That may not seem like a big deal to you, but we NEVER do that. We always go to bed together. The next morning, we both felt terrible.  It seems that when I follow the desires of my heart in the moment, I am hurting myself and those around me.

It’s incredible, really, what we can fool ourselves into thinking when we follow the foolish desires of our hearts. Especially when we are fearful of the discomfort that comes from looking in the mirror.

I wanted so badly to blame someone else for my sins. I felt unloved, unwanted, ashamed and guilty. But, surely, none of that could be my fault, because let’s be honest here, no one truly wants to take blame.

We are all victims, right?

That is what I thought until a couple of years ago. I blamed my self-disgust completely on my husband’s struggle with pornography. Hear me, his sin DID do a number on us. On our marriage, him, me and numerous other areas. But, THAT sin did not CAUSE my sin.

Ouch.

His sin was from HIS heart and my sin, well, that was from MY heart. My sins were in place before I even met my husband. We were both following our foolish hearts.

My feelings of insecurity stem from not connecting with God fully in my heart. My feelings of guilt stem from not allowing myself to be forgiven fully in my heart. My feelings of shame stem from not letting God shine his light in some areas of my heart. My feelings of being unloved stem from not fully realizing the price God ALREADY paid.

MY SIN. Not my husband’s. Not anybody else’s. Mine.

I know that all of you are struggling in life somewhere right now. I am here to encourage you, that you are not alone in those struggles. EVERYONE struggles. Look around. Our entire culture brings about struggle.

The standards of the world put insane expectations on us. I mean, women especially. (Not that men don’t have expectations!) We are expected to look like Barbie, cook and clean like Susie homemaker, perform like porn stars, be successful in our careers and be Pinterest-worthy mothers! That is ludicrous. No one can measure up to all of that AND not sin somewhere along the way.

The standards that the world puts on us begin to define who we are if we let them. Trust me, don’t let this world define you.

Colossians 3:1-2 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set you minds on things above, not earthly things.”

When you set your mind on earthly things, your thought life never ceases to tell you how you have horribly failed in this life!

Guess what? A sinful thought life leads to a sinful way of life.

Your thought life is the first step. The initial sin.

When you continually allow yourself to think sinful thoughts, eventually you are going to act on them. Or medicate them.

I know so many people who go through life medicating all the sadness, guilt, shame, inadequacy that they allow to brew in their thought life.

What thoughts are you allowing to hang around?

Are you medicating? with Alcohol? Sex? Shopping? Gossip? Anger? Resentment? Jealousy? Food?

BUT LISTEN: There is GREAT news! Your sin is not the end of your story. Jesus can be your medicine.

The truth is, God didn’t create you to be so stuck in your mud that you can’t move. You are not destined to sin! Romans 6:14 says “…sin shall not have dominion over you.”

God’s standards, unlike the world’s standards will set you free! God created you to live life to absolute fullest that is possible.

But here’s the thing, you simply cannot live in darkness and stand up in your full potential from God.

I was reading an article the other day called 7 Truths to Help You Triumph Over Sin by Michael L. Jacobson and he brought about this simple but life altering question about sin. Do you believe that sin is inevitable or do you believe that sin conquerable?

God says that, with him, we are more than conquerors. MORE than CONQUERORS. We have the choice.

Do you want to continue down the path of self-destruction or do you want to begin to walk wisely and be delivered?

Are you ready to look in the mirror and face YOUR sins? That is the first step. You no longer need to play a victim. Listen, God already gave us what we need to conquer sin. We have his AUTHORITY. He keeps us upright. We just need to step in the ring.

2 Timothy 1:7 “For the spirit of God does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

Pray. Step up.

I encourage you to this week to sit down and dig deep into your thought life. Where are you sinning? WRITE down those sins. All of them. Pray and ask God to forgive every single one of them. Let me be clear here: in asking for forgiveness of these sins, you are not creating your salvation. Jesus already did that. He died on the cross for our sins. Asking for forgiveness of these sins allows you to find closure there. It allows you to find freedom there.

Lastly, start to recognize the triggers that cause you to stumble in your thought life. Recognizing these triggers allows you to take back your thoughts. Once you can recognize and capture the sinful thoughts (guilt, shame, jealousy, etc.) replace them with Biblical truths.

Stop the lies and build the truths.

1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

It takes time. There is no overnight fix. Work at it. Work at it because you are worth it. Work at it because you do not have to play a victim. Work at it because you are worthy. Not only in my eyes, but in our Creator’s.

He loves you. He cares about how you are living. He wants you to listen to his word, not YOUR heart.

Let him help you break free from these chains.

Let him be your medicine.

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Do You Feel Worthy this Season?

This year, there has been this reoccurring theme of worth. Worth seems to be linked to everything we do. Or don’t do.

According to the dictionary worth means: “sufficiently good, important, or interesting to justify a specified action; deserving to be treated or regarded in the way specified.”

Do you ever feel unworthy? Have you thought that you weren’t deserving?

It isn’t just you. It’s me. It’s all of us. We constantly feel unworthy. In fact, as I write this, I am second guessing every word. Ugh.

Unworthiness is a crazy stronghold. It is time that we, as people, break free from those chains. It is time to remember to whom we belong.

“Whenever you feel unloved, unimportant or insecure, remember to whom you belong.” Ephesians 2:19-22

I figured, what better season to talk about our worth than right now. Christmas is a wonderful time to remember who we are in Christ because we are celebrating him!

Jesus loves us. He wants us to feel worthy.

Feeling worthy is vital. Feeling worthy allows us to live life better. When we feel that we are deserving, we open up to love and happiness. Guess what happens when we feel loved? We love other people better!

Feeling worthy is a necessity, especially if you love Jesus. Listen, friends, he did not put us here to feel bad about ourselves. Jesus doesn’t look at us that way. He loves us exactly where we are. In the thick of our craziness, his love is there.

So, why do we feel like we aren’t deserving?

The enemy. Plain and simple. All those self doubts, negative thoughts, feelings of unworthiness, those aren’t from Jesus.

DO NOT listen to those negative words.

Would Jesus love us so much that he died for us so we could spend eternity with him to only then tell us how horrible we are? NO!!!!

Stop listening to those negative words.

The only reason those thoughts creep in is so that enemy can handicap us.

I heard this great quote at a convention I recently attended: “You can only love other people once you love yourself.” Wow. Guys, that says it all.

What is our command from Jesus, friends? To LOVE God and to LOVE one another. How can we do that if we don’t feel worthy enough to be loved?

Trust me here guys, we are worthy. Jesus says so.

Do me a favor, listen to God instead. He loves us. He wants us. We are important to him.

This Christmas season, show other people how much he loves us. Remember to whom you belong and put on your crowns.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

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What Now?

Hey Guys,

This election has been pretty crazy. Any way you look at it someone loses.

Let me first say, which ever way the outcome was going to be, I felt the need to write something addressing it. Because, well, let’s face it, both of our primary choices left me wanting to puke.

Here we are. The outcome is Trump. Some are wildly upset, some enthusiastically overjoyed, and some just don’t know what to think.

The most common question I have been hearing is “What now?”.

Well, if you’re a Christ follower, I think it is pretty clear:

Stay the course.

People are watching like they have never watched before because for some reason Trump has been correlated to Christianity. Which means that what he does affects how people view Christianity.

Now, if you truly walk with Jesus, you know as much as I do that Trump is not the face of Christianity. Not my Christianity anyway. Jesus is.

So, listen, continue to trust God, continue to love, continue to be respectful, continue to accept people with open arms because that is our duty. Jesus loves. We need to love.

It is NOT our place to demean or judge other people, especially if they are not Christ followers. It is our place to continue to allow Jesus to mold OUR hearts. They shall know us by our love, right?

So what now?

Trust God. Go out and love. Show people who Jesus really is.

Don’t become Pharisees.

And you know what? God has the rest.

Praying for our President and our country.

Melissa

 

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A Day In The Life

Hey guys!

I have received some questions about how in the world we home school. Well, frankly, God. If not for God, I would not be able to do it!

I thought instead of talking about it all day long, I would just show you some pictures of some of our day today! Enjoy 🙂

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We add a number each day to our 100 day caterpillar!
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We are learning about the different meanings behind Jesus’ name!
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Each child adds their own artistic version!
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Our sensory bin is full of rice this week. It is a great way to learn about measurement!
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We LOVE abcmouse.com in this house!
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The table the we mainly use for formal instruction.
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Days of the week!
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We have a timeline for our history curriculum. Jesus is the marker between B.C. and A.D., Leif Ericsson is in a Viking ship and Christopher Columbus is sporting some awesome fashion!
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The little man learns spacial reasoning, colors, and numbers by playing with blocks!

Shout out to Abcmouse.com! They are a great supplemental online curriculum for kids that attend public school, private school or home school! All three of my kids have enjoyed “playing” on abcmouse.com. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it!

Hope you all have a great day!

Melissa

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Laundry and Dishes

Hubby and I had the week off from our kids last week. Before they left , I thought that I would be doing all sorts of things from household honey-do lists to shopping for fun. Then the real kid vacation began and I honestly didn’t do much of anything. It was pretty anticlimactic. And, honestly, eye-opening.

Let’s back up a bit. I have been struggling hard with who I am at this point in my life. I keep asking myself what on earth do I have to offer other people; how can I help. I thought maybe going back to school to finish my masters would be the best thing to do, but it just doesn’t work at the moment for numerous reasons. I have been at a loss. Am I really here to do laundry and make dinner? That just seems too quintessential.

With all that on my mind, I thought for sure that I would have a great time catching up on all sorts of things and maybe have some epiphany of who I am supposed to be or what I am supposed to do with this life while the kids were gone. You know, come to see the bigger picture of what God was wanting in my life. (Which is a whole different post to discuss at a later time, lol!)

Guess what? I did have an epiphany. I realized that, my most important work right now is my family. I am meant to lead those children to become disciples. That is a hard realization. That is an answer which requires me to die to myself daily; to die to my own glory for the sake of God’s glory in them. Ouch.

After being punched in the face with that reality, I felt ashamed of not thinking that I was doing any work worthwhile. I felt guilty for thinking of only me and my life. And then I was brought to my knees with the weight of the task at hand. Hubby and I are our kids examples and leaders to Christ. That is INSANE! That takes my breath away.

So, here we are on the first day of the school year (we home school, yes, we are that family) and I feel more fulfilled than I have felt in a very long time. It has astonished me that serving other people, like my husband and children, actually makes me feel better. All I have to do is give it up to God. Every. Day. Give my life up to God. I wish I would have learned that sooner.

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Is God Interested in my Comfort?

What is your version of comfort? I know that when I grab a big fluffy blanket, some hot tea and curl up on the couch, I am comfortable. I will literally ask one of my kids to get something for me (that I could probably get if I reached just a little tiny bit) so that I don’t have to move my body at all. Super lazy! Don’t get me wrong, sometimes that is totally needed, especially after a very long, hard day with school and the kids. I get it! But, sometimes it is the sum of being a lazy slug.

In those times, I am reminded of how I am not doing my body or brain any favors by being a couch potato. In those times, I think about God’s purpose for my life. Is it to be comfortable? Did he create me, give me this life with these people so that I can lay back and slide through life comfortably without having to lift a finger? I don’t think that is his plan.

I have never met an athlete that doesn’t push their body to the limit in order to get better. Or a successful writer that hasn’t had to stretch their minds in order to improve their writing. There is not one person that has truly succeeded in their field without stepping outside their comfort zone in one aspect or another. It is plain and simple that people do not grow, get better, reach more people without being uncomfortable first. Growth doesn’t happen on the couch.

As I read through the Bible, over and over again I see people stepping out of their comfort zones in order to obey God. Moses went from a super comfortable living situation in a palace to living in the desert for 40 years. Instead of marrying someone he knew and loved, Hosea married a prostitute that cheated on him numerous times. Jonah, although hesitating the entire time, traveled to a place he definitely didn’t want to go in order to obey God. None of things seem comfortable to me, yet all of them were required by God. So, is God concerned with my level of comfort? Or is it my level of obedience?

I think, coming from an American viewpoint, we have gotten a little off track when it comes to following Jesus. I am reading a book by Jennie Allen (she is just an amazing woman of God and you can buy her book if you click on the title of it!!) called Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul. In this book she talked about Jesus being radical; that following and obeying Jesus is radical. She discusses that somewhere along the lines, we have come to believe that once we give our lives to Christ, life should be easy; in that we pray to God to show us what to do and then think that the easiest possible answer that pops up must be the one from God. This my friends, is not true. Our lives are not going to be easy! Read the Bible if you want proof, lol!

Now, before I get people yelling about how it says that God wants to prosper us and give us hope, let me tell you, yes! Absolutely God wants the best for you. But, I think that what we think is the best for us (or the most comfortable) is often times not what God thinks is best for us or for his kingdom. Often times, in order to receive the best version of our life from God, we have to obey; even the uncomfortable requests.

Jesus also said that we will have trouble in this world. Not if we will, but that we will. But listen, that is ok! Trouble is everywhere. Sin is everywhere, we are not exempt from that. However, God already won. We don’t have to worry about winning that war. That is the best news, isn’t it? Even in our personal struggles or the troubles of the world, God is with us and he has won. All we have to do is lean into him. Even in death, we win!

So, when it comes to my personal comfort, I don’t know that God is too concerned about it. God did tell us to rest; please remember to rest, it is vital to life, but our level of comfort is another story all together. Growth does not come from comfort. If you want to dig deeper, stretch your mind, grow in your walk with God, become better than you were yesterday, get out of your comfort zone and into the world. Spread the love of Jesus the way he did.

 

***This blog post has Amazon Affiliate links in it. If you choose to click on the link and buy on Amazon, I will receive a percentage at no extra cost to you! Thanks!***

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Ode to Laundry

Hello there load of laundry that I have washed three times in a row,

I keep forgetting about you, I’m sorry. I don’t mean to make you feel unwanted or forgotten. I swear that I want to dry and fold you. Here’s the deal, there is just too much to do every day and unfortunately you are my least favorite chore.

My kids must think that you get washed and folded by some glamorous glittering flying laundry fairies because I obviously can only have time for them. It seems that if I pay attention to anything or anyone else, meltdowns are eminent and the world is ending. They wake up yelling for milk, then breakfast. Before I know it it’s lunch time, then, poof, dinner! As if making all the meals wasn’t enough, we need to do school work (homeschooling is a tad bit time consuming), clean house, play, brush teeth, wipe butts, break up ridiculous fights, attend to the hubby and find time to write.

Amidst all the chaos, there you are load of laundry, just waiting to get some attention. I promise that my intentions are good, I mean to get you clean and put back in your place, but somehow still I am always searching for clean underwear. I really do enjoy clean underwear.

Then, there’s the hubby. He loves you too. Well, at least the clean version of you that has already been put in his drawer. He once tried to attend to you, but alas, you gave him such trouble that he hasn’t dared to venture in the laundry room ever again.

I know, I know, his side of the story is not very likely. You must have told him that you would shrink down from a woman’s size large to a tiny toddler size. Surely, you told him not to put you in the dryer at all. I bet you even kicked and screamed as he pulled you from the washer to the dryer. Yet, here we are. And there he is not.

Again, I apologize, lonely load of laundry that has to be stripped of all your color by now and probably smells a bit musty. But, I am your sole provider and the pressure is just too much. Sometimes it is just easier to pour in a little more detergent and run the wash cycle one more time. So, please forgive me as I ensure that while you may not be dried and put away the first time around, you will be super clean!

Signed,

Not the laundry fairy

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3 Ways Not to Become a Mommy Monster

I have recently discovered something about myself. I reach a certain point in the day and totally lose all my cool when anything goes wrong. I HATE that about myself and want to change it. So, I am working towards that goal. Here are three ways that seem to help me not be a mommy monster:

  1. Set a Schedule

There needs to be a schedule. I am learning this the hard way. Our family is the type of family that mostly flys by the seam of our pants. We like to be spontaneous and that is ok for some things, but not all things every day.

I have learned that when I have a schedule laid out for the day, everything goes that much more smoothly. I am at the point now where I have made a daily schedule. When we stick to the schedule, everyone knows what is expected and can anticipate the days activities, leaving less room for melt downs and crazy mommy episodes.

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2. Follow Through

Saying what you mean and meaning what you say has taken on a whole new interpretation now that we have kids. They remember EVERYTHING! When we tell them that we are going to do something, we better mean it. When they do not listen and we say we are going to discipline them, we better mean it.

There have been numerous times when I say that I am going to discipline them in this way or that if they do not listen and then don’t follow through. My behavior has led to them not believing that I will follow through with the discipline. When they don’t believe that there is going to be a consequence to their action, guess what, the action doesn’t stop.

On the other end, there have been a handful of times when I have said that we are going to do this or buy that and then have not been able to follow through. My behavior in that area also causes problems because the children start to not believe what I say. Who is going to listen to someone they don’t believe?

In both cases, I need to always follow through with what I say, whether it be discipline or something fun. I am learning to only say what I mean and always mean what I say. When I am conscious of that, the inner monster doesn’t pop its ugly head as often.

3. Take Mommy Time

I cannot even begin to tell you the importance of taking time for yourself. Taking time to do something that you enjoy, eat food that fuels you, exercise, read, dance, whatever it is that you love, will only benefit every aspect of your life.

When I learned that me time wasn’t selfish and stopped having guilt about it, I was able to fill my cup up. What can you do with a full cup? You can pour it out! Taking time for myself allows me to better pour into my husband and children.

You know those times when you feel like there is not one more thing that you can handle and want to explode? Well, when you have taken time for yourself, there is a way better chance that there won’t be an explosion because you’re not drained. So, fill your cup up!

I am hoping that consistently doing these three things will help me be a better mommy, wife and friend.

How do you avoid Mommy Monster Moments?

 

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The Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

I received the BEST compliment the other day. A friend of mine is a baker, like for a living. Anyway, she came over and tried one of my gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and to my surprise told me that they were great! Now, I know that some of you are thinking that she only said that to shield my feelings because you know that my cooking skills are, well, not the best. BUT I assure you that she actually meant it! Yay! I have my mother-in-law to thank (and maybe Nestle Tollhouse a bit, lol!) for showing me how to bake some pretty tasty cookies. The other secret is amazing gluten-free flour! I use Namaste. I buy mine at Costco, but you can also purchase it here: Namaste Gluten Free Perfect Flour Blend.

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This recipe is basically the Nestle recipe with some alterations to make sure that it’s gluten-free!

Ingredients:

2 Cups Gluten Free Flour (Namaste)

1 tsp Baking soda

1 tsp Vanilla

3/4 Cup Coconut sugar (Again from Costco)

3/4 Cup Brown Sugar

2 Eggs

2 Sticks of Butter (non-salted)

1 tsp salt

2 Cups of Chocolate Chips

Directions:

Heat the oven to 375 F. Put the unwrapped butter in an oven safe dish and place in the oven while it is preheating. Allow the butter to melt partially.

Combine the Gluten free Flour, Salt, and Baking Soda in a bowl and mix together. Place aside.

Combine Coconut sugar, Brown sugar, Eggs, Vanilla and partially melted Butter in a bowl and mix. The consistency should be wet yet fluffy.

Start mixing the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. I do this in about three equal portions allowing the dry ingredients to completely mix into the wet before adding more.

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After the wet and dry ingredients are completely mixed together, add the chocolate chips and fold them in. You can use your hands, I use my kitchen aid.

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Once the dough is done, (after taking a bite, I’m sure) place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. It will be tempting to skip this part, but DON’T!!! The gluten-free flour needs to be chilled a little and stiffened to bake properly.

After the 30 minutes is up, simply scoop Tablespoon size balls onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

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Let cool and enjoy!

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What is your favorite cookie recipe?

 

*This post contains an Amazon Affiliate link for the flour used. If you click on the link within 24 hours and buy some stuff, I will receive a percentage at no extra cost to you!*

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8 Tips from 8 Years of Marriage

Well, hubby and I will be married for nine years this December. I know that eight full years of marriage may not seem like a huge deal to some, but we have learned a whole lot in that time and I think that there is some wisdom to be shared! Without further ado, here are 8 tips from our home to yours:

  1. COMMUNICATE

This may seem like it should be common knowledge, but it took us quite while to be able to fully communicate with one another in a way that we both truly heard and understood. Have you ever had that moment when you said something and your spouse got instantly angry and you’re not sure why? Guess what, your spouse heard one thing while you meant another. Happens all the time! Here’s a tip: learn how your spouse hears things and then speak in that way.

Ask how your spouse’s day was every single day and actually listen. I ask hubby this question every day once he gets home. It lets me know where he is coming from (if he had a bad day and therefore in a bad mood, etc,) and also lets him know that I care enough about him to want to know the details of his life.

Know when to shut up! There are moments when to bring something up and there are moments that are better to wait. For example, don’t bring up something that needs to be done around the house immediately after your spouse gets home. He or she will feel bombarded and get irritated. Know the difference!

2. Build Each Other Up

I know that I don’t feel great after hubby says something that puts me down, even if it is in jest. He feels awful if I do the same. Bottom line here: NEVER put each other down, not alone, not in front other people and definitely not behind your spouses back. Your marriage should be a safe haven, not a war zone. Instead, speak life into your spouse. Tell them how much they mean to you, how much you appreciate them, and stand behind them in their endeavors.

3. Love Language 

There are different ways that every person feels love and gives love. There is a great book that talks all about the five different love languages. At the end, there is a quiz that you and your spouse can take to figure out which love languages are yours! You can buy that here: The 5 Love Languages:The Secret to Love that Lasts. Find out your spouses love language and become fluent in it. Trust me, if your spouse’s love tank is full, yours will be too!

4. SEX

Sex is huge in marriage. Sex is wonderful in marriage. Sex is better without pornography, I wrote a bit about that; you can read that here: 3 Ways that Porn Wrecked my Marriage. Always treat one another with respect and love in this area. Enough said.

5. Family Order

I always thought people that believed there was a particular order in which to prioritize your relationships were a little nutty. Low and behold, it is completely true! I cannot tell you how many times I have seen marriages fall apart because one spouse put their children above the other spouse. DON’T DO THAT. Here is the order that works wonders: God first, marriage second and children third. I talked about this in a blog post earlier, you can check it out here: Growth.

6. SLEEP

Yet another one that seems like common sense, lol! Every single time that hubby and I wait until later to go to sleep , we end up arguing. Sleep is such a detrimental thing in any relationship. I get irritable, emotional and, basically, become she-monster when I don’t get enough sleep. For the love, create a good sleep habit!

7. There is no “I” in MONEY

Finances are one of the biggest causes of arguments in marriages. Look it up. Both people need to be on board with where the money comes from, how the money is spent and how the money is saved. Never hide any financial decision. There is no such thing as ‘his money’ and ‘her money’, just skip that mentality. Marriage means unity in all things including money. If there is one bread winner (like in our marriage) the other person should NEVER feel like the money is not theirs as well. Get on the same page when it comes to finances.

8. Your Spouse should be your Best Friend

Hubby and I are best friends. He is the person that I can talk to about everything and anything and vice versa. We are able to share, laugh, have fun, and just hang out. We both have other friends (which is needed!), but not one compares to our marital best friend relationship and it shouldn’t! Be best friends with your spouse, it’s worth it!

 

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