Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Women Living Well book study: Chapters 7-9 discussion + new study guide

This post is the part of the WLW book study series- you can find all the details and the previous posts in the study here!

So how was your week doing the marriage challenge? Did you have fun? Was it harder or easier than you expected? I can't wait to hear!!

I have to tell you- it's so much fun doing this study with you all!! I've enjoyed hearing how things are changing in your homes! What a testimony of God at work! Yay!! :D

Let's go straight into it, shall we? Then we can discuss it in the comments below! :D

Chapter 7: Marriage in the Age of Media

Technology has changed the environment of a home in so many ways! It's so strange to realize that 25 years ago, our lives were much different than they are now! The internet and instant connection brings us so many good things, yet it can affect our lives so negatively too.

How much time do we spend staring at a screen rather than engaging with each other? I know this was big for me, as my husband and I both spend lots of time on the computer. We hardly ever watch TV shows or movies, and much of our "free time" after the kids go to bed is spent together with each of us in front of our computers.

I thought it was interesting that Courtney deleted her male friends from her Facebook page {p. 72}.  I'd never considered doing that before, but turning the situation around made all the difference in my mind: I wouldn't really appreciate my husband having female friends I don't know on his Facebook page. Isn't it weird how putting yourself in their shoes changes it so much? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you... the Bible really does answer so many questions! :)

I think it's probably different for every couple, but setting your own limits for these kinds of online interactions sounds like such a wise thing to do. Your marriage is always worth protecting, and avoiding possible temptations is so important for both sides!

And the same is true for movies and TV, isn't it? What we are watching really does change the way we view our husbands. For example, do we start to mock our own husbands because of the funny fictional characters we see on TV mocking their husbands? {ouch, right?! It's not really very funny in real life.}

As for taking care of our marriages- I love how she gives practical steps to "water" your marriage on page 75. My favorite one was smiling at your husband! It's free, fun for you, and brings your husband joy. It is sad that I have to remind myself to do this, but I get so focused on doing whatever I'm doing that I forget to smile at all, even when I am really happy. I need to smile more! :D

I think in our marriage, spending most of our time together has been huge for us. We really and truly love to be together all the time. Rob is my best friend, and the person I want to spend my free time with every single day. I know I'm probably kind of strange here, but it's hard for me to go places without him. I miss my husband when we're apart.

I thought it was so helpful to have today's situations addressed through a godly woman's view! It seems that guarding our marriages from negative influences while pouring in the good things like quality time and giving our spouse priority can strengthen our marriages. What do you think?

Chapter 8-Banishing Bitterness to Find Happily Ever After

Oh, the cranky, critical wife. I've been her so many times I can't even count.

I've noticed that my cranky criticalness is almost always triggered by three things:

1. I'm tired. Though it's occasionally related to external sources {newborns and deadlines}, most of the time I'm tired because I haven't made sleep a priority, and I stayed up too late because I wanted to. It's really completely unfair to be a cranky wife {and mom} because I chose to surf the internet instead of sleep.

2. I'm hungry. {also known as Hangry...} Again, this is almost always in my control- there's no reason I should let myself get so hungry that I turn into a beast to my family. But if I don't eat enough, that's what happens.

3. I'm not feeling well. {pregnancy, PMS, colds, etc.} Sometimes I really don't feel very physically well, but that's not a good reason to criticize the person who vowed to stay with you in sickness and in health.

Those three aren't what cause me to be ugly to my husband- I do that all on my own. ;) It's definitely a heart issue {p. 82}. But they are situations that make it harder for me to control my tongue, and I do much better when I am aware of them. Does that makes sense? I mess up here all the time, and I'm kind of amazed my husband still loves me anyway. {thank you, Jesus!}

Mostly, though, I find my critical crankiness comes from not getting my way. Also known as ugly pride. Eww. It sounds awful because it is awful. Unleashing critical words to my husband when he doesn't agree with me is just sinful.

Courtney is spot on here- many of our disagreements are because of selfish expectations, and not getting what we want! {p. 84} I loved this quote on page 84:

Disagreements are inevitable in marriage. The key to overcoming the inevitable and maintaining emotional, spiritual, and physical intimacy is to be mature enough to recognize the areas where we were at fault and apologize. 

I think being able to apologize is one of the hardest, yet one of the most healing, wonderful things we can do in our marriage. I really feel like the Holy Spirit has been working on me in this department. I remember when we first started out together, I could not bring myself to apologize at all. It was never more my fault than his. Slowly God has worked on me in this area, though, and He has shown me my faults in our disagreements too. I still have such a long way to go but I'm so thankful that he is showing when I'm wrong.

In the same way, any forgiveness has to be inspired by the Holy Spirit- only through Him can we forgive our husbands like we've been forgiven by God. If you are struggling with forgiving, like Courtney says, "go to the foot of the cross and lay down all that pain and all that sorrow and exchange it for the grace and mercy that God gives. Give your husband forgiveness, the same forgiveness you experienced at the cross." {p. 89}

I thought the section on husband's leading was fantastic. Remember: even if you don't think your husband is leading your home, "the reality is that your husband is always leading." {p. 86} Realizing that our own husband's walk might look different from ours is so helpful in respecting how he leads us! {p. 87}. Even more comforting is the realization that God gave us these men to lead us in the way He designed them to! We are not their spiritual leader- God is! :) And your leader was sovereignly chosen by the Lord God Almighty, and you've committed before Him to love and submit to your husband. {No matter if he isn't leading the way you want him to. :)}

I so need to write this quote from Chapter 8 on my hand with a sharpie as a reminder for when I am feeling irritable:

And I thought this quote from Ruth Bell Graham summed up the chapter perfectly:

"A good marriage is the union of two forgivers." {p. 89}

We aren't perfect, and neither are our husbands, right? We are ALL sinners. We will argue, we will seek after our own desires, but through Jesus we can actually die to ourselves and put others {namely, our husbands!} first. :)

Chapter 9- "The Completing Him" Marriage Challenge, Week 1

Oh, this was fun! I ended up combining a couple of the days, but I think the biggest thing that this challenge did for me was that it made me think of my husband more.

Not just about him, but it made me think of how I could help him more- of how I could pray for him, or put his likes first- like getting a drink refill, or wearing his favorite jeans, or smiling at him more. And the list of 10 things I loved about him turned into 20. And you know what he said after he read it? "That was the sweetest email you've ever sent me." And then he saved it in Evernote to read again later. :)

Why haven't I done that before? I need to do this more often! It was so simple, but I realized I don't do it enough! You really can't go wrong loving on your husband more! :)

And the priorities list was interesting- I had so many things, and he categorized my list by groups. At the bottom of my list? Any type of venture that made money. It was my least important priority of all, he said. That surprised me the most. Taking care of the little people, homeschooling, and caring for the house were way more important to him than taking on extra jobs I could think of.

So, now it's your turn! {yay!} How did your marriage challenge go this week? 

And I'd love to hear some of your answers from this week's homework! What were three ways you found to "water" your marriage on a regular basis?

Did anything really resonate with you as you read your chapters this week? What was your favorite section?

Feel free to share your thoughts, and respond to other comments as well! This is a wonderful community of sisters and there is so much knowledge to be shared! I know I'm so thankful for your thoughts! :)


This post is the part of the WLW book study series- you can find all the details and the previous posts in the study here!

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