Posted by: Cathy Bowers | December 9, 2015

A Marriage Covered In Grace

Colossians 3: 13-14 (NIV)
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Have you ever had “foot in mouth disease”? I remember once when I was in high school, I had worked late, was very tired, and a friend was bragging about something that had happened to her. I was jealous that she didn’t have to work so she got to do these awesome things. Zing. I said something hurtful and exaggerated to her. It was just one statement but it was mean. I don’t know why, I didn’t usually try to hurt people. Well, no matter how many times I had apologized, the relationship had never been the same.

I tried to find a simple definition for the word grace and it just isn’t out there. Grace in the English language has so many different meanings. Here is my definition. Grace is offering forgiveness before it has been requested or deserved. I have always figured that if God has given me his grace for my sins then I need to at least attempt to do the same for those who have hurt me.

Here’s a truth about marriage. Your spouse is going to offend and hurt you sometime during your marriage. It is impossible to keep your foot out of your mouth when you are living with someone for 50 years. Both of you should agree going into your marriage to cover your marriage in the same grace that God has given you. This doesn’t mean that hurts should not be dealt with, discussed and sometimes there will be consequences. Grace just means that you promise not to hold onto those hurts accepting that you and your spouse are imperfect individuals.

For more about this topic, view Session 4: Conflict Resolution in a great resource called Marriage101: Back to the Basics. You can access this resource at http://www.grace101.org.

James 1:19 (NIV)
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…

Posted by: Cathy Bowers | December 3, 2015

I Am Yours and You Are Mine

My husband and I have just completed a big move going from a big house to a small house.  We have too much stuff.  The process of figuring out what goes where and what we need to get rid of was a huge problem.  He is convinced that the pool table, the treadmill, the exercise bike and all of his collected hockey pucks and sports memorabilia are absolute necessities.  I, on the other hand, think we must have the curio cabinet, the china hutch, the pretty red shelves, all 5 rockers, all of my clothes (even those that don’t fit anymore, just in case) and my pretty white bench and desk.  Obviously, we have very different priorities and we had to work out compromises.  The boys weren’t so sure that we were going to survive the “discussion”.  Rest assured, we did work it out.  His stuff is nice and organized in the garage.  I have to give up 3 rockers, the clothes that don’t fit, my china hutch and the desk.  They just don’t fit in the house no matter which way I turn them.

After 28 years of marriage, we’ve learned how to compromise and listen to each other, well mostly.  We’ve also learned that even though we are totally different in our interests, at the end of the day, we still belong to each other.  Everything else is just stuff.

“It is imperative that we don’t confuse the issues in marriage with the person you are married to.  Remember, your relationship is more important than any issue.”  Marriage 101 Session 2

For more information on marriage go to http://www.grace101.org/.

 

 

Posted by: Cathy Bowers | November 25, 2015

Married for Life…So Far

My husband and I were cleaning out the garage the other day preparing for a big move. I found a box labeled “Pictures 1988” which contained some of our wedding pictures and other events. I made the comment to my husband, “Wow, look how young and cute we were.” My husband replied, “Well, at least I can still tell it’s you.” I laughed. He didn’t mean it the way it sounded because he doesn’t look ANYTHING like the guy I married. Well, both of us have done a lot of changing in the last 28 years and not just in our appearance. Our personalities, our likes and dislikes, our weight, our hair (or the lack thereof) have all changed. So how did we get from 1988 to today and hopefully beyond? Well, mostly a stubborn refusal to quit.
It hasn’t always been easy just like anything else we do that’s worthwhile. The truth is that LOVE, the sappy stuff, only lasts for a little while. Then comes the responsibilities of meeting each other’s needs, the budgeting of finances, the sometimes outrageous expectations, the in-laws, the kids. Being married can become incredibly overwhelming. But if you persevere through the trials, the sappy love becomes a different kind of love. This love is the kind that says, “I made a promise to cherish and love until death do us part and that’s just what I’m gonna do even if you’re driving me crazy!” This kind of love is built over time and with lots of grace.
Another reason that we are still stuck with each other is that we have some great examples to follow. Both of our grandparents were married for over 60 years. His are still going strong, mine are deceased. My grandfather, Jack, died 6 months after my grandmother, Madeline. He just couldn’t live without his sweetie. My parents were married for 55 years before mom died from cancer. The greatest gift that you can give your kids is the constant knowledge that mom and dad are always going to love and cherish each other. When you fight and argue, do so in front of the kids and then resolve the issue also in front of the kids. The kids know when you’re fighting anyway and they need to see how to resolve disagreements. More about this topic later.
Greg and I were blessed to attend a church that required pre-marital counseling before we could be married by our pastor. We were actually told not to get married because we were too different. Since we refused to reconsider our sappy love, we were given in-depth tools to overcome our differences and struggles before we encountered them and boy, did we need them. If you are getting married soon, I strongly advise pre-marital counseling. Conquer your struggles before you encounter them and your marriage is much more likely to last a lifetime. Grace101.org offers a wonderful biblically based counseling online course called “Marriage 101” that is both affordable and convenient. Gary and Barb Rosberg offer professional counsel and tips to consider before saying the big “I Do”. The course has situational video clips that are humorous and entertaining and discussion outlines to make conversation simple. It is online streaming so couples who are in different locations can take the course together at any time convenient to them. View the following clip. (Insert Sample Video Clip here)
Grace Products is a certified provider for the Twogether In Texas program.  Twogether In Texas is a state sponsored program that registers qualified providers to help couples receive premarital counseling.  The State of Texas recognizes the benefit of premarital counseling and the costly effects of divorce.  When couples complete an assigned course, they are issued a certificate to present when they purchase their marriage license.  They receive a $60 discount on their marriage license and can bypass the 3 day waiting period.  Convenient, affordable, 24/7 access, and solid biblically based teaching for just $59.
The M101 Online Course is now an official Twogether In Texas course.
Here’s how it works:
Go to http://www.marriage101online.com/products
Put the Online Course in your cart, hit checkout.
Fill out the registration page, enter the code 5ERL1 at the bottom.
Then just check out.  The online course is just $59, a savings of $36.
View the sessions, fill in the course assessment form, and email it to us.
We will verify completion and email back the  Twogether in Texas Certificate.
The $60 discount means you are actually getting the online course absolutely FREE!!
6.8 % of 1000 people get married each year.

3.4% of 1000 people get divorced each year.

Posted by: Alton Rocker | August 20, 2013

BethMooreLPM

quoted from BethMooreLPM

Make peace with people as much as you are able. Even if restoration doesn’t = reconciliation, lay down the sword & let it be. Life’s short.

Posted by: Alton Rocker | December 21, 2011

What is the purpose of Premarital Counseling?

What is the difference between Christian Premarital Counseling and secular Premarital Counseling?

While the two will cover similar topics, Christian Pre Marriage Counseling will also take into account God’s purpose and plan for marriage.

All good premarital counseling will cover the “big 5”:

–         Marital Expectations

–         Communication

–         Conflict Resolution

–         Finances

–         Sexual Intimacy

Truly, no marriage can expect to flourish if the man and woman don’t poses adequate tools for dealing with the day-to-day difficulties of marriage.  If you are seeking pre marriage counseling, make sure the curriculum covers these 5 topics…at a minimum!

If you identify yourself as ‘Christian’, as a majority of US couples do, you may be interested in the ‘big 5’ as well as what God’s Word says about marriage.

During your counseling time, you’ll probably hear things like, ‘One man. One woman. For Life’ and you may discuss the biblical concept of ‘leaving and cleaving’.  You may also be advised that sex and cohabitation before marriage is contrary to God’s ideal for your marriage.

All said, Christian Pre Marriage Counseling has been created in order to ‘line us up’ with the pattern God has established for the covenant relationship of marriage.  Marriage exposes sin in our lives.  It exposes our selfish nature.  It exposes our inability to truly fulfill our spouse.  But, most importantly, it exposes our need for mercy, grace, and forgiveness.  One of God’s purposes for marriage is to show us just how much we need Jesus.

If you’re in searching for quality, Christian Pre Marriage Counseling, check out www.marriage101online.com for some great advice.

Posted by: Alton Rocker | October 5, 2011

Get Your Premarital Counseling Free!

That’s right!! FREE (after the discount)!!

Online Premarital Counseling with free digital workbooks!! Get the BEST in counseling and get all your money back!!

Couples without adequate access to quality, premarital counseling now have this fantastic resource at their fingertips along with the added benefits bestowed by the State of Texas to traditional premarital counseling.

We are very pleased to announce that Grace Products (Marriage 101, Letters from Dad, et al), is now a certified provider for the Twogether In Texas program.  Twogether In Texas is a state sponsored program that registers qualified providers to help couples receive premarital counseling.  The State of Texas recognizes the benefit of premarital counseling and the costly effects of divorce.  When couples complete an assigned course, they are issued a certificate to present when they purchase their marriage license.  They receive a $60 discount on their marriage license and can bypass the 3 day waiting period.  Convenient, affordable, 24/7 access, and solid biblically based teaching for just $59.

The M101 Online Course is now an official Twogether In Texas course.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to http://www.marriage101online.com/products
  2. Put the Online Course in your cart, hit checkout.
  3. Fill out the registration page, enter the code 5ERL1 at the bottom.
  4. Then just check out.  The online course is just $59, a savings of $36.
  5. View the sessions, fill in the course assessment form, and email it to us.
  6. We will verify completion and email back the  Twogether in Texas Certificate.
  7. The $60 discount means you are actually getting the online course absolutely FREE!!

The M101 Online Course also makes a great wedding gift.

Of course any organization that is a state certified provider can use the Marriage 101: Back to the Basics curriculum for the purpose of state certification as well.  FREE premarital counseling!

This is the first ever, certified, Online Premarital Counseling Course.

What do you think?  Are you ready to get the BEST in counseling at no cost?

Posted by: Alton Rocker | September 8, 2011

HOME TEAM – Unconditional Commitment

Custom jersey?  Check.

Giant foam finger?  Check.

Neon face paint?  Check.

Even in a crowd of thousands, the bleacher creatures stand out.  No matter what you call them, you always know where to find these fiercely loyal fans – cheering on the home team with everything they’ve got.  Rain or shine, win or lose, the players can count on their unwavering support.

Can you and your spouse say the same thing about each other?

“I am yours and you are mine”.  What does that mean?  It means whatever we are going through – whatever challenges, whatever difficulties, whatever trials – we’re going to get to the other side together.  Every couple needs to know that there is a sense of unconditional commitment to one another.  We are the quarterbacks for the marriage.  In fact, as we stand back think about those issues that get in the way of our marriage, that get in between us, that cause us to go to different corners of the home, we need to realize that the relationship of marriage has got to be far more important than any issue that you’re going through.  When you are going through tough times say these say these words:  “My mate is not my enemy”.  There is a boundary, a sacred hedge, around your marriage and it is there to guard and protect you.  Remember these words – the relationship has to be far more important than the issue.

Below is a link to a powerful teaching by the Rosbergs on the issue of Unconditional Commitment.  Please take time to view it and send us your comments.

Posted by: Alton Rocker | August 16, 2011

Erosion Warning!!

Day after day, year after year, wind and waves beat against a pristine coastline.  Most people who travel the route are too busy enjoying the view to notice the subtle but relentless forces of nature. Then, eventually, the road signs begin to appear: WARNING:  EROSION!  What was once a beautiful sanctuary is now becoming a place of danger.

The same is true of marriage.  The inevitable day to day disappointments of life can erode even the best relationships.  If only a map existed to help couples recognize and avoid the slippery slope.

GOOD NEWS! – IT DOES!  In the video below, Dr. Gary and Barb Rosberg address the issue of natural erosion in marriage.  Their Marital Map offers an indispensible picture of the downward spiral, from simple disappointment and discouragement to emotional and physical divorce.  Together, they serve as seasoned guides, providing intentional strategies for preventing a serious fall, or climbing back to the summit of marital hope.

Posted by: Alton Rocker | August 5, 2011

50% Divorce Rate!!! Yes…& No

Friends, this is another article written by our associate Heidi Barrier.  Heidi works with our Twogether in Texas couples, helping them get a great start in the journey of marriage.

50% of all marriages will end in divorce, at least that’s what we’ve been told.  Not very good odds.  That may explain some of the reluctance young couples have in “tying the knot”.   While this statistic is basically true (many believe it’s somewhere between 40% & 50%), it’s also misleading.  Details are lacking.  All marriages are not the same.  Each marriage relationship has differing characteristics, such as age, income, education, ethnicity, and so on.  They are not on the same playing field.  You may find that for many couples marriage isn’t that risky.  The odds may be in your favor.

First, marrying at the “right” age can increase your odds for a successful marriage.   For example, men and women who are under the age of 25 are at higher risk for divorce (36% women, 38% men) but after the age of 25 the rate goes down (16% women, 22% men).  Obviously you can’t choose the time when you fall in love, but if you are on the younger side of 25, it may be beneficial to your relationship to hold off a little before you say “I Do”.

Second, the level of education that an individual has acquired may influence marriage stability.  A college educated women who is over the age of 25 has a 20% chance of divorce.  This is an interesting statistic because she has the ability to be financially self-sufficient and is likely not get “stuck” in a marriage due to financial limitations.  Whereas, women who are younger than 25, and do not have a college education, have over 50% chance of divorce.  Statistics show that older and more prosperous (usually college educated) individuals have a better likelihood of staying together.

Since financial stability and education promote marital success, individuals who do not have these advantages are more prone to divorce.  Minorities often fall into this category.  Black and Hispanic women, in particular, can have difficulty maintaining a lasting marriage.  Both have over a 50% divorce rate.

Cohabitation before marriage also increases the divorce rate.  Half of all marriages in the U.S.are preceded by living together.  A study byYale University found that cohabitating women were 80% more likely to divorce than women who had not lived with their partners before marriage.

Whatever characteristics that you and your partner may possess, there is one very positive way to improve your odds.  Studies show that couples who had at least six hours of premarital counseling had a 30% lower divorce rate than couples who didn’t.  We may not be able to change other factors that life has given us, but choosing premarital counseling is one proactive step that every couple can take to improve their odds for a long and happy marriage.

Take a look at this great clip from Dr. Gary & Barb Rosberg on what it takes to really make a marriage work.

Posted by: Alton Rocker | July 27, 2011

Differences: Blessing or Curse?

Question:  How are you dealing with your differences?

Whether you are already married or are in a premarital situation, it is important for couples to understand that our differences are God-given and are meant to compliment one another in Christian marriage.

Differences are a challenging but important aspect of a strong marriage. There are several important attitudes couples can adopt when working through these differences.

These include realizing differences have a purpose, the need to be teachable, the importance of seeking to understand our mate, and then learning to work together as one.

Differences are there for a reason.  God made us different so that we compliment one another.  It’s like a dance we learn over time. With a lot of practice, experience, understanding one another we can get the rhythm down.

The scripture is very clear about marriage and becoming one.  Genesis 2: 24 says:

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

There is a leaving and cleaving and becoming one, united.

To completely become one can take time. It will take adjustments along the way. What we need to have is a teachable heart and a teachable spirit.

As you are working through all these differences and expectations with each other there are a couple things to keep in mind.

First:

You are likely coming from two different backgrounds and that’s important.  Each of you may have very different expectations depending on what you have experienced in the past.  Kind that in mind when you are wondering why in the world your partner is doing or saying something that is totally foreign to you.

Second:

Pay Attention!  Stay tuned in.  You need to be an active listener and attentive to needs. What your partner needs one day may be quite different the next day.  So pay attention to their body language, speech patterns, temperament and moods.  No one said it was going to be easy being “one” and overcoming differences but it can sure be very interesting along the way.

For more on this subject click the link below featuring Dr. Gary & Barb Rosberg.

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