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30 Pieces of Advice for the New Wife

30 Pieces of Advice for the New Wife

I’ve been married to a wonderful man for over three months now. That’s no thirty years, but still, I know more about marriage today than I did three months ago.

Every man is different, so you may not relate to all thirty pieces of advice. But I pray something here will bless you in your new role. Here’s a taste of what I’ve learned over the last ninety days:

  1. Read that recipe slowly, carefully, and all the way through before you begin cooking. Otherwise your special Thanksgiving breakfast will be served a day late because you’ll learn as you’re whipping it up that it has to sit overnight in the fridge.
  2. He means what he says. It’s as simple as that. “I’d do this,” doesn’t mean, “You should do this, too.” It simply means, “That’s what I’d do.” Don’t read into his words or actions.
  3. When he treats you better than you deserve, don’t think you have to slowly earn your way back into his graces. Receive his grace gratefully and keep on truckin’.
  4. It won’t all be like you imagined. Let your expectations go.
  5. Kindness is the new romance.
  6. It will take longer than you think it should to get into a routine. That’s normal. You’ll get there!
  7. Don’t nag, but also don’t “stuff” your feelings. Share your thoughts graciously once, and then be quiet and pray for him.
  8. Don’t take it personally if he’s on his phone for a bit. It’s not your competition; it’s a way for him to relax.
  9. You need good girlfriends. It will take awhile to develop those, so get to work now. Ask a woman over for tea once a week if you can (Prov. 18:24).
  10. In the meantime, no friend compares to God. Cultivate this friendship each morning (Ps. 16:2).
  11. Continue that premarital counseling post-marriage if possible. We still meet with a couple once a month, and it’s been so helpful as we’ve made this transition.
  12. Celebrate your monthly anniversary.
  13. Schedule a date night once a week.
  14. You don’t have to solve everyone’s problems. This is a unique, important season for you and your new spouse. Be slow to say, “Oh, I can help with that!”
  15. Care for your soul before you care for your home. If your soul is not at rest, no matter how clean your home is, its environment will not be restful.
  16. Spend time together. It doesn’t matter if you’d get more done if you stayed behind and he went to the store; go together.
  17. Don’t defend yourself every single time.
  18. You will see a lot of ugliness in your life that you never saw before. Don’t run from it or deny it; embrace the gift of being able to see your sin more clearly as well as the love of God through your spouse.
  19. Give your husband space when he’s frustrated. You don’t have to talk through everything immediately.
  20. At the same time, don’t let too much time pass before you talk through an argument. Seek to understand. What was he thinking and feeling when this happened? What were you thinking and feeling?
  21. Get on the same budget. It’s fun to work together toward a common goal.
  22. Spend those wedding gift cards together. It’s fun to shop together, as long as it’s not clothes shopping. That’s a bad attitude waiting to happen.
  23. Buy a chalkboard, and leave each other sweet messages.
  24. Pack his lunch, and occasionally leave kind notes in it.
  25. Don’t be easily offended. Assume the best (Prov. 19:11).
  26. Leave your insecurities at the marriage altar. He chose you. You’re enough. Don’t try to impress him. He probably won’t be impressed by the things you’re impressed with about yourself. He chose you. You’re enough.
  27. Don’t keep score of who’s doing more around the house. You’re a team. If you need help—rather than resenting him for not doing more—ask him for help.
  28. Communicate, communicate, communicate—in and out of the bedroom.
  29. Regularly ask him how you can serve him that day.
  30. “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” Marriage may mean a smaller, more isolated world. Remember that life is made up of many seasons. Thank God for this one—He sets your boundaries (1 Tim. 6:6, Acts 17:26–28).

What have I missed? What would you add to this list?

30 Pieces of Advice for the New Wife was originally published on ReviveOurHearts.com. 

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Freebie Friday: Women of the Word

Freebie Friday: Women of the Word

“How do you move a mountain?” the Chinese proverb asks. “One spoonful of dirt at a time.” Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin is a book about moving mountains—mountains of biblical ignorance.

You might not think you have a mountain of biblical ignorance to move. When Jen was a teen, she didn’t think she had a mountainous problem either. After all, she was a regular church attender, had a “quiet time,” memorized Bible verses, read devotional books, and attended Bible studies.

But when she was asked to lead a Bible study as a senior in college, Jen suddenly realized she had a problem: a problem of biblical ignorance. She writes,

I carried a secret not uncommon to people with my background: I didn’t know my Bible. Sure, I knew parts of it—I remembered stories from vacation Bible school and I could quote verses from all over the New Testament and Psalms—but I didn’t know how the parts that I knew fit with each other, much less how they fit with the parts I didn’t know yet.

So what did she do? She took the “spoon” someone handed her and began to dig and move that mountain “one spoonful at a time.” Listen to her tenacity:

I intend to go to my grave with dirt beneath my nails and a spoon clutched in my fist. I am determined that no mountain of biblical ignorance will keep me from seeing him [God] as clearly as my seventy or eighty years on this earth will allow.

Did you catch that? Her goal is not to master this Book so she can feel good about all she knows. Her goal is to see God, to know God, to enjoy God. In her words,

Our study of the Bible is only beneficial insofar as it increases our love for the God it proclaims.

As her subtitle indicates, this book is about learning how to study the Bible with both our hearts and our minds. Because, as Jen writes,

If we want to feel deeply about God, we must learn to think deeply about Him. The heart cannot love what the mind does not know.

If you’d like Jen to hand you a spoon so you, too, can start digging, sign in to this giveaway widget, and then leave a comment here. Then we’ll randomly select one of you to win a copy of Women of the Word.

Among other things, you’ll learn some unhelpful habits of spending time in the Word like:

  • The Xanax approach
  • The Pinball approach
  • The Magic 8 Ball Approach
  • The Personal Shopper Approach
  • The Telephone Game Approach

Then you’ll learn how to study the Bible with:

  • Purpose
  • Perspective
  • Patience
  • Process, and
  • Prayer.

Let’s move some mountains, girls!

Freebie Friday: Women of the Word was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

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What Does Pursuing God Look Like

What Does Pursuing God Look Like

Anna wrote me recently:

I want to know Jesus more and pursue Him, especially during this time of singleness. Would you mind sharing some thoughts on what pursuing Christ looks like? Does it go deeper than just praying, reading the Bible, fasting, and so on?

 

What a fantastic, practical question!

While it might not feel like a glamorous answer, the hands-down, number-one way to pursue Christ is to study your Bible.

If you’re anything like me, there’s a big disconnect there. I want to know a living Person . . . and you’re telling me to pick up a book?  

Yep. One day soon—if all your hope for acceptance by God lies in Christ—you will interact in person with God. Not just that, you will live with Him (Rev. 21:3)! But in the meantime, God has left us a Book telling us what He’s like. That’s how He’s chosen to reveal Himself.

So in order to make sure you’re getting to know God as He actually is—and not as you want Him to be—you need to meticulously pour over this Book to learn about Him.

If that sounds too impersonal and intellectual to you, know this: just ’cause you’re using your head doesn’t mean you won’t be engaging your heart. Quite the opposite, actually.

What a Yale Study Has to Teach Us About Loving God

I learned about Paul Bloom’s “pleasure research” through this blog post by Jen Wilkin. Mr. Bloom, a Yale professor, set out to discover how we find pleasure in things, and this is what he learned: Pleasure doesn’t just automatically happen by doing something over and over; it develops as we learn more about it.

For example, the more you learn about Star Wars, the more pleasure you’ll experience from it (just ask my husband!). Similarly, “If we want to feel deeply about God,” Jen Wilkin writes, “we must learn to think deeply about Him. The heart cannot love what the mind does not know.”

May I give you a recent example of this from my own life?

My husband and I are studying a doozy of a book called The Person of Christ by Donald Macleod. I’m not used to such theological reading, but as I’ve stretched my brain and thought about the “pre-existence of Christ” (meaning that Jesus existed with God, as God, before He was born to a virgin in Bethlehem), I’ve been blown away by:

  • how God the Father must have ached for and missed His Son.
  • what a cost it was for the Father to send His Son to earth when they’d always existed together for eternity past.
  • how deeply God loved us to be willing to part with His Son.

Check out this paragraph by Mr. Macleod to see what I mean:

“There was a unique bond between the Father and the Son, arising from the fact that the Son was uniquely lovable and the Father was uniquely affectionate. God could not have made a greater sacrifice. His love is astonishing precisely because at this point he put the world before his Son. The statement ‘God gave the world for his Son’ would evoke no wonder. The statement, ‘God gave his Son for the world’ borders on the incredible. Conversely, the Son could not have suffered a greater loss. To have “lost” the Father, as he did in the dereliction (Mark 15:34), was the greatest of all possible pains.”

 

How about it? Are you willing to try pursuing God through learning about Him in His Word? If so, read yesterday’s blog post for five practical steps to learn about God in His Word.

What Does Pursuing God Look Like was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

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But Shouldn’t It Be Easy to Read My Bible?

But Shouldn’t It Be Easy to Read My Bible?

No one ever taught me how to study the Bible. (Or if they did, it didn’t stick.) I’d just open the Good Book up and do my best to discern a message from God.

If I read the crooked shall become straight,” I rejoiced that God was going to heal my bowleggedness! (You can read that crazy story here if you’re interested.)

I didn’t like it when I heard people say:

There are right ways and there are wrong ways we handle the Word.

But it’s true. And as an author, I should know better. I don’t want others reading my book and taking away whatever meaning they want; I wrote Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl with a very specific intent in mind.

As Jen Wilkin said in one of her Revive ’15 messages:

“The Bible is not magical or mystical; it is a book. We should treat it with at least the respect we would give to a common textbook. You would not flip to an Algebra book page and say, ‘How does this apply to my life today?’ and expect to pass Algebra. Am I reading historical narrative? Poetry? Prophecy? Wisdom literature?

“Before we can talk about what the text means to us, we have to ask what the text means. There is an objective meaning that has been placed in the text. Meaning is determined by the author, and it is discovered by the reader—not assigned by the reader. Your job is to ask, ‘What did the author want me to know from what he wrote here?’”

Disciplined Disciples

In His kindness, God has given me a husband and brought me to a local church who are both serious about seeking out and understanding the original author’s meaning in the text.

And slowly I am learning that Bible study methods are not rules meant to stifle my creativity and squelch my fun; they are tools to help me get to know the living God as He really is.  

So this new year I’m ditching the lie that reading the Bible should be as easy as skimming a novel. As Jen Wilkin says, “Disciples are called to be disciplined,” and “Everyone works diligently about what they care about.”  

Here are the tools I’m currently using to study God’s Word. I got these from one of my local church elders. There are several other tools you could use to slow down and dig into the meaning of a passage, but I’m currently finding these super helpful.

The Five Bible Study Tools I Use

First, I write the date and the passage of Scripture I’m reading at the top of my journal:

January 10, 2016

Philippians 4:1–9

(I try not to bite off a longer section than I can handle.) Then I write five headings in my journal:

  • Tone
  • Repeated Words/Phrases
  • Relationships between words and phrases
  • One-word subject
  • One-sentence summary.

Now it’s time to get to work.

  1. Tone

You rely on tone every day in order to understand meaning. Take, for instance, this sentence:

I don’t like Barry.

Now, let’s add in a little tone:

I don’t like Barry.

I don’t like Barry.

I don’t like Barry.

I don’t like Barry.

Here’s what that might mean:

I don’t like Barry.

Meaning: Someone else does like Barry.

I don’t like Barry.

Meaning: I strongly dislike Barry.

I don’t like Barry.

Meaning: I love Barry.

I don’t like Barry.

Meaning: I like someone else.

Tone is just as important in written communication as it is in verbal communication. Is the tone of this passage encouraging? Sarcastic? Urgent? Harsh? Uplifting? Sober? Does it include a promise or a call to repent?

After I’ve identified the tone of a passage, I move on to repeated words and phrases.

  1. Repeated Words/Phrases

If you call your friend and she mentions “Stephen” fifteen times in five minutes, it’s pretty obvious what’s on her mind. If your younger brother yells multiple times, “Stop it!” you know you’d better back off. Write down the repeated words and phrases you find and why they’re there.

  1. Relationships Between Words and Phrases

Think of yourself as a detective, and watch for small clues like F.A.N.B.O.Y.S. (“for,” “and,” “nor,” “but,” “or,” “yet,” “so”). These words clue you in to connections between words and phrases that you won’t want to miss! What do these words teach you?

  1. One-Word Subject

Throwback to English class, anyone? What is the main subject of this section of Scripture?  

  1. One-Sentence Summary

Don’t try to get creative—just stick to the words used in the passage. Be specific. What is the author communicating? (Don’t worry if this is hard at first—practice makes perfect!)

I’m trying to discipline myself to get into the habit of doing this detective work before I jump to what this passage means for me today. Because it’s not going to mean something for me that it doesn’t mean for all believers. So now that I’m done with the fact-checking, I can apply it to my life.

Is there a promise I need to believe? A command I need to obey? An aspect of God’s character to prompt worship?

Your Turn

Now that I’ve shared one way to study the Bible with you, what’s holding you back? Do you think that seeking God should come easily? What makes you think that?

Oh, and if you’d like to hear about other Bible study tools, check out Jen’s message Practical Tools for Studying and Teaching the Word, and come back Friday for a chance to win her excellent book, Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds.

But Shouldn’t It Be Easy to Read My Bible? was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

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