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Does Boy-Craziness Stop After Marriage?

Does Boy-Craziness Stop After Marriage?

“Do thoughts about other boys/crushes disappear when you are married?” More than one boy-crazy girl has asked me this question. In other words, “Will marriage cure my boy-craziness?”

Since I’ve been asked similar versions of this question more than once now, I thought I’d share my answer publicly.

Marriage Is Not a Magic Pill That Cures Boy-Craziness

I will say there is a difference. Now that I’m married, my antennae don’t go up every single time a new guy walks into the room. I’m not constantly surveying the landscape to see who’s available, because I’m loved. Claimed. Taken.

Marriage isn’t a magic pill. Marriage isn’t your Savior. It cannot fix you.

But marriage doesn’t change your heart. Only God is powerful enough to do that. Marriage isn’t a magic pill. Marriage isn’t your Savior. It cannot fix you. Please, please, please . . . do not enter marriage counting on it to cure you of your boy-craziness, your porn addiction, your loneliness, or any other idol in your life.

Marriage is simply a covenant commitment for life to a man—to another sinner. And you know as well as I do that another “fallen” human being cannot possibly save you from your heart idolatry. Only God can.

Instead of hoping marriage will cure you someday, pursue God with everything in you now. This will not only provide the satisfaction your heart longs for during your single years; it will also prepare you to bless your husband if you do get married someday. (You’re a lot less likely to suck the life out of your husband and tear down your marriage if you’re not expecting your husband to be and do what only God can be and do for you.)

Instead of hoping marriage will cure you someday, pursue God with everything in you now.

Even now that I’m married, I still regularly ask God to satisfy me with His love each morning (Ps. 90:14), and then I pursue Him through His Word and prayer. When I’m out in public, I still ask Him to help my eyes look straight ahead (Prov. 4:25). (These are habits I developed when I was single.)

Because yes, once you’re married, you will likely still notice if a guy is cute or nice or smart or strong or [fill in the blank].

Is It Wrong to Be Attracted to Other People After I Marry?

If God is your first love and your husband is your second love, attraction will be little more than that—something you notice and then quickly forget about. You’ll choose not to dwell on that thought. You’ll choose not to look twice. (At least that’s what you should choose!)

Nowhere in Scripture is attraction condemned. Noticing that someone is good-looking isn’t sinful unless it results in lustful thoughts.

Another way of saying this is that there’s a difference between temptation and sin. For example, we know that Jesus was tempted, but He didn’t sin. Hebrews 4:15 says:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

And 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

We shouldn’t feel guilt when we’re tempted; temptation is not the same as giving in to sin.

Does that help you know a bit more what to expect in marriage? Basically, you can expect to continue to face your current struggles and temptations and sins—unless you repent and flee to Christ today and allow Him to begin to transform you before you enter marriage. Either way, He promises to complete the good work of sanctification that He began in you (Phil. 1:6)!

I’d love to hear from you. What are your expectations for attraction to others after marriage? What game plan can you begin to implement now so you’re not taken off guard then?

Does Boy-Craziness Stop After Marriage? was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

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A Q&A on Marriage

A Q&A on Marriage

Hey, girls! Since it’s the day after Valentine’s Day and love is still in the air (or at least on our minds), I thought I’d share this interview with you from GospelMag.com. I hope my responses will help you as you think about someday possibly moving from singleness to marriage. Enjoy!

Q. Since you wrote Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl, you got married. Congratulations!

A. Thank you. God gives great gifts. I was starting to think I’d be single for the rest of my life; I’m still amazed I’m married . . . and to a wonderful man!

Q. What changed in your life when you met the man who would become your husband?

A. At first not a whole lot, other than that I spent a lot more time on Skype. As I look back over the past two-and-a-half-years since I’ve known him, though, I can see that I’ve changed a lot. Trevor has challenged and changed the way I think about a host of issues. He has pushed me (in good ways) in areas where I felt fearful and inept. He has been a tangible picture of God’s steadfast love for me, even when all that is ugly is stripped bare and out in the open.

Q. How did you meet him?

A. Seven months after publishing Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, I inadvertently started following a guy named Trevor Marsteller on Twitter. At the time, I was reaching out to bloggers asking for honest reviews of my book in exchange for a free copy. When I followed him on Twitter, I saw he had over 1,000 followers and had also done book reviews on his blog. I asked if he’d like to review Confessions, he said yes, and we kept talking from there. (You can read all the juicy details here.)

Q. Did things change right away, or has your relationship gradually become special?

A. I’m not the only one who has changed. Trevor has become more and more kind and affectionate since we first met. In fact, he puts me to shame with the way he loves me! I’d say our relationship has become more special over time, through tears, hard conversations, forgiveness, kindness, and love.

Q. Did God show you in one way or another that Trevor was the man you should marry?

A. I believe God communicates to us through His Word. In the Bible, He has made it clear that believers are not to marry unbelievers. But other than that one stipulation, He has given us freedom to make our choice based on wisdom.

God didn’t “speak” to me and tell me to marry Trevor. But as I got to know Trevor, as I asked others who knew him well questions, as I saw how he loved me and how I could just be myself around him without needing to impress him, it became obvious. This man loved God, loved me, and was pursuing me. It was a no-brainer.

Q. What would you say to girls who want to marry and don’t know on which basis to make their decision?

Stop looking for handwriting in the sky telling you that this guy is “the one.”

A. Stop looking for handwriting in the sky telling you that this guy is “the one.” Is he a believer? One who is serious in his pursuit of God? Is he pursuing you? Are you comfy with him? Do you communicate well? Do your family and friends think he’s great?
Make a wise decision based on the Word of God, wise counsel, and common sense. God has given you a ton of freedom. Choose wisely, and as you do, be blessed!

Q. We often tell people who aren’t yet married that they need to date, meet more people, and subscribe to dating websites. In this, we lead them to understand that they have to do more to make it happen. What do you think?

He is the One who gives us every good gift. Pursue Him. Serve Him. Trust Him.

A. I was given the same advice over the years, but I think it falls short. Ultimately, most of us underestimate God’s sovereignty. He is the One who gives us every good gift. Pursue Him. Serve Him. Trust Him. This area of life is not ultimately something you control; it is all under His wise, good, sovereign control.

Q. We often say to girls that they will find someone when they least expect it. What do you think?

A. I think it’s very unhelpful advice. People probably mean to be encouraging when they say it, but as a single I always felt this enormous pressure to somehow trick my emotions out of longing for marriage. It sounded like if I could succeed in that, then marriage would somehow just fall in my lap. But there’s no such prerequisite in God’s Word. He gives us undeserved gifts freely; we do not earn them.

Q. How did you find your smile (joy) back when you went through moments of discouragement regarding romance?

A. It took a long time, but as I got to know God’s character through His Word and by sitting under solid sermons Sunday after Sunday, I grew in my knowledge of God. And as my knowledge of God grew, so did my trust in Him and my enjoyment of Him.

Whenever I sign my books, I include Psalm 16:11: “In your presence is fullness of joy.” True joy is not found in our circumstances but in spending time enjoying God, which we can do anytime, anywhere.

I’d love to hear from you. Did you learn anything new through this interview? Anything you disagree with? As you think about marriage, are there any questions you want to add?

A Q&A on Marriage was also published on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

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“It’s All Downhill After Marriage”

“It’s All Downhill After Marriage”

I wonder what you’ve been led to believe about life after marriage.

The message I heard before becoming a bride is that it’s all downhill after you exchange wedding vows.

Oh, no one ever said those words to me exactly. What they did say was, “Enjoy this [dating] season, Paula. Your boyfriend will never treat you better than he does now.” Doesn’t that sound a whole lot like “It’s all downhill after marriage” to you?

While Trevor and I were dating, I often shared this belief/fear with him, and he always told me he didn’t believe it; things would only get better. Oh, how I wanted to believe him, but I was skeptical. Could he really be right?

Well, nine months into marriage, I can joyfully say he was.

Wait for a humble, servant-hearted man who is on board with God’s beautiful design for marriage.

I love and enjoy my husband so much more than I did while I was dating him, and he loves me so much better than he did when he was dating me. Don’t get me wrong; wedded bliss doesn’t magically increase without the occasional tear-streaked faces, pained hearts, difficult conversations, and hard work. We had our fair share of these this past week. But we also had a wonderful date, punctuated by sweet, heartfelt conversation.

We blew our entire dating budget for the month at a Brazilian steakhouse, and then went shopping (yes, I managed to get him to shop with me!). But the delicious meal we consumed and the clothes we returned home with weren’t what made our date so wonderful.

It was the discussion my husband initiated. “I was listening to a rap song called ‘Date Night’ today,” he began, “and the lyrics said, ‘How am I doing good? How should I repent?’ What do you think?”

And so we sat at our table holding hands, building each other up, and then sharing how we can be even more helpful to each other. It was the kind of meaningful conversation nearly every wife longs for.

Why do I tell you this? To make you feel bad because you’re still single and I’m not? No way! I tell you this because you need to know that it is not all downhill after marriage.

Well, to be perfectly clear, that depends entirely on whom you marry. Since marriage, my burden has only increased that you choose and marry well. It matters, big time.

Wait for a humble, servant-hearted man who is on board with God’s beautiful design for marriage found in Ephesians 5:22–33. He won’t be a perfect man. But he–and your relationship–will only grow sweeter with time.

This is what I long for you. This is God’s desire for marriage: a tangible display of Christ-centered, Christ-like love that shows how awesome His
sacrificial love is for His Bride.

I wonder, what have you been believing about life after marriage?

It’s All Downhill After Marriage” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

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How Can I Know If He’s ‘The One’?

How Can I Know If He’s ‘The One’?

“How did you know Trevor was the one for you?” a seventeen-year-old asked me. “I struggle with knowing if a guy is right for me. Every day I ask God to help me figure out my confusion.”

Believe it or not, it’s surprisingly simple. Let me share with you what I’m learning from Decision Making and the Will of God: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View by Gary Friesen and J. Robin Maxson.

1. Determine if you have the “gift” of marriage or singleness.

Dr. Friesen explains it like this:

The decision to marry or remain single lies within the area of freedom. The apostle [Paul] had a definite preference for [singleness] that he “wished” all others could choose. But he knew he could not give his desire the force of a command. For not everyone “has the gift.” God graces each believer differently. It is likely that Paul’s meaning is that some are “gifted” to enjoy singleness while others are “gifted” to enjoy marriage with its extra responsibilities (1 Cor. 7:7).

The first issue for you to work out is whether it’s best for you to be married or single. Surprisingly, “there is no command from Scripture one way or the other.” That means you don’t need to spend hours trying to discern God’s “still, small voice.” You don’t need to determine whether God is calling you to marriage or singleness.

Since both marriage and singleness are gifts from God, and since you are free to serve God as a single girl and once you’re married, both are good options. (You can read 1 Corinthians 7 for the pros and cons of both marriage and singleness.)

Now is a good time to think through this, even if there’s no guy knocking at your door yet. It will be less for you to figure out when a guy does come knocking.

2. Determine if your prospect is a believer.

Now—assuming you desire to be married, and there’s a guy pursuing you—you first need to ask if Scripture says anything about choosing a spouse. (And it does!) Scripture is clear: A believer in Christ may only marry another believer in Christ. This is vitally important. As Dr. Friesen explains:

The point is that not only are the believers’ values, goals, standards, motivations, and means of enablement for living incompatible with those of an unbeliever; they are diametrically opposed! They are serving two different lords that are archenemies of one another.

God has given you a whole lot of freedom beyond this one command. Don’t disobey Him here. Look first and foremost for a godly, Jesus-loving guy.

3. Seek wise counsel.

  • What do your parents think of this guy?
  • What does your pastor say?
  • Once you’re engaged, get some premarital counseling, and listen well to what your counselor thinks of you two.

Those around you will be a lot more clearheaded than you will with romance clouding your brain. Heed their counsel.

4. Use common sense.

Do you two share the same values? Here are just a few things Friesen encourages you to note: age, finances, employment, education, personal goals, personality traits, birth control, principles of child rearing, hobbies, family background, socioeconomic background, and possessions.

My Story

I didn’t always understand the freedom God has given in wisely choosing a spouse. I used to try to figure out if it was God’s will for me to marry a guy by praying and then watching for “signs” from God. And it was confusing! Here’s an example from an old journal entry:

I was talking on the phone with Dad tonight when Jim texted. Actually, at that particular moment, Dad was praying that my future husband would find me, when I heard the text come in. Coincidence, or God at work? I don’t know . . .

Jim was also confused, because after months of sending me confusing signals, he told me that as he’d prayed about pursuing me, he “sensed a yellow light.” He didn’t have a “red light” from God, but he also didn’t have a “green light.” He also told me that as he asked God whether now was the time to pursue marriage or not, God had been “annoyingly silent.” I think that’s because God had already given him the freedom to decide himself.

Needless to say, I ended up telling Jim goodbye (you can read how that went down in chapter 15 of my book). And oh, I’m so glad I did.

Because a few years later, God plopped Trevor Marsteller in my lap. Well, in my Twitter feed, to be exact. As I began to date Trevor (he was a believer, so he was fair game), I kept my eyes wide open and used the wisdom God has given me through His Word and community.

Make a wise decision based on the Word of God, wise counsel, and common sense.

It’s not that there were zero concerns. But as I brought those to God, to Trevor, and to wise counselors, in the end they weren’t game changers. Although Trevor wasn’t perfect (no guy but Jesus is!), I could see that he was “perfect” for me in so many ways. These three main things gave me the confidence to continue moving forward to marriage. And if you’re wondering, six months into marriage I am so grateful I chose him!

Back to you now, though.

Bottom line: Stop looking for handwriting in the sky telling you that this guy is “the one.” Make a wise decision based on the Word of God, wise counsel, and common sense. God has given you a ton of freedom. Choose wisely, and as you do, be blessed!

I’d love to hear from you. Does this sound surprisingly . . . simple? What questions do you have after reading this post?

How Can I Know If He’s ‘The One’? was originally published on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

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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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The Story Behind My Wedding Vows

The Story Behind My Wedding Vows

Trevor and I chose to write our own wedding vows. Listen in as we share them with each other (he goes first, and then I do my best not to bawl my way through mine).

Now that you’ve watched them, I thought you might like to hear the “story behind the vows.” Why’d I choose these words rather than others?

I’m glad you asked. Let’s take it line by line:

Trevor Jon, I can’t imagine another imperfect man more perfect for me.

Some vows I’ve heard set a man so high he’s bound to crash and fall. I wanted to begin by remembering that no one—other than God—is perfect. Down with too-high expectations for Trevor; and, at the same time, up with appreciation for him! I’m amazed at how beautifully he complements me. Only God could have arranged such a match.

Thank you, thank you for choosing me. It will be my greatest honor to seek to bless you every day for the rest of our short lives this side of eternity.

Some vows I’ve heard set a man so high he’s bound to crash and fall. I wanted to begin by remembering that no one—other than God—is perfect.

It’s not every day a guy asks you to marry him. May I never get over the wonder that he chose me.

I want to find fresh ways to bless him each day, remembering that life here is short, eternity is long, and the greatest in God’s kingdom are those who stoop low to serve.

With God’s help, I will seek to be satisfied in His love each day before I seek comfort in your love. After Him, I will prioritize our relationship above all other relationships.

As the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl, I know full well that my default position is to fashion Trevor
into a “little g” god. The only way I will keep from doing this is by keeping the “Big G” God first. I need to prioritize Trevor without idolizing Trevor.

By God’s power, I will have eyes for you and you alone, and I will do whatever it takes to remain exclusively faithful to you—both physically and emotionally.

Like I said, this has been a problem area for me in the past, and I’m not naïve enough to think I’ll never struggle with wandering eyes and a wandering heart again. Over a decade of working in women’s ministry has taught me that emotional affairs are just as wrong and dangerous as physical affairs. I am committed to guarding my eyes, which will help me guard my heart ( Prov. 4:23–25).

By God’s power, I will joyfully submit to your leadership—as unto Him—in all areas of life.

I purposefully paired “joyfully” and “submit” together as most people (including myself for many years!) have a prickly, incorrect view of submission. If Jesus—”for the joy set before him“—submitted to His Father when it meant humiliating, excruciating death, how can I not joyfully submit to the Father’s beautiful design for a husband and his wife?

By God’s grace, I will always seek to outdo you in showing honor . . .

This comes from Romans 12:10, which was our theme verse while we were dating. In fact, I wrote a post about it here (though at the time I didn’t let readers know I was the girl I was writing about).

. . . and I will respect you in the way I talk about you with others.

Far too often my words have torn down rather than built up. I especially need to be on guard while hanging out with other women, as we so easily fall into this subtle, slippery sin.

With God’s help, I will daily choose contentment and gratitude over complaining and bitterness, and I will do everything in my power to never take you for granted.

Godliness with contentment” isn’t natural for me, but I am setting out to make it mine.

With God’s help, I will hold no part of myself back from you—and at the same time, I will do everything I can not to overwhelm you.

Brutally open, honest communication is amazingly hard for me. Trevor has been helping me grow in this area. At the same time, I want to be wise about what and when and how much I share with him. I could easily overwhelm anyone!

And because of His immense grace toward me, I promise to never, ever divorce you, regardless of the circumstances.

By God’s power, I intend to do everything I can to give the world a right impression of God’s faithful, steadfast love toward His people.

Divorce has become so “normal” in our world, but it flies in the face of everything marriage ultimately points to. Marriage is a “great mystery” that gives the world a tiny picture of God’s never-giving up, covenant love for His bride. By God’s power, I intend to do everything I can to give the world a right impression of God’s faithful, steadfast love toward His people.

How about you? If you were getting married soon, what would be important for you to include in your vows?

PS: At our second wedding reception, we were asked why we chose the vows we chose. This is what we had to say:

The Story Behind My Wedding Vows was originally published on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

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Wedding Videos & More: Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Wolgemuth!

Wedding Videos & More: Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Wolgemuth!

Nancy Leigh DeMoss was in a groove. She’d never been healthier—emotionally, physically, or spiritually. She was thriving, her ministry was thriving, and then one day—out of the clear blue—she received an email from widower Robert Wolgemuth.

Most single women would have jumped right into a relationship with a man of this caliber, but not Nancy. She’d always had a very strong sense of being set apart for the Lord, and He had never “awakened love” in her heart before.

So as Robert began to pursue her, Nancy told him 1) she had to know if the Lord was redirecting her life, and 2) the Lord would then have to put love in her heart for him.

Watch this fifteen-minute video, “Unexpected Grace,” to learn how God did just that.

And if you’d like the longer version, listen to or read the Revive Our Hearts transcripts all this week to hear how Nancy grappled with issues of God’s calling for her life, knowing His will, and more; and how God led her one step at a time.

There’s more.

If you didn’t get a chance to tune in to the LIVE stream of the wedding this past weekend, you can watch the wedding here. (Yes, she’s now Mrs. Nancy Wolgemuth!)

Finally, if you’re still in the mood for more scoop on this story, watch some or all of these fifteen video clips. My personal favorites:

Wedding Videos & More: Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Wolgemuth! was originally posted on TrueWoman.com. 

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We Went to Church on Our Honeymoon

We Went to Church on Our Honeymoon

Trevor Marsteller and I joined hands in the stately building of Missio Church on October 3 and covenanted before God and man to love each other ’til death do us part. We returned the following morning and held hands in a pew near the front as we listened to the Word of God preached to the people of God.

Many of these people were incredulous: “You’re on your honeymoon, and you’re at church?!” We might as well have sprouted horns on our heads.

“You’re on your honeymoon, and you’re at church?!”

If it had been up to me, I probably would’ve opted to pull the covers over my head and dozed as long as possible after the stress of pulling off an event of that size. Missing a Sunday here or there hasn’t seemed like a big deal to me, especially after such a life-altering event.

But Trevor is the leader in this relationship—not me—and when he explained why he didn’t want to skip church the day after our wedding, I was so grateful.

“If marriage is an earthly picture of a heavenly reality,” he asked, “why would we miss out on being pointed to that heavenly reality?”

And so we participated in our local church service the morning after our wedding—as we do every Sunday, even when we’re on the road. We showed up not because we believe church attendance merits God’s favor (hardly!) or sets us apart as more righteous than others (as if!), but because we love God, His Word, and His people.

Caring for the Bride of Christ

In a congregational meeting a few weeks later, one of our elders reminded us of how passionately Jesus identifies with His bride, the Church.

It was amazing to see this truth so clearly in Acts 9. In this passage, Jesus asks Saul, “Why are you persecuting me?”

When Saul asks who Jesus is, He again reiterates, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (emphasis added).

How could Jesus say Saul was persecuting Him when He was safe at His Father’s side in heaven by this time (see Acts 1:9)? Because as we treat Christ’s people, so we treat Christ.

As we treat Christ’s people, so we treat Christ.

Christ’s very Spirit dwells in His bride, and His bride is in Christ. We’re one now. He loved His bride enough to give His life for her.

So how can we claim to love Jesus without caring for His bride, the Church?

After hearing God’s Word preached on October 4, Trevor and I leaned over to each other and agreed, “We’re so glad we didn’t miss this.”

It might not always be convenient, but this new bride is grateful for a husband who so highly values Christ’s bride.

How about you? Do you have a careless or a careful disposition toward faithfully and eagerly attending your local church? If you don’t regularly attend, what’s your excuse for not prioritizing Christ’s bride?

We Went to Church on Our Honeymoon was originally published on TrueWoman.com. 

 

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8 Reasons Why I Didn’t Change My Name (and 6 Reasons I Did)

8 Reasons Why I Didn’t Change My Name (and 6 Reasons I Did)

Just over three weeks ago, it really happened. I got married!

Now that I’m back from my honeymoon, it’s time to adjust to a whole lotta change—a new address, a new roommate . . . and a new name. One item on my to-do list is:

Go to the social security office and officially change my last name.

I thought you might be interested in why I chose to change my name. So first, here are the reasons that are not motivating me:

  1. I’m not changing my last name because my husband defines me or because he’s my whole world. He’s not.
  2. I’m not changing my last name because I don’t like it. I love the name “Hendricks.” I’ve been a Hendricks—and proud of it—for thirty-two whole years.
  3. I’m not changing my last name because it’s fun or easy. From what I hear, it will be “a marathon, not a sprint” and will include a lot of trips and phone calls to a whole lot of different places.
  4. I’m not changing my last name because it’ll be a good move for my writing career. (FYI: I think I’ll use “Paula Hendricks Marsteller” online for now until people get used to my new name.)
  5. I’m not changing my last name because Trevor coerced me—or even asked me—to change it; this is all me.
  6. I’m not changing my last name for tradition’s sake. (Who cares if “that’s the way it’s always been done”?)
  7. I’m not changing my last name because I think Trevor and I aren’t equal. We have equal value because we both bear God’s image (Gen. 1:27).
  8. I’m not changing my last name because my identity is changing. I am still dead to sin, alive to God, and in Christ Jesus. I am still a sinner-turned-saint-by-the-grace-of-God.

So why on earth am I changing my last name?

  1. I am changing my last name because we’re no longer two, but one flesh (Matt. 19:6).
  2. I am changing my last name because my authority structure has changed. Now instead of obeying my dad, I will obey Trevor Marsteller. Yes, we are equal, but God has given us different roles in our relationship, and I joyfully choose to submit to this man.
  3. I am changing my last name because I belong to another now. When I began to follow Jesus Christ, I was given His name: “Christian.” Now that I belong to Trevor Marsteller, I will carry his name as well.
  4. I am changing my last name because we will never, ever divorce, and I don’t have to worry about what might happen in the future with my last name. (Just to be clear, I’m not naïve enough to believe that Trevor and I will always feel love for each other. But we are both wholeheartedly committed to loving each other with Christ’s love for this lifetime, as marriage is not ultimately about us but serves as a visible picture of God’s never-giving-up love for His bride, the Church.)
  5. I am changing my last name because I believe this choice shows honor and respect to Trevor. And that is what I am committed to—showing him honor and reverence for as long as we both shall live, whether I feel like he’s acting in a manner worthy of respect at all times or not (Eph. 5:33).
  6. I am changing my last name because I no longer have to fight for “my rights.” Jesus temporarily laid aside His name (“King of kings and Lord of lords”), His position (Ruler of the Universe), and His rights (to be worshiped and adored by all His creatures). He did this so I might take His name and live with and belong to Him forever. Because of His humility, God the Father has given Jesus the name that is above every name. For this reason, it is my joy to bow my knee and submit my life to King Jesus—and to the man He has given me for this short period before eternity (Phil. 2:5–11).

How about you? Have you thought about whether or not you’ll take your future husband’s last name? Why or why not?

8 Reasons Why I Didn’t Change My Name (and 6 Reasons I Did) was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

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The Surprising Meaning Behind Those Famous Modesty Verses

The Surprising Meaning Behind Those Famous Modesty Verses

One of you recently asked, “How do you live 1 Peter 3:3–4? I have an idea, but I’m not sure.”

You’ve probably heard these verses before, but here’s a refresher:

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

How do you live these verses?

Not without 1 Peter 3:1–2 or 1 Peter 3:5–6. Context is critical to understanding what the Bible means. So let’s check out the surrounding verses. The chapter begins:

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.

Ah! So Peter is writing to married women.

Sweet! So I don’t have to listen to and apply this passage yet because I’m not married, right?

Hardly!

But before we apply it to ourselves, let’s make sure we understand the original meaning of this text.

First Peter 3:3–4 is followed by these verses:

For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

Yowza. This passage is all about . . . submission! Before you start sending me hate mail, let me point out some good news:

  1. In the context of marriage, we are only commanded to submit to one man, our own husband. You don’t have to submit to other women’s husbands (re-read the first part of verse 1 to see this for yourself), although part of being a Christian is respecting and considering the needs of all people.
  2. God isn’t asking us to do anything He hasn’t already done. Did you notice the way 1 Peter 3 started with the word “Likewise”? Peter is comparing our submission to someone else’s. But whose? Flip the page in your Bible to the end of chapter two for the answer.

We are all called to submit to the authorities over us. Not only to those who are “good and gentle,” but also to those who are “unjust.”

Why?

Because Christ, our Lord, did so for you and me:

Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly (1 Peter 2:21–23).

Obviously there’s a whole lot more to get out of this text, but let me stop and try to answer this girl’s question about how to live out 1 Peter 3:3–4 as a single. I’d suggest starting with this:

  1. Submit to the authorities who are currently in your life while ultimately entrusting yourself to your heavenly Father. Make your dad and mom’s job easy. Seek to be easy to lead.
  2. Remember that your beautiful face will eventually go, but your character will remain. Don’t trust in your outer beauty to capture and keep a man.
  3. Ask God to help you not fear anything that’s frightening. Seek to grow your trust in Him so you don’t have to trust in yourself during frightening times, but can throw yourself on Him.

Now that you know a bit more of the context of 1 Peter 3:3–4, how else do you think you can begin to become this kind of reverent, fearless, God-trusting woman?

The Surprising Meaning Behind Those Famous Modesty Verses was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

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