The Missing Link – Contentment

By Darlene G. Snyder

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“We often equate happiness with the amount of our paycheck.” Professor Daniel Kahneman, University of Princeton said regarding a study completed at the university, “Standard of living has increased dramatically and happiness has increased not at all.” This isn’t surprising information to Christians. Even Paul had issues with this very subject.

We can find wisdom in Paul’s teaching in Philippians 4:12-13,

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (NIV)

Paul continued his teaching and we find another jewel in verse 19 of the same chapter, which says,

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

A short version of those verses can be, Christ will give us strength to do what we need to do and He will provide for us by meeting our needs.

Discontentment is the theme for many women. The desire to have more, do more, and go more has blinded us to what our goal should be and that goal is to take care of our family first. I don’t mean to work more to get more, but to be there for our spouse and family emotionally as well as physically.

I’m not getting into a discussion about women working outside of the home. I’ve known women who worked because of the necessity in order to provide for the family or to help provide for the family. I was one of these women.

I’ve also known many stay at home moms and housewives. My mother was one who stayed home and raised her children. I believe each woman has to decide which is best for them and their situation.

What I do want to say about this subject is whatever we choose to do; we have to keep our family as a number one priority.

To be content is being satisfied with what you have in life. I doesn’t mean we should give up on dreams of a better life, or wanting better things for our family, but sometimes we are placed in situations in life for a reason. If we recognize that, we are one step closer to being happy and satisfied.

If having more and wanting more consumes your life, then you aren’t happy and neither are the people around you. If wanting more from your spouse, wanting more from your children, wanting more from your job occupies most of your thoughts, then it might be time to refocus and readjust.

Remember, if you aren’t happy, neither is your family, specifically your spouse. It takes both of you working together to achieve contentment in your marriage.

Together, make a list of what you  both need to be happier and content. Set goals and look for ways to achieve the goals. Remember it might take a while to get there, but don’t allow contentment to be the missing link in your marriage.

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Tips for a Happier Life

 

Written By: Darlene G. Snyder

These tips are mainly written with thoughts of what you can do; actions to take that could possibly help you have a stronger marriage and a happier life.

  • Take care of yourself. Exercise, eat right and make sure to keep all doctors’ appointments. Are you failing in this area? Do you need to shed a few pounds, gain a few or begin exercising? A brisk walk can lift your spirits. A few pounds off the belly can help your self-esteem and feeling of self-worth.
  • Plan date nights with the spouse. If money is tight, instead of going out, plan a time to sit and talk with your spouse after the children are in bed. I’ve found women are unhappy, because they don’t get to spend quality time with their spouse. This is too important for your marriage to overlook. Drifting apart is one of the first danger signs in dying marriages.
  • As much as possible, cut down on the stresses of work. Stop sweating the small things. Sometimes when we work outside the home, we bring the job site to our home site and in doing so we suffocate our children and our spouse with all the problems. Leave work at work.
  • Find inner peace. How? Slow down and spend time alone with God. Perform some soul-searching by answering these questions; what will it take to make your life more meaningful? What is true happiness?
  • Count your blessings. Write them if you must. Consider all that you have in your life, remembering that the important things in life are not things at all. The important things are the people in your life.
  • Share – Give of yourself. Here’s a quote I really like, “Happiness is like a kiss…you must share it to enjoy it.author unknown. Sometimes the best way to be happy is to help others. Look around you, how can you give of yourself?
  • Develop a forgiving spirit by learning to forgive. It is detrimental to our health and happiness to hold onto grudges, hurts and anger. Here’s a quote for you to consider, “To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness. Robert Muller.
  • Spend time with your family. Remember that it’s relationships that bring happiness, not the material things in the world.
  • Don’t compare yourself or your marriage to others. Making comparisons will only bring unhappiness and will never do you any good. Things are not always the way they appear and grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence even when it appears to be.
  • This last tip really belongs on the top of the list, but I put it here in hopes that you’ll remember it. Pray or meditate. This is one of the most effective ways to calm you and to gain inner peace and happiness. When you are feeling overwhelmed, a session with the Master, praying and meditating can help clear your mind and give you direction.
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What Couples Should Know About Married Life

By Darlene G. Snyder

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I’ve focused some time on asking married women what information or advice they would offer to women struggling in their marriages. The following are  comments that I’ve received. I hope this helps you as you consider your own marriage.

Hi Darlene – Jeff and I have been married for 19 years this June. (not sure if I qualify yet to give advice !) — I think it’s important to keep things fun and adventurous (sp?) — especially after a few years. For instance — Jeff just got his motorcycle about three years ago and I just really started riding with him last year. Now we look forward to hopping on it for day trips and running around town. Anything you can do to keep things jazzed up is good. If you learn to have fun with each other, then life doesn’t get dull. We are also involved in a lot of church groups together.

Hope this is something you can use!
Connie

Three points quickly….
Something my grandmother said after my grandfather died will forever stick with me, “If I had Jake back, I would never fuss at him again”. Like all women, she would fuss about the house and some mess he had made, but in the end, all of that was unimportant. When I almost lost Jeff 7 years ago, that statement really hit home for me. Like everyone, I like for my house to be clean, but we should treasure every moment that God blesses us with.

One important thing we have learned is that we do get angry at eachother, and this may sound corny, but we never go to bed angry. We always try to “talk it out” before.

Going back to what to what someone else posted about their spouse, I like Jeff. We took the time to date and get to know one another before we got married. Granted, we were extremely young, but we knew we were right for eachother. He is my best friend.

Raising kids is a team effort. Jeff takes off work equally when the kids need to go to the Dr., school functions, etc. We never gave an opportunity for the “playing the parents” bit. Carrie asked me if she could go somewhere, stay at a friends, etc, she always had to ask both of us together.

These are just a few things that were on my mind when I saw your post. Hope this helps you out some.
Mel

My husband and I have been married for 25 years, and now we have both kids out of the house and things remain pretty peaceful and quiet although we still agree our 20 year old should not be livng where she is living. One of the major things that we fought about while our kids were in school was he was always the good guy and I would be the bad guy. They would ask me permission to do something and I would say no, they would then go to their dad and ask him for the same thing and he would say what did your mother say and their comment would be she said whatever you say. We had some terrible fights because he let them do it for years. I think they finally outgrew us and moved out instead of him ever figuring out to not trust the kids and come and talk to me about it first. They had the art of playing us down to a science.

Everyone told me that when the kids moved out I would have empty nest syndrome. But although I love them and try to be with them as much as possible, my husband and I get along better and are closer now than we have ever been. We now have learned to talk out problems than the constant fighting we used to do. Although you have the stress of life, you have more time for being together and doing things you like when the children have their own home.

Debbie

I also had the opportunity to spend some time with the ten couples. I wanted to discover for myself, the secret to their marital happiness and longevity. This group had a combined total of 550 years of wedded bliss under their belt.  

I began our time by asking a series of questions, the following are the responses:

  • Seven people have sent, brought, or received flowers to or from their spouse.
  • One couple can recall their first argument.
  • Four couples can recall their first kiss.
  • Two couples were engaged to someone else prior to meeting their spouse.  
  • Six women said yes immediately, when he asked her to marry him.
  • Two couples fell in love at first sight.
  • Two admit to having hidden money from the other.  
  • Three of the men admitted to being the first to flirt and three women said they were the first.
  • Four can recall that first date.
  • Six couples say they have pet names for each other..  (Dove, Sweetie Pie, Honey, Boodoo, and Tweetie)
  • Two people admit that their spouse has habits that they hate.

Ending our time together, I asked the couples, “What’s so great about being married?” The following is a list of responses.

  • Having Children
  • Simply being together
  • Sharing Life
  • Having a buddy
  • Don’t recall never not being married
  • Watching what a wonderful mother she was/is
  • Enjoyed it the whole way
  • Companionship
  • Just being married – meaning they loved everything about their married life.

Other bits of advice that have been shared with me by friends for this project were about getting along with inlaws. Their advice follows:

  • At all cost, keep the peace
  • Don’t tell the mother-in-law what’s really on your mind. Let her son (your spouse) tell her. He probably will be nicer about it.
  • As far as children-in-law’s, don’t argue with them. The must learn as you did – from thier own mistakes.
  • Let things said to roll off your back and don’t take things said to heart.

Check back next week and I’ll talk about The happiness Factor for marriages.

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Dressing The Part

 

 

By Darlene G. Snyder

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Our Appearance

The long graveled lane that leads to my house is the same lane I use to walk to our mailbox. As I walk, I pass our church, neighbor’s homes, a man mowing the church lawn, a woman walking her dog. I must also cross a small country road before I reach the white box fixed atop a post.

For reasons that are hard for some people to understand, I won’t walk to my mailbox without making sure my hair is combed, my make-up is just right and the clothes I’m wearing are straight. I don’t want anyone to see me if everything isn’t just right.  Most mornings the first things I do after dressing, is put on my make-up and brush my hair – just in case someone comes to my door.

My mother was a stay at home mom and other than early mornings, I never saw her without her make-up.  She was always dressed nicely.  Even when she was gardening or working on the farm, she never dressed sloppily and her hair was always in place.  I suppose I mock her in my habits. My sister is the same way.  You never see her that she’s not neat and clean. 

I presume also that because I grew up in the TV era of Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best, Brady Bunch, My Three Sons and Leave it to Beaver I mimicked what I saw.  Most of those shows had wives and mothers who were always well dressed. I’ll admit to dressing down at home though.  I mean I don’t wear a dress when I cook and clean like they did on those shows.  Most of the time I wear shorts or jeans; I’m big on being comfortable. I guess what I’m saying is I try to look nice no matter what I am wearing.

I know some women who wear their pajamas all day when they are off work and at home.  In fact, I’ve been visiting before when the door was answered by a pajama clad woman who apologized profusely. Some friends have told me that on their days off, sometimes they forget to comb their hair or they don’t wear make-up.

What does the way we dress say to our spouse?  Are we telling him through our appearance that he doesn’t matter?  What about the way we dress when we go to work or out with friends? Are we looking better for them and dressing sloppy and carelessly for him?

It’s very easy to become so comfortable in a marriage that women don’t consider how they look. My husband always brags on the way I look and dress. It’s important to him that I look nice even though he tells me he loves me know matter what I wear, or how I dress. The point is for women to care about themselves. We should want to look nice for my husband.

Our Actions

The way we dress ourselves is important, but what is even more worthy of our contemplation, time and effort is our actions.  “…with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”  Our deeds or action and words reflect the depth of our commitment to Christ. 

In the early years of my marriage, I didn’t have a problem with acting appropriately towards my husband. It really wasn’t until after the birth of our son that the stresses of my world overwhelmed me at times and I’d say things to my husband when he upset me that were totally uncalled for and shameful. He reminded me often that I had a sharp tongue. I spouted off and spewed poison when I was angry, saying things I really didn’t mean and hurting him when I knew I shouldn’t. 

This little fault has been difficult for me to conquer. The verse that I read and reflect upon is found in James 3:8 “but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

Taming my tongue has been a much larger task than I can solve for myself. I’m constantly praying for God to help me with taming my tongue. It’s been a long process, but I’m much better now than I was those first years of marriage. I don’t want to hurt my husband, I’ve learned that by saying encouraging and uplifting statements, my attitude changes and the creases I created by frowning has loosened.

Dressing the part for marriage is a two-step process. It takes the clothes we wear, the way we present ourselves as far as our appearance and it takes dressing the part by the attitude we wear daily. A woman wearing negativity will destroy a marriage, but a woman wearing a good positive attitude will make her marriage glow.

Being neat and clean in our dress as well as in our actions will serve as water for our marriage.

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What Do Couples Need To Know Before Getting Married?

 

By Darlene G. Snyder

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I interviewed women in my workplace, church and family in anticipation of writing about marriage.  One question I asked garnered a multitude of answers. The following is the list that represents the responses I received. Some mirror things I posted previously.

Question: What do you believe couples need to know before getting married?

Answers:

  • They should know each other’s spiritual background.
  • They should know who is going to keep (balance) the checkbook.
  • They should explore the other’s thoughts and beliefs regarding financial matters.
  • They should discuss if they want children or not and get an idea of how many they want.
  • They should discuss who will do household chores and who will be responsible for what.
  • They should know that once the I do’s are shared, the spouse becomes a totally different person.
  • They should make sure they have common interests and common goals. Couples should discover if they enjoy doing the same things.
  • They should know where they plan to live, the town, community etc. Do they both agree on the location?

The next few come from my coworkers in the court systems that are wary of people and their backgrounds.

  • They should know and check the criminal background of the other.
  • They should check the other’s credit history.
  • They should know about the other’s medical and family history.

This isn’t a complete list, but it represents what married women believe couples should know before getting married. I believe all are worth looking into and considering.

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Twenty Things You Can Do That Might Help Save Your Marriage

 By Darlene G. Snyder

You will likely read these and discover you have one or two that you could add to the list. If you do, please leave a comment with those suggestions. I’d love to see this list grow.

  • 1. Get together on your finances and all money issues.
  • 2. Keep yourself spiritually fit and attend church regularly.
  • 3. Keep yourself physically fit, clean and stay on top of all health issues.
  • 4. Faithfulness to the marriage and stay committed to each other.
  • 5. Do not be self absorbed or selfish about having your way.
  • 6. Love your in laws and in the least try to get along with them.
  • 7. Don’t speak badly of your inlaws to your spouse This will only lead to trouble. You should never expect your husband to choose between you and his mother.
  • 8. Agree on issues regarding your children.
  • 9. Do not allow your life at work interfere with your marriage.
  • 10. Do not allow your relationship with your friends to interfere with your marriage.
  • 11. Be careful with feelings of jealousy.
  • 12. Take family vacations.
  • 13. Work hard at having a good healthy home life.
  • 14. Alcohol and drugs have no place in a healthy marriage.
  • 15. No put downs of your spouse to friends.
  • 16. Help each other meet goals.
  • 17. Be gentle, kind and understanding of each other.
  • 18. Attend church together.
  • 19. Pray together.
  • 20. Study the Bible together. In the alternative, don’t neglect Bible study, prayer or church attendance just because your spouse isn’t interested.
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Think Before Saying, “I do.”

By Darlene G. Snyder (find me on facebook)


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Recently, for a magazine article that I was writing, I interviewed my Pastor, Ronnie “Butch” Pennington. During the course of the interview, I asked what he believed were the top five areas that every couple should know and explore before marriage. His response follows:

  •  Finances. Every couple should undergo counseling regarding how to budget their money, balance a checkbook and the financial requirements of a marriage. Financial issues can place a strain on a new marriage. Pastor Pennington volunteers to teach couples things such as how to balance a checkbook and money management.
  • Communication. This is where couples fall short sometimes. They need to learn to talk to each other. Learning the heart of the other person is very important to a successful marriage. Couples who don’t talk to each other and share feelings, good or bad are traveling a bumpy road.
  • Sexual Relations. This is an area that some are not comfortable talking about, but Pastor Pennington believes it is important for couples to know what the Bible says about this subject. Pastor Pennington wants couples to understand that this is one of the top three reasons for divorce. Understanding up front what the other expects is vital to any marriage.
  • In-laws. He believes couples should realize they aren’t marrying their in-laws, but it is very important to get along with them. Couples need to be careful not to involve in-laws into their spats. This only serves to create tension and strife within the family.
  • Children. It is important to come to an agreement on raising children and understand the others philosophy. For example, does one believe in spanking children when the other strongly opposes it? How soon does one want children verses how long the other wants to wait?

Pastor Pennington has been in the ministry for nearly thirty-five years.  He has seen and performed several marriages and watched many unravel. He asserts that there are certain things couples need to know before entering into marriage.

His first meeting with a couple tells him whether he will need to do in-depth counseling or just a minimal.  Some things that help him in determining which is appropriate for the couple are the age of the couple, the life experiences and their spiritual maturity.  He often leaves it up to the couple as to how far they want to go with the counseling.

I wasn’t fortunate enough to have gone through pre-marital counseling. Everything I’ve learned in marriage has been through my mistakes and triumphs. What took me a lifetime to learn, Pastor Pennington summed up in five short areas. I didn’t have a list to go by, I didn’t have a counselor to warn me of these things.

In a world where so many marriages begin to deteriorate shortly after the I do’s, it only makes since for couples to consider pre-marital counseling.

What do you think?

Meet Pastor Pennington at http://www.kirksvillebaptistchurch.org/

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Forced to Forgive?

By Darlene G. Snyder (find me on facebook)


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“But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Colossians 3:13 NIV

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

What does these verses have to do with marriage?

I don’t know about you, but had I not been able to forgive my husband for things that happened in our marriage, I would be one miserable puppy. Holding onto grudges and grievances has no place in a marriage. However, in saying that, I realize there are things that happen in a marriage that may seem unforgiveable.

I don’t condone violence or abuse in a marriage and personaly don’t believe God would want us to stay in a marriage where abuse is present. In addition, decisions concerning indiscretions commented in a marriage must be considered by each individual affected. The forgiveness in which I speak has nothing to do with these type instances.

The forgiving spirit is what I’m promoting. When we harbor unforgivness, we are the ones who suffer the most. Actually, it’s our spirit, or our heart that suffers. Many unhappy marriages are directly related to one party or the other not wanting to show forgiveness and move on. So what if he doesn’t go shopping with us, or he watches sports and hogs the remote. So what if he doesn’t want to attend an event that we are dying to see? It’s those little things in a marriage that can kill it if we don’t keep ourselves in check. We must come to a place in our marriage where we work out those little things. Both parties must be willing to bend. When we do that, we conform to each other and ever so slowly become in sync .

We must also be willing to accept apologies. If he offers the heart felt apology, we shouldn’t turn our back and continue to pout. We should learn and grow from the incident.

Asking for forgiveness is another important step.  Not only is it important to forgive, we must also be willing to accept responsibility for our shortcomings, to say the words, “I’m sorry,” and to seek forgiveness when necessary. Fogiveness is a two way street.

Mark 11:25 NIV

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. ”

As Christians we are required to forgive one another. Isn’t it logical thinking that we should be offering that same type of forgiveness in our marriages?

Let me know what you think.

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Five Tips to Strengthen Your Marriage

By Darlene G. Snyder (find me on facebook)


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The following are ideas I’ve gleaned from the my parents and in-laws over the years.  Old fashioned or not, these are what worked for them and has worked for me too.

 

 

·       Communication. Talk to him.  Write notes. Let him know how you feel. Spouses are not mind readers. Have you seen the email that has surfaced a few times that shows what a woman says about a subject and then explains what a man might think she means? It is very true; you can’t assume they know what you mean. Be clear in your communication.

·       Love Notes Leave short notes in his car, lunch box, bathroom or other areas.  Surprise him with the declaration of your love to him.  Often when my husband returned home from work he would tell me where he was when he read my note and who was there.  His lopsided grin melted my heart.

·       Just say it Notes are nice; however, the spoken words I LOVE YOU are necessary.  Voicing your adoration lets him know how you feel. Besides, it’s just nice to hear those words sometimes.

·       Just show it No amount of words can convince someone you love them.  Your actions and response to them can. This is especially true in a marriage.

·       Think of him Plan activities he enjoys, better yet, activities you both enjoy.  Some of the sweetest times together for my husband and I are when we are spending recreation time together. Consider his feelings in all things.

I’ll add a few more another day. Take time to read through these and contemplate upon them. Do you need to make any changes in your attitude?  Let me know if you have a comment or thought about these tips.

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Welcome to Marriage Tips Blog

 
Welcome one and all!

This blog was created to assist women (men are welcome too) who desire a stronger marriage, advice generated from  a Christian viewpoint, and a place to ask questions, seek guideance and to post comments regarding marriage.

Check back often as I will add tips and suggestions as well as articles related to pursueing  a Godly marriage.

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