Wednesday, November 06, 2013

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

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


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

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

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

Chapter 7: Marriage in the Age of Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Chapter 8-Banishing Bitterness to Find Happily Ever After

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

________________________________________________


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

29 comments:

Amy said...

I've had a late start to the marriage challenge and am only a couple days in, but I know that the first day - Captivate Your Husband - probably did as much for me as for him. Even though I only saw my husband for a few hours that day, I tried to think of the little things that would make him feel loved and appreciated. I greeted him and sent him off with a hug and a kiss, I offered to make breakfast for him, I gave him a back rub as we talked about his day, and (perhaps hardest for me) I wore something other than my beloved yoga pants. :-)

Many of these were also ways I found to water our marriage, and I made a point of keeping up with laundry and putting away all of his clean clothes so he wouldn't have to scramble around in the laundry room.

I really appreciated the reminder to pray for my husband and to list specific things to pray about concerning him. It shocked me how easily I can overlook such a simple yet important aspect of my spiritual life and our marriage.

Amber said...

Good morning, ladies! I would have to say that my favorite (or should I say, most convicting) chapter that we read this week would be Chapter 8, Banishing Bitterness To Find Happily Ever After. When Courtney wrote on being a cranky wife, (for example, when I don't get my way) my goodness, is smacked me right between the eyes. I think that pride has to be one of my biggest struggles. I hate to be wrong & often times I set the tone that "if mama ain't happy, nobody's happy." What an embarrassing thing to demonstrate in my life & to admit out loud!!! Admitting that I'm wrong if a HUGE, HUGE issue for me, as well. It's like I just can't get those words out of my mouth... It's as if my throat is closing up. This is an area which MUST to surrendered to the Lord on a DAILY basis (we battle our sin nature each & every day, right?!). So this chapter, as well as your comments above, Mandy, have been be a huge encouragement. I think sometimes half of the battle is just recognizing that there is a problem & I'm grateful that this weeks readings opened my eyes to the sin in my own life.
p.s. the stormie omartian book (the power of a praying wife) that courtney suggested on pg 95 is excellent! in fact, all of stormie's books are beautiful.

Amber said...

Hi Amy! Yes, praying for our husbands seems like such a no-brainer but can so easily get overlooked. I loved how Courtney made suggestions about making certain things reminders to whisper a prayer for our men (her's were her wedding ring or a bucket truck). I'm going to try to make it a habit to pray for my husband every day as I pack his lunch to take to work. Over the years my wedding ring has gotta a little "big" on my finger & I've just never taken it in to have it resized, so quite often I find that the top of my ring has rolled around & is now on my bottom of my finger (so annoying! ha!) & I then rotate it around. I think I'll take that as a cue to whisper a prayer for him then too! :)

Shonda said...

I am loving this study. Doing these challenges really makes me focus on my husband. I only did 1 day, but I will get to them all at some point! Thank you, Mandy, for sharing what your struggles and victories are. I mostly feel that I hold things in and point out things in a very underhanded way that are disrespectful. I'm watching my tongue. I also need to create more time to spend with my husband as we get wrapped up in things we want to do alone rather than with each other.

Lerin said...

Hi ladies!!! I am only just now discovering the study as I stumbled across the fb page last night, but I feel myself being lead to participate. I have been praying and reading about being more of a submissive wife to my hubby and feel I could really benefit from this. I'm so excited to jump in! Thank you!!

Stephanie Fereday Liebert said...

I have had a great time doing this challenge and reading the book. My husband has definitely noticed that I am "different." Some days can be difficult with homeschooling a 10-year-old, running after a 17 month old, teaching college part-time online and keeping up with house. He loved his email about what I admire. He was almost speechless. When I sent him a list of things I do and asked him to prioritize them, I was a little surprised at his order. He put me taking care of the kids and teaching Bailey at the top, which I figured, but I listed 9 things and the last was cooking and cleaning. I honestly thought he cared a great deal about that and would sometimes work myself into a frenzy to make sure meals are cooked, house picked up, etc. However, he has told me that he doesn't mind coming home and helping with dinner or laundry if it has been a challenging day around here since he knows how hard I work. I even got flowers thanking me for all I do. I feel pretty blessed. I have thought we have a pretty great marriage, but it is getting even better! I made him an apple pie to thank him for being awesome!

Cassie Sapp said...

The challenges have been so much fun! I text my husband my the list of the things I admire about him, and he loved it, it made me feel so good knowing how great I made him feel about himself!! I gave my husband my list to prioritize, it was really refreshing to see, that out of all the things I do (Including my full time job), a hot meal a clean home, and a little intimacy, are the most important to him. How easy are those to handle!!!??? I can do that!!! We put so much on our plates and stretch ourselves so thin, we forget out easy it actually is to please our men!

Mandy said...

wohooo!! how exciting!! I know my husband really enjoys being able to easily find clothes to wear for the day- it never really hit me until this week that it blesses him to find underwear in his drawer, but it does! :) and I need to do the wedding ring thing too! What a great reminder!! yay Amy and Amber!! way to go this week girls!! :D

Mandy said...

oh I want to check that one out at the library this week!! thank you for reminding me of it!! I am SO with you girlie! It's so hard to even admit it's a struggle isn't it? So glad we're in this together!! And you're so right- it is daily- sometimes hourly for me! so happy to hear how this affected you this week too! :D

Mandy said...

ohhhh yes, underhanded is a big deal- it's often so subtle it's hard to recognize isn't it? thank you for joining in and sharing your struggles too- it somehow so freeing to confess our problems and recognize them aloud! so GOOD!

Mandy said...

Welcome Lerin!! I'm so glad you're here!! woohoo! can't wait to hear how the book is for you! :)

Mandy said...

okay I totally couldn't stop smiling after I read your comment! EEEE!!! I love, love, love your week! thank you Jesus for even sweeter moments!! :D

Mandy said...

how awesome!! Isn't it funny how we get so bogged down in tiny things that don't matter, when all they want is the simple things? My husband was just like yours! :)

Kierstin said...

I love this study and am so grateful I found it! I'm disappointed in my friends that are "too busy" to do this as they don't know what amazing stuff they are missing! This weekend we went to the beach for a get away. I read Chapter 7 on the way there and decided to turn my cell phone off and put it in my glove compartment for the weekend. My husband was so thrilled!!!!!! (It was not easy but did feel so good!!) I really need to work on it more (putting technology away). Just like a diet-- I do good for a while and then I fall off the wagon! It was a wonderful weekend to not check my email, texts and FB.
My critical crankiness comes from HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired) If I'm one of those I need to HALT and fix something quickly inside of me and ask God for help.
Thank you again. I love this...

Tori said...

It was a great week! The admiration list was the BEST! It was awesome to see his face after he read it. I know he appreciated it a lot! I was also surprised how he ranked my priorities. It will take some pressure off to know the things he doesn't mind helping with, and which things he'd rather I tackle on my own. I love the yoga pant comment...I know as stay-at-home moms we can often get complacent in our daily clothing options. Yoga pants and jeans and t-shirts have replaced my professional teacher wardrobe that I wore for the first 10 years of our marriage!! I also broke out of my comfort zone this week and wore some new skinny jeans (I've been working for a couple of years to get more healthy after four kids and have now lost 40 lbs and dropped several sizes so this is my first venture into skinny jean land!! :)) and top that he likes and he was so excited when he got home and saw me dressed up a little for him! I need to do that more often for sure! It will be a daily struggle to remember to not be the critical, cranky wife, but I am improving. Each time I hold my tongue and choose kind words, it does get easier!! It will be a forever challenge, but with God's strength I will be up for it! Looking forward to another great week!

Proverbs31Woman said...

When my hubby and I were having issues in the first couple of years in our marriage 'Power of a praying wife' was the first book I picked up. I had bought it as a wedding gift to myself but I never took the time to read it until problems arose. But once I began to read that book it made a huge difference in me and in my marriage. It wasn't until I did that that our marriage began to take a turn around for the better. Since then I have been giving it as a wedding gift to friends who are getting married and recommending it to friends who are already married. Always with great testimonies and great results :)

Rivkah said...

Ok so I'm only commenting on here because blogs don't have a like button or perhaps even a LOVE button :) I am only on day 3 and it's been amazing!!!!!!! Things have been going so well and our marriage is feeling more and more alive. Can't wait to do the priorities one. But anywho my point was that I love what is happening in your marriage Stephanie and I'm excited to see what's going to happen in mine! So I LOVE this! :)

Anonymous said...

My husband works 12 hr shifts, so we haven't been together long enough this week for me to do many of the challenges, but I'm ready for this weekend! My parents are taking our 3 children for a night and I am going to practice what I've been learning! Can't wait...alone time is a rare treat, but alone with the wisdom I have taken from this book is going to be awesome!!
Beth

Aimee Niblack said...

This has been such a great study so far! This week was definitely convicting. I can get very critical, mostly when what he does goes against my expectations. I try to be his "Holy Spirit" and have such a hard time keeping my mouth shut and just loving him like Jesus does. I'm on day 3 of the challenge, and look forward to finishing it. The thing that stuck out most to me this week was where she said that how we handle our husband's shortcomings reveals more about our character than theirs (or something like that). That really hit me hard, because my prideful self thinks my character is pretty good, and that's why I need to "enlighten" my husband. I'm really working on how I handle his flaws. I sure have plenty of my own to deal with!

Alley said...

Hi Ladies! I just found this study on fb too and was so excited to read the prior post. I am looking forward to reading and participating this coming week so that I might have something to share next week :) ...I love the encouragement that I have received from these posts on doing life well...seeking God with all our hearts, loving our husbands fiercely. I enjoy the community I have found here.

Alley said...

I'm proud of you for your skinny jeans adventure :) ...So often I get caught up in having a beautiful spirit that I put physical beauty on the back burner, but I know it is a big deal to our husbands that we be beautiful. I want to make a more concentrated effort to be beautiful to my husband, both inwardly and outwardly :)

Emmas Closet said...

I just ran across this, but I have a question. Do you think this would be a good study for someone who is single? I am (44 years old), and have the desire to be married, and still waiting for God to bring that person into my life. I have a lot of background of issues that I have been working through, which I am pretty sure has led to me being single this long... a whole other story. But do you think this would be a good study for a single woman?

Alley said...

There are references to husbands/family in this book, but it isn't "wives" living well. It's Women Living Well :)... You can easily apply the principles geared toward husbands/kids to family members/friends. God also calls Himself our Husband in Isaiah 54:5. You could make a list of things you admire about God instead of a husband. It will help you draw closer to Him and that is all we all really need. I say you should definitely go for! :)

Maria said...

I really enjoyed this weeks readings. I wrote a letter to my husband with the things I admire most about him and put them on his money clip to see in the morning. It was great to see his facial expression when he saw the note. I whispered to him to read it at work. And by doing this I watered our marriage as well. He ranked my list of things I do and I was surprised that what I thought was more important, a clean house and home cooked meal, was the least for him. On top of his list is spending more time together. I will surely be spending more time together going forward and water our marriage some more. Thank you again for this study. God Bless.

Latasha Castaneda said...

I really like the challenges especially the first one. That one really open up my eyes about our relationship. I forget that sometimes we have to date our husband. I have to learn to separate our parenthood from our relationship. I noticed in that challenge that I don't date my husband. It has been hard but I just got lost in motherhood. We have two boys and I did suffer a miscarriage. When I got pregnant afterwards I was so happy and once he was born he has practically never left my side. I have been scared that something will happen but I have to learn that it wont. Anyways what I mean by all that is that I have to tell myself that my husband doesn't just has a mother to his kids he has a wife. We are going to go on a date end of the month that I can't wear jeans, t-shirt, and my hair in a messy bun. My husband and I are going to dress up and enjoy ourselves. He had also loved the admiration letter. We do hardly spend time alone and when we do I have to tell him what needs to be fix, bills, and other stuff that stresses him out. I know he appreciated that letter.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha...yes...we're in this together! The question in your study Mandy or Courtney's (I can't remember) about are you 1st to apologize really convicted me. It also gave me a chance to thank my husband for how he leads in conflict- forgiveness- and reconciliation. God revealed that although I have SO MUCH work to do in this area of pride and forgiveness, He has graciously given me a husband who does not let conflict go unresolved. So thankful for that! We're in this together ladies ;) -Jessica

Doug and Jessica said...

My husband and I instilled a new rule in our marriage called the "comment rule." We found ourselves making slight jabs at each other that weren't loving or respectful. We also find ourselves saying these little comments about others and even ourselves- negative self talk. So when we feel the other person is making a "comment," we ask...was that a "comment"? It gives each of us a quick chance to check our hearts and say, "yep, that was a comment...please forgive me." Since we started doing this we have seen how many other couples make "comments" and don't even recognize it. It's been a blessing in our marriage...just wanted to throw that idea out to you ladies.

An example of a 'comment' would be...."Well yes that would be nice if you did the laundry...but..."
Something that's kind of sarcastic but the heart behind it is cutting, unloving, and disrespectful. Hope that makes sense :)

EsposaEnamorada said...

The readings were a strong reminder of the things I struggle with and need to work on personally. I can definitely become the "cranky" wife. A lot of this happens when I feel like my husband is not leading on top of feeling tired, hungry, sleep deprived and lonely at times. My husband travels a lot for work, so our time alone is very limited and although I know its important to have quality family time, I always feel like alone time is put to the side as well as getting things done that pile up when he is gone for work. Although my words or attitude are not necessarily disrespectful, my words can be delivered too sharply and honestly. I guess sometimes I take his lack of following through on tasks or taking care of something that has been outstanding as way of disrespecting my feelings and what is important to me. I need to pray on this and keep up the work we have been doing this last few weeks. Many times I get caught up in my role as a mother and taking care of the home that I forget how to talk to him as a loving wife instead of irritated mother, etc. However, after reflecting on what we've been reading, I need to not focus on the negative and be thankful for the patient and hardworking man he his. I am very much looking forward to doing the challenges, it may take me a little more to get them done while he is away, but I have a feeling it will be very beneficial and helpful to our marriage.

PhilandKeiPlus3 said...

The thing that resonated with me most this week was the section about "leadership" and following even if you didn't think your husband was leading "right". I am the more religious between the two of us and my husband is still struggling with some things in the area of religion so I was always upset that I didn't think he was being a good spiritual leader, but I decided to let it go and pray for my husbands heart instead of trying to lead him on how to lead us.

I am watering my marriage by smiling at my husbands more, remembering that soft answer turns away wrath, and remembering to apologize when necessary.

I am loving this book. Mine is full of post-it flags and highlighter.

Ka'ea Waldrop

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