Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

God wants your life and my life to be a testimony to His faithfulness. “I’m going to do what God’s Word says whether I feel like it or not, whether it makes sense or not, whether I like it or not. I’m staking my ground, casting my lot with God and His Word. I choose the pathway of faithfulness because it’s right.”

Your life then becomes a living demonstration of the faithful, character-keeping nature of God. God does not hold you accountable for your husband’s choices. God holds you accountable to obey Him.

And God can and will bless you regardless of what your mate chooses to do. Your happiness, your wholeness, your well being, your peace of mind is not dependent on what your mate chooses to do.

That’s why your happiness has to be independent of anyone and anything else in your life. “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47). Lord, my expectation is from You. You satisfy.

If you’re putting your expectations and your hope in having a good marriage, that’s the wrong goal. Now, it’s not bad to want to have a good marriage, but that’s not the right ultimate goal. You have to have a goal that is for the glory of God, and no one can keep you from that.

~Nancy Leigh DeMoss in “For the Long Haul

Photo: OBMonkey

Jesus Saves Marriages

“Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

Mark 10:9

If you’re troubled by the condition of marriage within our culture today, I think this video will encourage your heart. We’re often told that marriages between believers are just as likely to end in divorce as are marriages between unbelievers, but Mark Driscoll explains why that statement is simply not true. As one of my biblical counseling professors often says, to claim that Jesus Christ doesn’t make a difference within marriage is preposterous.

Here are some basic ideas on ensuring that your marriage goes the distance…

Photo: Nat Arnett

More on Renewing Marital Intimacy

If you found yesterday’s link to David Powlison’s booklet on Renewing Marital Intimacy to be of interest, then you may also want to check into Dr. Powlison’s 3-part video series on the topic. Here’s the first…

View Part 2 HERE.
View Part 3 HERE.

Photo: Gavin Spencer

Free Download: Renewing Marital Intimacy

New Growth Press is offering a free download of a great little booklet by David Powlison called Renewing Marital Intimacy: Closing the Gap Between You and Your Spouse. If you or someone you know is experiencing a lack of intimacy within marriage, I’d encourage you to check out the helpful biblical teaching and practical steps toward change that Dr. Powlison shares in this booklet.

Here’s an excerpt:  

There is joy and delight when there’s affection, closeness, sparkle, romance, and sexual intimacy. But if you are living for intimacy, if you must have it or else, then you are not living for God.

If you are living for intimacy and you aren’t getting that from your husband, you will be tempted to bitterness, despair, and even fantasizing about other men. This is where you need God’s forgiveness and power to change. Center your life on intimacy with God, and he will give you the freedom to love your spouse without demanding intimacy from him.

If you seek intimacy with your spouse, you’ll always be disappointed. If you seek to love your spouse the way God loves you, you’ll never be disappointed. You will fail. You’ll still be hurt by your spouse’s sins. You’ll still get preoccupied by other desires. But in the long run there will be change. Intimacy will come your way—not always the way you’d like it or at the exact time you’d like it—but learning to love God will change your relationship with your spouse.

Read or download Renewing Marital Intimacy HERE.

Finding Harmony in Your Home

“Live in harmony with one another.”

Romans 12:16

Even the most loving of couples will experience moments when the music of their home seems composed entirely of discordant tones. In difficult times of conflict, how can a husband and wife find their way back to harmony? Dennis and Barbara Rainey offer hope and help in their article “Six Steps for Resolving Conflict in Marriage“:

As difficult as it is to work through conflict in marriage, we can claim God’s promises as we do so. Not only does God bless our efforts based on His Word, but He also tells us He has an ultimate purpose for our trials. First Peter 1:6-7 tells us,

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

God’s purpose in our conflicts is to test our faith, to produce endurance, to refine us, and to bring glory to Himself. This is the hope He gives us—that we can actually approach our conflicts as an opportunity to strengthen our faith and to glorify God.

Dennis and Barbara offer practical advice on implementing these six steps:

  • Step One: Resolving conflict requires knowing, accepting, and adjusting to your differences. 
  • Step Two: Resolving conflict requires defeating selfishness.
  • Step Three: Resolving conflict requires pursuing the other person.
  • Step Four: Resolving conflict requires loving confrontation.
  • Step Five: Resolving conflict requires forgiveness.
  • Step Six: Resolving conflict requires returning a blessing for an insult.

Read the entire article HERE.

 

Image: ilker

Mercy through the Generations

“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”

Romans 12:6,8

Marriage is about more than personal happiness, fulfillment, or stability. It’s a portrait of God’s power painted for the world to see. The following video tells the story of one family that has faithfully reflected His mercy for generations.

Video: Studio428
Photo: Christy Thompson

Elisabeth Elliot on Marriage

Just a few days ago on Elisabeth Elliot’s 84th birthday, I visited her website in the hopes of finding a recent update about her and her husband. Although I didn’t discover much that was new since my last visit, I was very excited to see that Elisabeth’s husband Lars had recently posted a rough draft of an unpublished book on marriage which she had written a few years ago. The book never reached a finished state, but I have a feeling that even in its rough form, a draft penned by Elisabeth Elliot is likely to outshine the majority of finely polished works on marriage occupying the shelves of Christian bookstores today. With that thought in mind, I printed out the entire manuscript so I could read it and share some of its treasures with you.

Here’s one such jewel from Marriage: A Revolution and a Revelation

A honeymooning couple may be so dazzled with love that they fail to notice peculiarities which will soon surprise them. The return from the honeymoon begins the knotty matters of the four b’s’– bedroom, bathroom, breakfast and budget. They may be in for a painful jolt when they find that patience must do its perfect work. He wants the windows open at night, she wants them closed. He fires his towel over the rack from the other side of the bathroom. She wants towels neatly folded to show the monograms. He shoulders his way to the mirror to shave, can’t fathom how she can take such ages with her hair. Alas. What revelations begin to surface! He’s used to stretching his frame diagonally across the bed, which consigns her to a triangle. But, bless his heart, the next morning he helps her make the bed–his mother told him it’s easy with two. Suppose he showers and she bathes–will there be enough hot water for both? Somebody must make the coffee. Will he/she make it “right”? He expects country ham, two eggs, grits and hot biscuits, while she somehow manages on a piece of dry toast. Then, within a short time, one of them discovers that the other has no idea whatsoever about the use of money—a major setback..

No wonder Rex Harrison (in My Fair Lady) sang “Let a woman in your life and your serenity is through! She’ll redecorate your home from the cellar to the dome and then go on to the enthralling fun of overhauling you!”

Are you wishing you had a different set of peculiarities to live with? You begin to take stock of things. What blessings did you receive–perhaps eighty-percent of what you had hoped for? Trust God then for the rest. Let patience have her perfect work.

A bridegroom chooses to marry a woman because he loves her. Now he must choose to love her because he married her. He ought to cherish this responsibility and thank God daily for His gift.

“O God who art Love, grant to Thy children to bear one another’s burdens in perfect good will, that thy peace which passeth understanding may keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (The Book of Hours, 1865)

Photo: elisabethelliot.org

Ruined by Man, Restored by God

“You did awesome things which we did not expect…”

Isaiah 64:3

In the midst of severe marital difficulties, it’s very easy for husbands and wives to begin believing their relationship has passed the point of healing. The following testimony serves as a powerful reminder that no marriage is so broken that God cannot bring restoration…

Video: Adam Kring
Photo: Kostya Kisleyko

Ask Mel–What Should I Do if My Husband Won’t Lead?

 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her
by the washing of water with the word…”

Ephesians 5:25

Just a few thoughts on a widespread problem… 

Have a question for Mel? Send it to preciousadornment@gmail.com.

What thoughts would you share to help women struggling with this issue?

Photo: Jesper Noer

Ask Mel

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”

Ephesians 5:22

What does submission look like when a husband asks his wife to follow him into sin? The topic of today’s video…

Do you have a question about the Christian life that you’d like to ask Mel?
Send an email to
preciousadornment@gmail.com.



Illustration: Sigurd Decroos

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

Based on Ephesians 5, I suggested that submission is the divine calling of a wife to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts. That’s what we see here [in 1 Peter 3:1-6] as well. It’s the disposition to follow a husband’s authority, and an inclination to yield to his leadership. It is an attitude that says, “I delight for you to take the initiative in our family. I am glad when you take responsibility for things and lead with love. I don’t flourish in the relationship when you are passive and I have to make sure the family works.”

But submission does not follow a husband into sin. What then does submission say in such a situation? What does submission say to a husband who is leading a wife into sin? It says, “It grieves me when you venture into sinful acts and want to take me with you. You know I can’t do that. I have no desire to resist you. On the contrary, I flourish most when I can respond joyfully to your lead; but I can’t follow you into sin, as much as I love to honor your leadership in our marriage. Christ is my King.”…

If our marriages are going to tell the truth about Christ and his church, we cannot be indifferent to the meaning of headship and submission. And let it not go unsaid that God’s purpose for the church–and for the Christian wife who represents it–is her everlasting, holy joy. Christ died for her to bring that about.

~John Piper in This Momentary Marriage

Photo: OBMonkey

“God is My God; Covenant is My Life!”

“So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.”

Malachi 2:15b

Sometimes when I sit down to write, the thoughts and ideas flow readily from my noggin. Today was not one of those occasions. After trying unsuccessfully to hammer out the sequel to yesterday’s post for one late night hour too many, I decided to call it quits until tomorrow. Although I don’t like being a quitter, I concluded ’twas better for me to take a break than to publish incoherent thoughts I’d regret in the light of day. The topic of the sanctity of marriage is far too important for me to mishandle, so I hope you’ll pardon the delay.

In lieu of posting a new article, I thought I’d pass on this powerful sermon excerpt from John Piper on the covenantal nature of marriage.  What a difference it would make if we as Christian women committed to uphold this truth, “Staying married is not about staying in love; it’s about covenant keeping.”  

Photo: kuger13

Stop Snipping; Start Sewing

“…What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate”

Matthew 19:6

Unless you’ve recently emerged from a hole in the ground, discussions regarding the all-out assault on marriage in our society have likely grown familiar to you. For many years, the voices of those opposing traditional marriage remained basically drowned out by the overwhelming volume of those voicing their support. Yet over time, what was once a quiet and occasional murmur of resistance has morphed into an almost constant and deafening roar for revolution. The opponents of traditional marriage have driven their messages into every nook and cranny of society–the movies, media, bookstores, schoolrooms, and even many churches have the now popular mantras playing on a loop. Traditional marriage is a relic of a bygone age, they assert, a new era requires new openness. Claiming that no one has the right to restrict the happiness of another, they aim to demolish the definition of marriage upon which every stable society stands in order to erect another in its place.

If these revolutionaries succeed, the traditional definition of marriage as a sacred institution between one man and one woman for one lifetime will soon vanish, and another will take its place:

Marriage–A social institution between one man and one woman for as long as it’s convenient

…Perhaps this isn’t quite the revision you were expecting. I understand your confusion. We hear so much about the war against traditional marriage that when the subject is raised our thoughts automatically turn to the push for homosexual marriage. Although the drive to normalize homosexuality is indeed a major concern, it is not the concern of the article you’re currently reading. No, today I want to focus on a far more subtle, far more palatable, yet perhaps more dangerous threat to traditional marriage—the widespread occurrence and increasing acceptance of divorce within the church.

You see, long before the homosexual community ever dreamed of taking the idea seriously, professing Christians were busy redefining marriage. I suppose you wouldn’t be too far off if you theorized that the homosexual community may have been emboldened to advance its own cause after observing how the churchgoing crowd slowly but surely loosened up the restrictive definition of traditional marriage to accomodate its own desire for comfort. Surely, if you can make the switch from one man-one woman for one lifetime to one man-one woman for as long as it’s convenient, then the elimination of the gender distinction can’t be lagging too many years behind. It’s hard to ditch some of the sanctity of marriage without eventually losing it all.

Thousands upon thousands in the church today are joining in the defense of the traditional definition of marriage (which of course, they should), describing it as the fabric which holds our society together. Yet what so many seem perfectly happy to ignore is that we in the church have been clipping the threads of that fabric for decades now, and we did it one divorce at a time. Now, as we attempt to take a stand against the swell of opponents facing us on this new battlefront, we do so with our shredded banner flying overhead, wondering all the while why our opponents mock us as though we entered the fight without giving a single thought to our battle plan.   

Of course, there was a day many years ago, when the church did have a leg to stand on in this debate. It was way back when the church took its definition of marriage from the Bible instead of from the culture, when marriage was not only defined as sacred, but also treated as such, and when one man-one woman-one lifetime wasn’t riddled with loopholes. Although the Word of God hasn’t changed in regard to marriage, if you observe the haphazard treatment of marriage among the people of God in modern times, you could very easily be led to believe that the Author had published a new edition of His marriage manual. Yet the Word of God still stands as a clear testimony of God’s eternal hatred of divorce (Mal. 2:16). If God’s Word hasn’t changed on the issue of divorce, it begs the question, “Why have we?”

Tomorrow, I want to look more at the vital issue of the sanctity of marriage. In this area, as in all other aspects of the Christian life, we must follow the infallible guidance God has provided for us in His Word. Although the world strives relentlessly to mold us into its ever-changing image, we must cling to the countercultural call of Scripture, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

Photo: Nat Arnett

Making the Right Change in Marriage

   

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…”

Romans 8:28-29   

In addition to attempt to unlock the secrets of the universe, the brilliant scientist Albert Einstein also applied his genius to making keen observations about the mysterious union known as marriage. Although E=mc2 is the formula for which Einstein is most often remembered, he is also noted for verbalizing another, “Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed.”    

Einstein’s analysis could rightly be referred to as the ideal formula for marital disappointment. To enter marriage with faulty expectations for how your spouse will or will not change is to haphazardly balance your hopes on the edge of a precipice from which they will soon be dashed. How much better prepared young men and women would be if they exchanged their vows while fully mindful of the fact that from that moment on, neither one of them would ever be the same again. In order to have a God-honoring marriage, both husband and wife must be committed to changing slowly, yet deliberately, each and every day of their life together.   

In his book What Did You Expect?, Paul Tripp helps couples learn to develop appropriate biblical expectations for change within marriage: 

Every marriage between the fall and eternity is in the middle of a lifelong process of change. Your marriage may be better than it once was, but it is not yet all that it could be. In marriage you are meant to grow together in an increasingly maturing love and to grow personally in your love and service of the Lord.    

You see, patience in marriage is vital, because the goal of marriage is greater than marriage. The goal of marriage, from God’s perspective, is not that you would reach some mutually agreed-upon plateau of romantic and interpersonal happiness. No, God’s goals are much wider and more beautiful than that. God’s goal is that your marriage would be a major tool in his wise and loving hands to rescue you from claustrophobic self-worship and form you into a person who lives for nothing smaller than his kingdom, his righteousness, and his glory. God’s goal is to transform you at the causal core of your personhood–your heart. He is working so that everything you think, desire, say, and do is done in loyal and joyful service to him. God’s goal is not to deliver to you your well-thought-through dream of personal happiness. No, his goal is nothing less than holiness; or as Peter says, that you may become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).    

(What Did You Expect?, p.244; emphasis added) 

Tripp explains the importance of focusing your attention on your own need for change within marriage instead of your spouse’s:

   

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Photo: Penny Mathews   

Video: Crossway

Watch What You Eat, Pray, and Love

“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

Matthew 19:6

Have you lost touch with who you are? The probing question flashes across the screen of the movie trailer promoting the soon-to-be-released summer blockbuster Eat, Pray, Love. Read by millions, lauded by Oprah, printed in over 30 languages, and listed as a New York Times Bestseller for over 180 weeks, Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir of her yearlong journey of self-discovery is now ready to rock the box office. With Julia Roberts in the lead, Eat, Pray, Love promises drama, romance, and international adventure–all in all, the kind of chick flick that females love to chirp about. 

Yet as enchanting and entertaining as Gilbert’s quest to become an “autonomous woman” may appear to readers and moviegoers, her tale is founded upon the deadly presupposition that a woman’s chief pursuit in life is her personal happiness. In order to obtain the happiness that eluded her, Gilbert forsook her marriage vows, obtained a divorce, and became involved in a short-lived relationship with another man before finally connecting with Felipe, her “soulmate” of sorts in Bali. After reluctantly entering into marriage with Felipe (visa issues complicated their otherwise storybook love affair), Gilbert followed up Eat, Pray, Love with a sequel entitled Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage which chronicles her journey from aversion to acceptance of life as a married woman.

Wonder why I’m telling you all of this? Because as Christian women, we have a vital responsibility to exercise discernment and guard our hearts against deceptive philosophies. The beast of discontent is easily awakened in a woman’s soul, and we must constantly ensure that this insatiable creature is starved rather than fed. Every day in our culture, juicy tidbits are thrown across our paths which if swallowed, will nourish our flesh and weaken our spirit. Instead of allowing our sinful hearts to feast upon worldly thoughts like “You need to find yourself,” “Pursue happiness at all costs,” “You deserve better,” or “Your soulmate is still out there somewhere,” we must feed ourselves on the truths of God’s Word, recognizing that deadly lies are often disguised by expressions that sound oh, so right to our itching ears (Prov. 14:12). 

If we are to be women of virtue, ladies who honor and esteem marriage, and wives who model faithfulness and purity, we need to devote ourselves to thinking God’s thoughts after Him, understanding that in the wisdom of His plan, our happiness remains inseparably tied to our growth in holiness. Instead of being women who search for everything, let’s be women who pursue only one thing–the glory of God, for it is there that we will find everything worth having.

With its glamorization of starter wives, the hook-up culture, and disposable relationships, our society incessantly hammers us with a low view of marriage and commitment. But as women of God, we must continue to stand against the tide by highly esteeming and cherishing the sacred union of marriage just as He intended. For us, the danger is not in losing touch with who we are, but in losing sight of who God is. May we never confuse the two.

 

Thoughts to help us treasure marriage as God does…

John MacArthur reminds us of the crucial distinctives of Christian marriage:

The two key attitudes in a successful marriage are self-denial and self-giving, both of which are contrary to human nature but made possible to those who trust in God through Christ.

A related truth is the Golden Rule our Lord gave in the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Treat people the same way you want them to treat you’ (Matthew 7:12). You’ll never have a better opportunity to do that than in marriage. There must be forgiving love and restoring grace in a marriage. That alone makes marriage a proper symbol of God’s forgiving love and restoring grace. That is the magnificence of marriage. Its permanence symbolizes God’s permanent relationship with His people. To pursue divorce is to miss the whole point of God’s dramatization in the story of Hosea and Gomer, the whole point of our Lord’s love for His church, and thus the whole point of marriage. God truly hates divorce.

(The Divorce Dilemma: God’s Last Word on Lasting Commitment, pp. 17-18)

“Dancing in the Minefields” by Andrew Peterson–a song celebrating the beauty and sanctity of marriage as designed by God

Photo: Mike Goodwin