5 Words That Could Mean Life or Death to Your Marriage

If you’ve followed my blog for a length of time, you may remember this article I wrote. It ended up going viral in December 2013. Since it’s been almost four years and I have new readers, I wanted to repost it. I pray the Lord will use it to encourage and strengthen your marriage!

A few weeks ago, my friend Charity wrote on Facebook that a photo of her friend’s grandparents had made The Huffington Post. I clicked on the link and saw the breathtaking image of this husband and wife. I was instantly caught up in the beauty and tragedy of it.

I imagined what was going through the wife’s mind as she held the fragile hand of her dying husband. I imagined the memories they shared together—the joys and challenges. I imagined the birth of their first child and raising a family in their home. I pictured his strength and her beauty at a young age.

From the expression on her face, I saw a woman who deeply loved her man. A woman who fulfilled her commitment and stood on her word to love him “Until death do us part.” I saw the ache in her soul that he was breathing his last breaths and soon, he would no longer be by her side as her protector, provider, soul-mate, comforter, delight, lover and friend.

And my soul began to ache as I thought about my husband and the deep love we share for one another. It made me think of the vows I promised him on a wintry December day in Virginia amongst all our family and friends eight years ago:

I, Samantha, take you, Jeremiah, to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

I also thought about the ways I’d failed my husband over the years and how I still have many areas of growth in loving him the way God intends.

Begin with the End in Mind

The five words “Until death do us part” are spoken of at the wedding altar in regards to lasting commitment but the reality of death being the actual end of the marriage is rarely expounded on. After all, the wedding ceremony shouldn’t be depressing right?

But the truth is that in order for our marriages to have the life they need to survive the long haul, we have to begin with the end in mind. Death—no matter how much we try to escape it—is the end and we have made a promise to God, our spouse, and other witnesses to love our spouse until then.

It sounds so easy and simple, but to actually live that out is another story. That’s why so many marriages end in divorce. Contrary to popular ideals, marriage is not a bed of roses, but is a battlefield that demands a daily dying to self.

Because of our sinful, stubborn, selfish natures we inherited in the garden, we continue to bring that nasty nature into our marriages—into all our relationships in fact. The manner in which we relate to our spouses and handle conflict is often broken. Ask anyone who’s been married for a little while and they’ll tell you just how much the molehills become mountains. Often they come out of nowhere and seem impossible to climb.

When we don’t get our way, conflict arises. When our spouse forgets his wallet or keys and makes us late to an important event, we grow angry. When he isn’t fulfilling our needs and desires the way we’d like, we have a pity party. When he doesn’t help out around the house enough, we grow bitter and nag.

When our spouse is short with us or raises his voice, we go on the defense and lash back. When he watches too much football, we tell him to get off the couch and get to work. And the list goes on. Conflict is a natural part of the marriage relationship and if it’s not happening internally at the moment, it’s guaranteed to hit you from the outside in just a matter of time.

Choose Humility & Forgiveness

The hope is that we can still have conflict in the midst of a healthy marriage defined by love. Through confessing our sins, repenting, and seeking forgiveness habitually, God refines those areas where we’re weak. Like iron sharpening iron, God uses our spouse to help change us. We put our hope and trust in God for help and guidance.

It’s having that humility before our spouse to say, “I know I’ve screwed up. But I love you and I’m committed to you every day of my life to make our marriage thrive.”

It’s realizing that, “Will you forgive me?” may just have to become a part of your daily vocabulary.

It’s choosing not to be isolated and asking trusted friends or family to encourage and help you get back on the road to loving and serving one another again.

It’s understanding that even if your spouse is driving you crazy and you want so badly for him to change that you may have to look in the mirror first to see where you need changing. Then you can dig your knees into the ground and pray for him.

It’s remembering that the very act of touching your husband’s hands, sexual intimacy, bearing children, laughing, working, playing, and eating meals together is all an act of grace that should instill gratitude in your heart. All of those life-giving moments are gifts that are not guaranteed or promised forever.

Being able to call him husband is a gift in and of itself.

Fight the Battle Against Sin

Above that beautiful image of the elderly couple, I read that the grandson wrote that they’d been together for 68 years and still kissed 15 times before bed every night.

As the wife sat next to her husband’s death bed, I’m guessing she wasn’t thinking about the times they fought or let each other down, but only the good, sweet, joyful, holy, precious, sacred times God had given them as husband and wife on this earth. There’s no doubt there was gratefulness and a deep sadness in her heart that it was ending.

Life is a vapor, as we know from Solomon in Ecclesiastes, and no matter how much we try to deny it, death is waiting for us and our spouse in the end. So the fight against sin in our marriage is worth it because one day, if we know and belong to Christ, He is going to make all our brokenness whole again and we will be made perfect as He is.

And the words “Until death do us part” don’t have to be brushed over, denied, or forgotten, but can inspire us toward a greater, selfless love for our spouse and ultimately for God.

Blessings to you,

Samantha

Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. She is the author of Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches.

 

 

 

 

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3 Ways to Waste Your Time Wisely in 2017


My friend and neighbor Jill invited me over for coffee a few days ago and we got on the topic of time and how it goes by so quickly.

“How is it already 2017?” she asked. “You’ve been here two years in June.”

She’s always good at remembering dates. I nodded my head and agreed that our years spent in our new town have flown by so fast. I shared how the year I graduated high school (2000), everyone was talking about 2020 and the end of the world. We aren’t too far from that now!

It seems like as soon as Christmas arrives, stores are stocking their shelves with Valentine goodies before we even have time to take down our lights and trees. The older I get, the more I realize just how fragile time is. There is only so much time in the day and scripture tells us that our days are numbered. We don’t get to choose when God calls us home and we breathe our final breaths on this earth. One thing that is certainly sobering is that time moves on whether we like it or not.

So, how can we begin 2017 by making the most of our delicate days?

1.) Waste your time wisely by being a “Hands Free Mama.”

Currently, there’s no greater time waster for me than my phone. Ugh. I love it and I hate it. Being a creative communicator, I love connecting with friends and sharing words on social media. I love knowing what others are doing and I love photography so I could spend all day on Instagram. But it’s also something I get easily addicted to. I’m cracking down on the minutes I spend on my phone doing those things so that I can say “yes” to better things (like writing an article or blog post or… maybe even cleaning my bathroom!).

The truth is that it’s up to us what we choose to do with our time. There are always areas that we can better fill with our time. How can you be more productive online and offline? What ways can you practice moderation or even cutting something completely off that’s hindering you from moving forward? 

So, then, be careful how you live. Do not be unwise but wise, making the best use of your time because the times are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. – Ephesians 5:15-17

2.) Waste your time wisely by getting in the Word.  

Give God your whole year by getting to know him daily in his word. If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, control, people pleasing, and more, the solution is Jesus. Let him calm your soul. Let him guide you through his word that sharpens, convicts, comforts, and encourages you right where you are in life.

When you’re tempted to go to Facebook first thing in the morning, open up the Bible app, First 5, your Bible or devotional. There are so many resources and apps out there to encourage you. Start your morning with Jesus and entrust your day to him. 9 times of out 10, you’ll enter your day with more peace and trust that he’s got it taken care of. Your ability to walk in the spirit, instead of the flesh becomes much easier.

How does God’s word encourage you where you’re at in life right now? What ways do you best connect with God?

Now listen, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town, stay there a year, conduct business, and make money. You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. – James 4:13-14

3.) Waste your time wisely by serving others. 

I love what prince of preachers Charles Spurgeon once said, “Serve God by doing common actions in a heavenly spirit, and then, if your daily calling only leaves you cracks and crevices of time, fill them up with holy service.”

If I spend too much time on myself, I get depressed, inwardly focused, and I isolate. When I go beyond my four corners to reach out to someone, I’m refueled and reminded that life is not all about me. God teaches me new things.

I recently made a visit to one of the elderly widows in our church and we had the best time talking together about her memories of the past. When I looked at the clock, it had already been an hour. It felt like 10 minutes. It was a true joy.

When you use your time for the good of other people, it brings glory to God and gives hope to those in need. Ironically, you find your purpose and calling in it, too.

In what ways can you serve others around you? Do you know of one person who needs a word of encouragement or helping hand?

  Behave wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of your time.

– Colossians 4:5

Wasting our time wisely requires a daily effort, just like choosing to lift those weights or press play on that workout video when you don’t feel like it. But in the end, there’s reward from the work and fruit is produced as you grow stronger and more disciplined. God is honored as you seek to truly treasure the time he has given you.

Blessings,

Samantha

Samantha Krieger is a wife, mother, and writer in rural Colorado. She is the author of the new devotional for moms: Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 

Learning to Say “No”: How Routines Help Protect Your Marriage

When my husband Jeremiah and I were dating and just on the verge of engagement, I noticed a difference in the time we spent together as we grew more serious in our relationship.

I started to see that how I spent my time and energy would be much different as a married woman. My priorities would change from a schedule revolving pretty much around me to now considering my husband and what worked best for the both of us.

Those last few months before our wedding day, we went through an extremely helpful pre-marital book that a mentor had given us called Preparing for Marriage. After reading a chapter that dealt with expectations, we agreed that one of our expectations in marriage would be to go to bed together every night as much as we could help it.

One particular night…

Continue Reading over on StartMarriageRight.com

Are you emotionally available?


One of the greatest things I’m learning as a mom are the many things that try to compete with the time and attention I give to my almost 15 month old son.

This past Wednesday when we were at lunch at Panera, I held John in my arms while we ordered soup, salad, mac & cheese, and chocolate milk. The cashier ladies made faces at him and he smiled back so excited. I loved seeing his new teeth come through and how his light brown hair was getting a little longer. At the table, my mom and I talked about life while we tried to feed John the macaroni he didn’t want. He was always on my mind and he was right there with us, just speaking his own language.

When we came back for his nap, even though I had a little work to do from home, I kept thinking how grateful I was to be his Mommy. Even though he was a little grouchy when he woke up, I hugged him and rocked him whispering in his ear, “I was once a grouchy little girl too.” And it came to my realization that I wanted him to know that I was not only physically there for him, but I was there emotionally too. And that I would be as long as I was his mother.

Many of us play a lot of roles as Mommy, Dad, husband, wife, aunt, uncle, friend, sister, brother, etc. And I think it’s safe to say that sometimes we’re just not always there with the people we love. I’m not. But, I’ve been really challenged to make sure that I’m finding “quiet” in my mind so that I can be all there. For me, that means first caring for my soul spiritually. Then…

Nourishing my marriage.
Taking care of self.
Pursuing a simpler life.

I’m definitely not perfect at this and never will be, but I really want to strive for it. When John is old enough to understand, it will be so critical for those emotional needs of his to have been met and it’s amazing how it all starts with me.

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