April Motl is a pastor’s wife who loves to laugh, loves her man, loves to talk on the phone entirely too long and most of all, loves her Lord. Collaborating with the efforts of her husband Eric, the two of them share a ministry dedicated to bringing God’s Word into the everyday lives of married couples, men and women. April has been privileged through her own church and ministry outside her local body to share God's Word with women ranging in ages and stages, across denominations, and walks of life. April is a graduate from Southern California Seminary and has written for Just Between Us Magazine, Dayspring's (In)courage, and The Secret Place and also writes regularly for crosswalk.com, iBelieve.com and Women's Ministry Tools. For more information, visit Motl Ministries at: www.MotlMinistries.com
With Valentine's Day fast approaching, many of the husbands out there are starting to feel their palms sweat with the pressure of living up to the high expectations this holiday brings. While the guys are out there trying to conjure up a romantic evening, many of us gals are trying to wow our men by measuring up to cover models. Valentine's Day can bring out many of our insecurities, all the while setting high standards for our spouses.
Whether it's Valentine's Day or not, many of us are walking around with our emotional cups out stretched, like beggars on the street corner, waiting for our husbands or wives to fill them with security and significance. However, the reality is that our spouses were never meant to fill our emotional cups with those things -- only God can. When we expect our spouses to meet all our needs we inadvertently put them on a throne in our heart that was designed only for our Lord. When they fail to meet our high expectations, we become disappointed and dissatisfied with them. This Valentine's, give your spouse the gift of a relationship centered in God's love.
A relationship centered in God's love acknowledges that the Lord is your personal source of significance, security and satisfaction. When I turn to the Lord in my neediness to hear Him say, "The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord" Psalm 45:11 (NIV), then I can let my husband off the hook for making me feel secure about myself. When I seek God because "in [His] presence is fullness of joy; at [His] right hand are pleasures forevermore" Psalm 16:11 (NKJ) then God can touch the secret places of my heart that no person ever could reach to give me the satisfaction my soul desires.
When I remember that my Lord thinks about me more times than there is sand in the sea (Psalms 139:17-18), that He saw every tear I cried in secret and collected them in a bottle (Psalms 56:8) and that He has counted every hair on my head (Matthew 10:30) then I am wrapped in His cherishing love.
Understanding the truth that my God bends down to tend to every detail of my life gives me a place of significance that no other person can give or take away. Letting God fill that place in your life instead of expecting your spouse to fill it is a gift to both of you!
Within the context of your marriage you can also encourage your spouse to be centered in God's love. Whenever I tell my husband that I love him more than anyone else in the world, he is always quick to say "after the Lord -- right?" Of course I meant that, but he wants to make sure that I remember to always put the Lord first. When Eric gives me that reminder it is one of the ways he centers our relationship in the Lord, instead of making us the center of it. In turn, sometimes after a particularly busy time in his schedule, instead of keeping him all to myself, I encourage him to go take an extended time away with the Lord. Besides, our time together will be much better if he has been recharged in his spirit.
Another way we make the Lord the center of our relationship is through letters I call "love notes from me and Jesus." Both Eric and I enjoy giving and receiving these encouraging little notes. In our love notes we write verses to lift each other's spirit in the Lord. You can love your spouse with Scripture very easily! One day I told my man that I thought he was just wonderful. He said, "No, I'm not wonderful…" and started listing excuses. I said, "Well, the Lord thinks you're wonderful because He says you are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made'!(Psalm 139:14)" He thought that was a bit of a stretch for the verse, but I thought it worked! This Valentine's Day, rather than ramping up expectations for love and romance from your spouse, you could instead celebrate the love God has lavished on you. When we are plugged into God's love then His love flows freely into our marriages. And as His love spills over, it sparks the fireworks that we all hope for in a great Valentine's Day.
Today's resource give-away is about cultivating our relationship with Christ on a deeper level: My Reflection in His Eyes: Seeing Yourself as God Sees You. Blessings! Happy Valentine's Day <3
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