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
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground — everything that has the breath of life in it — I give every green plant for food." And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning — the sixth day. Genesis 1:27-31 NIV
Once upon a time, God created Adam and Eve. He gave them to each other to enjoy one another through a relationship of trust and faithfulness called "marriage." Before the trouble that came from bad choices, before the blame game, before the daily duties - even before the kids -- Adam and Eve had each other and God. Their marriage team was created for ministry. They had a job to do together. God gave them the world to care for, specifically the Garden. When God saw His two beautiful children, the life-team design and the purpose in their relationship, He said "it was very good".
Before the drain of daily duties entered your marriage, did you have a vision of purpose in your relationship? What was it? Is there a sense of purpose in your relationship today? When we focus on God's calling on our marriage we reap a number of benefits.
First, focusing on God's unique calling for our marriage gives us a God-centered relationship. If careers, the kids or even one member of the partnership becomes the focus of our marriage, God isn't at the center of it. We become enslaved as a couple to the thing that drives our focus; Christ is the only safe center we can maintain.
Secondly, when we have a clear vision of God's calling on our marriage we have something that transcends the phases and stages of life. Marriage requires that we give and flex with the changes of life. Marriages often face their most vulnerable time when two become three and when those babies leave the nest. The stress of these changes can pull partners apart.
We don't need to lose our center in our relationship when babies are born. Neither do we need lose our purpose in marriage when the kids move out. Whether we lose our jobs, houses or privacy (as adult children move back home or aging parents move in), our calling from God stands fast. And so does our Lord.
Thirdly, when we are centered in God's calling for our marriage, there is something bigger than either one of us or our problems. I'm not perfect and neither is my man, no matter how much either one of us adores the other. But even when I feel frustrated with something he has said or done, the reality is that we have a purpose together from God. I can't let hurts, irritations or bitterness rob me of fulfilling my part in our calling from the Lord.
So often we get married because physical attraction or shared interests are the glue of our relationship. God meant so much more for His children! He has a purpose for us that transcends common attraction or interest. His calling on your marriage was meant to bring husband and wife a sense of satisfaction, intimacy and legacy. His calling on your marriage is also meant to help you grow closer to Him.
How do you feel about the purpose and calling of your marriage? Do you have a clear vision of your ministry from the Lord? Do you need to re-center the passion of your partnership?
I urge you to spend some time thinking about the purpose in your marriage and sift out the things that stand between you and your calling or distract you away from it. Some couples write a mission statement for their marriage. We've chosen a few verses from Scripture that form the foundation of our marriage and ministry. Consider what might help you to clarify the calling of God on your partnership. That calling is at the heart of God's blueprint for marriage.
My hubby had a seminary professor for a class on balancing ministry and family life that said, "time + fun = falling/staying in love." The moral of the story: date your wife. I liked that :) Over time, Eric added to the equation, saying, "time + fun + M-O-N-E-Y = falling in love. The truth is that love requires time, and the fun component is what helps to make us "in love" with each other, instead of just "loving" each other. With money tight for many of us, I thought an at home couple's movie night might be kinda fun.
Click here for downloadable dinner printables & recipe for you to put together a fun, inexpensive date night :)
My man's favorite new recipe is for homemade pizza (a pesto based, yellow pepper, red onion, feta and mozzarella cheese laden pizza). So your date night can include pizza, drinks (Love Potion No. 9 - just for fun), you-make-my-heart-go-pop popcorn, an I-love-you-head-to-toe massage maybe and a movie :) Here's some pics of the process... (apologies for the awful lighting in my kitchen!)
Admit my One-and-Only Dinner & Movie Date Night printables include: a ticket to invite your sweetheart on a date, drink and popcorn labels to make it a little more fun and the pizza recipe.
Make your dough first, let it rise while you make your other preparations. I like to heat my oven for a bit and let dough rise covered in a slightly warmed oven. It should be doubled in bulk by the time you use it.
The "Love Potion No. 9" labels are in the printables. I taped them onto root beer bottles. I had wanted red soda, but the store was out of red. I think the labels might have looked better on red paper - so you might try red or pink paper when you make your own.
I'm no pizzaiola, so instead of throwing the dough I have to make do by rolling it out. And it works alright. Make it as thin as you can and rotate the dough by a little less than quarter degree turns to get it rounded in shape.
Not a perfect fit, but close enough!
Veggies for the pizza! When I made the pizza this time around the store was out of roma tomatoes.... roma tomatoes are THE way to go. These guys were too wet. So getcherself romas :)
In food terms, I think there are very few things better than PESTO! YYYUUUMMMMMMM!
Pizza and salad!
2 Popcorn bags for 2 sweethearts :)
Have fun :)