Words to Live By…Not Everyone is Meant to STAY in Your Life!

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When you were a child, did you ever hold onto a toy you loved even though it was broken? It’s a sad situation when a broken thing can not be fixed and yet it’s held onto like it will somehow come back to life.

Relationships with people can be the same way. They might be broken, but for some reason, we keep on hanging onto what no longer works, or maybe never worked. All this will cause is suffering. We have to look at that broken thing every single day of our lives and just feel bad.

No matter what we think, believe, or imagine, someone who disrespects you or does not put into a relationship the same as you do is just dead weight. You will carry that broken thing until you are broken as well. Letting it all go might feel like hell for the moment but in the long haul… it’s a blessing.

Some connections are lessons to be learned, but once that lesson has been accomplished there is no reason to allow dead weight from an uncaring person to weigh you down. Rethink your relationships. A broken irreparable toy will never be of use to you again but will continue to make you feel loss over and over. Do you want or deserve that? Your life is more important than having someone come into it and break YOU because of their brokenness. Don’t allow that to happen again. Not ever.

Words to the wise…

Loving you from here,

Dr. Rev. Jenine Marie Howry

JenineMarie.com

Come to visit my website and learn more about how you can receive relief from anxiety and depression!

Trauma Bonding and Toxic Relationships: Personal, Groups and Business

Since life is about “relationship,” most likely, we have all had
at least one relationship where we merely did not have much in common. The relationship imbalance can occur during any type of relationship, from
romantic, to friendships to work relationships. Sometimes relationships are so out of balance it is hard to get along with one another, therefore there is
continual friction. Usually, the lack of cohesiveness is recognized eventually, and people part ways. There is no difficulty in parting, and both parties will feel relieved to be finally apart.

This is not the case when there is trauma bonding involved. Trauma bonding occurs when one person or group in the relationship is toxic. I include groups here for the sake of employment and even religious groups. Toxic relationships are easy to spot, usually from the outside of one. There is a massive degree of control, manipulation, sabotage, jealousy, and a ton of friction. Why would someone want to be in a type of relationship like this? No one really would want that type of person (or group) in their life. None of us are happy when we feel controlled to the point where we are told what we can do and what we can’t. No one wants a relationship where they are controlled to the point of who they can connect with or not. We see this in religious groups, unfortunately.

People get locked into trauma bonding with someone because the other person or group always seems the best thing that ever happened to them. They are swept off their feet with charm, love, acceptance, and a feeling of bliss begins to create the release of powerful neurotransmitters in the brain that make us feel good. These can be a release of norepinephrine, oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. To a drug addict, this is the addictive high they get while using and then dropped when the drug is no longer present and providing it for them.


It is the same with a trauma bond. The same neurotransmitters are released in the body when someone feels they are in love or have reached what is referred to as a “natural high.” In romantic relationships, the trauma bond can cause a person to continue to go back for more even when they are being treated poorly. This occurs after the “honeymoon” phase of toxic relationships is over. The relationship moves from the charming demeanor of a toxic person into manipulation and a whole lot of pain. Yet the bond from the initial high of the relationship keeps the other person trapped into wanting more of the high. So they keep going back for the fix even though they know it is not suitable for them and even after the world comes crashing down on them once again.

This type of relationship is not the same as the romantic kind, where there
is such a strong sense of compatibility that the couple will both shine and sparkle from the inside out just being together. Even after things have settled, the love grows, matures, and deepens. This is not true with a toxic relationship. One person in toxic connections will suffer greatly at the hand and actions of the toxic person.

In many cases, the toxic person is considered to be a narcissist, and they
might be just that. Sometimes, a person can have a narcissistic part of their
personality, but they are not narcissists. It is up to a skilled professional
to determine if someone has a full-blown personality disorder or not. Being
involved with a toxic person is very painful and will rip your life into
pieces. You will feel crazy, but you are not. People might think you are crazy
because of what the toxic person has done or said behind you. Yet, you are not the crazy one.

The addiction to a toxic person (or group) is similar to that of a drug
addict. It’s hard to kick the high, and it’s hard to see the damage being done
while in its midst. All that is known is that you need more of the person or
group to feel that high again and feel a sense of wholeness. We can get locked into a situation like this and feel very isolated because that is the idea of the toxic person or group. You are isolated and played with, so they will have a sense of power and control.

Remember, the trauma bond is an addiction, so don’t be hard on yourself if
this is in your life. Love yourself enough to get help, just as a drug addict
must reach out for help in their situation. You have to come to the point of
hitting bottom. No one can make you get to that point. It all has to be done
for yourself. Working on self-love, fostering good relationships privately, and finding a good counselor to help you out of your misery are essential to your health and well-being. Even after you are not under the influence of a toxic situation, there still might be a recovery time. Allow yourself that time!
Remember your worth. You are gold in anyone’s life. Let your most significant relationship be with God and with yourself first. Work on your self-esteem and consider the reasons you lock into toxic people or groups, to begin with.

Come to recognize the trauma bond high and don’t allow relationships to
happen too quickly. Any good relationship is nurtured over time. Be honest with those you leave behind and tell them from a place of safety that you feel they are not suitable for you. Be straightforward. It is essential to speak your truth at a safe distance as toxic people can also be dangerous. Make it crystal clear you want no more contact and why. Tell the other person or people why you feel your connection is not good for you or them. Even in situations where there is little in common, communication is important. In healthy people, breakups are easy like that. Healthy people communicate, “I don’t want to see you again” in a healthy way and is accepted healthily. If this is not expressed, don’t think you are in a trauma relationship if the other person does not understand and pursues you. You have to be clear for your sake and theirs!

It all sounds so complicated, and this could quickly turn into a book, but
it is not that complicated. Let your happy indicator let you know if you are in a good relationship fit or not. Even with groups, it is the same thing. It
might not be a good fit for you if one person in a place of power calls all the shots. Recognize power-hungry people and keep your distance. Your life will thank you with blessings you never dreamt of if you protect and guide yourself by the gut instincts God has given you.

Loving you from here, 

Dr. Rev. Jenine Marie Howry 

JenineMarie.com

Love in the Highest Form

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One of the greatest experiences I had while presiding over wedding ceremonies was to see the intended couple glowing with love and happiness! What can I say, I am a total love light! I can’t help myself.

One line I placed in my ceremonies was “Love in its highest form can not help but be attracted to itself.” I loved this line! Why? Because it portrayed the law of love attraction and pronounced it to be “in its highest form.” The spoken words and thoughts received, programmed the union to be a higher form of love with one another.

Will this mean they would have easy sailing all of the time? NO! Absolutely not! Life is filled with struggles between those who attempt to relate with one another. That push, pull, and the struggle between lovers is the way they work toward forming more oneness within their union. Some do not make it, that is a given. Many do though!

There is no doubt in my mind that love in its highest form can not help be attracted to itself. This is a love that will stand the test of lifetimes. It is a love that will push, pull, and keep on struggling until a higher form unfolds. We all learn as we move along.

My wish for you today is love in its highest form, whatever that means to you for the moment. May you always strive for the prize of unconditional love in your relationships and life!

Loving you from here,

Dr. Rev. Jenine Marie

JenineMarie.com

The Haunting of a Relationship Ghoster

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When I was little, I had this massive curiosity about ghosts and the hauntings that went with them. True confessions, I still do! The type of ghosting I am writing about here is not the house haunting, chain-rattling, howling kind. Although, relationship ghosting does rattle chains. Let me sum the experience up in one word it’s HORRIBLE. Let me clarify what relationship ghosting is first, so we are on the same page. There are some characteristics of the ghosting monster. During a relationship ghost experience:

The ghoster might be, or usually is, associated with narcissism or narcissistic personality disorder.

There is no altercation or reason to believe the ghoster will be leaving your life.

Things appear and seem to be going smoothly with no apparent reason for alarm or concern.

The ghoster will not respond to text messages, emails, phone calls, in-person knocks on the door, etc.

The ghoster means to cause you harm, alarm, and delights in your pursuit, knowing they will never respond to you. They love that this causes you distress.

The ghosting intent is to leave you with no closure.

The list above is by no means an exhaustive one. There is great distress when someone ghosts another person. For the distress to be accomplished, the resemblance of a serious relationship must be established. The only way the impact can be as traumatic as it is is when we believe or think a strong love connection has been made.

Yes, this is horribly cruel, and unfortunately, there is nothing to do but get as much love and support from loved ones and move on. When someone ghosts us, there is no recourse. The ghoster will make sure you have nothing to hold onto, and the distress is massive. Ghosting goes far beyond the desire to not be with someone any longer. The ghosting person will completely disappear.

What Does a Mature Break Up Look Like?

Mature people will communicate their lack of desire to continue a relationship. When a usual relationship ends, there will be indications along the way that things are not working out. A mature person confronts their issues with someone honestly and openly, even when they know it will be hard and often hurtful.

Mature people learn to take responsibility for the heart they chose to be in a relationship with and do all they can to guard the painful part of a breakup. Breakups are hard enough. Even when hard feelings are involved, the mature person will still face hardship, work to make it easier for the other, and be open to communication.

For some reason, our advancing technology makes it so much easier to be a relationship ghost. Guaranteed, if this happens to you, your ghoster will make sure humiliation is a part of your journey and healing process. The ghoster will tell everyone you caused it just to cover their behind. Does this sound cruel? It is. It’s heartless. As I said, the usual breaks of relationships have a form of communication that will occur before it happens. The break might be hurtful, but ghosting is painful and humiliating. It is preplanned, premeditated relationship torture.

What to do…

If you have been ghosted and need someone to chat with, please reach out to those who care or a professional who can help you through it. You will survive! You might have a hard time trusting for a while afterward, but you will survive.

Nurture yourself, your self-esteem, and all of the beautiful things you are—Ghosters prey upon those who have beautiful hearts. Take refuge in the truth about who you are and the gift you bring to others. If you stay positive about yourself, past the pain, you will eventually attract someone who will value you too much to ghost you. First, you must respect yourself. Remember, you are worthy of love, and ghosting is not a loving thing. The act of ghosting is about them, not you!

Loving you from here,

Dr. Rev. Jenine Marie Howry, Ph.D.

Getting Real With the Word “Toxic”

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The word toxic has become a buzzword lately when it comes to a certain kind of relationship. Toxic in the original sense means something that is poisonous or potentially harmful in a chemical. Now, the word toxic, being applied to relationships has come to be known as something that is abusive or corruptive.

What I am seeing and sensing, though, is the word has gone crazy out of hand. Now the word toxic is being used any time someone believes something different from someone else. Or, if there is any difference of opinion. One person might like something and someone else not like it at all. Now, this somehow has become known to be a toxic relationship.

Or, a toxic relationship has been identified as one person being abusive to another. Although abuse does occur, the sensitivity of certain situations has become vastly misused. We are being taught to stay away from those who differ or do not agree on one situation or another. One person is considered to be toxic to another if they feel their opinion or attitude will hinder them in some way. This is such a misuse of what God has intended for relationships. Not to mention, no one can affect another on the inside of them unless they allow it.

God does not want us to distance ourselves because of differing opinions. In fact, the Apostle Paul taught if one person eats pork and another does not then not to judge the one who eats pork. What he was saying is to just allow people to be themselves and if they differ not to judge them. Even better yet, not to distance from them or take offense because of differences. Our differences are what make us unique and amazing even if they are hard to deal with or work through. In married situations our struggles are what help us come to an understanding of one another. Sometimes the struggle is real and even very hard. Yet, its hard when two people try to come to an understanding or meeting of the minds with one another when they have been very wounded deep inside.

We carry our wounds and sometimes wave them like badges of courage when we should be healing them. Our conflicts are what exposes them. This is an opportunity to heal them together. It is a hard lesson to learn and we all have to learn it. It’s so much easier to just push away, but who will ever heal and become stronger that way? No one.

Maybe we can put the word toxic back in its place and not apply it to human beings? Toxic can be poison if it likes, but people are not poison. Humans were created to be a gift even if they are differing in opinions or even misbehaving. Although we are not encouraged to take abuse, we should love the person and not the actions. Realize our actions come from a place inside that have been learned in society over time. Relearning the best way to live, love, and be, takes time and encouragement. Push them away and you have not created victory. What you have done is allow wounds to remain unhealed. It’s brave to expose one another and sometimes confrontation is hard. Confrontation is the only way to come to a meeting of the minds sometimes. Understanding is what Paul taught us to have, not isolating from one another.

Loving you from here (and not being toxic)

Dr Jenine Marie Howry

 

Weekly Wisdom: Learn the Value of Relationships

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In our own section of this world we have relationships with different people and in different ways. Some are acquaintances, family, some life partners, some deep friendships, and some are just passing through. They all have value in learning about them and also about ourselves. The people we attract into our lives are those who teach us the most about ourselves inside and out. Sometimes they test us. Sometimes they help us to become better and more aware beings.

People speak to us how they value or do not value us as well. We can tell by the quality of time they spend with us. Notice how I did not say amount of time, but quality. We can spend very little time with someone and be deeply loved and involved with them. It’s all about heart connection and how deep we decide to go soulfully and expressively.

This coming week, take a look around you. Determine the place each valuable person has in your life. Ask for wisdom as to what that person is helping you to see about not just them, but yourself. Relationships help us evolve. Sometimes they hinder us and sometimes they help us move forward. It is up to us as to which of these someone is doing. If they are hindering, it is their issue to work on. Don’t mix up their issue with your own. Either you are in their life to give them a hand up or they are there to teach you not to stay stagnant in a place where you are not productive. Move onward!

Some relationships expand us. They are there to help us see our God given potential and they always want the best for us. Regardless of where they are in life, they are always moving us forward, encouraging us to be more, do more, expand more. These are treasures; earth angels, and blessings who have been planted there for our evolution and to achieve excellence. Hang around and soak up their wisdom!

Some are continual heart companions. Whether close in proximity or far away, they are those who have your heart in mind and share with you theirs. They are there in your life to help you process your own frustrations and grow in love and acceptance. They spark your creativity, help create inspiration, and allow you to be yourself in good times and in not so good times.

Consider your relationships this week, and determine what each one means to you and why they are there. Think along the lines of your inner growth, healing, or expansion. Journal if need be. Getting clarity on life helps to move forward in it.

Loving you from here!

Dr Rev Jenine Marie Howry

Visit me on JenineMarie.com! Discover your healing and new potential!

Addictions: The Lying Trap

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Remember that old saying back as a child, “Liar, liar, pants on fire?” Sometimes I wondered what our pants had to do with the lying part. I know its a very strange thing to meditate upon but I did that today. This is what came to me. When someone’s pants are on fire it is very obvious. They are being burned, hopping around, and part of them is being destroyed in front of anyone who might be looking.

Since I am on an addictions role lately, I thought I would address the lying that comes with addicted personalities and why an addicts “pants are on fire”, (so to speak). First and foremost I want to say that no one is ever kidding themselves or others when it comes to addictions to drugs, alcohol, gambling, people, drama, food, or any other addiction. The very first lie an addict creates is to themselves. They lie, believing that:

  1. Some day I will stop
  2. No one knows I am addicted
  3. No one sees that I lie to get by
  4. There is no hope accept to keep on keeping on
  5. Addiction can not be counteracted with first accepting the truth
  6. I’m not really harming my body
  7. I’m not harming anyone else
  8. I have a long life ahead of me, this is not going to affect me, things will change
  9. I need this addiction to make it through life
  10. People will believe my lies if I make them believable for me too

There are also lies that addicts tell those they are around and their loved ones. They might be things like this: (Remember lying to others is abusing them)

  1. I’m going to stop now and do it on my own
  2. I have to work late
  3. No one cares about me
  4. You are the cause of my addiction
  5. I locked the keys in my car
  6. I lost all of my money
  7. I never took your stuff
  8. I did not drink, use, function in my addiction today
  9. She/he is only a friend
  10. I never spoke of you as the cause of my addictions while speaking to others
  11. My addictions are my business and they don’t harm you
  12. You misunderstood

These are only a few. I am sure if you are struggling with addiction you can think of some more or maybe a loved one can think of some for you. This is the deal: Your loved ones KNOW you are lying. Even as much as you might try to convince them otherwise they still know. You can argue, kick, scream, and rant, and it does not make them know less. The people you work with KNOW you are lying. You can not hide an addiction from everyone no matter how hard you try. Even distance can not do it. The ONLY one you are kidding is yourself. You are hurting everyone around you, there is no doubt about that, but more than that, you are hurting yourself.

Eventually people will distance themselves from you. If they don’t they are co-dependent to your addiction. Don’t kid yourself. You might wake up and find yourself very alone. A dear friend of mine used to say, “You can’t kid a kidder“. Everyone who has or is experiencing addiction with you or around you know that you lie as well. Is THIS the life you want to lead?

No, I am not trying to be mean here. I am being honest. If you think you won’t lose everything in life no matter how successful you might look on the outside, you are lying to yourself. You might even lose your life. Then those around you will grieve. Is this the legacy you want to leave behind?

I am challenging you with no judgement to make a new decision in life. First be honest with yourself. Admit your problem is out of control. Then admit to those around you that you have been liar liar, pants on fire. It’s been obvious all along. So what is the harm in just being honest? Everyone knows, so what is the harm in coming clean with the dirt? It is your first step to freedom. I remember reading in the bible for the first time that God hates liars. Please don’t take this that God hates YOU. God hates the actions created. He wants better for you and I think you do too!

Loving you from here,

Dr. Jenine Marie Howry

832-484-8306

How To Choose the Right Friends

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Choosing friends might seem very simplistic. We meet someone, we have a rapport with them, and we become friends, right? That is a simple version of how it most likely happens to the majority of people. If God created our universe to attract to us what we are, then more often than not we choose those who are like us, or are like those who have raised us. These are lesson relationships and if we want to survive them it takes figuring out the lesson and then the friendship either grows or ends. Relationship issues can be overcome but it takes two to tango and both need the awareness as to what they are working toward. This is a scenario where a lesson blessing happens and honestly I feel it can be pretty rare.

Hang on just a second because I’m going to quote Oprah! She said, “People show us who they are when we meet them. BELIEVE THEM!” This means that people’s cards are more on the table facing up than we realize, if we are careful and discerning. When something does not feel right or does not settle right then RUN! Trust the intuition that God gave to you! If someone immediately gossips about everyone around, don’t be so nieve to think they will never tell others about YOU! People just don’t gift special character to one person and not others. A gossip is a gossip. If it does not happen when you are friends, it will happen if you tick them off and then you will see!

If someone lets you down ONCE, if they do not have a real good reason, then they will do it over and over again. This type of person disrespects you and your time. BACK AWAY! Now, I know we do want to reflect Godly light into this world and respect all life as much as we humanly can. Yet, this does not mean we need to allow ourselves to be disrespected in the process. People learn how to treat us by what we allow them to do to us. If that same person let you down a few times, then the best thing to do is forgive them and then step back. If you want to really shock them be completely honest as to why you are stepping back. You might teach them a lesson on your way out of their life.

These are some guidelines I like to use when allowing friendships into my life:

  1. There is a cycle of giving and receiving. You are not the only giver and the other is taking from you. If that is happening that person is taking ADVANTAGE of you. Make sure there is a mutual sense of giving in any relationship and it will last a lifetime.
  2. There is a respect for your time, your thoughts and ideas, your individuality, your vocation, your life. Living around someone who disrespects you is just abuse and if you allow it then you are a co-dependent to the abuse. Respect yourself, respect others, and you will attract those who will respect you. Life goes along a lot easier when this happens!
  3. The person listens to you when you need them and you listen to them and have mutual conversation. Someone who dumps on you and then turns away when they are done releasing is NOT a friend! They are using you as a recycling bin and dumping their garbage right into you like you are their waste basket. Good friends are those who SHARE one another’s sorrows, listen to each other, respond with compassion, and love one another as God would have us love.
  4. You share mutual morality and ethics. If you are around someone who is brash, tells nasty jokes, makes fun of the unfortunate, has loose morals, then turn away. If you stay around these those who do not share your values and morals you will eventually find yourself compromising them yourself. In fact, keeping them around is already a compromise. Pray for them, and lovingly let them go.
  5. Choose those who share common interests and speak on your level of understanding. Sometimes we are in others lives to teach them or the other way around, but a mutual friendship needs a mutual bond that can be shared. When there is understanding then misunderstandings are less likely to happen. Also, neither will feel like the other is behaving in a belittling way.
  6. Choose those who foster joy and you can laugh with regularly, even when you feel like crying! The last thing any of us need is someone in our lives who never smiles, can’t laugh, and has no balance of hard issues and light issues. Life is all about balance! Good friends are sad together and laugh with one another. There will always be a feeling of blessing when you are with someone you can trust, be real with, and laugh with.

These are just some wise ideas in order to create good friendship bonds. Another might be sharing the same faith, religious beliefs, and maybe enjoy the same sense of community. Also, I should add, that the people you choose should treat other people in your life with respect, especially family. If they can not respect your family then problems will arise for everyone concerned.

Ask God for wise discernment and for signs as to whether someone is a good choice for you or not. He will help reveal their heart to you if you ask. He is good at that and speaks to you from the inside out; so listen!

Loving you from here,

Dr. Jenine Marie Howry

Some Days I Just Want to Go Into a Closet and Chew On a Belt!

frustrated-woman.jpgHave you ever experienced a relationship or friendship connection who will always take what you say the wrong way no matter what it is? Or, maybe you have experienced that one friend who is about to make the biggest mistake of her life, but to tell her would rip her heart out (or maybe yours)? The only option is to keep your lips sealed or forever be “that one” who was the “Debbie Downer” in her life party.  Its hard to be connected with very difficult people but in all honesty sometimes its hard to get away from that reality in this world. Frankly, we can all be a bit more difficult than we need to be at times. We all have our seasons. This truth should give us some much needed restraint when it comes to dealing with others, but sometimes thoughts just want to blurt out like a volcano erupting molten lava.

Let me be completely transparent here. My greatest struggle is when I want to fix my significant other’s life issue. I know in my God connected higher mind that I can’t do this for someone. Yet my brain, my heart, and my mouth sometimes won’t receive that same message. Then put in some power packed emotion and before I know it my mouth has a  mind of its own! (You should see the look of horror on my face right now just reliving the thought of some moments when this has happened.)

Then there is that moment when someone not only ruffles my feathers, but plucks them from my peace of mind one by one, in a very torturous way with their words. The minister and rational person in me wants to say, “Would you excuse me for a moment”, step out of the room, and somehow delete the intruding conversation. The very wise, yet sometimes ego touched person in me wants to dig in with all claws and rip a shred into the ozone of the offender because it all hurts just that much.

Lean in here a bit more closely now sisters. Sometimes the struggle is just real enough that the only thing I can do to keep peace in all places is to step into a closet, grab the closest belt, and stick it in my mouth to chew on until the erupting moment passes. I can call this much needed God time if I need to. No matter what I call it, if it keeps my mouth from overloading its purpose then its a worthwhile moment. I know at this point it might be easy to look at me and think I lack some much needed restraint. Actually, it takes a lot of restraint to run in the other direction from an impending verbal “fixer upper fest”.

Wasn’t it Paul in the Bible who verbalized this first? Didn’t he say that the things he wanted to do he ended up not doing and what he should not do he did? Yet, he told us also to pursue peace. I wonder if Paul had his own personal belt he whipped out to chew on when his mouth wanted to express something it should not? We know he had a thorn in his side. Maybe my fixer upper mouth is my personal thorn? I certainly don’t know the answer to all problems but I do try to help when I can. I mean, it IS my calling to do so.

I pray all of the time. I pray for discernment. I pray for wisdom. I pray for restraint. Then when the situation is more overwhelming than I can handle I might end up praying and just chewing a belt at the same time. Whatever brings more peace in my surroundings. I like to do my part!

Just being real,

Pastor Jenine Marie Howry

Jenine Marie Coaching and Ministries 

800-421-1765

**Photo credit: http://travellittleknownplaces.com/friggin-truth-christmas/frustrated-woman/

What Will a Good Marriage Cost You?

couple cuddle-saidaonlineI know this title is a strange question. I’m not going to go into dollars and cents. The subject is so much deeper than that and so much more important. My dear, to everything in life that is worth pursuing there is a cost. It makes no difference what that is. If there is something you decide you want more than anything else, you will pay a cost. Some of it will be your time, efforts, sacrificing other things, or maybe giving up one dream for a bigger one.

If you want something good, like a good marriage, its going to cost you. Before I go into some of what that cost might be, ask yourself an important question. How important is it to have a good marriage? How about a GREAT marriage? This question is the first one you should ask and is the most important. Why you ask? We guide our decisions and ultimately our efforts according to importance. If we want something bad enough, we will work for it no matter what it takes. We will jump hoops and go out of our comfort zone. We will fight the good fight and not even bat an eyelash when adversity comes along. I think you get my drift here. So, what’s the verdict? Do you want a good or great marriage bad enough to do whatever it takes? After you answer this question, you may proceed to some of what this will cost you .

  1. You will need to lay down your “right to be right.” A marriage is not about who has the correct answer. It is more about exchanging ideas and coming to  a happy medium within those ideas. Its about compromise more than it is about our need for “rightness”. You might even be right, at least to yourself. But remember, your spouse is not you and operates on other thought processes which draw from experiences you did not share before you were together. We all have different experiences, and our decisions can be guided by them.
  2. You will need to lay down putting anyone else before your spouse. I know, I know, sometimes you need gal pal time, but if your spouse will have to be slighted during those times then it is not a good thing to press at the moment. Decisions on when those friendship times should occur can take place through open honest discussion. After all, he will need his time without you as well. It just takes planning.  No one wants to sit around waiting for their spouse to get back after a day apart and one of you has taken 3 or 4 hours more than your time. I am not fond of waiting for someone, are you? Don’t disrespect your husband by making him wait and wonder. Even if you call, you are speaking to his unconscious mind that your gal time is more important. Not a good deal.
  3. Sometimes you will have to lay down your right to have your say. Some arguments are not worth having, so listen objectively and just “be there” for him the way you would want someone to be there for you.
  4. Give up your old guy friends from before you met him. Yep, I am serious. Another man has no business being in your life unless you and your spouse spend time with him at the same time and all have become friends. Even so, if that man is single, spend no alone time with him. Respect and guarding your marriage is important. You will need to lay down some other relationships and prefer your spouse over them.
  5. Flirtatious behavior is off limits to a married woman. Respect of your spouse is one of the greatest gifts you can give him, aside from love itself. In fact, respect is a part of love. That is why the word is often in the marriage ceremony. You know, “Will you love and respect…” If you feel the need to flirt with others you are doing this out of your own insecurity and that needs to be dealt with from inside of you! Don’t drag your hubby down that road with you. Go to God and get yourself a good dose of self esteem.
  6. Be prepared to leave some of your independence behind you. Your husband will need to know he is valued for what he puts into your marriage. Independent things for you both are good for you, just don’t make yourself so independent that he feels you don’t need him. We all desire to be needed and appreciated for what we freely give to another.
  7. Jesus said that there is no greater love than to lay ones life down for a friend and your spouse should be your best friend forsaking all others. If he is not then you need a friendship lesson. If he is not a good friend to you then maybe he needs one!
  8. Be willing to love when he is being or acting  less than love-able. Not everyone is in a great mood all of the time. You know that you are not. Your spouse won’t be either. Don’t take his bad mood personally and love him right on through it!
  9. Pray for and with your husband! A marriage that prays together stays together! Prayer is the power of God in your marriage! You could never underestimate this one!

I hope this gives you a good start. I know it might not be popular with your ego, but our first ministry is to our spouse, like it or not. It is what God has ordained. You can not minister to anyone else until you know how to do it with your family first and that means your spouse before anyone else!

PS, the exception to all of these is if you are being abused or mistreated. I have to add this in here because of the tendency for abused wives to become co-dependent husband pleasers in order to not be abused. This does not work out. Mutual respect is a major gift to a marriage that will work. If you are being disrespected then maybe you need to make a new decision. I’m a firm advocate that we teach people how to treat us. If you are being mistreated, never reward that behavior. Safely walk away from abuse. That one IS your right! 

Dear God, help us all to know and understand what the cost for a good marriage will be for us and help us to be better wives in the process! amen

Pastor Jenine Marie Howry

800-421-1765 for prayer