Talk Trash, Eat Trash

A man shall eat well by the fruit of his mouth. – Proverbs 13:2

The older I get, the more I realize how much our words, good or bad, have power. Our words are like a field owned by a farmer. Farmers obviously don’t want weeds growing with the valuable crops they plant in their fields. I remember growing up on a farm myself. We had an annual family ritual of weed picking. This was not something we looked forward to, but it needed to be done. My dad didn’t want the weeds to choke out the soybeans. His goal was an abundant harvest, so for long, hot days, often with sweat dripping down our faces, we worked tirelessly to get rid of the weeds. Then as the sun shone and the rain watered the plants, they grew beautifully, and our whole family benefited from the bountiful harvest attained.
It’s the same with our words. Words are seeds which produce a harvest over time, good or bad! As Proverbs 13:2 tells us, “A man shall eat well by the fruit of his mouth…” Wouldn’t it stand to reason that the opposite is also true? If we talk trash, won’t we eat trash? Maybe not literally, but when we have negative words pouring consistently from our lips, it certainly isn’t going to produce good results in our life or relationships!
What we are receiving in life right now is most often a result of what we have been sowing (thinking and speaking) in our past, or possibly if you’re young, what others have been speaking over you. Therefore, from this moment on, if we want a harvest of excellent fruit in our life, our marriage, and our children’s behavior, it’s important to consistently speak the right words over each of these areas.
When we declare the promises of God, rather than verbalizing what’s taking place in the natural, we will eventually begin to see a change. The more intentional we are with reminding ourselves what God says about our situation, the easier this becomes to apply. Does this mean we deny reality? No. It means we stop repeatedly mulling over our problems. Instead, and on purpose, we declare God’s promises and God’s ability in our situation. We even encourage others to put God’s promises up around your house to keep them at the forefront of your mind. Whatever we magnify will become a giant in our life!

God’s vision for us is that we would speak His words of blessing over people and situations around us to infuse life into them. James 3:9-12 speaks of the importance of taming our tongues by saying,


With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.


James basically said when we praise or thank God with our mouth then speak unkind things about a person made in God’s image, it’s not right. Just like a tree can’t produce fruit of a different kind than it was planted to be, so you and I can be certain the words we speak continually will produce fruit. If we speak respect and compliments to our spouse and children, we will eventually see the fruit in their personalities because they’ll feel loved. In addition to training our tongue to talk kindness and blessing to others, we show wisdom when we refuse to speak harsh and condescending words, no matter how a person may act.
A number of years ago, we led a Bible study for married couples. We agreed to lead a group for newlyweds like us, but instead we think someone secretly advertised that we were having a marriage crisis intervention class. Well, no one really advertised this way, but that’s what we largely ended up with. Talk about throwing us in with the sharks! Okay, they weren’t all sharks, but it did get pretty wild in there sometimes.
Being wet behind the ears at this marriage thing, we definitely felt in over our heads. We think God enjoys getting us out of our comfort zone sometimes though, because then we really have to look to Him for wisdom, and it helps us grow and pray in ways we otherwise wouldn’t. One couple in our group was having colossal marital problems. Although the husband had become a Christian years ago and attended church, he wasn’t living his life according to God’s direction. That’s a nice way of saying he was pretty off his rocker at the moment.
Our pastor called for a mandatory separation for the physical safety of the wife and kids when he found out the situation at home. In addition, they started Christian marital counseling, the husband attended classes for overcoming anger, and another man in the church who was a kind, mature believer became a mentor and accountability partner to the husband.
We will call the couple Jake and Sheila. Sometimes Sheila would come alone to our group, and sometimes they were together. After we had our study, we would all chat about how it applied to our lives. When Jake wasn’t there, Sheila would sometimes have her own reveal party with everyone in the group about their marital chaos. She didn’t shoot off pink or blue streamers. She just let lots of cats out of the bag on her husband of all the irresponsible, selfish, and unloving things he had done lately, including everything from the grenade launchers of his anger outbursts to buying her flowers with bad checks (we won’t write the really bad things because we want to keep this book at a PG level in case your kids pick it up).
One day in prayer the Lord dealt with us about Sheila repeatedly airing their dirty laundry and degrading her husband in front of the whole group. We had the thought, “She is eating the fruit of her lips.” Her husband definitely needed help, but she was drawing even more negative out in him because she would meditate on his behavior and repeat it to anyone who would listen. The more she told people about his poor behavior, the more he would increase in the crazy and irrational actions.
After one Bible study, we visited with her about this issue, giving her the Scriptures of Proverbs 12:14 and Proverbs 18:21, which remind us we will eat the fruit of our lips, good or bad. We encouraged her to share what she needed to with the pastor and those in leadership who were counseling them and also to feel free to ask us to pray for specific areas. However, we advised her to stop telling those around her the personal details about mistakes her husband made.
Instead, we suggested she start picturing him through what the Bible says about him as a believer and looking for any good things he did. What could happen if she even prayed Scripture over him consistently, like Colossians 1:9-12? We encouraged her to focus on and compliment every good thing she could possibly find. She said she understood what we were saying and would make an effort.
Several weeks later Sheila came and told us she had been doing what we suggested, only sharing details with those who really needed to hear them. She had also started making an effort to think positive thoughts about her husband and compliment him. She said things were definitely improving. They continued with us for several months until the Bible study wrapped up.
I talked to her several years later and found out their relationship had continued to steadily improve and they were now happily married again. He had become a genuinely loving, responsible husband and father. She told me she was so thankful she had persevered through the many storms and not divorced him. It wasn’t easy on her during this long period of time, but if she hadn’t stayed with it, her kids would not have seen how powerful God is. He was able to change their dad, which was an absolute miracle!
Praying this blesses you today, 
Pastor Amy

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There’s No “I” in Team

We completely understand that thinking and speaking kindness, gratitude, and respect consistently isn’t always easy, but it does make your relationships easier! It definitely takes practice listening to the right things to get our minds renewed from trash which has previously gone in. In the Bible, Paul wrote a letter to the church in Philippi, and he encouraged them that if they really wanted peace, they had to choose to have pure and praiseworthy thoughts. He told his listeners:


Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)


Paul understood that good thoughts have the power to successfully catapult our relationships, but bad thoughts, like pirates, highjack what could have been a fun and prosperous journey. Most of us think well of our spouse when he or she is kind and doing what we like them to do. The question is, can we put this into practice when our spouse hasn’t met our needs?
Notice Paul didn’t say, “Finally brethren, whatever things are dishonorable, whatever things are unjust, whatever things are unloving, whatever things are a bad report, if there is any dissatisfaction and anything worth condemning—meditate on these things.”
Paul knew most people by human nature enjoy a pity party every once in a while, so he purposefully told people to mentally hang out on encouraging and uplifting thoughts. He knew this would have to be a super intentional effort for us to be able to consistently win in life and our relationships!
Paul was basically saying this: think good, pure, and praiseworthy. Pretend peaceful thoughts have glue on them and our job is to stick those thoughts to our brain each day. We may even need to write these good things on our bathroom mirror, fridge, or desk at work to remind us. Pretend bad and critical thoughts are nasty stuff stuck to toilet paper, and our job is to flush those thoughts down the tube as quickly as they show up each day. When we glue those praiseworthy, grateful thoughts in our head, peace will eventually take hold in our hearts and homes!
Whatever we expect from others, good or bad, we usually get. You have probably heard the statement, “That person really knows how to bring out the best in others!” Legendary basketball coach John Wooden was a classic example of this.
Coach Wooden was known for making his players better, both on and off the court. He daily made the vision clear. He had his team focus on mastering excellence in the fundamentals, and additionally, he trained his players to show each other respect and appreciation. In other words, they weren’t allowed to act like a one-man show.
As the old adage says, “There’s no I in TEAM.” Coach Wooden trained unity like no other coach at the time. He watched closely to be sure in practice and games players always gave a nod or hand-slap in appreciation of each other’s every assist that helped them succeed. It was a simple, team-minded principle that works on the basketball court as well as in marriage and parenting.
How would your life be different if you smiled and thanked everyone in your home each time they helped you in the slightest little way? We dare you to take this simple challenge and let us know how it transforms your home! If smiles and appreciation haven’t been your mode of operation up to now you may encounter some questioning or sarcasm, but stick with it! As I heard Joyce Meyer say, “God will change your circumstances, but He’ll change you first.”
When I was in Bible college, there was a young man in his early twenties who was asked by the professor to share his testimony with the class. His birth mother had been a drug addict who brought him, only a few days old, into a business and left him with the people at the desk, saying she could not take care of the baby. A loving Christian family who had been praying for a baby boy quickly adopted him.
His new mother brought him to the doctor and was told he had so much cocaine in his body that he would certainly be a drug addict himself by a young age. The mom was also told he would never be intelligent, he would have various abnormalities, and he would be little and frail with a weak immune system throughout life. The parents refused to believe the doctor’s report.
His mom prayed over him daily, believing for him to become strong, intelligent, and a mighty vessel for God. She prayed that the blood of Jesus shed on the cross would cleanse his system and cancel every adverse effect of the drugs he had in the womb. As he grew, they saw all of the prayers answered. He became a strong, healthy, tall, and very intelligent young man with a wonderful gift for speaking.
His testimony then became even more amazing. When he was a young teen, his dad walked away from God and divorced his mother for another woman. My classmate said he felt deeply hurt, yet each day at their meals together he would hear his mom pray for his dad with a heart of love and compassion, believing God would somehow draw his father back to Jesus. His mother’s example of unconditional love and forgiveness amazed him and eventually opened his heart to have compassion for his father.
One day, after a few years had passed, he received a visit from his dad, who apologized to his son for what he had done. He had asked God to forgive him and had come to ask his son for forgiveness as well. My classmate forgave his dad, and they were reconciled in their relationship. The next week his dad died of a heart attack.
Certainly, it was not God’s will for the father to die prematurely. John 10:10 tells us it’s the devil who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Thankfully, his dad got things right before he died. This young man’s mother drew out the best in her son through her example of unconditional love and also helped draw her former husband back to God through her prayers.
Whatever is in our heart in abundance will come out. This young man’s mother chose to have a heart of forgiveness even after her husband abandoned her and their child. She meditated on God’s faithfulness to take care of her and her son rather than dwelling on her negative experience. She always had love and forgiveness coming out of her mouth and her son only heard her speak kindness toward his father. What an amazing example! It’s uncommon to see this kind of response these days. Their story is a great reminder that when we meditate on the things which are a good report, rather than bad news, the unconditional love of God will be able to flow out of us and impact others. This woman took acting like a team to a maturity level that few people ever attain.
We pray this encourages you & strengthens your relationships, 
Pastors Shaun & Amy 

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Wild Pitchers, Peaceful Catchers

And if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things. – Philippians 4:8
Have you ever been asked to sit in front of a very full room of the opposite sex and answer all of the questions they have about your gender? I have. Our men’s group leader at church approached me one day and inquired if all the men could pre-write the questions they’ve always wanted to understand about women and give them to me, to be answered in person at their next men’s breakfast. Without hesitation, I said yes! I figured hopefully I could help them understand the female gender a little better and, if nothing else, it would be entertaining!
A week before the big day, I received a six-page compilation of questions from all of the guys who would be in attendance. Thank God for my friend Connie who agreed to take on the questions with me so I didn’t have to face the firing squad all by myself!
There was every kind of question you could imagine: “What are most women looking for in a man?” “My wife looked great when we got married, but now she makes little to no effort on her physical appearance. I feel like she did a bait and switch. How do I politely address this with her, yet still communicate love?” “How can I better help my wife when she is emotional or tired from her menstrual cycle?” “Why are some women so emotional and others aren’t?”
One of my favorite questions of all was a very simple one. “What can I do in our relationship to communicate more effectively and prevent arguments?” Although we had prepared some answers ahead, when I got to this question, what shot out of my mouth surprised me. I encouraged the men when communicating to always think of their marriage or relationship as they would if they were on a sports team.
I inquired of the group, “Have you ever watched a college or Major League Baseball game and seen a pitcher throw a wild pitch the catcher had to run after? Have you ever then seen the catcher run for the ball, look back at the pitcher and say, ‘If you’re going to make me run for the ball, then I’m going to get you back and make you run for it too!’ as he proceeds to throw a wild ball for the pitcher to chase?” Of course not! No one would make it to the college or Pro level if they had a mindset like that because it isn’t being team-minded, yet many couples act this way in marriage all of the time and think it’s normal.
It’s common to hear about a wife or husband who has a bad day at work, then comes home and says something sharply to their spouse. What happens next? The other one thinks, “Who do they think they are talking to me like that?” They proceed to snap back and an argument ensues which could have easily been prevented with a little team mindedness and basic communication.

Think of your relationship, whether it’s your spouse or kids, like you’re a team riding on a jet ski or snowmobile together. Depending on the water maneuver or snow terrain you are on, you sometimes have to lean a certain direction to make sure the jet ski or snowmobile doesn’t tip over.

It’s the same in relationships. If we see our spouse or loved one is having a bad day or going through a challenge in life, the best thing we can do if they lean the wrong direction is to overcompensate in the right direction. Showing compassion and empathy to stabilize the team helps prevent a rollover.
Unfortunately, many people instinctively do just the opposite and veer towards protecting themselves rather than protecting the team relationship. If I’m thinking like a team, I will always want to give my spouse or kids my best, even if they aren’t at their best in the moment.
I remember my first example of Shaun taking this team approach with me in our first couple years of marriage. I’ll embarrass myself and tell you the story. I was on the phone in our kitchen and Shaun started to vacuum in our living room. I thought he knew I was on the phone, which of course he obviously didn’t, or he wouldn’t have started vacuuming. I looked around the living room corner with a face of exasperation at my husband who was in the middle of a loving act of kindness. Covering the phone, I strongly said, “I’m on the phone!” As we would say in our house today, I was clearly flubberstrated (a much-loved word in the Gustafson house coined by our middle child when she was three).
Within a few minutes of getting off the phone, I started feeling bad about my tone of voice and facial expression. I went into our living room to apologize to Shaun. “What are you thinking about?” I asked. “I’m thinking about all the reasons I love being married to you,” he responded.
Wow! I threw him an out-of-nowhere wild ball, and in response, he threw a kind, mature, straight pitch back at me instead of what I so deserved at the moment. I quickly apologized for speaking in a dishonoring manner and asked, “Why would you be thinking about good things when I was just disrespectful to you?” With a smile he said, “God’s plan for our life is too important for me to let myself get offended, so I decided to focus on what I love about you instead. I know your heart and you’re normally very kind with your words.”
I once heard someone say we tend to judge others by their actions; however, we judge ourselves by our intentions. Shaun’s team-minded example changed my life forever because he did the opposite of what most people would want to do. In this moment, he chose to be loving and respectful even when I wasn’t.
Are we always this good at our relationship skills 100% of the time? No, but we both really work hard at remembering we are a team in marriage and as parents. It’s not always easy, but it makes our relationship much more enjoyable when we act team-minded and respond with a soft answer instead of anger.
Another great way to prevent arguments is to simply communicate. When you walk through the door, gently tell your spouse, “It’s been a rough day at work. A client chewed me out. I’m needing some recovery time, so if I don’t seem as friendly as normal, it’s not you. I love you.” Just these few little words eliminate misunderstandings and help prevent your spouse from jumping to conclusions or wondering if they did something wrong.
I pray this encourages you today and helps strengthen your relationships, 

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Affirming our Family

One of our personal favorites of Jesus’ leadership qualities was that He affirmed those under His authority. He said to His disciples in the upper room, those who were closest to Him,


No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you (John 15:15-16).

What a statement! He affirmed them by calling them friends and emphasizing that He chose them. He then spoke blessing over them, telling them that He chose them for a valuable purpose and calling. He believed with all of His heart that they would succeed in this calling. He then gave them a promise saying that whatever they asked God for in His name, they would receive it! The exciting thing for us as believers is, He was also speaking this over you and me! Jesus believed in His disciples, and He believes in us just as much today because we are also His disciples called to do His will in the earth.


We have this same ability to operate like Jesus did, within our own home. We can make a difference to those closest to us by believing in them, no matter what. Showing confidence in someone does amazing things. Shaun often says that when we believe enough in someone’s success, they will eventually become a success. We can change the whole environment in our home just by showing approval and confidence in our family members!

It is rewarding to see someone who was doing average or below average in life with no real goals for their future suddenly experience someone who believes in them. It typically changes everything! Most people like to live up to their leaders’ or loved ones’ expectations when they are spoken to with love and belief. Children and adults standards are raised when they know someone has positive expectancy over them. Hearing things like:


You can do it! I know you can!

I believe in you! You are going to do great!

Way to go! You did a great job!

I am so pleased with you!

Thank you for doing your best!


I remember once in fifth grade when I had gotten an F on a social studies test. I normally earned A’s and B’s so it was probably a big surprise for my mom and dad when I came home with this news. I had misunderstood what chapter I was to study, so I was not prepared for the test I took. I still remember my mom, who is one of the most encouraging people I know, saying to me, “All that matters to me, honey, is that you did your best. I will always be pleased with you as long as you try. Don’t feel bad about it. You are smart and you’ll bring your grade back up next time.” I went from having a feeling of condemnation to having joy because I knew I was accepted and loved. I was reminded that she believed in me and in my future. She helped me get things back in perspective. My life wasn’t over because of an F on a test!

            Friend, just as my mom believed in me and let me know it, God believes in you too! He has let us know it all through His Word. Jesus voiced His confidence and approval to His disciples, but He was also saying this to you and me. You are special to Him! He equipped you with everything you need to be a success in life, not only in your profession, but also as a spouse and parent. 2 Corinthians 9:8 tells us,


And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.


This verse is specifically referring to those who cheerfully give money to God’s work here on the earth. It implies that when money is given to God’s kingdom, God’s grace will see to it that all of our needs will be met and that we have even more to give. This also can apply to anything we give cheerfully to benefit His kingdom and further His Gospel here on earth. When we give our spouse and children praise, affirmation, and encouragement, we are showing them a demonstration of how loving our Father in heaven is. When those we live with experience God’s goodness manifested through us, it will draw their hearts into a greater desire to know Him and His love more deeply. When we cheerfully give praise to others, we make ourselves able to experience more of the good God has planned for us. Another way of saying this is, the more love and approval we give to others, the more joy we will experience ourselves!

God’s grace manifested in us can and will give us the ability and knowledge to be an encourager to our family and to others we lead. Being an encourager is not a personality type, but rather it is a choice. Even if you have not been one to verbalize encouragement and approval to those around you, know that God can help you do this! Although it had not been Shaun’s “personality” to be an encourager of others when he was young, as an adult he saw the value in this behavior and determined to learn this good quality. With God’s help he trained himself to do this and is now an excellent encourager to others. If you would like to grow in this area, you can even pray this right now:


Father, I ask You to help me see the best in my family and those I lead. Please help me to voice approval of them and belief in them on a daily basis. I pray that they will experience my love and Your love through me each day in a tangible way. In Jesus name, amen. 
In love, Pastor Amy Gustafson

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Pray Together, Stay Together

Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven (Matthew 18:19).
“We deeply love each other and know it was God who brought us together. We just don’t understand why we fight so much. On a regular basis one of us gets upset or irritated with the other about something.”
Ben and Shelly verbalized thoughts experienced by many couples. Through further discussions we found they were both raised in broken families. Ben had never met his father nor had any male role model in the home. Shelly had some role models, but was raised in a separated family much of her life.
Unfortunately, this is very common in the day we live. Many people have grown up with either poor examples or no examples of the skills and unconditional love required to make marriage last a lifetime. Within a short time, they begin to follow the behavior patterns they observed in their parents marriage or just make an attempt based on what makes them feel loved. They enter marriage hoping to receive unconditional love, but having little to no idea how to give unconditional love.
Ben and Shelly longed for the peace and joy God intended for marriage and asked us if we would impart any truths we had discovered. We visited together, sharing the main key to unity God had taught us. God had shown us through His Word that if we would pray together for a time each day, we would have peace, unity, and single-mindedness in our marriage relationship all day long.
This is shown in Acts 4:24, which states the group of believers gathered together and “…raised their voice to God with one accord…” Later, verses 31 and 32 continue with,


And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.  Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.


Did you notice the three key effects unified prayer caused among the believers in this passage of Scripture? First, when the believers prayed together they increased in boldness of sharing the Word. God desires for us to be a witness to unbelievers as well as to other Christians around us. This is done verbally as well as through our being a living testimony of God’s goodness. As you and your spouse pray together, you both increase in boldness about sharing and demonstrating the love and goodness of God with those around you.
Second, praying together resulted in them having one heart and one soul (unity), meaning no difference of opinion for direction, purpose or motives. James 1:7 tells us a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. A marriage with two people trying to go their own direction, rather than God’s unified direction, is also unstable. However, as you and your spouse pray together, double-mindedness will leave your marriage and single-mindedness will enter to unify the two of you as one heart and one soul.
Third, the believers’ unified prayer resulted in selflessness rather than selfishness. The last passage says they did not count their possessions as their own but shared with whoever had need. Selfishness is a large problem in many marriages today; however, this Scripture shows us how to overcome this destructive behavior and become a loving, sharing spouse. When we as a married couple pray together, we are putting Christ at the center of our relationship. God is then able to do a work in us to encourage a sharing and giving spirit, which will produce a “what’s mine is yours” attitude. This is the way God intended marriage to be.
After we explained all of these benefits to Ben and Shelly, Ben shared that he questioned whether this would truly help their relationship. “Let’s do this,” we said. “You said you have disagreements almost everyday. Try praying together at least 15 minutes every morning for just one week. Then come back and tell us the results.” We also added, “One more thing, make sure you do your prayer together first thing, before you engage in conversation with each other, otherwise you may get in a disagreement first and end up not praying at all.”
One week later Ben and Shelly arrived for our meeting. Before they even said a word, we could tell things had improved. Their countenance had brightened, and their body language towards each other showed a new spark and tenderness. They excitedly shared with us that in only one week there had been dramatic changes. They both agreed the arguments had diminished by about 90 percent. With a smile Ben said, “The remaining 10 percent of disagreements happened only when we didn’t start the day with prayer first.”
Ben and Shelly had quickly learned and proven that God’s Word will always work for us when we put it into practice. Isn’t it good to know God didn’t just throw a man and woman together with their opposite strengths, gifts, and abilities and say, “Boy, I don’t know how they are ever going to get along with each other?” No, God made marriage to be a work of art, and He gave us a manual to follow on how to have strong relationships. He made man and woman’s opposite characteristics to compliment and strengthen each other and to be a powerful force in the earth for His kingdom. He created marriage to be a gift, and it can be for you today.
No matter the current condition of your marriage, there is hope. Remember God said, “Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8).  We can take God at His Word and ask Him for help to love our spouse with His kind of love.
Let us say here that doing things God’s way in marriage is not always easy. During the hard times, remember this great quote from Charles Kettering: “No one would have ever crossed the ocean if he could have gotten off the ship during a storm.” This is also true with marriage. If we give up when things are the worst, we will never be able to experience God’s best. A rainbow comes after the storm.
It is often in the early years that many couples face their biggest challenges. Studies show most divorces take place within the first seven years of a marriage. The wedding is joyous, but then the challenges of life in a sin-filled world show up and people have to daily make the choice, “…as for me and my house we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). Many couples happily married over thirty years tell us the toughest years were in the first ten, but they are thankful they worked it out. They would not have had all the joyous years together if they had not persevered and worked through those early challenges!  
Studies have shown that couples who choose to stay together and work out their problems are reportedly happier than those who become divorced.1 In order to achieve success in life and marriage, it is essential to learn how to overcome the rough waves. Through the challenging times, many couples begin to take their frustrations out on family and associate feelings from life’s disappointments with their spouse or children. They may become disillusioned with their marriage, thinking the relationship is their main problem. However in reality, marriage and family was designed by God to be a haven from life’s challenges.
When a couple puts God first and builds a spiritual bond with each other through daily prayer and going to church as a family, this is the first step in building a strong relationship that will weather the test of time. Then when tough times come, they have a strong foundation that is not easily shaken.
A couple can be so spiritually out of touch with God and each other that they do not even know this important bond is missing in their relationship. Then one day something major happens and they realize they have lost (or never developed) their spiritual foundation. Once a couple chooses to put God first and build or reestablish their spiritual bond, God is able to move mightily on their behalf. He can and will establish deeper love and excitement, as well as reveal His divine plan and purpose for their union together. 
We love you! 
Shaun & Amy

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