"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair."~from ISAIAH 61 Bible verse for this Blog

APOLOGY to READERS who followed a SEARCH to HERE & didn't find it

On July 18, 2017, I drafted almost 3000 blog posts that I had published since 2008 when I began blogging, rather than edit each one. So if you clicked here from somewhere else and ended up with the post unavailable or error, I am sorry but this is why. It'd be too much work for me to go back and fix them. There's an explanation on 7/19/17 as I'm still learning.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Strong Marriages ... part 2

I am still mulling over the devotional on "Strong Marriages..." by Pastor Rick Warren from July 26th (in my email and also shared at Daily Hope) that I posted about in my last post (now says Strong Marriages, part 1). {I even went back and added a personal part to that blog post right before the last boxes marked with an *} Perhaps this is why I am still mulling over this. And of course, this causes me to do a Google search ... Topic: Strong Marriages (defined, Biblical, etc.). I just needed to know what Pastor Rick meant by 'strong' in regards to 'marriages' since last year my One Word was Strength, and now followed in 2022 with RELATIONSHIP. There are many opinions out in search world but I also found that many changed my search on a 'strong marriage' to 'happiness in marriage' or 'successful' (good, great, etc.)- it definitely widens the search, instead of sticking to 'strong marriage'. So I pondered some more and kept some of the articles to read while noting the characteristics given for a 'strong" (successful, happy, good, great) marriage. The definition of 'strong' (16 given in Merriam Webster) does not include happy, successful, good or great, not even in the synonyms. 

The first article that is cited (in the search) is "Building a Strong Marriage" by Julie Baumgardner (October 4, 2017). Now that may seem outdated but I don't think anyone's opinion of the 'strengths" in a marriage or how to build a strong marriage becomes outdated. The key message shared on the search page had this from the article:

"Strong marriages have a balance between separateness and togetherness. These couples prioritize togetherness, ask each other for help, enjoy doing things together and spend most of their free time together."

I found this to be very interesting so I clicked on it to read the rest. Julie (the author) shares 10 strengths and 10 problems (according to a survey). I really liked her conclusion on taking time to prepare for your marriage. 

"Learn how to build on your strengths, creatively address differences and work together for the best interests of your marriage. It will probably be the best wedding present you can give to each other. "

I particularly like the suggestion and wisdom to "Learn how to build on your strengths ..." yet, although the author writes this for those preparing to marry, I believe that acknowledging the other's strengths throughout your marriage is vital also. Lifting someone up and encouraging them in your marriage is much better than looking for the negative or tearing the other one down, as time goes on when real life problems and situations arise, Godly strength is needed.  

Then I came across another more recent article (May 2020) asking what I've been pondering: "What does it mean to have a strong marriage?" from "4 Women (at different life stages) Share what Makes a Strong Marriage". This capsulizes some, but the personal stories are very interesting - worth the casual read. Good points.

"There are so many layers to having a strong marriage, and although couples can't always accomplish all of them, it may be in our best interest to work towards most of them. Trust, respect, communication, laughter, closeness, faithfulness, open-mindedness, and a will to forgive are just a few of those things."

Later, I read this helpful insight elsewhere: "There are many areas of closeness that can enhance a marriage/relationship, help it to remain strong, and help it get back on track when it has become distant/difficult." I also found in this article a list of characteristics (they call "factors that contribute to a satisfying marriage/relationship").

In the various articles of my search, I found these characteristics to be the consensus:

Communication (good, including listening)







... and the list goes on ... with LOVE, Patience, Responsibility, Willingness/Ability to Compromise - but the ones that stand out the most to me are:

Spirituality and Values; Empathy and Sensitivity; Ability to Deal with Crises and Stress (many of these were part of the article:"12 Characteristics of Successful Marriages" by Natalia Walcott, which mentions some really good ones, not listed). There's also this good article "12 Practical Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship..." - both are very insightful. 

As I reflect on some of these articles and the characteristics mostly, I realize what I have (we have), what I thought there were (when we first married) and now what exists ... and I have to emphasize the 1st part I shared again: balance and building on your strengths [the 1st 2 boxes have the full quotes]. However, the biggest struggle in my own marriage was my own misunderstandings as regards his spirituality and my own. His humanitarian and educational concerns I thought we shared in common as a Christian bond of our beliefs being the same, but I confused what I saw with what I wanted to see or be. He described what he wanted from (with) me as being authentic. Again, there was a discrepancy. Those values are bigger than what is seen on the surface. Those differences or misunderstandings added to so many other problems we faced. However, he has strengths and I have strengths ... and these many years later they don't hold up to the many faults and failings in our basic relationship, and that is why the ability to deal with situations (not just crises and stress) with respect and love honestly in good communication and consideration, all are essential to build a "strong marriage". I don't differ with the characteristics given in any of these articles. Yet, having strengths and weaknesses as humans, we bring these into any relationship and we need to accept that they do exist and allow grace. Much grace. Having strengths is not the same as being strong individuals or strong willed or strong headed. We bring the good and the not so good with us into our relationships. As I stated back in part 1; the part on "fighting for an awesome marriage" that the 'fight' also means the struggle to endure as we(I) put forth a determined effort - too often we give up in the struggle or the weariness or the difficulties, but it takes forgiveness and God to move beyond all the struggles and failings of each other. Both sides have frailties that hinder building or rebuilding - it's in our natural personalities and character. But God! Only with surrender and help from God, do we arrive at becoming stronger or a strong marriage, moving forward. 

It isn't easy to have a STRONG MARRIAGE. You may not agree with the other about what that even is ... you may not agree with me, however STRENGTH from God, through His Spirit, by Jesus' beautiful example and teachings can restore any RELATIONSHIP, if their is a willingness to listen, compromise and rekindle love. Without love, it will seem hopeless. Without God/Jesus; love is not seen the same way. Without hope, there is more and more hostility and futility. Without Jesus (no Jesus ... no peace) there are constant unresolved conflicts, but if you Know Jesus, you will know Peace. And His Holy Spirit will guide and lead you closer, give you hope and rebuild the main foundation in Christ. That's when it's strong! 

Today, Pastor Rick Warren is finishing with Part 4 of Fighting for An Awesome Marriage if you are listening online at Daily Hope. However, yesterday and today in his devotionals he has moved on to the FAMILY. 

The You Version reading plan, Awesome Relationships, as I mentioned already does not sync well with this study, even though they are both with Pastor Rick Warren and I must say that the reading plan has some very insightful devotionals. They certainly relate to the Daily Hope devotional and study & add greatly! I already linked to Day 2 at the end of my previous post because it was the BEST!

Here are Day 3, 4, and 5 of the 10 given in the YV reading plan: 


  1. These two sentences stood out to me - "having strengths and weaknesses as humans, we bring these into any relationship and we need to accept that they do exist and allow grace. Much grace." Especially the "MUCH GRACE". SO much grace has been extended to us, one would think it would be easy to extend it to others...especially our spouse. But we are human, and at least for this human, it is HARD to do that at times....so I need constant reminders of this...and daily forgiveness for the many times I lose my patience and fall way short.....KT

    1. Thank you so much for sharing! (KT) {especially when Blogger makes it so difficult} but safer this way.
      I always enjoy your feedback and your honest openness. Such truth in your words. Being human is hard and allowing the others their own human-ness when it impacts us is difficult, I think for all of us, even saints. (lol) But oh that forgiveness and the gentle reminders are so needed. We all fall short (but some don't want to admit their shortcomings, just ours). God's grace & strength KT <3 Peggy


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