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3 Secrets to a Long-Lasting Marriage

Jacob Scott

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Henny Youngman said, “Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays.” While funny, the secret to a long-lasting marriage probably shouldn’t revolve around being separate.

I’ve been married to Susan for over three decades. Of course, we haven’t been perfect and things haven’t always been smooth. But I’ve learned over the years what not to do, and I’ve learned some of what to do, including these 3 secrets to a long-lasting marriage.

Secret #1: Forgive each other.

I’ve found that learning to forgive each other is often like what C.S. Lewis said: “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” Isn’t it like that in marriage sometimes?

Marriage takes continual forgiveness. That’s the big secret. Over the course of weeks, months, and years—there must be an attitude of continual forgiveness. Continual forgiveness requires continual grace from one another. Grace is undeserved favor. You forgive each other over and over again, even if you don’t feel like the other person deserves it.

Secret #2: Out love each other.

My wife Susan likes to say, “Couples who out love have marriages that outlast.” I agree. Our marriage has gone through its own marriage challenges—from Susan’s heart complications, our adoptions, and my own back troubles over the years. We’ve learned to out love each other. You must keep giving to one another more and more each day. We should keep doing the little things to pursue one another.

Secret #3: Serve with each other. 

The third secret is serving with each other. I’ve seen earlier in my marriage and in other couples that it’s easy to get busy serving in a lot of different areas. This isn’t always negative, but it can become a wedge between spouses rather than something that strengthens a marriage. Often, the mistake I see is younger couples not considering how serving others together can bring them together in marriage. Imagine years of serving separately with individual ministries or organizations. Then imagine years of serving in ministry together, on the same mission, with the same heart. Whether you’re delivering food or serving at church, couples with long-lasting marriages know to do it together—because they understand all good things done together can strengthen the marriage.

What’s your secret to a long-lasting marriage? Share in a comment below.

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Family

4 Ways to Make Your Words Matter More

Jacob Scott

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Your words matter. They have the power to change minds, to change you, and even to change the world. They can build up and encourage or tear down and fester. Author Zig Ziglar once said, “There is power in words. What you say is what you get.”

So we should heed this anonymous quote’s advice: “Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out.” When we understand that our words have power and that they matter, we make the most of them. Here are 4 ways to make your words matter more.

1. Be humble.

Humility brings patience with your words. If you’re humble, you’re often more likely to speak less and to speak gently. For example, being humble in an argument means you don’t get angry, speak louder, or talk more because you disagree with somebody. Instead, you use fewer words and you seek to understand the other person’s side. If you’re constantly thinking of others more than yourself in conversation, people will notice you care—so when you do speak, your words will carry more weight.

2. Know how to listen.

Good communication is completely dependent on how well you listen. Sadly, instead of listening, a lot of us talk—especially when we disagree with someone. When I’m in the wrong, my natural tendency is to talk more. We try to win or get our way in a conversation. But it only makes the problem bigger. The more we talk, our words start to matter less and less. But if you listen well, your words will mean more.

3. Spend time.

Many find that their words don’t matter to others because they don’t invest the time it takes to build a relationship. No matter how busy you are, don’t look at encounters with others as distractions. See them as opportunities to connect. See the value inherent in every person and every conversation. Your words will start to matter more when you give your time and attention to others. When you value other people, they’re more likely to value your words.

4. Please God.

Our words should align with God’s Word. Our words should be pleasing to Him. And when they are pleasing to God, they will be pleasing to others. So we always need to ask ourselves questions—am I speaking in truth? Am I speaking with love? Am I speaking to build up? Am I speaking with the best interests of the other person in mind?

Whose words have mattered most to you, and what impact has that person had on your life? Share in a comment below.

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Source: markmerrill.com

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3 Mistakes Men Make With Sex

Jacob Scott

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Men, do you know what your wife wants out of sex? We may think we know what our wives want, but often we don’t. When’s the last time you asked? Too many relationships struggle because husbands don’t consider their wives’ desires. We don’t often think about our role in creating closeness for a thriving marriage.

In the old movie City Slickers, Billy Crystal said, “Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place.” If you haven’t already, you’ll eventually run into differences with your wife in your view of sex. Recognizing the differences will help you address them and if you address them, you will grow closer. Here are 3 of the biggest sex mistakes men make.

Mistake 1: Thinking Sex Starts in the Bedroom

Culture has corrupted intimacy. TV and movies depict couples going from fighting to having sex. It’s unrealistic to think she can go from zero to 60—from nothing to the bedroom. Instead, it starts the moment you wake up. Maybe it’s a hug or surprise kiss to show how much you love and desire her. Perhaps it’s a text telling her you can’t wait to see her. The point is, sex starts when you show you care for your wife throughout the entire day, not just the moment you want it.

Mistake 2: Missing the Connection Piece With Sex

Men have sex and then feel connected. Women connect and then are more likely to feel like having sex. As husbands, we make the mistake of thinking we can have sex without connecting first. Sadly, many husbands in our culture have viewed pornography. So, they expect their wives to be like a character they’ve seen on screen. They exchange the twisted transaction on the screen for a real connection with their wives.

Instead of trying to have sex with your wife before connecting, learn to focus on her. Make it your priority to slow down and talk to her. Take time to find out how she’s feeling. Do you know how her day went? When you’re talking to her, are you picking up her nonverbals? Make sure you’re tuned in to her frequency. By the end of the evening, she should feel like she’s the most important person on earth to you. Why? Because you’ve made her feel that way the entire day.

Mistake 3: Thinking of Yourself First

With physical intimacy, are you more concerned about her pleasure or yours? Sex should be more about her and less about yourself. So, who are you thinking about first? And do you know what she wants? Focus on meeting her desires. Talk about them with her. Listen and focus on her enjoyment rather than your own.

What would you add to the list of the biggest sex mistakes men make? Share in a comment below.

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Original Post: markmerrill.com

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4 Ways to Find Your Purpose

Jacob Scott

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Lewis Carroll said, “If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter which path you take.” It can’t matter if you haven’t learned how to find your purpose. But if you’re anything like me, you want to know where you’re going. I don’t want to feel like I’m wandering aimlessly. I want to feel like I’m living on a mission.

We don’t have to wander in the dark without a purpose. Do you want to feel like you’re contributing to something bigger than yourself? You can. You can do some things to help you live on a mission. Here are 4 ways to find your purpose.

1. Prayer

We must not treat prayer as a vending machine, inserting requests and seeing what comes out. Instead, we should spend time praying in order to be closer to God. This is part of how to find your purpose. Tim Keller said, “The basic purpose of prayer is not to bend God’s will to mine, but to mold my will into His.” Through prayer, we listen and communicate with God so we know his will rather than seek to rationalize our ideas.

Have you prayed about your purpose? 

2. Passion

One of the best ways to find your purpose is by considering what you love. What are you drawn to? What do you value? What causes do you find yourself caring about? What organization do you volunteer for most often? A great question to ask yourself is: What would I do even if I never got paid to do it? Your purpose is always shaped by what you care about. But the point is to be sure your passions aren’t just for money or fame but for things that are worthwhile.

What would you do even if you didn’t get paid to do it?

3. Past

Most of us are shaped greatly by our experiences. These can be positive or negative experiences. You can have such a negative experience that you decide to change something and find your purpose through that experience.

What experiences have you had—good or bad—that have shaped you in unique ways?

4. Partners

If you’ve ever watched a singing competition on TV, then you know the power of having honest friends. You’ve no doubt seen the person who can’t sing try out to be a singer in the competition. The person gets to the stage and the judges must tell him he can’t actually sing. The guy needed a friend to be honest with him. Been wondering how to find your purpose? Honest people partnering with you will help. You need people you can approach and say, “I think this might be a strength of mine; do you see that?” Or “What are some of my strengths that you see?” The point is, seeking wise counsel is one of the best ways to confirm your purpose.

What do others say about your purpose? 

What are some other ways that might help a person find his or her purpose? Share in a comment below.

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Original Post: markmerrill.com

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