Divorce, Marriage

He Loves Me…He Loves Me Not

My husband and I have been “split-up” since July 4th. The reason he left is still a mystery to me. One day I spoke with him and asked him what was wrong because I didn’t feel connected. He answered, “Nothing is wrong, I’m good.” To that I replied, “No, there is something wrong because we are not even speaking.” He reiterated, “We are good; there are no problems…”  A week passed and I went back and asked him again. He told me that he was unhappy and we discussed our next steps to split up.

Perplexed and confused, I went to my Bible and read every scripture about marriage and divorce. I spoke to people that are married and divorced and I still didn’t get the answers that I was looking for. Does he love me? Or does he love me not?

After the breakup I was ready for a divorce and God spoke to me…. “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Mark 10:9 NIV) “And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband.” (I Corinthians 7: 13-14 NIV) I know that if you read further it says leave, but I tried to leave and God said ‘NO!’ Remember you need to recognize God’s voice and have the spirit of discernment in order to know when it’s time to stand still or run.

Still uneasy and a bit confused, I started to pray and seek God’s face and again He spoke His Word to me: “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. (Philippians 4: 6-7 MSG) “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV) I then realized that God ordained me for such a time as this and since I was chosen, I am going to be fine.

One day as I was walking I just started praying  and God started to reveal myself to me. You know what I found out? I have flaws that are hindering our growth in marriage. Can you believe that Keviyona has flaws? Imagine that! He even started to reveal my husband to me. My husband has trust issues and he thinks no one understands him. At that moment, I understood that this was much bigger than me and I started preparing myself to enter an intense spiritual battle for my marriage and for my husband.

I almost lost my mind listening to bad advice as people were telling me, “He doesn’t love you, he has another woman, he never loved you, he used you, he isn’t thinking about you or your daughter, blah, blah, blah, blah.” And then when I asked him about those accusations, he replied, “I love you, I don’t want a divorce, and I am a work in progress.” What people said and what he was confessed once again had me confused horribly. Does he loves me? Does he love me not?

So here we are, over 2 months later. Some think I’m crazy, but here’s how I’ve learned to deal with the situation. I listen to his problems, we talk every day, we laugh, we eat dinner together on his days off and we spend time with our daughter together. Now this is the kicker–we are still not in the same house, but I am still treating him like my husband because that who he is in my life and God is working on him. He doesn’t want to be away from me, but he didn’t feel adequate to be with me. I walk around now having the faith that what God has joined together, no man will put asunder (not even us). Now I am not telling you to put up with disrespect, abuse, infidelity or anything that is not healthy for you. I am saying seek God and have the faith to believe that He will never leave you nor forsake you. I want you to stand strong and focus on Jesus as the author and finisher of your faith. If you know God joined your union, don’t let people or the devil tear it apart.

Dear Daddy,
Thank You for giving me the strength to endure. Thank You for teaching me how to war for my mate and how to stand firm in Your word. Continue to be my refuge in a time of present help. Continue to build me up where I need uplifting when I get weary in well doing. Continue to teach me to love with an agape love.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you not to run from adversity, but to remember this scripture: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 NIV)  If God promised anything to you, remember that He is not a man that shall lie. Don’t stress and try to figure out if someone loves you, remember that there is no greater love than God’s love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV) You never have to wonder if He loves you or loves you not.

Do you have an encouraging word for those struggling in their marriages? If so, please share it with us in the comment section.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: The Reality of Relationships

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Mrs. Keviyona Ray is an ordained minister and co-pastor of The Christ For All People International Church. She is passionate about sharing the word of God with everyone she encounters. As a professional, Keviyona is a teacher for Chicago Public Schools. She loves her ministry of teaching and changing children’s lives. She is a devoted wife and mother of a wonderful daughter. Two of her favorite scriptures are Jeremiah 1: 5: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” and Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”

Love, Love, Love Series, Marriage, Relationships, Sex

The Reality of Relationships

“Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart.” Mark 10:9 MSG

Relationships bring out the root of our character. Whether it’s spiritual, marital, familial, or friendship, our character is often what determines the depth to these relationships. This past weekend my husband and I went to a marriage conference entitled, “Weekend to Remember.” We witnessed so many couples, even ourselves, having breakthroughs and becoming free because they understood what a true relationship with their spouse or future spouse should entail. Unfortunately, society, secular culture, media, and our imaginations have tainted the true meaning of the love shared between a husband and wife. When I was dating, I had so many misconceptions and unrealistic expectations about marriage. It caused a lot of frustration during my dating years and rifts when I married. Today I want to EMPOWER you to step outside of what you “think” is healthy for the marriage you have or the one you are preparing for, and look to God as the source of abundance and joy in your relationship.

Common Myths that Skew Singles and Murder Marriages:

  1. Difficulties mean we have a bad marriage: It’s not the difficulty that rates your marriage, but the way you respond to difficulties. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.” (1 Corinthians 7:28 NIV) Work as a team to face ALL troubles.
  2. I have to make my point: When you respond to your mate, do you use honey or vinegar? The Bible tells us to speak in a way that encourages: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29 NIV) I’ve learned over the years that my husband does not respond to nagging (the equivalent of being nibbled to death by a duck). But he responds to TIMELY conversations that encourage him.
  3. Children first, then our marriage: God designed the marriage relationship as the priority relationship of the family. Our marriages should mirror God’s image of love. The speaker at our conference gave some astounding advice. He said children don’t necessarily “need” quality or quantity time the most. They need mom and dad to have it together! This is so true because it breeds security in the home. Children are sensitive and can pick up on tension in the home.
  4. Love has to be earned: The anchor to your love for your spouse or future spouse should not be based on how well he cooks, acts, works, dresses, or interacts with other people. That’s what makes you “like” him. Love is based on the principle of agape love. It’s patience (not forcing him to change or slapping resume` builders in his face), kindness (saying “good morning” or sending a text message that says “I love you”), void of envy (you are not his competitor), non-boasting (refrain from “I cook, clean, AND work! What do you do?”), honor (opposed to punking him in public or acting like his mom), selflessness (opposed to manipulating the finances in secret), self-control (opposed to being quick to get angry), and it’s based on forgiveness (instead of keeping a record, tally, score sheet, note-book, or spreadsheet of his wrongdoings in your brain and heart or reminding him of them.)
  5. Marriage should be blissful: Did you know that some things are not solvable? You cannot change your spouse and he cannot change you. Some disagreements have to end in compromise.
  6. I can fix him: Your husband is not your project! Pick another hobby! Your man has attributes that are indicative of him. God can make the situation work, but when you make it your business to “fix it” on your own, that becomes day one of destruction. Trying to change him means that I do not accept the masterpiece God designed for me.
  7. Sex is not necessary: Did you know that both of you should be “satisfied” during sex in your marriage? I just learned of a story of a woman of 12 children that never experienced an orgasm. She began to pray over her marriage bed and soon, her husband prayed with her. He took on the responsibility of trying to make sex enjoyable for her as well. God filled them with ways of intimacy to encourage oneness in their marriage. Healthy sex encourages oneness.
  8. I don’t need a man to complete me: You should definitely be complete in your decision for Christ before you marry. However, a marriage is a companionship. When there is not a “need” for a companion, your husband cannot see where he fits in. Men have a “need” to complete and fix. If he can’t complete your desire for companionship, he doesn’t see where he’s needed.
  9. Conferences, counseling, and marriage books are only for broken marriages: My husband said something astounding the other day. He said we study for our degrees so we can “know” our fields, but we don’t “study” our marriage. I was blown away because he was right. I know his personality, but I don’t know what it means to be “married” unless I look at two other people that are NOT he and I. Whether it’s your Bible, talks with your mate about your marriage, retreats, books, etc, your marriage needs to be an “intended” focus, not just another feather in your hat.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for bringing some things to the fore front. Father, please help us not to taint our minds and imaginations with selfish ideas and worldly expectations of marriage. Lord, I pray that every wife reading this message is able to demonstrate oneness. Lord, I pray that she sees to it that she prays for her husband on a consistent basis, whether he is a believer or not. Lord, I ask that the Holy Spirit guide our prayers so that they are not selfish. Lord, I pray for every Lady in Waiting and every Wife, that You encourage her to realize that the focus before and during marriage should be You because You give her provisions, joy, happiness, and fulfillment, regardless of circumstance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to love your man with Godly love. Relationships are wonderful, but we can’t encourage worldly expectations if we want a Godly relationship. I listed the myths above to help free you to lavish in the abundance of love. Your husband is neither your enemy nor your competitor. There is nothing worse for a man to fail outside the home and then come home to someone that reaffirms it. God designed us as helpers. The term helper means to assist someone that is not adequate to handle it by themselves; it does not mean slave! Love on him in God’s way and He will move like never before.

Comment on our Facebook Wall or Tweet us and tell us ways you encourage your healthy relationship.

  We continue our celebration of Whitney with her hit, “All The Man That I Need”:

As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV) She teaches Young Adult Bible Study and Sunday School and also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment. Khalilah resides in Millbrook, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three-year old daughter. They attend Vaughn Forest Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Check out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here

Career, Marriage, Prayer, Singleness

Is This What I REALLY Want?

I’ve had several personal requests before the Lord lately.  There are three specifically that God dealt with me about this week.   1) I want to be financially comfortable to the point that I am able to sow into other people and also help others in need 2) I want a challenge in my professional life 3)  I want the Lord to continue to keep me content in my season of singleness but PLEASE LORD PLEASE, only let it be a SEASON!!  My greatest desire is to be a wife and mother.

“…Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6 NIV)

God has really been dealing with me this week on these requests in particular.  First, I got a call from an acquaintance. He was telling me  about his latest financial shortcoming and I found myself rolling my eyes on the phone and thinking, Lord please don’t let him ask me for no money! RIGHT THERE, it hit me “Is this what I REALLY want?”

Second, I facilitated a professional development workshop and the saying is true that teachers are the WORST students! Again in my mind I said, “Oh they can have this foolishness!” RIGHT THERE again…“Is this what I REALLY want?”

Third, my married Godsister and I were talking and somehow we got on the subject of marriage.  She gave me a PROFOUND analogy of the reality of marriage.  That thing FLOORED me and when I got off the phone AGAIN…”Is this what I REALLY want?”

We have a habit of making requests to God and then having in our minds exactly how we want the answered prayer to look.  I want to personally like everyone God uses me to bless.   I don’t want to have to deal with the challenge of trying to motivate my colleagues; I want a challenge that I can achieve without having to deal with them.  Oh and yes, I want a husband and children but I don’t want to have to sacrifice anything or change my ways and habits.  We must understand God does NOT operate this way!

“…from everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked…” (Luke 12:48b)

Much what? More of what you ask?  More PRAYER, More FASTING, More GRACE, More MERCY, More GIVING, More WARFARE!!!!  So for those of you who have requests before God I ask, “Is this what you REALLY want?”

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for granting me the privilege of making my requests known to You.  Help me submit to Your will even as I present the desires of my heart to You.  Give me wisdom, peace, and strength knowing that, “…You know the way that I take and when You have tested me, I will come forth as gold…” (Job 23:10 NIV) In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to TALK TO YOUR HEAVENLY DADDY!! Thank Him for all that He’s done, who He is, and who He has been in your life, but also BE HONEST with Him and make your requests known to Him.  But remember, “…To whom much is given, much is required..” (Philippians 4:6 KJV) and really ask yourself, “Is this what I REALLY want. Am I ready for what I’m asking for? “  I pray that your answer will be YES!!

Read a related EmpowerMoment: The Long Eyed Lesson

Ms. Katrina Richard is an up and coming professional residing in Chicago, Illinois.  She strives to incorporate knowledge and life-skills to teenagers in her profession as a high school history teacher.  Katrina is very active in her church community where she serves in the prayer ministry as well as in the nursery.  She has a passion for serving in the lesser known areas of ministry because she believes every facet of ministry is important to kingdom building and spiritual development of the believers. Her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Attitude, Growth/Maturity, Love, Marriage, Patience

Who Do You Think You Married?

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”  I Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV

I went into our marriage with preconceived notions and unrealistic hopes and aspirations. My husband and I joke about it now, but during my enlightenment it wasn’t so funny. I remember distinctively, during marriage maintenance prior to our wedding, our first session was about our family structure around marriage. My parents were divorced when I was 10 or so, so all of my “ideas” of marriage came from television. Yep, that’s right; I looked at the Huxtables for my marital pattern.  If not them movies that showed cute and fun marriages that had facial expressions that meant a thousand words and TV shows that featured older couples that laughed, joked, and “complimented” each other ALL THE TIME. I have to give credit where credit is due; my husband’s views were more realistic, so I am grateful for his patience while I came into the reality of what defined our marriage, but it took me a few years.

I came into our marriage with expectations that my husband was not designed to fulfill by MY prompting.  Unbeknownst to me he could only fulfill them in God’s timing. I was stressing him with internal pressure that started to turn us into opponents. Not enemies, but opponents. He was supposed to have me laughing hysterically like my Dad. He was supposed to be comically romantic like Bill Cosby. I expected him to pray ferociously over me like that Pastor and First Lady I saw at that conference. We were supposed to be able to have inside jokes and laugh out loud like the couple I saw at the restaurant. He was supposed to be overprotective of my well-being since I lacked that growing up.

After I faced all of these issues through years of “adjusting to each other”,  I realized I was not being fair. I gave my husband the problems instead of asking for God to heal them. Not only was I not being fair, I was not cherishing the man God gave to me. I would ask God sometimes, “Lord, I prayed over this marriage and you said go forward, why do I feel so forced and so ‘fake’?  Why am I chasing after the ‘ideal’ marriage?” At one point God took me to a low point in my “wifeyhood.” This was when I learned that marriage is NOT for punks. God showed me that with every “expectation” and every “insinuation”, not only was I disrespecting the head of my house, but I was infringing upon the ego, soul, and purpose of my husband. I was poisoning the blessings God gave me.  I was “trampling” over my husband’s character. My notions and actions emitted an arrogance of “you aren’t good enough.” I never “said” it, but my aura exhibited it.

When I was fully convicted of this and prompted to change, God took me through a series of mirrors. He showed me how my husband is the only person on this earth that can be as patient and delicate with me. He is the only tangible being that can show me myself and how to correct it in love. He showed me that my mouth was speaking death over his efforts and the fruits of my marriage…because “I knew everything.” I went through a period of “hush and heed”.  I hushed and just watched my husband and heeded to the prompts of the Holy Spirit. I took a back seat, slowed down, and allowed God to take the steering wheel. God began to reveal to me my husband’s core of strength and integrity. Watching his natural swagger made my heart go pitter patter and I fell in a new love with him. God showed me the error of my ways. I was so unfair to my husband. How could I try to compare him to fictitious TV? Now my husband jokes and says, “You thought you were in a marriage like the Cosby’s.” I’m still appalled at how he even knew those were my motives. But in my defense, that was all I knew.

We’ll be the first to say our marriage is far from perfect. We both have issues that we deal with daily. We even joke with new couples sometimes and tell them DON’T GET MARRIED!! Not because we don’t cherish ours, but it really shows you who you are and it is a task, yet a labor of love. Through years (well, not that many) of checks and balances and trial and error, I laugh when I catch us laughing hysterically in OUR OWN WAY at each other or when we have family Bible studies or prayer in OUR OWN WAY or when he unconsciously grabs my hand to guide me when we are in crowds, when we sit in silence, yet our flirts are so loud, or even when we fight and just look at each other and say “this is petty.fight’s over.” There’s no foot rub make-up or jazz dances like the Cosby’s, but it’s in OUR OWN WAY that we love  and forgive, and it has become the fabric of the muscles within my heart.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for sparing the quality things in my life until I was able to handle and appreciate them. Thank You for placing these treasures in my life that build me and make me stronger. Lord, I pray for every marriage out there, mine included. Whether it is under attack, in a rough patch, or cruising in marital bliss, Lord I plead Your covering of protection, cooperation, and communication. As wives, Lord please teach us how to be pleasing and a doer of Your Word so that we may be able to fulfill our roles in the marriage. Lord bless every husband, especially the ones with “know it all wives”, to be patient and to love her with patience and kindness until she gets it right. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, whether you are married or on the way, I EMPOWER you to remove any ideas out of your head of other marriages and trying to mimic those. Allow God to steer, ordain, and orchestrate the ideals within your marriage. It’s good to say, “I want to have great communication like the Johnsons.” But saying, “I want my husband to communicate with me the way Bob Johnson communicates with Shana” is dangerous. Trust God, and He will teach you how to trust your husband. Love God and He will teach you how to love your husband. Therefore, what God has put together let no one separate (Mark 10:9 NIV)….even if it is YOU.

For more on marriage, read: Must We Do Everything Together?

As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV) She teaches Young Adult Bible Study and Sunday School and also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment. Khalilah resides in Millbrook, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three-year old daughter. They attend St. Luke Christian Church. Check out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.

Finances, God's Protection, Inspirational, Marriage, Money, Self-Control, Speech, Stress, Submission/Surrendering, Trusting God

It Takes a Storm to Prove How Strong Your House Is

One night it was raining so hard that I woke up and started to pray. “God, please cover my house and my family in Jesus’ name.” The rain was beating against the windows and the lightening was flashing. I commanded the storm to pass my house and not let any harm or danger come upon it. The storm passed and the only thing that happened was that our lights went out.

Well even though the physical storm had passed and the house, my husband and daughter were physically safe, there was all hell breaking loose on the inside. Those of you who are married know that a financial strain can put a marriage in a bind. Well the past few months have been challenging  for my family because our finances took a dive. Bills were past due and in jeopardy of being cut off and we didn’t know where we would get the money to pay them. When money is funny every other part of the marriage is too. I started saying some harsh things to my husband and vice versa. We started arguing more and we stopped healthy communication all together. Yes, I know the scripture: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:8, NKJV).” But I wasn’t abiding by it because I was angry and all I kept thinking was I don’t want to be the one to have to cover all of the bills. Instead of realizing that my husband and I are one, I became angry and start hitting him below the belt by throwing out hints about the bills. Honey, I opened the door and let the devil all the way in!

I was also lacking attention from husband. His father is terminally ill but I still wanted him to be with me all the time. Yeah I know, what was wrong with me? Why was I being so selfish? Why was I discouraging my husband instead of easing his pain? I started speaking death into my marriage and my household. Guess what? I almost murdered my marriage by not being the virtuous woman God called me to be. Whatever my husband would say I would go off not realizing that he also was longing for attention. Every chance I got I would tell him to get out or we could end our marriage immediately. I thank God for do overs!

Through all of this not once did I say, “God please cover my family through this storm.” I never even thought or cared about what my husband was feeling until one night I decided to take my frustrations to God because no one else was giving me the information I needed. I found out that we were in a terrible storm and my house would be blown down if I didn’t get my foundation in order.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7: 24-27 NIV)

I am guilty and very aware that I was not obeying the word of God. I should have been calming the storm but I was adding fuel to the fire. “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.” (2 Timothy 2:23-24 NIV)

One day I was watching the Weather Channel and storm stories was on. When various earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes and other storms hit the earth most houses were destroyed. The only houses that were still standing were the houses built on extremely strong foundations. I related this to my life and I had to take a step back and look into my situation and see how strong my foundation was. I needed to find out would my foundation crack at the first signs of rain or wind. “Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” (Colossians 2:7 NLT) I needed to calm the storm in my life by reading the Word and praying to God.

One of my favorite songs is “I Told the Storm” by Greg O’Quin:

I told the storm to pass
Storm you can’t last
Go away – I command you to move today
Storm – when God speaks;
Storm – you’ve got to cease
That’s what I told storm!

When I started commanding the storm to pass God started working my situation out. Remember, it takes a storm to prove how strong your house is!

Dear Daddy,

Even though storms may arise in my home sometimes I am glad that You left Your word to help me build a strong foundation so my house would not crumble. I thank You for calming my storms when I could not calm them. I thank You for giving me a strong foundation to weather the storms of life. I pray that You cover my family and my house from physical, mental and spiritual storms and if I do encounter them I pray that You lead and guide me.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to build a strong foundation in God by praying, fasting, reading your bible, finding a word-based church and surrounding yourself with Christian, God–fearing people that can lead and guide you. I EMPOWER you to build a strong foundation so that when the storms of life start raging your house will not be broken or destroyed.

Greg O’Quin’s “I Told the Storm”:

Mrs. Keviyona Ray is an ordained minister and co-pastor in training of The Christ For All People International Church. She is passionate about sharing the word of God with everyone she encounters. As a professional, Keviyona is a teacher for Chicago Public Schools. She loves her ministry of teaching and changing children’s lives. She is a devoted wife and mother of a wonderful daughter. Two of her favorite scriptures are Jeremiah 1: 5 – Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations and Proverbs 29:18 –  Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Black Music Month Series, Marriage, Sex

Between the Sheets

Disclaimer: Today’s EmpowerMoment is for the MATURE and MARRIED folks! We are going to discuss something that rarely gets any pulpit time…

Over a year ago I attended a women’s retreat with my church. I’ve been to several retreats in the past, but nothing as amazing as that purging, life changing experience.  During one of the sessions, the facilitators gave us a packet to fill out. The questionnaire was for not for anyone else to review, rather it was a chance for us to really examine what was at the core of a lot of our issues. (There is something very cathartic about pouring your heart out on paper.) The packet started off with basic questions like your name, age, Christian experience, etc. I was breezing through the questions thinking, “This is a piece of cake!” Then the questions started to get a little more intense asking things about our past…you know those “have you ever” questions that anyone with a checkered past dreads so much! But even those questions were easy to answer as most of it I had already discussed at one time or another. It was until around page 8 that I got a little stuck. The question read, “Are you sexually frigid?” Honestly, I wasn’t even sure what the question meant so I skipped over it to come back to it later. After all, that’s what we were taught in regards to our standardized tests, right? After completing the rest of the packet, I returned to that question and pondered it for a while. I was still drawing a blank. I knew what sexually meant and I knew what frigid meant, but what exactly did they mean together? At that moment, my heart began pounding fast and my throat tightened. That was a clear indication that I NEEDED to know what this question meant. I raised my hand and asked for clarification…

“What does this mean” pointing to the page 8? “Sexually frigid means being cold in bed…ummm kind of acting like you really don’t want to be there.”  Maybe my facial expression said guilty as charged or maybe God moved her spirit, but she instantly slipped into a profound prayer. I’m convinced it was the latter because the things that she prayed only He would have known. Page number 8 forever changed my life and marriage…

The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.  (1 Corinthians 7:3-5 NLT)

Yes, I was indeed guilty of being sexually frigid. Sex was a pawn that I used to get what I wanted and when things didn’t go my way, I withdrew. Sometimes I would only engage because I knew what 1 Corinthians said and wanted to act like I was obeying it. But it was just as if I was disobeying God because my heart and mind were not engaging with my body.

In her book, For Women Only, Shaunti Feldhahn explains that men need fulfilling sex to feel loved, desired and confident.  It is important that we give the kings in our lives the boost they need to face the challenges that they meet on a daily basis. I once read this quote that I replay anytime the enemy is trying to convince me that I don’t want or need to satisfy my husband: “satan loves marriage without sex just as much as he loves sex without marriage.” In essence, fornication and withholding in marriage have the same detrimental effect and leave no one happy but the devil! Page number 8 changed my life and marriage in more ways than one. I implore you to take my advice and change yours!

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for the times that I didn’t do what you commanded me as a wife to do. Remind me daily that my body is not my own. Give me burning desire for the man who You created just for me! Thank You for the wonderful gift of sex! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER to you get BETWEEN THE SHEETS! EMPOWER your husband’s confidence by giving him what he needs to face the world. EMPOWER your marriage by vowing to have a healthy, active and happy sex life!

P.S. Visit our friends over at Christian Nymphos if you need some ideas!

Turn on The Isley Brother’s “Between the Sheets” and celebrate Black Music Month with your hubby in between the sheets!

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Mrs. Kristen Harris is a wife, mother, entrepreneur and dedicated servant.  She is extremely passionate about women’s spiritual advancement, hence the founding of EmpowerMoments.  As an avid reader, Kristen enjoys reading the Bible more than anything. Her driving inspiration is when God says to her: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  (Jeremiah 29:11) She currently resides outside of Chicago, Illinois with her wonderful husband and two lovely daughters where she is an active member of New Life Covenant Church.

Love, Marriage, Relationships

Must We Do EVERYTHING Together?

As a newly married woman almost six years ago, I was a bit taken aback at how much time my husband wanted to spend with me. I just couldn’t understand why he wanted to spend nearly every waking moment with me. I tried to carve out a few moments here and there for personal friendships and hobbies, but aside from that it seemed like we were always doing everything together. One day I just had to ask God: “Must we do everything together?” If you know like I know, you are better off not to ask God a question that you really don’t want the answer to! As a young married woman, I have often asked God to surround me with tangible examples of successful marriages to serve as mentors for my husband and me.  As I patiently waited for Him to send one that He decided was a good fit for us, He sent me a biblical example of a couple who I now seek to emulate in my personal ministry of marriage.  Aquila and Priscilla were a husband and wife team that are only mentioned a handful of times in the New Testament but the impact that they made TOGETHER is truly worth scrutinizing.  Let’s take a look at their lives to see how we are measuring up…

There he (Paul) met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.  Acts 18:2-3

Aquila and Priscilla worked TOGETHER for their livelihood. They used their skill for tent-making to sustain themselves financially. As a matter of fact, when Paul needed to make money while on his missionary trip in Corinth, Aquila and Priscilla allowed Paul to join in their work.  What streams of revenue are you establishing TOGETHER with your spouse? Maybe it’s time to sit down and come up with a side hustle that you both can contribute to.

Aquila and Priscilla saw needs and met them TOGETHER. They opened their home to Paul when they saw that he needed a place to stay while he was in Corinth.  TOGETHER, whose needs are you meeting besides your own? Look right outside your door, there are many people with unmet needs everywhere (and they are not all financially based).

Aquila and Priscilla also evangelized and taught TOGETHER. When Apollos was preaching in the synagogues in Ephesus and he only knew of the baptism through John, the couple invited him into their home to gently correct him. (Acts 18:24-27) This couple, TOGETHER, devised a loving way to get Apollos on track so that he could rightly divide the Word of God. Who are you ministering to as a couple? Find an unsaved couple who is less experienced than you and choose to share the Word of Truth with them.

Aquila and Priscilla established churches in their home TOGETHER. (1 Corinthians 16:19) The church, by definition, is the body of Christ.  (1 Corinthians 12:27) How amazing to know that this couple housed the body of Christ in their home! What is being housed in the home where you live TOGETHER? Of course many of us will never physically house a church in our residences; however, there are some things that you can do to advance the kingdom of God right in your living room. Instead of gossiping with your girlfriend the next time she is over for a cup of coffee, find an encouraging word to minister to her. Open your home to the wayward children down the block. While they are visiting, allow your children’s actions to minister to them. In your very own home, the church can grow.

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for the spouse that You so graciously blessed me with. I thank You for Your Word that teaches me by example for every area of my life. I ask that You teach us how to support each other for causes that are much greater than either one of us. Bless our union that we may continue to be TOGETHER and work TOGETHER for the rest of our days. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today decide to EMPOWER your marriage by choosing to build TOGETHER. Build your home TOGETHER, impact your community TOGETHER and definitely advance the kingdom of God TOGETHER!

Mrs. Kristen Harris is a wife, mother, entrepreneur and dedicated servant.  She is extremely passionate about women’s spiritual advancement, hence the founding of EmpowerMoments.  As an avid reader, Kristen enjoys reading the Bible more than anything. Her driving inspiration is when God says to her: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  (Jeremiah 29:11) She currently resides outside of Chicago, Illinois with her wonderful husband and two lovely daughters.