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Marriage

Will You Get a Divorce Someday?

Will You Get a Divorce Someday?

You probably know someone who’s divorced. Maybe an aunt or uncle, one of the leaders in your church, or your own parents. If so, I’m so very, very sorry for the pain it’s caused—and maybe still is causing—you.

With divorce so common, I wonder, What’s to keep you from heading down that same road someday?

My desire in writing this post is to save your marriage before you even meet your future husband.

Before we go any further, do me a favor, and don’t rub what you’re about to read in any divorced person’s face. That’s not the point! My desire in writing this post is to save your marriage before you even meet your future husband by introducing you to God’s thoughts on marriage and divorce.

Oh, I know you’re not married yet. But someday, you probably will be. And there may be days—possibly even long months that turn into even longer years—when you shake your head and mutter to yourself, This is no marriage. I didn’t sign up for this.

So I wonder, If the going gets tough for you, will you choose to divorce?

I’m afraid you will—unless you get ahold of the mind-blowing truths found in Mark 10:2–12. This passage finds the Pharisees (think “the squeaky-clean, religious, we’re-something-special leaders of Jesus’ day”) trying to trick Jesus with a question:

“Jesus, is it allowed—is it kosher—for a man to divorce his wife?”

“You tell me,” Jesus answered. “What did Moses command you?” (These guys knew the law of Moses like junior highers know their A-B-Cs!) Immediately they rattled off, “Yup, Moses allowed a man to divorce his wife and send her away.”

Doesn’t sound much different than today, huh? A lot of people in the Church will encourage you to get a divorce when the going gets tough.

But not Jesus.

He responds,

“Moses (not God!) wrote this commandment because your hearts were hard.” In other words, you wanted a divorce so bad, he let you have it.

But . . .

“But from the very beginning of time,” Jesus dug in, “God made humans in two varieties: male and female. Man and woman. And He designed them to leave their parents and hold fast to each other, so that the two would become one.”

Then, just in case they missed this mind-blowing math, Jesus repeated Himself,

“Married people are no longer two people but one person.”

Whoa!

“So,” Jesus concludes, “What God has joined together, let not man separate.”

You would never think of cutting yourself in half. God has joined you together. Don’t let others—or yourself—separate what God has fused together.

Did you catch that?! Marriage has always been God’s marvelous plan for one man plus one woman. And when they marry, it’s ultimately God who’s turned two into one.

So, sweet girl, when your marvelous, God-designed marriage starts to seem mighty un-marvelous due to your sin or your hubby’s sin, remember these marriage-preserving truths. You are no longer two but one.

You would never think of cutting yourself in half. God has joined you together. Don’t let others—or yourself—separate what God has fused together.

Okay, your turn to talk back to me. Does divorce seem acceptable to you? Would you consider it if your own marriage got tough? How does Jesus’ teaching crack the way you naturally think about divorce?

Will You Get a Divorce Someday?” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

5 Ways to Pray for Your Future Husband

5 Ways to Pray for Your Future Husband

You asked me to write a post about how to pray for your future husband. I’m happy to do that, but first, two disclaimers:

  1. Marriage isn’t a guarantee for any of us. God is not our personal genie. That’s why I like to pray these sorts of things for the men who are currently in my life (my dad, brothers, brothers-in-Christ, coworkers, etc.) and then I tack on, “And my future hubby, if such a man exists.”
  2. Just because you’re praying these grand characteristics for your future husband does not mean you’re free to date and marry just anyone, and that they’ll somehow magically materialize into this person after marriage simply because you’ve been praying “spiritual” things. Wrong! Choose a man who—while not perfect—is already obviously headed in this direction.

Okay, with that behind us, here are just five ways to pray for your future husband. (If you’re already married, these are great ways to pray for your husband. And if you’re divorced, by all means, pray these into your ex’s life!)

  1. Pray that he would re-believe the gospel every single time he hears it, rather than believing it once and then leaving it far behind (1 Cor. 15:1–3).
  2. Pray that he would be captivated by God’s beauty so that saying no to lust would be like turning down a McDonald’s hamburger in favor of a grilled, New York strip. Pray that he would be ruthless in fleeing sexual immorality and would fly to Christ instead (Ps. 27:4, 1 Cor. 6:18).
  3. Pray that when he gets angry he wouldn’t sin. Pray that he would be angry over the things God is angry over and not angry over petty irritations (Eph. 4:26).
  4. Pray that God would prepare and empower him to love you as much as he loves himself—to cherish you the way Christ cherishes you (Eph. 5:28–29).
  5. Pray that he would not be lazy or a workaholic, but that he would work wholeheartedly for God in order to provide for his family. Pray that God would keep him from greed. Pray that he would have wisdom to know how to balance work, service, rest, and play (Col. 3:23, 1 Tim. 6:10).

Obviously, there are so many more ways to pray for a future husband. Would you add your prayer(s) by commenting below?

5 Ways to Pray for Your Future Husband” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

When You’re Just Not Beautiful Enough to Keep His Attention

When You’re Just Not Beautiful Enough to Keep His Attention

This post is adapted from a very personal prayer I wrote in my journal some time back. I think you’ll be able to relate! Just by way of a disclaimer: this post is not written for guys. It’s important that men speak into other men’s lives about being faithful to the women in their lives in their glances (and mostly their second glances!), their thoughts, and their actions.

How I need You, Abba.

I don’t normally think about things like this, but I don’t have toned thighs, and suddenly I’m aware that he would probably like that.

I think it all started when I asked him how he’s most often tempted and what he does about it. He told me he wasn’t too keen on sharing details, but he said the standard things you hear guys struggle with are true, beginning with idolizing outer beauty.

That was hard to hear. He’s not immune to the struggles of men. And with that admission entered a flood of insecurities. (Wait, they were already there, weren’t they?)

Here’s another guy who won’t find me beautiful enough.

I’m not enough.

But then . . .

No woman is enough to capture the gaze of one man for every second of her short stay on earth. Because no man, apart from Jesus Christ, is 100% faithful. And no man is immune to all beauty but mine.

I think the root issue is actually mine: wanting a created man to validate me and tell me I’m “enough,” when only Christ is enough . . . for me and for him.

Yes, I want to “cultivate my garden” for my future hubby to enjoy, but I don’t want to chain him to a leash and insist he never leave my garden without a blindfold and a seeing eye dog.

So I wonder . . . Will You be enough for me, God, when I am not enough for my man? Because if not, doesn’t that prove that I am not living as if Your love, approval, and delight is enough for me?

And didn’t You love me—freely, lavishly—when I was captivated by others’ beauty? Didn’t You love me without insisting that I keep my eyes on You or else Your love would be withdrawn?

So help me pray for my man and forgive my man’s occasional wandering gaze and not expect him to be more than a man. Because that’s Your job, re-forming him ’til he’s just like You.

Only You can do this, God, ’cause You know me. I’m the woman who naturally keeps track of every glance and suspects ill motive behind each one. But You don’t keep track of my sins. You’ve removed them as far as the east is from the west.

Thank You for exposing the idolatry in my heart. I think the root issue is actually mine: wanting a created man to validate me and tell me I’m “enough,” when only Christ is enough . . . for me and for him.

How about you? Do you expect your future boyfriend/husband to never ever so much as even look at another woman? How do you think you’ll react if and when he does notice another beautiful woman?

I pray we’ll be women secure enough in God’s love that instead of seeking to “imprison” our men and keep them from noticing any other beautiful woman, that instead we help do battle with our men through love, prayer, and confidence in Christ.

When You’re Just Not Beautiful Enough to Keep His Attention” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

Before Getting Married, I Wish I’d . . .

Before Getting Married, I Wish I’d . . .

Last week I shared some mail I just couldn’t keep to myself. You were so encouraged that this week I want to share more advice with you from married women. So . . . I asked a group of married women of all ages the following question:

What do you wish you’d done before getting married (either to prepare for marriage or just to take advantage of your singleness)?

You may be wondering, Why should I care what a bunch of married women think? Well, did you know God’s plan is that we learn the ins and outs of marriage from women who are “older and wiser?” Titus 2:3–5 says,

“Older women are to . . . teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands . . . that the word of God may not be reviled.”

Part of that training takes place before you’re even in a relationship! With that in mind, here’s what several married women wish they’d done before getting married:

“I wish I had spent more time growing as a Christian instead of assuming that I would ‘follow’ my husband spiritually. I would have spent more time being myself instead of being simply available.” —Myranda

“I wish I hadn’t devoured literally every Christian romance novel and countless romance movies. The men portrayed in these stories seem to be near perfect and have caused disappointment in marriage stemming from dangerous, unrealistic expectations. It contributed to me looking to a man to satisfy my every longing when the only One who can do that is the sinless, perfect Jesus Christ.” —Kimberly

“I got married at age twenty, and I can think of a dozen or more things that have crossed my mind over the years (manage finances, finish school, travel, etc.) that if I had done before marriage would have made so many things easier. But when it gets right down to it, we have had a blast growing up together. The best marriages aren’t necessarily easy; they are committed. I am thankful for one thing I did do before marriage: moving away from home. I think that gave me a crash course in dependency upon the Lord for everything, which laid the perfect foundation for marriage.” —Julie

“I wish I would’ve taken time after high school to find out who I really was aside from being under my parents’ authority before I got married.” —Hannah

“I wish I would have enjoyed my single days more instead of concentrating on finding love. I also would have wanted to be more prepared for the reality of marriage; the work, the responsibility, the pain that is there among the joy. Forever is a much bigger commitment after all the celebrations have calmed down from the engagement and wedding and it is just the two of you left . . . you and sixty years. Single girls, MAKE SURE you marry someone you like, not just love. It has been said many times, but you really do need to marry your best friend! Let God lead you to each other.” —Heidi

“I wish I had really thought about how I’d find purpose and joy in the responsibilities of being a wife and mom apart from my other interests, which had of course monopolized my single life. ” —Laura

I wish I would have lived as a godly woman when I was single instead of thinking, I’ll be like that when I’m married. I went through a very challenging first year of marriage until God graciously showed me I can’t keep saying ‘tomorrow,’ I need to obey today! Also, I wish I would have learned how to be an organized person, how to cook meals and grocery shop, and how to live within a budget. It would have made the transition to marriage easier had I already been experienced at taking care of myself (versus trying to figure out how to take care of two people).” —Emily

“I wish I’d learned more about how the marriage covenant is a picture of Jesus’s relationship with His bride, the church. It also would have helped to be involved more in service in the church, especially where no one could see me and there was no immediate recognition. It would have helped diminish my ego as a single woman!” —Aileen

“I wish I would have traveled more, gotten involved with more ministries overseas, even spent time living overseas!” —Kara

“I wish I had learned much earlier about submission in marriage. I never really grasped that until the last several years. I marvel at the difference it has made, learning to let my husband truly be the head of the family, even when I don’t agree with every move he makes. By over-powering my husband in the early years, I caused so many issues I didn’t even realize.” —Sheila

“I wish I had lightened up and had more fun.” —Jeannie

“I wish I would have spent more time with a mature mentor couple for the purpose of laying out our expectations for marriage. We’ve grown, and after sixteen years, are still becoming one. Learning to communicate clearly about the outcomes we are expecting before we begin a project has been huge. It’s so hard to backtrack. Clarity upfront helps work out some differences before they become huge mountains to tackle.” —Jennifer

Which piece of advice resonates with you most, not-yet-married-girl? What one thing can you begin to work on today as you anticipate marriage someday?

Before Getting Married I Wish I’d …” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

Excuse Me? How We’ve Gotten the Motivation for Purity All Wrong

Excuse Me? How We’ve Gotten the Motivation for Purity All Wrong

I’m pretty big about communicating winsomely. But would you mind terribly if I ranted . . . just a tad? (Pretty please?)

There’s a “truth” I hear tossed around Christian circles that makes my stomach churn. It goes something like this:

Marriage is the ultimate reward for living a life of purity right now.

Come again? Marriage is a great gift, but it is not the ultimate reward!

It can be hard to believe, but God really is the ultimate reward; not a guy, not a relationship, not marriage.

Then there’s the line that:

The ultimate reward of oneness in marriage will be worth every moment of loneliness.

Yikes, that’s a looong time for tween and teen girls to wait for their reward—especially in a culture of instant gratification where the average marrying age for females is 27–30.

God really is the ultimate reward; not a guy, not a relationship, not marriage.

So a girl’s to pine away in loneliness for three long decades? And then, suddenly, it’ll all be worth it? I don’t see how that’s good news.

But this, on the other hand, is: You and I don’t have to wait until marriage to experience the happiness we’re looking for today! It is ours for the having—right now.

Single or married, sixteen or senior citizen, joy is found in God’s presence, which can be experienced anywhere, anytime:

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11).

Our hope for the “good life” isn’t tied to marriage; it’s tied to the One to whom marriage faintly points.

At least, that’s what I thought . . . until I was corrected by Matthew 5:8. You know, the verse that says:

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall snag a great husband.

(Oh, whoops, I grabbed the wrong translation!) Let me try that again:

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

There. That’s right. Seeing God is purity’s reward. God-gazing is the greatest reward that exists.

David got that. In Psalm 27:4 he asked for just one thing,

“One thing have I asked of the Lord . . .”

What one thing would you ask God for? For most of my life, a husband would’ve been at the tip-top of my list. But when we read the context of Psalm 27, we learn that as David writes this wish, he has an enemy army encircling him. You’d expect him to ask God for weapons or a divine rescue, right? But instead, He asks to be able to gaze on God’s beauty,

“One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.”

Let’s make sure we’re not misleading our girls. God is their reward; not a guy, not a relationship, not marriage.

And you, if you’re single, or you, if you’re in a miserable marriage, you, too, can experience the happiness you long for. Today! It’s found in His presence.

Excuse Me? How We’ve Gotten the Motivation for Purity All Wrong” was originally posted on TrueWoman.com