Marriage…Culture vs. Bible

Genesis 2:18 says “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper who is just right for him.”  Genesis 2:24 goes on to say “…a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”  From the beginning, God intended men and women to come together, care for one another (Eph. 5:29) , submit to one another (Eph. 5:21) and to put this relationship second only to our relationship with Him (Deut. 6:5; Eph.  5:25).  Unfortunately, the cultural view of marriage does not parallel with the Biblical view of marriage.  The media is one outlet that has helped to entirely reshape our culture’s view of marriage.  From reality television shows  to social media, the ideal of marriage has been completely ripped apart.

Reality television has created entirely UNrealistic ideas about marriage, family and life as a whole.  In Chapter 7 of Women Living Well, Courtney describes several different types of reality relationships.  First you have the “Casanova,” where the man says and does everything picture perfectly…think The Bachelor.  Second, you have the empowered woman.  This woman is liberated, independent and has no problems running the home…think Wife Swap.   Third, you have the revolving door of husbands and wives.  When one relationship doesn’t work out, simply move on to the next suitor…think Real Housewives.  Fourth, you have the couple that simply live together, perhaps even raising a family, yet refuse to get married…think Kardashians.  All of these are readily accepted by society, due in large part to their glorious portrayal by the media, however none are Biblically sound.  Sadly, all these shows do is serve to incite discontentment in the hearts of many spouses.

Outlets like Facebook have opened up doors that have caused many a failed marriage.  What may begin as an innocent online friendship, or a rekindling of an old friendship from the past, can quickly escalate to the inappropriate realm.  Courtney herself has stated that, although her marriage is strong and thriving, she felt it necessary to delete men entirely from her Facebook page.  How many of us have logged onto Facebook to find pictures of flowers sent for “no reason at all” or updates from friends about their wonderful spouse that brings them breakfast in bed or makes their coffee every morning?  These types of posts can stir feelings of envy and/or jealousy in even the strongest of spouses and marriages. These feelings create a “grass is greener” syndrome which, again, leads to discontentment.  Discontentment is detrimental in marriage. Disrespect also seems to run rampant through social media.  In the heat of an argument, before thinking things through entirely, a spouse can become quick to air their frustration online.  We’ve all seen the posts that have made us stop and think to ourselves “whoa, marital dispute!”  Social media also eats away at our family time.  The amount of time we spend looking at the screens of our phones, iPads or computers should never outweigh the time we spend looking into the face of our spouse and/or family.

So, what can we do to strengthen our marriages in a culture that is ready to throw in the towel at any minute?  For starters, arm yourself.  Arm yourself with the Biblical definition of marriage.  Arm yourself with the Word and how He says we are to live together in marriage.  Second, weed out the bad seeds.  If you find yourself bitter or upset at your spouse after watching a tv show or reading status updates from friends on social media, cut those areas out of your life.  If you think time is an issue, do as Courtney suggests and make a log of the amount of time you are spending looking at your phone, iPad, computer or any other electronic device.  If this time outweighs the amount of time you are looking at your spouse or family, it’s time to cut back drastically.  Third, filter what you post, say and associate with on social media.  Fill your newsfeed with positive, uplifting sites and people. If you believe having men in your newsfeed may be a weak spot for you, by all means delete them. Weed out anything and everything, anyone and everyone, that stirs negative emotions about your marriage.  It may sound dramatic, but then again, so is divorce.

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Slowing Down Social Media

Do you find yourself browsing Facebook during your down time?  Do you check Instagram and Twitter to decompress and unwind from the stresses of the day?  Once there, do you ever find yourself shocked, offended or even appalled by what your “friends” post or say? Do you feel pangs of jealousy at your friends latest vacation pictures, new houses, new cars or endless shopping sprees and nights on the town?   At the beginning of Chapter 4 in “Women Living Well,” Courtney states that social media in and of itself is neither good or bad, it is “amoral” as she so accurately describes.  However, what we choose to do with social media, how we choose to spend our time there, who we choose to talk to and what we choose to say is where the morality lies.

Courtney lists several ways social media and technology can negatively impact not only our spiritual life, but our family life, our personal relationships and our own self worth and confidence.  First and most importantly,  technology and social media can very easily distract us from God and our families.   Have you ever sat down to study your Bible only to be berated with an endless series of beeps and pings  coming from your phone, iPad or computer?   Did you allow these interruptions or did you win the battle and continue in your commitment to study his Word?  I personally believe that the technology that provides us with Bible apps on our phones and iPads are both convenient and crushing at the same time.  The ease of studying scripture at any given moment is amazing, however the temptation to stop midway to check the latest email, Facebook or Twitter notification is far too much for many to withstand.  We’ve all heard about (or maybe even seen) the moms who take their kids to the park, but are too engrossed in their phones or iPads to really see all that their kids are made of.  But, how many of us are willing to admit that we, at some point, have also been that mom?  Maybe your point of social media weakness isn’t when you’re at the park, maybe it’s while your kids are swinging in the back yard, maybe it’s while they ride their bikes in the driveway or maybe it’s simply while they play in the living room floor.  I think we all can admit that, at some point, social media has gotten the better of our time.

Social media impacts our personal relationships, both positively and negatively.   It’s great to have this medium to keep in touch with distant relatives and childhood friends, but have you ever been taken aback by something one of these people said or posted?  Have you ever had a friend comment on something you posted, only to sit and analyze it endlessly, trying to find the meaning behind their words?  Judgment and hurt feelings run rampant on social media.  As Christian women, we are called to extend grace in these types of circumstances.  This means that when your friend posts a picture of her girl’s-night-out rendezvous, you extend grace, not judgment. There may be instances when we are called to address sin in a sister’s life, however this should only come from a place of love and grace, and only to those we consider close at heart.  As Courtney states, we are “not on Facebook and Twitter to be everyone”s Holy Spirit!”

For a lot of women, the real killer in social media comes from the death it can have on our self worth and confidence.  As women, we naturally take pride in our homes, our husbands and kids.  Just when we think we’re doing good, the laundry is finally caught up, the house is (semi) clean, there’s actually hot food on the table and the kids are all still alive, we log on to Facebook only to see other moms’ fancy Pinterest dinners (organic and made from scratch of course), pictures of our friends’ latest home remodel, home purchase or new car and immediately our chest deflates like a balloon that has just been popped.  How do they find time to cook like that?  Where does all their money come from?  Once again, there we are, comparing our insides to their outsides, and our recent boosted confidence and self worth are shot.  This, dear friends, is the ultimate  burden for women in social media. That we would get our self worth from the realms of social media, rather than Him and what His word says we are takes our entire identity and changes it from something based on love to something based on works.  If this is your weak spot in social media, do not be afraid to abandon it entirely before it clouds your ability to see yourself through His eyes.

So, how do we maintain healthy relationships on social media, while not allowing it to consume our every free moment or change our perception of who we are?  I think the biggest step to take is to be selective in who you befriend or follow.  If you find yourself struggling not to pass judgment based on someone’s lifestyle portrayed through posts or pictures, maybe you should unfollow them or hide them from your newsfeed.  If you find yourself contrasting and comparing your life to that of other wives, mothers and homemakers, then maybe you should stop following those people.  You may feel bad at first, but the burden that will be lifted from the weight of negativity and judgment will far exceed your need to people please.  The next  step is to flood your newsfeed with positivity. Follow positive people, pastors who preach the truth, authors you admire and/or public figures that encompass your same beliefs and values.  Flood your mind and spirit with the word and thoughts from those who follow Him and your social media experience can be transformed from one of hurt feelings,  judgment and envy to one of peace, grace and contentment.

Women Living Well Book Study

Last October I took part in on an online Bible study that truly changed my life.  The study was based on the book “A Confident Heart” by Renee Swope.  Through that Bible study I discovered several awesomely inspiring women bloggers, one of which was Courtney Joseph from Women Living Well.

At this time, Courtney was very close to the launch date of her new book, also entitled Women Living Well.  I downloaded the book after finishing the online Bible study and immediately dove in.  Who was this woman that had the exact same thoughts as me?  To say I agree with Courtney’s views on Biblical living would be a vast understatement.  In “Women Living Well” Courtney discusses topics such as our husband’s being the head of the household, a hot topic after the release of (and subsequent interviews regarding) Candace Cameron Bure ‘s new book (whom I also love and entirely agree with and support). 

Other topics include ideas on daily Bible time, the effects of social media in marriage, parenting and more.  I am very excited to begin working through this book as a full-blown study, rather than a simple reading of ideas.  Will you join me?

First, pick up a  copy of Courtney Joseph’s book, “Women Living Well:  Finding Your Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids and Your Home.”  It is available at most major book retailers, as well as in many ebook formats. Next, follow this 8 week reading plan:   (click to enlarge).

WLW-Book-Club-Reading-Schedule-4

Then, simply join in the discussion over on Courtney’s book club blog page and be sure to check back here for my insight as well.  I pray this study will impact your life in the days to come!

~Kayla~

Building Grandma’s House

Picture your grandma’s house as a kid.  Was it quiet?  Was it calm and peaceful?  Was it well-kept?   Did your grandma seem rushed to get from here to there?  Did she seem in a hurry to finish the next thing on her to-do list? Did she cook dinner (and maybe even breakfast and lunch) every day? Did she work outside the home?

 Now picture your own house.  Is it peaceful or chaotic?  Is it well-kept or does the clutter cause you stress?  Are you constantly feeling rushed and in a hurry to finish the never ending to-do list?  Do you want to cook better meals for your family but still find yourself hitting the drive thru most nights?  Do you work outside the home but feel guilty about time lost with your kids?  Or, do you stay home with your kids but feel like you’re wasting your college degree or loosing momentum in the workforce?  Do you wish things would slow down just a little so you could enjoy life with your kids and family?

 Join me as we use God’s word to discover how we really can, and should, slow down, eliminate distractions and build homes that are loving, peaceful and maybe even old-fashioned.  Join me as we build homes like Grandma had.