Tag Archives: tips

Being Unequally Yoked Stinks!

yoke

Today I got an email requesting some information on how to find happiness in a marriage where one spouse is Christian and the other is not.

I just came upon your site & looked through the marriage topic for anything on being unequally yoked. Do you have any wisdom on this subject? I am Born Again and in full-time ministry but my husband is not a Christian. This is becoming harder and harder. Thanks.

I replied asking for any specific questions or angles she’d like to hear about… but I thought I could address the whole topic in a general way.

I’ll start by saying that this is a difficult topic to address since I have never been in this situation personally. I have, however, seen the effect of being unequally yoked on the people involved in such a union, both spouses and children, in my 10+ years of ministry. It’s never ideal and in ever situation it’s a struggle for everyone involved.

Why Is Being Unequally Yoked A Struggle?

When is the last time you got into an heated discussion about Religion or Politics with a friend or co-worker with opposing views? There is nothing in the world people are more passionate about than those two topics. Now imagine being married to that person… sharing a home and a bed with someone who thinks everything you hold dear and sacred is stupid and a complete waste of time.

My wife and I always joke about how different we are… how there is no way we should be able to get along… but the reason it works is because our differences are on the surface. Just underneath we are in complete unity. Our Faith, politics, theories on child rearing, the trust we have in one another, our love for our family… exactly the same. But imagine a marriage where the only thing you have in common is what you eat for dinner, what you watch on TV and where you watch it.

Why Do Christian People Marry Non-Christians?

Most of the time folks who marry someone who is not of the same faith do so because they simply do not think it matters at the time. They believe that they can change the person… or that love will be enough to carry them through. Then others are not very committed to their faith and so their beliefs, though different than their potential mate, are not really practiced and are therefore mostly irrelevant. In rare cases one of the spouses find Christ afterward and then find themselves unequally yoked by accident.

Usually people with a Christian background will begin to depend on their faith more as they age and experience life. Having children also gets people taking their relationship with Christ more seriously. If they were raised in church, they’re typically going to want their kids raised in church. Though the Christian parent has the best intentions, they typically become the ‘bad guy’ of the family forcing children to get up early for church when Dad gets to stay home, enforcing rules that only they believe in… it can really be a huge hassle.

If you are a Christian and single, do yourself a favor. Realize that the feeling of being in love is not what keeps a marriage together… it is the depth of your commitment to what you believe that makes marriage vows stick. It makes so much sense it’s scary. How can you trust your potential spouse to believe in and live out his commitment to you when he doesn’t even share, much less live out, your commitment to God.

5 Simple Ways To Make Your Kids Feel Special

5. Draw them a picture

Think of all the times they’ve drawn pictures for you. It’s how they show you they love you. Drawing you and them standing hand-in-hand with your house in the background… maybe put the dog in there. It’s a great way to let your youngun know how you feel about them. If you really don’t want to bother, let me draw you a picture for them!

4. Take them on a date

If you have a ton of kids, take them two at a time… but if you only have a few, set up a time where it’s just you and them out on the town. Take them out to eat, get dessert, then a movie or just go shopping. It’s a great way to bond and it makes them the center of your world with none of the distractions of home around to bother you.

3. Talk about them to others

There is nothing I loved more as a child than to overhear my mom talking me up to her friends. It only happened a few times that I remember… but I remember each one to this day. She’d talk about how I was bringing my grades up. How I was such a good artist for my age. She’d brag on my improving behavior. Not only will you kids’ heart soar… they will want to impress you even further!

2. Let them help you

If you’re still lucky enough to have kids that want to help you around the house… let them! Yes it’s more difficult and will take a lot more time… but they want to help! That’s priceless! Not only are you teaching them the benefits of work by making it fun… it’s develops a part of your relationship that nothing else can. It makes you a team. Your child feels they are side-by-side with you, for just that moment… it makes them feel big. It gives them a preview of adulthood… and a good one at that. They’ll learn from you and they’ll want to grow up just like you.

1. Tell them you love them

I casually tell my kids I love them all the time. But once in a while I literally hold my girl’s head in my hands and stare deep into her eyes and say, “Girl, I love you so much.” She’s 4 and a half… and she tears up almost every time.

I grew up without most of the things on this list. Chances are you missed out too. I strive to raise my kids the way I wanted to be raised. They’re so much like me already. It’s going to be awesome seeing them become more than I ever could because they’re getting what they need now. Let’s all commit to giving what we didn’t receive.

Every Family Should Have A Podcast

James & Jenn Podcasting

My wife and I have been podcasting together since 2007. I won’t get into the details of how to get your wife to podcast because this article is an open call to every couple out there: YOU SHOULD BE PODCASTING!

Obviously podcasting is a fancy word for recording an audio file, turning it into an mp3 and uploading it on the internet. I’ve written several podcast how-to articles on how to start your own show and how I podcast myself. Check them out if you’re looking for some tips.

In our context podcasting becomes an audio timeline of events in your family. Sure we have scrapbooks full of photos… but photos can’t remind you of the weekly events, funny things someone said, little stories that you might forget. Photos can’t capture the voice of your children, the tone of your spouse’s voice. Podcasts can do all of this.

Podcasting, when done correctly, can also serve to bond your family together. Whether you podcast with just a spouse or your entire family, this is a regular event that stands to connect you almost as much as dinner time… but with more lasting effects.

Even if you go through all the work to record, upload, set up the feed and all of the things necessary to do a show… and no one listens… who cares! This is something your family will cherish for years.

Ready to give it a shot? Here are some places to start:

If you end up getting a custom URl (like nlcast.com) consider using GoDaddy.com and the code podname121 to save a few bucks!

Selflessness: The Key To Fulfillment In Marriage

happiness

Most folks will tell you that in a marriage each person has got to give, 50/50. Though it does take two to make it work… true love actually means each person is giving 100% of themselves to the other, independent of what they may or may not receive in return. It is only through selflessness that both are truly fulfilled.

So many marriages today fail because we expect our spouse to fill a void in our lives… to make us happy… and we then hate them when they don’t or can’t. The marriage was doomed for failure from very the beginning because we weren’t going into it to give our love… but to receive it.

There’s a timeless principal in the universe: It is more blessed to give than to receive. It is one of the last undisputed truths in the world. It holds true both on Christmas morning and in our marriages. Fulfillment doesn’t come from getting what you need… but in giving what you are to someone else. Because in giving ourselves completely, we by default open ourselves up, showing who we are and where are true needs are. And because we are giving selflessly, it sparks the same response in them (eventually) and our needs are met by default.

We’re really just talking about unconditional love here. One of the most impossible things for a human to give in life… but one of the only things that will keep a marriage thriving. We’re afraid to give it because all to often it is abused before it is appreciated. It’s abused because it must be tested. And tested before it can be trusted. Hang in there. Give love to your spouse unconditionally and it will do it’s work. True love never fails.

But what about my needs? Give and it will be given to you. Do for others and it will be done for you. Meet their needs and your needs will be met. Any other way leads to complete misery.