Celebrate Marriage Oklahoma

Over the past year, God has been making some pretty amazing connections in my life and the life of my husband, Steven.  It has been so awesome to watch the way that God connects the dots.  I have met people that will forever change my life.  One of those connections is with Clarence and Alicia Hill. Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 1.07.21 PM  They are pastors of Church Ablaze.  Clarence is also the Director of Eye to Eye Marriage Community.  They both have been like meeting our long, lost family.  I’m pretty sure this 6’8″ African American man is my brother from another mother.  It has been such a tremendous blessing work along side of them to help bring the conversation of Marriage and Family to the forefront in Oklahoma City.  Yesterday we had the opportunity to speak at a Celebrate Marriage Oklahoma rally.  For Steven and I sharing our testimony of how God has restored our family is something that we love to do.  The rally was to help gain support of the Covenant Walk that we will be doing on October 13, 2014.  This walk will be an event to raise awareness of the need for support in our community for Families and Marriage.  I would like to take this opportunity to personally invite you to join Steven and I and Bridge Builder Marriage Ministry as well as many other organizations as we march from the Myriad Gardens in downtown Oklahoma City to the State Capital.  Marriage and family are so important that spending this holiday bringing the conversation to the attention of the city is more than worth the time you will spend.  So please join us.  You can find out more information here.

Who’s Destiny Are You Stopping?

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 8.51.41 PMI have talked to many people lately who are struggling to make serious changes in their lives.  These changes have included such things as; taking a step out to start their own business, giving up their job to launch out into full-time ministry and reaching out to a loved one to heal a broken relationship.  By anyone’s standard, these are all hard decisions and worthy of contemplation and planning.  However, when contemplating and excessive planning coupled with fear, doubters, and basically a faith deficit, prevent you from moving forward to follow closely something God has called you to do, your have possibly entered into sin.

My Pastor, Adam Starling, once said “The time between when God tells you to do something and time you actually do it is the greatest problem for most people’s obedience to God.”  One thing I have learned is that often times, God is waiting on you to obey what He has called you to do, so that someone can fulfill what He has called them to do.  Maybe, someone is believing God for a job and he wants them to take the one you need to give up in order to start your own business.  Perhaps, people’s eternal destiny is waiting on you to completely embrace the ministry call on your life.  Even still, generations coming after you may be forever changed by your willingness to risk being hurt and moving forward to restore that relationship with your family.

I wonder how many people’s lives your decision to quickly obey God will impact?  If you are having trouble making these decisions and taking that step of faith, get some accountability, get some life-coaching, and do the things that put yourself in a place to quickly obey.

Now is the time to shorten the gap between when God speaks and you act.  Faith leaps, while not always easy alway pay BIG.  In the words of NIKE, “Just do it!”

What Plan Are You following?

Screen Shot 2014-06-27 at 7.20.58 AMRecently, I have had the opportunity to speak with several couples who are either struggling in their marriage to the point they are near divorce or they are already separated and divorce papers have been filed.   The thing I have heard the most and actually is true of my first marriage is that none of them were given any teaching on how to do marriage.  However, we have worked with several couples that have been to several marriage counselors but hadn’t been successful.  They say frequently, “Why didn’t anyone tell us this?”  It’s seems funny to me (I’m not saying we have all the answers nor am I criticizing any other counselor) that we have the answers laid out for us in the Bible and when we follow the plan it gives, we have a high level of success.  Many people disregard the Bible as old fashioned or irrelevant but the truth is when you do the simple things that God lays out in his word, you chances for a happily ever after increase tremendously.

I remember early on in our ministry, I asked a pastor what books he liked on the subject of marriage.  His response surprised me!  He said “Well there are a lot of books out there but I find everything I need in the Bible.” At the time I thought he was just being arrogant, the more I study about marriage the more I find out just how right he was.  The truth is the Bible is all about marriage, it starts with a wedding, ends with a wedding and everything in between is a groom looking for his bride.  I love the mental picture that thought produces.

So here’s the simple way to have a happy marriage.  First, husbands everywhere in the Bible where you see anything that Jesus did, that’s your role.  Wives anywhere in the Bible you see what the church did or was told what to do, do that.  You see, God invented marriage and marriage is really just a type and shadow of Christ and the Church.  Secondly put the words of Ephesians 5:22 to work, do everything you do in marriage as unto the Lord.  I always recommend that when you lay your head on the pillow at night you ask this one simple question, “God did I make you happy as a husband/wife today?”  When you see your role as a husband or wife as doing it for God, your entire perspective changes.

Guaranteed success comes when we take the plan provided by the designer of the plan and put it into action.  God designed marriage, He gave us the plan in His Word, all we have to do is work the plan.

Do you need help with your marriage?  Let Bridge Builder Marriage Ministry help. Contact us at melisa@bridgebuildermm.org

My Best Friend

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 6.22.18 AMI have had this passage of scripture floating around in my head,

A man that has friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.  Proverbs 18:24 (KJV)

When you’re married, your spouse should be your best friend.  You spend more of your time with them than anyone else, you share a home, meals, activities, children and intimacy with them.  I have, however, heard many wives talk about their best friend only to find out that it is NOT their husband.  As I thought about the reasons why they would give that coveted spot to someone other than their husband, I realized one such reason might be laid out for us in this passage of scripture.  How do those wives treat their husbands, do they show themselves friendly to him?  Friendships take work, they rarely just happen.  You might meet someone that you are instantly connected to, but to maintain a good friendship you have responsibility in the relationship.  Taking time to talk, engaging in activities together, celebrating wins and even walking through the losses together are vital parts of any healthy friendship.  Also, knowing their likes and dislikes, their values and encouraging their dreams are also important.  Do you do those things with your husband? If you don’t, I encourage you to start today.  Show yourself friendly, take responsibility and give your husband this place in your life. the rewards will be great for both of you.

Respect Your Husband’s #1 Need

Image-1For years now my husband and I have been working with couples to help them find the amazing marriage that God has designed for them to live.  Many of the lessons I have learned came from a 20-year failed marriage.  After spending 20 years learning what not to do, I have spent the next decade learning what to do from the best teacher of all, the Bible.  Yes, I have done research in other books and from other great teachers but the ultimate lessons about marriage still come from the God that created marriage in the first place.

Wives, your husband’s number one need is for respect.  Believe me when I tell you I was the queen of disrespect for 20 years and didn’t even know it.  I have many times had to apologize to my ex-husband for being so disrespectful.  I have spent countless hours learning how to be respectful.  Yes, I’m still in the respect school, but God has used my amazing husband and partner in everything, Steven to help me learn.  He has also given me a great group of male pastors to work everyday with who are great at helping me identify disrespect in my life (they do it because I ask them to).  The reason I need this help is because disrespect can  be so sneaky and subtle.  I often times find myself being disrespectful without even realizing it.  You see girls, disrespect to a guy is much different than to us.  I’m getting so much better, but I’m confident it will be something I have to continue to work on for the rest of my life.

In my Bible study today I read Ephesians 4:29

29 Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good andbeneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it. (AMP)

One thing I have learned is that most disrespect comes straight out of your mouth.  If we can get better at living out Ephesians 4:29, we can decrease our disrespectfulness by so much.  In James 3:2 tells us that if we don’t offend with our tongues we are a perfect manor in this case a perfect woman.  We can learn to be respectful in our speech.  We can meet the number one need of our spouses.  Watch what comes out of your mouth.  Live out Ephesians 4:29.  As you do you will begin to see your marriage become a living example of God’s design.

Hello! I love you!! This One’s for the Girls

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 4.34.31 PMThis post is for the girls.

Often in our Marriage and Relationship Life Coaching sessions we meet with couples who have been married only a few years.  However, from time to time we have couples who have been together for many years.  For these couples, they often report they feel like they are living with their sibling.  It isn’t usually anything huge that derailed their marriage rather a lack of demonstrations of love each day.  As you know I often say, “If the grass looks greener in your neighbors yard, water your own grass.”  Often times after years of living with someone you get so accustomed to their ways and thoughts that life can become routine.  This is often the downfall of many marriages.

What to do????  The best answer truly comes from the past.  When you first met your husband, what did you do?  When you first started pursuing him, my guess is you left no stone unturned in your effort to get his attention and demonstrate your love for him.  Well, sometimes going back to the basics is the best idea.  To revive the romance in your marriage, why not try some of the wonderful things you did in the early days.  Here are few suggestions that might be helpful in jogging your memory.

  • Leave sweet notes of love for him to find in his car in the morning.
  • Send him off in the morning with a PASSIONATE kiss.  (This is two-fold, it starts his day of right and reminds him why he wants to come home at night)
  • Meet him for a surprise lunch.
  • Send him sexy text messages during the work day.
  • Make sure your hair and clothes look as good today as they did when you were dating  him.
  • Put chocolates on his pillow in the evening with a love note.
  • Flirt with him from across the room.
  • Surprise him by greeting him while wearing his favorite color of lipstick and perfume.
  • Plan a date to somewhere you went when you were dating.
  • Recreate your favorite things to do when you were dating.
  • If he played sports take him to the ball field or court where he played and remind him how much you loved watching him play.  Talk about that big play or shot he made.  Let him know you still remember.

Be creative,  you will find wonderful ways to spice up the romance in your marriage, no matter how many years it’s been since you first met.

For those of you who are newly married, never stop doing the things that won his heart to start with.  Years from now you will be so glad you did.

~Melisa~

Seeing Better ~ Seeing Differently

photoWhat is vision?  For many when you say the word vision, you immediately think about your eyes.  Most would agree that is has to do with being able to see with your natural eyes.  This is true, but vision is so much more than just sight.  I had a friend who recently underwent surgery on both her eyes to have cataracts removed.  After her surgery I would always ask her, “I am I better looking yet?”  I’m happy to report that she is doing great and yes, she always says I’m better looking.  Natural sight is so important and any effort to improve your natural vision when needed is a blessing.

Vision, also is about what you see for your future.  In my last post I talked about having a vision list. A vision list is just a focused way to look at your future.  It can encompass your dreams, your goals, your hopes and whatever you want to focus on to help give shape to your future.

Vision, however, can also be about our perspective of things.  When we do marriage and relationship life coaching, we frequently have as our goal, helping people see their problems, their marriage, their situation from a different perspective.  This slight change in vision often makes incredible difference.  In this post, I want to focus on taking a serious look at the way you see things, your perspective can really influence how you walk through life.  For the majority of us, our vision/perspective of life is driven by our past, our beliefs and our life experiences.  We often see the world the same every day.  If your past shows you that people are hurtful and untrustworthy, then you will most likely continue to find that people will hurt you and you will struggle to trust.  If your life experience says financial prosperity if out of reach, then in most cases you will continue to live a life of lack.  If your life has been littered with people who say they love you and then walk out of your life, you will probably have difficulty connecting on a deeper level with people.  What if you could change the way you see your life?  Imagine what it might look like if you could be released from this perspective and see your life as blessed because people that you loved even came into your life to start with.  Say, for instance, that you decided to believe that every person in your life was there for a reason.  Maybe that reason would cause them to remain as a valuable asset to your life that would last forever, or maybe that reason is for a simple task to teach you something you didn’t know or help you see the world in a different way but then they left your life. When you begin to really look at the vision that you have about people being in your life, you are able to change the way you interact with them.  This is just one simple way that adjusting your vision, your perspective changes a lot of things.

Suppose you decided to change the vision that you have about your future.  You decide that you want to see your future very different from you present and your past, is that even doable?  The answer to that question is yes, and is dependent upon how much you are willing to change your vision.  A small fraction of change can actually net a significant change in your life in the future.

So with all this in mind, begin to think about the future you want to have.  Be brave and willing to make some changes in your perspective/vision and begin to live the life that you were created to live.  Choose to live the life you can enjoy.  Choose to be who you really feel like God has called your to be.  Take some time as 2013 comes to a close and begin to get a vision for what you want 2014 to be.  You can and do control your destiny by the vision you choose.