International Gospel Outreach
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JUNE 1, 2020

Marriage and Ministry….
By Sharlene Graham

Ephesians 4:2-3 The Passion Translation (TPT)
2 With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous[a] love toward one another, especially toward those who may try your patience. 3 Be faithful to guard the sweet harmony of the Holy Spirit among you in the bonds of peace,
Footnotes:
a.Ephesians 4:2 The Aramaic word literally means “stretching.”

Ephesians 4:2-3 The Voice (VOICE)

2 Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love. 3 Make every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit has already created, with peace binding you together.

First, 
let me say that as I write this that I have not arrived at any of these things but I work really hard at them. I want to break this scripture down into 3 parts. Let’s look at being humble first.  

What is humility? Well here is the definition I found that fits into what we will be talking about.

Humility means accepting the truth that you are not always right, and that others have something to offer. This is an important concept to apply in dating, marriage, and most other relationships.

 (https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-humility-strengthens-your-relationship/)  

This whole article is a good read and very good. The therapist is a Christian and so the article it is Bible based.

Admitting we are wrong and apologizing in a relationship is very hard, because no one wants to admit that they are wrong. Sometimes one or the other needs to step up and apologize even if they feel they were the one wronged in the situation. Here are some guidelines to follow:

7 Ways to be Humble in a Relationship
1.Admit your mistakes. Cliché as it may sounds, but the statement “nobody is perfect” should be a constant reminder in a relationship. ...
2.Talk Less, Listen More. ...
3.Be open to unsolicited pieces of advice. ...
4.Learn to accept criticisms. ...
5.Get used to being uncomfortable. ...
6.Be observant. ...
7.Value your partner more.

Hope those help you to step the great divide and be humble. Here are some ways also to know that a person is truly humble.  Here are three signs that you're in the presence of a genuinely humble person:

  • They don't go around saying they're humble. ...
  • They talk less and listen more. ...
  • They choose being at peace over being right.

It really bothers me when someone says to me, “Oh I am a very humble person.”  My first response wants to be, “no you’re not or you wouldn’t have to tell me you are.”  Because that very same person talks non-stop and will not listen to anything anyone has to say. 

 Last, but not least, they have to be right……….they do not choose peace………..they choose to be the one with the last word who “is always right.”  I say walk away and let them talk it over with themselves. In a marriage, this is most difficult. 

 For years I had to have the last word and be right. Now I want peace above all because my husband is not my enemy and I choose not to speak my mind or be right because I don’t want to hurt him anymore that I have in the early years of our marriage.

Think about how your spouse makes you feel in a situation like this. If it hurts you, then choose to do the opposite and bring peace and joy to the situation.

Next let’s deal with gentleness.
First, what is gentleness? Let’s get a definition for that.
Gentleness is a strong hand with a soft touch. It is a tender, compassionate approach toward others' weaknesses and limitations. A gentle person still speaks truth, sometimes even painful truth, but in doing so guards their tone so the truth can be well received. 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentleness

How often, especially in raising kids, do we have to have the “strong hand with the soft touch?”  

In marriage it needs to be the same. I have to say, my husband, has always used the strong hand with a soft touch and even though I didn’t respond as I should have he never failed to be gentle with me. I was wrong in my response and hurt him so much but he was always constant in his gentleness with me.  

Being gentle with your spouse is more than a physical thing. Gentleness also shows up in how you respond and interact. This is important for husbands and wives. 
Robert Ferguson https://encourageyourspouse.com/how-to-challenge-yourself-to-be-gentle/



More News from the field
Click on the pic to see their article.
Anthony & Cindi Holland
Ricky & Crystal Parker

Rich & Rhonda Hanssen

Here are some challenges for us for gentleness with our spouse:
  • 1.Gentleness is strength under control. Challenge yourself to be gentle.
  • 2.Gentleness is honorable. Can you be honorable with them from this day forward?
  • 3.Gentleness moves with respect. Be gentle. Be respectful.
  • 4.Gentleness moves in a positive and reliable manner. Can we do this?
  • 5.Gentleness knows when to be quiet. Do we know when to be quiet? Be gentle.
  • 6.Gentleness brings a smile even in a tense moment. Use humor. My husband is very talented in this area. Be gentle and bring a smile.
  • 7.Gentleness is trustworthy. It protects the hurts that we both can carry. Can your spouse trust you to be gentle with their hurts? Can your spouse trust that you won’t poke or prod or expose a hurt in an unfriendly atmosphere? The best way to cover this is through prayer. Be gentle. Be trustworthy.
  • 8.Gentleness is comprehensive. It never needs to yell and never cowers or whimpers. Marriage is a team sport where you use your strength to enhance each other’s lives. Yelling is not a strength. Neither is passivity. Avoid both and include your spouse’s strength with yours……deliberately. Be comprehensive. Be gentle. 
  • 9.Gentleness approaches conflict with grace. It takes time to consider all the facts but quick to forgive and ask forgiveness. Study the life of Jesus. When he was challenged, he asked questions. Jesus was gentle. Be sure to use grace. Be gentle.
  • 10.Gentleness is unspoken, yet evident. It is strength under control. It isn’t weak or wishy-washy. It is not dependent on person or circumstance. Be gentle.  Husbands and wives, be gentle with one another. Your life together is precious. 
https://encourageyourspouse.com/how-to-challenge-yourself-to-be-gentle/ (excerpts from this article with my thoughts added in)

And last but not least, by any means, be patient with one another.
The definition of patient in this context is…….. able to except or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. 
When long-married couples are asked the recipe for marital success, many identify patience as a key ingredient. It’s the indispensable virtue for living together day after day in relative peace, without constant struggles to change the other to our liking. 
https://www.foryourmarriage.org/patience-key-to-a-lasting-marriage/

I can honestly say, and I know my husband would attest to this, that being patient is not my greatest gift. Sometimes as we get older we either get better at it or a lot worse. I can honestly say that I am a lot better at it than I use to be. I am finding it easier to be patient with my husband now more than ever. He has always been patient with me. I am learning that I need to give more grace and especially in relationship to my husband. He is so humble, gentle and patient and always has been. I am not saying he has never been upset with me or frustrated with me but even when he was, he walked away and came back later and showed much love and grace to me, even when I didn’t deserve it.  

St. Francis de Sales reminds us that we must be patient with everyone, but especially with ourselves. Our faults and failings may tempt us to reproach ourselves harshly and give in to frustration, even despair. Instead, says St. Francis, we need to pick up and move on, trusting that God will help us to do better next time. If we learn to treat ourselves gently, we will be more likely to extend that same charity and understanding to our spouse. https://www.foryourmarriage.org/patience-key-to-a-lasting-marriage/

What a profound statement and great words of wisdom to live by. The person I am the least patient with is me. God is even helping me in this area. I ask Him to forgive me and help be in this area and He truly is. He helps me move on and do better each time so that when I want don’t want to be patient with myself I am finding it is easier to find the patient needed and move on. I want to be able to extend this in all my relationships but especially in my marriage. If we want a better marriage we definitely need to be more patient, with ourselves, and with our spouses.

Most of us are far more impatient than patient, and yet, the Scriptures indicate that love is patient (1 Corinthians 13:4). In marriage, I define patience as "giving your spouse the freedom to be human." 

We're made in the image of God, but each of us is uniquely created with different ideas, emotions, thoughts, and perceptions. If I'm patient, I give my spouse the freedom to be different. If I'm impatient, I'm expecting him or her to think and act like me. 
https://www.lifeway.com/en/articles/homelife-keep-your-cool-with-your-spouse Excerpt from an article in Home Life Magazine.

So because I love my husband, and that love is patient, then I choose to be patient with him and with myself. I choose to let him be who God created him to be and he does that for me as well. I give him the freedom to be different as he does with me.  

Every time you're frustrated with your spouse, you have a choice. You can lash out with hurtful words or you can ask questions, listen, seek to understand, and then choose to speak words that bring healing. You must never be satisfied with anything less. https://www.lifeway.com/en/articles/homelife-keep-your-cool-with-your-spouse

So there it is, my thoughts mixed in with places I found online. I choose to be humble with my husband. I choose to be gentle with him and I choose to be patient with him as well. 

What do you choose to do?
Normally, I write the cover article for IGO Newsletters.  But for this edition, I want to bow gracefully to the woman I love, Sharlene Graham.  She clearly has something that we all need to hear.                                        Dr. James G. Graham