Encouragement for Today - Feb. 1, 2011
February 1, 2011
One Stitch at a Time
"Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other,
Let us show the truth by our actions." 1 John 3:18 (NLT)
When the four Chitwood family members settle in for some TV, we fight over who gets to snuggle with the patchwork quilt made years ago by Granny. The quilt comforts us with its warmth and the memories of Granny's love.
After years of snuggling, Granny's quilt displays signs of use: seams pulling apart, well-worn fabric with quilt-stuffing peeking through, and permanent stains.
One part of the quilt, however, remains completely intact: the quilting stitches. These are the smallest stitches in the whole quilt and interestingly also the strongest.
These small stitches offer us a lesson for our marriages. In Matthew 19:6 Jesus says, "So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate." God says a married couple becomes "one flesh" when they marry, and they work out that oneness all the days of their lives.
One way to establish that oneness is to make small, daily "stitches" to strengthen the fabric of marriage. These small habits don't take much time or effort, but they do require intentionality.
In my book, "What a Husband Needs from His Wife," I talk about three areas - thoughts, words, and actions - where we can choose some specific small habits to start practicing in our marriages.
Consider your thoughts toward your husband and marriage - When he's having a stressful day, do you think he needs to get over his bad mood, or do you think about how you can encourage and support him? Maybe you walk through the messy garage and think it's about time your husband cleaned it up. Instead you can think about how you and the kids can help with that project.
Consider your words - How do you speak to your husband? Do your words cut him down or lift him up? Also, think about your words to others about your husband. Decide today that your kids, mother, and best friend will hear you praise your husband, not criticize him.
Consider your actions - Jesus was a servant who laid down His rights to love others. How can you be a vessel of Christ's love toward your spouse? Show him your love by simple actions such as cheering him on at his softball game, picking up his favorite snack at the store, and making intimacy a priority.
Practicing these small habits will help our marriages stay intact, just the like the tiny quilting stitches of Granny's quilt. Prayerfully consider the various areas addressed here. Ask God to show you how you can strengthen the oneness in your marriage. You'll be glad you took time to sew some stitches today, knowing that the fabric of your marriage will hold tightly against the pulls and pressures of tomorrow.
Dear Lord, open my eyes and heart to small, daily habits I can practice today to strengthen the oneness of my marriage. Give me a willing heart to honor my marriage by investing in it daily. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Visit Melanie's blog for more ideas for "Strengthening Your Marriage One Stitch at a Time."
What a Husband Needs from His Wife and What a Wife Needs from Her Husband by Melanie Chitwood
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Make three columns on a piece of paper labeled thoughts, words, actions. Create a list of small habits you can practice daily to sew a strong marriage.
Consider getting together with a friend or a group to do the Bible study in Melanie's book, What a Husband Needs from His Wife.
What bad habits are ripping apart the seams of my marriage?
What are some daily habits I already practice to strengthen my marriage?
What is one small stitch I can sew today to strengthen the fabric of my marriage?
Colossians 1:17, "… in him all things hold together." (NIV)
1 John 4:8, "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (NIV)
© 2011 by Melanie Chitwood. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105