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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ramp Covered Bridge, Cumberland County PA
Ramp Covered Bridge in Cumberland County PA.

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Marriage Series: With Valentine's Day on Thursday we thought we'd share a series of messages with the main points based on Gary Chapman's book, "The Five Love Languages"In doing so we  will use the basic outline of the five languages, featuring a different one each day. This week we want to provide messages that will strengthen marriages. However most of these points will apply to all relationships.

"The Necessity Of Quality Time"

“When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out with the army nor be charged with any duty; he shall be free at home one year and shall give happiness to his wife whom he has taken” (Deuteronomy 24:5).

Father teaching sonFor many years now we have appreciated our association with the Amish. Although their common dress and exterior appearances may lead us to believe they're all the same, they differ among themselves. Some have a true understanding of salvation by faith through God's grace. Others merely have the outward form of religion, while others are actually quite vile. Actually it's true of the non-Amish as well, isn't it?

As a group they have some customs that we have come to admire; one being a focus on togetherness for newlywed couples as their marital bond is newly established. Most weddings are held in November and for the next several months through the winter they solidify their bond with their focus on being together. They have a minimal work schedule allowing for plenty of time to visit relatives, thereby establishing the extended family bond which also integrates the spouse into his or her new family. During these months they usually live with her parents until the spring and then set up their own household.

We don't know the origin of this Amish tradition but we consider its correlation to our Scripture text: "When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out with the army nor be charged with any duty; he shall be free at home one year and shall give happiness to his wife whom he has taken."

Jewish Rabbi Moshe Goldman comments on this verse: "The idea behind this commandment is not that you should desist from living a normal life, including going to work and supporting your family -- the Torah doesn't advocate going on welfare or otherwise putting yourself intentionally on the community's payroll.

What it does mean is that as a general rule, your wife is an extra special priority during the first year of married life together, when the bonds between the two of you are still being formed, and as such are more tenuous than say, those of a couple married for 25 years. This helps to strengthen the notion that you are [exclusively] hers and she is [exclusively] yours. That's why the Torah forbids a newly married man to go to war, etc." *

However this togetherness needs to continue all through marriage and the time we spend together is a vital key. (Both quality and quantity count in our view.)

Gary Chapman writes, "A central aspect of quality time is togetherness. I do not mean proximity. Togetherness has to do with focused attention. A husband who is watching sports on television while he talks to his wife is not giving her quality time, because she does not have his full attention. A husband and wife playing tennis together, if it is genuine quality time, will focus not on the game, but on the fact that they are spending time together."

At the heart of quality time is giving your attention and listening. Here are some practical listening tips:
  • Maintain eye contact when your spouse is talking.
  • Avoid multitasking while your spouse is talking.
  • Listen for feelings and confirm them. Ask yourself, “What emotion is my spouse experiencing?”
  • Observe body language since communication is not simply the words being spoken, but the way in which they're spoken.
  • Do not interrupt. Such interruptions indicate, "What I think or say is more important than how you feel of what you have to say." (In fairness, the spouse should not go on and on in making his or her point either. This will make a spouse avoid the subject matter altogether.)
  • Quality conversation also calls for self-revelation. In order for your partner to feel loved, you must reveal some of yourself, too. Good conversation includes "give and take". Speak of things that are about you or that you care about, and make sure you express interest in learning more about your spouse and what they care about.
Today we encourage all our readers to consider the blessing of quality time in establishing and maintaining strong relationships, especially in marriage. The saying, "You get out of it what you put into it" is applicable in a marriage relationship so make sure you're putting your whole heart into it!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, a devoted spouse is one of the greatest gifts we receive on this side of heaven. It's not an inanimate treasure that sits dormant on a shelf for onlookers to admire, but rather it's a living treasure that requires a good deal of our time and energy to keep it a treasure. A lifelong commitment will produce in us the fruit of the spirit as we love unconditionally, practice patience, show kindness, joyfully serve, and remain faithful to each other all the days of our life. Help us to do our part. Amen.

Here are "The Five Love Languages" we will deal with this week:

1) Affirming Words  Monday's message
2) Quality Time  Today's message
3) Thoughtful Gifts  
4) Cooperative Service  
5) Physical Intimacy  

Ramp Covered Bridge, Cumberland County, PA
The Ramp Covered Bridge in Cumberland County PA crosses Conodoguinet creek near Newville. The name Conodoguinet is Native American and means "A Long Way with Many Bends" and this creek has many bends, especially where it ends at the Susquehanna River (see map). The Ramp Covered Bridge was built in 1870 using the Burr truss design. This is the only covered bridge left which is entirely in Cumberland County. We drove through the bridge last Sunday on the way back from a retreat, although we had to get off the main highway to do so.

Laughlin Mill, Cumberland County, PA
We also passed a site we have photographed several times, the Laughlin Mill also in Cumberland County, PA. Here's a summer photo and a photo from early Autumn.  Too bad there wasn't snow in the background for this winter photo!

Three-wheeled car at Roxbury Camp
This unusual three-wheeled car is used at Roxbury Camp. (Makes you think twice before leaning to the left or right.)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"A Page Has Turned"  Video  Bebo Norman

"Love Of My Life"  Video  Jim Brickman & Michael W Smith

"The Five Love Languages" can be ordered at Amazon or many other sources.

* What are a husband's responsibilities during the 1st year of marriage?

Browser logosThese are articles we come across in the course of studying for these messages or just poking around the vast Internet. In most cases they are not necessarily related to the daily message but may be of interest to our readers. These articles will only be posted once and there will be new ones each post, assuming we come across material that we feel may be of interest. (To see previous links use the archive version.)

I very much appreciate science and enjoyed science classes through my schooling years. However there is a tendency to feel whatever science now says is the final word, especially if there is a conflict with faith. This article is interesting in the manner in which the established science of the day mocked a view that was later proven true. I wonder what "most certain finding of modern science" will be disproven down the road?

a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE, Copyright 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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