Tag Archives: marriage memory verses

Has Your Previous Promiscuity Impacted Your Marriage?

I’ve written honestly about my premarital promiscuous past. It took a long time for me to get over the lingering feelings that I was damaged by decisions I’d made and that I didn’t really deserve fabulous things in my marriage bed because I’d blown it with God’s gift of sex before my I Dos.

I am 100% sure that I am not alone in having felt this way.

Whether you knew what you were doing was wrong, or you later figured out how much better it would have been to wait until marriage, many of us wives end up with guilt stuck to us like lint to black pants — we can’t quite get rid of it all.

We look at ourselves and feel shame. Then we look at our husbands and feel any number of possibilities:

  • Sad — because we can’t turn back time
  • Used — because that’s how previous men treated us regarding sex (and will our husband be any different?)
  • Frustrated — since we know we should enjoy sex in marriage, but it doesn’t feel like we expected
  • Guilty — for giving away what should have belonged exclusively to him
  • Lonely — because he doesn’t understand why our heart hurts
  • Hopeless — because the feelings don’t seem to be going away anytime soon

Maybe you’re actually like me — a wife who had a satisfying sex life with her husband, but who secretly worried that she was still a “bad girl” at heart, despite the commitment on her lips and the ring on her finger. Who wondered if God would ever really forgive her for ignoring His clear commands. Who expected consequences to come careening around the corner any minute to destroy her newfound marital happiness.

I’m so over that now.

I had a way-too-petty perspective of my forgiving God. In truth, He’d already forgiven me; I just hadn’t fully accepted His grace. It was like He kept shoving this new gift at me, and I was turning it down. Over and over.

Believe me, I did all kinds of self-evaluation — with the background of a counseling degree — and tried to figure out ways to deal with my clinging guilt. None of that worked.

What did work was diving into God’s Word and realizing how foolish I’d been. When you read the life of Paul, you recognize that his past is ever-present as a memory of who he was, but it does not define who he becomes in Christ Jesus. And he knows this when he writes this passage that was finally The One that snapped me out of my poor thinking:

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

I underlined where I showed up in the verse, so you couldn’t miss it. Did you see the former me? Yep, “sexually immoral.” I was not going to inherit the kingdom of God. But I also highlighted the most important word to me in that whole section: were.

Just like S.E. Hinton’s novel title: That was then, this is now.

Because it’s a done deal, y’all. You used to be that person. But you’re following God’s plan now — married to your lover. If you’ve confessed and asked for forgiveness for your premarital sins, God will forgive you (See 1 John 1:9). And then you can say: “I was washed, I was sanctified, I was justified” — past tense. Signed, sealed, delivered. Done.

You can let those past sins go. God’s got it covered.

This is the principle I want us to understand this week as we consider a memory verse for your marriage. But honestly, that passage I quoted is really long. I’ve read it many times, but I still don’t have it fully memorized.

So I chose another verse that is shorter and right to the point. In fact, it communicates just how much God wants to do for you — how gracious and loving He is. That He isn’t holding your sinful past over your head, but rather encouraging you to seek His best for your marriage now.

Psalm 103:12: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

Marriage Memory Verse 3-12-16

Transgressions is pretty much a big word for “sins.” Transgression comes from the root words trans, meaning across, and gress, meaning to walk or go. It basically means that you’re crossing over the line — that line in this case being God’s command to remain pure before marriage.

You crossed the line before. But you’re on the right side now — purity in marriage. Because marital purity isn’t going without sex; it’s seeking godly intimacy in your marriage bed.

That’s what God wants you to have now — everything He always intended you to have, in the right context.

Let him shower you with His love and remove your sins from you — as far as the east is from the west.

Memory Verse Help

I’ll be honest: I do not understand the adult coloring craze. I hated coloring inside the lines as a child, and I have no intention of repeating that frustrating experience as an adult.

However, I have friends who truly love it. And I know that for visual people, doodling is an excellent way to retain information. So why not find a coloring page online with your memory verse or create your own?

I opened up my Microsoft Word program and created the coloring page below. Not amazing, but if you’re a visual person and enjoy coloring, this might help you remember the scripture. Click the pdf link below, print, and color away!

Psalm 103:12 Coloring Page

Were You a Victim of Sexual Abuse?

Very little rips my heart like sexual abuse. I’ve long thought sexual abuse was among the most heinous acts perpetrated. It hits a victim with the full force of assault in the most vulnerable of places. It breaks my heart to think that in the next 24 hours, some of our most precious treasure — children — will be sexually abused by adults who should be caring for them.

You know who else’s heart is broken by this evil? God’s.

I genuinely believe He has a tender spot for the youngest of His children and a vengeance brewing for those who mistreat them. He does not want this to happen and will right every wrong in the end.

Yet too many of you were that child. Sex was used against you as a weapon. And left deep wounds.

When you enter marriage, how can you flip the switch to enjoy sexual intimacy as God intended? Between a husband and wife in covenant marriage? With trust and respect?

If only there were a switch. Rather, abuse victims report that it takes intentionality, time, prayer, rewriting scripts in their head, and — almost always — help from others to re-gain the healthy view of sexuality so wrongly stolen from them. Thankfully, they also say that open wounds become closed scars, and healthy sexual intimacy in their marriage overcomes the past. They can truly see and enjoy sex as God intended.

All month long, our marriage memory verses will be aimed at our difficult pasts. I wanted to start with the scenario that pricks my heart the most. Were you a victim of sexual abuse? I am so sorry that happened to you. I wish I could take that memory and the burden away. I am moved to tears by what you went through, yet I believe you are so strong for making it to the other side.

Now I want you to have what God always intended you to have — healthy sexual intimacy in your marriage.

Whatever that past abuse has done to make sex difficult in your marriage, those challenges can be addressed. You can seek mentoring, counseling, and resources that will help you process the pain. You can be honest with your husband about what happened and request his patience and compassion in rewriting the sex script in your head. You can re-learn what it feels like to be touched sexually and see your husband’s hands as protecting and pleasuring, not disrespectful and damaging.

It may be a long road, but step out on that road. Walk in the right direction. Your destination is healing and the health of your marriage.

And know that God is bigger than anything that happened to you. He will walk that road with you and heal your body and your heart.

That’s why I’ve chosen a verse this week that we should all learn, but it feels particularly relevant to victims of sexual abuse:He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).

Marriage Memory Verse 3-5-16God knows what you endured, and He mourned with you. (See Luke 7:13, John 11:35, Psalm 56:8, Psalm 23:4.) He will be there as you pursue healing and wholeness. You can trust Him, and those who represent Him in your life, to help you recover and find the beauty that He intended for you.

You can enjoy sex with your husband in marriage. Don’t let your abuser take that away from you. Let God bless you with healing instead.

Memory Verse Help

Today’s memorization idea is brief and to the point: Highlight or underline the memory verse in your Bible.

Yep, that’s it. But marking up the verse in your Bible sends a message to your brain about its significance. It plants it a little deeper in your mind.

Since I mostly use a Bible app now, I highlight on the screen. I can then access all the scriptures I’ve marked on one screen and scroll through what I deemed worth paying extra attention to and memorizing. But you could do this as well by flipping through your Bible.

However it works for you, emphasize that verse in your Bible.

Don’t Just Have Sex. Make Love.

I know marriage authors who far prefer talking about making love than having sex. For the most part, it seems a bit po-tay-to, po-tah-to to me. If I say “make love,” y’all all know I’m talking about having sex with your spouse.

And from a writer’s perspective, it’s nice to have more than one way to express the meaning of sexual intimacy. We have plenty of alternate names for nookie — everything from “marital intimacy” to “the beast with two backs” (thanks for that one, Shakespeare).

In a marriage with healthy, godly sexual intimacy, does it matter too much whether we call it “coitus” or “making love”? Either way, you’ll likely experience it in a loving way.

But many of you are not in those perfect, we’ve-got-it-all-together sexual relationships with your beloved. Maybe it’s a far cry from where it should be, or maybe you just need some tweaking. But when you come together, it doesn’t feel as intimate as it should. It’s just having sex.

And that’s not really the point of sex in marriage.

For those of us who messed up pre-marriage and remember a bit of what it was like to be with someone you didn’t care about nearly enough, we definitely know the difference. It’s why I plead with people not to do what I did! (Including my children.) I want them to have a better experience than just having sex. Because anyone can do that. Big whoop.

But my Heavenly Father has a much more valuable gift for me. He wants me to experience deep and meaningful love as part of the physical act of sex. He wants it to be in the context of a covenant relationship with a life partner. He wants it to be pleasurable for my body, my heart, and my soul. And that’s why He said outright that it should be done in love.

It’s right here in this all-encompassing verse: Do everything in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14).

Marriage Memory Verse 2-27-16

You can’t really argue with the word everything. That’s got to include sex in your marriage bed.

And the word translated as love is the Greek word agapeAgape is often described as a selfless, servant love that wants the best for the other person. It’s known as being the kind of love God Himself has for us. I like how Merriam-Webster defines agape as “love feast.”

That’s how agape works. It’s over-the-top, giving-all-I’ve-got love.

And it’s the kind of love we don’t master on our own. Rather, we channel it from God Himself by seeing our spouse through His eyes.

When you bring that kind of making love in your marital bedroom? Let’s just say, WOW!

Give it whatever name you want, but we are called to treat sex with our spouse as an agape experience. We are supposed to make love by treating our spouse with Christ-like love and approaching sex as an expression of our deepest feelings for our beloved.

“Do everything in love.” It’s not an easy command, but we should take it seriously. Especially when it comes to our marriages.

Isn’t your marriage worth giving it all you’ve got?

Memory Verse Help

Now whether or not you’ve been joining me for my Marriage Memory Verse challenge, don’t tell me that you can’t memorize this week’s verse! Four words and a citation. You can do it!

Remember that I’m only asking you to choose one verse per month to commit to memory. It’s also good to go over those verses at other times in your head to keep them fresh. Then when you face a difficult situation, those memorized verses come to mind as God’s guidance.

Let’s talk this week, though, about remembering citations. Because I stink at that. I’m always saying something like, “Somewhere in the New Testament, it says . . .” But it’s better to know where a verse comes from, so you can access it later and read it in context for better understanding.

And this is where “Sword Drills” are a great tool. If you grew up in a church that did this activity, you’ll remember how it goes. But basically, your sword is your Bible (“sword of the Spirit,” Ephesians 6:17).  You can play alone or with others. But close your Bible, look at the verse reference, call it aloud, and then see how fast you can find that scripture in your Bible.

Once there, read the scripture aloud.

Rinse and repeat.

By interacting with the information in a fun way, you’ll be more likely to commit both the verse and the citation to memory. For a great info-graphic on Sword Drills, check out this link from OneHope.

Only a few days left!

Is Christian Sex in Marriage a Threesome?

I was at a fiction writers’ workshop recently in which the speaker tentatively mentioned his belief that the inspirational romance genre was basically ménage à trois: you, me, and Jesus. He wasn’t attempting to be offensive, and actually I wasn’t offended. I sort of agree.

By no means am I being gross about this. Please bear with me. Because of course sex happens merely between husband and wife in the marriage bed. Jesus is not literally hanging out in the middle of the experience. Don’t get that image stuck in your head and freak out the next time you’re starting to get intimate with your hubby in the bedroom.

However, as Christians we believe that sex in marriage has a higher purpose. That it is a gift from God and blessed by our Heavenly Father. We can imagine the approval of our Creator as we revel in His beautiful creation of sexual intimacy.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above.” James 1:17

We believe in the omniscience and omnipresence of God — that He knows all and exists everywhere.

” ‘Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.” – Jeremiah 23:24

God sees what’s going on in your bedroom and He’s there. Not gawking and trying to make you uncomfortable — more like giving you a thumbs up for investing in your marriage through physical intimacy.

I also think that when we invite God, He shows up in an even more discernible way.

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:10

As believers in Christ, I encourage couples to invite the Lord into their marriage. We need His help in every facet of our relationship, including sexual intimacy. You can see the beauty of this by hearing from couples who pray before and after they make love. Even praying at other times as a couple appears to have a positive effect on your sexual intimacy.

God’s involvement also protects our marriage bed.

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

Woven together with God, your marriage has even greater strength and perseverance. As does your marriage bed.

So is Christian sex in marriage a threesome? I think it kind of is. Of course, God is opposed to actual third parties, but He wants us to invite Him into our hearts and lives in all areas. Why not the marriage bed?

Besides, I wouldn’t even know what deep, abiding love looked like without knowing the Father. My own marriage is still alive and kicking because we (finally) aimed for deep, godly love for one another. This verse says it well:

Marriage Memory Verse 2-20-16

This scripture is this week’s marriage memory verse. Because if you want to love your husband intimately, learn more about God’s love. Starting with the fact that love itself is from God. Then put that love into practice in the bedroom. Let God into your sex life.

Once again, not in the creepy way. But the God-made-sex-and-blesses-you way.

Maybe you can even practice this verse by looking right into your husband’s eyes and saying those words, “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God.” Because that’s where great marriages and satisfying sexual intimacy begins — by recognizing the source of true love.

Memory Verse Help

Chunking is a memorization technique we often use without realizing we’re doing it. For instance, social security and telephone numbers are broken up into chunks, with digits separated by hyphens. When you memorize those digits and repeat them to others, you say the number back in chunks. Like a telephone number might be 800-555-5555.

We also memorize poetry in chunks, even if it’s something like:

I’m a poet
And I didn’t know it
But my feet show it
‘Cause they’re Longfellows.

That’s a passed-around poem, origin unknown, that uses word play to refer to large feet and the famous poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. But each of those lines is a chunk we memorize, and then we put the poem together.

You can use chunking for memory verses too. Break the scripture into pieces, then memorize each piece until you feel comfortable with it. Move onto the next and the next. And eventually, you’ve got the whole thing.

Visually, it might look like this:

Beloved
Let us love one another
Because love is from God
Everyone who loves is born of God
And knows God.
1 John 4:7

Marriage Not Going Great? Go Ahead and Celebrate Valentine’s.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. (Surely you’ve heard.) It’s the holiday on which many couples celebrate romantic love. But some of you are struggling in your marriage — feeling that the love isn’t all it can or should be.

Especially your sexual intimacy.

You don’t see eye-to-eye on how to pursue the best for your marriage bed. It’s tense. Or maybe at times hostile. And your spouse has racked up a list of selfish acts and sins that frustrate you and make celebrating Valentine’s difficult.

I get it. I really do.

Some of you need to immediately seek help, because things are that bad. And honestly, a few of you are in abusive situations and need to get out. But most of us need to breathe deep, step back, take stock of reality, and remember that this is the person who loves us, whom we love.

Just because you’re facing difficult issues and don’t know how it’s going to work out, you can find things about your husband (or wife) for which you’re grateful. You can see qualities about him that are still appealing, or even sexy. You know that you chose him and he chose you. You made a covenant commitment to each other, and you are still hanging in there.

For months — okay, frankly, years — this described my marriage. It wasn’t fabulous, but we still wanted to be together and we weren’t done yet.

My husband gave me some Valentine’s Day cards in those years. And certainly some chocolate. We needed and appreciated those reminders that we were dedicated to our marriage. To our love.

It’s like 1 Peter 4:8 says: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

Start there: Loving each other deeply. Commit yourselves to remembering and renewing your love. Love itself covers over a lot of sin, hurt, and difficulty. Love can give you the capacity to keep going, to see past the slights and frustrations to the man you married, to see your husband as God sees him.

This scripture has helped me so much in my own life that I’ve chosen it for this week’s marriage memory verse.

Marriage Memory Verse 2-13-16

So go ahead and find ways to celebrate.

Of course, I’m praying that your Valentine’s Day involves some hot, holy, and yeah, humorous sex. But even if you haven’t figured all that out yet, commemorate your love.

Memory Verse Help

Say it aloud. Really, that’s the entire memorization tip for this week.

Why does it matter to say it aloud? Because when speak a verse out loud, you are both thinking about the scripture and hearing it. Your brain processes that as two hits.

Double your effectiveness by reading or saying the scripture aloud.