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When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection

When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection

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When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection

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4/5 (1 peringkat)
Panjangnya:
230 pages
4 hours
Dirilis:
Jan 1, 2011
ISBN:
9780736940801
Format:
Buku

Deskripsi

The demands of everyday life almost always pull husbands and wives in different directions. And even when they are together, there’s very little opportunity to just be a couple. Work, children, and other commitments make it a constant challenge to find quality time alone.

Hugh and Cindi McMenamin have put together an innovative devotional about meaningful ways that husbands and wives can draw closer together. Each reading in this 31-day book offers simple, helpful (and fun!) steps a husband and wife can take to nourish closeness and intimacy. Among the topics are

  • the power of a note
  • making a memory
  • extending grace
  • splurging on love
  • finding a getaway
  • lighten the load
  • flirting again
  • sharing your heart

Key thoughts from Scripture are interwoven into each devotion, and each ends with “Points to Ponder Together” as well as a couple’s prayer. Especially helpful are the frequent anecdotal tips from a woman’s perspective (Cindi) and a man’s (Hugh).

Dirilis:
Jan 1, 2011
ISBN:
9780736940801
Format:
Buku

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Introduction: Isn’t It Time to Start Walking Together?

Do you remember what it was like when you first fell in love? Admit it—you had the picture-perfect idea of what your relationship would be like. You’d do everything together. Life would play out like a fairy tale (or, as Hugh would say, an adventure). You’d understand each other and roll through the situations that trip up most other couples. And then…reality set in. You realized you are two people who are a lot more different from each other than you originally thought. Two people desperately trying to figure out how to do life together.

For years, we were just like that. We were two people who, in some ways, walked alone in our marriage. We never intended for it to be that way. That’s just the way it was. Sure, we lived in the same house, slept in the same bed, spent nearly every Friday of our married life together on a date day. We even raised a daughter, although I wouldn’t necessarily say we were good at raising her together. Hugh did his part. I did mine. And that’s the way it was.

I (Cindi) was independent, yet needy (if you can imagine that). I kept telling Hugh I wanted him to be a close part of my life (and I really did), but I wasn’t really living like it. I continued to do things my way, and was unintentionally pushing him further away. And I (Hugh), a born introvert, was used to doing things on my own and alone. I knew what marriage was supposed to be all about—two people living as one—but in a lot of areas I continued to operate solo.

Both of us had no idea how to give up our own ambitions, expectations, and conveniences in order to really walk together.

But then we started doing some really simple things to change that—things we wish we’d done years ago—and they had a profound effect on our marriage.

This book is for every couple who knows they have potential but aren’t living it to the fullest. It’s for every couple who wants to draw closer to each other but doesn’t know how. It’s for young couples starting out and not wanting to make the mistakes most couples make…and it’s for seasoned couples who are going the distance and want to take advantage of another resource to help them get there.

This book is not a counseling manual. And it’s not filled with fluff (Hugh will personally see to that!). And ladies, it’s not an attempt to bang your husband over the head and make him wake up and get a clue as to what you need. It’s simply a book to encourage you, motivate you, and even excite you to draw closer to each other because of the wonderful benefits of intimacy, oneness, companionship, and unselfish love. Because you two at one time really enjoyed being together and you might’ve forgotten just how much. Because life is short and what you waste away now you can never get back.

And men, if you’re the kind who has to be dragged, bribed, or made to feel guilty before you’ll read a devotional with your wife, relax. I (Hugh) know exactly where you’re coming from. This is not a warm and fuzzy piece on how to make your wife happy or a counseling program on The 31 Things You’re Doing Wrong. Rather, think of it as a user’s guide to your wife’s heart that will unleash some passions in her and get you in touch with some of your own that you didn’t know were there (translate: that will press your wife’s buttons and will ultimately make you as happy as her). It is our hope and prayer that you’ll both enjoy reading through this book together.

In every chapter we have a section called Taking the Next Step. This is where we give some practical advice on how to start walking together. Often this comes down to simply taking the next step. We’ve tried to cover areas in which we’ve often found ourselves standing still and we’ve had to swallow our pride, put self on the line, and with an eye toward a closer connection, take the next step toward walking together.

At the end of each chapter is a section called Going the Extra Mile. Perhaps you are the kind of reader who skips over the application section or saves the questions for some later time. But we encourage you to go the extra mile together by talking through those questions after you finish reading each chapter. These sections will help you to actually start walking together instead of just reading about how to do so.

Finally, each chapter closes with Going the Distance Through Prayer. We strongly believe that if any marriage is to go the distance, prayer must be a part of it. So instead of just learning how to walk together today, you’ll also cultivate a habit of prayer that will help you continue to walk together tomorrow and each day thereafter.

So, are you ready to fall back in love? Are you ready to experience a closer connection? Are you ready to quit thinking primarily about you and start thinking about the two of you? We are. So let us share our path with you that we began to walk—a path that finally, after more than 20 years of marriage, had us walking much closer together…in 31 days!

Enjoying the Journey

Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow.

PROVERBS 3:6 CEV

Go ahead. Admit it. Your marriage isn’t everything you expected it to be, is it? But that’s okay. That doesn’t mean it can’t someday be what you’d always hoped it would.

We all enter a relationship—or marriage—with a pie-in-the-sky dream of what it will be like. Then we find we married someone who was more different from us than we thought. But marriage isn’t about the final destination—the happily ever after with the person of our dreams. It’s about the journey—getting there, walking together, enjoying the adventure en route to our final destination: a true sense of oneness with the other.

We’ve noticed through the years that walking together as a couple is a lot like flying together. There are certain things you must do as you walk aboard that aircraft and commit yourself to the flight, and many of them are the same things you must do as you walk down the aisle and commit yourself to one another in marriage.

Like air travel, living life with another person is all about making adjustments, dealing with delays, realizing you’re not in control, and having to—at times—make the best of it so you truly enjoy the journey.

We have been married long enough to be able to say that life with the opposite sex is certainly not predictable or routine. With all the flying we have done, we’ve learned to laugh at incidents that should be predictable by now (delays, missed connections, lost luggage, annoying seat partners, and so on). Having been married more than 20 years, and having counseled many other couples over that time, we have yet to see a marriage that runs like a routine flight—exactly as planned. I (Cindi) have flown a couple hundred times and have experienced everything from flying into tornadoes (twice), sitting next to celebrities, being stranded on deserted runways, getting routed to another flight because of mechanical difficulties with the plane, or being bumped up to first class because of overcrowding. And Hugh and I believe that marriage, too, is full of inconveniences, storms, unexpected bumps, and unanticipated surprises.

Though I (Hugh) have not flown as frequently as Cindi, I’ve flown several very long-distance flights—into the remote jungles of Papua New Guinea; to the interior of South America; across the diverse regions of Turkey, Israel and Jordan; and through the urban and suburban landscapes of Colombia. And I, too, have seen that marriage, like air travel, can be as enjoyable or as miserable as we choose to see it. Unlike flying to a destination, marriage is all about the journey—the everyday inconveniences that can irritate you, the interesting things you experience en route, the laughs you share that break up the monotony, and the setbacks that occur along the way that can drive you apart or draw you closer to one another.

In spite of unexpected delays (when it comes to having children, buying a house, or achieving a dream), missed flights (or promotions or vacations), and unexpected turbulence (who expects those bumps and dips in marriage, anyway?), marriage can be a wonderful trip if you’re prepared and you go with the flow. And just as we don’t try to jump off an airplane when there’s a problem (that would be suicide) we should remain committed to staying on board when it comes to the God-ordained union of marriage. So if you long for your marriage to be a pleasant experience (and who doesn’t?) and you want to enjoy the trip (and marriage is a trip, alright!), then buckle up, pay attention to the emergency instructions, and sit back and enjoy the flight. Marriage, like an airplane, is not an end in itself but a vehicle through which you arrive at your final destination: a greater sense of oneness.

Taking the Next Step

So here you are in your journey. Whether you are engaged to be married and just starting out, or looking for something to recharge the batteries after a long haul together, it’s never too early or too late to set some guidelines to make sure you enjoy the journey. Here are some that we’ve learned through the years:

1. Realize You Don’t Know It All

To enter marriage thinking you know all there is to know about it is like getting on board the aircraft and immediately tuning out the flight attendant who is going over that information which, in case of an emergency, just might save your life. Let’s admit it: We would rather start thumbing through the in-flight magazine or try firing off one last text message, thinking I’ve heard all this before and I already know what to do. Really? So try and explain to your spouse right now how to open the emergency exit door or what to do with that inflatable life vest. We think you get our point: Most of us think we are all set to fly smoothly through married life when, in reality, the future is a very big unknown and there’s some lifesaving information we had better pay attention to. Do you know where you’re headed? Do you have a survival plan if something goes wrong? Are you prepared for the storm that may hit? Turbulence is inevitable in the air and in your marriage. Hopefully your desire is to prepare yourself with survival tips that will help you to persevere through the sudden storms that come your way.

2. Expect the Unexpected

Like every flight, every marriage is unique. You will encounter your own share of storms, delays, inconveniences, and downright disasters. But how you get through them makes all the difference. The unexpected (be it unmet expectations or a full-blown crisis!) can pull a couple apart or draw them closer together. If you go through life realizing that storms may come, you will weather them better. Airplanes are now built with de-icers that help warm the wings and prevent ice buildup. Through this book we hope to provide de-icers for your marriage that will help warm things up when conditions start getting cold.

3. Remember You’re in It for the Long Haul

The marriage relationship is designed to be forever. The problem is that we live in a society that doesn’t know what forever means anymore. Hopefully, your vows were the traditional ones that had meaning to them: for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. That’s a long time for most of us. That means forever…while we’re on this earth.

Knowing that you and your spouse are committed until your dying day will save you from some disasters that might seem bigger than they really are. There were times, early in our marriage, when Cindi would fear that it was over (or I didn’t love her anymore) because I (Hugh) was upset over something that had nothing at all to do with her. I would have to remind her that my till death do us part was sincere and I wasn’t planning on either of us dying anytime soon!

When you’re on an airplane, you can’t get up in the middle of the trip and demand that the pilot turn the airplane around or tell him to land in a different location. (Yikes! They arrest people for stuff like that!) You’re committed for the duration of the flight—in the face of bad company, turbulence, little leg room, bad food (or in some cases no food), and whatever else happens. Realizing that you’re in your marriage for the long haul will help when you find yourself in the panic mode.

4. Receive Help Along the Way

Once you board a flight, you are putting your trip—and very life—into the hands of a skilled, capable pilot. Whether you acknowledge personal trust or confidence in the pilot or not, he or she is still the one who will take you where you need to go. In addition, the airplane is staffed with skilled flight attendants who know far more about flying than you do. Similarly, when it comes to your marriage, your relationship is in God’s hands, whether you realize it or not. He’s the Pilot and He knows where you’re going and He is the only one who can get you there. In addition, He has strategically placed certain skilled couples or individuals in your life who may know more about marriage than you and your spouse. Take advantage of their experience. Heed their advice when it comes to whatever might make your trip more enjoyable. Be willing to accept help and even ask for it when you need it. They, too, want your journey to be an enjoyable and successful one. It’s these kinds of people—your pastor, your friends, your parents, a mentor couple in your church, that couple who is evidently so in love after all these years—whom you need to turn to and ask for assistance. There’s a reason they are on the same journey that you are taking and headed in the same direction.

5. Invest in Some In-flight (or Midlife!) Entertainment

Some flights are long and boring and marriage is a long flight, literally. It will (prayerfully) last the rest of your life. How do you keep yourself from becoming agitated, cramped up, and downright miserable with your mate and others around you? You don’t just jump out the window or emergency exit when you’re bored or pick up with a cute flight attendant. Remember why you’re on the flight, whom you’re with, and where it is you’re going. You’ll have a much better time en route if you stay pleasant toward each other. This means keeping things fresh all through your marriage. Take that overseas trip you’ve always dreamed of taking together (before you’re both too old to enjoy it). Invest in a date night once a week to catch up with each other and keep the relationship alive. Go ahead and pay for a night in that expensive hotel as an investment in the two of you and a way to break up the monotony of life. Get those amusement park passes for a pick-me-up when it’s been awhile since the two of you have been able to have childlike fun with one another. In this book, we will provide for you some ideas for in-flight entertainment on your journey through marriage.

6. Handle the Takeoffs and Landings Carefully

The two most dangerous parts of any airline flight are the takeoff and the landing. And how well you get started and how well you finish are also the two most crucial steps in a marriage. If for some reason you think it seems too late to start well, remember that the beauty of marriage is that every day can be a fresh start. Every morning, as you greet your husband or wife with a hug or kiss, you can determine to provide a good takeoff for you and your spouse. And every night, as you fall off to sleep together—or touch base on the phone if you’re apart—you can do whatever you know will help ensure a good landing. We want to help you get off to a good start (if you’re reading this together in the morning) or enjoy a good landing (if you choose to read this together before saying goodnight).

Remember, it’s the choices you make each day during the sometimes monotonous stretches of your marriage flight that contribute to the success of the journey. Enjoy the

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