Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Being a Wife of Noble Character

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Written By : Sophia Reed

In the last segment, I did a portion on husbands and their roles in the relationship.  Therefore, I think that it is only fair to address women as well.  To begin this segment, I would like to point out a wonderful scripture in which I think sums up not only being a good wife, but also being a woman of noble character.

Proverbs 13:10-31, reads:

10 [a]A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. 16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Now it would seem like the verse above it pretty self explanatory, however, I would like to break it down anyway….just to give clarification on aspects that I believe are important and how you can apply them to your marriage.

First I would like to take the opening line…..A wife of noble character, who can find one such as this.  This statement already implies that such woman is a gem, a ruby as a matter of fact.  When the scripture compared a wife to a ruby, I find this interesting.  A fun fact, is that rubies are actually more rare than diamonds, even though they do not cost as much, this should speak about the rarity of such women and that it is the rarity that counts and not the value.  By this I mean, how difficult it is to find a women like this NOT how difficult it is to buy a women, because she is pretty.  There is no doubt once this type of women is found she can be a great companion to her husband.  And in her, her husband can have confidence and feels that she lacks nothing.  The reason that I enjoy this verse so much, is because is gives a different perspective of the submissive wife.  Yes, wives the Bible says to submit to your husband, but that does not mean that you have to be his maid or slave to do so.  As a matter a fact, if your husband loves you like Christ love the church (see the last blog loving your wife like Christ Love the Church).  He would not want you to be this any way. 
To continue on, the wife shall bring her husband good not harm.  Now this can be applied in many ways.  This does not just speak about the physical hurt, but also the emotional hurt, that a woman may bring to her husband.  The things you say to your husband…..are they uplifting?  Do you call him names?  Are you cheating on him?  Flirting with other men?  All these things can cause your husband to be hurt and to lose faith in you.  So in everything you do, every action that you take, you should think, is this harming my husband, is this going to cause him embarrassment, caused him to be ashamed?  If what you’re doing would not make your husband happy or proud of you, then simply don’t do it, because you are not being a wife of noble character. Even if you look at verse, 18, it says at the end, her lamp does not go out at night.  Now women I am not saying that you cannot go out and have fun, BUT, I think that all women should remember their priorities, and that is their families and their husbands.  This is going to upset some people, but it needs to be said.  There are some wives and mothers who go out and party all the time…..as if they were single.  I think that this verse was included to remind women, that when you become married you made a commitment, a commitment to your husband and children if you have them.  You have an image to uphold and going back to the beginning of the verse, your husband should have full confidence in you, you should not cause him shame in your behaviors.  I am not saying do not go out, I am just saying being responsible with it.  When you go out, come back at a reasonable time.  Wear respectable clothing, not having your breast and butt exposed.  Even the scriptures say that she is clothed in fine linen of purple.  You see purple in the Bible is the color of royalty.  You can still look nice and have fun without looking like a woman of the night.   With this being said, wives put some effort into your appearance.  You don’t have to look like you just stepped out of Italian vogue, but at least look presentable and like you care about your personal appearance. 

This brings me to verse 15, that says a wife get’s up while it is still night.  That does not mean she stayed out all night, but rather she gets up before her household to make preparations for the day.  You should not have been out so much in the night that it is difficult for you to get up and care for your family.  Also, you should not be the type of wife that sits around all day and does nothing.  In the morning you should be up, doing something productive with your time.   Like the scripture mentions, look after your household.  If you see that groceries are getting low, then go get more, if you see your children need assistance with their homework then help them, wives are the overseers of the functioning of the home.  If your home is dysfunctional, in some way, then as the wife, you have to play a part to ensure that it runs smoothly again.
To illustrate this, look at what majority of the passage speaks about.  It does not say that a woman sits in the house all day and stares at the wall.  No it says that she is a merchant, her ventures are profitable, she has so many task and she tries her best to work hard at all of them.  So wives, it is okay to work, and to do things out side of the home.  However, ensure that those things are positive, that they bring positive attention to your family name, not negatives one.  Make sure that you ventures are profitable and you’re not spending or gambling all your husband’s money away.

The last major point that I would like to make, that is a big one, is to be kind.   As mentioned in the verse there are several things to illustrate this point.  It says that the wife gives to the needy.  There are many ways that you can do this. Do you know a friend that needs help? Are you able to volunteer?  Are you able to do something with your time that you know will assist others?  Giving to the needy is not always about giving money, but just being generous person, and helping to those that you believe are in need of help.  Other traits that are mentioned of a noble wife are that, she is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.  This means that she has dignity to her name.  The simplest way to put this, is wives, reflect to see if your name is good around those around you.  What do they say about you?  Do they say your mean, selfish, careless, or don’t care about your kids or your husband?  This all speaks to your dignity.  Yes, people will gossip and say what they want, but when other people hear this gossip, it should be hard for them to believe, because of the type of person they know you to be.  Even, as the verse mentions, she speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.  Women seem to have a hard time with this, women have this sense that they need to say what they want, to who they want, and it does not matter if it is respectful or not.  Well I am going to tell you that this should not be so.  Everything that you say to others, your kids, and your husband does not have to be rude on impolite.  There is a polite and respectful way to say everything.  So before, you speak, chose your words carefully so that do not harm the other person.  
                                                                                    Proverbs 27: 15-16 states

A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm; restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand.

Proverbs 21:9 says

It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife
So don’t be a nagging, angry, and quarrelsome wife….No one will want to be around you, not your husband and not your kids.  In short, you want to be the one that all the children praise for being such a good mother, you want to be the one that her husband praises for being a good wife, you want to be the one that has inner beauty.  As we all know, outward beauty fades, but if you are beautiful on the inside, then that will radiate out of you, and other people will see it too.   You see, being a wife of noble character doesn’t mean just being that in your household, but also with everyone that you encounter.  We all have our bad days yes, but really set your mind into being a joy in others lives, and often times this can lead to a more fulfilling relationship and self fulfillment.

My book is still on sale through Amazon Waiting For A Man After God's Own Heart. Check the book tab for purchasing info. Read the first two chapters free. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Loving Your Wife Like Christ Love the Church.

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Written By: Sophia Reed

 As a Christian, I feel like the Bible has exceptional information about marriage and the way each person in the marriage should act to ensure that they have the optimal relationship.  That is not to say that by following all Christian rules in regards to marriage that your marriage will be perfect and without conflict, but there are  ways that we can adjust ourselves to ensure that were are playing our part in a marriage.  With this being said, I would like to address husbands loving their wives, like Christ love the church.  Before I get right into this, I would first like to explain where this phrase came from.  

In Ephesians 5: 22-33 it says this:

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[a] 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

The reason that I chose to quote such a large section is because often times people get caught up in the wife being submissive, and leave out what the husbands are required to do.  Which as you read above is a lot more than the wives.  Two main things that stand out are them loving their wives like Christ loved the church and like he loves his own flesh.  When you really think about this concept this must really be a powerful love.  It is easy for people to say that they love their wife like this, but I have come to find, that many men may not truly understand this love, and are not living up to their part of the bargain. 

Therefore, I am going to go to the beginning of the Bible, with the story of Adam and Eve, to give you a true example of loving one like your own flesh.  People don’t typically think of Adam and Eve as this depicting this, but I will show you that in the beginning, this type of love was present and this is how God always intended love between a husband and wife to be. 

In Genesis 2: 18 it says:

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for[a] him.”

So from the beginning God intended for man to have a mate that is fit for him.  After bringing in all the animals and seeing that no one was befitting for Adam, he made women.

Now let’s take another part of Genesis (Chapter 2:20-24).

So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam[a] no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[b] and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib[c] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”

24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

There are several things to point out in this passage.  The first being is that Eve was created from Adam’s flesh, and note what Adam said about her (Now this is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh).  What a strong statement to make about someone, not only that, but it is reminiscent of Ephesians in the fact that Adam says Eve is his fleshed and loved her as such.  Also like Ephesians, it speaks about leaving your mother and father and becoming one, similar to the passage in Genesis. Isn’t it amazing that the first book in the Bible (old testament) is much like one of the last books in the Bible (new testament) regarding the relationships between husband and wife. 
Now let’s get into the deep stuff……Are you ready?

In Genesis 2:16-17 after Adam was created, before Eve came into existence, God told Adam this,

 “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

With this being said, Adam did not eat from the tree, while he was the only person on Earth. Also note that God had told him if he ate from the tree what would happen.  So flash forward and Eve is created.   The serpent isolated her on her own and got her to eat from the forbidden tree.  After eating the fruit, she then brings it to Adam and asks him to partake of the fruit as well.  Now let’s ponder this for a minute, as mentioned above Adam knew very well what eating from the tree would do…however he also saw that Eve had already eaten from the tree, and therefore he knew that she would die.  How did he know this? Because that is what God told him would happen.  So why do you think Adam ate from the tree, knowing that he would die and be departed from God.  A misconception is that Adam was manipulated or tricked by Eve……But I think not.  I think that even though Adam loved God, and knew what would happen to him if he ate the fruit, he still chose to do so because he loved Eve so much….and if Eve was going to die and face banishment from God, then he was willing to do so as well.  You see, to Adam, Eve was his flesh, she came from his own body, and perhaps to imagine life without her was not possible.  So he chose to give up the perfect life that he had in Eden with God, to go into the wilderness with his women, Eve. Now that’s love. 

My point is this, men who are married, do you love your wife like you love your flesh.  Are you willing to take the hard road with her, as oppose to leaving her when you see that she has made the wrong decision?  Are you willing to share in her consequences and responsibilities?  Are you willing to give your life up for her, just as Christ gave his life for the Church?  See this is what I mean, by loving your wife as Christ loved the church, and it is attainable.
If you would like to achieve this in your relationship or marriage, and feel like you need assistance.  Counseling is available, feel free to visit my site to set up an appointment.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fighting Fair as a Couple

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Written By: Sophia Reed

We all know that when we are in a relationship, that everything is not going to be perfect and arguments will occur.  This is okay and it is perfectly normal.  Every person is different and no one is going to agree with a person 100% of the time, even if they are the most compatible couple in the world.  One thing that I would like to address in this segment is that when these arguments occur, are you fighting fair or are you just fighting.   Now arguing can be a really dangerous thing.  It can cause grudges; it can cause the couple to argue over the same thing for hours, days, weeks, or even months.  I am going to explain to you that this type of arguing, although popular, it is not the best way to be, and to give you a perspective of fighting fair, so that the arguments do not control and /or ruin your relationship. 

The first thing is something that I call, taking the Bass out of your voice.
When I say taking the bass out of your voice to someone, there are several things that I want them to do.  First, I would like to them to examine the tone of their voice.  Is it harsh, is it sarcastic, is it loud?  The tone of your voice can affect the way a person reacts to you.  Have you ever noticed that when in a disagreement, as soon as a person gets loud, then the other person starts to get loud?  If you respond in sarcasm, the other person gets mad at your sarcasm.  Therefore, a quick way to avoid this is to just take the bass out of your voice and adjust your tone.  Speak in your normal voice and say what you have to say. This way, you will more than likely will get the same reaction from your partner.
Next, is being respectful no name calling or harsh words.

I think that this is a fairly easy one to understand.  Many people when in an argument are quick to call names or say things to the other person that is intentionally hurtful.  Although, they may love this person, out of anger they say something that can be very mean to the other person.  The thing about these types of words or reactions is that once said, they can never really be erased from the person’s mind.  So even if there is an apology, the damage is still done.  One thing I like to refer to is Bible scriptures that illustrates this points for me well

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.   
Proverbs 12:18

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. 
Proverbs 18:21

From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 
James 3:10

Really ponder on these verses and understand that the things you say can affect your partner and your relationship.  If you call them names, this can lead to low self esteem or perhaps even depression.  If you accuse them of cheating, it may push them into cheating.  So chose your words, and don’t practice harsh words against your partner. 

The last point is a few things that are tied into one big point.  This is to listen, don’t accuse, and acknowledge the person’s point of view. 

One main reason that arguments escalate is because each person does not feel like they are being heard. In the same token, many people do not listen.  I have seen or heard arguments, in which each person was essentially saying the same thing, but in different ways.  Because they were not listening to one another they continued to argue.  I have also seen an argument go on for so long that the point of the argument is lost, and the people involved become confused about what they were trying to say.  The best way I feel I can illustrate this last point is to use a scenario. 

Here we have a husband and wife that have just gotten home from a Christmas party.  The wife says to her husband 

“I am angry at you, because you left me at the party and I felt like I was being ignored the whole time.”

A none listening response could be for the husband to walk away, say “whatever,” or respond in anger. All of which could escalate the situation or leave unresolved issues in the air, which can harbor in the relationship.

An accusing response could be

“Well you’re the one that walked off will Bill’s wife, I didn’t even know where you were I didn’t ignore you.”


“When I was at your company picnic you did the same thing to me.”

I call these accusing phrases because it puts the blame back on the other person.  In the second statement, it not only accuses the other person, but brings up and old situation that had nothing to do with this one.
Now let’s look at a better response, and that is acknowledging the person’s perceptive.  The husband can simply say:

“I am sorry that you felt I was ignoring you and that I hurt your feelings, that was never my intention.”
Notice that the husband is not accepting blame or even saying that it was his fault.  The only thing that he is doing is saying the facts. There are that is his wife is hurt, and that she felt hurt by something that she felt he did.  The husband even added, “That was never my intention,” To let his wife know that he did not seek to hurt her on purpose.  And really, this is more than likely all she really wanted….to be heard and her feelings understood.

Now all of this does seem simple and many people tell me, that this is easier said than done, and this is true.  It is not going to be easy and takes a lot of mental training to change the way we fight and talk to people.  Now if this does not work I have one last thing to throw in that always works and it comes from a Bible verse:

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger Ephesians 4:2

In short it is human nature to be get angry, and if your argument got so out of hand that you ended it in anger, that’s okay. However, before you go to bed, really try to rid yourself of that anger and any negative emotions toward your partner, so that you do not bring it into the next day, week, months, or even years to come. 

An easy way to do this is to remember that you love that person and what love is:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 12:4-7

When fighting or trying to get over what your partner did, if you really love them and want to continue the relationship, always remembers the above verse on how to act toward them, and really put these words into practice.  Now if you do not see a change even after all this information, you may want to evaluate weather that person is really the one for you and weather they love you back.  You may also want to consider counseling. 

If you are located in the Richmond metro area, you can feel free to visit my website for more information about counseling with me and to set up an appointment.

Communication Is Key: Do you Expect Others to Read Your Mind

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Written By:  Sophia Reed

From my experience when working with people. One of reoccurring themes that I find myself reiterating or speaking to clients about is the importance of communication.  In my opinion, communication is essential. It is the only way that we are able to let others know how we are feeling, what we think, and more importantly what we think or feel about others and their actions.  Often times, I feel that people who are engaged in relationships (weather it be a friendship, romantic relationships, or family relationship) think if a person is close to them....then they should be able to read their minds, or anticipate their feelings.  The problem with this line of thinking is that when the person on the other end, does not not respond as expected, this leads to many hurt feelings.  If this does not make sense to you, I would like to explore this theory further.   Let's take this example:

There is a husband and wife.  The wife has expressed wanting to see a movie for the past three weeks.  When the day of the opening movie comes out, she sees that her husband is lounging around the home with no intentions to go anywhere.  To make matters worse, the tickets are sold out and even if she could talk him into going out of the house, she would not be able to see the movie anyway.  So what does she do?  Like many of us would do in this situation.  The wife ignores her husband or when he does speak to her she responds in an angry tone.  This goes on for days, affecting the quality in their relationship, and making a minor problem bigger than it ever needed to be. 

Now, I know what some of you are thinking:

If she had been talking about the movie, then he should have known to take her.

He just did not care or was not listening to his wife when she talked about the movie.

However, this thought process only brings me back to the point that you should never expect anyone to read your mind, wants, or needs. In this case the husband probably had no idea, why his wife was upset. Now in this above situation, would it have been hard for the wife to say

"You know honey, the movie that I really want to see is opening next weekend, do you want to see it with me on opening night?"

I feel that this simple question could have avoided a days worth of silent treatments, arguments, and whatever else over the fact that a husband missed a cue on taking his wife to the movies.

Let me give another example regarding friendships, and I know many people may be able to relate to.

Here we have two friends and we will call them Jen and Jane.  Jane has two children and is a single mother.  Jen, is married with a child of her own.  Jane reveals to Jen how frustrated she is, and that she feels that she needs a break. Jane also hints that Jen is lucky to have a husband to help her and that she wishes she had someone to help her with her two children so that she can relax.  After this conversation, Jen empathizes with Jane and that is the extent of it.  Jane becomes angry, that Jen did not offer to watch her children for her.  Jane then proceeds to not talk to Jen for two days.  When she sees that Jen is unaffected,  she becomes explosive at Jen, tells her she is selfish for not offering to watch her children for her and exchanged some other not so nice words.

Many friendships, end or go into a bad place over something so simple as a miscommunication.  First, Jen may have thought that Jane was just venting about her situation, and may not know that Jane even wanted to her to watch her children.  Jen, may have also had importance plans of her own that prevented her from offering to watch her children.  Whatever, the case may be, as with the first case, this situation may have been avoided. If Jane would have simply asked Jen to watch her children for the weekend so that she could get some rest.  Now of course if Jen refused, then Jane may has still gotten angry yes, however this goes beyond communication but rather having realistic expectations of another person, and respecting their personal life.

I know the above seem like very simple examples, but this is so that you can get an understanding of my point.  I challenge each of you to examine your relationships with people that you may not be in a good place in right now.  I challenge you to ask yourself is the negative impact of your relationship because of something that you expected that other person to know, or do for you, because you dropped settle hints.    Instead of dwelling on it, address the issues head on. 

Lets take the two examples above on how the situation could be corrected once the damage is done.

Scenario one:

The wife could simply say " You know husband, it really hurt my feelings that I did not go to opening night at the movies, after I had been talking about it for three weeks.  I really expected you to take me, and when that did not happen I got upset."

Notice the construction of the way this statement was made.  She did not accuse or say

" I  am mad because you didn't take me to the movies."

Instead she put some  responsibility on herself, that way it doesn't seem like she is attacking him, which could start an argument or make things worse.

In the second scenario, Jane did express herself, but in the wrong way.  Instead of lashing out, the conversation could have went like this.

" Jen, when I mentioned about being stressed and wanting someone to watch my kids for me this weekend. Even though I did not say it directly, I was really hoping that you would have offered, and I would like to apologize to you for becoming angry with you for that."

In this one an apology is in order.  It is unreasonable for Jen to expect her friend to watch her children, Jen after all is married and has her own responsibilities.  Yes it would be a polite gesture for Jen to watch Jane's children, but in no way is she obligated to do so, and therefore Jane has no right to really be upset.  With that being said, it would only be logical to both communicate your feelings and when needed apologize for your wrong doings.

As you go about your day, really try to reflect on how you interact with others, reflect on the expectations that you have on others. If you feel your are a person that expects someone to telepathically receive communication from you, without you verbalizing it.  Try being open, honest, and most importantly respectful about your communication, and see how much further it gets you.