An Inhospitable Marriage

I don’t usually write marriage related material. Having been married just under a year myself, I am no expert and I don’t pretend to be. But, when God lays something so heavy on my heart, I feel I must share it with you. I want to talk about practicing hospitality in our marriage.RobertsBaldwin01268

Hospitality isn’t just for guests or neighbors. Your spouse desperately needs your hospitality. Unfortunately, so many marriages today are inhospitable. Inhospitable is defined as being harsh and difficult to live in. Studies are showing that nearly 50% of marriages are ending in divorce. I have seen many end myself, especially over the past few years. Couple are splitting, and then before papers are even signed, they’re with someone else. It’s a fast run to the next person that can make them happy. Unfortunately, that’s the key to this broken covenant. Everyone is out to be made happy, to feel satisfied, or to get something out of the relationship. If you go into a relationship with high expectations for what your spouse will do for you, it’s going to fail. If you think your spouse is there to make you happy and feel fulfilled, then it will fail. If you think that everything will be easy and all about you, then your marriage will fail. Romance novels, television shows, and Instagram marriages today give us unrealistic and false views on how a marriage works. When our spouse fails to meet our expectations, we respond with anger, hostility, hurtful words, and withdrawal. This creates an inhospitable environment for our relationship and eventually, it will fall apart.

Ways couples create an inhospitable marriage:

marriagequoteforblog1.)  They discuss their spouse’s flaws with others.

2.) They wake up every day asking what their spouse will do for them.

3.) They don’t have open honest discussions.

4.) They constantly complain.

5.) They don’t place a value on a relationship with God.

6.) They deny one another grace to fail.

 

Sometimes, these things happen without us even realizing. We get so busy and caught up with every day life that we lose sight of the importance of how we treat our spouse and marriage. We don’t intend to complain or be selfish, it just happens. Friends, we have to be intentional about our marriage. We can’t afford not to. We have to wake up every day and ask ourselves “am I being hospitable in my marriage?”

Ways to create a hospitable marriage:
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1.) Do not talk bad about your husband. To anyone. Ever.

2.) Every morning ask yourself  “What can I do to be a blessing to my spouse today?”

3.) Talk about the hard things. Have those difficult open and honest conversations.

4.) Every day, write down 3 things to be thankful for regarding your spouse/marriage.

5.) Spend time with God every day. As you draw closer to Him, you will naturally draw closer to your spouse.

6.) Learn to accept , or give, an apology when failure occurs.

 

When you become intentional about practicing hospitality with your spouse, you will notice how much closer you draw to one another.

Romans 12:10  reminds us “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” 

 

Paige

5 People That Need Our Hospitality

This world is full of people needing to be loved and ministered to. Our mission is to show hospitality to everybody that we meet, right? It can get exhausting to do everything for everyone, especially if we’re not well practiced or just starting out. While everyone deserves our kindness and hospitality, I’ve realized that there are groups of people that sometimes need a little more than others. I’ve broken this down into 5 categories of people I think we can start with and bless while we practice hospitality as Christ commands.

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1.) College/Seminary students
Think back to when you were in college. You were broke, away from home, and sometimes just needed a hot meal and an ear to listen. Consider connecting with a local college or seminary. Work with student services and maybe offer to host a dinner one night for a few struggling students. Seminary is a great way to reach out to families that need a little hospitality. Care packages are another way to show some hospitality to college students. Little baskets filled with nutritious snacks, soaps, and office supplies are much appreciated.

2.) New parents
When you’ve just had a brand new baby, sometimes it’s all you can do just to survive. Offer to babysit the older children, or come rock the baby, while they nap. Consider taking them a meal a few nights during those first weeks. A great tool is a website called Meal Train. It helps set up meal schedules for new parents. See link and description on my Resources page for more information. Even just dropping off a package of diapers and wipes can be a huge blessing.

3.) Church family
Our church family is in desperate need of our hospitality. Look around the room and you’ll see hundreds of faces crying out for help in some way. One family might need a meal or even a bag of groceries. One couple might be desperate for a date night without kids. A housewife might need to be invited out for coffee and a listening ear. Some teenagers may need a fun safe game night with friends. Visitors may need someone to sit beside them and ask about their story. There are endless opportunities to show hospitality and love in our church if we look for them.

4.) Out of town/country guests (for parties, weddings, or funerals)
I’ll never forget the time my husband and I had to unexpectedly drive to Florida for a funeral. It was last minute and we were searching for hotels are we were driving. We got a call that said a sweet lady that knew the family reserved a hotel for us. It was such a blessing, we wept at her kindness and praised God for His goodness. Maybe you have room in your home and can put someone up there instead of a hotel. Either way, it’s such a blessing for people to not have to worry about the hassle and cost of lodging while they’re coming in from out of town.

5.) Your own family
We have to be careful that we don’t spend so much time offering hospitality to those outside our home that we neglect the ones inside our home. Our family needs our hospitality too. Your husband may need you to put down your dishrag and watch that movie with him. Your child may need you to cook their favorite meal or surprise them with their favorite dessert. Maybe it means packing a backyard picnic and leaving your phone inside to focus fully on them. It could mean a full on family vacation away from everything else. Whatever it looks like, be sure your family doesn’t suffer at you hospitable hand.

As we practice the art of hospitality, it gets easier and we get more comfortable with it. We get more comfortable reaching out our hands, inviting in to our home, and opening up our hearts. Let us live a life of constant practice so that through us someone else may find love, healing, and rest.

Paige

Starved

We live in a world that is starved for true authentic hospitality. With so many magazines and TV shows displaying what a perfect home should look like, so many people are unwilling to open their home to others unless they achieve that level of perfection. From pristine living rooms that are unbelievably uncomfortable to picture perfect meals that take hours to prepare, we are so busy trying to impress others that we fail to bless others. God did not call us to perfection, He called us to love. Authentic hospitality is sadly undervalued among our culture today.

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We read a story in the New Testament of two sisters. Mary and Martha. Jesus had come and was having supper in their home. Martha was running around making sure her table was perfect and the food was just right, but Mary was sitting at His feet listening. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I seem to contradict myself. One day I talk about planning the perfect tea party and the next I’m telling you to forget planning. Let me clarify. I’m not against a planned out event, a pretty table, or delicious food. I will continue to offer guides and posts on all things lovely when it comes to hosting different events. However, the motivation and heart behind our hospitality must be authentic and must be out of genuine love for others. We cannot get so lost in the planning that we forget the people. Now you’re asking “ok well how do I do that” I’m glad you asked!

  1. When you have company, especially someone in need of a shoulder to cry on, try your best to limit distractions. Pour a couple of cups of tea, turn off the TV, put your phone down, and listen.
  2. When you have company show up while you’re cooking or in the middle of a project, invite them to join you. (This mainly applies to unexpected company)
  3. When you are hosting an event, put your phone down.
  4. Don’t apologize for the things you don’t have, or the imperfections in what you do have. If a glass of water is all you have to offer, offer it humbly but don’t apologize that you don’t have lemonade to offer.

Authentic hospitality is not just for our friends and family closest to us. In the New Testament, the Greek word translated “hospitality” means “love of strangers.” It’s opening your heart to the neighbor next door, the single mom down the street, the broke college student who needs a nutritious meal, the elderly shut-in desperate to see beyond their four walls, or the lonely widow who just needs some company. We read in the Old Testament a story of King David. He desperately wanted to show kindness and hospitality to the family of Saul after his death. So he reached out to a complete stranger, a shut-in relative, and brought him to his home. What a difference we could make if that was our mindset. When we treat people with kindness, we often open the door for them to receive a witness of the gospel.

Some good ways to seek out those people in desperate need of hospitality:

  1. Ask your church pastor or leaders. I am sure they will have a name for you to reach out to.
  2. Get to know the neighbors on your street. Maybe consider holding an open house and inviting your neighborhood to stop in for lemonade and ice cream this summer.
  3. Contact your local university or seminary and ask if you can be a blessing to a struggling student.
  4. Offer to cook supper for a family with an illness or a new baby.
  5. Pick up a shut-in and take them for lunch or a picnic in a park.

Our world is starved for true genuine hospitality. Let us be the ones to show them that kindness and let them experience God’s love through our lives.

~Paige

Making Lemonade

When life gives you lemons…

I was studying this past week and a verse in Proverbs caught my eye and jumped out at me.

Proverbs 11:25 “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”

Whenever I hear the word refreshment I automatically think lemons. To me there is nothing more refreshing than a tall glass of icy lemonade or slice of lemon cake. I started reflecting on this verse (and dreaming of lemonade)…

Sometimes when “life hands us lemons” we just want to sulk and feel sorry for ourselves. But what would happen if we used those lemons to make lemonade and refresh someone else? Next time you hit a rough patch in life, seriously consider what would be helpful to you and then turn around and use what you’ve learned to reach out to someone else. We can learn much from our own situation and then use it to help others if we allow life to teach us instead of breaking us.

My husband and I have made it “our thing” to send books. We have a long list of books that we recommend for different seasons and situations in life. When we have a loved one going through something that we ourselves have been through, we’ll pull up Amazon and ship them the very book that helped us. It brings me joy to be able to do that, and who doesn’t like getting books in the mail? (My husband had to limit how many books I’m allowed to purchase myself because I love opening book packages so much).

Don’t panic, it doesn’t need to be books. There are so many ways to be a blessing, or refreshment, to someone else Here are some practical ways to be a refreshment to others:

  1. Invite some ladies over for tea/brunch.
  2. Offer to babysit for a busy couple so they can invest in each other.
  3. Take/send flowers to a friend needing a pick-me-up.
  4. Invite a couple or family over for dinner and games.
  5. Host a watermelon and lemonade night during the summer.
  6. Send a book or devotional to someone in a rough season.
  7. Host a ladies night spa in your home.

When we bless others, we find that our own hearts have been blessed. “…whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”

I would love to hear your feedback on this subject, and any ways you’ve found YOU can refresh on another.

~Paige

Just for fun:

Paige’s Lemonade

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed is always best)
  • 1 cup white, granulated sugar (Can add or subtract to taste)
  • 1 cup warm water (to dissolve the sugar)
  • 4 cups cold water
  • Ice

Instructions

1 Juice the lemons: 5-6 large lemons should give you enough juice. I always have more on hand just in case. I use a Kitchen Aid citrus juicer because it has a large enough cup and is marked for measurements.

2 Combine warm water and sugar until dissolved: Sugar does not like to dissolve in cold water so I use warm water and then add it to the pitcher. Another option is to make a simple syrup instead. *Directions below

3 Add cold water and ice and stir to mix well. I use a wooden spoon. I can’t explain the reasoning behind it, it just seems to taste better.

4 Chill: Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes

Serve with ice, sliced lemons.

*Simple syrup: Add 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar to a saucepan. Boil sugar and water over medium-high heat until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool completely before using. Use 1 ½ cups syrup (or to taste) in place of granulated sugar. For extra kick, you can grate 1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest into the saucepan.