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This beautiful 52-week devotional provides Christian couples with an easy way to read Scripture, pray, and engage in spiritual discussions and activities to strengthen their relationship and marriage. Perfect for younger couples in building a strong spiritual foundation early on, it’s a great resource for couples of any age or stage who want to grow closer as they follow God together. Presented in a relaxed and easy-to-use way and edited by Focus on the Family president Jim Daly and his wife, Jean, each devotional offers foundational, practical, and wise material from members of the Focus counselling staff.
The content is divided into 13 sections, with topics including getting to know each other better, listening, mastering money, building a Christ-centered home, going the distance, and more. Each section is introduced by the Dalys, and each of the 52 devotions is followed with discussion questions and activities.
|Publisher:||Tyndale House Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 7.10(h) x 1.00(d)|
Read an Excerpt
The Best Year of your marriage
52 Devotions to Bring You Closer
By Jim Daly, Jean Daly, Paul Batura
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2014 Focus on the Family
All rights reserved.
Making Time to Talk
"You who dwell in the gardens with friends in attendance, let me hear your voice! Come away, my lover, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the spice-laden mountains."
Song of Songs 8:13-14
Caleb and Trina, recently married, didn't have much spare time. They had full-time jobs and took evening classes. They also found themselves over-invested in church duties and under-invested in each other. They spent little time together, and found even less time to converse. When they did talk, it was mostly to argue and criticize each other. They even questioned whether or not they should be married because they were "falling out of love."
One day, Caleb took a drive in the country. Long into the evening, about two miles from home, the car suddenly stopped. It had run out of gas.
Something came to Caleb's mind at that moment: His marriage was running out of fuel, too. He knew that he and his wife needed help, and needed it immediately.
Fortunately, they were referred to a marriage counselor. The first thing they learned there was the "24-5 Principle"—based in part on Deuteronomy 24:5: "If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married."
Like Caleb and Trina, many couples don't take enough time to talk, bond, and firmly connect with each other. How about you?
If you're a newlywed, you can apply the 24-5 Principle by making an agreement for one year. Refrain from extra responsibilities in order to focus on and establish your marriage. Bond with your spouse. Bring happiness to one another. If your church asks you to take on a major task during this time, you might say something like, "Thank you for thinking of us. We're so pleased with the church and so encouraged by all of you. But we've been strongly advised to invest in each other this first year. Please ask us again in a year or so."
What if you're past the one-year mark? You can apply the 24-5 Principle anytime by doing five things:
1. Keep your promise to "become one." One of the best ways to do this is by spending time talking, setting goals, going shopping, playing tennis—even reading a devotional book.
2. Be intentional and selective. Everyone has the same amount of time—24 hours a day. If talking really is a priority for you, you'll say no to time-stealers like TV sitcoms, reality shows, and the Internet.
3. Be creative and perseverant. Talk about a variety of subjects—solving problems, overcoming challenges, strengthening your spiritual life, and just having fun. And remember that bonding and connecting don't happen overnight.
4. Enjoy and encourage uniqueness. Think of how boring it would be to be married to yourself! Those conversations wouldn't be very interesting, would they? As you spend time together, resist the temptation to try remaking your spouse in your image. Let the Holy Spirit transform both of you into the image of Christ.
5. Respect God's gift. God has given you and your spouse each other. How are you nurturing that gift? Taking time to talk is part of that.
—James Groesbeck with Amy Swierczek
WORTH THINKING ABOUT
Read Song of Songs 8:13-14 again. What does it mean to you to hear your spouse's voice? Where are your favorite places to "come away" and talk?
WORTH PRAYING ABOUT
Ask God to help you make wise choices about how you use your time this week, and to give you wisdom to make the most of your time together.
Choose a chore or recreational activity (washing dishes, hiking, weeding the garden, etc.) that you and your spouse can do together during the next 24 hours. Make sure it's something you can do while talking. Then pick a topic you'll discuss—something positive, like planning a vacation or remembering the two best movies you ever watched together. Some conversations require lots of concentration and eye contact, but talking while doing something else can be an efficient, non-threatening way to break the ice—especially if you haven't communicated in a while.
Excerpted from The Best Year of your marriage by Jim Daly, Jean Daly, Paul Batura. Copyright © 2014 Focus on the Family. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Getting to Know You, 1,
1. Making Time to Talk, 5,
2. Honesty: the Best Policy?, 9,
3. Helping Each Other to Open Up, 13,
4. Adjusting to Your Spouse's Personality, 17,
Part 2: When It's Not What You Expected, 21,
5. Surprise!, 25,
6. "But I Thought My Spouse Was Perfect", 29,
7. Why Isn't Your Spouse More Like ..., 33,
8. Did You Marry the Wrong Person?, 37,
Part 3: Can You Hear Me Now?, 41,
9. When One of You Is the Silent Type, 47,
10. When One of You Won't Stop Talking, 51,
11. Learning Each Other's Language, 55,
12. How to Connect Without Talking, 59,
Part 4: Your Love Life, 63,
13. What Does He Want from You?, 67,
14. What Does She Want from You?, 71,
15. Moving Beyond the Past, 75,
16. Where Did Our Love Life Go?, 79,
Part 5: When You Can't Seem to Agree, 83,
17. Is Fighting Fair?, 85,
18. We Can Work It Out, 89,
19. Making Decisions Together, 93,
20. Agreeing to Disagree, 97,
Part 6: Becoming Soulmates, 101,
21. Faith Can Keep Us Together, 105,
22. Praying with Your Spouse, 109,
23. Helping Your Spouse Grow Spiritually, 113,
24. Serving God as a Team, 117,
Part 7: Mastering Money, 121,
25. "My Spouse Spends Too Much", 125,
26. How Much Should We Give?, 129,
27. Staying Out of Debt, 133,
28. Planning for the Future, 137,
Part 8: Finding Your Place in the Family, 141,
29. How Two Become One, 145,
30. What Does It Mean to Be a Wife?, 149,
31. What Does It Mean to Be a Husband?, 153,
32. Dividing Up the Chores, 157,
Part 9: Having Children, 161,
33. Do They Really Change Everything?, 165,
34. Is It Okay Not to Have Kids?, 169,
35. Making Sure Children Succeed, 173,
36. You Deserve a Break Today, 177,
Part 10: A Christ-centered Home, 181,
37. Building the Foundation, 185,
38. Being a Spiritual Leader, 189,
39. When You Like Different Churches, 193,
40. Helping Kids Grow Spiritually, 197,
Part 11: Emotions in Motion, 201,
41. Let's Talk About Feelings, 203,
42. Those Irritating Habits, 207,
43. Keeping Romance Alive, 211,
44. Should We Settle for Less?, 215,
Part 12: Honoring One Another, 219,
45. Trying to Change Your Spouse?, 223,
46. Forgiving Each Other, 227,
47. Staying Faithful, 231,
48. Respecting Your In-laws, 235,
Part 13: Going the Distance, 239,
49. You Don't Have to Drift Apart, 243,
50. Is It Ever Too Late for a Marriage?, 247,
51. Getting Wise Counsel, 251,
52. What Makes a Marriage Last?, 255,