Sentence Starters

Finish the following sentence in the comment box:

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I feel so proud whenever …

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Q&A: Are Tattoos OK?

My husband and I were talking the other day, and he said he thought it would be sexy if I got a tattoo.  What does the Bible say about this?  I haven’t found anything about it in the Bible, unless you call it defiling the temple, and I’m not sure if it is or not.  What do you think?

Tattoos are becoming very popular. What used to be only something you would see on a sailor or member of a motor cycle gang is now becoming very common place, even for people in the church. There is a verse in Leviticus 19 which is often cited as God’s law against all tattoos. “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.” We do really need to take the time to understand what the Lord was saying in this because the previous verse says that men are not to shave the sides of their heads or beards either. What was God’s concern when he declared these things?

The Hebrew people were overtaking the land and all around them there were non-Jews who were taking part in practices which involved acts that showed their pagan worship of the sun god during their mourning of deceased loved ones. The four practices mentioned in this portion of scripture refer to those acts of mourning. Cutting, shaving or pulling out hair from the sides of the head. Cutting, shaving or pulling out the hair from the sides of the beard. Cutting marks on the body. And printing marks on the body, aka tattooing. There are other places in scripture where the trimming of the head or beard is commanded as an act of mourning (Numbers 6) so we need to perceive what God’s intention was when he said these things.

What I believe this portion of scripture teaches us about God’s concern for us is that He does not want us doing things as worship to false gods. In scriptural examples, so often two people did the same thing, but it was their heart that determined if it was acceptable or not. Cain and Able are a perfect example. They both brought offerings to the Lord, but they had radically different heart conditions. One was acceptable, one was not. We must do everything unto His glory. He wants His people set apart. When we mourn, He wants us to seek Him as our comforter.

All this context is vital to perceiving a godly response to the question, “Are tattoos OK?” It is easier to pile up all the evidence for and against and then place a yes or no judgement that would apply to all people, but that is not how I believe the Lord operates. The older I get, the less I see the world in black and white. I don’t think we can say that everyone is free to go ahead and get a tattoo. Neither do I think it is wise to say that tattoos are absolutely forbidden in all circumstances for all people. If I am convicted that it is not right for me to be tattooed, I ought not put that judgement on another person. And if I have been given freedom to be tattooed, I ought not look down on my sister or brother with pride because they do not have the freedom that I do. How many different examples could we give in this? Whether or not to consume alcohol. Whether or not to wear make up. Whether or not to marry. Whether or not to celebrate halloween. The list goes on and on and on. It’s endless and few things are black and white. The heart of worshipping other gods is sin, but how that plays out in your life is between you and the Lord.

So I can not give the woman who wrote in a definite yes, that she she go ahead and get a tattoo. Her relationship with the Lord is vastly different than mine, but what I can tell her how this question has played out in my life. It’s quite simple. I grew up believing that all tattoos showed that you were in rebellion to God. I no longer believe this to be true. I have come to the place where I would like to get a tattoo and I have received freedom from the Lord that it would be OK for me. The reason I haven’t is because my husband is not convinced he would want me to and since my body belongs to him as well, I will not get one without his blessing. So you can see that even though I have received freedom, I am choosing to honour my husband above my freedom.

I hope this has helped you.

Weekly poll #92: How close have you ever come to having an affair?

If more than one response is appropriate, you many choose more than one.

Reminder: New Book Study

For those who will be participating, this is a reminder that we will begin our discussion on our new book, Love and Respect, next week. Each week I will post some questions and key quotes from several chapters so be ready for our discussion on chapters 1 and 2 next Monday. At times we will be discussing more than two chapters at a time so if for some reason you find the pace moves too quickly, feel free to come back to the discussion as you catch up.

Further Disclaimer: As I mentioned in the announcement of this new book, my initial impression of the book was not positive and now that I have read through most of the book I can say that while there are quite a number of quotes that resonated well with me, over all I did not enjoy the communication style of the author. You have to understand that in recent years my church experience has moved from someone else telling me what I should be doing to a place of encouraging the community of believers to share the wisdom of God and then staying in tune to the voice of God for discernment on how to respond. I am no longer used to someone expressing a long list of to-dos in order for blessing to come. I have not found this book to be very encouraging and perhaps because the author is relating mostly testimonies of bad marriages turned good because of his principles, I can not relate to very many of the experiences he is sharing. 

So in my weekly articles containing questions and quotes from several chapters, you will find discussion on the parts of the book which helped me gain insight into my marriage, but sometimes I will not have as many positive responses to the book. Please do not be offended by this. If the book is helping you, feel free to discuss the points of the book which have spoken to you. Share how your thinking or relational dynamics have been influenced by the suggestions of the author. 

I’m looking forward to our discussions. 🙂

Sentence Starters

Finish the following sentence in the comment box:

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Just the thoughts of ______ turn my stomach!

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What’s behind the “seven year itch”?

I read an article last month that was out of London called The Seven Year Itch is Now the Three Year Glitch and I created a poll from it as well back a few weeks ago.  You can find it here.  That got me thinking….what really is the seven year itch?  Does it really exist?  Or is it getting shorter?

Movies have been written about it…did you see the movie starring Marilyn Monroe?   The one with the dress and the subway grate?  Surely you’ve seen that scene on TV or commercials.   It was also a play on Broadway.   In the 1800’s, it was an irritating skin complaint, pimply and itchy, that supposedly lasted for seven years.   Traditionally, now a days, it is used to commonly refer to the inclination to become unfaithful after seven years of marriage.

When I was in the first 7 years of my marriage, I really thought it was something that was real.  Unbeknownst to Mr. Nutmeg to this day (well now he’ll know), I was really scared when we got to that 7th year.   Was he going to get bored of me?  Was I going to get bored of him?  Would one of us cheat on the other?   Did it start at the beginning of that 7th year or after our 7 year anniversary?  Yes, I was, and still am at times, very naive about things.   Around that 7 year time period for us was when I got pregnant with our daughter and after her birth.   Was I planning on cheating? NO!  Was he?  NO!   I was just truly ignorant to and believed what society thinks is a done deal.

I was reading several articles on the subject, one (quoted above) that suggests that maybe it happens after 3 years of marriage, and it amazes me what is published out there that people believe as the gospel truth.  In the article Can you Survive the Seven Year Itch?, they interviewed four women.  The first one in the article expected love to conquer all.  Love can’t do it by itself, and much to her husband’s sorrow, she wants to separate and divorce.  He isn’t meeting her expectations.   The fairy tale marriage blew up in this relationship.  Once all the glitz and glamour was gone and the real world set in, their marriage began to implode…at least to her.   I did agree with the assessment in this article of why 7 years is the landmark of the itch… “As soon as you’ve been married for seven years, you can’t help but momentarily evaluate your relationship. And I can see why it might be a turning point – the honeymoon period is over, the warm period of normality and familiarity may be cooling, and some people may start looking for what’s next.” I think that is why people start doubting that they made the right choice…. That huggy, touchy, feely kind of love that you had in your dating period, the fairy tale weddings, and the newlywed phase wear off, and that is where you really start to learn what love really is.

Love is just a feeling. Marriage is  a commitment.   A covenant.  “Honey, I may not feel that I love you, but I really do love you” kind of covenant.   The “grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” doesn’t even factor into the covenant you made with your spouse.  When you make this covenant with your spouse, your vows don’t say that you’ll look for something new when the old flame wears out.   That’s when the richer or poorer kicks in….in sickness and in health….for better or for worse….until DEATH do us part.   I made that commitment to my husband and to God.

It would have been really easy during my refusing years to decide that it was all Mr. Nutmeg’s fault that I was so unhappy.  Comparing my marriage to others at church, thinking that they must be in a perfect marriage and hoping that I am not showing that I am not. You know, it wasn’t until years later that God revealed to me that while my marriage wasn’t perfect by any means (I mean whose is?), but that He had chosen the perfect man for me that completes me.   My spouse knew the true meaning of love and was willing to do everything and anything in his power to keep our marriage alive.   That’s basically the opposite of what Melani decided  in the quoted article above.   It was her husband’s fault that they couldn’t buy a house.  It was her husband’s fault that she wasn’t happy.  In the article, it sounds like he was very level headed.   His voice in that article sounds like my husband’s. “I fell in love with <her> the moment we met and I’d do anything to spend my life with her”.  It is obvious that unless she has a heart to heart with God and with her husband, no one is going to please her and she may doom herself in future marriages if she tries to marry again.

Here’s an article from Psychology Today to discuss a bit, too, in the comment section entitled How to Avoid the Seven Year Itch.  In the article, Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz offer 7 rules to help avoid the seven year itch and how to build a love that lasts.   My husband and I discussed these 7 rules together.  He agreed with them.   He added in our conversation that in our marriage, we don’t at this point have “opportunities” at work that some find in coworkers.   Being unhappy and discussing it with coworkers of the opposite sex that are unhappy, too….he’s right….Infatuations and affairs all come in these situations, so it is important to guard your heart and not to ACT on your infatuations.

Please feel free to add your thoughts, feelings and experiences with the “Seven Year Itch” below.   We can all learn from each other how to keep our covenants alive in our marriage and maybe we can share things we’ve done/tried when we start to feel boredom come into the picture or feel like we are falling out of love with our spouse.  I look forward to reading your responses.

Weekly poll #91: How often do you ML twice a day (or more)?

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