What Marriage Used to Mean

scan_pic0743I have seen a growing trend among the people around me, and throughout the world, to question whether or not marriage is worth it anymore, since most of the benefits of being legally and lawfully joined in matrimony can be made available to any couple. Isn’t it just a piece of paper?

Others fight for that piece of paper and legal designation, and by so doing seek to change the fundamental precepts that marriage was founded on — aka “redefining marriage”.

With my “old fashioned” view on marriage, I find it hard to understand, or condone either of these.

This is what marriage used to mean … and what it still means to me:100_0121

First we will look at government’s stake in, and society’s purpose for marriage through most of human history.

As Thomas Sowell, one of America’s brilliant minds put it: “In the absence of the institution of marriage, the individuals could arrange their relationship whatever way they wanted to, making it temporary or permanent, and sharing their worldly belongings in whatever way they chose. Marriage means that the government steps in, limiting or even prescribing various aspects of their relations with each other — and still more, their relationship with whatever children may result from their union. In other words, marriage imposes legal restrictions, taking away rights that individuals might otherwise have.”

With this understanding it makes sense why some couples like the “just a piece of paper” argument. I mean, who wants the Government to have any say in their personal relationships? Though, on the other side of the coin, Sowell continues: ” ‘gay marriage’ advocates depict marriage as an expansion of rights to which they are entitled.” Which isn’t the case. (Read more here!)

The main focus of society’s past interest in marriage was because of the children that usually result from the union of a man and a woman. It happens.  Deal with it.  But society needed to make sure that those children were taken care of. Ryan Anderson, in an address to the Indiana House Judiciary Committee stated this: “Marriage is the institution that IMG_1109different cultures and societies across time and place developed to maximize the likelihood that that man would commit to that woman and then the two of them would take responsibility to raise that child.”

He stated further: “The state’s interest in marriage is not that it cares about my love life, or your love life, or anyone’s love life just for the sake of romance. The state’s interest in marriage is ensuring that those kids have fathers who are involved in their lives.”

 

Completely logical and good, but for most people, especially Christians, marriage means much more.

  • Abstinence before. Old fashioned, right? I don’t think so. And with all the STDs and emotional pain going around, I’m surprised more people don’t agree that waiting until the wedding night is the best policy. How nice would it be to share yourself with the love of your life and not wonder if they are comparing you to someone else? To not worry about extra procedures for your newborn baby because of common STDs you might carry. This is a shout out to teens. No, you don’t have to go there. Yes, the wait is worth it!

 

  • Complete fidelity after: In the “good old days” infidelity was sometimes the only excuse for divorce.  Taking it a step further, Christ said, ” That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (KJV Matt. 5:28). In marriage we owe our spouse fidelity not only in the physical sense, but mentally and emotionally as well. No pornography, which encompasses anything that turns you on besides your spouse–so watch those steamy romance novels and movies.

 

  • Your spouse’s help meet: Marriage is about supporting your spouse no matter what life sends your way. Remember the traditional wedding vows? “To love and honor, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, till death do us part.” The more I hear modern “vows”, the more I think they are a cop-out. A couple decides they want to write their own vows and more often then not, they end up being a declaration of love … not devotion. That sort of declaration belongs at the proposal. A marriage is about standing at that person’s side and helping them, supporting them, encouraging them, pushing them in a wheelchair, spoon-feeding them after a horrific car accident, and so much more!

 

  • Becoming one: With your spouse you should be able to share something physically (goes without saying), mentally and emotionally at a deeper level than with anyone else. For the most part this isn’t something you are going to experience in the first year of marriage, but when you look at a happy couple interact who has been together for over 60 years through good times and bad, you start to get a glimpse of what is possible when you work toward that mutual goal. When you have faced the worst and best of life at each-others side. When you can read their emotions, understand their fears, strive for the same dreams … fulfill each-other.

I am so grateful to the ones who taught me and my husband by word and deed what a real marriage was and should be!

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Happy Birthday Susanna Wesley! By Amber Schamel

Susanna Wesley is of one of the most inspirational women in history. So in honor of her birthday today, I thought I would share what makes her so inspirational to me.SW

Susanna Annesley was born on January 20, 1669. She was the 25th of 25 children born to Dr. Samuel Annesley and Mary (White) Annesley. Susanna had strong religious convictions from a very young age. At 13, she stopped attending church where her father was a dissenter and began attending the official Church of England.

At age 19, Susanna married Samuel Wesley. Little did she know that her life would hold many hardships. Susanna bore 19 children, including two sets of twins, however nine of those children –including the twins—died as infants. One of her children was accidentally smothered by her maid.

Susanna educated her children at home. The day after their 5th birthday, she taught them the alphabet. They were expected to learn it all on that day, and all but two did. The children schooled for 6 hours each day, and they all received a good education, including her daughters.

Mr. Samuel Wesley had little ability when it came to finances and he was thrown into debtor’s prison twice. His lack in this area created constant struggle for Susanna, and she became very efficient with what she did have.

WestleyThe Wesley’s house was burned—twice. During the first fire, her son John Wesley was nearly burned alive, but God had a plan for him and he was saved through a second story window.

One of my most prized books is an out-of-print copy of The Complete Writings of Susanna Wesley. There are letters cataloged there where Susanna is asking for advice in regards to a situation with her husband. During their evening prayers, Samuel ended with “God save the king.” It was expected that Susanna should repeat the saying, however she did not because she felt that the king occupying the throne at the time was not the rightful heir. Because of her defiance, Samuel left. He was gone for over a year, and apparently refused to share a bed with her for a time even after his return.

With so many hardships, it is no wonder that Susanna sometimes had her moments of utter desperation. Susanna was known to plop down in the middle of the kitchen and throw her apron over her head. Her children knew that when mommy did that, she was praying, and no one was to bother her.

Susanna was a devout woman of God, and she impressed that into her children as well. Her sons John and Charles both became great leaders of the Methodist movement, which earned Susanna the title “Mother of Methodism”. Charles wrote over 6,000 hymns and John became one of the greatest clergymen of his time. John held his mother in such high esteem that, at age 7, he determined never to marry “because I could never find such a woman as my father Grave of SWhad.” John did marry, but not until about 40 years later, after his mother’s death.

The most amazing thing about Susanna, is that even through all her hardships, she placed her trust in God, and never faltered. She lived a life of service to the Almighty, and accomplished many things for His glory.

At the age of 73, Susanna Wesley died on July 23, 1742. She was buried at Bunhill Fields in London, with the knowledge that her sons were warriors of the faith.

Susanna Wesley is one of my heroes—or SHEroes as I like to call them. Who are your heroes of the faith?

Amber shares This Day in Christian History tidbits on her personal blog: http://amberschamel.blogspot.com/

Amber SchamelMulti-published author Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call “historical fiction at its finest”. A homeschool graduate from a family of 12 children, Amber found her calling early in life. First published at age 21, she has continued to hone her craft and is now the author of over half a dozen books. Between ministry, family and working in their family-owned businesses, Amber loves to connect with readers. Find her on the Stitches Thru Time blog, or on any of the major social media sites. Amber is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Historical Novel Society.

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First Guest of 2015 – Welcome author Caryl McAdoo

May smiled at the Tribune’s headline, “Fillmore Says Pay Texas Off.” Even the President was thinking about the new state. (Chapter one, Hope Reborn.)

Hope reborn

Click here to buy on Amazon: Free e-book now until Thursday!

In the summer of 1850, owning slaves in the South was legal, but the issue threatened to split the northern and southern states. A big question being whether or not it should be legal in new territories in the West—including Texas? A multi-purposed bill of compromise (yes, even back then, politicians took advantage) was offered. It declared California a free state where slavery would be banned, put territorial governments in place for Utah and New Mexico, defined the border between New Mexico and Texas which had been disputed, ended slave trade in the District of Columbia, and urged approval of a new law dealing with runaway slaves.

At first, it seemed to have President Zachary Taylor’s support, but the president soon made it clear that he would do everything he could to defeat it. While Washington’s debate continued, the situation in Texas and New Mexico got worse. Texas claimed a large part of New Mexico, including the capital, Santa Fe and had even sent a representative to take control of the government there. Taylor ordered his Secretary of War to send an order to New Mexico’s military commander to use force in opposition of any attempt by Texas to seize the territory, but the secretary refused convinced that action would have the North and South at war again in no time. President Taylor’s response was to sign the order himself.

On July 4th, 1850, Taylor attended an outdoor Independence Day ceremony standing in the burning sun, then later that night, called the doctor to the White House for stomach pains. Treatments were useless, and five. days later, he died. His vice president, Millard Fillmore from New York and a Whig Party candidate, was sworn-in as president. Fillmore had opposed the congressional compromise on slavery and the western territories. Unlike Taylor, Fillmore believed a national crisis was at hand and that the compromise would help save the Union.

As president, he offered his full support to the bill. After more debate, they decided to vote on each proposal separately. The Senate and House of Representatives approved all parts of the 1850 Compromise, and President Fillmore signed them into law and ended squelched a national crisis though both northern and southern extremists remained bitter.

 

Hope Reborn: (Until the 15th, get the e-book Free on Amazon!)
Loss tests faith and almost eradicates expectation of any happy-ever-after. The decision to temporarily change one’s existence, no matter how successful or how hopeless, can lead to rebirth—in both cases.Books by Caryl

New York novelist May Meriwether decides a heroic Texas Ranger will make a great love interest for her new novel’s heroine. Bored to tears and loving adventure—keeps her mind off her solitude—she sets out to the Lone Star State with her constant companion and confidant Chester in tow.
Dreams for a husband and children are relegated to the recesses of her heart; the self-confessed old maid deems it’s too late. But the near-perfect widower resurrects a smidgeon of hope. Only his impenetrable, superstitious religious beliefs stand in the path to her falling head over heels, those and his love for his dead wife. Would there ever be room for her in his heart? And would he give up his fanaticism over God?
An unexpected romance surprises both. Hope is reborn in God’s unfailing love and grace. Can a life built on lies find the Way to confession, forgiveness, and true joy? In a day when the church offers the only stability on the 1850 Texas prairie, these unlikely players find one another and fall in love. But will it be enough?

 

Caryl M

Caryl McAdoo says she’ll never write outside the Christian genre again and has adopted “Praying my story gives God glory!” as her motto. She and husband Ron—high school sweethearts—live with two grandsons in the woods south of Clarksville, the seat of Red River County in Northeast Texas. She enjoys four-wheeling over the 916-acre McAdoo Ranch, horseback riding, and singing the new songs God gives her. For every blessing in her life, including ten children (counting in-loves) and fourteen grandsugars, Caryl credits her relationship with the Lord, and her heart’s desire is to glorify Him.
Website – http://www.CarylMcAdoo.com       (All first chapters are offered here!)

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“God, the Deception.”

I hope you all had wonderful holidays! A new year begins and our countdown continues. One month to the release of “Out of the Storm” and only two more copies to give away. Congrats to Ruth B. for winning last month’s! Leave a comment here or on Facebook and it could be yours, too!

Coming Feb 3, 2015

Coming Feb 3rd!

To mark this moment we are going to take another glance at my short story, Fire in a Storm.

“He was secret police and he knew his purpose. Religion was the enemy and God, the deception. Then a glimpse of gold and silver, and the woman who wore it, threatened everything he trusted.”

As we stated in November’s blog, the main character in Fire in a storm is a member of the NKVD or “Stalin’s secret police.” As such, he has had Marxist-Leninist atheism drilled into his brain and has accepted those philosophies. Namely:

Karl_Marx

“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” (Marx, K. 1976)

I must admit to hearing that often enough during the months I spent in Russia a few years ago. That last line was often ready and waiting on many an atheist’s tongue. How much more so, I imagine, in the midst of the communist regime and the heart of the persecution against religion.

Marx wrote further: “The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusions about its condition is the demand to give up a condition that needs illusions. The criticism of religion is therefore in embryo the criticism of the value of woe, the halo of which is religion. Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers from the chain, not so that man will wear the chain without any fantasy or consolation but so that he will shake off the chain and cull the living flower.”

Make sense?

Ok, I admit I had to read it several times, but I wanted to understand what made my character tic. It seems many Soviet leaders of the early 1900s interpreted this as: God is an illusion, therefore religion is a dome of illusion, deceiving people into false happiness and hope. How can you experience real happiness, and real life, when you are caught up in the false?

I guess I’m in real trouble because I most certainly believe in God as did many good people in the Soviet Union when this philosophy corrupted laws and led to the persecution we discussed last month. Strange how an idea about saving people from their “happy” illusions can lead to that people’s destruction… all because they decided they wanted to hang on to the beliefs that have made them happy. Leave it to a man like Lenin to militarize a philosophy.

Boris Kustodiev’s 1920 painting “Bolshevik,” depicting a revolutionary with the red flag, glaring at an Orthodox Christian church.