The Four C’s of a Great Marriage

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

WINNING WITH THE WORD

“Winning with the Word” is a weekly blog that will help you to be a winner in life by applying God’s principles for living the abundant life as found in the Bible, God’s manual for life.

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Hello and Happy Day! This is Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, novelist and life coach, welcoming you to another episode of Winning with the Word. Today is Monday, July 25, 2022, and this is Episode #30 of Series 2022. This episode is titled “The Four C’s of a Great Marriage.”

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My younger daughter was married two weeks ago to a wonderful, Godly man in a beautiful ceremony. The officiating pastor gave a wonderful message on the three C’s of marriage: Companionship, Commitment, and Covenant. I would like to expound on that message here and add another C: Communication.

Let’s explore each of these four C’s of a great marriage one by one.

1. COVENANT. The most important point about a marriage is that it is a covenant. A covenant is more than a contract. According to Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, the precursor of today’s Webster’s Dictionary, a covenant is “a binding agreement.” In other words, a covenant imposes an obligation on the part of each party to keep the agreement until the death of one of the parties.

Whereas a contract involves two people, a covenant involves three: the man, the woman, and God. Because God is involved in a covenant, it is deemed by Him to be unbreakable. Hence, His warning in Mark 10: 9 NASB: “Therefore, what God has joined together, no person is to separate.” A covenant, therefore, is sealed with a vow before God to honor the covenant until death. 

2. COMMITMENT. The strength of a marriage depends on the integrity of the husband and the wife to remain committed to the marriage no matter what the cost of that commitment. Every marriage will have its trying times. Trials are part of God’s plan to conform us to the image of Christ. Just as making a muscle strong requires repeated resistance, so does making a marriage strong require repeated trials. 

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned about marriage and about life, in general, is that God’s goal for us is not our happiness but our holiness. Trials help to make us holy if we maintain the Biblical perspective toward trials. Trials are for our spiritual growth. But whether we grow or not through our trials depends on our attitude toward them. 

Something amazing happens when we resist and overcome trials. We not only become holy; we also become happy.

3. COMMUNICATION. Good communication is key in cultivating a good marriage. The Bible is full of principles for good communication. Here are a few of them:

__James 1: 19 – “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” 
__Proverbs 10: 19 – “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”
__Proverbs 12: 18 – “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

4. COMPANIONSHIP. When the three elements above–Covenant, Commitment, and Communication–are put into practice, then beautiful, intimate companionship follows. Companionship is oneness of soul. The Word says that in a marriage, the two become one flesh (Mark 10: 8). The flesh is comprised of both the body and the soul. Therefore, “one flesh” does not mean only physical oneness. It also means oneness of soul. 

My husband and I have been married for 52 years. We continually implement these four C’s of marriage, and we can tell you that they work. A good marriage is built by keeping Christ at the center of your life and at the center of your marriage.

If Jesus is not yet the center of your life, make Him so right now. Pray this simple prayer with me:

Lord Jesus, I repent of my sin. I want to make You the Center of my life. I ask You to forgive me and to cleanse me of all unrighteousness. I receive You now as my Savior and my Lord. Thank You for saving me. In Your Name I pray. Amen.

If you sincerely prayed this prayer, welcome to God’s family! Please write down today’s date. It is your spiritual birthday. And please write to me at drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com. I would like to send you a free PDF booklet, titled After You’re Born Again. This booklet will help you to get started in your walk with Jesus.

I also encourage you to get yourself a Bible and read it every single day. The Bible is God’s love letter to you, His manual for your life. In the Bible, God reveals Who He is, and He teaches you how to live.

Finally, ask the Lord to lead you to the church of His choice for you where you can learn Truth and experience fellowship and encouragement with other Christ-Followers. It is critically important in these last days to fellowship with other believers who are mature in Christ and who can guide you as you grow in Him.

If this podcast has helped you in any way, please consider supporting it by becoming one of my valued patrons. Just go to patreon.com/winningwiththeword to join my wonderful Team. Patrons receive numerous benefits in appreciation for their support. 

Until next time, remember that God loves you just as you are and just where you are, and that He will help you to keep on Winning with the Word!
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Copyright 2000-2022 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at info@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

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Copyright 2000-2022 by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD. All Rights Reserved.

Not Will Power, but Word Power

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

WINNING WITH THE WORD

“Winning with the Word” is a weekly blog that will help you to be a winner in life by applying God’s principles for living the abundant life as found in the Bible, God’s manual for life.

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Hello and Happy Day! This is Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, your Virtual Life Coach, welcoming you to another episode of Winning with the Word. Today is Monday, March 9, 2020. Today’s Podcast is Episode #10 in Series 2020 and is titled “Not Will Power, but Word Power.”

Over my lifetime, I’ve struggled to overcome the bad habit of speaking before thinking. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve put my foot in my mouth only to take it out and put the other foot in.

I am a communicator by nature and by calling, and I love to communicate. This is the reason Satan fights me in the area of my tongue. Of one thing we can be sure, the enemy will always focus his attacks on our areas of strength by targeting the weaknesses that go along with those strengths.

For example, those of us who communicate well are susceptible to talking before thinking or talking too much. But the Bible warns that if we talk before we think or if we talk too much, we will eventually sin (Proverbs 10: 19). 

Well, as always, the Bible is true. When I speak before I think or when I talk too much, I inevitably get myself into trouble. And getting out of trouble is much more difficult than getting into it, I can assure you.

As always, I went to the Lord with my problem. I told Him that no matter how hard I tried, I kept engaging my mouth before engaging my brain. The harder I tried not to talk before thinking, the more I talked before thinking. I felt just like the Apostle Paul who wrote in Romans 7: 15-24: “I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate. . . Although I have the desire to do what is right, I don’t do it.  I don’t do the good I want to do. Instead, I do the evil that I don’t want to do. What a miserable person I am! Who will rescue me…?”

Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever wanted desperately to stop doing something–like, perhaps, to stop smoking, or to stop taking drugs, or to stop viewing pornography, or to stop overeating, or to stop spending too much money, or to stop yelling at your kids–but, no matter how hard you tried, you just kept messing up? If so, you are not alone.

One of the biggest reasons that bad habits are hard to break is that we try to overcome them in our own strength. And that, my friend, is impossible. We as humans have no power in ourselves to overcome the flesh. We need Jesus Christ in our lives to live the overcoming life through us.

So, the first step to overcoming a bad habit once and for all is to be born again–to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. Why? Because only Jesus Christ can set us free. Nothing else or no one else can set us permanently free. Yes, we may have some success using will power alone, but that success will eventually fizzle out. What we need to overcome permanently is not will power, but Word power. The power of God’s Word as found in the Holy Bible. Jesus is God’s Word made flesh as we read in John 1: 1. 

Jesus said in John 8: 32, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The truth is found in God’s Word. As we learn the truth and apply it to our lives, we will become freer and freer. In fact, we will be free to the degree that we know and obey the Word of God.

Once we have Jesus living within us, we now have His power to overcome bad habits.

Sadly, however, some of us, even after we are born again, still try to overcome bad habits in our own strength. Whether out of ignorance or–excuse the pun–bad habit, we neglect to draw on the power of Christ Who is now living within us. It is only by allowing the life of Christ now within us to live through us that we can overcome bad habits.

So, what does this look like in practical life? 

Well, here’s a scenario. Let’s say that a co-worker rubs you the wrong way. You find yourself growing impatient and annoyed with her whenever she asks you for help. How should you respond? First of all, give your negative feelings to Jesus. Then ask Him to love this person through you. These two steps–giving your negative thoughts and feelings to Jesus and asking Him to live His life through you– constitute what is called “crucifying the flesh.” You are putting to death your own negative thoughts and feelings and allowing Christ’s loving thoughts and feelings to flow through you toward your co-worker.

The key to overcoming bad habits is to focus on Christ in us. When we focus on the negative–our negative thoughts and feelings–we will magnify the negative. It will become paramount in our lives. But when we focus on Jesus living inside us, we will magnify Jesus and He will become paramount in our lives. In short, we cannot overcome bad habits by sheer will power, only by Word power. When we allow Christ to take our bad habits and give us His good ones in exchange, we will be living the life of Christ in us. 

Just as we were born again and received Christ by faith, so must we also live the Christian life by faith. There is simply no other way to live it. It is His Holy Spirit living within us that gives us the power to crucify the flesh. When we yield our weakness to His strength, we begin resting in Him. And it is this resting in Him that causes us to experience victory over our tongues or over any other bad habit.

It took me a long time to grasp the concept of resting in the Lord. But it is the essential concept of living the Christian life. We live the Christian life by His power, not ours. As we yield our will to His will, we will be able to take hold of His power that is ever ready to help us not only to control our tongues but to overcome every bad habit and to live out every aspect of the Christian life according to His will.

If you have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, I urge you to do so now.

Pray this simple prayer with me:

Lord Jesus, I’m struggling with a bad habit, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t break it. I have come to realize that I cannot overcome this bad habit in my own strength. I need Your strength. And so I come to You now, asking You to come into my life. Save me and live Your life through me. I repent of my sins and ask You to forgive me. Thank You for giving me Your strength in exchange for my weakness. In Your Name I pray, believe, and receive. Amen.

If you prayed this simple prayer, please write to me at drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com. I would like to send you a little booklet that will help you get started in your relationship with Jesus Christ. I also encourage you to get yourself a Bible and read it every day, starting in the Gospel of John, which is in the second half of the Bible. Finally, ask the Lord to lead you to the church of His choice for you where you can learn about Him and find fellowship and encouragement with other Christ-Followers.

For those of you who may not know, I write fiction about some of the issues I deal with in this blog and podcast. I invite you to visit my website at https://maryanndiorio.com/book-table. There you will find a complete list of the novels, novellas, and short stories I have written about characters with problems like yours.

On my website, you will also find additional resources, articles, books, and podcasts to help you grow in your walk with Christ.

This podcast is found on Apple Podcasts, Blubrry, iHeart Radio, Spotify, Spreaker, Soundcloud, Castbox, Podbean, Podchaser, and Deezer, so I encourage you to subscribe and have it delivered right to your mailbox.

If you have been blessed by these messages, I also invite you to become a Winning with the Word patron on Patreon. As a patron you will enjoy special benefits only for my patrons. Just go to Patreon.com and search for Winning with the Word to join. This podcast is being sponsored by my wonderful husband and patron, Dominic A. Diorio. Thank you, Honey, for supporting the work of the Lord.

And to all of you wonderful people out there, thank you so much for listening. This is Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, your virtual life coach, reminding you that God loves you just as you are and just where you are, and that He will help you to keep on winning with the Word.

Listen to the podcast here:

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Now it’s your turn: ? If so, which of the tips do you think will best help you to get through to God? Please leave your comment in the Comment Box below. Thank you!

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Copyright 2000-2020 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at info@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

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How to Deal with Difficult People

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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Matters of the Heart is a weekly blog that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart, the issues we all face but sometimes don’t want to talk about.  The heart is the programming center of our lives. What is programmed into our heart will affect every area of our lives. Learn how to discover what is in your heart and how to program your heart for success.

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We’ve all encountered them. Difficult people who could, if we let them, make our lives miserable. Perhaps you know one. Perhaps you work with one. Perhaps you even live with one.

So, what can you do to keep difficult people from making your life difficult?

Man trying to explain himself

Here are a three practices that have helped me deal with difficult people:

—Make sure that you are not a difficult person to live with or work with.  Far too often, we are quick to point the finger and to blame others for being difficult when we, ourselves, are blind to our own difficult ways. When dealing with a difficult person, the first step is to check our own hearts. Jesus said this in Matthew 7: 5: “Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” Make sure you don’t have a log in your own eye when dealing with a difficult perosn.

Remember that hurting people hurt people. Difficult people have a history, usually a very painful or even traumatic one. While this is no excuse for bad behavior, it is a reason for it. And knowing that there is a reason behind all bad behavior helps us to see the difficult person through the eyes of compassion. For example, what comes across as anger may, in reality, be fear at not measuring up to the job. What comes across as stubbornness may, in reality, be a feeling of insecurity or inferiority. Behind every behavior is a belief. When that belief does not align with truth, we often come face to face with a difficult person. Remember these words from Ephesians 4: 32 when dealing with a difficult person: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Apply the law of opposites. Return a kind word for a harsh one. Return a smile for a frown. Return understanding for criticism. Return encouragement for blame and accusation. In short, return good for evil. The Word of God says this in 1 Peter 3: 9: “Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.

Now, it’s YOUR turn: How do you deal with difficult people? Please leave a comment in the box below.

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If you found this post helpful, please forward it to a friend. Thank you!  You may also be interested in reading the following recent posts:

Why Getting Offended Is Dangerous

Don’t Let Satan Play Your Pipes!

How to Think Like a Winner

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Sex and Soul Ties

How to Recognize a Contolling Spirit

Seven Keys to Successful Parenting

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Five Ingredients of Great Relationships

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

WINNING WITH THE WORD

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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Like all things that pertain to health, relationships require care.  Here are five tips for keeping your relationships strong:

Business people joining hands
Fotolia File: #66780827 | Author: vadymvdrobo

 1–LOVE. This means treating the other person in the relationship with respect, dignity, and encouragement. Love is the foundation of all good relationships.

2–COMMUNICATION. We communicate to understand. Understanding paves the way for trust. 

3–TRUST. Trust is the glue that keeps a relationship strong. Trust must be earned. 

4–FORGIVENESS. We all mess up. Forgiveness sets the stage for rebuilding a relationship.

5–TIME. Growth takes time. For a relationship to grow, you must invest time in it.


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Copyright 2015-2020 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

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Dr. Diorio is a Certified Life Coach, a Certified Biblical Counselor, and a Certified Behavioral Consultant. She is also an award-winning, widely published author of fiction for children and adults. You may reach her at maryann@maryanndiorio.com or via one of her social media venues below:

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Closing the Communication Gap

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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Are you having trouble getting along with someone? If so, perhaps the problem is nothing more than faulty communication.

Effective communication is the key to good relationships. All too often, however, we either aren’t aware of the key or don’t know how to use it. Let me share with you what I’ve discovered through my own struggles in learning how to communicate effectively:

1) Learn to listen. Real listening is more than just listening with the ears; it’s listening with the heart. This is called empathic listening because its goal is to get inside the feelings of the person to whom you are listening. In other words, it’s putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. When we listen empathically, we put aside our own experience and perceptions and focus on understanding the other person’s point of view.

Often what people say and what they really mean are two different things. For example, suppose your child tells you that he hates school. What he may really be saying is that he’s having trouble understanding his work and he’s afraid of failing. As you give your child room to explore and express his feelings without jumping in and giving him advice, he’ll be more apt to open up to you and listen to what you have to say.

2) Listen with the intent to understand, not with the intent to reply. If we’re really honest with ourselves, when we are engaged in a conversation, we’re thinking more of the next thing we’re going to say than of what the other person is saying. The only thing this does is to foster misunderstanding. When we’re thinking of our reply instead of listening to the other person, we’re talking at the other person, not to him. In so doing, we are not giving the other person the respect that he deserves.

3) Define your terms. Sometimes poor communication is the result of misinterpretation of terms. Even though two people may speak the same language, each may attach a different meaning to a particular word. For instance, the word “upset” may to one person mean “angry” and to another, “afraid.” If such confusion can exist between two people speaking the same language, is it any wonder that there is misunderstanding between nations?

4) Make sure you clearly understand what the other person is saying. In order to do this, it sometimes helps to repeat what you have just heard. This tells the other person that you are truly listening to him and that you really care.

5) Always be truthful. Good communication is based on truth. When we exaggerate the truth or distort it out of fear of rejection or fear of punishment, we are not only hindering good communication but also hurting ourselves and the other person. The Bible commands us to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Obeying this command will go far toward establishing effective communication and strong relationships.

6 Always be kind and loving. Love is the foundation of all effective communication. Love truly desires the good of the other person. When communicating, obey the Bible injunction found in Colossians 4:6: Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Following these guidelines will help you to strengthen weak relationships and forge new ones based on mutual respect.

Questions: 1) What is your biggest communication challenge? 2) How do you plan to overcome that challenge? You may leave a comment by clicking here. To receive these blog posts in your emailbox, please click here.

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Copyright 2015 by Dr. Mary Ann Diorio.  Dr. Diorio is a Certified Life Coach, a Certified Biblical Counselor, and a Certified Behavioral Consultant. She is also an award-winning, widely published author of fiction for children and adults. You may reach her at maryann@maryanndiorio.com  or via one of her social media venues below:

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