Weekly Relationship Builder/Tip

Go to your local library and check out a book on marriage by a Christian author. Plan to read at least an hour together nightly until you finish the book. Discuss the book afterwards, and if it was a great read, tell your friends. We would love to hear what book you picked as well so leave a comment here too!

The Butlers ❤

The Five Love Languages Book Review

While most of us have probably heard of the phrase (book title) The Five Love Languages, not everyone may have read the book yet. Actually, Marcus and I have heard of the book for years now, but this year purposed to read it in entirety.

So wish we had read this years ago! It was everything we needed and more. We highly recommend it! This book is a must read for any married couple that truly desires to grow in their love for one another.

The Five Love Languages is authored by Dr. Gary Chapman, a well-known marriage counselor, author, and speaker. He has many more accolades that can be found here. The Five Love Languages is a how-to guide to help married couples understand each other’s love language (and their own), and to learn to show love to their spouse the way the spouse needs it.

The Five Love Languages are:

  1. Words of Affirmation – using words to affirm.
  2. Quality Time – giving the other person undivided attention.
  3. Physical Touch – the appropriate touch speaks more deeply than anything.
  4. Acts of Service – actions speaks louder than words.
  5. Receiving Gifts –  feel most loved when he/she receives a gift.

Dr.Gary Chapman provides a free love language quiz to determine which one(s) you are. I would recommend you both take the quiz before reading the book. It will provide you the insight of which category you fall under beforehand, making it easier to make the connection between the description of the love language and your perception.

We have both found that after applying what we learned about each other’s love language, we have been feeling even more loved. As a result of feeling more loved, there is always less tension and more openness. The marriage bond is stronger and the home is happier.

If you’re truly serious about making positive progressive changes in the way you show your spouse love, definitely apply what you read in The Five Love Languages. This has been a game-changer for our marriage and has definitely challenged us to become more selfless in our love towards each other.

We know that your marriage will be blessed after reading and applying what you have learned…so why not start reading it today! Buy more than one copy and send to your friends.

If you’ve already read the book, leave a comment below with your thoughts. Also, leave a comment after you have read the book. We would love to hear your thoughts and journey through this with you both!

Blessings,

Marcus & Carol

five love languages

The Five Love Languages

 

 

Our Elevation Story…The BEST is Yet to Come!

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Our Story

It’s exciting to be a part of such a MOVE of God in this era! It was back in 2011 where I (Carol) first heard of Elevation Church from a friend on Facebook. I researched and was intrigued, and told Marcus about it. We then heard they were having a 12 day revival the beginning of 2012 and that they would be broadcasting it. This was during a wilderness  season God had called us to. (You can read a brief synopsis about that season of our lives here.)

I was about 9 months pregnant, we had no job, and by faith we came up to Charlotte for an interview during that week. We were not able to attend the first night we were in town, but we did watch it online…The Bishop TD Jakes was the speaker that night. We decided that we would attend the Sunday morning experience, and James MacDonald was the guest. I was already convinced that when God moved us to Charlotte that Elevation would be our church, but Marcus wanted to attend first. After our VIP experience, I remember sitting beside him after we were lead to our seats and I looked over at him. As our eyes connected, I knew at that moment that he was on board. It was not necessarily the message we heard that day (Pastor Steven wasn’t even speaking), but we knew by the Spirit that God had called us here! We went back home with so much expectation and excitement, it gave us HOPE that we would be entering a new season soon.

Just the 4 of Us + GOD

Though we did not get that job that Marcus interviewed for then, we still knew that God had called us to Charlotte. Over the next few months were pretty difficult because of no job offers and becoming estranged to the family we were around everyday. My faith was shaken a bit, and it was beginning to seem that we would always be where we were…lack, no job, craziness, etc. All we had were each other and God…no friends, estranged family, no income.

HOPE in the midst of darkness

We continued to watch ElevationNetwork.com and called Elevation home. Then one day, Pastor asked Ken Hester to come to the stage and before they announced the name of the new campus they were going to launch, Marcus said “Gastonia”. Then they said, Gaston and so I looked up on the map to verify, and saw that Gastonia is in Gaston County. The Holy Spirit obviously spoke to Marcus and showed us what we were to be a part of.  We found out the launch info, and drove to Gastonia, NC with a toddler and 5 month old in tow…2.5 hours away. Still no income, but God was providing the gas we needed to get there and because I had signed up for rewards with a hotel chain in previous years…we had points built up to use to stay a night. We drove back and forth for every event/meeting we could attend for the Gaston campus from August 2013 until January 2013.

Are we sure?

Marcus joined the Parking Team and I joined eKidz. Several of the families opened their homes to us and we are still so truly grateful to each of them! Then around January 2013 my excitement was beginning to wear off because it seemed that we had exhausted everything we had financially and God will literally have to give us a MIRACLE to continue on either way. Meanwhile Marcus was still applying for jobs and we had to stop going to Gastonia because we could not afford to any longer. Then a job interview came available in Charlotte, and though Marcus had driven there several times to no avail, we decided to take this step of faith once again. By now it was February 2013 and I can remember praying for God’s will to be done with this situation because we knew He had called us to Charlotte.

Finally

One day that month, we finally got the job offer we had been praying for and by faith moved to Charlotte. We had no idea where to even look for apartments, but it had to be a safe area and quiet. We lived about 15 minutes away from the main campus, and believed that was the campus we were to attend. We started attending that campus March 2013 and still attend. This is The Butlers Elevation Story, and it continues…

Don’t Change Me!

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Marcus

When we were dating, there were qualities about Carol that I loved, that attracted me to her. After marriage, we saw each other all the time and the things that I thought was cute, was beginning to annoy me. What do you do in that situation? The obvious choice…change her of course. Right?! She obviously needed to change, and if I just told her EVERYTIME she did it, she would get the point. So was I right? Did I go about that the right way?

Carol

I shared the same exact feelings about Marcus. While dating, I absolutely adored his humor and that he loved attention. I thought it was the cutest thing ever and he was always making me laugh, not just when it was just us, but out in public. Unfortunately, my feelings begin to change after the walk down the aisle. What I saw as funny and cute while dating, I began to see it as super annoying and wondered if he needed attention from everyone when we went out because of his joking around. Sadly, it got to the point where he noticed that I was trying to change him and when he questioned me on it, it definitely pierced me. I was beginning to nag and complain about the awesome parts of his personality. I was challenged one day when, I believe, in a marriage class at our church in Charleston where one of the leaders shared about how she too tried to change her husband. It convicted me to the core.  The more she tried to change him, the more difficult their relationship became and I could see that shift happening in our marriage. I apologized to Marcus for trying to change him. I realized that the very same qualities I adored during dating, I actually still loved but had cared too much about what others may think.

Marcus

Trying to make Carol change was not how I should have handled that. I loved those things about her when we first met…so what gives now? It was no longer cure when I saw it everyday. More importantly, I had to be the husband that she needed and supported her. If I did things that she did not like, should I tell her to just get over it and deal with it? No, not at all!!! Instead, I began to support her to the point that Carol’s family and friends begin to see a difference in her. They would say, “oh no, Carol will not do this or that” or “You better get Carol this or else.” What they did not know is that Carol was a new creation in Christ Jesus. She had matured. As we focused on Christ, our relationship grew.

How did I help her? Simple. I love her. As her husband, I cover her. I shield her when there is an issue, especially with family on either side. I handled and handle it. So she began to fully trust me; to trust that I would protect her. So instead of changing her, I embraced those qualities that attracted me to her in the first place. The not so nice qualities…we got through together. I stopped trying to change her and instead sought how I could make my flower blossom. It is a continuous process, but I would not want to do it with any other woman. I thank God for Blessing me with an amazing wife.

Have you been trying to change people to make them fit your mold?

The Fight of Complacency

Complacency: I define it as getting into a set routine that becomes so normal that you do not desire to change or even grow. Why rock the boat…many people may question. Complacency is often the greatest dream killer the enemy uses against us. It’s also detrimental to many other areas of our lives if we allow it to be present.

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Are You Killing Your Dreams With Complacency?

For many years I would cry out to God to use me and to guide me wherever, but I wasn’t willing to change from my safe way of life. I worked an 8-to-5 job, had benefits, happily married, achieved a MBA, and was content with life as it was…until I desired more. I desired to be used by God. I knew I wanted more out of life that I was experiencing. I was complacent.

As I cried out to God it became apparent that in order to increase, I had to leave my level of complacency and step into a new level of change. Afterwards, I went through a time of change that has transformed my life. Don’t underestimate the pruning process. Change is often not enjoyable, but it will grow you and take you to a greater level. Don’t let complacency or fear keep you from achieving the goals and dreams you desire.

Are You Hurting Your Relationships With Complacency?

So many people want to be married. They cry out for a husband or a wife. They wine and dine the person that has caught their eye. Then after they “catch their prey,” they get complacent. They get into a routine of normalcy. I could tell in my own marriage that complacency had set in. The things that I did around Carol became normal. For example, burping or not shaving constantly. I begin to feel like I already had my prize, I don’t have to do all the wining and dining anymore. Can any of you relate to what I am saying? This level of complacency can be what tears marriages and other relationships apart. When I neglected to do the things that won Carol’s heart, I ran the risk of losing her. This works vice versa. Ladies do not neglect what got you the mad after you get married. As I shook and still shake the desire for normalcy, my marriage and other relationships grow stronger.

How To Step Out of Complacency?

To shake complacency, you take action to step out of what you have known. You will fight the urge to stay put and take a leap. Face fear and fight on! Will you take action today?

You Can’t Make Me Submit

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Carol and I wanted to write a relationship post together; tag team. Before we married, we would discuss the s-word…SUBMIT. We both did not know how to approach it or handle it. We turned to the Bible and it says “wives submit to your own husbands” (Ephesians 5:22). Carol and many other women thought of it as I (the husband) could tell her to do something and she must do it. So naturally she was not about that life. Lol. I thought it was important for my wife to listen to me and to do what i said. Now before you ladies go off Lol let’s explain it a little more.


Marcus is right. I actually thought that submitting meant he could rightfully control me. Though we learned about what submission was before marriage (thanks to an awesome marriage small group at Cathedral of Praise) it really did not come into play until we said “I do.” After the wedding was when I had to put submission into practice.  From what I had seen in other marriages, I thought that the wife just did everything he wanted and almost lost herself in him. As if I could not be an individual. BUT that was not my personality! I vowed to never be that weak wife, and that is where submission became hard for me. I did not want to be on one extreme (weak), but it pushed me to the other extreme (defiant). If I just went to the middle of the two extremes, I believe I would have understood that Marcus was not trying to control me nor was I to lose myself in his identity.

Ephesians 5:22-24 says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”


We both had to find out what submission really meant and not just a definition of control that others expressed. Ephesians 5:33 states, “Nevertheless, each individual among you is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.” Wow, that was the missing key. Carol was and is looking for love from me, she needs it. I am looking for and need respect from her. Until that moment we could not pinpoint it. When I love Carol as myself, I put Jesus first in all we do. I put her needs and concerns before my own, I protect her, and I do not throw her under the bus in any situation. I also cover her, even if she slips or falls. I Love Her!!! As I do that, she is willing to let her guard down and let me lead her because she knows that my leader is Jesus Christ. She submits to me because of such. In return, she respects me. Respect is a key need that every man no matter how old or young needs. She submits. I submit to her as well and we sacrifice for one another.

Once done God’s way, submission is a wonderful thing and leads to many blessings and unity. Keep in mind, one must be willing to submit and that submission is earned, not commanded.  Has submitting been an issue for you?

Blessings,

Marcus & Carol

Your Thoughts Define You

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I have often heard people say as a man thinks so is he.  I don’t know about you , but that can mess me up.  I have had some wild thoughts.  If I was everything that I thought, I would be hopeless.  What about the times I was angry with somebody and wanted to SLAP them?  Does that make me a violent man, with no self-control even though I never acted on it?  What about when fear told me I wasn’t good enough but I stepped on its head and showed that with Christ I am more than enough.

So What Is It???
Proverbs 23:7 says “for as he thinks in his heart, so is he…” this is the scripture that is being misquoted.  The key word that is missing is HEART!!!  As he thinks in his heart… this means that he has meditated on this to the point that it is now inside of him and he can now act on it.  This is not a random thought, a thought of anger, or even a tired thought, but one  that has taken root in the inmost parts of the person.


Why is the Heart So Key???
    The heart is key because Jesus said in Matthew 15:19 “for out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man.”  What you let enter into your heart then come out is what makes you who you are; then action and complete belief are the keys.  It gets deep down into the heart.

Never let another person define you by your thoughts or tell you that as you think so you are, or that a thought defines you.  That is a lie from the pits of Hell.  Christ Jesus is who defines you and once you accept Him as Lord and Savior of your live, you become like Him and He lives in you.  You are a living example of Christ.  Not a person that changes at the whim of every little thought.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”

Blessings,

Marcus