Thursday, July 5, 2018

After the Dust Clears...

I know that it's been a while and that I said I wouldn't be gone this long last time. Well life has just taken over. El and I finished and published another book, After the Dust Clears... a story about our real life battle and victory over infidelity. If you haven't read it yet, it's available on Amazon in digital and paperback. The book comes directly from the pages of our journals that we kept during that tumultuous time. I'm currently on my 4th book which I hope will be out next year. 

El and I have been busy and when we're not busy, we're spending quality time together. Our plan is to do better with the blog and videos. I just wanted to drop a quick note and let you know what's been going on. Until next time. 


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Where have we been?

Photo courtesy of Keith Jefferson
I know it's been a while since you've heard from us. Well we've been a little busy, to say the least. El and I published our first book entitled, Intimacy: Growing closer every day. It's a couple's devotional to oneness. We are in the process of providing a video for every session and they will be released every Sunday on our YouTube Channel (GUMM Marriage Ministry). There are currently 6 sessions available at this time. Go check them out! (We're a little behind).

We are currently working on our second book which we hope to release later this fall/winter. We have a few events coming up; one of which is our yearly conference on October 7, 2017. You can RSVP now. It's free!

El and I have been enjoying life to fullest and experiencing true love in its rarest form. We are still mentoring couples and teaching marriage classes every Sunday. We are working several projects for this upcoming year so stay tuned. 

I hope we won't stay away so long next time. Let us know if you would like us to discuss any topics. 

Until next time,
Love El & Zina 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

My first ministry...

Photo courtesy of Keith Jefferson
Let me start by saying...I love being married! I have wanted to be a wife for as long as I can remember. I knew the kind of wife I would be long before I was married. Even though I never saw a good example of marriage, I knew how I wanted my marriage to be. I knew that I would put my husband first after God because my husband would be my first ministry. I also knew that I wanted to be a good homemaker and make my husband feel comfortable after a long day of work.

My marriage should represent God's love for the church. Some people may never physically read a Bible; however, they will read my marriage. So when others look at my marriage, they need to see a good representation of God's love for the church. If my ministry at home is weak, then my ministry outside the home will be weak also. How can I tell someone else about God when the life I live as a spouse doesn't represent Christ. That doesn't mean that my marriage will be perfect, but it should exemplify a Christian marriage of love, kindness, forgiveness, and the other Fruit of the Spirit.  
Photo courtesy of Keith Jefferson

What does a marriage look like when your spouse is your first ministry? 
1. You will follow God as you build a relationship with Christ by reading the Word and praying everyday. You will apply those things you learn from reading God's Word.
2. Make your spouse your first making your marriage intentional. Spend time with your spouse daily by talking and listening to each other. Check in with your spouse. Check with your spouse before you make any decisions. Keep your spouse informed.
3. Love and respect your spouse as Christ loves the church and the church reveres Christ. Speak kindly and look for ways to serve your spouse.
4. Pray for your spouse and for your marriage. Ask God to make your marriage stronger and better. Take your issues to God instead of gossiping about them. Ask God to make your spouse the spouse you need and to keep temptations away from your marriage.
5. Pray for yourself. Ask God to make you the spouse you need to be for your husband/wife. 
Photo courtesy of Keith Jefferson

Your first ministry should be your spouse... not the church, the ministry you serve in at church, your children, your parents, or anyone/anything else. Having a relationship with God does not mean that you neglect your spouse while you serve the church. Make your marriage a priority. 1 Peter 3. Your marriage will be blessed and your spouse will appreciate it. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

What we did to get to 20!

Photo by Keith Jefferson
El and I just celebrated 20 years of marriage... (pause). That's no small feat especially in a day and time when marriages are not surviving past 3 years. And those that do make it past the 7 year itch, are not thriving; they are just living as roommates. El and I are often asked what we are doing to have this type of relationship. The answer is simple (or maybe not), we work at it! And by work - I mean we're kind to one another. We communicate throughout the day. We communicate when we get home from work. We spend time together. Real Time. Not just a couple of hours on Saturday or Sunday. But we spend 1-2 hours a night (every night) connecting whether it's watching our favorite TV shows or talking. And we are giving each other our full attention. We recently started working out together in the mornings before work. We have a standing date night every week and sometimes we go out 2 more times outside of our date night. We're thoughtful toward each other, meaning we think about each other during the day and may sometimes buy a small gift (i.e. card, candy) to show our thoughtfulness. We also show thoughtfulness in our kind words toward one another. We're intimate with each other by kissing and touching. We keep each other informed of things going on in our lives. We put God first by doing a devotion every morning and discussing it. So we aren't doing anything out of the ordinary or so we thought.

However, we've come to find out that most couples are not doing
Photo by Keith Jefferson
these things in their marriage. They aren't having honest communication. They aren't spending real time together. They aren't going on a date every week. They aren't thoughtful toward one another. They aren't intimate by kissing and touching. They don't keep each other informed of their whereabouts or whatever. They aren't spending time with God and they certainly aren't discussing God's Word together. The question is why? Why does this seem so hard to do? Isn't your marriage important enough to put in the work? Don't you love your spouse enough to talk to them and spend time with them? Maybe so, but maybe you love yourself more. Maybe what you want is far more important than what your spouse wants. Maybe you've already done all of this and got nothing in return on your investment. Maybe there are past hurts and you feel your spouse doesn't deserve it. Maybe ...I could go on and on. But the final analysis comes down to this -- do you want a great marriage or do you want a roommate? Does your marriage reflect God's love for the church? And when others see you, do they see a person with great joy which stems from a great marriage? Or do they see a bitter person not able to move on from past hurts? Are you driving people toward God or away from His Kingdom?

I'll be the first to admit, I didn't think the work was worth it. But I see the fruits of our labor. I've seen the fruits of our labor for some time now and I don't ever want to go back to being roommates. I love the intimacy and the feeling of overwhelming love I get being with El. However, I know in order for us to stay in this space, we have to continue to work at it. It's like planting a rose bush, cultivating it, and watching it bloom into something beautiful. Then forget about it for a couple of weeks and expect it to continue blossoming. Without the continued pruning and cultivating, your roses will die. The same is with a marriage...without the continued pruning and cultivating, it will die.
Photo by Keith Jefferson

El and I are on auto pilot now... we wake up, spend time with God, workout, communicate, share intimacy, spend time together, date, pray, sleep, wake up and repeat. Every day the same (not boring) except when we throw in a small token of thoughtfulness like a card, flowers, or a candlelight dinner. But for the most part, we are in the routine of making our marriage work for us. We made it to 20 years and we're not just surviving, we're thriving! We're cultivating our marriage so it continues to blossom!