Don’t grin and bear it….use it!

“Marriage is an alliance entered into by a man who can’t sleep with the window shut, and a woman who can’t sleep with the window open.” – George Bernard Shaw

As a married couple, we need to learn to live with the differences we each bring into the relationship – backgrounds, personalities, needs, thoughts and the way we see the world. Then we have to navigate our way through work schedules, household responsibilities, and differing opinions on money, sex, friends and family. The very things that first attracted us to each other and brought spice to our relationships can often end up causing frustration and arguments.

But, we don’t just have to grin and bear it – we can learn to make our differences work for good! Consider Proverbs 27:17 – “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”

In what ways can this verse benefit your marriage? Is there an area of your marriage where there is a current clash of differences? How can you use this as an opportunity for growth in your individually and in your marriage?

Be Strong. Act Like Men.

Don’t miss it!

The frazzled innkeeper in Bethlehem wasn’t prepared for the family that knocked on his door. He saw a young pregnant woman and a worried husband, but he told them he didn’t have room. He was too busy. He missed the opportunity. What potential blessing and joy stood at his threshold! Christmas came to him that night but he wasn’t prepared for it.

I’ve missed Christmas a time or two myself because I was too busy, or too stressed, or too short-sighted. There have been Christmases when I had so many “urgent” things going on in my life that I missed out on something truly important. Have you ever “missed” Christmas because you were too busy?

It happens to married couples all the time. Life can be hectic. It takes a lot of hard work to prioritize our lives and keep up with the chaos this time of year. When we add holiday preparations, shopping, and Christmas activities to our already jam-packed schedules, we get overwhelmed. That’s when we’re in danger of leaving the great blessing and joy of Christmas on our doorsteps.

The innkeeper wasn’t the only one to miss that first Christmas. King Herod missed it, too. Not because he was too busy, but because he was too afraid. He worried that someone would take over his throne. In his quest to control that fear, he squandered the wonder and blessing of the arrival of “Emmanuel,” God with us!

I talk to married couples all the time who are just as fearful about losing control. They stress about submitting their own agendas to each other. They are hesitant to give their lives to someone else. How many arguments in your home have to do with control? Couples argue because neither is willing to submit their will to another. The answer to this dilemma is simple: you both must submit to God’s will, which is always good and right.

A blessed marriage is one that surrenders to God every day, acknowledging that he is in control over their lives. Don’t miss Christmas because you fear relinquishing control of your life to God—or to your spouse. The religious leaders of the day also missed out on the blessing of the first Christmas. They had spent their lives anticipating the arrival of the Messiah. But they didn’t recognize him in the helpless child in the manger. They were so focused on their expectations of the future they didn’t recognize his coming in the present.

We’ve known married couples who are always looking for fulfillment in the future. As a result, they fail to enjoy their lives and families today. Life is not about yesterday or tomorrow. It is about today. Love God with all your heart today. Love the people around you today. Life is the quality of your daily existence. It revolves around the loving relationships you have made a priority. Don’t miss Christmas because you are too busy. Don’t miss Christmas because you are too fearful. Don’t miss Christmas because you are too focused on tomorrow. Enjoy this season today. Right now. Enjoy it with your spouse, your family, and your loved ones.

Emmanuel is here. God is with us. We dare not miss out on the wonder and blessing He brings today and every day.

When the sun goes down…

“Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” – Ephesians 4:26-27

I would like to highlight the most important word in this verse…

YOU

I’d read this verse many times.  I believe I even started an argument one time with my wife about how we shouldn’t go to bed angry…that we needed to resolve the issues immediately.  Talk about giving the devil a foothold!

It was a good friend of mine – Michael Driggers that pointed out the purpose of this verse to me.  God is saying to me….to not let the sun go down while I am still angry.  It is my heart.  It is my thoughts.  It is me being challenged.

We have all heard the phrase – let’s sleep on it or maybe we’ll see it differently in the morning light.  It is a sound way to approach things.  Maybe the perspective will change with a little time and rest.  Or maybe – allowing yourself to stop, pray and release the situation to God is the best approach.  Pray humbly.  Pray with best intentions.  Do not allow the devil to have a foothold in your heart.

And do not start an argument with your spouse before bed over not going to bed angry at each other!

Be Strong.  Act Like Men.

Words Matter

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come from your mouths, but only what is helpful for building up others according to their needs, that it may benefit those that listen” – Ephesians 4:29

It is one of my favorite verses.  It is great advice.  And yet – it is a challenge for me at times.

Not in the good times.  Not in the easy times.  Not on my wedding day.  I included this in my written vows to my wife:

“I promise to always speak to your potential, to lift you up…..”

It is the difficult times that I find that challenge my talk.  It is when maybe I am frustrated or not getting my way.  It is when I feel like I have been harmed by words or when I feel the need to defend myself.

We know that it is not right.  We know that it is not loving or respectful.  I wish I could share a foolproof solution for making sure that you speak kind, loving words that build your spouse up.  I don’t.  I simply challenge you to memorize this verse with me.  Let’s place it in our hearts, and maybe our hearts will override our mouths in those difficult moments.

Imagine the change that we can make in our marriages if we can simply control the unwholesome talk coming from our mouths!

Be Strong.  Act Like Men

Praying with our wives

“Whatever you don’t pray about in your life you leave up to chance. And that’s not good enough when it comes to your marriage and family. So there is virtually nothing that you shouldn’t consider praying for and praying about. “

Do you pray with your wife?

It is important as husbands to pray with our wives. It helps solidify the love we have for them. It builds intimacy in the marriage. Skeptical? Let’s check the statistics:

1) About one-third of all marriages between active Christian couples who attend a church at least once a week end in divorce.

2) The divorce rate of active Christian couples who regularly pray together is less than 1 percent.

We don’t have to be Bible scholars. We don’t have to be eloquent. We just need to be sincere and intentional.

Here are a couple ideas of things to pray for with your wife:

Thanks, Praise, and Blessings – Thank God for his unconditional love for the two of you. Thank him for blessing you with your marriage, and your family.

Pray for Today – Ask God to be with you today and ask for His guidance, strength, and protection each day.

Pray for Forgiveness – It is important to ask for forgiveness of each other’s sins. You need to feel open and honest as you bring your concerns to the Lord. Ask that any conflict between you and your husband is reconciled.

Pray for Your Marriage – Ask God for peace and harmony in your marriage. Ask for oneness that becomes stronger each day. Pray that each of you will make your marriage a priority and stay free from conflict and strife.

Pray for your Wife – Pray that you will love your wife, cherish her, and take care of her needs above your own. Ask that God fulfils the desires in her heart and guides as she pursues her interests. Pray for your wife’s emotions and ask for God to protect your wife from thoughts that make her feel depressed, sad, angry, resentful, anxious, or that would fill her with self-doubt. Ask God to help her grow as a wife and mother in a way that brings her more joy and fulfillment.

Pray for Your Children – Ask God to watch over your children and keep your relationship with them strong and loving. Ask God to keep them out of harm’s way and bring Godly people into their lives. Ask that God help you be an example of wisdom, patience, and love to them. Ask God to help you make your family your top priority.

Be Strong. Pray Like A Man.

Let God be God

I enjoy backpacking. I’ve got a few hundred miles under my boots; however that does not qualify me as an expert backpacker. But I know what to do when a storm approaches. I seek shelter in a place that is unaffected by the storm.

In seeking God, you do the same. You focus on “a cut above” any storm life may bring. Like Job, you find peace in the pain. Like Job, you cover your mouth and be still. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” A command with a promise. Be still. Cover your mouth. Bend your knees. And, as a result, you will know that I am God.

Be still. Be quiet. Be open and willing. Be Strong. Act like Men. And let God be God.

Great Quote –

“The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or synagogue. It’s a choice you make – not just on your wedding day, but over and over again – and that choice is reflected in the way you treat your husband or wife.”

– Barbara De Angelis

Gardening Advice

It’s spring time. It’s time to start planning the garden. Planting beds need to be prepared. Seed needs to be purchased. It takes purpose and preparation to grow a successful garden.

I love growing a garden. I always enjoy taking a simple seed, planting it and nurturing it. It is amazing to have a single seed produce so many vegetables. Your wife’s heart is like soil in a garden. Nurture it every day with loving words and actions, or it will not produce very much in return.

PS – if you want to reap tomatoes, then you don’t plant corn.

Be Strong. Act Like Men.

Unpopular Opinions

Mike and Mike on ESPN where having people call in with unpopular opinions this week. It covered all sorts of things….sport, politics, etc. I thought it would be fun to offer an unpopular opinion about marriage.

Unpopular opinion #1: Our wives should be submitting themselves to their husbands.

It says so: “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:22)

How’s that working in your marriage? Let’s break it down…..

Does it bother your wife that God is the head of Christ? Probably not

Does it bother her that Christ is the head of man? No, in fact, she probably loves it and prays it will be more realized every day.

Does it bother your wife that the man is the head of a woman? Most likely. Of course it bothers her. But why? I imagine it is partially the culture that says a woman is not to be controlled by any man – girl power! I imagine that it is partly her sinful nature. Pray about those, but let’s focus on ourselves and the importance of our submission and attitude of servant leadership that will ultimately lead to our wives submission.

God has given us authority over our wives; however how many times do we take that responsibility and misuse it? We find it easy to point out that “the man is the head of the woman” while ignoring the first part of that verse. “Christ is the head of every man.”

Unpopular opinion #2: If you are not submitting yourselves to God; then you are acting worse than a wife that is not submitting herself to you.

Headship in your marriage is about order not who is better or more important. The husband is the head of the wife in his family and he has the responsibility of guiding his family to a closer relationship with the Lord. Headship is not about having the upper hand nor does it mean that your wife has no rights or say in the marriage. Take a few minutes in Ephesians 5…and God will make it abundantly clear about His commands to the husband.

Submit yourself in your relationship with God with all your heart. Through your leadership – she will see that you are allowing yourself to be lead by God. It will be easier for her to follow your lead.

Be Strong. Submit Like Men.

Marriage & Sacrifices

Hi Everyone.  It has been two months.  It was not a planned break.  Life….work, family, work, marriage, work.  I think you see the issue…work!  It is easy to get away from the things that are important.  It becomes too easy to make sacrifices in the wrong areas.

Marriage requires sacrifice…

When you were single – did you think marriage would be like having a roommate?  I mean after all how different could it be.  After you get married you begin to realize what “one flesh” means.

In marriage, every decision the wife makes affects her husband and vice versa. Decisions are no longer made for yourself but for the whole family, including the children. Your life is no longer your own, and sometimes what we want for ourselves isn’t the best for the family. Sacrifices must be made. Ephesians teaches both husband and wife are held responsible to give of themselves.

To the wife, Paul says:

Wives, submit to you own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

It isn’t easy to defer to your husband when you don’t agree with him. So marry someone you can trust with your life. Picture the guy you’re dating right now—can you trust him so much that you could submit to him in everything? It’s kind of scary, isn’t it?

This matter of sacrifice also applies to the husband. To him, Paul says:

Husband, love you wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 4:25)

Paul is explaining that Christ loved the church so much He sacrificed Himself by dying on a cross, giving up His innocent life so the church could benefit. This is how great the love should be from a husband to his wife.

Are you willing and able to make the sacrifices needed to make your marriage the marriage that God intends it to be?

Be Strong.  Act Like Men.