Marriage, Postmarital

Deception in Marriage II

After an unsuspecting wife found a small piece of paper with the name “Mary Lou” on it, she became angry.  Hitting her husband over the head with a frying pan he asked, “What was that for?”  His wife replied, “I found this paper with the name Mary Lou on it in your pants pocket this morning while doing the wash.  What do you have to say for yourself?”   Quickly her husband said, “Oh, I was at the race track last week and that was the name of the horse I bet on.”  To her embarrassment his wife apologized for jumping to conclusions and not trusting her husband.  About a week later she found her husband sitting at the computer and whaled him once again, but this time with a cast iron skillet knocking him out cold. When he became conscious he asked, “AND WHAT WAS THAT FOR THIS TIME?”  His wife with fire in her eyes said, “Your horse called!”

Jeremiah wrote that…  “The heart is deceitful above all things…who can understand it?”  Then God said, “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind…”  (Jeremiah 17: 9, 10)  We are told that people lie so often today that they have trouble differentiating between a lie and the truth.  Jeremiah tells us that our hearts are deceitful in their sinful condition, but that God takes the time to personally check our heart and examine our mind.  If He sat down with you today, would He locate any deceitfulness?  What’s at stake – only your character, your integrity, your word, your reputation and your legacy?  A lie to your spouse or anyone else takes seconds to produce, but it could take much longer to straighten out down the road.  The next time you are not completely honest try this:  As soon as the Holy Spirit reveals to you the deception, apologize and straighten it out right then and there, don’t wait.  You won’t regret it.  The slight and brief embarrassment is worth gaining the long term effects of speaking the truth.

Leadership, Marriage, Postmarital

Deception in Marriage

Is there room for any form of deception in marriage…lying?  Can we keep some information from our life mate about ourselves, about them or about some other important issue in life?  Do all of us have secrets that no one else knows?  For what reason would we hide something from our mates?  Perhaps we feel that it would be too hurtful to them and there is nothing to be gained by them knowing.  Yes, I suppose there are times when we do not reveal all, but the process of how one makes that decision is perhaps the most important piece.  Do we withhold out of protection and love or out of deception submersed in pride and fear?

One day I was with a friend who spoke a critical word toward my wife.  I was stunned.  While he saw his observation as accurate, I knew that I would never speak these words to my wife; there would be no redemptive factor.  On the other hand, to withhold because we failed in sin is a cover-up.  The protection is of our own pride, fear, and lack of full repentance to be completely honest with our God and then our spouse (Psalm 59:12).  Where there is cover-up, mark my word, there will eventually be exposure.  At that point, the issue will be far greater in impact and devastation to your oneness.  Hosea wrote that if we would sow righteousness we would reap unfailing love and then this verse followed, “But, you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception on your own strength…” (Hosea 10: 11, 12).  If there is an ongoing deception you live with, I would encourage you to speak to God about it and then ask Him for the process of how to confess to your mate and trust Him for a deeper marriage relationship void of secrets.

Marriage, Postmarital, Premarital

Marriage and Selfish Ambition

When two individuals say “I do” and start the process of becoming one, a battle begins.  It’s a battle to save individuality, self-identity and pride.  The latter goes away with the most difficulty.  After many years of marriage and marriage counseling, I have come to the belief that most marriage issues are not really marriage issues at all.  By that I mean the marriage is not the issue, the individual is.  We bring our assumptions and expectations, our individual desires and dreams, our needs and wants into this relationship with barely a thought of the needs and desires of another.  Do you remember when you first discovered that this person whom you chose to spend the rest of your life with cannot meet your needs?  Shocking.  Typically, we then force our way and demand our needs to be met.  We fight and argue, push and pull, scream threats and walk out, but nothing changes.

Throughout all of this we hear a quiet voice coming from our spirit that says, “It’s you who needs to change, not her/him.”   Two becoming one can bring the worst out of us and He uses the person that we are madly in love with to do it.  Since we don’t like seeing our worst, we demand change of our mate –  a selfish move on our part.  Immaturity always wants its needs met, while maturity desires to meet the needs of the other.  Listen to these words of wisdom, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others (your spouse) better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others (your spouse).”  (Philippians 2: 3, 4)  Now there’s a great idea.

Encouragement, Marriage, Postmarital

Marriage: Is it to Make You More Holy or Happy?

Someone once said that a man in love is incomplete until he has married; then he’s finished.  I’m not sure that’s true, but I do know marriage can bring the best or the worst out of us.  Author Gary Thomas says that perhaps the reason God created marriage was to make us more like Him, a kind of iron sharpening iron thing.  He poses the question, “What if marriage is to make us more holy rather than happy?”  Fair question, I’m thinking.  I ‘m pretty sure that after 38 years I am holier and happier due to the woman of God I am committed to.  Truthfully, I know people like my wife more than me and I understand why.  Before you go on feeling all sorry for me, you should know that I agree with them.  I try to be nice, but she’s just nicer.  I try to be giving, but she forever out-gives me.  She’s older than me (At this point, she would require me to add, “By seven months.”), but looks younger than me.  She’s always been more polite and truly more forgiving of people.  I can write people off more easily and be less patient.  I could go on…

Marriage is not man’s idea.  Most religions of the world and cultures marry.  Marriage predates Christianity by a few years; it’s a creation act of God.  God created a man, Adam.  Adam found no partner among the animal kingdom, not even the ape – too hairy and those arms hanging down to the ground, yikes!  He then “fashioned” Eve from Adam’s side, she was not made from the dirt, but from a rib.  When Adam woke up from anesthesia, the scriptures say that Eve, the first woman, was brought to the first man, naked and unashamed.  Adam’s first words were, “This is definitely not one of those weird, scaly, hairy and smelly animals.  This is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bones…wo-man!”  (My paraphrase)  After this initial wide-eyed excitement, Adam and Eve began to discover differences in thought, word and deed.

I can only imagine those first questions: “Eve, why does it take you so long to get ready to go to the garden, make-up will not even be invented for thousands of years?”  Or, “Adam, seriously, do you have to make those noises at the dinner table as well?”  Maybe I agree with Gary Thomas, marriage is bound to help make us more holy, but let’s have fun and be happy along the way.

Encouragement, Marriage, Postmarital, Premarital

Thankfulness in Our Marriage

When is the last time you thanked your wife for doing the laundry or your husband for washing the car?  By the way, have you spoken a word of thanks to your husband for running the vacuum cleaner or your wife for balancing the checkbook?  One day I was driving home from my office and the Lord reminded me of I Timothy 6: 6, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”  When discontent surfaces in our spirit toward our spouse, we can quickly lose thankfulness.  We focus on all the things our spouse is not doing or expectations that are unmet rather than focusing on all the good things they are accomplishing.  Further, until we reach contentment in our own life, we’ll experience discontent creeping in toward others.

Why do we measure personal contentment by what we expect from others?  For example, I have heard parents say, “I’ll be content when this kid gets out of diapers or when he goes to school or when she graduates or…”  When I was reminded of that verse in I Timothy on my drive home, I sensed that God was saying, “Contentment is NOW, not WHEN _________.”  (You can fill in the blank.)  If I am thankful for my wife and the many things she does to care for our marriage now, then I will not waste time in discontent and thanklessness, both of which are extremely unproductive.  Thankfulness in our marriages is contagious, especially when expressed for the many daily routine tasks.