Marriage, Postmarital, Premarital

Acceptance and Marriage Failure

I like to write more about how marriages can succeed rather than how they can fail, but I guess we have to mention the latter at times to maintain a balance.  Author Gary Chapman states that marriages fail because of three main reasons: lack of an intimate relationship with God; lack of an intimate relationship with your mate and a lack of an intimate understanding and acceptance of yourself.  It seems easy to understand number one and number two but, acceptance of yourself?

When we become secure in whose we are and know our significance in our heavenly Father, we can begin to find self-acceptance.  When we know His love and approval of us, we no longer need to demand it from our spouse.  When we have His direction and His mission for our lives, then it is so much easier to discover the same for our marriage.  When we know who we are, we can stop demanding that our needs to be met and in maturity work on meeting the needs of our spouse.  Anxiety can leave our marriage and rest can take up residence.  Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you. (Romans 15:7)

Encouragement, Marriage, Postmarital

I Want A Divorce…From My Children?

My children were beautiful, big and perfect when they were born, but they soon began crying for every little thing.  They were amazing to watch while they were sleeping, so peaceful, but often awoke in the middle of the night demanding to be fed or needing a diaper change or just some loving attention.  As a young parent, I didn’t know how to prepare for their second and third year of life when I thought their job description was to cause parental mental disorder.  Starting school was happy and sad as I watched them carry their first backpacks.  A whole new world of problems surfaced with selfish desires, comparisons, insecurities and inadequacies.  The questions were endless and the needs for more clothes, soccer equipment, extra money for this and that were insatiable.  Middle school and music, friends and styles and first loves were more than one could possibly plan or prepare for.  If all that wasn’t enough, high school came with the battle of the wills, the “why not, everyone else is!” statements,  raised voices, driving lessons, more raised voices, attitudes, incompatibility,  that awful “whatever” word, first jobs, more clothes, more money and more demands.

And, you know what?  Never once did I want to divorce or even separate from my children.  They were my children and I loved them no matter what.  Most days I was extremely proud and some days emotionally spent and discouraged.  There was no plan B, we would make it as a family and I (we)  would raise our children to the best of my (our) ability.  I would do my best to be patient, respond correctly, teach, pray for and with, correct, protect and direct.  Divorce?  Not an option.  I would see them through college and walk them down the aisle.  I would believe in their financial skills even after a terrible mistake.  I would give my life for them.  There was no parenting manual; some issues never resolved; there was always some growing up to do.  There was no calling it quits, never would I lose hope and stop believing for the best.  They were mine and I was responsible, until death do us part.

Marriage, Postmarital

Marriage: A Lifetime Affair

In a matter of days, Mary and I will celebrate 38 years of “holy matrimony.”  Who knew after saying “I do” 38 years ago, today we would be saying, “I still do?”  Who knew we would have three children all through college with two of them happily married?  Who knew that “old love” would be better in so many ways over “young love” and that holding hands (with a growing number of age spots surfacing), kissing and saying “I love you” would still be so delightful?  Who knew that we would frequently enjoy lighter moments and laugh together so much (and that Mary would still laugh at my jokes)?  Who knew that we would write a book together and be working on a second?   Who knew that people would actually read the books?  Who knew that a marriage relationship could progress to such oneness, maintain a deep and growing respect and honor and could still generate the “I missed you” feelings when one of us is away?  Who knew that speaking to God together could generate an intimacy greater than any other life experience?  Who knew that so much of our life mission could possibly be realized in just 38 brief years?  And, who knows how much longer we have the privilege of loving God and loving one another on this earth?

    Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…  Jeremiah 1:5

Children, Encouragement, Leadership, Marriage, Postmarital, Premarital, Singles

The Number One Relationship Inhibitor

A few of years ago, I heard about a study of primary school children.  The study was centered on trying to discover the number one inhibitor to their creativity and eventually to their performance.  I was intrigued as to what these social scientists identified.  While there were many ingredients, there was one area that stood out as the number one killer of creativity and it wasn’t the loss of a parent or the family financial status.  The number one inhibitor was critical judgment.  When words of critical judgment are cast upon another human being, that person begins to suffer a creativity crisis that can lead to an identity crisis.

When a child hears these consistent words and tone of voice or nonverbal looks that say, “We never planned you; you were not wanted; you obviously don’t belong in this family,” they will begin to believe these words.  Their life will be scared and their demeanor, the look on their face or life expectations, will take on this spirit of critical judgment like a cloud hovering over them.

Do you want to “kill” your spouse and end up killing your marriage, then regularly speak words of critical judgment like, “I don’t know why I married a loser like you; of course you’re not ready on time, you never are; could you possibly be any more stupid; you are the world’s worst when it comes to directions; why can’t you get a better job?”  Or, if you want to begin a release of creativity and affirmation in your mate then try speaking words of blessing like, “You’re amazing; you work so hard; you look beautiful or handsome today; I am thrilled to be married to you; I love your hair that way.”  Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.  Proverbs 12:18