Encouragement, Marriage, Postmarital, Premarital, Singles

The Ten Most Important Lessons after 37 Years of Marriage

Number Two: Marriage is NOT about me

Do you know what the number one break-up of marriage is?  I do not believe it’s finances, sex, communication or even incompatibility (whatever that is).  I have come to believe that the number one break-up of marriage is selfishness.  Selfishness is at the core of the fall of man; it is at the core of each of us from infancy.  We want what we want and our culture reinforces that we can have it.  But marriage is not a once and done decision to get what we want.  It is not like working toward a college degree that once all assignments are handed in and tests passed, we’ve completed it and we’re finished.  Someone has said that marriage is like entering kindergarten; it’s the beginning.  When we enter kindergarten we soon discover that we are not the center of the universe and we do not get our needs met first.  We must learn to share, be kind to others and cooperate with the educational program or we will never learn a thing.

I have seen guys take better care of their cars than their wife.  I have observed women who bend over backwards to accommodate and care for their children, while clearly delivering a message to their husbands that they are of lesser priority than the children.  Philippians 2:3 & 4 states, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but 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.”  It literally means to serve another or put their needs before your own.  Marriage is not about having your needs met, however; it is about meeting the needs of another, your spouse.  Can you imagine a relationship where both husband and wife are putting God first and then placing their spouse second as a life priority? That kind of marriage can begin today with you.

Encouragement, Marriage, Postmarital, Premarital

The Ten Most Important Lessons after 37 Years of Marriage

The next ten weeks will include a series on our evaluation of marriage after 37 years of saying, “I still do.”   This is not simply reflection, but key ingredients that we feel are non-negotiable for the most amazing future.  While they are simple and not new revelation, the question will continually be, “Are we walking in them?”

Number One: Put God First

Jesus in Matthew 22: 36-39 told us to love God first and then love our neighbor as ourselves.  How do we love a neighbor, a spouse, a child or a friend without first knowing and receiving God’s love for ourselves?  When we know His love, He becomes our identity, our esteem, then and only then can we love others as we love ourselves.  Domestic violence is the number one crime against the family today.  How can one who has vowed to love as Christ loves His church possibly hit, harm or abuse their spouse in any way?  The answer is through self-hate.  Jail cells are full of self-haters and marriages are inundated with those who cannot love their spouse because they do not know and have not received a revelation of God’s love for themselves.

Before loving your spouse, before loving your children, your ministry and your job we need to love God and make Him Lord of our lives.  Marriage issues are individual issues.  As we love God first and allow Him to provide ongoing healing in our lives, we will at the same time discover ongoing healing in our marriage.  This relationship with God being our number one priority makes Him the bonding agent to your relationship.  Men, if you seriously desire to walk in this truth, your wife will become more secure, more trusting and more joyful with you as her leader.  Ladies, if you place God first, your husband will become more attracted, more understanding, more content and more open to you and to your wisdom.

Marriage, Postmarital, Premarital, Singles

Marriage Similarities vs. Marriage Differences

Remember when you were dating your spouse and you just knew that you had all things in common?  You found so many similar interests; so many shared ways of doing life.  Then you got married.  Soon you began to discover how different you were from the one you were convinced was just like you.  It was the similarities that brought you together and then, at that point, many couples are deceived into thinking that it is the dissimilarities or differences that begin to tear them apart.  Actually, the opposite is true.

It is the dissimilarities that once embraced actually become your strengths.  You begin to discover that your spouse is different, but in a way that adds to who you are rather than detracting from who you are.  Their strength may even be your weakness while your strengths help to complete them.   Two persons becoming one who are not the same or similar in all things makes for a stronger, healthier and more balanced union.  My wife will often see things a bit different from how I do and I need that view, as she needs mine.  Together, embracing the God-given differences, we are one powerful force.

Marriage, Postmarital

Husbands Caring for the Soul of Their Wives through Love II

Does caring for the soul of your life mate sound too intense or maybe too, I don’t know… God like?  Do you think this is only God’s job or your pastor’s mission?  It would be like saying, “I’ll care for my children, but when it comes to their education my only job is to get them to the school bus.”  Is loving your wife connected in any way to your wife’s emotional health?  If a man cannot identify his own emotional needs, how can he identify his wife’s?  (That’s a legitimate question.)  What is an emotional need anyway?

As men, we want to go to a tangible numbering scale or to the provide side of work and a pay check, but these do not touch her emotional needs.  We think if we have a good 401K account and a plan for retirement, we’ve done our job.  In his book, Tender Warrior, Stu Weber writes, “As men we so often misplace our vision.  We focus myopically on houses and cars and stock portfolios and bank accounts and piling up stuff.  We revert to the things we can see, when in fact it is the unseen world…where we ought to be majoring in our provision.”   It is the “unseen world” of relational needs.  Ask your wife the question, “What are your top five emotional needs?”  Then ask yourself how you are caring for her soul to help meet those needs.