Encouragement, Marriage, Postmarital

Is it my Job to Change my Spouse?

Should it ever be your goal to change your spouse?  Most of us are married long enough to realize that my weaknesses are often my spouse’s strengths and my spouse’s weaknesses are often my strengths.  If that’s the case, why do we feel it’s necessary to make our spouse like us?  The truth is, you are in a partnership with your heavenly Father to bring a revelation of His love to your spouse.  It is that love that will actually bring about the necessary changes.   Have you ever heard someone say, “I just loved him through it?”   That phrase is both a confession (I can’t change him so I simply chose to love him.) and an action statement (To love is never a form of inaction.).

We marry because we love, but then we begin to realize a love deficit in our life or the life of our spouse.  An unhealthy remedy for this deficit becomes crossing the line into trying to change our spouse in an effort to receive more love.  If you are making frequent demands of your spouse – you have a love deficit.  If you are constantly pushing your spouse to change something – you have a love deficit.  If you find yourself frequently comparing your spouse with others – you have a love deficit.  If you find yourself angry with your spouse a lot of the time – you have a love deficit.  And if your spouse feels as though they cannot please you – you have a love deficit.  Take a moment to ask your heavenly Father for a revelation of His love and seek first His kingdom, as He will add these things (love) to you. (Matthew 6:33)

Leadership, Marriage

Sacrificing Your Marriage and Family for Jesus

My wife and I were happy to be traveling north for the weekend, anticipating a couples’ retreat with complete strangers.  We love the opportunity to meet new people and stay with local church leaders that we have never met and learn from them.  What we “learned” was less than hoped for.  As we sat with this leadership couple they began to take advantage of these “outsiders” and opened up to us about their marriage.  What they revealed was jaw dropping.

It seems that as a pastor his primary goal was to be a “success.”  Success to him was a large church and to grow a large church, he believed, would mean sacrificing his marriage and his family.  “After all,” he reasoned, “Jesus wants us to put Him first and if sacrificing your family to serve Jesus is what one must do to be a successful pastor, then so be it.”  What was left after thirty some years was a broken wife and distant adult children who had no relationship with their dad or their dad’s God.  This leadership couple was now totally separated emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually.  His wife hated her husband’s mistress, the church, and decided she would no longer be a pastor’s wife but a schoolteacher.  They were divorced in every sense of the word, living single under the same roof.  ”He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey with proper respect.  If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church.”  (I Timothy 3: 4,5)  In this New Year, take the time to clearly hear from Jesus what He has called you to sacrifice; your spouse and your children are not one of them.

Encouragement, Leadership, Marriage, Postmarital, Premarital

Silence is Not Always Golden

James tells us that the tongue can be a fire.  He says it can corrupt our whole person.  The tongue can praise or it can curse.   But there is something else it can do – it can be silent.  There are times in marriage when silence is as wrong as speaking curse-filled words.  It is evil when we are avoiding speaking good toward another or we are avoiding communication altogether, causing our spouse to suffer through the awkwardness of silence.   You know in your heart if your silence is meant to be malicious.  It is one thing to retreat and not speak so that healing can take place, but it is another when we selfishly refuse to speak.

I discovered during my pre-engagement years with Mary that she was a communicator; she loved to talk and relate to people.  I, on the other hand, would rather let others do the talking.  After marriage in my immaturity and my selfishness, I discovered that I could use silence to hurt her if I felt wronged.   I knew Mary needed me to talk and if I didn’t respond it would frustrate her.  To grow up and change I had to study her and enter into her world of communication.  I had to discover her frame of reference.  I had to receive the revelation that my silence was selfish manipulation and not godly leadership.  Today we have found that balance of talking and listening and honoring one another in our differences.  And today, at times, I might use as many words as she does.

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

Quick to Listen and Slow to Speak

We are told that we can speak 125 – 150 words a minute, but typically we think around 300 words a minute.  Those numbers themselves provide an inward conflict with the act of listening.  High school and college campus’s run courses on public speaking, but when is the last time you had the opportunity to sign up for a public listening course?  Most of us want to talk and be listened to rather than take the concentration needed to stop and really hear someone.  I heard someone say recently that hearing is a function of the ear, but listening is a function of your will.

When we listen we are exercising an expression of love.  We are saying this person is important enough to me to be listened to.  Proverbs has a way of cutting to the chase when it says, “ He who answers before listening – that is his folly and his shame.”  (Proverbs 18:13)  If we are constantly interrupting our spouse in order to interject our “important” thought, we have stopped listening and are thinking about our reply.  Do you realize people pay counselors $150.00 and more for fifty minutes of their time and feel better when leaving their office?  Some even fall in love with their therapist just because they feel validated and cared for.  What was the therapist’s secret?  He/she listened.  James admonished us to be quick to listen and slow to speak…pretty good advice for 2013.  Try it; you’ll be amazed at the results.

Encouragement, In the news

Gun Control or Heart Control?


Who will take responsibility for the violence in our nations?  Is it the government’s job?  Is it the school’s job?  Is it the video game creators?  Is it the church’s job or the parent’s job?   Do we need more gun control or less?  There are very good arguments on both sides.  Surely an object has no mind, no will of its own and while we may look to our politicians to tighten the law and our police departments to enforce the law, no law will change the condition of the heart of man.  If Adam and Eve lived in a world of perfection and their minds strayed away from God’s direction for them, what could become of us?


Truly the change our nations need is a soul-by-soul “heart control.”  When a heart is submitted and controlled by the Spirit of Christ, the weapons of our warfare radically change.  When a heart is given to God, that heart is under the control of a renewed mind, a mind that thinks the thoughts of God…”we have the mind of Christ.”  (I Cor. 2:16)  Romans reveals to us that, “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life…”  If we live according to our sinful nature, we will have our minds set on what that nature desires.  If we live according to the Holy Spirit within our spirit, we will set our minds upon what the Spirit desires.  As we have opportunity to touch lives in 2013, keep in mind that each of us has the potential of seeing a life radically changed by the Spirit of Christ.  A new believer will experience a renewed mind through Jesus’ process of heart change.