Marriage, Postmarital

Balancing Life’s Priorities in Our Marriage

What are your first five life priorities?  What or who do you put first in your life?  Matthew 22:36-40 says that we are to put God first, but some days it’s ourselves and other days it’s our children and still others it’s our work place.  Does God get your leftovers at times?  At a certain point in our marriage, Mary and I realized that both God and our spouse couldn’t keep receiving our leftovers at the end of the day.  But where do we place our spouse and our self within the first five priorities of life?

Matthew 22 says to love God first.  Okay, got that.  Then, you are to love your neighbor as yourself.  Who is our closest neighbor?  Next to God is family and the closest relationship within family is your spouse.  Where then does self fit into this list of priorities?  There is no denying that our needs are important to us.  There is no denying that we like our teeth brushed and our hair combed, looking as good as we can before facing our day.  And there is no denying that in order to love others as our self, we need to have an appropriate self-love.   It is our conclusion that we need to place the priority of loving self after loving our spouse, but at the same priority level.   …”He who loves his wife loves himself.”  (Eph. 5: 28b)

We’ll continue our look at priorities next week.

Marriage, Postmarital, Premarital

Where Does Spousal Abuse Originate From?

Going back to Ephesians five, there is another verse that is advantageous for us to look at.  From last week we remember verse 28, “And that is how husbands ought to love their wives.  They’re really doing themselves a favor – since they’re already one in marriage.”  Another version states it this way, …”husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies.”  The “why” in this statement is answered when the scripture reveals that a man actually loves himself when he loves his wife who he is one with.  In other words, to put your wife down is to put yourself down.  To speak negative of yourself is to speak negative of your husband because you are one.  To harm your spouse in any way is to harm yourself.

Looking at verse 29 of Ephesians 5: “No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it, just as Christ cares for his body, which is the church.”  Where does spousal abuse come from?  Through divine inspiration, Paul the Apostle reveals that it comes from hating yourself.  Out of self-hate you abuse your wife or your husband.  How do we receive healing from self-hate?  Receive the totally consuming, perfect, forgiving and magnanimous love that Jesus has for you!  To go from self-hate to an appropriate self-love can only occur through the transforming power of the love of God’s Son.

Marriage, Postmarital

Husbands, Go All Out in Your Love for Your Wives

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church – a love marked by giving, not getting.  Christ’s love makes the church whole.  His words evoke her beauty.  Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness.  And that is how husbands ought to love their wives.  They’re really doing themselves a favor – since they’re already one in marriage.   Ephesians 5:25-28 The Message

I love this version of this text.  As Jesus cares for His church, so a husband is to care for the soul of his wife.  For obvious reasons, some men do not see this as their role or have no idea of what it means.  Perhaps as a husband you think it’s God’s job or your wife’s best friend’s role.  It’s not, it is your role and Jesus will give you His heart to love by giving; to draw out her beauty; to bring the best out of her and to see her become dazzling and radiant with holiness.  Read the above paragraph once again in order to be “doing [yourself] a favor” since you are one.  Ask the Author of marriage for a step to take today in order to go all out in your love for your wife.

Leadership, Marriage, Postmarital, Premarital, Singles

Saying,“I do,” What Happens at a Wedding

The mystery of two becoming one begins with a confession of two simple words, “I do.”  After almost 38 years of marriage, Mary and I “still do.”  This past Easter Sunday I watched as my mother and father-in-law held hands to pray over their meal together.  After 71 years of marriage, they “still do.”  Little did we understand those two, almost insignificant, words at our marriage ceremony, but here’s a bit of insight into what they actually mean or will mean when you speak them.

Prior to the wedding ceremony, both the man and the woman are under the authority of another(s) – their parents.  When saying, “I do,” there is an exchange of authority in order to leave and cleave.  The father and mother give their daughter away and there is a name change.  There is an exchange of possessions.  What is his is now also hers and what is hers becomes his.  There is a releasing of singleness so that in mind, body, soul and spirit two become one.  All past dating relationships are left in order to cling to this one and only this one.  There is a new sense of responsibility for another.  There is a new sense of submission and giving of oneself for another.  Two now embrace all expenses and debt brought into the marriage. There are many additional family and friend relationships taken on.  Finally, while perhaps not realized at the time, two very different people will grow and change over the course of time as they live life and walk out those two simple words, “I do.”

Why don’t you send your spouse a card today and let them know you “still do.”

Marriage, Postmarital

Vows: For Better or for Worse

Have you been the “better” or the “worse” in your marriage?  Seriously, marriages must be strong enough to make it through the good and the bad in life, along with the good and bad in us.  In God’s divine wisdom, He gave us someone who could be strong when we are weak.  For me, He gave the nicer, the better and younger looking, the more generous, the smarter and the one who could find stuff.  Over the years, He also gives the grace so that the worse is not so bad with my mate by my side and the better is far better celebrated with the two of us.

But here’s the bigger deal:  Are you becoming the better?  Are you becoming stronger where you were weak?  Are you pursuing wholeness so that you can become what your life mate is in need of?  Are you prioritizing your spouse over your personal goals, desires and interests so that you can honor the one God gave you as a life partner?  The act of marriage allows for two individuals with two individual wills to grow up together and mature into oneness – a oneness that reflects Christ to one another and those around us.  Author Gary Thomas says that we are one another’s mirrors.  What are you reflecting back to your spouse, better or worse?  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others [your spouse]. Philippians 2:4