Marriage, Postmarital

Communication is More Than Just Words

In our book, Called Together, we have a premarital section on communication.  It’s the longest chapter in the book.  Within those pages there is a quote from  author Norm Wright that goes like this, “Communication is: 7 percent words (content), 38 percent attitude (tone of voice) and 55 percent body language.”  Believe me, your children know to respond quickly when they hear their first, middle and last name at heightened volume while you are moving toward them with something in hand.  They understand these percentages!

In a marriage, we can say the right words and a totally different message is received.  For example, say your wife beats you home from work and she begins thinking about how she has missed you and in her mind begins to formulate her greeting to you.  She awaits full of anticipation.  But you had a pretty rough day and have not completely made the transition from foreman to husband as yet.  You walk in the door with your (proverbial) foreman hat still on as your wife moves toward you, smiling and saying how nice it is to see you.  She goes on to say that see missed you and she loves you.   To all of this you say, “Yeah, yeah, I love you too, where’s the mail?”  Did your wife catch or even hear those “I love you “ words tucked in the middle of that sentence?  I doubt it.  The next time you’re tempted to respond glibly, stop what you are doing, look at your spouse, listen to him or her and then respond in kind with tone of voice and body language all adding to the message.

Marriage, Postmarital

I Slept but my Heart was Awake

This phrase grabbed me as I was reading the amazing book titled Song Of Songs, “I slept but my heart was awake.”  (If you’re unfamiliar with this book, you’ll find it in the middle of your Bible.)  Beautiful thought isn’t it?  Our God, the God of marriage, of relationship between a man and a woman, the Creator of sexuality wrote this.  This awesome book reads like a sensual novel; a love story like no other.  Its purity and its prose are unashamedly open and passionate about two lovers.  Can you feel the anticipation in this verse – physically asleep, but emotionally awake?  Solomon then writes, “Listen! My lover is knocking…” Ah, the answer to the much-anticipated arrival.

Some time ago, I was returning from an extended international trip away from my wife who was now picking me up at the airport.  I jumped in the car as she retrieved me from the curb and we were like two giddy kids trying to catch up for lost time together.  Mary was so excited that she drove right through a stop sign and then stopped at a green light.  We just laughed at ourselves and enjoyed the moment.  Every night while gone from our bed we were thinking about and anticipating the return, our hearts were awake…waiting…listening…watching for the long-awaited “knock.”  Is your heart “awake” toward your lover?

Encouragement, Leadership, Marriage, Postmarital

Balancing Life’s Priorities III

There are some concluding areas of life’s priorities that I would like to discuss.  We’ve talked about loving God first, along with loving our spouse and ourselves.  Then we looked at how Jesus maintained His priorities and finally I think it’s vital for us to “check our gauges.”  Years ago cars were made with actual gauges on their dashboards.  These gauges read the oil pressure, the temperature, the vacuum and the amps.  The driver was the only computer on board and monitoring all the gauges was of utmost importance.  As higher demands are placed on marriages and families, our gauges will be indicators of our operating condition.  We simply cannot run on empty.  We must have times of replenishment and disconnection.  The following is a list of areas to look at within your own life, marriage and family in maintaining life’s priorities:

1.  Are you continually serving outside your gift areas?  Paul told Timothy to “Watch your life…closely…”  (I Timothy 4:16)

2.  Pace yourself.  No one can maintain a full-time sprint.

3.  Learn to say “no.” God is not impressed when you say yes to something He has not told you to do or be involved with.

4.  Watch your balance of: work, rest, play and worship.

5.  Take your annual vacation days along with your weekly Sabbath.

6.  Maintain an interest in something fun where you disconnect and have down time.

7.  Keep reading; keep studying; keep learning in order to keep growing.

8.  Learn to share deeply and pray intimately with your spouse and do not avoid counsel when needed.

9.  Maintain dates with your spouse and children.

10. Evaluate.  Take time to evaluate your marriage, family, finances, work, exercise, down time – life as you know it.

Encouragement, Leadership, Marriage, Postmarital, Premarital

Balancing Life’s Priorities in Our Marriage II

Life is busy and families have every hour of every day filled with many good things.  As we love God first, there must be a sense of His Lordship within our daily schedules.  How do we know we are to be doing all the things that our work places, our children’s schools, our local municipalities and our local churches require of us?  How did Jesus know what to prioritize with only three and one half years to accomplish His Father’s mission for Him?  Let me pass on to you a few secrets from the life of Jesus in balancing life’s many priorities.

First, Jesus knew who He was and what He was called to.  (John 8: 12-14))  Second, He heard and obeyed His Father’s voice.  (John 8: 28-29)  Third, He rested, took breaks and had fun.  (Matthew 13:1; Mark 1:35; John 2:1-2)  And lastly, He never lost His compassion for mankind.  (Mark 9: 35-36)  Meditate on the above scriptures and ask your heavenly Father how to maintain a similar balance in your life and marriage.