Issues of the Day, Marriage, Prayer, Premarital

Money, Values and Major Marriage Differences

images-6Mary was a “spender” and I was a “tight wad.” At least those were our thoughts and to be honest, sometimes our spoken words. If Mary had cash, there was something to purchase. If there was money left over at the end of the month, I thought it was there for only one reason, to save. This is how we operated for years into marriage until one day we discovered a morsel of revelation.

What if we could combine these two areas and have them actually become our strength in marriage rather than a point of contention? Mary is simply great at finding deals and I love to make sure we can save for future purchases of assets. It could be a win/win if we could just get it worked out. Not everything we need to purchase is an asset and Mary loved that form of shopping, e.g., kids cloths, groceries, gifts and home furnishings. I loved to pay extra on our home mortgage and save cash to purchase out next car rather than securing a loan.images-8

Here is the revelation that we discovered and it may serve you also. Mary was more of a “giver” than simply a spender. She seemed to always see the needs of others and wanted to invest a gift or help with a need. On the other hand, I was not being a tight wad as much as I was attempting to “invest” in our future. It wasn’t saving for savings sake, but rather growing our financial wealth. We needed both of these areas united and rather than fighting and arguing we would pray and agree for the purchase of both necessary liabilities and assets.

Encouragement, Marriage, Postmarital, Premarital

Money Was Our Number One Struggle

images-5Early on in our marriage our biggest struggle was about money. Since that time, we have learned this topic is a struggle for most couples. Not to assume that it is only a struggle when there are insufficient funds, but, as we discovered, when there are sufficient funds as well. We went on to ascertain that the differences had to do with two areas. Those two areas were financial values and trust. In other words, we did not have the same beliefs when it came to spending and saving and those differences led to not fully trusting each other. This blog entry is dedicated more to finding those roots versus practical budgeting tips. So, here are some root issues to consider when it comes to financial values and trust:


  1. Do not avoid the money discussion, it will only grow worse. Admit your different views and find the positive in each one.
  2. Realize that each of you has an important piece to the puzzle. One of you can see what the other does not and together you will have a more complete picture.
  3. Find where you agree and start there. While Mary and I did not agree on the grocery budget, we did agree that we needed groceries.
  4. Admit your mistakes in handling money. If you were wrong and purchased a non-budgeted item, admit it and make it right. This will help to rebuild trust.images-3
  5. Get a hold of the big picture first. Where do you desire to go with your financial resources? This will help you find agreement and unity in vision.
  6. Find ways to honor one another in the process. If one of you is better with budgeting and finance, then honor that person by giving them the greater financial responsibility.
  7. Pray together over your finances and listen for God’s direction for your specific needs.
Marriage, Postmarital

Ten Reasons Why I Love Marriage

images-15I love marriage, being married – my marriage. It is unthinkable to be writing that Mary and I are soon married for 41 years and more in love. It is amazing to be at this place, such a good place. I love “old love.” We’re not as fast as we used to be and neither are we as pain-free, but seriously, love that grows old with someone…there’s nothing like it. At this end of the spectrum, I have something to share about marriage and here are a few of those things:

  1. I love that marriage provides a best friend and companion.
  2. I love coming home, after a work trip, to my wife and our familiar surroundings.
  3. I love that marriage forces me to look out for another before myself and teaches me to serve.
  4. I love how marriage deals with my own personal selfishness.
  5. I love how marriage is helping to conform me into a better, more godly person.
  6. I love the agreement that we now find in almost everything.
  7. I love our differences because they complete me.
  8. I love mature love because it stretches me to go deeper with the one God gave to me.
  9. I love that we have faced numerous challenges and become closer through them, especially by praying together.
  10. I love being married to someone who daily chooses us. images-14

I love you, Mary, happy Valentine’s Day!

Encouragement, Leadership

Ten Things I Learned from a Narcissistic Coworker

imagesA number of decades ago in my more youthful leadership years, I had a young coworker who excelled at being a thorn in the flesh. He was in the wrong employment at the time, because in actuality the only probable employment for him was to work under no one, but himself. He simply could not be lead and neither did he have any grace for being part of a team. His team was made up of one: himself. While he didn’t realize it, he was a teacher, a great one. He taught me so much about what not to do, how not to act and who not to be. It was painful trying to work with him, but to this day I know I walk in lessons learned from this man.

Stories I could tell are too excruciating to relate, but what I do desire to recount is what I learned in working with him.

  1. I learned to become more dependent upon the grace of God to not continually react in the flesh.
  2. I learned that my will did not need to be as strong as his.
  3. I learned that dying to myself was a good thing…no, a God thing
  4. I learned to not take offense from his frequent accusations.
  5. I learned that pent up anger will eventually explode.
  6. I learned that to hurt in kind and in return only reduced me to his level.images-10
  7. I learned that it’s easy to talk about forgiveness and much harder to forgive all too frequent damages.
  8. I learned that revenge and obsessing about revenge destroys my mind, affects my spirit and creates a living torment.
  9. I learned that to be falsely accused, rejected and repeatedly wounded was to identify with Christ in greater measure.
  10. I learned that God’s love transcends narcissism and every wound it dishes out so that God’s love can change my coworker and me. And the more I learned about the love of God, the more my heart was enlarged to love.
Children, Issues of the Day, Parents

Loving My Foster Son, A Homosexual Struggler

images-2For eight years, Mary and I were foster parents of adjudicated teenage boys. Over that eight-year period we fostered 25 different youth. We loved those kids and longed to instill the love of our heavenly Father within them. No state program compared to godly, affirming and accepting foster parents who loved unconditionally. Daniel was with us for over two years, went to Bible College for four years and continued to be in relationship with us until one dreadful day. This is what I learned from loving Dan.

  1. His stepfather’s abuse was not fair and totally undeserved.
  2. His pain was real and by listening I validated his history.
  3. He longed for nonsexual affection from a father figure.
  4. He needed to be affirmed and called into his manhood by a man.
  5. He needed to know God’s endless, redemptive and perfect love for him.
  6. He needed to hear the truth of God’s word about sexual relationships.images-7
  7. He needed to know he belonged to a family who accepted him.
  8. He needed to hear words of hope for change.
  9. He needed to know God’s forgiveness, as well as, mine.
  10. He needed protection from a father, even if that father was a stand-in.

images-8Father’s can’t meet all of their children’s needs. After a failed marriage and many failed same-sex relationships, we received a call that Daniel ended his, all-to-young, 45-year-old life. I wish it could be different, but I am so grateful for what he taught me about life, pain and love without conditions. I know his struggle was real and I just hope he felt real love and acceptance from a temporary foster Dad.