Category Archives: Marriage

5 Things Husbands Can Do To Make Your Wife Want A Divorce

It is sad, but so many husbands are oblivious to the fact that they are on a path toward destruction in their marriage and much of it is their fault.  I’ve seen five consistent things that men do to drive women to the point of calling it quits.  I pray that my fellow husbands are willing to consider these truths and decide to what degree they are true in their own lives.

 1.    Be The Spiritual Follower

God has called the man to be the spiritual leader of the marriage, but more often men are running from this responsibility and leaving the burden to the wife.  The weight can be incredibly daunting and places a huge wedge in the marriage.  The fatigue of always being the one to beg, plead, or sadly drive to church alone is crushing.  At some point our wives will ask the question, “How can I live in a house or raise our kids with someone who doesn’t put God first?”  If you want to lose your marriage, be a spiritual follower.

 2.    Place Your Job Ahead Of Your Family

Most men are quick to find their identity in their jobs and the fact that they provide for the family.  Spending increased time away from the family is easily justified by the mantra “Someone’s gotta put food on the table!” or “I’m just trying to make our life comfortable.”  Without question, providing for the family is vital to a marriage, but to what extreme and at what cost?  Rarely do men ever stop long enough to ask the question “Is this what my wife really wants?”  I’m willing to bet my last lock of hair that most men would prefer more time with their wife then a newer car or bigger home.  If you want to lose your marriage, put your job before your family.

 3.    Place Your Hobbies In Front Of Your Family

It’s amazing to see the concessions that family’s have to make so guys can fulfill their fantasies through other grown men’s athletic abilities.  They will study, scheme, trade, and invest to make sure they are the winner of a $25 gift certificate to The Outback.  But yet if you ask them about what their kids are struggling with in school or what time soccer practice is, they won’t have a clue.  Time with their wives gets replaced with slow pitch softball trips, fantasy football drafts, and amateur MMA fights at the local VFW.  If you want to lose your marriage, put your hobbies before your family.

4.    Always Think Of Yourself

There was only one Man that walked on water, but you’d be surprised how many men want to challenge that title.  From the moment the day begins to the final moments in the recliner as their eyelids flutter shut, the world revolves around them.  Helping with laundry, giving the kids a bath, taking the trash out, or even picking up their dirty underwear are tasks too menial for the self-focused man.  If you want to lose your marriage, make everything about you.

 5.    Ignore Everything

One of the skills I see a lot of husbands working hard to develop is selective dementia.  It’s a unique skill that requires you to be able to think everything is ok while simultaneously ignoring reality around you.  When fully developed, a man with this ability can think his marriage is fine in autopilot mode.  He believes his kids respect him even though they play no role in their lives.  He thinks a family budget is only for people with no money even though his own family has no money.  All the while being comfortable knowing more career statistics about the starting quarterback for the Bears than his own wife.  If you want to lose your marriage, ignore everything around you.

Men, I say this with a mouth full of sarcasm and a heart full of sadness at the reality of these five things.  There are marriages that are crumbling because of one or all of these truths in our homes and we have to do something about it.

It’s time that we start being the men that God want us to be in our homes and it begins with believing that when God tells us to serve our wives that we believe it.  If we want different marriages and families we have to start doing different things.  If we keep doing what we are doing, we will keep getting what we’ve got.

Is there culpability on our wives’ side of the table?

Is a marriage a partnership of one man and one woman committed to each other and to God?

Of course!

But that does not give us the right to checkout on our responsibility to do what we are called to do.

It’s time to buck up and start working on our marriage at least as hard as we do our portfolio or surround sound systems.  We need to start leading our families and do the things we know we should be doing.

If we don’t, the 50% divorce rate average will continue to rise and we will only need to look in the mirror to see why it’s happening.

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We Just Don’t See Eye To Eye Anymore

Marriage is hard.

I’m sorry for being Captain Obvious, but sometimes I think it’s good to just say it.

I’ve yet to find a “Happily Ever After” pill that I can prescribe to couples to make all the problems go away or for the white picket fence to magically pop up from the ground.

Marriage is an improbable journey teaming one broken man and one broken woman together for a lifetime.  Yet despite the reality of this dueling brokenness they still try to find relational perfection.  They still strive and work toward a utopia that continually moves just a little farther out of their reach.

The problems arise when, in pursuit of the perfection mirage, the two look at each other and claim the other person’s brokenness is the reason they can’t reach marital perfection.  “If you could just figure your stuff out we’d be a lot better” becomes the war cry that each uses as their counter attack.

Slowly and painfully the two set up individual camps in opposition to one another and dig their heals in for the long haul.   If anyone asks what went wrong, many if not all of them will simply say “We just don’t see eye to eye anymore.”

Now, the world will tell each side to cut their losses, get a divorce, and start looking for the next prince or princess to come along.  The hope is to replace one set of brokenness with a different set that’s easier to deal with.

In other words, if you can’t see eye to eye maybe you can get a new set of eyes that you can see into more clearly.  Yet, statistics will tell you that this approach is destined to fail too.  It’s not surprising to see 3,4,5 marriages in a lifetime once people start retreating from the battle.

So what can you do when the battle lines have been drawn?

What do you do when there are two camps in one house?

What do you do when you don’t see eye to eye anymore?

I will tell you.

You don’t need new eyes to look at, you need to look to someone else.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” – Hebrews 12:2-3

We need to push pause on our selfish, self-justifying, self-centered stances against our spouse and focus our attention onto Jesus who is the only one that can correct our vision.  He is the one that can give our marriage the Lasik our eyes need to start seeing it as He wants us to.

If we can start seeing our spouse as Jesus sees them then things would be radically different.

RADICALLY DIFFERENT!

We’d have compassion and love toward each other that is unconditional.  We’d forgive even when we were offended.  We’d seek to serve without strings attached.  We’d communicate without holding back or be fearful of what the other person may say.  We’d see the brokenness in each other not as buttons to push but for places to nurture and protect.

Our marriages would and can be different if we started seeing eye to eye with Jesus first and our spouse second.  It’s really that simple and that possible.  He is waiting with eyes wide open to heal your life and your marriage.  Don’t give up the fight just because you seem to have a cataract.   Look to Jesus and He will heal your sight.

After all, if you both are staring into the eyes of Jesus aren’t you already on the same page?

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How Important Is It I Marry A Christian?

“Is this really a big deal Pastor?  After all, I don’t want to force my beliefs onto my spouse because I think faith is a personal thing between God and me.  I know God is more interested in us being happy and in love than whether or not we believe the same things about Him.  I’m sure after we get married they will come around in their own time.”

I find these questions and inner monologues eating at the heart of many relationships.

I suspect they are asked more often than not by bright-eyed, Christian, young women who have been dating some dude for awhile and see the possibility of a fairy tale wedding on the horizon or have been dating him so long that at this point they feel they have to.

In my experience, a great case is usually presented for the person about how nice, loving, caring, hard working, and special they are just to establish they didn’t meet the person as a prison pen pal.  But, shortly after the resume is presented, the uneasiness of their soul begs the reassurance that it’s ok to marry them if they aren’t a Christian.

Now, if I were to cut away some of the fat of the question I think what’s really being asked is “Should I marry someone that doesn’t believe in God?” but if I cut even deeper to the marrow the ultimate question is “Should I marry someone that doesn’t believe in Jesus?”

So what is the answer?  What does God really say about whom we should marry?

The answer is very clear.  God DOES want Christians to marry Christians.

As I’ve said before, God is always more interested in our holiness than our happiness.  Happiness is fleeting and changing with every person you meet.  Therefore it is impossible for God to meet all of our happiness expectations without compromising his moral perfection. Holiness is consistent, unwavering, and designed let us live in communion with God.  By following God’s plan we place our self in the hands of the creator and we discover far more than happiness.  We experience joy.

Additionally, marriage is one of the most sacred and powerful institutions God ever created.  The binding of one man and one woman together for a lifetime and sealing by God Himself in Holy matrimony is a marvelous gift.  The holiness of marriage was also designed to set us apart from the normalcy of the world we live in.

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”

Placed in the context of marriage, Paul’s words are meant as a sober reminder of what is at stake when we say “I do.”  The joining of two lives together in marriage is the placement of a yolk on them.  Not so it can be used as a dated punch line to a marriage joke, but in the true sense of being united together for the work set out for them in this life.

When a yolk is fastened into place, the person next to you is the person you will be working with in the good and bad.  But unlike a cow or horse that has no say in who the farmer yokes them to, you do have a choice. You have the choice of whom you will be united with forever and choosing poorly can have grave consequences.

Having a partner that desires the things of God, wants to raise a family that goes to church, wants to spend their money wisely, and wants to seek a personal relationship with God is very difficult if the person they are yoked to wants none of those same things.  You can say all you want that God is a personal thing and you don’t want to force your beliefs on them, but when you yolk up you better believe you will be dragging that person’s dead weight along with you during your journey.

However, if you choose to marry someone that isn’t perfect, but is honestly seeking and pursuing Christ as there Lord and Savior, your work becomes much different.  In fact, you may even find it to be easier because as you both pull in the same direction—even the rainy season may not seem that bad.

Christian woman — God designed you to find a man like that.

Christian man — God designed you to find a woman like that.

The tweet I read from @amlykax3 and @KaylalaBailey said it best,

“A Man Who’s Not After God’s heart, should not be after mine”

Please be picky, be patient, and be prayerful about who you yolk yourself too.

Don’t let yourself get caught up in so much emotion that you lose sight of God’s holiness.

Now, can a non-Christian find Christ while married to a Christian?  Absolutely by God’s grace!

But, is this the original design by God? No.

We can fight God’s design in our life all we want, but I truly believe this decision is a matter of life and death…the life and death of your marriage.

Be patient Christian and trust God.

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True Confessions Of A First Time Dad: My 3 Year Old Chose Her Wedding Dress

It happened so innocently.

My wife and I were feeding Easton on the couch when all of a sudden Aniston announces, “I want a white wedding dress.”  Cherie and I look at each other and without missing a beat Aniston went on to describe this magical gown.

Here are some details:

-       It is white with long sleeves

-       It has flowers at the bottom

-       Her hair will be worn down, “not in a pony daddy!”

-       There will be pink and purple flowers in her hair like Rapunzel

-       She does not want a headband in her hair

-       The bridesmaids will be wearing pink and purple dresses as well

At least, this is what the paramedics told me when I woke up in the ER.  I don’t really remember much after I passed out and hit my head.  I guess the thought of my 3 year old getting married was too much.

The truth is that my daughter really just wanted a dress.  She wanted to play dress up and wear pretty clothes and on this day she wanted a white wedding dress.

That’s it.

What she didn’t want was to get married.  (Thank you sweet Jesus J )

You see getting married is a far bigger deal than playing dress up or even having a wedding.

Every day, lots of people play dress up and have weddings.  It’s called Vegas.

But very few people want a marriage.

A marriage requires compromise, submission, forgiveness, love, patience, and so much more I don’t have space to write them all.  Marriage is a commitment of a man and woman to each other until death parts them.   Marriage is covenant between them and God to love each other and to be there for each other through the good and the not so good.  Marriage is guaranteed journey that will be filled with ups and downs, ins and outs, smiles and screams, and will test everything about you.

This is why I see more and more people wanting a wedding more than a marriage.

They want the dress-up party, dancing, presents, and honeymoon way more than holding wrinkled hands at their 50th anniversary celebration.

Tragically, these marriages dissolve because of the selfish and fleeting desire of “happiness” one or both them are chasing.  It’s the pursuit of that “wedding feeling” every day of their lives, but when the music fades and the make-up gets washed off real life begins.

The people that bail on their marriages and run into the arms of money, freedom, independence, another person, or any other fruitless pursuit are the ones missing out.  They miss out on the aged beauty found in a long lasting relationship seasoned with time.

My friends please hear these next words.

If you are married, keep working at it even if it’s hard.  Don’t fall for the mirage of happiness you think you see in the distance.  Rub your eyes and realize God has you and your spouse together for the long haul for something far better than happiness.

If you are separated or divorced, it’s not too late.  Forgiveness is what God does best…just ask Jesus.  If you have chosen to believe the lies of happiness and have strayed from your spouse you can always turn back.  Humble yourself and get back in the fight for your marriage.  It’s worth it.

If you are single, get your relationship with God right first.  The best gift you can give your spouse is to have a strong relationship with Christ.  If you are able to establish your identity and joy in Him then you will not put unnecessary expectation or pressure on your spouse.  Find your identity in Him and praise Him for the chance to share love with the person He brings into your life.  Pursue God not happiness.

My prayer is that more people work to get past the new car marriage smell and realize the true design God had for marriage.  Don’t believe the lie that the best day of your marriage is the first because the best is yet to come.

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Put Your Nets Back In The Water

I shared this thought with the Lockport Campus this past weekend as we talked about Jesus’ command to “Do Not Divorce”.   I thought it may be helpful to share with you too.

 

In Luke 5 Jesus once again is gaining a large crowd of followers as He teaches.  The crowd had become so large and so intense to hear every word He was saying that they began to “press in” Scripture tell us.

Looking around for a way to be able to continue teaching, Jesus notices 2 docked fishing boats and the fishermen cleaning their nets.  He approaches one of them named Simon (Peter) and asks him if it would be alright to preach from his boat.  Simon agrees and he pushes the boat back a little ways from shore to allow Jesus to continue preaching.

When He finishes, Jesus turns to Simon and says, Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”  Luke 5:4

Simon replies, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.” Luke 5:5a

Simon was a fisherman.  It was his job if you remember, when Jesus was looking around for a place to preach He had noticed men were washing their nets” (Luke 5:2b) by the boats that were docked.  This meant the men were done fishing and cleaning the nets was a sign they hoped tomorrow would be a better day.  Simon knew when the fish were biting and today was not that day.

His response to Jesus was a gentle reminder of who the fisherman was and who the teacher was in this conversation.  In essence Simon is saying,

“Jesus I know about fishing and you know about teaching.  As a fisherman, I know when to drop the nets, when to reel them in, and also when to call it quites.  Jesus, thank you for your offer to help, but You stick to teaching and I’ll stick to fishing.”

This is exactly what we say to Jesus when it comes to our lives.

  • Jesus, you don’t know what he’s done to me.
  • Jesus, you don’t see the pain she has caused our family.
  • Jesus, you aren’t here when the drinking begins.
  • Jesus, you couldn’t possible know what it’s like to live with that woman.
  • Jesus you worry about “God stuff” and I’ll try to figure out this relationship.

We make sure that Jesus stays in His place and we stay in our place.  He couldn’t possible understand why we feel the way we do or know what is going on so we just tell him to butt out of certain areas of our lives.

Fortunately Simon goes on.

He says, But because you say so, I will let down my nets.  When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.” Luke 5:6

You see Jesus quickly says, “Oh I know a little bit about fishing.  In fact I know a lot about fishing.  I’m the one that created fish!  I’m the ones that created the trees that made the boat that now floats on water that lets you even able to fish!  I’m the one that gave you the ability to fish at all Simon and I’m the one that if you trust me will fill your nets with such a blessing you can’t even contain it all!”

Jesus can do the same thing for you. He can heal your marriage, He can get you through your addiction, He can make beauty from ashes, but you have to be willing to put your nets back in the water and Trust Him.

No, this doesn’t mean you will grow back hair or have money magically show up under your pillow.  He’s not the tooth fairy, but He is the God that loves it when His children listen to his voice, trust Him, and follow His direction.

Don’t be so naïve to think that you somehow know more about you than God does.  Must I remind you and I that He created us so know one knows us better than Him!

So stop cleaning your nets and giving up.  Throw them back in the water and trust that God will honor your faithfulness and do a miracle in your relationships too.

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Don’t Stop Fighting!

I woke up today burden with a heavy spirit.  It was surprising because I had a fantastic weekend and saw God move mightily.  I anticipated waking up energized, but sadly I felt heavy.

All I know is that I’m compelled to write this blog with one simple message:

Don’t Stop Fighting

The landscape of our culture is littered with people giving up on things in their lives leaving behind a landfill of excuses and broken dreams.  When things get tough or questions get too personal we “tap out” in fear of what we may have to change about ourselves.  What frustrates me the most is  this is what I hear and see in the lives of Christians!

I know people that will justify their decisions to give up with tepid excuses such as:

  • “I fell out of love”
  • “God wants me to be happy”
  • “I am too independent to be married anymore”
  • “The addiction is too strong”
  • “It’s not hurting anyone”
  • “I only look once and awhile”

Can I be blunt?

These are absolute garbage.

God’s not buying your weak excuses and He certainly is not going to allow you to use His Grace as a “Get Out Of Sin Free”-card.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” – Romans 6:1-3

God isn’t a happiness piñata that you whack until you get the sugary life you want to spill out of Him.

As followers of Jesus it especially doesn’t work that way.  The temptation of giving up is never above the Power of Christ working in you.

Listen to Paul’s words, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13

So this means:

  • The addiction you are faced with…God will provide a way to get help
  • The marriage you are about to destroy…God will provide a way to work through it
  • The person you want to hurt…God will provide you a way to forgive
  • The life you feel that isn’t worth living…God will provide a way for you to see how much you are loved.

Everything we face in this life can be overcome with Christ.  EVERYTHING.

Don’t let yourself checkout and not fight for anything.  If things get tough, the money gets tight, the relationship grows cold, or the health gets fragile don’t be so weak in spirit and mind that you run.  As Christians we are called to rise above these challenges.

If we don’t rise above, what are we saying about the God we say we believe in?

We follow a God that didn’t tap out when the nails were driven in His hands, He didn’t call it off when the whips hit His back, and He didn’t retaliate when the spit poured down his face from His mockers.

Don’t let your decision to give-up be fresh spit on the face of Christ.  Stand-up, do the right thing, follow Christ, and don’t’ stop fighting!

Keep fighting!

Keep fighting!

Keep Fighting!!!!!

He loves you more than you know.

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Seeking Wisdom: Proverbs 7:7 – Lessons From An Adulteress Part 2

With persuasive words she led him astray;

she seduced him with her smooth talk.

Proverbs 7:21

Men are monkeys.

You can dress us up in clothes, teach us to use a fork, and even train us to change a diaper, but when all is said and done what we really want to do is swing from branch to branch, make grunting noises, and scratch ourselves.

Sadly, only women know this fact about men.  Men think we are manly men, but women can see our knuckles dragging on the ground from a mile away.  They know that if they roll the right shiny object in front of us we will chase it like a Fantasy Football draft in July.

In no way does this excuse the monkey.  As men we need to stop scratching and start leading in a big way.  Too many of us just resign ourselves to the cavemen mentality because after all “that’s just how we are.”  Give me a break.  I know 16-year-old boys that have sailed around the world so I think you Mr. 45-year-old man can take out the trash.

But ladies, knowing how to get a man’s attention is not always a skill you use for good is it?  And no, I’m not talking about your cooking skills.

In Proverbs 7:10-23, Solomon shows us how a provocative wife used her skills to seduce a young man.

  • She wore sexy clothes – vs. 10
  • She was a party girl – vs. 11
  • She was the aggressor – vs. 13a, 15
  • She did her make-up and was tanned– vs. 13b
  • She pretended to be outwardly religious – vs. 14
  • She prepared the shag pad – vs. 16-17
  • She presented her plan as innocent and fun – vs. 18
  • She made sure her husband was gone – vs. 19-20
  • She used speech that was sexy and persuasive – vs. 21

Looking at Proverbs 7 through the eyes of the adulteress woman pained me and caused so many questions to bubble up.

Why would a married woman with a wealthy husband make herself into a prostitute and stoop to such a level?  Was her husband gone a lot?  Did he ignore her at home?  Did he not call her beautiful or say he loved her?  Was she just bored?  Did she not get a call back to the Jersey Shore?

You see, although adultery is statistically more rampant among married men, women are also guilty.  Lack of attention, intimacy, and romance are high on the list of why woman decide to cheat, but loneliness and the need for excitement are close seconds.  However, what I see happening in marriage is bigger than this list.

Hundreds of years ago, Paul nailed it in his letter to the Romans when he said,

“Therefore God gave them over in sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator“ – Romans 1:24-26

What may have happened in this proverb is that the woman made her husband her god.  She placed God-like expectations onto him and she was disappointed when he couldn’t meet them all.  So after trying desperately to change him and mold him into what she wanted him to be she got fed up.  She started telling herself “I deserve better” and “I need more out of the relationship that he can give me” and she stepped to the edge of a very slippery slope.

It started out with jealous looks at other people’s relationships and “wanting that” for themselves.  She then started opening her eyes and ears a little wider to men around her “window-shopping” for the God-attributes she was missing.  Finally when she found one that seems to meet all her expectations she rolled out the shiny object to catch her prey.  Ignoring the effects on her marriage or kids, she dove into a new relationship with a new man only to find out he’s not God and she started the cycle again.  She created a new house for herself that is “a highway to the grave leading down to the chambers of death.” (Proverbs 7:27)

Listen to me carefully.

God never intended a man to take the place of Him.

God intended for us to place Him #1 in our life and to follow Him intimately and faithfully so that He can love, cherish, protect, and guide us.  A man cannot ever fill that job description.  A husband can’t be that for his wife and a wife can’t be that for her husband.

What God is crying out for us to do in our moments of weakness and frustration is to turn to Him for our strength and not the arms of another man.  Don’t let Satan’s lies tell you that the next “man-Kleenex” that comes out of the box is the answer.  Believe me there will never be a shortage of men in the box that will fall for your advances.

Let God be the King in your life and let your husband be your husband.  When you take those expectations off of your husband you will enjoy your monkey a lot more.

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Seeking Wisdom: Proverbs 7:7 – Lessons From An Adulteress (Part 1)

“I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men,

a youth who lacked judgment.”

Proverbs 7:7

Proverbs 7  is a tremendously visual proverb.  Written from the perspective of a man watching from a window, it gives us a bird’s eye view of a young man being seduced by a married adulteress while infusing warnings and wisdom into the message.

I love this for several reasons, but a big reason is because it allows us to look at a painful and emotion-filled situation from an objective point of view.  Solomon doesn’t put us in the middle of the mess he elevates us above it so we can see it from an unobstructed view.

At some point I will spend more time on this idea, but this is a very healthy and spiritually driven practice we all should adopt.  It’s the choice to pull back the lens of our life far enough to look at things objectively.  Removing emotion, conditions, and excuses from our reasoning so we can objectively look at the state of our life.  I find that if we are able to do that, we can better see what needs to be addressed and we can put an action plan together before reentering into the ground level of the chaos.

Ok, that was the freebee.  Here is what you paid to hear. :)

Most of the time when we hear about adultery (or cheating as it’s sugarcoated name has become) our eyes go directly to the person that cheated.  In fact, in most cases this is the man and rightfully so it appears.  In one study of 70,000 people, it found that 28% of the married men had cheated on their spouse and 68% of all the men in monogamous relationships admitted they desired to be with someone else.  This compared to 18% of married woman cheating and 44% of woman in monogamous relationships having desires for other men.

It appears this is not a new trend since in the 5th Century BC Solomon writes about a “young man” choosing adultery.  Let’s be brutally honest and not let him or any man off the hook.  He may be young but he still is a man who could have said “no” to the advances of the temptress.  At some point we have to grow up and do what the DARE program told us in elementary school…“Just Say No!”

However, there is another party in this sinful dance that gets less of a critique and easily slip into the shadows of the crowd.  What about the temptress in this scene being played out?  What wisdom can we gain from what Solomon tells us about her and how Christian women can avoid the pitfalls she creates?

In Part 2 of this look at Proverbs 7, we will look closer at this adulteress woman, but for now I want to leave you with these words from Paul.

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

No matter what lies you may tell yourself, God always provides a way out.

There are no victims when it comes to giving into temptation only guilty offenders.

You always have the option to say NO.      

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Seeking Wisdom: Proverbs 5:5 The Mirage of Adultery

Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.”

–      Proverbs 5:5

WARNING:  If you are a man reading this, please put your cup on.  You may need it.

 

King Solomon is a very interesting guy.  As we said before, he was the son of King David and when God gave him the chance to ask for anything he chose wisdom.  God was pleased and granted him his request.

However, just because you have wisdom doesn’t mean you are always wise.

Despite Solomon’s vast wealth and power he never seemed to be able to fill his appetite for woman and sensuality.  The evidence of this is found in the fact that he had 700 wives and 300 concubines during his lifetime.  This is an entourage that even Hugh Hefner would blush at and TLC couldn’t even begin to do a television show about.

Yet, as we read through Solomon’s writings we hear much more caution and pain as a result of his experiences with woman than happiness.  So why would a wise man that had everything be so enslaved to the pursuit of woman?

The answer is simple:  He was a sinful man just like the rest of us.

In most of his writings, Solomon will personify wisdom as a woman, but don’t confuse the pursuit of these women in Proverbs 5 as wise.  Nearly the entire chapter speaks to married men warning them of the effects of straying from your wife by pursuing the fleeting attention of an adulterous woman.

He holds no punches in verse 5 when saying that following the path of adultery will “lead to the grave”.  In other words, things will die as a result of your decision.

I have talked to enough men that have followed the destructive path of infidelity to know Solomon is spot on.  Adultery is lethal to more areas of your life than just your marriage.  It will euthanize trust, respect, your finances, the spiritual blessing from God, and on and on I could go.  These will be replaced with guilt, shame, anguish, anger, bitterness, denial, and any other manifestations of sin Satan can cook up.

However, this is where most guys will play the “exception to the rule” card.  Even though Solomon, who the Dos Equis Man tips his hat to for quantity of romantic relationships, tells us that cheating on your wife is not worth it…we think it will be different for us.

We will be the exception to the rule.

“You don’t know my wife!, “I’m a man with needs!”, and “My wife has let herself go so much I don’t even find her attractive!” will echo through the walls of our humanity as justification for seeking the affections of another woman.  The culture cheers for us on and will gain us support from other low integrity, “exception” seeking men like us.

All the while Satan sits on the shores of life waiting for you or I to take the bait.  And if we do, he’ll reel us in and drop us into the same bucket with the rest of the idiot men he’s caught.  We will flop around waiting to die as we realize we weren’t the “exception” we thought we were.

But also on the shoreline is God.  Solomon tells us that “For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths.“ Proverbs 5:21.  While Satan casts a hook for us to grab, God extends a hand for us to cling to.  It’s a Hand of grace that pulls us out of the sea of lies and onto the bedrock of Truth.  It’s even the hand that will snatch us from the bucket Satan threw us in, but the effects of our decision will still be ours.  God’s grace is always there to love and forgive us, but we should never use it as the emergency parachute to excuse what we do.

But as we catch our breath from our near death experience, God will echo the words of Solomon in our ears.

“May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.”

- Proverbs 5:18

Don’t let yourself be blindly led by the good looks and smooth words of another woman.  You will only find adultery to be a mirage that will kill your marriage.  Sprint into the arms of your wife who God has blessed you with and find safety and peace on the bedrock of God.

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A Marital Challenge: 5 Tiny Things That Can Make A Huge Difference

So I decided to scratch the topic I had in mind for today’s blog and focus in on a quick marital challenge instead.  I say quick because let’s face it, most of us don’t have 6 hours a day where we can look longingly into each other’s eyes and talk about our future dreams or write poetry about the other person as they cut wild flowers in the backyard.

Sorry…kinda got a little sick just writing that one.

However, all of us have small bits of time or even just small bits of awareness each day that we can and should dedicate to our spouse.  It’s these moments that I want to provide our quick challenge to today.

The Message translation of Ephesians 5 frames our time together well.

Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. – Ephesians 5:22 (MSG)

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. – Ephesians 5:25 (MSG)

 

SINGLE PERSON READER PAUSE:  If you are single and reading this, don’t stop.  Just because you’re not married now doesn’t mean you won’t ever be.  In fact, there is about a 90% chance everyone will get married at some point so hang in there.  Start making yourself aware early so you avoid later stress.

 

Ok, so Paul outlines these respect and love dynamics throughout his writings, but especially here in Ephesians.  These are God driven realities of who we are as men and women and when they are nurtured the change in our relationships is visible.

However, when relationships go sour it is more times than not that neglect of love or respect contribute to the cause of the issues.

Avoiding these pitfalls early through a disciplined awareness of creating loving and respecting habits is crucial to less time driving around in the car to “cool off” and will greatly reduce your monthly budget of Ibuprofen because your headaches may be fewer.

So here are 5 Tiny Things That Can Make A Huge Difference for both the husbands and the wives out there.

Oh, and DON’T LAUGH at some of them.  They may seem simple, but let’s be honest; we make things complex on our own.  We don’t need to start complex because believe me we will find a way to get there on our own. :)

 

5 Things Husbands can do TODAY to show love:

  1. Open the door for her. (car, store, you name it, just pick one)
  2. Put toothpaste on her toothbrush at night. (I said don’t laugh)
  3. Text your wife that you love her (Copy and Paste this if you need help… I Love You)
  4. Ask your wife what 3 things you can do for her next week that would help her out.  (and then DO them!)
  5. Hold her hand when you are out in public (…with no “strings” attached either)

 

5 Things Wives can do TODAY to show respect:

  1. Tell him you appreciate what he does and that he is good at it.
  2. Give him 15 minutes of down time when he comes home from work (stop rolling your eyes)
  3. Ask him to pray for the meal (if you want your husbands to lead in the home we have to give them opportunities to do it)
  4. Text him an encouraging message when you know his day may be rough.
  5. Just hang out on the couch with him and watch what he’s watching.  (Key: keep the q’s few :)  )

 

See that wasn’t so bad!  I’m willing to bet that if you try these little things you will see a change in your relationships.  I also know you also will see a change in you.

When we start to take the focus off of what I need and onto what others need we begin to live life more selflessly and humbly.  We begin to live life and have marriages that are more God honoring and that is what we all want deep down.

Ok…what are you waiting for?  Go get some toothpaste!

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