We’re Always in Agreement; We Do What She Says

13 08 2018

At first I was a bit taken aback by the expression that was just spoken half jokingly. It went like this, “We’re always in agreement; we do what she says.” Do you find yourself all too often acquiescing to your spouse’s desires in order to head off an argument?  Should you be doing that?

 

Perhaps there’s a deeper issue.  It might be fear.  Or, it could be the more hidden root of mistrust.  Being fearful of push back, being wrong or feeling shamed is not a good sign in a marriage relationship.  Also, where there is fear present in a relationship, there is a lack of love and where there is mistrust, there is a root of unresolved past issues with hurts attached.

 

This leadership couple honestly confessed and was willing to talk about past issues with disagreement. They were willing to disagree. But what I think they were really saying was sometimes it’s more biblical to overlook an offense or a difference of opinion.  Proverbs 19:11 states, “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.”

 

If we’re avoiding communication thinking that it will lead to a heated disagreement, then we’re not doing the two of us any good.  You have to be committed to work through the differences.  After all, it is those differences that in the end will create a better decision. Truthfully, both of you with your collective opinion, input and insight are necessary for healthy communication and dealing with conflict.  By the way, it’s not wrong to have conflict; it’s wrong to not resolve the conflict.

 

It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.  Proverbs 20:3

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Why Not Have an Extramarital Affair?

25 06 2018

Why don’t you have an extramarital affair?  Seriously, be honest with yourself and answer the question. What did you come up with?  If I could guarantee you will never be found out, you’ll never get caught, would your answer change?

 

This question came to my mind recently while having to deal with a life situation, the result of an affair.  I’ve written about emotional affairs and other areas of marriage failure, but have never been this straight forward with the question.  Seriously, admit it, most TV programs and most movies display for us in real life fashion multiple characters having multiple affairs. We read about it continually.  We even experience pastors failing in this area.  It’s everywhere around us, desensitizing us little by little.  We’ve come to expect it, maybe accept it as the norm. Methodically, the flesh can become weaker and weaker, while the spirit is screaming to our heart.

 

So, what are your answers?  I love my wife too much?  I just couldn’t do that to my husband who has been faithful?  Or, my children would be decimated?  All true, but not strong enough.  Everyday those challenges are brushed aside, caution thrown to the wind and, uncharacteristically, a man or a woman falls, succumbing to the temptation. The lust of the eyes and the flesh are simply too strong. (I John 2:16)

 

What is the answer, Steve?  Here’s one that I have come up with for myself: I love God and I want Him to know how much I love Him.  What does that mean?  Just this – Jesus said, “If you love me, obey my commandments.”  (John 14:15)  In verse 23 He went on to say, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.”

 

Do we love Him enough to obey Him?

 

God’s word: Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage.  God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.  Hebrews 13:4

“Grow old along with me.  The best is yet to be.  The last of life for which the first was made.” ~ Robert Browning





Married Sex: An Observation (For Singles Too)

18 06 2018

I have a theory and I believe the testimony of hundreds of married couples backs up this theory. The theory is the more sex you have outside of marriage, the less sex you have within marriage.

 

My wife and I have the privilege to speak with many couples each year and we have never heard one of them remark anything remotely close to this statement, “We’re so happy that we engaged in premarital sex.”  As well, we’ve never heard, “Premarital sex helped us prepare for marital sex.”  What we have heard is that sex before marriage actually stole intimacy from their marriage.  Sex was no longer special, awaited and neither did it gather the excitement anticipated.

 

Premarital sex is titillating, full of emotion and coated in brain chemicals that run amuck.  It’s also full of the fear of being caught, and overcome by having, no, taking what does not belong to you.  Once married, that anticipation diminishes to the point in which some couples are not engaging in sexual intimacy on their wedding night.  Even further, we often hear the expression that sexual intimacy is rarely occurring now that they are married.  Imagine, this divine gift given to us by God, now stolen from us because of lust-filled desires.

 

Now, hearing from those singles who have waited, saved themselves for the one they will spend the rest of their lives with…never have we heard one single word or expression of regret, bemoaning the fact that they were inexperienced.  To discover this world with one another was a huge part of the gift itself.  Encountering one another sexually, within godly boundaries, literally helps to carry intimacy throughout the marriage, all the while maintaining their vows spoken before God.

 

Anytime we violate God’s principles, we also violate human value, respect and honor.  Sex outside of marriage is a sin against our body (I Corinthians 6:18) and a violation against our future marriage.  Because marriage is sacred, as is the act of marriage, we break covenant with God through immorality (I Corinthians 6:9). We disrupt His desire and design for our future.  When we worship the created more than the Creator, we have convinced ourselves that our will and our desires, not God’s, are best for us.

 

Have you succumbed to sex outside of marriage?  You can be forgiven of your sin and be renewed in your commitment to purity before God. He longs to give to you a fresh start, but you must be serious about that commitment.  His Spirit dwells within the Christian to not sin because, “…you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body.”  (I Corinthians 6:19 & 20)





I Never Loved Her

21 05 2018

“The truth is, I never loved her.”  Unfortunately, I’ve heard these words more than once.  Since I probably never have been totally honest in my response, I’ll be honest with you.

 

These words are spoken to be an attack on a spouse.  Author Gary Thomas writes, “If he hasn’t loved his wife, it is not his wife’s fault, but his.” This person is saying that they thought so low of themselves they couldn’t possibly love this woman in the way she deserved.  They are saying that their narcissistic heart closed somewhere along the pathway of marriage and they were willing to no longer follow the vows spoken when saying, “I do.”  This person has fully entered into a selfish ambition of earthly wisdom that says; if you’re not happy, go for what makes you happy and get rid of what doesn’t.

 

Jesus said to love your enemies. So many struggle to love their spouse in the way of self-sacrifice by doing, “…nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”  (Philippians 2: 3)

 

We make a personal choice with whom we marry – no one forces us.  Do you want to stay in love? Then love your spouse with all your heart.  Do you want to be happy?  Then work toward making your spouse happy.  Ask God to show you all of your personal selfish desires so that you can continue your love commitment through every stage of your marriage.





The Making of an Affair; A Private Conversation Overheard

30 04 2018

I could barely believe the conversation that was going on in front of me.  It was impossible not to hear.  The international airline lounge was packed with weary travelers and I needed to stay put while waiting for my flight. I’ll get back to this story later and tell you about the specifics of this conversation, but first let’s consider a hard question.

 

How committed are you to your marriage?  I mean, what would it take to distract you from marital fidelity?  That’s a terrible question to consider isn’t it?  But, perhaps in this day, it’s an appropriate question.  If the opportunity was presented (and it just might one day), what boundaries do you have in place for your marriage and how would you fend it off?

 

As you consider that question, let me take you back to the intimate and inappropriate conversation I was overhearing.

 

It all started innocently enough with, “Who do you work for and…where are you flying to?”  It progressed with similar lines of conversation and politeness.  But somewhere in the middle of their conversing, the tone of voice underwent a change and the questions became more personal and intimate as they ‘tested’ one another.  Each question became closer to the edge and somewhere in this diatribe, it just started to become more relational and motivated with questions like, “I’m married, how long are you married?” And then the other replied, “I’m recently divorced.”  I noticed their bodies physically began to turn toward one another in order to have eye-to-eye contact.  It wasn’t long until I heard her say, “I don’t normally do this, but here is my card with my personal contact information on the back.”  The middle-aged man replied with, “I wouldn’t normally take your card, but there have been some struggles in our marriage…”

 

I was stunned and speechless and wanted to scream, “Run, oh silly man…what are you doing right now to yourself, to this woman, to your family?  Come to your senses and close your heart to this.”

 

Please go back to the question above and answer it for yourself. Discuss your boundaries with your spouse and a means of accountability if you find yourself coming near this situation. Acting on the offense versus being caught off guard is an appropriate present response.

 

Keep a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house…At the end of your life you will groan…Drink water from your own cistern…But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself. (Proverbs 5:8,11,15 & 6:32)





Are You in an Emotional Affair?

16 04 2018

Individuals are “hooking up” at the workplace, on social media and along the sidelines of their kids sporting events. We tend to have an insatiable desire for understanding and a listening ear and when we receive that from someone other than our spouse, we are walking on shaky ground.

Dr. Gail Saltz psychiatrist with New York Presbyterian Hospital said this concerning affairs, “Many people convince themselves so long as there is not sex it is not an affair, but it is. It has to do with secrecy, deception and betrayal and the emotional energy you are putting into the other person vs. your partner. The most difficult thing to recover from is not sex, but the breaking of trust. Those involved in an emotional affair are often in denial. They do not think they’re having an affair at all. The denial keeps them guilt free and they tell themselves, ‘It’s just a friendship.’”

So, how do you know you’re in an emotional affair? Dr Saltz shares ten warning signs:

  1. When your meetings are kept secret from your spouse.
  2. When you say and do things with someone you would never do in front of your spouse or you would feel guilty if your spouse happened to show up.
  3. When you make it a point to arrange private talk time with this person.
  4. When you share things with them that you do not share with your partner.
  5. When you avoid telling your partner how much time you may be spending with this person.
  6. When you are stating things about your marriage that you should not be telling another, opening a window to your heart and unmet emotional needs.
  7. When you begin discussing your marital dissatisfaction.
  8. When you tell this person more about your day than you do your partner.
  9. When you “ready your appearance” in anticipation of seeing this person.
  10. When there is sexual attraction spoken or unspoken between you.

What to do:

  1. Pray, confess to God, ask for forgiveness and repent.
  2. Treat an emotional affair like any other affair – cut it off fully and completely (stop calling, stop email, stop texting, etc.). If you do not end it, you will not rebuild trust with your mate.
  3. Stop flirting; stop daydreaming about it.
  4. Realize that you cannot even remain “friends” with this person.
  5. Turn your heart away from it and toward your marriage relationship.
  6. Put your emotional energy into healing yourself and your marriage relationship.
  7. You must take responsibility. You got yourself into this mess, you need to own it.
  8. Become trustworthy in order to work at rebuilding trust. Be accountable with your whereabouts, come home immediately. Do not allow questioning or wondering on your mates part with thoughts of “where is she?” or “how long could it possibly take for him to go to the hardware store?”
  9. Be open with your internet use and cell phone use, hide nothing.
  10. Look long and hard at why you did it, how you found yourself in this position.

You cannot redo anything, you simply must move forward. You must walk in honest confession and humility. Humility keeps you from becoming defensive and blaming another.

You must forgive one another and yourself. There is no greater answer than the forgiveness of God through the love of His Son. You must remain accountable. Accountability is a huge ingredient because marriage infractions always take place in an environment of deception.

Get outside counsel and direction as soon as possible. Do not try to do it all yourself. Re-attach yourself to your mate. Most likely you have moved away from one another in some areas of your relationship. Pray with and pray for your life mate. Finally, you must learn to rest in the redemption of your Savior.





The Men In Your Life Are Looking For Respect

26 02 2018

Recently while in the nation of New Zealand, a friend pointed to a fellow teacher and said, “See that older gentleman?” I assured him that I did. He went on to explain, “I am younger than him and I am retired from teaching.” I asked why he chooses not to retire figuring the conversation was leading that way. My friend replied, “He tells me he wants to continue teaching because it is far better than going home and living with his critical wife.”

 

Men long for respect. Paul, the Apostle, admonished wives to respect their husbands. (Ephesians 5:33) A man can handle not being loved, but he cannot handle not being respected. I think God knew that about a man. If a man does not feel respected by his wife and family, he will stay at work longer, he will hang out at the bar after work or he’ll go to the fire company and loiter with the guys. Men don’t care if their friends do not express love, but if men feel disrespect it will be the demise of the relationship. Men do not need their supervisors to express any form of love, but they long to hear words of affirmation on a job well done – respect.

 

I read a recent study that indicated 74% of men would choose the preference of feeling unloved in the world around them rather than feeling disrespect. These men indicated they would choose to live with a wife who respected them, but did not love them. Do men need love? Of course, but the need for respect has a higher personal value. Consider this: Even while a sports team is performing poorly, they will still resonate with the female cheerleaders on the sideline pushing them forward with their optimistic, upbeat and affirming cheers.

 

Be a cheerleader in the life of your husband, your son, your brother or your Dad today.








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