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.

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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.





Valentines Day: Are You Your Spouses Healer?

14 02 2018

In God’s word, Ephesians chapter five is where we often find ourselves concerning the husband and wife relationship. We tend to quote those parts that we like in these verses, but often fail to remember the parts that require effort from us. For example, what man doesn’t like the fact that God requires  a woman to respect her husband? And, what woman doesn’t like the part that asks a husband to love his wife?

 

Recently while teaching these principles, it hit me that these particular scriptures are words of healing for a marriage. In other words, if we actually believe them, embrace them and act on them, we will bring healing to our marriage relationship. Within this thought is another. We have three very different options in marriage that we can embrace.

 

We can be a destroyer in our marriage, a manager or, thirdly, we can be a healer. To not love and to not respect will eventually bring destruction to our marriage relationship. To neither destroy nor bring healing will only manage our relationship and not move it forward. Many couples have chosen this position because it’s easy and takes little to no effort. Management accepts what is and takes no further steps for healing change.

 

The position I believe God requires of us is to become a healer. When husband’s love as Christ loved, healing will be the result. When wives respect and honor as Sarah did Abraham (See I Peter 3: 5 & 6), healing will be the outcome. These scriptures are not spoken to us as an option or even good advice, but rather anointed and written by God to empower your marriage with healing so that you and your spouse, out of wholeness, can bring healing to one another and eventually other marriages.

The very best gift you can give your Valentine today, is a heartfelt desire from  and through God to be a healer!





Is Your Marriage Healing You?

22 01 2018

We hear far too many reports about marriages that are not lasting. When marriage is full of selfishness, insecurity and immaturity, marriage becomes an attempt to receive healing from our spouse, i.e., if they’re the problem, they’re the solution as well.  When our spouse deals with the same inadequacies, they are unable to give what we’re looking for. Over a period of time, the thought of having married the wrong person is often generated.

 

But marriage in its purest, God-given form is not meant to harm us; rather, God gave us this gift to heal us. Let’s face it, our spouse can bring the worst out of us. But, seriously, how bad is that? Do you desire to identify and face your worst? When you identify and face your worst, you can actually begin to work on the issues in your life. Too often we blame our spouse for our worst and then think they’re the problem, believing the lie that all would be better if they would make all the changes.

 

Here’s a little secret. As you and your spouse begin to discover your inadequacies and insecurities, do not blame them on one other, rather use them to pursue personal healing. Persons who are healing will bring healing to others. The healthier you become, the healthier your marriage can become.





5 Ways to Identify Growth In Your Marriage

15 01 2018

Occasionally it’s good to evaluate our marriage progression. Today I want to share five ways in which we can identify marriage growth and maturity. Don’t be discouraged if you feel overdue in any of these areas; just realize maturity does take time and personal revelation for change.

 

1. Seeing the need of your spouse as more important than your own need. Number one is a sure-fire indicator of a maturing self-concept. To move toward the need of another before your own provides a clear sense of good will, pure heart, wisdom and, not the least, servanthood.

 

  1. Celebrating, embracing and enjoying your differences. When you stop fighting over your differences and start realizing your need of one another’s gift mix, a significant hurdle in a marriage relationship is realized. Embracing the difference for the good of the whole is an amazing and freeing team concept. We all married someone different from ourselves and when we learn to embrace those differences as a positive, we will experience tremendous growth in our marriage relationship.

 

  1. Seeing the need to work on personal wholeness rather than wishing or demanding your spouse change first. It is often said that you cannot change anyone but yourself. Marriage brings truth to that statement like no other relationship. When you realize it’s you that needs to grow, to change, to mature, you reach a healthy state of mind.

 

  1. Realizing you are best friends. You are in that place of desiring to serve and help one another. You are one another’s safe place. You trust each other explicitly. You share the honor and respect you both desire and deserve.

 

  1. Asking God first. You have come to the place of releasing demands and expectations of each other as you have learned to simply ask God – pray first. You have come together in prayer, knowing there is Someone to whom you are accountable and are in desperate need of for continuing marital growth.







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