It’s a Simple Choice

What does this actually mean? What does it look like? You married your wife, so didn’t you already choose her? Let’s unpack this a little…

For starters, it means waking up (not grabbing your phone to check Facebook or last night’s football score) and making the decision:

“I choose (fill in your wife’s name) today.”

Choosing to be committed to her when the moments of struggle come. Choosing to admire, love and respect your spouse rather than look around to see if someone or something better is out there. As married people in this day and age, it’s imperative that we set boundaries…hedges of protection…and fight for our marriage in a way like never before in history.

Choosing your spouse daily; choosing to honor them, choosing that ONE person is a mighty way to fiercely protect your marriage. When we wake up in the morning and make the decision to love our spouse, our days change; our mind-set changes and distractions fade. Later in the day, when temptation pops it’s ugly head out, we can attack it with, “I choose my wife.”

By choosing to love and honor your wife not only strengthens our relationship, but most importantly, it brings glory back to God.

Be Strong. Act Like Men.

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A Transforming Checklist

We’re going to continue to build on the transforming your marriage theme. It is easy to become lazy about your marriage…or at least about parts of your marriage. It would seem like a no-brainer to show affection, warmth and encouragement, but without a consistent focus – it becomes easy to neglect your marriage.

I like checklist. Here are ten things…strategies that might just transform your marriage.

1. Adjust your attitude. You might not be able to change your spouse, but you can change yourself (we are going to talk about this one more tomorrow!!)

2. Show affection and warmth. Simple gestures can change your spouse’s mood and the atmosphere in your home.

3. Offer encouragement. It takes nine affirming comments to make up for one critical comment. If you are like most people, you owe your spouse a boatload of encouragement. Watch for opportunities to give your husband or wife an affirming word.

4. Give sexual intimacy the time and attention it deserves. Are you too tired to work on this? Then your priorities are in the wrong place. Find at least two hours per week to spend on romance and intimacy. And flirt with your spouse…remind him or her that you’re attracted to them. Pursue each other.

5. Make friends with your spouse. The basic principles of friendship apply to marriage, too: friends tend to have more patience with each other; they extend grace, forgiveness, and kindness towards one another; and they have fun together.

6. Schedule more fun in your marriage. Look for creative date ideas—don’t just go out for dinner and a movie. Your willingness to put some thought into enjoyable, out-of the-ordinary things to do together will speak volumes to your spouse.

7. Practice “thank you therapy.” Sit down today and list at least ten reasons why you are grateful for your spouse.

8. Accept that not all problems are resolvable. Some problems will always be in our lives in one form or another. Find a workable solution you can both live with. Learn to agree to disagree.

9. Nurture spiritual growth. Start by praying daily for your spouse and your relationship. Besides attending worship services together, develop a regular time to practice spiritual disciplines such as devotions, bible study, prayer, and reading. Pray together daily. Ask them – what can I pray about for you today.

10. Review and renew your marriage vows. Vow renewal ceremonies are often more meaningful than the wedding. Reviewing and renewing your vows will move you toward spiritual intimacy.

Be Strong. Act Like Men.

Transform Your Marriage

Marriage thriving? Marriage struggling? Marriage mediocre?

It might seem simplistic, but here are three questions that can transform your marriage:

Do you believe that there is a God?

Are you willing to apply the principles of God’s Word to your life?

Will you pray for the Spirit of God to strengthen you and your spouse?

I believe, regardless of your marital condition, that God can change your marriage.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” – Romans 15:13

Be Strong. Act Like Men.

Be Samuel

The prophet Samuel listened carefully to God when Jesse brought out his sons. One by one, Jesse’s sons came before Samuel. And one by one, God said, “I have not chosen him.” Samuel could have easily decided that the oldest son was the best choice. After all, in those days, the oldest son was almost always chosen to receive the blessing. Or he could have chosen the strongest son because a King should be a strong leader. But Samuel did not choose the son that looked the best. He listened to God because God’s way is always the best way. Finally, Jesse brought in his son, David. He was the youngest of eight sons. He was probably a teenager.

He had the lowly job of taking care of the family’s sheep. When he entered, the Lord told Samuel, “Get up and anoint him. He is the one.” (1 Samuel 16:5) God had been looking at the hearts of these men. God said that David was a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). David loved and trusted the Lord.

Samuel obeyed the Lord. He poured oil over David to anoint him as the future King of Israel. He made the right choice because he depended on God’s wisdom.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

Remember that you cannot trust in your own wisdom. In every decision you make, turn to God. You are not able to see all that God sees. His way is always the best way. Pray to Him, read His word, and listen to the Holy Spirit, and you will always know what to do. Let God be your guide as a husband.

Be Strong. Act Like Men.

Inside or Out?

God anointed Saul as King over His people, but Saul became proud and disobedient. When God wanted to replace Saul, He did not look for a new king the same way everyone else did. Instead, God looked at how a person really was on the inside. God saw that David was a man who loved and trusted Him.

The Lord gave His prophet, Samuel, an important job. The Lord sent him to the home of an Israelite man named Jesse. There, Samuel would anoint one of Jesse’s eight sons as the next King of Israel. Which son would Samuel choose? If Samuel were choosing by his own wisdom, it would be sort of like trying to choose the best gift just by looking at the size of the box and the color of the bow on top. But Samuel would not choose by his own wisdom. He would rely on God’s wisdom. He would listen to God’s voice.

“Do not consider how handsome or tall he is… I do not look at the things people look at. Man looks at how someone appears on the outside. But I look at what is in the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

Which is more important to God? What is on the outside or on the inside? How does this relate to your role as a husband? What is in your heart and thoughts? Is it a show? Or is it genuine and sincere?

Be Strong. Act Like Men.

What’s in Your Net

Marriage is like a fishing net. Each day fishermen use their nets to catch fish and sell them at the market.

One fisherman takes his fish from the net every day, but let’s debris from the ocean accumulate. Eventually so much debris is caught in the net that he can hardly cast it out of the boat, and when he does, it’s almost impossible to retrieve. Finally, in a fit of anger, he cuts the net loose and goes home without it. He’s unable to catch and sell fish again until he buys another net.

Another fisherman removes debris every time he retrieves the net with the fish he caught. Each time he casts his net, it’s clean and ready to catch more fish. As a result, he catches and sells enough fish to support himself and his family.

In this parable, the fish are emotional needs met in marriage and the debris are habits that cause unhappiness.

Bad marriages are like the first fisherman’s net. Selfish demands, disrespectful judgments, angry outbursts, independent behavior and dishonesty accumulate over time. The burden of the unhappiness they cause ruins a couple’s willingness and ability to meet each others emotional needs. Eventually the marriage supplies no benefits to either spouse…leading to emotional separation or divorce. Good marriages are like the second fisherman’s net. Debris is eliminated as soon as it appears, making it easy for each spouse to meet the others emotional needs.

Just a verse

I was getting caught up in the busyness of the the world this summer and wondering how to get everything done, and then I read this verse:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. — Romans 12:1-2

Enjoy the day!