A Measure of Love

If I were to ask you how you love your wife you may have a pretty hard time putting words around that. Better yet if she were to ask you the same question you would probably start looking for the remote and try to subtly change the topic. Fact of the matter is we’re men, and we don’t typically think about the HOW we are loving our spouses. Sure we can say, “I Love You,” or even describe what we love about our wives, but that will usually be a description of what WE get from that love. Don’t be alarmed; we are selfish beings.   It’s part of who we are, but there is a solution.

Read 1 Cor 13 again (I say again because I know what you’re thinking, “Oh no, not another over-played usage of the ‘Love’ chapter.”). In fact, it is a great place to go to remind yourself HOW you should love your wife. Challenge yourself to start being a servant in your love and not only a recipient of her love.  My marriage has always been great, but if I am honest often times that was due to what I taking from it, not what I was putting into it.

Having God at the center of your marriage is key, but He will not work alone. You are expected to continue to put the effort into seeking  His direction and working on growing closer together and towards Him. Get this right, and I promise you won’t start looking for the remote next time she asks to describe your love.

 

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All means ALL!

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

I love this verse. I love how straightforward and clear Paul is here in his letter to the Corinthians. I’m pretty sure that do all means – do ALL!

Are you glorifying God in ALL areas of your life? Now I’ll be the first to admit that I frequently fall short of this charge but I go to this verse daily as a reminder that I need to be better. Better in my career, my relationships, my marriage, my parenting, my coaching….EVERYTHING! I also know that I can’t do this on my own but only with God at the center of all these things.

What are the things you need to hand over to God so you can start to live a life that is glorifying to Him?

Be Strong. Glorify God.

Know Your Role

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
Colossians 3:18-21

In one of my favorite books Father Fiction, author Donald Miller while speaking to a group of young men about what the definition of a ‘real man’ is quotes, “A real man is a person with a penis”. He goes on to explain that God has decided what a man is and when God speaks the Majority speaks, “YOU ARE A MAN”! Miller’s quote might be funny or even a little blunt but I love the way he simplifies things.

When my wife and I were first married I didn’t know how to be a man, a real man, a man following God’s design as described by Paul in his letter to the Colossians. I’m not saying we had problems, in fact our marriage has always been good, but it went from good to great when I started to listen to God’s voice, following his instructions, and became a real man, husband and father.

Being the spiritual leader of your family is not always easy, it comes with plenty of sacrifice and committment but it’s what we were designed to be. With that type of responsibility it is important to have a good understanding of how to do that. Look no further than the verse above, start praying, listen to God and start being the man you were designed to be. A real man.

Be Strong. Act Like Men.

Manly Men Make Lists

Are you like me? Do you find yourself making lists to remember things? Even things that should be and used to be second nature to remember? Don’t feel bad if you are, in our culture of go here go there, careers, school, kids activities, family vacations and even volunteer duties it is all too common to forget the simplest things.

From time to time I even need to be reminded of the importance of my role as a husband and father. Being the man who God designed me to be sometimes requires me to make a list or mental reference.  I know, sounds manly right?  Well I recently found the below list on Familylife.com which I think you will find is a very good reference and plenty manly enough to share.

7 Things a Man Needs to Know About Marriage
by Jeff Kemp

1. A man needs to know that the ultimate team is marriage. It’s the union and oneness of man and woman in lifelong covenant. It’s the team that anchors a family. It’s a bonded relationship that mirrors God’s sacrificial, unconditional, lasting love for His children (those who by faith have accepted His sacrifice and adoption into His eternal family).

2. A man needs to know the difference between being a consumer and an investor in life, in relationships, and in marriage. Don’t let an advertising-saturated, consumer society make you act like a consumer in relationships. Decide to add value to a wife, not take value.

Just like great quarterbacks serve receivers, and great receivers serve quarterbacks, we need to be investors, not childish consumers, takers, or complainers. We are to model ourselves after Jesus, the ultimate relationship Investor. He is the definition of a man: responsible, initiating, courageous, self-sacrificing, healing, peacemaking, justice-doing, others-centered rather than self-centered, loving others in ways that add value and nobility to them.

Before he is married, a great husband will be a relationship investor who will build friendship that adds value into the life a young woman, her self-esteem, and her potential to serve God. He will channel his sexual desires and expression into devotion to God and commitment to one wife for life. He will marry and be sexually exclusive–only having eyes, imagination, and sexual intimacy with one woman.

3. A man needs to know that a marriage and family depend upon God as their Maker. God is the authority. He provides the blueprints for marriage and the power source of love, wisdom, and health. God can heal any marriage if the husband and wife will submit themselves to God and let Him change them.

4. A man needs to know that marriage is meant to mature him and develop Christ-like character in him. It can help conform him to the image of Christ, reshaping his will and identity into union with, and deference toward, his wife. This is like the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who honor, defer to, and glorify each other.

The friendship of marriage helps spouses become better versions of themselves, closer to what God designed and redeemed them to be. They must face the truth about themselves–their strengths and their imperfections. They will face conflict and difficulty and must grow empathy and teamwork. Selfishness must melt away if they are to become healthy, strong, and mature together.

5. A man needs to know the meaning of love. God defines love not by how much you want to receive, by by how much you are willing to give of yourself–your will, your freedom, your time, your emotions, your forgiveness, your resources. The model is Jesus, who demonstrated love for us by dying for us while we were yet sinners.

A husband does this by choosing his wife as a priority in his life over all other pursuits, possessions, and distractions–regardless of whether she is kind, lovable, or respectful. Love brings out the best in her. A man initiates love, rather than waiting for or demanding respect or kind treatment. Love is not dependent upon feelings. Decisions and choices to love can regenerate the feelings of love.

6. A man needs to know the Christ-like role of servant, husband, and lover. He is to be an investor in his wife, and he sacrifices himself for her best. He defines his manhood as pursuing purity in Christ, chastity before marriage, and enthusiastic fidelity in marriage.

7. A man needs to understand sexuality as God’s good creation, distinct from its counterfeits. He understands that sexuality makes sense in the context of union to God and the union of marriage. Outside that context it’s often reduced to moralism, rules, suppression, secrecy, illicit imagination, temptation, and shame. Or, commonly it is reduced to a consumer experience–materialistic self-interest, physical gratification, entertainment, techniques. This causes shallow, stunted human bonding, untold stories of abuse, damage, abandonment, and fragmented families.

Be Strong. Make Lists and Act Like Men.

Are you and your wife still dating?

If not, you should be.  Remember those days early on in your relationship before you were married or maybe even just after?  Remember the way it felt to have someone be the focus of all your attention, mentally, emotionally, physically?  Remember all the Corny things you would do to make her feel special or for one chance to get her to notice you?  Remember all the creative things you would do just to spend one more hour with her?  Are you still doing those things?  If you’re anything like me and have been married long enough then jobs, kids activities, and the general business of our daily lives has prevented you from continuing to date your wife, but it shouldn’t.  The enemy is very skilled at finding ways to get between you and your wife and using the daily mundane strucutre of our lives is one of his most used tools.  Well it’s time to recognize that and do something about it.  My wife and I recently sent our oldest off to college and in doing so have found a whole new schedule around our lives and are being very intentional to take a good portion of that time to ‘date’ again.

Get back that relationship you had early in your marriage or when you were courting.  Make it a priority to ‘date’ your wife.  Don’t ever give up making her feel like everyday is a new and exciting day to be in a relationship with you.  Show her how important she is by cultivating and guarding the woman that God has entrusted you with.  You know your wife better than anyone else, you know what she will like and what will work but if you need any ideas here are a few dating tips to kick start your creativity (some content of list taken from familylife.com).

1. Make a list of ten things your wife loves to do. Each new time you take your wife on a date, do one of those ten things as your date.

2. Do the classic date: dinner and a show. Take your wife to din­ner and to a movie she wants to watch.

3. Write a love note to your wife. Tell her all over again what she means to you.

4. Spend an evening stargazing with your wife and talking about dreams you have for the future.

5. Devote the next month to studying a book of the Bible with your wife. Take twenty minutes several nights a week to read, discuss, and pray through a shorter book such as Ephesians or Philippians.

6. Hold your wife’s hand often, in public and in private.

7. Tell your wife that you love her.  Tell your wife that Jesus loves her more than you do.  Pray with her.

8. Set a weekly date night. Each week rotate going out and stay­ing in for your date night.

9. Cancel work for the day and do something special with your wife.

10. Cut something from your schedule and use that time to date your wife.

Be Strong.  Act Like Men.