Change of pace….

We’ve talked about fighting fair by creating mutual rules of engagement. We need to be prepared to tackle those issues that will arise in a marriage, so having defined an approach to conflict is a great idea.
But…what if you are already stuck in a cycle to negativity and hurt?

I’ll give you an alternative. Set your problems aside for a little bit. Don’t talk about them at all. Don’t bring them up…not even once. Put your energy into trying to connect. Spend your time and energy doing specific relationship building activities. Things that you enjoy together.

It sounds backwards. Solve the problems; and then everything will be better. Isn’t that the way it is supposed to work? I challenge you to step outside of the traditional thinking. By focusing on building good will with your spouse and creating a positive connection – you might find that your issues become smaller while creating a greater feeling of oneness in your marriage.

”If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” – Ecclesiastes 4:10

Stand up together and enjoy each other!

 

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Personality vs. Character

“The difficultly with marriage is that we fall in love with a personality, but we must live with a character.” – Peter Devries

What is meant by character?

“Personality” is easy to understand. Your “personality” is how people experience you. It’s your public persona. But what is “character?” And why is “character” so crucial in your marriage?
Character is who you are when no one is watching.

You see, when you and your spouse met, you met each other’s personalities. You showed your spouse and you were shown by your spouse your public personas. You didn’t tricked each other. It’s just your personality; how you display yourself to others.

Marriage lasts too long in too close quarters for anyone to sustain a public persona. Personalities eventually give way to an inner self that gets revealed for the first time. And there you each stand, naked as if no one is watching. But someone is watching. And that’s when you meet for the first time…again!

You and your spouse don’t meet the person who charmed each other’s friends, bought gifts for each other’s parents, and always smiled from ear to ear. No, this time it’s a meeting of your characters. It’s not only that you’re meeting each other for the first time, but it’s that you’re meeting YOURSELVES for the first time.

Most people wouldn’t be caught dead treating anyone the way they treat their spouse. Most people don’t recognize their own behavior. “I’m just not myself with him/her.” Well then who is that person?
The reason so many people fail at marriage and an attempt at marriage renewal is not that they don’t like their spouse. It’s that they don’t like themselves. And while everyone else in their life is like a mirror reflecting their personality; their spouse is a mirror reflecting their character. And most people don’t like what they see.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5

 

Walking Together

“Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” Amos 3:3

I’ve been considering its application to my relationship with my wife. It reinforces the hierarchy of the relationships in a marriage and family. We must – first walk with Christ. We must – second walk with our spouse. If we fail in either of these areas; then we are not going to be successful leading our marriage or family.

Our marriages involve two imperfect people that are not always compatible. Conflict is inevitable. You and your spouse will not always be in agreement. In these moments – we need to love and respect each other as God’s commands us to do; and then leave room for God to move in our marriage and family. It is important that you walk together with your spouse. It is even more important to walk with God.

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

Be Strong. Act Like Men.

How do you define relationship?

Relationship (noun):
a) a connection, association or involvement
b) connection between persons by blood or marriage
c) an emotional or other connection between people

I participated in a work related team building event yesterday. The facilitator talked about the importance of building relationships. Our team consisted of people that I knew and those that I did not know. We had to come together quickly to resolved physical challenges as a team. A self-focused attitude was not going to produce success.

I would contend that…especially in our “me first” society…most people enter a relationship with what they can get out of it, rather than what they can give to it. What do individuals think that being in a relationship is going to provide for them? A cure for loneliness? A person to make them happy? A person to meet their needs? A change from what they’ve experienced in your life?

Where have people developed these relationship expectations? Stories, romance novels, television, friends, nursery rhymes, films, magazines, comics, cartoons, your own family, songs, ballads, fairy tales, myths, legends and so on.

Relationships…just like a team…requires a shared purpose. Just as one needs a purpose in life – something to aspire to, to feel a sense of achievement, growth and self-worth – one needs a purpose in a relationship. An individual without a sense of purpose is lost in life like a couple without a purpose is lost in a relationship. That purpose is how one is able to measure growth and progress. More importantly, that purpose provides a common interest, vision and goal in which both individuals can jointly work towards and share in its successes and failures.

The purpose of a relationship is not to have another who might complete you, but to share your completeness with them.

Be Strong. Act like Men.

Fullness of God

We focus mainly on pursuing an Ephesians 5 marriage. We’ve talked about the instructions for Christian living in Ephesians 4 plenty. It is important that we following the instruction that Paul shares with the people of Ephesus.

I need to confess that I have overlooked an important message in Ephesians 3. I couldn’t sleep Monday night. I was struggling with how I approach my role as a husband at times. I will often read through Ephesians in moments of difficulty because it challenges me to center myself back where I need to be. It seemed almost highlighted in my Bible:

“So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19

How can I possibly live God’s instructions as a husband without being “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God”?

Simple answer – I can’t. Neither can you.

I’ve realized that I am not capable of implementing God’s command to be forgiving and love my wife through my own effort. I must have the fullness of God to be truly successful. I am going to attempt to unpack this a little more in tomorrow’s post.

Be Strong. Act Like Men.

Man with a plan…

If you haven’t read Tony Dungy’s books; then I would recommend getting them. Tony Dungy talks about having a plans and says that you wouldn’t think about going into an NFL game on Sunday without properly preparing throughout the week. ”We do things with our lives we wouldn’t dream of doing on the football field,” says Dungy, referring to men having a lack of a plan for life. Unfortunately, too many men go into daily life as a man, dad and husband with no plan as to how to get the job done. And with no vision for where men want to go with their lives in those roles, it’s almost impossible to do it well.

So what is your plan? Will you take the next step and start to plan for succeeding in the important role of leading your family? It may be by reading the game plan (God’s Word), casting a vision for your family’s future in the areas of finances, your marriage, spiritual discipline, or helping devise household guidelines in areas like the use of computer and the programs that are watched, dating and purity and all the other areas that a man needs to have a plan for his family to succeed. It may feel overwhelming at times. Remember Tony Dungy didn’t do it all by himself. He surrounded himself with the best coaches he could find. That’s where we make so many of our mistakes. We don’t plan and then we don’t ask for help when we try to put a plan together. Surround yourself with other like-minded men and encourage each other in this arena.

Talking a Walk

“Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” Amos 3:3

I’ve been considering its application to my relationship with my wife. It reinforces the hierarchy of the relationships in a marriage and family. We must – first walk with Christ. We must – second walk with our spouse. If we fail in either of these areas; then we are not going to be successful leading our marriage or family.

Our marriages involve two imperfect people that are not always compatible. Conflict is inevitable. You and your spouse will not always be in agreement. In these moments – we need to love and respect each other as God’s commands us to do; and then leave room for God to move in our marriage and family. It is important that you walk together with your spouse. It is even more important to walk with God.

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12