Veteran’s Day

“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” – John 15:13

1,321,612 men and women have given their lives.

48,000,000 men and women have served their country.

Most have served their country without fame.

Most life family and friends behind.

All deserved to be recognized and remembered.

Happy Veteran’s Day.

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11 Rules About Marriage that You Won’t Learn in School

I like lists!  I wanted to share a list of rules by Dennis Rainey.

Rule 1: Marriage isn’t about your happiness. It’s not about you getting all your needs met through another person. Practicing self-denial and self-sacrifice, patience, understanding, and forgiveness are the fundamentals of a great marriage. If you want to be the center of the universe, then there’s a much better chance of that happening if you stay single.

Rule 2: Getting married gives a man a chance to step up and finish growing up. The best preparation for marriage for a single man is to man up now and keep on becoming the man God created him to be.

Rule 3: It’s okay to have one rookie season, but it’s not okay to repeat your rookie season. You will make rookie mistakes in your first year of marriage; the key is that you don’t continue making those same mistakes in year five, year 10, or year 20 of your marriage.

Rule 4: It takes a real man to be satisfied with and love one woman for a lifetime. And it takes a real woman to be content with and respect one man for a lifetime.

Rule 5: Love isn’t a feeling. Love is commitment. It’s time to replace the “D-word”—divorce—with the “C-word”—commitment. Divorce may feel like a happy solution, but it results in long-term toxic baggage. You can’t begin a marriage without commitment. You can’t sustain one without it either. A marriage that goes the distance is really hard work. If you want something that is easy and has immediate gratification, then go shopping or play a video game.

Rule 6: Online relationships with old high school or college flames, emotional affairs, sexual affairs, and cohabiting are shallow and illegitimate substitutes for the real thing. Emotional and sexual fidelity in marriage are the real thing.

Rule 7: Women spell romance R-E-L-A-T-I-O-N-S-H-I-P. Men spell romance S-E-X. If you want to speak romance to your spouse, become a student of your spouse, enroll in a lifelong “Romantic Language School,” and become fluent in your spouse’s language.

Rule 8: During courtship, opposites attract. After marriage, opposites can repel each another. You married your spouse because he/she is different. Differences are God’s gift to you to create new capacities in your life. Different isn’t wrong, it’s just different.

Rule 9: Pornography robs men of a real relationship with a real person and it poisons real masculinity, replacing it with the toxic killers of shame, deceit, and isolation. Pornography siphons off a man’s drive for intimacy with his wife. Marriage is not for wimps. Accept no substitutes.

Rule 10: As a home is built, it will reflect the builder. Most couples fail to consult the Master Architect and His blueprints for building a home. Instead a man and woman marry with two sets of blueprints (his and hers). As they begin building, they discover that a home can’t be built from two very different sets of blueprints.

Rule 11: How you will be remembered has less to do with how much money you make or how much you accomplish and more with how you have loved and lived.

Pass on the rules to a friend who will enjoy them!

Be Strong. Act Like Men.

True Love?

We live in a culture that praises the fairytale concept of true love. Hollywood would have us believe that love is all about that moment when you first meet and there is a “magical connection” and you “just know” that this is the person you’re supposed to spend the rest of your life with. Or it is about those feelings of euphoria you get when you first start dating, and that if those feelings go away the love is gone.

And people chase this false idea of love their whole lives. You hear women say things like “I thought he was the man of my dreams but we got divorced because the love just wasn’t there anymore”. People talk about falling in love like it is inevitable, a force as powerful as gravity. And they talk about falling out of love like it is equally inevitable.

This initial period of emotional excitement the honeymoon phase. One thing is inevitable: this phase will not last. Those feelings fade. The intense desire to spend every minute together goes away.
People get divorced or have affairs every day because their marriage isn’t living up to the fairytale. They feel like their marriage has failed because the emotions faded.

These feelings are not love, they are attraction. Attraction paves the way for romantic love, but it is not love.

True love doesn’t start until after the honeymoon phase ends.

True love is about the choices you make every day, both big and small. It is sacrifice and sometimes it is suffering. Suffering with her because of her pain or suffering because something she did that hurt you deeply. Or suffering with worry because you don’t know if she will make it home in the storm that came out of nowhere while she was driving home from work.

True love is about Jesus Christ dying on the cross for your sins, suffering more than anyone ever has. It is opening yourself up to receive His love, to let it fill you up until it overflows, spilling into those around you.

What is true love? It isn’t a feeling. It is a choice. It is all the little choices you make long after the feelings are gone. It is so much better, so much richer, so much more rewarding than the fairytale.

And it’s yours for the taking. You just have to chose not to give up when things get tough. Christ never gave up loving the church. You should never give up loving your wife.

Be Strong. Act Like Men.

No Secrets

Keeping things or hiding things from your spouse is a sign of problems in a marriage. A healthy marriage is one that is built on total openness and honesty. When it comes to secrets in marriage, there should be none.

Here are some tough questions:
• Do you hide purchases of things you bought from your spouse?
• Do you allow your spouse to read all of your email messages?
• Do you share your passwords to email addresses or Facebook accounts with your spouse?
• Would you allow your spouse to read your text messages on your cell phone if he or she asked?
• Do you hide friendships with people of the opposite sex from your spouse?
• Do you immediately delete all of the messages you get by email, text and Facebook?

I know that for some those are really tough questions. You may not like to hear this, but if you are constantly hiding things from your spouse, my first questions for you would be, “Why?” and “What are you hiding?” If one spouse is hiding things from their spouse, then it sends off all kinds of red flags.

So does my wife read every email, text message or Facebook message I get? No, but she’s welcome to read them anytime she wants. Can she snoop? She can…if she wants, but I have nothing to hide. I hide nothing from her, and I find accountability in the fact that she knows every password to my email and Facebook account.

A healthy marriage is a marriage where spouses don’t hide things from one another. It is one of the main foundations of having a great marriage.

Be Strong. Act Like Men.

Stay the Course

You might be interested to learn that 2/3s of unhappy couples who stay together say their marriage is significantly better within five years. Five years? How can you make it through five years? It requires that you and your spouse tie yourselves to the mast.
Your English teacher was right. You would use this information someday….think back to when you read the Odyssey in high school. Forgot? Me too…so here you go:

Odysseus encountered the Island of the Sirens. The creatures that lived on the island possessed enchanting voices that distracted sailors from their journey and imprisoned them forever (think about the sirens in the movie “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou”). As Odysseus’ crew passed by, the creatures sung their beautiful song, but he knew the dangers. He put wax in the crew’s ears and ordered that he be tied to the mast. Odysseus commanded that the crew stay true to their course no matter how bad their circumstances seemed.

God created marriage to be a covenant – a deeply binding commitment designed to help us weather out the most difficult circumstances. It requires that we tie ourselves to the mast. You have to dismiss the negative voices that might convince you that divorce is an easy option to your troubles.

Commit yourself and your marriage to a course of growth and healing. With hard work and faithfulness to God….you will discover the marriage that you’ve always dreamed of.

Be Strong. Act Like Men.

What do I do?

I have some ideas of what to do today. Why don’t you walk up to a wall and bang your head against it in hopes it moves? Or, instead of driving your car to the store, why don’t you carry it on your back instead? And, why not ask the cat to take out the garbage?

Hopefully, you think these are crazy, painful, impossible ideas. But, unfortunately, you might be doing some other things that are equally crazy, painful, impossible:

-Wanting things out of your control to change.
-Tossing time, money and energy towards things out of your control.
-Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.
-Getting angry, scared, frustrated, or depressed about any of that.

This week, when faced with “What do I do?” I invite you to do what you can, and do what moves you closer to yourself, others, God. Everything else leave be. Surrender, turn it over, hand it over, wait, pray, and have a nice day.

Or, I have an idea: bury yourself up to the waist in wet cement…wait a few hours…then kick as hard as you can…

Comfort In A Time of Need

I was reading back through posts I’ve written about fatherhood.  I saw this one I wrote after my Dad passed.  It’s been three years today.  It’s a good reminder to myself.  I wanted to share it with you.

I’ve been away from posting the last two weeks. My father was in the hospital and passed away peacefully after a long fight against emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis. I’ve been taking time to help my family and to reflect on my Dad’s life. I wanted to share something that was sent to me by a friend:

“The Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians church, “Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.”  Many scholars feel that “joy” and “crown” have a futuristic view in mind that Paul is looking forward to their relationship in Heaven.

As believers, we know that relationships don’t end here.  One day we will rejoin our believing husband, wife, son, daughter, mother, father and other family and friends.  The nature of the relationship may change some but not the love, devotion or memory.

Life is not about “getting over it.”  It’s not even about “getting through it.”  It’s about finding new ways in the Lord to adjust to the loss that we are enduring.  It’s about maintaining a hope and a passion for the present and the future.  No, things are not the way we want it right now.  No, we’re not happy about what has taken place.”  No, we don’t want to smile.”  I get it and it makes perfect sense to me.”