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.
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.
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.
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…
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.”
How can you better enjoy your wife and marriage?
– Accept what she can give today. Nobody is at the top of their game every day.
– Strive to give your best today. If you fall…stand back up!
– Focus on what she is doing right, instead of what she is doing wrong. Highlight it. Compliment it.
– Live in the joy of the moment, instead of focusing on the past and pray about the future.
– Let your joy be dependent on God – not your wife.
– Love her like crazy. Be relentless.
– Have a forgiving heart.
Elijah and Jonah
Both prophets. Both call by God. Different responses.
God called Elijah to confront Ahab. He went. God called Jonah to confront the Ninevites. He ran.
What is God calling you to do in your marriage? As a father?
Are you walking toward God? Are you walking away? You can only be doing one.
Have you ever considered what God is calling you to do? Sure – you could say that God hasn’t “called” you to do anything, but the magnitude of your calling depends on what you call it. Your marriage could be your calling. Maybe you disagree; however whatever you call it…that’s what it is going to be. I suggest that we – as husbands – examine what God calls us to do in Ephesians 5.
Is it hard? Yes. Is it always fair and balanced? No. Will it help you achieve the marriage that God intends for you? I am willing to bet – yes. We need to stop calling it like we see it because God calls it differently because He knows what it can be.
Love you wife like Christ loved the church; and then let God handle the rest.
In case you are not familiar with the story of Jonah; then I will share this….Jonah ran, but he could not out run what God called him to do.
Be Strong. Act Like Men.