Category: Marriage (page 1 of 3)

I Would Date More If I Weren’t Married

date

There is a lot of attention given to the importance of dating your spouse. Within the Christian culture, this subject prompts sermons, books, and blog posts. However, this discussion is not exclusive to the religious. Many relationship professionals acknowledge the truth that a successful relationship requires time spent together.

When we fulfill our role as husband, as we were created, we will prioritize our wife’s needs above our own. Paul instructs the Philippians: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” I think on this often, and routinely evaluate the amount of time my wife and I spend together, including how often we go on actual dates.

After our wedding, dating continued to be a priority for us. However, with the arrival of our youngest, and moving across country, dating became less frequent. I have been assuring myself, “We are just in a busy season. Things will slow down. We will get back to each other soon.” Then I realized, if we weren’t married, I would date her more.

Before we were married, I purposefully prioritized time to spend with her. I had to be around her. Because we did not live together, I found ways to make sure she knew I was thinking about her. I made time for her. Unfortunately, the longer we’ve been married, the easier it has become to take for granted the time we spend together. However, we all know that there is a difference between simply being in the same room together; while one kid runs around doing karate flips, and the other tugs at your knee, whining about something you’ll never figure out; and actually spending time together talking about anything but diapers. Husbands, we must do better than simply being around our wives.

Spending time together is more than taking your wife to dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings while “the game” just happens to be on. I promise you, she will know what you are doing. So let me help you. Here are a few suggestions on how you can make dating your wife a priority, and ensure she feels loved, heard, appreciated, and important to you.

SAY “NO”

Part of our problem today is our inability to say “no” to people and things. We believe that busy equals successful. When we say yes to busyness, we are saying no to what should be our priorities. When we say yes to things that simply fill our time, we are saying no to the people who matter and hold the rights to our time. Saying “no” to busyness frees up your time, allowing you to prioritize on behalf of your wife, children, and others.

ASK YOUR WIFE

Asking what she wants and likes to do should be a “no brainer.” However, a lot of guys assume this will make their wife think their husbands don’t know them. Here is a secret… you won’t ever fully know her. She changes. In 5, 10 and 20 years she will be completely different from the woman on your wedding day. And you will be different too. So ask her what she would like to do. Asking will show her that she is your priority and that you actually think about her. What is her ideal date? What would make her feel you put time and thought into a date? What does a simple & fun date look like? I’m not sure who said it, but one of the best quotes I’ve ever heard about how we ought to relate to our wife is, “Our wife is not a book that we read once and know all about her. She is more like a violin that you spend your entire life learning, so the music the violin produces at the end, is far sweeter that the music when you were first learning.

TAKE THE LEAD

Do not wait for her to figure out date night. Plan for her. For ideas, Google “Date Night Ideas.” Then call a babysitter, and watch the kids while she gets ready, because we all know we finish dressing in the time it takes to put on our pants. Once away together, spend your time being all about her. Open the door for her, hold her hand, talk about her stuff, take her to someplace SHE wants to eat, and do something SHE enjoys. Do this a few times each month. Make this your habit.

Giving our time to other stuff is not wrong or bad, until it begins to take priority over our spouse. Make your wife your priority. Because she is. And if she isn’t, or never has been, you can fix this. Be prepared for her to be surprised, or a little confused, by this renewed or brand new behavior. But she will appreciate your planning, time, and purposeful attention.

Spend your entire life learning her, so that the music she produces at the end, is far sweeter than the music when you were first learning. And always, rejoice in the wife of your youth.

*This post was originally published at TheWholeMan.co

3 Indicators That You May Be Hurting Your Partner

broken heartRecently my wife and I had the opportunity to help a young, pregnant girl who was trapped in a domestic violence situation. My wife first connected with her in a group through which the girl was soliciting help. We were able to provide her a place to stay, food, and other supplies. My wife and I eventually had the opportunity to talk with her.

During our earliest conversations she shared how bad the abuse had been for the last four months. At one point, she was sent to the hospital with injuries so severe that the doctor described them as “the worst” he had seen. After our initial conversations, my wife and I felt it would benefit her to open our home to her. For the safety of all involved, one of the main stipulations would be that her boyfriend could not know where we lived. Initially it seemed she could legitimately commit to this. However, as the conversation progressed over the next few days, it became clear that she was not ready to separate herself from her abuser. Because of that, we were not able to open our home. However, we continue to help her in other ways.

An area I feel most called to is helping guys figure out how to be men. I desire for them to be men that are healed, whole, and fulfilling their roles of follower, leader, husband, and father. This young girl is the product of many guys in her life not being a man.

While I don’t have the opportunity to help this man, at least at this time, the situation reminds me that it takes time to become an abuser. And there are indicators to warn us, that we, as men, are on the wrong path. And so today, I would like to write to the guy that may not be abusive, but is on his way. He is living in a way that will either damage his relationship or progress to more serious abuse.

This is by no means an all-inclusive list, but here are three indicators that you are hurting your partner.

You Always Justify Your Actions

Whether you yell, slam things, walk out or ignore your partner; you always have a justification for the way you have acted. Your behavior could be identical to hers, but somehow hers is not acceptable and you can justify yours. You often find yourself providing that justification to her, to others, and to yourself. After every encounter you have to convince yourself that you acted appropriately and why it was the “only way to get through to her” or that “she was the irrational one.” And still, regardless of how much you justify it, deep down you know your behavior is not justified.

You Function from a Place of Fear

Fear rules you. It occupies your thoughts and directs your actions. Maybe you are afraid of rejection or being alone. Maybe you are afraid that you will be “found out;” that someone might figure out the “real” you. Perhaps you are afraid that you will have to face yourself. Whatever your fear, it becomes the basis for how you interact with others. Fear causes you to mistrust others’ intentions. It causes you to filter their actions through your lens of anxiety and apprehension. You are constantly worrying that you may do something to insight a negative response from others, so you approach others with caution and never really develop healthy relationships.

You Keep Secrets

There is something, or many things, that you are hiding. You tell yourself that whatever it is, it really is not a big deal. But you still hide it from them. Your secret only perpetuates your need to justify your actions and fear that you’ll be “found out.” Typically, the secret does not start out big, but over time it grows. Eventually you get to the point that you are unable to tell anyone. Because you keep secrets, you are convinced that your partner has secrets. Any appearance of trust you had in your relationship is slowly eroded. Your secrets cause you to approach your partner from a place of constant suspicion and you treat them as such.

I am convinced that abusers do not start out with the intention to hurt their partner. It is a slow road that ends with people getting hurt and broken. Ending it before the damage is done begins with you. It begins with being honest with you. Changing your path will free you from the certainty of broken relationship and make way for a future with your partner that you may not even dare to hope for in this moment. If you see any of these indicators in yourself, find a professional or support group to help you avoid the damage that is most inevitable. But in the end, all the help in the world is just “pain management.” Real freedom from these things comes from Jesus.

But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
~ 2 Corinthians 3:16-17 ~

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How We Got, “Wives, submit to your own husbands…” Wrong.

photo used from: www.dailymail.co.uk

Photo used from: www.dailymail.co.uk

This past week my wife asked me, “Why is it that everyone talks about what Biblical manhood should look like, but hardly comparatively, anyone talks about Biblical womanhood?

Good question. Maybe because we mess it up more.

Seriously though, it is a good question and I agree with her. I believe it is a conversation that needs to be had. However, even though I’m able to reference scripture and discuss this topic with women; I do not believe men are the best or should be the first to initiate this conversation. The discussion will carry more weight with women taking the lead. As much as women need to be talking about this, men need to listen.

What I will do is discuss one aspect of biblical womanhood that men have twisted – submission. Intentionally or not, the misuse of submission has and continues to be used to control and hurt women.

For far too long men have held firmly to the idea that a wife must submit to her husband. So much so that submission has been counted as her duty and consequently has moved her into the role of servant rather than partner. Ephesians 5:22 instructs wives to submit to their husbands as they do to the Lord; but that does not make her a slave to her husband. While the bible does direct a wife to submit to her husband, submission does NOT mean subservience. Often men seem to miss or simply disregard, that just one verse prior, Ephesians 5:21 tells us to submit to one another. This verse tells us that husbands are also called to submit to their wives! Somehow we have assigned the discipline of submission solely to the wife. And, as if that’s not a big enough issue, we’ve assigned submission the same definition as subservience. But there’s a difference between what God desires for submission and how we have defined it.

Dictionary.com defines each as:

Submit – to give over or yield to the power or authority of another (voluntary)
Subservience – slavish: abjectly (with great shame, desperately) submissive; characteristic of a slave or servant (not voluntary)

One of the greatest roadblocks to correctly viewing and living out biblical submission is the existence of slavery and the church’s historical involvement. Rather than get into a discussion about the huge differences between ancient Israelite slavery and all other slavery; I will point out that our current understanding of submission is built within the context of slavery. The slave’s submission to the master had to be absolute and had dire consequences if not. In addition, it was forced submission and not required of both sides. With that backdrop, it’s easy to see how the role of submission within a marriage has become an unhealthy one.

A wife’s submission to her husband does not mean slavish subservience. While service is an aspect of submission, it is not servitude. It does not call for blind and muffled obedience to the whims of a husband. Husbands and wives are intended to complement each other; they are intended to be the other half of their one. Submission does not suggest that your wife is weak, but instead reveals her understanding of her role in Christ. It requires great courage and strength to voluntarily yield to the authority and power of Jesus Christ. The proper response by a husband to his wife’s choice to submit should be honor and love. Her submission is ultimately not your concern, yours is. In fact, it requires very little, if any, of your interference or input. Your responsibility is to focus on your role as her husband, which coincidentally begins with submission.

As head of your home, your first responsibility is submission to God. James 4:7, tells us to “submit [ourselves], then, to God.” If a man is to honor his wife, he must first honor God and that begins with submission. In practical terms, submission is the surrendering of control of your life to the leading of the Holy Spirit. For each of us, surrendering ourselves to the Holy Spirit allows for God to add and remove from our lives as He sees fit. Submission to God will cause an inward change that reveals outward fruit. In other words, what God changes and does in your heart will be visible to those around you.

A man leads his home by first submitting to God and then honoring and loving his wife. The less we concern ourselves with our wives’ submission, the better we are able to submit to Jesus. It is then we are best equipped to submit to and serve her.

The most notable portion of scripture concerning the roles of husband and wife is Ephesians 5:21-33. The passage begins with verse 21 telling us to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Our submission to our spouse is initiated and spurred by our awe and reverence for Jesus. If we’re to honor our marriages and our role as a man of God, we must reframe how we understand submission. Our best example of submission is Jesus coming to earth, doing the will of the Father and giving Himself to the cross. He did so willing, for the benefit of others and to reflect the glory of the Father. Our submission, as men, should be a willingness to set our self aside for the glory of Jesus and the benefit of our wife and family.

Submission is not a duty, it is an act of honoring God.

Little endnote: Your girlfriend is NOT required to submit to you. Just “dating” a woman with no commitment to pursue anything further does not afford you the right or privilege of her submission. Submission comes with commitment.

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