If You Having Marriage Problems I Feel Bad For You Son, I Got 99 Problems But My Wife Aint One

Happily ever after! That is the fairy tale a child is taught from the time they are small in books and movies. This is not a post to blast the cultural norms of society and the lack of commitment to marriage, nor is this a post to boast about my own greatness in achieving some super human goal that unobtainable by the rest of you mere mortals. This post is to brag on the Lord and the wife he blessed me with and the marriage I have.

 

 

 

 

 

Pause and Consider…..

I’m usually pretty hesitant to talk up something as good for two reasons. Immediately after I do so it will fail, or it will be tested. I usually wonder if my marriage has been tested enough, but maybe that is the point, maybe it hasn’t been tested a lot because of the foundation. Or maybe the testing just hasn’t felt like testing because the way it is being handled? I don’t know, but I do know that this has been a wonderful experience and I couldn’t imaging life any other way. I think the reason it has been so good is because it’s built on the only one who is good.  Anyone who was at my wedding can let you know that it was my prayer that God would be the very center of the marriage and that Savannah and I would be able to come together in Him and through Him. This is the only reason that I can so confidently say that my marriage is wonderful and the bond we share is stronger than anything else I know. Like one of my favorite rappers Andy Mineo says, I ain’t cocky, I just know that God got me.

We aren’t perfect people, we have fights, and just yesterday we thought a boxing ring might be a fine place to have our next date; but God is faithful. We always come back to Him, and we always come back to that foundational love. The cornerstone of our relationship, our vows to one another, our oath  before God. If you haven’t thought about exactly what you vowed to do there in front of God and a bunch of witnesses you just might want to give it some thought. We might be loose with our words and short on memory, but I assure you the Lord isn’t. You said you were going to love this woman, you said you were going to take care of her, you were going to be there for her.

Out with the Bad Beans, In with the Good

I think a lot of folks struggle within their marital relationship because they are looking for that equal partnership, they are looking for that fairness situation. I scratch your back and you scratch mine. Jesus couldn’t make things anymore clear than what He did on the cross that life isn’t fair, so stop trying to make it out to be. Did Jesus say, “Father, I’m not dying for them they don’t do this, and they don’t meet this standard, and they don’t meet this expectation.” No, while we were yet his enemies He loved us and went to the cross and shed his blood for us, so that we might live. The whole, I do this and this and this; but she won’t ever do this is weak sauce garbage nonsense when brought before the Lord. Boys make excuses, men make plans. You better plan on loving your wife like Christ loved you, don’t forget that’s his daughter before she is your wife.

Sorry, kind of got off on a little rant there, it is just frustrating that so many of us as men fail to step up to the plate. We want to dodge responsibility and shrink back from our duty. Some of this can be laid at the feet of the way we were raised, but ultimately when you really get down to the truth of it, men love their sins. Wait I thought this post was about marriage, why are you getting off in the giggly weeds of sin? The two topics cannot be separated from one another. You will not experience the deep oneness and bond with your spouse as it was intended to be experienced while walking in sin. Just as Christ is keeping his bride the church spotless and sin puts a divide between you and the Lord, so to it does with your wife. It will drive a wedge and hopefully it is removed before you are split apart.

Spare Me the Speech, Just the Basics

Enough with the world ending dramatics and life shattering statements already Jeff you say? I’m trying to serve God and I just want some practical ideas of how my wife and I can grow closer, how I can be a better husband. Well shoot brother, why didn’t you just say so and you could have saved me a lot of typing. Here are a few things I TRY to implement into my own marriage that I think have been beneficial over the years.

  1. Do not fight or argue in front of your children. You either experienced fighting yourselves or have seen enough movies of kids listening to mom and dad fight to understand why this isn’t healthy. Not to mention you aren’t showing them that you are a single unified unit.
  2. When you fight and argue in front of your children (because try as you might you’re going to fail) be sure to go back and apologize to your wife in front of your children and apologize to your children. Tell them it was wrong for you to lose your temper like that and you are sorry and ask for forgiveness. This is not only verbatim what the bible prescribes when we sin, but this is also an example to your children and your wife of humility in action. Everything in you is going to scream and you are going to hate yourself, but suck it up buttercup, you said you wanted to be a man didn’t you?
  3. Make her a priority. There are a million things in this world that scream for out attention and our time. You are already on a limited amount of time here on this earth. Make sure that right after God (you are putting God first right? If not please refer back to the manual) your wife is the very next priority. Not your children, not your mommy and daddy, not the church people, not your hobby, not the fellas; your wife is the next one in line. There are some really good things in that list that all need attention and care, but none as important as your wife.
  4. Hear her. This one is really hard for me because I’m often off in my own little world thinking about who knows what. I tend to fade back and forth between talks with God and day dreams of utter nonsense (lol, I hate typing lol just so we are all aware, but I have texted it so much I don’t know what else to put or how to express my laughter to you, time to take a writing class). When she is telling you about her day take an interest in all the mundane details like you did back when you were dating. Then any place that you can interject and lighten her burden or go out of your way to get some small token item to let her know you are hearing her or show that you are engaged in what she has going on in her life.
  5. Do Housework. Jeff, that’s the women’s job, I work, I’m tired, she should take care of that. Again, if this is your attitude, you heart is in the wrong place go and talk it out with God. “Father, why do I have to die on the cross? That’s the sinners job, I’m perfect, punish them.” Is that the example we were given? No, we were called to serve. If Jesus Christ knelt down and washed feet, you can kneel down and fold clothes, sweep, bathe children and the fifty million other things your wife is doing while you’re at the recliner spa because you’re tired from work. Again buttercup, do you want to be a man or not?

That’s it for some basic ideas and tips on a better marriage. I’m not an expert but I know my marriage is great and I know it’s great because God is in the middle of it. You can take my advice or not, but I’m certain none of it is bad advice, choice is yours.

 

Wounds Stick Around

Nobody is getting out of this life unscathed. We are all going to have some bumps, bruises, and scars along the way. That is the natural order of living in a fallen world with the curse of sin. The bible instructs us to confess our sins one to another that we may be healed, but what happens if we disregard this piece of advice?

Tough Enough?

Take you a couple of good sharp knives and jam them in thighs, now punch out a few windows, and lastly for good measure run a couple of fish hooks through your cheeks. Not those little baby fish hooks either, the big mamma jamma’s. Now I want you to just carry on about your day as usual. Isn’t that what many of us do in life? We suffer all these emotional wounds and then we act as though nothing is wrong. There are a number of reasons for not showing any emotion, but none of them are very good.

Some folks let their pride stop them. If I show any emotions or acknowledge that this situation or person hurt my feelings I’m going to seem weak. In other situations people bottle their emotions up because they are trying to be strong for other family members….wives, children, husbands, siblings, etc., Fear of confrontation can be another reason that people don’t acknowledge their wounds. The reaction of the person doing the wounding is presumed to be worse than the continuing on of the situation.

Are You Wounded?

Regardless of your reason for holding everything inside the result is the same; you are a wounded person. Many of us never learned how to process or deal with these wounds and over time they compact and you are no longer the person you started out. You are something else now. A set of scars with a person underneath.

Everyone uses a different type of coping mechanism to achieve the same end; emotional numbness. The goal is to not feel a particular pain, but in pursuit of that goal you end up not feeling anything. My favorite band the Avett Brothers (thanks Cody Goldsmith) gave the analogy of being like the old tin man. That is about the best I can think of.

Healing in Christ and Community

Nobody gets well on their own. Christ paid a high price for us to live free. To be healed and fully capable of sharing love, of laughing, of weeping with those who weep. I used to think men didn’t cry, and over the years I’ve learned  scared men don’t cry. It only makes sense to weep when you are wounded, letting the Lord bubble that poison up and out of you from your core.

I have the honor of having an amazing wife and good men in a small group at church to work through my own pains. I’m not a finished work, but the Lord is giving me back my emotions. Everything is simply deeper in Him and more alive….to put it simply, the mundane in life has suddenly become much more abundant.

I worked through a small group program with some men from my church that helped the process a lot and we had to journal our 10 worst moments in our life and what we felt when we thought about them. That really helped me to get the ball rolling on dealing with some things and maybe it could help you to if you gave it a try.

If anyone reading this ever needs somebody to talk to just leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you.

 

photo credit: mag3737 N00/7010239607″>That had to hurt via photopin (license)

photo credit: UnlockingTheBible N04/7136627949″>Isaiah 53:5 Desktop Background “By His Wounds We are Healed” via photopin (license)

photo credit: GabboT N00/16659603055″>036 via photopin (license)

Yes I can! (Nutty Professor Voice)

Let me ask you a question; have you ever been reading your bible (ain’t been reading your bible? You better get on it hombre, you’re missing out on life) and thought to yourself, I wish God would use me it some really great way like that, that’s amazing. I have had those thoughts, now let me tell you what thoughts trail those thoughts. (say it three times fast, I dare ya.)

Shortly after come all my self-condemnation and doubt thoughts. I know these aren’t coming from God because He is crystal clear that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. So the enemy tricks the flesh, they do a little fist bump, and say lets break his spirit.

I was reading in Luke 9 about the transfiguration and some of these thoughts started to creep in. Fortunately the Holy Spirit was quick on the scene to guide me into all truth. You see, I began to say to myself; “If Peter can watch Jesus shine in glory and talk to two superstars of the faith from the past who are apparently still alive and kicking by his power, immediately afterwards see a cloud of “glory” and hear the voice of God say audibly this is my Son and still go on to deny him, what hope is there for a wretch like me?”

An aside here that I had also flipped over as a cross-reference to the stoning of Stephen, and he’s just casually asking God not to lay this sin at their charge. I’m not like that, I can’t fake that kind of love, I will never reach some level of spiritual discipline to make me love others in that way.

Then it hit me like a two ton heavy thing. (Queensryche Empire album reference recognized by nobody ever; I find I often reference the most odd things from my childhood that weren’t really pop culture but they were my culture so I’m the only one who thinks its cool lol) Christ was with Peter on the mountain, he was not with him when he denied Him. Once the presence of the Lord had departed He was just an everyday bum like the rest of us. I don’t mean any offense to Peter, but I know he wouldn’t take any.

The point is when the people in the bible that you think are heroes of the faith are doing things that seem superhuman, that’s because they are. Not that they are super human, but that God is. They merely placed their faith in Him to do super human work through them. That is how you love people who are stoning you, that is how people forgive a drunk driver for killing their family on the spot and go on to petition for them to get out of jail, that is how when  you are taking captive you lead your captors to Christ.

It doesn’t make any sense according to the principles of this world, even to our most virtuous attempts at defining love. This is a love that transcends all and you only get it by knowing the one who was transfigured on the mount.

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