Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Most Common Mistake Many Couples Make

I love our boys.  They are out of the house now (well, the one in college comes home for the occasional weekend :-)) and it’s just me and the pretty girl.  Empty nesters.  I’m ok with that…and so is she.  Don’t get me wrong, we miss them, and it was sudden as they both literally left within two months of each other.  But we don’t mind the quiet.  I hear stories of parents who are devastated when their last (or only) child leaves the house.

What is the difference between us and them?

We never centered our marriage around our children.

Wow!  How cruel is THAT??  For many the prevailing wisdom is that the purpose of marriage IS children.  It’s not.  Ah, but didn’t God say that was the reason for marriage? Let’s look at a couple of scriptures.

What is the purpose of marriage?

In Genesis 1:28 we find the following, “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” 

That seems like a command to have children. Or at least a command to raise children (a nod to all of my amazing friends who have adopted a child :-)).  But it does NOT say the purpose of marriage is children.

How about this one, ““Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” – Matthew 19:4-6

Did you catch it?  The purpose of marriage?  

In the passage Jesus says, “”For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife.”  What is “this reason”?  Because the Creator made them male and female.  God’s purpose in marriage is simply to allow two people, male and female, to share in a unique bond of body, mind, soul and spirit.  Marriage is a shadow of the bond between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  It also is a picture of Christ and the church.

This means children, although dearly loved, are secondary to the marriage relationship.  If everything in your home is centered around the children then what will you do when they are gone?  You might want to develop some shared interests.  Focusing FIRST on your marriage will benefit you as a couple and your children in the knowledge that they are safe from the pain of divorce.

Here is a rule of thumb I learned from an odd source (ask me if you care).  “The children knew from a very young age that some outings were for everyone in the family and some were for mom and dad alone.”

Leave your children every once in a while with someone you trust and get away.  For a date or an evening, a weekend, but go take a vacation…just the two of you!  You need this time alone together.

Love your children, nurture and care for them, but don’t center your marriage around them.  It’s not healthy for anyone in the home.

Now get out of here and go somewhere with your amazing wife!




Before She is Gone

I don’t want to write this post…but I will. Recently I caught a snippet of Focus on the Family on our local Christian radio station (  Gary Thomas, author of Sacred Marriage, was speaking and he made the following statement to women about how to value their husbands, “Ask the Lord to give you a widow’s heart, before your husband is gone.”

Of course my mind turned it around to, “Lord, give me a widower’s heart before she is gone.”  Gut punch!  I don’t even want to think about it.  The tears start to flow.  Considering how I would miss everything she brings to my heart and life. It’s almost unthinkable.  But in truth it will almost certainly happen that there will be a day when one of us is gone and the other will be left behind.

On that day will you be telling yourself, “I wish I had let her know how much I loved her.  I wish I could bring her back, even for a minute, to let her know that after the Lord she is everything to me.”?  Or will you be able to say with confidence, ” I told her EVERY DAY that I loved her, several times a day and I KNOW she knew it was true by my words and actions.  I treated her as a precious blessing, more than I ever deserved and I believe her life was better because the Lord brought us together.  I did everything I could to love her and when see sees Jesus I hope she notices even the smallest reflection of our love as a couple in His countenance.”

My friends, we treat this time on Earth as if it will last for ever.  It. Will. Not.

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” – James 4:14

Your life is short and as you age you’ll notice it more and more.  Her life is short.  She is yours for a time and a brief time at that.  Love her while you can so that when she is no longer by your side you will not regret the time you wasted while she was yet here.

Now go and love your wife!



How to Fall In Love All Over Again

My lovely wife and I have often found ourselves on long trips together, driving to various destinations. A habit we established some time ago was working through a book on the ride. We would purchase a book, usually something related to spiritual or personal growth, and she would read as we travelled.

I found two unrelated but wonderful benefits to this practice. The first is obvious, we both learned and grew as we heard and applied the principles in the books. The second was subtle and unexpected, but no less profound.

I fell in love all over again.

The sound of her voice, which I had taken for granted, became very precious to me. The pitch, cadence, and beauty of her pronunciation captured my heart in a way they never had before. She would ask at times, if I wanted her to stop, and my answer, as I smiled, was always, “No, and thank you for reading to me.”

Men, I implore you, listen to your wife, not only the words but the sweetenes of the voice the Lord has given to her. When she does not notice marvel over the curve of her cheek, the small half smile when she is happy, the kindness of her eyes, the giggle of the little girl that is always just under the surface.  Stare in wonder that our Father has placed this person of poise and grace in your life.  Do not let the frenetic pace with which you go through each day keep you from missing the beauty that walks by your side.

Thank your Father for the gift that is marriage and the love shared uniquely between an amazing woman and you, her blessed husband.

Take the time to fall in love all over again.


Marriage is Not Dutch (Unless You are from the Netherlands)

Hey!  Welcome back!  After some fairly hard hitting stuff I am pleasantly surprised you returned!  How about we just have a little fun.  Have you ever gone out to eat with a group and everyone decided to ‘go Dutch’.  In case you aren’t familiar with it this phrase means that each person pays for their own meals.  That’s fair, no one has a big bill and no one feels obligated to pay the next time you go out together.  But in marriage you can never, ‘go Dutch’ (unless you are actually Dutch, then it means something else entirely).

What am I saying here?  In a marriage I should never have the attitude that “you put in your required time and effort and I’ll put in my required time and effort and it will be all good.”  Hmmmm.  That seems to be logical.  In fact it seems fair.  But being fair won’t make a happy marriage.  Let me give you a quote that should help here.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
-Luke 6:38

At first glance this seems to be the principle of being “fair” as stated by Jesus.  You give a little, I give a little we’ll both be happy.  But do you want a little?  Do you want a marriage based on the minimum from your spouse?  I know I don’t.  If giving a little means getting a little then what does giving a lot mean?  It’s in the last sentence.  ”For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

If you want the best possible marriage then you should become the best possible spouse.

An author I highly respect, Dr. Henry Cloud, put it this way in his book, 9 Things You Simply Must Do to Succeed in Love and Life

“Give back better than you are given.”

Men, if you want to have an incredibly loving, caring, giving, compassionate wife then make it YOUR goal to be MORE loving, caring giving and compassionate than she is right now.  You can’t lose with this principle!

Go love her, she deserves it!


Stop Fighting

I don’t shy away from the tough topics here and I’m not afraid of conflict or pushback.  Here is another.  You should not be fighting with your spouse.  Ever.

Twice in the past few weeks my lovely bride and I have heard a message or read in a devotional that all couples fight and that couples who do not fight are somehow ‘not healthy’.  WRONG!

Before we go any further let me says this.  ALL couples will have differences of opinion.  There has been more than one time that my lovely bride and I found ourselves on opposite sides of an issue.  But we don’t fight.  Not ever.  We talked about this recently.  Neither of us could recall having a fight.  Maybe when we were first married, but not in the last couple of decades.

Cue the “Awwwww, how sweet, they are perfect.  Why isn’t MY marriage perfect?”  Dude.  We are far from perfect.  Seriously.  But raise my voice to that precious gift from God? Respond in anger to her?  Instill fear of me in her heart?  Not. Ever. Happening.

Guys, we are all adults here.  The truth is you don’t fight with people at work, you have self-control.  You don’t yell at the pastor when you disagree with a sermon point.  You show respect.  The person who deserves the most respect in your life is your wife!  For real.  She puts up with you…you are smelly, hairy, think a lot of yourself and don’t have a clue about women, but she loves you.
(Ok, maybe that smelly, hairy part is just for me :-))

The person who is closest to you in your life should be given the most regard, not the least regard.  We often think, “Well, I can let my guard down at home and just relax.  I can just be me and not worry about it.”

You can and should be “me”, as long as “me” is loving, kind, gentle and thoughtful.  If “me” is arrogant, condescending, demanding and self-centered then I suggest you be someone else.  Someone more like Jesus.  How do you pull that off?  Be in the Word every day.  Study it.  Meditate on it.  Pray for the Holy Spirit to be in you at all times and give you His self-control.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control; against such things there is no law.
-Galatians 5:22-23

You can do this!  I believe in you!


Stop Compromising in Your Marriage!

This is going to really annoy a lot of marriage counselors and relationship experts (because so many of them read this blog).  I don’t think compromise is healthy in a marriage.  Ah.  At this point YOU are annoyed and thinking, “This guy has lost his mind!”  All of your life you’ve been told that relationships require compromise.  I give a little, you give a little and it’s all good.

You know the definition of compromise?  According to Merriam-Webster it is: “a way of reaching agreement in which each person or group gives up something that was wanted in order to end an argument or dispute.”  Sound like how you want to run your marriage?  ”Ok honey, last time I gave up something, now it’s your turn.” or “Someone needs to watch the kids, so I don’t go play softball with the guys this week and next week you don’t get to see your sister.”  Really?  I don’t think so.

Here is the heart of the issue.  Compromise means what I want is just as important, or more important than what you want.  In a compromise situation no one comes out happy.  Do you want a happy marriage?  Stop compromising and start serving.

Being a servant means the other person’s needs and wants come before your own, whether you like it or not…at first.  Let’s take a look at scripture.  In Matthew 26:39 we find this prayer from Jesus to the Father:

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.

Jesus asked the Father more than once to not go to the cross.  He knew what was coming, the pain, rejection, abandonment and finally death.  But He was a Servant.  A servant doesn’t compromise, a servant serves.  A servant does what the Master requires whether he or she likes it or not…at first.  Do you think that when Judas came with the crowd to arrest Jesus that He said, “Ok Father, I’ll take the arrest and the trial, even the whips, but the cross is just too much.  Let’s compromise.”  No, no, a thousand times no!  Jesus served God and us by NOT compromising.

Let’s bring this home.  You married a wonderful woman.  You promised something along the lines of, “love honor and cherish.”  Did you promise to compromise?  Nope.  When you marry someone, when you make that covenant, you are saying, in essence, “I choose to serve you.”

You are the man.  According to Paul husbands are “love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”  So stop compromising and start giving yourself up for her.  I promise you will get more back than you EVER would by compromising.

Note: Compromise IS important in some relationships, such as keeping countries from going to war or between political parties, but these relationships are not based on love.  That’s the difference.


One of the secrets of a good marriage? How you treat your wife.

Let me start the post with a true story:

Yesterday we went to the chiropractor, but due to the timing we drove separately. I arrived first. When my wife walked in I said, “My day just got better, my girl is here”! One of the young ladies working there (who sees us a lot) said, “Wow! Even after all the years you’ve been together he still talks like that?? That’s great…unless it is an act and only happens when you are around other people.” My wife smiled and replied, “No, he is always like that.”

I don’t relate this story to brag…I relate it to demonstrate a principle. Your wife should receive more lavish words of praise, more unrestricted kindness, more powerful grace, more acts of unrequested service, and more sweet gentleness than any other man or woman in your life! Your marriage will eventually end because one day one of you will go to be with the Lord first. Until that time treat your precious lady as her Lord would treat her. She deserves it and the results will be a better marriage than you could ever imagine!