Monthly Archives: September 2014

Mundane Moments

Let me start by saying thank you for reading this blog post.  I know you have busy lives and I pray the few minutes you give to read these words will draw you closer to each other and to the Lord.

Sally and I just completed an online Marriage Mentors training course by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott.  We respect this couple greatly and appreciate the decades of time they have put into the growth of tens of thousands of couples.  Even before we knew about the course we were (and still are) using their devotional for couples at night.

One of the lessons in the course is titled “Making You Mundane Moments Count”.  The point of the lesson was to be aware of common moments that couples experience on a daily basis and use those moments to connect and grow as a couple.

Frankly I LOVE this lesson and principle.  Big events and wonderful experiences such as vacations, second honeymoons, weekends away, marriage seminars and the like are great and make fantastic memories.  As my friend Kyle Pacetti likes to say “Major decisions are made at major events.”  Kyle is correct.  We experienced that recently when we attended a Personal Focus Retreat.  But it’s the tasks that are performed every day, throughout the day, that shape our relationships and futures.  It’s these mundane moments that make the major decisions turn into life and relationship growth.  

In his book The Slight Edge author Jeff Olson explains it this way, “The things that you do every single day, the things that don’t look dramatic, the things that don’t even look like they matter, do matter.  That they not only make a difference-they make all the difference.”  On a side note this is a book that I highly recommend to anyone seeking to make changes in any area of their lives, especially in the area of personal and or business success.

In an vehicle, oil is used as lubrication between the parts so that friction does not tear down each individual part and cause the entire engine to seize up and fail.  Kind words and gestures are the oil of relationships.  This ‘oil’ should be applied regularly and liberally.  Moving back to the lesson from the Parrotts they brought up several daily interactions.

On a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being Not Very Well and 5 being Extremely Well, rate how well you do each of these 5 common moments:

1) Saying good morning as you start each day.

2) Saying thanks for the common things each day.

3) Saying I understand.

4) Saying I Love You.

5) Saying hello when you greet each other at the end of each work day.

Think about these ‘mundane moments’.  If you are doing well then great job!  Keep it up!  If you are missing one or more then make it a point to start today with improving your consistency.

It’s really does make a GREAT difference in the long-term happiness of your relationship.  Small changes over time result in incredible growth!  This is not Hard Work, it’s fun.

Challenge yourself to change your habits and I know you will love the results!

Keep this book of the law always on your lips.  Meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful.” -Joshua 1:8

I believe in you!

-Troy

 

Let It Go

This post has nothing to do with the movie Frozen. Of course now you have either “Let It Go” or “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” in your head. You’re welcome. Personally I prefer “Do You Want to Go To Starbucks?” done by some creative Point Loma Nazarene University students.

I want you to do something I have only recently started to master. Take one minute and think over your life. Try to see all the places you’ve failed. The time you cheated on the exam. When you tried to lose 10 pounds but the chocolate cake knew you by name. When you took up smoking and still deal with lingering health issues. The things you did with a member of the opposite sex before you were married. When you screamed at your child out of frustration  The times you held onto anger in your marriage because you were right. All the times you did not listen to the Holy Spirit.  Every horrible thing you ever have done.

Wow.  You have caused some kind of grief to God, yourself and others.  So have I.

Let it go.

Ask for God’s forgiveness.

I, I am the one who blots out your rebellious deeds for my sake; your sins I do not remember.” – Isaiah 43:25

God has not only forgiven you, but He has already forgotten everything you did that was against His laws.  You have to let them go as well.  Stop condemning yourself.  Jesus came into the world for a specific reason, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17)

Forgive yourself.

You can not, you can NOT move into the future God has planned for you if you hold onto self condemnation.

There is one other important thing.

Your spouse did some things that she regrets.  If she is a Christian she has sought and received the Lord’s forgiveness.  You must give her yours.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32

Here is a secret.  One that if implemented will make you love her more and let her know that you will never condemn her.

Forgive her before she asks.  Forgive her before she know she has offended you.  Don’t even mention the offense.

Let it go.

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” – Romans 12:18

I am not perfect.  She is not perfect.  But she is “the righteousness of God” through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).  I challenge you to treat her as such.

Love you all!

-Troy

Don’t Settle

I am going to do something new. It is already happening. Don’t you recognize it? I will clear a way in the desert. I will make rivers on dry land.” – Isaiah 43:19 (God’s Word Translation)

I am just a few days shy of my 45th birthday.  My wonderful bride and I have been married for over 23 years.  When we met Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor, Charli XCX, Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez had not been born.  How’s that for a long time ago?

We lived through the Bicentennial, the death of Elvis, the Challenger explosion, fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Soviet Union, the first Gulf War, Chernobyl, 9/11 and many other events.   It’s quite a history.

When we first married the first couple of years were difficult.  Don’t get the impression that what you read in these Happier Husband blog posts is the way it’s always been for us.  We had our emotional ups and downs.  There were times early on where we didn’t get along very well.  After we really centered our individual lives and our marriage on the Lord our relationship improved tremendously.  We have been incredibly happy for two decades!  But even during that time there have been events that were not easy.  Finances, jobs, children, family, friends and many other areas can bring joy and sometimes pain.  Yet we persevere.

23 years of marriage and I’m almost 45 years old.

I am going to do something new…” 

God is leading us on two new paths that are interrelated.  Together we see Him changing our entire future.  Guess what?  At a time when most people would be apprehensively trying to determine if their retirement plans will actually sustain them at age 62 we are starting something BRAND NEW!  You know why?  Two reasons:

1) God gave us a firm call.

2) We decided to never settle.

Read this quote carefully.

Most men die at 25… we just don’t bury them until they are 70.” – Benjamin Franklin

If we stop growing we start dying.  This applies to our marriages as well.

Never settle, don’t stop growing.  How do you keep growing?  Read books, go to marriage events, listen to podcasts about growing your marriage, pray together.

Have you tried this before and fell into the same rut?  Try again!

Forget the former things.  Do not dwell on the past.” – Isaiah 43:18

Here is the big one to get things moving again:

Ask God how He wants to change your marriage.  Ask Him for a new mission, a new purpose.

Don’t let your marriage slide into the oblivion of bored apathy.  Let the Lord do something new between you today!

Love you all!

-Troy

 

The Last Words

This is the shortest post ever at HappierHusband.

Don’t rush through it.

I have two questions for you to ponder.

Here they are.

 What are the last words you said to your wife today?

 How would you both feel if they were the last words she ever heard from your lips?

How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog–it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.

-James 4:14 NLT

Be kind and never harsh with the words you speak to her.  At some point they will be The Last Words.

Love you all!

-Troy

 

 

Meeting with the CFO

Raise your hand if you have a job.  Ok, put them down.  That’s likely a good 90+ percent of you.  Now raise your hand if there is a CFO (Chief Financial Officer) or someone equivalent who knows all of the details of the finances of the organization.  Please put them down again.  Thank you for playing.

On Friday I had a meeting with my personal CFO, that evening we went to an AWESOME concert together (shout out to the Michael Maher Band) and almost every morning I woke up by her side.  For those of you who are having trouble keeping up, my lovely bride is our CFO.  :-)

Last weekend we were on a Personal Focus Retreat and the Lord revealed some of the plans for the next season of our lives.  Those plans from God require effort on our part.  As Mark Batterson says, “We have to do the natural and God will do the supernatural.

But our next season of life is not the reason for this post.  It’s the meeting with the CFO.

In our over 23 years of marriage we’ve held various jobs and owned three small businesses.  Of the businesses one was a complete flop, one was a little successful and the third did quite well for a period of time.  We learned a lot through all of these experiences, but they were very fly by the seat of your pants.  What I mean is, we learned something, immediately implemented it (which is VERY good) but we didn’t have a true plan.

I don’t mean a 93 page business plan.  I mean a plan for the future of our lives.  We were moving along, taking things as they came, but we had no framework with a clear path.  Don’t get me wrong.  We had goals and milestones, but we never really sat down together and said, “This is the plan we feel is from God and we will follow it until He changes either the circumstances or our hearts.”

That was the point of Friday’s meeting.  To cover very concrete plans…AFTER having prayed for many days before that meeting.  I have to say it was AWESOME!  Researching, discussing, reaching out to an expert and taking action TOGETHER like we had never done before was powerful.  We will be doing so regularly.

We thought we had been accomplishing things before, but what we really did was let people and events pull us along in a slow drift.  NOW we have a defined path.  Thanks to the Lord!

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” – James 1:5

We took action Friday and again yesterday on this path.  Five years.  We have a specific 5 year path.  Not a plan for every single step, but a path to follow and the first few steps are known.

The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” – Proverbs 21:5

Let’s wrap this up.  What is your path for the next season of your life?  Have you met with your CFO (or perhaps you are the CFO and she’s the CIO :-))?  When is the last time the two of you sat down to plan the next season of your life?  When is the last time you spent focused time with God, separately and together, to seek His specific will for the next few months or years?

Maybe it’s time.

Love you all!

Troy

Why Me?

Have you ever found yourself asking that question? As in, “Why me Lord? Why do I have to suffer this problem?” The “Why me?” is a common question among people, especially when we feel we’ve done nothing wrong. Let me go after this at two different angles.Many books and Christian leaders will let you know that challenges and suffering are to be expected in life. In fact Jesus Himself said so in John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.“So the first way to look at “Why me?” is that difficulties are a part of life. Often people who have gone through incredible problems, such as Nick Vujicic have turned it into a powerful ministry to help others.

What is the second way?

It is to not look at negative “Why me?” experiences, but rather positive “Why me?” experiences.

Here is what I mean. If you have the spiritual gift of encouragement you could ask, “Why me Lord?” to find out WHY the Lord gave you that gift. It would then follow that He didn’t give you that gift to just encourage yourself (although that is valuable) but rather He gave it to you to encourage others.

Perhaps you have great wealth. Then “Why me?” turns into “How should I use this financial blessing from God to benefit those with less?” What if you are a detail person? “Why me?” Perhaps to complement those in your life who are big picture people.

So how does this tie into Happier Husband?

Why Me?

Why, even though I came from a broken home, with parents who divorced when I was only around 11 years old, why do I have an amazing marriage? Why me Lord? Why have you blessed me with this wonderful wife whom I love dearly?

If you read Freedom From Me you know Sally and I were at a Personal Focus Retreat this past weekend. It was AMAZING! The Lord really moved among the participants and leaders. One thing the Lord revealed for my clarification to “Why me?” is this:

I am called to make good marriages great.

HappierHusband.com, teaching marriage classes and mentoring couples in the past all go back to this. I am called to make good marriages great. Part of that calling is Marriage Coaching. Right now I’m looking at options in this field because it is the next logical step the Lord revealed. I am WAY excited!

So, “Why me Lord?” with a fantastic marriage? Simple. To make good marriages great! To serve others in this way.

What about you? What gift has the Lord given you to ask “Why me Lord?” Think about it. Drop me a comment here or on Facebook when He reveals it to you.

PS: If you are interested in getting information or potentially being coached please let me know. I’d love to keep you posted as things come together!

Now go and use your gifts from the Lord to give a powerful answer to “Why me?”

-Troy

Freedom From Me

This weekend my lovely bride and I are on a personal focus retreat with a few people from our church.  It’s not a large group event, there are six of us plus the pastor who is leading us and another in a support/prayer role.  It’s designed to allow each of us to focus on God and determine  His will for the next season of our lives.

It’s not a couple’s retreat.
It’s not a marriage retreat.
It’s a you and God retreat.

Sally and I do as much as we possibly can together.  We love each other’s company and enjoy our ‘us’ time very much, but that’s not the point this weekend.

This weekend is about her and God.
This weekend is about me and God.
This weekend is not about us and God.

Now, granted that God will certainly not set up a plan in His will that will take us in opposite directions.  However He is speaking to us indiviually during this time.

This weekend we have to grant each other freedom.  I grant her freedom from me and she grants me freedom from her.  Not freedom in a sense of avoiding and not loving each other, but rather freedom to hear from the Lord without the voice of anyone else in the mix.

 

Why is this so important?  The strength and health of your marriage are directly proportional to the strength and health of each spouse’s individual relationship with Jesus Christ. In other words if EITHER of us is not close to Jesus then our marriage suffers.

I want her to get exactly what God has for her and not what I think is best.  I want her to be 100% commited to Him.  He is our Father and Guide and knows far better than I what is the right plan for her…and for us.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

So this weekend my love, enjoy freedom from me.

Men, never forget that God will always be there even when we cannot.  Grant her the freedom to grow in Him and He will protect you both.

God loves you and so do I.

-Troy

What are the Odds?

Have you ever spent time reading various statistics?  Just for fun?  Let’s take a look at some examples.

What are the odds of?

Getting a hole in one in golf:                          1 in 5,000 (if you play enough rounds…)

Bowling a perfect game:                               1 in 11,500 (maybe you should stick to golf)

Catching a baseball at a major league game:  1 in 563 (of course you’ll buy a lot of expensive hot dogs)

Sustaining an injury from a toilet seat:            1 in 10,000 (but it happened to me once…)

Getting stuck in an elevator:                           1 in 24,528 (see, you’ll bowl a perfect game first)

Tripping while texting:                                   1 in 10 (this probably happened to a friend, not you :-))

(Source: http://alexiahart.deviantart.com/art/What-are-the-odds-Infographic-201925821)

Here is another statistic.  According to Time Magazine the average couple has a 57% chance of seeing their 15th wedding anniversary.  If they make it that far they have a good shot a a lifelong marriage.  The article also lists factors which seem to decrease or increase the odds of divorce.  A few interesting items.  Couples who live together before marriage have higher divorce rates than those who do not.  Couples who marry after the age of 25 tend to remain married.  Younger couples statistically split up more often.  Being a certain religion doesn’t keep couples from divorcing, but being devoted to their faith makes a big difference.

Here is a question.  What are the odds of divorce in your marriage?  43% like the average marriage?  20% due to your devotion to God (have to leave a little room in there just in case)?

What should the odds be?

0%

Zero.  Zip.  Nada.  Your marriage should be divorce proof.

What makes a marriage divorce proof?   Is it counseling?  Reading marriage books and blogs?  Going on marriage retreats?

No.  These are all good things and can be quite helpful in making a marriage happier and more fulfilled.  But they don’t make a marriage divorce proof.  Only two things can make a marriage divorce proof.

You and her.

I’m betting some of you expected me to put God in there.  Nope.  God doesn’t make marriage divorce proof.  Don’t get me wrong, having the Lord at the center of your marriage is critical to a long, happy fruitful marriage.  But God doesn’t force Himself into the center of your marriage.  You and your spouse invite Him to be there.

A lifelong marriage has many aspects and characteristics but the only guarantee is the decision by the wife and husband that divorce is not an option.  Ever.

You may decide together at the outset of your marriage that this is for the long haul.  That divorce can never be on the table.  When you are tested you’ll have to make this decision again.  Perhaps more than once.  But let me be very clear.  In my experience you should never mention divorce to each other.  Don’t even say the word.  It should not even come to mind.

Will you disagree at times?  Absolutely!  Will you fight?  I hope not!  But no matter what there should be three responses in a conflict.  1) Humility 2) Forgiveness 3) Love.

Humility – If the you have done something to wrong your spouse then humbly seek their forgiveness.  James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Forgiveness – If you are the one who has been wronged then be quick to forgive.  In Colossians  3:13 we read, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Love – To repair the relationship be generous with your love…on both sides.  Finally we follow the instruction in 1 Peter 4:8, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

To be perfectly frank I really didn’t want to write this post.  This topic is completely off the radar between Sally and me.  However I come from a broken family and many of you have either experienced divorce, contemplated it or had family/friends who have dealt with it.

My prayer is that you would make a powerful decision to never EVER consider divorce and bring the Lord to the center of your marriage.  If you covenant with Him together He can make your decision one that will last by His power.

Know that I love you and so does our Lord.

-Troy