Monday, July 14, 2014

A good marriage: For whose benefit?

I came across this quote from R. C. Sproul, Jr. this morning on the topic of a good marriage. Thought it a sweet way to start the week:

Too often as I seek to cultivate my marriage, it becomes the end. Anytime anything supplants God as the end of the matter, I have let that thing usurp his throne in my life. That includes my marriage.

So husbands, let us continue this week to seek to love our wives that our marriages might  glorify the living God and be well pleasing to him.

~ Colossians 3:17, 24b

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Petulant Spouse: "I can't" or "I won't"

The whole point of this site is to encourage you (and me) to flesh out your love for God by obediently and with passion loving your bride. What happens, though, when you don't or you won't? If you don't or won't, you're probably not the kind of man who would bother with this blog.

Often, though, you won't or don't but do not even realize you've rejected your bride.
    What if your bride loves having her feet rubbed, but feet are not your thing? Maybe feet make your skin crawl. Do you do your part and rub her shoulders?
    What if your sweetheart delights in going out to dinner, but you prefer eating at home after a long work day? Do you go to the movies instead?
    What if she loves flowers, but pragmatism overwhelms you and you cannot bring yourself to sink money into something that will die in just a few days? Do you give her chocolates instead?
    What if she loves conversation, but you have nothing to talk about? Instead, you encourage her to go out with her friends so she can chat.
We might truly love our brides, but in each of these situations the thing she aches for most from us is not provided. Can she get each of these things elsewhere? Certainly. But those things and places are not the man she married.

I recently Tweeted (@LoveYourBride), "Tragic the spouse who knows that for which their mate aches and withholds it anyway." One of the sweet ways that God matures us as men is when we learn how to express love to someone in a fashion that is different from the way in which we like to be loved. This is fundamental and this is as obvious as ABC. Our brides are not us.

To love our wives well, we must learn how to do so. I believe this is what Peter drives at when he tells us to "dwell with your wives with understanding." Dwelling implies relationship. Understanding implies knowledge. As I have mentioned before, we have the opportunity to be PhDs of our wives. She is so multifaceted that you will never know everything to know about her, and because she is not static, she will be ever-changing thus providing an endless opportunity to learn new things.

So get over your aversion to feet.

Learn to enjoy dining out on a semi-regular basis.

Buy her flowers just because they delight her soul.

Open up. Converse. Give your thoughts on topics because you do have them. And learn to ask questions of her. LEARN how to converse.

If we do not do these things, we might say we love our wives, but they are not hearing the message. As the song says, "Your lips move but I can't hear what your saying." Love never has been a feeling. It has always been an act of the will. Does your wife feel neglected? Why is that? Are your expressions of love as alien as ketchup to a Frenchman?

Such resistance might actually be rebellion against God's clear command to love our wives. Consider the wife that aches for physical intimacy, but her man is unwilling to provide it. He is in direct violation of God's word to husbands and wives in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5. She has a responsibility to hold her man accountable before God just as she would have a responsibility to hold any believer accountable who stands in direct defiance to God's word. If he continued to resist, she should seek counsel for her and her man with their pastor.

This is a tragedy within the church today. Husbands and wives are of their own choosing not loving their spouses in a manner that they know will touch their spouse deeply. Is it because they cannot or is it because they will not?

Can a spouse's desire be contrary to Scripture? Certainly. A wife who wants an open marriage wants what's contrary to God's word. If a wife wants to be blinged in diamonds and you're living paycheck to paycheck, she wants what is contrary to biblical stewardship. But if I am not constrained by Scripture, what could possibly constrain me from satisfying my bride?

It's time for us in the household of faith to stop what amounts to childish disobedience. Let us grow in maturity and choose this day to love our brides well with the lavish and over-the-top love with which God in Christ loves us.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The espresso shot

My desire on this blog is to be a blessing to those brothers out there who are trying to resuscitate their marriages and
to those brothers out there trying to keep their marriages humming like a Maserati and to those brothers who ache for their marriage to move beyond the mediocre.

The American marriage is in crisis. Nobody knows what marriage is anymore. If it is merely what you make it, then what is that? Generally it equates to "not much." The only hope is for us to turn to the One who designed marriage, the One who designed man and woman to cleave so very nicely to one another, to complement one another, to complete one another. 

To that end, I have started a Twitter feed for those who dabble in that realm of social media (@LoveYourBride). On a far more regular basis than I have been blogging of late, I will be "tweeting" biblical exhortations and general thoughts on how we might better love our wives.

Really, there's nothing better than just doing it--loving your wife--but sometimes it helps to have a little nudge. While these blogs might provide a bit more substance, the Tweets are more an espresso shot to get you moving.

So if you'd like a daily or at least a-couple-times a week nudge toward being the husband God has called you to be, follow me on Twitter @LoveYourBride (@Husbandsloveyourwives was too big). I'll be linking any posts from HLYW on there as well.

So why are you reading this? Go love your wife!

Monday, June 16, 2014

It's not 50-50, but...

Okay, no "buts."

It's 100%. The nanosecond you start keeping score in marriage, problems erupt faster than nutgrass in a Texas lawn.

Still, wouldn't it be nice if both partners in the marriage relationship invested themselves like they wanted to hit the jackpot? As always, it starts with the man in the mirror. So when you can't say it better yourself, borrow from someone else.

Thanks to something my bride posted for wives this morning (more on that in a bit), I stumbled on this great refresher on five simple things a man can do to bless his wife down to her arches. Give it a read here.

I really don't think you'll be surprised by any of his insights, but there's nothing better than getting the fire restoked with fresh kindling.

On the link my wife shared, the author, Dave Willis, linked a three-minute video on why you should be having more sex. Yeah, that made my head snap, too. He does a great job of encapsulating 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 in an espresso shot. Give it a listen:


Finally, if you have the opportunity to minister to women (like your wife) and IF they desire to know how they might be a blessing to their husband, you can find the link to "Simple ways to be a great wife" here

 May God strengthen you to be the vehicle he has chosen to lavish his love upon your bride.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"You are so beautiful -- to me..."

I remember a song sung by gravelly voiced Joe Cocker from the mid-1970's titled "You Are So Beautiful."

The lyrics aren't Shakespearean, rather they are quite simple. Marry them with that blue-collar vocalization and you have the heart of a husband enrapt by his wife. I still smile as he strains to hit that last note.

Here are the lyrics:
You are so beautiful, to me
You are so beautiful, to me
Can't you see, you're everything I hoped for
You're everything that I need
You are so beautiful, to me.
Sung twice. That's it.

But how many wives have heard that from their man? Do we lavish such words upon our brides? Brothers, this is a huge issue for our women today. Television, mail ads, newspaper ads, commercials, movies, mall posters. Women can't avoid the larger-than-life images of women with smaller-than-life figures . And you can't avoid them either. And therein lies a clash. You can't really think she's pretty, can you?  Your bride will wonder with all the beauties out there, what do you see in her? That self-doubt, that pain, that uncertainty was captured beautifully in this video:

What makes your woman beautiful? It is who she is. Yes, her skin, her height, her hair-color, her age, her elbows, her knees--all of these things are part of her, but she is so very much more.

Her dreams, her desires.

Her problems, her past.

Her passions, her pets.

Her funny bones, her heartbreaks.

Her voice, her laughter.

Her intelligence, her indignations.

Her grace, her mercy.

If you've been to this site before, you know that your bride is a treasure (Proverbs 18:22, 31:10). Why? It has nothing to do with her conduct. If God presented her to you today for the very first time, you would delight as Adam did the moment he beheld Eve because your wife is a gift from God, a child of his that he has uniquely created in his image that he has presented only to you. She has been fearfully and wonderfully crafted by the Master's hand. Husband, behold your wife. No other man can see what you see. No other man will appreciate all within her that you can appreciate.

Let her know often and with all your heart that she is beautiful. Sing to her literally or figuratively, "Woman, you are so beautiful. To me."