Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A modest proposal

On Facebook recently, I have posted a number of links encouraging women toward modesty. Why? God gave me two eyes and they both work (despite living my life in tri-focals). Check out this link from CNN and this video from YouTube if you haven't seen them yet. Even if you have, check 'em out again.

With those in mind, a couple points.
1.  Man struggles with his eyes. No Holmesian deduction required. 90% of men struggle with their eyes; the other ten percent struggle with lying. If this were not true, dentists wouldn't use bikini-clad lasses in hammocks on tropical beaches to sell dentistry. If this were not true, Job would not have made a covenant with his eyes (Job 31:1-4). If this were not true, Jesus would not have mentioned lust (Matthew 5:27-30). If this were not true, Bathsheba would not have caused David an issue and Solomon would not have had to encourage his sons to focus upon the endowments of their wife alone (Proverbs 5:15, 19).

2.  The attire of today's woman exploits this in man.  Duh.  Requires less explanation than the last one.
Let's run with this for a moment. Young women who still live at home dress this way with the knowledge and blessing of their father. Where are the dads? What father would let his daughter walk out of the house dressed in a manner that will allure young men like a bleeding seal in shark infested waters? Where are the dads teaching her to preserve her purity for her husband? Where are the dads teaching their daughters not to defraud (falsely entice) their brothers in Christ young and old (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8)?

Which begs the question, where are the moms? Look around the average church in America and you see that they are dressed just like their daughters. Husbands, this is where you come in. Do you want other men tempted by your wife in thought and deed? You might like it when your woman dresses "hot," but don't you realize that other men are circling the boat?

A few years ago my wife and I went to dinner and a Christian couple we knew sat at the table next to us. They were by themselves and it was--um--obvious that she had dressed to please her husband's eye. Thankfully, my back was to their table, but I had to think of the poor waiter who had to look down at her to take her order. That's NOT looking out for others.  Because I can do something does not mean I should do something.

Gents, lead your wife in love by leading her in modesty.  Let her dress "hot" for you--in the bedroom. If she tries something on that makes you swallow hard, it's likely going to make other men swallow hard, too. I'm not here to advocate measuring hemlines or necklines, but to encourage that we, in love, consider what affect our conduct--in this case, our dress--has on others. 

Can a woman dress beautifully and not dress sexually? Beautiful feminine dress is by definition sexual; it makes a woman look like a woman. It can be beautiful, feminine but does not have to be provocative. Let's teach our wives and daughters to provoke only their husbands in a place of provocation by guiding and encouraging them in fashion that does not cause their brothers in Christ and all men who are created in the image of God to struggle with misplaced desire. They can dress in beauty and in modesty. It might be contrary to the current fashion of the t-shirt that looks like it was spray-painted to the skin and the trousers that stop just north of the Mason-Dixon Line, but better to buck fashion than to bruise our brothers.

How will they know unless they are told? It's time we speak up in love.  Please? I'll be paying you that same courtesy.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Two things to NEVER say

I make almost no promises to my children.  Why?  Because the moment that I do, something will happen that will derail me from fulfilling my promise.  While I am not a liar per se, my younger children will not likely understand the nuance.

Since you are not my children, I will make you this promise: conflict will visit your marriage.  Yeah, I know.  It's not a very risky prognostication--it's not like I promised a Viking Super Bowl in 2012.  The certainty that you and your bride will face conflict before the end of the month (or perhaps the end of the week) runs close to as sure a thing as you can get, and yet conflict in your marriage does not have to mean days and weeks of agony between husband and wife.  That ought never be. 

So how does one negotiate the minefield of conflict without getting blown to smithereens?  Good communication.

Expect to see lots of musings on communication in the days ahead.  Good communication is the oil in the marital engine. Without it, the slightest problem will grind the gears to a screeching halt. With it, the engine will purr with nary a hiccup.

Considering the vast dynamics of communication, I want to hit on two simple words that must NEVER be spoken to your bride especially during a conflict, never and always. Why? Let me ask you, do you always leave your socks at the foot of the hamper? Do you always leave the seat up? Do you always leave ketchup dribbling down the side of the bottle? As soon as your wife plays the always- or never-card, your brain sets in motion faster than the speed of light mentally recalling 365 separate trumps to her assertion. Always and never are almost always never true (sorry). We get so busy finding the loophole that we do not hear what our woman has to say which is really the root of the conflict.  Because we found five exceptions to her always/never, the confict festers on.

So what makes you think your wife is any different?  Trust me, always/never will not add bang to your argument. I suspect that you (like me) have dropped them once or twice during a disagreement with your bride and then felt like the boy scout spraying a can of lighter fluid upon smoldering embers--FAH-WHOOSH!! go the eyebrows. Poor kid never saw it coming. 

You'll be amazed at how not using those absolutes will diminish the escalation of any conflict. When you dismantle those two little atomic bombs out of your vocabulary, you'll find that you can better and more rationally describe the particular issue that has caused the conflict in the first place without indicting the character or conduct of your spouse with an unfair adverb.

Not using never and always will not end conflict in your marriage, but it will scale back the debris and fallout that you'll have to endure.  It will also help you to better lead your bride through conflict with respect and honor rather than putting you both on opposite sides of the Mason-Dixon Line.

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
and those who love it will eat its fruits."  ~ Proverbs 18:21

Friday, April 15, 2011

God's gift to husbands. No, really.

A few weeks ago, I had the honor to discuss being a husband with some men in my church.  Here's a voice I echoed many times during our weeks together:

"He who finds a wife finds a GOOD thing and obtains FAVOR from the Lord."  Proverbs 18:22
There was a companion verse that stirs my heart, too:
"An excellent wife is the crown of her husband."  Proverbs 12:4a
Do you believe these things?  Whether you do or not, they are true. Really, it has nothing to do with how you feel.  In fact, our feelings are fickle things.  They change faster than the temperature.  They're unreliable.  Sure they add spice to life, but we cannot live our lives by them.  We need an steady anchor.  We need a compass.  The word of God provides a true-north amidst the stormy seas of 21st century culture.

Consider Adam's delight when first he beheld the woman God prepared for him.  There were no other people.   No men.  No women.  He had no like fellowship, and so God prepared for him the very best present any man could ever have. A woman. One. Not many. No choices. One.

Once we are married, we have married THE woman God has for us.  No second guessing. As the hymn states (forgive taking it out of context), "no turning back." When things get tough, we remember, that our bride is a good thing and as such we have obtained his good favor by her.

So let's live this out.!  Consider your wife as an excellent gift to you.  Be astonished at God's remarkable goodness and grace to you that he would provide you so remarkable a gift as this woman for your wife.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Why this? Why now?

Welcome to the first post on a site designed specifically for husbands.  Hopefully any that stumble upon this site will find information of interest and of value, but I'm not targeting "any."  I'm not targeting women and I'm not targeting teens.  I'm not even targeting men generally.  No, the bead is directly upon the heart of husbands.

Why?  We live in dangerous times for marriages.  Most folks get married like they buy a new car.  They lay out a huge initial investment, ride it around for awhile, and then when the car starts sputtering or it just loses its luster, they trade it in for a new model.  Marriage in America has become disposable.

Marriage in the Church has become disposable.  Many stats point to divorce rates being the same for Christians and for non-Christians.  "Whoa!" cries Pastor Pete. "Those stats are skewed because many who call themselves Christians are not really Christian." Perhaps the stats are a bit out of kilter, but the big question is why any in the Church divorce at all?  So even if the divorce rate among Christians is thirty percent, it's thirty percent too high.

I would contend that the lion's share of the problem rests on the rounding and slumping shoulders of the man (more on that as the articles flow).  Where are the men encouraging other men toward biblical manhood and thereby encouraging them toward becoming God-honoring husbands?  When's the last time another man has had the brass to ask you a hard question about your marriage?  From time to time you might hear a sermon that makes you squirm a bit about the kind of husband you are but the pressure usually ends at the sanctuary door.

Consider this a place to help you get back on track.  THE place to help you get back on track is the word of God.  It shouldn't surprise us that the One who created man and woman and subsequently joined them together would have a great deal to say about that joining and our roles therein.  Such is indeed the case.  My opinions count for little.  Dr. Phil's count for less.  Therefore, I hope for my opinions to be few and God's word to be large and loud.

We have a command: Love your wives as Christ loved the church.  It doesn't get much plainer than that.  It's time we live it. 

See you soon!