Monday, September 12, 2011

With open eyes

If you haven't been there in awhile, one of the greatest verses for husbands to memorize AND live out is 1 Peter 3:7.  In case you have no Bible handy (which is a stupid statement because you're online and a Bible is ALWAYS handy []; you can even pick your version) here it is:
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with (your wife) according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
If you live this verse out, you will bless your woman and honor your God. At first glance, the verse looks as simple as a well-turned double-play, but when you start to examine the component parts, the intricacies and beauty therein are breath-taking and overwhelming. Unpacking the verse would require a book. Applying it to your life and your woman would require volumes. That's your job. And that takes a wonder-packed lifetime.

Let's hone in for a moment on "dwell with your wife according to knowledge" or "live with your wife in an understanding way." The word live does not mean exist. It means the intimate relationship that is exemplified by the husband-wife relationship. It means that you know your wife.

When's the last time you stepped back and took a look at the things going on in your woman's life? How many plates is she trying to keep spinning? What delights her soul? What has been burdening her heart of late? What does she think about the state of the family? How about the state of your relationship? Is she spiritually fit or spiritually spent? It's so easy to become lost in our work, lost in our ministry, and lost in our recreation that we become utterly lost in our relationship to our wife.

I hate to go "cartoon" on you two posts in a row, but what has taken me way too many words to say gets hit out of the ballpark in two panels by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott:

Keep your eyes open, brother, and dwell with your wife with understanding. In so doing, you will love your wife.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First things first

Hope you had a good Labor Day, brothers.

Sitcoms of yesteryear provided great family entertainment because the events with each episode were events lived by everyone.  They provided us an opportunity, really, to laugh at ourselves.  Not so in 2011.  While no comedy on television examines the humor of every day life, retreating into the commode or the jockstrap to find a laugh, the artists on the funny pages have picked up the baton.

Take Zits for example.  It's a strip about a high school sophomore and his two parents.  I don't know if it's funnier for me or for my sixteen year old son.  Why?  Because we can empathize with the characters.  Been there.  Done that.

Baby Blues is another one.  It's the story of a once-married couple (I know, a rarity) and their three kids Zoe (10), Hammie (7), and Wren (1). It makes no bones about the challenges involved in being married, working hard, and raising kids. It delights, sometimes side-splits, and sometimes skewers my soul.

My wife has a Baby Blues page-a-day calendar in our bathroom. This was yesterday's fare:

Gents, I had to think of you. Well, first, I had to think of me, then I had to think of you. Before I ramble any further, consider what these artists are saying about us loving our wives.

Getting any vibes?

There's going to come a day, brothers, if the Lord tarries and if you both live a long life when the kids will be gone and only you and your woman will be left in the house. May I ask you, based upon what you have today, what you will have then?

Too many relationships die when the last child leaves home because that couple's foundation for the marriage no longer exists. It sickens my heart when I see wives whose child or children have an obvious priority over their husband. This is an especially dangerous trap for a mother of youngsters. The baby, the toddler, even the elementary-aged child depends upon us and especially depends upon momma, but the momma who begins to cling to her child with greater tenacity than Linus clung to his blanket has begun to ship her man out of his rightful and God-ordained place in her life (not to mention the self-centered little monster being cultivated when balance isn't struck).

Lest you think momma's the only one susceptible to misplaced priorities, papa can cave to it at exactly the same time. When little ones are in the house, dad's in the earlier days of his career.  That means longer hours and quite possibly a second job.  Busting one's posterior to make ends meet can become habitual.  As the money gets better (if the money gets better) and the hours could possibly slacken, they don't. The woman begins to play second fiddle to his occupation. "We need to pay off the boat." "We won't be able to go back to Cancun this year." "Looks like we might have to start eating at home."  Yikes. Yes, many of us have to work long hours and some have to work two jobs to make ends meet but for many, their occupation has become their mistress.

Gents, you know this. God comes first. In a distant and rightly placed second is the filly you nestle up to every night. The order should be the same for her. When those priorities start to get askew, that's a great time to do what Darryl MacPherson did to his wife Wanda. Call her aside, take her in your arms, dip her to the floor, look into her eyes and plant a kiss on her that will reverberate 'til Thursday.

You lead the family. You lead your wife. God says so (1 Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 5:23). If things start getting goofy, the only person to blame is the one in the mirror.

So husband, go love your wife--and make things reverberate from time to time.

NOTE:  In researching this post, I came to find out that the creator of  Zits is one of the co-creators of Baby Blues.  From Wikipedia.
In 1996, Jerry Scott was drawing Baby Blues, a comic strip about raising children he co-wrote with Rick Kirkman. He realized, however, that his profession as an independent cartoonist was limited to whatever joke he could conceive next. A friend suggested he begin a strip about a teenager. Scott heeded the proposition but was unsatisfied with his characters sketches, finding them similar to those of his existing strip. After Scott discussed the issue with his artist friend Jim Borgman, the two corresponded with one another over the next few months and eventually collaborated on the characters that would become the Duncans. King Features, already distributing Baby Blues and Borgman's editorial cartoons, began running the new comic strip in 1997 with Scott writing and Borgman drawing.
Considering the quality of the two, I'm not surprised.