Friday, January 27, 2012

Eye protection

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. 90% of men struggle with their eyes (allowing them to wander where they ought not be), and the other 10% of men struggle with lying. Why is this? God created man to be captivated by the beauty, the curves, and the differences of woman. Rebellion entered the cosmos because man thought he had a better grip on things than God did, and when that happened, man's eyes began to wander from the form of his bride to the forms of other's brides. As soon as he was able to embrace the woman who captivated his every thought, he began to look over his shoulder at the others who would not be his and wonder.

Most women do not understand this. Sadly, many Christian women do not even try to grasp what's going on inside a man. As I noted in a previous blog, whether the woman understands it our not (that one did, though), she is not going to be a happy momma if her man's eyes play the field.

Before I toss out a recommendation to you, I hope you understand that you cannot control your eyes in your own strength. It won't happen. Only as we cling to Christ, pursuing him in all things and letting him be the Lord that he indeed is, can we begin to know the victory in our thoughts and with our eyes (1 John 3:6).

Here's the recommendation: Covenant Eyes

One of the most dangerous places for husbands to be today is the internet. A friend told me about a Christian man who dumped his wife because he got involved gaming and fell in love with a woman with whom he was gaming. Gack. Much more common, though, is internet porn of the soft- and hard-core variety. No, you don't have to troll XXX sites. You can soil your heart on Fox News or on CNN. Once, while reading the Chronicles of Narnia to my daughters, I wanted them to see what one of the mythical creatures looked like.  I went to Google Images on the computer and even with MODERATE SAFE SEARCH set, one of the top images was pornographic. I thanked God that my girls were not there when I called up the image. I tell you that because it almost cannot be avoided.

This is warfare. It is spiritual warfare. That's why we must cling desperately to our Savior. At the same time, God has given us the fellowship of believers to challenge each other in our walks with the Lord and for mutual support in the midst of the battle. That's where Covenant Eyes comes in. It is not an internet filter, that means it won't slow down your system. What it does is it records every place you go on the internet and e-mails it to a friend. The thinking is that you are less apt to go someplace when you know someone is looking over your shoulder than if you are all alone.

You can choose your partners, those who will hold you accountable. Might I recommend your wife and another man? Your wife because with her you should have no secrets and another man because there may be sites he picks up on that your wife might not. It must be a man who will have the courage to get in your chili and with whom you will not whine because he does get in your face or at least he won't care if you whine.

[Those of you with younger children may want to consider an internet filter to prevent your kids from accidently tripping into some place when you are not in close proximity.]

Job said, "I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze upon a virgin?" (Job 31:1) Let us do the same because we love our Lord and we love our wives.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Just around the corner

Gents, you might think Hallmark created Valentine's Day and that it is just a conspiracy to pry more money from your white-knuckled fists.  Maybe so.  But your wife loves it!

You might think it's over-the-top syrupy, but a little romance, a little tenderness, and a little affection all go a LONG way to ministering to the non-male heart beating in your woman's chest. It's just a couple of weeks away.

You might not get it. Read my lips: it doesn't matter! Because it matters to your bride, it should deeply matter to you. I'm not plugging for Hallmark or for Russell Stover's, but I am plugging for you and for your wife.

Here are some thoughts before too many days tick away:

1. Plan a date. Now. Take her some place fancy (i.e. a place without fifteen games on big screens around the room). Go over the top and pre-position a rose to be placed upon her plate. Low lights. Candles. Great food. And your woman! Zoinks. It's getting hot in here.

2. Tell her you love her. No, not just "I love you." Go all Elizabeth Barrett Browning on her.  "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways."  Count the ways. Nothing like a tangible list of tangible things that she does or that she is that touch your soul. Notice rings about her. Hearing such things will touch her soul.

3. Cards. Go to the garage, grab a crow bar, and pry open your wallet.  Then go to a store with cards and buy her a card. No, buy her seven. Woo her. Romance her. Get some that are schmaltzy and flowery. Get some that are saucy. Then write stuff in them. Reference #2 above. Send one a day in the week leading up to Valentine's Day (take into account a day or two for delivery) mixing up the flowery and the saucy.

4. Buy flowers. Yes, I know they die! But she doesn't care. For a couple of days they will make symphonies play in her soul that her man cares.

5. Write a poem. Yes, you! Think of the gymnastics you went through to get her to walk down the aisle with you. Let this be a season when she looks back on that day and can't praise God enough for the man she wed. Write a poem. You can do it (if you pull off a sonnet, send it to me and I'll post it!).

6. Overnight? Maybe not in the next two weeks, but if you haven't planned an overnight with your woman, do it.  I don't care if you have kids, get a sitter. Swap with friends, a you-watch-my-kids-I'll-watch-yours kind of deal if you don't have family close by who will sacrifice themselves for your marriage. And plan out something to do. Alright, plan a couple of things to do--outside of the hotel room. Or maybe not.

7. Talk. Ask your friends what their doing for their girls. Trust me. You have some creative friends. Steal their ideas.

8. Talk, again. This time to her. When you take her out, talk to her. This might require some forethought because some of you may not be talkers. Think of questions to ask her that plumb the depths of her heart. Can't think of any? Look on line. I just found this list in less than a minute. When you desire to learn about your wife (1 Peter 3:7), not only do you honor God but you nourish her soul. Her man cares about her.

I know you OCD dudes will fritz because I only have a list of eight. The other two are for you to come up with!!

If you haven't enjoyed Valentine's Day before, I hope you dig this one because you have loved your wife!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Stealing: "The Easy Way Out"

I've written before about the insidious and cancerous nature of tiny compromises (sin) in your relationship with your bride. A second look, a flirtatious comment, an inappropriate text and suddenly something is kindled far beyond what you ever intended. Or maybe you did. In either case, you've set your marriage on the road to ruin.

Do you think I'm just a whiner or a prude? Twice Proverbs declares, "A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will come upon you like a robber and want like an armed man" (6:10, 24:33). The reason? A small lapse in attitude brings about a far greater destruction.  

This is why James delineates the life cycle of sin, "But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death" (1:14-15). Your desire leads you astray, then comes sin, then comes death. Bottom line, keep your desires in check.

A bit later, he speaks of the destructiveness of the untamable tongue.  It's such a small thing, but that small thing is like a small fire, a spark, it kindles a little flame and soon the entire forest is destroyed.  Consider the blazes that ruin homes and destroy lives simply because some toad tossed his cigarette out the window. A small thing brings big destruction.

So it is, brothers, in your marriage.

I've already rambled longer than I intended because I want you to get to another read that I have stolen (not really, just linked) from a former co-worker and sister in Christ. She gives the wives perspective on how those small compromises skewer the heart of your woman.  Please take a few minutes and read "The Easy Way Out" by Courtney Killian.  Then take steps before God to prevent those little compromises. Drink in Proverbs 5:15-23 and be enraptured by your woman.

Really, there's not a much easier way to love your wife.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Stealing: "Did you Marry the Wrong Person?"

Sometimes you cannot say it better yourself, so here, I, a blogger, cite a blogger citing a blogger. "Danger, Will Robinson!" Too much information? Probably.

Cutting to the chase, I suspect most married folks wonder at some point if they married the wrong person. It's a dangerous question that becomes moreso if it's played with day after day. I would say with emphasis, "NO!! You did NOT marry the wrong person.

Tim Challies disagrees here.  Read it and be blessed.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A spring in her step

Happy New Year, gents!

I was struck this morning by a column that dealt with living what we believed. Do I believe I am a child of God? If so, why do I not live that way? In the midst of the article, the author presented an example that struck me as a husband. Hear the words:
A husband and wife part in the morning for their respective jobs. That woman who is mindful throughout the day that a man out there loves her has a spring in her step. Everything that happens is colored by that love: Minor irritations are less irritating; insults may sting but not destroy; she has a generous spirit as the natural issue of substantial internal reserves.  (AndreĆ© Seu)
The author used the example to flesh out how the Christian should be living based upon the promises and declarations of God's word, but like the examples Christ uses in Scripture that point us to a higher truth, the simple truth should be taking place on this plane as well. Is your woman mindful of your love throughout the day? Does it put a spring in her step?

Or is it a relief to her when you leave for work? Does she dread the clock as its hands move closer and closer to your return home?

If the former, you're likely loving your wife in a manner that pleases God. If the latter, something's broken and needs to be fixed. I don't mean to be trite, but most areas of marital friction and conflict can be resolved by a husband who loves his wife. He will be a man who lives that out in a number of ways:
    1. He will consistently reaffirm that love. Say it. Text it. Write it. Do it. Brother, you cannot tell your wife that you love her too much.
    2. Exemplify that love. Saying it is one thing. Doing it proves it. If you say that you love your wife but are not laying down your life for her, if you are not loving her as Christ loved the church, if you are not dwelling with her with understanding, your words, texts, and poems will lie meaningless on the floor.
    3. Exemplify it in ways that minister to her. Where is she fragile? There build her up. Where is she hurting? There provide salve. You cannot do this unless you know your wife, and that takes us to the next way to live that out.
    4.  Communicate. You are the husband. God commands you to lead your wife. If communication has broken down and if your conversations don't head much beyond what's for dinner, you must repair those bridges. Open yourself up by holding your tongue and listening to your bride. Man up and take ownership for where you have fallen, faltered or inflicted pain in the past. You might have no clue. That's okay. Do not take offense at her words; hear them through the grace of Christ, and you will learn. Christ will help you become the man he intends you to be through your bride. But if you are going to put a spring in her step, that will not happen unless you have reopened long-clogged lines of communication.
    5. Know her. Once communication is flowing, listen. To live out 1 Peter 3:7, to dwell with your woman in knowledge and understanding, you must know her. Be slow to speak and quick to listen. Take mental notes. Take physical notes. 
If she sees you as one who loves her, who aches to know her, and who really likes her even though you know her, how could she not have a spring in her step? She might not bounce through her day like Tigger, but you can bet her staring at the clock will not be in dread but will be in expectation for the time you walk through the door and she gets to see your face.

2012 is under way. Husband, love your wife!