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."

Monday, April 8, 2013

Quote of the Day: Ann Landers

"If you marry a man who cheats on his wife, you'll be married to a man who cheats on his wife."
~ Ann Landers

Stanwyck & MacMurray
Gents, this is a painful truth that cuts both ways.

My bride and I just watched "Double Indemnity" yesterday, a great movie that you might consider the "Fatal Attraction" of the 1940's, a film that keeps you on the marriage straight-and-narrow. In the movie, Fred MacMurray of "My Three Sons" fame plays an outstanding dirt bag, much like Andy Griffith did in "A Face in the Crowd." MacMurray is an insurance salesman who's a little too cool for his own good, and when he crosses paths with a spurned and bored wife, an outstanding Barbara Stanwyck, the two cook up a plan to off the husband and recoup the insurance payout. The only problem? Your sin will find you out (Numbers 32:23), in this film in the guise of a cigar-chomping ("Where are my matches?") Edward G. Robinson.

What do we learn from such quotes and such movies. The grass is NOT greener--it's NEVER greener on the other side of the fence. Husband, if your eyes wander from your bride now to someone who catches your eye and you trash your bride for the sake of a newer model, how long will it be before your eye begins to stray again (really, the heart of Ms. Landers' quote)?

Join me now in taking Job's pledge and make a covenant with your eyes that you will not let your eyes stray (Job 31:1). Satan desires nothing more than to see your marriage lying in ruins and your life devastated. With the power that God provides you, rebuke yourself and take your eyes and flee from those situations that cause you issue. When you hear those whispers that someone else will understand you better than your bride, identify them as the lies that they are (Proverbs 5:3-4, 7:21), and run away.

(**SPOILER ALERT**) I love the old movies because good and evil is clearly portrayed for what they are. Knowing that the wages of sin is death, it comes as no surprise to find MacMurray and Stanwyck dead at the end of the movie at the hands of the other. States may strike down laws that once made adultery illegal, but they cannot change the truth of God's word or the response of man's conscience to that truth.

Husband, love your wife by keeping your eyes upon her and by keeping your eyes upon Christ.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Grammar vs. English

Yes, even a man who strives to love his life well puts his foot in it from time to time...

NOT the bride of this story!
The home schooling wife was getting ready to grade her daughters' schoolwork. "Emma, bring me your grammar, please."

The home schooling dad, sitting on his duff and flipping through the paper, suggests, "I think we should call it English instead."

"Why's that?" queried his beloved bride.

"Because grammar's are old and wrinkly," brought back the husband who had hoped for a chuckled groan.

But then...

It's amazing the things that can happen in one one-hundredth of a second, the time it took the last sound wave to travel the fifteen feet from his tongue to the ear of his bride, for as soon as that last wave had passed his lips, the husband recalled that his beloved bride had become a grandmother just over a year earlier.

Temporal distoration set in, and all began to move in slow motion. As our hero's teeth began to clench and his eyes to wince, he could see the nanosecond when that last sound wave entered the ear drum of his wife and registered deep within her cerebral cortex. In the next picosecond, the wife's eyes became as big as frisbees and her mouth opened like a lionness about to bite upon the throat of some doomed yak. Really, it's amazing how fast a head can turn. As the husband's mind flashed with the thirty hiding places he could not get to fast enough, the wives eyes fixed upon him and turned him immediately to stone.

Anybody have the number to FTD?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Quote of the Day: Paul Newman

"People stay married because they want to, not because the doors are locked."

 ~ Paul Newman,
Married to JoAnn Woodward for fifty years

(Note: he was not a flawless man. 
He divorced his first wife after nine years.)

So husband, as far as it depends on you, "want to!"

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The lethality of the straying heart

If you tell a child not to touch the plate of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, that will be the very thing they want to do. When they take one illicitly, they lose the chance to get two later with your blessing on top of incurring your disappointment and the associated punishment.

In most of life, God calls us to hold out for something better, for a reward that will be far greater. This is seen in vivid and garish color when looking upon the state of sexual America. Folks are humping with all the commitment and intimacy of junk yard dogs, yet they wonder why those relationships--if they can be called that-- are so unsatisfying. God unleashes the sexual relationship within the confines of marriage (Hebrews 13:4), and he does so with eye-popping power.


IT BRINGS ABOUT CHILDREN. I can't fix a garbage disposal, but with my bride, God has used us to create what the world sees now as four men! What a jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring thing. The sweet affections, the pounding passion of husband and wife brings about something grander still, a child.

IT THWARTS SATAN'S DESIGNS. I've spoken often about Satans intentions. He is a deceiver and a destroyer. All good things of God, Satan likes to see in smouldering ruins. That includes your marriage. Paul gives the Corinthian church an innoculation against such attacks against the marriage: Get in bed. So volatile is the sexual relationship that Paul says if you don't make it a regular, frequent priority in your marriage you actually give Satan a foothold (1 Corinthians 7:5).

Such power outside marriage leads to devastation. This is true of pre-marital encounters (who can vouch for the struggles of toting such baggage into a marriage?) and extra-marital encounters. Gents, take some time and give this article a read. It's a tragic plea from Wendy Plump about the wreckage that is her marriage due to extra-marital affairs on her part and her husband's part. I don't believe that she is a believer; you'll find "God" nowhere in her words. But you will find the truth of God's word and its consequences riddled throughout.

Consider these statements. Each could have a book written about it.

-- "You will be found out." You're no brighter than your children. Sin cannot be covered up. The seeds you have planted in your rebellion and disobedience will bear fruit that betrays.

-- After an affair, "You will hear yourself saying you cheated because your needs weren’t being met. The spark was gone. You were bored in your marriage. Your lover understands you better. One or another version of this excuse will cross your lips like some dark, knee-jerk Hallmark-card sentiment." Sin breeds excuses. Man up. Confess your sin for what it is. Better yet, don't travel this cadaver strewn highway.

-- "I’m not saying these feelings aren’t legitimate, just that they don’t legitimize what you’re doing." It cannot be said with greater clarity and sobriety than that.

-- "The great sex, by the way, is a given. When you have an affair you already know you will have passionate sex — the urgency, newness and illicit nature of the affair practically guarantee that." Solomon said the same things to his sons but that while it's sweet at the time, the end is death and bitterness (Proverbs 5:1-6). Bubba, if your physical relationship with your wife isn't great, make it great! If you don't know how, get some help. Talk to a man whose marriage you respect. Read a book. Talk to your wife. Get to work. It's worth the trouble!

-- "I knew I needed to stop it, but didn’t have the will to do so on my own." Oh, the quicksand of sin! Brother, if you are caught in sin, if you're adultering your wife, if pornography is an issue, then get help. Again, seek a man whose walk with Christ you respect. Talk to your pastor if he is that man. Look for a man who will not soft pedal your sin but call it the rebellion against God that it is and provide you with steps to take to turn your back on that sin.

-- "Sooner or later your illicit, once-beloved object of affection will become tawdry, wearying." The promises of sin will become emptiness and ruin. Satan will not make things better. Your sin and rebellion will only make things worse.

I'll leave you with Mrs. Plump's final paragraphs.
I look at my parents and at how much simpler their lives are at the ages of 75, mostly because they haven’t marred the landscape with grand-scale deceit. They have this marriage of 50-some years behind them, and it is a monument to success. A few weeks or months of illicit passion could not hold a candle to it.
If you imagine yourself in such a situation, where would you fit an affair in neatly? If you were 75, which would you rather have: years of steady if occasionally strained devotion, or something that looks a little bit like the Iraqi city of Fallujah, cratered with spent artillery?
God's got a better plan. It's a long-term plan, long-term for this life and long-term for the life to come. Trust him and enjoy the ride.