Friday, 20 August 2010

Kids Say the Funniest Things

A co-worker sent out an e-mail that just brought a smile to my face. It has been said that what makes something humorous is that embedded in the humor is an element of truth. See what you think about the following quotes:

When asked “how do you decide whom to marry?”, Kristen responded “No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before and you get to find out later who you are stuck with.” Age 10

When asked “what do you think your mom and dad have in common?” Lori, age 8 said, “Both don’t want any more kids.”

“What do most people do on a date?” is a question directed at Lynnette, age 8, who astutely answered, “Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.”

When asked “Is it better to be single or married?” Anita, age 9, offered, “It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them.”

Howard, age 8, responded to the question “When is it okay to kiss?” by saying, “The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It’s the right thing to do.”

At least there will be no shotgun wedding for Howard. As a parent it makes you hope your child’s teacher never asks her students these questions. What is even scarier is how insightful most of these responses are.

The fact is that children are great observers of life. One of the best gifts a husband and wife can give their children is to model a God honoring marriage. What would such a marriage look like?
• The wife would feel loved and the husband respected
• Christ would be at the center of the marriage
• There would be much laughter and displays of affection
• Conflict would be resolved in a way that would honor God and honor the individuals
• Expectations would be traded in for desires
• Love would be a verb
• Each spouse would put the other first
• Transparency would rule and meaningful conversations would be frequent
• Divorce would never be considered an option and never mentioned
• When disagreements occur the couple would attack the problem and not each other
• Neither the husband nor wife should entertain a relationship with another person who in any way filled a void that only their spouse should fill.
• The couple devotes much time each year to the evaluation and strengthening of their marriage. They read books, attend classes and conferences, and hang out with other couples who adore one another.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The Balance Beam

To say that Francis Chan had a difficult childhood would be like saying that Mother Teresa was an okay person. In the following video clip he challenges people who believe the best way to serve God is to be cautious, to be conservative, and to eliminate risks.

Playing it safe doesn’t serve God and it most certainly doesn’t guarantee that you will be happy or content. In fact I contend that some of the most unhappy couples are sitting in church on Sunday morning. They are playing it safe. By safe I mean they refuse to be transparent, they deny that things are not going well, and the last thing they are willing to do is to acknowledge to someone in the church that they are struggling. They may be resigned to thinking their marriage can’t improve. They are holding on to that balance beam for dear life, hoping they won’t fall off.

If this describes you, don’t settle for safe. Ask for help, attend a Family Life Weekend to Remember, go to a Christian counselor, or find a couple who has a God glorifying relationship and ask them to mentor you. DVDs such as “iMarriage”, “What Did You Expect” and Staying in Love provide great insights on how to bring joy back into your marriage and bring honor to the Creator.

Monday, 16 August 2010

The Main Thing is the Main Thing

In a recent article entitled “Bargain Bliss” (World Magazine, June 19,2010) Susan Olasky wrote a piece about a New York wedding planner by the name of Mary Hines. When working with clients who have limited funds she finds that she needs to change their perspective. It is not unusual for the bride to place an enormous emphasis on her gown. One of the questions that Ms. Hines asks her clients is “What’s going to matter in 30 years?” When asked what she advises the couple she said, “Make the main thing the main thing. Spend your time and money on the things that are most important.”

It is at this juncture that I could go off on some tirade about how many couples spend far more time planning for their wedding than they do their marriage but I will control myself. However, I think Ms. Hines advice to those planning a wedding is as applicable to those who are married. Make the main thing the main thing. From a Christian perspective the “main thing” is to have a marriage which glorifies the Lord. If all of our words, thoughts and deeds were put through that filter marriage would be glorious.

GET REAL! You did say that didn’t you? Okay, let’s back it off a little. It is not that glorifying God shouldn’t be the main thing but we are sinners saved by grace and consequently our old sinful nature decides to show up at the most inopportune times. But staying with the theme we can focus on the important aspects of marriage. We can find ways to love and respect one another; we can give each other the benefit of the doubt; we can choose to overlook those little annoyances that we have allowed to color our attitude toward our husband/wife.

Here’s a crazy thought – these come to me with great regularity - why not have a conversation about what each of you believes constitutes the “main things” in a marriage? I’m not talking about putting your socks in the hamper kind of behaviors nor lofty goals that are unattainable. I am talking about such things as choosing to pray together every day; scheduling a minimum of one date night a month where “running of the house conversations” are taboo; talking about thoughts, feelings, ideas, hopes and dreams as well as worries and concerns; agreeing that next to God your spouse is the most important person in your life (not the kids, not the in-laws); and continuously exploring what love and respect looks like to your spouse.

I’m sure you could add a number of other ingredients, what might some of them be?