Friday, 7 October 2011

Sowing & Reaping

“An entrepreneur starts with an idea for a unique, new product. He/she lays plans for a start-up business, calculating revenues and expenses. He meets with consultants, accountants, and attorneys. He works hard to sell the concept to banks and investors to raise capital. In time the individual leases space, purchases equipment, and hires employees. Finally they are ready to begin. They work hard, pouring themselves into the business, determined to make it a success.

Does the person now merely sit back, relax, and enjoy the fruit of his/her labor? Not likely. They work harder than ever, while conjuring up ideas for improving efficiency, bettering customer relations, bolstering profits.

If a marriage is to last a lifetime, it requires the same level of devotion and energy. Both partners must give 100 percent. Each must be available to the other when needed, fully present, ready to listen, to talk, to act. Both spouses must pour their heart and soul into this enterprise, making whatever sacrifice necessary to ensure success.” Taken from
Married for Life

Maybe you can’t relate to being an entrepreneur but think of something you do that consumes your attention, something that you may be passionate about and/or something that you enjoy immensely. Whether it might be caring for your children, watching your favorite sports team, taking a yoga class or volunteering at a senior center, something “floats your boat” as the expression goes.

Throw the same intensity into your marriage. In some sense of the word you have more invested in a marriage than the entrepreneur does in his/her business. The Bible calls husbands to love their wives as they love themselves. (Eph.5:33) Now that’s intensity (actually that’s next to impossible). Wives are called to respect their husbands (defined as notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly) That’s devotion to the max.

There is an old cliché that says, “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.” (It was first used by Moses as he and I crossed the Red Sea together.) A great marriage, one that glorifies God, is definitely worth doing right.

“Whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2Corinthians 9:6

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Go Fly a Kite

A marriage that truly brings glory to God will also be one in which laughter, warmth, intimate companionship, and enjoyment of one another is flourishing. On what basis can I make that statement? Glad you asked! Marriage is to be a reflection of the relationship of Christ and His bride – the church. Christ wants us to have an intimate relationship with Him, He wants us to appreciate and enjoy Him, He wants us to experience His warmth and love and as for laughter you need look no further than His creation to see that He has a sense of humor.

Recognizing that enjoying one another is only one aspect of a marriage that glorifies God, it is not a bad place to start. It may require that you become playful, that you shed your inhibitions and return to your youth. For example when was the last time you flew a kite? Go buy two inexpensive kites, find an open space where the wind is usually blowing and launch them into the air. Or perhaps you could try skipping together – wouldn’t your neighbors just love to see that. Maybe you could buy a foot long hotdog, start at opposite ends and meet in the middle. Go somewhere together to watch a sunset or a sunrise, chase after fireflies or butterflies, or lie on your sides and roll down a hill. Okay, if there is not enough child in you to do anything I have suggested come up with your own list.

Granted, representing God on earth is serious business but by you and your spouse allowing your inner “child” out to play you can send a very inviting message to those who think that Christians are void of enjoyment, rigid, and judgmental.

Send me your ideas for exposing the inner child.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Who Can I Turn To?

There may be a time when you feel as though you need to talk to someone other than your spouse about something going on in the context of your marriage. This can be beneficial BUT be very, very careful.

First of all, no one is more deeply concerned about your marriage than God. He is the Creator of marriage and He wrote the Book on marriage. Furthermore when God is at the center of a marriage it brings joy to the couple and glory to Him. He has promised, “If my words remain in you and you remain in me, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you.” (John 15:7) Thus you must be in His Word and what you are seeking must be in accordance with His will. A good way to start would be to go to Ps. 139 and ask God to “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” It is certainly appropriate to ask God to draw your husband/wife to Him and to fill them with His Spirit. What’s not appropriate is for you to be prescriptive, telling God the changes that you have in mind for said spouse. God is smart enough to figure out what is best in your situation.

In addition to God you may feel the need to talk to someone who could help you process what you are experiencing. Examine your heart motivation for wanting to talk to someone else. Are you seeking a solution that would glorify God or do you just want your way and/or to prove you are right? Are you seeking sympathy or is this an opportunity for you to vent about your mate? What outcome are you hoping for? Ask God to lead you to someone who will represent Him in the counsel they give.

You want someone who is (a) spiritually discerning ;(b) able to treat what you share as highly confidential and (c) totally objective. Is there reason to believe that the person’s life experiences and spiritual maturity will provide a good sounding board?

Obviously this person should never be someone of the opposite sex unless it is a parent.

In most cases you would be best served by talking about the issue with your spouse. When trying to resolve a conflict I like to think of it as three against one. Figuratively draw a line in the sand. The problem is on one side and you, your husband/wife and God are on the other side. Seek a solution that will please the three of you and conflict resolution will take on a whole new meaning.

Biblical counseling can be of help and some Christian counselors can help. Make sure the person specializes in working with couples. You might start with your pastor/minister. Some secular counseling organizations have people who can do Christian counseling BUT you have to ask them specifically for Christian counseling. There are others like the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation (CCEF) where they will only do Biblical counseling.