Thursday, 10 January 2013

Are You Looking in Your Rearview Mirror?

Phil Tuttle, President of Walk Thru the Bible posted a recent blog that I believe can be applied to marriage as well as other facets of life.  He said,

"There's a reason a car's windshield is way bigger than its rearview mirror."

That's how my Dad used to make the point that we ought to spend much more time looking forward than backward. The Apostle Paul shared the same wisdom centuries earlier in Philippians 3:13-14:

"Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

It sounds so easy when we read it in the Bible, but it's way more difficult to think that way in real life.

From a Biblical perspective there was certainly one major icon who could have ridden down the road of life gazing in the rearview mirror, and that would have been Joseph.

Yet Scripture records no such obsession with the past. Instead of trying to right the wrongs of his brothers' betrayal, or Mrs. Potiphar's false accusation, or his unjust imprisonment, Joseph seems to have leaned into the future. He constantly embraced each new opportunity as God's calling for his life.

Compared to the insanity of Joseph's life, most of our situations don't seem so out of control after all. And so, inspired by his example, I've decided to waste less time this year reminiscing in my rearview mirror, and invest more time embracing the God-ordained future I see through my windshield.

Phil offers sage advice.  The key however to embracing the future in a way that is helpful is to “embrace God’s ordained future.”  This recognizes that (a) God is in control of all things, even the mundane, miniscule moments of our lives and (b) He always knows what is best for us even though it might not be what we would have in mind.

We recently received a Christmas card from one of my wife’s oldest friends.  This past year brought problems of varying degrees with each of the couple’s children.  The friend wrote that she certainly hoped that she learned whatever lessons God was trying to teach her last year because she doesn’t want to have to learn them again.  Amen!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

As I ponder the old axiom that “actions speak louder than words”, I’m convinced it was penned by a guy.  Most men don’t like to talk they like to do.  The following suggestion from Mort Fertel is right up the guys alley, so to speak.

Focus on behaviors that you can change that don’t require a long winded discussion. Making these changes can improve your relationship and help you to focus on the positive without having to talk about it.

Now as a Biblical counselor I am more about heart change than I am about behavioral change.  However I am aware that there is a school of thought that if one changes their behavior their heart will follow.  The bottom line is that our marriages should bring praise and honor to the Lord.  If the following behaviors can lead to that end then I endorse them heartily.

1. Have Fun Together

Couples sometimes get stuck in a rut…doing some fun activities together can put a spark back in your marriage.

2. Touch Each Other

Physical touch does wonderful things for couples…When you behave affectionately, it impacts your feelings. So, hugging and kissing can actually make you feel more loving toward your spouse. So go ahead and hold hands or cuddle up on the couch together and rekindle some loving feelings.

3. Communicate Non-Verbally

Your facial expressions, gestures and non-verbal cues speak volumes…Use your non-verbal communication to communicate loving feelings. Offer a smile from across the room. Cut tension with a silly dance. Show your excitement with your face. Non-verbal gestures play a big role in the overall communication style and by focusing on them, you can learn to change your non-verbal communication for the better.

4. Use the Element of Surprise

Surprises don’t have to be big or expensive. Instead, sometimes just the little things can make a big difference. For example, leave your sweetie a sticky note on the bathroom mirror that says, “I love you,” or send a special text message during the day just to say hello. These little things can help you stay connected even when you’re apart.

5. Do Something Nice

A random act of kindness shouldn’t be all that random in marriage…Look for a chore that can make your spouse’s load a little lighter. Cook dinner, do the dishes or mow the lawn so your spouse doesn’t have to. Let your spouse know that you care and that you are willing to take on this task so he doesn’t have to.