Friday, 7 June 2013

So What is the Difference

At the risk of being redundant, not that it has stopped me before; I want to repeat some information which you have probably heard many times.  Men and women are different.

Okay, that didn’t come as much of a shock, but realize that God intentionally made us to be different from each other, by design.  This should help to depersonalize some of the ways one’s spouse’s “oppositeness” may be an irritant; God made him or her that way on purpose.

I often use generalizations when talking about marriage related issues.  I find that they are usually true and hence they generally apply.  Here are a few of my favorites with regard to gender differences.  Men generally are less verbal than women; women tend to process while men want to fix; and women are into building relationships while men are focused on tasks.  IF these descriptions apply to your household the implications for communications are significant.

When a wife asks her husband “How was your day?” she is trying to connect relationally, thus a one word grunt is rarely acceptable.  It is interesting that men seem more interested in getting relational around bed time.  News flash – that may be a case of too little too late.   Recently we heard a pastor give new emphasis to the word “intimacy”.  He pronounced it as though it were written “ in to me – see”  In other words your wife wants you to know her on a more intimate level, not just sexual.  What are her fears, dreams, concerns, etc?

This gets to the whole notion of processing verses fixing.  Most men I know want the bottom line – what’s the issue, what are we trying to solve?  Obviously this ability has served men well, particularly if they bring objectivity to their decision process. It is quite conceivable that his wife already has a workable solution but she prefers to discuss possible options, weigh her decisions and test her hypothesis.  Usually the men tend to jump to the solution.

Was this anything new? -  Probably not.  Does this scenario apply to your household?  If so have you altered the way that you communicate with one another?  Have you come to the realization that God made you different for a reason – not just to irritate you?

One of the many things I have learned in all my years on this planet is that knowing something and putting into practice what I know can be light years apart.  I know that I should stay away from anything sweet because it just makes me crave more sweets.  Do I stay away? – Nooooo!  After a binge and seeing my weight go up the next morning I wonder why?  Let me connect the dots.  Knowing that you and your spouse have different wiring but continuing to communicate the way you always have just leads to frustration.

 

 

 

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

A Suitable Helper

In Genesis we learn that God determined that it was not good for man to be alone, i.e. man needed to share his life with someone of his own species.  Therefore God provided a suitable helper - Ezer kenegdo in Hebrew.  This is not translated to mean a person who was to be subservient to the man.  This Hebrew phrase indicated that the helper was one who was to provide support for what was lacking in the one who needed the help, i.e. make up for his deficiencies.

I think we can infer several things from what we learn in the early part of Genesis.  First of all one would think that hanging out with God all day would be sufficient companionship for anyone, particularly since man was created in God’s image.  Yet God understood that Adam needed someone like himself if for no other reason than man only had some of the attributes of God and that some of the qualities missing in man could best be found in the woman.  Together the man and woman more closely represent the Godhead.

Marriage is to be a reflection of the Godhead.  In the Godhead we find incredible intimacy, unity, and oneness.  We also find diversity: consider the different roles, yet no member of the Trinity is a less valuable member.  Men and women were created to be image bearers of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Creator of the Universe, and as such husbands and wives are to reflect intimacy, unity and oneness.

By now you may be saying “thanks for the lesson in Hebrew and how does this insight apply to our marriage?”

First, and most importantly, when other people see you as a couple they should see a facsimile of God on earth.  Your marriage should bring praise, honor and glory to Him.  Scary huh?  Marriage is the closest relationship on this planet to what is represented by the Trinity.

Second based on their birth order, i.e. Adam first, God has assigned the duty to the man to be the servant leader, protector and provider for his family.  Notice God didn’t get into the minutiae of who was to take out the garbage and cut the grass.

Greek Alphabet
Third the woman is not only equal to the man but was created to make up for some of his deficiencies.  She is a “suitable helper”.  Notice God didn’t suggest that the man should be the wife’s “self-improvement project”, she is to assist him, encourage him, support him, etc.  They are to act as a unit, as one, with each possessing a unique set of attributes, qualities and characteristics.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well
.  Psalm 139:14

 

Monday, 3 June 2013

Neglect


Paul & Virginia Friesen
In their newly released book, The Marriage App, Paul and Virginia Friesen offer the following analogy: “More houses are destroyed by termites – which, gone untreated, eat at the structural elements of the house while the outside continues to look just fine- than by earthquakes, hurricanes, or tornadoes.  Most houses that deteriorate don’t collapse from a catastrophic event but from a lifetime of neglect.  And so it is with marriage.”


This analogy hit particularly close to home for me.  To begin with I have a bug phobia.  It matters not how big or small the bug, the thought of any bug makes my skin crawl.  Secondly my wife and I just paid approximately $60,000 to have our termites exterminated.  This is a very long sad story with which I will not burden you, suffice it to say I understand how termites can go undetected, doing significant damage while the outside of the home looks just fine.

Termites are incredibly small and most often so are the issues that begin to eat away at our marriages.  Some of these issues surface shortly after we get married but because we are in the “honeymoon” stage we try to overlook them.  Perhaps we bring a number of subconscious expectations to the marriage, i.e. what the honeymoon would be like, that our partner knows there is only one way to squeeze the toothpaste, that windows should be kept open a crack even in the dead of winter to facilitate sleep, etc.  The list is endless.  If the wife’s father was handy she expects her husband will be handy.  If the husband’s mother doted on him and pampered him most of his life, he will expect the same from his wife.  Our chronological age and the culture in which we grow up also help to shape our paradigm of what marriage will be like.

The “marriage termite” takes the form of self-centeredness.  This termite exists within all marriages, to a greater or lesser degree.  We want our way, we have desires that need to be met, we want to be happy, we want to be fulfilled and we look to our partner to provide what is missing. Second Corinthians 5:15 tells us “And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”  The “he” is Jesus.  He died because we live for ourselves.
 
Unfortunately it is easier to exterminate termites of the bug variety than termites of the marriage variety.  However, God’s Word does provide instructions for ridding your marriage of this pest.  The primary eradicator of the marriage termite is a willingness to become other-centered