Wednesday, June 08, 2011

.Free Fun.


How does a couple keep their marriage fresh and alive! I've been married for almost 7 years and although we love each other more today than we did 7 years ago, 4 kids later (and #5 coming!) it's hard to get in time for just the two of us that fit into the budget! :) I'd love to hear creative ways of getting Husband and Wife time on a budget.

Wow. How to have fun on a budget. There are so many things that come to mind for me, but I think they all come back to one fundamental question: Do you have to be alone?

In our marriage, the most fun times come as a family. There is nothing more fun and romantic than strolling down the path lagging behind the kids, whether because they are in the stroller or running up ahead, and enjoying life with each other. It's those moments of watching our kiddos do all the fun and crazy things that 1, 2, and 5 year olds do that drive conversations of who I was as a boy, or who Tiffany was as a little five year old.

This can only happen is a few things are true:

1. Mom and Dad have to love spending time as a family.

2. Going to the zoo, for a family walk, or out for ice cream cannot be about endurance.... it must be about enjoyment.

3. Both Mom and Dad have to want to see it as fun and romantic.

"Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I've ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing.... Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away." — Ann Voskamp

The biggest lesson I have been learning in marriage and in life is that only rookies hurry. I don't want to be that rookie any more. To be who I desire, I must surrender many things-including the illusion that I am a perfect parent or husband... but in so doing, I gain moments that forever change and shape my relationships.

Bottom line: There is no secret to free 5 star restaurants and trips to the Bahamas... but there are an abundance of free moments, that when grasped and treasured can do far more that a $100 steak or a 10 thousand dollar second honeymoon!

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

.Transparency on Twitter.


This week for Wedded Wednesday, we are answering:

Any thoughts on transparency in marriage? I am finding with the age of computers, email, texting and twitter so much of what we do is now "hidden" from each other if we are not careful.

What a great, funny question. Basically the idea that the more we can open our lives to exposure, the more we can hide. It makes sense. In a world where a person can have a thousand friends on Facebook, several hundred of whom they have never met, can follow hundreds of people through twitter and even send them private messages via their cell phone, it is no wonder why this might come up.

In a simpler time, it was easy to hide who you really were to the general public. Even ten years ago, it was relatively easy to go through life without even thinking about what it means to "guard your public image." That kind of thing was reserved for presidential candidates and Michael Jordan. Now we all think about it. When chat rooms were all the rage, I used to say I never met a fat unattractive person in one. However, you could never escape the reality of humans that know the "real you" (one of whom being your spouse.) Now that is less and less true. The "real you" is more and more subjective.

Before I digress into some media tirade of how it should be, or could be or whatever... let me start here:

In Genesis 2 We enter the end of Adam's naming the animals God had just created, when all the sudden he realizes he got shorted. There's a bull and a cow, there's a boy butterfly and girl butterfly, there's a boy dolphin and a girl dolphin... wait a minute!

So God swoops in, puts Adam to sleep, takes his rib and makes woman... and there we have the foundation of marriage. One man, one woman. Then there is this interesting little verse:

"And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed." (Genesis 2:25 NKJV)

Fast forward through the fall, God comes down and begins questioning Adam and Eve:

"Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” (Genesis 3:9–11 NKJV)

Okay, bare with me. (pun intended) What is happening is that God created us to be completely exposed to one other being. In fact, there was no other human that walked the earth with Adam and Eve during this time. It was not until they were clothed that they began to bear children. I believe this nakedness refers to more than clothing. I believe that a person can infer from the context that there is a fundamental knowledge that goes along with that nakedness.

Let me put it this way. Marriage functioning biblically should look like this: All of who you are, your mind, your body, your emotions, are to be naked before your spouse. They should know and understand all of what makes you up. And the converse is also true: You should know all of who they are. Then, as a function of grace, you should be wholly accepted and you should completely accept your spouse.

This means in a world full of twitter, facebook, email, text messages, and a laundry list of other social media paradigms, we must fight the urge to hide anything! We must intentionally open ourselves to our spouse. We must stand naked before our mate, anticipating that they do the same, and embrace their uniqueness, while helping each other in the journey of picking up the pieces of our brokenness and striving more for godliness.

click here to see my wife's response.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

.Wedded Wednesday.


What do you do when you know that your husband is NOT fulfilling his role, and won't--Flat out refuses?

Men, herein lies a fundamental problem. Our role is, in my opinion, relatively simple. (click here) The problem is, there are many ways to distort, ignore, dance around, or flat out abuse it!
For instance, we can simply tell our wives to submit... that is what they are supposed to do, right? So, as the leader, I may do any number of things that I so choose, and it is the wife's responsibility to accept that. So, if I want to go out to eat every lunch instead of saving for a date night, or if I want to spend a weekend with the fellas instead of hanging with my family-my choice-that's the benefit of being the leader, right?

Or, you can easily just step back, allow your wife to do the decision making. This is, in leadership terms, called delegation. My wife should submit to me, and I am willingly letting her do whatever she wants as far as purchases, up-keep of the home, bills, etc. I just ask that she not "bother me" with the day to day junk.

How 'bout this, a man can simply develop his/hers policy. This is often seen when two incomes are at play, and most of the time this has a very simple reason for coming about: Whatever he values the most ends up in the "his" column so he does not have to get a lot of yap yap about those things, while whatever she values can end up in the "hers" column so the husband won't ride her about that stuff. Then, you split down the middle all the junk neither of you care about, like mortgage, groceries, etc. Plus men, this is a convenient way to have a private line of credit for all those things you are "protecting her" from {you know, the porn habit, drinks, the other girl, or just an unlimited supply of ring dings out of the office vendor}.

Here's the deal:

The role that we are called to is not a domineering, egotistical, self serving position. Nor is it a responsibility set that can be pawned off on the next person down the leadership ladder {the wife}. And, counter-to-culture, it is not a 50/50 proposition. Our role is to love and lead our wife as Christ loves, leads the church {Ephesians 5:25}.

What does that look like?

Well, for Christ, it looked like sacrificing everything. It looked like giving up every luxury far beyond what this world offers, to be born in a stable, live a lowly existence with no home or bed, and die a wrongful death so that you and I could be pardoned for our sin.

For you, it means committing to daily lay aside self for the benefit of your wife and family. To daily ask yourself, "what can I lay down for her/them?" Is it more than you signed up for? No. Honestly, you may not have been educated or truly realized it when you said "I do," but this is what you signed up for.

Jesus knows how pathetically selfish we are, that is why He said to "love your neighbor as yourself" {Matt 22:39}. If your wife is nothing else, she is your neighbor... and the Bible says she is something else. She is one who should surpass the love of self. You should be willing to die a wrongful death for her redemption. You should be willing to give up every luxury you know. You should be willing to abandon even the most intimate relationship you have for the sake of her.

That is what your role is!

Embrace that, and you will never see your wife in the position this poor woman is, desperately crying out for a Godly leader. C'mon men, let's lead this thing!

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Friday, May 06, 2011

.Someday, you'll know.

We visited the postal district, on appointment. It was the day we were to dine with H. I had promised the other boys on the street that I would bring them something to eat. It was a reality they reminded me of often.

After walking around the postal district for about an hour or two, our van arrived and I began distributing the food... much to the dismay of our driver. But before I did, I told H, don't worry I have many things for you... As I began to give out the food, H frantically tried to get his share. I told him, be patient I have much better things in store for you, but still he grasped for the insignificant treats.

I thought to myself, someday you will get it.

H, I would move heaven and earth to help you. I would uproot my whole family if I had to, just for you. You are special to me. Not because of who you are-you are certainly not a dignitary, you aren't going to bring me wealth, fame or renown... nope. You are insignificant.

{and various other batman effects}

In the same way that I am nothing, there is One who is desperate to captivate me and gift me with good things {Matt 7:11; Luke 11:13; James 1:17; 1 Peter 4:10}, that One has seeded H in my heart. So why am I expecting him to understand something I don't.
Every day I hear of some new trinket I desire. Some other device, machine, tool, car, job, etc. and I think to myself... If I had that... Meanwhile God is saying, "you just don't get it." I abandoned everything of value for you. I have grand plans for you. I am going to gift you with things your mind's eye can only now imagine. When all that junk fades away... You will have Me.

H, I am not God-not even close. But I know what I would do for you, and knowing that makes me shutter at how shallow my perspective has been on what God has to offer me.

Someday you'll know... and hopefully, someday I'll get it.

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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

.Following through with "I Do" {his}.

I thought it would be fun to take the time to write an accompanying post to my wife's "Following Through with 'I do'"

The first question posed was:

What are the wife's responsibilities to her husband?
You can go here to see her response.

I am going to tackle the question: What are the husband's responsibilities to his wife?

Wow, talk about a softball. This question can be narrowed down to just one word: Leadership.

Men, you want to captivate a woman's heart? You want her to want to follow you anywhere, you want her to consider you manly, smart, funny, dare I say, sexy? None of these things are accomplished by reading up on her likes/dislikes, you can't do it by quoting her favorite line in a movie, not by running a marathon, or lifting a truck off its axels, or even by wearing that pheromone-enhancing cologne.

Some of you say: "If I did that, she'd be impressed." (insert buzzer sound)

If you are a man she could follow to the ends of the earth, then she would readily swoon at almost any ridiculous act of manliness you could come up with... {Really}.

I have seen the homeliest, most disheveled, wimpy men captivate the hearts of women... and I have talked with the strongest, hairiest, burley, good looking men who couldn't convince any girl to give him the time of day.



What does this leadership involve?

Ephesians 5:25-33
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,

A leader is sacrificial. Christ-like love is not self-serving. It is not an opportunity to have your ego stroked, or even doing something with the thought that you may get something in return!! (Let's be honest, this is a huge problem for us, men.) Love is not sex... Love is leading your wife by putting her needs, wants, desires above your own while filtering them through the Scriptures. That does not work if you are ignorant concerning Scripture. It does not work if you have "wants" that consistently trump your wife's.

So how do my needs get met? This is every man's objection, right? Who's gonna take care of me? This is tricky. One, a Christ-like leader is not looking for something in return. (What value do you add to Christ?) Two, although this should not motivate you, if you are leading in this way, it is very likely your wife will follow... and your needs will be met far beyond your foolish manipulation.

that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.

A Leader is a guardian. Listen men, when you got married you did not trade in your college roommate for someone that is equally as fun, but you can do way cooler things with. You are a protector of this woman. I was told in my premarital counseling to treat my wife as an antique vase. That meant, to guard her, keep her clean, protect her value from outside influences that may deteriorate her... My wife will say every once in a while when I tease her and treat her a bit like a college buddy, "I am a vase." It's her way to say, "hey, that's not okay... "

Men, we tend to be so incredibly selfish that we lose sight of what all this looks like. Let me put it this way: Think of your most prized possession... maybe it is a Babe Ruth autographed baseball... how would you treat it? Would you say... hey, this thing looks like fun, grab your mitt and start tossing it around outside in the rain with your eight year old son? Nope. You would encase it in glass and carefully think of everything you let influence it... dust, sunlight, cleaning agents, its proximity to little ones. That is the kind of care and attention we should be giving our wives. Men, we need to always ask: "How will that increase or decrease her value in the sight of God?" Sometimes that means saying no to things she likes, like Desperate Housewives. Sometimes its pushing her to attend a women's Bible study, sometimes its setting aside a time for her to do her devotions amidst the chaos of family life... However it looks, it's your job, and your accountable to God for how you are guarding your wife.

For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

A Leader does right. Men, there is a reason that this passage is redundant. We are dumb. You can read this, agree with me, walk away and do stupid thing after stupid thing. One of the coolest things I have embraced is something I picked up from a business leadership book (Monday Morning Leadership). It is the "Do Right Principle." It is the idea that in every situation, there is a right thing to do. It often is not hard to know what is right, it is often just hard to do what is right.

Here is the bottom line: You can't know what is right if you're not biblically grounded and you can't/ won't do what is right if you are not committed to leading your wife by sacrificing for her and guarding her.

Men, you wanna be that Marlboro Man you think every woman wants? Be the leader God has called you to be, and in your wife's eyes, he won't hold a candle to you!

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Friday, January 07, 2011


I am not sure how to process what is about to happen to me. I am about to step into a whole new world. I am on the precipice of understanding life in a whole new way.

I am naive... but I am about to abandon naivety.

I have only begun to realize what "poor" means. I know that it will have a whole new definition. I have been trying to understand compassion... but what will that mean in Africa?

I have been asked, what do you fear? Have you been educated about water/food/disease, etc. It's not those things I fear... I am afraid that there is still so much callous in me, that I will somehow be able to come home, unchanged.

God... press on my heart a new understanding. Please, do not let me come back the same!

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