If You Married a Daughter of the King

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
(1 Peter 3:7)

How do you see your wife? What makes your wife of value? If you married a woman who has given her life to Jesus, then you married a daughter of the King.

She is inherently special. She is by design valuable. Your wife was made in the image of God. If your wife is walking with Jesus, then she is a heir to the inheritance of her Father in heaven. If you married someone who is a daughter of the King, then guys, you married a rich girl!

She is a weaker vessel. Your wife is to be your prized possession, not that you own her, but that you are a steward of God’s possession. She is the Father’s daughter.  She is a daughter of the King. Handle with care. Treat with the upmost respect and honor. One day she is going back to the King, and one day you will go back to the King as well.

How you treat the daughter of the King affects your relationship with the King. Notice how Peter said our prayers will be “hindered” if we do not treat our wives with honor. That’s serious stuff. If you mess with one of my daughters, you will have a fight on your hands. Think of how God views His daughters. If we as husbands do not treat them as valuable, as precious, as heirs of His grace, then He will not hear our prayers.

How you treat your wives is directly connected to how you view and value your wives. Pray for God’s guidance to begin to see your wife as He sees her. Only then can you begin to really treat her with the honor she deserves as a daughter of the King.

Conflict Resolution: Marriage

Please refer to Monday’s article for the broader context of this discussion.

Reference Text:  Romans 5:6-10

Using God as our ultimate example in conflict resolution, let’s consider our marriage relationships. The marriage relationship was intended to be the pinnacle of human relationships, even used as an analogy for Christ’s relationship with the church. In our marriages we should be able to be completely vulnerable, feel safe and secure, and experience true intimacy. However, marriage is often where we experience our greatest conflict in this life. We will explore one aspect of God’s example in resolving conflict and apply it to our marriage relationships. I don’t expect that any of this content will be new or overwhelmingly insightful. Instead, I hope to ask some tough questions and challenge each of us to act on the truths that we already know.

God sacrificed, to His own hurt, to resolve the conflict because He loved:

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” At great personal cost, God provided us the path of reconciliation. Jesus willing handed Himself over to be mocked and crucified so that we could be saved from the wrath we deserved.

Ephesians 5:25-31 uses Christ’s sacrifice for the church as the example and tells us that we should “love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her” and that husbands should “love their wives as their own bodies…nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church.” When in conflict with Kristine, is that how I think? More often I have thoughts like this:

“She ALWAYS does this…”

“Why should I bother, she’s just going to_________”

“I’m not going to __________ until she ____________”

“If she does that ONE MORE TIME I’m going to _____________”

“Here we go again. It’s always the same thing.”

Here’s the challenging part of any conflict; who do I control I can raise my voice and puff out my chest and intimidate Kristine into fearful submission but is the conflict actually resolved? I can pout and sulk and play the silent game and guilt Kristine into action but is the conflict actually resolved? I can cower and avoid confrontation and give the false impression that everything is alright as bitterness takes root but is the conflict actually resolved? The only person I can control in any situation is me. I can defend myself, justify myself, exert my “rights”, get puffed up in self-righteousness and continue to drive a wedge in the relationship. Or I can choose to love her as Christ has loved me. I can sacrifice to my own hurt, doing what is best for her, in an effort to resolve the conflict.

Paul says in Romans 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” As far as it depends on me? How far am I willing to go to resolve conflict and be at peace with my wife? Will I allow myself to be mocked? To be ridiculed? To be nailed to a cross? Jesus did.

Ways to Honor Mom

Mother’s Day is coming on Sunday, so I thought it would be good to talk about some ways to honor moms, not just on Mother’s Day, but every day.

Honor her with respect.

Be nice to mom, whether you are sixteen years old or sixty years old. Men, give your mom a hug once in a while and tell her you love her. If geographical distance separates you, call her often on the phone. I know that my mom just loves to hear my voice. I don’t always call to talk about “important” stuff; I just call to talk to her. Respect her by fully listening to her when she is talking. Be engaged…turn off the TV or smart phone and give her some attention!

Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old (Proverbs 23:22).

Respect her by telling her often how valuable she is to you. A lot of guys just don’t do this well, but as men of God, we need to rise up and honor our moms with our words. We need to verbalize that honor and respect. Now I know that there are men who had a horrible childhood and a mom that did not love them, but I do know in those situations that there was often another godly woman in their lives that acted like a mom to them. Show honor to those “moms in the faith” as well.

Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying: “Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all” (Proverbs 31:28-29).

Honor her by following God’s word and living right.

If your mother taught you about Jesus and about following God, what is the greatest way to honor her? By continuing on that pathway and living for Jesus.

For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well (2 Timothy 1:5).

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:1-3).

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching (Proverbs 1:8).

My son, observe the commandment of your father and do not forsake the teaching of your mother (Proverbs 6:20).

Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her rejoice who gave birth to you (Proverbs 23:25).

“I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in truth” (3 John 4).

The words of King Lemuel, the oracle which his mother taught him… (Proverbs 31:1).

I really like the above verse in Proverbs 31. These words of a King came from his mother, and he honored his mother not only by living those words, but by reminding everyone the source of those words! It’s okay to tell your mom she is right once in a while! 🙂

Honor her by taking care of her when she is older.

“Honor your father and your mother” (Mark 7:10). The context here is when Jesus was talking to the hypocritical Pharisees about not taking care of their parents financially. The apostle Paul addresses this as well in 1 Timothy 5, by saying that children are to take care of their parents and grandparents when they are old, especially the widows. To honor her is to provide for her.

Consider the example of Ruth and Naomi, and how Boaz commended Ruth for all that she had “done” for mother-in-law (Ruth 2:11). There are times when our elderly moms could use some physical help around the house, and as sons and grandsons, we could bring the family over and get to work helping on those projects. Our wives can use help around the house, too! As husbands and fathers, we can be the initiators to get the kids working on chores to help take the burden off of mom.

Give your wife time to get away and to do something fun. Make sure you don’t make her feel bad about it, either! For a lot of guys it is easier to get away from the house and do the things we want to do, but what about our wives? Taking care of the kids, being asked a million questions non-stop on a daily basis, cleaning house and all of the other responsibilities are taxing! Make sure they have the ability to do this regularly to be refreshed and rejuvenated. Encourage them in it.

Thanks, moms! We love you!

Tim, John, & Bob on Marriage

Today’s MDB is a short YouTube video about marriage that will make you laugh. I thought we all could use a laugh today!

If you ever need a good laugh, look up Tim Hawkins, Bob Smiley, or John Branyan. These three are featured on this video.


“A merry heart does good, like a medicine…” (Proverbs 17:22)

Living Together Before Marriage

What about living together before marriage? Since the divorce rate is so high, doesn’t it make sense to move into together for a time and “see how it works out?” Let’s “test drive the car” before we buy it, right? Why shouldn’t we find out if we are compatible first before making such a huge commitment like marriage?

That reasoning might sound like good advice…but is it?

First of all, God says it is wrong. Any sexual behavior outside of marriage is forbidden by God; it is called “sexual immorality” or “fornication” in the Bible. The Lord says in His word that there are serious consequences both in this life and the one to come for participating in it.

Hebrews 13:4 – Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

When we enter into a sexual relationship with a person, it is not merely a physical relationship. In that sexual union we join our emotions, our minds, and even our spirits with that person (1 Corinthians 6:13-20).

The Bible is very plain that all sin is not the same when it comes to consequences. Sexual sin is different; you are sinning against your body and your spirit (again see the passage in 1 Cor. 6).

God designed the human body for a monogamous, heterosexual relationship. In other words, one man and one woman joined by God together in marriage for life (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:1-9). That relationship, including the sexual relationship is a wonderful, fulfilling and beautiful thing, but only when we walk by God’s rules. His rules are there for a reason, He designed us and He designed marriage. He knows the best way for it to be a success.

Secondly, living together before marriage creates more problems than it solves. A couple may have all the best intentions to see how things work before they commit to marriage, but living together is not the way to accomplish that. Couples that live together first and then get married actually have a much higher divorce rate than couples who do not live together before marriage. So, the consumer mentality that may work for automobiles does not work in marriage. Sex without commitment may seem to work in Hollywood, but it is a lie.

I would also like to add that living together before marriage brings instability and insecurity not only to the couple but to the children that are brought into this union. What about the kids? What about their security and stability?

I’ve heard it described that sex is like a fire in your house. If that fire is in the fireplace it is beautiful and warms the home, but if that fire is any place else, it will burn your house down. God has a way for marriage to work, and when we follow His ways, it works every time.

Men, honor the women in your life by living these principles and by teaching them to others.

  • Men honor women by committing to commitment. That might sound funny, but there are a lot of men and women who have a real hard time with committing to a relationship. Be a man, a real man, by being committed to one woman in marriage for life.
  • Men honor women by committing to sexual purity.
  • Men honor women by committing to marriage before sexual relationships.
  • Men, please impress upon your daughters that their bodies and their entire being is very special to God (1 Peter 3:4), and that no man on this earth is worth giving up their purity and innocence before marriage.
  • Men, please impress upon your sons the value and preciousness of a woman in God’s sight and how we as men are to lead the way in protecting their innocence and purity. Our pattern for a man is Jesus Christ, and that is what He sought to do (Ephesians 5:25-33).

For further research, family.org has a series called “Test-Driving Marriage” that would be helpful to you.

Things to Say to Your Wife

Today’s MDB has some practical advice regarding things to say to your wife, as you seek to love her and honor her.

“Let’s pray about this.” When you have big decisions to make, sit down or kneel with your wife and pray about it. When life seems to be falling apart, take her hand and say, “Let’s talk to God.” When wonderful things are happening and you are overwhelmed with the goodness of God, say, “Let’s take a moment to praise God and thank Him.” Take time to pray with your wife.

“I’ll think about what you said.” This one is about valuing her opinion and input. This may be easier for some men than others. Some guys instantly argue, downplay and find fault in what their wives say instead of taking time to listen and really think about what they said. Value her, and that means take time to hear her out without picking apart her ideas.

“You were right.” Have you seen Megamind? I love when Megamind said to Minion, “Okay, Minion, you were right…I was…less right.” He just couldn’t say it. A lot of people (not just men) have a hard time admitting that they were wrong and someone else was right. I know in some relationships, the wife can make this harder because she really likes to tell her husband, “I told you so.” But develop humility, men, and give her the honor she deserves by acknowledging that she was right.

“I am sorry, please forgive me.” Again, very hard to say sometimes, but if I have been unkind and rude to my wife, then I need to “fess” up and tell her that I was a knucklehead. By the way, men, an apology is not an excuse for why you said or did something. For example: “I said this, because you said that.” That’s not an apology; that is saying “I was mean to you, dear, because you were rude to me.” That is not accepting and admitting responsibility for your own words and behavior, that is placing the blame upon her. Take ownership, men. “Honey, what I said to you was unkind and hurtful, and I ask you to forgive me.”

“How can I help you?” I know for me in the early years of our marriage, I spent a lot of time offering help to others in need instead of looking at home to my wife with small kids. Men, remember you made a vow to your wife, not to your buddies at work. You made a vow to your wife, not to the friends at church. If someone needs to be helped first, it is your wife. When she wants a night out, make that happen, and don’t make her feel bad about it. When she wants to get the house straightened up, you get right in there and help. In time, you will learn to help without her asking, and by the way, don’t brag when you do help. That’s hard for a lot of guys. We like to strut. We like to spike the football. I’ve tried that. “Honey, I did the dishes,” as if I did something amazing. She was very thankful, but not impressed. Anna replied, “I gave birth to six children.” Now, she did not say that to put me down, but Aaron needed a reminder that when I do something around the house, I shouldn’t expect a parade for it. Just saying.

“I’ll get right on that.” When you do commit to do something, get on it. Or if you tell her, “I will do that next week on Saturday,” then you’d better do that next week on Saturday. Make sure that she trusts you fully when you say you are going to finish a project. That shows her that you value her and cherish her. Think of the opposite, what statement is made to your wife, when you keep saying you will get to projects and you never complete them? How would your boss at work take that? If you can’t get to something, be honest about it; don’t make false promises.

For the lighter, funny side, watch this YouTube video by Tim Hawkins on “Things You Don’t Say To Your Wife.” Hilarious, but, really, don’t say these things to your wife!

 

The Greatest Shot…The Greatest Assist

Last night, college basketball fans watched arguably the greatest and most fantastic finish to a NCAA championship game ever. That last shot by Kris Jenkins for Villanova as the clock ran out will be replayed and remembered for decades to come. The song “One Shining Moment” always gets played at the end of the championship game, and it truly fit this one.

What I would like to key in on for this morning, though, was the assist that led to the greatest shot ever. Senior guard Ryan Arcidiacono was the go-to-guy in practice for this shot. They practiced this play over and over as a team to prepare for this very situation. He wanted to shoot that ball, he stated after the game, but instead he set up his teammate Kris Jenkins to make the shot. Of course this all happened in under 5 seconds, which blows my mind that these young men have such poise, discipline and training under such incredible pressure. He could have kept the ball and taken the shot himself, but instead he set his teammate up for success.

Now, this being Tuesday, the Men’s Daily Briefing (MDB) is devoted to honoring the women in our lives, and you may wonder why talk about a basketball game? I want us to consider a couple of quick points for the morning about a great assist, and how it applies to a marriage relationship.

In sports, as well as in marriages, there are ball hogs and glory hounds who focus completely on themselves. Their lives are about how they can make themselves look good and how they can better their status and position with little thought to others on the “team.” As men of God, however, we must not be like that.

Focus on the assist – how can I help my wife grow closer to Jesus? How can I assist her in her spiritual growth? How can I take the attention off of me (my needs, my career, my ego) and help set her up for success? You know, it is my guess that most people will remember the shot by Jenkins, but not as much attention will be given down the road to that assist by Arcidiacono. If our goal spiritually is to go to heaven and to help our wives get there too, then we will be far more focused on the assist than making the game winning shot.

Young men…marry an “assist-minded” person. I want to encourage our young men reading this to take serious thought to the young lady with whom you will one day share your life. Do you want to marry someone who is like that glory-hungry ball player that never passes the ball and always wants to make the game winning shot? Or do you want to marry a selfless, Christ-loving woman who is a team player and whose goal is to help you become more like Jesus? You want to marry a woman who cares about the “assist.” Pray for God to send you a woman who loves God more than anything in this world. Pray for a selfless servant of Christ to be your bride, so that each of you can be devoted to assisting each other in serving the Lord and raising a family.

How Boaz Loved Ruth

Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!”  And they answered him, “The Lord bless you!”  (Ruth 2:4 NKJV)

As I consider the words in this picture, they are words I would say to my daughter.  They are words that I would want Sara to say about me when she is talking to others.  They are words that I would want to demonstrate to my sisters in Christ.  They are words I would want my mom or sister, neither Christians, to see and believe in me.

I love my daughter.  I prayed hard to God that I would one day have a daughter and He has blessed me with my Libby.  I want Libby to be loved all of her life.  One day she will leave my home and seek the love of a man to be her husband.  I want that for her…I want her to be loved and cherished all the days of her life.  With that in mind, I find one of my greatest responsibilities to her is to love her mom in a Godly way…the way I want a man to one day love her.  Of course, if I do that, Sara will be loved in the way her Heavenly Father wants her to be loved.  Loving the women in my life is a tremendous responsibility that starts in my home but reaches into the church, into my earthly family, and into the world as I come into contact with others each day.

In thinking about the love of a man for a woman, the kind of love God calls us to, I was drawn to the book of Ruth.  I encourage you to take a few minutes and read the book today.  It is four short chapters and will not take you much time.

As you read Ruth, consider Boaz and how he loved Ruth.  Think about the “what” he did and “how” and the “why”.  We see that Boaz was generous with compassion (2:8-9), generous with compliments (2:11-12), generous with courtesy (2:14), generous with what he had (2:15-16), generous with his credibility (3:11-15), and generous with his commitment (4:9-10).  Take some time and think about what Boaz did for Ruth and consider how that looks in your life with the women and girls you care about or come into contact with.

Then consider the “why”.  Why did Boaz behave this way?  I believe we find the answer in the verse above which are the first recorded words of Boaz.  “The LORD bless you!”  For Boaz, what he thought, said and did started and ended with God.  We see from the book that Boaz’s intentions (obedience to God) matched his behaviors (what he did).  Boaz treated Ruth and others in a generous and kind way because of his obedience to God.  Boaz understood and received the love of God for himself which enabled him to freely give love to others.  This manifests itself fully in his relationship with Ruth and echoes through eternity in the life of Jesus.

Consider Boaz today in your own life and in your relationships with the ladies in your life.  Love them!  Love them by accepting your place as a dearly loved child of God (Eph 5:1-2), consider how you have been forgiven (Eph 4:32), think of the way Christ put you first (Phil 2:6), drink from the longsuffering of God (2 Pet 3:9), consider how generous God has been to you (Rom 5:8), and remember how God puts up with you when you are ungrateful, cranky, or a disappointment (Lu 6:35).  Make your “why” obedience to God in your relationships and the “what” and “how” will come and will glorify God.

Today, every day, remember that in Jesus Christ you are COMPLETE.  Jesus loves you and for that you are free to truly love the ladies in your life.  He loves you with an unfailing love that does not disappoint.  In that you are free to love even when promises to you are broken, someone you care about has failed you, something is done to disappoint you.  God has promised you love and succeeded in delivering over and over again…even when you don’t deserve it.  His love, if you will let it, will fill you and leave you with a love worth giving.

Uncovering the Underlying Causes

The above picture is of my girls’ bedroom yesterday as my wife Anna, her sister, and several others worked to pull up carpet in our house. Yesterday’s focus for Anna was the kids’ bedrooms. We have been trying to figure out the reasons lately why I’ve had so many breathing problems.

We began uncovering the underlying causes.

The air was tested, and we found mold. The duct-work was cleaned yesterday, and the technicians found layer after layer of years of filth and dirt (including a dead bat). Anna’s brother found that all of our laundry and dishwater was going out of the house and going right over to the sump line (which was broken) and all that water was sitting on the SE corner of the house creating a haven for mold in our basement. Of course in order to discover this, he and my son Joseph had to do a TON of digging to uncover the underlying causes. That picture above was taken after Anna and her sister pulled out the carpet and found evidence of mouse nests and all other kinds of yummy stuff!

Now, I really could write for years on end in praise of my God-loving, servant-minded and tenacious wife, who is desperately trying to do everything in her power to help me (and all of us) breathe better air. When I read Proverbs 31:10-31 about the virtuous wife, and my wife Anna’s name could be inserted there, and for that I cannot thank God enough. But that is not what I really want to focus on for these few moments today.

When we are having relationship issues (it really doesn’t matter which relationship we are talking about) so often we go after symptoms rather than uncovering the underlying causes. We try to deal with how people are behaving instead of getting down to “why” they are behaving that way. Now, I’m not saying that we have to be psychologists and start psychoanalyzing everyone around us including ourselves. But, friends we need sometimes in our relationships to have the tenacity and courage to rip up the carpet and take off the trim that conceals the real root of the problem.

Look at this verse from James 4:

What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel (James 4:1-2)

James is ripping up the carpet here and pulling back the trim to expose what is really going on in our relationships. What is the “source” of quarrels? Lust. Envy. It is ugly, and it will completely destroy your relationship health until you uncover it, admit it and get it out of your life.

Here is another passage from James that gets to the root of the problem:

For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing (James 3:18).

Why is there disorder and every evil thing in our relationships? Well look down in the duct-work, and you will see that the air flowing around in the house is full of the mold, filth and dead bats that James calls “jealousy and selfish ambition.”

The Hebrew writer also speaks of the “root of bitterness” that can spring up and cause many around us to be defiled (Hebrews 12:14-17). But until we are willing to stop dealing with symptoms and call out the real root of the problem, we will never improve the health of our relationships.

You can’t cover this problem with a nice coat of paint and fancy curtains.

Begin uncovering the underlying causes. Your spiritual health and the health of your relationship depends upon it.

Intimacy

We as guys often get sex and intimacy confused. Sometimes guys want the physical relationship, but we forget the importance of all the things we say and do throughout the day. A lot of guys can turn on the sex switch instantaneously, and do not keep in mind that our wives may take a lot of time to “warm up.”

Typical scenario: Here is how the day has gone for a lot of guys. The women in our lives went through this day, too.

You wake up asking her to do things for you. Breakfast. “Where’s my socks?” “Why aren’t the jeans washed?” “Are we really out of bread again?”

Maybe through the day, whether you are at home or talking to her on the phone from work, you find yourself:

  • Putting her down and teasing her about things.
  • Being her teacher instead of her peer.
  • Being her father instead of her friend and companion.
  • Correcting her grammar and choice of words.
  • Complaining about the food she makes.
  • Talking about how the great qualities of other women.
  • Picking on her about what she likes, her family, what she does with her time, etc.
  • After all of that, you do not apologize for how you have mistreated her, instead you just expect her to move along and forget it.

Now, evening comes and you want her to be “intimate” with you? What you mean is, you want her to have sex with you. You want her to “perform” for you. But, where was your “intimacy” earlier in the day?

You want her to be on fire for you, but you have thrown water on her all day long.

What, most likely, is she thinking while you want her to be your partner in love in the bedroom? “You made fun of me for this…and now you want that?” “You were looking at those women…now you want me to believe you think I’m beautiful?” “You treated me like a dummy in front of your friends…and now you want me to be your lover?” “I wanted to spend $20 on X and you said, ‘No,’ but you spent $1,000 on Y.” “Do you really value me?” “Do you really hold me as special?” “Am I your friend and your sweetheart, or am I just useful to meet your needs?”

God has blessed the wives in our lives with a long memory. What will they remember? Better yet, what should they be remembering? Shouldn’t they remember that we honored and valued them? Shouldn’t they see through the day that we see them as our sweethearts, and not just at night when we want something?

Remember intimacy. Show her that she is precious to you at all times. God calls you to honor her, to cherish her, to praise her, to hold her up as special. That’s how Jesus sees her. That is intimacy.