Archive for the 'Marriage' Category

22
Jul
14

Strong Long-Lasting Marriages

I am on a marriage track this week. I suppose because our 25th Wedding Anniversary is just around the corner. How have we stayed together? How have both our parents’ marriages lasted for 50+ years? What makes for strong relationships in marriage? What

My answered prayer - Amy not the guitar!

My answered prayer – Amy not the guitar!

makes a marriage great? How can couples stay together for decades? How do two completely different people make a relationship last through family crisis, financial struggles, disease, and other disappointments?
First, I am not a marriage counselor, nor do I play one on TV. However, I have some suggestions and I have stayed at a Holiday Inn . . . . I have some marriage advice from my readings, study, and observations over the last few years (including my own 25 year marriage).

  1. Long-Term couples COMMIT to each other and to the relationship. The idea is what the Biblical writers call submission. When a couple submits to one another (cf. Eph 5:21) they are saying to their spouse, “You are more important than me.” One college professor reminded us that “we” comes before “I” in “wedding.”
  2. Long-Term couples UNDERSTAND (learn to understand) each other. You and your spouse are different people from differing backgrounds, and of different genders. You are in a mixed marriage and have to learn to know each other. Again the Biblical writers tells us to live with each other with understanding (cf. 1 Pet 3:7).
  3. Long-Term couples FORGIVE each other. I can only speak for myself, but I know there are things I said or did that hurt Amy. I needed, no need, and desperately desire forgiveness from her when I am in the wrong. (BTW: She is quick to forgive me and gentle to help me grow.) If I want forgiveness, I need to learn to forgive. Once again, we can learn from the Biblical writers who remind us to be forgiving to each other (cf. Eph 4:32).
  4. Long-Term couples learn to COPE with life’s struggles. The world has a way of stretching us like a taffy-pull or pulling us down like gravity itself. Apparently the cosmic forces of this world know when I am getting ahead in life, because that is when something needs repairing or replacing. And just when everyone seems to be healthy, someone gets sick or receives an unwanted diagnosis. Couples who make it through these times intact, learned through smaller struggles how to work together to get through them. Many if not most of them are able to cope because of their faith. The Apostle Paul makes the necessity of faith clear in confessing his struggles yet ability to survive and even express contentment (cf. Phil 4:10-13).
  5. Long-Term couples experience JOY together. They learn to enjoy spending time together. This goes back to the idea of submission. When we first married, I was young and thought I was masculine. I did not appreciate what we men-folk call “chick flicks.” However, I submitted to my wife and learned to enjoy them with her as we sit very close on the couch ;-). This idea of joy includes learning to laugh together – even at our mistakes. We can look back now and laugh at some of early days together. Remember a cheerful heart is like good medicine (cf. Prov 17:22) not just for you as an individual, but you and your spouse as “one-flesh.”
  6. Long-Term couples live in LOVE. Love is more than a feeling. Love is more than strong desire. Love is an active pursuit of pleasing and demonstrating care for the other person. Love attempts to outdo the other person in showing honor (cf. Rom 12:10). “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. . . . love will last forever.” (1 Cor 13;4-8 NLT).

Give these a try for the next 50 years and see if your marriage does not last.

21
Jul
14

Marriage Assignment

While looking through some older files and blog posts I came accross this older post about marriage.  Since this was a Monday post and today is Monday, I thought I would repost it.

Good Monday!  It is time we begin our work week and time to reflect on our marriages.  I know, you know (or you need to know) that Marriage Matters.  Today is a simple list of five things that you can do today that are mostly free (one of them may cost $1.00  or so) to communicate to your husband or wife their importance to you.

  1. At some point today, take a moment to send an email, text message, Facebook message, or voice-mail to your husband or wife just to say, “I love you.”

    Amy and I on our 23rd Anniversary Get-a-Way

    Amy and I on our 23rd Anniversary Get-a-Way

  2. On your way to home today, stop by a convenience store or florist (one flower is enough for this exercise) and pick-out a small surprise for your spouse on the way home.
  3. Make an embrace and a kiss the FIRST thing you do when you see each other this evening.
  4. Do something unexpected (do a chore that they usually do – laundry, dishes, garbage, etc.)
  5. Hold hands while taking an evening walk together.

Have a great marriage.

- Scott

13
Mar
14

What is Traditional Marriage?

Yesterday a Birmingham TV station ran the following story and posted it as discussion on Facebook: Same-sex Couples could be forced to file additional tax returns. The discussion on Facebook became divided over the

Joe and Bobby who are fighting the Alabama Tax Code. image via www.abc3340.com

Joe and Bobby who are fighting the Alabama Tax Code. image via http://www.abc3340.com

issue not of taxes but about marriage. After reading the article I became disillusioned with society as a whole and with those who claimed to be a Christians with their hateful posts.  That discussion prompted me to look over a few things I have written concerning marriage.  Below is a re-posting of an article I ran on this blog in April 2013.

“Mawwage is what bwings us togevah today. Mawwage, that bwessed awwangement. That dweam wifin a dweam,” says the clergyman in The Princess Bride. In character might I add, “Mawwage is vewy special.”   Marriage is a very special organism. Yes, organism! Marriage is a living, growing, adapting reality that is composed of multiple (two) parts that make up the whole. Jesus reminds us that “the two shall become one flesh.”  “Marriage,” says the Hebrew writer, should be “held in honor among all.”

Our current culture struggles to define marriage from a legal standpoint. Some states are passing laws that expand the definition of marriage, while others are passing law that supposedly “protect” marriage. This same discussion concerning the definition of marriage is going on not only in the United States, but also through out Europe. I recently learned that Scotland is again considering separating from British rule for self rule and one reason they are considering separation is so that they can redefine marriage to include same-sex unions.

What is marriage?  How should Christians around the globe view marriage?  What is traditional marriage? According to God’s Word (the Bible) who can enter into a marriage union?  To begin to answer those questions, lets simply start with the words of Jesus and the apostle Paul.

  • Matthew 19:4-9, “He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” 
  • Mark 10:6-12, “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” 
  • 1 Corinthians 7:1-5, “Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
  • Eph 5:31-33, “”Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” . . . . However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
  1. According to Jesus and the apostle Paul: Marriage is one man and one woman for life.
  2. According to Jesus and the apostle Paul: Multiple wives (husbands) are not an option.
  3. According to Jesus and the apostle Paul: The divorced (except for adultery on the part of the other) sin if they remarry.

So, my fellow Christians, our government(s) already support a non-biblical definition of marriage when they allow for “no fault” divorce. Before we jump on the so-called “Traditional Marriage” bandwagon, we might need to get the mote out of our own eyes and start practicing the definition of marriage that Jesus and Paul lay before us.  Then we can not only have authentic marriages but we can have a positive influence on those around us to do the same.

Click HERE for a related blog I wrote in May of 2012.

Now, let the conversation begin!

- Scott

26
Jun
13

My DOMA Reaction

This is a re-working of a post from May 2012. With today’s Supreme Court ruling that apparently refuses to rule on Proposition 8 and strikes down sections of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), I thought about this post. I stated the following on Facebook this morning: “As we reflect on the state of marriage and what our government now recognizes as marriage, remember that long ago our government forsook a godly definition when divorce and remarriage for reasons other than what Jesus states in Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:4-12, and Mark 10:3-12.” This goes with what I said a year ago. Keep reading;

One valid observation homosexuals and others make is that many “Christians” who speak loudest against homosexual marriage (and many politicians who are using this agenda  for political gain) are on their second, third, or even fourth marriage or they are guilty of violating the marriage covenant by having affairs.  Some may also be guilty of having sexual relationships before marriage (which is also a sin according to God’s word).  Folks,  this is a serious matter.  How can we expect others to listen to us, when we do not follow Christ’s teaching ourselves?

Now for my friend, I would remind him that just because others are sinners that does not give me (or him) license to sin where we want too.  In an effort to make my point to all involved (my friend and to those promoting the protection heterosexual marriage even while they abuse it) I ask all of us to consider the following event from Jesus’ life as recorded in the John’s account of the Gospel.

Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (Joh 8:2-11 – ESV)

This story appears to be specific to heterosexual relationships outside of marriage.  Jesus tells those who are about to stone her to look at themselves first and see if they meet the qualifications as judge.  (BTW – if she was caught in the “very act” where is the man?)  Then Jesus tells the woman that He is not condemning her and then to stop her sin.  Here are some quick observations:

  • She was guilty of sexual sin – specifically adultery – a sexual relationship outside of marriage.
  • Jesus, in so many words, is telling those about to condemn her to death and to hell that she deserves a second (third or fourth) chance to do what is right.
  • Jesus takes this opportunity to teach these men to think hard about how they would want to be treated if they were the one caught in this sin – (the Golden Rule).
  • Jesus gives the guilty woman the opportunity to keep living – Jesus offered Grace when others would not.
  • There is a difference between stating that an activity is sin and judging (condemning) the one who practices that sin.
  • There is an important statement from Jesus we cannot over-look.  He told her  ”from now on sin no more.”

There is a question for all of us to consider:  What if she were caught with another woman?  What if? I believe that Jesus would have responded the same way.  My point to Christians who pounce on the sin of homosexuality without considering the many sins of heterosexuals – THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE!  Both are sin.  If you speak against one, speak against both.  If you are guilty of one, I would be very cautious about judging, lest I be just as harshly judged (Matt 7:1ff).

Admittedly, I do not have all the answers or even a good start on the answers.  My goal, as I tried to communicate to my friend is to get all of us who are sinners (which is all of us – cf. Rom 3) to come to a realization that we need the forgiveness of our sins offered by God’s Grace found in the good news (the Gospel) of Christ (Rom 1:16; 2Th 1:7-9; 1Cor 15:1-4; Rom 6:1-6) .  This is the ONLY hope any of us has (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

- Scott

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/terra-trekking/6958036800/”>terratrekking</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

25
Apr
13

Marital Lies

Marital lies.  These are not the lies one might tell their husband or wife like, “I did not forget that tomorrow was our anniversary.” The marital lies I want to share are the ones we tell ourselves.  These self-lies are often the root of the arguments and irritants in our marriages.

  1. My wife (husband) should make me happy.smile
  2. My husband (wife) has to meet all of my needs.
  3. My spouse, because they love me, knows my needs without my having to tell her/him.
  4. I know how things should be done and my wife (husband) should be willing to do things my way.
  5. No matter what I say or do, my husband (wife) should not respond in an irritable or angry tone to me.
  6. My spouse should ask me about my day first.

I am sure that as you read the above statements you realized at least two things. 1) You tell one or more of these statements to yourself (or have in the past). And 2) You can see how unfair they are to your spouse.

Take a moment to look over these statements. If you see that you are telling yourself these lies, then learn to see them for what they are and try to think differently. Tell yourself that they are not true and try rewording them as truths. Take number 3 for an example. Tell yourself, “My spouse will only know what I need and be able to help fulfill that need when I communicate that need.”

Have a great marriage!

- Scott

18
Apr
13

Communication is Key

Good (healthy) communication is a key ingredient to any long-lasting relationship, especially marriage.  We need to be certain that we are doing our best to communicate with our spouse. Communication is more that talking and listening.  Communication is the transfer of information, ideas, and emotion. Real communication takes effort if we are going to understand what our spouse is trying to say.

medium_5640009493

To help us with our communication, take a look at the following passages taken from The New Living Translation:

  • Eph 4:15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of His body, the church.
  • Jas 3:2 Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
  • 1Pe 3:10 For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.
  • Eph 4:31-32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. 
  • Pro 28:13 People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.
  • Pro 12:18 Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.
  • Pro 14:29 People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.
  • Pro 15:4 Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
  • Pro 15:23 Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!
  • Pro 17:9 Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.

- Scott

photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/h-k-d/5640009493/ via http://photopin.com”>photopin   http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

11
Apr
13

Unrealistic Expectations in Marriage

Amy and I on our 23rd Anniversary Get-a-Way

Amy and I on our 23rd Anniversary Get-a-Way

Everyone of us enter marriage with certain expectations. Some are natural, some are achievable, and some are just plain unrealistic.  These unrealistic expectations have potential to damage your continued marital happiness, so I suggest that you avoid them. Here they are:

  1. Our relationship will never change, it will always be the same as it was (is) in the early years of our marriage. I am sorry, this just is not true. The relationship will change, the thrills will be different. Consider this from a FB post I read yesterday, “Falling in love is a passive and spontaneous experience. But after a few months or years of being together, the euphoria of love fades. It’s a natural cycle of EVERY relationship. Slowly but surely, phone calls become a bother (if they come at all), touch is not always welcome (when it happens), and your spouse’s idiosyncrasies, instead of being cute, drive you nuts. The symptoms of this stage vary with every relationship; you will notice a dramatic difference between the initial stage when you were in love and a much duller or even angry subsequent stage.  At this point, you and/or your partner might start asking, “Am I with the right person?” And as you reflect on the euphoria of the love you once had, you may begin to desire that experience with someone else. This is when relationships breakdown.”
  2. The Honeymoon Excitement can be maintained or resurrected. I suppose I have to be the one to tell you that you have to go to work, if you have children then the role of parenting will impact that honeymoon feeling, and bills will come in the mail. Your love will have to change from infatuation to intention (read the above quote again).
  3. If my spouse loves me they will know my needs and wants without me having to tell them. NO ONE, not even your spouse can read your mind.  Tell each other your wants  and needs. Husbands, follow your wives interests on Pinterest if you want her to think you can read her mind.
  4. We should be just alike in everything.  We should have the same likes and dislikes, think the same, and do the same activities. NO! I am not sure I would like Amy if she were exactly like me. You are different people with different backgrounds and different genders – you will have differences.  Celebrate those differences and learn to try new things together.

What are other UNREALISTIC expectations you can think of?

- Scott

04
Apr
13

On the Radio

Classic!

Classic!

This week a radio station in our area played a call from listener. This female listener was complaining about her parents. Here is a transcript of the complaint:

“I’m 30, and I’m bringing my boyfriend home to meet my parents for the first time in a few weeks. My parents are weird about stuff like that, so they’re making me and my boyfriend sleep in separate bedrooms. But he’s 36 . . . and it just seems like a weird thing to do. I guess my parents just don’t want to think about us together in their house. Should adult boyfriends and girlfriends sleep in separate beds at their parents’ house? Doesn’t the whole separate bedrooms thing seem a little too old-school in this day and age?”

The calls and comments started coming in and varied between two basic opinions:

1) Her parents need to respect her as an adult and allow them to share a bed.

2) She needs to be an adult and respect her parents wishes and not share a bed with her boyfriend in her parents home. If they cannot be apart for that long, get a hotel.

There is something missing. What about respect for God? Consider these words from God’s Word:

  • Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Rom 13:13-14).
  • Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, (1Co 6:18-19)
  • But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 

    (Eph 5:3)

  • For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 

    (1Th 4:3-4)

Sexual intimacy is for marriage only – Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. (Heb 13:4)

These parents are not being “old fashioned” they are trying to help them do what is right and avoid what is wrong.

- Scott

29
Mar
13

Stages of Marriage

Marriage – “It’s a living thing!”  Marriage goes through changes as your relationship with your spouse grows.  Some of these changes come naturally as you mature and as you go through the developmental process of living.  Couples who are entering marriage and married couples should realize there will be changes and that these changes will have an impact on their relationship with each other. Here is one suggestion of the changing stages of your marriage:

  1. The Honeymoon Stage: This is not the weekend or two week trip you take after your wedding. This is the time you spend learning each other when it is just the two of you. You love the time you have together and are together almost all the time. Amy and I had a 7 year honeymoon.
  2. The Expectant Parenthood Stage: Your first child is on the way and this changes the way you see each other and the way you relate to each other. Your love changes. This change is hard to explain, other than you begin to see your spouse as partner in the joy you are experiencing.
  3. The Preschool Parenting Stage: You and your spouse are focusing time on the little blessing (blessings) that crawl and toddle around your house. You are teaching them to talk, walk, feed themselves, and to begin to take care of themselves. You are watching your “mini-me” learn at a rapid rate. You see your spouse in their eyes and you see the twinkle in your spouses eye as you raise this little person together.
  4. Child Rearing Parenting Stage: Your children are school age.  You send them off to the care of teachers or you teach them at home. They are growing more and more independent and you and your spouse spend time talking about (concerned about) the children and training them to become young adults.
  5. Adolescent Parenting Stage: This is where we are. Our son is about to turn 16. We can
    Amy, Scott (me), Andrew two weeks ago at Cainey Creek Falls

    Amy, Scott (me), Andrew two weeks ago at Cainey Creek Falls

    see the influence we had on him from his birth until now showing in the way he treats us and those around him. Your adolescent begins to “spread their wings” and try flying solo more than you are ready for. When they are spending more time with friends and are old enough to stay home while you go out, you find yourselves as a couple finding more time with just the two of you.

  6. Child Launching Stage: We are getting there.  We are watching our friends and siblings as they go through this stage. We see their fears as they let go of those children and we see their relationship as a couple returning to just the two of them.
  7. Empty Nest Stage: You are still young, but now there are only two of you. If you did not build a great relationship in the Honeymoon Stage and maintain a healthy love through the next stages this stage can be a challenge. You may have “fall in love” again. If you kept your relationship strong, this is a great time for you.
  8. Retirement Stage: You are no longer working outside the home. The children and grandchildren come to visit, but it is mostly just the two of you.  Look at this time as a “second honeymoon” stage. My parents just took two weeks to go camping – they did not tell the children – how dare them!

Where are you in your marriage?  How are you making it work?

- Scott

21
Mar
13

Put Off and Put On for Marriage

smileTalking to Christians in Colossae, the Apostle Paul encourages them to change their ways.  He reminds them that now that they are different. “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”  (Col 3:8-10). It is worth noting that Paul tells the Ephesians something similar in Ephesians 4 and then in chapter 5 compares the relationship of Christ and the Church to that of husband and wife.

This recognition caused me to pause and consider the things we need to Put Off when we marry and what we need to Put On in their place.

Put Off

Put On

Self-Centeredness

Love

Critical Judgment

Self-Reflection

Bitterness

Compassion

Grudges

Forgiveness

Pride

Humility

Hatred

Kindness

Lying

Truth

Profanity (Destructive language)

Encouragement

Ingratitude

Gratefulness (Thankfulness)

Impatience

Patience

Complaining

Contentment (Joy)

Jealousy

Agape Love / Trust

Anger

Self-Control

Self

Spouse

- Scott




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Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, used by permission, all rights reserved.

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