Monthly Archives: February 2012
“Worry weighs us down;
a cheerful word picks us up.”
“A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face;
a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day …”
This is a post I actually had written nearly a week ago. But then I deleted it. By accident. Oops! Just as well though. There have been a couple of times in the past week when I personally needed these reminders to “LOL.” Now I’m sharing from a fresh perspective about why this is so critically important. And I’m eating cheese puffs. Can life get any better?!
Is your marriage “less than ideal”?
This question came up after my first post about what to do when you’re in a bad marriage and it’s hard to see “the best” in one another. What if your marriage relationship just feels hopeless? First off, let me remind you that physical harm to either you or your spouse is NOT recommended. Plus it’s illegal to inflict physical pain upon another. You may think jail is a better option. Maybe it is. I wouldn’t want to find out through experience, however. 🙂 But there are positive steps you can take to improve your marriage today. It starts with you. You may not like what I have to say next, but here goes …
Get over yourself!
Very often, you will feel bad about your marriage because YOU feel bad about the marriage. It may have little or nothing to do with your spouse. Seriously! You’ve made up your mind that you’re unhappy, and nothing your spouse does or doesn’t do can get you out of your funk. And yet, the focus of your unhappiness is placed squarely on your spouse’s shoulders. This isn’t always the case. But no matter what your situation is, let me encourage you to take ownership of your own happiness and growth. While your spouse IS responsible to love you and care for you, ultimately you are responsible to love and care for yourself as well. Happiness is a choice that you must make daily.
CHOOSE to enjoy your life and your spouse!
Just as happiness is a choice that you make, so is the opportunity and privilege to enjoy your spouse. On a personal note, I will share that I’ve always enjoyed being married to my wife. But it was always easy; my wife is an amazing woman. Happiness has never been hard for me to find in our marriage.
But then a few months ago, I began to worry over things I had never worried about before. Some worry can be good when it produces positive changes in your life, but not when it becomes a fixation. And for a couple of months, worry consumed me, which caused me to worry my wife to death over tons of stuff. Those days weren’t much fun at all for either of us.
One thing my beautiful bride continued to tell me, no matter how much I worried her with my worry, was that we just needed to relax and laugh together. So even when I overwhelmed her because I felt overwhelmed, she was grounded enough to just keep reminding me that laughter was the key to enjoying each other. Finally, one day, I believed her. And we just started goofing off again. I chose to ignore the hurtful words and actions that caused me to worry and focused on the positives that were worth enjoying. Getting over myself, choosing to enjoy my wife and my life … wow, what a difference that made!
So start laughing out loud.
It’s hard to be consumed with worry when you are laughing. It’s hard to stay angry at your spouse (or yourself) when you are doubled over in laughter. And it’s much easier to feel great about your marriage and life together when you are doing all this laughing TOGETHER! Here are some tips that I have found helpful:
* Watch humorous TV shows together. When we first dated, one of our favorites was King of the Hill. These days, we watch a lot of Everybody Loves Raymond. This is a great way to relax and enjoy the same activity together.
* Play Scrabble or other fun games together that will allow you to talk and be silly with each other. Games are fun—especially for adults. Or discover common interests to share together.
* Find your schtick and “schtick” with it! There are some things I can say or do at any time which I know will make my wife laugh, like sneaking up and scaring her. Sometimes she laughs so hard that her cheeks hurt. That’s when I know I’m doing my job. There are things that your spouse just finds flat-out-funny. Find out what they are, and use them to make your marriage better and “funner.”
* Go out on date nights as often as possible. Once a week is ideal. But if you can’t make that happen, do it at least 2 or 3 times a month. It doesn’t have to be expensive. One of our best “date nights” was (mostly) free and wasn’t at night. We went to a free art exhibit in the middle of the day. Look for those kinds of opportunities, and just make it happen.
One more thing …
It was also suggested that I provide some links to other blogs/web sites that provide helpful marriage advice. Here are a few I’ve found useful:
Hope I’m “pressing” this correctly. Don’t want any of you to live a wasted life!
Your spring water is for you and you only,
not to be passed around among strangers.
Bless your fresh-flowing fountain!
Enjoy the wife you married as a young man!
Lovely as an angel, beautiful as a rose–
don’t ever quit taking delight in her body.
Never take her love for granted!
Why would you trade enduring intimacies for
cheap thrills with a whore?
Proverbs 5:17-20, The Message
Welcome to my friends from “talk-about-marriage,” real life friends, other bloggers, and complete strangers. Not sure how you found these words, but glad you did.
Don’t want to give you any false impressions. I’m certainly not a counselor (for marriage or much else). Heck, I’m not even a good “canceler”—I messed up canceling the monthly Nutri System delivery. Got another one yesterday, though I thought I was done forever. At least my daughters got to play with dry ice! And this time, no trips to the Emergency Room! Don’t ask…
I’m not all that smart either. If you don’t believe me, just ask my wife. 🙂 What I am, however, is a broken, humbled (and forgiven!) man. I’m also a “rehabbed” man, if you will. Still a work in progress—very much so! But, nonetheless, I’m a very different man, husband, and father today than I was just a few months ago. You CAN ask about that! Hopefully I’ve gained some wisdom during my recent season of growth. Wisdom valuable enough to share. So that’s one of the things I plan to do with this brand-new, shiny blog.
First up is some advice for husbands based upon the Bible verses found above (Proverbs 5:17-20). If you aren’t one to believe in much of what the Bible has to say, you should still take a gander. It’s just some good advice for all of us husbands, no matter your religious views. Proverbs, after all, is a book of plain-spoken wisdom. The Message makes it even easier to understand for a country boy like me!
So listen up husbands: You are married to the most wonderful woman in the world. No, really, you are! OK, actually I am. But, you see, you are too. Have I confused you yet?
And before you “call me out” on it, I want to clarify that I know some of you are probably not married to a “wonderful woman”—been there, and understand the frustration. But the larger point to understand, is that if you are married, you owe it to yourself and your wife to see her as the most wonderful, beautiful woman in the entire world. She should know that you consider her “lovely as an angel” and hear you say she’s as “beautiful as a rose.” Some of you need to quit laughing. A good many of you can wipe the disgusted look off your face. And for those of you who already know she’s certain of your admiration and love: Good job! Keep it up!
There are many reasons we husbands neglect this simple advice—to “enjoy” our wives, to “bless” them, to NEVER take them for granted! Some of my personal reasons were work, work, and more work (I literally worked a job, ran a business, and managed rental property for the first 7 years of our marriage). Who’s got time to emotionally invest in marriage in the midst of all that busy-ness? I’m sure a lot of you can identify. There were also my preoccupations with hobbies (from cars to football and much in between), preoccupations with stupid wastes-of-time (facebook, anyone?), and some emotional baggage I carried from a previous heartache as well as my parents’ divorce.
There are so many more reasons we husbands fail to follow the “words of wisdom” found above. Resentment, bitterness, lack of forgiveness, laziness, selfishness, rebellion, hardened hearts…the list can go on and on. One of the biggest challenges we men face in completely honoring our wives (making her feel beautiful, enjoying her, blessing her, NEVER taking her for granted, etc.) is our battle with lust. I personally don’t know a single man who hasn’t struggled with this battle in some regard—even the most morally upright men I know! Due to our visual nature, and how we are wired, it’s going to be an issue that we as men will deal with. However, a lot of us choose not to “deal with it.” We choose to feed it! Bad choice!
You see, when you are fantasizing over movie-stars, models, and random girls who expose themselves all over the Internet, you are choosing to exchange “enduring intimacies” with the most wonderful woman in your world for “cheap thrills” with a whore. It’s an awful and painful price to pay. And you pay this heavy, heavy price for something cheap and meaningless!
So what’s the answer? How do we deal with it? I think the most important response is found in God and trusting Him to give victory in your life over lustful thoughts. In my life, this is a critical part of the answer. However, even outside of a dependance upon God, there are some important things you can do to honor your wife. First, make up your mind that this is a battle you will fight! No more “boys will be boys” attitude that excuses your actions. And secondly, determine in your heart and mind that your wife is THE standard for beauty, hotness, sexyness, etc. My wife is absolutely the standard in my mind of what a beautiful, sexy woman looks like. There is no comparison! And there never will be! This mindset makes a world of difference for me in my thought life and the temptations I face.
So do it boys! Honor your wife, enjoy her, delight in her, bless her! Determine in your heart and mind that she is the loveliest lady ever, “beautiful as a rose.” Make sure she knows it not only through your words but with your actions. Make her THE standard for beauty in your life and do it today. Enduring intimacies with your wife are soooo much more enjoyable than the cheap thrills you’ll find anywhere else!
And for all you gals who may be reading, I have some advice for you too. Understand the battle your husbands face and give them a little grace. Men are wired to be visual and we definitely live in a visual world. Don’t excuse the actions when lines are crossed, but be willing to be understanding and helpful to your husband as he tackles this challenge!
Hello World! Or nobody. Not that you’re a nobody; I’m just not sure if anyone is going to actually read this. But if you are reading this, you are definitely somebody! Welcome!
Wanted to make “my first post” a good one and couldn’t think of anything better than to share from Proverbs. So this post isn’t actually “mine.” It’s better this way. Trust me.
Hope you enjoy and feel encouraged.
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for GOD’s voice in everything you do,
everywhere you go;
He’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
Run to GOD! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
your very bones will vibrate with life!
Honor GOD with everything you own;
give Him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
your wine vats will brim over.
But don’t, dear friends, resent GOD’s discipline;
don’t sulk under His loving correction.
It’s the child He loves that GOD corrects;
a father’s delight is behind all this.
Proverbs 3:5-12, The Message