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Nature’s Work (5/7/5 haiku)

forces stronger than
i work to influence you
Faith: my one true Hope

 

This little poem can mean so many things, and I certainly had specific life situations in mind when writing this haiku.  But a “nature image” (which I believe is a requirement for a “true” haiku) that came to mind as I wrote this is a “sideways tree” that grows in my father’s pasture.  Decades ago, the tree was blown over by a hurricane.  But instead of dying, it just grew new roots and became the best “climbing tree” one could ever hope for.  The tree is also inspirational to me.  There were times as a teenager, and even now as an adult, when I’ve felt “blown over” by life and will visit that tree to remind myself that I can dig in and become stronger no matter what blows life has dealt. 

p.s. the tree above is not my father’s but looks very similar.

The Week in Quotes!

I’ve done precious little blogging this week.  Haven’t written much and haven’t read much.  But I have found some really great “nuggets” of wisdom in much of the little I have read.  I wanted to share with you some quotes from a few of the writings I was impacted by this week.  This is also a great way for you to perhaps discover a new blog you’ll love.  And, who knows, maybe I’ll pick up some “finder fees” for sending you their way?  I doubt it, but a boy can dream, right?!?  🙂

This pretty much punched me in the gut.  Lots of wisdom in this quote:

No one is ever satisfied when they’re not doing their best.  When you do your best and fail it’s more acceptable than failing when you aren’t really trying.”

The quote below touches on some conversations my wife and I have had this week.  I’m “thankful” to know others are in our shoes and can speak to it in such a powerful way!

The last few times I was faced with this blatant ungratefulness I didn’t handle it very well.  I got irritable and frustrated and snappy.  How dare my children be so ungrateful?  Don’t they appreciate all I do for them, all I give them?  It was at about that point I felt God whispering in my ear about my own gratitude towards Him.  Do I even notice all the things He does for me on a daily basis?  How many blessings in my life do I treat as burdens? …I realized then and there that if I expect my kids to be grateful, I need to show them exactly what it looks like.”

Charles is such an encouraging blogger/author/poet.  I look forward to reading his homespun wisdom and Godly insight every week.

God puts us on this earth to do His will, and He blesses us with everything we need to do it. It might be assets, talent, a strong body, intelligence, health, or just a good and loving personality. Whatever attributes you need, to do what the Lord needs done, are available to you, and I believe when you begin to focus on God and His will for your life, He will provide them to you, and you will know how to use them to His glory.”

Linnea’s site has become one of my favorites to read each week.  Especially this week!  Things were hopping over there, and as usual, she brought much insight “to the table.”

My hope in readily confessing my dark side is to get people to stop and think about their own….Truthful self-awareness must exact humility and humility is required in order to love others as we love ourselves.”

RabidMongoose always is a straight-shooter with well informed posts about issues of spirituality—especially for men.  But this post was a great read for all of us since it deals with an issue we all face at times.

We look at resentments. We’ve found out they are a distortion of the truth – a way to take a situation, cast the blame on somebody else, and totally escape, so we have nothing to do with it whatsoever!” – Joe McQ, The Steps We Took …This quote from Joe McQ’s book The Steps We Took sums up perfectly what I do with my resentments: I absolve myself completely of all responsibility for a problematic situation, making the issue everyone’s’ fault but mine. Resentment is a tool I use to live in denial: It allows me to create a shield around my fragile persona that ‘protects’ me from the truth about myself…I cannot keep holding all these resentments in. I need to accept responsibility for my own actions…

Feel free to share some quotes you have found (or wisdom you have written) in the comments below!  You’ll help me do a better job of catching up before the week is *officially* over!

Now I have the privilege of getting ready for a “date night” with my Beautiful Bride.  Hope to catch up with all of you wonderful bloggers soon!

This is the day…

Today has been a long one.  For me.  For the girls.  Especially for my Beautiful Bride!  I’m tired just remembering it all!  🙂

“Day in the life” posts aren’t the norm around here.  But I think there’s some spiritual insight worth sharing along with, so here goes:  Ran over a bike first thing this morn.  Oldest left it right behind my van!  (Yeah, I’m cool enough to drive a van!)  Not a happy Dad, but no time to dole out the proper punishment cause I was running late for church.  Same daughter decided to go to “Neighbor Boy’s” house for breakfast (yes, that Neighbor Boy!).  Only she didn’t ask for permission.  Her mother assumed she had gone to church with me; I had told her to go back in the house to Mom.  Brief moment of panic when I returned home and we realized we had “lost” a child.

Find her, scold her, load her in Mom’s van so we can drive the 45 mins. to a different worship service where I’m scheduled to speak.  Really encouraging service, and then off to lunch at Grandmother’s.  What a special thing that my little family can spend time with my grandparents who are both in their 80’s!  But it did mean almost an hour of driving home mid-afternoon only to load right back up and head to the talent show.  (with a quick meeting somehow squeezed in between)

Middle child and I were asked to sing a song; one I had written and she loves to help me sing.  So we did.  Which means my wife went “above and beyond” to support me when I spoke this morn, and J when she sang tonight.  But I could tell she was really worn out and I encouraged her to go home after J’s performance and get some rest.  Leaving me at the mercy of someone else for a ride home.  Someone who couldn’t leave talent show/church for another couple hours.  Oh man, it was a long day!

But on the way home, my “taxi driver” really needed to talk about some things going on in his life.  And I realized that a verse I had read in worship earlier today was being lived out nearly 12 hours later…even if I’m being poured out as an offering for the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice*…Poured out.”  I felt that when parenting today.  I saw that in my wife today.  I lived that in “church life” today.  And at the end of the day, hopefully I will join Paul in being glad and rejoicing for the chance to pour my life out if it helps others grow closer to Christ.

This is the day…the day the Lord has made!  I will rejoice.  I will be glad.

* Philippians 2:17


How to create a 93% chance of success in your marriage!

I originally started this blog with the intention to mostly write about marriage & men stepping up as “servant leaders” in their homes, churches, and communities.  I’ve branched out quite a bit since then, which has been enjoyable.  But I still have a passion for the issues mentioned above.  Here is a great post I came across yesterday and wanted to share with others on wordpress.  This article can be found on Trey Morgan’s site.

I want to be a 5 to 1 husband!

Statistics on marriage scare me, but the Studer Group has released a new study on “Compliment to Criticism” ratio. They’ve told us from their studies, that people in general need 3 compliments given for every 1 criticism that is said to them. While that didn’t surprise me, the following statistic FLOORED me …

“Reports now show that when it comes to marriage, if you have a 5 to 1 compliment to criticism ratio, the divorce rate in that marriage drops from 50% to 7%.”

DID YOU CATCH THAT, husbands and wives? We are now learning how to beat the old statistic that says that 50% of all marriages will end in divorce. How? Give 5 compliments to your spouse for every 1 negative thing you say. When you take on the 5 to 1 plan, the divorce rate in your marriage drops to 7%. I like those odds!

My goal (and hopefully yours) today is to become a 5 to 1 kind of spouse. Today is a great day to start.

5 to 1 … that’s it! And the divorce rate goes from 50% to 7% … It’s time to pass the word.

You up for the 5-1 challenge with your spouse?

Tides of Crimson

This is the first poem I wrote for Shawna’s Monday Melting.  Today I’m posting it on my blog as well and  linking it to dverse.  Hope you enjoy.

“Tides of Crimson”

The glint of your luminous devotion
remains perfectly visible
from just the right angle

Corseted against your ivory skin
that crimson velvet
punctured, yet worn

Extracting passionate ripples
from a past
recent, not irretrievable

I yield not
Refusing any ochone

 

Notes: ochone is a Scot/Irish word and was part of the “word prompt” that day.  It is defined thusly: “an expression of sorrow or regret”

“Bummed” Out

I briefly thought about a different kind of bum picture, since this post is about a different kind of bum.  Any kind of “bum” pic I posted was going to be a funny one, but the one above really made me laugh.  “Monkey butt” would have also made me laugh, but I found this pic first!  🙂

And since I’m *loosely* writing a post about thankfulness, the pic I chose gives me a great opportunity to state that I AM THANKFUL!  Thankful I can speak and walk.  Thankful I have (most of) my teeth.  Thankful for a job.  Thankful I’m not yet wearing diapers again.  Thankful that God does indeed bless!

This post is also about something I’m fearful of: my oldest daughter growing older!  She’s always been a challenge, but so far we’ve only had to deal with “little girl challenges.”   Yesterday & today, however, I’ve gotten a real big “wake-up call” about what the future may hold.  We have a newish neighbor who is the same age (9) as our oldest.  She has already proclaimed her undying love for new neighbor boy.  Anytime she has permission—and many times she doesn’t—she makes a beeline for his house.  Last night was an example of a “no permission” trip to the house next door.

We had just returned home from church, and before I even had a chance to realize she wasn’t in our house, she comes running through the door shouting: “You won’t believe what I just saw!”  Turns out, she was right!  I didn’t believe what she had just seen.  As I was getting her younger sister out of the van and in our house,  Big Sister snuck over to “neighbor boy’s” house—at bath time.  As her visit was unexpected, neighbor boy was apparently standing in his living room in the buff.  He took off down his hall as soon as my daughter began knocking on their door.  Thankfully, she only saw his backside.  (See, I told you this post is about thankfulness!)

I tried to downplay the event last night.  But today she made it pretty clear: I definitely have reason to be worried.  She said (in a rather dreamy manner): “Dad, last night was the best night of my life!”  Having “sometimers disease,” I just had to ask:  “Why?”   She grinned and said, “You know Dad…cause of what I sawww!  I can’t believe I actually saw his bum!”   (Insert mental image of Dad pulling hair out here)

But thankfully I have a pretty level-headed wife.  She reminded me that these emotions in our daughter were bound to happen some day.  (Though she did admit it’s earlier than she had expected as well!)  But she also said something that is crucially important.  While we continue to teach our daughter the benefits of living with moral integrity, the most important lesson we can teach her is to live a life of love for God!  Whether I like it or not, there will be a day in the future (like when she’s 25) when she won’t be constrained by any of my rules or expectations.  It will be her love for God alone which will compel her to make wise, godly choices as she grows, spreads wings, and becomes completely independent.

So today this “bummed out Dad” is most thankful for a God who has made this promise: “(be) confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 1:6)

An Award Winning Week

It has been a pretty exciting week around here.  Personal life and “blog life” both have seen some awesome developments.  Firstly, I’m blessed to celebrate an anniversary with the most amazing woman I’ve ever known!  Thank you Sweetie for the best days, weeks, months & years ever!  This week has been especially wonderful.  🙂  An anniversary celebration with my Beautiful Bride has already made this week “award-winning,” but then…

Secondly, a couple of my favorite bloggers have honored me with blog awards.  Terry (an amazing woman in her own right!) has nominated me for the “Sunshine Award.”  And over at “allthingsboys” (not written by boys by the way—published, in fact, by another amazing female) I was nominated for the “Versatile Blogger Award.”  You both have lots of readers and followers so I feel really honored by the selections.  Just need to get busy and answer some questions!

And just today I found out a poem I’ve written has been selected as the winner in Kellie’s poetry contest.  To say I’m shocked would be a huge understatement!  Thank you Kellie for the recognition; I’m looking forward to receiving a copy of your new book soon!

can underwear outlast a marriage?

can underwear outlast a marriage?.

Just to make you laugh on a Monday afternoon!

I don’t know anything about the author, but this was too funny not to share!

Sharing IS Caring

I took my lovely bride to a book store last week. A big book store, with a coffee shop and lots of books. Several overflowing magazine racks too. With the ipad, iphone, kindle (and my blog), who still buys books and magazines? Anyway, seeing the massive amount of printed material and then coming home to read dozens of blogs and other websites that same night, made me wonder: with so many people “talking” (writing, as it were), who is actually “listening”?!? So with that in mind, I want to “tell” you something. 🙂

What I’m writing about today has little to do with my opening paragraph. You only have to be consistent like that in sophomore English! On this day, I’m writing about something else that’s been on my mind of late: sharing common interests with your significant other. I have recently discovered how critically important “shared interests” are in a relationship. Unfortunately, I’ve learned the hard way. In my case, I spent years pursuing my own interests and not “sharing” nearly enough interests with my spouse. Oh we shared interests in children, church, and chores. (Ok, not the “chores” so much, but I liked the 3 “ch” words in a row: cha! cha! cha!) But I was so busy with work, hobbies, and MY interests, that I failed to invest in creating OUR hobbies and interests.

It’s easy to find things in common when you’re dating. Like, when my wife and I were dating, we both found yours truly to be quite a handsome guy! We had other things in common. I’m only sharing the first thing that came to mind. 😉 But, seriously, a big part of dating is expressing interest in one another and finding things you like to do together. If you don’t do those things, chances are you won’t continue dating for long enough to get married. What about after marriage though? Do most of us continue to spend time together in the same manner we did while dating? For that matter, are we making “time together” a priority? And since I mentioned the plethora of books available to buy, I’ll share a powerful quote with you from one of those books:

“In successful marriages the husbands and wives spend time together alone. If your schedules never allow time for you and your wife to be alone with each other [no children involved!], then you are too busy. You need that time of togetherness to talk, to work things out, to share interests and dreams, to just be together in silence, and to have intimate times that are not rushed.” The Power of a Praying Husband, p. 89.

Another quote I’d like to share was spoken to me by a friend who has just published her first book. I should have looked for her book while sipping my coffee last week! She asked me this question one day, and it motivated me in a big way to get my act TOGETHER: “When you’re older, and you’re sitting down together over dinner or on the front porch, don’t you want to be able to look at each other and say, ‘Remember that time when…’?”

So now it’s your turn to give the world more words to read. I’m listening. I promise! So write away! Just use that little comment box below…

What are your favorite ideas for spending time together? How have you and your SO (sig. other) found interests you can share that create special memories and bonding in your relationship? And if you haven’t made “time together” a priority, perhaps you have some thoughts to share as well.

“Why I Walk With a Cane”


Flipped Helix left little doubt:
his days as an easyrider were over.
Gestures to passing cars seemed futile.
Carrying the scratched-up, dented-in helmet,
he footed it to the nearest rest area—
stepping over lilies and on maple leaves along the way.

Thankful for feet to stand on.

Previously, he had no worries about the dangers
inherent in such freedom-riding activities.
Yes, she had expressed concern about how
she may one day be a grief-stricken bride,
but hobbies are for enjoying and exploring,
even if, sooner or later, the crash is inevitable.

written for Sunday Whirl and Monday Melting; linked to Open Link Night at dverse poets

“The King and I”

 
 
The King and I
 
Out for an evening stroll; napping is over,
there’s much plotting to be done.
 
Plotting for kingdoms and wars and
lesser things.
 
Things that arouse and excite, inciting
temptations that have ruined a stronger man.
 
Ruined little people too.
 
People like me.
 
 
An Explanation
This was written in response to “Free Write Friday.” The prompt today is to write about an affair, from a “fly on the wall” perspective. I’m not sure that I “nailed” the perspective, but my hope was to at least capture the destruction caused when people abandon those sacred vows. My inspiration was the story of David and Bathsheba.
 
photo

“Across the Street”

 
 
Woman unknown, I
saw you cry for the man you
love. I know plenty.
 

Looking at the Flip Side of Love

Looking at the Flip Side of Love.

If you click on the link above you will find a bit of explanation about this thought-provoking piece written by Linda Krushchke.

Hate Is . . .

Hate is impatient,
toe tapping, eye-rolling,
in a hurry for instant gratification

Hate is mean,
treating others unkindly,
bullying, and insulting

Hate is envious,
not happy for others’ prosperity,
wanting what others have,
and for them not to have it

Hate is boastful,
puffed up, pointing to self-accomplishments,
not recognizing contributions of others

Hate is not humble,
but is arrogant, filled with hubris
proudly thinking oneself better than all,
pretentious and vain, always vain

Hate is rude,
abusive and insulting, vulgar,
disrespectful, and never caring for others

Hate is self-seeking,
it’s-all-about-me attitude,
selfish and egotistical, self-important

Hate is easily angered,
irritated by the slightest mistake,
hot-headed, unwilling to forgive

Hate keeps a record of wrongs,
every little sin catalogued and indexed,
ready as part of its arsenal of hostility

Hate delights in evil,
revels in rebelling against authority,
is pleased to go its own way

Hate despises truth,
closes its ears to teaching,
refuses instruction and correction

Hate attacks,
harms loved ones and strangers alike,
injures all in its way without care

Hate distrusts,
lacks faith in God or anything,
doubts there is anything good

Hate despairs,
has no hope for a future,
lives in misery and sorrow

Hate gives up,
at the smallest obstacle it gives in,
is defeated by the tiniest tribulation

Hate never wins

Written by: Linda Kruschke

This is a nice little read.  I recently had the joy of taking my bride on a quick excursion “away” from the children.
Highly encouraged for all you married readers out there!

The Marriage 4 L.I.F.E Blog

Yes, as a married couple, you should have one night stands — with each other!

Although studies are showing that sitting in a rocking chair can reduce pain in your old aching joints and lessen depression in folks, I believe that having a “one night stand” can be good for your marriage all through your years together.

You should find time to get away from the house, kids, church, business, volunteer work, yard, cats, dog, chickens, parakeet, neighbors, chores, kitchen, telephone, relatives, computer, and television!

This holds true even if it is for just one night and just down the street at a local motel.

WHY?
• Time alone together without distractions.
• No meals to cook or dishes to clean.
• Your conversations are not interrupted.
• Your intimate moments can be spontaneous.
• No hurrying home to get the babysitter home on time.
• Romance comes more naturally.

View original post 276 more words

LOL at Your Marriage

  “Worry weighs us down;
   a cheerful word picks us up.”
                            ~Proverbs 12:25

  “A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face;
   a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day …”
                            ~Proverbs 15:13

 

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:

http://richardetrader.blogspot.com

http://www.surrenderedmarriage.org/

http://www.abettermarriage.blogspot.com/

http://www.RickThomas.net

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/

http://www.marriagetoday.com/

http://Shawna.goodblogs.com/view-post/Free-Marriage-Counseling

Are Whores Worth the Trouble?

 

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!