Congratulations To Melanie and Tucker Moore

 

Melanie and Tucker Moore had a great wedding. The venue was nice and I loved the option of an evening wedding so everyone was not sweating in the sweltering heat of Texas in June. One of my favorite pastors officiated and Russ was authentic, humorous and wise.   The ceremony was short and sweet and we soon returned to the air-conditioned reception hall for dinner, visiting and dancing. Before long the bride and groom arrived and took the floor for their dance. They were a great looking couple.

Afterwards, the DJ called all married couples to the floor for the anniversary dance. Two dozen couples started the dance. The DJ called out years and slowly couples who had been married the least number of years left the floor. At five years a few couples stepped off. Then he called out ten years, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty and then thirty-two. Only five couples remained. At thirty-five Patty and I stepped off with four couples remaining. In the end it was a close tie between three couples, all of which had been married just over thirty eight years. The DJ identified the couple who had been married the longest, applause was given, and then the DJ asked the couple what advice they had for the new couple. All of a sudden I was glad it was not us. I am not sure what I would have said in the moment. The pressure!!!

This morning I woke up with the answer. The next time, if we are left on the dance floor, this will be my advice.

Enjoy the Journey

One day you will look back over your marriage and there will be a story being told. Think about what you want that story to be and start writing it today. Look for opportunities to make memories. Be able to tell stories about mountain climbing and Kayak trips, visits to Thailand and making out in the back yard. Be able to tell stories about kids and camping, home purchases and water heater leaks. Your marital story will be made up of moments grand and small. Give thanks for these moments each day and enjoy the journey.

Choose Each Other Every Day

Marriage is about choosing to love every day. Each morning I get up and put on two rings. On my right hand is a James Avery rendition of the wedding band Martin Luther’s wife gave her husband. It shows the story of the cross and reminds me that God pursued me and paid a high price for our relationship. The second is my wedding band. It reminds me that I am given the chance to pursue and love Patty every day. It is not about feeling like I am in love; it is about getting to show love every day in ways big and small.

Love Face to Face and Fight Back to Back

Take the time to look into each other’s eyes and express your love for one another. Swim in the romance and passion but be prepared to fight. Nothing good comes easy and a great marriages take a rumble now and then. Just remember, when you fight, the enemy is not your spouse. Fights will happen as two people choose to merge their lives. Just make sure you are fighting for your marriage and friendship instead of against each other for your own way. Your spouse in not your enemy. However, your marriage does have an enemy and when he attacks, you need to be fighting back to back. Never Give Up; Never Give Up; Never Give Up!

Thanks for the invitation and we hope you have an amazing honeymoon and life together. Blessings to you and your family.

I Want, I Want

 

You have to give it to Dr. Tripp, he can really hit the nail on the head.  We missed the first couple of weeks of “What Did You Expect,” a marriage study based on the book by the same name.  I have read the book twice and been convicted and challenged with every turn of the page.  Last night we discussed how sin is basically self centered and anti-social. When we allow sin to influence us, our relationships become less about us and become a means of simply getting what we want.  And we want a lot.  You may have heard the analogy that this type of relationship become like two ticks and no dog.  We are so needy and when we go to our spouse to meet all those needs we start to suck them dry.  Two people doing that in a marriage will soon find themselves at a crossroad with their needs being left unmet.

However, when we focus on God as our source, he provides all we need and more.  As we turn to God to meet our needs we soon discover that he calls us to focus less on our needs (he is meeting them anyway) and focus on the needs of others, including our spouse.  As we pull from the infinite source that is God, he uses us as a resource to love, delight in, respect, value, appreciate and serve our spouse and others.  It is when we turn to God as our source that we start down the path to a joyful marriage.

“He has invaded your marriage with his powerful love and transforming grace.”

Paul David Tripp, What Did You Expect?: Redeeming The Realities Of Marriage

Shout out to Reb and Tammy Bowers.  Great job leading the class last night.  You guys rock.

The Death of The Dream

The death of the dream happens to every couple. None of us gets our dream in the way that we dreamt it, because none of us is writing our own story. God, in his love, writes a better story than we could ever write for ourselves. He has a better dream than the one we conceive. He knows much better than we do what is best for us. He will take us places that we never intended to go because, in doing so, we become more of what he re-created us in Christ to be. Could it be that as we begin to face the harsh reality of the death of our individual and shared dreams, we are not struggling to love one another but are being given the opportunity to love one another more than ever before? It is when attraction wanes, flaws show, and the dream dies that real love has its best opportunity to germinate and grow. This sad and disillusioning moment is not the end of it all, but the beginning of something wonderful. We could argue that God now has us right where He wants us. We are no longer attracted to one another out of self-centered desire. We are no longer holding onto our dream, because it has melted away before our very eyes. We are hurt and frightened because what had fueled our relationship is gone, and we don’t know what to do. But this is not a defeat; this is an opportunity to exit the small space of the kingdom of self and to begin to enjoy the beauty and benefits of the kingdom of God. What appears to be love may not be love, and when God reveals that, it is a very good thing. What happened to us did not happen because God was absent from our marriage. No, it happened precisely because God was present and was rescuing us from ourselves and giving us what we could not produce on our own. 1

February 20th begins a six week study of What Did You Expect, an amazing study of what God intended marriage for.  The above paragraph is a paraphrase of a section in chapter three.  It was hugely impactful because it was reflective of our marriage and is reflective of every marriage I have ever known.

Interested in joining us, click here.

  1. Tripp, Paul David. What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage (pp. 49-50). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

Guard His Reputation-A Word for Wives

Proverbs 12:4

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,

but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.

What is your husband’s reputation with your friends?  When they meet him do they expect to meet Superman or Homer Simpson?  When you speak of your husband in his absence do you focus on his strengths or do you complain about his shortcomings.  No one knows him as you do and his reputation is often at your mercy.  Ephesians 4:29 commands “ Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”  There is no place where this is more important than in your marriage.

Today think about how you talk about and to your husband.  Do you build him up or destroy him when you speak about him?  Today, commit to building his reputation in his absence and telling him at least one thing you admire about his character in his presence.  Is he committed to attending the kid’s school activities, tell him how much you appreciate his commitment to the children.  Does he work long hours to provide for his family, tell him how much you appreciate his sacrifice.  The ongoing habit of thanksgiving and encouragement is a significant long term investment in a marriage, especially when you are investing in your man.

Social Media and Marriage

How does your relationship compare to other couples in your life. Consciously or unconsciously this is the question we often ask as we look at social media. Is social media really a problem for relationships?

Gender Roles

Have you ever really sat down and thought about gender roles? Or… do you just rely on the stereotypical roles set by society?  The roles set by society are fickle at best and always changing.  Should we change with them or should our roles stay the same? What does the bible say?

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church.” Ephesians 5:21-23 NLT

One thing for certain is the bible says the man is to be the head of the household.  The man is to be the leader of the family as Christ is the head of the church. Wives are to submit to the husband as they submit to Christ. But it also says they are to submit to each other out of reverence for Christ.

Ok… Hmm.  Well…

Tim and Kathy Keller in “The Meaning of Marriage” gives us a different take on this meaning of submission, leadership, and gender roles.  They tell us that marriage is all about love, respect, and service. That if we play our designated role in the marriage there is a freedom that comes with it.

THINK

Each of us have been given different gifts.  We are to operate within our gifts for the betterment of the family and church.  Having a specific gender role is different from this. If a woman has the gift of leadership, and her man doesn’t, that doesn’t mean she becomes the leader of the family.  It just means she is gifted in that area and can be a great helpmate for her husband and a great leader for the children, but the man is still the head of the household.

Tony Evans says the man and the woman are both equal in their value and worth in the sight of the Lord and this is clear in scripture.  Example: The man is the manager and the woman is the assistant manager so when an issue arises they both get to weigh in on the issue.  While the man has the ultimate responsibility concerning the family, both pay a critical role in decision making.  In those rare instances where a decision has to be made, and there is conflict concerning which option to choose, the man is burdened with the decision. This is actually quite freeing for a woman to know the man is the burden bearer in this situation.  Yet the man can take the problem to the owner who is Jesus Christ who ultimately bears all of our burdens. This is freeing for the man because Jesus is the final authority on every situation and the ultimate burden bearer.  After all he took all of our burdens to the cross and died for them so we could live forever with Christ in heaven.

So as you can see there is a freedom when you yield to the role Christ has designated for you.

Marriage is also to be a picture to the world of Christ’s relationship with the church.

Let’s take a closer look at each role.

Ephesians 5:25-33 shows us how the husband’s role is like Jesus’ role with the church.

    Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

Jesus sacrifices his life for the church.  Husbands are commanded to sacrifice their life for the wife.  This is how much husbands are to love their wives just as Christ loved the church.  A man goes about doing this by serving the wife. Think of Jesus washing the disciples feet.  This was an act of service and love.

Philippians 2:5-11 shows us how the wife’s role is like Jesus’ role with the church.

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus is equal with God.  They are one and the same.  However, Jesus humbled himself and became obedient to God and died on the cross for you and me.  This is an example of how much Jesus respected God and his authority. Wives are equal with their husbands and both have the same value and worth. But… the wife is commanded to humble herself and become obedient to the husband by submitting to him.  This shows how much the wife respects her husband and his God given authority. Additionally, it shows how much she trusts God, the writer of this scripture.  Wives can go about doing this by serving their husbands. Think of Jesus washing his disciples feet.  He humbled himself and became as a servant when he washed their feet.

We need to pray to have God’s perspective and viewpoint on these things.  Tim and Kathy show us that both the husband and wife accomplish their role through serving each other as Christ served the church.  Both the husband and wife become like Jesus when they submit to their God given role. Which is why God starts Ephesians with submit to one another out of respect, honor, and reverence for Jesus Christ.  Meaning don’t do it for each other, do it for Jesus because you love him and he loves you. I like what Kathy says, “If Jesus can do it, then I can do it. If he wasn’t too good to serve, then I’m not too good to serve.”  

God is so funny.  He commands us love, respect and serve our spouse and then gives us cravings for them. We are called to be like Jesus and give them unconditionally whether they are deserved or not.

As you can see the ultimate goal is to be like Jesus.  God uses our spouses to make us more like Jesus. Anytime we can do what we are called to do, then all glory and honor are given to God for working in and through us to make us more like Jesus.