Posts Tagged ‘ relationship ’

How Did I Miss Seeing Something So Obvious?

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This blog has always been about me sharing with you things that I’ve learned the hard way, in turn hoping you can avoid the same pitfall that I so elegantly ran right through. Call me the “test pilot” for Husbands. Lord knows I have done my share of stupid over the past ten years of being married to my wife Valerie. So here I am again. Hoping to “wave off” other husbands from hitting the same pothole that I have just got done repairing my car from.

So what’s the pothole I’m spray painting a neon orange circle around this time? Well, it’s one that you would have thought would have been pretty obvious to a “Christian husband” like myself. In fact, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit I didn’t give it the importance that it deserves, for so many years. What is it?

Your relationship with your wife will never be as good as you think it should be, until you get your relationship with GOD where IT should be.

Remember that scripture where it says “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6 (KJV))? Yeah, the one we quote all the time, and sing songs about, and as Christians, quote almost as much as John 3:16? That one. Well, turns out I always quoted it, but never thought it applied to my marriage. You see, my marriage had gotten to a point where it had taken over the spot that God says is supposed to be reserved for Him. Without even really realizing it, I had made my marriage, my wife – first in my life – hoping it would fulfill me. Hoping it would bring me happiness. Hoping it would meet my every need. And it didn’t. And for YEARS I lived frustrated. “I thought marriage was supposed to be amazing, and fulfilling, and meet my needs!” I would tell God. “Why doesn’t it seem like it’s ever as good as I think it should be!?” I put time into doing everything I thought I should, to make my marriage as GOOD as I thought it should be. Date nights, books, marriage blogs, I was the poster child husband. I did all the things everyone says will give you a great marriage, and it was good – but I still felt like there was some part missing.

There was. What was missing was me putting my relationship with my Heavenly Father before anything else. Before my wife, before my kids, before my marriage – FIRST. And I don’t mean just saying it. I don’t mean just going to church on Sunday, and then checking off your “time served” card. No, I mean a day-to-day RELATIONSHIP with God. A walking with Him. Every morning getting up and spending time in prayer. Every morning reading His Word like your life depended on it. Spending time in worship daily. Standing up in prayer and fighting for your family spiritually – coming against sickness, praying for God’s plan in their life to be fulfilled, praying for your finances, your wife. Praying that your home would be a place where God is honored. THAT kind of putting God first.

And you might be saying “Yeah yeah, I’ve heard this before. But how does this get me a better sex life? Or make my wife want me more? Or make us argue less?” I was at a men’s conference a little while ago, and one of the speakers said something I will never forget. He said:

“Maybe if you’re having a hard time getting your wife to submit to you, it’s because you’re having a hard time submitting to God”.

See? We get this whole marriage thing messed up guys! We get married and we look to the relationship to make us happy, fulfilled, and finally fill that hole that we’ve been looking to fill in our hearts and lives. But it’s never going to do that guys! Your wife will ALWAYS disappoint you in some way. She will NEVER be able to completely fulfill you in every way. Only GOD can truly fulfill us. Only GOD will never disappoint us. But we keep looking for her to do what she’s not designed to do. She was never created to be our god. She was created to be our partner/helpmate in this life, not our “all in all”.

Ok, so what happens when you start to put your relationship with GOD first? And not in a fake Christian, “Bible thumper” kind of way, but in an authentic seek Him every  day, be a leader by serving kind of way? You’ll start to notice a few things. You’ll start to notice how happy you are. How you have a joy that you can’t explain. You’ll start to notice how amazing your wife is. Her “big issues” that you’ve been trying to “fix” in her for years, seem really petty. You’ll start to notice how much you love her, in a way that isn’t based on her performance. You’ll start to notice the atmosphere change in your home, from one filled with tension, to one filled with peace. Your wife will start to notice the way you treat her differently than before. That you are serving her expecting nothing in return. That you are finally leading your family in the things of Christ. She’ll notice a difference in how you treat/discipline the kids. And you know what guys? She’ll be attracted to you like never before (yes, sexually too), because she is going to start seeing the heart you have in truly laying down your life for her and your family. And for some reason, this is incredibly attractive to our wives. 😉

God designed our priorities to run like this – God first, then your wife/marriage, then your kids, then work. It doesn’t work well any other way. Why? Because the one who designed it, knows how it runs best. How foolish we are to think we know better than the One who created us. But we somehow start to put our relationship with God on the back burner. “I’ll get to you soon God” we say. “God I’m really busy today, I’ll catch you after I get home tonight”. And it never happens. And we get more and more frustrated with how our lives are running, and God’s looking down at us running on the hamster wheel that we’ve created for ourselves, thinking we’re really going somewhere, and says “If you would just seek me first, all these other things would be added to you. Please just trust Me. Rely on Me. Seek Me. I’ll help you through this other stuff.”

Listen guys! We’ve got to stop with the half and half living! We’re either ALL IN with God, and we get rid of the porn, and we get rid of the things in our lives that we KNOW do no honor God, or we have NO RIGHT to expect any kind of blessing on our marriage, our families, our health, or any other part of our lives! God is a jealous God, and he says pretty clearly that we are to have no other gods before Him. NONE. You fill in the blank. What have you put in front of God? Work? Sex? Your Marriage? STOP! We have got to be the men that get on our knees and say “God I’m so sorry for not giving you the place in my life that you so deserve! I need your help God! I NEED you in my marriage! I NEED you in my family! I NEED you to fulfill me completely, and give me a vision for my family, and my marriage. Please forgive me God where I’ve put things ahead of You. Forgive me for expecting my wife to satisfy my every desire/need. Forgive me for not leading my family by being a SERVANT to them, and show me how to lay down my life for them, like you laid down Your life for the church.” 

That’s it! And then set your alarm 30 minutes earlier, and start spending quality time with Him daily. Pray over your family. Pray scripture over them. Pray for your finances. Pray for your marriage. Pray for the health of your family. And then watch. Watch how the days go by and the atmosphere starts to change. Watch as your family starts to see how dad is changing. How he’s more loving and tender with mom. How he disciplines us with love. And remember how it came. It came because you made the decition. It came Because you stood up and said “As for me and MY house, WE will SERVE the Lord!”

Something so simple. Put God first, and watch HIM move in ways you can’t even imagine. Your marriage will never be the same. 

 

 

“Fifty Shades of Danger”

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With the movie coming up on Valentine’s Day, I’m reposting this from a few years ago….

Note: While this is a topic that mostly effects wives, I feel that it can have a very negative impact on a marriage, and leave the husband not only confused, but wondering how he can measure up to what the wife is reading. It is on this premise, that I write this post.

I’m sure you’re heard of it by now. The series of “erotica” books called “Fifty Shades of Grey” that has sold millions of copies so far in both paper, and e-book form. While erotica has been around for a long time, the popularity of the Kindle and other “e-reader” tablets take away the embarrassment of the consumer having to go to a store and purchase something from a clerk. This I understand. What amazes me however, is the broad acceptance that our culture is giving this brand of smut. Even NBC Nightly News did a full piece on it, acting as if it was “the new acceptable thing” for moms to use to spice up their love lives. Really?! Would the same coverage and acceptance be given to a book series of pornographic images depicting bondage and other fetishes for men to view?  Pretty sure Brian Williams wouldn’t be doing a full three-minute news piece on that one. But how is Fifty Shades of Grey any different? Just because porn targets guys (very visual), and erotica targets girls (emotional, turned on by romance), it doesn’t make it any different. It’s the SAME THING put in a different package! It’s as if the women reading and talking about this set of books (married or otherwise), think it’s ok to read very vivid depictions of people engaging in sex (including “bondage” etc.) because “oh, it’s just a book”.

I was sitting somewhere having lunch the other day, and the table behind me had a few ladies talking about the books. I couldn’t help but shake my head in disbelief, as I listened to them all talk about it like it was some kind of sexual aid, or way for women to “get back in touch with their sexuality”. They were talking about it over coffee like it was the latest iPod, or trend in clothing. Not one of them (2 of the 3 had wedding bands on) even suggested that it may not be appropriate for them to be reading.

It got me thinking – let’s flip this around for a minute. If I walked up to these same women (even if they were non-Christian), and asked if they would mind if their husbands viewed pornography on the internet once in a while, I’m pretty sure they would respond in a very negative way. I don’t think they would they say that porn was ok because it “helps men get in touch with their sexuality”. Or would it be “ok” if it was a certain kind of “high end” porn that was sold at – let’s say – Barnes and Noble? So why is this “mommy porn” as the media is has been calling it – somehow acceptable?

Let’s check out some of the reasons our “good friends” in the media have been giving us so far –

“It re-kindles the sexual relationship in your marriage” – Sure it does! Just like just like porn makes guys want to make love to their wives! Too bad they’re thinking about the woman in the video, not their wife, when they’re doing it. Does it make the women reading this erotica “horny” and want to jump in bed with their husbands? Yes it does! But is it because they want to build their relationship with their mate? No! It’s because something external (in this case a fantasy that no husband can ever live up to in real life) has turned them on, and since the guy in the books isn’t real, they’ll take whatever then can get – in this case, their husband. What a sad way to approach the sexual relationship that God has created to bring such closeness.

“It’s a way for women to figure out what they really want in the bedroom” – Yeah, kind of like offering a child cotton candy for dinner, lets the child figure out what they “really want” for their meal that evening. Just because something may “feel good” or “taste good” at the time, doesn’t mean it’s best for us, or even remotely healthy. In the same way that the child would grow unhealthy eating cotton candy for dinner every evening, so a marriage grows unhealthy when fantasy about another person is brought into the marriage bed. The marriage bed should be where the couple is able to explore each others bodies, and become closer together, not driven further apart by unrealistic expectations and fantasy.

 “It’s not like it’s hurting anybody, it’s just a few books” – Funny, these excuses are starting to sound a lot like a guy rationalizing pornography. In the same way a wife’s heart is wounded by the husband viewing porn, the husband – while at first may be more than happy to oblige the wife’s strange new desire for more sex – will begin to feel like he is just being used to fulfill a fantasy, and that she is no longer making love to him, but to something or someone in her head instead. He will then start to feel like he is inadequate, and think “if I were good enough in bed, we wouldn’t need to do this stuff she has read about, and she would then think it was exciting to be with me”. It cuts at the very heart of the husband.

It can also affect the overall attitude in the home, because if mom and dad aren’t doing well in their sexual relationship, the marriage suffers. That makes mom and dad a lot more likely to have a “snappy attitude” with each other, and in turn – with the kids. 

To sum it upIT’S JUST NOT WORTH IT! There are so many things out there trying to snip and tear away at our marriages. We have to be PRO-ACTIVE in guarding our hearts and minds against anything that would pose a threat to that. There is a temptation to become “bored” or “fall in a rut” with your sex life after you’ve been married a while – but take it as a challenge! Sit down and TALK to each other about your sex life – what’s working, and what’s not. Change it up a little! There are no rules saying “you have to only have sex in your bedroom” (There’s a great post by “J” at “Hot, Holy and Humorous” called “Where to have sex” that is a great look at having fun with locations), or with the lights off, or only after 9pm. God has given us the AMAZING gift of sex as a married couple, and blessed it! It’s to be something that is treasured between the couple as a pleasure only shared between them. Let’s not take away from, or cheapen what He created to be so incredible, when done in the protection and commitment of the marriage relationship.