Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Jerald left for Vegas Sunday afternoon, so I took Brooke & Laina and went to Goshen, Indiana, to see my older sister and stay with her for a couple days. Brooke is staying out there with my nephew and his wife for 2-3 weeks to help them out; they just had baby #3 with the oldest being 3.

I was born and raised west of Goshen. I went to a country school for my elementary years, a junior high school in Wakarusa and high school in Napanee. I got married a month after graduation and moved close to Lafayette, Indiana, before moving to Ohio 20 years ago. After my mom moved away from the Goshen area (a couple years after my dad was killed in an auto accident 21 years ago), I have not revisited my old haunts. We've been to see my sister, but haven't done any sight-seeing.

I emailed a couple of school friends that I have sporadically kept in touch with to let them know I would have some time to get together. Monday, I met 4 of my past friends for lunch, 2 of whom I have not seen since graduation, almost 28 years ago. It was so fun! We are all at the same stage in life and spent a LOT of time talking about our kids! The awesome part is that they are all Christians who love Jesus and we had so much to talk about.

On Tuesday, my sister and I went driving around. We drove back the lane of the farmhouse that I grew up in. It looks exactly the same. I have many wonderful memories there with my mom & dad, 2 brothers and 3 sisters. We went past my elementary school, old family homes and where friends used to live. The highlight was stopping at the cemetery where my dad is buried. I haven't been back there for many, many years. Even though I know my dad is not there, I enjoyed reflecting on who he was and his influence on my life. I still miss him and long for an opportunity to talk things over with him. He was full of life in every way. I regret the most that my kids will never know him. He LOVED kids and was always teasing and playing with them. In the 24 years I knew him, I NEVER heard him talk about another person in a negative way; and believe me, he had opportunity.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with my sister and her husband and catching up with friends.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Love & Respect 4

By now everyone is probably sighing at my blogs. ;) Aha...caughtcha!

Last night was a little different than the evenings before. It was more of a recap with lots of practical suggestions for the husband on showing love and the wife respect.

~ I have a choice whether I want to obey God's Word or not.
~ Eph. 5:33 is without options and is not neutral.
~ Respecting my husband works because God said so.
~ Respecting is a command.
~ Focus on what I can do, not on what he can do.
~ Get my mind off of myself and onto my husband.
~ My fear and love of God is my motivation.
~ How do I want my kids to treat their future spouses? They watch us closely!
~ Do I forgive my husband when he asks or do I harbor bitterness and keep a history?
~ Speak only honorably about my husband.
~ NEVER make fun, criticize or speak down to my husband!
~ Am I living in such a way with my husband today that will make him want to be with me in 50 years? (I have a story about my grandparents on this point)
~ Marriage is not about ME!
~ We Christian women have bought into the feminist theology more than we know.
~ My husband will not generally tell me what he needs from me.
~ God created my husband differently, not wrong.
~ I am responsible for my attitudes and actions.
~ Thank him for his work.
~ Share with and in his successes, whatever they are.
~ Be my husband's biggest cheerleader.
~ Do NOT pop his dream bubbles! Let him dream and be able to share with me!
~ God created my husband to DIE for me! Do I really get that?
~ Praise his provision whether it be great or small.
~ Praise his good decisions; minimize his not-so-good decisions.
~ NEVER undermine his authority in front of the children; discuss concerns in private.
~ Male bashing is huge in today's society- in the church and out of it. I need to see this as the sin it is and refuse to participate.
~ Negativity crushes the spirit.
~ Life is too short to not live it pleasing to God.
~ Jesus wants to know how I am going to change to be more like Him.
~ Encourage my husband in the times he wants to be alone.
~ Initiate and respond positively more often sexually.
~ Make it easy for my husband to have eyes only for me.
~ It honors my husband when I make an effort to improve my appearance before he gets home from work.
~ Let him be able to acknowledge his sexual temptations without making him feel shame.
~ Denying my husband sexually is a sin.

The best part of the evening for me was when the couple who organized this series shared their testimonies. They were transparent and honest and it is absolutely awesome to see the wonderful love and respect they have for each other today! Let me tell you that it does NOT come naturally; it is a LOT of hard work, but oh so worth it! It's interesting to me that we share the exact anniversary date as theirs- June 20, 1981- and our testimony would be very similar; this couple is a great encouragement to us. Thank you, Rich & Linda; we love you!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Love & Respect 3

The opening comments during devotions were very appropriate. "It's not what you do, it's why you do it." Our focus must continually be on Jesus Christ. He is what makes it all possible and what keeps us going. We stay motivated when our deepest needs are met and it is only our personal relationship with Jesus that meets those needs. We cannot depend on our marriage relationship or our spouse to satisfy our innermost needs. It's not fair to them to expect that from them.

There are two sides to the love & respect equation. If we want love from our husbands than we must give them the respect God calls us to. Some things to keep in mind as we think about our husbands and showing respect to them:
~ It's easy to pass judgment on someone who is vulnerable where we feel strong.
~ It's not what we are saying, it's how we are saying it.
~ Do not attack character; do not say, "You don't love me". Instead say, "That sounded unloving".
~ We need to respect our husbands apart from their performance. Guard against despising their spirits. Separate spirit from flesh.
~ Speak with discipline and prudence.
~ We cannot become wrapped up in our own needs so that we miss the spirit of the other person.
~ PMS- pre-murderous syndrome- is NEVER an excuse for disrespectful behavior!

We can react in one of two ways to feeling unloved: be even more disrespectful or check to see where we might be mistaken. To women, the issue of respect is marginal; we don't "get it". How do you spell respect for a man? C-H-A-I-R-S: a seat of office or authority, a position of authority.

C= conquest; appreciating his desire to work & achieve. What is the first thing men will ask each other when meeting for the first time? "What do you do?" It's their identity. God has designed men to be out "in the field". He finds his satisfaction there. Understand how important his work is to him. If we imply, even unknowingly, that our husband's work is not that important, we have just called him a loser. That calling is not an option; it is his responsibility. How often do we verbally express to our husbands our respect for the work they do and the achievements they attain? They need to hear it from us!
Practical application- listen to his work stories as closely as you expect him to listen to your accounts of what happens in the family.

H= hierarchy; appreciating his desire to provide for & protect us. Again, it is God's design for our husbands to be the head in the marriage. He does not just have the right to, but the responsibility to. Why are we wives so hesitant to place ourselves under that umbrella of protection? How many times have we actually told our husbands how much we appreciate and respect their leadership? How feminist are we really? It shows by our attitude and actions. We think our men should be big enough and tough enough to take whatever disrespect we dish out to them. NOT SO!!
Practical application- Never, in word or attitude, put down his job or how much he makes.

A= authority; appreciating their desire to serve and to lead. How many times do we assure our husbands that they have the responsibility to lead, but we hold on to the authority. Vetoing our husband's decisions is saying that we don't trust his ability and that we are in control. Men will resist when they feel we have control. A marriage with two people acting as head will struggle. This wanting to control on the wife's part will often lead our husbands to passive irresponsibility.
Practical application- you praise his good decisions and are gracious if he makes a bad one. Always, always honor his authority in front of the children.

I= insight; appreciating his desire to analyze and counsel. Men are solution-oriented. How many of us women believe we possess an exclusive and unique power of intuition that is always right? Remember this: Eve was deceived; Adam disobeyed. We do not need to be ready with all the answers. Women today are deceiving themselves in their criticism of their husbands for lack of spiritual leadership; we have developed an attitude of self-righteousness; we see ourselves as more righteous and knowledgeable than our husbands. They cannot open up to us if we are judgmental towards their character. We women have analyzed our sin issues and turned them into psychological disorders. We judge our husbands for thinking they have dark sin issues and have dismissed our very own. Ask ourselves if we are a better person because God made us one way and our husbands another.
Practical application- you admit that you can sin and thank him for his perception and godly counsel.

R= relationship; appreciating his desire for shoulder-to-shoulder friendship. Our men need companionship. They have a need for us to be with them, to quietly be with them; they don't need us talking all the time. If we are not seeing a desire for our husbands to spend time with us, we might need to evaluate why. We think we have to have a relationship on our terms. Our husbands need time to open up to us. They struggle with expressing themselves and have difficulty describing their feelings. Give them time!
Practical application- you enable him to open up and talk to you as you do things shoulder-to-shoulder without you doing all the talking.

S= (guess) sexuality; appreciating his desire for sexual intimacy. Just in case you didn't know this, men are visually oriented. His sexuality is much different than yours. Our husband's sexual release is the same as our need for emotional release. Why do we women think our feelings are the voice of God? Sexual intimacy is NOT based on what we may or may not feel! It's really not about the sex for our husbands; it's about honor. The way to get to our husband's spirit is to touch his body authentically. When we deny our husbands, we are in a lose-lose standoff. Here's the rule: you can't get what you need by depriving your husband of what he needs.
Practical application: you respond to him sexually more often and initiate sex periodically.

I recently heard it said that it should really be spelled S-C-H-A-I-R, but that's not really a word, so...(even though, after living with my husband for 27 years, I would agree :) )

Our husbands will shut down when they must unconditionally love their wives and earn our respect. That makes them responsible for both love and respect in the relationship.

The key to marriage is not communication; it is marital understanding of one another's differences.

~ Prov. 12:4- An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness to his bones.

~ Prov. 14:1- The wisest of women builds her house, but folly, with her own hands, tears it down.

~ Prov. 17:1- Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.

~ Prov. 19:13 & 14- ...a wife's quarreling is a continual dripping of rain...but a prudent wife is from the LORD.

~ Prov. 21:9 & 19- It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.

~ Prov. 25: 24- It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.

~ Prov. 27: 15 & 16- A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike; to restrain her is to restrain the wind or to grasp oil in one's right hand.

~ Prov. 31- An excellent wife who can find...the heart of her husband trusts in her...she does him good and not harm all the days of her life...her husband praises her.

We know what we need to do to improve our marriage. The question than is, Why aren't we doing it?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Love & Respect 2

The first thing I want to do is to qualify all this Love & Respect stuff. If Jesus Christ is not THE focus of your marriage, all the love & respect in the world will not do a hootin' bit of good. If your goal is not to glorify Him, but to glorify marriage, I suggest you rethink. Our marriages are THE greatest witness to the world of the relationship between Christ and His Church. Love and respect, with no conditions attached, are the very character of God. Our relationship with our spouse should be a message of what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross, a testimony of the Gospel.

With that being said, the things that Christ would have us do in our marriages are things that do not come naturally. God commanded men to love knowing it would not be a natural inclination and He commanded women to respect knowing it would go against self.

Women need connection; two people connected together, thus the word "couple". This is what spells love to most women:

C= closeness; face-to-face involvement, intimacy without always ending in sex

O= openness; expressive, not shutting down, sharing dreams & fears, ideas, eye contact

U= understanding; just listen, not fixing, identifying with feelings, not dismissing feelings

P= peacemaking; conflicts WILL happen, resolving brings peace, never nurse bitterness

L= loyalty; complete commitment, not looking at other women, does what he says he'll do, for better or worse

E= esteem; honor & cherish, encouragement, teach children to respect, feel like his princess

If we women are not feeling loved, we will confront our husbands in order to connect with them. If done the wrong way, he will feel disrespected. Differing with each other is to be expected, but resolving our conflicts must be within the parameters of God's Word. If men feel disrespected, they will shut down.

Practical application: never, NEVer, NEVER talk negative about your husband in front of the kids. NEVER. (and for that matter, never in front of ANYONE).

More on what men need next week...