Tuesday, July 24, 2018

HIS HEALING IS NOT HER HEALING


We’ve all hurt our wives. Some hurts are minor and other major. The man of the world justifies his actions. He tells himself he was right and she was wrong. It wasn’t a big deal. She deserved it. A Christian man, on the other hand, asks how he can make it right. He asks forgiveness, and does the ego-crushing task of looking at himself and recognizing that he is a sinner, that he is at fault. He asks forgiveness of his wife and of God, then sets out to change himself on the inside so that his outward behavior will not be repeated. Only in this way will he recover or maintain the respect and trust of his spouse.

If a minor offense is the metaphorical slap to his wife’s face, some offenses are more like giving her a good beating or running her over with his truck. I’m referring to acts such as adultery, and substance or pornography addiction. Adultery is not just a one time offense. It always entails a long series of initial indiscretions, lies, manipulations, cover ups before the actual deed is done. Alcoholism and pornography take a similar course. The wife holds out hope for lasting change in her husband and is repeatedly disappointed as he goes back to his wallowing in the mire. He, in essence, not only runs her down with his truck, but puts it into reverse and runs her down over and over.

Through the grace of Christ Jesus, and with a great deal of personal effort, a man can overcome his addiction, throw off his destructive habits, and be cleansed. He can take his soul truck, the one that has been damaged by hitting his friends, family, and his spouse, and give it over to Jesus’ repair shop, where it can come out looking new. Finally, he picks up the restored truck and presents it to his spouse. “Look” he says. “I’ve been sober for a long time. By the grace of God I have been spared. Rejoice with me.” He is shocked that his spouse is not overcome with joy. Of course, she has not been unaware of his struggles and the steps he has taken to reach this point. The problem is that while his soul truck may have been repaired, she continues to wear the bandages of his abuse and the scars of his selfishness.

It is unusual for people to heal from such behaviors at the same rate. Many a relapse occurs when a man reaches this point and is led by the Devil to feel that his efforts to change were in vain since she is the same after his healing as she was before. What good was it if it had no effect on her? We must realize that our healing and our spouse’s are not simultaneous. We must not only change ourselves, but be patient and lovingly assist our wife to heal, all the while remembering that we are the cause of her pain.

WHY MAKE LOVE TO YOUR HUSBAND?


When you make love to your husband . . .

You show him you care for him by meeting one of his most important emotional, physical, and spiritual needs.
You make him feel more attracted to you, and more connected with you.
You solidify his commitment to you.
You show him that you want to take care of him.
You let him express the deepest feelings of love and devotion for you that words fail to convey.
You show him that he is important to you.
You let him know that you are attracted to him, and desire him.
You restore balance to his life and bring back focus and peace.
You give him pleasure that only you two share.
You make him want to serve and respect you more.
You demonstrate your undying love for him.
You make him grateful to be the man you choose to share your life with.
You revitalize his energy and allow him to work more effectively.
You make him feel more secure in your relationship.
You remove his stress and anxiety, and help him sleep better.
You make him feel bonded to you alone and remove any desire to look elsewhere.
You elevate his self-esteem and make his attitude, mood, and outlook on life more positive.
You give him part of yourself that you share with no one else.
You bring out the deepest, most intimate and beautiful emotions that he possesses, and they are for you.
You make your physical union a symbol of your spiritual and emotional bonding.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

LANGUAGES OF LOVE


The 5 Languages of Love is a classic work on improving marriage by loving your spouse. If the idea of loving her first means serving and loving your wife in word and deed, The 5 Languages of Love points out that what counts as loving service is not universal. The author, Gary Chapman, notes that the first phase of a romantic relationship is kind of an obsession, infatuation, or temporary high where feelings of attachment, desire, and love exist without much effort required to produce them. This phase lasts for an average of two years. When it has run its course people report feeling that they have fallen out of love. At that junction, people can either separate, live in an unhappy marriage, or choose to make a conscious effort to love the other person as they need to be loved. Only with effort will love be rekindled or revived. 

Loving her first “is the choice to expend energy in an effort to benefit the other person, knowing that if his or her life is enriched by your effort, you too will find a sense of satisfaction—the satisfaction of having genuinely loved another” (p. 33). One the obsession ends, it takes work to keep or resurrect love. We must keep our wives’ love tanks full by filling it with things that for her count as being loved.

Words of Affirmation This kind of loving includes sincere complements, encouragement, expressions of appreciation, and recognition of your wife’s positive qualities and efforts. I believe that most husbands see things to complement their wives on, and recognize their wives’ efforts. What we often lack is the conscious effort to verbalize those thoughts to her. If you were to take a stopwatch and time how long it takes to express some encouragement or appreciation, it would most likely fall under 10 seconds, yet those seconds can be significant contribution to filling her tank. Be forewarned, however, cheap flattery, and insincere words will ultimately be uncovered for what they are-manipulation not love.

My wife never fails to recognize my efforts: “Thanks for filling the gas tank.” “You were so good to the grandkids.” Appreciation fills my tank, and I will gladly take on a chore because she will inevitably notice and love/appreciate me for it. Of course, she likes being appreciated, but it falls on the bottom of her ranking of love language. However, what does fill her tank is when I express my admiration and appreciation for her to others: “She really has a good eye for home decoration.” “She’s the best traveling companion.”

Quality Time For some people, the most important way of filling their tank is spending time together, time in which their spouse focuses on them, and participates in activities that they choose. It is too common a scene to observe a couple together, perhaps in a restaurant, where each is transfixed on their respective cell phones. They may be together, but they are not focused on each other. Your spouse’s tank is filled when they feel that you take the time to listen to their ideas, concerns, and plans, and when you in turn express yours. They feel loved when you participate in an activity that they enjoy, and focus on them. “He spends time with me, therefore he loves me” is their motto.

Receiving Gifts A gift shows love because it means that the giver took the time and effort to think about what his spouse would like, then buys and delivers it. It shows a woman that her husband’s thoughts are on her, even when she isn’t present. What’s more, the gift itself becomes a visual reminder of the husband’s feelings and concern for her.

When I have gotten up early and left the house while my wife is still asleep, I have occasionally taken a blank piece of paper and written a one-line love note to her with a magic marker and left it on the kitchen counter. She keeps those letters in an envelope as a prized possession. She cherishes my gifts even though they have no monetary value. Why? Because they are a tangible reminder to her that I care for her.

I recall a time why wife pointed out an expensive item that she wanted. I purchased it, and soon realized that it didn’t do much to fill her tank. Why not? Because I spent only the money, there was no effort or thought behind it, and that was the most important part of giving that I had not figured into the transaction.

Acts of Service Many people feel loved when their spouse does things: housework, yard work, fixing the lamp, changing the diapers, calling about the insurance dispute. It shows that those things are as important to them as they are to the other person. When a spouse is nagged or coerced into carrying out an act, it doesn’t fill anyone’s love tank. When the doer feels manipulated into doing something, the act can never be one of service. Instead it becomes an act of subservience. The manipulator may have succeeded in having their spouse to get the job done, but they never receive the true tank-filling satisfaction of having been willingly and lovingly served.

How would you wife react if she offhandedly mentioned that the handle on the fridge was loose, the baby needed changing, or a particular bill needed to be mailed, and with no other reminding you simply did it? Take it a step further. What if you asked her what you could do to help today? (She’s probably got a list whether she’s aired it to you or not.) With a little effort you knock a few things off her to do list, and in the process give her love tank a fill up.

When I had recently promised myself that I would serve my wife above all else. One day I was driving home when she called and asked me to pick up some bread at the bakery. I was already past the bakery by a few miles, told her so, and hung up. The moment I did I remembered my resolve, turned around, purchased the bread and brought it home. The 15 minutes it took me to get the bread was so worth the effort when I saw her smile, surprise, and appreciation.

Physical Touch For many people physical touch conveys caring, closeness, and love, while lack of touch expresses emotional distance and rejection. It’s important to note that physical touch is not merely sexual touch, but non-sexual as well. This is my love language. A hand on my shoulder tells me she’s there for me. A long hug followed by a warm smile and I instantly feel secure about my relationship with my wife and am ready to face a new day. A warm lovemaking session puts me on top of the world for the next few days. My relationship with my wife feels rock solid. It inspires me recommit to being the best husband a woman could ever have. Sexual contact with the most important person in my life makes me feel better prepared to handle the challenges of work. My perspective on life in general becomes more positive. In short, not only is my love tank filled, but my energy and well-being stores are replenished as well.

What is your wife’s love language? When you read through the descriptions of the five languages of love, most people immediately recognize which languages make them feel loved. The hard part is discovering your spouse’s and then shaping your behavior so that you love her first in her own language.


Saturday, July 14, 2018

THANKING GOD FOR MY WIFE

Dear God,

I come before you with a deep sense of gratitude. I am truly an example of a person who you have blessed with so many blessings that there is no room to receive them. I have a job I enjoy, I live in a beautiful home, and am surrounded by children and grandchildren who bring me so much fulfillment. On top of all of that is the most precious gift you have bestowed on me, my wife. You know that all of my prayers to you include expressing my deepest gratitude for your bringing her into my life.

You were with me in those years of misery. You knew what I did not have, and what I longed for. When you freed me from those bonds, I soon found that you had been preparing a woman for me, one who you had chosen to be a help truly meet for me. I would have been content with a good woman, a good companion and wife, but once again you poured out a blessing that exceeded my expectations. I never imagined a woman that would fulfill the needs I most desperately sought. She fills all of them. She is and always has been beyond my expectations.

What a loyal friend you provided me. She is my confidant, my companion, the person whose company I most desire. She knows me, and in spite of being keenly aware of my faults and weaknesses, she accepts me, and is the motivating force behind my efforts to better myself and draw closer to you. The incredible thing is that she achieves this without compulsion or nagging. It is her supportive and loving attitude that guides me away from the natural man.

How can I thank you enough for her? How can I thank her? Actually, I do know how to thank her. I have vowed to learn what she longs for, what her needs are. I take joy in serving her as she needs to be served. It is never a burden. How could it be? She eases so many of my own burdens. In addition, she recognizes my efforts and always expresses her heartfelt appreciation. In doing so she fulfills another of my own needs to have my efforts recognized. I find that in serving her, I am again blessed with your spirit, and an increased sense of oneness with the love of my life.

She loves me, unconditionally. She expresses it to me everyday, in the way her face beams when she looks at me, in the way she shows me I am the one she thinks about, desires to be with, in the way she selflessly cares about me, the way she shows she respects me. She is committed to me, to our marriage, to our life together. I know it is her most important priority. How can I not reciprocate? I am completely and totally committed to her, to being the man of her dreams, to trying to pay her back, in some small way, for the joy she has brought to my life.

I am grateful for the blessing of lovemaking. When we are united as one the sight, smell, taste and feel of her warm body, the pleasure that we enjoy giving and receiving, is so much more than physical. The experience is so intense, so loving, so beautiful. I feel so wonderfully close to the woman I share my life with. It is in this only in this of sharing that we truly understand exactly how much we mean to each other. Every time we make love I am driven to recommit myself to being more selfless and more attentive to her and her needs so that the joy and oneness that we experience can make a continuous bridge over the following days until we are again able to join our bodies, minds, and souls, our entire essence as a single being-partners, spouses, lovers, companions, confidants, everything. Father, I want to be one with her as you are one with your Son. Is that what heaven involves? I hope so.

Too often I hear men and women speaking about their spouses in negative terms. In its milder form it is seen in comments like “you know how women are.”  Sometimes it reaches lower and involves public criticism of the spouse’s weaknesses. May I never take part in such behavior. I cherish her. She is precious to me. I adore her. I often find myself telling people what a wonderful woman she is. You have  put us together and our efforts to make our marriage exceptional have been successful. Forgive me if this sounds boastful, but I truly believe we have a degree of intimacy that few couples have achieved. I recognize that it is a blessing from you for putting our relationship in harmony with what you have taught.

Father, please help me to never take her for granted. Satan knows of our joy and would love to bring us into misery. Help us to fight daily to follow your Son’s example in how we treat each other. We know that all things are possible for you. I pray that you will show us the way that we can continue progressing as a couple beyond this short life. I cannot possibly envision a heaven without her by my side. Losing her would be the most horrific thing I can imagine.

Your grateful son,

M.