Posts Tagged ‘Christian Marriage’

Marriage and the Learning of Grace

January 14, 2012

Could it be that your marriage will actually help you to learn to have more grace? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

I wrote recently on Margaret Sanger and her view of sexuality after a friend shared with me a book that had been put out advancing the Eugenics view recently. In communicating with my friend late at night, I started discussing the topic of marriage and what a difference it makes.

If you ever want to learn about grace, one of the best lessons in experience that you can ever have is to get married.

When you live with someone else, like a college roommate, you can learn a lot about how you relate to other people and traits you need to work on. The difference with a college roommate is that you can by and large up and walk out if you need to and there is no lifelong commitment. Besides that, chances are that if you’re a Christian, that relationship with a roommate won’t involve sharing a bed and having sex.

Marriage is different. You marry someone for life as a start. There is no backing out once you seal the deal. Second, you marry someone of the opposite sex which means you need to learn to relate to someone who has a totally different way of thinking than you do. Third off, your relationship is far more intimate than any roommate relationship could be.

It is in this that grace is learned.

How so? In the dating period, we all put our best foot forward, but when we marry, we soon come to learn that there are a lot of negative traits that person has. Oh sure, we saw them some when we were dating, but now, they can be written large and they are before us constantly.

My wife can point it out to me when I am showing pride at times, for instance, and in the marriage relationship, I am far more aware of when I am being prideful than I was before. I find I have to constantly monitor myself even when she’s not around and ask “Am I participating in a thought pattern or activity that will make me be less the man that my wife needs and less of an example to her?”

Grace especially works when we find the other person’s faults however. It’s quite amazing that for most of us, our problems are small and simple and we can take care of them, but that other person! They have to get things right! We can put their mistakes under a magnifying glass and say that ours are not really such a big deal after all.

This can become a reality in prayer and makes me think of the passage in 1 Peter 3 about your prayers not being hindered. If my wife does something that I think is wrong, I can come to God and ask what am I supposed to do in this situation and how can my wife do whatever it is that was done?

Now I do not believe in God speaking to me, but I can often picture it as if He would say in response “And how is that different from all the times that you’ve done if not an identical a similar action to me? Are you saying that I should just overlook all you did to me and you don’t do the same for your wife?”

Ouch. That hits home. That makes grace a reality. Men. Here is the challenge to us. We are to love our wives as Christ loved the church. I really don’t understand it these days when women complain about how hard the Bible is on women when we are told as men that we have to follow a command like that for our women.

Let’s face it men. A lot of times, love is work. It really is. It’s easy to be loving when your wife is in a romantic mood and she wants you to be with her. It’s not so easy to be loving when you’re in the middle of a disagreement and you’ve got that zinger on the tip of your tongue and you know you sure as heck better not say that since that will leave some serious scars.

Now to get back to both of us, women can also complain about their husbands. Mrs. Peters has her own concerns about me that she shares sometimes. I know sometimes I get so caught up in my own world that I’m not giving her the attention that I should. That is something I need to work on. A lot of men do that also with such things as the TV remote.

In all these cases, we sit back and wonder what it will take to change our spouse. We can pray for that change to happen. Now in a sense, I don’t have a problem with this. I think we should pray for the good of our spouse and even give God our input. The message that needs to be conveyed at this point is that of Gary Thomas’s in Sacred Marriage. In that book, he tells us that a lot of spouses say that a partner needs to change in the marriage. They’re absolutely right! They just have the wrong one in mind!

You can only change your spouse indirectly, but there is one spouse you can change directly, and that is yourself. If I want Mrs. Peters to do something or to have a certain kind of attitude, I try to ask myself “Am I doing this or am I manifesting this attitude?”

And thus, marriage makes it so that I have to see my own failures highlighted before my eyes. I can look at myself constantly and say “Wow. That is the way that I really am! I need to work on that!” When I see those failures in myself, on what basis can I sit in judgment on my spouse? To do such is even to treat myself as a superior, when I try to make it a constant point to say that we are life partners and she and I are on the same level.

What am I to do in all of this? Seek to be more holy. My own pastor could tell you that on the day of my wedding, a Saturday, he took me to a little room in the church about ten minutes before I walked down the aisle and said “How can I pray for you today?” I told him my honest request straight from the heart. “I need to be holy.” I understand that he even commented on that in the sermon. (OF course, I wasn’t there. We were too busy heading out on our honeymoon.)

Dying to self takes on a whole new reality when you realize there is someone else in your life who depends on you. It’s not one-way of course. Anyone who knows us would say that I depend on Mrs. Peters as well. She is my encouragement and support when the rest of the world doesn’t make sense and the one who has done the most to increase my confidence. Anyone who has known us can tell the remarkable impact that this woman has had on my life for the good.

It means also not just your sanctification but the others. Do we men have relationships with our women that she could think that she’s married to Christ? Christ was not only holy himself, but He is making His bride holy and His work is to present us to the Father blameless and without blemish.

As Christ loved the church. Remember that men?

If you’re married now and not intimidated by that, you’re not taking it serious enough.

For we men, a definite way to do that is to watch our relationships with other women. I make it a point to try to avoid even looking. Now some might say that’s paranoid. Well I would rather be that way rather than even risk anything happening in my marriage, since it all begins with what goes on in the mind.

Every action done in love also inclines one further that way. The more you act in love, the easier it is to love. The more you go against your own selfish desires, the more you are disciplining yourself to think selflessly and the more you do that, the better and better you are at being a spouse and not only at being a spouse, but being a Christian.

When those wrongs happen however, you learn to forgive. You are to forgive as you have been forgiven. This forgiveness does make one learn all the more about grace. Not only do you learn to show it, but you learn all the more about the grace that has been shown to you by God.

It’s all work, but it’s also a blessing. Marriage is a great adventure, something I want my single friends who seek to get married one day to recognize, but it’s also a lesson in holiness. The best advice I can give to you is to do all you can to work on that now.

And really, shouldn’t you be doing that anyway?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

One Year Later: It’s Worth it

August 20, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Tonight, I’m going to be wrapping up the series I’m on of looking at marriage one year later. I hope that it’s been illuminating to all readers despite their marital status. So, what final message will I end with?

Have fun.

Marriage is full of ups and downs. There are no perfect marriages. I do not believe Jesus was married, but if he had been, he would not have had a perfect marriage because he would have been married to an imperfect woman. If he could not have had a perfect one, don’t count on your having one either.

You have two people coming together with all their positives, yes, but also all their negatives. When you’re close to someone, it’s easy to get careless also and let some of those negatives show. In marriage, you get to see the person as they really are entirely. However, in seeing the other person, you can often see yourself as well. Can you control yourself enough to overcome your own faults and can you manage to not make the faults of the spouse everything?

However, you also get the fun and adventure, and that’s not just sex my male friends who might be thinking that since we tend to think about that the most. Marriage is an endless adventure as you’re connected to a person and every day you are constantly learning new things about that person.

These kinds of things are the things that could easily be taken for granted. That person has chosen to share their life with you and will always be a part of your life. Do not take them for granted. Do not act like their love is commonplace. I am constantly amazed when I hear the devotion that my wife has for me.

Do not lose sight of the simple pleasures. I find it amazing to realize I sleep in the same bed with a woman now and that I am at that phase of my life. It’s like being on a whole new plane. You really do change. To my male friends, I can assure you that marriage will change you and you will see the world through new eyes and you will find more and more your thinking changing, particularly with how you view the new woman in your life.

The relationship takes hard work. The more serious a relationship is, the harder it is. The greater also, however, the rewards are.

There was a night we had one time that I have not forgotten the main part of. We were getting set to turn out the lights and I was reaching down from the bed to get something and moving in a way I shouldn’t have and started to fall. My wife gets quite concerned since I have a steel rod on my spine. Before anything could happen, she had immediately wrapped her arms around me and said “I won’t let you fall.”

That’s the way it is. You don’t let one another fall. You fight alongside each other on all the battles. Through good times and bad, you are a unit together. You are a new family. It is a privilege that is to be enjoyed. Thus, make the most of it and have fun together. You have the rest of your lives.

One Year Later: Why Wait?

August 18, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’ve been writing lately on marriage and what has been learned after one year. The last time I wrote, I wrote about sex. I affirmed it as a very good gift of God to which I can picture someone asking “In our modern age, if it’s so good, why wait? What’s the big deal?”

This is a very real question and one that we need to be thinking more about. The temptations are there always even for those of us who are Christians. Being a Christian does not mean that you will never be tempted and if you think that, you are already prone to fall for temptation. When that temptation comes, you will need more than a few verses of Paul. You will in fact need the theology of Paul.

To begin with, sex is not just an action. It entails an action and the action is necessary of course, but it is much much more. In the sexual union, there is a connection with one’s spouse that cannot be expressed in any other way. It is using the deepest action possible to express the deepest commitment we can have between two people.

In fact, we in the Christian church should be pushing this more and more. It is amazing that those outside the church think of sex as “no big deal.” It’s something highly enjoyable, but it’s just something that you do. For us, it is not to be just something we do. It is supposed to be the highest love between humans expressed.

If you walk down the street and see someone you know, and they wave at you, you will take that action to mean something and smile or wave back. If, on the other hand, they extend to you the middle finger, you will be hurt and wonder what it is that you did to offend them. The bodily actions mean something.

So does the action of sex. If this action means something, it is important to find out what it does mean. Note that the marriage is portrayed as a parallel to God and Israel and to Christ and the church. In both cases, God is God and Christ is Christ and in both cases, God and Christ are in the male roles.

The men give their life to the women. They share their life with them and the woman is the one receiving. In the same way, the relationship between God and Israel and Christ and the church end in them implanting their own life into us. While that might seem crude to some readers, we must keep in mind as Christians that we believe that God designed sex. (Yes Christians. Keep that in mind if you have the desire to be prudish. God designed the system and he designed it to be enjoyed as well)

To not wait is to tell someone that you want them to give you all of them without having the protection of a covenant. Now some might say in response to this “Well would you drive a car without taking it for a test-drive?” Fair enough question. To the couple that wishes to ask this, I have but one question in reply.

“Which one of you is the driver and which one of you is the car?”

To do this action, is to put someone’s sexuality on a test and if they don’t measure up sexually, well they’re out. Who can really perform their best when they’re under that kind of pressure? Keep in mind also those of you who are unmarried, as there is an important truth to learn here about sex.

It gets better.

Your first time is not likely to be the best time ever, although no complaints really if it is, but as you and your lover grow used to one another more and more, things get better as you come to know the things that you like and the things that you don’t like. The two of you come to know one another better and how best to please one another.

If you judge the whole by the first time, it’s not really fair. You have yet to get started. (I highly recommend Kevin Leman’s book “Sheet Music” here) Take the time and if you wish, find some good material that will help you to improve your sex life. Keep in mind also that once you’re married, you can do what you want provided it does not shame or harm your spouse.

“Well if you do that, can’t you open you up to….a lot of stuff?”

“Yes.”

That’s one of the great blessings of it. No matter how it turns out, you both know that you will wake up next to each other not just the next morning, but every other morning afterwards. You are in a covenant and even if it’s not the best time every time, you can always laugh about it and enjoy it still. (And you will have some times that are better than others)

“Well the person I’m interested in has already agreed to marry me.”

Then you should be willing to wait since you know that you will have that person.

After all, you don’t really know what will happen. I knew someone once who the night before his wedding, he and his bride-to-be were hit by a drunk driver. She died and he was hospitalized. If he’s remarried or not now, I do not know, but I know that if he waited, which I believe he did, he would have no shame before his future wife and could say he saved himself for her.

There are several couples who think they will get married, have sex, and then break apart. It does change the dynamic of the relationship. Having a covenant however helps seal that. As soon as you have the covenant, you know that it will not change as you’re in this until death do you part.

Now waiting is not easy. I recommend that if you’re in a home setting, never have it be just the two of you in the home. Let it be that anyone could come and find you. My parents and in-laws did this for us but were also very respective so we could get some good romantic time that did not involve having sex before we got married.

As much as I recommend husbands and wives pray together, I don’t recommend that for engaged or dating couples if they are physically together. Prayer can be an extremely connecting time and that emotional connection can be followed by a strong desire for the full connection. Don’t risk it at this point. You’ll have plenty of time together.

If you are watching pornographic material right now, stop immediately. This will not help your self-control and in fact will leave ghosts behind that can affect your future marriage. Never mind that Scripture has just a few things to say about lust. Save your desires for your spouse and remember to focus on them. They don’t need to think they are competing against a fake person on a screen.

Do be reading good books on the topic, even before marriage. If you have to, talk to someone you know who you can trust. I found myself talking to men and women both about anything I could in seeking help before my marriage. When it comes to the specifics of sex however, I recommend men talk to men and women to women.

Look forward to what you have coming and be ready to enjoy it and I pray you and your spouse will be able to be in the same position my wife and I are in. We both waited until that night, and we have no regrets about waiting.

One Year Later: What Is Sex?

August 15, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’re going to be continuing our look at marriage one year later tonight talking about sex. After all, most disagreements in marriage center around parents, money, and sex. So what has been learned about sex after one year of marriage?

To begin with, this will not be a blog about physical techniques and moves and things of that sort. I have no problem with Christians studying that however as anything that can improve your sex life in marriage should be considered provided it is not immoral. This will also not be a peak into our bedroom. I will not state anything explicitly that my wife and I do together. I want this to be something that all married couples can learn from and all who are wanting to get married can think about.

If you go into marriage thinking sex will be like it is in the movies and on TV, you will find that it is not. It’s something quite different, but it is something really good still. An attitude that Christians need to get past is the one that thinks it is improper for Christians to enjoy sex. If anything, we should have the world coming to us wanting to know how to have better sex, rather than us going to the world.

The main joy of sex is the intimacy that you share with one person. It has been said that intimacy is better than sex, and I do agree. However, the best intimacy will lead to sex. The desire to be one with the person that you love is a strong one and building up that love will only make the sex better.

In sexuality, there is a complete openness between the husband and wife. For Adam and Eve, they were both naked and they felt no shame. Such is the case in a good marriage. Neither person needs to feel any shame in the bedroom. Unfortunately, due to some events in our lives, it can be easy to feel shame, but do not live with that shame in front of your spouse. Give them total openness.

My wife does love the way I look physically, but I know she would also agree that I am not a muscle man. In fact, I am underweight. However, I take great delight in knowing that she loves my body. Of course, she loves more than that, but that she loves that gives me great freedom when I am with her. Can I change my body to be even more attractive to her? Yes. However, my acceptance is not based on that change and I am working on that change as we speak.

Sex is an ultimate way of letting go. For the time being, there is no one else in the world. It is just you and your spouse and you are focusing the most on what can bring your spouse joy. Now in a sense, you do think about your own pleasures, but that is so your spouse can know what it is that you like and don’t like. When you get to sex however, let the rest of the world go away. For the time being, it is you and your spouse together sharing your love.

Make it a priority too. Many women can sadly make the mistake of thinking that they’ll give their husband sex when he starts doing some things around the house. The reality is that the husband is thinking “Well when she starts giving me sex, I will start doing things around the house.” If you are a woman reading this, I can practically guarantee to you that if you make this part a priority for your husband and make it a goal to seduce him, that he will start doing what you want as well. A happy man is a helpful man.

Will there be times you just can’t do sex for some reason? Of course. If so, then make sure you set aside a time definitely where you will and don’t back down on it. If you say to your husband “I can’t right now, but I am sure looking forward to it when you get home tonight,” you will not only affirm him, but you will give him something great to think about the whole day. (And keep this in mind women. He will be thinking about YOU the whole day)

And to my fellow men, make sure that your wife knows you value her for more than just sex. I personally think you should start helping around the house even if she isn’t giving sex. It is quite likely as well that once the wife sees that great devotion to her, she’ll be more eager to repay that devotion. As a female friend told me once, “Sex begins at breakfast.” Men cannot expect to not do anything all day, come home, watch TV, and then think that a little wink at night will immediately get their wives in the mood.

Your wife needs to be affirmed as a woman and not just sexually. She should not be seen as just the person you go to to get your kicks. What you two share together is not just to be a moment of awesome pleasure. It is also to be a moment that will solidify the bond of husband and wife.

In marriage then, sex is not just something you do because it’s fun, and by golly it is and should be! It is a powerful action. It conveys in it a passion that is far too powerful to be contained in mere words. I am not downplaying words, but I am not saying that the sexual act should be showing the passion that is so strong that words are just inadequate to express it.

Christians. Keep in mind that sex is God’s idea. He created it. He designed the system that drives it. He made it the pleasurable experience that it is. He also used it as a picture of the covenant He has with us. How often in the Bible is marriage used as an illustration of the love of God for His people? Do you really think then that sex is just something incidental to that?

If you do not think you have a strong desire for sex, pray for one and seek one out. There are numerous books that can help you with your sex life and would be fun for couples to go through together. I recommend “A Celebration of Sex” and “Intended for Pleasure.”

Keep in mind that this is God’s gift to you and your spouse. Enjoy it! Thank him for it! In fact, I followed the advice I’d seen before from someone and on our wedding night, I made sure to pray to ask God to bless our sex life together. Some of you are thinking “Well that seems odd.” Why? You pray before your meals and ask God to bless them? Why not ask Him to bless a most integral part of your marriage?

As I’ve said, this is a picture of God and His people, so really think about your sex life and what you can learn about God from it. (One can picture one spouse telling another that they want to study theology that night) In the midst of learning though, do not cease to enjoy. Let yourself go. There’s only one person you can do that with. Give yourself to them entirely body and soul. Let yourself be you around them and let them be them around you. It is in your total exposure to one another that you have the best intimacy and then, the best sex.

And let’s do this right people. It is a shame that we think the world has something we’re missing out on. If we believe Scripture, we should know that in married sex, the church has something that the world is missing out on.

Marriage One Year Later: In-laws

August 13, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’m back from my trip and here to talk about Christian Marriage. Seeing as I just got back from visiting my in-laws, I figured that tonight would be a good time to write about in-laws.

There is a great danger in marriages that parents can become authorities that are controlling in a marriage. Both spouses can be tempted to call their parents at times and have their parents be the authority. It must be remembered in a marriage that the parents are not the final authority, especially since both sets could disagree.

When a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife and the two become one flesh, it does not mean abandoning all ties with parents. After all, in the biblical culture, it would have been common for the man and woman to still live in the same house as the parents. It does mean that a new family unit has been established however with its own authority.

This doesn’t mean that parents are useless. Parents can still provide good direction. They can still help out with issues seeing as many of them have been there before. However, they are not to be the ones that make the decision. That is to be to the husband and wife.

Husbands. Be sure also to be willing to stand up for your wife as well. Before we got married, my future mother-in-law told my future wife that she was sure that there would be a day come when I would stand up to my own mother in defense of my future bride. Indeed, that day did come.

Not only that, there have been times when I thought my own in-laws were in the wrong in a situation with my wife since marriage and I have stood up to them and let them know that. Sometimes, they have concerns that I do agree with. However, when I do not, I have made sure to stand up to them. Overall however, I am blessed to have very good in-laws who do delight in their son-in-law.

This is something important. If you’re a husband, your wife needs to know that you will stand up to anyone for her if you think you have to. While we could imagine a dashing knight standing up to a foul villain for the woman he loves, we sometimes forget that the hardest people to stand up to are not your enemies but your loved ones.

Ideally however, you should seek to have a good relationship with your new set of parents. I realize sometimes this can’t happen sadly. When it can however, do seek to please them provided they are not the first on your list to please. Your own parents have someone new that they can call their child now also. They too will have to get used to this new person as they do not know them as well as you do. (For my own self, my own in-laws would say I know their daughter better)

Overall, let your new in-laws be a blessing to you and make sure your own parents also know that your new spouse is the family priority in your life. They can still ask things of you, but they cannot ask you to put anything ahead of your marriage covenant. The spouse has to be #1.

We shall continue next time.

One Year Later: Different Interests

August 9, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’ve been busy the last two days and I will be out of town the next two so there will be no blogs. However, before heading out tomorrow, I plan to write tonight about appreciating one another’s interests.

My wife and I do have really different interests. I am a bookworm and she is not. I prefer the intellectual and she prefers the emotional. However, we also have several similar interests. I married a girl who would much rather go see a James Bond film than a chick flick. When we visited my parents last, my Dad and her and I all went to see Green Lantern together.

Also, we enjoy many of the same games. We can talk together about Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts. We have a Wii and one day, I decided to go through the original Super Mario Brothers on it and she wanted to do so with me. (Unfortunately, even though I chose the challenging route of no warp zones, she still never got a turn. Oh well.)

But the different interests are the ones that take work. Some of these you will find that you enjoy. My wife likes the Samurai Warriors games and now I have found that I like them as well. She also likes a lot of Anime. Now there have been series we’ve watched together that I haven’t cared for, but there have been some I’ve really enjoyed. I even used Death Note when I spoke at ISCA this year.

On her end, she has gone through the entire series of Smallville with me. (There are still some unbelievers out there who think that the series ended in May. It can’t end! It has to be a trick! It’s too good to end!) Anyway, when the finale played in May, we were watching it together along with another friend of mine. I’ve also introduced her to other games that she’d never really seen. (We have a ten year age difference so I get to show her much she didn’t know about)

She prefers art, and honestly, I haven’t understood it. So one night I just ask her “Honey. What do you see there because honestly, I’m not seeing it.” Some people might think such a question rude, but she knew I was asking sincerely wanting to know, so I took the time to listen to what my wife was seeing and soon came to realize I was missing much in the world of art.

This is what we have to do. I have no doubt that my wife will never have the same interest in my field that I do and I won’t have the interest in hers that she does, but we can support one another. I may not be an artist, but I want to support her learning to be a good artist. She, meanwhile, is not an apologist, but she seeks to support me in my apologetic ministry.

Take the time to understand what your spouse loves. That’s showing interest in them. If you really don’t have the same passion, admit it, but don’t discourage it. I may never want to pick up a pencil and draw like she does, but I sure want to encourage her in it. She may never want to argue like I do, but she knows when the chance shows up to deal with the atheist, to step back because I will enjoy myself and it is something that energizes me.

As long as it does not detract from holiness, should you not support your spouse in what encourages them? Their world is part of yours too. If you don’t enjoy it, at least respect it and help them in it.

We shall continue next time.

Marriage One Year Later: Grace and Hatchets

August 6, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Tonight, I’m going to be continuing my look at marriage one year later by seeing how grace works in the marriage relationship.

We’ve all been told about burying the hatchet. In theory, everyone agrees it’s a good idea. In practice, we seem to have a hard time doing such. C.S. Lewis wrote about how in marriage it would seem many of us will be granted grace for all the times we could have said a “zinger” and refused to do so. Often the point of the zingers is not the betterment of our spouses, but our proving our own selves. There are some things better left unsaid.

There will be disagreements in the marriage. That’s a fact of life. The point to keep in mind here is what is going to be done when those disagreements are done? We can say that we will bury the hatchet, but most of us usually have a good idea where that hatchet is buried and wish to recall past disagreements so that we can use them in future battles.

To the Christian reader, a question. What would it be like if God did that to you?

Do you think you could handle if he kept pulling your past sins to account to you again and again, knowing that He was entirely right?

But that’s what you want to do to your spouse anyway?

The concept of forgiveness includes letting the past stay in the past. Natural consequences will play themselves out, but it should not be an offense totally held over someone’s head. Now you might have to avoid some things true, but you should not do so as an indictment of bad character but realizing your spouse has difficulty in an area and at that time you need to help them in that area in their growth of personal holiness.

There have been times when I’ve been driving with my wife out somewhere and then she’ll confess something she’s done that I won’t like. Usually, I don’t. I’ll ask her about it some and then get some clarification without getting angry or raising my voice. Then, when we get there, I just let her know firmly that I did not approve, and I love her and know she’s better. That usually follows with something like a hug.

What we need to remember is to love our spouses the way God loves us. When we go to the cross, all our sins are right there and God says that we are forgiven by trusting in Him. He will not bring the past to account against us anymore. Such a great love and grace is extended to us and why ought we not to show that same love and grace to the person we say is the most important person in our lives? Why not show such love to the one who we claim to love the most?

Bury the hatchet, and KEEP IT THERE!

Marriage One Year Later: Prayer

August 5, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’ve been going through a series lately on marriage after celebrating one year about all that I’ve learned in that time. Today, I will be looking at the importance of prayer in marriage.

When we were dating, we had a friend who was one of several who saw very quickly where we were going. She sent my now wife a copy of the book “The Power of a Praying Wife” and she sent me a copy of “The Power of a Praying Husband.” While reading through my copy, I noticed how the book suggested spouses asking each other “How may I pray for you?”

Thus began a long tradition. We would call each other every night and before we went to bed asked that question. This would be even if our conversations were lasting into very late hours. When I would visit her family and stay there, we would make sure to ask that question to each other before we went our separate ways that evening to bed. (Yes. We stayed chaste until we were married and that’s for a later blog)

A great benefit of this is that we get to open up our hearts to one another in the evening and share what’s concerning us and connect with the church as a whole. I’ve found I have to be careful in some ways however since I will spend much time praying for my wife’s blessing and forget to ask that I will be the man that I need to be, but of course that’s something my wife knows is very dear to my heart.

We also read Scripture usually before we pray and when we come together for prayer, I always try to remember one lesson from the Scripture that I think we should have in mind. While reading the Scripture, if I think I need to, I will further expound on a point that the author makes and sometimes she’ll ask a question in the middle and we’ll spend a little bit of time discussing it.

I cannot stress how important prayer together is. When I talk to other people about a strong marriage, this is one topic I always bring up. When you come together to pray, it’s also a time to set aside your differences. It’s tempting at times to go to bed upset with one another over something, but prayer reminds you to focus your marriage to the place it needs to go to. There will always be issues and you can work those out later, but don’t let the issues stand between the marriage in the eyes of God.

Finally, as the husband, I am the one who leads the prayer and I think this is important as well. We men are to present our families to God and He will not just ask us how we did, but how we did in raising our families. Were we leading our wives and children to be good and holy and faithful servants of God, or were we hindering them in their holiness? We must answer for that. Do not count yourself a leader of your household if you cannot lead your family before God.

We shall continue on another topic next time.

Being Right Isn’t Always Right.

August 3, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’ve been going through lately a look at marriage one year later and what all has been learned in this time. While I hope I’m right in what all I’m saying, I wish to make the point tonight that it isn’t always right to be right.

In saying that, I am not saying it isn’t always right to seek truth or want to hold to a true belief, but as an apologist, it can be a great danger to see every interaction as a possible apologetics interaction. Simple questions can be turned into whole apologetics dialogues. If you’ve ever read Plato, you know that this can happen for Socrates easily as he’ll latch onto something someone says and question them relentlessly on it.

We should seek to be right, but there are also even in apologetics some battles that aren’t worth fighting. For instance, consider the creation/evolution debate. For me, I can say my thinking has “evolved” to the point where this is a non-issue. Now do I have a side on the issue? Yes. I do. However, I see the truth of Christianity being based on if Jesus rose from the dead and if the texts are reliable enough to demonstrate that. If they are, it really doesn’t matter to me what happened at the beginning. You can be saved regardless.

In other words, I think atheists and Christians who make that the issue could win the battle but lose the war. If we are to win a war, I think it’s far more important that we choose which hills we’re willing to die on. This is especially the case with secondary issues in Christianity today.

Now we come back to marriage. Believe it or not single friends, sometimes husbands and wives disagree on matters. My wife and I hold different views on the age of the Earth and eschatology. She knows my views and respects them and vice-versa and in fact likes to see me debate them. She does ask for my opinion on many matters and I’m happy to share.

However, there are issues that rise up that can be areas of serious disagreement. Married couples know all about these issues. I have found in many cases that more important than trying to prove to my spouse that I am right, is still in the midst of all of it being a good and loving husband and not losing sight of the person in the midst of the discussion. As I have said in other places, it is more important to be righteous than it is to be right a lot of times. (Righteousness is always important. Being right isn’t always essential.)

Can I disagree agreeably and even if I am absolutely certain that I am right in the matter, does it really matter in this case? Will proving that I am right be a way of increasing my ego simply instead of looking for the good of my spouse. If so, then I think it would be wisest to just drop it. My ego does not need to demonstrate to everyone that I am right every single time. If it is an important matter that I need to demonstrate correct thinking on, I can still do that in a way that I try to put her best interests at heart.

But in all things with your spouse, be righteous, right or wrong.

Marriage: One Year Later: Look At Me!

August 2, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Lately, I’ve been going through a series on marriage and how my thoughts have changed after one year. Today, I’m going to be talking about how I spend so much time looking at myself in marriage.

Some of you will probably be surprised when I wrote last time on how marriage is not about me, and today, the idea is “Look at me!” Of course, I did such purposefully just to show a contrast. While I do believe that I should look at myself, I don’t believe I look at myself the same way.

It has been said that when you marry God gives you a giant mirror and says “This is what you are like!” When we live with a spouse, it’s easy to really see all the negatives. After all, we all have them. When you marry, there are no secrets left. You get to see the good, the bad, and the ugly as it were.

So what happens when you find something about that person that you just wish wasn’t there or find something really irritating? It’s so tempting to say “How can they possibly be that way?” It is at that point then that the “Look at me” idea comes into play. While it is easy to condemn attitudes and such in others, we can just forget about how we do the same thing.

Looking at me makes me realize “Wait. I’m being a bit hypocritical here.” Now of course, that doesn’t mean that there’s always an exact one-to-one parallel, but we all have areas we can improve on and when we see our spouse’s areas, we can choose to think about how we have to change them rather than realizing the only person we can directly change is ourselves.

Note that this is not the same as condoning. In these cases, you can readily admit that these are things that need to change. This is the biblical principle about removing the log from your own eye before removing the speck from your neighbor’s eye. That speck needs to be removed, but your log needs to be removed as well. The best way you can help your spouse is by working to change yourself.

If you’re doing this also, you will live with a lot more grace and come to realize just how great that grace is for you. The realization can come of “Wow. In some ways I really am like that.” What you can do then is to work on yourself the most, realizing you will influence your spouse, and perhaps that influence will come through the change of yourself. It will be the change that makes the spouse be inspired to change themselves.

In conclusion, the point of today is that we need to make sure we’re getting our own houses cleaned. While we can discuss such matters with our spouse, we need to be willing to look in the mirror at ourselves and say “They do need to change here, but am I any better? What am I going to do about myself?”