Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Practice What You Preach!

It's amazing what a word of thanks and encouragement can do to a marriage. One of the great themes I often hear regarding couples is the fear of being taken for granted. We can get used to each other to point of presuming on one another. We vow to "love, honor and cherish" one another but do we subtly allow that to become an expectation rather than a privilege?

The bible talks clearly about the importance of biblical encouragement among believers. Giving thanks for that brother or sister in Christ can be a true blessing. The lack thereof can bring discouragement.

To truly encourage your husband or wife requires that you think about them, you pray for them and you more naturally care for them. The Apostle Paul, that great giant of the faith, found great courage in Jesus when he thought about his companions in the faith. "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you...God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1) There was great power in knowing what they had in common - something bigger than themselves.

We as professing Christian couples have a blessed and profound responsibility to encourage each other in faith in Jesus. Let us practice what we preach and may it most powerfully be seen in our marriages!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

We Need Peer Pressure!

Sometimes it's the indirect or informal things that have the most lasting effect. How many times have you been impacted by someone simply by watching how they lived and responded to life?

This is true in all of life but it can be particularly significant in marriage. We as Christian couples need all the help and encouragement we can get. Often that can come simply by being around others who are endeavoring to take Jesus more seriously in their lives.

We tend to become like the people we hang out with. We need the peer pressure of those among us who are sincerely and humbly trying to work out the gospel in their marriages. I find it refreshing and convicting to be in the presence of another couple who are honestly struggling to honor Christ in their lives and home. I go away with a renewed desire to love my wife more and be what God has called me to be in her life. That doesn't always come through formal instruction but healthy peer pressure!

My in laws, Tom and Ada Brown were married 56 years and are now home with the Lord. They will never fully know just how much they influenced me as to what it means to be a husband and father. They were a perpetual object lesson to me. I praise God that I was "pressured" by a couple who simply and faithfully loved their God and each other to the end.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One Thing at a Time

Marriage issues can build up like a basket of dirty laundry. We often get to the point where the only way we know how to deal with things is to bring EVERYTHING out of the basket and say, "now, what are you going to do about it?!"

There is nothing wrong with putting things on the table and sorting through them but you still have to pick them up one at a time! Life and relationships, especially marriage can feel like we do more accumulating things than dealing with them. Our pace of life and the intensity of demands upon us make us very susceptible to building up our mess rather than consistently dealing with things.

There is no quick fix or magic but there is a very practical and biblical way to approach the mess. "Be still and know that I am God." Let's not gloss over that. So much of our lives are lived in reacting to other things rather than resting in one thing. That one thing is the promises of God. Before we deal with our spouse we need to first deal with the Lord.

When we are consistantly mindful of the Lord and His call on ours lives the odds are we will more consistanly reflect Him in how we respond to the mess on the table -
one thing at a time.