Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Assumptions - Part II

I like to assume I know what Bev is thinking and how things affect her. I like to do that with a lot of people. I pride myself in being able to read people's reactions and how they process life. Most of the time I think I'm pretty consistent with my assumptions. I can't take the credit because it's more the way God has wired me. I've seen the Lord mature me in using those gifts in ministering to people. It can be a real help in identifying with others' struggles not only in my ministry but in my marriage.


There is a definite downside in making assumptions. "Why do you always assume you know what I'm thinking without even asking?!" That has too often been Bev's reaction when we are trying to work through a problem. I assume I know what the problem is for her and how she can resolve it. I assume the problem has to do with other things and people in her life. It really has nothing to do with me.

Bad assumption!

Maybe I need to start making another assumption. My motives are not always as sincerely driven as I think they are. Perhaps if I'm honest with myself I don't really want to listen to my wife and worse yet, assume some kind of responsibility for her struggle! I'd rather just "fix" her problem and with my gifts and abilities help her get back to living. My subtle pride and arrogance leads to a patronizing attitude that only adds to the frustration.

How's this for another assumption? I need to take to heart the biblical mandate to be, "quick to listen and slow to speak." and to be genuinely more interested in others than myself. If I don't do that in my own home with my wife I really can't do that with others. That's hypocrisy.

May God make us husbands and wives who assume we need each other to be all that we are called to be in Jesus. "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus." Philippians 2:4

Monday, July 20, 2009

What's Wrong With Us?

Why is that sometimes when we look around at other couples we feel everyone else seems to have it together but us? They have smiles on their faces. We never see them argue. Whether it's sitting together in church or Sunday school they have all the appearances of people who have FAR less problems than we do.

One of the effects which can occur is that a couple starts to feel there is some fatal flaw in their marriage that is holding them back. It can also lead to growing feelings of jealousy and regret. We almost start coveting other spouses thinking we could have a happier life with someone else!

Once again the church can be a place where we are reminded of our brokenness and hypocrisy not by the preaching of God's Word but by comparing ourselves to other people. It's more important what people perceive about us than who we really are. In a culture that is so image driven the church too often can function like the world. Instead of an oasis it's just another place to pretend.

Having an image becomes more important than having humility.

In Galatians 5 Paul is comparing the fruit of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit. Those more concerned about themselves, that is the flesh, will produce things like jealousy, rivalry and envy. On the other hand those who walk in the Spirit are known by things like peace, patience and self control.

It all starts in the heart. It has to be seen in the home before it can be appreciated in the church and the world. I have to stop pretending in my marriage and live with integrity and humility before my spouse. I have to make my daily prayer what David cries for in Psalm 139:23,24, "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!"

Let's go to church not to view others but to be viewed by God. And in turn let's look for ways to build others up in Christ rather than wonder how others see us.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

She'll Understand

"I know I said we would go out for a special dinner but something has come up and I knew you would understand."

"You have a very understanding wife!"

When my job or ministry becomes more important than my wife that's when erosion sets in. It's not always visible at first. A little here, a little there. We're still standing but the foundation is beginning to crumble.

Why is it that we get so use to the fact that our spouses love and support us that we all too easily take that commitment for granted? We almost unintentionally take advantage of their love and wonder why they feel unimportant at times. And then when we are confronted we immediately turn it back on them accusing them of not supporting us!

The erosion takes the form of a growing emotional separation. The one are becoming two. Not quickly or immediately but gradually. You just start getting use to the fact that, "that's just the way life is." The next step is then to start being more concerned about yourself and your needs than those of your spouse. We justify it by believing we really can't give to him/her unless they reciprocate. The final conclusion is then that they are actually hindering me from becoming what God wants me to be.

What a mess that husband or wife has made of my life!

Could this all be a masquerade to hide from the fact that I'm not taking my first love seriously? Why is the gospel and the honor of Christ not more important than the support or lack therefore of my spouse? Why do I let other "important" things get in the way of my love for her and in turn my love for Christ?

Maybe I need to get back to being truly motivated by the love and Christ and stop taking advantage of it.

"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her...In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself." Ephesians 5:25,28

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


My wife of 36 years has been away for a few days now. This happens periodically in our lives where one of us is on a planned trip and the other stays behind. There is a sudden independence. I'm now on my own in the sense that her presence is not with me and I am doing things independent of her.

I'm doing fine. I'm eating okay and getting caught up on things and people. It's actually been fun and productive. Independence has it's benefits.

But something is missing. I'm just not myself. Maybe I'm a closet wimp and don't want to admit it!

I really am dependent on Bev. These times remind me just how much a part of my life she has become. It's more than just "meeting my needs." Her smile, her comments, her idiosyncrasies all are a part of her life that I not only have become accustomed to but even dependent upon. Although I can live alone I'm just not myself without her.

That's exactly what life in Christ is all about. There is a direct correlation between the metaphor of marriage and the Christian Church. Life in the body of Christ is the same as a Godly marriage and vice versa.

We are called to trust in Christ alone but never to live alone.

I cannot be who I'm am called to be in Christ unless I live dependably on the body of Christ. I need the gifts, the presence, the voices of my brothers and sisters not simply to meet my needs but to become all I'm called to be and unable to be without their involvement in my life. It becomes second nature to depend on and look forward to growing with those closest to me spiritually. I want to have my identity in Christ but not apart from the body of Christ.

"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ...Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it." I Corinthians 12:12,27

I love my wife and can't imagine my life without her - EVERYDAY.

I love the Church of Christ and can't imagine my life without her - EVERYDAY.