"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"
Eph 5:25

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A More Genuine Husband


Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. 
 (Proverbs 16:3)

I took the past 6 months off from blogging to collect my thoughts and pray, and deal with some minor health issues.



In that time I re-evaluated my writing. I've always been transparent about the fact that I am not a Bible scholar whatsoever. I know what I know and I try to apply it to my life the best way I can.

However, I realized that my writing had become more than a bit bogged down in details and attempts to preach and teach.  That was never the intent of this blog, yet it somehow morphed into exactly that.  
So, after much prayer and thought, I'm returning to the original idea of the Genuine Husband blog; taking what I learn and applying it to my life as a husband. Starting with the series I introduced in April, I will continue to write, but in a less pecksniffian, more genuine, honest way.

I will just let my experiences and thoughts flow from the Holy Spirit, through my heart, and out my fingertips. It'll be more simple that way (read "less stress"). Maybe some husbands who are also on this journey will identify with my findings and offer a hearty "Amen," Maybe not.  Regardless, change was overdue.

Hold onto your hats and stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Dinner Is Served

I have always enjoyed cooking and shopping.  When I was very young my mother took me grocery shopping every Saturday with my grandmother.  Later on when my grandmother could no longer shop for herself, I was put in charge of Nana's groceries.  She taught me many things about buying and preparing food, and I learned to have fun with it. I continue to use her recipes to this day.

But I don't really want to discuss shopping and cooking.  Well, actually, I do ... kind of.

You see, my wife doesn't like to cook or shop, or plan and host parties, or do any food-related work whatsoever.  I mean she really doesn't like it.  I didn't realize how much of an aversion she had to the whole experience until several years into our marriage.  Don't get me wrong, it isn't usually a problem, because like I said, I have always enjoyed cooking and shopping.

However, there are those days when I come home from work and feel like collapsing into a heap on the bed, never to move until morning.  Tired as I am, dinner must still arrive on the table.  What happens on those days?

Those are the times I remember a few key verses.
(Proverbs 11:25)  Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.
(1 Peter 3:7) Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
(Philippians 2:3-4) Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
When I keep these verses in the front of my mind I am able to pull my sorry self out of my chair, go to the store, make dinner, serve it, and even wash some dishes, if necessary. 

Why?

Because I have studied my bride and I know that it is much more difficult for her to make dinner than it is for someone who enjoys it, like me. Over time I have found great peace in sacrificing my own comfort to serve her in this way

How about you?  Do you look for little ways to serve your wife?  If not, try it.  You might just find a little peace.

Monday, February 17, 2014

What Is Your Thorn?


A Thorn In My Flesh

I had a rough sleep last night.  I’m pretty sure I did  sleep, but it was a tossing and turning, heart-pounding sleep, the kind where you lay there wide awake for a long time, sweating and turning and getting up for a drink, then another, and another, and another. 

It was a "thorn in my flesh" that kept me awake. Not an actual thorn. Rather, an affliction (read "torment") that remains in place in spite of my many pleas to God to remove it. The Apostle Paul wrote about such a thorn in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Like Paul, I have some afflictions.  Some are physical ailments such as severe joint pain and respiratory issues, and some are of a non-physical nature, such as unfulfilled dreams, failed goals, and unmet desires.  I have had to make the hard decision to give up on some of my dreams and desires and have asked God to help me deal with the pain of reality.  I have cried out to Him, asking Him to purge from my heart the desires that torment me.  So far His answer has been “no” which leaves me tormented by my own thorns.

They say that when God closes a door He opens a window.  I believe that sometimes instead of opening a window He says "I want you to deal with this closed door for the rest of your life.  It will make you depend on me for strength and will draw you closer to me."  After all, God even said "no" to his own son, Jesus.


And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”(Matthew 26:39)
 
Husband, do you have a thorn?

Is there something you have been longing for in your marriage?  Is there an area of desire or an unfulfilled dream that you have tried to accomplish but just can't for whatever reason?  Maybe you don't have the finances, maybe you don't have the physical strength, or maybe your wife said "no."  It could be a dream that you want to achieve, a change of jobs, a larger, financially out-of-reach home, a desire for closer intimacy, or something else.  If you asked God to help you achieve it but He didn't and He won't remove the desire from your heart, what are you going to do?

Here are some ideas ...

Pray - Pray for God to reveal His will for your marriage.  Pray that He will turn your marriage into the one-flesh union He intended it to be.  Pray for your wife and for yourself.  Pray that you will be able to make the sacrifices and not hold those "no's" in your heart forever.  

Talk - Talk with your wife about your dreams and desires.  Let her know the struggle you are dealing with.  ask her to pray with you and for you.  If there is a way for her to help ease your burden, ask her to do it.  Maybe she will be able to help.

Read - Get out your Bible and read it.  Also, go online and find good, Christian blogs about marriage.  Take to heart what the authors write and put it into practice.

Release - Let go of your desires and give them to God.  He has your best interest at heart, and He will stand by you, hold you, and help you through it, even when you are so frustrated that you could explode.

Is this going to be easy?  Of course not.  I can tell you from personal experience that some things feel so important that you can't imagine God denying your request to remove a desire you know will never come to fruition.   All you can do is give it to Him and trust that He will work it out for your good.  And, of course, put up with the occasional sleepless night. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Line in the Sand


God has given husbands the responsibility of leading their wives and children helping them grow closer to Him.  It’s a daunting task at best which is made even more challenging when a husband and wife don’t see eye to eye on the subject of headship and submission.

Last week I received a question from a husband who is struggling with leadership in his marriage.  It isn’t an issue in which he has difficulty following God’s leadership; rather, it’s a matter of convincing his wife and children to submit to his leadership. 

He writes:

My wife rebels against my authority all the time.  She’ll only submit to my leadership when she agrees with me.  When she doesn’t agree with me, or when it means work for her she refuses to submit.  I try to live with understanding but I tired of trying to get her to submit to me.  It’s affecting my relationship with our kids too.  They think I’m stupid and inferior to her because of the way she behaves. I just don’t know what to do.

Many husbands, myself included, face the same situation to a certain extent in our own marriages.  Husbands submit to the Lord and lead accordingly, only to have their wives stop short of submission.  I’ll follow him this far and no further.  At some point along the way they draw a line in the sand either when things start to become uncomfortable or when they disagree with the direction or decision their husbands are making. 

The fact is that we husbands are commanded to love our wives as Christ loved the church, giving His life for her. (Ephesians 5:25)  This means that we must live our lives sacrificially for her benefit, giving up what we need in deference to her needs. It does not mean we should deny ourselves so that she can have every little thing she wants (that would definitely not be for her benefit), but for her good.

Wives are instructed in Ephesians to submit to their husbands in everything (Ephesians 5:22).  Everything means not just the things with which they agree but everything. So, when a wife draws a line in the sand and will not submit to things that are outside her comfort zone or ideas with which she does not agree, she is in sin, plain and simple. 

But it isn’t that simple.  1 Peter 3:7 says Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.  In this verse husbands are instructed to take great care of their wives and to show thoughtful consideration of them, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.  This means that when they aren’t ready to submit to their husbands and to God, their husbands must be understanding and patient.  If not, the husbands’ prayers will be hindered.

What, then, should a husband do when he tries his best to assume the headship in his marriage and to take the marriage where the Lord leads, and, as this husband’s question states, his wife will not follow?  The path of least resistance is to take a back seat to his wife and and let her lead.  Go along to get along.

In Hebrews 12:14, Paul tells us to make every effort to live in peace with everyone.  He specifically says every effort.  I have personally taken this to mean that when my wife is upset with me to the point that it is causing distress (not just a small disagreement) I must make every effort to live in peace with her. When the line has been drawn in the sand, whether by word or by action, I must set aside my vision for our marriage, even important ones, to live in peace with my bride.

As a husband, am I happy about it?  No.  Does it damage our marriage and hinder our intimacy?  Yes, sometimes it does.  Is there anything I can do about it?  Pray, and be patient. 

Our wives are precious gifts from God.  We have to lead them, love them, guide them.  And when they rebel, we have to be gracious and forgive them. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

My New Year's Resolution. (It's a doozy)

New Year's resolutions come in all shapes and sizes, large and small, individual and group, physical and spiritual. I resolve to lose 30 pounds.  I resolve to get out of debt.  I resolve to stay organized.  
Yeah, yeah, yeah ... I don't usually put much confidence in the New Year's resolution thing.


However, something my wife said a few weeks ago got me thinking.  We were about to have dinner, and it was our youngest child's turn to ask the Lord's blessing for the food.  (For quite a while we had been rotating around the table, giving each child a turn to pray.)   Using my wife's reaction as a gauge, I could tell she wasn’t happy with the quality of the prayers of our children.  She expressed a desire for our kids to learn how to pray more appropriately.  Then she said, “They don’t have an example.”

Ouch!

Even though her words were painful to hear, she was right.  My kids don’t have an example, and it doesn’t just affect their prayer life. Kindness, cooperation, sympathy, respect, compassion, and tolerance are just a few of the areas in which I have let this family slide. My children have a bit of a mean streak directed among themselves as well as toward others, and I’m here to say that whatever change is in my power to initiate, I am going to make that change.  Starting  here.  Starting now.

Currently every time I hear words “love,” "enjoy," or "smart," I hear three times as many words like “hate,” "can't stand it," and "stupid."  I hate this food.  I can't stand So-and-So.  That show/book/game is stupid. I wish I had a better/bigger (this/that) I hate snow.  I hate my brother/sister/room/hair.

My children tend to sit around instead of helping with housework, yard work, or general chores; they do so because I have given them an inadequate example to follow.  I have not gotten off my rear end to be an example, to help them.  I have not spent enough time showing them how to work. As a result, they don't work. 

When their prayers aren’t acceptable enough to be spoken aloud in a group, I need to step up and show them how to lead prayers out loud. I need to teach them how to pray in a way that is acceptable by doing it correctly myself.

When they display narrow-mindedness (I don’t like him because he has tattoos.  Her dress is inappropriate.  His hair is too long. They’re probably bad people because they attend (the wrong church/club/public school), I must get to the root of the problem inside myself and show a more accepting outlook in order to rid our family of such attitudes. 

When they are scornful toward each other, I must be an example of grace so they learn to be gracious.
After all, I am the head of my household.  If they fail it's because I have failed.

I need to be an example.  That is my New Year’s resolution.