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

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Need To Pray More

I don’t pray enough.  People and circumstances come across my thought life numerous times a day, and each time I brush those thoughts aside to be dealt with later.  In my experience, these thoughts have been promptings from the Holy Spirit, telling me to stop and pray. 

But I don’t.

I should pray for and with my children.  Big Sister needs a gentle heart, Little Sister needs self-control, Big Brother needs to be successful in some way, Little Brother needs to feel needed, and Baby Brother needs to be more independent.  I should pray for them and their needs every time they come to mind.

I should pray for and with my wife.  She needs time and patience for the children; it isn’t easy to homeschool 3 children and care for a preschooler and a toddler all day, every day.  She needs to feel loved by me (I haven’t been very good at that lately).  She needs time for herself to collect her thoughts.  I should pray for her every day, several times a day. 

I (we) should pray for us as a couple – husband and wife.  We need daily time together to discuss our day.  We need time to discuss our plans for the future.  We need to find some way to grow together as a couple, and continue growing in the Lord.  I (we) should pray every day.

I should pray for our family finances.  How will we make ends meet when everything increases except my income?  How will we afford a reliable car so I can drive to work?  How will we heat the house this winter? I should ask God for guidance and wisdom.

I should pray for my friends.  Some of them are sick.  Some are having other problems.  One needs help around the house.  One just needs to chat.  Many of them don’t know Jesus.  I should ask for opportunities to help and talk.
I should pray for myself.  I need to deal better with the daily pressures of life.  I need to find productive ways to deal with disappointment and frustration.  I need more sleep.  I need to love my wife and family more.  I need to find time in the day to plan meals, mow the lawn, fix the fence, clean the garage, organize the basement, finish the unfinished rooms, rewire the bathroom, attend baseball games, play Old Maid, exercise, etc.  I need to stop thinking about things that can’t be and concentrate on things that are.  I should pray for a loving heart, pure thoughts and  gentle words.  

I have a long list of “shoulds.”   I need to shorten the list, with  a lot of prayer.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thoughts on Intimacy

Originally Posted on Tenorboy Journal, May 21, 2011)

"You can't be known by someone who won't know you, and you can't know someone who won't be known." ~Anonymous


True intimacy in marriage doesn't just happen. And NO, I'm not just talking about sex.  I'm talking about becoming one flesh in every sense of the word - to be known, completely, by your wife, and to know her completely as well.  Body and soul.  The good, the bad, and the ugly (believe me, my wife has seen my ugly, especially the last few months).  It's about knowing the deep thought lives of each other.  It's about taking up the slack for each other, because you just know your spouse can't take it anymore.   

A few months ago the Lord laid a burden on my heart in this area, so I've been researching the matter exhaustively, and, with much prayer, I am laying some of my thoughts on the line, right here, right now, with the hope that someone will find this information useful.

I must add a disclaimer:  I am not an expert in the field of marriage intimacy, nor have I achieved even one tenth of a  fleck of what is possible. However, I have done more than a fair amount of prayerful study, and have come up with a few ideas and opinions.
First, to accomplish this kind of "oneness,"  you need two willing partners.  If you don't have a willing wife, forget it - it ain't gonna happen. Then you have to open yourself completely to her; you must be willing to lay your whole self out, vulnerable and awkward, naked and unashamed, with all your faults exposed.  You must be willing to let another person into your depths, tell them all your secrets, all your desires, all your thoughts, good and evil. Your wife must be willing to explore you and know you and accept you for who you are, understanding that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and your bent is what it is.  She must be a safe haven - someone who will not be shocked by what you tell her.  She must be open to the fact that you are not Mr. Wonderful; instead, you are Mr. "I'm-An-Ugly-Pig-On-The-Inside," and she must be OK with it.

This intimacy thing is a two-way street, so wives must also lay themselves out for us husbands, no holds barred.  They must be willing to trust us completely with their most intimate thoughts and desires, their dreams, their less-than-prefect figures, their wants and needs.  We must be willing to get in there and let them be themselves.

Too many couples are afraid to express their needs to each other for fear of their spouse's reaction.  If we are willing to take the chance to make ourselves totally vulnerable (and BELIEVE ME it isn't easy), we can unlock a level of intimacy that until now we have only imagined possible.  You CAN be married to your best friend.  You CAN have the oneness that God intended for husbands and wives.

Malachi 3:3
“He (God) will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord” 

My research included, but was not limited to:

One Flesh Marriage
The Generous Husband
The Generous Wife
Journey To Surrender
15-Minute Marriage Makeover
The Sexual Man
Focus on the Family - Marriage and Relationships
Holy Sex