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

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Weekly Top Ten

Saturdays at The Genuine Husband I post a weekly "top ten" list of the best blog posts for husbands and wives. Some weeks my picks will be more husband-oriented and sometimes more for wives.

Sometimes it will cover topics many churches are afraid to talk about.

Always it will be a collection of posts from solid, Bible-based marriage blogs covering topics that are important in God's holy covenant of marriage.

So, without further ado, here are this week's top ten (numbered only for convenience). Happy reading!

1. A Grown Up Marriage
Boredom an Impetus for Growth - "Once boredom hits you’ll begin pushing for changes."

2. The Romantic Vineyard
Are You A Wise Marriage Vineyard Owner? - "Are you willing to do all you can to help your marriage stand?"

3. The Forgiven Wife
Holding On - "When a heart is so used to hurting, it’s hard to know how to be any different."

4. Fierce Marriage
Planted - "Jesus said: 'Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit.' (Matthew 12:33)"

5. A Biblical Marriage
Compiling Your Own Story of Us - "Your own 'Story of Us' tells all about your journey together."

6. Christian Home And Family
 The #1 Quiet Time Habit Most Christians Miss - "It IS a relationship… you know that, don’t you?"

7. The Generous Husband 
Controlling Disguised as Something Else - "Boundaries are about protection, not control ...."

8. Elevate Your Marriage
Perfection -  "Off days happen. To everyone."

9. Peaceful Wife's Blog
A Husband's and a Wife's Authority in Marriage - "Wives are not without power in marriage."

10. Warrior Wives 
All Puffed Up on Marital Knowledge - "It will never help our marriages if we study Ephesians 5 to death and pick apart what it actually means to respect our husbands and submit to him but never actually respect him."

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Weekly Top Ten

Saturdays at The Genuine Husband I post a weekly "top ten" list of the best blog posts for husbands and wives. Some weeks my picks will be more husband-oriented and sometimes more for wives.

Sometimes it will cover topics many churches are afraid to talk about.

Always it will be a collection of posts from solid, Bible-based marriage blogs covering topics that are important in God's holy covenant of marriage.

So, without further ado, here are this week's top ten (numbered only for convenience). Happy reading!

1. Peaceful Wife's Blog
Giving Up on My Dream for My Marriage - Sometimes you just have to let go.

2. The Generous Husband 
Compromise, or compromising? - What reasons do you have for compromising in your marriage?

3. Journey to Surrender
Bold and Audacious - How do you pray?

4. A Biblical Marriage
Learning to Serve the Lord as a Married Couple - Do you and your spouse do ministry together?

5. A Biblical Marriage (Yes, the same blog twice!)
A Piece of Paper and a Ring doe NOT a Husband Make - There's a whole lot more to it!

6. Becoming His Eve
Remembering Jesus Our Advocate & 7 Practical Ways to Be Your Husband's Advocate - Great tips for wives who want to support their husbands.

7. Unveiled Wife
How To Pray For Sexual Intimacy In Your Marriage - 4 major things to pray about.

8. The respected Husband
Flame Retardant Men - Are you one of these men?

9. Rock His World 
What a Week - How do you help your husband during stressful times?

10. Sex Within Marriage
Does My Husband Still Find Me Attractive? - Many wives have doubts about this.

Friday, September 20, 2013

What Is a Husband?

Image Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Eighteen years ago on a cold evening in March I watch the most beautiful woman I had ever seen walk down the aisle of our church to be joined as one with me in matrimony.  I became a husband that evening.

hus-band  n. 1. a man joined to a woman in marriage; a male spouse.

So that's it, right?  That's what a husband is. It seems pretty cut and dried until you get into the actual nitty gritty of being a husband after you become a husband.

The word "husband is a derivative of two Saxon words:
  •  hus = house or household
  • buend = farmer / cultivator 
By definition husbands are cultivators of a productive home.  My wife and family should, under my supervision, produce more christian families.  My crop (children) should produce seed corn (more families) that produce more of the same.

The question is, are my crops productive?  Will my family continue to flourish in the Kingdom if I continue doing what I'm doing, or do I need to use more fertilizer, water, or richer soil?  Perhaps I need to uproot all the crops and start again in a different field.

Question for the husbands:  How are your crops?  Are you cultivating a productive household for the Kingdom of God?

Monday, September 16, 2013

An Intimate Look At Psalm 139

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
On Sunday our pastor's message was in part an analysis of this Psalm, but more importantly it was an application for our lives.  The fact that God is watching us all the time is a frightening idea for me.  Indeed, He knows my thoughts and deeds. He knows what I struggle with and what I enjoy.  He knows how I like my morning coffee (cream and 2 sugars, please) and why I leave my spoon in the cup.

He knows you, too.  He knows everything.  You can't hide your feelings or your actions from His eyes.  The best part is that He wants you to know Him, too.  He desperately wants an intimate relationship with all of us.  Too bad we won't let Him in on our secret little lives.  Too bad we don't bother to find out what He wants from us, how He wants us to live, where He wants us to go.

That's a very good point, but what does this have to do with being a husband?

God designed marriage as a reflection of His relationship with the church. He wants married couples to know each other the same way He knows us.  Just as Christ understands everything about you and wants you to grow closer to Him, understand more about Him, and accept Him, likewise He wants us to grow closer to our spouses, understand them, and accept them.

How closely do you pay attention to the details of your husband/wife?  Do you study him/her?  Do you understand why he/she does the things they do or want the things they want?  Many of us give our spouses only what we want them to have rather than glorifying God by giving them exactly what they want/need.   

For example:

  • Wife wants a puppy because she always grew up with a dog and life without one would be somehow wrong, but because her husband doesn't understand her (read know her) they don't adopt a dog.
  • Husband wants a particular intimate act that he feels will bring them closer together. His wife will only do what they've always done. 
  • Wife fixes her husbands coffee using one (1) teaspoon of sugar even though he likes it much sweeter (he uses 4 spoonfuls) because she thinks that's the way he should like it.
  • Husband likes mushrooms but his wife doesn't share his enthusiasm.  When he makes dinner he adds an abundance of mushroom regardless of how she feels. She can leave out the mushrooms when she cooks.
 I believe these examples are fairly typical of married couples.  They don't study each other to find out what makes them tick.  They aren't interested in getting to know each other past a certain point. This far and no farther.   In each case one spouse has reached out to make known to the other a preference, need, or desire only to have the other person disregard the information. 

Doing this to your spouse is like saying "I don't want to know you" just the same as telling God "I don't want to know You" when we disregard what He wants.

So we need to get busy and get to know our spouses.  Ask about specifics, then act on them.  Try your hardest to give them exactly what they desire.  If they like it, do it again!  Don't make it a one-time deal.  Yes, it may be uncomfortable at first (anything new has a built-in learning curve).  If you need help with something, ask someone or Google it. 

For Heaven's sake this is your marriage - your one-flesh relationship in which you are supposed to know each other so well that you are one.

How many sugars does your spouse like in his/her coffee?

Psalm 139

 1You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain. 
Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you. 
13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you. 
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
    Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
    your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
    and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
    I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Top Ten List

Saturdays at The Genuine Husband I post a weekly "top ten" list of the best blog posts for husbands and wives. Some weeks my picks will be more husband-oriented and sometimes more for wives.

Sometimes it will cover topics many churches are afraid to talk about.

Always it will be a collection of posts from solid, Bible-based marriage blogs covering topics that are important in God's holy covenant of marriage.

So, without further ado, here are this week's top ten (numbered only for convenience. Happy reading!

1. This Gal's Journey
Be A Bucket  List Spouse - Make each others dreams come true!

2. Marriage Adventures
From Awkward To Awesome - Sometimes you have to have an awkward conversation to have an awesome marriage.

3. Fierce Marriage
How Do I Pray With My Spouse? (Part 1) - Why should I pray with my spouse?
How Do I Pray With My Spouse? (Part 2) - How should I pray with my spouse?

4. Hope In Every Season
Submission vs. Obedience - Guest post from Misty at Simply Helping Him,

5. Rock His World
For Hubbies - His first installment of posts for husband gives some excellent tips.

6. Elevate Your Marriage
15 Words Every Husband Should Learn - Really 5 phrases more than 15 words, but good advice.

7. Peacefulwife's Blog
"Why is the TV More Important to My Husband than I am?????" - Her answer might surprise you.

8. The Respected Husband
Being a Football fan and a Family Man - Find time for your wife and family ... and the game, too.

9. Always Learning
Can Sex Simply Become A Chore? - It can if you don't have the right attitude.

10. Journey To Surrender
Are you Setting Yourself Up To Fail? - You are if you're trying to meet too many needs.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Short Rant and Rebuttal

The blogosphere is a world filled with opinions.  Bloggers offer bits and pieces of their knowledge and emotions to be read by anyone who happens to catch it, and readers are generally welcome to add their two cents on the subject. Additionally there are those who like to stir up controversy, taking issue with the bloggers' opinions and rantings.  Whatever way you look at it, blogging is a great tool for public discussion and debate.

I don't normally blog about comments.  I much prefer to let them stand on their own, with the occasional reply to acknowledge or clarify something, and to let people know that I do actually read their comments.

Today I received a comment that I could not publish, not because I wanted to censor the reader's opinion, but because it was a personal attack against me by someone who formed a narrow opinion about me based on a limited number of posts, specifically the "Why Men Leave" series (you can start with part 1 of the series here).

Let me start by saying that the series was written in response to a conversation I had with a pastor who presented me with a list of reasons husbands leave their marriages.  He had many years of experience counseling men and found common threads in their reasons for taking a pass on "happily ever after."  The opinions in the blogs were not necessarily my own, nor do I support men who blame their wives for every marital issue.  Quite the contrary.

 I happen to believe that husbands are responsible for the happiness and well being of their wives and marriages, and I believe it comes at the high price of self-sacrifice.  I believe husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church, giving himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25).  I believe we should live with our wives in an understanding way (1 Peter 3:7).

This reader, who posted anonymously, obviously is someone who knows me personally.  The fact that he/she used my full name and alluded to things which I have never divulged here on the blog was reason enough to refrain from publishing the comment.  It simply goes against proper blogging etiquette.

However, because I feel the charges were serious enough to address, I will do so by way of this post.

This is some of what the reader had to say:

"Every time I read one of your blogs I am amazed how it seems to say that if there is trouble in a marriage it is the woman's fault. I particularly took issue when you made a comment in one blog that 'women are to submit to their husband in all things'"

Firs let me say that you probably didn't read very many of my posts to form such an opinion.  as far as your issue with my comment about submission, let me point to Ephesians 5:24 which states, Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.   It is the Word of God.  I am not in a position to argue with Him.

"Based on your many comments, it would appear that you believe that the women are to blame for their abuse too."
I did a full search of my blog, and the only mention of that topic was in this post in which I stated "Feeling insignificant is not an excuse for bad behavior such as abuse or infidelity."

"I think you are a man who really doesn't like women very much because in your little world they are to blame for every mans unhappiness."
Wow.  This reader might think he/she knows me, but this little blurb represents the epitome of  misinformation. Talk about a personal attack. Sheesh!

"How about addressing the part about Men loving their wives as Christ loves the Church and gave himself up for her. Trust me when I tell you that if men did what they were supposed to do, which by the way is the first part of the scripture then women wouldn't be the issue."
Have you read this post?  What about this one?  Or this one?  How about this one, this one, this one, or any of these ...

Are You the Wrong Person?

Is She Better Off With You or Without You?

Mailbag Monday: Romancing the Wife

Love Is ... A Clean Garage

Am I That Man?

Struggling To Be A Better Husband

The Measure of a Husband

Intimacy ... and Fear

When I began this blog I made it clear that I would state the points of view of both men and women.  I also made it clear that many posts would deal with my daily internal struggles with headship and leadership, and that some posts would be controversial and would not always represent my own opinions.

Clearly, I love my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I strive each day to love my wife as Christ loved the church.  I have written quite a bit on the topic and will continue to do so. So for you to say that I am inadequate in covering the topic of husbands loving their wives, is an uninformed opinion.

"It's easy to sit here and repeatedly go on and on about how the women are failing their men but in fact the greater command is to the men and frankly 95% of you stink at being that man. Own it and do something about it. " 

 I agree the greater command is to the men.  That is why I try to improve in this area each day.

BTW - Nice attitude.  Struck a nerve, did I?

End of rant.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Mostly, We're Just Afraid

Husbands are an interesting sort.  We want to be respected.  We want to lead.  We want to snap our fingers and have everything happen. It's nice to want things, isn't it? 

We want these things, but many of us are reluctant to use our God-given position to get these things.  Sometimes it's a matter of inexperience, sometimes laziness or complacency.  But mostly we're just afraid.
We act all tough and confident on the outside, but on the inside most of us are just scared, insecure little boys, crying, running and hiding.

What are we scared of?

We're afraid of making bad decisions.

Even though we couldn't wait for the freedom that comes with being on our own, we had it oh so much better when someone else was making the decisions.  Some of us aren't calm under pressure; additionally, the decisions we have made in the past have not worked out well.  So we shrink from decisions, or pass them to the next person in line (our wives).   

Q: Dad, can I have ice cream?  
A: I don't know.  Ask your mother.    

We're afraid of disappointing our wives.

There is nothing that breaks a husband's heart more than the knowledge that he let his wife down.  We want to be the hero who rides in and rescues the princess.  When that doesn't happen we put on a brave face but we weep in private.  Then we try to fix whatever we broke.

We're afraid of showing weakness.

We want to be the big, strong man.  We don't want to appear weak.  Ever.  We want to be the knowledgeable one; we want people to think we know what we're doing when nothing could be further from the truth.  In most areas we are feeling our way through inch by inch. 

We're afraid of our wives' reactions.

This is a biggie.  We don't make decisions or make requests because we're afraid of what you'll think of us.  The prospect of you thinking we're freakish, sinful, or otherwise a horrible person send us jumping through internal hoops and living, as Thoreau wrote, lives of quiet desperation.  We desperately  desire things that will never come to fruition because we feel the need to guard our hearts against you, when you are the one with whom we should be the most free and open.

We're afraid of the final "no."

Q: Will you ever do (x) or (y) for me?
A: No. Never.

In a husband's mind this strikes a devastating blow that is often impossible to overcome, especially when he holds in his heart a desperate desire for something.  When a wife gives the "no, and that's final," it removes all hope for whatever that want/need/desire is, and he is in danger of spiraling into a deep depression.  So, to guard ourselves against such an answer, we hesitate to make requests or open a difficult discussion (argument?) yet again.  By and large we would much rather never bring it up again and live desperate lives, finding solace in other things.

Is this true of every husband?  Certainly not, but most of it is true for me and I suspect for many, many other husbands.  We aren't horrible monsters.  We aren't stupid, insensitive, depraved, or unwise. 

Mostly, we're just afraid.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Weekly Top Ten

Saturdays at The Genuine Husband I post a weekly "top ten" list of the best blog posts for husbands and wives. Some weeks my picks will be more husband-oriented and sometimes more for wives.

Sometimes it will cover topics many churches are afraid to talk about.

Always it will be a collection of posts from solid, Bible-based marriage blogs covering topics that are important in God's holy covenant of marriage.

So, without further ado, here are this week's top ten (numbered only for convenience. Happy reading!

1. The Generous Husband
Unsolvable Differences - Sometimes the disagreement doesn't go away.

2. Journey to Surrender
Knowledge vs. Understanding - They aren't the same thing.

3. Engaged Marriage
Marry the Whole Person, Sleep with the Sex Machine - Well said!

4. Always Learning
She Gets The Beauty of Biblical Submission - Submission is a choice.

5. The Struggles of an Ephesians 5:24 Woman
A Good Wife? - This is an interesting blog. She writes plainly about submission and her struggles with it.

6. One Flesh Marriage
Do You Deprive Your Wife? - Turning 1 Corinthians 7:5 on its ear.

7. Manna for Marriage
"His" Prayer - Every husband should pray like this.

8. One Extraordinary Marriage
3 Steps to Schedule Sex in Your Marriage - Scheduling sex isn't a bad thing.  In fact, it's good. Very good.

9. Redeeming Marriages
How Do You Build a Great Friendship With Your Spouse - Some good step married couples can take to build a better friendship with each other.

10. Warrior Wives
The Myth of the Marriage Formula - Leadership and submission are not formed with a cookie cutter.  They will look different in every marriage.

**Bonus Post**

11. True Agape
I Got Robbed - What I Wish I Knew - Cassie from True Agape blogged about the important things she wishes she had know before her house was robbed.  It's always a good idea to be prepared for the worst, then pray that it never happens.

Monday, September 2, 2013

What She Needs From Me

Today is Labor Day.  As a teacher in upstate New York, that means tomorrow is the first of two days of conferences before students arrive on Thursday.  The school year will bring many new requirements and challenges that will cause stress in my household ... if I'm not careful.

You see, my wife is a homeschooling mother of five who works hard every day to educate our children in a way that is fitting our christian beliefs.

I know what you're going to say.  How do you balance being a secular teacher and a christian homeschooling dad?

Well, it's a tricky situation, but with God on my side, here's my strategy for keeping a peaceful home when my job conflicts with my home life:

I pray for my wife every day.  I pray that her day will be productive, that the children will cooperate with her, and that they will have a successful day of learning. I pray for her patience, for the children's attitudes (especially certain ones), and for their brains to retain knowledge and use it for the glory of God. 
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

I rarely bring school home.  For the most part what happens at school stays at school.  My wife is under enough pressure educating our kids without me bringing home more baggage to add to the already stressful atmosphere of homeschooling.  Even though I try to be salt and light in the workplace, I am always mindful that my job places me in enemy territory.  I must draw a line between home and school and honor that boundary. I work very hard to keep controversy away from home.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Colossians 4:6)

I find ways to cool off and wind down before I get home.  I know many christians who think a man should be able to come home and relax. The stay-at-home mom should make sure the house is peaceful when her husband returns home from work. Yeah, right.  The people who think this way probably never had to come home after work to whatever horrors happened during the course of a normal homeschool day.   The fact is that I don't have much down time when I get home, so I find ways to relax before I go home, whether it's by shopping for groceries or walking around town. 
And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. (Mark 6:31)
When I arrive home I give my wife what she needs.  She has been inundated with children and questions all day and she needs a break.  I try to give her some much needed rest.  She can relax while I deal with the kids and make dinner.  It's the least I can do.
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. (1 Peter 3:7)
So, I ask you to pray for me and other husbands who have hard working wives struggling at home to educate their children.  We need to give our wives a break, and for that we need God.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

This Is Headship??


It's a hot topic that has been bantered back and forth for a long, long time.  Most folks have the wrong idea about it, including (especially) those in christian circles.

Don't get me wrong.  I've been taught by some very well informed, scholarly christian men. But many of these same men believe in the husband as the strong leader, the decision-maker who often steamrolls over his wife's wants and desires in the name of  God's biblical pecking order for married couples.

I've read many blogs, books, and articles on the subject, and recently came to the realization that the thinking in much of the christian community may be somewhat misguided. 

Popular thinking in christian circles is that the husband is in charge, and the woman must submit to his authority.  That thinking is, in fact, correct.  Well, that is, to a point.

You see, this has been gnawing at me for quite some time, until a series of blog posts and Bible readings made me think outside the box. 

For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. (Ephesians 5:23)

The husband is the head of the wife.  That means the husband is the big cheese, The head honcho. The man with the plan. The boss.  Right?

Wait a minute.

Being the head and being the leader are not the same thing.

Think of the human body.  When the body feels pain it sends a signal to the brain (the "head") and the head reacts.  When the body is hungry the head gives the body food.  When the body craves a particular food the head does its very best to give the body exactly what it craves.

Also, the brain sends signals to the body whenever danger is near.  By way of knowledge and senses it steers the body in the right direction.  When the body obeys the head everything is okay.  However, when the body rebels and proceeds in a direction against the instruction of the brain, all is not well.  

This puts an entirely different spin on the idea of headship in marriage, doesn't it?

When my wife desires something, it is my job as the "head" to do my best to get it for her, if at all possible.  When I can't deliver, I am acutely aware of her disappointment, just like the brain feels the disappointment when it isn't able to provide for the wants of the body. 

Sometimes I have to disappoint my wife, giving her not what she wants, but something less.  I sometimes fill a need but not a want.  In this case I am usually filled with angst at the knowledge that she is left wanting.

The same holds true for my family.  I try to give my family what they need, and when I can't I feel the pain as much as they do.

Is it difficult?  Yes, at times it is, but I always remember that I've been given the responsibility of loving my wife as Christ loved the church, giving Himself up for her. 

What about my wants and desires?  I've made (and continue to make) my wants known.  To the extent my wife is ready and willing, she meets those wants.  If she doesn't, then it's all part of the sacrifice.  
It's good to know I have Jesus Christ as my head.  He guides me in all that I do, and with His help I am able to steer my marriage and my family in the right direction.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)