Responsibility and Authority for Marriage

“This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it back again.
No one is taking it from me; I lay it down of my own free will. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it back again. This is what my Father has commanded me.” John 10:17-18

God gave Jesus the command to lay his life down and take it up again. This command is both responsibility and authority.

When God gives responsibility, He also gives authority so the command can be achieved.

So consider what He says on marriage:

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.
This mystery is great – but I am actually speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
Nevertheless, each one of you must also love his own wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:31-33

God gives the command–responsibility and authority–for husbands and wives to leave and cleavebecoming one, and for husbands to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands.

The corrupt flesh, the world,  and the enemy are not going to help.

Selfishness, pride, lust, idolatry, and those who steal, kill, and destroy do not help your marriage.

They will attack your responsibility and/or authority to leave-and-cleave and/or to love-and-respect.

Focus on God as your source and example who defines your responsibilities and provides the authority to achieve oneness, love, and respect.

And–metaphorically–cut off at the knees anything that gets in the way of holy and righteous oneness, love, and respect! Leave it in your wake to die so you can live at a higher level!

Because the better we do in marriage the more we will understand the relationship between Father God, Jesus, and the Church–His Bride.

Jesus lived and laid His life down to rescue us, and rose again to prepare a place for us, fulfilling the Father’s command. We are going to spend eternity with the Father and Jesus (and the Holy Spirit), doing and enjoying the things He has planned.

Yes, relationships with others may have to suffer and even die in order for your marriage to achieve oneness, love, and respect. God knows–read Matthew 10. This life is going to have challenges in relationships. Your boundaries need fixing and maintaining. If you cannot do it for your marriage, you will not be able to do it for your relationship with God.

Are you letting others get in the way of God’s best for your marriage? If so, stop it! Fix and maintain good boundaries!

Are you living God’s command for oneness, love, and respect in your marriage? Make progress so tomorrow can and will be better than today. .

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Are Your Kids Modest?

I read Michael Hyatt‘s blog, “Whatever Happened to Modesty” and liked the suggestions he gave his daughters to aid their understanding while growing up:

Here they are: “Four Guidelines for Modesty”:teens

  1. If you have trouble getting into it or out of it, it is probably not modest.
  2. If you have to be careful when you sit down or bend over, it is probably not modest.
  3. If people look at any part of your body before looking at your face, it is probably not modest.
  4. If you can see your most private body parts or an outline of those parts under the fabric, it is probably not modest.

Michael’s guidelines are very practical and I am glad he shared them. He asked for comments of what people might say to their kids and my mind went straight to asking about the motivation behind modesty. These were my immediate thoughts:

  • Sexuality is an amazing part of God’s creation. Treasure it, don’t squander it, for it is an analogy of God’s attraction to us and our deepest-being’s desire for Him.
  • In this world a woman’s body sings and the men around her hear that song, usually whether they want to or not. God’s eye is ever on us, longing that we would open our hearts to Him and learn to share His desires.
  • The younger men seem to be affected by the woman’s song more strongly than the older men. The less modest the clothes, the more the tone of the song tends toward seduction, whether the woman realizes it or not.
  • If the body is the bait, what are you fishing for? Sex or your one true love? What do you want your one true love to know you for, your body or your heart?
  • What age do you think you will be ready to marry? Don’t advertise something that is not available.
  • Focus your sexuality on your spouse, whether you have met them or not. If not, then wait for them, keeping and caring for your body as a sacred trust for them.
  • You are not your own, you belong to your spouse. Act like it.

What do you think? Are your kids modest? What should we teach our kids about modesty in this age?

 

Are You a Complete Man for an Outstanding Marriage?

What makes a man a real, true, complete man? Answer: Devoted obedience to God’s heart.

Consider the man who was:

 

 

  • son of a powerful,
    leading citizen
  • respected in his youth
  • chosen by God to save the people from their enemies
  • chosen as king by the people with approval from the religious authority
  • given a new heart by God
  • operated in the prophetic gifting
  • served by a group of men sent by God
  • victorious in battle

 

Yet for all this he lacked full obedience to God and devotion to God’s heart. So God told King Saul that the kingdom would pass to another (1 Samuel 9-13).

Relating this to marriage, every man is king in his home. To be truly successful in marriage a man must obey God and seek God’s heart.

It’s not enough to have rich parents, have a great past, be chosen by God, be chosen for leadership by people and even religious authorities, be given a new heart by God, operate in spiritual gifts, have God-given followers, and be successful in your endeavors.

Not only is it not enough, it is not even necessary.

What is necessary is you must obey God and seek His heart.

Obeying God and finding God’s heart transforms a man’s desires, attitudes, and viewpoints, and increasingly conforms his heart to God’s heart. This is key to a successful marriage.

It teaches and motivates a man to love his wife as Christ loves the Church: laying down his life for her, washing her with the Word of God that she would be transformed into the real, true, complete woman God desires her to be and enabling them to increasingly unify their lives, to become the one flesh God designed marriage to be. 

Of course she is also responsible to connect with God’s heart, but that’s another story.

Real men obey God and seek His heart, and are transformed in the process with one result being outstanding marriages.

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Marriage Goals From Colin Powell’s Military Experience

In his book, My American Journey, Colin Powell said, “The lessons I absorbed from Panama confirmed all my convictions of the preceding twenty years since the days of doubt in Vietnam: Image

  • Have a clear political objective and stick to it;
  • Use all the force necessary, and
  • Do not apologize for going in big if that is what it takes.
  • Decisive force ends wars quickly and in the long run saves lives.”

These lessons gleaned from Vietnam to Panama guided Colin Powell for Desert Shield and Desert Storm and benefited all involved.

I listened to the audio book as I drove to work and I connected these lessons to our marriages.

In our marriages:

  • Do we have a clear objective and are we sticking to it?
  • Are we using all the resources necessary to achieve the objective?
  • Are we living boldly or apologetically?
  • Do we apply effort decisively to overcome obstacles and achieve the objective in order to save our spiritual, emotional, and physical energy for improving and advancing rather than being used up in prolonged guerrilla warfare?

What is your marriage objective? How about modeling Christ and the Bride?

How are you allocating your resources of time and energy? Are you making progress toward your objective?

Are you able to live boldly with your spouse, or are you living apologetically? Are you thriving or just surviving?

Are you dealing decisively with and overcoming obstacles keeping you from your objective or are you just hoping they will go away without anyone being offended not realizing the advancement this is preventing? Are you improving or just maintaining?

Do you have vision or are you wandering aimlessly? Marriages with vision backed by effort grow to great heights. Marriages wandering aimlessly struggle and often fail.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Proverbs 29:18 KJV

God made us with the need for vision to grab onto, a goal to work toward to discipline and constrain our lives, a standard to use on all the choices of this life to simplify and direct our efforts.

Do you see the vision? Do you have the goal? Are you using the standard? Are you focused or aimless?

What can you do today to improve your marriage? I bet it’s something in line with achieving your vision.

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Cherishing Jesus the Baby, Jesus the Man

This being the Christmas season, I was inspired to think about Jesus when He was a baby. I read the gospel accounts.

It hit me that Mary’s response to the angel’s news she would bear Jesus was not, “Yes, I am about to be married and thank you for telling me my husband and I will have a son.” No, Mary understood the angel meant immediately, so asked, “How could this be, I have not had physical intimacy with a man?”

The answer of course is that the Holy Spirit would overshadow her and work the miracle of God becoming man, of God stepping into His creation to experience it “from the inside” as it were. It is not enough to create mankind, God had to experience it!

That got me thinking. A while back I wrote a short story on the conceptual beginning of mankind, when God sat around and thought us up. I posted it in this blog as the menu page “God’s Desire.”

I realized there is a scene I could add in the planning session of Jesus getting a twinkle in His eye and saying They should not only create mankind, but that He could enter into history as a man. Not the first one. No, it would be better to long foretell of His coming, get the people desiring His coming, let the anticipation build to a fever pitch, and then surprise everyone by showing up in a very normal way, specially announced of course.

And here we see Jesus in the gospels, a baby, lying in a manger. Fully God become also fully man. Without sin. Desiring to be held, cherished, protected, joyed-over, fed, cleaned, raised, and loved. Truly Mary was blessed among women, to be the one who held Jesus, cherished Him, joyed-over Him, fed Him (nursing God?!), raised Him, and loved Him.

And it hit me. He desires that we would protect Him. He desires that we would cherish Him enough to protect Him. And that is when I got a glimpse of what holiness is. Just an angle. And here it is: one angle of holiness is love. A love that cherishes and protects. A love that sweeps away sin and death and destruction to protect the baby in your arms.

One description, one angle of His love for us is as a mother holding a new baby in her arms. He cherishes us, sweeping away sin and death and destruction to protect us.

And He wants us to do the same for Him! Even as a mother is transformed by the baby in her arms, He wants us to be transformed and sweep away our sin, deny death and destruction, out of love for Him.

We cannot do it in our own will. Many have made themselves agonizingly miserable trying. It is by grace, not works, lest any man would boast. In love there is no room for pride. He must give us the grace to be able to do it; we must open up to Him to receive the grace.

Thus He came to give us life, and life more abundantly. He came as a baby desiring to be loved and grew into the perfect sinless man desiring to be loved, and because we could not love Him how He wants He came to be the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world. Thus He endured the cross, despising its shame, for the joy set before Him! The joy of those who say, “I love You, Jesus!” The joy of the mystery of Christ and the Church. The joy of the wedding feast of the Lamb of God.

Jesus came for the joy set before Him. The joy of you saying to Him, “I love You, Jesus!”

Love produces obedience. Faith produces works. Do you love Jesus as a mother does her baby, enough to cherish Him? Enough to let Him cleanse you of sin and death and destruction to properly love Him? Enough to join Him seated at the right hand of the Father, having your priorities changed to see things from the Father’s eternal view and be motivated by the Father’s heart? Enough to say, “My corrupt nature must die because Jesus should not be touched by sin. I will pick up my cross, die daily, and follow You, Jesus, because You are worthy of the best I can give, the best I can be!”

And He will joy over you, laugh with utter delight, and with a twinkle in His eye draw you deeper into His heart, into depths of love and holiness and glory we do not yet know exist! Because there is no sin there. We start the process now to get rid of sin, and He is faithful to complete the process.

Do you love Him enough to model Christ and the Bride? Husband, love your wife as Christ loves the Church, His Bride; He gave His life for her. Wife, reverence your husband as you do Christ. Your spouse is the first place where the rubber meets the road and you will either follow Jesus’ example or not. Do it! It is worth it! Jesus is worthy!

May the love of Jesus overwhelm you this Christmas! May you truly cherish Him! May your life be transformed by His love! May your marriage bloom with His love!

Is Your Wedding Dress Going to Shipwreck Your Marriage?

It’s going to happen. Something is going to wound your marriage’s unity. Your oneness, harmony, solidarity, fellowship, rapport, and togetherness can and will be wounded, ruptured, and torn.

You will be in-love soul-mates one minute and the next minute something will happen that will hurt you, something that makes you realize you are not on the same page. It hurts because you thought you were.

In the midst of the pain you will chose to unify or divide, grow closer or further apart, get on the same page or go your own ways. There are no other choices. Unify or divide. That’s it.

It may be extremely hard to unify. But it’s worth it. Dividing is actually harder.

In a sense it’s like porcupines making love; move slowly and carefully to come together without injuring each other. If you move fast and cause injuries, forgive, heal, and don’t repeat the mistake! Get better at coming together.

For me such a wound came at the wedding the moment I saw my bride’s wedding dress.

A Little History

While planning our wedding my wife wanted me, her best friend and audience of one, to be delighted with her wedding dress, so she asked what dress style I would enjoy seeing her in. To give her a little guidance and a lot of freedom I told her two things:

Wedding dress of Grace Kelly

Image via Wikipedia

  1. I do not like strapless dresses (personal cultural history), and
  2. I would really enjoy seeing her in something like the dresses in Lord of the Rings.

My emphasis was on the first point, the second point would be nice. She agreed, we were on the same page, she went to find the perfect dress, and my anticipation at seeing her in the wedding dress grew each day.

The Wedding Day

The wedding day arrived! I woke up and enjoyed the thought, “Today I marry my best friend — yay!” The sky was brilliant, the men were handsome, and the ladies beautiful. The music played and my wife appeared … in a strapless dress!

Anger flared up inside me, we were on two different pages!

Unity is wounded. What will I do?

Immediately I heard the still, small voice repeat the puzzling phrase He had been whispering to my soul the last few days, “Do not hurt her.” Instantly it made sense.

I pushed the anger down and locked my gaze onto my bride’s eyes, those radiant eyes, those pools of joy! I focused on this woman, my best friend, my bride! I felt the love and joy of the moment, purposely blind to the dress she wore. I wanted to be on the same page!

The wedding and honeymoon were wonderful, except the wound stole part of the fullness of joy those days are meant to bring.

Physical Intimacy

Over the next few months the wound prevented total heart-to-heart intimacy and detracted from physical intimacy. Everything you are is present in sex, and we had a heart issue holding us back from the fullness of what it could have been.

She could tell something was wrong and asked again and again. I said I was struggling with something deep I did not think was sin (on my part).

It wasn’t going away, instead it increasingly prevented unity of spirit, soul, and body, so I asked my other best friend, my dad, for advice. He counseled me to dive into God and let Him bring healing, and never tell my wife. Maybe after our 50 year anniversary.

I asked God for help with this wound.

Do Not Hurt Her

God did not remove it. Instead He directed me to unify with my wife and reminded me, “Do not hurt her.” How do you not wound your spouse while talking about their wounding you?

I thought and prayed for a few days. The time came. I lovingly and carefully told her when we make a decision and set an expectation about something big, it hurts me if she changes it without discussion. I want to be on the same page and it hurts when we plan to be and then find we are not.

We had a long, careful, loving and raw discussion which began forgiveness, healing, and progress in unity. I found out my wife could not find a dress that fit all the parameters (the two above and others unmentioned) in the short time schedule we chose, so her mother swayed her to get this strapless one. A lack of communication resulted in an important lesson in “leaving your parents and cleaving to your spouse.” Whose page are you going to be on, your parents’ page or your spouse’ page?

It ultimately and surprisingly took years for my heart to recover even though I, the wounded one, did not want it to impact our marriage at all! But the things that hit deep take time to recover. It seemed like a relatively small thing, but it just hit deep. You may be surprised at what hits deep; I sure have been.

It would have taken a lot longer and had worse consequences if I had followed my dad’s advice to never tell her. Keeping secrets from your spouse divides you, and that flies in the face of unity. Your spouse should be your best friend with no secrets. You should live in such a way so there is no need to keep secrets from them. Secrets are dangerous to unity.

What Do You Most Want? 

What will it be for you? Hopefully not the wedding dress! (please learn from our experience and be on the same page for everything at the wedding!)  It will be something where you thought you were on the same page and were surprised to find you are not.

Do not let anything get in the way of unity with your spouse. Consider Philippians 3:13 “… forget the things of the past and reach forward to the things ahead ….” Forgive, heal, do better in the future. Make their happiness the condition for your happiness; it is whether you realize it or not.

What kind of marriage do you most want? Do you want God’s power, passion, purity, and wisdom to fill your marriage? In Ephesians 5:22-33 God says our marriages are to model Christ and the Church. The husband is the leader in the marriage in the same way Jesus is the leader of the Church. Jesus proved His love by dying for the Church; the Church must follow Jesus. The husband must love his wife, and the wife respect her husband.

That is God’s definition and goal of a great marriage! That husband and wife will overcome all obstacles and protect their unity!

When Does Your Marriage Begin?

Today I am writing to my pre-wedding readers. I ask my post-wedding readers to read this, think of a pre-wedding friend that needs to read this, and share it with them. 

“I now pronounce you husband and wife! You may kiss the bride.” The joyous couple smooches in front of family, friends, and coworkers.

You have envisioned this moment for a long time, but is the wedding ceremony when your marriage begins? Nope!

How about after the reception, after you and your spouse have driven away in your car decorated with proclamations of “Just Married,” after you arrive at your destination, perhaps a stop on the way to your dream honeymoon location, and finally are alone where you can set everything else aside and focus on each other to consummate your marriage? Is the consummation when your marriage begins? Nope!

How about when he pops the question and you get engaged? Nope!

Your Marriage Begins …

Here is the first part of my point: Your marriage begins many years before you meet “the one.” It began way back when you were very young and first understood one day you will find the right one and “get married.”

Why?

This is the second part of my point: Because that is when devotion to your spouse began. Or should have begun.

In that regard “get married” is a misnomer, we should say “have the wedding.”

Devotion to your spouse, or lack thereof, begins the moment you realize you will one day have a spouse. Every decision you make affects your spouse.

Decisions

At the surface there are issues which affect the spouse by helping narrow down what type of person the spouse is likely to be, such as:

  • A girl thinks she needs to look like a fashion model and only certain guys like that type
  • A girl goes for a natural, outdoorsy look and only certain guys like that type
  • A guy becomes a sports-fanatic and only certain girls like that type
  • A guy devotes considerable time and energy to being “Mr. Muscle” and only certain girls like that type

But I am talking about far more than narrowing the playing field of possibilities. I am talking about devotion.

A Girl’s Lack of Devotion

If a high school girl is so desperate for love she dresses provocatively to attract attention from the guys and gives dates and maybe even sex to get a boyfriend who will give her attention and she hopes love, this will affect her husband. How?

Because eventually every girlfriend/boyfriend relationship does one of two things: they “break up” or “have the wedding.” As teenagers are not allowed to “have the wedding” this reduces the options down to “breaking up” (exceptions: “high school sweetheart” weddings and shotgun weddings; both are likely missing knowledge of how to have a healthy relationship). Break-up’s hurt. Even if this girl knows this is the wrong guy, it hurts because there is a deep desire disappointed and unfulfilled. So what does she do?

Unless she gains wisdom she will repeat the cycle, looking for love to soothe her hurting heart. The cycle repeats into college and beyond, until she finds a boyfriend she believes is the one and they “have the wedding.” What is her husband presented with? He gets her heart that is deeply and repeatedly wounded by a history of hurting relationships and probably still has little knowledge of how to have a healthy relationship. Proof of this is our country’s 50% divorce rate. And I am not even going into STD’s and the horrific baggage of comparisons between past boyfriends and the husband.

How about the guys?

A Guy’s Lack of Devotion

If a high school guy is so desperate for sex that he gives attention and affection to get a girlfriend who will exchange sex for “love,” this will affect his wife. How?

Back to the two options: break up or “have the wedding.” When his cycle ends with the girlfriend who accepts his proposal and they “have the wedding” what does she get? A man who has sought sex and when everything does not work out he “moves on” to the next woman, of which she is the latest installment. Again, 50% divorce rate.

Lack of Early Devotion Result: 50% Divorce Rate

What do these all-too-common scenarios share as they contribute to the 50% divorce rate? An utter lack of early devotion to their spouse apparently with the belief that devotion will magically appear at the wedding and secure them a wonderful, lifelong marriage.

Devotion Practiced = Success!

At the young age when you realized one day you will “have the wedding” you could have begun practicing devotion to your future spouse. You could have said, “There is one out there for me, so I will wait for them. I will focus on becoming who I am so I can benefit my spouse when we finally meet. With growing anticipation I will wait for the right person, my spouse, and not go through repeated heartbreak trying to ‘meet my needs’ and find them before it is time.”

Fairy Tale or Reality?

Sound like a fairy tale? I did it. So did my wife. So have others we have known over the years. Other cultures with arranged marriages do it all the time.

The result of early devotion is a huge marital success rate, evidenced by a very low divorce rate. What do I reference as proof? My own marriage. Marriages of parents and grandparents and their friends. The marriages written about in Married For Life.

When Does Marriage Begin?

So when does your marriage begin? It began when you were young and realized one day you would get married. That is when you could start being devoted to your future spouse.

It Is Never Too Late To Start Devotion For Improving Marriage Health

If you did not devote yourself to your future spouse in the past, you can begin now. You can work on healing any wounds in your heart with the goal of presenting a healthy heart to your spouse. You can work on learning what makes relationships healthy so you can make your marriage healthy. You can work on making all the details of life as healthy and positive as possible for the benefit of your spouse and marriage.

Are you devoted to your future spouse? Will you be from now on?

A Biblical Glimpse of Devotion

Song of Songs, perhaps the ultimate love poem, has this exchange between husband and wife in chapter one:

He says:

15 Behold, you are beautiful, my love;

behold, you are beautiful;

your eyes are doves.

He recognizes her as beautiful, and rightfully so because she worked hard to become beautiful! It does not just happen! Beauty comes from the inside and is displayed on the outside. And “your eyes are doves” means she is devoted to him. She has longed for and been with no other man but him.

She says:

16 Behold, you are beautiful, my beloved, truly delightful.

Our couch is green;

17 the beams of our house are cedar;

our rafters are pine.

 

Will you do the same for your spouse? Will you be devoted to him or her, recognizing and evaluating your decisions as impacting your marriage now and forever? If so, they will thank you for it. If not, you are in danger of contributing to the 50% divorce rate.

I hope you choose to be devoted.

Blessings, Jason

How to Prepare for Marriage

I love to cook good food. The best foods take research, planning, and practice to truly delight a gourmet. Imagine you are a chef in a top culinary school preparing to be the star of your own restaurant. You would pay careful attention to learn and hone every skill you could to make sure your restaurant is a success, yes? How about your marriage?

God is the gourmet who owns the best culinary school where He invites you (and your future spouse) to train to be the star of your own marriage, in which He will either be delighted or … well, you don’t want to go there, although far too many do.

What are the three secrets to great French cooking? Butter, butter, and butter, according to the chef movie “No Reservations.” What are the three secrets to great marriages? Faith, hope and love. (Did you think I was going to say love three times? Nope!) Let’s take a look.

Faith: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) What is this substance, this evidence? It is simply trust of God’s character, His word, and His promises. This trust is best built through relationship with Him. He designed you and marriage, so go to the source and drink deep of the pure water!

Hope: You start with faith, learning to know and trust Father God through becoming friends with Jesus, which makes God’s strength and character available to you in difficult circumstances. This repeated drawing on His strength and character builds in you the ability to handle hard things calmly without complaining. In other words it develops your ability to love, which works the rest of His character in you. His character in you produces hope that will be fulfilled because of who Father God is and because His love is pouring through the Holy Spirit into you. (Romans 5:1-5, 1 Corinthians 13:4)

Love: You must be remade by Father God’s unconditional love. He pours it over you and massages it into your soul so you will live it to others, namely your spouse. So what is it? This love calmly and kindly bears tough situations and abuse. This love seeks to fulfill the needs of others. This love is humble and behaves well. This love thinks good things and rejoices in truth. This love bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things. This love never runs out and never says, “That’s it! I can’t take any more! You are going to pay!” Never. Ever. I’m serious. This love is deeper, stronger and longer than actual displays of spiritual gifts and power. This love is the beginning of eternal perfection. This love is real maturity. This love is the foreshadow of eternity, the taste of what your soul cries for from the depths of your being, and the promise that you will know Him as He knows you. Your family, friends, work and everyone else you come in contact with are your training team until your spouse shows up and becomes your primary training partner. (1 Corinthians 13:4-13)

Faith, hope and love. And the most important is the love which ties them all together. I hope you train well in these ingredients under the Master Chef before your spouse shows up, because that’s when the training goes to advanced courses. What will you say to your spouse if you have to go back and repeat basic courses when they are ready to hit the advanced courses? If there are any areas needing work, any areas you have hidden or are slacking off in, they will show up really fast!

7 Tips to Make Your Marriage Full of Joy

Is your marriage a joy and delight to you and your spouse? How about to others?

Here are seven tips, gauges and goals from Philippians 2 to see where your marriage is at and propel you in the right direction:

  1. Speak Devotion: Avoid nagging, bickering, sarcasm and competitive one-up-manship, instead use your energy to honestly encourage your spouse. Be loyal and use your words to display your appreciation for them, both to their face and behind their back!
  2. Act Devotion: Take care of your own needs AND your spouse’s needs. Breadwinning is not enough! Do you see something that needs doing and would take less than two minutes? Do it now! The kitchen, laundry, clutter control and keeping the bathroom tidy all have many small steps that either spouse can do when they are right there. As the Boy Scouts say, “Leave it better than when you found it.”
  3. Suffer Humbly. Jesus, even with His authority and responsibility, lived humility and self-control to the extent of suffering to help others, which pleased Father God. In your marriage you have authority and responsibility. Live in humility and self-control, willingly suffering to help your spouse and marriage. Willingly pull your weight and some of your spouse’s! Deal with issues, but iron over the molehills and save your strength for the mountains!
  4. Live Passion. You have wondrous things inside you! Actively live your strengths and passions to your spouse and the world. As you give what only you have you will see God’s joy and delight take shape in your heart and through your hands, benefiting your spouse, marriage and the world.
  5. Shine Beautifully. Shine your light beautifully by living without whining, complaining or arguing, instead offer encouragement and helpful wisdom. As the song says: “Accentuate the positive; Eliminate the negative; And latch on to the affirmative; Don’t mess with Mr. In-Between!”
  6. Have Friends. You and your spouse cannot do everything for each other and a marriage does not exist in a vacuum. Men need to relate to other men and women to other women; some more so than others. Connect with the community.
  7. Give Everything. Strategize with your spouse to put all your strengths together and minimize the impact of your weaknesses. The world will try to tear you apart. Live the battle and adventure of making your marriage your strong place, your place of refuge, even if it costs you your health or life. You are held in high regard when you count strengthening your marriage worthy of descending to the gates of death and sacrificing your life. Battle through to achieve the victory, then rejoice and celebrate the overcoming of sickness and the strengthening of your marriage.

When you live your devotion and passion, shining beautifully, humbly pulling more than your weight and giving everything you’ve got, your friends will see the joy and delight your marriage is to you, and you will see the joy and delight your marriage is to them!

How Atheism Affects Your Marriage

What you believe boils down into one of two categories: either God created everything or everything spontaneously came into existence. Theism or atheism. Creation or evolution. Your choice of belief will impact your marriage, for better or for worse. Here is one of two posts examining this issue:

How Atheism Affects Your Marriage

If atheism is the true description of reality then it follows the below list of assumptions are true. These assumptions have a particular result on your marriage. Let’s take a look.

Assumptions:

  • The beginning point is a state of absolute nothingness. Nil, null, nada, zilch.
  • Energy spontaneously came into existence. Something transcendentally vital from nothing. Beauty from ashes, no, from less than ashes; vibrancy from emptiness.
  • The forces and principles described by the scientific laws spontaneously came into existence and presumably locked into constancy. Information and order from nothing. Blueprints and force fields from a vacuum full of raw energy.
  • About ten dimensions spontaneously came into existence. The substructure appeared, ready to hold energy and mass.
  • Energy spontaneously organized into mass on an astonishingly enormous scale both creating protons and electrons and overcoming their repulsion to organize atoms, in effect packing together the energy of exploded nuclear bombs, which expanded eventually to become the universe we see.
  • The universe, galaxy, solar system, and Earth formed and cooled down.
  • When conditions were favorable atoms spontaneously organized and reorganized through many molecular forms, dramatically increasing information and drastically changing functions to develop all the forms of life we see.
  • Instinct spontaneously developed. An innate knowledge of what is beneficial to the life form.
  • Consciousness spontaneously developed. One life form ran on instinct and its progeny was aware it existed.
  • Emotion spontaneously developed. Love, sadness, happiness, contentment, desire.
  • Morality, ethics, and law spontaneously developed. Awareness suddenly developed into standards. Life changed from how things “are” into how things “should be”.

I think that about sums up the necessary assumptions. I call them assumptions for though we can describe the concepts there is no evidence any of it spontaneously occurred and most if not all of it violates the known scientific laws and research. Now the results:

Results

  • No God equals no eternal responsibility for actions, therefore whatever a person wants to do is permissible. (Why is murder wrong?)
  • As the scientific laws, dimensions, energy, mass, life and consciousness were all spontaneous there is no basis to say one form of life, consciousness, morality, ethics or law is better than another, therefore whatever a person wants to do is permissible for all forms of life are at war with all the other forms. (Why is rape and cannibalism wrong?)
  • There is no goal or definite future offered by spontaneous existence. Future change and development happens by chance guided by favorable conditions. (Where are we going?)
  • Eventually the energy will run out and everything will die, or everything will spontaneously cease to exist, like one big cosmic bubble bursting into nothingness. (If that’s the end result why should I do anything I do not feel like doing?)

Atheism is devoid of purpose and standard. It has no basis to offer trust, dedication, friendship or love. A great marriage comes from the standard and purpose God has established, from truth, faith, hope, and love. Seek and ye shall find.