Freedom. Truth. Marriage.

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Archive for the tag “marriage”

“God wants me to be happy.”

How many times have we heard about, read about, or know someone who excused a decision by this phrase: “God wants me to be happy.”

Does he want us to be happy? Within the bounds of his standards, I believe he does. He wants us to find our happiness in Him. Unfortunately most of the time when people say God wants them to be happy, they’re pursuing happiness apart from God’s will for us.

Biblical happiness isn’t found in stuff of this earth – physical, material, or even emotional. Nowhere in the Bible does God look fondly on one who rebels against his standards. Including for one’s own happiness.

One word that conveys happiness in the New Testament is “makarios.” It’s usually translated as “blessed.” God does want to bless us. But that blessing is most often dependent on our obedience (Ps 103:17-18; Jn 8:31; 2Cor 7:15). “Makarios” is found in the the Sermon on the Mount, and the book of Revelation (1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14). Another Greek word is “euthymei” which means “be of good cheer.” This is found in James 5:13. In the OT the Hebrew term is “ashre.” It means “blessed,” “happy,” “elated.” It’s found in 2 Chronicles 9:7. That will be all for today’s ancient language lesson.

God has often asked those that truly follow him to make decisions that will make them unhappy. Choosing not to deny Christ as you’re being martyred doesn’t sound very happy. There are times when exacting revenge on someone would’ve made me a lot happier than forgiving them. This idea of “I deserve to by happy because… And if I’m not happy, I should be allowed to do whatever to be happy. Nothing else matters,” is ridiculous! And I’m talking about born-again believers here.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter if someone else is going to get hurt, people will still think that God is blessing their decision. “But God gave us free will.” Yes, he did. We have free will, but it’s not without consequences. If you choose to have unprotected sex with multiple partners, statistically, you will get a non-curable STD. That’s a consequence of free-will. If you choose to be unfaithful to your spouse (even in an internet chat room) you may likely face the consequence of losing your family and home in an ugly divorce.

Truth takeaway: God wants us to be happy in following his will; staying within his standards. Because he knows that’s the the only place real peace and contentment are found. Outside of that, your happiness is irrelevant. What God really wants is personal sanctification (set-apartness) from us.

Freedom takeaway: By living a life where our happiness comes from walking with the Lord in personal holiness, we’ll be truly happy and blessed. We’ll be free from chasing happiness that leads nowhere.

ThingsWeSaw

 

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Jesus, Fix My Wife! – Repost from The Generous Husband

This is a repost from The Generous Husband. He, and his wife’s blog (The Generous Wife) have an amazing Christian marriage ministry through these blogs and their websites The Marriage Bed (also found on Facebook here).

As with most things I write or post on our FreedomTruthMarriage Facebook page, I’m posting this as a reminder to myself. One of the most profound and eye-opening things I learned this last year is that I need to quit worrying about fixing her (from problems I usually caused), but need to focus on fixing me. All I need to do to her is just love the heck out of her and be the husband she desires.

Here it is:  Jesus, Fix My Wife!

Take a look at some of the other stuff he’s written. Also, ladies, check out his wife’s blog.

If you want to read more stuff about  good, Christian, (and fun) married sex check out The Marriage Bed.

 

Give her Everything!

I noticed I haven’t been posting a lot about marriage so I decided to do that today.

Ephesians 5:22-33 is one of God’s most direct guidelines about marriage. Yet it seems like most emphasis is given to the wife’s roles (vs 22-24) – especially from men. That’s strange because those verses are to/for women. If you count them up, there’s 3 verses written to women and 9 written to men. I wonder which verses us husbands and men of the church need to be focusing on.

Men definitely have the bigger role. We are responsible for giving up ourselves for her, taking care of her, pouring into her spiritual growth, loving her more than we do ourselves, and according to verse 21, submit to her too!

Some of the marriage books and seminars I’ve read/gone to are often about how to take care of her so that she takes care of me and vice versa. This, in turn, takes care of our marriage. But this passage in Ephesians reads to me like this:

It’s not about me and it’s not about us. It’s about her. It’s not about meeting her needs and speaking her love language so she will reciprocate. It’s about doing it because I have been told to give my life up for her. This means pouring into her whatever she wants or needs and expecting nothing back. Doing this means I am (even currently) having to give up on things I’d like to see in our marriage.

Honestly, it’s been painful and disappointing. Do I really trust God enough to say, “I’ll let go of my wants/needs because trying to get her to meet them causes us more pain and strife. Meanwhile, every day I’m her husband, my goal will be to give her whatever she needs and wants.”

I’m not sure what the takeaways are. Us men need to take a hard look at what this passage is about. From the pulpit to each man, we need to be focusing on what we’re not doing and be doing it.

How do you think your spouse would feel if you never denied them what they needed or wanted?

 

Sexual compabitility. What is it, really? Part 3

In our last 2 posts we read that:

  • In these days, two people can bring a varying amount of sexual experience, knowledge about sex, and exposure to sex into a relationship. The combination of all these is what we’ll call “sexual information.”
  • Vulnerability is extremely important. There will be no spiritual, emotional, or good sexual intimacy without vulnerability.

A couple that has different ideas, experiences, knowledge, desires, and beliefs about anything are not compatible, generally. In a God-centered marriage the idea is to take what incompatibilities there are and make them complement each other. Of course the more compatible a couple is overall the easier and less work it’ll take. What is going to make them compatible is “two becoming one” (Eph. 5:31).

So how do we actually live out all of this, particularly in regards to sex?

While, stereotypically, it’s the husband who is the one who is ready to do whatever/whenever/however with his new bride, that’s not always the case. There are women out there that come into a marriage with a lot more sexual information than their husbands. For the sake of this article I’m going to call the spouse with more sexual information “Mentor” and the one with less sexual information the “Protege.”

It’s the mentor’s responsibility to be as sexually active (frequency and ecstasy) as the protege feels comfortable.  It’s the protege’s responsibility to let the mentor show them how it all should work; being taught to have sex at the mentor’s level. The idea is the more “educated” spouse gently teaches and encourages the spouse with less sexual information. The goal, in time, is the Protege becoming as sexually informed as the Mentor-spouse. Vulnerability, gentleness, selflessness, and transparent communication are key in this.

  • Do a lot of stuff you both like.
  • Try something new the other suggests, in small doses if necessary.
  • Do something you don’t care about but the other person likes. Start doing it every now and then and building up in frequency as you get used to it.

Like exercise, it’s the heavy lifting that causes the biggest muscle growth. Simply put, you’ll grow more by really stretching your limits. “What if I don’t get used to that activity or don’t like it?” Developing compatibility – and marriage in general – is about them, not you. If a sexual act is really a problem, talk about it respectfully and be mindful of their feelings.

One disclaimer: There should be no manipulation, badgering, guilting, or shaming by either the Mentor or Protege. None of those actions speak or show love. Also, neither should ask or expect the other to commit a sinful act (extra participant, illegal act, public display of nudity).

Such compatibility isn’t something you’re going to accomplish in a week. Expect it to take a long time. Maybe even years. What’s more important than sexual quality or quantity is the intimate connection between you two.

Marriage compatibility, overall, should take precedence over sexual compatibility. If you are concerned sexual compatibility is or will be an issue, consider the steps I mentioned to help close the compatibility gap.

Hopefully this series helps shed some light on the lies behind what sexual compatibility is not. Most of all I hope it draws you closer to your spouse in your whole marriage.

What can you do to become more compatible with your spouse? What three things (sex or otherwise) do you despise doing that you know they would love for you to?

Sexual Compatibility: What is it? Is it real? Part 1

(This is part 1 of a 3 part series. I’ll release the other 2 parts on the next 2 Sundays).

It seems like the subject of “sexual compatibility” has been coming up a lot lately. You see it on TV and the internet. People – including Christians – use it as a reason to have premarital sex. They also use it as a reason to divorce. What does the Bible say about sexual compatibility? Traditionally most couples, particularly Christian, never had sex until they were married. They only knew what someone told them. Both were comparatively ignorant about sex and sexuality when they reached that first night.

Now we learn about sexual specifics in a much more fluid and informed society than in times past. We know more about all manner of sexual activity than our grandparents knew at that age. I don’t have statistics but I think we can all agree that by the time people are getting married (20s-30s) they have a lot of sexual exposure, knowledge, and/or experience (we’ll call these “sexual information”) – even among professed Christ-followers. With years of sexual information behind them, the levels of sexual information between a couple can be night and day.

In the present day we have people entering in relationships and being as concerned with sexual compatibility as any other aspect of marriage. A Relevant magazine article states that “80 percent of Christians in the 18-29 age range…have had sex before marriage.” In a survey of Christian married couples done by The Marriage Bed only 21% of those couples did not have sex before their wedding. 49% of those surveyed had intercourse (“Wedding Night Survey”). Some of those are having intercourse after participating in “purity” programs such as True Love Waits. Is sexual compatibility that important in a marriage?

This blog post by Hafeez Baoku on The Gospel Coalition’s website, addresses sexual compatibility:

“The primary problem with this notion of sexual chemistry is that it focuses sex on pleasure and performance… God gave sex as a gift to be exclusively enjoyed by a husband and wife as a means of loving, caring, serving, honoring, and enjoying each other in marriage. So sexual compatibility between a married couple comes neither from ecstasy (how good the sex is) nor frequency (how often you have it) but mainly from intimacy, which occurs as love, trust, security, and respect deepen through the longevity of a monogamous, self-giving, covenant relationship.

From the many conversations I’ve had with those who are happily married with healthy, God-honoring sex lives, I’ve learned that true sexual compatibility, if we must call it that, happens when two people commit themselves first to God, and then to each other. This covenant commitment affords an opportunity for a husband and wife to unconditionally serve and love the way Jesus loves his bride, the church (Eph. 5:22-33). Marriage is a journey in which two incompatible, selfish sinners learn to become one. There will thus be multiple things — including sex — that both parties will have to figure out together along the way.

…Therefore, I’m willing to trust God and wait, not because I want to have the most euphoric wedding night with someone I’m perfectly sexually compatible with, but because I want a healthy, God-honoring marriage after the wedding night with the person to whom I’ve just committed my life.”

This article by Mr. Baoku hits the nail on the head. If there’s one thing I have learned in 16 years of marriage: it isn’t about sex, physical pleasure, and being compatible in the bedroom. It really is about a whole God-honoring marriage.

Hopefully this sets the stage for the next part of this discussion. Ideally, physical aspects of sexual compatibility shouldn’t be an issue. But an issue it is. So how do to two Christians, with varying degrees of premarital sexual exposure and/or experience (i.e. sexual information), approach the differences in their sex life? Next time we’ll look at how vulnerability ties into compatibility. Then I’ll suggest some ideas to actually walk that out.

Overwhelmed with Vision

With everythmission&visioning that’s been going on at church, stuff I’ve been watching, stuff I’ve read, and stuff I’ve seen, I think “overwhelmed” is a good description of my head lately. And it’s a good overwhelmed.

God’s brought me through a lot, especially in the last couple of years. Now that I have some major issues no longer entangling me, I feel like I can run. Run towards what I’ve been called to do. Run further away from those entanglements. Run towards things I see that need to be done.

Between helping with Disciple Now at my church (which focused on apologetics) and stuff I saw about the Ken Ham – Bill Nye debate (no I didn’t watch it but I did watch this) I saw a need.  The upcoming generations need to know how to give a well-reasoned answer and defense to why they believe what they do.

I recently read two great books (here and here) that all speak about purity and teaching children the way they should go in regards to purity. One of them also addressed how the church has been lacking in teaching an important marital issue. There are needs that need to be addressed in the church. The controversy surrounding Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty and the Coca-Cola Super Bowl commercial added to my sense of urgency.

All of these have also helped me focus on what I need to be addressing here on Freedom.Truth.Marriage. Also, they’re helping me know where I may need to focus when I go back to school for my graduate degree.

I’d like to share these ideas with you. I share them, asking for your prayers on 1) if they are God’s will, and 2) if so, me being sensitive to knowing how He wants them executed.

  • Teaching scientific and creationist apologetics in our home school co-op classes.
  • Continued work with Freedom.Truth.Marriage.
  • A marriage book for men I’m slowly cobbling together.
  • Which graduate program to enter into, and God’s provision for funding it.
  • Opening up my full testimony for these purposes.
  • Ministry to children who’ve lost one or more parent tragically.
  • Starting a local freedom ministry where people can come to learn about freedom from habits, addictions, problems; receiving healing in those areas; so they’ll be able to run with freedom as well.

Thank you to all of you who read this and have provided support and encouragement. It’s felt and appreciated.

Scripture prayer for marriage

Here’s a prayer you and your spouse can pray over your marriage:

“You have called us to be one (Gen. 2:24) How good and pleasant it is when a brother and sister live together in unity (Psalm 133:1). Use both of us to draw the other towards holiness (Eph. 5:26).  May we always lead a blameless life before you (Psalm 101:2).

Enable us to do something that’s difficult: submit to one another out of reverence for Christ, giving ourselves up for one another, out of love for each other (Eph 5:21; Col. 3:18-19). Show us how to feed and care for each other as the other one needs (Eph 5:29). Let us rejoice in each other (Prov. 5:18). Let us love one another in a way that our love burns like a mighty flame – a flame that cannot be quenched or washed away (SoS 8:7).

Remind both of us that we are each others’ (SoS 2:16). Let us desire only each other (SoS 7:10). We confess we are not independent of each other (1Cor. 11:11), no do we belong to ourselves, but to each other (1Cor 7:4). May we always fulfill our marital duties to each other, whatever those duties may be (1Cor 7:3).

May you give us the desires of our hearts, and make all our plans succeed (Psalm 20:4). We consecrate our marriage as a whole, that our marriage be honored, and our marriage bed be kept pure (Heb. 13:4).”

Let’s see…..

….if I can figure out how to do this.

After deep conversations with various friends and family over the years, a common thing I’ve been told is, “You need to write a blog!”  I’ve been reluctant. While I have things to say I sometimes feel like not everyone else wants/needs to hear my ramblings. Another reason is that our society is full of commentating all the time! I didn’t want to add to the clamor. But after the last year and a half of life events, encouragement from people whose opinions I admire and respect, and a Spiritual leading it’s time to give it a shot.

Rather than come up with a clever, witty title  I just named it after 3 subjects I often find myself reading about and commenting on on others’ blogs and pages. Freedom, truth, and marriage.

When I say “freedom” I’m talking about the freedom to be who God has made us to be. The freedom to break away from bad habits, bad thought patterns, emotional baggage, wounds, and weaknesses.

Marriage is becoming a byword for miserable, tied down, and broke. Because there’s so many marriage blogs out there I’ll probably do more time linking to good articles rather than cobbling my own.

Without truth the other two aren’t possible. Truth is required to have a strong, stable, and happy marriage. Truth is what sets us free. The love of truth, particularly in the Christian community, is becoming more rare.

This blog is only my convictions and opinions. Take what you will. Disagree if you like. Tell me what you think. …And hopefully I’ll remember to come on here and update enough to keep it interesting.

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