Marriage One Year Later: Grace and Hatchets

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Tonight, I’m going to be continuing my look at marriage one year later by seeing how grace works in the marriage relationship.

We’ve all been told about burying the hatchet. In theory, everyone agrees it’s a good idea. In practice, we seem to have a hard time doing such. C.S. Lewis wrote about how in marriage it would seem many of us will be granted grace for all the times we could have said a “zinger” and refused to do so. Often the point of the zingers is not the betterment of our spouses, but our proving our own selves. There are some things better left unsaid.

There will be disagreements in the marriage. That’s a fact of life. The point to keep in mind here is what is going to be done when those disagreements are done? We can say that we will bury the hatchet, but most of us usually have a good idea where that hatchet is buried and wish to recall past disagreements so that we can use them in future battles.

To the Christian reader, a question. What would it be like if God did that to you?

Do you think you could handle if he kept pulling your past sins to account to you again and again, knowing that He was entirely right?

But that’s what you want to do to your spouse anyway?

The concept of forgiveness includes letting the past stay in the past. Natural consequences will play themselves out, but it should not be an offense totally held over someone’s head. Now you might have to avoid some things true, but you should not do so as an indictment of bad character but realizing your spouse has difficulty in an area and at that time you need to help them in that area in their growth of personal holiness.

There have been times when I’ve been driving with my wife out somewhere and then she’ll confess something she’s done that I won’t like. Usually, I don’t. I’ll ask her about it some and then get some clarification without getting angry or raising my voice. Then, when we get there, I just let her know firmly that I did not approve, and I love her and know she’s better. That usually follows with something like a hug.

What we need to remember is to love our spouses the way God loves us. When we go to the cross, all our sins are right there and God says that we are forgiven by trusting in Him. He will not bring the past to account against us anymore. Such a great love and grace is extended to us and why ought we not to show that same love and grace to the person we say is the most important person in our lives? Why not show such love to the one who we claim to love the most?

Bury the hatchet, and KEEP IT THERE!

Marriage One Year Later: Prayer

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’ve been going through a series lately on marriage after celebrating one year about all that I’ve learned in that time. Today, I will be looking at the importance of prayer in marriage.

When we were dating, we had a friend who was one of several who saw very quickly where we were going. She sent my now wife a copy of the book “The Power of a Praying Wife” and she sent me a copy of “The Power of a Praying Husband.” While reading through my copy, I noticed how the book suggested spouses asking each other “How may I pray for you?”

Thus began a long tradition. We would call each other every night and before we went to bed asked that question. This would be even if our conversations were lasting into very late hours. When I would visit her family and stay there, we would make sure to ask that question to each other before we went our separate ways that evening to bed. (Yes. We stayed chaste until we were married and that’s for a later blog)

A great benefit of this is that we get to open up our hearts to one another in the evening and share what’s concerning us and connect with the church as a whole. I’ve found I have to be careful in some ways however since I will spend much time praying for my wife’s blessing and forget to ask that I will be the man that I need to be, but of course that’s something my wife knows is very dear to my heart.

We also read Scripture usually before we pray and when we come together for prayer, I always try to remember one lesson from the Scripture that I think we should have in mind. While reading the Scripture, if I think I need to, I will further expound on a point that the author makes and sometimes she’ll ask a question in the middle and we’ll spend a little bit of time discussing it.

I cannot stress how important prayer together is. When I talk to other people about a strong marriage, this is one topic I always bring up. When you come together to pray, it’s also a time to set aside your differences. It’s tempting at times to go to bed upset with one another over something, but prayer reminds you to focus your marriage to the place it needs to go to. There will always be issues and you can work those out later, but don’t let the issues stand between the marriage in the eyes of God.

Finally, as the husband, I am the one who leads the prayer and I think this is important as well. We men are to present our families to God and He will not just ask us how we did, but how we did in raising our families. Were we leading our wives and children to be good and holy and faithful servants of God, or were we hindering them in their holiness? We must answer for that. Do not count yourself a leader of your household if you cannot lead your family before God.

We shall continue on another topic next time.

Being Right Isn’t Always Right.

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’ve been going through lately a look at marriage one year later and what all has been learned in this time. While I hope I’m right in what all I’m saying, I wish to make the point tonight that it isn’t always right to be right.

In saying that, I am not saying it isn’t always right to seek truth or want to hold to a true belief, but as an apologist, it can be a great danger to see every interaction as a possible apologetics interaction. Simple questions can be turned into whole apologetics dialogues. If you’ve ever read Plato, you know that this can happen for Socrates easily as he’ll latch onto something someone says and question them relentlessly on it.

We should seek to be right, but there are also even in apologetics some battles that aren’t worth fighting. For instance, consider the creation/evolution debate. For me, I can say my thinking has “evolved” to the point where this is a non-issue. Now do I have a side on the issue? Yes. I do. However, I see the truth of Christianity being based on if Jesus rose from the dead and if the texts are reliable enough to demonstrate that. If they are, it really doesn’t matter to me what happened at the beginning. You can be saved regardless.

In other words, I think atheists and Christians who make that the issue could win the battle but lose the war. If we are to win a war, I think it’s far more important that we choose which hills we’re willing to die on. This is especially the case with secondary issues in Christianity today.

Now we come back to marriage. Believe it or not single friends, sometimes husbands and wives disagree on matters. My wife and I hold different views on the age of the Earth and eschatology. She knows my views and respects them and vice-versa and in fact likes to see me debate them. She does ask for my opinion on many matters and I’m happy to share.

However, there are issues that rise up that can be areas of serious disagreement. Married couples know all about these issues. I have found in many cases that more important than trying to prove to my spouse that I am right, is still in the midst of all of it being a good and loving husband and not losing sight of the person in the midst of the discussion. As I have said in other places, it is more important to be righteous than it is to be right a lot of times. (Righteousness is always important. Being right isn’t always essential.)

Can I disagree agreeably and even if I am absolutely certain that I am right in the matter, does it really matter in this case? Will proving that I am right be a way of increasing my ego simply instead of looking for the good of my spouse. If so, then I think it would be wisest to just drop it. My ego does not need to demonstrate to everyone that I am right every single time. If it is an important matter that I need to demonstrate correct thinking on, I can still do that in a way that I try to put her best interests at heart.

But in all things with your spouse, be righteous, right or wrong.

Marriage: One Year Later: Look At Me!

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Lately, I’ve been going through a series on marriage and how my thoughts have changed after one year. Today, I’m going to be talking about how I spend so much time looking at myself in marriage.

Some of you will probably be surprised when I wrote last time on how marriage is not about me, and today, the idea is “Look at me!” Of course, I did such purposefully just to show a contrast. While I do believe that I should look at myself, I don’t believe I look at myself the same way.

It has been said that when you marry God gives you a giant mirror and says “This is what you are like!” When we live with a spouse, it’s easy to really see all the negatives. After all, we all have them. When you marry, there are no secrets left. You get to see the good, the bad, and the ugly as it were.

So what happens when you find something about that person that you just wish wasn’t there or find something really irritating? It’s so tempting to say “How can they possibly be that way?” It is at that point then that the “Look at me” idea comes into play. While it is easy to condemn attitudes and such in others, we can just forget about how we do the same thing.

Looking at me makes me realize “Wait. I’m being a bit hypocritical here.” Now of course, that doesn’t mean that there’s always an exact one-to-one parallel, but we all have areas we can improve on and when we see our spouse’s areas, we can choose to think about how we have to change them rather than realizing the only person we can directly change is ourselves.

Note that this is not the same as condoning. In these cases, you can readily admit that these are things that need to change. This is the biblical principle about removing the log from your own eye before removing the speck from your neighbor’s eye. That speck needs to be removed, but your log needs to be removed as well. The best way you can help your spouse is by working to change yourself.

If you’re doing this also, you will live with a lot more grace and come to realize just how great that grace is for you. The realization can come of “Wow. In some ways I really am like that.” What you can do then is to work on yourself the most, realizing you will influence your spouse, and perhaps that influence will come through the change of yourself. It will be the change that makes the spouse be inspired to change themselves.

In conclusion, the point of today is that we need to make sure we’re getting our own houses cleaned. While we can discuss such matters with our spouse, we need to be willing to look in the mirror at ourselves and say “They do need to change here, but am I any better? What am I going to do about myself?”

Marriage. What I’ve Learned: It’s Not About Me

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we’re diving into the ocean of truth. Tonight, I’m going to be continuing our look at marriage from a perspective of one year later as the Mrs. and I just celebrated one year together recently. Last time, I emphasized that marriage was a covenant. Covenants involve two parties at least.

So in this covenant, which party should I seek the best for?

The answer? Her. Who should she be seeking the best for? Me. If I am seeking her good and finding joy in that, we both win. If she is seeking my good and finding joy in that, we both win also. We win doubly when we both do that. Of course, this means being aware of what you want and being able to communicate that to your spouse in the hopes that it will get fulfilled.

Often, we can make the mistake of thinking that what we want is obviously what the other person will want. In our marriage, I’m the bookworm. My wife will not be as thrilled as I would be however to get books as a gift. Meanwhile, she’s the artist, but she knows a book of art will not please me as much as a book. Just because she likes it doesn’t mean it’s what I want and vice-versa.

This can also happen with other interests. Because she finds great joy in doing something, it does not mean that I will find the same joy. Because I find great joy in doing something it does not mean she will find the same. In some cases, you will need to do what the other spouse wants realizing that they will also do what you want. No one person can dominate. Marriage needs 50/50.

When you’re single, it’s easy to lose sight of this. You’re on your own and you have to look out for yourself and you can develop a mindset of look out for #1. When you get married, you have to change that mindset. No ifs, ands, or buts. You have to! You can’t be with someone and focused on your needs and desires and have the other person be too.

Naturally, we all fail at this at times. I am aware of the times that my wife wants something and I’m thinking “What can I get out of this?” when in reality if I am thinking what I can get out of this the answer should be “The joy and happiness of my wife and that is enough for hers joy and happiness is mine.”

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7 for example that the bodies of the spouses belong to each other. While Paul was talking about sex in that passage, it goes beyond just sex. You and that person are interwoven now till death do you part. They are not just another limb of your body that it would be hard if something happened to, but they’re not the main thing. They have to be connected so that their pain is yours and their joy is yours.

In all this of course, keep in mind that that person is your spouse. They are not your god. Both of you are to keep Christ first in your marriage and as you move closer to Him, you will in turn move closer to one another. Something I will write on later that I find extremely helpful is that my wife and I pray together every night before we go to sleep. I cannot stress how important this is and I think all couples should be doing this. (In fact, in our phone conversations, we did this even before marriage. Yes. This includes times staying up till 1 A.M. even talking on the phone)

So how about you in your marriage? Is it about you or about them?

We shall continue next time.