Are You My Mother?

“If I don’t get a pony I’ll die! I want one, and I want it now!” The little girl stood stamping her feet, her fists clenched by her side and her eyes squeezed shut as her face turned a deep shade of crimson.
Rhett Buttler & Scarlet O'Harrah“There, there honey, Daddy will get you a pony. Don’t cry.”
“Oh, thank you daddy. I love you. But now I don’t have anything to wear!”
Do you recognize this scenario?
In the old days we used to call this child a spoiled brat.
But what happens if this young lady grows up and gets married and she’s never heard the word “no”?

“Honey, Macy’s had a big sale, and guess how much money I saved today? You do want me to have nice things, don’t you?” she said batting her eyes as she set down a pile of shopping bags.
Bass Boat
“I work hard and bring home the biggest pay check. You figure out how to pay the bills,” he said as he got the boat ready for a weekend on the lake.
Growing up, we all had different ideas of what a quality marriage looks like. But one of the biggest keys to a marriage that works is simply that. We need to grow up!
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11
beaver momHusbands and wives need to be mature, and fulfill their God-given roles in their relationship. A husband who waits until his wife nags him to take out the garbage is doing himself a disservice as well as her. He frustrates his wife to the point where she feels like she is the only grown up in the home and begins to treat him like one of the kids. Not only does he feel disrespected but he begins to view her like his mother instead of his lover. The same goes for the wife who acts like a spoiled brat until her husband puts his foot down like her father.
Ecclesiastes 4:9 says Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.
A marriage will suffer if only one partner is being a grown-up. It becomes a labor of love when both lovers work toward the same dreams and the same goals. Done well, each will discipline themselves to fulfill their role so their relationship will stay healthy and they will reach their goals together.Happy-Couple 2
Does that mean we can never have any fun? Of course not. In fact you’ll probably have more fun. Frankly, men don’t feel romantic about their mothers nor do women toward their fathers. By growing in your role as husband and wife, you’ll begin to relate to one another like lovers again. You’ll feel well connected with one another, just as if you’re in it together…. because you are.

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Chivalry

The other day I found myself sitting at a table with seven co-workers. They were all women ranging in age from twenty-five to fifty-five and I was the token male. The subject of tattoos and piercings came up, and I listened as they related their stories. One young lady who is about twenty-five years old said, “When my father found out I had pierced my navel, he didn’t speak to me for a month.”

KnightThe conversation made me wonder. When is it appropriate to change with the culture, and when is it appropriate to preserve the values of the past? So I threw the question out to the group, and I was amazed at the response. What about chivalry? I asked. Is chivalry dead? Should we teach our young men to treat a woman like a lady, or do women feel patronized when we do that, and don’t want to be treated that way anymore. The response was unanimous. PLEASE teach the young men to treat us like ladies, we love it!

Fred AstaireFirst of all you don’t have to look like Fred Astaire to be a gentleman. William Wallace in Braveheart treated women with respect. The apostle Paul told Timothy to treat older women as mothers, younger women as sisters. (1 Tim 5:2) In other words, treat women the way you want men to treat your mom and your sister. When I think of my mom, my sister, or my wife stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire, I would want a respectful, helpful man to change her tire; and protect her from unscrupulous men who would take advantage of the situation. But most of life is not that extreme. Everyday life provides opportunities to offer to carry a heavy box or open a door for her.

I Peter 3:7 exhorts us to…give honor to the wife as to the weaker vessel… This much misunderstood passage does not undermine the fact that men and women are equal. But we are different. God wants men to treat women with honor and respect. He does not want us to treat them like we treat another man: “Carry your own luggage!” God wants men to treat their wives like fine crystal, and not like a 99 cent tumbler.

One of the young ladies at our table told of how she had traveled to a South America as a single gal. She was so impressed with the polite way she was treated by the men, that she came home, broke up with her American boyfriend, and began dating a Peruvian, whom she would soon marry. Then she related how she had to train herself to wait for him, and allow him to open her car door for her. It seems to me that there is a delicate balance couples must learn, in order to give their spouse the opportunity to serve without projecting an attitude of entitlement.braveheart

Another lady expressed how much she appreciates it when her husband walks on the “traffic side” of the sidewalk. “But he doesn’t always remember to do it,” she added. A word to women; you can communicate to the men in your life that you are receptive to us being chivalrous, by pausing at doors or making it your practice to walk on the inside of the sidewalk. Also by graciously accepting these courtesies from men, you are reinforcing others-centered behaviors that strengthen the fabric of our society and make us better men. Thank you!

The Chapter on Sex

baseball_firstbaseWhy do they always put the chapter on sex at the back of the book? I am the dubious owner of over a hundred books about marriage. I’m not sure if that makes me a scholar or an idiot, but it is what it is. I think God makes me study and teach this stuff so I won’t forget it. But I find it interesting that virtually every book on marriage has the chapter on sex at the end of the book. It may be that they are embarrassed to talk about it. Or possibly they are being pious, as if to say that sex is unimportant to Christians. But the truth is, according to all the couples I’ve counseled over the years, having a healthy love life is a big deal! Years ago, Willard Harley Jr. wrote a book entitled His Needs, Her Needs (Revell 1986) where he cites a scientific study stating that of a man’s top five needs, sex is number one. The woman’s number one need is for affection. If that is the case, we shouldn’t pretend it is unimportant; “out of sight, out of mind”. Because, although we may keep it out of sight, it will not stay out of mind.
So, I figured we’d better begin with the end in mind as Stephen Covey says in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. When it comes to sex, that isn’t difficult, because many of us already do this. And therein lies the challenge. We might not have said it in so many words but from the time a teenage boy discovers girls, he’s trying to see if he can get to first base, second base, third base…you get my point. So why is it that when we get married, we forget all those baseball analogies and try to score with our spouse without ever rounding the bases?
Climax is a word that is familiar to all of us in reference to our sexual relationship. Wooden Ladder 1It’s interesting because it is from the Greek word, Klimax which means Ladder. I have another book called Sex Begins in the Kitchen by Dr. Kevin Lehman. No, it’s not some kinky Love American Style book, but the title says it all. You’ve heard of foreplay? What about before foreplay? Chances are your wife would find it very romantic if you’d help her with the dishes after dinner. Maybe your husband’s favorite home cooked meal would set the tone for a romantic evening. Every thoughtful thing we do for one another is like climbing another rung of the romantic ladder towards the climax.
I was teaching a married couples’ bible study, using my ladder analogy, and one bewildered husband piped up and said “Every time I get almost to the top I see big bold writing that says DO NOT STAND ON OR ABOVE THIS STEP” We all laughed at his wit, but we also, all understood his frustration.Do not stand on step
So I guess I got the answer to my question. All those chapters leading up to the Chapter on Sex are important rungs of the ladder. So we’ll talk about all of them, ways to climb the ladder as well as the challenges and pitfalls couples face. In the meantime, let’s remember back to our dating relationship and all those little things that made our future spouse feel special. Going places they liked to go, eating the foods they like to eat, and paying attention to the things that were important to them. And let’s begin again to climb the ladder trusting the Lord for a very satisfying result.

Jesus said: Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do again the first works Rev 2:5