About John Paladini

John Paladini is a husband, pastor and author. He has been happily married to Andrena for 34+ years. They have three adult children, six grandchildren....and counting. John has devoted hundreds of hours to marriage counseling, conferences and bible studies that strengthen marriages.

I Was Wrong

HeadlinesMisstatements are in bold, 300 font headlines on the front page. But retractions and corrections, if you can find them, are somewhere at the bottom of page C17. We always cry “foul” when a political leader lies or fails to fulfill his promise, but when I make a mistake…not so much. My inaccuracies and misstatements always have “legitimate reasons” and “logical explanations”.Politicians

Why is it that the very faults we decry in public, we practice in our marriage relationships?Fonzie I’d much rather say that I misspoke or you misheard me, than to say I was wr—. Why is it so hard to say I was wr—? OK, I wasn’t exactly right! It’s hard to admit. I’m just like Fonzie in Happy Days, who is too cool for school, but just can’t make himself say those three magic words: I was wrong.

Fig Leaf ThongDavinci Fig LeafThe reason is universal. We are just like Adam and Eve. When we sin we tend to cover up instead of “fessing up”. We hide our dirt when we should come clean. So there we stand in our fig leaf thong, acting as if everything is normal. At first our spouse is confused, then they feel sorry for us, then they just get downright angry. Nobody’s fooling anybody, but why am I the last one to find out?

The bible says that God desires honesty in my inward parts. Psalm 51:6

James says we should confess our trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that we may be healed. How many of us are suffering needlessly when a clean slate is three words away?

The psalmist describes the relief that awaits me when I admit that I am wrong:

Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long.Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. ScoreboardFinally, I confessed all my sins you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt  is gone. Psalm 32:2-5 (NLT)

We must have some innate feeling that we need to keep score. A competitive spirit is essential when it comes to striving to win the World Series or the Super Bowl.  But Competition in marriage is an oxymoron, two things that do not belong together like apples and orangutans.Apple and Orangutan Three Legged RaceWe often forget that our spouse is not the opposition, they are not the enemy. We are on the same team. When they win, we win. It is essential that we maintain our team chemistry. And run with endurance the race that is set before us, together.

Your Husband is a Tool

DavidIf you‘ve ever been to Florence Italy, you’ve no doubt seen Michelangelo’s magnificent statue of David. There he stands, the perfect man in all his naked glory…but he did not begin that way. When asked how he accomplished such a masterpiece, Michelangelo simply said “I took a block of marble, and I chipped away anything that wasn’t David.” When we are considering marriage, we are always looking for the perfect mate. We meet someone, we get a glimpse of who God is making them, and it excites us. But spouses don’t come ready-made. The bible says that God will spend a lifetime conforming us into the image of Jesus (Rom 8:29). And when we sign up for marriage, we are signing on to help our spouse become everything God wants them to be.

Look in the Right PlacesNow before we go any farther, Michelangelo did not choose just any random block of marble. He searched for the right quarry, and even built a road to bring back the exact block for David. Singles, this is no place for short cuts. We should be very careful and intentional when choosing our spouse. Choose WiselyLimestone and Pyrite will never have the qualities of marble or granite. They don’t yield to the chisel like marble does.

Tools of the MasterIt is important to make the distinction that God is the artist and we are simply the tool in His hand. It is not our place to try to make our spouse what we want them to be. At the same time, don’t blame your spouse if the chisel feels like it is getting too close to a sensitive area. If God wants to take off a few pounds of something that doesn’t look like Jesus, we will be better for it. The Master doesn’t make mistakes.

Hammer and ChiselIf we are honest with ourselves and with each other, there is a lot in our life that needs to be chipped away. Sin and selfish tendencies keep us from being the person we want to be. The bible tells us to exhort one another daily. (Heb 3:13) How valuable it is to have someone who loves us, someone we can trust to share that goal and help us stay on track.

She Yields to the Master's HandSex and romance, laughter and fun are some of the joys we share along the way as we celebrate our successes, and nurse our wounds, and endure the “growing pains” of life. Having a companion who encourages us makes the process not only bearable, but enjoyable.

On our wedding day we had no idea. We thought we were two finished statues. We stood before the minister and pledged ourselves to serve and love one another, and to help each other through whatever life would bring our way. By daily living out our pledge to one another, we will one day stand before the Lord and hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.” And that’s a life well lived. A masterpiece!Masterpiece

Cancer Scare

Autumn TreeSuddenly, thirty years of marriage seemed like a very short time. Our kids are grown and out of the house, and just last summer we “married off” the last one. We are enjoying our empty nest, and we treasure our time together. With the arrival of autumn, also comes those pesky annual checkups. You know, the ones where they tell you that you need to floss more and you need to eat less or your cholesterol is too high. Man FlossingWe had just celebrated our anniversary when the phone call came.  “We found a lump that we’re concerned about in your mammogram. Can you come see me in the office?”

The next two weeks were a blur of checkups, tests, and runaway emotions. I just wanted to hold my wife close and make it go away, but it wouldn’t go away. Scale Doctors OfficeOur prayer life however, suddenly became very specific and very fervent. I remember thinking how permanent death is; and how we squander our healthy days with squabbles and disagreements over things that don’t even matter. The prospect of living through the golden years without my best friend was unthinkable. The only consolation was to keep reminding ourselves of the things we know about God. That He is for us, and he is gracious, compassionate, powerful, and able to heal. And even if He does not heal, he will give us the grace to walk through this valley together. And He will be with us.

TelephoneWaiting is not my favorite thing to do. After the biopsy, it seemed like forever before the results came back. I carried the phone from room to room in case it rang, I didn’t want to miss it. When the call finally came with the results, the doctor used the word “preliminary”. Preliminary? What do you mean preliminary? But that was not the most important word he used. Rolling Back the CloudsThe word that seemed to split the heavens and roll back the clouds was the word benign. “Benign, benign, benign….that’s good! Benign is good. Benign means our prayers are answered. Benign means no surgery or chemotherapy. Benign means I’m still going to be the baldest one in the family. Benign means our golden years are still golden, and I get to keep my best friend.

I Love You CoupleThe preliminary results were confirmed and reconfirmed and she now has a clean bill of health. Since then we hold each other a lot more. We wake up every morning thankful, and hopeful for the future. The minor irritations of life are suddenly unimportant. And we savor the companionship of marriage.

breast-cancer-ribbonI don’t know why it sometimes takes a tragedy to make us treasure our spouse, but I don’t want to lose the sense of how short life is. Thirty years flew by like a vapor. Lord, help me be intentional with the next thirty. I promise I’ll floss more.

Water Challenge

Water husband dousing wifeIf you were to dump a bucket of water on your wife’s head, how do you think she’d react? Thousands of people are doing it, and it’s for a good cause.

Ice Bucket challengeYou don’t have to spend much time online to conclude that the world has accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge. Hats off to those who not only soaked themselves to promote greater ALS awareness, but also donated money towards a cure.

Water Soaked and HappySpontaneous soaking has taken the country by storm this summer, but it is nothing new. The drenching deed was prescribed as far back as the first century. Making sure that your wife is deliberately doused, blatantly baptized, sufficiently sopping, fully flooded, whole-heartedly hosed, solidly saturated, intensely inundated, willfully waterlogged, and absolutely awash with water is crucial to a healthy marriage.

If Any Man ThirstsThe original water challenge was laid down to husbands in Ephesians 5:25-26: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,…

Water 5 GallonsBut before you go load up your water cannon, and unleash an ocean of H2O on her, remember, eight glasses a day is better than a  flash flood. You know: precept upon precept; line upon line; here a little, there a little. Isa 28:10

I realize that nowadays, liberated women say they can dig their own well. Of course they can, and should. Woman Digging WellBut it’s a husband’s responsibility to make sure his wife is properly moisturized, soaked, and washed in the scriptures. Double dousing is encouraged. Jesus even said that whoever believes in him, out of their innermost being will flow a river of living water. That’s good thing!

DroughtWe’re currently experiencing a drought in California. And no one likes a drought because the countryside is dead, the hills are brown and the grass is dying for lack of rain. That’s why they call California the “Golden State”. (So we’re all doing our part by dumping water on each other while standing on our lawns, so we don’t waste.) But imagine how you’d feel if you hadn’t had a drink since the last rain. Now imagine how you’d look. Eeeewww. Water HosedGuys, you want to have a beautiful wife? Soak her in the word. OK, a squirt here and there, a splash now and then is good. WaterfallBut a down right gully-washer every now and then is what she really needs. Whet her whistle. That’s right, turn on the fire hose. Open the dam; pour it on and pour it out. sb10064151p-001Go ahead and dunk her, spray her, immerse her till she’s sopping wet. Slip N Slide? We’re talking complete hydration. Dump and dab and dip; but don’t drown. How about a downpour every now and then? Why not break out the water wiggle? Now I’m being silly. But hey, you get the point.

Washed in the Water of the WordIt’s high time for a good old fashioned spring rain. Shower your wife with the life-giving, health-sustaining, cool, clean, clear water of the Word. But be careful…she might get you back.

Comic Relief

Marriage can be PUN!  No, that’s not a typo. Some of us need to lighten up a little in our marriages. How often do you laugh with your spouse? Hopefully, you’re chuckling, snickering, guffawing, busting a gut, and belly laughing regularly. Too many couples waste years of their marriage, only “dealing with issues” and struggling over responsibilities. Some couples just need to go out to recess and play together again.Miranda

So, with laughing together in mind, Comic Relief was born.  We hope you enjoy the comics we’ve selected. Plus we’ll be adding more periodically. Now go ahead and laugh out loud!





Happy Wife DiamondVolunteer


A cheerful heart is good medicine Proverbs 17:22





sitting on eggs


pre-naptual agreement

A say in this house


True Love

The Fab FourAll you need is love…. John Lennon wrote to a generation who said “God is dead”. Yeah, yeah, yeah… He’s talkin’ bout my generation. (oops, wrong band) Now John Lennon is dead and God is still alive. Paul McCartney, sporting a few more wrinkles at the ripe old age of seventy two, filled Candlestick Park with Silly Love Songs for its final event. Now, The Stick will go the way of all flesh and be demolished. And what will take its place? Mick JaggerCondos and retail… Shocker!     It seems that one generation passes away, and another generation comes, and there’s nothing new under the sun. (Ecc 1:4 & 9). But there is a higher love than the Beatles sang about. And the living God wants us to experience that love.Crossed heart
The bible tells us husbands to love our wives as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for her. (Eph 5:25). Guys agree, but still have a hard time with this. Because just about every guy I know, is already doing his best to translate his feelings into action. But what if I told you that love has nothing to do with feelings? InconceivableDon’t get me wrong, I have strong feelings of love for my wife. But true love gives and serves and sacrifices whether or not it has that loving feeling. True love chooses consistently to do what is best for our bride. Inconceivable? Not really. Here’s how we develop that consistency.
We all want to have a glorious bride, without spot or wrinkle (Sorry ladies, I’m doing the best I can with what I have to work with.) Eph 5:27. One way a husband can love his wife is to protect her. I know that sounds chauvinist but male chavanism wasn’t even invented until 1969.Princess Bride I’ve seldom met a woman who would not want their knight in shining armor to sweep her off her feet…but I digress. Husbands should protect their wives. Whether from the physical danger of a mugger, or more  subtle dangers such as a “friend’s” ungodly influence or destructive habits, or too much exposure to worldly media.Wrinkled Face Map
Spots are defilement from the outside and wrinkles are an outward sign of inward decay. The antidote to spots and wrinkles is the washing of water of the Word. I told you love isn’t for sissies. The word of God can do what the billion dollar cosmetic industry cannot do.
Just as a disclaimer, this doesn’t mean that a devoted Christian woman will not develop wrinkles. But joy in our lives turns wrinkles into laugh lines.

Man PrayingGuys, let’s face it, we are finite and fallible.
God instructs our wives to follow us, even though we will sometimes make mistakes and fail. If we’re honest, that’s terrifying! Imagine how hard that is for your wife. Remember, God is conforming her into His image, not ours. We lead her to live by His standards, not ours. Our job is to lead her to Him, to trust him and to honor Him with her life. Leading by example works best.
Jesus said Love one another as I have loved you. John 13:14 Jesus has loved us passionately, unconditionally, sacrificially, selflessly, humbly, graciously, continuously. We all want to be successful at being a husband. By making our aim, our goal, our personal commitment to align with Jesus, we will succeed.

The “S” Word

velociraptorThere is no topic more controversial in the scriptures than the topic of biblical submission. The very mention of the word causes hackles to be raised and teeth to be bared. Wives envision themselves in subjection as a slave, to her husband’s every whim. And husbands kind of like the idea of having a slave who has to do anything he orders. I Dream of JeannieBut that’s not biblical submission, and it certainly is NOT what the bible calls husbands and wives to. So put those claws back in their sheath, and let’s talk about what the bible really says.

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; Ephesians 5:21-25 KJV
First, let’s remind ourselves that in marriage, God takes two lives and makes them into one: the two shall become one flesh. (Gen 2:24) Two Headed CowSince God knows that anything with two heads is a monstrosity,  he assigns different roles to the husband and wife.
Secondly, God does not instruct us to force one another into subjection, but to voluntarily submit ourselves to his plan, and to honor Him by taking our place in his plan. There is a huge difference between servitude and servanthood. Servitude is forced upon us and servanthood is a voluntary act of our own will.
Man serving WomanGod knows that in order to have a satisfying marriage, we need to change from two individuals who live to serve themselves, to a couple who live to serve and satisfy each other.
The apostle Paul implores us to be like our Lord:
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Phil 2:5-8
Superman protecting womanMost of us will never need to take a bullet and die for our spouse. But what a privilege to live to serve them.

Uncommon Courtesy

Sock DrawerI recently came to the startling realization that my sock drawer does not fill itself. I know that’s shocking, but it’s true. And not only that; just because there are checks in the check book, doesn’t mean there’s money in there. No, I’m serious. Somebody must be putting stuff in there when I’m not looking. Maybe at night, when I’m sleeping, the refrigerator fills itself. Hazel does the laundry and the leprechauns sweep the walkway and weed the garden before dawn.Leprechaun
Do all these things magically happen around your house too? I hope so.

Seriously, I trust that you thank your spouse for doing them, or that you race to be the one to do them first. In any case, it’s a lot of work just to carry on a normal life. Have you noticed that work is so much more fulfilling and easy to do when we are appreciated for doing it? A simple but important way we can serve our spouse is to express our appreciation to them for doing what they do. That’s right, actually saying it.  Guaranteed to put a smile on their face and a song in their heart.
Geese Flying in FormationHave you ever had one of those days when it is just hard to get up and do it all again? We can be our spouse’s best cheerleader. We don’t have to break out the pompoms, but a little encouragement goes a long way. When you hear geese flying south for the winter, all that honking you hear is the flock encouraging their leader. Sled DogsThe same with sled dogs; pulling a sled in the Iditarod is hard work but all that barking is the team telling the lead dog, “We’re with you!”
Uncommon Courtesy
“Please pass the salt.” “Thank you for washing the car.” “This meal is delicious.” These are  phrases that I hope are used regularly in your home. Common courtesy has become rather uncommon in our culture today. Miss Manners used to be a popular syndicated column. Good manners make good relationships. I kind of miss manners, don’t you? I believe we need to reintroduce them to our families, in our own homes, beginning with our spouse. Our children will emulate what they see mom and dad practicing. Then with God’s help we will infect the neighbors, and gratitude could become a worldwide epidemic. The World in His Hands“Please” and “Thank you”…they could change your world.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Col 2:6-7

Eat, Drink and Be Married

Couple having Coffee“Let’s meet for coffee.” We say this all the time, but is it really about the coffee? When you go to lunch with your best friend, which is more important, the food or the conversation? It doesn’t really matter if it’s McNamara’s or McDonalds, coffee or cabernet; something important happens in our relationships when we’re eating and drinking.
Laundry on Dining Room TableWhat could be more basic to everyday life than enjoying a meal together? Yet we keep ourselves so busy that sit-down dinners are no longer a family value but instead have become nostalgic. Many people today, spend thousands of dollars upgrading to gourmet kitchens, only to make the microwave the most used appliance. The dining room table has been relegated to folding laundry and Thanksgiving dinner.
TV DinnerGrowing up, I always envied my friends who got to eat dinner in their living room on TV trays. Now I’m reconsidering. I grew up in a big Italian family. When dinnertime came, the whole family gathered for the meal and the TV was always turned off. Thanks Mom and Dad, for making sit-down dinners a family value.100_1539 Our nuclear family has grown and changed, but to this day, here’s how family gatherings on holidays work: We start with a meal, clean up after the meal together, take a walk together.100_0852 Throw in some Italian songs and dancing in the kitchen while we prepare the next meal together. Repeat.
Jesus knows we open up to one another in a unique way when we break bread together.

He said “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev 3:20)The Last Supper In the final hours before His crucifixion, Jesus had a meal with his friends, we call the last supper. It is interesting that after his resurrection, almost every time we see Jesus, he is eating with his friends.
When Andee and I got married, we decided in order to stay connected; we’d have breakfast and dinner together.Breakfast At 6:00AM we ask each other, “How can I pray for you today?” And at 6:00PM we catch up with one another on how the other’s day went. We’d rarely see each other in between those times, but we were still “together”. As we raised our children, mealtimes were always the important touch-points when our family would connect. We’d discuss everything from schoolwork to politics, to interpersonal relationships. We often read a devotional book after dinner and discussed whatever lesson we could draw out of a chapter. Whenever we had company, they’d join in the conversation. Andee and I have maintained this practice for 30 years through all the different stages of life, and it is still working.
100_7586Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord. Psalm 128:1-4










Seven Things to Look for When Choosing a Husband

Couple Beginning the Long RoadHusband means to care for. It seems like this is the best place to begin whether you are a man or a woman. I may be overstating the obvious, but here goes: A woman should choose a husband who will care for her. There, I said it. I know I’m not being politically correct but this one truth can save years of heartache. Another definition of a husband is a prudent or frugal manager. I must say, that over the years I have met a few who have not managed well and their marriages were less than bliss.Less than Bliss But I’ve also met some extraordinary couples who “get it” and have exemplary marriages.
We’ll discuss Choosing a Wife in a future blog, but for now let’s see what women can learn from scripture about choosing a husband, and what men can learn about being a husband.
The apostle Paul defines the qualifications for “overseers” of the church (the bride of Christ) in 1Timothy 3:1-6. Although every husband does not aspire to be an “Elder” or “Deacon” in his local church, he must accept the role as “head” of his wife. Since God uses this analogy, it is reasonable for women to consider these attributes when choosing a husband. Every husband may not match the full biblical standard for deacon or elder, but if concessions are made, it is important that they are at least informed concessions.
Here is my paraphrase of this passage with the husband and his bride in mind:
1. If a man desires to be a Husband, he desires a good ministry. A husband must be above reproach, not living in conscious disregard for God’s Word. He must be living a standard higher than the world or society sets. When he sins, he owns his failure and repents quickly.
Flirting2. He must be a “one-woman-man”. He does not “look around” or flirt with other women. He does not have a track record of jumping from relationship to relationship. He has conducted himself honorably in past relationships and is conducting himself honorably in his relationship with you.
3. He must be self-restrained (not depending on you to be his conscience), moderate in opinions and indulgences (not an extremist). He must get along with others. He must not be addicted to alcohol or drugs, nor use them illegally or inappropriately. He knows his limits and his weaknesses regarding their use. No to Second Glass of wineHe keeps his temper under control. He deals with anger biblically. He is quick to seek the Lord, instead of reacting violently. He is gentle, considerate and sensitive to you and others. He does not deal with you harshly in word or action. He does not force you or intimidate you into doing things against your conscience or convictions. He is not greedy for money. He keeps a healthy perspective on money. He works hard to provide, but does not spend all his energy trying to become rich. He does not justify illegal or dishonest gain even if it is only a cashier giving him too much change at the grocery store. Greedy ManHe treats you like a lady. He is considerate of you “as the weaker vessel”. He treats you like a fine crystal goblet, not a 99 cent tumbler. He does not make every disagreement into an argument. He is able to disagree, and still maintain his Christian character. He does not need to “win” every argument. He does not justify himself when he fails but is able to admit when he is wrong, with grace. He is content. He is not consumed with the ungodly desire for more. He is not competing with his friends and neighbors to have the most or the best. He is not ruled by the lust of the eyes. He lives within his means. He does not live on credit. He is not deeply in debt or a slave to the lenders.
4&5. He rules his own house well. There is peace in his home. He is a godly and wise manager. He rules over his own passions. He influences others in his household to rule over their own passions. If he has children, he takes responsibility for their wellbeing. He lovingly leads and directs them. He trains them in the ways of the Lord. He lives as an example for them to follow. He does not provoke them to wrath. He does not lord it over them, but practices servant leadership. He is not so preoccupied with his job, his hobbies, or his ministry that his children are neglected.Man with Children
6. He is not a new convert. There is solid evidence that Jesus is Lord of his life. You would use many of these words to truthfully describe him: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. He loves Jesus more than anyone, and is committed to living for Jesus no matter what. He is not consumed with pride. He does not see himself above others. Humility is a distinguishing characteristic of his life. He does not act condescendingly toward other individuals, or groups of people.
7. He has a good testimony among those who know him. His boss and co-workers concur that his Christian character is genuine. He does not live a double life. He does not act differently when he is in another circle of friends. His family and relatives attest that the man you know him to be is the same man they know him to be.Stand up Man
When a wife chooses a husband, she is agreeing to come under his leadership for a lifetime. Since there is no way to know the future, the best way to anticipate the kind of husband a man will be is to evaluate what kind of man he is today. This should encourage men to be a “stand up” Christian man, and it should encourage women to never settle for anything less.