Happy wife… Miserable husband: 6 Reasons Why Appeasement Doesn’t Work

 

You’ve said it, I’ve said it: Happy wife…happy life. Call it nice.  Call it sweet.  I call it appeasement. It’s a conflict avoidance style that sacrifices your feelings, beliefs, or ideas in order to pacify or please the other person. To some, this seems like a noble identity to assume. After all, keeping peace and harmony in the relationship is important. But, is “giving in to get along” an effective method for fostering a healthy marriage?

Nope.

Appeasement has never been an effective strategy in marriage (or parenting, or friendship…or, well, life). Don’t get me wrong, it’s good and gracious to be accommodating to the preferences of your husband/wife in various circumstances. Our first response should always be to serve. In strong marriages, both spouses understand both give and take. Servanthood is a mark of healthiness. But when one spouse ALWAYS GIVES and the other ALWAYS TAKES major problems are unavoidable.

Constant yielding to your spouse may appear to achieve the desired peace, but this peace, at best, is temporal and superficial. In reality, appeasement brings eventual harm to the marriage. 

Here are some of the reasons why…

1 – Replaces Christ as the center of the relationship. Instead of a relationship that pleases the heart of God, all actions are done to please the heart of the spouse being appeased. It’s through him we are created and he holds all things together (Colossians 1:17)

2 – Creates a one-sided relationship.  Constant appeasing one’s spouse will empower him/her to assume a position of dominance in the relationship. Appeasement makes one spouse inferior to the other. This creates an imbalance that will fracture the oneness that marriage was designed by God to be. (Mark 10:8)

3 – Removes the word “no” from your marriage. I’ve found that couples that have an issue with appeasement want to say “no” but just don’t know how to say it properly.  “No” is a very good word and keeps us in check.  Healthy marriages don’t look to say “no” but are not afraid to say it in a healthy edifying way (Romans 14:19). Without “no,” the whims and desires of the spouse are controlling the relationship. 

4 – Removes respect.  I find both the spouse that is appeasing and the empowered spouse lose respect for one another for different reasons. The lack of healthy servanthood erodes the opinion that each spouse as of the other. Romans 12:10 says to “take delight in honoring.” Appeasement keeps you from doing that. 

5 – Cultivates a spirit of fear. Appeasement replaces the heart of serving the needs of your spouse is with the anxiety of having to constantly attend to the wants (not necessarily needs) of the spouse.  That mindset will loom over the marriage creating an atmosphere that God never designed us to live in. (2 Timothy 1:7)

6 – Develops frustration. The appeasing spouse lives with unmet needs. He/she represses heartfelt feelings at the expense of legitimate needs. Unfulfilled needs have a tendency to re-emerge and manifest themselves in other ways – depression, anger, bitterness, resentment, regret, and so forth. Appeasement literally drains the joy of serving your spouse. (Galatians 6:9)

Appeasement doesn’t work. Like scratching poison ivy, it feels good in the moment but spreads faster than you intended to places you never wanted it to go. I’m not a proponent of shifting to the polar opposite of appeasement (which is domination…basically involves one or both parties striving to have their desires prevail). But appeasement will feel right in a moment but will erode what you are trying to build. 

Marriage is a daily walk of humility before God and our spouse. Don’t stop serving each other. Be willing to take a step a step back and ask yourself, “How full is the ‘love” tank of my spouse? Have I been more of a taker than a giver?” If we’ll be humble and honest as couples, we’ll see stronger and more fulfillment than we dreamed of while showing an example of Jesus to the world around us. 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Israel Trip Prep Videos

 

To those on the normal blog emails, I apologize for you getting something you may not be connect to.  This blog is the video from our Israel Trip team meeting that has been broken up into segments.  I’d advise to watch and rewatch to continue to familiarize yourself with our trip. 

Also, if you’ve lost your packet from the meeting on August 26 or have not received one, you can download it here from this link

Here’s the video from our opening meeting split up by segments: 

Segment 1 – Introduction

https://vimeo.com/137389602

Segment 2 – Introduce the Old City

https://vimeo.com/137391843

Segment 3 – Gates

https://vimeo.com/137392881

Segment 4 – Geography

https://vimeo.com/137393498

Segment 5 – Why is Jerusalem here?

https://vimeo.com/137408183

Segment 6 – Places we will visit

https://vimeo.com/137404929

Segment 7 – Holy Week (Book of Mark) till Thursday

https://vimeo.com/137406253

Segment 8 – Maundy Thursday till Tomb

https://vimeo.com/137407229

Segment 9  – Closing Thoughts

https://vimeo.com/137410084

This is going to be a life-changing trip!  I’m so glad I can experience it with you. 

UW4A7191-1

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad: 42 lessons they taught me about parenting.

I often get asked about when my passion for marriage began. It began with my parents, Hal and Linda Barringer.  Watching their marriage not only made me want what they had, but shaped the marriage I have.  Don’t get me wrong, as they’ll tell you, they are by no means the model of perfection (ever seen my dad BBQ in shorts,  black socks, and dress shoes after church?), but their ability to stay humble and keep Christ at their center for 42 years is astounding.

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Of the plethora of lessons I’ve learned from them, parenting has been a major theme they’ve mentored me in.  Here’s one lesson they’ve taught me for every year they’ve been married. 

  1. Jesus is our true north.  Our family centers upon him. 
  2. Sometimes your just your presence will speak louder than anything. (They never missed a football game)
  3. Effort is always rewarded above accomplishment. 
  4. Love was never earned.
  5. Michigan NOT Michigan State.
  6. You can’t love your children the same.  You may love them the same amount but you show it different because they are different!
  7. Somehow, when the grandkids showed up, I’ve taken a backseat to them.
  8. Every moment can be a teachable moment. 
  9. Mom and dad NEVER sought to be my best friend. (I had enough friends…I needed parents.) 
  10. You can survive ANYTHING. (Their handling of the most devastating moment a parent could ever experience has profoundly changed me and countless others.) 1926778_10152316472773537_6248583889657699656_n
  11. Apologizing to your children for your human mistakes will make you a hero. 
  12. Homes should be a source of laughter.
  13. Be in the Word. (Worn out bibles were a common sight in the house.)
  14. Church isn’t optional for us as a family. (When the doors were opened, Kid’s Church or not, we were there.)
  15. Hard work is important to develop at the youngest of ages.
  16. It’s impossible to say “I’m proud of you” enough to your kids. 
  17. Having a reputation of being the only dad who’ll QB for the neighborhood kid’s football game is a cool thing to have.
  18. Serving your church community is what you do.  Be the first to volunteer.
  19. Don’t be naive about your children. (The words “my kid would never do that” didn’t come from their mouth. Because Rachael and I are human, they always knew we were capable of doing wrong.)
  20. Forgiveness is liberating.
  21. Your kids need to hear you pray over them in locations other than the dinner table. 
  22. Tithing wasn’t optional. My first 10% belonged to Jesus. 
  23. Lying can get your mouth washed out with soap.
  24. I can never give them too many grandkids. 
  25. Dad’s first ministry was to his wife.
  26. Sickness demanded prayer and anointing oil (from dad’s key chain). 
  27. Trying to steal a taste of turkey while dad is carving it without getting stabbed is a part of Thanksgiving.
  28. Phone calls with mom rarely end without an “I love you.” 
  29. The only future that mattered was that I was serving the Lord. (My vocation mattered less than my direction.)
  30. I’m not psychologically damaged because I was spanked. (If I had a “timeout,” it was after I was spanked.)
  31. Mom had more grace with report cards.  (It’s why dad made the rule that report cards came to him first.)
  32. Giving to missions wasn’t optional.
  33. They grew their marriage to outlast the kid’s time in the home.
  34. No human being exists that can out encourage mom and dad. 
  35. Dedication in the dictionary says, “See Hal and Linda Barringer.”
  36. Kids need to see their parents show affection to each other (verbal and physical). 
  37. Kids need to receive affection from their parents (verbal and physical). 
  38. Dad always stood in defense of mom to us.  (Talking back to her was never tolerated.)
  39. Humility means we step back and let God take the curtain call. 
  40. Don’t wait till tomorrow to spend time with your children.
  41. Crowns and accolades belong at the feet of Jesus.
  42. Live out a Romans 8 philosophy of parenting: I may disappoint my parents with my actions, but nothing I do as their child will stop them from loving me.

To my parents, who are celebrating 42 years together, I say congrats.  I love you more than you’ll ever comprehend. 

Thanks for letting me ramble for the past 39 years and 9 months…

 

Say No to Venting: 6 Ways to Appropriately Deal with Marital Frustrations.

I’m a pro social media guy.  If you follow me, you know I post just about everything.  I try to keep most of my tweets/posts about things that are edifying or of comedic value.  But as you well know, social media is a breeding ground for venting. One my personal pet peeves on social media is a venting post with zero ability to be constructive and ends with, “just sayin’.”

It’s always the quandary I find myself in as a pastor.  I’ve drawn certain boundaries in my posting when it comes to my opinions about issues.  My choice in those boundaries help me to not walk with reactionary posting but to carefully chose what represents me. 

In the name of free speech we blast people, political parties, sports teams, and churches.  We harness the right to post what we want without wondering if it’s really right to do it.  I understand the need to talk things through (my afternoon and evenings are filled with appointments like that). But I’m afraid in the name of “venting,” we’ve done more damage to our marriages than helping them. 

A great rule of marriage communication is this: Never talk badly about your spouse to other people or vent about them online. Protect your spouse at all times and in all places.  Your marriage is (should be) the closest human relationship you have.  If it’s not there (yet), then being a “protector” instead of a “vent-or” (not really a word) is a great place to start building health back into your marriage.  Don’t run from conflict.  Face it in a healthy way and watch God bless your marriage.

Instead of venting about your spouse, here’s some help on appropriately dealing with your spouse.

1 – Go to the source of the offense before you go to sources of venting.  Matthew 18 gives us a great start to dealing with people who have offended us (especially our spouse).  If your spouse is the source, go to him/her first.  

2 – Keep your communication open and clear. The words “open and clear” make us keep in mind that communication is more than verbiage.  Like good plumbing, keep blockages from the flow of communication by removing what will clog up what you are trying to convey. For example: 
– Attitudes have to be adjusted.  
– Timing must be appropriate.
– Mannerisms and countenance must give a disposition of healthy confrontation instead of attack. 
– Keep others and their opinions out. 
– Clothe yourself in humility. 

3 – Don’t build up support. It’s easy to find people to rally to your side AND you know who they are. They’re getting your side of the story and that’s not okay.  You’re presenting a one-sided argument to them and they’re biting the hook. Protect your spouse by making sure that he/she isn’t going to feel ganged up on.  When you back someone into a corner, they come out swinging and end up doing more damage out of pure survival instincts.  Keep your biz between you and your spouse.  (Don’t forget that rallying family to your side is just as, if not more, damaging.)

4 – Protect your spouse. People like to offer their opinions (especially family members).  Opinions get offered but they don’t need to be accepted. You may be hurting in your marriage, but protect your spouse.  The entertaining of negative rants, bad attitudes, and ignorant rants are toxic to your heart. Don’t tolerate it.  Why? What you don’t deflect, you will reflect.  What you reflect, you will ultimately embrace. Step away from the toxic stuff and protect your spouse. 

5 – Seek appropriate counsel.  Appropriate counsel is someone who…
– …will objectively look at your situation without letting friendship/relationship dictate direction. 
– …will NOT just tell you what you want to hear. He/she must be willing to have the tough convo with you.  
– …will lean upon Biblical principles and not emotional decisions.
– …will recognize there is another side to the story.  (Your perspective isn’t the only perspective in the situation.)
– …will depend upon the Holy Spirit for direction.
– …will breathe hope and not distress into your life.
– …will have the guts to call out unhealthy behaviors. 

My final thoughts go to an amazing narrative in scripture found in 1 Samuel 14.  Jonathan is looking to move forward into conflict.  Traveling with him is his armor-bearer.  The armor-bearer could have asked to stay behind and refused to go with him. But his reply is priceless, 

“Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.” 1 Samuel 14:7

We need spouses who are willing to approach battles/conflict “heart and soul” with each other.  It’s a decision that is done as individuals as well as a couple.  But to you reading this…let it start with you first.  Be the first one to step up and proclaim, “I am with you heart and soul.” 

Conflict is inevitable.  We are a broken people living in a broken world which means that life can take us through some sucky situations.  But we have a Savior who is an overcomer.  He is with us “heart and soul.” And if “God is for us, who can be against us?”  If our overcoming God is with us, there isn’t an insurmountable situation he cannot help us walk through…heart and soul. 

I believe the best is yet to come for your marriage.  Keep trusting in Christ.  Keep walking in healthy marital habits. 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

 

How to pray for your pastor: 5 lessons my intercessor team taught me

One of the greatest decisions I ever made as a new Lead Pastor was for an intercessory team. I saw it as a priority my mentor (props to Joel Stocker) and it was one of the first things Anne said we needed to establish when we got to Kalamazoo.  Very early in our tenor here, I knew I needed to connect with our senior adults AND I needed intercessors.  Why shouldn’t these amazing veterans of faith be our Aaron and Hur? Who better to share our burdens than those who carry so much depth of prayer and experience than them?

We meet every first Thursday of the month.  Yes, the team does pray over us, but the time is primarily the launching point for praying over us for the month. The hour has very little to do with any needs of the greater church community but everything to do with me, my marriage/family, and the ministry we are a part of.  We have one rule: What happens at Pastor’s Prayer, stays at Pastor’s Prayer.  That means no one talks about the contents of our prayer time with anyone in the congregation outside of our hour. They take that rule seriously which boosts my trust and confidence in them.

Over the past six years of meeting with them (I call them Pastor’s Prayer team), they have taught me a few things about how people should pray for their pastor.  This isn’t a brag-fest of anything I am doing.  These are the lessons my senior adult intercessors have taught me:

1 – Keep YOU out of it. I can’t pinpoint a time where I’ve heard them pray from a selfish perspective.  “Lord give Pastor Dave revelation to feed us on Sundays” or “Give Pastor Dave and Anne wisdom/direction/insight so we can have better __________ here at the church.” Don’t pray with consumeristic words focused on your pastor receiving something from God ONLY so you and/or the congregation can get something from him/her.  Remove what YOU want see happen at the church and speak ONLY the will, vision, and direction of the Holy Spirit in his/her life.

2 – Walk in gratitude.  I can’t say I always “feel” very successful.  I have seasons where I’m frustrated with myself and wonder why in the world Kfirst hired me. My prayer team will never full grasp how their prayers have encouraged me in some very dark moments.  If I can be blunt, there are times I feel like a “tool” and their prayers laced with gratitude made me feel like a “gift.” Gratitude will do two things as you pray over your pastor.  First, it helps your heart to be humble in prayer. Thanksgiving demands humility and it’s the way to enter God’s presence. Second, it will move you to a place of being an encourager. Silent gratitude is not gratitude at all. The Lord will drop things in your heart that you need to speak to your pastor to encourage him/her.  Remember: Gratitude gives us altitude over our attitudes.

3 – Speak scripture over your pastor.  I think it’s a powerful and safe way to pray. You know it’s powerful (because it’s God’s Word), and it’s going to be His will (again,because it’s His Word). When you speak over someone/something you are blessing and edifying.  Biblically, you’re commissioning and calling out destiny. I marvel how awesome and faithful the Lord is.  I can’t count the amount of times, during our monthly prayer, where someone has felt led to pray scripture over us and the Word that was read hit us with sniper accuracy.  Get out your bible and use it to pray over your pastor.

4 – Respond to the Holy Spirit.  So often, members of the team has pulled me aside or emailed me to let me know that the Holy Spirit spoke to them pray over us.  I love that they are always ready to respond whenever the Holy Spirit gives them a nudging regardless of time of day. Don’t relegate praying for your pastor to a moment (or ANYONE for that matter).  Be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in your life and willing to respond when He prompts you to pray.

5 – Send encouragement to your pastor.  Pastors can be lightning rods to a lot of crap going on that may or may not be his/her fault.  That’s not to manipulate anyone in to feeling bad for pastors.  It’s the nature of the position.  Unfortunately, more than a few times, I’ve heard people, literally say of me and/or their pastor, “I was going to send a note of encouragement but you/they probably get those all the time and I don’t want you/them to get a big head.” (SMH) A very common comment that appears in letters, cards, emails, etc. from my prayer team is, “I was praying for you and the Lord wanted to me to send you this note of encouragement.” Edification is born out of intercession. Don’t send a note of flattery.  Flattery is manipulation.  Encourage, build-up, and strengthen your pastor.

 

If you’re looking for specifics, here’s a simple list of things to pray for your pastor when the Holy Spirit brings him/her to mind.

Pray for…

  1. …his/her marriage and family.
  2. …rest.
  3. …his/her passion for Jesus.
  4. …a fresh move of the Holy Spirit in his/her life.
  5. …wisdom.
  6. …protection.
  7. …to be driven by conviction of the Holy Spirit and not the criticism of people.
  8. …creativity
  9. …fun for him/her (pastor’s need leisure too).
  10. …health.

This is what my prayer team has taught me.  These are the amazing lessons I’ve learned that has prompted me to pray deeper and more consistently for my pastoral team, my district leadership, as well as other pastors.  As they have challenged me, so I challenge you.

Don’t stand behind your pastor. Stand with them.  Hold  them up in prayer.

Thanks for letting me ramble…