Marriage Blog: Is it easy being married to me?

It’s a simple question to ask…But perhaps, it’s the most ignored question in marriage.

“Is it easy being married to me?”

Have you asked yourself that? I try to avoid the question. Why? Because of two reasons:

1. I’d rather shift the focus to my wife so, therefore, she has to be the one to change. That way, she can be the one to blame and I feel better about me.

2. If I answered the question TRUTHFULLY, then I have to be responsible for making changes necessary to be who my wife needs me to be. After all, if anyone needs to change, it’s not me.  My wife needs to change.

At the first sign of marriage issues, self-preservation and human tendency moves us to look for blame in someone else.  We desire to protect what we tend to cherish most: ourselves. This isn’t anything new to humanity. We see this in the beginning in the Eden incident (Genesis 3:12-13).   Instead of taking ownership of mistakes, we shift the focus upon something or somebody to preserve the way of life we want to embrace.

But that’s why the question is soooooo good. It confronts you with a reality that some of the issues that you are facing in your marriage (and/or the issues that will be forthcoming) can stem from a spouse (being you) that is unwilling to take a strong look in the mirror, recognize challenges, and strive for change.

“Why should I have to change?  Why can’t he/she change?  I’ve already sacrificed enough.”

Honestly, is it not easy to being married to you.  You may not think that’s the case.  You’re spouse might be too nice to really tell you.  But it’s time to take a step back and ask the all important question:

“Is it easy to be married to me?” 

I’ve had a running joke over the past 16 years of marriage.  I remind my wife how lucky she is to have married me.  With an odd grin, she always agrees (be it VERY sarcastically) with the statement.  She doesn’t say much more than that.  Why?  Because she knows the underlying reality: it’s not easy to be married to Dave Barringer.  I know she knows it.  Even better, she knows I know it.  But there are times I fail to remember.

I forget she’s married to a man who…

…deals with depression.
…brings his work home.
…is over-dramatic.
…loses all focus when football is on.
…lives with insomnia from a brain that won’t shut off.
…overreacts from stress.
…expects too much from his children because he forgets they’re only 12 and 15.
…wants more physical touch than she’s in the mood for.
…isn’t OCD and doesn’t care much about the cleanliness of the home.
…isn’t wired the way his wife is.
…has to share his focus between her, the family, and an entire congregation.

The list isn’t to create a “boo-hoo” moment for Dave.  It’s just a start of my list I use to remind myself that I am NOT always God’s gift to Anne.  I have more than a few moments that test the sanity of my wife.  There are times I forget what she has to deal with.  And when I do, I project the issue of the day as an “Anne” issue or suppose if there’s any change to be made, it’s definitely her that needs to grow.

I’d venture she’d have her own list to make (as most of you would).  But it boils down to you having the guts to ask the question.

“Is it easy to be married to me?” 

In Psalm 139:12, the Psalmist pens this words:

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

This is this heart we need to live toward God.  The answer will place your feet in a Kingdom lifestyle of humility and personal growth that will lead you “along the path of everlasting life.”  When speaking of our marriage, this is the attitude we need to replicate in our marriage.  And if you do, it will lead your marriage along the path of life that Christ can breath into you both.

And it can begin with asking yourself the simple question:

“Is it easy to be married to me?” 

The answer and your response (humility and teachability) can lead your marriage receiving a brand new breath of life.

 

…thanks for letting me ramble.

 

2 Minute Devo: Ecclesiastes Day 5

September is all about diving into the book of Ecclesiastes.  Watch the devo and read the scripture for today:

 

Ecclesiastes 8:1

Who is like the wise? And who knows the interpretation of a thing? A man’s wisdom makes his face shine, and the hardness of his face is changed.

2 Minute Devo: Ecclesiastes Day 4

September is all about diving into the book of Ecclesiastes.  Watch the devo and read the scripture for today:

 

Ecclesiastes7:14

In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.

Dirty Laundry Can Ruin Your Marriage

 

 

 

 

 

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You’ve seen it and I’ve seen it.  

If you are involved in ANY type of social network, you’re going to have it flashed in front of you.  Some of you deal with it in work.  Others deal with it in the neighborhood.  I see it in church a lot. 

Dirty laundry. 

I’ve been familiar with the idiom for years. I’ve heard my parents use it as well as friends and co-workers. 

Someone is “airing their dirty laundry.”

The phrase simply means you are talking about things (usually a problem or dispute) that should be kept private. It stems from the idea from the fact that your dirty laundry (an analogy for dirty secrets) should be kept out of sight when people are visiting, otherwise it could be embarrassing for you or them. It can also be phrased “Don’t air you dirty laundry in public”.  But these days, there seems to be little to no boundaries when it comes to what SHOULD be private and not public.  

I believe social networking is a tremendous gift.  It’s given us the power of connecting with the people around us as well as reconnecting with friends and family once separated by geography.  You feel a part of your friend’s life even though he/she lives across the country.  It’s also empowered so many introverts with a voice of expression (both good and bad).  For those of us who grew up struggling with shyness and insecurity, social network has helped us break out of our shell.  My own personal social network posting philosophy is fun, inspiration, and connection (friends, sports, hobbies, etc). 

People post anything…and I mean anything. 

Selfies. Pictures of their food. Ridiculous moments of their day (I’m guilty). What their child said/did that was so cute. Random thoughts.  Inspirational quotes.  Memes of kittens with a random scripture overlaid.

It seem like there’s no end to what we can come up with to post. 

Then it comes up.  

Dirty Laundry.

dirty-laundry

“My husband/wife said something that hurt me…”
“My husband/wife is a…”
“My husband/wife expects…”
“I don’t care what anyone thinks, but my spouse…”
“What is my spouse thinking…”
“I can believe he/she is acting like…”
“People, you know who you are, need to…”
“My in-laws are…” 

As much as people can complain about what to post (quotes, kittens, food, etc.), this is one post that has to go away. There is no place for this.  You may have the right to do it…but it doesn’t make it right. Please take your dirty laundry off the line and take it back into the house. 

Why? Because it’s telling the all of us one of several things (in reality, it could be more than one): 

  1. Your hurting. 
    That’s a given.  I will not be sarcastic about your hurt.  I will not mock it.  You’re living in fracture and you need the same healing that I received through Christ.  One of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 34:18 “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
  2. You don’t have a clue about how to handle conflict with your spouse.
    Again, I’m not mocking you, but you need help. It’s okay to admit you need help.   But seek it without dropping your laundry on the social network world.  Unless all of your “friends/followers” are solid Christian counselors, keep it out of your feed. Proverbs 12:15 “Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.” Go to prayer.  Get help as a couple. Become a student of marriage and work on your conflict resolution.  I promise. It will bless you and your spouse.
  3. You enjoy drama and you, apparently, don’t want the soap opera that you are living in to end.
    Admit it.  There are drama kings/queens all around us.  If you are one of them…STOP IT!  (I’ll admit, sometimes I think I’m one of them.  That’s where Anne calls me out.)  Misery loves company (another idiom I should blog on) and if you are miserable, you want people to be sucked into it.  Why? It’s giving you attention.  You are the focus and the longer the facebook thread is, the more fulfilled you feel.  Proverbs 27:2 “Don’t call attention to yourself; let others do that for you.”
  4. You’re selfish enough to rally everyone to your side and away from your spouse.
    You know there are people on social network that are foolish enough to take your side having only heard your side of the story and not your spouses’. Hurt people do hurtful things like manipulate situations to help themselves.  Galatians 5:16 “My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness.”
  5. You’re vicious. 
    Your rants are a warning to people of their future if they cross you.  It’s burning bridges that you, in your hurting state, can’t afford to lose. Listen to the words of the Psalmist, “God, get me out of here, away from this evil; protect me from these vicious people. All they do is think up new ways to be bad; they spend their days plotting war games. They practice the sharp rhetoric of hate and hurt, speak venomous words that maim and kill.” Psalms 140:1-2.

If your on the reading end of social network, the “dirty laundry” being aired out is nothing more than a black widow’s web designed to ensnare you and poison you. Reach out to the hurting individual privately. 

Let me say that again: Reach out to the hurting individual privately.  Don’t engage in business that isn’t yours.  But there are ways to reach out to speak healing without becoming a part of the problem. 

If you’re the one hanging the “dirty laundry”, it’s time to step back and get some help.  It’s time to engage with your spouse in a way that fosters healthy communication skills.  Proverbs 10:19 says “The wise measure their words.” Your words need to be used in the right timing, in the right atmosphere, with the right tones.  It won’t turn around overnight. But intentional acts/words of health breed marriages, that themselves, move toward health. 

Your dirty laundry wasn’t meant for others.  It’s for you and your spouse. 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

A Weak Marriage

Weak Marriage

This weekend I head into, perhaps, my favorite sermon series of the year.  Our annual marriage series kicks off at Kalamazoo First Assembly of God this Sunday at 10.  Our theme: “Best _________ Ever”.

Best_Ever Instagram

I believe marriage is a beautiful picture of the God-head.  In my opinion, part of the misunderstandings people have about God comes from the breakdown of marriage.  The more we can pour into marriages, the greater picture of God we can paint.  As a pastor, I’m determined to deal with marriage annually and pour into the health of our families.

There’s no such thing as a good marriage and a bad marriage.  There are only two types of marriages:

  1. Those that work on their marriage.
  2. Those that don’t. 

Anne and I have resolved, when it comes to our marriage, it’s never a finished product. We’re never set.  Building a healthy marriage is never done. And we CANNOT afford to ignore opportunities to build it.  To not grow our marriage, is to coast towards death.

And we’re not having it.

Why don’t people get help? Why don’t people show up to a marriage series?

Here’s some of the excuses Anne and I come across:

  • You feel you don’t need help.
  • You feel your marriage sucks and is too far gone.
  • You don’t want to hear what’s wrong with your marriage.
  • You already moved on from your spouse and found someone else.
  • You don’t want your marriage to work because it’s “too much work” and “it’s easier to start over.”
  • You’re afraid that God is gonna ask you to forgive your spouse.  You like being bitter and having something to hold over your spouses head.
  • You can’t forgive yourself and, therefore, have no hope.
  • You have someone speaking into your life that is feeding you what you want to hear instead of what you need to hear.
  • You’re content with where you are at.
  • Your frigid and don’t want anything to lead to intimacy.
  • You drifted apart and love the single life in your marriage.
  • You miss being single and, therefore, don’t want to work on the marriage.
  • You don’t know what to do and feel there’s no answer.
  • You think your wife’s job to build the marriage.
  • You think your spouse is blowing the issues in your marriage out of proportion and, therefore, you don’t need help.
  • You think it’s all your spouse’s fault.
  • (Fill in your excuse)

Let me speak something simple into you that I speak into a lot of couples:

It is not weakness to ask for help.  It’s weakness to NOT ask for help.  

To not pursue opportunities to get help, no matter where you are at in your relationship, is to position yourself to coast towards relational death.  Get help!  Do you have a healthy marriage?  Get help.  I’ve never met an athlete that thought to himself/herself, “I’ve got good upper body strength.  I’ll ignore that and move on to other things.”  No.  That athlete will continue to workout the upper body while putting focus on the other areas that need greater attention.

Now is the time to get motivated for your marriage.  Don’t give up.  Don’t toss in the towel. Don’t back down.  Don’t lose heart.  Don’t build a weak marriage in solitude.  Foster a strong marriage in community where you and your spouse are consistently being poured into.

No matter where you are in your marriage, GET SOME HELP! Start praying together. Read what the Bible says about marriage. Start reading books on marriage (I highly recommend “The 5 Love Languages”).  Go to a workshop. Read a blog. Go to periodic marriage counseling (not sure why we think we should only go to a counselor if things are bad…why can’t we go for a “check-up?).  Join us THIS SUNDAY at KFirst. Get some help and watch the Lord do some turn around and take what was weak and make it perfect in His strength (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Hopefully we’ll see you on Sunday!

Thanks for letting me ramble.

2 Minute Devo #31Days – “Present help”

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We started a new series this month called “#31Days.” What “#31Days” means is we are encouraging everyone to take the challenge of encouraging someone via social network for 31 days.  Make sure you use the hashtag!

Today’s scripture: Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

2 Minute Devo #31Days – “Someone Understands”

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We started a new series this month called “#31Days.” What “#31Days” means is we are encouraging everyone to take the challenge of encouraging someone via social network for 31 days.  Make sure you use the hashtag!

Today’s scripture: Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.