Permission Granted: 4 Reasons Why Unity in Your Marriage is Better than Permission

Permission is a funny thing. Permission, defined, is authorization or consent. Sadly enough, this is how a lot of marriages work. The reason why marriages work that way, is there is a misunderstanding of unity and Lordship. One of my favorite scriptures comes out of Acts 17:28.,
“in him (Jesus) we live and move and have our being.”
It’s through Jesus’ provision and authority that we live our lives as well as our marriages.  
This is where we screw it up. This is where we like to take authority that belongs to him, and exercise that over our spouse. Instead of working with our spouse, we want to lord over her spouse.  It rips apart our oneness, and places us in the seat of a dictator.  We make our spouse seek permission to spend money, to travel, to spend free time, or anything that they desire to do. The “permission thing” might seem healthy to you, but it’s caging up your spouse and making them live in concern and or fear of you and your opinion. Fear has nothing to do with love. In fact fear wants to drive out love. 
I want the two of you to stop asking for permission. I want the two of you to get the mindset out that you would need permission from your spouse to do anything.  It doesn’t mean we go and do everything that we desire to do regardless of how our spouse feels. Means we communicate out of a desire to get a unified heart. 
When I ask Anne about spending money, hanging out with friends, or to simply go out to a store, it’s not about permission. 
It’s about unity. 
I don’t need my wife’s permission for anything. I do want her unity. When I look in Psalms 133,  spells out 4 blessings that come from unity. 
1 – Psalm 133 says unity is “wonderful and pleasant.” What a great description for the atmosphere you bring to your home in marriage. I don’t know if you’ve ever walked into a very awkward home or place, but if you have you want to leave it immediately.  Homes with atmospheres where you must have “permission” is everything but “wonderful and pleasant.”  It’s constructive, painful, and awkward.  A unified heart between a husband and wife creates an atmosphere where the marriage can grow and where children can be raised because it is “wonderful and pleasant.” Needing permission stinks up the room.  Unity clears it up. 
2 – Unity makes your marriage “precious” (verse 2).  This speaks of value.  The greater unity you foster the more value you bring to your marriage and your spouse. Working in unity will bring value to your parenting. Your kids will see the family as valued. Is unity easy? Absolutely not. But the hard work and focus of unity continues to shape your marriage to make it precious and of extreme value.  You want to show your spouse how valuable they are? Show that you want to walk in unity with him/her.  Want to lose value, remove freedom and demand permission.
3 – Psalms 133 says that unity is “refreshing.”  There is enough of this world that wants to suck the life, joy, and love out of your life.  When you come home, you should experience refreshing. Having to seek permission steals the joy from marriage away. Constantly having to ask for authorization, rips away the freedom Jesus desires you to have. Fostering a unified hard between the two of you gives a place of refreshing. Conflict is not avoided, struggles are not bottled up, and issues I’ve never ignored because the two of you choose to walk in unity. Please note this: unity does it mean there’s never a disagreement.  It just means you choose to walk in unity regardless of opinion.  
4 – Psalms 133 says where there is unity God “commands His blessing.”  I think one of the biggest reasons here is because we’ve left the Lordship up to Jesus. We leave the “permission” thing up to him. We allow Jesus to have the authority.  And when we walk in unity with each other and with Jesus, his blessing continues to rest upon our lives. This helps remove worry and exciting from marriage. When we go through rough patches and storms, when the season of life is treating us to well, we don’t have to wring our hands in a worry. We know that the command and blessing of God will be upon us cause were choosing to walk through it together in unity.  
Unity thing works in every aspect. Even if your spouse is broken trust with you, The accountability he/she needs nothing to do with them asking for “permission.”  Has everything to do with communication for the sake of “unity.”
If you been exercising Lordship over your spouse, today is the day to relinquish that to Jesus. Today is the day to ask for forgiveness from your spouse. Today is a new day for you to walk in unity in to see amazing results of God’s blessings on your marriage. 
Thanks for letting me ramble…

Marriage Blog: “It’s just not me.”

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We’ve all used it to get out of things we don’t want to do.

“Do you want to ride the roller coaster?” “No. It’s just not me.”
“Do you want to try escargot?” “No.  It’s just not me.”
“Do you like country music? “No. It’s just not me.

It’s kind of our nice way of telling people that we have absolutely no interest in what they are offering.  As long as you say it in a nice tone, it’s amazing the stuff it can get you out of.  It’s like a “get out of jail free card” for moments in public places.

FreeJail

Sadly, it’s a line used to often in marriage.  If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a hundred times.  I have heard the line used all over the place and in numbers of situations.  Casual conversations with couples, in small groups, dining, counseling…well, you get the picture.  I’ve heard it too much

“All he/she wants to do is talk…it’s just not me.”
“He/she wants to get all romantic…it’s just not me.”
“He/she wants to be involved in volunteering together…it’s just not me.”
“He/she wants is sex…it’s just not me.”
“He/she is more the disciplinarian for the kids…it’s just not me.”
“Well that’s just his/her thing…it’s just not me.”

thats not me

cop out  n. An excuse designed to shirk responsibility.

That’s all this line really is…a cop out.  It’s the marital line we use to shirk responsibility of being an “other-centered” husband/wife that serves our spouse.  (as I type this, I’ve noticed there has been a common thread being woven through my latest blogs…And that thread is simply being a spouse ready to take up not just the JOY but the responsibility of serving our husband/wife.)

We live in such a self-centered ego-driven manipulative culture that is fascinated in pleasuring self.  As blunt as it sounds it’s completely true.

“I have to receive something for me to be happy.”
“What do I get in return if I do what you want?”
“If I get what I want, then you can get what you want.”
“I don’t feel like it. He/she just has to deal with it.”

We feel entitled to have our own needs met with little thought what our spouses needs are.  We justify our actions by calling their “needs”  as “wants” as to calm our conscience.  It is no wonder why people start emotional and physical affairs.  We send out our spouses empty and thirsty and we get upset when someone has stepped up to the plate to fill them up.  Note: I’m not giving ANYONE the excuse for having an affair.  Affairs are wrong no matter how you package them (Matthew 5:27-30).  But as a spouse, we cannot empower what the enemy is wanting to do in our marriage by neglecting our spouse as well as give our significant other an excuse to go looking for attention elsewhere.

Proverbs 5:18-19 Bless your fresh-flowing fountain! Enjoy the wife you married as a young man!  Lovely as an angel, beautiful as a rose – don’t ever quit taking delight in her body. Never take her love for granted!

This last part is what this blog is all about. The longer we are with someone (we’ve been married for 16 years + dated for 3 years) the more apt we are to taking them (their wants and needs) for granted.  We assume too much and neglect them.  I would love to assume I’ve never given the excuse “it’s just not me”, but honestly, I think I used it last weekend when she wanted to go for a “romantic walk” on a beach and I was comfortable in the shade.  I’ll say it this way: the more we put off our spouse, the more we push away our spouse.  It could be a walk, a conversation, a date, sex, or a simple cup of coffee, but to ignore them is to take them for granted. And to take them for granted is to stifle the love and passion in your marriage.

Be a listener to your spouse.  Then take that next step from being a listener to serving your spouse.  Get past the “it’s not me” phase and realize, if you are married, whether you like it or not, IT IS YOU! Never take your spouse for granted.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

2 Minute Marriage Devo – Day 3

Welcome to our 2 Minute Devos. This month we are in our Annual Marriage Series at Kalamazoo First Assembly of God and we’re going through devotions for couples. Take the time to read through the passage of the day and listen to the 2 Minute Devo.

Genesis 2:24

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

2 Minute Devo: Confronted with me John 4

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October is our journey through the 2 minute series called “Resurrecting Repentance”.  It’s as simple as viewing the vlog and reading the passage for the day.  Today’s passage is John 4:

John 4

Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.[a]

A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her,“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.[b] The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know;we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.

31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

43 After the two days he departed for Galilee. 44 (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) 45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.

46 So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 So Jesus said to him, “Unless you[c] see signs and wonders you will not believe.” 49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him,“Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. 51 As he was going down, his servants[d] met him and told him that his son was recovering. 52 So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour[e] the fever left him.” 53 The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household.54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.

Ineffective husbands

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There’s a scripture that immediately comes to mind.  2 Timothy 2:15 is it.  For some reason, the KJV is what rings loudly in my head. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  It’s the scripture that was heavily impressed upon me as a bible college student to make sure I was diligent to study scripture as to be a good steward of the Word of God.

Stick with me for a second…

The two words that jump out:
– Study – earnestness in accomplishing, promoting, or striving after anything, to give all diligence
– Dividing – to handle correctly

The question I ask: Even though the context of this scripture has NOTHING to do with marriage…can we as husbands learn something from this?

In marriage, have we has husbands failed in the stewardship of the woman we have married? Has the failure stemmed from our failure to “study“(earnestness in accomplishing, promoting, or striving after anything, to give all diligence) our wife? Are we “handling them correctly”?

Perhaps the way we have struggled in being stewards of our spouses is we have simply stopped the pursuit. We feel we have the answers already so we stop asking questions.  Do you remember the dating years?  Do you remember the questions you needed answered?
– What movie should I take her to?
– What kind of flowers do I get?
– What do her parents think of me?
– Should I use Brute, Drakkar, or Polo cologne tonight?

The more the relationship grew…the more we moved from asking ourselves the questions to asking her questions.
– Where do you want to eat tonight?
– Can I get that for you?
– What would you like to do next week?
– Can I help with that?
– Would you rather I wear Drakkar or Polo?
– Why do you think I need new cologne?

TRUTH: Ineffective husbands stop asking questions.  They stop the pursuit to win and keep the hearts of their wives.

We’ve stopped asking questions. And by doing that, we’ve become poor students and highly ineffective. I can hear it now.  “I already know my wife.  I know what she likes. I don’t need to ask anything.”

Meanwhile she sighs in the background. She wants the pursuit.  I know it’s far different from when you two first dated BUT it’s that spirit, that pursuit, that won her heart and saw something in you that she wanted to be with.

Here I go, 10 questions to ask your wife:

1 – What is something romantic we can do?
Brace yourself men.  It may not have anything to do with sex. (I may have lost most male readers.) You idea of romance may no longer be her idea.  Here’s a news flash: you idea of romance may have NEVER been her idea of romance.  Anne and I sill laugh at some of my cheesy ideas of romance that wasn’t as effective as I assumed.  She just wanted time with me. (hence her love language)

2 – Is there something fun we can do together?
This is where many men have lumped romance and fun together and can’t tell them apart.  Why?  Two reasons: First, we don’t understand, even though our wives have fun with romance, there is a huge difference between the two. You wife likes romance.  Your wife like to have fun that has nothing to do with romance. Second, we assume it’s all going to lead to the bedroom.  Don’t get me wrong. I won’t stand in the way of that. But if everything we do everything for our benefit as men, our acts of fun and romance will be seen as manipulation.   I’m not saying the two can’t coincide.  I’m saying that if you don’t know the difference, ask your wife.

3 – Do you feel you’re a priority to me?
Most would avoid this question and pretend like it’s not even existing on this blog. But it’s a question that has to be asked.  I’ll never forget the words of a minister praying over our Michigan pastors.  “Forgive us when ministry has been our mistress.”  Has work taken priority?  “But Dave, I have to provide for my wife.” You’re right. Our nature as men are to provide. BUT…if she doesn’t feel like priority, your hard work will be for naught.

4 – What makes you smile?
You’d be surprised at some of the answers you get.  It might be “vacuuming the carpet.” It might be when she catches you flexing in the mirror when you think no one is looking. It could be when you’re helping the kids with their homework. Discover her smile again. Be the source of joy in here life.

5 – What are you stressing about and how can I help? 
I’ve heard it described that a man’s mind is like a hallway with many doors.  The rule is: only one door can be open at a time.  A woman’s mind is like a ball of yarn.  Everything is going on at once and everything intersects everything.  Stop telling her not to be stressed.  Stop telling her she shouldn’t be stressed. Start asking her how you can NOT be one of those stress-ers (I made up a word).  For me, simply taking the kids out of the home does wonders.  Simply putting my dirty clothes into the hamper WHILE not be inside out does more.

7 – How can I pray for you?
When was the last time you prayed together outside of a meal? When was the last time you asked her what she needs prayer over?  Don’t give me the excuse, “well, she’s the spiritual one.” Take the lead. Pray over her. Let her hear you pray.  Pray over her when you’re at work and send her a text about it. Let her be reminded that you care for more than just her physically.

8 – Do I spoil you enough?
You may approach this with fear and trembling.  The reason why I ask the question is we, in our courting/dating process, were so generous with our time, efforts, and money.  It’s far beyond a financial thing. Everything about our dating actions was to “spoil” her.  Have I taken her for granted?  I’ve heard it said too many times, “I don’t have to do that anymore.” Well…enjoy the fruits of that when she returns the favor.

9 – What can I do physically please you? 
“If it was good for me, it was good for her.” We assume when we’re providing the physical attention to our spouse, if we’re pleased with it then our wives are just as pleased.  I’m talking about PDA (public displays of affection i.e. hand holding), random moments of affection, and sexuality. Am I too physical? Am I physical enough?  Do I sweep her off her feet…or does she feel used because it was all about what I desired?

10 – If you could change one thing, what would it be?
This takes guts.  This takes humility…AND SHE WILL LOVE YOU FOR IT. It could be that you’re still wearing the same cologne you’ve been wearing for 20 years. It could be leaving work stuff at work. It may be playing with the kids so that she doesn’t feel like she’s the only one raising them.  She may want you to take more spiritual leadership in your marriage.  Whatever it is, make it priority.  Move it to the top of your list.

I hope husbands feel challenged.  I hope husband will take me up on this. Don’t be ineffective by assuming you know all you need to know.  You and her are constantly changing through the seasons of life. Keep up the pursuit, keep asking questions, and stay effective as a husband.

I’ve enlisted Anne to help me with next week as we speak to ineffective wives.

Till next week…

Thanks for letting me ramble….