Marriage Blog: Leave the Money on the Nightstand

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Having a few weeks off of blogging, my heart has been burning to blog on a subject that has crumbled and continues to eat away at so many marriage. Paul addresses it in the famous “love chapter”:

Love “does not demand its own way.” 1 Corinthians 13:5

This cancerous element has no place in your life.  It has no place in your marriage. It will weaken you and your spouse to the point where you will be unable to stand together.

It’s called selfishness.

Yet every time we act out of it…
…every time we think with it…
…we use and abuse our spouse in order to get our own way.

We, by doing it, empower our spouse to say, “Leave the money on the nightstand.”

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I understand that it’s an intense metaphor.  But I cannot think of anything more graphic, and yet aptly descriptive, of what selfishness does to your spouse.  The phrase “Leave the Money on the Nightstand” is known as a reply of a prostitute to a “client”.  It is the tired, broken reply of someone who has been so used for selfish gain.  It is the rehearsed line spoken to people who have “demanded their own way” with very little care and minimal emotional investment.  My fear is that selfish people are positioning their spouses to feel no different from a harlot: simply there for you to get what you want and leave them void.

I’m tired of it.  I’m so stinking weary of grown adults playing the childhood game of “mine” with the person they should be serving most.  I’m so sick of marriages falling apart because grown men and women don’t know how to think of anyone else but themselves.  Every day, people act out a scenario of selfish ambition trying to grab all they can thinking “if I don’t, someone else is going to be better than me.”  We take and take until we’ve depleted the resource (marriage) without the thought of pouring in (unless it’s to our benefit).  It’s like the zombie apocalypse is about to hit and they’re taking all that they can because they don’t know if they are going to get anything later.  To deepen the issue, we seed that mentality in our children by displaying the selfishness in front of them as well as refusing to raise them with the mentality of serving first.  Instead, we raise them to “take first” as to make sure that no one else’s child gets ahead of our kids.

Love “does not demand its own way.” 1 Corinthians 13:5

The original language literally means “does not seek the things of itself.” Self-focus, which is the antithesis of love, marked the Corinthian church and, sadly, it marks too many marriages.  The way to correct “self-seeking” is, quite simply Christ-seeking.  To see Him and discover Him is to discover the totality that is love. And THAT is the remedy for selfishness: Love.

Jesus said,

“’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second [commandment] is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Mark 12:30-31).

As we find our completeness in Him, it gives us the ability to love and serve those around us.  Jesus, in Mark 12, was teaching that concern for others must equal the natural concern we have for ourselves…

…and the word “others” should not just include our spouse but place them first above all human relationships.

Does our spouse see that?  Can they tell that they are the priority in our lives? We have to be willing to step off the pedestal we’ve built to be seen and raise up the importance of serving our spouse.

Our spouses should never feel used.  Our spouses should never feel void.  We have to guard our wives/husbands from be “marital harlots” for us to take what we want and go about our day.

Lay aside your pride.  Lay aside what YOU want.

It’s time for you to be a spouse who will raise up the concern to serve HIGHER than the level to receive.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

 

 

2 Minute Marriage Devo – Day 5

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.

2 Corinthians 5:14-18

New International Version (NIV)

14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:

2 Minute Devo Series: Book of Matthew Day 25

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Welcome to our 2 Minute Devos. This month we’re going through the Book of Matthew. Take the time to read through the passage of the day and listen to the 2 Minute Devo.

Matthew 27

English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus Delivered to Pilate

27 When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. And they bound him and led him away and delivered him over toPilate the governor.

Judas Hangs Himself

Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus[a] was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them intothe treasury, since it is blood money.” So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers. Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, 10 and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”

Jesus Before Pilate

11 Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” 12 But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” 14 But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.

The Crowd Chooses Barabbas

15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. 16 And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. 17 So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, orJesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. 19 Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.” 20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” 22 Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” 23 And he said, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified

24 So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood;[b] see to it yourselves.” 25 And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”26 Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged[c] Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.

Jesus Is Mocked

27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters,[d] and they gathered the whole battalion[e] before him. 28 And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 Andthey spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.

The Crucifixion

32 As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man tocarry his cross. 33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34 they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. 36 Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. 37 And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38 Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.

The Death of Jesus

45 Now from the sixth hour[f] there was darkness over all the land[g] until the ninth hour.[h]46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” 48 And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saintswho had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son[i] of God!”

55 There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, 56 among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

Jesus Is Buried

57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

The Guard at the Tomb

62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard[j] of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure bysealing the stone and setting a guard.

Matthew 28

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Resurrection

28 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene andthe other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he[a] lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

The Report of the Guard

11 While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers 13 and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.

The Great Commission

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

2 Minute Devo Series: Book of Matthew Day 22

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Welcome to our 2 Minute Devos. This month we’re going through the Book of Matthew. Take the time to read through the passage of the day and listen to the 2 Minute Devo.

Matthew 21

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Triumphal Entry

21 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me.If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
    humble, and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt,[a] the foal of a beast of burden.’”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

12 And Jesus entered the temple[b] and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”

14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, 16 and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,

“‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies
    you have prepared praise’?”

17 And leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany and lodged there.

Jesus Curses the Fig Tree

18 In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. 19 And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once.

20 When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?”21 And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. 22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

The Authority of Jesus Challenged

23 And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24 Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 The baptism of John,from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

The Parable of the Two Sons

28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. 30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.

The Parable of the Tenants

33 “Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. 34 When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants[c] to the tenants to get his fruit. 35 And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them.37 Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ 39 And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”

42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:

“‘The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;[d]
this was the Lord’s doing,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a peopleproducing its fruits. 44 And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”[e]

45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. 46 And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet.

Matthew 22

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Parable of the Wedding Feast

22 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants[a] to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot andcast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Paying Taxes to Caesar

15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. 16 And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances.[b] 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius.[c] 20 And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21 They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.

Sadducees Ask About the Resurrection

23 The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, 24 saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. 26 So too the second and third, down to the seventh. 27 After them all, the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.”

29 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31 And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” 33 And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.

The Great Commandment

34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Whose Son Is the Christ?

41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, 42 saying,“What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.”43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,

44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
    until I put your enemies under your feet”’?

45 If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” 46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

2 Minute Devos: Crash – Day 16

Welcome to “Crash”…every day:

  1. Glorify God.
  2. Pray over the daily prayer point.
  3. Pray for the lost.

Today’s Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[a] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, butrejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends.

Crash Prayer Card 3

2 Minute Devo: “Unlimited Warranty”

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We started a new series this month called “His Faithfulness” We are looking at the faithfulness of God revealed to us in the scripture.  Take time to read the passage here on the blog or in your own bible.

Today’s scripture: Deuteronomy 7:7-16

7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, 10 and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face. 11 You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules that I command you today.

12 “And because you listen to these rules and keep and do them, the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the steadfast love that he swore to your fathers. 13 He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock, in the land that he swore to your fathers to give you. 14 You shall be blessed above all peoples. There shall not be male or female barren among you or among your livestock. 15 And the Lord will take away from you all sickness, and none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which you knew, will he inflict on you, but he will lay them on all who hate you. 16 And you shall consume all the peoples that the Lord your God will give over to you. Your eye shall not pity them, neither shall you serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you.

Stupid Spouse: A culture of demeaning our mate.

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I do like sitcoms (situational comedies).  I grew up watching them. You probably have your favorites. I’ve got mine (MASH, Newhart, Taxi, Cosby Show, and Home Improvement). The really good sitcoms take every day situations for the everyday person and makes them funny.  It’s what keeps our attention and helps us to see the humor in own lives.  Now that Netflix has “Everyone Loves Raymond,” I find myself finally watching the show right before I sleep just to let the comedy relax my mind before sleep.

But…it’s got me thinking.

At 30-minute intervals, we see situations revealed and the comedy unfold.  While we watch, we, and especially our children, subliminally soak in messages and quotes.  They sit in our minds and crowd up our memories.  (Even now, you’re thinking of your own favorite sitcoms and/or the quotes and moments that stick out to you.) Unfortunately, over the years, there seems to be a steady vein running through most sitcoms.  It was there from my earliest memories of seeing “The Honeymooners” and it lingers now into our modern-day shows.

The “Stupid Spouse.”

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stu·pid/ˈst(y)o͞opid/ lacking intelligence or common sense.

Most of you reading this won’t have to think back very far to see the sitcom with the “Stupid Spouse.”  You name the sitcom and you’ll have no problem naming off the spouse or the person in the relationship that has been chosen to be “stupid.” Not only is he/she the butt of the jokes, but the role that he/she plays becomes a laughing-stock of their family. Children are allowed to disregard dad because he’s an idiot. Don’t respect mom because she’s disconnected from reality. Husbands are spineless and weak leaders.  Wives are selfish and conniving. There is very little respect for marriage as well as parenting.

My wondering: has what we have been viewing and enjoying been allowed to soak into our own families? Have we allowed our entertainment to actually shape our marriages?  Have they become emotional pornography creating unrealistic ideals that ravage the reality of how the Lord has designed you both?

Do you have a culture of demeaning your spouse?

Our homes SHOULD be the place of safety. Our spouse SHOULD be our greatest supporter.  Our marriage SHOULD be the source of our greatest encouragement.

But somewhere in this demeaning culture, we have become what we watch.  We tear down our spouse.  Now we don’t do it to their face all the time. Let them leave the room first before we give a comment to our kids about how you disagree with their father/mother.  When our parents call us, we’ll start-up again on how “stupid” our spouse is.  We’ll even go to church and sing of the love of God and put on the facade to our friends of how our family is. Somewhere this has to stop.  Someone has to draw a line in the sand and make a stand for encouragement.

James deals this sensitive subject by saying, “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

If you find yourself thinking about how stupid (lacking intelligence or common sense) your spouse is…
If you are constantly refusing to let your spouse be a helpmate…
If you cannot speak to them respectfully and lovingly…
If you cannot talk about your spouse without tearing them down to someone…

Husbands and wives…THESE THINGS OUGHT NOT TO BE SO!

Before you cancel your cable, Netflix, and Hulu accounts, take a step back.  I’m not telling you to go all “pharisee” on me with your TV’s and computers.  I’m asking for you to just pause and reflect.  It’s time to turn the tide of the culture of your home.

1 – It starts with you.  I’ve dealt with too many marriages where a husband and wife are acting like middle schoolers and not adults.  Don’t wait for him/her to make the first move to having a culture of respect and honor.  Thank the Lord that Jesus didn’t wait for us to make the first move back to him before he extended love toward us. “Drawing a line in the sand” ISN’T about “do this or I’m leaving.”  It’s about saying, “It stops here and now.” STOP TRYING TO CHANGE YOUR SPOUSE!  Let the change start in you.

2 – Ask for forgiveness.  Admitting fault is not a sign of weakness.  It’s a sign of strength. Hiding your faults is what makes you weak. Humility is the antibiotic for a pride-filled marital culture.  Proverbs 22:4 says, “The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.”

3 – Create culture.  Embrace who your spouse is and how the Lord created them as an individual. Your differences are to be celebrated…not rejected. Create a culture where encouragement and praise becomes the norm. When there is a culture of edification, the constructive criticism that is needed for growth is received on furtive soil as opposed to calloused hearts that have been damaged by harsh remarks and disrespect.  You may have been married 2 years, 20 years, or 40 years.  It’s not too late to create a new culture of encouragement that will foster the atmosphere of healthy marital growth.

4 – Lastly, be dedicated to feeding the new culture.  Occasionally, Anne ticks me off.  I never make her mad (okay that’s a lie). But there needs to be a decision that, no matter how out of the norm it is for you, to feed the culture of encouragement and honor.  Your kids cannot see and hear you demeaning their father/mother.  Your parents cannot hear you tearing your spouse down.  Before other and before the Lord, chose to be a spouse who builds instead of destroys.  Ephesians 4:29 says, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” You will have moments that you will not feel like feeding the “new culture.” That’s where we come to grips with the fact that love is a decision and not just a feeling.  Love your spouse to feed the culture of a healthy marriage.

If we were real here, we’d admit we ALL have moments where we are lacking intelligence or common sense.  Be humble to see that in yourself and that humility will feed into how you deal with your spouse.

Encourage liberally.  Laugh loudly.  Love unconditionally. 

Thanks for letting me ramble…