The 2 Things I Got Right in Marriage: A Blog for Singles (also married peeps):

Anne has been on me a while about writing a marriage blog to singles. I’ve been setting aside the idea for a long time.  But over the past two weeks, some comments have come my way, 

“I love reading about your mistakes. They help me correct my own.”

“Some of your mistakes help me to know what to NOT look for.”

So I’ve been asking myself a simple question: Of all of the things I’ve done wrong (the list keeps growing), what have I done right? 

I came up with two. 

That’s it. 

Obviously there’s more, but these were literally the first TWO that came to mind that, I believe, are the TWO FOUNDATIONAL decisions that has given me a great (not perfect) marriage. Again, I’ve gotten other things right in the past 18 years, but they’ve built off these two.

If you’re single, this is where you START.
If you’re reading this and your married, this is what you WORK ON

The FIRST thing I got right: I loved Christ before I loved Anne

There is no other foundational decision greater than this. Everything, and I mean everything, builds off this. Let me explain. In Matthew 22, Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment. He said, 

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”

I cannot possibly love Anne the way she needs to be loved without first loving Jesus. I’ve had people take offense to that type of priority.  But when I love the Lord first, He teaches me how to love.

Why is that? When I encounter His love, it teaches me how to love myself AND others. It helps me live life through His perspective. I forgive completely because that’s how He forgives. I have compassion for others because He showed me compassion. I serve selflessly because He served me by laying down His life. I choose to love unconditionally because He choses to love me that way.

I’d love to say I’ve perfected all but, as you’ve read in previous blogs, you know I’m a work in progress as are all of us. But this is where I start from and CONTINUE to build on. Any season that I face, this is where I begin. And it’s given me a powerfully healthy perspective to have.

The SECOND thing I got right: I chose a woman who loved Christ before she loved me.

I didn’t ask her for an application followed with references and a dissertation. I saw her devotion to Christ.

When worship began, she entered in as a passionate worshiper.
When someone was in need, she gave without expectations.
When something needed to be done, she was the first to serve. 
When someone needed to be encouraged, Anne was the first to step up. 
But most of all, her reputation amongst people who knew her was the reputation of Jesus. She had the character of Christ (Galatians 5:22-23). 

She’s nowhere near perfect. Like me, Anne has plenty of flaws and it’s not my place to list them (that point may be for a future blog).  It’s my place to see her how Christ sees her. And that list what I saw. Her life was evidence of a Matthew 22 life. I knew if she loved Jesus completely, she could love me that way (because I’d love her that way). 

If you’re single, this is where you start. Instead of trying to find the “right one” for you, become the “right one” for others. Go after Matthew 22 passionately. As you encounter the love of Jesus, it’ll change you AND change what you look for in a spouse.

If you’re married and you didn’t start this way. Don’t scrap everything. Start a Matthew 22 marriage today by letting the love of God change you. And from you, let His love encounter and change your marriage. 

I love you all.  I believe in great things for you. Why? Because I know how great Christ is and I know, through you, great things can happen. 

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Gold and White: 6 things the “Tumblr Dress” taught me about marriage.

I’m sitting watching a show with my daughter and during a commercial, I happened to look down at my twitter feed. 

Big mistake.  The world was crazy with over the color of a dress.  This phenom started Thursday with a Tumblr post. A lady posted a picture of a two-toned dress with the caption, “Guys please help me-is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can’t agree and we are freaking…out.” (edited out the f-bomb)

tumblr_nkcjuq8Tdr1tnacy1o1_1280

Within hours, the image went viral and consumed social network.  I was lost.  Everybody was posting, tweeting, and retweeting and would stop to clear up my confusion: 

Before, long, I heard Anne call me from the other room asking me about it. It didn’t take long, but after spending a few moments (that I will NEVER get back) I found out what the world was obsessed with.  

And I don’t really get the big deal. But I did learn something about marriage, 

6 things the “Tumblr Dress” taught me about marriage. 

1. Some people just love to argue. You see them on facebook and twitter.  Some of you see them when you wake up in the morning.  People think it’s fun to get a rise out of others.  I’ve counseled couples in which the one who loves to argue has not clue that their method of “fun” is what’s driving their spouse away. If you are one of those people who love to intentionally engage in unnecessary conflict and you are married to someone who is NOT like you…I’ve got some advice for you: Stop trying to stir up arguments all the time.  It’s not cute and you’re annoying the crap out of your spouse. 

2. You’re not going to agree on everything. Stop thinking you do.  If you disagree on stuff, there’s nothing wrong with your marriage.  If you two agree on everything, then one of you is not necessary.  You may just need to agree to disagree. Which leads me to #3…

3. Arguments mean you are not compatible…AND THAT’S A GOOD THING. Compatibility is a farce. So many people (and dating websites) are bent on this being the “end-all” of relationships.  Compatibility attracts…and that’s all it’s limited to. But it doesn’t make a marriage. In fact, the word “compatible” means, “Able to exist or occur together without conflict.” The incompatibility of your lives gives room for the two of you to work, love, and grow together.  Your marriage is WAY RICHER because you’ve married to somebody who is much DIFFERENT than YOU are. 

4. Perception is more reality than you think. Sometimes we are so bent on changing our spouse’s perception.  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but there’s a small process to it.  First, validate their perception.  He/she sees something you do not.  Instead of making them feel wrong/stupid/ignorant, let him/or her feel valued by understanding what they see. Second, clearly and calmly explain your understanding to the situation.  Third, if needed, apologize.  Even if your actions are misunderstood, your actions did lead to the misunderstanding (a little extra humility never hurt anyone). Lastly, let the response of your actions change the perception.  

5. Don’t tell me you two have nothing to talk about. There’s always something to talk about. The world stopped to talk about a dress (which I think is gold and white). What’s really happened is one or both of you have quit trying to talk.  You’ll push yourself at work, church, the story, etc. to engage with people.  You’re spouses deserves that effort and more. 

6. You don’t have to be right all the time. You like it.  I know I enjoy being right.  For a portion of my marriage, even if I was wrong, I could manipulate the conversation to make Anne feel responsible for the situation so that I could be right.  It was wrong.  It’s still wrong. If you are bent on ALWAYS being right makes you less attractive and more of a jerk.  So stop it. 

In the midst of all of this, I find myself in Proverbs 18:15.  It says, 

Wise men and women are always learning,
    always listening for fresh insights.

I’m a guy who’s always trying to learn.  I am looking for ways to grow. As silly as this whole dress thing is, there’s so much we can learn from our human responses.  And if we don’t pursue opportunities to learn, we will pay for it personally as well as martially.  To learn is to live. And in the words from one of my favorite movies, “Get busy living or get busy dying.” 

Now that the “Tumblr Dress” has had its 15 minutes of fame…this blog is officially outdated.  

Thanks for letting me ramble…

2 Minute Devo: “Better than being right” Eph. 4:32

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August is our journey through the 2 minute series called “Watch Your Mouth”.  I want to invite you to join me as we. It’s as simple as viewing  the vlog and reading the passage for the day.  Today’s passage is Ephesians 4:32:

Ephesians 4:32

32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

2 Minute Marriage Devo: “You’re not alone” #marriage

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June is our journey through some scripture selections on the topic of Marriage.  I want to invite you to join me. It’s as simple as looking at the blog and reading the passage for the day.  Today’s passage is Isaiah 41:10:

Isaiah 41:10

10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

2 Minute Marriage Devo: “Refuse the right thing” #marraige

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June is our journey through some scripture selections on the topic of Marriage.  I want to invite you to join me. It’s as simple as looking at the blog and reading the passage for the day.  Today’s passage is James 4:17:

James 4:17

17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.