Self-Hurting Marriage: 7 Things we do every day that are actually hurting our marriage.

Something I learned a long time ago, when it came to my body, I was eating what I wanted and doing what I wanted not worried about the physical outcome.  It lead to an unhealthy lifestyle that, because of an accident, empowered my doctor to give me some sobering news that changes needed to happen.  Every day I was subtly hurting my health and not even realizing it.  Change happened with tweaks to my life that lead to healthier living. 

That’s what today’s marriage blog is about; looking at a few things that people do and don’t see the huge ramifications behind them. 

Here we go…These are the every day “acceptable” things we do that are actually hurting our marriage.

1. Skimping on our relationship with God. Go for quality over quantity.  I’d rather you read a few verses to ponder and digest than getting through Psalms 119 and not remember a thing. I’d rather 10 minutes of concentrated prayer than an hour of unfocused/distracted prayer in which you may or may not have fallen asleep.  Get plugged into a church community. Serve in your church community. Engage in conversations with each other as well as your family.  I love that Scott’s commercial, “Feed your lawn…feed it!”  Do the say with your walk with Christ: Feed it. 

2. Disregard for your spouses point of view.  The most productive and healthy spouse embraces their mate’s point of view.  He/she is able to get past “self” and values the opinion and insight of their spouse.  In conversations, acknowledge their feelings and embrace their outlook.  If all you see is what you want…if all you see is your point of view…if what your spouse cares about is small, minuscule, and unimportant to you, then you are belittling them.  Not taking topics and items seriously that are important to them is making him/her feel less valuable day by day.  It makes the marriage all about you and what you deem as “important.” Your spouse feels is he/she is living in a dictatorship and NOT a relationship.  

3. Constant Negativity. The longer we’re marriage, the more apt we are to take our spouse for granted. Try to outdo your spouse with encouragement and edification. Be the first to express gratitude.  Learn to celebrate everything.  Just as a plant thrives in healthy environments, your marriage will thrive in an environment of encouragement and optimism. Living in a home heavy with negativity and pessimism doesn’t give your spouse a “dose of reality,” it dries them out on the inside.  Like eating an over-cooked piece of cornbread and having every lick of moisture pulled from your mouth, negativity will suck your spouse’s life dry of passion, excitement, and joy.  

4. Sarcasm.  Marriage is fun (well…it should be). Having healthy doses of laughter will keep your marriage vibrant.  Sometime life’s moments happen that are just plain funny.  Couples can recount and laugh a bit.  But there’s a point where teasing turns to sarcasm.  Want to know the difference? Sarcasm always leaves a person feeling like a victim.  Someone feels internally violated. Think about it, when sarcasm is used, it’s to make something bigger in order for someone to be made to feel smaller.  Ask your spouse about it (without being sarcastic) and he/she will tell you.  Work on it.  Change it.  Bring the fun back to your marriage. 

5. Tolerating pornography in all forms. Stop porn at every level.  Call it “soft porn” or “emotional porn,” but call it for what it is. As I stated in previous blogs “Eviction Notices” and “Who Needs Sex?,” this is not just a male issue.   Both men and women can be stimulated by pornography and seduced into thinking it’s a help for their marriage.  The goal of pornography is to skew the authentic with fantasy.  Two of my biggest reasons is it causes (1)an unhealthy view of the human body as well as (2) unhealthy sexual expectations.  Top it off with the addictive nature of porn devised to make you dependent upon it, you then have a monster that isn’t worth the amount of space it will take up in your thoughts. Who wants their spouse thinking/picturing something or somebody else during sex? Not me.

6. Entertaining wrong expressions of frustration.  Learning healthy conflict is one of the greatest tools in your marriage tool-box.  Cultivating healthy communication skills paves the way for deep levels of intimacy between the two of you.  Forgiveness is the antidote of frustration. Dealing with your irritation through an attitude of redemption and resolution paves the way for healthy conflict. Conflict is unavoidable.  Two humans living together, let alone married, is a breeding ground for conflict.  Inviting passive aggression, social media rants, fighting in public, and venting spouse slander to your bff and/or family doesn’t help like you think it is.  It’s seeding frustrations deeper.  Healthy conflict does more than bring frustrations to the surface.  It helps you solve them.  

7. Putting anything else, outside of Christ, first before your spouse.  Make your spouse feel like he/she and you are the only ones left on earth.  Let them feel like, outside of Christ, he/she is your world.  Note this: You and our spouse are the most important human relationship in this world.  Marriage was created with that type of emphasis.  Together, you give a view of the image of God.  But placing anything and anyone before your spouse begins to break that down.  Kids, jobs, ministry, friends, family, are all important and need focus.  But none of them should hold a candle to how important your marriage is.  Your kids need to see you put your spouse as priority.  Your family and friends need to see that they have to right coming between the two of you.  Let the two become one and let no one separate you. 

There’s probably more to the list.  There may be some you could add.  But today isn’t about guilt.  It’s about throwing up some red flags and helping steer you to recognizing subtle actions that could be hurting your marriage.  If you see something, recognize it, confess it (to your spouse), and walk in repentance (change your thinking and go in the other direction). 

Sometimes it’s the little, overlooked things that’ll get ya.   But we’re going to be the marriages that overcome. 

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

 

Marriage Blog: Faking Your Death

I read quite a few blogs and articles on marriage.  I’m always intrigued by titles.  Then one came across my screen…

Groom Poorly Fakes Death to Get Out of Wedding

Clicking on the link will introduce a small story about a poorly approached attempt to circumvent getting out of a wedding.  When I think I’ve heard it all, moments like these happen.

…Then my mind began to wander.  Thoughts began to form.  I then realized how often this happens.

People fake death all the time.  Let me explain…

When we get married, we’re bringing our family, our personal history (good and bad), and our present circumstances together with our spouse along with their family, background, etc.  Part of our getting married is navigating through all of that and learning to come together as a couple.  The other part is learning to die.

You read that right.

Death is a part of marriage.  Now most people think of death as the end of their physical life.  But the moment you take those vows, you are making a covenant with your spouse that his/her needs will be lifted up above your own.  When you put that ring on your finger, you pledged your love and identity to be with no one else but your groom/bride. The wedding is a place of death.  It’s a funeral of self.  Two people die and one is born.

So the question comes: What does it mean to “Fake Your Death”?

It’s when you decide that you’ll give the image of being married.  You’ll wear the ring.  You’ll play the part.  But in reality, you’re living for yourself.  You fake the “image” that your marriage is of the utmost priority. But it’s all about you.  The “death” is a lie. The marriage centers around your own desires without a single thought of your spouse.  As I’ve stated in so many blogs, selfishness is cancerous.  It’s the quickest way to fake one death (death to self) that will, ultimately, lead to another (death of your marriage).

Death to self in marriage, like with a relationship with Christ, is a daily decision.  Over the past 16 years of marriage to Anne has proved to me that every day I have a choice: Am I going to die to self or am I going to fake my death and live for me?  It’s the choice that so many marriages are struggling with.  How do I know that? Because every day I struggle wanted to live for me.  I want to do what I want.  I want my needs met.

This is where I look at the example of Christ.

John 13:3-5 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

In his most vulnerable moment of his life, Jesus laid aside everything.  He knew that there was very little time before he’d be taken away. He was underneath an immense weight of pressure and stress.  He could have made everything about His needs that night.

But he laid aside His outer garments and put on the garments of a servant.  He served he closest friends when He was the one in need. What an amazing example of laying aside “self” in order to bless/serve/honor someone else.  What an amazing precursor to what would be displayed on the cross.

Imagine if we stopped faking “death to self” and we lived without selfishness.
Imagine two people married, decide to completely die to “self” and lived to serve Christ and one another.
Imagine if during our most vulnerable moments, we still decided “it’s not about me.”
Imagine having a marriage where no one waited for the other to step out and serve.  It naturally happens because that’s who you are.

I don’t know who you are or the state of your marriage, but its time to stop faking that you’ve died to the old life of self.  It’s time to lay aside who you were and who you’ve been.  It’s time to cast off selfishness and love your spouse the way Christ loves you.

Today, it’s time for self to die so that your identity with your spouse can live.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

2 Minute Devo Series: Book of Matthew Day 17

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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 16

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Pharisees and Sadducees Demand Signs

16 And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them,[a] “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.

The Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees

When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.” But Jesus, aware of this, said,“O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread?Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 11 How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread?Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others sayElijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock[b] I will build my church, and the gates of hell[c] shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed[d] in heaven.” 20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection

21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord![e] This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance[f] to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life[g] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. 28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

 

2 Minute Devo: “Get Control” Titus 2:11-12

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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 Titus 2:11-12.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives inthe present age