Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “A Gospel-Centered Marriage” #FromThisDaySeries

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday and in the wake of a great weekend and a workweek ahead, sometimes you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together.

Today we kicked off our annual marriage series with our Kfirst community. We looked at what a marriage looks like when the essence of the Gospel is embedded in the marriage.  (Click here for yesterday’s notes.)

Our series is about looking at the daily decision to build our marriage through 4 areas shown in the example of how Jesus (groom) responds to us the Church (bride). We view each of the “4 Pillars” in a light that says, “From this day forward, I choose to grow and strengthen our marriage by asking questions, not from the aspect of “what’s missing” but “where can we start to work.”

  1. Grace
    • Question for my spouse: Do I lack grace in any area?
      • Grace Strengthens – 2 Timothy 2:1
      • Grace Labors – 1 Corinthians 15:10
      • Grace Serves – 1 Peter 4:10
      • Grace Responds – Romans 5:20-21
  2. Sacrifice
    • Question for my spouse: Am I more selfish than sacrificial?
  3. Servanthood
    • Question for my spouse: Is there anything I need to stop or start doing?
  4. Forgiveness
    • Question for my spouse: Is there anything we need to make right?
    • 4 Parts of Forgiveness
      • 1 – Confession “I was wrong…I don’t blame others, I own it”
      • 2 – Sorrow “I am sorry for…” (It’s being sorry for a specific.
      • 3 – Request “Will you forgive me?”
      • 4 – Response “ I forgive you.”

Every one of us have been given a legacy of marriage. There wasn’t a choice about what we have been handed. But we do have a choice about what we will hand the generation that will follow. So we have determined “from this day forward,” we are going to leave a legacy that shows the Gospel of Jesus at the center of our marriage.

This week, would you sit down with your spouse and honestly and humbly ask the four questions? Would you be open to hearing not what YOU lack but what the BOTH of you can work on together?

Love you all.  Join us this Sunday as we continue our annual marriage series “From This Day Forward.”

BTW: Here’s a song for your week!

What is Romance? 5 Ways to Make Sure You Are Actually Romantic

In premarital counseling, I really enjoy asking questions. Jesus seemed to be great at it and, I feel, was an effective tool in helping people learn about the Kingdom. So I find myself asking a wide-range of questions, not so that I can give an answer, but to give a couple an opportunity to think deeply about some issues that they may or may not have even pondered.

One of my favorite questions to ask is, “What is romance?” (It’s a bit harder than you think.)

Most guys (conservatively saying, 90% of them) want their ladies to answer first, and then reply, “everything she said…that’s what I think too.”

Which is precisely why I don’t let the ladies answer first anymore. I’ve learned that I enjoy hearing the guys give me their take on “romance” as to what it is and/or what that looks like.  Most of the time I hear things like, “a movie, flowers, chocolate” and other staple answers. I’m not saying those are bad whatsoever, but they seem to be the “default” or the “go-to answers.”  (BTW: I was that guy 19 years ago.)

But more often than not, their female counterparts have a “look” on their face when those “default answers” are given. Then a conversation unfolds before me with statements like,

“That’s nice, but it’s not really romantic?”
“Wait, you don’t think that’s romantic?”
“That may be romantic to you.”
“I guess that’s okay…I have fun…but I find _________ romantic.”
“So you haven’t enjoyed what I’ve done? Are you’re saying I’m not romantic?”

A simple question, with what seemingly had a simple answer, turned into a conversation that revealed two elements that deteriorate romance: Assumption and miscommunication. And usually, BOTH parties are a bit guilty of indulging in both elements on this very important subject. My simple question helps create revelation and warning that romance, if not monitored, can fade away in marriage.

My simple definition:

Romance: Selflessly serving your spouse’s love language.

**NOTE: I wish I didn’t have to use the word “selflessly” as “serving” should indicate everything needed to approach your partner. But it seems, more and more, I find couples only “serve” their spouse in order to get something back.  If serving your spouse is based upon what you are going to receive, it’s not serving that you’re doing, it’s manipulation. So I added the “selflessly” to reinforce the Christ-like heart and approach we should have. Jesus didn’t give based upon our response. He selflessly gave (served us) because of His immense love for us (Romans 5:8).

So on the most romantic holiday (according to Hallmark), I thought I’d give you a few thoughts on growing and maintaining the romance in your marriage. 

Breach the subject.
Simply said, “TALK ABOUT IT.” Assumption gives access to idle thoughts. And idle thoughts have a way of seeding false senses of discontent, frustration, and anger. Often I hear things like, “well, he/she should know what I like.” While that may or may not be true, leaving your spouse in the dark purposely only invites the darkness into your marriage. The lack of knowledge your spouse may have on what romances you may have nothing to do with their intelligence but the lack of effective and healthy communication from the both of you.

Be the one to step up first.
Lead the way in selflessly serving your spouse. If you’re waiting for him/her to make the first move, your motivation isn’t serving, it’s getting. Now don’t get me wrong, the serving should go both ways. And in time, I’d hope that through communication (and potentially some help from a marriage resource), some good, healthy serving habits would develop in the both of you. But stubbornness about being the initiator may feel justified in the moment, but it leaves you both empty, hurting, and vulnerable. Simply said: If you both are selflessly serving, your love tanks will stay full.

Recognize that your ideas of romance may not be your spouse’s idea of romance.
I spent unbelievable amounts of money on flowers in the three years of dating Anne. Later, I found out, while she very much appreciated them, they were not as big of a deal as I thought they were. And simple conversation in the sweetest tone AND in the proper timing from her switched my romantic approach (not to mention saved me money). I find many couples in the same boat. And the remedy for that: A conversation with the proper timing, tone, and technique can help pave the way for healthy romance.

Don’t assume your spouse still has the same love language.
Romance has a tendency to evolve. And it’s the seasons of life that tends to be the thing that shifts a person’s love languages. Pre-kids, we both were very high on “physical touch.” After Cammi was born, “quality time” became the vocabulary of my wife’s heart. And what we’ve noticed is, through the past almost 19 years, the evolution of the love languages of David and Anne. Romance doesn’t have to fade, but it does changes through the seasons. While our top love languages haven’t budged, we’ve seen the others (words of affirmation, quality time, and gifts) morph into greater and lesser importance.

Find your joy in your spouse’s fulfillment.
It’s not going to feel romantic to your spouse if you look and/or sound miserable while communicating your spouse’s love language. For example, I think I’ve ruined a few “quality time” moments shopping with Anne because I was so bored. I was happy to be with her, but the loud “sighing” and “grumbling” ruined any enjoyment she was having. Learn to love, not by what you receive, but by what your spouse is receiving. When the end-game of your romance is your spouse’s fulfillment, you’ll discover a deep level of marital fulfillment and health only experienced when two people serve each other.

Although I do want you to have a great Valentines day, I would hope that this blog may set your feet on a greater path so your romance isn’t relegated to a holiday or when you want your needs met. I pray that you will be that spouse in your marriage that leads the way in selflessly serving your spouse’s love language.

Encourage effort.
Celebrate progress.
Feed hope.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

BTW: Check out my BRAND NEW book of my blogs!! Order one today!!!

 

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: #MYCHURCH week 2 “Better Together”

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday and in the wake of a great weekend and a workweek ahead, sometimes you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together.

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January is about “newness.” Whether we are talking about a new start, new life, new opportunities, or just new vision, a new year naturally directs our focus forward into endless possibilities.

And its every January where we celebrate the newness of what God has in store for Kfirst  community as we kickoff our annual #MYCHURCH series. (Click here for yesterday’s notes.)

Yesterday, we looked at Paul’s admonishment in 1 Corinthians 12 to work together to be the body of Christ.  And our heart is to for everyone to see THREE important facts:

  1. You are gifted (by the Holy Spirit).
  2. You are important (because of the cross).
  3. We can do more than ME.

At Kfirst, it’s our desire to see everyone find their fit to serve because, I believe, serving is both the best way to connect as well as the best road to discipleship. Advancing the kingdom of God is NOT about what pastors can do; it’s about what we can all do together.  And when the body of Christ is working together, there’s nothing quite like it.

So yesterday, I gave a list of some of the dream serve opportunities for people to engage in. If you want to check out the list, here it is:

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Our messages are for Monday and we need to put action to what the Lord is speaking. So your next steps this week are:

  1. Ask yourself: What breaks (touches) my heart?”
    • God doesn’t give you a burden to do nothing about it.
  2. Make the move to engage. 
    • Contact us at info@kfirst.org or call the church office and let us help you find your fit in ministry. Maybe it’s to be a part of something. Perhaps it’s to lead or pioneer a ministry. The goal isn’t just to volunteer, it’s to find your ministry “fit.”

Also, if you’re looking for a scripture reading plan to go along with our message, check out this one.

Love you all.  See you this Sunday as we continue our series.

BTW: Here’s a song for your week’s playlist.

Happy wife… Miserable husband: 6 Reasons Why Appeasement Doesn’t Work

 

You’ve said it, I’ve said it: Happy wife…happy life. Call it nice.  Call it sweet.  I call it appeasement. It’s a conflict avoidance style that sacrifices your feelings, beliefs, or ideas in order to pacify or please the other person. To some, this seems like a noble identity to assume. After all, keeping peace and harmony in the relationship is important. But, is “giving in to get along” an effective method for fostering a healthy marriage?

Nope.

Appeasement has never been an effective strategy in marriage (or parenting, or friendship…or, well, life). Don’t get me wrong, it’s good and gracious to be accommodating to the preferences of your husband/wife in various circumstances. Our first response should always be to serve. In strong marriages, both spouses understand both give and take. Servanthood is a mark of healthiness. But when one spouse ALWAYS GIVES and the other ALWAYS TAKES major problems are unavoidable.

Constant yielding to your spouse may appear to achieve the desired peace, but this peace, at best, is temporal and superficial. In reality, appeasement brings eventual harm to the marriage. 

Here are some of the reasons why…

1 – Replaces Christ as the center of the relationship. Instead of a relationship that pleases the heart of God, all actions are done to please the heart of the spouse being appeased. It’s through him we are created and he holds all things together (Colossians 1:17)

2 – Creates a one-sided relationship.  Constant appeasing one’s spouse will empower him/her to assume a position of dominance in the relationship. Appeasement makes one spouse inferior to the other. This creates an imbalance that will fracture the oneness that marriage was designed by God to be. (Mark 10:8)

3 – Removes the word “no” from your marriage. I’ve found that couples that have an issue with appeasement want to say “no” but just don’t know how to say it properly.  “No” is a very good word and keeps us in check.  Healthy marriages don’t look to say “no” but are not afraid to say it in a healthy edifying way (Romans 14:19). Without “no,” the whims and desires of the spouse are controlling the relationship. 

4 – Removes respect.  I find both the spouse that is appeasing and the empowered spouse lose respect for one another for different reasons. The lack of healthy servanthood erodes the opinion that each spouse as of the other. Romans 12:10 says to “take delight in honoring.” Appeasement keeps you from doing that. 

5 – Cultivates a spirit of fear. Appeasement replaces the heart of serving the needs of your spouse is with the anxiety of having to constantly attend to the wants (not necessarily needs) of the spouse.  That mindset will loom over the marriage creating an atmosphere that God never designed us to live in. (2 Timothy 1:7)

6 – Develops frustration. The appeasing spouse lives with unmet needs. He/she represses heartfelt feelings at the expense of legitimate needs. Unfulfilled needs have a tendency to re-emerge and manifest themselves in other ways – depression, anger, bitterness, resentment, regret, and so forth. Appeasement literally drains the joy of serving your spouse. (Galatians 6:9)

Appeasement doesn’t work. Like scratching poison ivy, it feels good in the moment but spreads faster than you intended to places you never wanted it to go. I’m not a proponent of shifting to the polar opposite of appeasement (which is domination…basically involves one or both parties striving to have their desires prevail). But appeasement will feel right in a moment but will erode what you are trying to build. 

Marriage is a daily walk of humility before God and our spouse. Don’t stop serving each other. Be willing to take a step a step back and ask yourself, “How full is the ‘love” tank of my spouse? Have I been more of a taker than a giver?” If we’ll be humble and honest as couples, we’ll see stronger and more fulfillment than we dreamed of while showing an example of Jesus to the world around us. 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

The Kingdom of Peeps. 4 ways to engage in Easter.

If feel very privileged with the position I have.  Weddings, baby dedications, funerals, and the like are all phenomenal opportunities to be a part in precious family moments.  I refuse to take them for granted.  They are not inconveniences to me.  These moments are privileges and every pastor must see them that way.

My senior adults are very precious to me (I know they’re not “mine” but as a pastor, I love them dearly). Recently, one has been placed in hospice care.  In my talks with him, he knows that he’ll be seeing Jesus soon.  In my recent visit with him, he apologized to me for not being involved as much as he’d like as well as for not being able to be with Kfirst at Easter.

I opened up my Bible (aka opening up my Bible app on my phone) and read him one of my favorite all-time scriptures out of, perhaps my favorite book of the bible…

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

(What I can only describe it as a “Holy Spirit moment”)  I looked at this amazing man and said, “Are you still alive?” He looked puzzled and said, “yes.”

“Then you’re not allowed to be a spectator.”

I went on to explain that, according to Hebrews 12, the only condition that allows us to be spectators in the Kingdom is to have passed from this life into eternity.  And until then, WE ALL are to be participators.

Honestly, I went into preacher mode.  “I know you can’t be there on Good Friday and Easter, but I’m expecting you to still participate.  I need prayer warriors interceding for both services.  I need someone to pray over people who are hurting.  I’m not letting you be a spectator.”

The smile on his face and his reply was absolutely priceless.  “That I can do.  You better believe I’m going to do that.”

I’m afraid too many churches are filled with Peeps.  Spectators to the Kingdom. Rows and rows of blank faces, staring eyes, and little involvement.  I can’t put the blame on any one person.  We’ve got the diva pastors that think Kingdom of God is about them.  They foster the “Kingdom of Peeps” by doing EVERYTHING and not allowing anyone else to participate.  At the same time, I don’t give a free pass to congregants who feed the “Kingdom of Peeps” by being consumers instead of contributors.  They’ll complain about what isn’t happening and, yet take zero responsibility other than being the pony express for complaints and gossip.

If you have breath in your body, then it’s time to man-up (or woman-up for that matter).  Your decision to follow Jesus isn’t about a “joy-ride” of zero connection and responsibility.  We are a community of Christ and we are to operate as such and Easter is a great opportunity to start to overthrow the “Kingdom of Peeps.” It’s time to get your butt off the sidelines and engage in the Kingdom of God.

Easter 16x9

4 Ways to Everyone Can Engage in Easter:

1. Pray.  Prayer was never meant to be a parachute to be used as a last resort.  I’ve heard it described as the “easiest thing we never do.” You might not be a preacher, teacher, usher, greeter, kids worker, musician, or whatever roles/opportunities are available at your church, but you can pray.  Prayer isn’t dependent upon age or location nor should prayer be ONLY ABOUT YOUR CHURCH.  See a greater Kingdom than your own church body.  Prayer over everything from the service to the follow-up.  Pray over the local pastors.  Google search the churches in your area and pray over the congregations.  Pray. Prayer more.  Then pray again. It’s the best and easiest way for everyone to engage. (Side note: Send those pastors encouraging notes.  They need encouragement too).

2. Invite.  I’ve heard all sorts of stats about Easter invites.  It seems that 80% of invitations for Easter are accepted.  Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the best time to engage people with simple invitations.  People actually are looking for opportunities to worship somewhere. Instead of them spinning the “wheel of churches” (aka Google search), give them an invite and offer to sit with them.  In fact, offer to get them coffee before service or even go out to lunch afterward.  Invites don’t really cost you much if anything but the investment can have tremendous yield.

3. Serve.  It’s been a rare occasion where I have heard of a church with too many volunteers.  Talk to your pastors and/or church leaders about serving on Easter (and hopefully beyond).  Your church needs greeters and ushers.  Your pastor needs intercessors. The children’s ministry needs kids workers.  Does your church have parking lot greeters?  Then be a visionary and offer to be the first to volunteer.  Then go recruit some others to help.  Stop waiting on the sideline like you’re back in elementary school at recess hoping to be picked to be on the team.  Step up.  Serve.

4. Follow-up.  Plan on coffee with your friends you invited.  Sometime over the next week, engage in conversation (pressure free) about their Easter experience.  The goal isn’t to gather complaints so that you can convey them to the pastoral staff (if you feel that’s your role at the church…STOP…you’re fired from that position…find a life/joy giving role). Your friends/family may have or may have not made a decision to follow Jesus on Easter.  Regardless, keep the conversation going.  If he/she chose Jesus, then disciple them.  Challenge them to be water baptized.  If he/she is still undecided about what to do with Jesus, then don’t write them off.  Continue to develop relationship and look for opportunities to show the love of Jesus to them!

Easter isn’t for you to have a service to spectate.  The cross and resurrection engages us to engage the world.

Do you still have breath?  Then you have responsibility to engage.

Thanks for letting me ramble…go eat a peep.

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My Marriage is Terribly Inconvenient!

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I’ve been married 16 years. I love being married and I can’t imagine life without Anne.  We have had some great times and moments. We laugh a lot together. We have two fantastic children and we are blessed to serve in an amazing church is their pastor.
But I’ll say this is of my marriage:  It can be terribly inconvenient.
If I were really honest I have to tell you that when I got married, I thought marriage would be way more convenient than what it’s been. I thought my needs and wants would be fulfilled on my terms (in the way and timing I want).
I think I came in a marriage with a pretty good understanding of the commitment I was making. I had a great example in my parents. I knew, somewhat, what to expect. I knew what I wanted. Don’t get me wrong, I love my wife.  But after all these years I can say that I know beyond a shadow of a fact:
Marriage can be terribly inconvenient.
When I look at how much I’m supposed to love my wife…(Ephesians 5:25)
When I realize how I am supposed to forgive…(Ephesians 4:32)
When I’m tired and don’t feel like doing what my spouse wants me to do…(Galatians 5:13)
When I want to hold onto bitterness because I’m entitled to it…(Ephesians 4:31-32)
When my spouse wants give time I feel I don’t have…(1 Peter 4:10)
When my spouse’s preferences I’m the complete opposite of my preferences…(Philippians 2:4)
When I can’t have something just because I want it in that moment…(1 Corinthians 10:24)
When my responsibilities are infringing upon my fun/relaxation…(Ezra 10:4)
… I realize once more that marriage can be terribly inconvenient…in light of my selfishness.
This is where so many people trip up. People feel that convenience is required and absolutely necessary for there to be tranquility in the home. But when I look over vows for marriage…
I take you to be my wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.
If you understand them well, they warn us that there are seasons ahead that are not always going to be conducive to the life that we want or, sometimes, even dreamed. I like what Ecclesiastes 3 says…

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

We have to realize that within the covenant of our marriage, the seasons of life doesn’t lean toward convenience AND, therefore,   convenience is not always necessary nor is it required. Whether it’s what we watch in TV, see in a movie, or read about in a book,  we can be seduced by sugar-coated marital stories that our convenience must always come in the play when it comes to our marriage. We think that everything has to be about “ME.”  \
But sometimes when it comes to marriage covenant, convenience is not necessary.
I think it’s time for husbands and wives to step up and suck it up. It’s time for us to get past the mindset that the world revolves around what’s convenient for me and get into the mindset about what is necessary for the marriage.  As I say often in marriage counseling, “you don’t go for the win for the ME… You go for the win for the WE.”
convenient
I recognize how hard you work. I recognize that some of you are tired. Selfishness is like Nutella…it’s way too easy to indulge in. Your wife/husband was not called to be convenient to your wants. Your marriage should not be built about what’s convenient for you. Again, I look at the way Jesus responded to us. Think about it, in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus cried out for another way. Why? Because the way he needed to go was not convenient for him. The way of the cross was painful.  The journey was not easy. But because of the joy set before him he endured the cross. He had a covenant of love with his people. And it is through that covenant we need to understand our covenant toward our spouse.
Marriage involves a lot of sacrifice from BOTH husband and wife.  Healthy marriage thrives on mutual servanthood brought together in the love and covering of Christ.  We lay aside ourselves for our spouse. We live out sacrifice together as husbands and wives…
…and sacrifice is never convenient.
It’s time to step aside from the drive of convenience.
it’s time to lay down selfishness.
It’s time to be a marriage where the TWO strive to serve in the ONENESS of marriage.
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…