What do Doctors, mechanics, and pastors all have in common? Answer: they all benefit from someone else’s problems. Doctors repair physical ailments, mechanics repair mechanical breakdowns, and pastors repair spiritual problems that manifest themselves in marriage problems, financial dilemmas, and moral problems, in other words, the results of sin.
Because of my own failures in past relationships, one of my primary callings is to help heal broken lives and marriages. I’m not always successful because some people are too stubborn and set in their dysfunctional ways. But I have seen some major breakthroughs. I remember counseling with one couple who was referred to me who did not attend our church. There had been an affair and deep bitterness on both sides. I first had to let them both express themselves and that added to the stress of the meeting, because they were both angry.
My next step was to point out where they had gone wrong and set each other up for this failure. In other words, you’re not bad people, just bad management. I encouraged them that they were both normal.
Finally, I explained how the only hope they had was to forgive each other, and start over. I made them ask each other for forgiveness for their own shortcomings. Then I made each of them speak out the acceptance of the forgiveness. Forgiveness is a gift that releases spiritual bondage. As they did that tears flowed freely. They were going to start over with a fresh start, never bringing up the past again.
Is there someone you need to forgive? Are you harboring resentment from past hurts? Release yourself by giving them over to God. He is the healer, but we must partner with Him in the healing by releasing them. Turn them over to Satan and release your anger.
Tags: forgiveness, marriage
We hear much about how men are to be a spiritual covering for their wives. But, read what Abram did when he traveled down to Egypt to escape famine in his own land: “And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, ‘Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see you, that they shall say, ‘This is his wife’: and they will kill me, but they will save you alive. Say, I pray, you are my sister: that it may be well with me for your sake; and my soul shall live because of you” (Genesis 12:11-13).
So much for chivalry in the Old Testament. Abram had just asked his wife to lie for him so he could live. The result was that Sarai was taken into the Pharaoh’s harem. Only God’s intervention delivered her from from being violated.
What do you think of a man that would jeopardize his wife’s well-being like this? How do you think Abram and Sarai’s relationship grew (or was hindered) by this incident?
Tags: deceit, marriage
I’ve been re-reading the first couple of chapters in Genesis in preparation for the Green Garden series I’ll be speaking on this weekend. As I read and pondered I was overwhelmed again with the grandeur of God’s plan in His creation of humans. These first chapters lay out such a foundation for God’s relationship with humans that helps us understand our connections with each other, and why we are so broken.
As I will be describing this weekend, God set us up in the perfect environment to thrive and succeed in life. It was the fall of man that raped man’s spiritual security and ousted us from the Green Garden. Broken marriages and families is the inevitable result.
With God’s grace and the sacrifice of our Redeemer we have hope of a reconciliation and restoration of everything we’ve lost; including damaged relationships.
Pray with me as I speak words of life to hurting people this weekend.
Tags: marriage, sin
Several years ago I was officiating at a wedding in our church. This was a fairly formal wedding and we were doing a Unity Candle service after the vows and ring exchange. At that point, the bride and groom lit the unity candle as prescribed and then proceeded to blow out their separate candles.
The problem was, they were standing just at the right angle, and blew just hard enough, that they blew out the unity candle at the same time. Fortunately, there were lighters on the table and they quickly relit the unity candle.
I believe it is possible for us to blow out our own marriage unity candle. Because marriage is an attraction of two opposite personalities, sparks tend to fly from the beginning. In a healthy relationship, we work through those difficulties. But we have all seen people stay too focused upon their own needs and ignore the needs of the one they love. That’s blowing out your own candle.
Fortunately, there’s always a source nearby where we can relight our candle. Keep it burning brightly!
Tags: light, marriage, wedding
I attended a wedding a while back where the officiating minister used an interesting phrase in his wedding sermon that I had never heard used in a wedding: “Territorial Rights”. We usually use this phrase when we talk about certain countries having territorial rights or jurisdiction over certain pieces of land or waterways. But, apply that to a marriage between two independent people and we can have turf wars of our own.
Do we have ‘Territorial Rights’ once we merge our lives in marriage? Do I have rights as it pertains to “my money” versus “your money”? Do I have any rights to the TV remote control or computer time? Do I have rights to certain housekeeping chores and expect those I don’t like to be yours? Do we have a right to put ‘Do Not Trespass’ limits when it comes to lovemaking? Do I have a right to claim certain food in the fridge as my territory?
We all struggle with Territorial Rights. But you cannot survive a marriage defending your rights. Marriage is a merger of spiritual proportions. Being selfish in a marriage is like being a Christian while leaving God out of your life: doomed to failure.
What territory are you defending that needs to be surrendered?
Tags: marriage, surrender
Sometimes what we say just comes out wrong. Most of the arguments my wife and I have are simple misunderstandings. I say one thing and she hears another, or vice-verse. Communication is a big problem for some of us because we are wired so differently.
And sometimes my brain just runs a little faster than my mouth. On one occasion I was preaching to a church full of adults about marriage and was trying to communicate that giving love and respect to each other creates much success. But I actually said, “Marriage creates much sex”. Everyone got a good laugh out of that one.
Another time I was wrapping up an evening marriage-themed meeting by saying, “We want you to have a sexful marriage”. That was the end of the evening right then. People couldn’t wait to get home.
If you listen to Jesus’ teaching in the New Testament, you know that He was always thinking outside the box. Because we routinely think inside the box, everything He says catches us off guard and seems revolutionary. That’s why we should let His carefully chosen words pierce out hearts and guide our way.
Tags: communication, humor, marriage, mistakes
We’ve been discussing the four basic temperaments that we all fit into. But we also have a strong secondary temperament that has a strong interplay with our primary. For example, I am primarily a Peaceful Phlegmatic, but am nearly as strong secondarily as a Perfect Melancholy. That makes me top-heavy as an introvert, pessimistic analyzer.
However, my wife is my opposite, Powerful Choleric primarily and a Popular Sanguine secondarily. So she tends to be top-heavy as an extrovert, optimistic leader. But we are both balanced between people-oriented and task-oriented skills. How do people who are so opposite get along in life? The answer is that we have had to learn to appreciate what the other brings to the table.
Anita encourages me to speak up and I encourage her to be quiet. We balance each other out. But that took about ten years for us to figure that out. The first ten years of our marriage were not a pretty picture. I was the perfectionist trying to correct her and she was the powerful voice trying to control me. We both thought we were the standard for everyone else. That didn’t work very well. When I discovered that God had made her different from me, I began to release her to be herself, and she likewise. And the healing began.
We still have communication glitches, although we’re learning each other. She thinks out loud. I process inwardly. I only speak after I have thought it through. So, when Anita says something, I assume she’s thought it through and that’s her final answer. So I respond to her final answer. Then she tells me that wasn’t her final answer. I get confused. And she gets just as frustrated when I won’t think out loud with her. I’m afraid I’ll say something I really don’t mean. So she gets confused.
I’m interested in knowing how your oppositeness is working out in your relationships.
Tags: marriage, opposite, personalities