The Work Of Love

My wife and I recently celebrated our wedding anniversary. This makes 21 years. I could add the term “Lucky 21,” but that would be misleading and incorrect. This wouldn’t be a term that applies to our marriage and shouldn’t apply to any marriage.

No, to reach 21 years of marriage takes much more than chance or luck. In fact, depending on luck would guarantee only failure. It takes work. The work involved in a marriage relationship, where two become “won,” requires grace, understanding and sacrifice.  

Grace allows us to accept one another’s faults without condemnation. Understanding allows us to respect one another in spite of our imperfections. Through understanding, we also encourage each other to not settle in our mistakes. And by sacrificing we count the other more important than ourselves.  

And all of these are bound by love. In love we work at grace, understanding and sacrifice. None of these exist without the framework of love.  

I look forward to the next 21 years of loving my bride and becoming a better man.  

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Agape Love on Valentines

According to the National Retail Federation, U.S. consumers will spend just over $18 billion on valentines. This includes jewelry, flowers, cards and clothes. 

Although there is nothing wrong with celebrating Valentine’s Day with a special gift for the special person in your life, there’s no doubt that as a society we can get caught up in the consumeristic aspect of the day. But if Valentine’s Day is truly about love, shouldn’t we focus on what kind of love should reflect this day? Or better put- shouldn’t this day reflect an overflow of the love that has been shared over the past year?  

This day should be a reflection of a love that is selfless, giving, serving and patient. The ancient Greeks called this love- Agape love. This is the love that God has for His children. It’s an unconditional, no holds barred love. It’s the kind of love that is should grow when two become “won.” 

 This love is sacrificial, forgiving, patient and kind. It’s the kind of love that I strive to show my wife on a daily basis, though I may fail. It’s the kind of love we read about in 1 Corinthians 13. It’s the kind of love that Jesus has for us.
So today, let’s celebrate the love that we were shown on the cross. Let’s celebrate Agape love.  

Marriage Valentines 

As Valentines Day has come and gone, I wanted to share my thoughts on Valentines as an acrostic for our marriage life as “won.”

  
VIBRANT 

Letting our love life be lively, dynamic and active. Not letting our marriage life to be passive.    

ALIVE 

Keeping our marriage alive by paying attention to each other 

LOVE 

We don’t just say we love each other, we show each other love daily 

ENCOURAGE 

 Encouraging each other when one may be feeling down. 

NURTURE

Investing in each other emotionally and spiritually 

TIME

In all the business of life we make time for our marriage. Never putting  our marriage relationship on the back burner

INTERESTING  

Keeping marriage interesting by not allowing routine to define our marriage 

NOVEL

Trying new and novel ways to express our love for one another.

ENJOY 

Enjoying  each day because tomorrow is not guaranteed 

SERVE

Letting our marriage life be marked by serving each other 

5 Things Husbands Want To Hear from Their Wives

Communication is vital to the lifeline of any relationship. This couldn’t be more true of the marriage relationship. Oftentimes problems occur not because of what was said but because of what isn’t said.  This can be just as important for husbands as it is for wives.

I know this may come as a surprise, but men often times have a hard exterior which houses a fragile ego. I know that sometimes my ego has been bruised by something my wife did not say or something I wish she had said.  
Therefore, I wanted to list the top five things that most husbands want to hear their wives say:

1. Husbands want to know that their wives want them. This is different from needing. Sure, as men we want to be needed, but NOT all the time. (Truth is, we want to be needy…but that’s another story). A man wants to hear that his wife wants his opinion or his help.

2. Husbands also like to hear that they are important. Ladies, you may not even have to say it. But if a woman asks her husband for his opinion on even a trivial matter, he will feel important.

3. Another important thing that husbands like to hear from their wives is that she will follow him. As men, we want to lead and knowing that your wife is following you makes us feel like a good leader.

4. Husbands also need to know that their wives believe in them. This makes men feel like they can accomplish anything.  

5. And one of the most important things that husbands need to hear from their wives is that they’ve done a good job. Whether it’s a home project or fixing a car, before any criticism is given, please, please, for the love: tell your husband he’s done good. This will build him up and allow him to deal with any constructive opinions.  

Try these 5 things and I guarantee that it will pay dividends in your marriage relationship.

What Does Our Marriage Communicate?

I’ve been married 19 years and I just recently thought about what our life communicates to our kids. What have I taught my son about how a woman should be treated? What have my actions reflected about my love for my wife? In turn, how has Lisa’s married life impacted our daughter?

I guess we often think about what kind of legacy we will leave our family. I wasn’t always a good role model, but as I matured in my Christian walk and as the refinement process continues, I would think that I became a better husband, leader, father and disciple. I can certainly say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have seen that growth in my wife.  

As we have both grown, Lisa and I have made it a point to impart the importance of servant leadership. As I lead my wife, I try to do so by serving her. She has done the same by serving her family faithfully and sacrificially. We have been most encouraged in our “woness” by hearing others tell us that our lives are an inspiration.     This gives us great joy. Not the kind of happiness that leads us to believe that we have reached the mountain top. But instead, a humble joy that God would choose to use such broken vessels to speak life to those hurting or those contemplating marriage.  

I think I can speak for my bride of 19 years when I say that in 2016, we would like most of all to communicate love. Not the emotion. But the verb. We would like to reflect in our lives what Jesus commanded His disciples in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

In this manner we can be sure we will leave a legacy of “won.”

A Life Worth Living 

As we turned the corner into a new year, the excitement and promises of new goals were dampened by a phone call. My wife got news that her grandmother passed away. Having had traveled to see her recently, we all knew she was not well.  
There is however, always a tension between letting go and relief of a loved one’s suffering. That sadness ebbed and flowed during the viewing and funeral.  

But to hear the amazing life of this great woman of God was not only inspiring but humbling. To hear again that she and her step sister left the Virginia farm as young girls in search for opportunities up North and all she accomplished, was amazing! She not only found work but started her own business and always sent money back to the family.

Ms Marie lived a long and fruitful life with her husband, William, of over 50 years, before he passed away. She was a faithful wife and dedicated mother and grandmother. She developed a love for poetry in her later years and also published her autobiography. In addition, she also served at her church body. 

  

There is so much more to share about this amazing lady, but it would definitely require at least 10 more entries. But I think 3 things encapsulate her life the most:  First, her commitment to God, second, her commitment to being “won” with her husband, and last her love for her family and friends.

  
And that my friends, is a life worth living. 

Better to Do Than to Receive 

Christmas is indeed a beautiful time of the year. I know this post may be a little late…but, oh well.  The hope in anticipation of something new can be very exciting. We anticipate spending time with the ones we love, we anticipate some time off and relaxation. We look forward to Christmas parties and exchanging gifts with people we love.  
Right around this time there is a natural temptation to go all out and be frivolous as a result of being influenced by our materialistic culture.  

There is nothing wrong with expressing love with gifts. After all, some people’s love language is giving gifts. However, Christmas time has become associated with buying more and more. The true message of the Greatest gift is lost with all the hustle and bustle. Furthermore, the sharing of quality time with your spouse is a gift in and of itself.

This Christmas we took a different approach. Although we did exchange some gifts, our motto has become “have less, do more.” This started with our 3rd annual Christmas Eve ice skating outing. We not only shared falls, but laughs and created lots of memories.    

These memories in turn are how the foundation of love continually gets patched up and strengthened. Furthermore, that which is strengthened, is maintained. And that which is maintained is preserved. This is how two stay at “won.”