We don’t feed the Machine


We don’t Feed the Machine

So what are you getting your wife for Valentines Day? Are you getting your wife flowers? Every year these questions are asked of me by some women at the work. There is such an expectation to hear some great, elaborate story that it almost seems like a chance to live vicariously through a romantic tale. The irony of it all is that usually these questions are asked by ladies who openly complain of their married lives and how much their husbands don’t do. The interviewers are almost dumfounded when they hear my response: “We don’t feed the machine.”

I understand about doing something special for the one you love, which sweeps her off her feet all over again. But why should this be relegated to one day of the year that dates back to the 5th century? Why should the expectation of treating the one you love, the one with whom you became “won” be for only 1 out of 365 days?

Well, before I get labeled as a curmudgeon, I will say that I like to do special things for the love of my life. I like to be spontaneous, romantic and do things that just make my wife feel as if she were a newlywed. But I enjoy doing these things throughout the year instead of one day where society has created an expectation that a husband’s love is to be proved with flowers, chocolate and cards. The only spontaneous, romantic thing I cannot do is breakfast in bed. Why you ask. Unfortunately I cannot cook. : (

However, I like to clean after my wife cooks. I like to vacuum, sweep and mop the floor. What I like even more is to hear my wife say, “Thank you honey,” after I do these things. Not that she needs to say this but to know that I did something special for my beautiful wife is GREAT! To see the look of relief on my love’s face as if she were to say, “I am so glad I don’t have to do that after I’ve just done…,” is so satisfying that if makes me want to do it again. Why? Because I love her and she deserves it. You see, the Bible is clear on how I should treat my wife: with respect and in a way that protects her. In fact, in 1 Peter 3:7, Peter states that if we neglect this, a husband’s prayer will not be answered.  This refers to how a husband treats his wife on a daily basis.  Not on special occasions.

By telling my wife that I love her throughout the year, two can truly become “won.” This is not necessarily done with words, although saying “I love you” everyday is important, but with actions. This is especially true since love is a verb not a feeling. If this is practiced often it is easy to continue. It takes a lot more inertia to do this once a year. Just sayin’…. Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Marriage Communication: Problems and Solutions

ImageBefore I move on to other aspects of marriage, I would like to take a more serious look at communication in marriage.  Because my last post regarding this topic, “The 3 C’s in Communication,” was a little tongue in cheek and because I am so passionate about marriage, I did not want to gloss over this important aspect of the marriage relationship. 

As I stated previously, communication is important in any relationship.  It is especially vital in a relationship where two become “won.”  Without communication there cannot be understanding and without understanding any relationship will struggle.  I would like to point out some areas that can plague a marriage and some tools on how men can address these. 

  • Arguments: Just because two people say “I do” doesn’t mean they will agree on everything.  So what should we do when arguments arise?  The first step would be to determine the true importance of the argument. The second would be to think about your role in this argument. Was this caused by a harsh answer, an unmet expectation, or a forgotten promise? Did you truly listen to your spouse’s point or were you just so intent on making your point?  One thing that is very tempting to do is to raise your voice in response to the other person’s tone.  This is a COLLOSAL mistake and only serves to satisfy you. This is contradictory to the idea of two becoming “won.”  So what is the best thing to do?  Sit there and listen until your spouse has gotten her load off her chest.  Your next response is EXTREMELY important and this is it:  Say “I hear what you are saying and I understand.”  Right or wrong does not matter at this point.  Nobody wins if the two of you are trying to have the other understand at the same time. When the “temperature cools down” you can both discuss the issue calmly.   
  • Anger:  There will be times in a marriage relationship where anger will set in.  This may be as a result from an argument, a harsh response or an unmet expectation.  No matter what the cause, it is important to take 5 minutes, breathe deep and consider the possibility that you may have caused an anger response.  If you thought about it and find that there is absolutely no way that you could have caused the anger issue, take 5 minutes, breathe deep and forgive your spouse.  The sooner this is done the better.  A loving, kind word will diffuse a train wreck of a situation.  The most important aspect relating to anger is actually mentioned in Ephesians 4:26, Paul wrote:  “Do not let the sun go down in your anger.” A husband should never, ever go to sleep without kissing his wife good night no matter what has transpired. Although this may feel awkward, what is communicated is “I know we just had a disagreement, but I love you.”
  • Disagreements:  Is the item of the disagreement vital in the relationship as a whole? Is compromise an option?    Listen carefully before you speak and for the love of God, DO NOT interrupt your wife while she is talking.  When people feel like they are heard, they tend to be calmer.  This is because there is a general feeling that the other person genuinely cares and wants to listen. Furthermore, your spouse will be more willing to listen to you if she feels that you have listened to her.  For men, as the leader in the marriage relationship, it is really important that we do not abuse this position in disagreements. In the latter part of Ephesians 5, Paul continues his thought on mutual submission in marriage and how the husband should love his wife sacrificially as Christ loved the church.  And in verse 28 he wrote, “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies, he who loves his wife loves himself.”   
  • One and Done: We are all imperfect and fall short of the glory of our Creator.  This couldn’t be any truer than in times of stress or arguments.  Sometimes, when in a new argument, we can have a tendency to bring up past hurts or mistakes.  This is should NEVER be done.  Once a hurtful comment or a mistake has been forgiven, it must not be brought up again.  Doing so only serves to satisfy our momentary feelings of anger and can only fuel an already bad situation.
  • Peace:  It is very important to remember that peace does not always mean absence of conflict.  There will be some tension occasionally in any relationship.  This is especially true in marriage.  When two imperfect people become a part of each other they do not magically perfect themselves.  How we handle occasionally tense situations is the key to maintaining peace.  This may mean being the first to say those dreaded words:  “I’m sorry.”  But the idea of saving face and pride has no place in a marriage relationship.  So always try to diffuse a small problem before it becomes a bigger problem.

So to recap, it is vital to listen first then speak. Although arguments and disagreements may arise, do no let your emotions control your response. In disagreements remember to treat your spouse with the respect that you yourself would like to have.  And finally, remember that even with peace there may be conflict.  But it is in the proper handling of the little problems that we avoid bigger ones.  Most importantly, remember that love is not a feeling so your love for your spouse should always determine your thoughts, actions and responses.  I would like to close with one of my favorite passages of scripture that was recited in our wedding:

            1 Corinthians 13:4-8- Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Because I love being married…

I wanted to start a blog about marriage mostly because I love my wife and I love being married to her.  I can’t imagine another life.  We love our life together.   We complete each other and we feel that us two have become “won.”

That is not to say that we have a perfect marriage.  I think that concept is impossible when you consider that none of us are perfect and two imperfect people cannot a perfect marriage make.   In addition to our imperfections, the most striking aspect about our life is that we both come from broken marriages.  So how is it possible that two people with such a past have been able to form such a happy union?  

Well, there is no short answer to this question.  But first and foremost is that God is at the center of our marriage.  In addition, just like an athlete who may have incredible physical gifts and abilities can’t become great at a sport without practice, a happy and successful marriage isn’t possible without work.Image

Why start this blog?   Because having come from a broken marriage, I know the pain that is involved when ones parents’ divorce.   Because I wish my parents would have had some tools in their “marriage bag” that may have been able to repair what was broken.  Because I wish my father would have understood what it means to be a leader in the house.  But most of all, because I would like everyone to be able to say that they have “won” in their married lives.