Thursday Marriage Tip

Husbands, tell your wife daily that you love her. This will make her feel special and wanted. Wives, tell your husband you appreciate him.  This will make him feel appreciated and accomplished.

I Make This Vow

Last weekend , as my wife and I attended a wedding, I started reflecting on the topic of marriage vows in relation to God’s covenant with His children.

In the Bible, God made covenants with Noah, Abraham and Moses, to name a few. In each of these covenants, God made different promises which also required a certain response or conduct from His people. In other words, the covenants were an agreement in which God promised that He would deliver on specific blessings and in return, asked for faith, obedience and a commitment.

God makes the same kind of contracts with us today as couples look at each other’s eyes and embark on the path to “woness.” He put up the blood of His Son Jesus as collateral for our sins and in return only asks that we live a life of obedience. And as it relates to marriage specifically, God expects much from both husband and wife in the marriage relationship. In fact, in 1 Peter 3:7, after Peter laid out how a husband should care for and treat his wife, he added “so that you’re prayers are not hindered.”

Therefore my friends, it’s important to understand that the marriage vows are not only a promise that a couple makes to each other, but also a contract between that couple and God. And the exciting fact about this is that God longs to pour His blessings on a faithful marriage!

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.  

A Mother’s Love

A poem for my wife on Mother’s Day 
A love that knows no bounds,  A love that always goes round and round
A love that really never tires, Because this love is unique and always on fire 

In the morning or at night,  This love is always in flight

A love that is willing and ready to serve,  Because that’s what she thinks others deserve 

A love that is quiet and behind the scenes,  Because that’s the style of my Queen

A love that believes in sacrifice, Because that’s how it is in Paradise 

This kind of love can only come from a mother,  And it’s so pleasant to see when given to another 

This is one of the reasons why I love my wife, Because this kind of love exemplifies her life.

Happy Mother’s Day Lisa

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.”

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.”

Celebrating 19

19thAnniversaryIt was a rainy day in July, 1996. Although this event was to be held outdoors, threats of hurricane type weather forced the occasion to be indoors. I was nervous about what was about to occur. Was this inclement weather an omen of turbulence ahead? Did I make the right decision? Was I stable enough in my career?   After all, I hadn’t really planned for any of this to happen this way. I wanted to be well established before I tied the knot. Was I truly ready to be a husband? A father?

Well, all those fears and anxieties came to a halt when I saw the doors open at the Merion Tribute House. I know we had invited guests, but all I could see was this angel, dressed in white and a smile that could’ve lit up a New York black out. Her beauty radiated with each step and came to an ever increasing crescendo as she approached me.

I thank God for that moment 19 years ago. Although I was a different man then, somewhat insecure and scared about the future, that beautiful angel has not changed at all. She still gives me strength, courage and confidence. She has also shown me patience, kindness and unconditional love. I have since then become the true man that my angel deserves.

Rob n Lisa Godspell 2014

My angel has always been the wind in my sails, the coffee in my cream, the syrup in my pancakes and the milk in my cereal. So in honor of my beautiful wife, I’d like to share some things that these 19 years have taught me about marriage: First, you can never have enough love. Although we have had our ups and downs, love has brought us back to common ground. Through love we have battled back from a few disagreements and arguments. Through love we have stuck together during difficult times that could’ve easily caused division. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13, our mantra has been “love is patient, love is kind.”

Second, through mutual submission servant leadership has been the focus of our union. Not having had a model for leading in a marriage, I had no idea what this meant much less how to start. But as I learned over the years from Scripture and godly men, the way to lead was through serving my wife. In doing so, we have humbly served each other without keeping tabs of who has done more. Love to serve and serve to love became a model for us. Serving in a Christ like manner, we have attempted to model Christ’s love to our children.

And finally, by forgiving one another we have avoided bitterness, resentment and division. As stated in Scripture, we are forgiven by forgiving. This could not be more important in a marriage. Although there have been times when I just knew “I was right,” this became less important as the two of us grew into “won.” It was only by forgoing our pride and self-satisfaction that the importance of forgiveness became clear.

So as I reflect on my 19 years of “woness,” I thank God for His grace to us. I thank my wonderful angel for her love, grace, and forgiveness. I look forward to many more years of our life together and more chocolate cake.

Not Only a Father but Also a Dad…

I could not ignore this day, special to many, and to me, without adding a post. I will post the continuation if my last post, but I felt compelled to post some thoughts about what it truly means to be a father. I post this not as an expert on the subject nor as the model of an ideal father, but as man who has learned from disappointments, other men, God’s word and experience on what it means to be a not only a father, but a dad.

No child should have to experience the absence of dad for months. No child should have to see his or her mother cursed at or physically beat. But unfortunately these are the most vivid memories I have on this Father’s Day. And that’s because I may have had a father but never a dad! I harbor no hatred since I did have the opportunity to forgive my father for his lack of commitment and loyalty, but the feelings still linger.

My biological father (I can’t bring myself to refer to him as dad) was hardly around. My younger brother didn’t meet him until he was 7! When he was present, he was more interested in being disengaged and not being a leader. He was more interested in arguing than loving. In fact, I don’t think I ever realized until just now that I never heard the words “I love you,” from my father. Not a great way to model fatherhood. But then again, even if he had said it, they would have been empty words with no actions behind them. He was much more interested in providing an example that if you don’t get your way in a marital argument you resort to the cowardly act of physically abuse.

So you see, although I had a man man who who participated in the act of making a baby with my mom, a biological father, my brothers and I never had a dad. And although we had some other family men, like my grandfather, who stepped up to the task, that void was still noticeable.

A dad, unlike a “baby daddy,” to borrow a term from the common vernacular, will not only make a baby but will provide an example for his baby and kids. The example that a dad should look to pass on has to do with how to lead in Godly love, how to love his wife, how to love his children and how set a standard of what a man is for his daughters. The desire that a dad has to provide a positive influence for his child comes from his love not only for the child but primarily out of the love he has for his wife.

You see, in God’s word and in His standard, a man must first be a husband in order to be a father, 1 Corinthians 7:2-4. This is in line with the rest of scripture which labels sex outside of marriage as a sin, as referenced in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7,
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.”

Therefore, being a responsible father must follow from being a good husband. This is called commitment. The husband must love, honor, nourish and cherish his wife in every aspect of her life as we read in Ephesians 5:25-30 and 1 Peter 3:7. Only then will one be prepared to be a good father. For only in this manner will a boy have modeled how a true husband should treat a woman and a girl have a standard from which she can judge all men.

So a man who is a father and wants to be a dad must first provide a positive influence of loving his wife in a manner that glorifies God. The second part of of being a dad is directly related to the children and is a direct mandate from Paul in Ephesians 6:4; “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” What does provoking a child to wrath have to do with modeling or loving my wife? Well, as a dad I should not do things that make my children angry, resentful or bitter. In other words, I should love my wife not scorn her, I should protect and care for my wife not beat her, I should be loyal to my wife not engage in extramarital affairs, and I should provide for my children not neglect them.

Well these are my thoughts on this Father’s Day. I have been given a true blessing in my kids but also an immense responsibility. I pray that I will always be faithful in spite of my past. Happy Father’s Day!!

What Does “I Do” Mean?


I said "I do" and I still do.

I said “I do” and I still do.

These two words which mark the signature on a binding contract seem to have lost their meaning over so many years.  According to the American Psychological Association about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher. This being the case, one must wonder if these two words have lost their meaning over time.  Or are they truly being spoken from the heart.

How can the promises that are made between two people as they face each other and later confirmed with, “I do,” lose their strength over time?   How can the commitment behind these two words diminish over time?   How can the love that two people profess to each other simply vanish in thin air?  These are questions that I have asked myself regarding half of the marriages in my family, including my mother and father’s.

Well, as I pondered on this topic, even before I said “I do,” I still never understood why a man, like my father, would dare to make a such an important, lasting commitment if he did not want to be loyal and monogamous.  How could he leave three teenagers behind and establish another family.  I understand that not all situations are the same, but as for my parent’s marriage, the main issue was a lack of leadership and commitment. My father was not the head of the house and never commanded respect from his sons.  He also was not loyal and had no commitment to his own promises – “I do.”  My mother had her own set of issues and broken promises but none of these warranted infidelity.  Of course, after this, trust went out the window.  They had never had laid a foundation for effective communication or the help of the Counselor, so getting over such a tragic situation was virtually impossible.  He then looked elsewhere and left home for another woman.

Those two words, I do, uttered several years before became a punch line.  They became a bed of resentment, anger and lies.  The commitment to “won” became a preoccupation with self.  “What makes me happy,” “How can I have what I want,” “I want, I need.”  “I” becomes the focus instead of “you” or “we.”

I share this story not as a form of catharsis, since I have made peace with my own demons of anger that plagued me as a result of a man not fulfilling his part of a sacred and solemn vow, but as a backdrop to what “I do” should mean.  You see, when I looked into the eyes of my beautiful bride and we exchanged vows, I made a promise first to God and then to my bride that I would love and cherish her, always protect her, work through any arguments, be a servant leader, always respect her, and never leave her.  I also made a promise to treat love as a verb and not a noun.  In other words, I made a commitment to fight for my marriage.

And this is what “I do” means to me. It’s a commitment, a promise before God and bride that two will ALWAYS be “won.”  It means that no there are no obstacles that can’t be overcome.  It means that I commit to making this union work.  Not out of compulsion but out of love.  It means that I and my wife will work on our shortcomings to make our “won” functional.  It DOES NOT mean that it’s easy.  But it does that “It’s worth having and saving.”