Top 10 List For Newlyweds 

As my wife and I prepared to attend a double wedding, I was given the task to sign the cards.  As I thought about our wedding day and our first two years of marriage, I wanted to give the couples something that they could use and to which they could refer as a reference.  So I came up with a Top 10 list of important items for newlyweds to remember that could strengthen their marriage.


So, here it is: Top 10 Things For Newlyweds To Remember:

10 You can’t say “I love you” enough

9. Kiss your spouse often, especially in the morning and at night.

8 No matter how busy you get, never stop having dates

7 “Don’t let the sun go down in your anger”

6 Husbands want to be respected

5. Wives want to be loved 

4 Mutual sacrifice is the key to marriage. Care more about your “Woness” than about your individual selves

3. Remember 1 Corinthians 13: Love is patient, Love is kind, Love never fails

2. Wives, should look to their husband to lead and husbands should lead by following Christ

1. Always Keep Jesus at the center of your marriage. Ecclesiastes 4:12

Do you have anything to add to this list?

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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.

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.

The Log In My Eye- Ashley Madison 

The Log In My Eye- Ashley Madison 

Whether it’s the TV or the newspaper, it’s difficult not to be exposed to the Ashley Madison website story. Of course, there are millions of people who have known of this site for a while. They are the same people whose names were made public.  
These names are the primary focus in a sea of compromised marriages. Spouses may be finding out for the first time the gravity of the problem that they have been suspecting. Others, after seeing their husband’s name on this exposed list, may be as surprised as a person who has received a tax notice charging them for 5 years of back taxes.  

The one thing I’ve seen is a preoccupation that some people have had to see if they know any names on this “knock list.” It’s almost as if the overarching goal is to make oneself feel better about themselves by comparing themselves to those who are “immoral scum”. The prevailing thought process is, “I may not be perfect but I’m not as bad as that person.”

Three points come my mind regarding this whole topic. First, you reap what you sow. In the world of cyberspace and social media nothing is really private. This is a well-known biblical principle, as stated in Galatians‬ ‭6:7-8‬, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

‭‭ Second, the names on the list represent struggling marriages and this institution of marriage is under attack. Whether it’s materialism or depravity, if couples do not take time to invest and truly become “won,” these forces can create division and destroy a marriage which eventually destroys communities. We can all be tempted. Surrounding ourselves with positive influences and keeping open communication can be extremely important in protecting a marriage.

Third, what is adultery? The actual act of committing adultery only describes an action, not what’s inside the heart. A much stronger standard is described in Matthew 5:27-28, in part of a passage in scripture named the Sermon on the Mount. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Jesus raised the bar for believers. No longer was the standard of conduct an external, work based pharasitical standard, but one based on what’s in one’s heart.  

Therefore, according to this standard of the heart as described in Matthew 5, many of us can be guilty of adultery as well. There are no lusts associated with this verdict though.

So rather than examine this list of names to see who I may know, I instead will pray more intensely for marriages and take time to closer examine the log that resides in my eye before casting stones on the sins of others.

We don’t feed the Machine

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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!!

Sacrifice in marriage…a requirement for success

BlogPicSacrifice

Everything that is worth having is worth working for. This old adage couldn’t be any truer than in the marriage relationship. In the context of marriage this “working for” can be labeled as sacrifice. Sacrifice has a bad connotation in our society when it comes to relationships because we are told to always look out for number one. But we admire those who sacrifice of themselves for others in other contexts- military, physicians, firefighters, etc.

When you sacrifice for someone, you show them love. And love is more of a verb than an emotion and therefore requires action. Love as a feeling is conditional and dependent on our mood or our feelings. True love however, should cause you act in tangible ways for the one you love. We think of our spouse’s well being first. True love requires sacrifice.

Men, by nature are explorers, conquerors, and protectors. The first two characteristics serve well in the context of dating. But when a commitment is made, when two truly become “won”, the role of protector should take over. As such, sacrificing of ourselves for our wives should come as a natural extension of who we are. When we sacrifice of ourselves for our wives, it communicates that they are important, that we care about them and we want what’s best for them. Sacrificing of ourselves more importantly puts us second. This is not only sacrifice, but it’s the basis of servant leadership.

What does sacrifice look like in the context of marriage you ask? Great question! Well, I can say I would watch “The Notebook” with my wife if she wanted me to instead of the World Cup but I would be lying! Just kidding. But really, there would be no way I could do that. That would be a disgrace to my Brazilian heritage! Ok, just kidding again. I think…

True sacrifice in marriage means that I would be willing to do whatever is needed for my spouse’s well being. That means I will be cancelling a planned golfing weekend to be with my wife after a stressful week. This means that I will leave work early to pick up and stay with the kids if she needs time with her friends. This means that I will wash dishes after she has cooked. And it definitely means that I will help her onto a boat if I sense danger in the water while snorkeling. … Well actually this is one area that I failed since I did the exact opposite when confronted with the same situation during our honeymoon. But to my defense, it was my first time snorkeling. Ha!

The real take home point here is that when we sacrifice for our loved ones we are really sacrificing for ourselves because in marriage two become “won.”

We’ve got work to do…

So in my last post I alluded to the fact that marriage takes work. Everything that is worth having is worth working for.  I want to expand on this and share my view of the kind of work that is involved in a marriage.  I have tried to condense the work involved in marriage into the three C’s.

 Communication:

        Whether it’s work, organizations, or relationships they all require communication to function.  In marriages this is vital in order for a couple to survive.  In too many marriages however, this communication is one sided.  The stereotypical picture is a woman talking to her husband while he stares aimlessly and dumbfounded at the TV. But is it really true that women talk more than men? Actually, it turns out to be an urban legend according to a study by researchers at the University of Arizona. But I digress.

         Without a two way communication it is impossible for the institution of marriage to function as it should.  Where there is poor communication there is misunderstanding.  Where there is misunderstanding there is bitterness.  Unresolved bitterness over time leads to divorces.  If we can communicate at our jobs and within groups, shouldn’t we work just as hard in our marriages? 

This may be occasionally difficult at times but it is worth it. Remember if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!   : )

 Compromise:

The Rolling Stones had a hit song called “you can’t always get what you want.” This couldn’t be any truer in the marriage relationship.  But should it be about getting what we want?  If two are truly becoming “won”, then the focus will be her or him instead of me or I.   When a couple can compromise, communication improves. When communication improves there is understanding.  The focus then shifts from getting what I want to getting what’s best for “won”. Don’t we look for athletes to think of the team rather than themselves? Why should the thinking be any different for a marriage relationship which is so much more important? This does take work but again, it is worth it!

 Customize:

Finally, we arrived at the last C of marriage work.  In a marriage relationship there can be a lot of distracters such as work issues, children activities, family issues and emotional issues (No disrespect ladies) that can alter or change communication and compromise.  What happens then? Well, we must be flexible.  Also men – we must be sensitive to times when our wives may require a little “extra grace.”  One thing to remember during these times is the following: Chocolate saves lives.

 I hope you enjoyed reading about the 3 C’s of marriage work.  Sure, this may be an over simplification. But the 3 C’s are at the starting point for everything else. Next we can tackle roles in a marriage.

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