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7 Commitments of Husbands and Wives
What if we re-envisioned what we are committed to as husbands and wives? Commitment has gotten a bad rap - but being mutually committed to the right things is far from wrong. Here are 7 right commitments that have the potential to transform your marriage.
Would you rather be committed to a dull sex life? Do you know any couples who have made such a commitment? Why not your marriage?
2. Commitment to greatness
Much of marriage can feel like survival. While this is certainly understandable in challenging seasons, we are called to more than just survival. This does not mean that you will be great in the eyes of man, but….whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:19 ESV)
3. Commitment to times of refreshing
that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:20)....
What a great portion of Scripture! What would happen in your marriage if you regularly committed to times of refreshing for and with one another?
4. Commitment to hard work
Taken at face value, this commitment does not look very enticing. Oh but it is! When together both you and your spouse work hard, there are both internal and external rewards that accompany this investment. Is there an area of life right now where you could help one another work hard?
5. Commitment to eternal purpose
Like it or not, your life will one day end. Guaranteed. But the fruit of your life can endure. How might a commitment to living for an eternal purpose transform how and what you are investing your time, energy and money towards?
6. Commitment to the next generation
Marriage experts say that one factor that predicts healthy marriages is a focus on training the next generation. How could such a commitment become a great source of joy for you and your spouse?
7. Commitment to my spouse’s personal growth
We live in a personal growth culture. We are challenged to grow in our job skills, our finances, our physical health, and other areas. But we are not always challenged to look to how we can help our spouse’s personal growth.
Action point: Ask your spouse for one area that you could help them personally grow.
Click here for tips on strengthening your sex life: Re-Building Your Sexual House
1. Leave your father and mother. Genesis 2 points to one of the foundational acts of marriage being leaving. In Hebrew, leave means ‘forsake dependence upon’. What area/s do you need to forsake dependence upon father and mother in order to build this new relationship?
2. Be fully joined to her in a way that you are ‘naked and unashamed’. Genesis 2 also says that after leaving, we are to be joined to our wife and that the result is being naked and unashamed. The Hebrew word used here means ‘to be glued to’ our wife, and speaks of our sexual relationship. We don’t learn how to do this from junior high locker rooms or from movies and magazines. Those viewpoints of sex are about self-gratification, not self-giving. What is the status of your sexual relationship and what is your plan to build this area of your marriage?
3. Reject Passive Leadership: In Genesis 3, Adam famously abdicated his opportunity to speak up at a critical juncture in human history; the ramifications have been tragic. Tragically, the sin of Adam continues to be a challenge for many husbands – let’s buck the trend. This doesn’t mean heavy-handed, dominant leadership, but it also doesn’t mean the passive, checked-out type of leadership we so often succumb to. We must learn how to lead like Jesus, in a way of humility, service, sacrifice and vision- in a way that creates an environment for others to thrive.
4. Learn To Plan: We must learn to develop an overall plan for life and marriage. Good relationships do not happen over the long haul by accident. They are intentionally cultivated. Here is a good tool to help plan with purpose. Here is a resource on how to have a planning retreat with your spouse.
5. Learn to Cherish Her – use words to honor her internal and external beauty. Women are auditory – often than men – hearing you say words that communicate honor makes your wife feel cherished.
6. Learn to Refresh- Watching her energy gauges & learn how she needs to be refreshed body, soul and spirit; be proactive in looking for ways for her to be regularly renewed and refreshed
7. Nourish her – hold her hand regularly; hold her heart in prayer regularly. Women are kinesthetic – this means they are nourished by healthy and loving touch. Their spirit is nourished by prayer – prayer for her and with her; nourish your wives in these simple ways.
8. Learn How to Deal With Money. Learn the skills to alleviate financial pressure and lead the way in financial generosity. Be thoughtful about her concerns regarding your family’s financial present and future by being fiscally responsible and by anticipating needs and addressing any financial concerns. Additionally, lead the way in being a financially generous couple.
9. Learn to Build & Guard Trust. Do not violate her trust; work with immediacy to re-build her trust when it is broken. This is a boundary issue. Dependent on Gods grace, do everything possible to stay within the boundaries of trust. This is a great book on what builds trust.
10. Learn How to Have Healthy Conflict: Take initiative to humbly address interpersonal conflict between you and her, and between you/her and others. Don’t make tour wife be the main partner to bring up issues – be an initiative taker related to conflict.
For more marriage resources: Receive once a week Short Marriage Strengthening Thoughts, download the e-book “Re-Buildling Your Sexual House”and listen to Jordan and Christy’s podcast.
A recent Time front cover read: Why young men who grew up with internet porn are becoming advocates for turning it off. When we couple that with Playboy’s recent choice to pull nudity from their magazines, we should take note. I want to ask three questions related to these recent porn headlines:
Question1: Why is this happening?
Simply put, porn has reached both a cultural saturation level and a ‘ubiquity tipping point’ . See the graphic below and you will see visual evidence for the cultural saturation level. Coupled with what I am calling a ‘ubiquity tipping point’, and you have the recipe for disillusion amidst addiction, and a widespread raising of the white flag from porn consumers. In essence, porn is not delivering on its promise, and long-time consumers are taking note.
Question 2: How will it affect your life?
Most likely, it already has. Whether you have been or currently are a consumer of porn, or are in a relationship with someone who has been or is currently a consumer of porn, you are already being affected by porn. The most banal effect of porn is on sexual expectations. If you are married, if you or your spouse has been a porn consumer, individuals can find it challenging not to compare their own sexual relationship to what they have viewed in porn.
Question 3: What should you do about it?
Suggested Resource: Wired for Intimacy (Struthers) http://www.amazon.com/Wired-Intimacy-Pornography-Hijacks-Brain/dp/0830837000
In the first five years of marriage, a crucial asset is a marriage mentor couple and/or another marriage you can use as a model. Think about these non-marriage areas where people have mentors:
GOINT OUT ON A LIMB
So if mentoring is built in at the different life stages above, why not for the transition into marriage. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that having a marriage mentor that helps shape the course of your marriage and therefore your family and therefore the generations through your life might be of greater value than having a mentor for a fraternity or sorority.
Every spiritual leader that I can think of has emphasized to me the importance of always having a mentor figure in their life. Some people will put time and money and energy into making sure they can go spend time with that person just for their own personal health and development.
But I know far fewer people who have the same type of mentoring or modeling for their marriage.
Christy and I have had the benefit of having parents who have remained married throughout their life; this has provided priceless mentoring and modeling. In addition to our parents, we have had different couples along the way who have invested in our marriage. Some of these we have sought out, others we have been in a situation to organically be involved in their lives.
Either way, the key component has been having the mentoring and modeling, along with implementation of what we learn.
If you are interested in benefiting from the mentoring and modeling that another marriage can provide, here is what to do:
Now it is time to go put this into practice – have a blast doing it!
Your Pain Partner
I want you to take some time and answer the following questions:
The answer to these questions identifies your pain partner (Chand, Leadership Pain, p. 213).
Why it is important to Identify a pain partner.
If you do not identify a pain partner, you will place unrealistic expectations on your spouse to fill roles that they may not be prepared to fill, ultimately leaving you disappointed, and leaving your relationship in a lurch.
Who is your pain partner?
Your spouse may or may not be your complete pain partner, and this is good news. Think about it – although of course you would like your spouse to empathize with your pain, do you honestly want your spouse to fill every one of the roles above? To be clear, it would be great if your spouse could fill all of the above, however, it would be a rare individual who could fill all of those roles.
The main point of this post is this: identify which of the above roles your spouse can fill, and find other people in your life to fill the other roles. Don’t put unrealistic expectations on one another. Rather, be grateful for the roles your spouse can play, and then be prayerful for another person to fill the other roles.
Often, Christy and I find that out of idealistic romanticism, individuals will expect their spouse to be fill all roles and meet all needs; that is unrealistic. While it is true that it is not good for man to be alone, it is also true that it is not good for a an individual to put all their relational needs eggs in one basket.
What to do
So talk to your spouse about the above – ask them who their pain partner is. Communicate to them what you need from them. Brainstorm together. Pray together. And ask others in your lives to join you in this process.
You will notice on our podcasts that we have been interviewing different friends - let me tell you why. Hearing other people's stories is very powerful. Inspiration arises when you recognize the grace of God in someone else's life. When we hear the stories of others, we give hope an opportunity to enter a part of our own story.
When considering stories and the subject of hope, I often think of Abraham:
In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. (Romans 4:18-21 ESV)
I love Abraham's story for many reasons, one of which I see in his story my parent's story and our parenting story as well. My parents were not able to conceive for the first decade of their marriage. Eventually, my mom underwent experimental surgery on her pituitary to deactivate a tumor - and voila, here I am:). For my wife, it was endometriosis that kept her from having children. Our story is that our church community in Dallas, Tx rallied around us for a ten day period and worshiped over Christy; the next week we were pregnant. In both stories, the temptation to jettison hope was there. This is why Abraham's story is so powerful, 'in hope he believed against hope', when he and his wife were old and barren, year after year he held out hope in God related to God's promise.
I hope you can find encouragement from those brief stories of real hope amidst adverse circumstances. And I hope you will find hope from the stories you hear on our podcasts during this season. Each couple will share a different story, their story. May these stories fill your marriage with hope during this season. Please listen to Stephen and Wynne's story above and be encouraged.
So last night as I came to bed, I observed something unique: my wife reading a sex book that I wrote. Let me tell you, it was a first, and we shared a good laugh together. But we recognize that for many people, the sexual area of their life produces more pain than laughter - thus the book. We believe that now is a great time to invite God to help you re-build your sexual house.
Gathering stories to share anonymously in this book cemented my conviction that re-building is needed. Story after story recounted different forms of sexual brokenness, and story after story also recounted different forms of God’s faithfulness. But one thing stuck out to me in all of the stories: each person made a decision to partner with God in the re-building process. I did not hear any stories where something just accidentally got better, or automatically worked itself out after a period of time. Rather, I heard stories of struggle, prayer, perseverance, and ultimately of eventual breakthrough in different forms. If you are reading this today and find yourself in a time to rebuild, please know hope is available if you are willing to partner with God in the re-buildling process.
God builds, or re-builds, from the ground up. Jesus clearly taught about the importance of the foundation people build upon:
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27 ESV)
To Jesus, the type of foundation we build on boils down to hearing His words and doing them vs hearing His words and not doing them. The type of foundation, therefore, appears to be un-related to a person’s family of origin, circumstances, or any such thing. This is good news because it means that any human being from any walk of life, anywhere in the world can begin to lay a foundation simply by hearing Jesus’ word and doing them.
Our desire with this book is that it would do just that: provide good news, from Scripture, so that many people might re-build their sexual house by laying a solid foundation.
Stay tuned for the book’s release next week.
M A R R I A G E
"Marriage is God’s gift to the Church. Through Christian marriages, the story of the Gospel-