Tag Archives: Marriage

A Marine Wedding

 I get to do weddings. It is a distinct and unique privilege of  pastoring.  Now if you know me, I try to maintain a facade of dispassionate “manhood.”  But really, I am a sap. My niece Katie was married yesterday, and I “got” to perform the ceremony.  She married a Marine (in a marina).  I want to share one of the moments from the wedding.  During the wedding message I try to “explode” the vows into specific bullet points.  What exactly are you promising when you say “I do”.  Here are the points:

“Andrew, here is your plan, plain and simple. Your mission today is to commit yourself to Katie. That means you are going to love her, specifically as Christ loved the church. You are going to follow Christ’s example in your mission to love Katie. Here is the best I can do to describe it to you:

  • You are going to regard her as more important than you regard yourself.
  • You are going to consider her needs more important than your own.
  • You are going to serve her instead of expecting her to serve you.
  • You are going to pay attention to her every need.
  • You are going to think about her above everything else, and see what even she doesn’t see about the things that are important to her.
  • You are going to beat her to the punch, before she asks you are going to have thought of exactly what she was going to ask
  • You are going to make her look good.
  • You are going to cover her weakness with your strength.
  • You are going to love her more than you love your own body.
  • If necessary, you will die for her.
  • You are going to take Katie to God in prayer on a regular basis, thanking God for her and asking him to bless her and make her in to the most beautiful woman on the planet in every way, emotionally, physically, spiritually and otherwise.
  • You are going to lead the way to Jesus in this relationship, because it is the goal of every believer to be like him in every way.”

Now what you need to know about this particular Marine is that as I was going through these bullet points, he was responding to every one, just loud enough for Katie to hear, but not loud enough for anyone else to hear.  So it sounded like this:

Me:  “You are going to regard her as more important than you regard yourself.”
Andrew:  “Done”
Me: You are going to consider her needs more important than your own.
Andrew:  “Done”
Me: You are going to serve her instead of expecting her to serve you.
Andrew:  “Done”
Me: You are going to pay attention to her every need.
Andrew:  “Already Done”
Me: You are going to think about her above everything else, and see what even she doesn’t see about the things that are important to her
Andrew:  “Done”
Me: You are going to beat her to the punch, before she asks you are going to have thought of exactly what she was going to ask
Andrew:  “Done”
Me: You are going to make her look good
Andrew:  “Done”
Me: You are going to cover her weakness with your strength
Andrew:  “Done”
Me: You are going to love her more than you love your own body
Andrew:  “Done”
Me: If necessary, you will die for her
Andrew:  “Done”
Me: You are going to take Katie to God in prayer on a regular basis, thanking God for her and asking him to bless her and make her in to the most beautiful woman on the planet in every way, emotionally, physically, spiritually and otherwise.
Andrew:  “Done”
Me: You are going to lead the way to Jesus in this relationship, because it is the goal of every believer to be like him in every way
Andrew:  “Done”

Now I have to tell you, I have been doing this long enough that not much surprises me anymore. But his affirmations expressed with such confidence and private intimacy in that very public setting overwhelmed me.  When I got to  the prayer statement, I had an emotional moment.  It was powerful.

Take a moment to recall your vow to love your spouse.  Imagine the surety of the promise that you made and renew it.  I was impressed by Andrew and in that moment was reminded of the covenant promises of Christ to us.  Thanks Andrew for reminding this old guy of the power of covenant promises.

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Hit a Home Run with Your Wife

 This isn’t hard, nor was it expensive – but this will be a hit at home, I guarantee it. My wife was recently out-of-town for a few days and I wanted to welcome her home.

This coming home table cost me $14.96 and took me less than a half hour, but the response was the proverbial “priceless.”

What you have here is a bag of m&m’s, chocolate covered raisins (her favorites) spread over the table in a random fashion; tulips purchased at Super Target for $9.99 (roses from a florist can be overpriced and over-rated), and a plate of cookies on a “You are Special Today” plate we had at home.  Now, if you are an expert like I am, you can bake your own cookies (chocolate chip) and steal your wife’s heart-shaped cookie cutters and cut them into heart shapes after baking.  No need to worry if you aren’t metro-sexual and handy in the kitchen, just go to Panera Bread(or anywhere they sell fresh-baked cookies) and skip the baking.  Baking your own gets huge points though.  Cutting into heart shapes is also optional, but those kind of “feminine” details really make the women swoon.

A little effort like this on a regular basis can make huge deposits into your emotional bank account with your wife.

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12 Months to a Better Marriage: Love and Marriage

Love and Marriage

12 Months to a Better Marriage, Part 3

 

Love and Marriage. The perfect match. How does the Bible define love? The marriage assignment is to evaluate and define love.  We turn to a classic passage and the main character of the Bible.  Two simple assignments follow.  As a couple tackle the questions individually then set up a time to discuss your findings.  Coming to a corporate definition of love will contribute to your levels of expectation and help you to regulate your behavior.

 

The Classic passage: 1 Corinthians 13.

Take the passage and come up with the behaviors of love. According to this passage what does love look like and behave like?

 

The Main Character: Jesus

Read the following passages: Philippians 2:1-10; John 15:12-13; Mark 10:42-45. How does Jesus display love in attitude and action?

 

Husbands and wives together: discuss your answers. How have you defined love in your marriage? How has that definition matched the Bible’s definition? What needs to change so that your marriage is built on Biblical love modeled by Jesus?

 

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12 Months to a Better Marriage: Trust, Rights,Responsibilities

Trust, Rights, Responsibilities

This months marriage assignment is to adjust our ideas about the place of rights in a marriage. I have challenged every couple I counsel with this adage: “You have no rights in your marriage, only responsibilities.”

So here are some exercises, more additions in the comments section as the week and month go on…

  • How important is trust to a marriage?
  • How much trust is present in your marriage?
  • How can you increase the trust in your marriage?
  • What place do rights have in a marriage?
  • How do you square your answer with the Scriptures?
  • What are your responsibilities in your marriage?
  • Are you living up to them?

Read Ephesians 5:21-33.

  • What are the commands listed for the wife?
  • What are the commands listed for the husband?
  • Using Jesus as your model, what does it mean to submit? What does it mean to love?
  • Biblically, what is the difference between submission and love?
  • Who has the harder set of commands, the husband or the wife? Defend your answer biblically.
  • If Jesus is to be our model in marriage, discuss how the servant passages in the gospels help us understand love and submission (Matthew 20:26, 28; 23:11; Mark 9:35; 10:43, 45; Luke 22:26)

Finally, read Philippians 2:1-8.

  • How would you amend any answers or statements made above in light of this powerful passage?
  • How is Jesus’ attitude described here? Do you share the attitude of Jesus?
  • Discuss “selfishness and empty conceit”. How are you displaying selfishness and empty conceit in your marriage and what is the result of those actions?
  • Notice that regarding others as more important than yourselves is an attitude of the mind. How do you think about your spouse?

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12 Months to a Better Marriage: Expectations etc.

12 Months to a Better Marriage

Expectations are the starting point in any marriage equation. You have them. Lots of them. Some of them are conscious; some of them are unconscious. Some of them are legitimate; some of them are not. Most of your fights center around expectations. Since we are married to a human we are often disappointed by their imperfections, especially when those imperfections trespass on my expectations.

So here is my first marriage assignment.

Use this sheet using a notebook for your responses or download and printout the 3Questions document.

Follow these instructions in filling out the form:
Each of you will fill out the form individually and privately. The initial part of the exercise is solo.
There are 3 questions with two parts (His and Hers) that require 5 responses for a total of 30 spaces to fill in. You must fill in every one of those spaces

Once you are done with the filling out part…

Set a date with your spouse. Sometime between now and Valentine’s Day (this cannot be your Valentine’s Day activity) you need to have a date with the following parameters:

  • It cannot take place at home; you must go somewhere.
  • Just the two of you (no friends or children allowed).
  • The date will last for a minimum of two hours.
  • The date will consist of conversation.
  • If you go to dinner, it must be at a restaurant that will be comfortable with you taking a table for up to three hours.
  • Exhaustively cover all three questions on the 3 Questions Questionnaire.

The goal is to express and understand each other in what we expect from one another, what we like about one another, what we are afraid of with regard to one another and the future. Ask clarifying and probing questions.

Here are the three sets of questions:

Expectations

Expectations are the starting point in any marriage equation. You have them. Lots of them. Some of them are conscious; some of them are unconscious. Some of them are legitimate; some of them are not. Most of your fights center around expectations. Since we are married to a human we are often disappointed by their imperfections, especially when those imperfections trespass on my expectations.

  • What are your spouses (future spouses) 5 top needs?
  • What are your 5 greatest needs?

Strengths

Strengths make a marriage. Emphasizing strength is the building block strategy that smart couples adopt in their marriage and family. A healthy marriage is based upon two healthy/strong people joining together and working together to accomplish the God given goals of marriage.

  • List 5 qualities that attracted you to your spouse (future spouse):
  • What are your 5 best qualities?

Fears

What are you afraid of in your marriage? Often these fears are left unspoken in the hope that marriage will change things. That is unlikely. As you look into the future and have an honest discussion about what you will be fighting about you will likely discover what it is you are afraid of

  • In Order of importance, list 5 potential problem areas you foresee in your marriage:
  • List the 5 areas you think your future spouse thinks will be problems:

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Proposition 8 & The Church

I do not intend this post to be an endorsement for or against Proposition 8 rather to raise some issues as to how the church involves itself in issues like the one surrounding Proposition 8.

The Proposition

Proposition 8 is an initiative on the 2008 California General Election Ballot.  If passed it would force an amendment to the California Constitution to include the statement “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

“Prop. 8 is About Preserving Marriage; It’s Not an Attack on the Gay Lifestyle. Proposition 8 doesn’t take away any rights or benefits from gays or lesbians in domestic partnerships.  Under California law, “domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections and benefits” as married spouses. (Family Code §297.5.) There are no exceptions. Proposition 8 will not change this.” (This is from “Protect Marriage – Yes on 8” Campaign)

The Position

There is a great deal of heat surrounding the proposition and the Constitutional amendment.  I just watched a half hour video mailed to the church free of charge from AFA (You can watch the video at American Family Association) calling on churches to inform their congregations to register and to vote for Proposition 8.  The video was full of clips from homosexual “marriages” performed in courthouses soon after the California Supreme Court ruled that Proposition 22 (passed in 2000 by California voters) was unconstitutional and opened the door for gay marriage in California.  It also made it clear that it was the duty of every pastor to get the word out to their congregations to register to vote and to vote yes on Proposition 8.

The Problem

The problems raised by the amendment and the PR campaign are numerous and regardless of your position, conversation on the process is a must. Political rhetoric has its own rules and agendas. When the church gets pulled into the “silly season” Continue reading Proposition 8 & The Church

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