Category Archives: Marriage

Hump Day Humor! ;-) Mark Gungor on marriage

Pastor Mark Gungor explains how men and women use the same words in very different ways! If the video doesn’t load for you go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsnUK0cqH1M

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Filed under Humor, Just for fun, Marriage

Preping for a royal wedding

Of all the different duties that go with being a pastor one of my favorites is performing weddings. They are special occasions that mark one of God’s greatest adventures. Few other moments in life are filled with such delight and joy and hope and promise. But…

As much as I like all the details to come together and flow smoothly for all involved, I’m not one to pay attention to stuff like what people wear. Just about any type of clothing attire is acceptable these days but that’s certainly not the case for the upcoming royal wedding across the pond.

The other day as I was walking through the family room I caught a blurb on the TV about certain styles of wardrobe that were or were not considered appropriate for the royal festivities. Anyone with an ounce of etiquette will be paying attention to those standards.

A similar situation is found in Scripture but for a different reason. In Matthew 22 Jesus teaches about the kingdom of God by describing it as a wedding feast. Preparations are made and the guests are invited, but one individual has wardrobe issues.

11 “But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. 12 ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply. 13 Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Why was this guys’ clothes an issue?

The wedding feast represents our salvation; our reconciliation with God. We are all peasants, spiritually speaking, and don’t have the appropriate wedding attire to participate. But God graciously provides the necessary garments – His righteousness – as a gift! Unless we humble ourselves and accept the Father’s gift of grace we cannot be part of the wedding celebration. So…

Are you properly dressed and ready for THE royal wedding?

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Filed under Christianity, Grace, Humility, Kingdom of God, Marriage, Surrender

Valentine’s Day… A Mixed Bag

I have mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day. I’m all for the focus on love and creative ways to express it; but I don’t much care for how commercialized it has become. Still… the theme of love fulfilled, given and received, is at the core of what it means to be alive.

Maybe Valentine’s Day for you means dressing up and going out for a nice dinner; or maybe it means staying home and relaxing in your PJ’s. It might involve chocolates or flowers or jewelry or hand-written notes of affection.

For many this day will bring with it heart-warming expressions of love but for some it will mean heartache from a broken relationship or a spouse that has passed away. It’s a mixed bag to be sure and yet love really is a core essential ingredient of life.

It’s interesting to note that the Bible narrative begins with a marriage in a garden and ends with a marriage when the bridegroom – Jesus – receives His bride – the church. And God uses a wedding feast, a celebration of epic proportions, to give imagery to what that day will be like.

Love is essential and central to our lives because it is the very nature of God’s character and fuels His desire for an intimate relationship with each of us. No matter how you celebrate – or endure – this Valentine’s day, may you be constantly aware of God’s love!

My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God. My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love! ~ 1 John 4:7-12 (The Message)

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Filed under intimacy with the Lord, Love of God, Loving others, Marriage

Why didn’t anyone warn us?

I like authors and speakers who tell it like it is without beating you up with it. One of those authors is John Eldredge. Since this is National Marriage Week, as well as the homestretch leading up to Valentine’s Day, I thought it appropriate to share from a devotional book for couples that Susan and I are reading together. 

We probably ought to just start here: marriage is fabulously hard.

Maybe that’s an odd way to begin, but it is true, and everybody who’s been married knows this, though years into marriage it still catches us off guard, all of us. And newly married couples, when they discover how hard it is, seem genuinely surprised. Shocked and disheartened by the fact.

Are we doing something wrong? Did I marry the right person?

The wonders that lure us into marriage – romance, love, passion, sex, longing, companionship – sometimes seem so far from the actual reality of married life that we wind up fearing we’ve made a colossal mistake, caught the wrong bus, missed our flight.
     ~ From Love & War: Devotional for Couples, by John & Stasi Eldredge (p.3)

Some might find such transparency disheartening or embarrassing, but I find it rather refreshing. No marriage, no matter how good, is immune to difficulties. Knowing that ahead of time not only spares you unnecessary grief and guilt but helps you persevere when the going gets tough.

Susan and I are closing in on 28 years and freely admit that we have had our share of hard stretches; we have even gone to a marriage counselor when we needed help sorting out some issues. We have watched videos and attended marriage weekend events; and now we’re reading this devotional together.

Movies like to romanticize marriage suggesting that you can experience eternal bliss when you find that one, right soul mate; but that’s not been my experience in the real world. Marriage is awesome and life-giving… most of the time. But you have to be willing to work at it!

If you’re married, recommit yourself to loving your spouse and find a creative way to express it for Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re married or not, pause to pray for a married couple you know. And support National Marriage Week by checking it out at http://www.nationalmarriageweekusa.org/

P.S. – Last weeks message – The Prodigal God: A Loving Father – has been posted on the Sermons/Audio page. See tab above.

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Filed under Authenticity, Determination, Marriage

Sing someone else’s song

It still hasn’t quite sunk in that I have a married son and a daughter-in-law but I’m slowly processing the boatload of emotions that go with such a special event. One of the best parts of the wedding  last weekend was when Sam surprised Valerie by singing to her.

Using his guitar Sam sang “Love Me Tender” by Elvis. What makes this so special is that Elvis is Valerie’s all-time favorite crooner; but Sam can’t stand his songs. And yet, Sam loves Valerie so much that he sang what was one of her favorite songs. How cool is that?!

Years ago I was part of a counseling class with Bob Yawberg, one of my mentors, and when he taught the section on marriage he used the musical The Music Man as an example of the kind of love God intended for a man and woman to share.

In The Music Man the male lead comes to town singing his own song while the female lead is off singing her own song. As the story progresses they go from not liking each other to have feelings for each other and eventually their love fully blossoms. The moment of realizing or expressing their love for each other comes when they are together and singing but they are singing each others song.

Bob pointed out that real love, the kind of love that God demonstrates for us and intends for our marriages, is when we let go of our own song and sing the other persons’ song. That’s what Jesus modeled for us when He gave up all the glory of heaven to become one of us and die on the cross for our sins.

It doesn’t have to be a song. It could be doing a chore that your spouse hates to do. Or treating them to their favorite place to eat. Do they like little gifts or cards or flowers or…

Be creative and find a way to… 

Sing someone else’s song!

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Filed under Loving others, Marriage

A special day!

New Milestone Logo

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Milestone – a landmark, a highlight, a high point, an achievement. Life is full of them. A birth, a graduation, a new job, a marriage, an anniversary… Today marks two milestones in our family.

The first milestone is that today is the one year anniversary of having started my blog. It’s been a great experience. To be honest I had no idea of how it would go, how long it would last, if anyone would even be interested. What a huge adventure it has been!

I am honored by each and every one of you who have shared the journey. Thank you! And I am grateful to God for the opprotunity this has been to draw closer to Him and be stretched towards learning to find Him in the ordinary events of life. I look forward to the adventure that is yet to come.

The other milestone today is Susan celebrating her 50th birthday. As you can imagine she has a mixed bag of emotions about this particular milestone. But I am grateful beyond words to call her my best friend. We have laughed together, cried together, fought with each other and been there for each other. She has made this journey of life a pure delight. Happy Birthday Babe! And thanks for sharing perhaps the greatest adventure of all – marriage!

Life is full of milestones every day that mark our journey through this life. Pause today and reflect on a few of your own. Then thank God for these seemingly ordinary events that serve to make life so precious.

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Filed under Blogging, Gratitude, Life in General, Marriage, Thankfulness

Social networking dangerous?!

This is icon for social networking website. Th...

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Social networking is a fairly recent phenomenon; but it’s popularity and growth staggers the imagination. In February of this year (2010) Facebook alone boasted 400 million users worldwide. No small feat considering it is only about 7 years old.

As with anything new there is a learning curve involved and a sizable list of pros and cons. Only the foolish would ignore the dangers while enjoying the advantages. Recently I read of a pastor out East who is taking a rather strong stand on the issue.

The Rev. Cedric Miller of Living Word Christian Fellowship Church in New Jersey is encouraging his congregation to delete their Facebook accounts because of the overwhelming temptation to connect with old flames.

SRNNews.com reports that Rev. Miller is also ordering about 50 married church officials to delete their social networking accounts or resign from their positions.

At Living Word Christian Fellowship Church, Rev. Miller has seen 20 couples among the 1,100 members who have experienced marital stress over the last six months due to Facebook relationships. “I’ve been in extended counseling with couples with marital problems because of Facebook for the last year and a half,” he said. “What happens is someone from yesterday surfaces, it leads to conversations and there have been physical meet-ups. The temptation is just too great.”

Rev. Miller has a personal Facebook account that he uses to keep up with his family, but he says he will delete it before he speaks to the whole congregation this Sunday.

“The advice will go to the entire church,” he said. “They’ll hear what I’m asking of my church leadership. I won’t mandate it for the entire congregation, but I hope people will follow my advice,” says Rev. Miller.

I’m personally not ready to throw in the towel but I do think we need to wake up and recognize the potential dangers inherent in social networking; and take some precautions. For starters:

  • Husbands and wives should be connected so that they have open access to all the dialogue taking place. But recognize that “private messages” can be sent without anyone’s awareness.
  • If one spouse doesn’t use the chosen network then find a few agreed upon accountability partners who will be connected.
  • Another consideration would be for spouses to share the same account so that everything is out in the open.

Of course, the best defense is a good offense. The more we find our delight in intimacy with the Lord and work at healthy marriages the less we will be tempted to look elsewhere. What comes to mind is a little song many of us learned growing up.

Oh be careful little eyes what you see…

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Filed under Accountability, intimacy with the Lord, Loyalty, Marriage, Sin, Temptation

Not what I was expecting!

Yesterday Susan and I celebrated 27 years of being married. We ran some errands together, went out to lunch, walked a few antique shops in H’town, shopped in Muncie, met her parents for supper and then came back to Richmond for a movie. None of it was spectacular or would get listed on the wall of a visitors bureau but just being together with your best friend makes any activity special.

The same is true of our relationship with God. It doesn’t have to include anything real spectacular; just hanging out together as you go about the normal routines of life. He delights so much in us as His children that any ordinary activity is special to Him when we live it in the awareness of His presence.

As I reflect on 27 years of marriage I have to say that it is not what I was expecting. I expected more bliss and less struggle. I expected more warm, fuzzy moments and not so many tension filled moments. I expected the honeymoon to last longer!

And yet, while it was not what I was expecting I’m not disappointed and wouldn’t trade any of it for all the wealth in the world. The times we’ve struggled – and there have been plenty – only served to help us mature and grow stronger. There were times when one or both of us was ready to throw in the towel but didn’t; and on the other side of the struggle we experienced even closer intimacy.

In 32 years of walking with Jesus I would have to admit the same thing – it was not what I was expecting. To be honest, I didn’t realize I had so much learning and growing up to do. It has been challenging in ways that I never expected and usually bristle at, but it has been an amazing adventure and I am so grateful to God for His faithfulness and loyalty even when I prove not to be.

Thank You Lord for delighting in us and inviting us into Your story!

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Filed under intimacy with the Lord, Marriage

A Video Treat for Valentines Day

Mark Gungor: Tale of Two Brains – The Nothing Box

After you watch the video check out Mark’s web page listed under my blogroll. It’s titled “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage”

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Filed under Marriage