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Monthly Archives: April 2013

“What Women Want”

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This post is for men. Women may feel free to read this and add what I have missed in the comments. This post was written to help guys like me. I do not want to bog down this post with negative things about marriage, or quote the frightening statistics about divorce. This is merely written to hopefully help strengthen marriages.

I started asking on Twitter and Facebook for women to private message me an answer to this question, “What does your husband do that brings you the most fulfillment in your marriage?” I received a tremendous amount of responses! I am not going to list every single thing that was mentioned because this post would be entirely too long. I am however going to look at reoccurring answers. I realize that these answers do not necessarily reflect every woman. I do believe that they will serve as good reminders for us men. Not necessarily something we didn’t know about, but something we need to be reminded about.

1. Housework.
This answer was nearly universal in the responses that I received. I want you to look at the question that I asked again, “What does your husband do that brings you the most fulfillment in marriage?” and the overwhelming top response was housework.
In today’s society where a higher percentage of women work outside of the home than in past years, somehow we still seem to be stuck in the mindset that housework is the woman’s job. I have heard from woman who have been married for many years, I have heard from newlyweds, and everyone in between. I have heard from stay at home moms and I have heard from working moms. Regardless of age, regardless of work situation, this answer remained the same.

“When I walk in the door and see that he has done the dishes, that means everything to me. As silly as it sounds all I could think about on my way home is how much I did not want to do the dishes.”

“Nothing fulfills me quite like having him help around the house. He is a hard worker, and a great man, but when he starts folding laundry, that is when I know that he truly is thinking about me and trying to make my life easier.”

“My husband did not cook when we got married. After several years of me cooking every meal, I guess I was complaining about how much I despised cooking EVERY day. So, he went out and bought a cookbook without me knowing about it and went to the store himself and bought ingredients. He surprised me one night by telling me I could have the night off. Now he cooks a couple times a week. It doesn’t matter if it is fine cuisine, or a pizza in the oven. As long as he is taking care of the dinner that means so much to me.”

2. Appreciation
“All I need some days is for him to tell me that I am doing a good job.”
“When he tells me that I am doing a good job with taking care of the house, and our kids, it makes me feel good to see that he notices what I am trying to accomplish for our family.”
“When he notices things that I have done around the house that aren’t normally done. For example, last month I started going through the house and doing some cleaning projects that don’t normally get done. He noticed and told me he was very proud of the work I had been doing.”
“There are some nights when I get off work that I feel as though I can’t do anything right. I come home and when he says “Honey, thank you for working so hard, I know you have a lot on your plate, I want you to know that I appreciate all that you do, is there anything I can help you with?” These are the times that I truly feel like he genuinely cares about me.”

3. Spiritual Leadership
Not all who responded to my question were Christians, however almost every Christian woman cited this as one of the most fulfilling, and most needed qualities in their husband.

“I feel like fulfillment should be a state you reach from a marriage where you both love God and put him first”

“I feel very fulfilled when he prays for me while we pray together. Hearing him talk to God about me means the world to me and fills my heart with so much joy!”

“He’s dedicated to God. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that even if that day came that I drove him absolutely crazy and he couldn’t stand that sight of me (which is almost impossible due to my charming personality), he believes that a huge part of being a good Christian means being a good husband. I know that if his respect for me ever did falter, his respect for God won’t. That gives me confidence that he’s committed in a way that surpasses any human level.”

“Nothing helps me have a deep love for my husband more than when I see him being active in guarding our home from sin. When he makes sure that our movies are clean, or music is appropriate, and our dress is modest. I know that these seem like little things, and to be honest, I don’t think about them much while he is checking the ratings on movies before we rent them. But, as I look at all of the “little things” he does routinely to ensure our home is a spiritual “safe haven” I realize just how much he loves God and that makes me feel secure.”
As I began reading these messages, these were some of the answers that really caught my attention as a husband. I found it very interesting that the more a husband dedicates himself to God, the more secure, fulfilled, and comforted his wife feels as a result.

4. Encouragement
This one is similar to appreciation, but has its differences. Rather than simply saying to your wife that she has done a good job, they long to hear that you believe that they can do a good job.

5. Protection
“It is important for me to know that I have his strength when I need it”
“We live in a dangerous world. I kind of scare myself more than most people because of all of the crime shows that I watch J but it brings me tremendous fulfillment to know that my husband will do anything to protect me, not just spiritually, but also physically.”
6. Be Romantic.
I found something to be very strange in the responses that I received. Many women even spelled it out to me that they are ok with the fact that their husband isn’t the sweet/romantic type that you see in movies. They would rather have someone who fits the other 4 categories above than to have a man who is “romantic” but falls short in the above categories. However, many women did want to point out that while being romantic is not on the top of their wants or needs, it IS still on the list.
“When we were first married, he bought me flowers on a routine basis. That faded with time as is normal, but he still does things for me, spur of the moment that make me still feel like I am special to him. Sometimes it is something small like bringing me a cup of coffee. He never forgets to do something for me on V-Day. Even though we make it clear we are not going to do much to celebrate (financial reasons) he will always do something.”
“Sometimes I just need a break from the kids. My husband can usually sense when that time has come. He leaves me a note on the mirror telling me that he has gotten a babysitter for the evening, and that he is taking me to a nice restaurant and a movie. I know that dinner and a movie seems out dated, but when you don’t get out much, all you want is to go to a nice dinner and catch a movie with your husband.”

“He puts my happiness first. He leaves love notes to me almost daily (this is after we will have been married 40 years in June). He writes long letters to me telling me how he feels about me and us. He forgives me easily. He lets me know he loves me, wants me, needs me. He calls me “Sweetie” and “beautiful”. He says I am his soul-mate. He makes me feel like if we never had anything else in this life but each other, then that would be enough.”

As I sorted through the emails and private messages I came to a couple of realizations. The first being that there are some great husbands out there who are working hard to put Christ first and as a result their marriages are a success. The second realization is that maybe, just maybe, women are not as complicated as we think they are.
It would seem that many times the answer to many marital issues could be found in going back to the “basics.” The story is told of Vince Lombardi (An all-time great football coach) that after his team got royally defeated he walks into the locker room and holds up a football and says “Men, this is a football… its time we get back to the basics.” They had gotten so caught up in schemes, trick plays, and showmanship that they neglected the basics of blocking, form tackling, and they began to erode from the foundation.
I’m afraid many times our marriages are eroding beneath us. We are scheming, planning, trying our best to do “fancy things.” Yet, we forget the basics. We forget that regardless of how long we have been married, our wives still covet our attention, love notes, protection, leadership, and help around the house. Maybe it is time we devote ourselves to the basics of our marriages. I submit this to you not based on my knowledge, as I have inputted limited commentary, rather to serve as a reminder (to myself as well as others) to do the things that are most desired, and often most neglected by us.

Ephesians 5:25-28- Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Colossians 3:19- Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

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Posted by on April 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Roller Coaster Faith

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            I will never forget my first roller coaster ride. I don’t remember my age, just that I was fairly young. I remember my dad promising me that we were just going to ride a “kitty coaster” little did I know we were going to ride “The Wild Cat.” It wasn’t until we were at the top of the hill fixing to start our rapid descent that I realized something was terribly wrong. I let out a high pitched (little girl) scream as the coaster rapidly began its terrifying ride. I now love roller coasters, but that first experience.. could have been better.

            Roller coasters are fun and exciting! They are full of twists and turns, up and downs, and even “spin arounds.” As fun as they might be I am afraid that many times our faith can be compared to this roller coaster ride.

 

We have our ups:

 

We have those times when we are on top of the spiritual world (so it seems.) We are on fire for Christ, we know what we believe, we know why we believe it, and we want to talk about it! Many who attend church camps in the summer talk about the “spiritual high” meaning that after a week of camp they feel like they are soaring spiritually. Most of us have experienced those “ups” in our spiritual walk.

 

We have our downs:

 

These are the days/times that we don’t even feel like getting ready for worship on Sunday morning. Sure, we know it’s the “right thing” to do, we just don’t “feel it.” We have those times that we overhear someone say something about the Bible, the church, Christians, salvation, and we fail to capitalize on the opportunity. Not because we don’t know what to say but because we are afraid to say it, or even worse, we don’t “have time” to say it.

 

I have recently been studying the book of Judges. It amazes me how many ups and downs God’s people have always had! We find that God’s people were in captivity because they left God’s will and turned to serving themselves or idols (sound familiar?) God raises up a Judge to lead them out of their bondage when they realize the error of their ways. God grants them peace for many years. Then they repeat this cycle. After the death of Joshua and his elders, God’s people turned away from God and fell into the hands of the enemy. God raises up a Judge Othniel who delivers God’s people, then they fall away again. God gives them another judge Ehud and Shamgard who delivers them, then they fall away. God raises up another Judge Deborah who directs them in the way they should go, then they fall away again. God raises up another Judge named Gideon who leads God’s people yet again under extreme odds, as he went to conquer the Midianites. There was no doubt as to who was responsible for the victory. It should have been so firmly implanted in their minds that they are nothing without God, and everything with Him. We read that Gideon dies in chapter 9 and God’s people begin to fall AGAIN in chapter 10.

 

            If you are like me, as you study such passages part of your mind screams out, “How can you be so forgetful? How can you leave God again?” while another, parts softly reminds me, “Troy, you do the same thing.” How often are we guilty of deserting God, when all He has done, is provide and be faithful?

 

            We see many examples of nations and individuals throughout the Old and New Testaments who seemingly hit extreme spiritual high’s only to crash to rock bottom and repeat the cycle. I would like to submit a few simple/practical steps for us to take to help keep us from crashing over and over again. This is nothing new (Straight from the Bible) but they are good healthy reminders.

 

Keys to having more spiritual ups than downs:

 

1.        Study God’s Word: – This sounds so simple, and many who are reading this are just ready to skip to the next key because they have “heard this before” however, I must admit that even as a minister, I have struggled with this. Every single time that I feel disconnected with God, I can examine my life and see that my time with His Word is not what it should be. Set a time every day/night that is “Bible time” with no distractions. If you truly don’t “have time” during your normal routine, then wake up early or stay up late, make it a priority. Several Bible apps for smartphones and tablets now have audio as well. You can plug it in in your vehicle, listen to your headphones while laying in bed, while working out, going for a jog, just another way to make sure that God’s Word is part of your life. Acts 17:11

 

2.     Prayer: Also another “no brainer” but it must be said. How could you foster a deep relationship with someone you never communicate with? You can’t. make it happen! 1 Thess 5:17,

 

3.      Sing: Sing throughout your day, your week, your life. Do not allow singing to just be a Sunday and Wednesday thing. Sing at home with your family, sing by yourself in the car, listen to acapella in your office, in your home. Yes, I am referring to singing songs of praise, not “Baby” from Justin Bieber. Incorporate that aspect of worship in your daily living, and your life will become more joyful. Ephesians 5:19-20

 

4.       Peer pressure: Wait, peer pressure is bad right? Not always. It depends on who your peers are. Surround yourself with the right peers and they will cause you to want to be better. We know that “Bad company corrupts good morals.” It is safe to assume that good company encourages them. Proverbs 27:17

 

5.        Be positive: The statement, “I am positive, positive everything is going to go wrong!” Is not what we need. We need to be a joyous, positive people. It is so easy to get down in our thinking. We turn on the news we get depressed, we turn on the radio, we get discouraged. We listen to “christians” talk about their sinful lifestyle we are heart broken. We listen to worldly people publicly ridicule Christ, we get outraged. It is time we take control of our minds! Dwell on positive things, dwell on promises of God, Dwell on hope, love, eternal life, our savior, our family, and many other blessings. Don’t’ think you can control your thoughts and be a happier person? God says you can! Phil 4:8

 

6.        Get to work: When I was in high school, I worked out with my football buddies all the time, and I was strong. (Not as strong as I thought I was) but strong nonetheless. A funny thing happened when I was no longer playing organized sports. I stopped working out as much, and I began to decline in strength. The same is true with our spiritual life. If we wish to maintain a strong relationship with the Lord, we must go to work, and stay at work! We cannot simply say to ourselves that we used to work in the kingdom, if we want a close bond with the Father, we must walk with Him daily. Luke 9:23, Matthew 6:33, 2 Corinthians 6:1, James 2:18-20, Revelation 2:10.

 

As mentioned above, this is not meant to be anything new, just a reminder that I need every once in a while. I pray this will encourage you as you spend time with your families, spend time at work, school, travel, and play. I pray that you will experience more ups than you do downs spiritually speaking. Please note, that the highs and the lows, the relationship we have with the Father does not come by luck or lack thereof. It comes from our focus on Jesus, and our willingness to live for Him!

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

 
 
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