Saturday, October 11, 2014
All of us have few things that flare up our anger or upsets us. We call these the 'button'. A button is something that gets you angry or upset, or causes a negative reaction in either you or your spouse.
Here are couple of facts about buttons in a marriage. First and foremost, a button has to exist, in order to be pressed - nobody can press a button that does not exist. In case of a wife, cleanliness could be a button. When a husband carelessly messes around a place that was just cleaned by his wife, he is pressing her cleanliness button. This can make her upset, and eventually angry.
The 'hurry up' button is rushing her while going out to get ready. A wise husband realizes the fact that she is going to take however long she needs to get ready - rushed or not. He will instead use subtle ways to create a sense of urgency, other than saying, "hurry up" or producing irritated sighs.
The most dangerous button of a wife is when a husband suggests another woman to be attractive or hot. Regardless of who this other woman is, she instantly becomes the archenemy of your wife. Anytime you bring up her subject in a conversation, the wife's brain is saying, "Oh, you took time to think about her so much that now she is appearing in conversations." This topic can drive her paranoid. In our eyes, our wife is the hottest woman who ever walked the planet, is walking, or will ever walk the planet.
Proverbs 29:22 An angry person stirs up conflict,
and a hot-tempered person commits many sins.
St. Paul gives us advise as to settle any disputes before the sun goes down. It is to avoid us from committing further sins.
Ephesians 4:26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
How we react to such button pressings completely depends upon us. Self control and patience is the key in not pressing a hot button. A loving, caring and understanding husband will have an enormous amount of patience.
Proverbs 16:32 Better a patient person than a warrior,
one with self-control than one who takes a city.
Patience further strengthens a relationship and enables us to see our partner from another angle. Be aware of her monthly cycles and emotional roller coaster. Never use harsh words, though you maybe tempted to - as they can leave some everlasting wounds. Have a gentle approach towards her - handle her just like how one would handle a baby - with tender care.
Beloved Holy Spirit, come into our family and provide both of us with your patience. Enable us not to mock each other nor push each other's buttons. Give us the patience from reacting or over reacting to situations that emerge in our family lives. Bless us with self control and the strength to reconcile with each other over all disputes arising in our family before the sun goes down.
Friday, October 10, 2014
Is there a marriage where there is no confrontation? The one which comes pretty close is most likely the one wherein the husband is deaf and the wife is dumb. Disagreements are bound to creep in when two individuals are together - especially when it involves a man and woman, due to their difference in biological DNA.
Disagreements need not be defined to a married couple. If you are in a marriage, you already know it. But let us do a 'Root Cause Analysis' of the situation. The first and foremost item that jumps out at is the selfish nature within us. We are after something that we are not getting. That "something" can be vary from person to person.
James 4:1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?
In most marriages, the personality of the husband is different from that of the wife. One could be task oriented, while the other people oriented. The personality trait of one maybe introvert, while the other extrovert. Opposites attract and this attraction brings in opposite views.
In these circumstances, the husband should try and see the big picture that now we are not alone; rather a team of two where decisions impact the two of us.
A loving husband should weigh in the motive Check and see the facts along with emotions. This means using both our head and heart to arrive at a decision. Pay close attention to see if there is a special or hidden agenda, or even a selfish motive behind the confrontation.
Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Most husbands think about being silent and withdraw from the situation. This is not a good solution.
Proverbs 18:1 NASB He who separates himself seeks [his own] desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom.
We are told to behave like Jesus Christ in such situations. By doing so, we are not being weak; rather we are building a strong team.
Philippians 2:5-8 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Blessed is the marriage where both spouses feel the other is a good friend. Blessed is the marriage where spouse who will listen, understand, and work through any problem or conflict. Deal you confrontation at home using communication. Silence is not the best solution, and it is what most husbands do. Be the peacemaker at home and display Godly traits. Say healing and restorative words, without pride coming into your midst. If you feel sorry, say so.
God Almighty, I ask you to impart strength to both myself and my wife at times of disagreements. May neither of us pursue our selfish interests, and give us the wisdom to pursue decisions for the sake of our family - regardless of whether the idea comes from me or my wife. Help us to communicate and bring back peace into our relationship.
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Marriage is a fantastic voyage where we discover numerous things as we go. In a wonderful marriage, the best is yet to come. When a wife shares her emotions, she is speaking what's on her heart. A caring and loving husband will hear the tone of her voice and understand that her emotions are taking the form of words.
Luke 6:45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
During such occasions, they typical husband gets into the mode of Mr. Fix-it, because that is our natural instinct. We tend to fix everything in our vicinity and come up with solutions. However, that is not what the feminine mind is expecting. All she is expecting are those strong shoulders where she can lean on and cry.
Again, nothing is expected to be fixed at this point. All she wants to hear is, "Honey, have faith in Our Lord; things will be alright in the end." She is hoping to receive some comfort from a husband who in turn derives his energy from the Holy Spirit - the One True Comforter.
John 14:26 (KJV) But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
A hug and kiss at this time will be more than what she expects. Anyone who does it can vouch that all her emotions will magically disappear in the next few minutes.
Here is word of caution. When a wife shares her emotions, do not just say, "Honey, have faith in Our Lord; things will be alright in the end" without listening to her entire story. That is sure to backfire. The right approach is to look into her eyes, listen to her worries, and in the end say those words with a hug and kiss. Do not worry though you do not understand the matter completely - your role is to show love and care by listening. Leave it to the Holy Spirit to increase wisdom and understanding.
Isaiah 11:2 (NASB) The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
Whenever your wife starts speaking about an incident/event that hurts her, pay attention to her voice. Tell her, "Let's talk about this, I want to understand," and just do the listening part followed by a comforting and assuring statement. Tell her that she can reach you if this matter further bothers you. If for any reason you are busy, be honest and say, "I am quite busy now, but how about we sit down and talk about this in the evening - I want to hear everything you have to say."
Dear Holy Spirit, You are the Comforter and the One who imparts Wisdom in the world. I request you to shower your blessings upon my wife so that she is comforted at times of emotional challenges. I ask you to provide me the understanding so that I may truly comprehend the situations she is undergoing and make me sensitive to her needs in that specific area.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
There is a long list of items a wife expects from her husband. If we were to prioritize them, Love would be on top of the list. Communication is high up there, followed by understanding.
1 Peter 3:7 In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.
What Peter tells us is rather startling - we are to treat our wives properly so that our prayers will not be hindered! This means there is an unheard and undeniable connection between the way we treat our wife and our prayer life. That is a pretty strong motivational task to understand our wife. Sounds like Peter is holding men responsible for creating that intimacy in marriage.
Understanding is all about accepting the way she is, with love, compassion and sympathy, identifying her situations, thoughts and feelings. To accomplish these, the starting point is togetherness. Just by living at the same address, eating the same meal, sleeping on the same bed, couples do not develop togetherness. It means knowing her well and those things which girls don't like such as violence, bad smell, vulgar, rough handling, etc,.
Ephesians 5:4 Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.
An understanding husband should also know the list of things a wife likes. They like to be seen as beautiful or gorgeous. Makeup and hair do's are part of this activity. Her emotions of happiness, sadness, hurt and anger needs to be heard by a husband. During such occasion, she is literally putting her heart in her hands and holding out to her husband.
Understanding a wife involves spending lot of 'castle time' together. A husband has to be a lifelong student in the school of learning about his wife to improve himself. Conversations can lead towards understanding a wife. It is okay to ask a wife what she like to have. Women like to say things they love, and are quite open to such questions. It is even a good idea to write those things down. Wives have a delicate nature and their needs should be addressed in a tender way.
Father Almighty, give me the desire within me to learn and understand about my wife. I ask you for a kind heart so that I may treat her well. Enable me to learn more about her emotions, difficulties, and intimate needs so that I care for her accordingly. Let her taste the love I have for her and teach me how to display my affection towards her. Make her a proud wife so that she understands her true value.
The Eight-Cow Wife by Patricia McGerr, appeared in the February 1988 version of Reader's Digest. This story is a creative example of investing in marriage. Take the next 10 minutes to digest why Johnny Lingo a primitive Pacific island, where a man paid the dowry for his wife in cows. Two or three cows could buy a decent wife, four or five a very nice one. But Johnny Lingo had offered an unheard of eight cows for Sarita, a girl whom everyone in her home village thought was a very plain-looking, backward young woman who probably wouldn't bring a dowry of one cow, let alone eight!
"Get Johnny Lingo to help you find what you want and then let him do the bargaining," advised Shenkin as I sat on the veranda of his guest house and wondered whether to visit Nurabandi. "He'll earn his commission four times over. Johnny knows values and how to make a deal."
"Johnny Lingo." The chubby boy on the veranda steps hooted the name, then hugged his knees and rocked with shrill laughter.
"Be quiet," said his father and the laughter grew silent. "Johnny Lingo's the sharpest trader in this part of the Pacific."
The simple statement made the boy choke and almost roll off the steps. Smiles broadened on the faces of the villagers standing nearby.
"What goes on?" I demanded. "Everybody around here tells me to get in touch with Johnny Lingo and then breaks up. It is some kind of trick, a wild-goose chase, like sending someone for a left-handed wrench? I there no such person or is he the village idiot or what? Let me in on the joke."
"Not idiot," said Shenkin. "Only one thing. Five months ago, at festival time, Johnny came to Kiniwata and found himself a wife. He paid her father eight cows!"
He spoke the last words with great solemnity and I knew enough about island customs to be thoroughly impressed. Two or three cows would buy a fair-to-middling wife, four or five a highly satisfactory one.
"Eight cows!" I said. "She must have been a beauty that takes your breath away."
"That's why they laugh," my guest said. "It would be kindness to call her plain. She was little and skinny with no--ah--endowments. She walked with her shoulders hunched and her head ducked, as if she was trying to hide behind herself. Her cheeks had no color, her eyes never opened beyond a slit and her hair was a tangled mop half over her face. She was scared of her own shadow, frightened by her own voice. She was afraid to laugh in public. She never romped with the girls, so how could she attract the boys?"
"But she attracted Johnny?"
This is the story Shenkin told me:
"All the way to the council tent the cousins were urging Sam to try for a good settlement. Ask for three cows, they told him, and hold out for two until you're sure he'll pay one. But Sam was in such a stew and so afraid there'd be some slip in this marriage chance for Sarita that they knew he wouldn't hold out for anything. So while they waited they resigned themselves to accepting one cow, and thought, instead, of their luck in getting such a good husband for Sarita. Then Johnny came into the tent and, without waiting for a word from any of them, went straight up to Sam Karoo, grasped his hand and said, "Father of Sarita, I offer eight cows for your daughter." And he delivered the cows.
"As soon as it was over Johnny took Sarita to the island of Cho for the first week of marriage. Then they went home to Narabundi and we haven't seen them since. Except at festival time, there's not much travel between the islands."
This story interested me so I decided to investigate.
The next day I reached the island where Johnny lived. When I met the slim, serious man, he welcomed me to his home with a grace that made me feel like the owner. I was glad that from his own people he had respect unmingled with mockery.
I told him that his people had told me about him.
"They speak much of me on that island? What do they say?"
"They say you are a sharp trader," I said. "They also say the marriage settlement that you made for your wife was eight cows." I paused, then went on, coming as close to a direct question as I could. "They wonder why."
"They say that?" His eyes lighted with pleasure. He seemed not to have noticed the question. "Everyone in Kiniwata knows about the eight cows?"
"And in Narabundi everyone knows it, too." His chest expanded with satisfaction. "Always and forever, when they speak of marriage settlements, it will be remembered that Johnny Lingo paid eight cows for Sarita."
So that's the answer, I thought with disappointment. All this mystery and wonder and the explanation's only vanity. It's not enough for his ego to be known as the smartest, the strongest, the quickest. He had to make himself famous for his way of buying a wife. I was tempted to deflate him by reporting that in Kiniwata he was laughed at for a fool.
As we spoke a woman entered the adjoining room and placed a bowl of blossoms on the dining table. She stood still a moment to smile with sweet gravity at the young man beside me. Then she went swiftly out again. She was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. This girl had an ethereal loveliness. The dew-fresh flowers with which she'd pinned back her lustrous black hair accented the glow of her cheeks. The lift of her shoulders, the tilt of her chin, the sparkle of her eyes all spelled a pride to which no one could deny her the right. And as she turned to leave she moved with grace that made her look like a queen.
When she was out of sight I turned back to Jonny Lingo and found him looking at me with eyes that reflected the pride of the girl's.
"You admire her?" he murmured.
"She--she's glorious. Who is she?" (I couldn't help, but think -- if she was a servant, how difficult it must be for homely Sarita, having to daily be in the presence of such a beautiful woman. And what a temptation for Mr. Lingo!)
"She is my wife."
I stared at him blankly. Was this some custom I had not heard about? Do they practice polygamy here? He, for his eight cows, bought both Sarita and this other? Before I could form a question he spoke again.
"This is the only one -- Sarita." His way of saying the words gave them a special significance. "Perhaps you wish to say she does not look the way they say she looked in Kiniwata."
"She doesn't." The impact of the girl's appearance made me forget tact. "I heard she was homely. They all make fun of you because you let yourself be cheated by Sam Karoo."
"You think he cheated me? You think eight cows were too many?" A slow smile slid over his lips as I shook my head. "She can see her father and her friends again. And they can see her. Do you think anyone will make fun of us then? Much has happened to change her. Much in particular happened the day she went away."
"You mean she married you?"
"That, yes. But most of all, I mean the arrangements for the marriage."
"Do you ever think," he asked reflectively, "what it does to a woman when she knows that the price her husband has paid is the lowest price for which she can be bought? And then later, when all the women talk, as women do, they boast of what their husbands paid for them. One says four cows, another maybe six. How does she feel--the woman who was sold for one or two? This could not happen to my Sarita."
"Then you paid that unprecedented number of cows just to make your wife happy?"
"Happy?" He seemed to turn the word over on his tongue, as if to test its meaning. "I wanted Sarita to be happy, yes, but I wanted more than that. You say she's different from the way they remember her in Kiniwata. This is true. Many things can change a woman. Things that happen inside, things that happen outside. But the thing that matters most is what she thinks about herself. In Kiniwata, Sarita believed she was worth nothing. Now she knows that she is worth more than any other woman on the islands."
"Then you wanted..."
"I wanted to marry Sarita. I loved her and no other woman."
"But--" I was close to understanding.
"But," he finished softly, "I wanted an eight-cow wife."
The most valuable treasure a husband can have at home is a healthy marriage.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
A husband is considered rich when his heart is filled with love. In the absence of love, he is nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
From a wife's perspective, she feels loved and cared, when she is treated as 'top priority' in a husband's life. It hurts a woman when she recalls the priority with which she was treated either just prior or marriage, or soon after marriage.
Time is the biggest gift a husband can give his wife. A wife feels loved when the husband spends time with her. If the husband has to be away from his wife due to travel or other activities, it is certainly possible to communicate by sending regular love notes or phone calls. Let her not compete for your time and attention.
Ephesians 5:28-30 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church - for we are members of his body.
These days, we tend to think it is fashionable to provide a notion that we are busy with our lives. Under the covers, the truth is such individuals do not know how to manage their time and prioritize activities. Time at work or business does not directly translate into success; time with family does. While you enjoy job promotions and pay raise at work, you do not want your wife to endure fatigue and time pressure in solitude at home.
King Solomon teaches that there is a time for everything, including a time to love and a time to hate. Further he tells us that eternity is set into our human hearts.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
The wife Lord gave us is a beautiful gift, and it is our responsibility to keep her happy.
Invest in your relationship with your wife. Time is the means by which we express our priority and love towards her. A wife gets hurt when she learn her husband is choosing other activities or hobbies over her. This can make her shut down emotionally and may even withdraw. Once withdrawn, she will not open up in order to avoid being hurt again. Hurt leads to disappointment and eventually anger. A wise husband will avoid these situations by investing time with his wife, and taking matters to the Lord. After all, the marriage began in the presence of the Lord, in front of the altar.
Dear God, I pray for my wife to be able to depend upon me. Enable me to treat her as my 'top priority' item in my life. Give me the wisdom to draw the line and balance my work-home activities so that I may know when to set aside time for work, and that for home. Fill my heart with your divine love so that I may pour some out to my family, especially my wife.
Monday, October 6, 2014
Love is a secret ingredient in that divine recipe that keeps a husband and wife together. Apparently, this matters the most to God, and to a wife. When God created man and woman, he bonded us together using love as a glue.
1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
More than anything, love is that one thing that a wife craves from her husband. It is essentially the lifeblood that guides her, assures her, stabilizes her, motivates her, and keeps her afloat in a marriage.
The best example of a lover is Jesus Christ Himself, and that is what Paul teaches us. He urges a husbands to give his entire heart and life to his wife. The satisfaction one receives by doing so is immeasurable.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
When it comes to the department of love, majority of men need some additional training. Those things that make a man loved are totally different from what makes a wife loved. It's not sufficient that we married a wife and are working hard to provide her, and buy her expensive jewelry - this can leave men puzzled and confused.
Pray to God to help you with your marriage. He is the one who created our wife. More than her, Lord knows about her. He should be the One who should open our eyes, so that we can see our wife in the light of love.
Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.
Husbands should learn the language and love and speak to their wives using the language of love. This is how a husband can fill his wife's 'love tank'. The first and foremost part is providing her words of affirmation. It is followed by quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Each item on this list is not a filler of the love tank by itself - they have to be adjusted in proportion just like how a good chemist creates an elixir.
Dear Jesus, you are the prince of love and have sacrificed your innocent life for the love of mankind. Teach me those traits how to love my wife. Open my eyes so that I may see the ways in which she wants to be loved. I pray that she may experience my love and be fully satisfied with it.
Sunday, October 5, 2014
In our castle, which which we call 'home', let us be a "knight in shining armor." The idea is to be that person who seeks God continually, with an aim of accomplishing noble deeds. Let us make noble plans for our home and display noble traits.
Isaiah 32:8 But the noble make noble plans, and by noble deeds they stand.
From a wife's perspective, one of her most important needs is that her husband to have a firm relationship with Lord. This makes her feel secure; she will feel like following you, and submitting to you. When she notices your heart belongs to God, automatically, her heart belongs to you. Winning the heart of one who lives with you day and night is valuable than conquering a kingdom. In the meantime, on a daily basis, we are to show special consideration towards our wives, as they are the weaker sex.
1 Peter 3:7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
Hollywood and media seems to portray a husband as a rough and tough guy. Few TV melodramas portray husbands as a weak individual. To be that husband based on God's definition, one has to submit himself to God. A husband who submits to God will be of a different breed from that of a worldly definition. His traits will not be that of dominion, control, authority, nor of a weak one; rather that of Jesus Christ. Such a husband stands up for truth and fights evil.
Ephesians 6:10-20 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Be the man of the house. Show your allegiance and obedience to God everyday - especially on Sunday mornings. Be the first one to get ready for Sunday worship. Let your wife see how much you love the Lord and she will follow you. Make her feel safe and secure by being alert and aware about dangers that may befall upon the family.
Gracious Lord, I ask you to fill me with Your heavenly strength to be an obedient servant. Help me lead my family, and I pray that You provide my wife with the strength and wisdom to assist me. Give her the wisdom to guide our children on the right path, and while doing the chores at home. May she derive the energy required for her daily tasks from your divine presence.