Can we just take a moment to appreciate the humorously similar characteristics shared between Pastor Doug Wilson and the "Good Intentions Axe Murderer" meme?
I promise, there's a tie-in here somewhere.
Doug Wilson writes,
We have lost the heart of masculinity, and all we had left over were the residual badges from the last cultural era that assigned them. As time went on, it became easier and easier to make fun of the badges as entirely capricious. Why should men take out the garbage? Ho ho ho...why can't women open their own car doors? But when a man opens the car door for his wife, he is doing far more than just getting the door open...
...he is disciplining his own heart and soul, which need it, and he is honoring his wife, who is glorified by it. The role of a man here, if we may speak this way,is not just to get the door open. His central role is the liturgical act of saying that women everywhere should be held in honor by men, and that he adds his amen to this, as everyone in the parking lot at Costco can now see. (Father Hunger, pg. 45-46 - Advance Reader's Copy)
...I told you there was a tie-in.
Put simply, Pastor Wilson is reminding us that the act of holding the door means far more than merely making it convenient for a lady to pass through without dirtying her white gloves. Men everywhere honor women by the simple act of opening the door for them, an act that says, "Although we may not even know each other, I honor and respect you."
Clearly, honoring and respecting women everywhere is not limited to merely door opening. Holding the elevator, carrying her tray to the lunch room, taking out the garbage, etc., all can have similar sentiments embedded within them. Just recently I was picking up ice cream for my wife and I from a local ice cream parlor, and as I walked from my car I noticed a young woman struggling to carry her several bags of groceries up the icy walkway to her house. Ashamedly, I looked away and continued walking a few steps. But then something pricked my conscience. I turned, walked back and offered her a hand. She was clearly caught off guard, and politely refused. I offered again, assuring her that it was no trouble. She smiled meekly and agreed. After carrying her goods to her front door, I continued on my way.
Why is such a little gesture so seldom seen in our culture today? Why was it easier for me to initially walk away? And why was she so caught off guard?
Men, we are failing. As a culture, we are not holding the door open for chivalry anymore. We don't make opportunities to honor women around us. We don't seek them out, and we don't take advantage of them enough when they are right before our eyes.
Would feminist "I-don't-need-a-man" movements and egalitarian/complimentarian fights be lessened if men simply stepped up and acted like men by honoring and respecting women in everyday life? Would domestic abuse and the rampant addiction of pornography be lessened as men view women as gifts to be cherished? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Certainly the solution is greater than merely opening doors more often.
But could it be a start? Yes. I truly think it could be. Men, join with me in seeking out opportunities to honor and respect the women around us more intentionally on a daily basis. Women, join us in this endeavor by encouraging and thanking us when we do, and by playfully reminding us when we miss opportunities.
How have you experienced the decline in chivalry? What do you think has led to that?
...and I say this from personal experience...
I am the king of fools. I tend to put my foot in my mouth, all too often. But my biggest downfall in conflict is my natural response to feeling attacked: attack back, harder.
Maybe you can relate. When my pride is wounded or my patience is tested beyond the point where I am able to control my tongue, I lash out.
I hate that part of me. My wife does, too. There are few times in marriage when I am more of a bully, and there are few times when she feels less loved. Maybe you can relate to that, too. Maybe you're the husband. Maybe you're the wife. Maybe you've been the kid watching the fight all your life.
After a bit of reflection, I came up with this list of "How to Lose Your Wife's Respect in 10 Minutes"...
- Don't take responsibility for your actions
- Blame the fight on her
- Roll your eyes when you hear her side of the story
- Sigh...a lot
- Use cutting remarks to put her down and make her feel like she isn't free to share how she truly feels
- Walk out of the room when she is talking
- Refuse to apologize until she apologizes first
Does That Sound Familiar?
Don't be fooled. The man above is me. Maybe not every time. Maybe not all at once. But I've done all those things all too often. We're all sinful, fallen people in need of grace. God's mercies are new every morning, and I'm so thankful for that.
As you look at that list, would you add anything? How do you love your spouse well when you have disagreements that get heated? Share your thoughts in the comments below and let's learn from each other. After all, that's one of the reasons we need the body of Christ!
Related Post | How Couples Can Fight Well
More Relationships Advice...
Please note: This is a two part series...
Part Two of a Controversial Topic: Did you miss part 1? I suggest you read it now before continuing on to read part 2!
Someone on Twitter recently asked me the following question:
"What is your advice on kissing while dating? If a couple has already shared kisses should they discontinue until marriage?"
I decided to answer that question in a two-part blog series titled, "Should You Kiss Before Marriage?" This is part two. In part one
I make the case for why it is wise to wait to kiss until you are married. Today we tackle the reasons why you should
kiss before marriage. Let's begin.
Why You Should Kiss Before You Marry Someone
Things are about to get a little more controversial...
Intimacy is extremely important in a marriage relationship. There is no doubt about that. And intimacy takes many forms. I summarize these as emotional intimacy, intellectual intimacy, experiential intimacy, spiritual intimacy, and physical intimacy.
All the forms of intimacy are important for your marriage relationship to be healthy. For example, if you aren't able to be emotionally vulnerable and have an emotional intimacy with one another to a certain level and depth while dating, you better consider not getting married because you are not ready for the depth needed in marriage. In fact, an inability to be emotionally intimate should lead you to eventually break up if you are not able to overcome this problem.
All the forms of intimacy take work to cultivate in a close dating relationship...all but one. You guessed it, physical intimacy. You should not have to worry about cultivating that form of intimacy. That should come completely naturally. Many of you know exactly what I'm talking about. You should have to struggle to keep your hands and lips inside the ride at all times. It may take work to develop your emotional, intellectual, experiential, and spiritual intimacy. But cultivating your physical intimacy shouldn't be much "work" at all.
"All the forms of intimacy take work to cultivate in a close dating relationship...all but one. You guessed it, physical intimacy. You should not have to worry about cultivating that form of intimacy."
But what happens when you aren't physically compatible with one another? What if you have all these feelings, emotions, and hormones rushing through your body and you finally kiss at the altar and think, "Meh. That was okay." How anticlimactic! If you are unable to fulfill one another at an emotional level and meet each other's needs in that area, I would highly suggest on waiting to marry until you can. And if you kiss someone and there is no "spark", you should seriously consider whether or not you are right for one another. I'm not saying that physical chemistry is the most important thing. I'm saying that it is highly important, however.
Back in my dating days, I was attracted to girl whose breath, even after brushing her teeth, was not so great. In fact, I had a hard time getting over that. How could I kiss her the rest of my life and not struggle with it? It wasn't going to happen. Shallow? No, I think it's realistic and honest.
Sexual intimacy is incredibly important to a marriage, and it is exponentially more important in the first year of marriage. Finding out that you are unfortunately incompatible (or going to struggle big time with physical intimacy) at the altar would be a very challenging thing to face, especially with the wedding night expectations of the sexually anxious husband.
One More Reason to Kiss Before Marriage...
Not the girl I dated...
This last reason might actually be just as important as the physical compatibility issue. For a woman who is getting married, especially if she has saved herself sexually for her husband, she will have definite fears, or at least concerns, about her wedding night. Physical touch, especially sexual touch, is a very intimate thing, especially for women. The importance and magnitude of the marriage bed is highly important to understand from her perspective. It is going to be a scary thing, and for a woman who just kissed her husband for the first time a few hours before, the fears will only be heightened.
As mentioned in part 1
of this blog series, each physical act you engage in with someone else leads very naturally to the next. If you hold hands, you're more likely to end up cuddling eventually. If you hug, you're more likely to eventually kiss. If you kiss, you're more likely continue finding other ways to show your affections. Eventually, those actions are meant to culminate in the marriage bed.
So what's a woman to do? If she just kissed her husband for the first time at the altar and is still trying to get used to that (especially if she has never dated anyone else), and now finds herself on the brink of the most physically vulnerable and intimate act of humanity, how is she supposed to handle that? She hasn't even gotten used to kissing him and feeling comfortable with his hands on her. And her husband has been holding back his manly desires for his wife for months or years, and he is ready to go.
So what is my conclusion? After considering the question of "Should You Kiss Before Marriage?", I am under the tentative impression that it is best for most people to kiss before marriage. While this will certainly mean having to put appropriate boundaries on your relationship and have good accountability, I think it is important to know that there is some sort of physical intimacy compatibility before marrying, and I think it is ultimately going to lend to a better experience on the wedding night for both than man and woman.
I should quickly mention that I am not encouraging massive make-out sessions. The topic is on kissing in general, not overall purity and "how far is too far", although that seems like a good blog post for the future.
For a select few, depending on your history of relationships and mistakes you or your significant other has made, you may be wiser to choose to wait until marriage to kiss. I understand that. I have even suggested that to people in the past. Please know yourself well and know your limits. If you are not able to restrain yourself once you kiss someone, you should not flirt with disaster. Keep your purity and the purity of your significant other as an utmost priority.
Honor God in all you say and do...even in your physical actions of love.
QUESTION: Do you agree with my conclusions? Disagree? Leave a comment and let's start talking about it. I love to hear feedback!
More Stuff About Relationships! Why Stop Reading Now?
Please note: This is a two-part series...
| || |
Someone On Twitter Recently Asked Me...
"What is your advice on kissing while dating?
If a couple has already shared kisses should they discontinue until marriage? "
That is a great question, and I am positive many of you have asked (or have been asked) that question in the past. Rather than trying to answer that question for only one person while being limited to 140 characters on Twitter, I thought I would spend a little time fleshing out my opinion here on the blog for many other people who may appreciate it.
**Note: Please know that these are personal convictions on an issue that is given little attention in the Bible, and thus my opinions should be understood in light of that.
"To Kiss Or Not To Kiss...That Is the Question."
That really is an important question to wrestle with, no matter where you are in life. If you are not married, it is important to know where you stand so that if/when you date and get engaged you have your convictions figured out in advance. If you are married, you will probably have kids (or maybe you already do) and will need to tell them your opinions on that question as well. If you are an older adult and your kids are already grown, you'll have grandchildren to talk with, too. This question lives on as probably a very controversial questions in the subject of relationships. So let's talk...
2 Different Situations
I truly think that this is a grey area that must be thoroughly investigated and discussed. Because this is a blog and not a book, I won't go into immense detail, though the book I'm working on right now will certainly include greater depth. But let me give you a brief run-down of where I stand on this issue.
- You are not dating but only going on "dates" with someone.
I do make a distinction here between hanging out one-on-one with someone of the opposite sex on an occasional basis ("going on dates") and actually "dating" someone." If you are simply hanging out, even repeatedly, with no actual commitment, I would highly recommend not kissing at all.
- You are dating someone at a committed, exclusive level.
In this scenario, you are "dating" someone. You are mutually committed to exclusivity with each other and probably call each other "boyfriend" and "girlfriend", not to mention a bunch of other little pet names. So let's dig into the possibilities here. You have a choice to make. Let's look today at why you shouldn't kiss before marriage. But don't forget to check back tomorrow to find out the counter-argument, "Why you should kiss."
Why You Shouldn't Kiss...
I have had a couple friends of mine wait until marriage to kiss, and the benefits to that were numerous. They kept themselves pure all the way through their dating and engagement relationships, and could with entire confidence claim that they were able to enter the marriage bed with no regrets. That is really beautiful to me.
Every sexual act in a relationship opens the door to whatever could be next. For example, if you hold hands, you are more likely to end up cuddling soon. If you give someone a kiss on the cheek, you're probably going to end up kissing on the lips very shortly. If let yourself recline with kissing, you may easily find yourself laying down while kissing in the near future.
You get the point.
"Every sexual act in a relationship opens the door to whatever could be next."
So rather than opening the door to all the possibilities and potential pit-falls of falling into sexual temptation, deciding not to kiss until standing at the altar seems pretty safe, and for some, that decision has been a wonderful asset to their marriages. Although it takes a lot of work, the payoff can be incredible. The challenges faced by people who have given in to sexual temptation prior to marriage can be unbelievably difficult. Simply choosing to not kiss at all in your dating relationship might be the ticket to saving yourself and someone else a lot of heartache and frustration. Please keep that in mind.
Conclusion of Part 1
Today we've discussed why you shouldn't kiss before marriage. But this isn't the whole answer. Come back tomorrow and find out why you should
kiss before marriage. Remember, this is only part one. Don't miss part two.
QUESTION: Have you known anyone who has waited until marriage to kiss? How did it turn out? What were the pros and cons? Leave a comment! Don't miss tomorrow's follow-up blog, Part Two of "Should You Kiss Before Marriage?" Subscribe now and get that blog and future blog posts in your email inbox every time I post a new one! Thanks!
- Joel Onyshuk
Apart from Jesus, there is no ultimately fulfilling point to marriage...
Throughout my studies in seminary, there are a lot of times I have had to engage in "scholarly skimming" to just get enough information to write a paper or get a quote or two for a brief citation. And to be honest, a lot of the books haven't been good enough to go back and read again.
But this past week I read through a book called Resident Aliens,
which was absolutely phenomenal. Several quotes stood out to me. For example, on page 66, the authors state, “Ultimately, there is only one good reason to get married or to stay single, namely, that this has something to do with our discipleship.”
That froze me in my tracks. It made sense. It wasn't a new concept. In fact, I'm still not sure why it impacted me so much. But, if you've read my blog more than a few times, you know my propensity to get wrapped up in thinking about healthy relationships. So that quote's impact might not be so odd after all.
A few times throughout the last several months, my wife and I have talked about the purpose of marriage. That quote struck me deeply: the only reason people should ever get married is if they believe it will deepen and further their relationship with God in a greater way than if they didn't marry.
“Ultimately, there is only one good reason to get married or to stay single, namely, that this has something to do with our discipleship.”
In retrospect, this is something I've thought of before. When Carica and I got married, she and I talked about this very thing. We talked about how we were sure that we were better Christians with
each other than we were apart. Here are some questions we asked ourselves. I hope you can apply them to your own life now, or in the future. Maybe you should even print them off. Just a thought...
- Am I realizing deeper truths about God, myself, and the world with this person in my life?
- Does he/she make me a better person? Do I exhibit greater degrees of Christ-like behavior with him/her near me?" (Example: Use the "love passage" in 1 Corinthians 13, or the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 as a template and blueprint)
- Is my opportunity to serve the Lord well increased or decreased with him/her in my life?
- Does this person cause me to have greater motivation to live righteously before the Lord?
- Do I feel a greater sense of God's presence in my life when I'm near this person?
- Does he/she "complete" the areas in my life where I am lacking? (I am incredibly unorganized, but my wife is an organizational genius, for example. I need her to complete me so that I am better equipped to serve.)
Just to clarify, this has to do with single people, too...
Single people, you aren't being left out here. Ultimately, the only reason to stay single is also to better serve God. At this point in your life, do you feel like you are better equipped to serve God, given you strengths, abilities, passions, etc., on your own and uninhibited by a romantic relationship? Maybe take a quick look at 7 reasons why being single rocks
, and assess your life!
I'll leave you with Colossians 3:17, which says, "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."Whether you marry, or stay single, make sure you're doing it because you've identified that as the best possible way to serve God at that point in your life!
| || |What are your thoughts after reading this? Give me a little insight into how this did or did not impact your perceptions about marriage and/or singleness. I'd love to dialogue a bit, so leave a comment!
If you liked it, please share it! Thank you in advance!
Trust Me, I've Been There...
Something that frustrates me to no end is when Christians are not transparent about their problems. Now, I do say that somewhat hypocritically, since that's a continual struggle of my own as well. Perhaps that's why it's so frustrating. I know that there are plenty of people who aren't being honest with others, and even worse, they aren't being honest with themselves about the severity of the problems they face. I know because I've been there. I know, because I am there, all too often.
The first year of marriage was very challenging for me and Carica (my wife) in many ways. We suffered through a lot of growth time and a lot of heartache. Many times those two things were inseparably connected. It was rough at times. We are certainly better now, and I am very glad to have gone through a lot of our struggles. But don't get me wrong: I wouldn't want to go through them again.
In many respects I was not prepared to be a man in a marriage. I'm still learning a lot now, and I still have a long ways to go to be who God wants me to be. But year one of marriage...wasn't good. I dropped the ball, big time. So, I share these with you in humility, laying out my faults before you. I hope that rather than thinking to yourself, "Wow, he really was an awful husband", you'll spend time considering your own marriage, or future marriage, in light of these mistakes. Are you guilty of these mistakes? Are you a wife who is suffering from these mistakes? How will you avoid these mistakes? Use this list as a conversation starter. I hope they help, because learning the hard way is really painful.
Husbands: 10 Signs Your Marriage Needs Work
- You come from work and you go right for the TV, newspaper, computer, or video games, rather than spending time talking to your wife about her day and sharing about your own.
- You go and "hang out with the guys" at the drop of the hat, neglecting your own wife and without asking her whether she was truly okay with it.
- You get mad at your wife when she brings up concerns about your marriage, rather than partnering with her in the moment to take your relationship to the next level.
- You yell at your wife in anger, raising your voice in a power move to demonstrate your "authority" and strength. Ironically, such a move only demonstrates your lack of leadership and weakness.
- You sit idly in the living room, playing with your phone, while your wife cleans the house or makes dinner.
- You think that asking if your wife needs help is the same thing as actually offering to help. You don't understand the difference between the two following sentences:
a. "Honey? Do you need any help in there?"
b. "Honey, I'd love to help right now. What can I do?" (hint hint...this is the right one)
- Your wife feels like your friends are more important than her.
- You feel like since you've been at work all day that you are entitled to do nothing at all once you return home.
- You expect sex without putting any effort into fulfilling her love languages throughout the day/evening.
- You defend yourself more than you listen to her.
The only reason that I can give as to why we are still married now is this: God's grace. His grace kept our marriage alive. His grace continues to keep us alive. Any positive growth is attributed to the work of the Holy Spirit, sanctifying both of us.
My friend and mentor, Pastor Allen, who gave us pre-marital counseling, told us both that there would come a time in our marriage that we would hate each other and question why we ever married. He was right. He also said that marriage is the fast-track to sanctification. He was right about that, too.
"Marriage is the fast-track to sanctification."
"We cannot slip into apathy because of a false sense of security...That's when you take your eyes off the cross and focus on yourself. "
By the grace of God we went to counseling, we struggled through life together, we sought the Lord together, and we are better than ever! I don't think I've ever had more fun, laughed more, or felt more secure in my relationship with my wife than I do right now. I think she'd agree. Right honey?
But we cannot let our guards down. We still have a lot of work to do. We cannot slip into apathy because of a false sense of security. That's when sin rears its ugly head. That's when the Devil takes the rug out from under you. That's when you take your eyes off the cross and focus on yourself.
Men: What are some things you continue to struggle with in marriage?Women: How can you support and encourage your husband in his weaknesses?I'd love to hear from you. Leave a comment!
Share this with others and help someone else's marriage, too.
We Will All Leave One...
We will all leave a legacy behind us when we die. Every one of us will make an impact on someone or something at some time in our lives. Many times our legacies are very easy to point out. There are many types of legacies that we may leave, and we may leave behind one or more of them. Here is a short list of examples of legacies that we may leave behind us:
- The legacy of a successful career: Steve Jobs is a great example of this. We will forever remember Steve Jobs as one of the most innovative, creative minds in the technological world of our time.
- The legacy of a good book: Jack Canfield is arguably one of the most successful authors of all time. His "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books have been unbelievably popular, and he has 47 New York Times Best Sellers and over 500 million books in print worldwide.
- The legacy of being a famous performer: Just name any popular actors, actresses, musicians, comedians, etc. These people are leaving behind a legacy of being a household name, influencing the world through their creativity and emotional connection with their fans.
- The legacy of being a popular preacher: Charles Spurgeon was a mega-church preacher long before there were mega-churches. His sermons, books, and life story continue to influence the world of Christianity long after his death.
- The legacy of being a great dad or mom: Many of you may be able to mentally picture the best dad or mom you know. Maybe they are your own parents, or maybe they are parents of your friends. Maybe you just know of them at your church. Regardless, the love, affection, care, patience, support, discipline, and strength of these parents left behind an undeniable mark on others.
- The legacy of being a strong Christian: Maybe you can think of some of those quiet soldiers of the faith, the elderly sages of your church who are faithful prayer warriors, compassionate confidants, wise shepherds, and strong advocates of Christ. They may not be internationally famous, or even known beyond the scope of their own neighborhoods. But these people are leaving a legacy behind them with every life they touch.
Surely we could go on and name many other ways that we can leave a legacy. Surely we all want to leave a legacy for others to remember. It is possible to leave behind many legacies. Men, you may be an excellent entrepreneur-craftsman-architect-husband, but if husband is the last thing on your list you're in trouble. Ask someone to define you
(the essence of "you-ness") in 5 words and see what response you hear. For many of us, including me, the answer might not be what you desire.
Our Priorities Matter
Our priorities are simple: Love God, love our spouses, love our children, serve faithfully in our vocations, and so on. However, too many times our jobs define us. Ask most men who they are in one word. The vast majority will say the title of their job, like "mechanic." How many of us would respond with "Christian?" How many of us would respond with "spouse" or "parent"? We are not our jobs. We are men and women, called to be believers. We are Christians. Once that distinction is identified, we are meant to be defined by our most important earthly relationship. This is a hard one. I admit that too often I do not define myself as "husband" as much as I should. And if I don't correct this, it will hurt the legacy I leave behind.
My Eulogy In Progress...
A long time ago someone challenged me to write my own eulogy. The point was to write how I wanted others to remember me most, in a short, concise format. This little exercise forces us to think critically about our true priorities and gives us a blueprint to aim for. It gives us goals. It gives us purpose.
Here's my eulogy:
"Joel Onyshuk: Sought after his Savior with his whole life; a loving and committed husband and father; touched the hearts and lives of many, everywhere he went. Survived by his godly wife and children."
I know it's simple. It might change here or there. But the bulk with certainly stay the same. My life's ambition should not be to leave a legacy of a good book, a solid sermon, a great speaking career, a thriving ministry, etc. It should be to follow my God and love my wife and kids. Everything else is secondary.
So What Will Your Eulogy Say?
Take a stab at writing one and post it in a comment below! I'd love to read yours, and maybe learn a little more about how to write my own a little better! Please share what you have! I'm really excited to read your responses. Please take a moment to subscribe to this blog (you'll get them in your email in the future) and share this particular article with others who might like it using the buttons below. I really appreciate you passing it on! :)
"And In This Corner..."
If you've been in any sort of romantic relationship, you know that fights are inevitable. Disagreements aren't a bad thing, and in many cases they can lead to greater intimacy and a better understanding of one another. But the only way you can achieve such a lofty and desirable outcome is if you learn to fight well.
I'll be honest, I don't always fight well. In fact, I really struggle with it. My pride gets in the way, I feel the need to defend myself and attack with all the fire and brimstone at my disposal. My wife and I both struggle to fight for our relationship rather than for ourselves.
So last fall, when we were facing some challenging disagreements and fighting more than normal, I took the liberty of writing down an official guide to fighting well. Many of you may resonate with the challenges of honoring your significant others when in the trenches of marital battle, so hopefully you'll find our official guide helpful. I encourage you to take it, edit it as you wish, and use it in your own relationships! Oh, and don't forget to tell me if there is anything I should add to it!
"Onyshuk Rules for Loving Despite Disagreement"
· Is Patient
· Is Kind
· Does Not Envy
· Does Not Boast
· Is Not Easily Angered
· Does Not Keep a Record of Wrongs
· Does Not Delight In Evil (or allow it to persist)
· Rejoices in the Truth
· Always Protects
· Always Trusts
· Always Hopes
· Always Perseveres
· Never Fails
The Fruit of the Spirit:
· Love (see previous list)
Ask yourself, "Are these traits evident in my response to the issue at hand?" If not, repent of each of your failures
individually and take time to gather your thoughts and approach the situation with Godly love and respect.
Things to remember:
· Love covers a multitude of sins
· A soft answer turns away wrath
· You are meant to be on the same team
· You are meant to seek the other’s best interest and put yourself second
· Blaming the other person, even if you are correct in doing so, does not resolve the issue of your own sin that is
contributing to the problem. Own your own failure and admit it.
· Lead by example, even if the other person does not respond properly.
I hereby decide to agree to look at this sheet every time that we are in an argument and take these words seriously. I will not allow my pride or hurt feelings to stand in the way of reconciliation and repentance for either of us. I will allow the other person to graciously point out when I am failing to adhere to these rules, even if the other person does not do it quite as kindly as I wish he or she did. I will be held accountable before God for my decision to turn my back to this sheet in times of conflict and I understand the gravity of this and choose to respond in the above-mentioned ways.
Husband _____________________ Wife________________________
Date ________________________ Date ________________________
What do you think of my list? How have you handled your disagreements with significant others well? How have you learned the hard way? I'd love to hear from you.
Don't forget to share this with others using the social media buttons below. Someone you know might really need it.
Today in an important interview, President Obama came clean and admitted what most of us have been sure of all along: he's in full support of gay marriage and that it is a matter of equality. He hedged his approval with some emotionally-laden comments such as these:
"Over the course of several years as I talk to friends and family, and neighbors...when I think about members
of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same sex relationships,
who are raising kids together...When I think of those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are
out there fighting on my behalf, and yet feel constrained, even now that "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is gone,
because they're not able to commit themselves in a marriage...At a certain point I've just concluded that
for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples
should be able to get married." - President Obama
I have a few things to say about this....
This whole same-sex marriage thing is understandably emotional for many people. No doubt for others it is just a nifty thing to get involved in protesting for or against, but I understand the raw emotion that many carry with them when they approach this subject. The problem is that we forget a few key things when we listen to perhaps very genuine cries for "equality" and "rights" regarding this issue. Here are a few that come to mind:
- Marriage began from the very start as a union between a man and woman with the goal of illustrating Jesus' relationship with the Church through the complimentary relationship innate in men and women. One of the core purposes of this union was and is to procreate (this is not a point to take lightly) in order to spread the representation of God throughout the earth. Though nations rebelled throughout history and have forsaken this understanding, it continued to propel the Christian church through the New Testament as something of high importance. Today, 2000 years later, the primary understanding of marriage on a worldwide scale continues to be that it is meant to be between men and women, something even held by many who are unbelievers.
**Edited - special thanks for DAVID (commenter below) for pointing out the error in my previous writing of this section.
- Marriage is not a "right" for anyone. Period. Marriage is a gift, responsibility, blessing...and much more. But marriage is not a right. It never has been, and it never will be.
- Marriage is defined and designed by God. What God says marriage is meant to be is what marriage is meant to be. From the very beginning of creation God ordained and demonstrated what marriage was meant to be:
Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen. 2:23-24).
God created woman out of man, visually demonstrating his intention for them to be unified once again, symbolizing the unity of the Godhead (Father, Son, and Spirit). We were created in their image, which is unity within diversity. As such, we reflect that within the intention God had for marriage relationships between men and women and their coming together as one. Men and men or women and women engaging in activities or relationships where that intention is perverted and twisted are not engaging in things that are in line with God's desire for human relationships, especially in the realm of marriage. Marriage is not merely a union of two people in monogamy and commitment to love each other. It is far deeper.
I really don't like writing on this issue. In fact, I really hate it. But it's part of our world today, and as a preacher and teacher of the Bible it is my duty to address it. Until the last half century, this was scarcely even an issue to be debated. It was understood. It was obvious. Now, following the heels of the sexual liberation movements, women's rights activism, and the complete and utter devastation of marriages through high divorce rates (also caused by a poor understanding of what love and marriage is at a primary level), this issue has continued to rise in prominence. Only once we return to Scripture, history, and sanctified common sense will we truly see the truth in this issue. I hope we do soon.
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Married? Engaged? Seriously dating? Single but hoping to get married one day? Leading a wife and family is challenging work, and I admit that I fail more often than I wish to admit. But it is a process that God will continue to hone us through, and so I wanted to provide you with a brief prayer that I wrote a while back. As a husband, I wanted to have a prayer that would encapsulate the man I wish to be and how I desired God to grow me in my role as husband.
Here's the prayer...I hope you can gain something from it and perhaps apply it to your own life as well.
"God, today I ask that you make me humble and equipped to lead with tender leadership by serving, encouraging, and doing everything in my power to make her look good in Your eyes. I ask that You give me strength to respond in kindness, affirm and support, and that my temper, tongue, and pride would not hinder my godliness or leadership. I pray that You will be honored by my life and by my marriage."
Whether you use this prayer or you write your own from scratch, identify the man you wish to be in the eyes of God and your wife and write down a prayer to remind yourself of those things on a daily basis.
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