Responsibility in love.

Are you a seal on your spouses heart? Are you treating her in a way that honors her and God?

That is how a husband is to be the seal over his wife’s heart. Fact is there are many ways we are to be that seal. Showing love, being attentive, listening to her heart, giving her your time, financially protecting, affirming your affection and love for her. Telling her you appreciate her and what she does each day.

Are you as his wife protecting his heart? Are you the words he needs to hear? Are you his cheerleader and encourager?
We each have a responsibility as a spouse to the one we love. The thing to remember is when one is weak the other needs to step up to protect and complete that seal. I have seen a quote that says relationships are not 100/100 or even 50/50. Sometimes they are 80/20, or 90/10. That is reality. Be the 90 when needed because you maybe the 10 someday and need her to be the 90 for a bit. Love always, love is the seal over the heart that protects it, never leave room for doubt in that area.

You are not planted, you can move.

This is an area I feel I can really speak from experience. For most of my adult life I felt there was more than what I was living. That my job was not where I was supposed to be. That I hadn’t found my calling, if you will. But I fell for the trap. I had a job, not a great paying one but I had one. I look back and could kick myself for not feeling like I could reach for more and it would be ok. I lived in fear of new, unknown… honestly I think back and I really can’t seem to identify what it was that held me back, but I do know that it was all me. I was my own worst enemy. I saw other friends getting better jobs and making big changes and I was glad for them, but wondered why that never happened to me?

I am going to be very open and honest here, total transparency on my part. I have dropped the ball on my end for life. It hasn’t been until the last 5 years that I have really felt there was something bigger than where I was in my work. I really started searching because I knew the area I needed to be (not specifically but generally) was not where I was. I knew I had a skill for communication. Speaking in public was my biggest fear, still is actually. I let that fear hold me back so many times, yet at the same time I knew, I KNEW!!! That was where I was to go. I felt like Moses arguing with God about Him picking the wrong guy. But now, change is coming and its welcomed. I feel God has prepared me for this change and for the first time in my life I feel excitement instead of fear. You know when you think about the symptoms of fear they are exactly the same as excitement? Increased heart rate, blood pressure goes up, sweaty palms, small nervous ticks. I remember when I played football in high school. I was so pumped in the huddle when the play was called and I was to run the ball, that I was shaking, not in fear but pure unfiltered excitement. I was on a field being watched by hundreds of people, being singled out. I should have been terrified. What changed? Why am I motivated now and not 5 years ago? I’ll just say this. Many men are so driven for success, that being defined by money, property or stuff, that they lose so much in life. Others get lazy and want hand outs. The rest of us are somewhere in the middle. Sometimes it takes a woman to motivate a man to reach for more than he ever realized he could, do you know why? Most men, even if we seem strong on the outside, we are really afraid on the inside. So if we are in a current job thats getting us by. Most find themselves staying there, unless its just a horrible job. The motivation to provide for your family in a man is a HUGE thing. When he isn’t able to do that for what ever reason, he really feels like less of a man. For me getting married woke me up, I kick myself for not getting out and looking for these positions I am currently applying for but you know God has a way of bringing these things to you when the timing is right. Not my timing, not my wife’s timing but God’s timing. Now my fear is remaining where I have been.

Learning and realizing we are not stuck is one of the biggest realizations we can make, but it has to be followed by actions. For a guy many times it takes an outside factor to push him. A good woman at his back that believes in him and is the voice that counters his own that can be defeating. A good woman really can make the difference in her husband. More so than she knows.

We are never stuck in life. We may think we are and that things will never change, but thats usually while we are neck deep in struggles. Deciding that you are not a tree. That you can pick yourself up and move to a better place. Trees are great and I love being in nature, but I am not meant to be rooted in one spot, no one is. We all have a purpose in life, we all have skills that we are given that need to be used. Someone out there needs the skills you have to offer, don’t let your fears lock you in place. I will add that this does not mean you just run out doing anything that comes along. Using the tools God gave you, prayer, discernment and wisdom to find these new things have to be used. We have to have a heart for Gods guidance in this pursuit. We have to allow Him to work in this area of our life, not just rush off and go at any opportunity that arises. If it means waiting to think through an opportunity then do it, if more prayer is needed do it, if you can wait a week or so do it, many times the impulsive opportunities will lose their importance with a little wait and will quickly fade from your mind. The lasting ones are the ones that need prayer and contemplation.

Tell her she is beautiful

Guys, start looking at your wife. Appreciate her for who she is. When you know someone’s heart in an intimate way. They become even more than simply beautiful. It’s like a focus that sees through flaws and imperfections.

Ladies when your man says “you look beautiful today”. Don’t blow that complement off because I’ll tell you. He truly does believe what he is saying. He is speaking of more than just your outer beauty. He is seeing the whole women, where you maybe thinking he is just commenting on your exterior looks. He may not even be able to articulate that if asked but he sees the whole you. If he says it he means it. Trust me. 😁

Leadership found….. its in the dishes…. go figure

OK well not really, but I got your attention huh?

I was driving today, thinking about the husband/wife relation and just how bad we can mess it all up by not learning how each other see things, think or motivate themselves. We do them a big disservice by not taking the time to learn our spouses. We didn’t marry them because they are exact copies of ourselves. I have to say we are both equally guilty of thinking our spouse should think and act like we do.

I usually come down pretty hard on the men on these kinds of categories, because well, we usually are the guilty ones.
This time I am going to be giving two sides of this example. A little he can use and a little she can do differently to make things easier. So hang on, off we go to real life……

Cue the twilight zone music…. A normal house hold, Nothing special going on. The husband comes home, kisses his wife and plops in his chair asking whats for dinner. The wife has been wrangling 3 kids all day, frazzled and behind on her list of things to do. Her temper is flaring. The husband has no clue as to the disaster that awaits him. He thinks he worked hard all day, he deserves a rest. His couch maybe very comfortable tonight. How could this have gone differently? Why don’t we see. Cue more music…

Ok I know that was a little silly, but I felt we needed to set the stage and have a little laugh on this serious subject. Now to the real meat.

Lets start at the base of it all.

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:25-28‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“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.”

‭‭ This is our starting point, ground zero if you will. There is so much to be gained from this verse. Men, its a lot on your shoulders and if you are not afraid of meeting God’s expectation of you as a husband then you are not aware of what the verse is really saying.
It’s a large responsibility that we have to live up too, but thats ok. So your wondering what dishes have to do with leadership? Or being a husband? More than you might think. I am going to describe a scenario for you then go over the lessons learned and ways both husband and wife might approach this in ways that build into the relationship opposed to driving a wedge.

Husband is sitting in his chair listening to the work his wife is doing. He finally thinks. Ok, I am going to help out. He sees the sink full of dishes and steps up to the plate. Depending on his past experience from his mommy or as a single man he will have different levels of knowledge of how to load a dishwasher. He steps up and begins. His wife now has to pick herself up off the floor and wonder who is this man that looks like my husband? Na not really but he feels her eyes on him. He begins to feel the weight of, ” Am I doing this right? I have no idea where this goes. What is this thing anyway?” Soon after he feels her approach him. She does one of two things. She begins to instruct him on how to load the dishwasher. Or she waits until he is done and redoes all of his hard work. Both usually have the same effect on him. FAILURE!!!!! That is not what she meant at all ,but thats what he feels. It usually ends like this. He says ” I don’t even know why I try, I can never do anything good enough for you.” He stomps off with his bruised ego.

Is this right? No, its not but neither was her way. I’ll go over both. First his. How or what could he have done to lead in this situation? Remember a true leader leads from the front and is willing to do any job of those he leads. What could he have done different in this example? Lets begin again. He gets up to begin dishes. “Honey, I’m wanting to do more stuff on your list of house work and thought about doing the dishes. Can you watch me? Because I want to learn how you do it?” Every wife just fell over. This approach does a couple of things. One it gets the male ego prepared to accept instruction. I know it seems stupid, but we can be pretty fragile, we hate to fail or seem like a failure in front of our wives. So it can be easy to hurt us. The other is it builds into the relationship, what I mean is that when she shares her way of doing it she sees it as sharing part of her life. Its small but it shows that he is stepping into her world and listening to her. This is all building connection. All good stuff. How is this Biblical your asking? The husband is not just the iron fist here, he is leading by humility. He is humbling asking her to help him. Something many men just plain refuse to do. He is reaching for connection with his wife.

Ok now her part. If she sees her husband struggling to do the dishes, she should know he is out of his comfort zone and have some sympathy for him. Instead of just jumping in to give correction, begin with the good. ” Oh thank you so much for doing the dishes. I really appreciate it. ” Then follow up with the truth in love part. “You know i put the dishes here because they can chip if they touch another one. And these cups go here because if on the bottom they could melt.” It softens the blow that he basically didn’t load it your way. You see that I said your way not the right way. There are hundreds of right ways to load a dishwasher, yours is not the only right way. Both of these examples on both sides soften the approach, they show a willingness to work together and add to the relationship as opposed to driving a wedge with harsh instruction and anger. Now if you put both together you have taken any possible chance of a misunderstanding or problem occur.

Yes guys, you can love your wife through doing the dishes. I personally did not take either of these approaches with my wife. I wish I had. Many times I just gritted my teeth when she corrected me, do you know why? I knew my wife’s heart, I knew she wasn’t a critical person. I knew she was just showing me the way she wanted me to do it. She could always feel when I got stiffed up over her correction and it usually got a little uncomfortable and I couldn’t really explain why to her. Its not that she corrected me, its that I felt is if I failed, like she saw me as failing (which was far from the truth) and I hate failing my wife. I have gotten much better at the instructions because I know her heart and I love her immensely. I love putting a smile on her face and if loading dishes her way takes a load off her shoulders and a smile on her face I will do it every chance I get.

Start looking for ways in your every day life you can implement gentle biblical leadership in your home. It usually has a lot to do with setting your ego and pride aside and tackling jobs your not good at. You have the best teacher right at your fingers, just ask her, be willing to learn her way. Yes this is real leadership in action. Its not the heroic throw your self in from of the bullet meant for her type of heroic leadership, but its a true from the heart leadership.

Leadership will come in some of the most unusually places in your family. Many times you may not even realize it but they are still there. I would suggest reading over this verse every week and trying to seriously looking into your everyday life and see how you can put it into practice. Each time ask yourself, Is this adding too or taking away from our relationship? Is this honoring my wife and God? The fact is ladies, most husbands really do want to be your hero and thats why when we seemingly fail you, it hurts and we heap the blame on ourselves, and unfortunately it comes out in anger because that covers a lot of our emotions we are not comfortable feeling. We will pull back and go find something we are good at and stay there for a while to feel better. Ie work, hobbies, sports. So seriously put in the effort to ask questions and humble yourself as the leader of the family to honor your wife. Build something that going to last a long time.

Discovering true manliness

Every guy can list off a bunch of stuff that has defined true manliness. The outdoors, hunting, fishing, working on cars, shooting firearms, wrestling a grizzly bear… your catching my drift here right?

How many of us can really say we are a man? To be a real man means facing our fears. I know many guys that are still acting as teenagers. I know many that have never really grown since about 18 years old. Men get accused all the time of never growing up, and ladies I’ll tell you now, there will always a little boy in him , I don’t care if he is 80 years old, it will always be there and really… its a very sweet part of men. Almost a innocence and playfulness that is very endearing, but not all the time. There is a difference when a man is always the boy and never a man. One of the biggest things I think defines a man is. A willingness to take on responsibility for a wrong. Owning a mistake and make the apologies needed and put real change into action to fix it. But there is still more we miss as men.

How you love your wife on a daily basis is actually what defines you as a man in God’s eyes. We can make all the money, have the huge career, provide the biggest house for your family and make sure they never want for anything. But are you really loving your wife like God has instructed you too? The instructions God gave us husbands is no task to be taken lightly and comes with a lot of weight on our shoulders. The times I have struggled with this, and I would guess every single husband has at some point. In your mind your thinking, she just said something that really hurt me or made me feel like the biggest failure or a huge idiot from something we think is silly, your thinking she doesn’t deserve a good deed from me and you give yourself a long list of reasons to justify that feeling. Here is the catch. God gave those instructions totally independent of her or her actions. Yup thats right. How you honor your wife shouldn’t depend on her doing everything right in your eyes. Just as her treatment of you shouldn’t be based on you being a perfect husband. Because the facts are, you are not perfect and neither is she. The thing that makes the difference in relationships isn’t the fact that you do everything right or meet all of her expectations (because there is no way you ever will.) is what you do after the mistake. For both of you really, how you handle a missed expectation, how you take responsibility for a wrong. Do you choose to honor your wife therefore honoring God by your actions? Trust me guys, I get it. Its much easier to explode when you feel hurt, you can feel the anger swelling up inside when you feel she just took your feet out from under you. Thats the easy route, anger is usually only a cover for a deeper hurt. Don’t let anger take the steering wheel, it will always lead you to selfishness.

Let the way you love your wife define you as a man. Love her when your mad, and show it, love her when your frustrated, and show it, don’t just assume she knows. Many times I have done the same mistake and felt alone at times and refused to reach for her when I have felt frustrated or just not connected with her. I have to get over myself just like I want all of you guys to work on. Choosing to love through the times our wives confuse us and maybe even hurt us with a short word, or a criticism or direction. Remembering that love unconditionally and sacrificially is a choice we must make every day. To have a truly great marriage, its a choice we have to remember to keep at the front of us.

I truly do believe that there can be many things that define us as men and can increase our sense of manliness, but most are empty. Maybe its my age, but I see a true man in someone that makes the choice to love his wife and do it with a smile and a heart that continually pours into her cup to keep it full. It requires a willingness to understand that she is different that you, a level of empathy that is not natural for us as men, a compassion for her heart and a true love of her smile. I always ask myself, “is this something that God would be proud of?” Too often i look at a reaction I made and I know the answer is no. I get frustrated with myself because I know my wife deserves better than my simple reaction. She has had enough hurt in her life, she needs my best and my responsibility to God is to make sure I give her that just as often as I can. That means sucking it up a lot. Not being a door mat, but asking myself, “is this really going to matter 30 min from now? If she corrects how I am doing something is it really that big of a deal?” Understanding her heart and assuming the best in my interpretation of her words. Don’t let your pride raise its ugly head to cause you more problems than you need if there was no reason for it anyway.

Love your wife. Thats a pretty manly definition of men I think.

None of us are perfect guys, we will mess up we will slip from time to time. Just apologize and mean it and put real change into action to file it.