Tag Archives: marriage

Back-to-Back with Swords Drawn

I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on my marriage.  Actually, I do that a lot.  It blows my mind that Amber and I are now in our 20th year of marriage.  We’ve been through so many ups and downs together over these last many years.  We’ve had our share of disagreements and many, many more moments of just pure joy of being in each others company.  I’ve been blessed over the last couple of years to primarily work from my house.  One thing that never gets old is spending our days together.  I get to talk to my wife while I’m working and spend day after day in her company, which I cherish.

I look all around us, and I see just how lucky we are.  We’ve seen marriage after marriage around us crumble or those that have already in the past.  It saddens us to see.  I was remembering words from the character, Nathan, in the movie ‘Courageous.’  He said something to the effect that divorce is so rampant because people “make it option.”  I have never understood why this is such a widespread epidemic.  It’s so easy to just call it quits now.

I realize that this is such a problem, obviously because of our fallenness, but also that when we hit road blocks in marriage we feel like there’s no way through.  Amber and I are beginning to read through the book ‘Love and War’ by John and Stasi Eldredge.  Early in the book there is something that is so widespread true where they share…

51ws2bvvfc5l-_sx331_bo1204203200_“Everybody who has been married knows this. Though years into marriage it still catches us off guard, all of us. And newly married couples, when they discover how hard it is, then seem genuinely surprised. Shocked and disheartened, by the fact. Are we doing something wrong? Did I marry right person? The sirens that lure us into marriage — romance, love, passion, sex, longing, companionship — seem so far from the actual reality of married life we fear we have made a colossal mistake, caught the wrong, bus, missed our flight…Maybe it’s just us…Nope. THIS IS EVERYONE (emphasis added).”

Marriage is full of its ups and downs and I think the picture of so many marriages failing and couples falling away from each other is the very image of man falling away from God when things don’t go our way.  How easy is it for us to turn from God and move further away from Him, when we feel hurt or experience pain and trauma in life.  We make it an option.

There’s a chapter in ‘Love and War,’ that while we haven’t read it yet, the title says a lot about who we are to be in marriage.  Back-to-Back with Swords Drawn.  It’s a given that there is going to be so much in our lives that is going to try to eat into our marriage and tear us apart.  Just as the evil one wants to pull you further from God, he wants to do the same to your marriage will use all kinds of tactics to do so.  This could be boredom and complacency, temptation of looking for that golden man or woman, financial problems, toxic soul ties with people around you both, and a host of other problems.  In marriage, you have to stand back-to-back and shoulder-to-shoulder ready to battle together against anything that will try to tear your marriage apart.

John and Stasi share something else on the same page regarding the struggles we face in marriage…

“For heaven’s sake, bring together a man and a woman – two creatures who think; act, and feel so differently you would think they’d come from separate solar systems – and ask them to get along for the rest of their lives under the same roof. That is like taking Cinderella and Huck Finn, tossing them in a submarine, and closing the hatch. What did you think would happen?

I love this, because it’s so true.  There are many that have the expectation that they should always get along when they marry, but as we all know, who have been there, it just won’t be the case.

In my home, I have all kinds of books and things I am reading or I use for my counseling studies and research.  We have a sitting area in our master bedroom and there is a chair and ottoman.  I have a habit of leaving my books stacked there where I can easily get to them when I need them.  Amber can’t stand it, to put it bluntly.  For our sake, I agreed to move them the other day.  The point is this, we just see it differently, but that’s okay.  It’s a matter of how we deal with it.marriage

Amber and I, just as with any marriage out there, are in this together.  Back-to-back with swords drawn.  The thing with the books stacked may seem so petty, but trust me, it can blow up in bigger things if you let it. One thing that can never NOT happen in marriage is communication.  Amber and I talk about everything.  She knows my heart and I know hers.  That’s what has helped us collaborate through our marriage and make it through the storms that have come along.  We fight through everything together.  So many times we’ve seen marriages fall apart, this key thing, communication is the one thing that was non-existent.

If you allow the enemy to setup shop in any part of your marriage, he will pry at you to tear you apart.  Don’t give him that foothold.

You are in two covenants in this life.  One is with God, through death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.  The only other one is your marriage.  A covenant is not a contract.  A contract is all about what is in it for you.  A covenant all about what you can bring to the relationship.  God desires to surrender your full self in relationship with Him and surrender yourself to your marriage to serve one another.

Don’t make divorce an option.  If you are finding trouble that seems so hard to get through, know that you’re not the first and there is a way through.  Work through it together and if need be, seek out a counselor to help you both walk through it together.  Back-to-back and should-to-shoulder with swords drawn, you can fend off the all that is thrown your way.

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The Absolute Love and Joy of My World

Not sure where the motivation for this post came from today.  It’s not on any anniversary, any birthday, or anything.  It was just on my heart to write about someone that is so important to me and who I am so thankful that God has blessed me with.  That is my wife Amber.  It’s amazing to me, to see the life we have built together from such a young age.  She is my heart and my joy.  She has such a good heart and a humble heart.  What’s even cooler, is that through all of my own junk and faults, this woman loves me without any end, just as I love her and I think we grow in our love for one another with each passing day, even when we get under each other skin, actually that’s when I get under her skin.

So where do I begin.  It was almost 20 years ago, that I was working at my high school job at McDonald’s, in the late fall of 1995.  One afternoon, this cute redhead came walking in and was looking to apply to work there as well.  I remember to this day, the first time I saw her walk in.  We didn’t know each other, but she literally took my breath away.  There was just something about this girl, although at the time I didn’t really know what that was.  A few months later, we went out on our first date with some friends.  The more time we spent together, the more we became inseparable.  Something told me that this was going to be my wife, so at the start of my senior year in the fall of ’96, I proposed to her in the very spot where we first met.  I know McDonald’s is not a place of romance, but that’s where I wanted to do that.  Fast forward to the 10 days after graduation, and we were getting married.  We knew it was what we both wanted and we found safety and comfort with one another.

I look back on those times and then where we are now.  I couldn’t be more blessed to have such a wonderful woman in my life.  She has supported me through everything.  Through all of my years of schooling while also working and supporting our growing family, she has always been there.  Every move I made through my career, she was behind.  When our family endured the loss of my Dad 6 years ago, she was there along side me through it all.  Now coming out of the shadows of brokenness and being reborn in Christ, she has come alive in her own right and you can see the glow in her of the Lord doing a work in her as well.  She has been amazing through my schooling and learning now as we go through a life change in my current studies to help lead others to restoration.  Although we step into the unknown, she still is right there with me.

I sit here writing this as she is in there working on editing pictures for photography sessions she does.  I might also mention that she is a natural and talented photographer.  What’s awesome though, is that she does not do it for the money.  She just loves being able to provide people with family pictures.  If she makes nothing for it, she is perfectly fine with that, because her joy comes when people get to enjoy pictures of their families they can share with others.  I love her heart in that and the joy that comes from providing something to people that is often very unaffordable.

I’m just so proud of my wife and love her with every part of my being.  I felt a need to convey this to you all.  God truly blessed my life when He sent this woman in my world nearly 20 years ago.  Although I’m not always the best at it, I try now everyday to do as Paul said in Ephesians 5:25.  “Love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.”  I would give anything for her, including my own life.  I thankful to the Father for her each day and look forward to spending the rest of our days here on this earth loving her.

“I have known many happy marriages, but never a compatible one. The whole aim of marriage is to fight through and survive the instant when incompatibility becomes unquestionable.”  – G.K. Chesterton

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18 Years: Beautiful Life and Beautiful Love

Yesterday, my wife, Amber, and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary.  18 Years!  What an incredible journey we have been on so far.  We started out so young back in ’97.  Fresh out of high school, yet we knew that we were meant to spend the rest of our lives together.  When I think back to the time when we married, you could probably count on one hand how many people thought we would even last six months being married so young.  We had a different plan though.  It was the two of us.  We were committed to each other and were going to make it through whatever obstacles that came our way.

Our life together has not been without struggle.  We essentially grew-up together.  I worked 50-60+ hours per week, plus attended college full-time to take care of our family.  Our first son came later that year and we had to figure things out.  We had to learn about each other and adapt to life together.  We lost a lot of friends in the process as everyone drifted to college and their own lives.  Through it all, though, we stuck together and stayed committed to the life we set out to have together, no matter what came our way.

We stand here today, however, 18 years later, even more in love than we were then.  We were united as one just as the Lord calls us when we marry and we have lived our lives that way.  She is my life and my love.  She is the other half of me and I know God destined the two of us to be together for life.  She brings out the best of me being around her.  She has supported me in all my schooling and career and now that God has really taken over our lives she is even more behind where He’s leading us now.  Our lives being committed to the Lord has drawn us even closer together and seeing the light of the Lord shine in her is so beautiful.  She glows with the beauty of a daughter of God.

I’ve been so blessed to have Amber as my wife.  To have a wife that loves me unconditionally is so amazing.  Sure we have our ups and downs, but we our still madly in love and that grows with each passing day, week, month, and year.  I look forward to many, many more years with my bride.  She is a beautiful woman, and beautiful and loving wife, a great mom to our 3 children, and the best part of my day, every single day.  I pray God’s hand in our marriage everyday and that as we grow together in love and faith that our hope in Him shines in our lives and reflects in how we glorify the Lord through our marriage.  It’s a beautiful life!

“Staying married, therefore, is not mainly about staying in love. It is about keeping covenant. “Till death do us part” or “As long as we both shall live” is a sacred covenant promise – the same kind Jesus made with His bride when He died for her.” – John Piper

17 Years and Still Going Strong

On this day, June 14, 1997, my wife, Amber, and I were married.  It’s amazing to think that we have been married for 17 years.  It’s been quite a journey too.  We married when we were both 18 years-old.  While for most, this would spell out potential disaster in marriage these days, I am so thankful that God blessed me with such an awesome women and I have been able to grow with her in my life.  Growing together from such a young age, we’ve had to learn a lot.  We started with nothing and starting a family early during our first year of marriage, we knew we had to work at making the marriage last and raising our children as best we can.

For those that saw “My Faith Testimony” a couple of month’s back, you’ll know that our faith was not always a central part of our marriage.  Our goal was focused on working hard and raising our children right, but not 100% focused on keeping our faith and God as a daily presence.  In recent years that has changed dramatically now and how transformed our home.  I’m grateful to have been able to grow through those struggles with Amber as we worked to figure things out together and draw closer together.  The more our faith has grown, the closer it has drawn us together too.

I’m thankful to God for the woman he chose to be my wife in this world.  She is an amazing woman and I could not be more happy having her in my life.  She has been able to put with me for the last 17 years and I look forward to her putting up with me, Lord willing, for many years to come.  She is the Masterpiece, the final touch, that completes me and our marriage.

The Central Point of Any Marriage

For those of you married out there, how many of you have had your marriage tested by worldly things (temptations, worries, anxieties, frustrations, etc)?  If you said you haven’t, then you may want to rethink that.  I believe every marriage can be tested at any point and is tested often.  This goes for people of faith and without faith.  As well know full well, the divorce rate in the United States is ridiculously high.  Why?  Because people lose site of where the strength of their marriage draw and the fail to turn to the one true source of everything when things get difficult.  They easily fall to temptations or they anger easily and snap at their spouses or continually worry about things in this world that quite frankly have no significance in your eternity.

Now, I’m not a marriage counselor, but having been married nearly 17 years and counting with the love of life, I know full well that every marriage can get tested, even mine.  The enemy is in always in this world and will try many tactics to try to tear into the covenant you’ve made with you spouse before God.  As you grow in faith, you can start to see this peak out its ugly head more often than you may expect and in the most simple ways.  It can cause you to lose site of your faith and in turn strain the strength of your marriage if you let it.

We are all called to glorify God in all we do.  This also applies to our marriage.  The bond your marriage is meant to reflect the image of God through the man and woman.  If you hold tight to one another, you glorify Him more.  Keeping Him first make it easier to brush aside the worldly struggles and temptations that can get thrown your way.  Paul said in Ephesians 5:31-32, “As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.”  You are meant to reflect that relations of Christ and the church in your marriage.  Don’t let things that are not significant get in the way.

You may be wondering why I make it sound so simple.  You see, it is that simple.  Keep God first in your marriage and you will glorify Him and make it easier to stand-up to the world of sin.  Pray together and pray for each other.  This will strengthen you both that much more in your daily lives and struggles.  It will make your marriage stronger and healthier and better capable to stand before anything and push away anything the adversary throws your way.  You will be able to manage through adversity together that much better.  Keep God at the center of your Marriage, always.  This is a life lesson I’ve slowly learned over the years and it so real.

Valentines Day!

So another Valentines Day is upon us.  I kept joking with Amber yesterday that today is such a pressure filled day.  We walked into the grocery store and just like with any holiday, the entrance is plastered with all the flowers, candy, and everything else to go with the day.  But, what is this day really all about.  I was listening to a radio show earlier in the week where people were calling in talking about their disdain for Valentines Day and how they will not celebrate.  This was mostly women at that.  In some way in surprised me, but in some way it didn’t.  Many people have become so disenchanted with the day and don’t care for it.  I see this day a tremendous opportunity for many couples.  It can be day for reconciliation or to rekindle that spark in their marriage that may have been lost after so many years together.

As for me and my wife, it is just another day to express how much she means to me and how thankful I am that she is my bride.  I take the opportunity every day to tell her that I love her and I most certainly mean.  Without her, I would be lost.  She has been by my side through everything we have gone through in life and supported me through everything and I am so blessed and thankful that the Lord has brought her to me and we have had so many years together.  Everyday we are together, I grow to love her more and more.  I love spending my days with her when I get to work from my house and then just hanging out in the evenings.  She is every part of me that is good.

With all of that said, Happy Valentines Day to everyone, but especially for my beautiful wife, Amber.  You are my life, my love, and my best friend and I thank God for every day we have to spend together!

 

An Unconditional Covenant

One of the 4 big pillars I have found in life revolves around marriage and the family.  I want to take a moment to talk specifically about marriage.  In my coming book “4 Pillars to Coming Alive”, I talk in much greater detail about this and each of the 4 pillars.  Here at 4 Pillar Living, I will talk about different segments as we go forward and even give some teasers as to what my new book will entail.

Marriage is a union that in many ways has seem to have lost a sense of importance today.  For many, life becomes so hectic and busy with work, kids activities, and a multitude of other things that many couples forget to take the time to just focus on one another.  I want to write for a bit today about this sacred unity that many of us are blessed to be able to take part in.  If you have not yet, this will also apply if you happen to venture down this road.  Now, I am not the world’s foremost expert by any stretch, but what I do have is a lot of conviction and life experience in this area.  My bride and I have been married for 15, going on 16 years.  We were married very young, but did that intentionally and knew we wanted to grow together and for the rest of our lives.  We have been on quite a journey and I have learned a lot about what it takes to make a marriage work and how a marriage that is healthy, helps you come alive.

What is so vital in any marriage, I don’t care who you are, is a focus of unconditional love.  Too many times these days, couples make it easy for the distractions of life, to influence their mind to where their love for their spouse starts to come with conditions.  This could be in disagreements or struggles with bills and finances or any of a number of other things.  I have seen marriage struggles around me over the years.  Many times it falls down to the same kind of thing conditions were not met which destroyed the fabric of their union.

Our love for one another is not meant to have conditions around it.  It is meant to be a reflection of the unconditional love that God has shown us even when we are not worthy of it.  No matter how much we fall, because Christ came and died for us and was risen to life again, He is always their to take us back.  This is the ultimate showing of unconditional love.  Our marriages with that one person that we are meant to cleave to for life is to be a reflection of that love.  Love endures all and choosing to love unconditionally just has God did for us will go a long way for your own marriage.

Now for some, I may be preaching to the choir, and for others, you may think what is all this love stuff.  This is the very fabric of who we are though.  If you have any struggles there that try to rip at your marriage, you should vow to stay strong and together with your spouse you can get through it all.  Don’t turn to blaming one or the other for their faults.  Instead resolve to get through any situation together.  Remember, now that you are married, you are no longer two.  You are one.  A union that is never to be broken.  Resolve with your spouse to build an everlasting covenant together.  One that is built on unconditional love.  Doing so will enable you to get through any challenge in life together.

More to come on this in the future…