Tag Archive: husband


skill

It started with great timing and a Facebook status i stumbled upon: Skillet play at Freedom Festival 27 april, Cape Town Ostrich farm. Want to win tickets from me??

Now to give this some perspective, Skillet have for the longest time been my bonus favourite band… for many years of my life i listed four bands as my top 4: U2, Coldplay, R.E.M., Tree63 and then Skillet was next in line. So understudy in case any of the others stopped playing. And despite them having released something like 9 albums of which i have most of them, i think some of my favourite memories and moments still come from their first self-titled album and i hurt my neck plenty head-banging by myself in my room when the house was empty with the music turned full blast to the words of ‘I can’ and ‘My Beautiful Robe’

skills

From ‘My Beautiful Robe’:

I was crucified with Christ
But how come I’m not dead
God gave me a cross
But I made my own instead

Complete Lyrics of ‘I can’

Looking on the sad times, the guilt and all the shame
I have learned to submit my existing hurts and pains
All the grief I’ve learned to set aside

‘Cause I am, I am, I am
Feeling underooted feeling undermined
Can this grace of God cover me this time?

When I feel the pain I know why I feel strange
When I hear the rooster crow I am ashamed
Jesus on the cross and this cross upon my back
I have learned to submit then I whine about my lack

Sometimes I drop my cross, deserve a little rest
That’s when I run to you and I nail your feet and your wrist

I’m feeling underooted feeling undermined
Can this grace of God cover me this time?

Do you really love my soul, even after I hated you?
Do you really know my name, can I really come to you?
Are you really more faithful than the changing of the seasons and the morning sun?
Do you really know my name, can I really come to you?
I can, I don’t care if the rooster crows
I can

The point being that i love this band and have enjoyed and appreciated their music for many years and so getting the opportunity to see them live in concert feels like a huge gift. Honest, edgy lyrics that really grab at the heart and the soul of the truth being discussed made for much incredible music wrestlings over the years.

skillet

Then Andrea Steyn [who you can get tickets for this amazing gig from] took it one further today by writing this question on my wall:

Do you want to have a chance to meet the band?

Do raiSINs have the word sin in them? Some questions just don’t need to be asked. So while ‘Do you want to have a chance to meet the band?’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘You will definitely have a chance to meet the band!’ i’m gonna go with Jim Carrey on this one from Dumb and Dumber… “So you’re saying there’s a chance?”

And so, whether or not it actually materialises or not, i thought it would be a fun activity either way to invite you to help me compile a question list so that if i was to meet the band and get a chance to ask them a question or two, what questions would those be?

Skillet fans, this is for you. If you got to meet the band and had the chance to ask one question, what would that be? Leave it in the comments section below and who knows, if this happens, maybe yours will be one of the fortunate ones to go live…

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: Sadly, i got this message today: I have unfortunately bad news, that the concert has to be postponed until the summer time. Big upset with some organisational thing I wasn’t privy to. – And so, for the time being it looks like this will be on hold, but in the meantime you can keep your questions coming…

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Marriage through the Years: Stories, tips and advice from couples who have been married for different numbers of years.

How to save your marriage [before you need to] [Series]

How to Love your spouse better [Series]

Marriage is not for you! [a great read for married people!]

How marriage to the right person is highly recommendable

An excellent blog on the so-badly-called “Honeymoon Phase” of marriage for newly married folks in particular [by my beautiful wife, Val]

The importance of being intentional about romance in marriage in year one, and year ten, and year forty.

Sex in Marriage [also a really good read for those of you who are not married]

Ten Ways to Love Well

What my Single Friends would like their Married Friends to know

The Best Wedding Ever?: A glimpse into the drum beat thick wedding march

So i got this comment at the bottom of the recent ‘Singleness’ Taboo Topic posted and approved it and started replying, but then thought that responding to ‘How much sex in marriage?’ on a Singleness post might be stretching the boundaries of love and sensitivity and so i decided to deal with is directly as a separate post… [singles are welcome to read, because maybe this will help]. So the comment i received is below, as it came through:

Can you do an article on “how much sex” in marriage? Say you are married, then hopefully it comes naturally and everything is great. BUT what if it does not. You are both Christian, and it says in the Bible that the woman must give herself to the husband. What if your wife is not being reasonable and you are not having sex too often. Say months go by, what is a man to do? If the wife is not willing to work at things from her side, then what should he do? Should he just wait, one, two years if need be or longer? Try to get professional help – but only if she is willing which may be difficult in some cases. It is not the all that ends all, and the love should carry the relationship. But a man has needs.

So if one partner is not up to meeting the needs of the other then what can you suggest from a Christian standpoint?

And let’s be honest, just doing this because I knew how many people would come and read this post due to the title alone [you guys!]

[to read the continuation of discussion on this topic between Brett and his wife, the Beautiful Val [tbV] click here]

sex-starved-marriage-2

But ja, a very interesting question and ‘Sex in Marriage’ is definitely a Taboo Topic that could do with being handled as that is certainly something you don’t get told much about in church.
[The ‘No sex til marriage’ mantra seems to be it as far as sex and the church is concerned]
This is not the kind of topic that is brought up a lot at the dinner tables i hang out with, but i do imagine i would find it a particularly difficult one to invite my friends to share my stories on as well for this blog.

so let me try and deal with this by speaking a little more generally, by specifically looking at some of the key issues which i think underlie the question. and hope that some of my cool friends will add their thoughts in the comments section afterwards.

i think i would put the ‘how much sex in marriage?’ question alongside the ‘how far is too far before marriage?’ question in suggesting that both of those might be the wrong questions to be asking.

and it might help to more properly frame the question i am hearing you ask in this example, which is ‘how much sex can i get in marriage?’ because it doesn’t sound like your concern here is for your wife. this is a very me-focused question, which is fine to ask [we all have me questions] but i think it is more important to be asking a ‘her’ question first. i don’t think the me question is a good place to begin, otherwise that shows a misunderstanding of marriage.

this passage from Ephesians sums a lot of it up for me powerfully:

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church — 30 for we are members of His body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery — but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

# it speaks of a mutual submission and so that is an important thing to notice – this passage has been used by many to somehow try to show the woman as being under, or less than the man, but it starts off with verse 21 which boldly states this is a two way thing [and it’s done out of reverence for Christ!]

# then, what is interesting, after you get past all the woman submission stuff, which a lot of women have found difficult to take or understand or hold on to [again because of a lot of damage that has been done when this has been misused causing understandable hesitance to embrace this piece] is the description of the man’s responsibility. the woman is meant to submit, yes, but the man is meant to love ‘just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.’

how did Jesus show His Love for the church? By dying for her.

um. wo. now wait a minute there. i don’t remember that being in my vows. [well it was there, if you took the time to read the finer print]

so if we go back to your question in the context of this statement, does that change how it looks at all? if we make her the subject of the question, then it looks a little more like, ‘what are her needs? and how are you meeting them?’ ‘are there some needs she has outside of sex that you are maybe not meeting, which may possibly be having an affect on how much sex she is being open to? [this is really difficult to say in terms of your situation, because i don’t know you and so i just have to ask questions – you will be able to ask them more specifically and on target] ‘have you tried discussing this area of your marriage from a her point of view or only from a ‘this is what i need/want’ point of view?

i just think there might be some different questions to ask. what is the end point you are looking for? you being sexually fulfilled or the two of you having a real, authentic, honest relationship? and is it possible to have both [hopefully]. but i would suggest the latter is more important? have you listened to her at all on the topic or have you simply presented your side and your needs?

so those are my thoughts which feel very scattered as to some extent it feels like i am addressing a hypothetical question as i don’t really know any of the people involved, but there are some key questions and principles here which all of us can grab hold of strongly for marriage. and so hopefully there was something helpful and if anyone else has some helpful thoughts, as always please chime in…

is it worth getting help for your marriage? absolutely. and that can come in various shapes or forms. is there a married couple that you both respect that you could ask to sit down with both of you and give you space to talk out some of this stuff with them? is there a pastor or leader you both trust enough to be able to meet with you both individually to hear both sides and then together to give you a chance to share your feelings with each other? or maybe even a professional counsellor who may be able to help.

i say this cautiously, but my thinking is that if in some way you have made sex and being sexually fulfilled the centre of your marriage or the focus of it, then you are likely to be in some trouble and this will not be easily resolved… if, however, you have made your wife the centre of your marriage [with God the foundation, of course], then it will be a lot easier to figure this one out, and every other one that comes along.

Love her well, look after her needs, go out of your way to spoil her and treat her well just for the sake of her feeling good [not for what you might get] and who knows what might happen as a result…

Love strong

 

[I ended up taking a whole bunch of the comments below in response to this blog and compiling them in a separate post which you are invited to read here]

brett fish and tbV

one story tbV [the beautiful Val] enjoys telling is how after a month of us dating she had a bedside drawer full of chocolate…

why is this significant? well, i spent a lot of time giving tbV chocolate as a way of showing i loved her, but she is not a big fan of chocolate, preferring sour sweets instead and so basically i invested a month or so in making Val’s housemate very happy.

i am a big chocolate fan [no, Americaland, Hershey’s is NOT chocolate, altho peanut butter cups do qualify] and so what better way to show someone love than giving them something that makes me feel good when i receive it? the moment i realised that she preferred sour sweets and savoury as a general trend, i was able to much better show her my Love and have her receive it as well.

Gary Chapman wrote a really helpful book called ‘The Five Love Languages’ in which he explains that people give and receive Love predominantly in five different ways:

[1] Words of Affirmation – “You look hot!”

[2] Acts of Service – “I fixed your heater, so now your room will be more hot.”

[3] Receiving Gifts – “Here is a plate of chili nachos. It may be a little hot.”

[4] Quality Time – “It’s hot today. Let’s go hang out on the beach together.”

[5] Physical Touch – “Rrarr, let’s get you hot.”

…or something like that!

The key to the book is realising that your primary act of receiving Love might be different to that of your person and so you giving them Love in a way you like to receive it [giving gifts] might not be received with the same extent of excitement or appreciation if your person’s primary way of receiving Love is different [eg. quality time]

In fact, it could even almost produce the opposite effect. If your wife is wanting to spend time with you [as a way of receiving Love well] and you spend all your time working extra time at your job [because you are saving up money to buy her something expensive because you value gifts] then despite your act being one of focused Love-giving, your wife might end up feeling not loved at all, because her need is not being met.

It can be as easy as a conversation – sit with your person and the list above and try and identify your top two Love languages that you receive Love in, and then try and figure out the Love languages that you show Love with [they may be the same] and then help your person identify theirs.

Basically we are answering the question, “What is important to the person i Love?” and then choosing to live in such a way that when you are wanting to show them Love, you choose a way that really connects with them and demonstrates the feeling and the choice you have.

This is really just a helpful guide more than a scientific art – you will probably find that you give and receive Love in a variety of ways, but hopefully you will easily be able to identify the one or two that make you feel well and truly Loved. And armed with this information in terms of your spouse, can make showing them Love so much easier and more significant.

EXPLORING THE HATE LANGUAGES?

It goes deeper than that when you are married as well. There may be a household task [like washing the dishes] that has neutral feeling for you, but your wife HATES doing it. How easy for you to jump in every time and do that task and free her up from doing something she doesn’t enjoy. Chances are there is something [dusting] you’re not a big fan of and she will reciprocate, altho that should not be your intention for doing it. It is a great act of Love to remove something your person hates.

Similarly, you might have some bad habits [leaving the toilet seat up… i don’t!] that are not the biggest deal for you, but might be a huge deal for your person. Identify those [there is no harm in asking regularly – this could be a simple tweak in your life that could help convey a huge amount of Love] and change them.

This is worth taking some time on – trying to figure out some stuff for yourself and also inviting your spouse to share the ways they receive Love well and to perhaps point out some stuff around the house or it could be the fact that you are always late for things that drives her mad or that you arrive home from work and hang out with the tv before you hang out with her or a number of other things… figure them out and Love her better!

[to return to the start of this series, click here]

Rich and Cindy Erasmus

my friend, Rich Erasmus, has been married for seventeen years to his lovely wife Cindy, and has some nuggets of wisdom to share with us in the area of one way you can love your spouse better:

‘I would say one of the most important ways that I have “learned to love my wife better”, is through a technique I was introduced to during an “Imago” course.

Bottom line … I learned to listen to my wife better (never a bad thing).

Picture a husband and a wife sitting, facing each other with their knees touching.

The wife says “Hubby, I want to speak with you about you being at work when the kids and I really need you.”

Hubby replies “Wifey, I hear you saying that you want to speak with me about me being at work when you and the kids really need me.”

He then asks “Did I hear you correctly?”

If she says “Yes, you did”, then he asks the next question “is there more?”

… and so the conversation continues … until she says “that is all”.

It’s a conversation that is (at the end of the day) very one sided, in that the “sender” (in this case the wife) is determining the direction and the content of the whole conversation.

The “receiver” (hubby) has the humbling role of listening carefully (no … not justifying / explaining / contradicting / adding or interpreting), mirroring accurately (saying exactly what has just been said to him) and then inviting more explanation.

Let me admit that at first (if done properly) it is a super awkward tool … but man alive, it has really taught me a thing or 2 about genuinely listening to the heart of my wife, without belittling / undermining her.

I wish I could explain more (it is bigger than the above sample) … but I guess the bottom line is that effective communication often falls apart in a marriage purely because effective listening is a forgotten art.

If we are prepared to take the “weaker position” of just sitting, listening and asking for more explanation … I wonder how much more sympathy and empathy would enter the marriage … and out of that how much more love and connection.

Hope this helps someone.

Have a great day.

Rich E’

[to continue on to hear what Brett Fish has to say about Loving them in the way they best receive it, click here]

Married? Single? Other?

My friend Jess is a beautiful, single blonde girl who has been a missionary in Italy for 10 years and is the same age as me. One day, an Italian woman, let’s call her Mamma Carmen, came up to her with a little charm necklace that had a picture of a saint on it.

“What’s this?” asked Jess.
(Cue in accent of Italian mama who doesn’t speak much English)
“A necklace for you. A picture of Saint Anthony. “
“Who is Saint Anthony?”
“Is-a- the patron saint of lost-a things.”
“And what have I lost, Mama Carmen?”
“Oh, you know sveetie. “
“No I don’t know. What is that I have lost?”
“You lost-a your husband.”
“Mama Carmen, isn’t that usually the saint you pray to for a lost sock or car keys-things like that?”
“Yes, but not for you. For you, pray to him for husband. More important than sock.”

Mama Carmen’s Formula:

“Lost Husband + Praying to Patron Saint of Lost Things + Ten Hail Marys= 1 wedding, 5 socks, 2 spoons, and 1 bracelet you thought you gave to your friend Jill.”

I had my own formula concocting conversation with a ministry leader of mine a few years back. Let’s call her Emily. The conversation looked like this:

“Kate, do you remember our babysitter Joann? Well, she went through a season of really struggling with being single like you are going through. She cried and battled and finally brought her burden to the Lord. She let go.

Two weeks later, she met her husband. And he looks just like Ryan Gosling. “

I said,”Emily, I am really happy for Joann. But she is twenty freaking years old.”

“So? What does that have to do with anything?”

I respected and loved this leader, but I just couldn’t brush the comment off this time.

I said “I have had a decade longer than her of wrestling with God over this issue. In all my wrestling, I have had several seasons where I have been content as a single person, embracing the thought of God as my husband. But often, those seasons fade, and I’m struggling again. It is a cycle that happens. I don’t think God laughs at my cycles of frustration. I think he understands. I think He wants to meet me there. “

Emily continued to argue with me, saying that I just needed to let go, insinuating that it was my own fault that I was still single.

I said, “Em, please understand me here. If you had a friend who was not getting pregnant or who was having multiple miscarriages, someone who had been struggling with barrenness for fifteen years, would you say to her ‘If you just trusted the Lord more with your barrenness, he would give you a baby?’ You would never say that! You recognize how much she is mourning that loss, and so you careful with her words. You don’t want to hurt her even more by making her feel like it might be her own fault.

Well at times, I feel barren. Not only barren in my childbearing, but barren as a lover as well. I don’t have children or a husband, and so I really have no immediate blood family. Please, please, be sensitive to this barrenness in me. Please don’t tell me that I have done something wrong in not letting go, and the result of that shortcoming is my barrenness.”

I know that sounds pretty heavy, but it is how many of us feel at times.

In the very thick book of popular theology that is not actually in the Bible, a book I like to call “First Assumptions” , we have this formula:

“Not letting go=being single.
Letting go= being married. “

Most singles I have talked to have had this formula given to them in one way or another. Many of them dozens of times. Almost every time I mention writing my book on singleness, single people give me some kind of version of this story.

Most of us, when we first heard this formula as a young person, grabbed our journal and bible and went to a quiet place. We turned our sweet young faces to heaven with tears in our eyes and said “Lord, I let go. I give my husband to you.”

Do you know why we were saying this? Because we wanted a husband. And according to the formula, if you wanted a husband, you had to let go of him first. So we were letting go of him in order to get him.

Quite ironic, isn’t it?

But as years passed, when that formula didn’t work, we started cringing when someone told us we just needed to let go. We couldn’t put our finger on why it irked something deep inside of us, but it did.

I have a theory about why it frustrates us so much. At the root of this formula is the idea that all single people have done something wrong and all married people have done something right. Married people, I know you probably never meant to make us feel that way, but it is the nature of that formula.

It kind of reminds me of the story of Job. Here is the formula we can get out of his story.

“Tragically losing everything+wife that is pissed+hideous boils all over your body+annoying friends telling you that you must have done something wrong to deserve this+being totally frustrated and not getting why you’re going through this+God’s booming voice telling us humans that we don’t know nothing and He doesn’t fit in our formulas and boxes+ praising God even through horrible circumstances and singing “Blessed Be Your Name” = even more stuff than you had before.”

Sound familiar? (Except for the boils part, hopefully.) That story is one of the oldest in the bible. One of it’s lessons? Don’t make formulas. Meet Him, wrestle with Him, praise Him even when you don’t understand, but never, ever, put Him in a box.

As Donald Miller said, “As much as we want to believe we can fix out lives in about as many steps as it takes to make a peanut-butter sandwich, I don’t believe we can.”

My married friend Becca, who is incredibly dear to me, explained to me that married people don’t often have bad motives in their formula making. She said that when human beings don’t understand something, they make formulas. They want to feel like they are giving their friend some control over the situation. They even make their own life journeys into formulas. Sometimes we singles cling to the formulas given to us because we want some control over the situation as well.

I really appreciate that we had this conversation because it reminded me that married people are not the enemy. They love us.

But out of love, I want our married friends to understand why these formulas are so hard for us to hear.

These formulas makes us feel like our being single has nothing to do with God’s will or our choices or the enemy or any other theory you have on why hard things happen.

It has to do with our lack.

We already struggle with feeling like we lack when we wonder why we haven’t been chosen. Please don’t cut that wound deeper.

This formula also makes us feel like our not being married has to do with our relationship with the Lord, which evidently is wanting.

For most of us, our relationship with the Lord is the most sacred one that we have. Please, please, don’t criticize that relationship as well. Don’t tear down the one relationship where we feel loved and accepted. Even if you mean well, just don’t do it.

I think a good rule of thumb for both parties is to do less formula making and pat- answering and do more listening. Listening to what the Lord has to say, and listening to each others journeys with compassion.

Restrain yourselves from formulas. But don’t restrain yourselves from giving each other a hug. We probably both need one.

Be encouraged that we all have our own journey, and that all of our journeys our valid.

[Kate Hurley writes a blog called ‘The Sexy Celibate’ which you can read here. Among other things she is a singer, songwriter, worship leader, writer, and teacher and has contributed worship to Enter the Worship Circle. I also encourage you to head over to her website and sample some of her music.]

[To read the Singleness story of my friend Kate Sherry, click here]

my friend Dalene, who is an incredible bloggist, has been married for 8 and a half years and this is a pearl of wisdom she has to share with us in terms of one way to love your marriage partner better:

Dalene and Murray Reyburn

‘My husband stares into other women’s eyes all day. It’s his job. But when he’s done with corneas and optic nerves he comes home and tells me sweet somethings and whispers wonder and holds me relieved and grateful. But like, some of those women are hot. And some of them probably wouldn’t mind staring a little longer.

Our marriage isn’t perfect but it’s freakin’ awesome. And I think this might be the secret:

You just keep on doing the Next Right Thing.

Sometimes the Next Right Thing is tiny, like pass the salt or iron a shirt. Sometimes it’s massive, like change churches or jobs or countries. Sometimes it’s making him the most important person in the room. Sometimes, it’s shut up. Say thanks. Make a covenant with your eyes. Hold his hand just because and like you’re fourteen and it’s the first time. Say yes more. (Because, ladies, sex is governed by your head not your body. You can decide to be in the mood.) Ask forgiveness. If the Next Right Thing isn’t obvious then pray for him, every time you open a drawer or switch on the kettle.

The Next Right Thing is always intentional. It’s always the answer to, ‘How do I love him right now?’

And it’s simple, not simplistic. It’s the hardest thing and the most powerful thing. It’s the thing that’s easy enough to be your default when you’re tired. Ecstatic or distracted. Overwhelmed or afraid.

And if, for example, you find out your baby boy is blind and there are operations and uncertainties and things start short-circuiting inside of you and it’s hard enough to hold yourself together never mind a marriage, then the Next Right Thing comes right down to What happened in your day? D’you want more tea? Next. Right. Thing. Over. And over. Until you’re through it and you can look back and see the wake of the ship plain sailing again in calm seas.

Before we started dating my husband read me Yeats:

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

We’ve only been married 2 979 days, but let’s say we’re each making only five Next Right Thing decisions every day – small, I’ll-feed-the-dog decisions – that’s already 29 790 decisions behind us. Without for a moment pretending we know tomorrow or presuming on every breath God lends, let’s say we’ll be married for 55 years before one of us goes Home. That’s another 17 155 days, and another 171 550 Next Right Thing decisions. I have faith that God is weaving those decisions into heavenly Yeats-type embroidered cloths of legacy and eternal breath-taking beauty weighted with glory. The Next Right Thing to wear and to walk on.’

Check her inspiring blog out here…

@deereyburn on the Tweetster

[to read what Robert Martin has to share on sacrificing self, click here]

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