Tag Archive: wife


i mean CLEARLY not my wife, but i imagine this resonates with maybe one or two people out there [who should probably not identify themselves] and with this, Stephan Pastis pretty much declares his quest for life singleness:

pearlsbeforegrumpywife

 

[For a more safer for everyone Pearls before Swine strip, click here]

[For a somewhat punnier Pearls before Swine strip relating to France, click here]

 

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My wife, the beautiful Val [tbV] left for a week’s conference in Atlanta today.

As is my tradition when i am away from her i wrote her a letter to remind her that she is much loved and thought of while she is away. And i googled ‘inspirational wife quote’ to try and find an uplifting quote to give her.

Over 40 pages of quotes appeared on a site called Brainyquote and one of the first ones i saw was this one, which i used:

‘Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife.’ [Franz Schubert]

As i finished my letter to tbV i thought, ‘Let me find her another cool quote’ and that’s where it began…

Three pages later I had given up the search as quote after quote was of the following theme:

‘A good marriage would be between a blind wife and a deaf husband.’ [Michel de Montaigne]

Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same thing.’ [Oscar Wilde]

‘I haven’t spoken to my wife in years. I didn’t want to interrupt her.’ [Rodney Dangerfield]

‘When a man steals your wife, there is no better revenge than to let him keep her.’ [Sacha Guitry]

And on and on they went. I do realise that a number of the sources quoted are stand-up comedians, but that just goes to show the kind of thing we use to get laughs.

It is a subtle erosion of marriage and it is a message that happens all around us all of the time.

I get particularly annoyed when ministers make jokes about marriage at a wedding. It feels like sending the couple off on a lifelong journey with a negative message ringing in their ears. Phrases like “ball and chain” and lines like “marriage is like a phone call in the middle of the night – you get a ring and then you wake up” will get laughs, but they will also add a silent barb to those married people who may not be finding marriage that easy at the moment and it’s like a public confirmation that you might be right in thinking or feeling the way you are.

It would be marginally better if a search for ‘inspirational wife quotes’ had even produced a list where half of the quotes were lifting women and wives up as something good and worth celebrating. Instead i would say that 70% or even more of the quotes had the wife [or husband] as the butt of some joke, with many of them promoting adultery and mistresses as a normal expected part of the conversation.

In our experience, marriage has not always been the easiest thing. Especially when two strong personalities come together, there are a lot of lessons to be learnt, a lot of grace and Love to be chosen. Forgiveness to be asked for and freely given. We desperately need people cheering us on and holding up the idea of a working marriage, not throwing stones or tossing subtly camouflauged barbs ‘in the name of jest’ – it just isn’t helpful.

Let me agree with Franz that I am a happy man because I have found a true friend in my wife. I love Val very much and I cheer her on as she journeys through life on a path that often intersects with mine and sometimes doesn’t. I want her to feel lifted up by my words and actions [a feat i certainly don’t always get right] and never want something i say in jest to be something that causes her pain or mistrust or creates a space for even the smallest crack to start emerging.

i don’t think anyone just decided to commit adultery or give up on their marriage. It is a combination of a whole lot of smaller things that are left undealt with. A bunch of small, individual cracks that eventually become visible, often when it is too late.

i imagine there will be a bunch of people who think i am overreacting with this whole thing. But the marriage stats speak for themselves. Marriage does not have the greatest track record at the moment. It is in desperate need of people who will champion it, who will speak life into it and cheer it on from the sides [as other married couples and as single or dating people] – we need all the help we can get.

How about you? Can you identify with any of this notion of less-than-affirming-message-towards-marriage? When last did you hear someone speak about their husband or wife in joking fashion that really caused you to pause for a moment and raise an eyebrow? If you are married, how do others hear you speak about your spouse? 

A moment captured

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]

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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