Falling in and out of love?? Really??

Through the years, we have been surprised by the decisions made because of love. Years ago, it was common for a woman to marry or at least do unwise or sometimes illegal things because she had “fallen in love” with the wrong man. When we heard these stories we just shrugged as we chalked up another tragedy to the mystery of falling in love.
Then, somewhere along the line we began to hear the phrase “fell out of love” being used to justify the actions that would destroy a marriage. Somehow, many began to accept that terminology as the fickleness of love.
The idea behind all of this is that in some mysterious way we encounter someone and are smitten uncontrollably and deeply and find ourselves falling into love the way a person might lose their balance and fall out of a boat. Then, of course, the idea was proposed in reverse and many accepted it…even in the church where we should know better.


The Love your wife and children really want

We know that love inspires us to give gifts as an expression of our love, so we should choose our gifts carefully. What is the greatest gift of love? Many would say diamonds, jewelry, extravagant trips, chocolate, flowers, or maybe some sacrificial deed. While all of these are certainly valid ways to express love, the greatest gift of love is focused attention. This is a simple concept, yet it seems to be difficult for many of us to practice it consistently so let’s take a look at its components to gain some help in learning to give this gift.
Focused attention requires time. Many husbands get caught up in providing material and financial things as an act of love, which it is, but it is no substitute for time spent with our wife and children. Material things excite for a little while, but it is through the sharing of time that we really connect with those we love.


The Problem with getting what you want is…

The problem with getting what you want is that it can send a very bad message to your mate. Before I lose you, let me clarify. In our culture, self promotion, self rights, and self serving are glorified and held up as the greatest pursuit in life. However, these pursuits are harmful and destructive to a marriage. Every time we push and shove and fight to get our way at the expense of our mate, it sends our mate a message of rejection.


Is your pursuit of Happiness off track?

Happiness is a mysterious thing. I have met people in third world countries who had no idea where their next meal was coming from who were bubbling over with joy and thanksgiving. On the other hand, we have all read the reports of the Hollywood crowd who seem to have all the money, privilege, opportunity, and beauty in the world, yet are so miserable that their lives are filled with substance abuse, infidelity, and self destructive behaviors. This is indeed a mystery because we tend to think that happiness is the guaranteed end result of success and prosperity.
One of the leading causes of marital breakdown is the belief that one’s mate is no longer making them happy. Too often, people buy in to the idea that if you are not happy, then the best solution is to dissolve the marriage and go out looking for that someone who can create happiness. Can someone really create long term happiness for another person or are we responsible for our own happiness?


Taming the Tongue!

All of us have had trouble with what comes out of our mouths. James 3 tells us that our tongues cannot be tamed any more than a lion could be tamed. Lions and tongues can be controlled, but never tamed. They both need a cage around them to keep others safe!
The words that we speak have the power to build up those around us or to tear them down. So, it is critical for us to be careful to pay attention to what we say. We need to ask God to help us guard what we say.
A great place to start is by focusing on Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
What a great idea for marriage!


Evict Fear!

In 1 John 4:18 we read that perfect love drives out all fear and if we are afraid to love then we need to grow in our practice of love.
I have found that many married people are afraid to truly love their mate.
Before you run away in doubt, let me explain. Often, couples measure out loving acts to each other based on their expectation of a favorable return. In short, they are afraid that they might open their heart to their mate and get a less than favorable response so they live very guarded…desperately trying to protect themselves. They practice this difficult balancing act of giving out some love while holding back enough to feel protected.


Pursue Self Control

Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self control. Proverbs 25: 28
In our modern culture, we have perfected the concept of blame shifting. We excuse our bad behavior by claiming that someone else did or said something that forced us to behave or speak in a manner that is harmful, illegal, or simply embarrassing. Even in our court system verdicts are often affected by the idea that the actions or words of the victim somehow forced the defendant to respond as they did.
We entertain ourselves with so called reality shows that are mostly built on the yelling, screaming, angry outbursts, vengeful plots, malicious gossip, and other bad behavior of the participants. It seems that the person acting badly always hides behind the argument that they simply “had to” respond that way because of the words or actions of the others involved. Our culture is saturated with this rationale. There are quite a few problems, however with this line of thinking. This argument did not help Adam and Eve as they tried to justify their failures by shifting the blame. Adam tried to blame Eve and indirectly tried to blame God, but in the end he was responsible for his actions. Eve tried to shift the blame to the serpent, but in the end she was responsible for her actions. We, too, are ultimately responsible for our actions and choices.


Develop an Attitude of Gratitude!

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Col.3:15

As Christians, we believe that God carefully watches over us and every good and wonderful gift that comes into our lives is from Him. Therefore, it is fitting to acknowledge this and offer thanks to Him. The Bible commands us to make thanksgiving a big part of our relationship with God.


Whose job is it anyway?!

One of the greatest sources of conflict in most marriages is caused by the division of household duties. Many couples stay in a perpetual tug of war over who is responsible for which chores. A recent study revealed that average couples spend 40 minutes every day arguing over household chores! Is this really the best way to spend time together? It’s time to end this tug of war!

I suppose the most common source of conflict is still the idea that the cleaning, cooking, and most of the childcare is “woman’s work”. While yard work and household repairs is “man’s work”.
The root of this problem has nothing to do with the chore itself. The food network has shown us that some of the greatest cooks in the world are men…manly men. The DIY network has shown us that women can do well and even excel in the world of home renovation and construction. So the gender stereotypes have nothing to do with ability or aptitude for certain tasks.

The root of this conflict is a failure to understand the benefit of teamwork. A sad fact of life is that chores exist in every household and someone has to do them. If we will simply identify what has to be done, agree on how it should be done, and then simply pitch in to get the chores done this conflict would be resolved.


Social Media Fire

I recently read that 66% of lawyers cite Facebook as their primary source of evidence in adultery cases. In England, last year 20% of divorce petitions involved “Facebook Flings”. Currently, one out of five American divorces now involve Facebook. I suppose many would jump to suggest that we close down Facebook accounts, sue Facebook, or make Facebook illegal, but Facebook is not the problem. Foolish human decision-making is the problem, as usual.

Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is the one who sleeps with another man’s wife, no one who touches her will go unpunished…But a man who commits adultery lacks judgement, whoever does so destroys himself. The NIV Bible, Proverbs 6:27-29,32.

Many men and women believe that they can engage in friendship building, emotional connections, and so called innocent flirting with someone of the opposite sex and suffer no ill effects. The truth is that this is playing with fire and someone will be burnt because the most powerful component of human sexuality is deep emotional bonding. It is unreasonable to think that one could build these bonds with someone other than their mate and keep their relationship with their mate in tact. If you play with fire…you will be burnt!

If you destroy your marriage, you will create widespread devastation to everyone you love including yourself. Study the divorce checklist in our book to learn more about this.

This has always been an issue for some, but now many who would never engage in this type of behavior in person are slipping into it through the convenience and privacy of Facebook and other social media. Facebook opens opportunities that seem safe because there is no face to face interaction. The truth is that someone can turn and even steal your heart without any face to face contact, in fact it is even easier this way because there are no negatives to overcome. The other person can weave the perfect fantasy to lure you away without any of the reality checks that face to face interactions would bring. Add to that the allure of the secret relationship and the danger level has just increased exponentially. What seems innocent and safe is really the most dangerous of all. This fantasy relationship can quickly turn into an obsession and before long a rendezvous is planned. This is the point where all you love will be destroyed. The fire is raging!