I have observed over the years that when marriages fall apart, there are typically a few common denominators.
For instance, in my last post I recommended a book, His Needs, Her Needs, that addressed the problem of not doing the positive things that need to be done in a marriage.
In the book I am recommending today, the focus shifts to the negative side. In other words, there are some negative behaviors that destroy romantic love.
Now that is not all that hard to figure out. If I yell at my dog, he cowers as if our relationship is suffering. So how can I expect an angry outburst in my marriage not to have some sort of detrimental effect?
To make matters worse, if I initiate a negative behavior, I am going to have to work extra hard to offset it with at least five positive behaviors. Perhaps that is why marriage is such hard work.
In our first house my brother came over to help me in the attic and stepped through the ceiling. It took more time and effort to repair the ceiling compared to the help he provided.
In marriage, our destructive habits are very hard to overcome. In fact, many stay in negative territory.
That is the issue Willard Harley addresses in his book Love Busters. While it is a great book, it won’t do you any good if you are not honest with yourself. I have watched couples have angry outbursts, and then deny it.
While it would be easy to simply list the destructive behaviors addressed in the book, my fear is that you might avoid the book.
But this is a book that any marriage can profit from. For some marriages it should be purchased right away. Get the book, read it, and Overcome the Habits that Destroy Romantic Love (Subtitle).
The sad part is, many are clueless. They have overlooked some things assuming that romantic love would somehow continue throughout their lives.
Another reality is this. If we are not meeting the emotional needs of our spouse, someone else may. Unmet needs are typically at the bottom of an affair.
It doesn’t have to be that way. This book may open your eyes to what’s behind your marital dissatisfaction.
The truth is we all have needs that our spouse must meet, or we become emotionally bankrupt. And when our emotional bank account is empty the marriage is in trouble.
However, marriages can be rebuilt, restored, and rejuvenated. All you have to do is start making deposits. And those are made by meeting the needs of our spouse.
Willard Harley, in his incredibly helpful book, His Needs, Her Needs, addresses the top five emotional needs of a husband and a wife. While we are not all made the same, no marriage can afford to miss this book.
This book is one of my favorites and may just be the key to renewing your marriage.
Following the interview, guess what? He had to wait. Waiting turned into anxiety and worrying.
Now his question:
All I’m doing is sitting around worrying. What do I do about that?
No doubt we all have our questions, our unanswerable questions.
What if I don’t get the job?
Will my kids ever get on track?
Can my marriage survive?
Now let me be candid. I would love to have the answers at my fingertips. But if I did, I would most likely simply be blowing smoke.
I’m not sure why Moses had to herd sheep for forty years.
Why did God allow Daniel to be thrown into the lion’s den because he faithfully prayed three times a day?
Life is filled with uncertainty and we don’t always get the phone call we wanted. Wouldn’t we all like to have everything work out all the time?
Here is what we can do. This comes from one of Jesus’ talks on worry. Actually it seems like He is having a case of ADD. In Matthew 6 verse 25 Jesus essentially tells us that we must trust in the providence of God.
And in the middle of His talk, He says, “Look at the birds…” Sounds like something we would say when we get distracted. But Jesus was not distracted. He simply wants us to realize that if God is concerned about these small creatures how much more does He love and care for us.
The birds don’t just fly around and expect food to magically appear in their nests. They do their part. But they are not worrying about their sustenance.
So how do we overcome our anxiety? Simple, but not easy.
Accept that you have done all you can do. You have gone through the interview. You have prayed about the situation. You took the necessary steps.
Believe that God has your best interests in mind. Our desires are not always the best.
Commit it all to the Lord.
With that said, does that mean the anxiety will leave? Sometimes no, because we allow uncertainty to make us anxious.
Perhaps the best way to sum it up is like Jesus did. “Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) Devotion to God is a prerequisite for the peace that we long for in the midst of uncertainty.
Put God first and you will have no reason to worry.
Why worry when you can trust God?
Over the years from playing sports to construction to church I have been able to work alongside people who had talent. One of the sad realities is that great talent does not always come with humility. It’s hard many times for those with great talent to defer to another teammate.
I have been a Los Angeles Laker fan since I was a kid. Magic Johnson was a great talent, but he was even a better teammate. He made everyone around him much better. Kobe Bryant on the other hand, while a great talent, is less of a great teammate.
Great Teammates do at least four things well:
1. Get excited when others excel.
2. Defer to others.
3. Get along with others.
4. Possess great attitudes.
Magic Johnson did all four and more very well. Someday your name will come up in a conversation. How will you be remembered? More for your talent, or more for being a great teammate?
The events of the past week illustrate that we tend to do things if no one is watching. When the bombs at the Boston Marathon went off, one of the first comments I heard was, “With all the cameras in place, and all the cell phones with cameras, it should not take long to identify the perpetrators.”
I wonder if the two brothers, who were quickly identified and pursued, even thought about the abundance of cameras. I wonder if they thought about the consequences.
It all reminds me of the verse in Numbers 32:23 (KJV) which says, “…be sure your sin will find you out.” Sobering.
God’s camera is always on. He never misses a thing. When you displayed a bad attitude at work or towards your boss, He saw it.
Sure, you may pull off your sinful act, and you may even attend a party that evening, but you will never get away. Oh, perhaps for a time. Maybe for a long time.
But one day you will be exposed, because God’s camera is always on!
Let’s be honest right from the start. Prayer meetings tend to have the lowest attendance of any kind of meeting. There is something about prayer that is mystical. Plus in a crowd many get uncomfortable to say the least.
However, what about in the privacy of your home.
Let me share four quick thoughts about prayer that will encourage you, and I dare say drive you to pray.
The apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:11 (NLT) is encouraging the church to participate in what God is doing. And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.
1. Prayer Helps others. Paul said the prayers of others were very helpful to him. There will be times when there is nothing else you can do for someone but pray. Let this verse encourage you. Prayers are helpful.
2. Paul Urged believers to pray for him. Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:30 (NLT) That’s how huge prayer is.
3. People will Give thanks for the working of God in their lives and the lives of others. “…many people will give thanks.”
4. Who doesn’t want the favor of God in their life? No one! How Encouraging is it to know that your prayers play a role in someone experiencing the favor of God.
Once again, let’s be honest. Wouldn’t you want someone to be praying for God’s favor in your life? Then why not pray for others?
Spend some time and meditate on these verses. You will be glad you did.
Because Prayer is H.U.G.E.
Conflict. Simple as that. We all love conflict. What has given conflict a bad rap is the amount of disrespect that tends to come with it.
My daughter Savannah took some sports classes in college and one of her assignments was to keep up with what was being talked about.
So she became an avid watcher of First Take. Two guys vehemently disagreeing, but at the same time, a total absence of disrespect. That is the secret sauce. And she absolutely loved the show.
The Bible offers this healthy, practical advice; Show proper respect to all people. 1 Peter 2:17 (NIV)
When you have conflict with disrespect you have drama. And while drama may be popular on TV, it doesn’t play well in real life.
So the next time you find yourself in the middle of a conflict acknowledge the value of the other person and act accordingly.
Actually you will enjoy it more. Conflict without disrespect. Try it!
Being human means you know all about slander and false accusations. Kids do it, teens do it, and even adults do it. And yes, it hurts despite the famous words, Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
Our three natural responses include:
1. Accuse back.
2. Blow up and loudly protest.
3. Attempt to vindicate ourselves.
For some reason, those just don’t seem to do the job. So what do we do?
The seventh Psalm provides some insight. David, the king of Israel, has been the recipient of slander and false accusations. And it hurt. So what does he do? Let’s break it down into three parts.
1. He turned to God. Growing up we sang a song with the words “take it to the Lord in prayer.” So easy, yet not always our first choice.
Psalm 7:1 (ESV) O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge;
save me from all my pursuers and deliver me,..
2. He told God how he felt. David knew in his heart that he was not guilty of the accusations. Yes, God already knows, but it will help you immensely and will also reinforce to you the lack of validity in the false accusations. One of the results will be less emotional hurt. That’s what prayer does. It allows God to bear some of your pain.
Psalm 7:3-4 (ESV) O Lord my God, if I have done this,
if there is wrong in my hands,
4 if I have repaid my friend with evil
or plundered my enemy without cause,
3. Finally, David trusted God. There was really nothing he could do, but leave it in God’s hands.
If you will do all three, you’ll feel better. I love the way David finished.
Psalm 7:17 (ESV) I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness,
and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.
He stressed getting on the job early and going over what had to be done for the day. The reasoning was simple. If the crew and I showed up right at starting time, the crew would stand around while I got my game plan together. That equals wasted time and wasted money on wages.
Then when the day was over hang around a little. Reflect, walk around, and survey what needs to be done the following day. In all honesty I tended to continue to think about work long after I had left the job.
In construction it’s so common for the guys to pull up right at starting time. In their minds they should get paid to get their tools out of their cars, take five minutes to get on the building, and have a few minutes of conversation. Then when quitting time came they flew off the building as if they were going to a fire. Go figure. If they were asked to work five minutes extra they balked.
Which simply means that if you arrive first, or at least early, and leave last, or at least hang around a few minutes, you will set yourself apart from the crowd.
To this day it’s almost impossible for me not to arrive first and leave last. For years it was ingrained into me, and I’m thankful that today it remains a core value.
Let me illustrate from football, especially since the Super Bowl is on everyone’s mind. In a recent post I referred to the 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. He has gone from backup to a sensational starter.
In midseason Coach Harbaugh made a change. He benched the starting quarterback and put in Kaepernick.
And it was not because Alex Smith was doing a poor job. Of course, all kinds of discussions abounded on all the sports networks. Was it the right move or not?
Like any coach, Harbaugh is relentless about upgrading the team, even when the team is winning.
So why the switch? Winning the division is one thing, winning the conference championship is another, but the Super Bowl is the ultimate win.
Here is the reason Harbaugh made the change. He knew that nothing matters more than getting the right player on the field and in the right position.
Jack Welch in his book Winning says he looked for three things in people he wanted to hire.
1. Integrity – truthful, dependable, authentic, and able to admit mistakes. Kaepernick does well here.
2. Intelligence – for Kaepernick he must be able to read defenses, understand complex looks on the defense, be able to audible and call the right play, and keep on learning.
3. Maturity – think about it. He is on national TV, you will get behind at times in a game, there will be lots of stress, mistakes will be made, interceptions will be thrown, etc.
Soon after the change had been made the 49ers started the game with the ball, but Kaepernick threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. So right off the bat he throws a pick and the other team takes the lead. How did he respond? With integrity, he admitted his mistake. With intelligence, he didn’t throw a pick after that one. Maturity, he kept his head in the game and led the team on to a victory.
While this in no way indicates that the 49ers are a one man team, but it does illustrate the necessity of getting the right players onto the field if winning is the objective.