There’s Still Fire in Furnace!

This week, I had the joy of speaking with a man who has been married for over 60 years, and he said, “There’s still fire in the furnace!” My sweetheart and I will be celebrating our 40th anniversary in June, and we’re still stoking the fire, too!

How do you keep “the fire in the furnace” so your marriage does not grow cold and lifeless? Well, here’s a few tips that I hope will help. I’m sure I have shared some of these in previous posts, but we need to be reminded again and again to keep putting another log on the fire!

  1. Work at your marriage every day.

Don’t let a day go by without kissing each other (ban the peck!), holding each other, complimenting each other, eating a meal together, sharing your heart with each other, and don’t let someone or something come between you; especially your children!

  1. Do the little things.
  • Leave little love notes around the house or in the car or in his suitcase if he travels.
  • Bring home a candy bar for him or a dozen roses for her.
  • Hold hands.
  • Send a text message telling each other how much you love each other.
  • Husbands, seat your wife at the table and open the car door for her.
  • Speak well of each other in front of the children.
  • Pray together.
  • Read the Word together.
  • Flirt with your spouse, and only your spouse!!!
  1. Date once-a-week. 
  • Starbucks and play a game.
  • Pizza on china plates after the kids go to bed.
  • A drive through the country with the windows down, a picnic basket, blanket, and your favorite romantic music as you head to that secluded spot along the creek, in the mountains, or just down the road.
  • Movie and popcorn.
  • A stroll around the neighborhood, hand-in-hand, talking about why you love each other.
  • Share a sundae at Sonic and smooch like you did when you were dating!  (And we know you did.)
  1. Have fun!  
  • Don’t be a fuddy dud, a kill-joy!
  • Laugh at yourself!
  • Walk in the Spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control)
  • Enjoy each other; enjoy being with each other; your spouse should be your first choice always as your dearest companion.
  • Stop at Chickfila, get an ice cream cone and sit outside under the umbrella tables. Enjoy sharing just the one cone!
  1. Wherever you go, make it an event.
  • Make even walking through the grocery store or the mall with your spouse a fun time!
  • When you leave the house, tell each other how good they look!
  • Serve one another.
  • Make meal time, especially supper, a well-thought out time even with the children.  Be intentional.
  • Pay attention to each other.
  • Serve together at church; put your whole heart into worship; wear it out!!
Love is...Color Monday 2 December 2019 | Artful Asprey Cartoons

May I encourage you to take inventory of your marriage? Be humble.  Be honest.  What needs to change?  God didn’t create marriage for man and woman to be miserable.  As I heard years ago, “Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional.”  You will have hard times in marriage, but choose joy.  Put these five things to practice by God’s grace and enjoy the grace gift of marriage for a long time to come!!

Go ahead; add another log on the fire right now! Keep the furnace hot!

Husband! Your Wife Needs You!

How does she need you? She is longing, perhaps crying out in prayer, for you to be her loving, servant leader daily pointing her to Christ.

How many times I have seen the wife leading the home because the husband will not take the lead. Sometimes the husband wants to lead but his wife won’t let him. Neither are submissive to God first so they can live out Ephesians 5:18-33.

Could it be, men, that you are making decisions all day at work, and you are just worn out and weary of that role when you get home? Maybe the home you grew up in did not manifest this kind of leadership. Perhaps you will be willing to say, “I need help before I can help lead my wife.” May I offer some suggestions?

The best way for a man to lead his wife is through a discipling model. What does that look like? Let’s consider one aspect of that today with more to come in future blogposts.

Disciple your wife in the Word of God.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body (Ephesians 5:25-30).

Understanding that what I am about to describe to you will not happen, the following scenario motives me to loving discipleship of my precious wife. Using the analogy from the Ephesians passage above, just as the Church will one day, indeed, be presented to Christ in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, I picture myself holding my wife in my arms (which I still can do, btw) and presenting her to Christ, a lady who has been nourished and cherished in discipleship by me, her husband. I long to “present” my wife, my bride, to the Lord having done all to point her to Christ; to have given her every opportunity to grow in Christ; to have encouraged her in every way to be like Christ.

Leading my wife to Christ is the most important part of being her husband. In eternity, all the temporal things given to her will not matter (Proverbs 31:30; Matthew 6:33; Colossians 3:1-4).

Husbands, consider the following suggestions:

  • As you read and study the Word, be sure to share with your wife what God has been teaching you.
  • You could read a devotional book together in the morning before you head off for work. If your departure time is before she gets up, then call her on your first break and read the devo on the phone or read a portion of God’s Word on the phone and discuss it.
  • Take your wife to church every Sunday so she can hear the Word preached.
  • Read a good book together; perhaps one on marriage, prayer, communication, conflict.
  • Make sure she attends a ladies’ conference periodically to be refreshed, revived, and encouraged in her walk with God.
  • Participate in a small group Bible study today. Even if your wife has been a believer longer than you have, she needs you to lead her spiritually.
  • Don’t leave Christ at home when you go on vacation. Make your vacation a time of revival and renewal in your walk with the Lord. Choosing a Bible preaching church on Sunday is more important than your choice of vacation spot, restaurants and recreation.
  • Bring your wife her coffee, etc. in the morning so she can be encouraged to be in the Word.
  • Perhaps you have your “man-cave,” but make sure she has her place where she meets with the Lord every day.

Husbands, your wife needs you! Begin by discipling her today, leading her to Christ.

(The lake picture is taken from a house where Denise and I have the blessed grace privilege of going periodically to meet with the Lord to pray, study and grow together.)

Huh?

Communication!  Wow!  For 5 1/2 years this has been more of a challenge than it has ever been in our marriage.  Why?  Because of my hearing.  Now, I am guilty at times of the “selective hearing syndrome” that we men seem to contract in older years.  In all seriousness, my hearing is declining hampered in my left ear especially, and with my wife’s soft voice, . . . oh, brother!

One of most needed areas of constant attention in a marriage is communication.  How interesting that I make a living talking, yet the lack of communication has been such a struggle for me in our marriage.  I can talk the “hind legs off of a mule” but struggle to interact consistently with my precious wife.  So, in a transparent fashion, I hope to help us in a crucial area of marriage.

Why do we as men need to take time, to make the effort to listen, to talk, and to thoroughly communicate with our wife?

 1.  Our wives need the security of our listening ear.

They want to know that what matters to them matters to us.  They want to know that they are more important than Joe at work, Josh Heupel in his orange and white, and Michaels and Collingsworth on Sunday night!   For many wives, if they are moms at home with little ones, all they have had all day is communication on a three and/or five year olds level.  They need adult interaction when the hubs gets home without his iPhone, iPad and other distractions.

  • Ephesians 5:23 – God intends for the man to be the head, the leader in the home. Wives find security in our loving, servant leadership.  One of the greatest ways you can serve your wife in a Christlike fashion is to talk and listen to her.  Doesn’t Christ always listen to us?

 2.  Our wives want to know what we are thinking because they love us and intimacy is very dear to them.

  • 1 Peter 3:7 – We will begin to understand our wives when we open up to them because they will feel free to share their heart since you have been open, honest and transparent with them.

 

3.  Our wives need to hear communication that glorifies God.

  • 1 Corinthians 10:31 – or whatsoever you do includes our communication with our spouse.
  • Ephesians 4:25 – Our wife is our neighbor and we are members one of another if we are born again believers.
  • Ephesians 4:29 – Good, grace-filled communication that edifies the hearer glorifies God.

Please do me a favor.  Don’t make excuses or think my comments are one-sided.  I realize it takes two to make a marriage, but the point of it all is, God expects us to lead and live with our wives as loving, serving leaders.  Begin by simply taking 10-15 minutes-a-day to look at each other, no distractions, and listen to each other; talk to each other.  By the way, remember when you were dating?  Both of you would hang onto every word . . . even when you didn’t have anything to say on the phone, you just loved to hear each other breathe!!!  🙂

Get honest on your knees before God.  Ask Him to give you strength, ears to hear, words to say, a humble spirit and a passion to glorify God.

I reckon I’d better turn up my hearing aids!! 🙂

Men and Women Text Differently – Tim Hawkins brings some humor to it all.  Enjoy this short video. K?

Marriage Moment #3

Men, Kroger’s can be a real help to your marriage!

On my way home from running this morning, I stopped to buy bananas and to check our their floral department. They have the best roses for a great price . . . $10. Sometimes they run a special for $8.

Knowing that my wife was preparing for a supper guest, our oldest daughter, she would want some fresh flowers on the table.

Men, let me share a thought with you. Always look at the clearance flowers in a bucket or two usually by the floral prep desk. Yessssss! There they were! Two buckets full of fall flowers; two kinds of sunflowers in a bunch for $1.99 each!!

The marriage moment came when I arrived home with my find for my sweetheart. She met me with joy and appreciation as she was in the middle of preparing a live arrangement for the dining room table. The finished project can be seen above.

You see, men, this moment stretched into all day as these flowers stood as an anchor to this arrangement and a testament to thoughtfulness, love, beauty, care, and . . . just because. And, all it took was a stop at Kroger’s and $4. My wife doesn’t mind that I sometimes go after the clearance items because it is all a part of continuing to build and work at our marriage which is more important.

Husbands, what marriage moments have you created this week for your beloved?

By the way, men, I’ll see you at Kroger’s! The flower department is usually near the produce department.

Taking the Scenic Route in Marriage #10

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Biking the Greenbelt, Kingsport, TN

“Enjoying the Pleasures; Avoiding the Potholes”

On the scenic route through the mountains, especially the Blue Ridge Parkway, you will see many folks riding their bikes.  These guys and gals are fit and trim.  They are dressed for action and prepared for the long haul.

I will probably get myself in trouble here, but husbands, are you still your wife’s prince, her knight in shining armor?

Have you looked at any of your wedding pictures lately?  Who are those people?

At our wedding I wore a white tux with tails, or as Jerry Clower would have called it, “a claw-hammer tail coat.”  Standing 6’2” and weighing 185 pounds, I looked like a Good Humor Ice Cream salesmen.  My sweet wife . . . 4’9” and weighed under 100 pounds.

The years went by and my wife began to see more and more of me.  Ugh! Not good. Eventually almost 100 pounds of me!  She on the other hand has given birth to three children and today is still under a 100 pounds.

Men, once we get our gal, why do we let ourselves deteriorate physically?  Do we not respect her and the Lord enough to take care of our bodies?

Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body, and in 9:27, But I discipline my body and keep it under control.  And then John in 3 John 2, Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. Then in 1 Timothy 4:8, Paul once again exhorts us, For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Husbands, you need to be your wife’s protection, pillow and partner (Blog Posts #4 -#9), but also her prince!

In this age of fast food, video games, busyness of life and “feeding” our emotions, it is so easy to get lazy, overweight, and out-of-shape.  It takes discipline, planning, and sweat to exercise yourself unto godliness and good health. Your testimony and your wife are worth it!

Husbands, begin to exercise and eat right. Deny yourself.  Join up with your wife on a plan to work together to get healthy, eat healthy and stay heathy. Be honest with each other and encourage each other for your good and God’s glory!

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Husbands, dress for your wife.  When you are home, don’t look like a bum.  Your wife is there and your kids.  You can be casual without looking like you just stepped out of a dirty laundry basket.

Yes, the inner man must be renewed day-by-day, but our outward man is a reflection of what’s going on in our heart.

Something that I have appreciated about my wife from the very beginning is that she wants to look good for me.  She has said many times, “I do not dress for me but for you.”  I should reciprocate. She has eyes, too.  She is my princess.

Also, men, in being a prince to your wife, have good manners at the dinner table (1 Corinthians 10:31).  You should be the last to be served and the first to want to serve.  You should seat your wife at the table.  Put away your cell phones and talk to each other. You take the lead in prayer or calling on someone to pray; on having family devotions at the table if that is a good time for you.

Last of all, men, in being your wife’s prince, be polite.  Read Ruth 2 and take note of how polite and kind Boaz was to Ruth.  She was impressed by his gracious actions.

A prince draws his wife to himself by his kind words and deeds.  Speak well of your wife in public, tell her how much she means to you, let her know that you are paying attention to her, and be sure to often speak the words “I love you.”

Recently, I have added biking to my running routine.  No, I am not planning on riding the Blue Ridge Parkway for any great distance, but I am trying to do what I have encouraged you to do, men.  It’s for God’s glory and for my wife.

We are in it for the long haul.

Keeping Your Marriage Fresh – Part 2

Dale & Denise

So what did you do yesterday to add some freshness to your marriage?  Here’s six more suggestions to help you get fresh with each other!

  1. Work at your marriage every day. Marriage is never static; it never runs on auto-pilot.  You are either making deposits or withdrawals.  It’s the little things you do each day that make the big things you do, big!  Little things like:
  • A love note on the bathroom mirror (dry erase marker).
  • Opening the car door for your wife.
  • A wink across the room.
  • A dance step or two on Aisle 5 at Kroger’s when you hear a love song being played.
  • A lingering kiss on the curb of the parking lot before leaving the restaurant or on the porch just as you arrive home from that romantic date night. (Be sure to ask the hostess for a corner table)
  • Saying, “I love you.”
  1. Read books about marriage. Men, it has been said, “Leaders are readers.” Since you are the leader in your relationship, I recommend a new book by Robert Wolgemuth, Like the Shepherd, Leading Your Marriage With Love and Grace.   Ladies, my wife suggests the book What’s It Like to Be Married to Me?: And Other Dangerous Questions by Linda Dillow.
  2. Put down your smartphone and talk. Enough said.
  3. Have a set time for the children to go to bed. They are precious souls, but they can be a major hindrance to a healthy marriage.  They need their rest; your marriage needs your undivided attention.  By the way, make sure the kiddos sleep in their own bed . . . not with you.  One day you will have to say “good-bye” to them.  When you do, you want a fresh marriage not a “and who are you?” marriage.
  4. Get out of that rut! If you have been married for any length of time, there’s the potential for a rut-marriage.  So make some plans to be creative.
  • Try some different foods for supper.
  • Take a different route home; not the logical way. Enjoy the journey.
  • Sit on the same side of the booth at a restaurant.
  • Do something wild & crazy!
  • Enjoy intimacy at a different time of the day . . . make it a surprise!
  1. Take care of yourself. As you age, things start to shift and your body changes.   Watch what you eat.  Exercise.  Stay healthy.

Marriage is a grace gift from God.  Be sure to steward this gift in a way that will glorify Him and encourage your spouse.  The Lord will help you if you seek His face.  He wants your marriage to be the best.

So, stay fresh by getting’ fresh with each other, again.  If you need further inspiration, read Song of Solomon.

Marriage Matters: Little Things

Be Kind to Your Husband

Years ago I heard a song written by John Barber, “Little Things,” that I have never forgotten.  Within its lyrics you find, “Baby, it’s the little things that make me love you so.” Many, many times I have quoted that line to my wife. Let me quickly say that a good marriage takes work and attention every day.  A good marriage is not made up of a big Valentine’s Day gift or a huge birthday gift or an abundance of Christmas gifts.  A good marriage is made up of the little things that are done every day for your spouse; the little things that say, “I love you; I’ve been thinking of you.”

  • A text from work that reminds your spouse why they are so special to you.
  • Their favorite morning beverage brought to them right after they get up.
  • While they are in the shower on a cold, winter day, take their towel, put it in the dryer, and return it to them when they get out of the shower.
  • Write “I Love You” on the bathroom mirror with a dry-eraser marker.
  • Stop in the middle of the grocery store and enjoy a kiss right there on Aisle Four!
  • Just enjoy being with each other. Have fun.  Be all there in the moment.
  • Have prayer together before you leave for work.
  • Hold hands while you are worshipping in song in your local church.
  • When the invitation is given in your church at the end of the sermon, respond together by going to the altar and meet there with the Lord.
  • Sit together after kids have gone to bed and talk to one another for at least ten minutes.
  • Husband, seat your wife at the table and open the car door for her, even when you have children. They are watching and learning from you.
  • Look adoring at one another, a wink, a smile when you’re in the car or walking into the restaurant.

What little things have you done today?  Does your spouse know you really love him/her?  “Baby, it’s the little things.”

You have ravished my heart,
My sister, my spouse;
You have ravished my heart
With one look of your eyes,
With one link of your necklace.
10 How fair is your love,
My sister, my spouse!
How much better than wine is your love,
And the scent of your perfumes
Than all spices!
11 Your lips, O my spouse,
Drip as the honeycomb;
Honey and milk are under your tongue;
And the fragrance of your garments
Is like the fragrance of Lebanon.

(Song of Solomon 4:9-11)

Friday Findings

Today, I’m sharing some links about marriage that I trust will be helpful.

Here’s a good follow-up to my post from yesterday: Marriage Matters More Than We Know

My wife shares some helpful tips from watching her parent’s marriage; Happy Marriage Secrets

Needing to get reconnected in your marriage?  Here’s a tip from Whitney: Connecting With Your Husband

What about submission? A Wife’s Submission Is Not

Sometimes you just need a little laughter! Andy Griffith Show – Convicts At Large