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NEEDED at HOME: A Spirit of Gentleness

I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Eph 4:1-3)

Annoyances. Frustrations. Disagreements. Misunderstandings. Short tempers.

If you're human, you can relate. And because human homes are made up of human beings, the atmosphere of our homes is sometimes polluted with relational smog. In such moments, the last word on our minds may be "gentleness."

Of the many prophecies Jesus fulfilled, consider this one:

___ He will not quarrel or cry aloud, _____ nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; ___ a bruised reed he will not break, _____ and a smoldering wick he will not quench. (Matt 12:19-20)

Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). It is "put on" by those who have dedicated themselves to holiness (Col 3:12). It is a sign of growth in character. The gentle man or woman has left behind childish foolishness (Tit 3:3) and is manifesting maturity in the determination to "speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, to show perfect courtesy toward all people" (Tit 3:2). In other words, gentleness doesn't "come naturally." Gentleness is a choice. The choice to walk in the footsteps of our Savior. Who did not quarrel. Whose voice did not echo in unrighteous anger from across the street. Who did not maliciously break the broken reed or selfishly quench the smoldering wick.

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Around the Web (5/29)

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Around the Web (4/24)

My Modern Met gives us an idea how the night sky would look if the planets were as close as the moon.

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God Notices the Little Things. Do We?

And [Jesus] sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on." (Mark 12:41-44)

God notices and appreciates the little things. Little things are powerful. They can accumulate to have positive and negative impacts on our homes.

Little things affect our marriages. Most husband-wife relationships that have grown to be strained are not so because of one-time, massive, easily-identifiable "meteors" that suddenly and unexplainably fell out of the marital sky. Most of the significant problems we experience in our marriages can be attributed to the multiplication of the little things---a selfish choice here, rude disregard there. Attitudes produce actions. Actions evolve into habits. Habits undeniably impact life at home. Given enough time, the little things can snowball and cause serious damage at the very foundation of a marriage.

Children who are not taught to appreciate and participate in the little things are set by their parents on a trajectory of ingratitude and self-centeredness. Mom is not the maid. Dad is not the ATM. Children are not entitled to everything their hearts desire, nor should they be treated as immune to sacrifice or free from accountability. When the little things are taken for granted, erosion of the heart is experienced that can eventually lead to devastating consequences.

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The Weight of Anxiety

Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. (Prov 12:25)

The weight of anxiety can affect life at home. This weight comes to settle on big and little shoulders for a variety of reasons: an upcoming test at school, problems on the playground, a job-performance review, an impending business trip, an unpleasant confrontation, sickness, financial strain---these weights are real and carrying them can be difficult.

When our hearts are weighed down, it's easy to "take it out" on the people we love the most. Throughout the day, at school or at work, we may do a pretty good job of balancing the weight and keeping our spirits under control... until we get home. Then, we find it all too easy to be grumpy, mean, and hurtful with our families.

Anxiety in a man's heart may weigh him down, but "a good work makes him glad."

  • Dads: it was a long day. What about deliberately reflecting on "a good word" before you open the front door?
  • Moms: it was a long day. What about intentionally taking a moment to pray for patience before the chaos of the evening has the opportunity to hit critical mass?
  • Teenagers: it was a long day. What about carefully checking your attitude before your interaction with Mom and Dad takes a negative turn?
  • Kids: it was a long day. What about looking for little ways you could help out and pick up after yourself before things get crazy around the house?

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Protect Your Marriage by Establishing Boundaries

Boundaries to Protect Your Marriage

I was asked to contribute this article for the January 2013 (“Stopping Divorce”) issue of Pressing On, an e-magazine for growing Christians. If you haven’t already subscribed, you’re missing out on some great monthly content.

Boundaries to Protect Your Marriage

“The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it” (Prov 22:3).

You never get used to it. The tears. The excuses. The perplexed looks that reflect shattered hearts.

I’ve sat and wept and prayed with far too many broken men and crushed women who wish they had established and respected safeguards in the past to protect their marriages that are disintegrating in the present. I’ve never sat or wept or prayed with a faithful spouse or fulfilled couple who regretted having established and respected marital boundaries. Guardrails don’t inhibit happiness; they lead to and protect happiness.

The prudent recognize the dangerous threats of the modern world to their marriages and hide themselves behind boundaries of wisdom and mutual respect.

The simple scoff. “It’ll never happen to me.” “No one’s gonna tell me what to do.” “If my wife doesn’t like it, she can get over it.” “That part of my life is none of my husband’s business.” The simple scoff and go on, but they and their marriages eventually suffer for it.

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Around the Web (5/25)

“Ancient” Bethlehem seal unearthed in Jerusalem – Israeli archaeologists have discovered what they claim to be a 2,700-year-old seal that bears the inscription “Bethlehem.” Shmuel Achituv, an expert in ancient scripts at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University, said the discovery was the oldest ...

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A Baby Won't Fix It

Some wise words for couples from Justin Davis: In 1998, Trisha and I moved from Saint Charles, Illinois to Kokomo, Indiana. This move–in my mind–would be the move that made everything better. Our son Micah was two years old, Trisha ...

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