Sunday, October 22, 2006

Some Wisdom on Marriage from My Brothers

I led a session on marriage for men at our church’s men's retreat recently. Part of the session involved men sharing what they had learned in their married lives. There are some powerful lessons here.

Here are some of the items on my brothers’ list to of positive behaviors for husbands:

Break soul ties – the sexual revolution took many of us in with its lies and deceit. As a result we have soul connections to past lovers. We must break those “soul ties” by firmly renouncing them and repenting of those wrong connections.

Listen – we males tend to listen little and talk much. Often what our wives need is responsive, empathetic listening rather than our simple solutions.

Prayer – who has the time to pray daily with one’s wife? But if we will do it, we will find new deep new strength in our connection with God and with our wives.

Resolve anger quickly – “don’t let the sun go down on your anger” is good advice. We need to clear it out before the day ends. We must keep “short accounts” rather than unending lists of grievances.

Focus on the good – we men will do well to focus on the good things in our wives and concentrate on our areas of problems rather than the other way around.

Recognize our wives’ strengths and let them exercise them – marriage completes us, each half bringing strengths and weaknesses. If we will give our wives the encouragement to lead out where they are strong, we will together become stronger than the sum of our individual parts.

Look past the little things – there are many small issues that can trip us up. If we will “not sweat the small stuff” our marriages will be more peaceful and we can concentrate on the really important areas.

There are also some behaviors that we husbands must be certain to avoid as well:

Fixing problems – much of the time our wives don’t want us to fix their problems, they want us to really listen.

Quarreling – instead just wrap up your wife in a loving, non-sexual embrace and say “sorry.”

Manipulation – it’s easy to force behaviors through silence, withdrawal, emotional or physical intimidation. When the day comes that one’s wife wakes up to the realization that she has been manipulated, the marriage is in deep trouble.

Disloyalty – this comes even in seemingly unimportant behaviors like speaking ill or making jokes about one’s wife. When I hear a man do that, his stock falls like a stone in my book. But loyalty is also about keeping all of our affections for our wives.

Criticism – our wives tend to be much more sensitive than we men. What seems like a little criticism to us could be huge in their minds. We can easily crush our wives’ spirits. We must be very, very careful with criticism.

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