Your Marriage CAN be Saved: #12

(Bolles Harbor) 

If you were to ask Linda or myself as to what’s one of the most important things to do in marriage we would answer: to confess to one another and then to forgive one another. 

Up until the age of 21 I “confessed” very few things to other people. As a little child, and even in my early teens, I occasionally admitted that there were things I was wrong about. But from my mid-teens on I stopped doing this. I never told another person I was wrong, and never told another person the words “I am sorry.”

This all changed for me when I became a follower of Jesus. When I began dating Linda and realized I was falling in love with her, there was one night when we argued. It was our first significant disagreement (and neither of us can remember what it was all about). In my own small mind I viewed myself as a very powerful arguer. After all, I was studying logic and philosophy! I was angry at Linda, because she didn’t agree with me!!

And then something happened. God told me “John, you are wrong, and you know it.” I thought, “God, you are right about this.” But since I was not the sort of person to ever admit I was wrong, that being a weak thing to do, I just kept on arguing against Linda. As I think back on this I remember how I was arguing and verbally beating her down and then a new thought came to me, which was: why not just admit you are wrong? This was, for me, the equivalent of – why not just go and get ten root canals?

Stop here for just a moment. Why not just do that? What could possibly stop a person from doing that? The answer: pride and/or fear. In my troubled state of mind I thought that if I admit I am wrong she will disown me and leave me, and I did not want this to happen because I “loved” her. But then the thought came to me that, if I admit I am wrong and she does want anything more to do with me, then I need to find this out now before we get married.

So I said words that were by me rarely spoken: “Linda, you are right and I am wrong about this thing. I am sorry. Will you forgive me?” And she said, “yes, I forgive you.” And then we laughed. I laughed until I cried and it was like a release inside me. It was like entering into a whole new world where pride and ego means nothing and all that counts is speaking the truth in love. She forgave me. Like God in Christ has forgiven us. And we only remember the laughter, and have let go of the offense.

If your marriage is in trouble, why don’t YOU begin by identifying things in you that are causing pain to your spouse. Make a list of them. Be specific. Then go to them, and enumerate them, and after each one ask your spouse for forgiveness. If they give it to you (which they should), you are moving in the right direction. If they withhold forgiveness from you, then I invite you to come to my church this Sunday morning as I speak about this stuff. Or go and talk with your pastor and ask for help. Or, finally, call the best marriage counselors in the area – Person to Person Resources in Perrysburg, Ohio.

Your Marriage CAN Be Saved: #11

(MCCC)

Renner’s tenth thing a husband should never do is this.

“Never forget your wife’s birthday or wedding anniversary! Excuse me for repeating this point, but it’s important. Men who consistently forget these two important dates and yet expect their marriage relationship to stay healthy are either ignorant or stupid. These are special dates in your wife’s mind. Remembering her birthday tells you that you are thinking of her. Remembering your wedding anniversary tells you that you deeply care about your relationship with her.”

(Over a period of 37 years Linda and I have counseled several hundred marriages in a variety of situations ranging from “need a tune-up” to “in cardiac arrest.” While we have at times wondered if a certain marriage would make it, we admit to having never met a marriage that we thought could not be saved and made better.)

Your Marriage CAN Be Saved: #10

(Plank Road)

Renner’s ninth thing a husband should never do is this.

“Never dishonor your wife in front of your children. She is their mother, and they need to be taught to respect and honor her. If you treat your wife like a joke in front of the kids, they will treat her in the same way. Dishonoring her and arguing with her before the children discredits her in their eyes. Do you want her to scold you and rebuke you in fron of your children? Wouldn’t you prefer that she express her disagreements with you in private? Then show her the same consideration that you want her to show you.”

When Linda and I meet a man who disrespects women it is almost always the case that he saw his own father openly disrespected his mother.

(Over a period of 37 years Linda and I have counseled several hundred marriages in a variety of situations ranging from “need a tune-up” to “in cardiac arrest.” While we have at times wondered if a certain marriage would make it, we admit to having never met a marriage that we thought could not be saved and made better.)

Your Marriage CAN Be Saved: #9

 (Bolles Harbor)

Renner’s eighth thing a husband should never do is this.

“Never lie to your wife or tell a half-truth to cover your tracks. Honesty must be the foundation of your relationship. If you violate her trust by lying to her and she discovers it, your act of deception will affect her ability to trust you in the future. Therefore, if you really love your wife, always level with her and be honest. It may be difficult for her to hear what you have to say, but at least she will know you are being honest with her. If she discovers you have been lying to her, this will result in a far greater hurt than if you honestly admit what you have done wrong.”

(Over a period of 37 years Linda and I have counseled several hundred marriages in a variety of situations ranging from “need a tune-up” to “in cardiac arrest.” While we have at times wondered if a certain marriage would make it, we admit to having never met a marriage that we thought could not be saved and made better.)

Your Marriage CAN Be Saved: #8

(My back yard)

Renner’s seventh thing a husband should never do is this.

“Never make sexual innuendos about your wife in front of others. This is not only disrespectful, it is deeply offensive to a wife. Your sexual relationship is a time of intimacy that is to be shared only between the two of you. Therefore, when you make jokes about it or talk about it in front of others, you are humiliating your wife and making her feel cheap. This is certainly not a way to cherish her or to treat her like a treasure!”

The word “intimacy” is often translated, accurately I think, as “into me, see.” In marriage the physical act of sexual intercourse is, at its best, the tip of an iceberg (sorry for the ‘cold’ metaphor!) that is 10% physical and 90% spiritual and emotional. The sex act in marriage is greatest when grounded in a marital lifestyle of voluntary self-revealing between husband and wife. Husbands, your wife wants you not simply as some sex object but wants you as her best friend and spiritual companion. Spending time sharing the depths of your heart to her and listening to what’s going on in her heart will make the marital sex-act far more fulfilling to her, and to you as well.

(Over a period of 37 years Linda and I have counseled several hundred marriages in a variety of situations ranging from “need a tune-up” to “in cardiac arrest.” While we have at times wondered if a certain marriage would make it, we admit to having never met a marriage that we thought could not be saved and made better.)

Your Marriage CAN Be Saved: #7

(Downtown Monroe)

Renner’s sixth thing a husband should never do is this.

“Never compare your wife to another woman. She wants to be the one and only woman in your life, so comparing her to another woman is not wise and shows disrespect. Do you want her to compare you to other men? I don’t think so.”

While I am far from perfect, I do not believe I have ever done this to Linda, publicly or privately. Linda and I, on the other hand, have met a lot of women who are trying to lose weight or wrinkles or whatever to “get their husbands to love them.” A common explanation for ths is that the husband has compared his wife unfavorably to another woman. Wives, there is really no way to “get your husband to love you” if he does not. The Christian standard here for husbands is high: “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave his life for her.” (Ephesians 5:25) In marriage, the only valid comparison a husband or wife is to make is to Christ. And in that, we all fall short; and in that, we have the highest standard to shoot for in our marriages.

(Over a period of 37 years Linda and I have counseled several hundred marriages in a variety of situations ranging from “need a tune-up” to “in cardiac arrest.” While we have at times wondered if a certain marriage would make it, we admit to having never met a marriage that we thought could not be saved and made better.)

Irrational 911 Conspiracy Theories Debunked on the History Channel

A few Monroe-area people have been trying to resurrect the idea that 911 was a conspiracy led by President Bush. Tonight, on The History Channel, this idea is debunked. The History Channel’s website explains that “911 Conspiracies: Fact or Fiction”…

…”Examines the various conspiracy theories espoused on the Internet, in articles and in public forums that attempt to explain the 9/11 attacks. It includes theories that the World Trade Center was brought down by a controlled demolition; that a missile, not a commercial airliner, hit the Pentagon; and that members of the U.S. government orchestrated the attacks in hopes of creating a war in the Middle East. Each conspiracy argument is countered by a variety of experts in the fields of engineering, intelligence and the military. The program also delves into the anatomy of such conspiracies and how they grow on the Internet.”

Tonight at 9 PM, and at midnight, and probably it will be aired at other times.

(I took this picture at the 911 Memorial in NYC last June.)

Your Marriage CAN Be Saved: #6

 

(The old quarry in Monroe)

Renner’s fifth thing a husband should never do is this.

“Never walk in front of your wife. Husbands are notorious for walking in front of their wives, and their wives detest it. Too often men act as if they are racing when they walk, usually leaving their wives to walk five to fifteen feet behind them. Now, I understand that you may think your wife walks too slowly, but what is the use of racing in front of her if you must stop, turn around, and wait for her to catch up with you? It takes the same amount of time to get to your destination, whether you walk alongside your wife or you walk ahead and then wait for her. So take your wife’s hand, and discipline yourself to walk by her side. You’ll shock her by doing this!”

I have found that most couples, early on in dating, do this. They walk hand in hand all the time, and they walk slower. Just being with one another is a great joy. Commonly, this experience fades. The antidote is: keep tending the fires of marriage. For example, Linda and I (in our 35th year of marriage) still date. Last Friday night our date was at Weber’s in Ann Arbor for prime rib! Husbands, be creative in the ways you can express your constant and abiding love to your wife. Do life together.

(Over a period of 37 years Linda and I have counseled several hundred marriages in a variety of situations ranging from “need a tune-up” to “in cardiac arrest.” While we have at times wondered if a certain marriage would make it, we admit to having never met a marriage that we thought could not be saved and made better.)

Your Marriage CAN Be Saved: #5

(MCCC)

Renner’s fourth thing a husband should never do is this. 

“Never tell your wife that you don’t have time for her. Even if your schedule is packed, look for time to be with her. She married you because she loves you and wants to be with you. When you consistently make time for everyone in your life except your wife, you are making avery big mistake. If needed, cancel something in your schedule so you can give attention to this most important relationship in your life.”

Years ago I made my life priorities these:

1 – First, love God and stay in close relationship with God.

2 – Love Linda next.

3 – Love my children.

4 – In fourth place is my job/work.

5 – all other things fall below #s 1-4.

I was once counseled to never let #4 or anything below it get ahead of #s 1 – 3. I have tried my best to do that. I find it a wonderful way to live. To live with priorities 1 through 3 solidly in place is to have a successful life. “Success,” in marriage, is coming to the end of your life and having your wife and children with you and love you, and you them. At that time all the other stuff and things one has accumulated in life and all the other accompishments of life fade into relative insignificance, which is their proper and actual place.

Focus and work on life’s most important things; viz., your relationships with God and spouse and family.

(Over a period of 37 years Linda and I have counseled several hundred marriages in a variety of situations ranging from “need a tune-up” to “in cardiac arrest.” While we have at times wondered if a certain marriage would make it, we admit to having never met a marriage that we thought could not be saved and made better.)