Archive for the ‘Marriage and Family’ Category

Try a Little Tenderness

Good words on being a husband from CREDENDA agenda:

“A husband must be hard in order to take on masculine responsibility. A husband must be soft in order to avoid crushing those for whom he is responsible. Maintaining these twin imperatives in balance requires great wisdom, far more than men may have apart from the grace of God.

Some men are all velvet—the kind Christ contemptuously dismissed as fit only for a life in politics. “But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses” (Matt. 11:8).

Other men are all brick, mostly between the ears. “Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb” (1 Sam. 25:3).

Other men prefer to alternate between the two. Brick when angry, abdicating velvet when covenantally lazy. These men do not even know what a covenant is. They manage to procure all the negative consequences of both kinds of sin. This is the kind of husband whose wife thinks he is a tyrant, although he has never made one clear decision in all their years together.

The Bible says that a husband must not be harsh or bitter with his wife (Col. 3:19). At the same time, the husband must provide godly strength and leadership. “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything” (Eph. 5:24). The problem is how to be hard enough to lead and soft enough . . . to lead.”

Read the rest here.

How a husband is to love his wife

When a husband grows dissatisfied with his marriage, he’ll often look to his wife and ask himself, “What’s wrong with her?”  But what he needs to do is look at his own life and consider whether he has been loving his wife as he is called to.

The Bible teaches us the way a husband loves his wife is foundational to the well being of a marriage.

How is it that a husband is to love his wife?  He is to love his wife just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Eph.5:25).  A tall order, indeed, but one that when followed will cause a marriage to thrive according to God’s design.

But what does it mean for a husband to love his wife as Christ loved the church?

First, it means he is to love her unconditionally.  When Jesus laid down His life for His people, He did not do it because there was any loveliness in them. They were depraved and without interest in Him.  But God showed His love in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom.5:8)

It’s in the same unconditional way that husbands are to love their wives.  A husband is not to love his wife because of any certain qualities about her.  He is to love her without reason at all.  Even if she is selfish, manipulative, or cold toward Him.  And with God’s Spirit working in his heart, he can.

Love and marriage

February 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day.  The day was originally named after several early Christian martyrs by the name of Valentine, and was established as a way to remember and encourage sacrificial love.   The association between romantic love and Valentine’s Day was not introduced until the fourteenth century.

Today, couples will typically observe Valentine’s Day with small gifts, flowers, chocolates, or a night out for dinner.    The observance of Valentine’s Day is an encouragement for most, but it does bring pain for many.

I’m thinking here mainly of those couples who realize that their marriage does not possess the love that it once did, or needs to.  The question for these couples becomes, “How can we find love in our marriage?”

I believe the answer to this question very much falls on the attitude and actions of the husband.

The Bible tells us that the husband is the head of the wife (Eph.5:23).  It does not tell us that the husband needs to be the head of his wife, but that he is.  This truth has many applications, most basic which is this:  wherever the head goes, the body will follow.

Many husbands will chart their course with their wives by reacting to her basic demeanor.  So, if she is generally chilly in the relationship, so will he.  But with this approach the relationship will likely remain cool, and probably get colder with time.

The husband needs to take another approach.  He needs to act like the head that he is.  He needs to continually approach his wife in a loving way — no matter what her demeanor.   Quite often, this is absolutely all that needs to be done. When a woman sees that her man truly does love her, she doesn’t only thaw, but warms up quite quickly.

So, how does a husband take such action, especially when he may be struggling with his own bitterness toward his wife?  By looking to Christ.

Christ is the model husband, and He demonstrates how to love in the way He gave Himself for His church.  As Christ initiated that kind of love for His bride, so is any husband for his.

A practical place to start is by looking to the great love chapter, where we are told what love is. . .

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,

does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,

does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

~ 1 Corinthains 13:4-7

Any husband can apply these verses to his own marriage in a multitude of ways.

When a husband takes the initiative to show a love that is constant toward his wife, there is great likelihood that love will flourish in the marriage in a way that not only satisfies both the husband and the wife, but brings glory to God as well.

Demographic winter

February 3, 2010 2 comments

One of the aspects of the dominion mandate is that man and woman would be fruitful and multiply.  That is, couples are supposed to have children.

Today, that command  clearly is not being followed as birthrates drop across the world.

A couple hundred years ago Thomas Malthus was warning that societies would not be able to sustain themselves due to unchecked population growth.   More recently, it’s been predicted that a population explosion would lead to mass starvation in a very short time.

None of this has materialized, and we actually have the opposite on our hands.

Worldwide, birthrates have declined by more than 50% in the past 30 years (since 1979). There are now 59 nations, with 44% of the world’s population, with below-replacement fertility.

If this keeps up, it will be devastating as many nations simply will be unable to keep up and sustain themselves.  They will effectively go out of business.

It’s not hard to see that this trend is the direct result of failing to obey God’s mandate to be fruitful and multiply.

Learn more about demographic winter.  It will change the way look at economics and children.

Marriage and the cross

January 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Marriages that thrive are those that have partners that know how to contain their own selfishness.  They know how to take up their own crosses in such away that they lay down their lives for one another in a meaningful way.   Those couples that live in such a way find that each partner ends up receiving far more than they would of if they were out to get for themselves.

From Douglas Wilson’s For a Glory and a Covering. . .

A godly marriage does not consist of this marital technique or that one.  A godly marriage occurs when a man and woman both die to themselves, and are raised to the life that seeks the best interest of the other in all things.  This is the only kind of godly marriage there is.  And when we give all away in this manner, we discover that we receive all.  We learn to give in order to receive, in order to be able to give some more.  And we are married to someone who is doing the same thing.

Bringing up children

October 13, 2009 1 comment

The Bible tells us that children are a blessing (Ps. 127:3), but for those in the midst of parenting, it’s often wondered how this can be, as bringing up children is one of the most challenging tasks on earth.

When you first begin as a parent you don’t know much of what you are doing. Then, when you get some experience, the children you are working with are older and are much less pliable. Fortunately, along with the assurance that children are a blessing, the Bible also gives us the instruction needed so that the blessing the Bible speaks of would be experienced in our homes.

The clearest of these instructions says this: “do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph.6:4). This short statement about parenting has two parts. It tells us what not to do, and and what to do.

First, what not to do. Do not provoke your children to anger (or, as some translations put it, do not exasperate them).

There are a number of ways a parent can exasperate their children. Some of the most common ways include ignoring them or failing to communicate with them, acting hypocritically or having a double standard toward them, or being too harsh or lenient with them.

Read more…

Family Life is Rooted Living

December 13, 2007 Leave a comment

“Modern man seeks rootlessness; his love of urban life is grounded in the desire for anonymity. When he shows a taste for rural life, it is not neighborliness and roots he seeks, but Nature, so that his anti-urban motives are as rootless as his urban life. The family means roots; it means relationships, responsibilities, children, parents, in-laws, relatives, and the rooted routine of a household.”

~ R. J. Rushdoony

Parents as Cultural Leaders

October 24, 2007 2 comments

Most parents have concerns over the influence of our culture on their children. They look at our present day world and dread the role it has in shaping their own flesh and blood.

Most parents also, however, overlook the role that they have as cultural leaders themselves. Consequently, they miss the opportunity to create a positive family culture that would help them retain the hearts of their children.

Every family has a culture. Each household has its way of looking at things and doing things. These include a variety of habits, expectations, standards, traditions, world views, and symbols. The sum of these attitudes and actions create a family’s culture.

What’s significant is that the culture a family has can bring about positive or negative consequences. It can build others up, or it can tear and wear them down. It can serve to attract or repel.

Because of this, it’s important to reflect upon your own family culture. What is the aroma of your household? Is it a sweet savor that draws people to it, or is it a sour stench that drives its occupants away?

How do the members of your family communicate? Are the words that are shared inclined to provoke anger or are they gracious as if seasoned with salt? Is the tone that prevails argumentative or peaceful?

Does your family have shared convictions? Or is every issue a free-for-all?

The answers to questions like these will help you better understand your own family culture.

In order to construct a positive family culture, there are three aspects that are worth keeping in mind – truth, beauty, and goodness. Together, these comprise the good life.

In our culture’s rebellion against God, it has forsaken truth for what works for the moment, beauty for false appearances, and goodness for self-gratification. But because we are made in God’s image, we continue to long for what is lasting and virtuous.

And this is where parents have a great opportunity through the culture that they create at home. Create an environment where truth and honesty is practiced, where beauty is treasured, and where goodness is demonstrated, and children will be attracted to it.

Over time they will see that the fads and trivialities of the world are not worth devoting oneself to. And they’ll see that Mom and Dad really do have something constructive to offer!

For every household, building a new family culture requires some reconstruction. It involves dismantling some old ways and raising up some new ones.

This requires grace and wisdom. And this is why Jesus is central to building a family culture that is winsome and robust.

Jesus Christ perfectly embodies the truth, beauty, and goodness that resonates with every human heart. And it is as we follow Him that we are able to embody these virtues ourselves – as individuals, families, churches, and eventually in the culture as a whole.

Reversing Marital Drift

October 23, 2007 2 comments

Anyone who has ever been married has experienced the drifting apart that can easily take place between spouses. Left unattended, this disconnectedness can lead to a host of problems which include depression, insecurity, resentment, infidelity, and divorce.

Though marital drift is common, the Bible gives much hope and direction for reversing it.

First off, the Bible reminds us that the primary purpose of marriage is companionship (Gen.2:18). When a man and woman are joined together in marriage, they establish a “covenant of companionship.” That is, they make a commitment to closely associate with one another – for life.

Too often husbands and wives are off doing their own thing, without any attachment to their spouse. When this occurs, it strikes at the very heart of what a marriage is all about. When a couple realizes it has fallen into this pattern, some simple steps are in order. Namely, spend more time talking with one another and doing things together!

The Bible also gives us worthwhile guidance regarding marital drift when it teaches that God’s purpose for us is maturity. The honeymoon period of a marriage does not last forever. Eventually, a couple must settle down to the routine of life. This is not something to begrudge as “ho-hum.” It’s one of the ways that God has designed for us to mature.

God’s word tells us that we are not to remain as children (Eph.4:14), but we are to grow in understanding (Col.1:9). A basic way that God brings this about is through the everyday dynamics that arise in every marriage. Marriage helps us grow up! And as a husband and wife keep this in mind, it draws them together.

Another biblical way to avoid marital drift is to be sure and deal with issues as they occur. Are you angry with your spouse? The Bible says, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger” (Eph.4:26). If anger is left to simmer it will only lead to a root of bitterness that is sure to bring about division and distance in the marriage.

Along the same lines, sin that takes place within the marriage needs to be addressed quickly. Have you done wrong to your spouse? Confess it, and seek to remedy the situation promptly. Has your spouse wronged you? Don’t wait for him or her to make the first move. Sin leads to isolation. And the only way to prevent that isolation is to work through known wrongs as soon as possible.

From this it’s apparent that Jesus Christ is vital to every marriage. Christ gives the grace necessary to forgive and be forgiven. And in Him we become those who are able to give ourselves to another, as called for in marriage.

The Bible tells us that every marriage is a picture of the relationship between Christ and His bride, the Church. Those marriages that present this picture best are those that labor to overcome marital drift and strive to be faithful to the covenant of companionship.

Husbands and Their Helpmates

September 25, 2007 Leave a comment

The book of Genesis tells us that the Lord gave man a woman so that he would have a helper suitable for him (Gen.2:20-25). But unfortunately, many husbands do not welcome the help their wives have to offer. Instead, they see every comment, suggestion, or reminder as a form of nagging. This is not to say that a nagging, contentious wife can never be a problem — it surely can (Pr.27:15). But that’s not the problem we are addressing here. The problem we are addressing here is that of a husband who is too proud and stubborn to receive the assistance and even wisdom of his wife.

The book of Proverbs tells us that a virtuous woman is a crown to her husband (Pr.12:4). One application of this is that a good wife helps her husband rise from the crowd and stand out — like a man wearing a crown. One of the ways a good wife accomplishes this is by graciously helping her husband see the back of his head. In so doing, she makes him a better man. The wise husband receives this kind of help because he knows that by seeing his blind spots he is able to excel farther and faster. The fool, on the other hand, will never receive what his wife has to say, no matter how much good it may do him.

Categories: Marriage and Family