What Does Good Communication Look Like?

I’m convinced that communication is one of the most important aspects to any marriage. It truly is the lifeblood of the relationship. Wayne Mack has said, “Where you find marital failure, you will find a breakdown in real communication. Wherever you find marital success, you will find a good communication system.”

Timothy Witmer lists five critical factors to good communication within marriage.

1) You must understand the relationship between truth and trust.

2) You must keep in mind that people come to marriage with different communication styles.

3) You must commit yourself to building up your wife with your words.

4) You must remember that quality communication means being a good listener.

5) You must speak to the heart, which refers to the quality of your communication.

The Shepherd Leader, Timothy Witmer

August 14 2013 | Blog | Comments Off on What Does Good Communication Look Like?

How Well Do You Know Your Wife?

Here are some questions to consider when we think about knowing our wives:

1) Do you know her greatest worry?

2) Do you know her greatest concern for herself or for you or for the children?

3) Do you know what sin she struggles with the most?

4) What unmet aspirations does she harbor?

5) What regrets does she have?

Timothy Witmer, The Shepherd Leader at Home

August 06 2013 | Blog | 1 Comment »

I “Still Do”–Mark 10:1-12

I Still Do - Staying Together in a World that Pulls Us ApartThis morning we picked back up with chapter 10 of Mark’s gospel where Jesus begins to apply the journey of discipleship to three of the most personal areas of his disciples lives (marriage, children & finances). In Mark 10:1-12 Jesus makes three compelling arguments for the enduring sanctity of marriage: 1) Marriage is a covenant…not a contract, 2) Marriage is a divine institution…not a human invention, 3) Marriage is a mutually exclusive union…not a negotiable arrangement.

You can listen online here.

You can listen in iTunes here.

July 21 2013 | Blog | 1 Comment »

It’s Not About the Nail

I think every guy knows exactly what this feels like Smile

HT: Challies

July 19 2013 | Blog | 1 Comment »

25 Years of Evangelizing My Husband

Paula Hendricks has an absolutely compelling post over on the true woman blog titled “25 Years of Evangelizing My Husband.” As a pastor this is one of the most frequent and heartbreaking things that I encounter. Because of that I am exceedingly thankful for this article and I’m confident that I will be using often to encourage women walking through this valley. Here’s are a few excerpts:

The nest would soon be empty. As was our marriage.

We had our roles down pat. I was the aggressor, bordering on a plate thrower; he was the passive aggressor, master of the silent treatment. We pressed each other’s buttons with heartbreaking regularity.

Over the years I constructed a compelling case of “he did’s”—stories I relayed to accommodating girlfriends. Mind you, I did this strategically. Prayer groups were preferred. There I got head nods—even a prayer on my behalf. Please change him.

My own prayer life was all about change (meaning, him). Clearly, God was sympathetic to my cause. I was David in the psalms unjustly treated by Saul. I was Joseph imprisoned for my faith. I was on my way to martyr status.

Why then, being so unjustly treated, so right, was I so miserable? And, for all my Bible verse quoting, why was my spiritual life so stagnant?

You see, my husband is not a believer . . . a fact I routinely brought before the Lord and prayer partners. During our twenty-five years of marriage, I had purchased countless books and CDs with titles such as Beloved Unbeliever. Yet, my daily prayer, Please change his heart, had gone unanswered.

Not, however, because of a lack of evangelism on my part. I left tracts on our coffee table and upped the volume on sermon CDs.

On Sunday mornings I would tear up. If only my husband was sitting next to me at church. If only he would thumb through a Bible. If only he could hear this sermon. From my balcony view, I would glare at the backs of other husbands, arms draped over their wives’ shoulders. Surely these husbands led nightly devotionals, volunteered at Vacation Bible School, and prayed before meals. If only . . .

Inevitably my mind would drift toward a vision, twenty-five years in the making. My husband and I would be called to the pulpit to share our story. I would smile through humble tears as he would credit me for my contagious Christianity. His testimony would highlight my years of faithfulness: attending Bible studies, teaching Sunday School, rising at 5 a.m. to seek the Lord. The applause would be deafening. Maybe we’d write a book. A video series perhaps…

Looking at the negative aspects of my marriage had only produced despair—twenty-five years of whining to God about my righteousness in journals that I have since destroyed. Even Christian therapy had been reinforcing my case of “he-did’s.”

The truth is, I was the one who needed to change.

So, if I ever get called to a pulpit to give a reason for my despair giving way to joy, I will take the microphone with a humble heart. After all, it was my negativity that impeded marital intimacy for all those years. No more. The joy I now feel at waking up next to this man rivals that of any newlywed.

March 25 2013 | Blog | Comments Off on 25 Years of Evangelizing My Husband

Happy Birthday Amy (2013)

533203_10151178591413373_1929163754_nDear Amy,

As I look back over our last year together I can’t really think of anything that stands out as a major change for our family. We didn’t have any big moves in 2012 (thank goodness). Our children have continued to grow and flourish here at the church and at Northside School. We did add a dog and somehow we’ve inherited another cat, but in the grand scheme of things those are rather trivial matters…So on the whole I’d say that 2012 has pretty much been a quiet year for the Buell family and that makes my heart glad.

When I look back on the common, quiet, everyday events of this last year together I’m overwhelmed with thankfulness for another year that I’ve got to spend with the love of my life doing the common, quiet things that contribute to our life together. I’ve come to realize more and more that life is not made up of big moments that change our course (although there are some of those), but small, quiet moments that cumulatively make up the character of our life together. That’s why my heart is so glad looking back on this last year of life together. It’s been full of small, precious, tender moments that have refined, sharpened, and crafted our life together. It may seem strange but I’d rather watch TV with you on the couch than pretty much anything else in the world because it’s part of our life together and I have to tell you that life with you is nothing but pure joy.

So here’s to another year together raising our family, loving each other and living this very quiet, common life that God has so graciously given to us together.

I love you with all of my heart,

Andrew Buell

March 21 2013 | Blog | Comments Off on Happy Birthday Amy (2013)

What is Love?

What Is Love? from cvcnow on Vimeo.

HT: Challies

February 22 2013 | Blog | Comments Off on What is Love?

A Roomful of Yearning and Regret

untitledI’m convinced that the one of the saddest part of ministry is watching marriages fail, especially due to infidelity. To sit in a room with a husband or a wife weeping over the betrayal of their spouse is almost too much for any shepherd to bear. It’s the kind of scene that must never cross your mind in the midst of the affair, but it is where you will inevitably end up if you violate the covenant of marriage.

Wendy Plump of the New York Times paints a graphic picture of the affects of sexual infidelity in this article at the new York Times. It is a “must read” article and one that I will be using in pre-marital counseling to remind couples of the awful effects of unfaithfulness.

Here’s an excerpt:

IN the end your marriage may not need to be trashed, though mine was. The affairs metastasized in our relationship from the inside out. By the time all was said and done, there was little left to save. Our marriage had become like a leaf eaten away by caterpillars, where the petiole and midrib remain with some ghostly connective tracery in between. Not enough to hold even a drop of rain.

I look at my parents and at how much simpler their lives are at the ages of 75, mostly because they haven’t marred the landscape with grand-scale deceit. They have this marriage of 50-some years behind them, and it is a monument to success. A few weeks or months of illicit passion could not hold a candle to it.

If you imagine yourself in such a situation, where would you fit an affair in neatly? If you were 75, which would you rather have: years of steady if occasionally strained devotion, or something that looks a little bit like the Iraqi city of Fallujah, cratered with spent artillery?

From where I stand now, it all just looks like a cheap hotel room, whether you’re in that room to have an affair or to escape from the discovery of one.

And despite the sex and the excitement, or the drama and the fix of everyone’s empathetic attention, there is no view from this room that is worth having.

February 04 2013 | Blog | Comments Off on A Roomful of Yearning and Regret

The Slow Descent into Self-Centeredness

down-down-down-the-stairsIn Western culture today, you decide to get married because you feel an attraction to the other person. You think he or she is wonderful. But a year or two later— or, just as often, a month or two— three things usually happen. First, you begin to find out how selfish this wonderful person is. Second, you discover that the wonderful person has been going through a similar experience and he or she begins to tell you how selfish you are. And third, though you acknowledge it in part, you conclude that your spouse’s selfishness is more problematic than your own. This is especially true if you feel that you’ve had a hard life and have experienced a lot of hurt. You say silently, “OK, I shouldn’t do that— but you don’t understand me.” The woundedness makes us minimize our own selfishness. And that’s the point at which many married couples arrive after a relatively brief period of time. – Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage

January 21 2013 | Blog | 1 Comment »

A Tip for Husbands that Could Save Your Marriage

Erik Raymond has a great post over on his blog. Here’s the introduction:

With a title like this there is little room for dilly-dallying along the way to the answer. So without much introduction, here is the tip that could save your marriage: Get a part-time job.

There. That’s it. Husbands, if you want to save or strengthen your marriage, get a part-time job.

I should say right off the bat that I am not talking about a literal job that will pull you away from the home for more hours. Instead I’m arguing for the husband to approach his time at home with his family with the same thoughtful intentionality and engagement that he would if he were to go to work.

Far too many marriages are suffering because the husband comes home mentally, physically and emotionally zapped from his work day. He has done well as the provider for the home and now he is going to come home and collapse into a lazy-boy (aptly named) or in front of a computer or some other process of decompression and relaxation from a tough day at work. This type of thing may be ok occasionally but if practiced regularly it will lead to major problems.

HT: Vitamin Z

January 18 2013 | Blog | Comments Off on A Tip for Husbands that Could Save Your Marriage

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