Posts Tagged ‘ god ’

Her Greatest Desire vs. His Most Desperate Need

If there is anything in my life that is worthy of doing whatever it takes to make a success, it’s for sure my marriage.  That’s why I do the things that I don’t necessarily want to do; they’ve become not a big deal to do it, because I know the one I’m doing it for.  It’s a funny truth about the things that are dear to us- they tend to make sucky things not suck anymore.  Instead they become a joy.  And for me, that’s reading all these self-help books about marriage.  I hate self-help books- I really do.  I prefer fiction or an even an autobiography, but now, I take every opportunity I get to soak up anything information I can on being a better husband.  Whether it’s new books, books on tape, sermon podcasts about marriage, or reading other marriage blogs…I love taking it all in.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post telling you about a book that I was reading that was having a huge impact on my marriage, The Power of a Praying Husband.  Shortly after, Penny and I started a 6 week marriage class called United.  Wouldn’t you know it, as part of the class, we are reading another book that is also having a profound effect on our marriage, Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.  And this book has highlighted a really basic principle that I don’t think most people get., but I have found to be so true.  It has helped to put words to something instinctual inside me that I don’t think I ever could have defined before, much less even realized how big of a deal it really is to men and women.  And while this principle certainly reveals itself most in the marriage relationship, it truly speaks to the male/female relationship as a whole.  Whether it’s husband/wife, brother/sister, cousins, or even co-workers.

Here’s the principle- what a woman desires most is unconditional love.  What a man desperately needs is unconditional respect.  It’s at the core of who we are as men and women, how we are created and wired…women tend to need most to be loved.  And men tend to need to be respected above all else, even love.  It’s a profound concept, and I must confess, not one that I fully subscribed to at the outset of reading this book.  But as I’ve gotten deeper into it, I am seeing that at the very least, it is true in Penny’s and my life.

I am not an easy person to upset.  It’s really pretty hard to make me angry about something.  But I can tell you, few things set me off faster than feeling unceremoniously, straight up disrespected.  It’s not something I ever would have put words to, or could have made the connection, but once I did, I see it to be all too true.

On the flip side, while I won’t speak for Penny, I can say that I have noticed when I take the necessary steps to let Penny know that she is loved above all else in my life, and when she hears it, that she responds overwhelmingly more positive and with more respect for me than I could have ever dreamt.

In either case though, did you notice that what I was talking about was how we REACT to each other?  Think about it, just about every fight you’ve ever had with your wife, husband, sibling, co-worker, has usually caught you a little off guard, right?  Because all of a sudden, they responded poorly to you.  And then you reacted.  And they reacted some more.  Which made you react…and so on…well my friends, you have just taken a spin  the Crazy Cycle.  Basically it works like this: she disrespected him, so he didn’t act lovingly towards her, which caused her to act more disrespectful towards him, so he certainly couldn’t act lovingly towards a woman who acts like that, and he responds accordingly…and it keeps going.  OK, OK, to be fair, cause it happens this way too- He acted unloving towards her, so she reacted in a disrespectful way, which made him pull away in an unloving manner (guys, here’s a tip, pulling away in a fight, while paramount in guy-code is acting unloving girl-code), and how could she respect him when he does that, and she acts accordingly.

Sound familiar?  Surprised at how accurate it is?  This really should be no surprise that women want love and men need respect…even the Bible says so when it tells husbands to go all out in love for their wives, and for wives to respect their husbands.  Yeah, that’s the actual wording.  It’s also all through the Proverbs as they talk about what it is better to be than to be in an unloving and disrespectful marriage (I think my favorite is, “It is better to live on a corner of the roof than it is to live in a house with a contentious wife”).

So, couples out there…dating or married or even just friends- how are you doing, Men, at loving the women in your lives with an unconditional love?  Ladies, how about it– do you respect the men in your life?  Are you speaking in a language that is clear to the other person, not just you?  I would highly recommend that you pick up this book.  Go through it.  Try it out.


6 Great Marriage Blogs

Since delving into the world of blogging, as it happens I’m blogging about being a newlywed and all the things I’m learning, I have made some friends and have been around the marriage blog community. I wanted to share with you my top 6 favorite marriage blogs that I think you should be reading. (These are in no particular order)

1) The Marry Blogger – The blogs here tend to be short and simple, but always poignant. Be sure to spend some time, poke around, and check out the back catalogue of posts on here. There’s some really great stuff with a lot of really great advice. Follow them on twitter at @themarryblogger

2) One Extraordinary Marriage – Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo have sort of become mentors for me. Their blog is mostly some resources, some info about them, and the links to their podcasts. The podcasts are worth a listen, but don’t be overwhelmed by the need to go back and listen to them all, just start with the current ones and as you can, listen to the ones you really want to. What I love about these guys most- they are always calling people up with a challenge. Follow them on twitter at @oneonfire

3) Engaged Marriage – When you think of a total package kind of blog having to do with marriage, this is it. They talk about pretty much every topic, have a a fantastic site, and are the site that other marriage blogs should aspire to be. Follow them on twitter at @engagedmarriage

4)Intimacy in Marriage – Its a little odd to me that most of the marriage bloggers out there (at least the ones that I have come in contact with) are ran by men (or at least have a super active husband). This one however is written by a woman with a mission- Encouraging Christian Women Toward Healthy Sexual Intimacy- though I’m sure she’s just fine if you aren’t a christian and read her blog. I love getting to hear her take on things and how they should be. Follow her on twitter at @intimacy4life

5) Better Husbands and Fathers – So I tend to lean more toward the Better Husband side of this blog than the Better Fathers side, but Eric’s posts are always a great read. Plus he really champions husbands dating their wives- which I am a big fan of. He even wrote a guest post for GreatDateSpot (read it here: Dating 101 For Husbands). Follow him on twitter @betterhusbands

6) Marriage Confessions – Marriage Confessions was the first marriage blog I had ever read. This is also a fantastic website and has the feel of 3 or 4 different blogs rolled into one. The author’s husband even has his own blog on the site called “The Man Cave.” What sets this blog apart from the others is that its basically stories about what’s going on in their life as opposed lots of advice oriented posts. When you stop by, find her post on the birds and the bees- very funny. Follow Katie on twitter at @marriageconfess

Are You For Your Wife?

Here’s a cool thought that is more than just a thought, it’s a truth.  It’s a thought that I think I most tend to forget in the midst of the day-to-day.  My spouse is always for me.  She really is.  She is always on my side.  No matter what.  For me, its easy to lose sight of.  Especially when I’m in the midst of thinking about myself and Penny isn’t fulfilling my every wanton desire, especially the ones that I never even tell her about.  That’s when I tend to get down and feel like she just isn’t paying attention to me.  That’s when I’m not at my best.  But the truth is, She is always for me.  She isn’t out to get me or make me suffer, in fact, quite the opposite.  She wants to see me thrive and enjoy life and our marriage.  These things I know.

So why then did it kinda take me off guard this week when I realized something else…I am always for her.  I’m not out to control her or have her bend to my every wanton desire.  I really am her number one fan.  I am her biggest (literally and figuratively) cheerleader.  When I see her in her sweet spot doing the things that fuel her, it swells my heart like nothing else.  My number 2 priority in life is dedicated to pleasing her and making her happy.

I know that may sound sappy and idealistic, but it’s really true of us.  It’s why I put so much energy and effort into planning our date nights and keep them secret so she can be surprised (which does on occasion backfire 🙂 ).  It’s why I’ll come in a clean the house and try to get done before she gets home.  It’s why I run errands for her.

And for those of faith, this should have all kinds of parallels.  Have you ever stopped to think the Jesus is for you.  He is your number one cheerleader.  That he loves to dote upon you, his bride.  i heard a pastor once say that God doesn’t really give a flyin’ rip about your happiness, but he does want you to be joyful.  I know where he was coming from, and while I may have agreed at the time, I think I have to retract that.  I think he does care a great deal about the happiness of his kids, of the Bride of Christ.  He loves to give us good gifts…why, because it makes us happy and he loves to make us happy.  It brings so much joy to his heart.  He really is cheering you on in the ball game you just played or in that serving role you get to put your hand to that you absolutely love doing.

Back to relationships.  I have a question for you.  Are you for your partner?  Married or dating…that person you sit across the dinner table from- are you 100% for that person?  When does it get hard?  When is it easy?  When do you know that your partner is for you?  When do you forget?  Leave a comment, let us know.

The Marriage Triangle

Stop me if you’ve heard this one :: Wanna know how to get closer to your loved one?  A relationship is like a triangle:: You and your special someone are in two of the corners and God is in the other corner.  If you both focus on getting closer to God, then, by default, you will get closer to each other.  Sound familiar?  Anyone?  Bueller? Bueller?

I know I’ve heard it before, and honestly, I like..a lot.  It makes a lot of sense and is a pretty good analogy for relationships.  Unfortunately, as I learned recently, I don’t think it’s a great analogy for marriages.  But I’ll get back to this in a minute.  Let me take a slight detour into the spiritual side of things.

This past weekend at Quest Community Church was a special weekend, Vision Weekend!  Every year, in the month of July, we send our pastor off to visit other churches, meet with other pastors, find out what others are doing, and just listen to God on our behalf.  Vision weekend is the weekend he comes back and let’s us know what he’s been up to, what he’s heard, and casts vision for where we are going as a church.  Sort of a yearly course correction for the whole church.  (On a side note, I encourage you to watch it online here.  You won’t be bored, I promise.)

This year’s Vision Weekend was unlike any other we’ve ever had at Quest.  Usually Pastor Pete comes back with new directions, new initiatives, coming staff hires, etc…  But this year, what he heard was more broad for the whole church.  This year would be a year that we as a church, collectively and individually come to KNOW and TRUST our God in a new way, that our relationship with him will certainly progress.

Pete had talked about what happens when people have an experience with God or even give their lives to Him, but they never progess in getting to actually know God.  To know him personally, to know his character, to experience his love.  They just sort of stagnate.  Perhaps you know someone who fits that description, or maybe it describes you.  Either way, this was going to be a year where we get to take incredible steps forward.

Then there was me (there were a whole lot of “me”s around the room I thought) where actually, I know my God.  It hasn’t grown stagnant for me.  When I say know, I mean KNOW.  I know the rhythms of his heartbeat.  I know his voice when he speaks.  I know his discipline when it falls.  I know his character.  His generous love.  My roots are really grounded in him.  So much so, that when the storms of life come, they don’t really rock me.  I say that not out of pride, it’s just that’s really where I get to live.  Truly in a spot of…if it was just God and me, I’d be ok.  It’d kinda suck, cause we’re both people persons (is that right?), but it’d be ok.

So I began to ask God, how is it that we get to know each other better?  I don’t want to be a person that spends a couple of years getting to know him and then get satisfied with it and begin to cruise.  And no matter where you are on the spectrum, you could always get to know God better, right?  And there next to me was my wife.  In 3 days we will have been married an incredible 6 months!  Still very much newly weds, and still very much trying to figure this whole thing out.  It was then that God’s voice spoke to my heart.  “If it was just me and you, Brent, that’d be ok?  But it’s not just me and you anymore.  It me and you and her.”

In that moment I got it.  I have known God as a single guy.  And I have known him pretty well.  I could anticipate him about as well as anyone could anticipate God.  We were tight.  But then I understood- God wants grow with me.  Its not as if I reached some sort of benchmark for knowing God and then it was ok for me to get married because I’ll always have God as my basis.  He wants my change in status to become his change in status.  In truth, my basis has changed. Apparently, there is something different about knowing God as a married guy.  (side note: I’ll bet there’s something different about knowing him as a father too!)

But how is it different?  Well… I don’t know yet. But my thoughts do turn back to the Relationship Triangle.  And it strikes me, the Marriage Triangle is quite different.  In the Relationship Triangle model, it depends on my me getting closer to God and her getting closer to God.  That’s all well and good.  But how about the fact that God actually wants to get closer to us as well.  He’s also moving, not just us.

So what if the Marriage Triangle was quite different from the Relationship Triangle?  What if it was an equilateral triangle?  What if somehow, because of this special bond of marriage, the rule works in each way.  The more Penny and I get to know God individually, the closer we grow together.  And what if the same holds true- the closer we grow together the closer we grow to God?  As Penny and God grow closer to me, she and God grow closer to each other.  As God and I each grow closer to Penny, God and I grow closer to each other.

What if in this year, God actually wanted to move closer to me.  And move closer to Penny.  And of course Penny and I move closer to each other.  And we each get closer to God.  In the end- all three are getting closer and closer.  (how many more times can I say the word closer?)

What do you think?  Leave your comments.  I’d love to hear them.


Special thanks to  for today’s graphic.  It’s a great blog, be sure to check it out.