A Wife’s Idol: Her Husband’s Happiness

posted in: marriage | 0


A hot cup of morning coffee?  20 minutes alone when he comes home from work in the evenings?  His favorite dessert for his birthday?  A night out with the boys?  A Saturday alone to watch all the college football games and finish it up with all the recaps on SportsCenter? 

Do you know what makes your husband happy?  Happiest?

E and I have a lot of good conversations on the couch.  I love talking with him, very softly most of time (will be harder to do that when we get older if he starts to lose his hearing), just living life with him.  In a recent conversation, he said this to me: “Don’t make my happiness and idol.  Search for your own joy in your pursuit of God.”

That was a receptive rebuke. 

Look here for all the times joy is used in the Psalms alone.  What a rebuke by the words of the Spirit.  So many times wives (or girlfriends) find their joy or happiness in their significant other.  This can’t be the case.  If so, that person or relationship has become an idol to us.  Yes, we are supposed to do what we can do make our husbands happy, live with him in harmony, pursue peace and Christ together.  But, in no way should we feel the blame for when we are doing our part and other situations in life are difficult – for a season.  We can’t be mainly responsible for our husband’s happiness.  He has to find his ultimate happiness in God and God alone – just like we do.

Why do you think that you can be your husband’s happiness?  I’m not saying he should be miserable when he is around you – and I hope the wedded bliss of the honeymoon lasts forever in your marriage (and mine)…but if we aren’t happy in Christ – with or without our husbands – then we have made something else God in our life and are leaving out the most important LIFEsource.

Photo: This was taken on our honeymoon in Philadelphia at a place called Bonte’ Waffles.  A breakfast that made both E and me happy!


Media and Marriage

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Books.  Chick Flix.  Television.  Advertisements.  Blogs.  Magazines.

We are bombarded with media no matter if we have a cable subscription or not.  Checking out buying groceries we are enticed to look at half-dressed women screaming to us that “your husband would rather look at me than look at you or sleep with you.”  Or there are magazines that are telling us that are sex lives can not be fulfilling and satisfactory if we don’t do certain acts or if our bodies do not look as toned as the cover model.  We may feel insecure if we spent hours watching the swimmers and track runners/cyclists compete in the Olympics.  Does the thought cross you mind that you don’t measure up to someone who swims 5 hours a day and has never had children and doesn’t have to cook for 4 people with huge appetites?

Here are some thoughts I’ve had as I’ve been thinking through this issue the last few weeks, talking with friends, dialoguing with E:

1.  Media (in and of itself) is not the enemy.  I am not advocating that you hide yourself in a hole, never watch movies, never read books, never watch sports.  I don’t really know how to apply the verse in the Psalms that says “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.” (Psalm 101.3)  I think there is an unspoken/unwritten emphasis on the word SET that allows for a permenance or continuance.  So, the psalmist isn’t saying you can’t watch television or ever see a movie or don’t read a book outside of the Bible, etc.  But, what you choose to put before your eyes on a daily, habitual basis should not be “worthless”.

2.  Prepare your mind and heart.  There are nights that I can’t watch certain movies.  We don’t have cable, but we choose to watch movies either from our personal collection or rent from Red Box or watch a DVD series (we are making our way through Cosby Show season 3 and NCIS season 1).  I know if I am thinking something in my mind or have struggled with a personal sin – I need not watch certain movies.  And, you need to prepare your mind for action as to how you are going to respond to what you are see or read.  As 1 Peter says: ” Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1:13-16)
3.  Watch out for the weaker brother.  If you are watching something that maybe is not a struggle for you, but you might think it is a temptation to lust for your husband, shut it off.  It is not worth you watching something if it is going to cause him to sin.  Talk about it.  Somethings may be a struggle to your husband that you may not know about.  Other visions may not bother him.  But, also, know your weak areas.  If you are struggling with how you look, wanting to lose weight or tone up, maybe watching the Olympians in their bathing suits with perfectly toned and tanned bodies isn’t such a great idea.  Comparison is never a good game to play.  You never win: it either leads to pride or to self-loathing.  Neither are a mindset that God desires for His daughters.  As Paul writes to the Philippians, ” Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

I pray that this benefits you in how you watch movies, read books, participate in sports, or even go to the grocery store.  I dont’ know of any divorced couple that would say “we would have stayed together if we had just watched more television.”

Book Review: Help! I’m a Minister’s Wife (Tina Wright)

posted in: Books, marriage | 0

Using her years of ministry experience and over 100 surveys by minister’s wives with years in the ministry as well, Tina Wright writes a helpful and encouraging book for all ministry wives. 

Its funny, I got this book years after I met Tina (about 5 years ago now) and just read it – only 7 months after I got married.  The chapters are short, readable, makes you laugh, think, cry, uses illustrations you will definitely be able to identify with, and just a pick me up.  I joked with E after each brief time I read a chapter or two.  “You really like it when I read some of Tina’s book, don’t you.  You get encouraged!”  I would always say something positive and encouraging to my husband when I put down her book.

That is what I’ve learned from Tina, both in real life and through her book.  I loved reading her book because I knew some of the people and stories that she shared.  I also knew she, though not perfect, strived to live out the principles she put forth in Help!  These aren’t just lofty ideas that can’t be obtained.  Through her almost 20 years serving alongside Steve in ministry, through moves, schooling, raising three children, etc – she has had plenty of practice with the ideas and truths in this book.

Most ministry wives (especially moms) do not think they have time to read.  You can easily read a chapter of this book in 10 minutes.  I think we all can find 10 minutes, and believe me – your life, marriage, and ministry will be changed because of the biblical truths Tina gives in this book.

Thank you sweet friend.  You are missed.

Photo credit: GreenFlash Productions from our wedding.

Prayer Journaling for Your Husband and Children

posted in: Bible, marriage, mothering, Women | 2

“So train the young women to love their husbands and children.” – (Titus 2:4 ESV)

I learned this very well from my mentor, Phyllis, through the years as I’ve watched her diligently and passionately pray for her husband and children, and their spouses, and now her grandchildren.  As I’ve started my own for my husband, and now my Baby Boy Campbell coming in September, I wanted to share some thoughts and how-tos that I’ve learned from her over the almost 20 years of knowing her.

1.  Get paper.  I remember after my second date with my husband, I went to B&N later that night and got a moleskin notebook and started journaling and praying for him, knowing one day I would give it to him at our wedding.  And I did.  He is reading through it now.  But, really, ladies…you don’t need a moleskin or fancy notebook.  You can use a journaling Bible (like this one from Crossway) and journal through your reading in there or just grab some loose-leaf paper and stick it in a folder (like we did back in high school, before everything needed to be turned through a computer).  The paper doesn’t matter, the action does.

2.  Get a pen/pencil/crayon.  I have tried to steer away from pens that will bleed through the pages of my moleskin (almost done with #2 right now) but sometimes a bleed pen is the only one around.  I would also challenge you to get a real pen and paper (not a computer) because you’ll be able to cherish these notebooks for years to come and your children and husband can read them as well!  I know we are a techno world now, but I truly believe that some things are better hand-written.

3.  Get a Bible.  One of the MUSTS for this type of praying is that you pray Scripture over your spouse/children.  What Phyllis taught me is that I don’t need books or even to be really creative, I just need God’s Word.  She trusts in its sufficiency, and so do I.  You don’t have to start a new reading  plan – just read.  If you want to, start with the Psalms, or one of Paul’s epistles or (gasp!) even the book of Deuteronomy.  Pray these Scriptures for your husband/children.  Here is an example from Psalm 112:

   Praise the LORD!
 Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
  who greatly delights in his commandments!
 His offspring will be mighty in the land;
  the generation of the upright will be blessed.
 Wealth and riches are in his house,
  and his righteousness endures forever.
 Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;
  he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.
 It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
  who conducts his affairs with justice.
 For the righteous will never be moved;
  he will be remembered forever.
 He is not afraid of bad news;
  his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
 His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,
  until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
(Psalm 112:1-8 ESV)

“Father, I praise you and thank you that you have given me a Psalm 112 husband.  Thank you for answering that prayer.  I thank you that E fears you more than he fears man and that he takes great delight in your word each morning, even as we are going through James this year as a couple.  I pray that our children, even this little one in my tummy right now, will be blessed to follow and know you and dwell richly and mightily in the land as they seek you wholeheartedly because of your grace and the display of faithfulness of their earthly Father (all because of grace).  Thank you for allowing my E to show me grace and mercy when I fail, and fail miserably at times.  Thank you also that he pursues you and righteousness.  Continue to weigh in his heart and his actions so that they might please you.  I praise YOU that E is a generous man who does not hoard the money that you have blessed us with but wants our giving and our home to be a place of blessing for others.  May we continue to live in that way.  I pray Lord, that even in difficult times, that you would make his heart strong and firm in you – knowing that you never change and that you will lead him in righteousness (Psalm 23).  Do not let him coward and be afraid, but be bold and know that you are God until the day that you make him triumph over his enemies for the glory of God in the world.”

And you can take the same chapter and pray it for your children, as I will for baby Campbell.

4.  Pray.  I know this may seem like the easiest one to do, and I do pray for E all the time and pray for baby Campbell as well (honestly mostly in the shower), but do this.  I remember living for a time with my mentor and her family.  I remember waking up early in the morning and walking downstairs, and Phyllis had already been there for hours praying and reading for her soul and the soul of her family.  This was such a testimony to me.  I fail in this so much.  I need more grace to make it happen and to make it a glorious habit.

5.  Save.  Save your journals.  I will save mine.  Got an email from Phyllis this morning even that she has bookshelves and a chest full of these journals.  What a legacy for your children and spouse as they see a wife/mother who first loved Jesus then prayed and loved them as well all the days of her life. 

6.  Side note: I sometimes read these journals to E as a way to encourage him.  I let him read the first one (I gave it to him before our wedding).  I use it as part journal of our marriage too.  So for part of the journal I’m talking to God and part of it I’m talking to E, or baby Campbell in his.  I’ve already seen how encouraging this can be and how much fruit can be harvested from this daily duty of delight (see John Piper). 

PS…You can definitely read through books and pray those for your husband or children.  I remember reading through A Guide to Biblical Manhood written by SBTS profs Dan Dumas and Randy Stinson and praying through those traits for E before we got married.  By all means, use other things, but let Scripture be your guiding principle!

May I encourage you to begin today to be a wife and/or mother who lives by prayer and the Word of God.  We fail miserably without them both.  Thankful the Holy Spirit works His Word in us and shapes and fashions us according to His Plan and for His glory!

Phyllis – thank you for praying for Billy, Jeremy/Katie, Jill/Matt and all your beautiful grandchildren – and for me.  You have truly been a Scriptural blessing in my life and continue to be so!  Proverbs 31 by grace, you are!   And if you have anything you would like to add Phyllis, please add it in the comments: I still have much to learn!


Basketball Recruiting and the Sanctity of Marriage

posted in: marriage | 0

I love sports just as much as the next person, but there are somethings that are taken a bit far: including recruiting.

The NCAA basketball champs, the Kentucky Wildcats, will be losing many of their players next year due the the NBA.  But, to what ends will their fans go to securing their winning ways?  One such fan made this comment to a top recruit:

“I literally got stopped hundreds of times and took dozens and dozens of pictures. The fans were showing me so much love out there, and I definitely have to say that most of the fans were from Kentucky.  Now, of course that had a lot to do with the fact that they were playing there, but I’m always just shocked at how dedicated Kentucky fans are. One man asked me if I wanted to take his wife home with me, ha ha. I couldn’t believe it. I was like, “Nah, I’m good,” but that’s just how insane the fans were down there. Great atmosphere.”

There is being a fan – and there is offering your wife in exchange to basketball stars.  Have we really come to prostitution to get our basketball team to win?

Now, who is to say that this fan was joking – but I guarantee once his wife found out she probably made him sleep on the couch or may have even asked for a divorce (I’m not condoning either response).

The point of this little blog is to ask where the sanctity of marriage has gone?  It is not truly existent in our society – look at the Marriage bill that is on tap for NC come May election time.  Look at the number of divorces even among self-proclaimed Christians. 

Some would say this fan was just being funny or wanting to gain attention.  Scripture has something to say about coarse joking as well.

Here is some Scripture that will help us know how to respond to this fan:

Ephesians 5:4: “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”

Hebrews 13:4: “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”

And this even applies to people who just want to help their basketball team win.