What Does a Young Man Need to Know to be Ready to Marry?

Date

September 19, 2022

Categories

Home

Marriage

Parenting

Early this year, one of my adult sons moved out of state. Since then, he and I have talked almost every Sunday afternoon. A few weeks ago, during one of our conversations he asked, “What do I need to know in order to be ready to marry?” I was hit with a wave of emotions. First, who’s the girl?! Second, pride that he was thinking in a wise, mature way. Third, I thought we covered this years ago.

We Want to Hear From You!

I want to share with you what I said but I am not going to do that right now! Instead, I am going to do something unusual. Email me: eric@HomeInHim.org with how you would answer my son’s question.

When we receive enough responses, I will schedule a podcast where I share and discuss your responses (We will share your responses anonymously). I will let you know when we schedule the podcast!

I am excited to see what you have to share! Please take moment to email me your thoughts now.

Wanna Get Away?

Date

September 15, 2022

Categories

Home

Marriage

Parenting

Main Point: We need physical and spiritual rest. Slow down to listen to the Lord. Marinate in God’s word. Pray. Decompress. While my article addresses men directly as leaders in the home, it applies equally to wives and mothers, too. Both men and women need what I describe.

Wanna Get Away? is a popular slogan for a major U.S. airline. It works because life is increasingly uncertain, chaotic, and physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually draining. We all want and need a time to disconnect, rest, focus on the Lord, and think intentionally about our families.

At the behest of one of my life coaches, I did this very thing in August. My coach strongly suggested I do this at least 2-3 times per year. While I was not new to this practice, it had been way too long since I last did it. I was so glad I did.

With eight children (five are adults and it doesn’t get easier when they get older) and a home-based ministry, my life is complicated and generally over-extended. I am easily overcome by the tyranny of the urgent. I can quickly lose perspective on priorities.

When I am away, I recalibrate mentally, physically, emotionally, and most importantly, spiritually. This particular getaway provided noticeable mental and spiritual rest. I could literally feel myself decompressing. I was also able to actually think about relationships in my home in a way that brought clarity and action.

NOTE: This most definitely is not a vacation! Vacations generally involve open ended fun with the family. This however is a time alone, by yourself, focused on seeking the Lord and thinking intentionally about your spiritual walk and your relationships at home.

What follows are 15 ideas to prime your own pump on how to make a getaway like this possible for yourself—or your spouse!

  1. Be honest about your need for rest. It is not a weakness to admit you need to rest and reconnect with God in a way that requires getting away. Sometimes we or our relationships break before we finally listen. Even Jesus—God in human flesh—had times away from the grind to connect with his Father and to rejuvenate. If God himself needed that. How much more do we?
  2. Just do it. Look at the calendar with your wife and set a time to go. Frankly, this is the hardest part. We are all so busy and it is hard to commit to something like this that while important, is usually not urgent. Putting it off is the same as a decision not to do it. I put it off for over a year. I could’ve used that time but for over a year—I did not do it.
  3. Plan to be away for at least 2 nights. It is hard to disconnect only being gone one night. Two nights gives you one full day and possibly two partial days. I have found that the partial days on either end are not very productive because of the distractions of going and coming. Whole days are the ticket. Three nights gives you two full days which is ideal.
  4. Choose a hotel that you like. You may have to spend a little money but it is worth it. If the vibe is off, it will impact the effectiveness of the time away. Personally, I like Hilton’s Embassy Suites. They offer a delicious, free, made to order hot breakfast. Each suite offers a bedroom and a separate living or work area with a desk. The inside atrium style of these hotels offers a resort feel with tables and various comfortable chairs where you can read and reflect as a change of scenery from your suite. The overall vibe works well for me and puts me in a relaxed mood. But maybe camping is more your style? If so, more power to you!
  5. Bring your Bible, a journal, and a spiritual book to read. The Bible and a journal are essential equipment. The additional book—not so much. But it is good to take time to read something you enjoy other than your Bible. On my recent getaway, I read two books: The Daily Relaxer by Matthew McKay, and Family Discipleship by Adam Griffin. Both offered significant insights into issues I was addressing.
  6. Read the Word in the morning after breakfast. Set the tone by spending time with the Lord first each day. I like to choose a whole book of the Bible and read it through over and over in one sitting which I rarely if ever do this as part of my normal devotions. There just isn’t enough time. Doing this though will likely lead you to see new things in the passage. In my recent time away, I read through Colossians several times and was greatly encouraged by deeper meditation on the mystery of the Gospel which Paul addresses.
  7. Pray as you read the word. Pray for God’s Holy Spirit to speak to you through His word. After reading a particularly meaningful verse, pray. Ask God for understanding. Meditate on the verse. Pray some more, etc.
  8. Make notes and journal. As you read and pray, make notes in a journal about fresh insights, or things you want to think more about. These might be personal spiritual matters or they might be relational matters. Either way, writing them down or even journaling helps to learn, clarify, and prioritize specific matters needing further action. Note taking and journaling also provide a record that you can go back to later and evaluate your progress.
  9. Pre-empt distractions. It is challenging to slow down and create separation from the daily grind—even when you are away. To help with “Daily Grind Creep” have a sheet of paper ready where you can write down the things that will pop into your mind. Things like fixing the leaky sink in the kids’ bathroom or remembering to change the oil in the car. If it comes to mind, write it down so you can stay focused in reading and in prayer.
  10. Pray conversationally. You now have time to talk with God in elongated format. Listen to Him.
  11. Spend time thinking about each family member. Ask the following questions about your wife and each child: How is their walk with God? What are areas of strength that I can point out and encourage them in? What are areas of weakness where I need to help strengthen them? How am I loving my wife like Jesus? What are ways I am exasperating my children? One thing I do is try to write down identity statements that match up well with specific areas of struggle and that they can memorize and that I can pray for them to better understand.
  12. Enjoy yourself. This is part of resting. Do something you rarely do: watch a show you like! Or, start watching a show early enough that you don’t fall asleep before the opening credits are finished. Go outside and stare at the stars.
  13. Treat yourself to a nice meal. One night, I went to a hole-in-the-wall Greek restaurant where I ate seared anchovy’s and skate wings. It was a bit crazy but fun and delicious. I couldn’t help but wish my wife was there with me to enjoy it (although I don’t think the anchovies would have gone over too well.)
  14. Make a pact with your cell phone. Turn notifications off and silence it. Don’t get trapped playing games on your phone. I took my phone and put it under the pillow in the bedroom while I worked at the desk in the other room.
  15. Report back home each day. It is good to report back home once a day to share how it is going. These reports help your wife and children pray for you and also help them see that the sacrifices they’re making to make this time possible are being rewarded in your own growth and in better leadership of your home.

Leading well in the home begins with being well ourselves. Then, it requires an investiture in the lives of others that requires intentionality. But intentionality itself must be a priority. The busyness of life works against that. Time away to rest and reflect help rejuvenate us in being intentional about the right things in our own walk with the Lord and in our relationships at home.

On final thought: do not let the best be the enemy of the good. You want to do this “right” (there is no ONE right way) but for some reason it can’t be perfect so, you do nothing. A time away for a day or a time away that is not ideal in some way is better than no time away at all.

So, when are you going to take your time away?

Five Ways to Love your Husband

Five Ways to Love your Husband

Date

July 15, 2019

Categories

Marriage

Listen to him. Surprise! Men need to talk things through, too. If we’re not careful, conversations with our husbands can look like a game of wack-a-mole where we are beating down every word that comes out of their mouths! Whether it’s a challenge at work or a suggestion he has about how to re-organize the kitchen: hear him out.

Don’t over analyze him. This one is especially hard for us to do. We can make the mistake of thinking that there is some underlying thing going on in his mind. The plain and rather profound truth is that men are simple, what you see is generally what you get. I know it’s hard to understand because we ourselves are so complex and complicated, but it’s true. Embrace it!

Make time for him. We are busy running kids here and there, meeting friends for coffee, participating in ministry events. We often over-fill our calendars. This leaves little or no time to just be with our husbands. This can have the effect of them feeling neglected. But we need to be available to them! This involves intention on our part.

Pray for him. This is a given, I know, but so easily overlooked. I know I am guilty of letting this slip off of my priority list. What better way to bless our husbands than to call on the only One who knows them perfectly and wants what is best for them. Daily, we need to bring our husbands before the Lord and ask for protection over their health, their heart, wisdom in their work, and leadership of the family. Pray that God will use your husband mightily in ministering to others in his life. One of the best books I’ve read on this is The Power of the Praying Wife.

Finally, tell him the truth. What I am referring to here is reminding him of the truth of the Gospel. We are all surrounded by discouragement and stress everyday. We all need to be reminded of our identity in Christ as it provides the basis for living for him!

Four Things that will Bless your Wife

Four Things that will Bless your Wife

Date

June 16, 2018

Categories

Marriage

My wife is not indestructible. Is yours?

Most men want to minister to their wives but struggle to know how best to do that. We think it is one of these complicated “Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus” things. I have good news. It really is easy to bless our wives. Thankfully, our wives are much better at seeing effort and appreciating heart than we probably are. So, a little effort goes a long way.

Pray for her, daily.

Leslee is the first person on my list to pray for each day. If you struggle to remember to pray for your wife, or struggle to know how to pray for her, simply write her name on a 3×5 card along with a few specific prayer requests and put it in your Bible as a bookmark for your daily devotions. Or put the card on the dash of your car and pray for her on your way in to work. Remind her regularly that you are praying for her and how you are praying for her.

Date her regularly.

Dating is not a nice-to- do. It is a must-do. The more kids you have or the more complicated and stressed out your lives are, the more necessary it is to do this. When we initiate dates, regularly, it demonstrates that we love our wives and that our marriage is a priority. Further, our wives are deep thinkers. For us to truly minister to them, we have to mine those depths. This requires time and intentionality that in these hyper-busy times is usually only possible when you break the routine and set aside time to just be together by yourselves.

Take notes—literally.

Perhaps this sounds weird, but consider starting a journal for your marriage. Purchase a simple notebook that you can write down the issues you discuss with your wife. Issues that are important to her (and you, too) and that you need to take time to think about, research the scriptures, and/or pray about. Doing this helps demonstrate that things that are important to her are also important to you.

Write her love notes.

You do not have to be Shakespeare to write a meaningful note to your wife. Writing a simple note that communicates your love and appreciation and leaving it for her to find will be a huge encouragement.

The marriage relationship is vital to the health of a Christ-honoring home and the church. How we love our wives sets an example that will likely be followed by our children—one way or another. Being intentional about developing and protecting the marriage relationship is an investment that will pay eternal dividends.

Seven Ways to Pray with Your Wife

Seven Ways to Pray with Your Wife

Date

May 16, 2016

Categories

Marriage

Why don’t we pray more with our wives?

“Good question! I haven’t really thought about that.”

“Ah, we’re too busy.”

“It feels a bit strange suggesting and then leading my wife in prayer when we’re not at the dinner table or having devotions.”

Prayer is one very important ways we demonstrate—as a couple—our dependence upon God…for help in specific situations…and for the joy that each of us needs every day.

Here are 7.5 quick thoughts to encourage you in praying with your wife.

1. “Just do it!”

When you feel the urge, don’t put it off. Just do it. If the struggle is great simply confess this attitude to God at the beginning of your prayer. You’ll probably notice that God does some of his greatest work through these impromptu, weak, and sometimes, awkward prayer times.

2. Pray as part of your date night.

(You DO have one, right?) Leslee and I have a special place where we park the car and pray together on our way home from dates.

3. Pray before you discuss plans for the week.

We pray on Sunday nights before we plan the week simply asking God to help us make wise planning decisions.

4. Pray before you go to sleep.

Praying in bed may seem awkward, but it is a relaxing and usually uninterrupted place—unless you have 8 kids.

5. Pray specifically, “God, we are joyfully dependent upon you!”

This brings Him great glory. If this is not true, ask God to make it so. This also brings him glory!

6. Pray in thanksgiving

Specifically mentioning the glorious riches of our inheritance in Christ which includes: our adoption, forgiveness, blamelessness, holiness, redemption, and sealing in the Holy Spirit.

7. Don’t try to pray about everything at one prayer time.

Sometimes the prayer can be just a few sentences.

7.5 Pray with the assurance that God will bring you and your wife into greater unity as you pray together.

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. -Psalm 127:1