Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Life is very rewarding. Life is very demanding. Life takes up a great deal of our time, but it should never consume us to the point where we relax in loving our wives. Women are a gift from God. They are special and strong, but fragile - priceless, yet valuable. Let's not forget our wives in the process of making life happen. It is very possible for a husband and wife to live in the same home for years and lose the connection that first drew them together. Keep love fresh and new. Splurge on her dude. Try something new. Participate in a different activity that brings her joy. It is a true saying - "A happy wife is a happy life."
As men, we have a tendency to get caught up in our world of our own activities and duties. A real man wants to provide for his home and handle the things of the home. There is a great sense of gratification that a man feels when he knows he has things like the yard, the trash, the automobiles up to par. Trust me, it's not that ladies cannot handle these things. I have already told you that wives are strong, but when there is a man in the home, he should take joy in providing in that manner. Don't let, however, those things rob you of some of the softer things you should be doing with your spouse. There are times when your wife that wants you in her presence, relaxing, sharing, cooking together, talking late at night, taking long walks and simply put...shutting your cell phone off for just a while.
I challenge you, as the husband of your own home, to be the leader and love intensely and love intently. The Bible says, "Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church - a lovemarked by giving, not getting. Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring out the best in her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They're really doing themselves a favor - since they're already "one" in marriage." ~Ephesians 5:24 - 26 (Message Bible) There should be an intensity in how you love your spouse. Intensity will cause you to act when you really don't feel like it. Maintain your drive to please God and the woman in your life. Intensity denotes a drive that's stronger than average. Intensity denotes passion, vigor, emotion, a high degree or extreme toward something. Serve your wife with generous doses of intense love.
Also, love intently. Marriage is not a haphazard event, but should be thought through carefully. I encourage you to love your wives intently. Let each moment count. Rise with a purpose for your marriage. Rest after that purpose has manifested. Deliberately think of ways that you can improve your marriage. If you purpose within yourself to make your marriage the best if can be, then it will improve. Sometimes, we see all of the ways in which our wives can improve or do things differently, but often times, the change has to come in us first. The truth of the matter is that some of the things you may want your wife to change will never change. Therefore, the change must occur in you. Marriage must be an intentional love. It is planned. Why intentional you may ask? It has to be intentional because you may experience days and moments when you don't feel like loving. Love is an action word and while you may love your spouse, you may not feel up to doing the physicial things that it takes to show that you love. Because of the humanism we possess, serve your wife generous doses of intentional love. You'll be glad you did. Loving intently will cause you to give your wife that hug that she really desires when you don't feel like hugging. Loving intently will make you rise and run that errand that you may not feel like running. Loving intently will cause you to listen and not be so quick to cut her off or shut her out, knowing that your intentional love is going to be a benefit for you both.
Gentlemen, if we take one step toward making marriage and home better by loving intensely and intently, the wife that loves you will take two.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
The comedian, Ricky Smiley, once told a joke about being UGLY. He said that that UGLY stood for you gotta love yourself. Being that today is my birthday, I am more convinced that you really do have to love yourself. If you don’t love yourself, you will end up treating everyone ugly, looking ugly, talking ugly…all because you have not chosen to be content with you and love yourself. Loving yourself is the core of self esteem. Loving yourself is the fuel that you need to love others. How many people in this world live off of their own insecurities and odd feelings about the inner and outer person called “me?” Don’t you know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made? God designed you to be YOU and no one else!
THE INSIDE ME
As I get older, I am growing to love the inside me more and more. There was a time in my life when I harbored all of the gifts, talents, thoughts, solutions and resolutions on the inside. I won’t say that I had a bad case of low self esteem, but I didn’t take all of the liberties afforded me to exhibit all that I could as a person. Today, I realize that I am the only person who suffered from those choices. Now, I love the inside me. The inside me is smart, near brilliant, witty, compassionate, loving and full of “I can do all things through Christ.” Oh no, the inside me is not perfect, but I have surrounded myself with quality convictions that keep me in check.
THE OUTSIDE ME
I love the outside me. I love the outside me so much that I am doing my best to take care of it. I exercise when possible and try to make better dietary decisions. It’s not about how you look physically if the outside me is suffering with hidden cares that you can control. Yes, I love the outside me. I do my best to stay groomed. I have some things to work on, but the outside me is okay.
As I celebrate my birthday, I challenge you to check the inside me and the outside me that lies in you. Make sure you love both parts of yourself. Make sure you do all you can for the benefit of the inside and outside you. Your body, heart and soul will thank you for it later. Introduce the inside me to the outside me and let them become acquainted. They do work hand in hand. Your inner thoughts about yourself affect the outer you.
So many people have low self esteem. Sometimes, they are in denial over how they really feel about themselves and it shows up in personality conflicts, poor spending habits and endless emotional journeys. Love God. Love yourself. Love others as He has commanded. You’re beautiful on the inside and the out. When you love yourself, others will see it and respect you for it. It’s a simple thought, but someone needs to hear it. There is great value in you my sister and my brother.
Enjoy these tunes:
Beautiful, Amber Riley, Glee Cast (Please watch the entire clip!)
Look at Me, Jenifer Lewis, Jackie Washington (For fun...hee hee), Jackie's Back
The Greatest Love of All, Whitney Houston
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
I was at home this evening while my wife and son took early naps. This was a good time for me to work on an event for married couples. Just the night before, I spoke with one of my ministry colleagues about this event. We both expressed our excitement for this married couples gathering. We rejoiced in the wonderful response from those invited and knew that this event would be great. I was assigned to put the prelude music together. I have many CDs, but they are stored away, so iTunes became my source for the specific music that I wanted. After I gathered the music of my choice, I began to listen to my play list and the love began to fill my heart. I began to sing and dance because I was really feeling lovey dovey at the time. As I listened, I began to make dinner – tilapia, rice, and corn. The aforementioned was my wife’s requests, so I tried to oblige. Soon after I finished, they woke up, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of just feeling love in the house, in the air, just love! On the eve of this 2-night marriage event, I could feel that something good was about to occur.
After dinner, we retired upstairs. My son was very active, so we stretched out on opposite sides of the bed and put him between us. For the next two hours, we talked, we laughed and we shared. There was no sound of phones, no television and no Internet. We were engaged in quality time at its best. My son, Elijah, ran from one end of the bed to the next, hugging, kissing and blowing air on our cheeks. We played with him, tickled him, made him laugh and engaged him in conversation, even though he is only saying a few words. It was truly a priceless moment. The love that I felt earlier for my wife and son was manifested through our time of intimacy with each other. I don’t think I will ever forget that moment. While we always talk about our day, this was a different kind of time spent together. It was reaffirming. I laid across the bed and looked at her, looked at him, and the one in the oven. Yes, the one in the oven. Immediately, my heart renewed its love and commitment for the gifts God had given me.
Intimacy is not just sex. It is not just for married couples, but it is quality time that you spend with those that you love. It is taking the time to show and share that you care and you are interested in what the other is saying, thinking and feeling. Take some time out and spend some quality time with your loved ones. Cut everything off, sit and talk. Cuddle. Hug. Dream. Open up. Share. Cry. Get giddy. Sing. Dance. Discover. Reinvent. Affirm. Build. Resolute. Conclude. Most of all, become intimate with those you love. When it’s all over, knowing that your loved ones know that you love them through your actions is one of the most precious gifts you can give someone.
I thought I would share the play list with you just in case you want to share the love with those you love. The list is below and the You Tube clips proceed. Enjoy the Q.T.
“Close to You” – Bebe and Cece Winans
“Same Ole Love (365 Days a Year) – Anita Baker
“You Are” – Lionel Ritchie
“Inseparable” – Natalie Cole
“I Found Love” – Bebe & Cece Winans
“You’re the First, the Last, My Everything” – Barry White
“Love of My Life” – Bebe & Cece Winans
“My Love, Sweet Love” – Patti Labelle
“Giving You the Best that I Got” – Anita Baker
“If Anything Ever Happened to You” – Bebe & Cece Winans
“Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me” – Gladys Knight
“So High” – John Legend
“Spend My Life With You” – Eric Benet & Tamia
“Cherish” – Kool & the Gang
“Endless Love” – Lionel Ritchie & Diana Ross
Monday, July 26, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
“I told him that he treated me better when we were dating. I feel like I don’t even know this person because he is NOT the man I married.”
So what happened? What causes people to change in marriage? Though the road begins mostly good, it can sometimes shift in life and become mostly rocky. It’s enough to make you want to scream, “Can we talk about these what abouts?” Just what are the what abouts?
What about the promise to stay? What about the dreams we made? What about the things that we said we would do? What about your solemn vow to love and honor me? What about our decision to go to school and build solid careers? What about you and me doing it together, TOGETHER?!
The list can go on, but the truth is that it takes a lot of work to maintain the freshness and vigor of marriage that seems to dwindle over time. Again, two humans, meshed, by the Spirit and with the Spirit, but not always walking in the Spirit. Trust me, after you have been in the Spirit, you’d better have some things in common. After you have left the marriage bed, you’d better be able to find some type of common ground to stand on.
Sometimes, life’s circumstances, be it employment, pressure, changes in socio-economic status, and so much more present hardships and one spouse may not know how to deal with it all. Perhaps, there have been feelings that have been harboring for years and now they are coming out. Perhaps, a mask of love and understanding was presented at the altar and that sheath has now faded away to reveal the person’s real thoughts and cares toward their spouse. You see, it’s not always infidelity, or money that causes problems in marriage. While one could argue they are at the top of the list, people change and it is not always for the better.
It is very important to make sure that you have the same goals and that you both visit the room of your dreams several times over. That’s the work of marriage. If not, one spouse can be sidetracked, yes, even those who are Christian and love God with their hearts.
So, perhaps you are reading this and you are asking, “BJ, should I end this marriage?” As we say in my home state of NC, “that’s neither here nor there.” In other words, this is not marriage counseling and I would not dare advise you to end a marriage. Truth is, when I finish this discourse, I am climbing in the bed next to my bride and tomorrow, if God’s willing, we are going to wake and try this thing called marriage for another day!
My heart went out to my loved one because the lack of sincere care in the marriage has been thrown at her so much, there is a feeling of apathy toward even wanting to make it work. Her new perspective is that of “doing what I gotta do for me.” I felt her pain. I felt how she said, “We started out fine. He’s a good man though. He is not ambitious and doesn’t care.”
Here are a few things that come to mind that may prove some positive results:
Take close inventory: Make sure you note the signs that may turn your spouse away from jointly pursuing the same goals you set in marriage. Find a way to close the faucet of your frustration and be sober-minded about that change that you want to occur in your marriage. Cry if you must, but get back to work, yes marriage is work, and note the items that you observe in order to obtain true understanding.
Seek true understanding: Stop looking at everything from your perspective. Sometimes, we fail at maintaining relationships because we view them one-sided. We think about what we want and what we want only. In seeking true understanding, try to get into the head of your spouse and find out what circumstances have brought you both to this point. Seek to know how he/she interpreted those situations. If you search deep enough, you may find that the root of the problem is in how they were raised, a bad experience or a misperception about something. They may feel intimidated or may have low esteem about themselves.
Play your part: Once you have some level of understanding of where your spouse’s perspective lies, find creative ways to achieve your goals jointly. If you spouse is intimidated, you may need to have a few cheering sessions, or compliment them more often. If its life’s circumstances, play your part in changing those things. There may come a time in your life when you have to carry your spouse. Yes, ladies, you may have to carry your husband for a moment. Don’t forget the vows that you pledged as you think about what your spouse may not be doing. Don’t become weary in your well-doing. A reaping time is coming. While it may require more than the average sacrifice on your part, your continued part is essential to the survival and restoration of the facets of your union.
Pray. Seek counseling if applicable. Pray. Understand. Pray. Fight for your marriage!
1 Corinthians 7:13-15 (The Message Bible)
12-14For the rest of you who are in mixed marriages—Christian married to non-Christian—we have no explicit command from the Master. So this is what you must do. If you are a man with a wife who is not a believer but who still wants to live with you, hold on to her. If you are a woman with a husband who is not a believer but he wants to live with you, hold on to him. The unbelieving husband shares to an extent in the holiness of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is likewise touched by the holiness of her husband. Otherwise, your children would be left out; as it is, they also are included in the spiritual purposes of God.
15-16On the other hand, if the unbelieving spouse walks out, you've got to let him or her go. You don't have to hold on desperately. God has called us to make the best of it, as peacefully as we can. You never know, wife: The way you handle this might bring your husband not only back to you but to God. You never know, husband: The way you handle this might bring your wife not only back to you but to God.
Bebe Winans put it best in a song. Enjoy. These What Abouts
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Well, it's not your anniversary, it's your wedding day, but if you haven't really thought this through, you may never reach your anniversary. You're standing there proudly taking your vows before God and before men. It feels good, at least it feels like the thing to do. My advice: think it through again. Examine yourself and your potential mate before you tie that knot to make sure your goals in this union are in sync. SIDEBAR: Please know that I recognize that #1 - Bad things happen to good p eople everyday, #2 - Good people turn into bad people everyday, #3 - We all make mistakes and wrong choices in life.
That being said, my mind goes back to one thing my wife told me leading up to our wedding day, even on the night before our wedding. She told me that, if at any time, I didn't feel that I could do this or be what we both will pledge it to be, that I can back out, EVEN if at the altar. Yes, she gave me permission to back out at the altar, for she was willing to lose out on the value of the dress, the flowers, the tears of joy, the catering for a truth that cannot be taken back once vowed. A pride-removed statement could actually save you from a life of despair and frustration. To be quite honest, I was a bit nervous on our wedding day. I was only nervous that something may go wrong and upset her, but I wasn't nervous about my decision to marry this woman. Please take inventory of yourself and your potential spouse. Make lists and count up the costs. Examine yourself and make sure you are able to give your potential spouse what he/she needs. Wait! REWIND: Make sure you are willing to attempt to give your spouse what he/she needs. Make sure you are wiling to tolerate the habits and truths that you already see in your spouse. Some people saw signs and truths before they stood at the altar. They tricked themselves into thinking they can change their spouse only to find out that they could not change that behavior, and all of a sudden, it became intolerable. If your potential spouse exhibits a temper on a level that you dislike now, perhaps you need to decide if you can tolerate that in marriage.
What can you not tolerate? Trust me, it's not a magic ring that you will wear and it doesn't change your personality. What am I trying to say? Success in marriage is a long term goal. It's not a quick fix, not a business deal. I know of a family member who, when asked why he married, replied with, "We just thought it was something we would try." TRY? Try out a restaurant. Try out an iPad, but please don't try marriage. Marriage is an act of longevity. While many marriages don't last for whatever reason, (I'm not hatin') your marriage, to be or already existing, doesn't have to end up in divorce court. Pray. Think sensibly. Be honest with yourself. Be honest with your potential spouse. Show him/her off. Let your family members "check 'em out." While their opinion is not always absolute, sometimes, people can see what you cannot. I observed a case where "he" was never brought around even though he was requested. The wedding day came and the wedding left.....so did the love, if it was ever there. Now, someone reading this may say, but you don't understand. I have been waiting a long time to marry. BJ, you're married and you go home to someone everyday. While this may be true, we all bear the responsibility to "pray, think and confirm" before we say I do. I don't care how old you are. You can marry at 85 years old, but if it isn't right, it won't work. I'm just asking that you think it through again and act accordingly.
As I sit here by my wife, comfortable in the bed, she says to me, "There's a war going on. If you're gonna win, you better be sure you have Jesus deep down within." Random to some, but not so random to the believer. Go figure. The goal is 'Till Death Do We Part." That's what we say right? Check out this blog link. 'Til Death Do We Part