Tag Archives: Marriage

Marriage Inside Out

blog tour
CIOTo promote this year’s Summer Blog Tour, we’re giving away one set of Church Inside Out, both book and workbook. Just leave a comment below then enter over HERE.

Richard May continues our blog tour today:

SEEING INSIDE OUT

The years that our marriage was a disaster, each of us believed that a change in behavior or attitude of the other person was the key to our happier future. At some points we could have said that the change in the other person was the key to our future relationship status. We were thinking Outside-In. We nearly divorced.

She had a list of things that needed to change about him. He needed to be more organized, dead-line efficient, trustworthy and connected. That’s the short list. Since she is a nurse, she had a care-plan for each of her marital health goals and she was determined that he would be a compliant patient.

He had only one thing on his list of things she needed to change. She needed to quit being so negative about all those things she wanted to change about him. By the time the worst came, he lost hope in her ever being more positive; the marital health would increase exponentially, he conceded, if she would just be less negative.

Paul’s instructions to wives, husbands, children, fathers, slaves and masters in the Letter to the Colossians begins with this: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (3:17).

The pursuit of a whole, healthy, holy relationship begins, not with the adjustments of a spouse, but with the commitment to a mindset; the mindset that everything done will be done because Jesus wants it done. Any growth starts inside the mind and heart of a husband or wife. Moreover, since the motivation is about what Jesus wants, then, no less-than-desirable response from the other spouse changes the behavior. After all, it’s not about them; it’s about Jesus.

Someone asked leadership guru Zig Ziglar about marrying the wrong person and he replied with this:

“I have no way of knowing whether or not you married the wrong person, but I do know that many people have a lot of wrong ideas about marriage and what it takes to make that marriage happy and successful. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s possible that you did marry the wrong person. However, if you treat the wrong person like the right person, you could well end up having married the right person after all. On the other hand, if you marry the right person, and treat that person wrong, you certainly will have ended up marrying the wrong person. I also know that it is far more important to be the right person than it is to marry the right person. In short, whether you married the right or wrong person is primarily up to you.”

Choose your mindset. Your mindset will guide your behavior and that will create renewed feelings about your spouse and your marriage.

We tried the experiment of developing a strong relationship by getting the other spouse to behave like we wanted. It was a failed experiment. It was an outside-in attempt. Start in your mind and heart. Decide you will be who you ought to be regardless of the behavior of your spouse. For us, “being the right person” means doing what Jesus wants. Do everything, including marriage, in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the Father.

That’s an Inside-Out marriage.


08 Richard May - picRichard May and his wife JeannaLynn together run WGHJ Ministries: a full-service, spiritually focused marriage mission center with international impact by coaching couples, supporting couples in ministry, and providing marriage related resources for churches, universities, organizations, and communities. You can get more information on their website: www.WGHJministries.com; or follow their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WGHJMinistries.

Coffee and headship

Coffee ServiceWhen I get up in the morning, I make coffee. It reminds me who I am.

I’m not talking about the need for a caffeine fix. A lot of times the coffee sits around over an hour before I drink any. Caffeine doesn’t particularly wake me up. I don’t drink coffee as a drug.

But I prepare coffee for my wife. And I wait to drink it with her. I get out two mugs that match. Not the same mugs every day, but I want our mugs to be the same.

Most of our mugs have been in our home for a decade or two, so they show some wear and tear. I pick out the better of the two mugs and use that for my wife’s coffee.

Most of the time, I prepare both cups and serve her hers, putting in the sweetener and milk that she uses.

So hooray. I do a chore around the house. Am I looking for a medal?

No, it’s not about that. This little morning ritual reminds me who I am. I take seriously what the Bible says about me being the head of my family. (Feel free to argue about whether head means “source” or “leader” or whatever you choose) As head, from what I read in Ephesians 5, I’m called on to do several specific things.

  • I’m to love my wife (and family)
  • I’m to serve her
  • I’m to sacrifice for her

To me that’s what it means for me to be the head of my family. And making coffee in the morning reminds me of that.

Image from MorgueFile.com

Building the church by building our families

weddingOn October 7, I published ten affirmations about marriage. Since then, we’ve been looking at the ten. Here’s the last:

Our church needs strong, healthy marriages.

Some people rankle at the idea that the church needs anything. Christ built and sustains the church. Does the church really need humans?

I understand that line of reasoning. I even agree with some of the sentiment. But I also know that God expects us to do our part to see help the church grow. (Ephesians 4:16) And a bit part of that is helping our families, our marriages, be strong.

There have been cultural shifts that have damaged marriage. The sexual revolution, from birth control pills to changing moral values, was in many ways an assault on the family. Marriage became optional. Divorce became acceptable. Children were seen as a hindrance to career and freedom. Sexual identity became a sea of confusion.

Some speak of restoring traditional values. I prefer to speak of restoring godly values. The church needs to focus on the home, building marriages and strengthening families. We need to enunciate our belief that families matter, that building a home is our highest priority. We need strong, healthy marriages.

Affirmation #10: Our church needs strong, healthy marriages.

Speaking words of grace to those who have divorced

weddingThe ninth of ten affirmations about marriage is this:
God hates divorce; God loves divorced people.

Yesterday we talked about recovering the first part of that statement, of proclaiming and living as a church the fact that divorce goes against what God wants. Today I want to reflect some on the second part of the statement: God loves divorced people.

It’s not easy to combat divorce without communicating some sort of assault on those who are divorced. We need to remember that those people have not removed themselves from the reach of God’s love. Divorce is not the unforgivable sin. Even a divorce that was carried out in a sinful manner can still be forgiven by God.

This isn’t the post where I look at all the ins and outs of divorce and remarriage. I may do that someday, but today isn’t that day. My point today is that even as we denounce divorce as being contrary to God’s will, we need to let divorced people know that God’s grace reaches them just as it reaches us. Whether they’ve been wronged or they have wronged another, God can heal that hurt and wash away all sin. Divorce need not define who they’ve been nor who they are going forward.

If we are going to stem the tide of divorce and speak with a prophetic voice to the generations to come, we will need the help of all Christians: single, married, divorced. We all need to affirm with one voice this two-faceted truth: God hates divorce; God loves divorced people.

So again, here’s affirmation #9: God hates divorce; God loves divorced people.

Breaking marriage vows offends God

motelMy schedule is a bit irregular these days, which distracts me from taking care of the blog. But I do want to finish my examination of the affirmations I made about marriage a couple of weeks ago. We’re up to number eight:

Failure to respect our marriage vows is an offense to God.

As I’ve said, we’ve lost the concept of what a vow really means. We stand and pledge allegiance to a flag without thinking of what it means to pledge. We take an oath in court without thinking about the God we are invoking. We take vows on our wedding day and lose sight of the seriousness of that act.

By including God in our marriage ceremony, we include him in the marriage itself. The promises made are made not only to one another, but to God. When we break those promises, we are disrespecting God.

God’s words from Malachi 2 are significant here:

“And this second thing you do. You cover the LORD’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who hates and divorces, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.” (Malachi 2:13–16)

God is speaking directly about divorce, but notice what he says. God is a witness to the covenant made. Because of this “faithlessness” is offensive to him. Being faithless not only disrupts the relationship between man and woman, but also between the offender and God.

“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” (Hebrews 13:4)

Our 8th affirmation: Failure to respect our marriage vows is an offense to God.