Marriage Monday: Nobody Owes You Happiness

Hey 20-somethings…and honestly a lot of 30-somethings…

I know it feels like you shouldn’t have to pay your dues, to work hard and long hours to get ahead. I know it feels like you should be able to have everything handed to you.

Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to be on a budget? Wouldn’t it be fantastic if student loans were what so many of thought they were – fake Monopoly money that will one day just magically go away?

Many have labeled Millennials as the most entitled generation yet in history. Speaking as a Millennial, that critique often sounds uninformed and pretentious. However, more often that not, it’s true.

One of my favorite parts of our life right now is our friend group that is sprinkled with people in their 20s and 30s, both single and married. In may ways, our close friend group defies the stereotypical complaints about the Millennials.  Yet far too often, the stereotypes are true.

Today, many in their 20s and 30s are

  • Lazy
  • Easily distracted.
  • Undisciplined.
  • Selfish

This has enormous implications for marriage. I’ve been married for almost 4 years now and the one thing I haven’t gotten used too is seeing couples that have gotten married after us already divorced. It’s also heart-breaking as a pastor to see married couples divorce with young kids. And even though many married couples don’t divorce, the are far from the thriving marriage God desires for them. They simply expect it to magically happen because they married a crush from college or a high school sweetheart.

While each situation is somewhat unique to each marriage, there are many few dangers that lie lurking for Millennials in marriage. This attitude of entitlement, when extended and applied to marriage, puts people on a one-way path to divorce.

Truth: nobody owes you happiness. A thriving marriage doesn’t just happen because you marry whoever you were dating the back half of college. Anyone can survive in marriage. It takes hard work from both spouses to thrive.

A thriving marriage doesn’t happen overnight. But you can start TODAY to move toward one. Here’s 3 ways you can take action:

  1. Date Night: I’ve written about this before, but if you were to do ONE thing on this list, this is it. A date night will do wonders for your marriage. Men, make a plan. Be thoughtful. You don’t need a ton of money or creativity. You just need to be thoughtful and purposeful. Having a plan for date night shows your wife that you’ve cared about her enough to make a plan. ATTENTION MARRIED PEOPLE WITH KIDS: Do NOT take your kids on date night. Hire a sitter. Drop them off at your parents’ house. Arrange a date night co-op with other parents where you take turns watching kids so you and your spouse can have a one-on-one date night twice a month. Go to the dollar theaters. Take a walk in the park. Thriving marriages don’t just happen and one of the things they are built on is regular date nights.
  2. Go follow The Marriage Bed and The Pure Bed on Twitter. They tweet numerous times a day about faith, marriage, and sex – all from a Christian perspective. Share one of their tweets or articles with your spouse AND your own thoughts/applications from it.
  3. Change your phone background to a picture of just your spouse. Put their picture on your desk or in your car. Find little ways TODAY to show off how proud and grateful you are to be theirs.

What would you add to the list?






Who Has Better Sex?

To say Roger Staubach had an accomplished football career is an understatement.

  • He won the Heisman trophy in college.
  • He has been inducted into the college and professional football halls of fame
  • He is a 6-time Pro-Bowl selection (when that actually meant something).
  • He is a 2-time Super Bowl champion.
  • He won an MVP award.
  • On top of aaaaalll that, Staubach served 4 years as an officer in the Navy.

Despite all his incredible accolades, Staubach wanted to be known as a family man above all else. And he succeeded because he lived it out instead of simply talk about it.

In a 1975 nationally-televised interview, a CBS reporter asked former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach about his well-known reputation as a clean-cut, family man. She wanted to know what most people on the outside of a seemingly happy marriage want to know…

Isn’t it boring?

Doesn’t it get old really fast?

Don’t you eventually just get sick of each other?

Staubach’s response was one befitting his Hall of Fame character,

“Haha, everyone compares me to Joe Namath…off the field he’s a single bachelor swingin’ and I’m a married man with a family and he’s having all the fun…I enjoy sex just as much as Joe Namath! Only I do it with one girl, and it’s still fun.”

Joe Namath was also a famous quarterback who was well-known for his bachelor ways, and still is today at the age of 70. Who do you think has the better sex? Namath uses what he’s devoted to (career, fame, etc.) to have sex with a thousand nameless people. Yet he’s been alone most of his life. Staubach has sex with ONE person but it’s the same ONE person he’s raised kids and grandkids with. It’s the same ONE person he can truly be himself with. Who do you think has better sex?

Staubach’s commitment to a full, joyful life as a one-woman man needs to be re-embraced today:

Anyone can become a womanizer like Namath, notching his sexual belt with conquests. But it takes real courage and commitment to love like Staubach does, to be devoted to another person in the covenant of marriage.

And that’s what God wants, marriages that are created by people who are truly devoted to one another. But being faithful doesn’t necessarily mean you’re devoted. Pastor Darrin Patrick has written,

“You can coexist without loving. Your marriage may look good but not feel good. You may be married but only on a technicality – you are really more in a business arrangement than in love.”

A devoted marriage doesn’t happen over night. But there are some things anyone can begin doing today to move toward a fully-devoted, joyful marriage.

How to be a Devoted Spouse

  • Date your spouse. It doesn’t matter how much money you don’t have or how many kids you do, go on a date night. Regularly. It doesn’t have to be every week. But it does need to be consistent. Get out of the house. Hire a sitter. Eat at Taco Bell. Go out for ice cream. Take a walk in the park – it doesn’t matter! Remember how this was the stuff that was so exciting at the beginning? Keep it going! Some of my favorite moments in my marriage have come on cheap date nights after we tied the knot. If you’re smart like us and have gone through Financial Peace University, never fear. We have an envelope just for Date Night.
  • Stop looking at the menu. Men AND women: If you’re married, you’re no longer available. Neither is anyone else to you but your spouse, so stop looking at other people as if they are. Keep your eyes FIXED on your spouse. In private, don’t watch TV or your phone more than you watch them. In public, don’t look at others instead of them. Study them. Explore them. Learn them. Serve them.
  • Get physical. Sex is great! But there’s also tons of other ways to show your spouse you’re fully devoted to them. Hold hands. Give a hug. Cuddle after dinner. Make out. Gross the kids out. Finding ways to be physical in addition to sex will help your sex life become more meaningful and show your singular devotion.

Your spouse needs you to be more than faithful. Your spouse needs you to be fully devoted to them.

What else would you add to the list?




Marriage Monday: Vomit & Forgiveness

Attitudes are chosen. They are not something that happen to us or something that lies outside our control.

Far too often, we can make poor decisions based on an emotional reaction to someone else’s actions. Then we blame that person’s actions for bringing up that poor attitude in us, as if we didn’t have control of our reaction.

The truth is, attitudes and reactions are chosen. We have the power to respond in the best of ways when we encounter the worst of scenarios.

This principle illustrates itself most clearly in the arena of marriage.

It’s been proven over the course of our marriage…and every marriage lasting longer than 6 seconds, that spouses screw up. Wives hurt husbands. Husbands mistreat wives. We all find our own creative ways to do so but it’s a brokenness that plagues us all.

I remember when my wife and I were in pre-marital counseling and our pastor and his wife shared with us a verse that has helped shaped our marriage more than any other:

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32

Shouldn’t it be easy to be tenderhearted to the one we love more than anyone else? Why would it be hard to forgive the one that makes us happier than anyone else?

Remember all those marriages that lasted longer than 6 seconds? They all have one thing in common: they’re made up of people who hurt the people they love most. Hurt people hurt people and it’s never easy to forgive, even if it’s your spouse…sometimes especially if it’s your spouse.

So what happens when you’re the spouse that gets hurt? What happens when the love of your life doesn’t act very loving? In these instances you have two options:

  1. Have a careless, emotional reaction that is somehow validated based on the actions of the one who hurt you.
  2. Choose to lead your heart instead of being led by it. Choose to forgive before you hear an apology.

Instead of always passively reacting to the actions of your spouse, choose today to take active action to display the forgiveness that we who are following Jesus can show because God first forgave us.

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably wondering where the vomit comes in. It happened yesterday and it has nothing to do with marriage but everything to do with choose how to respond to others.

It was a relatively typical Sunday morning and I was visiting with a few families lingering out in the foyer. All of a sudden I smelled something from near the coffee bar area that causes me to turn around.

It was a familiar smell. Vomit.

I followed the smell…and trail…of vomit into the men’s bathroom where I found a Dad cleaning up his young daughter who had gotten sick. When he finished cleaning her up and turned around I saw that he was covered in his daughter’s vomit. He had a nice shirt on and had plans to go out to lunch right after the service with some other family members. Apparently he was holding his daughter when she got sick and she actually threw up into his face and all over his shirt and jeans. This dude was soaked.

As I began filling up the mop bucket with soap and water I handed him a roll of paper towels and asked, “Man, are you okay?” He looked at his daughter and smiled simply before answering me, “Yeah, I’m great.” He was still covered in vomit. He hadn’t even started to think about himself. His heart was full and sincere because he decided a long time before his daughter up-chucked her Goldfish all over him that he was going to love her no matter what.

Hopefully your spouse doesn’t vomit all over you today. But now you know what to do just in case.

No matter what happens today, your love for your spouse is a choice. Choose to love well today.


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