Friday, October 23, 2015

In An Instant - Or, Something Is Rotten In The State Of Denmark

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
                                  - Marcellus (Hamlet 1.4)

 In An Instant

Things have been going really well. My wife has been lighthearted more often. Her smile is radiant. Her giggle prompts contagious laughter from others. An ease and pleasant normality has become commonplace in our home once again.

I can see and feel her trust beginning to grow.

…and then, in an instant…

The Setting

As is our custom, we were taking an evening shower together. As we stood in the soothing hot water, we recapped the day.

Our oldest wants to borrow the car for a date night. That’s fine, as long as he fills the tank.

Our 4th grade son has been a little mean to our 5th grade son. We’ll pay closer attention and be sure to address anything we see him doing.

As we continued down the list of our children, I suddenly realized that I had insta-gas. What did I eat? I’m not sure, but this backside pressure was something that didn’t even give me enough time to politely jump out of the shower. BAM!

Ok. That just happened.

Honestly, we’ve been marred for nearly 22 years. Flatulation happens. If she hasn’t heard me by now, something isn’t right. The problem is that a hot and steamy shower keeps odors locked in and amplifies the potential toxins.

So, I played it off with a sheepish grin and confidently declared, “Just call me Romeo.”

Her Response

Without missing a beat, she said, “I wonder who else you’ve felt comfortable enough to do that in front of.”


The relaxing and soothing moment jumped from pleasant to painfully uncomfortable in an unforeseen instant.

I immediately became silent. The weight of what I’d done in the past stood solidly on my shoulders once again.

After a seeming eternity of silence (when in reality it was probably only a few seconds), she asked me what was wrong.

I replied, “Well, we were having a nice time relaxing and talking, and then I let one go…and then you wondered ‘who else’ I’ve done that in front of. I feel badly that anything can remind you of what I’ve done. And honestly, no, I never did that in front of any of them.”

She said, “It doesn’t necessarily have to mean ‘them.’ You’ve had many girlfriends in your life, it might have happened with any one of them as well.” I felt like she was trying to soften the blow a little bit. Then she said, “At least maybe I have this. Maybe this can be something that you’ve only done with me.”



What’s the point of sharing all of this? I’m just trying to be real. Life gets better, but reminders of our sinful mistakes can be only a moment away. I was going to say that they can be only a breath away, but given the gassy nature of the situation, I wanted to air…uh, I mean err on the side of seriousness.

Also, it’s not that infidelity is a laughing matter, but through the pain and in our journey of healing, we need to learn to laugh again.

“But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself” (Proverbs 6:32).

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

In Case of Emergency...

It's not if, It's when

I ride a motorcycle. I've never crashed or "gone down," yet. People say this all the time, "It isn't a question of if you're going down, it's a question of when."

So apparently, there's no getting around it. Eventually, one day, I'm going down on my bike. Because I have this awareness, I need to be prepared to the best of my ability both physically and mentally.

The Honeymoon Doesn't Last Forever

When a couple takes their vows on their wedding day, they don't actually believe the bad times will in fact accompany the good times. They can't fathom that sickness will ever occur, but only abundant health. They can't imagine that there will ever be times of financial need. And they certainly can't wrap their minds around the fact that their blissful celebration will ever eventually lead to arguments, discontent, and dare I say the deterioration of their feelings of love for one another.

Newlyweds - Fiancés and Fiancées -  Boyfriends and Girlfriends - and anyone else in-between: The 'It'll never happen to me' syndrome is a fabrication in your own mind. Feelings come and go. Happiness is a fleeting emotion that is subjective to any number of random factors at any given time. So the fact of the matter is, all star-crossed lovers will eventually have feelings that fade. It's not if, it's a matter of when.

Something Better than Happiness

Joy, my friends, is a much deeper and potentially unchanging anchor that can carry you through the longest deserts when temporal feelings of giddy-butterfly-filled-infatuation have long since dried up and withered away. The Bible teaches us to consider it "pure joy...whenever [we] face trials of many kinds" (James 1:2).

You see, joy is substantial. Happiness is fleeting and ever-changing.

If someone randomly hands me a $5 bill, I'm happy. Now the moment is gone and so is the happiness. It's that quick. Happiness is like a pleasant hiccup in my day. Sometimes it can happen several times per day, other times it might not happen at all.


Because happiness can lead us to believe that whatever triggered our positive response somehow equates to true satisfaction and fulfillment. The Apostle Paul wrote a popularly misquoted verse, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13). In context, he was writing about how he had endured both good times and bad. He had experienced hunger as well as times of plenty. Through all things and in all situations, he learned to be content (v. 11) because of his faith and hope in Christ Jesus. Therefore, he could endure all things through the power of Christ Jesus.

I hear this all the time, "I've fallen out of love." I even devoted a post to that subject entitled, "I've Fallen Out of Love." Many people use that excuse to justify either cheating or filing for divorce. Part of that comes from the ignorance of not understanding that love is truly much deeper than a skin-deep feeling.

It's better to tell you now; at some point in your marriage, you will experience a shift and change in your feelings for your spouse. Those changes will no longer feel like the initial so-called "in love" infatuation we all experience when a relationship is new. FYI: THIS IS NORMAL!!! 


Because feelings come and go. That's just the way it is. But does this mean that you don't love your spouse just because your feelings of infatuation have changed? Absolutely not. The feelings of infatuation erode to make room for a deeper and more mature mutual-submission, oneness, and love. There's a great book called, "Every Man's Marriage" where Fred Stoeker thoroughly examines the Biblical teachings of marital oneness, love, and mutual-submission to one's spouse. That book is a must read for any married man (or man who wants to one day get married).

How to Prepare

So now that you understand it's not a matter of if, but rather when, it's time to prepare.

This is not a fix-all solution. This is not an all-encompassing "I have all the answers" self-proclaimed-guruish kind of thing. This is simply a tool to help you focus. This is one tool out of many that can help you during a time of distress.  Here is a link to several other resources that provide amazing Biblical and Godly support for husbands, wives, and families: Forgiven Cheater Resources.

More than likely we have all seen something similar to the image at the top with the label, "Break Glass in Case of Emergency." I'd like to propose that you create your own 'break in case of emergency' box for your spouse.

Step 1.

Seclude yourself for an hour or so. Bring along something to write with and on. Begin to write out all of the things that you love and enjoy about your spouse/or soon-to-be spouse. Include the situation surrounding the first time you met. Be descriptive - include colors, sounds, smells, temperature, everything you can think of. Write out all of your favorite things about your spouse - be specific - include every detail from the contagious effect of their laughter, to the way they wear their hair, to the kindness they exhibit to strangers...whatever it is that YOU love about them. Include everything! Omit no detail. Make sure you have fully written down everything that captivated you in the first place.

Step 2.

Fold up, roll up, wrap up, do whatever you need to do with the things you've written down to securely seal into a box, canister, or container of some kind.

Step 3.

Pray. Pray for your spouse. Thank God for the unique traits and characteristics He designed your spouse to have. Ask for His love and protection to cover your marriage. (BTW - please continue to pray for and with your spouse on a daily basis even after this preparation is behind you).

Step 4.

Put this treasured box of descriptions somewhere safe. Leave it alone. Then go about your daily life with your spouse.

Step 5.

When the day comes that your feelings begin to change, and you potentially even ask yourself if you've fallen out of love...GET THE BOX! Take that box out of hiding and break it open. Spend another hour or more alone with the descriptions you've carefully written out. Spend some time praying for your marriage and for your spouse (in addition to the daily prayer you've already been faithfully keeping up with).

Step 6.

Take your spouse somewhere special and share the things you've written out about them. You don't need to share everything if you don't want to, but at least share some of the highlights. This will remind you of the treasure God has blessed you with as you look them in the eye and speak words of affirmation to them. In turn, it will also bless your spouse tremendously as they hear the words of validation that you've written about them.

P.S. Do this today. Don't wait until you're in panic mode.