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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Can't Break Me {Five Minute Friday}

Time for Five-Minute Friday , hosted by Kate Motaung. The challenge is to write for five minutes on a given "theme word", posted by Kate on Thursday night...and then stop when the timer dings.

Today's word is BREAK.


GO.

Those who have been following this blog, and some of my comments on the blogs written by others, know that I had a bad setback in my (terminal) illness, and I'm in deep, deep trouble.

But it can't break me.

That's not bravado, or at least, I don't think it is. The thing is, this monster has already taken me through Hell. Not just the suburbs; we've been right downtown.

And I know what the future may hold, if the prognosticators are correct when they're reading their goat entrails. It's going to hurt, it's going to be bad, and it's going to be something I'd really, really rather avoid.

Well, so what? Everyone dies. Jesus died on the Cross, and yes, He DID try to get out of that bummer of a deal.

His body was 'broken'; but that's just a word; he was really, really trashed. His Spirit, his Heart of Fortitude...ah, that;'s something else again.

he still had the presence and the compassion to tell one of the dudes who was fated to die with Him that they'd be together, in Heaven, after the current unpleasantness was over.

He was thinking of someone else's heart. Not something a broken Man would do.

So if I walk the walk, and want to be like Jesus...this will not break me.

I'll keep that heart of compassion, that will to courtesy, sportsmanship, and fair play, even though Hell overwhelms me.

I'll remain a gentleman to the end, because I have an example to follow. He 'broke' the trail. All I have to do is keep my head down, and walk.

If He could do it, so can I?

Arrogant?

Or is that what we're SUPPOSED to be, as Christians?

Unbroken, even through death, and whole into New Life

STOP

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Price Of Infidelity {Wedded Wednesday}

What happens when you cheat on your spouse?

I'm not just talking about the clandestine meeting in a distant motel room, or the 'fling' at an out-of-town conference.

One of the most serious forms of infidelity takes place without any physical intimacy whatsoever...it's infidelity of the heart, emotional infidelity.

Why 'most serious'? because you promised your heart to your husband or wife...exclusively.

Give your heart to someone else, and you've taken it away from the person who has a rightful claim. That's one definition of theft.

But really...what happens? How does this mess play out in a marriage, in the real world?

The effects are powerful, and they can't be erased. You can't go back and say, "It didn't mean anything!"

It meant enough to break a vow.

Saying "I couldn't help myself!" is no excuse. Everything in betrayal is an intentional act, from answering a text to removing one's clothes.

So, before answering that text from the gal at work who makes your pulse race, just a little, or the email from the guy who seems so witty and cultured and fun...read on, and know the price you'll demand of the person you promised to honour before God.

If the affair...no, betrayal is kept secret, the wronged spouse often has the idea that something is wrong. There's a slight shift in the ground underfoot; what was once solid has the occasional tremor.

It's unpleasant and unsettling, but many - perhaps most - spouses can choose to ignore it, at least for a time. But it's a shadow across the sun, all the same.

The can feel an emotional distance, and find that sometimes a phone may be quickly snapped shut as they approach, or email logged out, while the screen is blocked by a quickly-turning mate with a too-ready smile.

There might be a text message that's a bit puzzling...was this meant for someone else?

Or a receipt for lunch at a restaurant never visited.

Some husbands or wives will ask, directly..."What the heck is going on?"

And usually there's a glib and smooth reply...because the cheating spouse is living on tenterhooks, afraid to be found out. Excuses and explanations are constantly being flipped through a mental Rolodex, against just those questions.

And then, sometimes, horribly, the cat comes prancing out of the bag.

This is where the price comes in...the price the wronged spouse is forced to pay. Sure, the cheater pays a price, too...but generally later, and, to be honest, deservedly so.

The first item on the bill is loss of the shared past.

Infidelity is what they call a game-changer. It cuts the present off from the past; the betrayal obviates the happy memories built over the years, turns them to ash.

All those years together...meant nothing. And it's hard to lose the meaning of a huge chunk of the past.

The second item is isolation. Where there was once a team, now there are two individuals, and the loyalty of one has fallen away. You can't know what tomorrow will bring, and you can't plan, or even really ask.

And third...and in a way worst...is what I call Groundhog Day.

It's that state between sleeping and waking in the morning, when for a quiet minute everything bad seems like it was a nightmare, that everything's really all right.that nothing really happened. It was all a dream, a bad dream.

But it wasn't, and the heart is broken again, anew, every morning.


Does the person you married deserve this?


This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage. If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information. It's run by Beth Steffaniak, who has a heart for marriage and a soul for God!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Why Marriage Is Important

The title might seem like an exercise in obvious idiocy...marriage is a sacrament, it's a covenant, blah, blah, blah.

But we can hide the meaning behind the screen of words, especially some of the obsolete words from the King James Bible. (Does anyone ever use the word "unto" for anything but a religious reference, outside of direct Scriptural tags?)

I mean, do we really have a feeling for the words "sacrament" and "covenant", outside of their Biblical use?

I suspect not, so let's look at marriage without some of these doodads.

Marriage is a unique relationship. It's intended, and promised at the altar, for a lifetime, beginning when the betrothed are both consenting adults. That means that they may or may not have a significant history together before that day.

In other words, it's a relationship that is completely artificial, no matter how 'natural' and 'right' it may feel. Forget soulmates; whether these exist or not is outside my purview, and we'll leave those metaphorical angels dancing on their pinheads.

Our other significant relationships are natural. The bind us through genetics, shared history from an early age, shared culture...they are the arms and bosom from which we spring. We have a natural bond with our parents and grandparents and siblings and cousins.

We may hate them, but those bonds, deep down, will still exist in some form, and are the stuff of legend, myth, and bad TV movies.

But we're supposed to put marriage, this artificial thing, above them. We're supposed to choose to walk away from nature.

And we're supposed to stick it, through thick and thin, if we lose our health and our money, or if we're rewarded beyond avarice and thereby tempted by the young and beautiful.

We're supposed to keep our allegiance to this construct, this marriage, this promise, even when circumstances change and we don't want to do any such thing.

We're not supposed to leave open an avenue of escape to our original family...home is where they'll always take you in, but they're not supposed to, if we use home as a refuge from our marriage.

And WHY? Why are we called to this? Why does it matter that much?

Why can't we just have  time-limited marriage contracts, drift in and out according to interest level?

Part of it is stability for children...it's an important part, but I don't think it's everything.

EVERYTHING is the keeping of a promise that may be hard to keep, and a promise for which we can lose the reason we made it in the first place.

It's holding onto faith in the dark, that all of this does have a deeper meaning, that the honour of our actions is something more than a flicker between eternity and oblivion.

It's placing ourselves behind and below something else; if we can't serve a spouse, if we can't remain true in a storm, how can we possibly remain true to a God who died on the Cross, and was gone for three hellish days?

If we're 'first' in our hearts in marriage, how can we possibly say "Well, GOD'S really number one!" and have any integrity whatever.

And that, I believe, is why marriage is important. Looping back to the word sacrament, it's supposed to be representative of our relationship with God.

But it's not just a love-love thing. It's also holding on like grim death, in the face of grimmer life.

ON FAITH.

We're linked to 3D lessons For Life.

This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage. If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information. It's run by Beth Steffaniak, who has a heart for marriage and a soul for God!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Real Death, Real Life {Five Minute Friday / The Weekend Brew}

Time for Five-Minute Friday , hosted by Kate Motaung. The challenge is to write for five minutes on a given "theme word", posted by Kate on Thursday night...and then stop when the timer dings.

Today's word is real.

I've been real sick, so just sitting up is hard. It's also been a week of other, shall we say, shocks.

This is gonna be fun. Not. (And we're also linking to The Weekend Brew.)


GO.

This has been the week of being in a fetal position, in agony, because my pancreas went down hard, and I'm fighting shock. Survival, as of a few days ago, was unlikely. But I am too mean to die.

There are those who pray that I will die. They say it in a nice way...pray for my release, pray for my going to Jesus.

But in point of fact, since I don't want to go, they are praying for me to die, so that they can move on, and so they don't have the stress of seeing a man weaken and fade.

Whatever I can still bring to the game is less important than the emotions they feel.

That's real. Life is not a Hallmark movie, with everyone gathered around the one who's falling back.

Life is a serious and true-action version of a pirate story. Who falls behind is left behind.

And real is learning your failings, too late to change them. Ah, well.

But you know what...there's still Someone in my corner.

He's big.

He's real.

And He's merciless to those who piss him off enough.

Can't think of a Scriptural passage that really brings this out...I know there is one but I'm not well enough to look right now.

So I hope you will accept this bit from the Qu'ran (which I have read)...says the same thing.

"They plotted against you, but God plotted, too.
And God is the best of plotters."

STOP

This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage. If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information. It's run by Beth Steffaniak, who has a heart for marriage and a soul for God!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Scorned Spouse {Wedded Wednesday}

Do you sit in the seat of the scornful when it comes to your husband or wife?

For most people, the automatic answer would be, "No! Of course not!"

And I hope it's true, but hold on for a minute...

  • Do you find your mate's jokes less funny than those of your friends? Are you more likely to roll your eyes?
  • Are you more willing to take the advice of a pal than the advice of your husband or wife?
  • If your spouse wrote a book...would you honestly want to read it, or would you pick it up with some trepidation, more out of duty...thinking, "Well, it probably won't be as good as I'm used to."
  • Do you ever make jokes at your mate's expense...either in public, or in private?
  • Do you find your spouse's dreams and hopes somewhat embarrassing, when he or she talks about them? (And has he or she stopped talking about the..?)
  • When you are intimate, do you fantasize about being with someone else? (Sorry about that one, but it had to be added.)
If you answered yes to any of these, you may want to think about your view of the person to whom you're married, because you may be in danger of falling into the trap described by and old proverb....yeah, this one -

Familiarity breeds contempt.

When we're courting, the personality and soul we're coming to love is a mystery. We see what we're shown, and to a large degree we see what we want to see.

But when life together, bound by law and under the eyes of God, the barriers fall away, and we really know what we've got. (And living together doesn't help; the freedom to leave, without legal or moral consequences, keeps the charade going, and the blinders up.)

Sometimes we find that the things we don't like start to grate on us, and the things we thought we loved become memories, or even irritants.

The incisive go-getter seems to be a fanatic, and the cheerful optimist is a Pollyanna. The athlete is narcissistic, and the caring community activist is drifting into socialism.

And while we still love our mate, we find more not to like.

Thereby comes contempt, made manifest by the Death of a Thousand Cuts. the rolled eyes, the joke that elicits a calculated blank response, the casual remark that you took your friend's advice on something you didn't even mention to your mate.

Scorn.

How can you avoid this, how can you scorn-proof your marriage?

It's really not hard. All you have to do is remember that marriage is a sacrament, and your spouse is a representation of your relationship with the Lord.

That's pretty definite, and pretty harsh, but if you're religious...and not only Christian...it's the core of the religious interpretation of marriage, and it's what you bought into if you got married by a minister or priest or rabbi or imam.

It's the promise you made.

If you're not religious, and you were married by a justice of the peace, you're still not exempt, because secular humanists hold that we all deserve basic respect and compassion...even husbands. Even wives.

Beyond this...make sure that you take an active interest in your spouse's life.

Know what he or she does at work, and learn about Downton Abbey or NASCAR

Read what they read, at least sometimes. And take an interest in the dreams and desires of their heart.

Keep like alive in the dutiful love...and give yourself both the gift of respect.

This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage. If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information. It's run by Beth Steffaniak, who has a heart for marriage and a soul for God!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Plan On Your Marriage {Wedded Wednesday / Five Minute Friday / The Weekend Brew}

Time for Five-Minute Friday , hosted by Kate Motaung. The challenge is to write for five minutes on a given "theme word", posted by Kate on Thursday night...and then stop when the timer dings.

We're also with The Weekend Brew.

Today's word is plan.


GO.

We all love to be spontaneous, and our culture enshrines it...it's the fount of freshness, of vitality, of fun.

Unfortunately, it also can leave one feeling pretty flat, when things just don't happen according to the script.

What's wrong with planned fun., anyway?

I think this is the kind that can really make a marriage bloom...the kind of enjoyment that's carefully prepared, based on your intimate knowledge of your mate's tastes, likes, and hopes.

To plan means to care...it means that you care enough about giving your husband or wife something enjoyable...a gift of a wonderful time...that you're willing to take your time to prepare it.

It means that you listened, in the time you were together.

It means that you remember the things that you were told, the things you observed.

To plan means that you're willing to go the extra mile.

Sure, there's room for the spontaneous gesture, the spur-of-the-moment "let's go to Paris for the weekend" inspiration.

But wouldn't it be more fun, if you've never been to the City of Light, to have a guidebook and a map, to get an idea for what you might see, and what you might enjoy?

Wouldn't you want to give your mate the joy of knowing you planned for his pleasure, for her enjoyment?

STOP

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like Marriage Play Date.


This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage. If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information. It's run by Beth Steffaniak, who has a heart for marriage and a soul for God!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

My In-Laws Hate Me! {Wedded Wednesday / 3D Lessons 4 Life / The Weekend Brew)

Of course they hate you. What did you expect?

By marrying their son or daughter, you changed their lives. You took a beloved family member out of their orbit, and put him or her in yours.

And you will never be good enough...only someone they selected could be...and even, probably not.

Their lives will never be the same; even if they did not really appreciate said son or daughter...they appreciate the loss.

So...what to do?

There are a couple of things. They may not change the situation, but they might make it more livable for you.

  • YOU can't make them like you. You can only be yourself, treating both their 'stolen person' and them with courtesy and compassion. It's up to them, at that point.
  • You can't separate your spouse from his or her family. She knew them for probably a couple of decades before she knew you. They have an advantage in familiarity...or assumed familiarity...that you'll never have.
  • In a showdown, you'll lose...even if you 'win'. Don't look for a showdown. Never make it "them or me".
  • You can live with honour and clarity, looking at them as how they see themselves...victims, and gatekeepers. if you can see things from their point of view, you can at least learn not to respond to the more vicious digs.
  • You can realize that your spouse is torn in his or her loyalties...yes, the Bible says that we should leave our original families behind, but it's easier said than done. The hooks are set deep.
  • You can choose to rise above the pettiness. You can choose to relate from a place of honour. You can let the insults lie. You can let the snide comments wither.
  • You can choose to love, regardless, because these are the people who made the love of your life what he or she IS.
You can take the moral; high ground. If this were a Hallmark card, this is where i would be saying you'll win them over.

But it's not. This is real life.

You may win them over. You may not. You can only extend the olive branch.

But you can always understand.

You can always have compassion.

You can always love.

We're linked to 3D Lessons 4 Life, and The Weekend Brew.

This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage. If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information. It's run by Beth Steffaniak, who has a heart for marriage and a soul for God!