Monday, April 26, 2010

Marriage Mondays ~ The men say ...

I had the pleasure of spending Thursday evening with the ES 220 women's fellowship to talk about a "Joyfully Ever After Marriage." We agreed a great marriage is a mystery, but something we all want to pursue & experience. With God's help, we can do it, girls! Click here if you want to get Marriage Mondays by email or here to subscribe to new updates by RSS feed.

Last week we considered how important it is to choose to BUILD UP our spouse, even when our failures in life together give us those "easy opportunities" to tear each other down. My own merciful man showed this to me vividly.
Today, I want you to hear from two men in very different seasons of life as they share, in their own words, what a wife does to BUILD UP her man. These insights are gold nuggets, as we try to unlock the mysteries of what it takes to nurture the commitment and love between us.

Derek Griz is a nearly 30 dad of two toddlers and, along with his wife Jess, he ministers to the students of our church body. You can get to know Derek at HoboTheology and meet Jess over at NotYourAverageMommy.

"My wife builds me up in a thousand ways. A kiss on the cheek, a smile, a phone call, a specially made chocolate chip cookie, a note in my messenger bag...each act pushes me forward and encourages my spirit. But perhaps the greatest gift she gives is her listening ear.

As a pastor, it is no small thing to process the remains of the day with your wife. My mind can cloud with the smallest administrative details to the biggest counseling problems, and yet in every situation, my wife attentively, patiently listens to me. What a gift! In those moments, I feel known and appreciated, confirmed and supported. And at the just the right time, she gently speaks truth back to me, the antidote I needed. I am thankful for such a wise, listening wife."

Speaking from a different season of life, pastor, writer, and blogger Warren Baldwin is 50 years old and has been married to his wife, Cheryl, for 28 years. They have 3 children, daughters 17 & 22 and son 24, and have been in ministry for 28 years. They've served in Florida, Wyoming, and Kansas. You can hear more from Warren at FamilyFountain, where he is linked to Marriage Mondays today, sharing suggestions for great marriage books (including one from yours truly ... one suggestion, not my own book :) ).

"Many men are more sensitive than they care to acknowledge or let others know about. Anything that strikes at their sense of adequacy can have the affect of tearing them down and diminishing their sense of adequacy. Losing a job is a big hit, and that is happening more and more in our present economy. A man will need a lot of encouragement to look for a job and not evaluate his sense of worth solely on the basis of providing income. Truth is, though, he will judge himself quite harshly in this area. (Of course, there are some men who are simply lazy and do not work, allowing their wives to provide the income. I'm not speaking of those men here). Prolonged and lengthy criticism can also tear a man down. Some men are procrastinators (like me). My wife has learned that I will either get a task done on my own initiative or, if I forget, she will wait until the last moment and then urge me "diligently" to get it done.

Respect builds a man up. There are several ways to show respect. One way my wife does that is by giving me freedom to do a project on my time. Gentle reminders along the way are, of course, appropriate, and can be done in ways that affirm value.

Touch builds a man up. Resting your hand on your husband's shoulder, and leaving it there, not hastily removing it, communicates connectedness. Even at age 50 I still find that simple touch exhilarating.

And I guess one of the biggest things is being greeted warmly after work. Ironically, Cheryl now arrives home sometimes after I do. But I still like the greeting."

So there you have it. What the men say ... in their own words. I needed to hear those insights. What would your husband say? And what would you do with it? Maybe I'll ask my husband tonight, and then I'll pray daily that God will remind me of how I can be that force of blessing in his life.

Proverbs 31:11-12

Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

I'm praying for each one who reads Marriage Mondays today, that it will be a fresh wind of encouragement to your spirit and will urge you to keep pursuing God's good intentions for our marriages. With God's power we CAN build each other up. I feel encouraged! :)

If you write a post encouraging others with God's perspective on marriage (let's be honest ... we need more of HIS help in this journey), feel free to join the Mcklinky below and be polite by mentioning the host site and linking to Marriage Mondays, so your readers can find more inspiration.

6 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Warren Baldwin said...

This post was a good idea, Julie. Thanks for inviting me to be included in it. I don't think we planned it this way, but it is ironic that we are both guest posting on the same day. I'll link over and greet your other guest poster now. wb

Sarah said...

good encouragement today! love the prov. 31 verse :)

Migdalia Accius said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Terri said...

Thanks for the picture Julie! Thanks too for the man's perspective. It is so true that men often appear tougher than they are. I am so surprised at times by the things Al mentions a month or even years later that I thought rolled right off of his back but that actually had a profound effect on him some positive and some hurtful; some said and done by me and some by others. Anyway, MEN, gotta love 'em. And to do so means to tame tha BEAST you talked about! Knowing it is the first step but taming it is a lifelong quest! Thank God for the Holy Spirit.

Kristi Stephens said...

Great post!! It's always wonderful to hear from "the other side." ;)

Wish I could come get to know your lovely ladies in the womens' fellowship!!

Warren Baldwin said...

Thanks Sarah, Terri and Kristi for the comments, and thanks Julie for the opportunity to guest post. You have a great blog. I introduced a young wife and mom to your blog last night. She used to be in our youth group and was a baby-sitter for our kids. I encouraged her to follow.