Verge, day two

It’s late, and we’re beat. We had a great weekend with our community, exploring new ideas on discipleship and hearing from great teachers. Even better was our chance to work and serve together for The Story Team, which has been such a good thing for us. I love my wife¬†desperately, and serving alongside of her is awesome.

Here’s a few pictures to sum up our day, Lindsey’s already asleep and I am too tired for a full post. ūüôā

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Sharp Iron

“Iron sharpens iron,¬†and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

I wrote a few weeks ago about the time I get to spend with the guys from my Men’s Development Program community and how valuable it is to me. Time and time again these guys have proven to me the truth contained in the verse above. They make me a better man by holding me to a high standard, confronting me in love when I fail, struggling through the tough times with me, and encouraging me in my success. They are a critical part of my life, and I’m starting to learn that they are a critical part of my marriage.

Tonight I spent several hours after class with my group of guys, and it was such an encouragement. Laughing and joking around is fun and a great way to unwind, but these guys also pose tough questions. They push and probe about what I think and say. They don’t let me off easy. They hold me to account, and want the best things for me. Nights like tonight are like water to a thirsty man for me. They are not negotiable.

I think every married man needs to have a community of men around them like this. I can truly say that my marriage is in better shape because of the counsel and correction that these men have given me over the last seven months. Their help and love for Lindsey and I is invaluable.

So, married men this is my piece of advice for the day, if you don’t have men like this in your life, find them. Wives, if your husband does not have this, lovingly encourage him to seek it out. We are not prompted to change on our own, its too comfortable. We need to be challenged, and that is what a strong community of men can do for each other.

Fine china

The older I get the more I learn that context is everything, and that sometimes you cannot understand a truth unless you are in the position to. There are situations in which no amount of intellectual work can take the place of experience. In my life, marriage may fit that description better than anything.

A few days ago I came across a verse in my daily reading that struck me with great force. Not because it is new to me, but because it is so timely and so true:

“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” 1 Peter 3:7

I have heard it said that a better way to think of the “weaker vessel” phrase is to think of fine china. China is certainly more fragile than your run of the day¬†dish ware, but it is also more beautiful, more impressive,¬†more precious. ¬†You could take the Fiesta ware in our kitchen and bang it around in the sink, run it through the dishwasher, and stack it roughly in the cabinet with no damage whatsoever. The same cannot be said of our wedding china. We take care of it, we treat it delicately, we hand wash it and have special padded containers for it. That is how we are called to treat our wives.

So, for me this week I am working on seeing my wife as fine china. I am praying for insight into how to honor her and treat her. I am asking the Holy Spirit to change my heart and my tongue. I am asking him for humility in my approach to my wife.

After all, she is beautiful, sensitive and precious, just like fine china.

Nothing Special

There’s nothing special about today. We both went to work and had normal days. You know, the kind of days where you struggle to have interesting to say to the question, “how was your day?”

I improvised a pork loin roast, which I might post the recipe to when I get time. We had a glass of wine, ate dinner, watched How I Met Your Mother. It was nice to relax with Lindsey.

Then we went our separate ways. We each had work to do, and Lindsey tried to get to bed early. I did not try to do that, and I succeeded in my non-efforts.

There are just some days like this, days when I wonder what to blog. Then, when I sit down to write I realize something simple: even an everyday, so-so, run of the mill day is great with my wife.

Too tired, too late

I wrote this post at 12:15pm on Saturday afternoon, not just before midnight as the post will be marked. It is because this is the Friday post, written on Saturday.¬†We had a long week, so long in fact my wife pointed out to me that I couldn’t stay awake after dinner at least two nights this week. But Friday night was good for us¬†because¬†we were looking forward to having a good friend over for dinner.

IMG_3652

Pork loin, stuffed with apples, wrapped in prosciutto, rolled into a puff pastry. Yeah, it’s good.

We invited our friend Jared over for dinner and a few drinks, and we were looking forward to it. We love to host people in our home, but we have not been able to do so often. In fact, I took the opportunity to make something that I have not had any excuse to make, Alton Brown’s Pork Wellington. I love trying new things, but that is not a regular weeknight dinner for two.

The dinner was great. we served out favorite brussel sprouts dish and garlic cheese mashed potatoes. Then we had Lindsey’s killer¬†Guinness¬†brownies. It was an¬†amazing¬†dinner, and we had an even better time talking to and catching up with Jared.

When the evening was over Lindsey and I got into bed, I pulled out the laptop to blog. She was asleep in 30 seconds, and I was only about a minute behind.

We’re still learning how to balance the early mornings, jobs, and time¬†together¬†in the¬†evening. Honestly, I’ve been getting less sleep because I am trying to do too much in a day. Lindsey has to get her sleep and she has been forgoing some things she needs to get done because she needs the sleep. It’s been a great and crazy year, but just so full.

We’re getting better at it. This school year is better than last, and next year will be even better. I think it just takes time.

Empty

I’m running on empty today. I’ve been sitting here for 20 minutes trying to decide what to write about, and ultimately I decided anything else would be a lie.

I’m¬†exhausted, I’ve been up since 5am, and Lindsey is in the same shape. Well, maybe better because she is asleep right now. I had a full, but not fully productive day at work. I was so tired after work I could not stay awake. The nap didn’t help either.

It’s not just physical exhaustion. There has been so much going on, and so many things that we’ve been doing that I just feel wiped out. And it’s only Tuesday.

The good news is that we are not snapping at each other or picking little meaningless fights like we sometimes do when we are so tired. We’re not perfect, but I think we are learning to lean on each other well. It seems like that is a very important lesson for us to learn.

So I leave it here, so I can crawl off to bed.

Oh, and honestly, prayers for strength and perseverance are appreciated. We can use them.

The danger of guilt

Guilt is dangerous. It is dangerous for the guilty, but it is even more dangerous for the forgiven.

Guilt is dangerous for the guilty because justice demands punishment. But when mercy and forbearance reign, and injustice is forgiven guilt is an unnecessary and dangerous burden. Where guilt is present there is no peace, there is no rest. Ultimately, there is no hope.

This evening a very small thing turned into a big thing because of my own feelings of guilt.

The example of Jesus calls me to be a servant to my wife1. I believe this, and take it very seriously, but like any person I am not perfect. I fail. I fail a lot, and I know it. Which is where the guilt comes in.

Lindsey loves to keep a clean house. She’s not¬†obsessive¬†about it, she’s not overbearing and she is nowhere close to a nag. She likes the house to be clean, and clearly shares what that entails. But, as documented elsewhere on this blog, I do not have the same natural desire. It’s not that I like or tolerate dirt, I just don’t have the same level of¬†thoroughness¬†and attention to¬†detail¬† My level of tolerance for disorganization and clutter is higher than hers. That’s not a bad thing, in and of itself.¬†We’re simply wired different.

But here’s the problem, the disorganization that I do not mind causes Lindsey stress. The last thing she needs is added stress. The best thing I can do to serve my wife is to help her out, to clean up and keep the clutter down. I do this, sometimes. But not enough. She does not tell me that often, like I said my wife is certainly not a nag. But I still know that I fail her.

So tonight when I was emptying the overly full recycling bin I made a¬†selfish¬†comment to her about how full it was, and how hard it is to take out like that. “Don’t fill it too full,” I said in a not-too-nice tone of voice. “It’s too hard to take it out, and it’s not like¬†I care about recycling anyway.”

I said it as I passed her in the kitchen, and I immediately knew how hurtful it was. But when she replied back I just dug my heels in and we argued for the next five minutes.

After Lindsey went upstairs (justifiably) upset, I started to think about my comment. I realized where it came from. It was rooted in the guilt I felt for letting her down, for not doing all of the things around the house that I wanted and committed to do. I knew I had failed, and I think that subconsciously I wanted to knock her down a peg.

How sick is that? Instead of dealing with the guilt that I legitimately felt, I tried to drag my wife down with me. I tried to accuse her of doing something wrong to assuage my guilt. Here when I should be confessing my own failings to her I turn it around on her instead.

In this and other ways I do not live up to my own expectations for being a husband, and I fear that I do not live up to¬†Lindsey’s. ‘Don’t be too hard on yourself,’ you might offer, ‘after all you’ve been at this for less than a year.’ That’s true, but that does not change the standard, it only rationalizes the failure. The standard of Jesus, the perfect man, as my standard for leadership is a tall order. In fact, it is an impossible one for any of us to achieve.

In response to this, one might comment that the weight of that standard is crushing, that no man can live up to it. I agree with that point of view, it is a crushing weight to bear.

That is, it is crushing if we have to bear it.

But we do not have to bear it. If we trust God’s promises to us through Jesus, we will be forgiven. The burden will be lifted. If only trusting that was easy all the time.¬†But it is not. Instead of trusting ourselves we must then rely only on God to help us see our sin, and to change our hearts. He is the only source of real change.

After a few minutes of collecting my thoughts, I walked up the stairs and sat down on the bed next to Lindsey. I told her exactly what was going on, almost exactly what I just told you. Then I confessed and apologized. She forgave me, as deep down I knew she would. We had a serious conversation then spent some time in prayer about some things going on these days. It was a sweet time together.

It was a small argument, but it made something clear to me. I cannot let the guilt I feel from my inevitable failings to rule my mind and¬†emotions. To do so is a demonstration of a failing faith in Jesus’s¬†promises.¬†He died to remove my guilt, and he defeated death to bring me life. The only path for me is rest in that truth and trust in his forgiveness. And Lindsey’s.


  1. There are a lot of misconceptions about the Christian view of marriage that I won’t get into here, but let me set this one straight: the role of the husband is to love and lead his wife, and Jesus shows us that this is done through selfless service. Anything else is a perversion of the gospel.¬†‚ÜĎ