Monthly Archives: March 2015

Kid’s activity schedules…disrupting marriages since minivans were invented

IMG_5218Raising kids is tough.  I struggle all the time worrying about whether or not I’m missing opportunities to impact Eli’s life.  After work, sometimes I’ll do nothing but veg out, and think, “I should probably take this time to do something amazing with him.”  Or, I worry about missing seasons of sports thinking how he may “get behind” the other kids.  What’s difficult is that there is no instruction book for what’s right, and one parent’s perspective can differ greatly from another.

IMG_0383Part of being a good father, husband, employee, and person is learning to have balance in life.  I think too often we are pushed to center our lives around our kids.  Eli likes activities.  If given the chance to do it, he will want to play soccer…and baseball…and basketball…swimming…cub scouts…gymnastics…lacrosse…dancing…wrestling…tennis…and more.  Yikes…that’s a lot!  Even doing just a handful of these will keep us driving back and forth from one activity to another most nights of the week.  And we just have ONE child.  I can only imagine what it would be like when you have multiple kids with busy schedules.  As parents we try very hard to make sure Eli is not over-scheduled.  We have a loose rule that he can only be involved in one sport at a time.  If he wants to play baseball, that’s great…but he has to stop gymnastics.

IMG_1723I think the difficulty lies in wanting your child to have every opportunity to maximize their potential.  If they are physically gifted…you WANT to give them every chance to do their best.  If they are academically gifted…you WANT to do everything you can to help that grow.  We would be slighting our kids if we DIDN’T give them opportunities to grow if there is an area they are gifted and interested in.  The question is…how can you do that and maintain balance in life? 

I think it’s important to figure out what’s the point of being a kid?  Is it to train to become a professional athlete?  Is it to become a genius?  Let’s be honest…statistically speaking, (according to the interwebs) if 100 people read this article, around 10 will have a kid that goes on to play sports at college.  And out of 100 people, 0 will have kids that play professionally.  But out of 100 kids…ALL of them will become adults…and CLOSE to all of them will be married and have kids.  So I think it makes sense to focus the majority of our energy on developing these areas.

  • how to be a husband/wife
  • how to be a father/mother
  • how to be responsible with money
  • how to love God
  • how to make friends
  • how to love others

IMG_2242One of the dangers in putting TOO much of your time and energy into kid’s activities is that the rest of your life can suffer because of it…things like your marriage relationship, your personal health and well being, and your ability to impact other people with your life.  With no margin left in life, it can be easy for these things to fall by the wayside.

I definitely do not have this mastered.  And I’m not totally sure the ways I’ve tried to balance life IS what’s best.  But I think it’s something that is important to think about and make sure to keep in mind.

My challenge to you:

Don’t let your kids activities dominate your life.  Make sure to keep a balance.  Don’t neglect nurturing an interest or talent they have in something, but make sure the push to become great at an activity doesn’t take precedence over the push to become great at becoming an adult.IMG_1933

What do you do if your wife messes up?

1792984756_1396528939This is a tough subject to write about.  For one thing, I can’t speak from experience. 😉  But seriously, this is not a light topic.  It is one where advice is easier to give to others than it is to live out.  No marriages are perfect.  This is not a shock because we are all flawed human beings fighting against selfishness every day, so we have issues.  You know what I mean…one of you is upset and says something hurtful…one of you takes the last piece of cake that the other wanted…one of you spends money on something that the other gets upset about.  These are common sorts of issues that all marriages deal with.  They are not huge and can usually be sorted out with a small amount of communication.  What I want to address is, what do you do if your wife does something that hurts you significantly…something like hiding an addiction from you or having an affair.

Before I get into it, I want to first say that I know I run the risk of appearing insensitive.  I realize that I’ve not been through this, and if I HAD, there is a very real chance that my words would be different.  I know that men who experience this will have their lives turned upside down and can feel broken and helpless.  I apologize if this opens any wounds or feels insulting to anyone for the situation they are in.  Considering all of that, I still feel God leading me to address it, so I am going to go out on a limb trusting that you know my heart…and know that it is not my intention to offend or trivialize anything you way have experienced.  If you do feel that way, I apologize.

For starters, it needs to be said that problems like this probably need professional help to appropriately deal with it, both for you and for her.  It’s important for her to understand that what she has done is not ok.  I am NOT professional help and am only sharing some thoughts I have in hopes of being helpful to someone.  I am not going to attempt to craft a complete response to this question as there is too much to deal with.  Rather, I want to focus on just one aspect…forgiveness.

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

Matthew 6:14-15 : “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

From these verses, I find 2 significant points:

– God forgave us for sinning against Him, and He wants us to forgive other people.

– If we do not forgive others for their sins, God will not forgive ours.  (YIKES!)

These points are important because it sets ground rule expectations for how we should live.  It also assigns gravity to it based on the fact that if WE want to be forgiven for our screw-ups, then we need to be willing to forgive others.  I know we ALL need this.

Luke 17:3-4 : “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

Matthew 18:21-22 : “Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”

There are 2 significant points I get from these verses:

– If someone is repentant of what they’ve done, then we MUST forgive them.  I think it is worthwhile to mention that we should forgive others even if they AREN’T repentant, but this passage specifically mentions when they are.

– Jesus’s call to forgive seventy times seven is an indication that there is no limit to the number of times we should forgive someone.  

So, what exactly does it mean to forgive someone?  Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you act like something never happened, but rather that you give up your desire for revenge and feelings of resentment.  NOT forgiving someone will result in anger, resentment, and frustration that will never go away.  Forgiving frees you from those feelings and makes way for hope, joy, peace…and yes…even love to fill you again.  Forgiving your wife for something she has done may even help you to have compassion and empathy for her situation.

Now, there will likely still be consequences from the actions.  Trust takes a long time to earn back when broken.  There could be physical consequences, and it will certainly affect your relationship.  Concerning marital infidelity, it also should be said that I realize there are biblical grounds for divorce.  I’m not going to take the time to go through what they all are here or debate whether or not it is good to do so in certain situations, but I just want to point out that forgiveness is something that SHOULD be present no matter what the action was or the consequences that came from it.

So here’s where the rubber meets the road…putting this into the context of real life.  What do you do when your wife messes up?  There are a lot of things to say, do, and work through, and again I suggest getting help to do so.  The one thing I want to encourage you to always be ready with is…forgiveness.  If she is repentant for what she did, forgive her…unconditionally…over and over again if necessary.

 

Wait…this is NOT the person I married

scan0010 - Version 2Do you ever wonder what happened to the person you fell in love with and married?  Are there things about your wife that have changed over the years?  It’s natural for people to change.  Think about yourself…what were you interested in when you were 20 years old?  What types of things did you do with your time?  Now look at today…are you still interested in the same things?  Do you still spend your free time the same way?

**disclaimer…unless I specifically mention something about Julia that has changed, any examples I give are NOT about her…just so we’re clear** :-)

I know I’ve changed.  I used to stay up until 4:30 in the morning every night and would sleep as late as I possibly could.  Now, I’m being wild and crazy if I’m up past 10:15 and am excited and ready to get up at 5:00 in the morning!  Also, I used to HATE any form of exercise…running specifically.  Now, I LOVE it!  I got into running several years ago and would go 4 -5 times a week eventually racing in a marathon.  Now I’m totally into Crossfit and do it 5 times a week!  It would be easy to look at me and say that I’m not the same person I was back when I got married…because I’m not!  I’ve changed in so many ways.

It makes sense if you think about it though.  When you’re young, you’re still learning who you are, who you want to be, and what’s important to you.  As you grow up, get a job, and start a family, your priorities change and so do your interests and actions.  I’ve seen this in Julia too.  When we were dating, she was “very interested” in camping, hiking, and outdoor activities.  She hadn’t done it growing up, but I had and she wanted to do it too.  As we grew in our marriage, she decided that she really didn’t like it…at all.  So, even though hiking and camping was a big part of our dating relationship, in the last 5 years, I think we’ve camped together once.

I’m guessing guys reading this may have something they feel that has changed about their wives since they’ve been married.  So, is this kind of a bait and switch?  Do you feel cheated?  Did you fall in love with your wife solely because of her long brown hair, but since then she cut it short and dyed it blonde?  If that’s the case then that’s something you’re going to have to work through.  But HOPEFULLY it was more than one or two specific things that made you fall in love in the first place.  Hopefully a couple things about them changing is nothing compared to the complete package of the person they are.

greek_letter_delta_rectangle_decalHere’s what you need to do…EMBRACE THE CHANGE!  Your wife is growing as a person and finding out who she really is.  I fell in love with Julia because of who she is, not because of her singing voice, her love of reading, her looks, her intelligence, her ultimate frisbee skills, or her love of camping.  I married her because God brought us together and there is NO ONE I would rather spend my life with.  She makes me a better person and is my best friend, and those are things that will NEVER change.  I love her way more now than I did when we first got married, and I’m proud of the woman she has become.

My challenge to you:

If there is something about your wife that you used to like which has changed over time, focus on who she is as a whole.  Don’t lament the long brown hair she used to have, the way she used to love to travel but doesn’t now, the the skinny legs that she used to have, or that she used to like the same movies as you but doesn’t anymore.  Instead, love her for who she is now.  Remember that God has created her to be that way and he has made her to be your wife.

My secondary challenge is this…think about how YOU have changed.  Some ways may be for good, but some may not.  What attracted your wife to you originally?  Was it your humor, personality, looks, confidence, the way you pursued her, the way you paid attention to her.  Some of these (if they’ve changed…like looks) you can’t do much about.  But, some of them could change due to laziness or a lack of focus.  So…think about what may have changed in YOU that she may miss…and see if you can do anything to get it back!

5 easy steps to always win an argument with your wife

bigstock_you_win_road_sign_4335631All I do is win win win no matter what…that’s how I roll!  LOL…not really…but seriously…I do.  One thing I always win is arguments with Julia.  So, what’s my secret you ask?  I’ll share it with you!

The first thing you need to realize is that you cannot “win an argument”.  Yes, you read that right.  It doesn’t matter how clever of a defense you come up with, or what sort of glaring mistakes you point out in the other person, you will lose.  Winning an argument is not predicated on proving who is right.  The more you continue to argue your point, the bigger the hole you are both in.

I know, I know…THAT’S TOUGH!  We all want to be right.  And it feels SO GOOD to lay down the hammers of justice and truth with some witty retorts and truth-bombs.  So, where does the “winning” come into play?  A win comes about by resolving the argument in a loving way where each of you learn and grow in your relationship.  BOOM!  So, you want the secret?  Here you go…

5-steps-office-renovation5 steps to take in order to win:

  1. Get to the root of what your wife is upset about.  Hint…it may not be what you originally think it is.  Ask some questions to make sure you understand what she’s upset about.
  2. Share your side of the story.  Be careful here because this step has the potential to stir things up more.  Make sure to be cautious and loving with any words you use.  This step is important because it’s important for BOTH of you to understand where the other person is coming from.
  3. Figure out what part of the argument is your fault.  I don’t mean figure out what % at fault you are, then compare that to her…but figure out what YOU did wrong.  If you are arguing with your wife, you did SOMETHING wrong.
  4. Take a minute to calm down.  Maybe go to a different room or take a short walk.  Use the time to think and pray for perspective.
  5. Apologize first.  Admit what you did wrong and be genuinely sorry about it.

I bet you’ll find that if you go through these steps, the argument will soon be a thing of the past.  Then…YOU WIN!  That doesn’t mean you “won the argument” by being right, but rather that “you won” by resolving the argument and both of you growing.