The Problem With Pedestals

The problem with pedestals is we keep falling off of them. Falling hurts bad enough, but when someone has added the height of the pedestal, it hurts even more.

Without meaning to, some of us put our spouses on pedestals.

“My husband is the best guy in the world and no one could ever compare to him.”

“My wife is the best woman in the world and she makes my world complete.”

These words are flattering, and well-intended. But if we’re not careful, we end up putting too much pressure on our spouses.

First, remember, no matter how wonderful your spouse is, they can’t be your Savior. Only Christ can do that. To put up anyone else – even your spouse – in the place of where only Christ should be isn’t fair to them and it’s wrong for you.

Second, we don’t want to inadvertently communicate to our spouses that our love for them is conditional. Eventually, people will grow tired of having to measure up every day. No one can measure up to that pressure.

There’s no greater gift in a marriage than being loved for who you are – warts and all. I’ve been married to Jeannie for almost 34 years. The things she considers “flaws” are the things I find most attractive. She has a quirky since of humor. She’s a great nurse which means she asks way too many questions about my health.

I love her…and I wouldn’t change a thing, not even the parts she thinks are flaws…

She knows everything about me…and loves me anyway…she gives me no better gift. I’m safe with her and I can’t tell you how important that is to me.

So, if you’ve put your spouse on a pedestal, help them down before they fall and hurt themselves… and you with them.

If It Quacks Like a Duck

I loved growing up in the South. We had all of these local sayings, metaphors, and stories that made everyday language and conversations interesting and, well, fun.

My dad was the best at this. He had a way of saying something that just nailed the issue in question. One of his favorite sayings was the following: “If it quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.”

His point was, if something acts like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it has to be a duck. No matter what else you call it, it’s still a duck.

Why is this important?

We live in a world that loves to “rebrand” things. That is, we love to call something by another name and thus, try and change its essence. Instead of paying “taxes,” we’re charged “fees.” Instead of “garbage,” we now have “waste management.”

We do the same thing in our personal lives. The Bible talks a lot about idols and in the time of the Bible’s writing, idols were a real presence and issue. Idols and their temples were in every city. Worshipping an idol had real and concrete actions and consequences.

For us, we’re more subtle in our idolatry. Most of us don’t have large statutes in our homes where we offer daily sacrifices. But we do have idols, as in anything or anyone put in the place rightfully reserved for God.

Here’s a quick test: From what in your life do you seek your blessing? That is, to what do you look to give your life meaning, purpose, and value? From whom or what do you get your values? From what source do you determine right and wrong?

If it’s not God, then it’s an idol.

Idols are sneaky, and without our careful attention, we’ll slowly slide the attention of our lives toward the idol and away from God. When we do this, our lives begin to fray and come undone.

Only God has the gravitational weight to hold our lives together. When you look to anything or anyone else, it’s idolatry.

I know. It doesn’t “feel” like idolatry. It may not “look” like idolatry, but it is. As my dad would say, “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.”

The Danger of Distraction

Texting while you drive is illegal in most states. Sadly, too many people have been hurt or killed because of distracted driving.

I wonder how we would total up the cost of “distracted living?”

How many of us have missed important moments in our lives because our attention was somewhere else other than the moment we’re living in right then?

Parents checking their phones while their children try and talk to them. A spouse checks e-mail while trying to act like he’s paying attention to her story. I’ve even seen people answer their phones while praying. Really?

Who more important than God is going to call you?

Google wants to follow you everywhere. Everyone wants to know your “current location.” That way, when you get next to one of their stores, they can send you a message to stop in and buy something.

Our digital society wants to know where you are and what you’re doing 24/7. And honestly, we give into this pressure because we’re afraid we might miss something.

But how is God going to get a word in edgewise when we live with kind of distraction?

Jesus sought solitude in the wilderness. So did Elijah. Moses went to the top of a high mountain to talk with God. No one heard from him in over a month.

Can you imagine dropping off the grid for a month? We’d feel like Rip Van Winkle.

Maybe we don’t need to do anything drastic, but we do need to do something.

Cut off your phone to create a quiet place and time for prayer. Discipline silence in your heart so that when God speaks, you can hear. Practice looking your spouse or children in the eyes when you listen to them. Grant them the privilege of your undivided attention.

How strange it is that we stay connected to the world because we’re afraid we’ll miss something? And all the while, we missed what really mattered, even though it was right in front of us the whole time.

Sanctuary

I can’t tell you how many times wives have complained to me that their husbands don’t talk to them.

“I’ll ask about his day, and he’ll just grunt back, ‘Fine,’” she says. “I’ll ask how he’s feeling and he’ll grunt, ‘Fine.’ No matter what I do, he won’t talk to me. I have no idea how he’s feeling. He just doesn’t talk to me.”

No, he doesn’t. But you’re not alone. Most men don’t talk. If they do, they’ve mastered the skill of using a lot of words to say nothing at all.

Have you ever listened to the politicians on television or a sports star interviewed after a game? They’ll talk a lot, but they won’t say anything.

Why? Because as men, we learn early that whatever you say can and will be used against you. So, we learned not to say anything at all.

If you want your husband to talk to you—really talk to you—then you’ll need to earn his trust for him to share what’s going on inside.

How? Create space where it’s just the two of you in a quiet setting. No television, no cell phones, just the two of you. Then wait. In time, he’ll tell you something.

Now, he won’t start at the deepest place in his soul. He’ll share something that you’ll think is stupid, but it won’t be stupid to him.

Listen. Ask him why that story is important. And listen. Tell him you like getting to know him at deeper levels because it makes you love him more.

Then, wait. It may be a few days or a few weeks before he shares anymore, but he will.

Now, here’s the most important part. NEVER, EVER, EVER share with ANYONE what your husband talks to you about. Don’t share it with your best friend. Don’t tell your prayer group. Breaking his trust is devastating and hard to overcome.

I don’t know if most wives understand their husbands go through their days with no safe place in their lives. That’s why your marriage has to be your husband’s sanctuary.

In medieval times, churches were considered sanctuaries. Regardless of your crime, you could go to a church and no one could harm you—not even the law.

Everyone needs a place to unpack their junk. A quiet, safe place to unpack his life is one of the best gifts a wife can give her husband.