You Didn’t Marry a Mechanic

You Didn't Marry a Mechanic - Your Marriage Can't Fix You

OK, maybe you did, but that’s beside the point. My point is this: a lot of us get married with the hope the person we’re marrying can “fix” us. We have difficult things in our lives that we’re trying to deal with, and we mistakenly feel like if we can get to the right person, they’ll make everything better. When we do this, we inadvertently set our spouses up for failure. However hard they may try, they won’t be able to do it, and when they fail, we’ll end up getting mad at them for not being able to fix what’s wrong.

The reality is they can’t fix us. Even if they wanted to, they can’t. It’s not a matter of not loving you enough. They simply don’t have the means to fix what’s wrong inside of you. Only you can do that.

What a loving spouse can do is give you a safe place to work through your stuff. They can create a sanctuary where you can express your anger and frustrations—where you can lay out your hurts one by one without the fear of having it used against you later. They can give you the space to be quiet for long periods of time and to cry for all that’s been lost. They can help you see a new way of hope and promise.

But they can’t fix it; you have to do your own soul work.

You didn’t marry a mechanic. You married a “soul mate”—someone who could walk with you when you face the scary things of life. Sometimes, the only thing you need to know is that you’re not in this thing all by yourself. So, stop putting unrealistic expectations on your spouse to do something they can’t do and celebrate the miracle of having someone love you—warts and all.

You’ll both be happier for it.

It Just Takes a Little Time

It Just Takes a Little Time - how do you love your aging parents well? Spend time with them. Tell the old stories. Listen again to theirs. Tell them you love them. Just sit there.

On most mornings, I stop and have coffee with my mom. It’s on my way to work, and I usually stay about 30-45 minutes. We talk a little bit about friends she’s heard from and what she saw on television. She’ll want to know how the kids are, especially since we’re expecting the arrival of our first grandchild in August (her second great grandchild). I will have heard most of the stories before.

But when I was a kid, I probably told her the same stories over and over again, too.

Having said that, coffee with my mom has taken a little getting used to. For one thing, I’m a morning person. What I mean by that is I like to get up and start working early in the morning. I’ve found that those first 3-4 hours in the morning, before I talk to anyone, are the most productive and creative time of my day.

Now, I’m having coffee with Mom.

I’m not complaining. She’s funny and strong—and opinionated. Our conversations are never boring. But I’ve had to adjust my day and how I work in it.

Why? Because my mom is that important to me. Since I’ve moved my mom to Nashville, I’ve had a lot of conversations with people who are dealing with older parents. How do you do it well? What’s most important to them?

I’m not an expert, but here’s what I’ve learned. What our parents want from us—indeed what I want from my own sons—is time. My mom wants a little time with me. Well, she wants a lot of time…but that’s another blog.

So, how do you love your aging parents well? Spend time with them. Tell the old stories. Listen again to theirs. Tell them you love them. Just sit there.

Time is the new money. It’s the most precious thing we have. Don’t waste it on trivialities. Save a little for mom and dad. It’s the only thing they really want, and in truth, we owe it to them.

Besides, I’m trying to teach two boys how to treat their old man when he’s too old to come to them. Chris and Craig, are you guys paying attention?

When Souls Touch

When Souls Touch - What Our Culture Gets Wrong About Sex

According to the popular myth of our culture, once young people become sexually aware, they should start experimenting sexually, allowing themselves to experience the full range of sexual options and varieties. Culture says there are no real long-term risks to this kind of behavior, as long as proper precautions are taken.

Our culture gets it wrong.

To get it right, we have to go all the way back to the beginning. Sex is God’s good gift to a man and a woman to express their love for each other in a way that words cannot. This gift is best expressed in the committed relationship of a covenant marriage.

Sex is a language, and touches are the words. Like any language, there has to be something to say. In a sexual relationship, the couple says to each other, “I love you as I love no other. This part of me is reserved only for you.” When that happens, souls touch. In a committed relationship, the souls come together and stay together. This touching bonds the two together at a deeper level. The Bible says in this moment, the two become one flesh.

But if there’s no message, if there’s nothing to say, then the couple is left only with emptiness. Souls that touched are now torn apart by the separation. This pulling apart tears the soul and leaves it wounded and bleeding. Sure, it heals, but it also scars.

And scars don’t have any feeling. In time, the soul is so scarred that it can’t feel anything at all. Sex was never intended to be recreational.

It’s about meaning—the meaning of love, of self, of life. Sex is a beautiful gift, and as such, sex is to be treasured, not trivialized as a sport.

Love Means Choosing

Love Means Choosing

In a lot of ways, I’m the most blessed man I know. I have a great life. I’ve been happily married for 35 years. In a few weeks, Jeannie and I will go on an extended trip to celebrate, and I’ll try to talk her into a 36th year.

Our sons have grown up to be good men in their own right. Both have married extremely well (We love Deb and Nan!), and both are successful in their chosen careers. As parents, we couldn’t be prouder. And I’m going to be a grandfather in August! Chris and Deb will be welcoming a little girl into our family.

Being the pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church still challenges me in every way. I’m one of the few pastors you know who loves coming to work. I love the opportunities God is opening up for our church and the team I work with. I could easily be guilty of over-working, but honestly, it wouldn’t feel like work.

Add to all of that my mother moving up here in November and well, you have a lot of love for just one man.

Here’s what I’m discovering…again. (I seem to have to learn this lesson over and over.) Love doesn’t happen by accident. Love requires a choice. What’s more, once chosen, love must be chosen again and again throughout the day.

Here’s what I mean by that. Most mornings, I have coffee with my mom. It’s the way I start my day. Now, that means I can’t attend most breakfast meetings I’m invited to. That’s the time I choose to be with my mom. Jeannie and I have to be very intentional about our dates. We have to get our calendars together and mark off time to be with each other. I know that doesn’t sound very romantic or spontaneous, but it’s a lot more romantic than missing my time with her. Sometimes, it means turning off the television and turning off my cell phone and paying attention to a conversation—either with Jeannie or with one of my sons. OK, so I miss some great moments in sports…but that’s the choice I make.

Love doesn’t just happen. Each time a decision has to be made. Love must be chosen…again and again and again.

So, what are you choosing right now? Are you choosing love or has something less important distracted you? Think about it and let me know.