Scent of A Wife

 

Probably the most delightful of fragrances for me is that of lavender. Every time its scent reaches me, my thoughts are immediately transported to another dimension, and I could glimpse an infinitesimal vision of Eden restored to full bloom when Christ comes.

But nature is so designed that every such gift created for man’s olfactory pleasure passes by us only for a brief while, enough for us to enjoy it during the few seconds it fills our senses. And then, having given us a forescent of the wonderful world awaiting God’s people, it departs, to waft to us again the next time we pass by that area.

However, if we bottle up a synthetic similitude of that scent, we are able to experience its fragrance everytime we open the bottle and dab a portion of the delight on ourselves. But, after a few seconds the scent vanishes from our senses, and we do not think of it until we spray it or dab it on us again the next day. That’s the wonder of all the wonderful sensations we experience, that’s the beauty of all beautiful things we behold.

All delightful experiences, when assimilated continuously beyond a short period of pleasure, take flight from us for our own good – so that we can continually, forever, enjoy the pleasure they give us without being surfeited by them.

The most sensual scent for a man however is not from the plant kingdom or from the great perfumeries of the world, no matter how exquisite they are by themselves. For a man that God has blessed with the second greatest gift for enjoyment of his life – after the gift of the person of Christ – there is nothing that comes even close to the scent of a wife snuggled close to him.

I may state, on the basis of the testimony of at least one wife – that this scent, in its masculine form, is equally true for a woman. The scent of her husband is her supreme sensuality, as long as the emanations from his body do not end at her nasal terminals but permeates deep into her heart that is filled with love for her man.

A heart that has little love for the spouse receives chemically the same smells from the wife or husband, but they are absorbed only by the physical faculties and do not suffuse the deep chambers of the heart. It is the emotional essences that convert even perspiration soaked molecules into reassuring vibes of delight for a husband or a wife. Without overflowing love in the heart of the scent recipient, the daily smells of a spouse have nothing alluring in them, and may sometimes be even an odoriferous experience for the wife or husband.

Now let me tell you what I really mean by scent of a wife. I am not merely referring to the physical sensing of the body smells of your beloved, delightful as they are. It is the sense of togetherness, of the sychological effect of having a lifemate beside you constantly, that the scent of a wife brings you. It is an extended recreation of what Adam experienced when he first beheld Eve. Until then, he was not feeling complete, he was lonely, and God said that this state of not being able to scent a mate, which all the animals in Adam’s care were able to, was ‘not good’ for man.

It is when a man leaves his wife for a few days, or a longer period, that he acutely misses the scent of his woman. A prolonged deprivation in a man of the scent of his wife can do severe damage to his syche. Such deprivation in a man who is not protected by the Holy Spirit puts him in great risk of straying into places where he could get substitute scents illegitimately.

For husbands in God’s family, when situations arise where they are forced to be separated for long periods from their wives (such as imprisonments) they suffer much because of the absence of the daily marital scents. But they are able to patiently endure this suffering, and every other suffering through Christ whose personal fragrance strengthens them Phil 4:13, and when they are restored to their wives their appreciation of the blessings of having a life-partner constantly beside them is increased many times. If they had taken their wives’ scent for granted before they were separated, then they vow never to take it for granted again. Which is what I want to tell you finally.

Appreciate every tangible and intangible blessings of married life. It is so easy to take them for granted, so easy for you to lose scent of the wonderful emanations of love from your wife after inhaling them day and night for years. The way to regain scent of the wonderful fragrances of married life is to daily renew your conscious appreciation of all that God has given you in your wife, and to daily praise God and thank him for this most beautiful of scents that fill up your senses every day and every night.

Remember the hit song that conveys the intense longing of the singer whose senses are overwhelmed by the memory of his separated wife?

‘You fill up my senses
Like a night in a forest
Like the mountains in springtime
Like a walk in the rain
Like a storm in the desert
Like a sleepy blue ocean
You fill up my senses
Come fill me again’1

If you haven’t done it so far in your married life, try this: The next time you go near your wife, take a deep breath, and sniff her in the neck or bosom. Then kiss her. Let the subtle shades of the natural scent and flavor of your wife overwhelm you, thrill you and cause you to praise God for his marvelous creation.

‘You, my love, are beautiful. So beautiful!… Your love is more pleasing than the finest wine, and the fragrance of your perfume brings more delight than any spice! Your lips taste sweet like honey off the comb, my bride; milk and honey are beneath your tongue. The scents of your clothes are like the fresh air of Lebanon… your breath is the aroma of apples. Kissing you is more delicious than drinking the finest wine. How wonderful and tasty!   Song 4:1,10-11;7:8-9

 

Pappa Joseph

 

1′Annie’s Song’ by John Denver. It is the second most melodious song I have ever heard, second only to ‘Unchained Melody’ by the Righteous Brothers. If you haven’t heard them yet, you can find them easily on YouTube.

Image Courtesy: Urs Gerber – iVision

 

 

Are You Lonesome Tonight?

 

Are you lonesome tonight,
Do you miss me tonight?
Are you sorry we drifted apart?
Does your memory stray to a brighter sunny day
When I kissed you and called you sweetheart?
Do the chairs in your parlor seem empty and bare?
Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there?
Is your heart filled with pain, shall I come back again?
Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?

Those words aren’t mine. I have borrowed them from the favorite singer of my boyhood days – Elvis Presley. This 1960s song was a world hit, and is probably the most loved song among Presley’s fans. Perhaps people everywhere, at some point in their lives,  could feel their own heart resonating with the emotions so poignantly conveyed through this song by The King, as the singer is admiringly known among his fans.

Considering Presley’s own tragic married life, perhaps the lyrics must have personally touched a strong cord in his heart, giving an extra depth to the way he sang it. He must have felt lonesome on many a night after being separated from his wife. Truly, a man without his wife sleeping beside him is a miserable human being indeed.

Another great singer, the former Beatle, Paul McCartney, sang a similar song more recently. Ever since his beloved Linda was snatched away from him he must have often longed for the time when the nights would no more be lonely.

May I never miss the thrill of being near you
And if it takes a couple of years
To turn your tears to laughter
I will do what I feel to be right
No more lonely nights
Never be another
No more lonely nights
You’re my guiding light
Day or night I’m always there
And I won’t go away until you tell me so
No, I’ll never go away

Perhaps you who are reading this aren’t lonely in the nights, thank God. But don’t take these nights, when you still have your wife or husband on your bed with you, for granted. We just can never know in this life how long each of us can have the joy and pleasure of feeling our loved one snuggled peacefully by our side. We just don’t know how long before the lonely nights come upon us too. Let’s pray they never will.

And if there’s anyone who is reading this whose wife or husband is temporarily separated from you, or not sleeping on the same bed with you anymore, perhaps you should pick up the phone now and serenade the above words of Elvis to your spouse, ending them with…

Is your heart filled with pain, shall I come back again?
Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?

 

Pappa Joseph

 

What Really Happens When A Couple Watch Pornography Together

Understand what really happens to the syche of a man and his wife who watch a pornographic video together.

 

I wish this message was directed only to couples who do not know Christ and his teachings. But sadly, this message is meant for people who consider themselves Christians and who are confident their marriage is on the right track but who do not yet have the understanding of certain marriage-destroying acts that they may be practicing in their private lives.

I know Christian couples who have adult videos or literature stacked away in their closet. No, I did not go snooping into their closets to know this. They themselves have divulged this to me, or Christians who personally know such couples have mentioned it to me in their concern.

What exactly is the harm if married couples use a sex video to impassion their own feelings toward each other? They are not participating in any act of adultery, but using it to enhance their own marital life. In fact, that’s what many popular magazines, such as Cosmopolitan and Glamour, advise their readers. Here’s one such recommendation:

“From the moment you select a skin flick to watch to the moment when you are both breathless, taking the plunge into porn will add fiery fervor to your real-life bump and grinds. If you’re freaked out by the idea of porn, don’t be: Your guy is likely going to only spend about 30 seconds watching the movie before he can’t take his eyes off your reaction. So be daring and let your inhibitions go tonight!”

Yea, be daring and take the plunge into hellfire! For all who follow such advice, that is surely where they are going to finally land up in. I don’t mean the hellfire in the afterlife, I mean the consuming flames fanned by the devil in their married life.

Of course, the world is being taught that porn is ok, provided one doesn’t use it to harm others. It can, sex experts assert, act as a safe catharsis for one’s pent up sexual frustrations, if he is single, or if married, as a shot in the groins to rev up a flaccid bedroom life.

If such counsel was found only in little dirty books sold in sex shops, it does little harm to decent people who don’t read such filthy stuff. But millions of decent people who call themselves ‘Christian’, read Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and hundreds of other such magazines you can easily find in supermarkets. Even a reputable family magazine such as ‘Good Housekeeping’ has its share of advice on this subject: Here is one of their announcements:

“Spice things up in the bedroom with advice from relationship pros. 4 Steamy Reads. Here are four sexy romance books to enjoy, from the first English-language erotic novel to this season’s toe-curlers.”

The four advertised novels, including Fanny Hill and Lady Chatterley’s Lover, are books that no Godly couple should pick up to even glance through. Because even an erotic sentence you inadvertently read in it, will embed in your memory and keep sprouting its filthy image over and over again in your marital life.

‘Relationships pros’, such as the ones mentioned above, get their PhDs from universities that have evolution as the foundation of all their teachings. Evolution teaches that marriage is an evolved form of the primeval mating behavior driven by an animal’s instinct for survival. That’s why when humans show animal behavior in their sexual life, these relationship pros do not look upon them as abominable acts, but as behaviors classified under medical nomenclature such as ‘sexual orientation disturbance’. But, to be fair to their species, even brutes are not disturbed by certain orientations that humans display, such as homosexuality.

The secular sex counselors practice their profession by this universal dictum:

‘There are no objective norms for human behavior to be found in nature. There are only man-made moral norms more or less widely accepted in society.’  Quote from Humboldt-Universitat zu Berline’s website, which is cited as “Worldwide, the best internet offer in sexual medicine” by the German Central Library of Medicine, Cologne

The only pros whose counsels you can trust are those who get their expertise from the very Authority that created the marriage institution itself. And this Authority already has a marriage manual that all couples can easily access in any language. It has counsels for every aspect of married life, and any couple who follows them need never watch a video or literature, or visit a sex counselor, to revive or pep up their sex life.

Now let me explain what really happens when a husband and his wife watch pornography together.

A couple who follows Christ and strives to live by his commandments in the Bible, will never think of prying through a telescope into the bedroom of a neighbor and watch their intimate acts. That, they know, is certainly sin (and in some lands, such as where I live now, even a crime that is prisonable). But watching a couple copulate in their bedroom on video or film is treated as a different matter – an entertainment for relaxation, or a stimulus for the viewers’ own connubial bliss. In God’s sight, there is absolutely no difference. No other eyes are allowed to watch your and your spouse’s bedroom life, and your eyes are not allowed to watch a person’s coitions with another, even if the bedroom performers are doing it for the whole world to lust along with them.

But that is only one aspect of the danger of watching pornography. The far greater danger is what happens to the syche of the viewers. When a husband watches another man performing sexual acts on a woman in the video or movie, he is actually subconsciously, and often consciously, doing the very act by proxy or as an avatar (if you have watched that movie…one of the very few, I think, that is safe to watch with your spouse).

The viewer is virtually participating in the sexual orgies that his or her eyes are soaking in!

Women may not realize what’s going on in their husband’s minds at such times, or else a sensible wife would never allow her husband even imaginatively to go into another woman. But listen, wives, every time a married man watches or reads pornography – on home video, in a theater, on his laptop, in the pages of a novel – he is committing adultery against his wife! Not intentionally, not knowingly, but that’s what he is doing in God’s sight, and the consequences of that adultery, perceived or not, will sooner or later wreck his relationship with his wife and tear their marriage apart.

A husband who watches sex acts in the various forms of media will, within a few years, begin to find his wife less alluring sexually. He will even begin to fantasize, while making love to her, that he is doing it with another woman he has seen elsewhere in the act. And then, the danger increases exponentially, and before he or she realizes it the marriage is tottering on the brinks.

As for the wife, I really do not know what goes on in the mind of the woman while she watches others perform sexual acts. My wife is not of much help, as she has never seen a single such video in her life, and I don’t have the guts to ask some of my old worldly friends to ask their wives. I just have to rely on the Holy Spirit himself. This is what I believe happens to wives who watch pornography with their husbands.

Their minds become saturated with filthy scenes, and these images recreate themselves in the mind of the affected woman over and over again…until the very thought of a sex act, even with her husband, becomes a disgusting consideration. Nevertheless, to avoid discord, she will continue to have him make love to her, but her disinclination will manifest more and more in her body language and attitude. Seeing the apparent ‘frigidity’ of his wife, the dissatisfied husband would seek other outlets for his sexual fantasies that are continually fed by an increasing addiction to pornography.

When a husband watches another man performing sexual acts on a woman in the video or movie, he is actually subconsciously, and often consciously, doing the very act by proxy or as an avatar.

Physical and emotional intimacy in a marriage is one of the greatest gifts of our Creator to man and woman – something he didn’t grant even the angels. Sexual dissatisfaction and ensuing infidelity tears apart this deep intimacy, which is one of the greatest reasons for marriage breakups. See this secular report:

‘Some may argue that sex is not everything in a relationship. Or is it? Although there are many important components that make a sentimental relationship successful, the sexual aspect of the relationship is a driving force that binds or separates couples…

‘Sexual dissatisfaction can be a predictor of infidelity. Moreover, studies have shown that sexual dissatisfaction is a common cause of divorce. Women and men have different views on the value of their sexuality within the context of the relationship. For women, intimacy and the emotional aspect of the relationship greatly impacts their sexual desire and enjoyment in a relationship. On the other hand, men use sex as a means to intimacy. Therefore, women need intimacy in order to have sex and men need sex in order to lead them to intimacy…

‘When sex loses its place in the relationship, men can take it personally. Men define their masculinity and self-worth by their ability to have sex. Therefore, in the absence of sex, men feel disconnected, which makes them ‘free agents’ in the market of love. Men who are dissatisfied with their sex lives are most likely to cheat than those who enjoy greater levels of sexual satisfaction within their relationships.

‘Women are not infallible to infidelity. On the contrary, sexual dissatisfaction in women can also lead them to infidelity. However, the formula for sexual dissatisfaction among women is different. A woman who does not feel emotionally connected to her partner is not able to enjoy her sexuality. Therefore, when a woman finds a “substitute” for her attention with whom she can make a connection and feel romanced, she becomes more vulnerable to infidelity.’   Dr Tanginika Cuascud – mamiverse.com

O married children of God, if any of you reading this message has been watching pornography with your spouse, or alone – even if it is very occasional – flee, flee from this deadly poison that Satan is injecting into your married life.

Repent, if you have succumbed to this trap of the devil, and cleanse your life and your home from every accursed pornographic object, and never allow any such abomination to enter your sacred marital premises again. And see how God begins to bless your relationship with your spouse in ways you could have never experienced before.

If you are among the blessed few who have not watched pornography, or have repented of watching them, praise God for keeping your marriage safe from the tempting wiles of Satan, the arch destroyer of marriages and the father of all divorces.

‘For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth…Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers. And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you. You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock…Nor shall you bring an abomination into your house, lest you be doomed to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest it and utterly abhor it, for it is an accursed thing.   Deut 7:6-26

 

Pappa Joseph

 

 

When Your Feelings For the One You Married Are Gone

 

The passionate love that a person had for their spouse when they married can wane within a few years, or after many years, to the point that it becomes an emotionless relationship – unless it is deliberately kept aflame continuously. This is a most vital truth that every person planning to marry, or already married, should keep foremost in their consciousness.

In the beginning months, and sometimes even a few years after the wedding, the husband or wife will go to great lengths to show love to es beloved. But there is an unfailing spiritual law in human relationships that affects every marriage. And this is the law: Showing love for your wife or husband can never be static or motionless. You can never maintain a status quo in your relationship with your beloved. Your love is either growing every day or your love is slackening every day. If it is growing, then there is no end to the growth of this love, and the words in 1 Corinthians 13:8 proves eternally true: ‘love never fails (or ‘ends’ in some other translations).

If your love is slackening, then there is a gradual, or a galloping, end to your relationship with your wife or husband. Love that is not daily growing will daily slow down to the point that it will become motionless with perpetual inertia. When that point is reached, either of two actions happens. Divorce, or a lifelong acceptance of going through the motions of living, devoid of any feelings. This can happen a few months after the wedding, or a few decades after the initial years of nuptial bliss. How many couples I know of personally who have permanently severed their hearts from each other after 25 or more years of cleaving together as one flesh!

What is the reason that love for a spouse wanes, though at one time that very love was so intense and true the person would be willing to give up es life for es beloved without a moment’s hesitation?

Why did Michal’s love for David wane to the point that she actually despised him in her heart, that is, in the deepest recesses of her consciousness? And why did David, a man after God’s own heart, end his love for his wife to the point he never again slept with her for the rest of his life? 2 Sam 6:16-23 Why is that loving couples, who have faithfully brought up fine kids, and have beautiful grandkids, decide to call it quits in their long relationship, and seek other life partners in their senior years?

The answer is that husbands and wives – but mostly husbands – confuse true love with feelings of affection.

Please keep this counsel deep in your heart, child of God, even if you are sure your relationship with your spouse has a very secure foundation. Unless you understand and apply the following basic truth in all your dealings with your life partner, the day will surely come – as surely as there exists a universal Destroyer of marriages – that you will find that the passionate true love you had for your wife or husband has greatly diminished in its feelings, and with that diminution come one by one all the deadly effects of a stagnant relationship. And this is the truth:

True love that never fails, that never ends, that always keeps growing forever and ever, is based not on your feelings for the one you love, but is based on your will apart from your feelings.

Now let me explain that plainly.

There are two kinds of initial love. One is instinctive love. That’s the love that a mother or a father has for es child. It is a causeless love. The child did nothing to earn or win their parents’ love. Causeless love is also known as unconditional love. That’s the love our Father in heaven has for each of us. It is the love that made our Savior die for our sins even before we knew him. He loves us solely for the reason he created us in his image and likeness, just as we fall in love with our just-born baby solely because that baby came from our own body. Instinctive love is the second most powerful force in the universe. But it is not the love that never ends or fails. The most powerful instinctive love on earth today is mother’s love. But God says even that love has a limit, that awesome love can end if given the extreme circumstances.

‘Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget’   Is 49:15

The word ‘may’ is not in the original Hebrew. Young’s Literal Translation says ‘Yea, these forget’.

‘Surely’, given the circumstances, a mother will forget the child that came from her womb, if all she has is just instinctive love for him or her. And that is because even unconditional instinctive love is ultimately conditional on the responses of the one loved instinctively. Unconditional love becomes conditional after a certain point, and when the conditions for that love cease, unconditional love also ceases.

The other kind of initial love is the love that a man has for a woman he falls in love with, and vice versa. In this category of love also is the love of a close friend or of a brother or sister. This love can also be very deep initially, even to the extent the person will be ready to give up es life to save the one e loves – es wife or husband, or sibling, or friend. See Romans 5:7. But, as in the case of maternal love, all such initial true love ends when the factors for such love fail.

Now let’s take the relationship of a couple deeply in love. Over many years of living together, the husband or wife begins to see many negative qualities in the one e loves, which e did not see in the initial years of living together. Arguments, quarrels, misunderstandings, offenses, and perhaps ultimately even betrayal, ensue as the spouse displays more and more of es negative qualities. After a few years, or decades, one spouse has had enough, and quits struggling to live with the unbearable flaws of the other. There is no more feeling of love remaining for the one who has consistently shown only an increasing lack of lovable qualities. In modern times, the relationship formally ends with a divorce. In earlier ages, and even today in the more conservative cultures, the continuing rift of hearts between the couple does not often physically rift the couple apart; instead, they continue to stay under the same roof. But their natural conjugal feeling for each other is replaced with a resigned attitude of suppressed bitterness that simmers in their heart for the rest of their lives.

My family knew a man and his wife in our native community many years ago. The man and his wife were active members of their church and respected in society. But everyone knew that the man and his wife never spoke a single word to each other ever since something happened between them in their earlier years. They lived together under one roof, but never spoke a syllable to each other for several decades. They both lived to ripe old age and are now dead. How they managed to do that is still a mystery to me. I mean the technicalities of living together without one word of communication at any time. But what is not a mystery is how such extreme living became possible. It is simply another case of a relationship that was based on feelings, and when the feelings evaporated the relationship dried up.

When you put that ring on your beloved’s finger on the blissful day of your union, or, as in my country, tied the string around your bride’s slender neck, or had your glowing groom tie it around your quivering neck, that is a symbol of an unconditional fidelity to each other till death parts you. When a groom or bride answers ‘I do’ to the following question,

‘Do you take (name) for your lawful wife;husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?’

they absolutely mean it with all their heart. But years later, it slowly becomes evident that the ‘I do’ actually meant,

‘I do promise to take you as my lawful wife:husband, to have and hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part, as long as you don’t act and speak in a manner that will affect my feelings for you.’

So how can you ensure a drying up of your love will never occur in your relationship with your spouse? By ensuring that your love for your wife or husband is not based on feelings. Enjoy the feelings and rejoice over them as long as the feelings come naturally. When the feelings wane, as surely as they will when your spouse begins to reveal his or her hitherto suppressed flaws, replace the feelings with your will of commitment.

If you have been recently married, or married for many years, it is most vital for the lifelong safety of your marriage that you transform your attitude toward your spouse from this day on with the help of God. Renew your old conjugal vows in your mind, and add the following lifelong pledge to yourself and to God:

‘I will love my wife (husband) unconditionally from this day forth, and when I say unconditionally, I mean absolutely unconditionally. If a time ever comes that I cannot find any more happiness in my wife (husband), I will continue to love her (him) even in the absence of any feelings of happiness. Whether she (he) pleases me or not, I will care for her (him) and cherish her (him), just as I would care for and cherish a part of my own body that is giving me pain. When my feelings have gone for her (him), I will continue to love her (him) by a deliberate act of my will in opposition to my natural feelings. So, help me to do this, Lord!’

That’s a pledge that should be foremost in your mind constantly – even in the days of your great happiness with your spouse. It is the surest insurance for the safety of your marriage when the days of trouble come, when God may allow the devil to test you through severe trials in your marriage.

Unless your love for your beloved is based on your will and not on your feelings, all your emotions of marital bliss you enjoyed in the early years of your wedded life will surely wane within a few years.

Now what’s the benefit of loving a spouse who is no longer giving you any happiness? Why take the great and constant pain of continuing to live with em when you could easily have less unhappiness living apart or find happiness again with a new spouse?

Because that’s the way our God loves you and me. Because his love never fails even when we stop loving him. And our God wants us to love our spouse just as he loves us.

To the unhappy husband he says:

‘For husbands, this means love your wives, JUST AS Christ loved the church…In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. As you love her, you ultimately are loving part of yourself (remember, you are one flesh). No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.’   Eph 5:25-29 NLT, VOICE. Emphasis mine

‘Husbands, love your wives [be affectionate and sympathetic with them] and do not be harsh or bitter or resentful toward them.’   Col 3:19 AMP

To the unhappy wife he says:

‘Wives, it should be no different with your husbands. Submit to them as you do to the Lord, for God has given husbands a sacred duty to lead as the Anointed leads the church and serves as the head. (The church is His body; He is her Savior.) So wives should submit to their husbands, respectfully, in all things, JUST AS the church yields to the Anointed One.   Eph 5:22-24 VOICE

And to both the Lord urges:

‘However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly.   Eph 5:33 AMP

And what is the final outcome of a husband loving his wife as his own body, of his not giving in to feelings of bitterness against her [in spite of her seemingly being an incorrigible nag], and of a wife submitting to her husband in everything just as she submits to Christ, of her esteeming him and admiring him exceedingly [in spite of his seemingly obnoxious qualities]?

When you continue to love with your will your wife or husband who continues to hurt you, God’s universal spiritual law guarantees an ultimate result. The hurting person will eventually stop hurting. And a transformation begins to happen in the loveless heart and mind of the spouse as she or he continues to receive your love. All the spots, wrinkles, and blemishes of your faulty spouse begin to clear away one by one. And as your spouse continues to blossom under your unceasing and unconditional love, she or he will begin to do things to you that you could have never imagined even in the wildest fantasy of your dreams on your wedding day or in the initial blissful days of your marriage. And soon you will have a shining spouse standing before you – clean, holy and without a single fault in any area of her or his life.

‘He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and WITHOUT FAULT. IN THE SAME WAY, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies.’   Eph 5:25-29 NLT. Emphasis mine

When you forsake your feelings for your wife or husband and continue to love em, the very same feelings you sacrificed are sooner or later going to come back to you in hundredfold measure, brimful and overflowing. This is an absolute promise from the Creator who brought man and woman together in marriage.

‘Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time’   Mark 10:29-30

‘Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full – pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap.’  Luke 6:38 NLT

The more feelings you sacrifice so you can willfully continue to love your unlovable spouse, the more will be the love and the feelings of happiness you will eventually receive from your spouse. This is the greatest law of relationship.

Foolish, very foolish indeed is the man or woman, who after some years of enduring unhappiness with his wife or her husband gives up and goes their separate way to seek the happiness and love that eluded them in their first marriage. Whom would you personally choose to marry: A wonderful wife or husband who deserves a heavenly score of 10 points out of a maximum 100 in the measure of lifelong happiness she or he gives you, OR a wife or husband who, after some initial years of not deserving even one point in her or his qualities as a wife or husband, will give you happiness and love that both your heart and heaven will give an unbelievable score of 100 out of 100?

‘I tell you, her sins – and they are many – have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.’   Luke 7:47

‘She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal.’   MSG

Before I conclude this message, I urge you to listen to this wonderful song on YouTube – the most influential I have heard in Christian music – by Don Francisco. As you listen, please ponder the words in the lyrics given below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKmkPHUkn5A

Love Is Not A Feeling

So you say you can’t take it, the price is too high
The feelings have gone it seems the river’s run dry
You could never imagine it could turn out so rough
You given, given, given, still it’s never enough

Your emotions have vanished that once held the thrill
You wonder if love could be alive in you still
But that ring on your finger, was put there to say
You’ll never forget the words you promised that day

Jesus didn’t die for you because it was fun
He hung there for love because it had to be done
And despite of the anguish, his word was fulfilled
Love is not a feeling it’s an act of your will
Love is not a feeling it’s an act of your will

Now I wouldn’t try to tell you that it’s easy to stand
When Satan’s throwing everything that’s at his command
But Jesus is faithful, his promise is true
And whatever he asks he gives the power to do

Jesus didn’t die for you because it was fun
He hung there for love because it had to be done
And despite of the anguish, his word was fulfilled
Love is not a feeling it’s an act of your will
Love is not a feeling it’s an act of your will

Courtesy: Don Francisco – Love Is Not A Feeling, from the album ‘The Early Works’  –    www.rockymountainministries.org

 

Pappa Joseph

 

 

I Wish I Could’ve Read A Message Like This Before I Married

A special message for men planning to get married, and for young husbands.

 

 

When I was a young husband, I read a lot of manuals on having a great marriage, written by ‘relationship experts’. I read even more literature and heard numerous sermons by ordained ministers of God on this subject. There were many good things I learned from both secular and Christian writings and preachings on marriage. But far more than what I gained from them were vital insights that I did not gain from any of them.

After nearly four decades of being a husband to one woman, I have learned many, many, truths about staying married and about what makes a marriage safe and going for life. I could even give a few tips on how to pep up your bedroom life. Perhaps such insights are available elsewhere too, but since I haven’t come across them all in one place yet, I hope that this message will be helpful to many men (and perhaps women too) who earnestly are doing all they can to ensure the lifelong stability of their marriage, but who may have some vital truths missing in their understanding of what makes the marriage institution absolutely safe for life.

I have deliberately avoided words like ‘happy’ and ‘exciting’ when referring to what my insights could do to help a marriage relationship. And one of the most vital truths about marriage I want to share with you in this message, and the one I want to mention first, relates to the subject of happiness in marriage.

To ensure that your marriage will last your lifetime, you should not set your heart – that is, base your life happiness and your sense of success – on a ‘happy’ or ‘exciting’ marriage.

It’s the exact opposite that Hollywood tells us, both on screen and behind the screens. A man meets a woman, falls in love, and the next goal in their life is to have a happy marriage. In movies about man-woman relationship, the film usually ends with a radiant couple looking forward to a happy life together. Back in their homes, the actors and actresses cannot put up beyond a few years the act of having a happy married life. Most of them quit their old relationship and look around for the right partner to get the happiness that eluded them in their first marriage.

According to some media information, 8 out of 10 marriages in Hollywood end in divorce! The official divorce rate for the whole of US in 2009 was 52 percent. It could only be even higher now, several years later, at the time of writing this.

I don’t have the world divorce statistics, but simple observation is enough to convince us that the divorce rate is rocketing even in countries where marriages had been traditionally stable. India is one sad example. My own state, Kerala – where until about a decade ago most wives, except the rare crazy ones, simply cleaved to their husbands no matter what – now has officially the highest divorce rate in India, and possibly, in Asia.

‘[In India] divorce rates have gone up by 150% over the past decade. Kerala, the most literate Indian state, has seen a rise of 350% in the past ten years.’ divorcerate.com

The first need in your marriage is not happiness but ‘protection from destruction’. After you have ensured your relationship with your wife or husband is safe for life, you may think of having a happy and exciting married life.

I wish somebody had counseled me that unhappiness in marriage is inevitable and that couples who are locked together in blissful union during the first few months of married life are very likely to lock horns with each other within a few years.

I think, from my personal count of unhappy marriages, that in 9.9 out of 10 couples, it is the man who is the first to display his unhappiness at something he didn’t like in his life partner. Women, who are more discerning and shrewd by nature, may actually be the first spouse to encounter unhappiness in a marriage, but they are likely to keep their feelings concealed for many years, revealing them only when they are totally exasperated with their husband.

Remember that it is normal for a couple to encounter their first unhappy moment with each other a few weeks, or surely a few months, after their wedding day bliss. If a couple had a continuous happy walk from the aisle to their first anniversary, then they must be an exceptionally patient and forgiving couple, both the husband and the wife.

So, safety rule No. 1 for couples, especially husbands: Enter marriage with the foreknowledge – the expectation – that you will have to live through many unhappy days in your married life because of perceived or actual shortcomings in your spouse that you hadn’t noticed prior to living together as one flesh.

This attitude, this mental acceptance, of marital troubles as a natural part of your marriage process sets in place a firm foundation for you to confront and overcome the future marital irritations, misunderstandings, quarrels and disappointments, which if left to themselves would fester and turn cancerous, and eventually destroy the marriage. Which is what has happened to all those marriages that had begun with the ecstasy and excitement of a fairytale wedding but ended in acrimonious divorce settlements and custody battles.

Once you have accepted the truth that your spouse has many suppressed and repressed faults as you have, which will sooner or later unveil themselves in es dealings with you, you have done about 10 percent of what you could do to ensure the lifelong protection of your marriage.

The next protective step on the husband’s side is to ensure in his own heart that he has a limitless reserve of patience and forgiveness to see him and his wife safely through the trials of living together.

Let me emphasize this truth above everything else in this message:

Unless you receive God’s power to quickly forgive the faults of your spouse, your marriage risks a short lifespan.

Betrayal and bitterness are the two supreme reasons for the failure of marriages. An embittered husband who continues to keep his resentment within him reaches a stage where he cannot endure the acerbity anymore and looks for a sweet solution elsewhere. This is the reason Paul admonishes married men: ‘Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them’  Col 3:19

As for wives, their most serious fault is their failure to maintain the same sense of respect for their husband that they had when they first fell in love with him. A few years into marriage and the wife sees a different man than the one she thought she was marrying. With the man’s exposure of his previously hidden flaws, the woman naturally finds it hard to maintain the same sense of awe and respect she had once felt for her lover. This is the reason Paul tells married women: ‘let the wife see that she respects her husband’.  Eph 5:33

The husband’s greatest danger is not that he might lose respect for his wife, but that he might lose his love for her in his bitterness.

The wife’s greatest risk is not that she might become bitter and lose her love for her husband, but that on getting to know him better, she might start to lose her respect for him and begin to use words and attitudes that would embitter her husband.

Bitterness toward the wife cannot be overcome by the husband’s struggle to be rid of it. But once he realizes the acute danger that bitterness can cause to his relationship with his wife, he can seek God’s intervention fervently.

I know from experience that marital situations that would be absolutely impossible for a man to resolve in his own wisdom and strength become possible to deal with effectively once he earnestly and perseveringly seeks God’s power to do so.

I wish somebody had told me before I married that if I did not do something to curb my tendencies to keep hurt feelings and dwell on my wife’s shortcomings, it would eventually lead my marriage to a crisis. But because both my wife and I feared God from our youth, he delivered us from marital tragedy. But not before we went through decades of needless quarrels and severe heart wounds. But if I had understood before I married, or even in the early years of my marriage, about the serious consequence of the accumulation of hurt feelings, my marriage would not have gone through all the excruciating travails it had to go through until God drew me to his Son after 30 years of flawed husbanding.

You, man of God, who have been given the awesome gift of a life-partner, do not risk keeping within you even an ounce of anger or hurt toward your wife beyond a few hours at the most. Once you realize there is something that is preventing you from loving your wife as God intends you to, then the first and most urgent priority in your life is to daily seek from God his love and power to drive out your hurts and resentments.

Do all in your power through Christ’s help not to go to bed without resolving the matter that has been rankling you throughout the day.

When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down.’   Eph 4:26 AMP

Again, let me emphasize, a man’s own struggle to get to bed with a heart free of anger, after he has been wronged by his wife, is impossible for the normal husband.

So, instead of gritting your teeth and struggling to get rid of hurt feelings out of your system, quietly beseech your Helper in heaven to fill your wounded heart with Christ’s love so you can totally and unconditionally forgive your wife.

I am not giving you sentimental Christian platitudes that sound wonderful but in practice are impossible to live by. What I am passing on to you are precious truths that have worked in my own marriage and in the marriages of many other servants of God who have suffered great tribulations in their relationship with their wife.

The thrill will be gone after a few years unless you have learned to forgive your spouse as Christ forgives you.

There are many other vital insights about marriage that I wish somebody had given me when I was a young husband. I will be sharing all these insights in my various messages in this website, to encourage God’s people in laying an unshakeable foundation for a safe and blessed marriage.

But before I close there is one other insight I want to share here. It’s concerning a vital aspect of a husband’s relationship with his wife. Oh, how I wish some wise counselor had given me this insight before I married. It’s about how a wife naturally responds to the amorous overtures of her husband.

I heard a saying long ago that succinctly states the difference of attitude between men and women to sex, but which I in those days had dismissed as someone’s frivolous observation:

‘Men give love to get sex; women give sex to receive love.’

But as my research into marital relationships went deeper, I realized that it is a fairly accurate analysis of the male and female syche in all physical acts of intimacy in a marriage.

I wish someone had counseled me in my bachelor days that women by nature are not interested in sex per se. In plainer language, women can survive a marriage devoid of sex without feeling emotionally and physically devastated…unlike men.

Is there any divorce that was granted on the grounds that the wife wasn’t getting all the sex she wanted from her husband? Unless a woman is afflicted with a rare tragic sickness called nymphomania, no sane wife will discard her husband on the issue of sex alone. Not so the other way round. If a man can’t get all the sex he demands of his wife, she isn’t going to get the chance to sleep with him much longer.

Do not be surprised, feel hurt or become sullen on the many occasions that your wife will treat your romantic advances with outwardly frigid responses. The mistake men make is to interpret the nonresponses as an indication of a diminution of their physical desirability in their wives’ mind. When a wife doesn’t respond with passion to her husband’s sexual urges, unless she is ill, or going through her period, it is not because she does not desire her man making love to her, but because of several factors that act as suppressants of her sexual ardor.

If the woman has been hurt by the husband during the day, and the husband has not soothed her emotions back to normal, she cannot be expected to be very responsive in bed. Perhaps it may not be her husband at all that affected her emotions during the day. It could be worry, or fear, or insecurity, or any of the myriad factors that take away the sense of tranquility that a woman needs in her mind for her libido to awake in her body.

If you desire a great bed partner in your life companion, the best way is not to try to arouse her only when she comes to bed. The budding and blossoming of her physical desire for you is a process that takes many hours, and should start at least twelve hours before bedtime. I don’t mean that you start your amorous demonstrations half a day in advance. The best way is to show affection to your wife is in a nonsexual way throughout the day for her to be able to be receptive to your sexual affections at the end of the day.

Touch her tenderly now and then as you talk to her in the normal course of your daily interactions. Let your eyes emanate gentleness toward her. Especially, take the greatest care with the tone of your voice. The gentle tone of your words throughout the day arouses and prepares your beloved for physical intimacy far more effectively than your impassioned foreplay could by itself.

And one last tip on this subject. Do not tell your wife that you want to make love to her. Something in a woman’s constitution immediately puts up a defensive shield against all sudden proposals of a sexual encounter.

When you have done your work of preparing her carefully throughout the day for her total receptivity to you, then just go ahead and make love. A woman’s syche enjoys unrequested, and even unexpected, submission to her husband more than it would after a planned and pre-determined submission.

The above insights are the foremost of what I personally wish I could have known before I married. There are, of course, far more, and I hope to share them with you in my future messages.

In the meantime, God bless your relationship with your wife, and give you even more insights on how to have a lifelong safe and blessed marriage as you diligently study his Word and keep his commandments.

 

Pappa Joseph

 

 

Husbands, Be An Authority, Not An Authoritarian Over Your Wife

 

 

A woman is, by the will of God, always under the authority of a man. Until her marriage she is subject to the will of her father, and after her marriage, to the will, and often, whim, of her husband.

To the woman He said…Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.   Gen 3:16

A woman must submit to her husband’s authority over her just as much as a man submits to the authority of Christ in his life.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church…Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.   Eph 5:22-24

And so, since Adam, every husband has exercised authority over his wife and every wife, except the wayward ones, has submitted to the rule of her husband. And in doing so, uncountable number of women throughout history have suffered the brutality and harshness of men who turned their authority to authoritarianism.

Authority in man is instituted by God for the ultimate good of the woman under his rule. Authoritarianism is usurped by many men in authority to institute their own pleasure above their wife’s wellbeing and happiness. The one is from the Creator, to create a sense of security for the woman; the other is from the Destroyer, to destroy the woman’s sense of security under a man, so she can seek it from other sources.

Divorces, women’s liberation movements, destitute women, prostitutes, and men-hating feminists are the direct products of men who exercised brutal authoritarianism in their homes, or they are the tragic consequences of men who did not exercise any authority in their homes, which is equally disastrous for the women entrusted to their care.

Even among Godly husbands, including senior ministers of Christ, I have observed many instances where their authority was temporarily transformed into ugly authoritarianism. In such instances, the man’s tone changes, his facial contours distort, and his words and actions cause the woman beside him to express her disappointment and hurt verbally or vibely.

Husbands, if you want your Lord, the Savior of your body, to rejoice in your submission to him, you must give cause for your wife to rejoice in her submission to you. And the way to do it is to exercise authority over her just as Christ exercises authority over you and the rest of his body, the church.

Husbands, love your wives, JUST AS Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church…let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself   Eph 5:25-33. Emphasis mine

In closing, let me mention that there is just one area in a man’s life over which he has no authority himself, but he is subject to the authority of his wife, just as much as she is subject to his authority in the rest of the areas in her life:

The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.   1 Cor 7:4

If the wife so desires the physical body of her husband at any time of the day or night, he has no authority to say no. His mind may belong to him, but his physical body belongs to her.

May the Great Authority over us, even our Lord Jesus, in whom we rejoice, rejoice over us even as we sincerely seek to cause the one over whom we have authority to rejoice in us.

 

Pappa Joseph

 

 

The Greatest Danger A Husband Faces In His Marriage

It’s not extramarital affairs anymore.

 

Probably no statistic is available on the real reasons why marriages break up. It is not possible to have one, because the reasons given by divorcees may only be the outward manifestations of the real cause of the breakup. Official reasons may range from infidelity to incompatibility.

Here is a top 10 list for the US, in ascending order: Difference in priorities and expectations; addiction; childrearing issues; religious and cultural strains; boredom in marriage; sexual incompatibility; marital financial issues; physical, psychological or emotional abuse; communication breakdown in relationships; and the top reason, infidelity.   Source: Top10Stop.com

In the UK, ‘extramarital affairs are no longer the most common reason for married couples to divorce – growing apart or falling out of love is. Growing apart or falling out of love was the main reason for divorce (27%); an affair is now second (25%)’.  (Source: 2011 Grant Thornton Matrimonial Survey of 101 UK Family Lawyers)

I don’t have the statistics for other countries. But we can presume that several of the reasons cited for divorce in these two countries may also be the ones cited in other countries, though the frequency of reasons may vary from country to country. In the Eastern culture, there is far lesser frequency of divorces caused by infidelity. For example, from the several personally known cases in my own country, none was caused by the husband or wife straying into other arms. There wife-bashing is a far commoner cause of split-ups.

Sometimes the reasons in my land could be truly freakish, such as the groom discovering on the wedding night that the bride is a hermaphrodite, or a wife not allowing her husband to sleep with her. I counseled one husband, in the latter case, and tried to encourage him to be more patient, but he soon divorced the frigid woman and remarried a fine, normal wife. These, of course, are the rare reasons, but the most frequent cause for divorces in India and China, and in US and UK, and everywhere else, is basically the same.

The real cause manifests ultimately as cheating, or boredom, or lack of communication, or incompatibility, or something else. But except in the freak cases, almost all divorces have their origin in one cause: dissatisfaction with the wife, which after a few years burgeons into resentment and finally bitterness toward her. Dissatisfaction with the wife, in turn, has basic causes that are never cited as the official reason for breakup.

Dissatisfaction, which festers into bitterness, almost always leads the husband to another woman, either before divorce or after divorce. Unfaithful husbands are so prevalent the reason marriages break up that the One who created the marriage institution declares he will not blame the wife for straying out of her legitimate relationship.

For the spirit of harlotry has caused them to stray, and they have played the harlot against their God…Therefore your daughters commit harlotry, and your brides commit adultery. I will not punish your daughters when they commit harlotry, nor your brides when they commit adultery; for the men themselves go apart with harlots   Hosea 4:12-14

In this message I will focus on the causes that turn a husband into a dissatisfied spouse, which eventually lead him to break up with his wife.

Unless a youth, like Joseph the son of Jacob, has been keeping his sexual life pure from fornication through the help of the Holy Spirit, he enters wedlock with a premarital sexual background. That is, he has already cheated on his future wife before marrying her – either in his imaginations or in actual act.

Many Christian men who are guilty of pre-marital infidelity, come to realize their sexual guilt and repent of them before they marry. But in many cases, a young man’s basic sexual attitudes remain the same even after he has taken a wife.

I will first take the case of those men who committed fornication and entered marriage with an unrepentant attitude. Then I will go to those who married as virgins or as reformed men.

The young men who had been indulging in sexual fantasies and fornications carry this sin into their marriage. Perhaps, after marriage, they might have intended never to cheat on their wives. But a spiritual principle begins to work in their minds soon after.

Within a few years (in UK, the average lifespan of marriages that break up is 11.4 years), the husband begins to find his wife not as sexually attractive anymore. He then fantasies extramarital relationships that rekindle his libido. Or he may get into pornography. This in turn causes a greater dissatisfaction in him whenever he has physical intimacy with his wife. The dissatisfaction is displayed, not by discussing the issue openly with his wife – how many dissatisfied husbands will tell their wives, ‘I don’t enjoy sex with you anymore’? – but in withdrawal, in sullenness, and in quarrels over petty issues.

Withdrawing from the wife causes resentment in the woman, and she shows her frustration and disappointment with sharp words at her husband, which in turn makes him more dissatisfied with her. The vicious circle has begun in earnest, and from then on only a miracle from God can save such a marriage.

In the case of men entering marriage as virgins or as men who have repented of their pre-marital affairs, the marriage is far more stable and safer than in the first case. But, even in such cases, if constant protection of the marriage is not sought by fervent prayers, it is a vulnerable field for the devil to sow his seeds of dissatisfaction.

Couples who are sexually faithful to each other may live together for several years without mishap. But if God is not constantly in the center of this relationship, the day will come sooner or later that the man will fall victim to the enemy’s suggestions.

It could start with some lewd pictures on his office computer. (Porn-watcher Sextracker has claimed 70 percent of pornography is downloaded in office hours.) If he continues to succumb to his base urges, he is soon transformed into a frequent, and soon, an addicted watcher. An addicted porn watcher cannot have a longlasting marriage. He becomes not only dissatisfied with his wife, but also becomes distrustful of her, as one study has shown.

Zillmann and Bryant (1989) conducted an experiment to test nonviolent pornography’s effect on traditional values about marriage and family. This and other similar studies have led them to conclude that ‘those massively exposed to pornography will become distrusting of their partners in extended relationships…Another likely consequence is a growing dissatisfaction with sexual reality (cited in McNair, 1996: p. 77)’.

Similarly, Linz and Malamuth (1993) comment that exposure to pornography ‘fosters a lack of respect for social institutions such as the family and traditional sex roles for women (p. 17)’.  (Source: University of Pennsylvania. asc.upenn.edu)

The man who enters marriage without a pre-marital record of infidelity, but who succumbs to temptations that bombard him at the workplace and elsewhere, and continues unrepentant, is soon a man who finds no more pleasure in his wife. Even if he does not go to other women, his marriage is no more as rock solid as it might have been in the early years. The relationship may drag on, unhappy and unexciting, usually because the wife continues to cling to him. Unhappy marriages may continue for a lifetime, or it may continue for 20 or 30 years and then break up.

All men about to embrace matrimony, or who have been safely married to this day, should heed God’s Word to ensure that nothing will ever happen in their lives that can roll off a domino series of consequences, which will eventually lead to a breakup or an unhappy marriage.


 “Extramarital affairs are no longer the most common reason for married couples to divorce – growing apart or falling out of love is.”


The number of years a man has been married to a woman is no criteria for how safe a marriage is. A couple may go on without serious trouble between them for three decades, and then something might happen that makes the man resentful at his wife. Once resentment sets in the man’s consciousness, and he doesn’t overcome it immediately with God’s help, then only a miracle from heaven can restore the husband’s earlier passion for his wife.

How can earnest men of God ensure that the enemy cannot infiltrate their marriage even in a remote way? By constantly ensuring that they have Christ as the only foundation and Savior of their marriage. It means, he has no confidence that his good character or the good qualities of his wife will keep their marriage safe. His only confidence is that he is constantly keeping the Creator and Lord of marriages at the center of his relationship with his wife.

In practical terms, this means that the husband should be constantly alert against every form of subtle and overt sexual influence. It means, he should not put himself in a situation where his chastity might stand the slightest risk of compromise. As an instance, if obscene images unexpectedly flash up on his computer, he should not linger over them for even a fraction of a second, but instantaneously click them away. He should eliminate every risk of an extramarital affair by putting on a constant moral shield against temptations from female colleagues or acquaintances. A truly alert husband should never allow himself to be alone in a room with a woman other than his wife or other immediate member of his family.

The man who wants his marriage to be absolutely safe from danger should, above all, practice mental morality. He should take the greatest care that a lewd image doesn’t find lodgment in his mind even for a fleeting moment. For this is the way the tempter entered the consciousness of many great men and eventually caused them to fall.

Their fall began with just one small thought rolled in the mind over and over, until it became an unstoppable avalanche that took the victim all the way into the immoral abyss. That’s how David, a man after God’s own heart, slid smoothly into the deadly pit of adultery. Instead of instantly turning his eyes away from a scene he knew his eyes are not meant to see, he lingered illegitimately for a few seconds over the stunningly beautiful wet body of another man’s wife taking a bath. The little lingering soon became an irresistible obsession…and you know the rest of the story.

The assured way for a husband to guard against resentment toward his wife is to ask God fervently to give him Christ’s power to forgive, so he can go to bed without harboring offense against her.  [Courtesy: Judy Baxter-flickr.com/ photos/ judybaxter]
It is not only lascivious thoughts that a husband should be constantly on the guard against – he should equally guard against holding any negative thoughts about his wife. Perhaps it could be something his wife had said or done to him. It is in the nature of all women…well, almost all women, to say now and then words that are more irritating to their husbands’ eardrums than a mosquito hovering around their ear lopes. The husband might have done something stupid, and the wife might have given him her frank opinion in raw uncensored version.

The wife’s greatest fault, according to the Bible, is her inability to respect her husband or submit to him always. She can, of course, respect him as long as he is always doing something honorable. I am yet to hear of the awesome discovery of such a man.

Wives, submit to your own husbands…let the wife see that she respects her husband.   Eph 5:22,33

The man’s greatest fault, and danger, is that, he becomes bitter at his wife who refuses to submit meekly to his opinions, nitwitted though they may be. He knows his wife loves him as her own life, but her stinging words keep popping into his emotions ceaselessly. This is the danger start point. When a man gets emotionally dissatisfied with his wife, and he keeps his sullen feelings beyond sunset, they begin to fester resentment in his heart. And festering resentment soon causes the fatal marital male syndrome known as bitterness.

Husbands, love your wives [be affectionate and sympathetic with them] and do not be harsh or bitter or resentful toward them.   Col 3:19 AMP

Husbands, be sure you give your wives much love and sympathy; don’t let bitterness or resentment spoil your marriage.   Phillips

Never go to sleep with your hurt feelings pent up in you. It is deadly poison for your marriage. You may not be able to get over your hurt feelings by willing them away. Seek God’s intervention speedily, and he will put a calm over your thoughts and emotions, and softly bring a willingness in your heart to forgive your wife, and you can go to sleep in peace.

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.   Eph 4:26-27 NLT

And if God doesn’t intervene immediately, keep asking for his power to forgive, and after a few days of such persevering prayer, you will begin to notice a change in your attitude toward your wife. Keep on praying until there is no trace of resentment in your heart toward your wife.


Never go to sleep with your hurt feelings pent up in you. It is deadly poison for your marriage.


So, the greatest danger a husband faces is his marriage is gradual falling out of love with his wife – because of his bitterness at her, which is because of his sexual or emotional dissatisfaction with her.

And if the husband does not forgive his wife, and lets his bitterness grow in him, and finally leads him to be unfaithful to her, God shuts out that man’s prayers to him. And without God’s help, he cannot continue happily in his marriage and so breaks up with the woman he once loved so passionately.

Here is another thing you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, weeping and groaning because he pays no attention to your offerings and doesn’t accept them with pleasure. You cry out, “Why doesn’t the Lord accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the Lord witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows. Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”   Mal 2:13-16 NLT

Pappa Joseph

 

 

Unhappy With Your Spouse? Don’t Try to Change Him or Her!

You cannot change your husband or wife, but if you don’t give up on your spouse, you can eventually have a marriage happier than you ever dreamed of.

Courtesy: oxford05 – flickr.com

 

This message is for those who are unhappy with their spouse, and for those who are not fully happy with their wife or husband. This message will also give vital understanding about married life to those who are not yet married.

When a man meets a woman and falls in love with her, both lovers are immediately affected with a phenomenon called eye-glazing. Eye-glazing is the happy affliction of people whose eyes have been glossed over with a layer of amorous sheen and are therefore unable to behold the blemishes in their lover, but which defects are glaringly visible to a third person. The couple in love usually have their glazing fall off their eyes after a few years of living together.

In some cultures, the glaze wears off with such monotonous predictability that writers call the phenomenon ‘the seven years itch’. That is, in about seven years, a spouse’s faults reach such intolerable levels in the eyes of the other spouse that they mutually agree to stop glaring at each other and start casting glazy eyes once again elsewhere. If it is not seven years for lockhorn couples, then it could be 27 years, or more or less.

It is a tragic reflection of the general state of marriages today that even couples married for a quarter century could desert their spouse and cleave to a new partner. They leave and cleave again because they had suffered burnout with their old spouse.

If you are among those people of God who love their spouse but who at the same time are unhappy with him or her because of some deficient quality in es character, then take heart. You have not married the wrong person. The man who finds a wife, any wife, obtains favor from the Lord. Prov 18:22  God has allowed you to marry the person you are living with today because he knows that your present faulty spouse will one day be able to love you far more than your heart could ever desire or imagine today.

Some people are privileged to be married to spouses with few obvious faults. But most people get life-partners with several spiritual or emotional flaws. In every case, irrespective of the number or seriousness of a spouse’s shortcomings, the chances of a wretched divorce or the prospects for a supremely joyous marriage are the same.

It is not the good or bad qualities of a spouse that determines the longevity or degree of happiness in a marriage, but the forbearance that the other spouse continually adopts in response to the defective qualities of his or her partner.

If a wife finds that her once spotless beau has turned into a fumbling loveless brute, she has two choices before God. She may despise him and go through married life a disillusioned and miserable woman, or she may accept him for the person he innately is, and quietly endure his brutishness for the rest of her life.

If a husband finds that the angel he married has morphed over the years into a nagging hag, he too has the same two choices. He may turn bitter against the woman who now does not look upon him with any trace of the adoration she once had for him, or he may decide to accept his unhappiness in silence and uncomplainingly endure her hurting ways for the rest of his life.

Why should a person endure and continue to live with another person for life, when the second person has no love or respect for the first? Here’s why, as revealed in God’s Word:

Because the fault-driven spouse may have more faults than most other people, he or she is being molded by God eventually to love their spouse more than any other person could. Let me put that in another way. Because of the unfailing forgiveness a man shows his fault-ridden wife, or a wife her sinning husband, the forgiven person is being transformed into a wife or husband that will eventually love the forgiving spouse far more than e would have loved had e been without those initial faults or sins. This is an absolute cause and effect principle in all relationships.

Here’s a true illustration of how that cause and effect works:

‘Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”

‘And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”

‘So he said, “Teacher, say it.”

“There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”

‘Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”

‘And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”   Luke 7:36-47

If you were given a spouse who had fewer faults than most other people, he or she may love you with all es heart and give you a lot of happiness. But es love will never be able to match the eventual love of a spouse who had greater faults and who was forgiven and endured more by es wife or husband.

Blessed are you today if you are gifted with a man or woman who loves you and respects you with all es heart. Even more blessed are you if you have been chosen to be the life-partner to a person who seems to have all the shortcomings in the world.That spouse is sooner or later going to love you and give you happiness beyond what you can humanly conceive today. The more you forgive him or her today, the more joy and thrills you are laying up for yourself in the coming years.

Not one act of forgiveness and endurance that you are sacrificing today will remain forgotten but will return to you in overflowing measure.

‘Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.’   Luke 6:38

If you have a husband or wife who is giving you a lot of unhappiness today, but who is also willing to live with you as your spouse, then do not do anything that would cause a diminution of your present relationship. Remember the woman who loved Jesus more than other women because she was forgiven more. Envision the day when your present bumbling husband or grumbling wife is transformed by your continual forgiveness and patience into the most desirable spouse in the universe. Envision in faith, for the promises in the Bible are surer than the rising of the sun tomorrow.

Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband…And a husband is not to divorce his wife…If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy…For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?’   1 Cor 7:10-16

How do you know, O husband, or, O wife? Because the Lord says so, as I have shown you from the Scripture. And because you know, you also know that your spouse with all his or her undesirable qualities today is sooner or later going to love you and honor you more than any other person you might have married had God allowed that. But he wanted you to marry this very same person because he wants the very best for you.

The Lord wants to give you the utmost happiness he possibly could in all his omnipotence as a loving Father, and that’s why he has given you this present person to you with all the blemishes included in his marriage gift package.

‘If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.’   Mat 7:11-12

One day, possibly sooner than you expect, your spouse is going to be presented to you without a single fault in him or her, but with a character that is spotless and a love for you that surpasses your every imagination and dream.

‘Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord…Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.’   Eph 5:22-29

Have a blessed relationship, and look forward to far greater joys and thrills with your spouse one day in the future as you continue to show more forgiveness and more patient endurance in your marriage.

‘Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, FAR OVER AND ABOVE all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it).’   Eph 3:20-21 AMP. Emphasis mine.

 

Pappa Joseph