Weighing Your Options

Steve Arterburn

Okay, men, imagine that God offered you these two following options:

Option 1: Working twelve hours a day for two years in the business of your dreams, a commitment that would quadruple your income.

Or’

Option 2: Working twelve hours a day for two years to passionately live out the heart of a servant-leader when you’re at home, an effort that would quadruple your wife’s joy.

Be honest’or at least willing to consider each option. If you’re chasing after the next rung up the corporate ladder, then you’ve misappropriated your passion. If you’re willing to become a bondservant to your wife, then you’re worthy of your Lord’s daughter.

Let’s face it. If the passion’s not there in your marriage, you won’t find much oneness. Sure, you may be comfortable with your wife. As a mother, you may think she’s matchless. She may still knock your socks off when she slips into a sundress. Perhaps you can’t even imagine living without her.

But what do these feelings show? Many men feel them, but be very careful in your assessment of them: such sentiments don’t necessarily reveal that you’ve actually done anything more than love yourself in the marriage.

Men, it’s your passion for oneness and your passion for service that demonstrate that you love her. That’s what brings her joy on your journey together. If that passion’s not there, you must find it. But if it is, your motives for serving your wife will be true.

Thinking Things Through

Steve Arterburn

Is your marriage a delight to you’or is your career or your hobby what really charges your engines? Do you exist in marriage for your wife, or does she exist to serve and further your interests and desires? Where do your greatest passions lie?

 

Guys, these are important questions you must ask yourself from time to time. But truth be told, you’re not always as skilled as you could be about examining your life. Furthermore, you’re not always as honest as you should be about the difference between what you formally profess to be true and the values you affirm by our day-to-day decisions and actions.

Therefore, I want to pose several questions for you to ponder over the next several days to help you discern the health of your marriage. My hope is that they’ll help you identify any areas and issues that need your attention. 

  • Does your wife’s face brighten when you enter the room? Does she rise to kiss you?
  • Does your wife long for your embrace? Does she love to chat with you, even about the so-called little things of life?
  • When her feelings have been hurt, or her dreams have been shattered, is it you that she seeks or does she turn elsewhere?
  • Do you guard her honor and preserve the integrity of your marriage, even when she’s out of sight?

Men, your wife’s a gift from God’a true treasure. Love and honor her accordingly!

Motivation for Recovery

It is said that we are motivated by the desire to avoid pain (losing our job, marriage, reputation; etc.) and the desire to acquire gain (having peace of mind; hearing our father or wife say, ‘I’m proud of you,’ etc.). So what motivates you to work your battle plan each day?

A daily motivational review is a tool we discuss at Every Man’s Battle. It may include desiring intimacy with God, being tired of lying and covering up, wanting peace of mind, refusing to support something that is ruining human life, etc.

At the risk of pontificating spirituality, I’d like to look at an area of motivation that helps many of us in our recovery process, namely, wanting to know and experience the love of God.

Imagine you are hiking in the mountains and you slip off the edge of a cliff. You grab hold of a bush with your hands, but you’re now dangling over hundreds of feet below. You’re safe for the moment, but you can’t hold on for long. You must have help that is immediate, good, and adequate.

Now suppose help appears. Someone reaches down and says, ‘take my hand and I’ll pull you up. ‘Will you do it? The answer depends on the helper. Suppose it’s someone you deeply offended at one time? He may be strong enough to help, but will he? Or suppose it’s a ten year old Boy Scout with 20 merit badges? You know he will do everything in his power to help, but does he have enough strength? What will persuade you to trust the help offered? You must be convinced of the good will, reliability, and strength of the helper.

All of us are holding on to something or things we think gives meaning and substance to our lives. It may be your sexual behaviors. But sooner or later our hold on those things weakens because they don’t solve our crisis.

So what is offered to us in this life that is good enough, strong enough, and durable enough to hold our lives together for the whole journey? What is it that can motivate us to live the life we really want? What is it that can motivate us in our recovery process?

The Apostle Paul says it is the love of Jesus Christ. In Ephesians 3:16-19 he prays that we be rooted and grounded in that love ‘ like a deeply planted tree or well-founded building that cannot be shaken. And he prays that we will be able to comprehend how wide, long, high and deep this love is ‘ i.e., that we will come to know the love of Christ in such personal ways that it will motivate us to live the life He meant for us to live.

What is this love? Is it some great ideal to which we should aspire? Is it an abstract concept: so high or lofty we can’t possibly ever experience it? Or is it a mood or sentiment?

No, God’s love is concrete and personal. It delivers us, lifts us up, and sustains us. We don’t earn it or stir it up by some goodness or loveableness in us. It comes to us even though we’re  imperfect and sinful. Think of how Jesus treated moral failures. He appointed the Samaritan woman as his first missionary. She went back to her town and told the people about Jesus, and many believed because of her testimony. He defended the sinful woman who anointed him with expensive perfume by saying, ‘wherever the Gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.’ He restored Peter to leadership after denying him three times. Mary Magdalene, of whom seven demons had been cast out, he honored as the first witness of His resurrection. And the prodigal son was given a welcome home party.

It’s difficult to believe you’re worth anyone’s love, least of all the almighty God’s. Yet, with all the wrongs in your past, the mistakes, the detours, the moments of sin and selfishness, God loves you. No mistake we make in life disqualifies us from God’s love because nothings can separate us from His love.

So lay hold of this staggering, mind-blowing truth that God loves you just as you are, and not as you should be, because none of us is that. And let that motivate you to become the whole, integrated, connected man He created you to be.

Click here to view more helpful resources for men.

Brad Stenberg