Common Ground

Steve Arterburn

Regardless of whose survey you look at, money always lands near the top of the hot-button issues in marriages. That shouldn’t surprise anyone. Whatever is a critical issue in one partner’s life is going to become an issue in the marriage and according to a recent survey by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, 68% of American men are fearful about financial security now and in retirement. Therefore, I can assure you that at least 68% of American marriages have a measure of tension in them as a result.

In 1985, Richard Foster wrote a book titled Money, Sex, and Power: The Challenge of a Disciplined Life. Think of those three subjects in terms of marriage and you’ll identify three prime places for couples to either stand their ground or seek common ground.

Far too often you’ll stand your ground, holding tenaciously to practices and points of view you’ve either learned from your parents or picked up along the way in life. Most couples enter marriage thinking about money the way their parents did’detailed record keeping or constantly overdrawn; poor credit ratings or great credit ratings; disciplined savers or dedicated shoppers; planning for the future or living for today.

Men, money is an important and strategic area upon which to build consensus in your marriage. But it requires making a commitment and connecting with your spouse. The future is coming, like it or not. It’s up to you and her to find common and faithful ground on this important issue.

A Peculiarly Male Problem

Steve Arterburn

Although pornographic consumption is on the rise among females, it’s still considered’and has historically been’a male problem. But because consumption of pornography is recognized as largely a male issue, and because it usually begins in adolescence, many adults have become increasingly inclined to tell boys that what they’re doing is normal. That satisfying their curiosity with pornography, and gratifying their hormonal urges, is a natural right of passage to manhood. This is exceedingly dangerous counsel.

 

Based upon my counseling experience, I believe the pornography has trapped more young men, and haunted them throughout their adult lives, than any other problem.

 

Don’t misunderstand me. Not all men who struggle with pornography are sexual addicts. However, that’s no cause whatsoever to minimize the issue. If you become accustomed to the world of pornographic fantasy you’re at great risk to do great damage.

 

Eventually it will ruin your relationship with God, your feeling of self-worth, your ability to relate to women, and it can potentially destroy your marriage. But even if your marriage does stay intact, pornography steadily and surely steals the potential for true intimacy with your wife. True, you’re present in body, but your mind is somewhere else’entertaining thoughts and fantasies of other women who, in their own tragic way, have also been victimized by the pornographic industry. Wake up, men: fantasizing over pornographic images is neither natural nor trivial.  

Leading Worship At Home

Steve Arterburn

Men, we were created for worship. It enhances and expresses intimacy with the Lord, and brings both Him and us great pleasure. Yet many men tighten up just saying grace before dinner. Public worship’even if it’s only in front of your family may cause you to feel as nervous as a third baseman charging a short-hopper with the game on the line in the bottom of the ninth.

Most of us have been there. And most of us have also blamed it on our lack of experience praying in public. Yet for the vast majority of men, that’s not really the issue. The real issue is that you don’t have enough experience praying in private! Deepening your private life of worship will naturally embolden your public life of worship. And the first place it’ll bring benefit is in your ability to provide better spiritual leadership in your home.

Guys, no one in your home should be more comfortable with worship and prayer than you. Your family absolutely needs you to lead them. Feeling funny about it is no excuse.

Start small, but be courageous and committed to growth. You simply cannot and must not ‘chicken out’ when your family looks to you for spiritual leadership. The Holy Spirit is waiting for you to step up to the plate, and He’ll meet you there. That’s a promise from God.