“Honey, I locked the keys in the car.”

Last week Sherri had a rough week. She ran out of gas in the parking lot of the grocery store and had to call me to get gas in her van. Two days later she locked her keys in the van at the mall and had to call me to bring the spare key. Both times these calls came at inconvenient points… and I let her know that.

Skip forward to yesterday.

After a morning of conflict over our schedules, I let her know she needed to get her act together then I left the house to go do the important work of ministry.

Then it happened.

I was leaving one meeting to go to another and couldn’t find my keys (you already know where this is going don’t you?). I finally found them… in the last place I looked… the last place I left them… on the inside of my locked car.

I desperately looked for some way in, because the thought of calling Sherri and telling her my dilemma was to much for me to bear! I had just let her know she had to get her act together and now….

Finally I broke down and called. She laughed and reminded me how I had handled her situation… and then she changed her schedule to come and unlock my car for me.

And here’s where it gets funny…

When she arrived, giggles and all, I reached into her ignition and took the keys… still determined to get to my next meeting and be about the important work of ministry.

And then I saw it… actually I didn’t see it, and that was the problem.

A while ago we loaned our car to a friend. When they brought back the spare key we did not put it back on Sherri’s key ring, instead we stuck it in the kitchen drawer… and that’s where it was… in the kitchen drawer!

Now I had to get in the van, ride all the way home with my giggling bride, get the spare key, then travel back to unlock my car. And oh, by the way, I had to cancel my ministry meeting. I suppose that was okay because by that point I wasn’t representing Jesus real well anyhow.

So what’s the point of this story? There are two:

  • Always keep a spare key located somewhere on your vehicle.
  • Always be nice to your spouse when their oversight inconveniences you. You never know when your oversight will inconvenience them and eating crow while canceling meetings is not so much fun.

Or in the words of Jesus, “Do for others as you would like them to do for you” (Luke 6:31).

14 years with one amazing lady

Today Sherri and I celebrate 14 years of marriage!

I continue to be impressed with my bride.

  • She is a strong leader with the gift of wisdom.
  • She is patient and persistent. You’d be amazed at how she manages a house with six kids!
  • She is “low maintenance.” Never whining or complaining she always finds a way to make things work even when there are not always a lot of resources to work with.
  • She is generous. I have to insist that she use her “slush fund”  for herself or else she will spend it on someone else.
  • Her integrity is rock solid. I never doubt her word.
  • She is a learner, constantly evolving and always improving herself. I love that she is reading books on marriage and parenting! And I love that she knows what’s going on in the world because she listens to the news!
  • She is confident in who she is and doesn’t need approval to be that person. She just is who she is… and that is refreshingly beautiful.
  • She doesn’t “fight me”, in fact she even encourages me, when I want to take risks and try new things (e.g. a motorcycle). (Although my desire to jump out of an airplane is proving to be the exception to this rule).
  • She still looks great! Six kids and fourteen years can be rough on a body. Not hers. I still look twice… every time.
I really could go on and on about my bride but it would sooner or later get pretty personal and then we’d all be embarrassed!
The bottom line is that after 14 years of living with one lady I am still in love with her! I thank God for the gift of Sherri Peterson, and thank you Babe for hanging in there with me in this “adventure” of life!
I love you.

Now THIS is a love letter

Right now I’m reading “Dutch – a Memoir of Ronald Reagan” by his official biographer, Edmund Morris.

In this book, Morris refers to a love note written by the President to the First Lady. It’s a good one!

My dear first lady… I could offer you my heart but I’d have to get it back from you first. There just isn’t anything to get for someone who already has everything I can afford…. Perhaps I should talk about what you’ve given me because that makes you the most blessed person in these here parts.

Your gift to me is uninsurable. No appraiser can put a value on it. How could he figure the market value of feeling a tingle of excitement and anticipation every time I start for home? Or the way I can’t help but walk fast when I get there, hurrying for the first sight of y0u? Just waking up becomes a warm glow because you are there – just as the whole house is haunted when you aren’t.

It’s like fruit of the month on a lifetime subscription – a perpetual motion happiness machine. It starts off fresh and brand new every day shining up my whole world.

Thank you for loving me and seeing that I’m smart enough to stay very much in love with you….

Your Husband.

 

She’s worth fighting for

Last Sunday I asked our church “What were you doing at 3 a.m. this morning?” I proceeded to share with them that Sherri and I were awake at that time… praying. Before you begin to think, “Wow! What a spiritual giant!” Let me tell you what we were praying about. We were praying for our marriage.

The last month or so has been brutal in our home. Nothing in particular, but everything in general. There have been multiple opportunities to attack one another and we have taken advantage of every one… at least it seems like it. (The descriptive phrase used by psychologists to describe both Sherri’s and my personality type is “jungle fighter”.).

I shared this with our church for three reasons:

  1. I know that there are other couples in our church that are struggling right now and I wanted them to know that they are not alone.
  2. I want Church180 to be a place where honesty is a cultural norm and it will be if I set the pace.
  3. I want our church to know that it’s okay to have tough times but that they don’t have to be the end of the road!

After sharing this, I spent time praying out loud for my marriage and all of the marriages in our church.

Last night was date night for Sherri and me. Before we left we had gut-wrenchingly honest conversation.

I left the conversation in deep thought and came to this conclusion, there are a few things in life that I would fight to the death for:

  • God.
  • My wife.
  • My children.
  • My country.

I would take a bullet for any of these four.

And then I thought, I don’t have to take a bullet for any of these four right now. What I do need to do though is fight! I need to fight for my marriage! I need to fight for my wife.

I got a shower and got dressed up nice. I quickly ran across town and purchased a dozen roses. I pulled up into our driveway and walked my date to the car where I told her, “I suppose there are a few things in this life that are worth fighting for… and you are one of them.” Then I opened her door, gave her the roses, and we left for the evening.

We talked… and talked… and talked… we even cried a little bit throughout the course of the evening. We settled in on this…

When we were first married we did romantic, “lovey” things because we felt romantic and “lovey.” Over time, with the addition of multiple children and weightier responsibilities we “lost that loving feeling” and therefore were not so quick to do the “lovey” things anymore. In short, we have fallen into a rut.

How do we get out of that rut?

We have to do things that we don’t feel like doing (e.g. “lovey” things) and over time the feelings will come back! You know why? Because feelings follow behaviors!

People have been asking “How are you guys doing?” The answer is “just fine.” We are working hard and fighting for our marriage! We want a great marriage because it honors God, is a whole lot more fun for both of us, is an example to our children, and is an example to our church!

Everyone hits “tough spots” in their marriage, but not everyone fights through them! In my opinion, marriage is one of a few things worth fighting for… and so I will fight for mine! I will fight by doing things that I don’t necessarily feel like doing. I will do them until I feel like doing them!

This works! How do I know? Because we have done it before!

Do the right thing even when you don’t feel like doing it and in time you will do the right thing because you feel like doing it!

Here we go! Join me! Let’s fight for our marriages!

What does “I don’t have any clothes” mean?

What does the “I don’t have any clothes” line mean?

To a woman it means, “I don’t have any new clothes.”

To a man it means, “I don’t have any clean clothes.”

Now that’s funny stuff right there courtesy of the book Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

Starting this week Sherri and I are going to be hosting a Life Group for married couples in which we read and discuss this book! I’m looking forward to it!

Some follow up advice for wives… from a wife

Sherri M. is a friend of mine. Her husband, Chuck, is too.

Sherri and Chuck have been separated for a while now.

She responded to my post 6 Ideas for a Great Marriage.

Her comments must be heard. Here they are:

And for you Ladies:

#1 – Put your husband second ONLY to the LORD. Not the kids, not your mom, your sister, your best friends. He is to be the most important human on the planet as far as you are concerned.

#2 – Respect him. Even if you think it is the dumbest thing that you have ever heard.

#3 – Thank & praise him. Especially if he makes any of the efforts that Paul has outlined above. He will not touch that vacuum ever again if you criticize the way he did it.

#4 – Love him. Put a note in his sock drawer. Send a card to him at work. Make his favorite dinner on a Thursday, not just his birthday. The same things that you would do for your kids, just to see the look on their face – do it for your husband. He MUST know where he stands in your world. PROVE IT!

#5 – and probably the single most important thing that you can do for your man – Pray for him. Daily. Hourly. Whatever. Ask the LORD for wisdom, protection, his relationships with you, the kids, his boss & co-workers, his family, etc. Ask God for a good day for your husband. The benefits are astounding – try it.

As Paul said, 5 ideas that you can start immediately to create a better marriage and contribute to a better world.

6 ideas for a great marriage

God created three institutions:

  1. Family
  2. Church
  3. Government

We can’t expect to get government right if we don’t get church right and we can’t get church right if we don’t get family right.

Bottom line, to see health and wellness (spiritual, financial, relational, racial, etc.) in our world we must start in our homes.

The best gift we can give to our world is a healthy home (I mean healthy in every aspect of the word).

Here are six ideas for husbands. Six ideas that will make your marriage/family better and have a positive ripple effect:

#1 Date your wife every week.

Just do it. Turn off the TV, say “no” to your buddies, find a babysitter and date that lady! Date her just like you did BEFORE you married her!

#2 Kids in bed by 8 p.m.

Your wife needs you WITHOUT the kids! Kids up after 8 is kids up to late! This is not so much about the kids as it is about you and her! Help her get those kids in bed so you two can make out… or make up… or just enjoy each other as you clean the house.

#3 Teamwork

Teammates don’t go “tit-for-tat”; they work together to win the game! They do what needs to be done. Husband, look around what needs to be done that you can do now… even if she normally does it? Can you run the vacuum? Brush the kids teeth? Fill the dog dish? See what you can do and do it… you’ll be surprised at what happens!

#4 Open the door for her

This is about being a gentleman. When Sherri and I were newlyweds I opened the car door for her (I still do). One time a “friend” said, “Ha! You’ll not be doing that a few years from now.” I wanted to say, “Dude, just because you’re marriage sucks doesn’t mean mine will.” Men, be a gentleman. Treat your wife with honor and respect. Speak well of her and give her the honor a lady deserves. Be a gentleman.

#5 Do Domestic Detail

This is a manly way to say “help around the house.” You can do laundry or dishes without having to check in your “Man Card.” Help your bride around the house. I do all the laundry and clean up everything after supper (in addition to being a teammate and doing other “domestic details” that need attending). Men, a great way to show your wife you love her (in addition to the constant groping and grunting) is to help her.

#6 Do things the way she would do them

Sherri is meticulous. I’m not. She folds her dirty clothes before she puts them in the hamper. I’m lucky if mine hit the hamper. I used to criticize this. Now I realize that it doesn’t take long to do things her way and it makes me a better man in addition to making our home a better place! She has a certain way she likes her dishes put away. I used to fight it. Now I do it her way. The result = the kitchen looks great and my bride thinks I’m sexy (I have no clue how sexy and dishes go together but they do). I’ve just realized that on most things it’s not worth having a conversation about. Just do it her way when you’re helping her!

So there you go. Six ideas that you can start doing immediately that will create a better marriage and contribute to a better world.