February 13, 2013
The chapter in Omartian’s book that I prayed through for this act was about your trust. It emphasized the importance of maintaining your trust and the affect broken trust would have in our relationship. I’ve definitely broken your trust in certain areas and am working at rebuilding it. Omartian is right that broken trust in one area has a negative affect on an entire relationship.
Omartian emphasized three areas in which maintaining trust is extremely important. The first is sexual integrity. I prayed that I would be above reproach in this area, that there would not even be a hint of sexual infidelity in our marriage. This doesn’t just include affairs! Affairs often are the product of years of compromise. Fidelity includes integrity on the internet, with the TV, with where I look when I’m in public, and with . . . well . . . masturbation. If I don’t have integrity in these areas, even in areas that seem minor, then I’ve broken your trust.
The second area of integrity is money. I need to work hard to provide for you and the girls and I need to use our money wisely. The latter is difficult when there is pressure to spend money on you guys because I think it’ll make you happy. It does make you happy for the moment, but long term it doesn’t. Maintaining your trust in this area sometimes involved disappointing you by not spending money on something we or you want but don’t need.
The third area is loving and respecting you and our girls. If I do something to disrespect you or the girls or I don’t act in a way that’s loving, your trust is broken. Obviously I do stuff every day that isn’t so loving or respectful. But I think I can maintain your trust in this area if I’m consistently working toward loving and respecting you and the girls. This is a daily battle, sure, but nobody said it was easy.
Forgive me, honey, for areas in which I’ve broken your trust. May I consistently be a man of integrity, and by doing so, restore your trust.
September 8, 2012
For this act of love, I tried to take you out on a bike ride. I even found someone to watch our kids. But alas, something came up and we had to postpone the ride. Instead I read a chapter from Every Man’s Battle on cherishing one’s wife.
The book is about sexual purity and the chapter that I read was an exhortation for men to find sexual gratification only in their wives. At one point, the authors remind their readers that wives have given up much to be with their husbands and husbands must honor that sacrifice:
Your wife gave up her freedom for you. She relinquished her rights to seek happiness elsewhere. She exchanged this freedom for something she considered more valuable: your love and your word. Her dreams are tied up in you, dreams of sharing communication and oneness.
You gave up much to be with me. I promised to commit myself to you. I need to honor that by being sexually faithful to you with my eyes, my mind, and my heart. I promise to cherish you. Let Solomon’s song be my song:
How beautiful you are, my darling, Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves . . . Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon, your mouth is lovely . . . All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you . . . You have stolen my heart, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes . . . How delightful is your love, my bride! . . . Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel. Your hair is like royal tapestry; the king is held captive by its tresses. How beautiful you are and how pleasing, O love, with your delights (Song of Songs 4:1,3,7,9-10; 7:5-6).
August 9, 2012
I don’t think I ever committed in this blog to doing something on a weekly basis to educate myself about marriage. Still, I’ve been reading up on marriage every week for a while now. I think I’m committed to doing so until the blog’s done. So then, one act of week will be prayer for our marriage and one act of week will be educating myself on marriage.
A while back I wrote a post claiming that prayer and the gaining of truth about the nature of marriage are necessary for a successful marriage. Such is my reason for making these commitments.
Anyway, let’s talk about sex. For my 296th act of love, I read the chapter on sex and marriage from Timothy Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage. What an excellent chapter! Keller claimed that it’s a wife’s duty to have sex with her husband whenever he desires it. I’m kidding, I’m kidding! Actually, he claimed that even sex is an act of service and not primarily about pleasing oneself. That is, sex should be used to please one’s spouse as an act of love for one’s spouse, not (primarily) to gratify one’s own desires (I say “primarily” because being personally gratified by sex is a good thing, not bad). I really struggle with this. When it comes to sex, I am very selfish and typically think only about what I can get out of it. But Keller says that
sex is perhaps the most powerful God-created way to help you give your entire self to another human being. Sex is God’s appointed way for two people to reciprocally say to one another “I belong completely, permanently, and exclusively to you.” You must not use sex to say anything less.
I think my emphasis for 365 Acts of Love has been to change from being a person who is self-focused to being a person who is others-focused. This others-focus needs to permeate all aspects of my life, including my sex life (though that life should only be you-focused!).
November 4, 2011
When I came home yesterday, you looked absolutely exhausted. “I think after the girls are in bed, I’m going to take a shower and go to sleep,” you said. I thought that sounded great. So later that evening, I put the kids to bed while you took a shower. The kids were easy (I don’t know why you were so worn out from watching them all day, haha!). After your shower, I suggested that you relax and watch the second episode of Once Upon a Time. While you sat down to watch it, I made you a cup of hot chocolate (you seriously love chocolate!). Then, I asked you if you wanted a massage while you watched your show. You looked confused, checked my temperature to see if I was sick, then said “Sure, but what got into you?” Apparently, I haven’t made it too obvious that I’ve been programmatically doing kind things for you. That’s good! So I gave you a foot, leg, and back massage. You said your relaxing evening was just what you needed.
For my fourth prayer session on my day of fast (see day 34), I prayed that God would help me love him more. That he’d give me the grace to desire him with all my heart. That I’d not turn to the things of this world for satisfaction, but to him since he’s supremely satisfying. As C. S. Lewis said, “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” Or, as St. Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” May I be willing to give up everything to find satisfaction in the only one who can give satisfaction. God, I love you; help me to love you. The more I love God, the more I’m able to love you, my dear.
By the way, last night after your massage you asked: “Why haven’t you written me love notes lately? So you give me three love notes in the past few weeks and you think you’re done?!” I guess I need to add more love notes to my daily acts of love–or else!