Friday, August 26, 2005

Reason #Seven: He Has His Faults...

And So Do I!

Throughout the last couple of posts that I've written, I kept having this nagging feeling that maybe I was painting the picture too "rosy" and putting my DH up on a huge pedestal. That's why I added in those parenthetical comments, Mistake #1,2, and 3. Then it was confirmed when a commenter said, "You really do love him, don't you?" as if to say, well, of course, who wouldn't love their husband if he was as wonderful as yours?

Let me clearly say, "I really do love my husband ... I just don't always LIKE him!"

The standard joke we like to tell in marital counseling sessions, is that a man gets married hoping the woman will never change, but a woman marries her man hoping to change everything about him. The trouble with relationships is that we want everyone to be just like us! I love the song in "My Fair Lady" that simply asks, "Why can't a woman be more like a man?"

The whole purpose of this blog is to focus on the positive qualities of my husband and to list all the things that make me love him; things that I appreciate about him; things that are special and unique about him; etc.. One of the biggest things I love about him, is that he's not perfect--he's selfish, he's impatient, he's spoiled rotten--but he's real, as in the Velveteen Rabbit.

What I didn't share in my last post, is that while DH was stewing with worry and frustration all day over the issues with the Power team, he took his anger out on me that afternoon, and left me in tears when he went back to the church. I happened to have a meeting that night at church, so I cried a while, then composed myself and went to the meeting. I couldn't even be there to see the whole show, with DH breaking bricks and all!

When it was all over, he came home and apologized to me, but I still acted "put out" until he started telling me the whole story. He looked so cute when he pouted over me not seeing him break the bricks, I had to soften up a bit. By the time he finished telling me all he had been through, my heart was filled with love and pride.

Like I shared in REASON #4: sometimes I want to kiss him, sometimes I want to slap him!

I told DH the other day, we both have our faults; it's just a shame that our faults aren't more compatible. But they are reconcilable differences. He may wish I was more like him, and vice-versa, but we are different. We can learn to celebrate our differences through compromise and self-sacrifice. That's what relationships are all about!

It's probably a very good thing that he's not like me, and I'm not like him in some areas, so that we can balance each other's faults.

Lord, help me to accept him, faults and all, with unconditional love, the way You love us all.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Reason #Six: He's my Hero!

My DH (Dear Hubby) took on the whole POWER TEAM in a face-to-face confrontation and he won! Let me tell you, that took some guts!!!

Allow me to explain:

A couple of months ago, DH received an e-mail stating that "The Power Team" would be in some churches and schools in the area. [Mistake #1: not doing his homework, taking the time to call for recommendations]

The Power Team arrived on schedule, with John preaching in the morning services, and the team performing Sunday through Wed. night, 7pm. All went well, for at least the first day, with the exception of a rumor that John might be heading off to go hunting after the first service, which proved untrue. [Mistake #2: leaving the details to staff, communicating primarily through them]

The team performed so well on Sunday night that a very generous offering came in. When our secretary approached John with the envelopes, he dismissed her arrogantly with a wave of his hand and said, "Just put them over there." (No "thank you's", no manners, not even a bit nice!) This was just one example of the progressive revelation of "true colors" as the days passed.

To their credit, the Power Team packed out the church each night, and masses of people responded to the altar calls. They took the message of salvation into the schools, and faithfully put on their show for anyone who would watch--even appearing on a local television station. From an observer's point of view, it was a great success.

Staff meetings provided a whole different point of view, however. Team members were reported to have been downright rude, not to mention ungrateful, to volunteers who provided food after the services. They were seen at Denny's after one meal by several members of the congregation. So, they didn't like our food--oh well!

Meanwhile, DH sat through each successive night, his angst growing at an alarming rate. The offering pitch was his biggest contention, for it seemed to grow longer and more manipulative each night. I asked DH point-blank if it was the money that upset him. Was he at all envious or disturbed at the church-going, tithe-paying people giving so generously to this "cause"? To be honest, I know it did anger him, that weekly offerings have been so meager, and church finances were down quite a bit, and in one day these people "milked" $20,000 from the same crowd.

DH finally approached John on Tuesday night, the third "performance" of the Power team, before the service began. He responded to John's query about the flow of the service, by asking him to "tone" down the offering pitch and shorten it by half. Well, that night John pulled out all stops on the offering time and it was longer and more heart-wrenching than ever. The ultimate "straw" was when John made the plea for $10,000 more to cover expenses, saying they'd already brought in $2,000! (No, I didn't forget the extra zero, but he did!) DH came home fuming, and stewed over that all the next day.

The showdown occurred on the last night. John appeared five minutes before the service began, as was his pattern. He went to great lengths to avoid DH, even hurriedly taking one of his team members aside and praying for him, as he saw DH walking toward him. Not to be daunted, DH waited until John was seated on the front row in the sanctuary, and made his move.

After a few lines of small-talk, DH stated firmly, "I'm taking the offering tonight." "Okay, you take yours and I'll take mine," John retorted. "No, you don't get it--I'm going to take the offering tonight, not you," said DH. "No!" said John. "Yes!" "No..." "Yes!" Suddenly, angry and red-faced, John rose up out of his chair, stormed up to the platform, and shouted to his team members, "You won't believe what this preacher is trying to do!"

At this point DH didn't know whether John would grab some bricks and start heaving them at him or whether he would just flatten him with one blow. What if he did get punched, would he be tempted to hit him back and get into a fist-fight right in front of the whole sanctuary? What if the crowd thought it was a staged act, and started to cheer them on? The one thing DH did know was that this situation could get out of hand very quickly, and he was afraid, very afraid.

He wasn't going to let a big bully intimidate him, though, so he followed John right on up the stairs of the platform, turning his back on the audience, and proceeded with a very heated confrontation with John and his side-kicks in front of the whole church for about fifteen minutes!

DH clearly specified his reason for not allowing John to take an offering, saying that he had been using false doctrine and deception to manipulate his people into giving money. He cited specific phrases and quotes John used the night before that were just plain wrong. All the while, John was not backing down one inch, instead rallying his Power team members around him.

Some of the comments made were outlandish, some were humorous, and some were just sad.

John: "We won't get near the amount of money, if I don't take the offering."
DH: "Yeah, but you'll sleep better tonight."

John: "I learned all of my offering techniques from other pastors."
DH: "Well, that doesn't make it right!"

John: "You can't steal money from me; you have to let me take this offering!"
DH: "You have a choice, you can let me take the offering, or I can make an announcement and send all these people home, and be assured that I will tell them why."

The classic line, and the clincher to win the confrontation was this statement by DH: "John, you are out of control. This is my church and these are my people. I'm going to take the offering tonight, and if I have to, I'll call the police and have them haul you out of here!"

After that, the show went on without a hitch, culminating with a grand finale--the preacher, my DH himself, broke a big pile of bricks on stage. He smashed through six bricks, but he told me later his adrenalin was so pumped he could have broken more. When the show was over, he had three kids come up and ask him for his autograph!

He wasn't done with John, yet, though. Amazingly, John had calmed down and was purring like a kitten in DH's office. John was singing a different tune, about how sorry he was, and how DH had made him reconsider his actions and motives. Then he told DH, "No minister has ever talked to me that way before. You've got a lot of {guts}! (Actually, he used a different part of the anatomy.)

In retrospect:
DH told me that was the hardest confrontation he had ever had in his life. I am convinced that there was a lot more going on than a Power Team on a power trip. Though it had all the makings of a playground encounter with a bully, this wasn't just about egos and brute strength. DH, the shepherd of his flock, was in an all-out spiritual battle, defending the church against a demonic spirit of intimidation. [Mistake #3: not being "wary of wolves in sheep's clothing"]

My DH won the fight; and he is my hero!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Reason #Five: He's great in bed!

Might as well get this one over with and out of the way right here. He will be happy to know it made the "top five" on my list anyway. Without going into unnecessary details, I will just share that my husband and I have a healthy, active, intimate physical relationship. This is a good thing, as the need for sex is usually pretty important in a man's life.

The thing is that my libido crashed and burned a long time ago. On a scale of 0 - 100, with 100 being "hot and horny" I've been at -50 or so! (I know there are medicines to help with that, for women as well as for men.) But that has never stopped me from being a willing partner in bed. I may not "feel like it" but I choose to meet a very important need in my hubby's life. Having said that, I'm not looking for any accolades about how giving and self-sacrificing I am. In fact, my lack of libido has been a hurdle for DH to overcome, because he wants me to like having sex with him, and not just tolerate it.

What makes my husband so special is that instead of only making an effort to meet his own needs in this area, he has worked very hard to improve his techniques, and he has everlasting patience with me. (Remember, he has to work hard to bring me up from -50 to 100. Just developing my sexual desire up to a zero is a minor miracle.)

Lord, let me never take for granted his gifts of tenderness and patience.

(No comments on this matter, please. If you simply must, you can e-mail me at Who knows, maybe I can become the next Dr. Ruth or Dear Abby!)

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Reason #Four: Because He's Such a Little Boy!

Honestly, he acts just like a ten-year-old boy sometimes!

If you are at all familiar with the qualities of a ten-year-old, you know that words like "brat" come to mind immediately. On one hand, there is still a sweet boyishness, with their tousled hair, freckled faces, and sweet baby cheeks. On the other hand, their eyes are usually gleaming with orneriness, and an impish grin resides permanantly between those baby cheeks. Oh, the language that erupts from those innocent little mouths during the prepubescent years! Everything from insults to swear words comes flying out at least once, and then ever so carefully the limits are tested. How much back-talk will mom, dad, or teacher put up with before the boundaries are slammed down with gale force? It's like the secret pact of every ten-year-old to annoy and frustrate their siblings to tears, to antagonize and goad their parents to the point of explosion, and to just flat-out wear everybody out with their annoying antics!

My son is now twelve years old. Some of the best father-son bonding times have occurred between "Ben" (nickname) and his dad in the last two years. There have been the usual sports, fishing, and hunting activities. But the most fun they ever had together was watching "stupid videos" on TV or the web, and laughing together. Why is it that noises that are made by bodily emissions and jokes pertaining to body parts can be so hilariously funny to a boy and his dad? They tell each other the same old jokes that he heard when he was a kid, concerning the girth of "yo momma" and they roar with laughter every time!

I could go on and on about how similar men and boys are, except for the price of their toys, but you already know. Men are just big boys!

I see a tender boyishness in my darling husband at some of the oddest moments. I have a personal window into his vulnerability that no other person on earth has. He can make me want to kiss his sweet cheeks one moment and slap them hard the very next!

It must be a gift that comes with motherhood, that nurturing instinct, that fierce protectiveness. He may be a real pest, a royal brat--but he is mine, and I love him!

It is a special privilege to see the inner child so plainly in someone dear to me. Lord, help me to deal with him tenderly, and not be so tempted to slap the snot out of him at times!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Reason #Three: He really is a great pastor!

My husband wears many hats, but he has one mantle (figuratively speaking). Since the tender young age of twelve, he has had the calling of God upon his life to be a "Shepherd of the Flock." I knew that when I met him, because we were at students at the same Bible College. I also had a calling into the ministry since I was young, and told people who inquired what I wanted to be when I grew up that I wanted to be a missionary's wife, an evangelist's wife, or a pastor's wife. So, off I went to Bridal--er, I mean BIBLE--College to "get me a man to marry!" Some might argue that I was just following in the footsteps of my parents, who met at Bible College; that I was just trying to please my dad and carry on the "family business" since he was a pastor and I was the first-born. But I believe there is a special calling for a pastor's wife, and I was even voted "Most Likely to Be the Perfect Pastor's Wife" in college. I still have the paper plate award! (It's framed and hanging on my wall; no, not really!)

There are good pastors, and there are great pastors, and there are pastors who never should have gotten behind a pulpit. My dad was one of the latter; he really struggled to be successful in the ministry and he mostly failed, although he was a caring, loving counselor to the sick and the elderly. But DH (Dear Hubby) is a great pastor! Everybody likes him, from little old ladies to brawny sports players. He is authentic, genuine, real; a man of integrity and humility; sincerely compassionate and incredibly generous. He is just what a grown-up Boy Scout should be: a nice guy!

Being a great pastor takes more than just being a nice guy. He really is a great preacher, too. I'm being very honest when I say that last Sunday morning's sermon (second service) was the best sermon on sex I've ever heard in my life. Get the tape! (Better yet, wait until it is uploaded to the church website.) I have never heard the message against sexual immorality so clearly and strongly presented, right out of the Book of Revelation (using the text to the Church of Pergamum, Rev. 2:11). I told him that, and so did at least 15 people on Monday morning!

Now all that was introductory material for my little sermonette: The third reason I love my husband is that he really is a great pastor. I love him because he loves God so deeply and fully that he has given his entire life to serve Him in full-time ministry. I love him because he loves His people with such fervor that he literally "counts his sheep" when he lays in bed at night, asking me, "Have you seen the Jones' family at church lately?" I love him because he loves the church so much it makes me jealous of all the time and attention he puts into it. Actually, I don't love that part so much, because he is a workaholic and I don't think he has to love his work THAT MUCH! I love the fact that I don't inwardly shudder with mortal embarassment when he stands behind the pulpit (unless he is saying something about me!) or stifle a thousand yawns every time he preaches a sermon. Believe me, I've sat through thousands of sermons, and every time my DH preaches it is different, even when it is the same sermon for both morning services. You can ask the staff if you don't believe me.

Lest you think I am exaggerating or being at all facetious, I will say that it's not easy being married to a pastor. It means that he is not only my husband, he is my pastor. I don't particularly like everything that he has done as my husband, or as my pastor. In fact, during one very difficult season in our lives, if I could have, I would have left my church and gone to another one! [Everybody else blames it on the pastor when they want to leave the church, right? He is either too worldly--"He just doesn't preach THE WORD!" or he is too spiritual--"He preaches over our heads!"; or he's too lazy or too busy; too unfriendly or too friendly!]

I love my husband because he is very good at what he does: As the Senior Pastor (CEO), he is a proficient administrator, very knowledgeable with computers and finances. As a Counselor, he listens with empathy and highly trained skills. (He is always continuing his education: a good teacher is never unteachable.) As a Chaplain, he is available at all hours of the night for emergencies and crises, and has been known to spend all day in the waiting rooms of hospitals to be with family members. As a District Leader, he has taken his pastoring to a higher level, and is now pastor to other pastors.

It's a tremendous blessing to be married to a man I can respect and admire, a man who holds the respect of his congregation, his staff, his colleagues, and his family.

Lord, help me to show him my love and respect; especially when he is plagued by self-doubt and satanic accusations and lies. The last thing he needs is a wife who belittles and barrages him around every corner.

It is better to dwell in a corner of the rooftop, than with a brawling (contentious) woman in a wide house. Proverbs 21:9

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Reason # Two: Because He Loves Me!

I know--it looks like I'm off to a pretty lame start, if that's the only reason I could come up with. Nothing real earth-shattering about that, huh? It reads like a syrup-y sweet children's song made famous by a purple dinosaur: "I love you, you love me; we're a happy family. With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you; won't you say you love me, too?"

Knowing that I am loved makes all the difference in the world to me. It's a foundation to build the security of the relationship, an anchor of stability through life's storms. Life is hard and relationships are hard work: why bother at all, if there isn't love?

How do I know he loves me? Well, that would be another blog, but suffice it to say, he declares his love to me in a myriad of ways. It's not like the old farmer's wife joke. Reminiscent of the dialogue in "Fiddler on the Roof" the wife asks her husband one day if he loves her. The old farmer bellows, "Woman, I told you once on the day we got married, and if it ever changes I'll let you know!" But, like the Fiddler, I sometimes take for granted the way he expresses his love for me, through good deeds or provision of material needs, because I want him to say it in other ways. He gets irked like the Fiddler's wife, and says, "Do I love you? For twenty-five years, I've blah, blah, blahhed, and you ask me if I love you!"?

Those two illustrations prove the point that it is quite possible to live most of your life with someone and not know how to express love in a way that meets his/her need to be loved!

Now it's time for my confession. I've read the Five Love Languages, I've taught on the Ten Most Important Emotional Needs, I know that "Men are from another planet" and speak a whole different language when it comes to sex and romance. But, after all these years, I really don't know how to LOVE my husband.

Yes, I promised before God and man to love, honor, comfort, and cherish him. Yes, I committed myself to choosing to love him, knowing that my feelings would often ebb and flow like a full moon tide. Yes, I know how to meet his BASIC needs: Like Dr. Laura's "Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands," I know he can be fairly satisfied with a good meal and good sex. But in all my selfish introspection over the years about how MY needs weren't being met, I recall very few times of thinking, journaling, and praying about his needs and how to meet them.

So, enough about me, let's talk about what he thinks about me. (Joke, a bit of egotistic humor thrown in to lighten it up a bit!) Though this blog is all about me, and why I love my husband, it has to be about him, too, and how he shows me love. I intend to examine more carefully the language he chooses to love me with, for that is the biggest hint that he wishes to be loved in the same ways.

The beautiful bouquet of flowers on my kitchen table proves his love for me by saying that he was thinking of me, even while he was gone for a week. Now, I know flowers don't mean much to a guy, but how many times did I express my love for him, and say that I missed him while he was gone. Or, did my lack of expression cause him to wonder if I wished he never even came back at all?

I am so blessed to have a husband who loves me.
Lord, help me to show him how much I love him!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Reason Number One: I CHOOSE to Love Him!

The "commitment" word is almost as important as the word "choice." One of the things that made me so sad, reading that other blog, was that the decision to get a divorce was pre-determined. Hence, the pre-nuptual agreement was well-planned.

Love is really a commitment to choose to love!

I remember a simple illustration of a train, that I learned as a teenager in Sunday School. There were three box-shaped "train cars" hooked together. The first box, ACTION, connected to a middle box, THOUGHT, followed by a third box, EMOTION. The point of the illustration is to see how closely our feelings, thoughts, and actions are connected.

The world teaches us to live by our feelings. That's the Train Engine. Just look around at all the train wrecks to see that letting our lives be guided by our feelings is not a good idea! We "fall in love" (when actually we are experiencing a strong feeling of infatuation) so we think we need to have this person or we'll die. Then our thoughts become obsessed with that person to the point that we take action, perhaps getting physically intimate, perhaps displaying jealous or possessive behavior, perhaps even getting married!

Feelings come, and feelings go. Just listen to the country tunes a while to learn that relationships don't always stay the same. Why do people bother to get married anyway? Why even start a relationship if it's doomed from the beginning?

We have emotional needs. We can't just ignore our feelings until they go away. But feelings should not rule our lives the way they energize and motivate a toddler. Feelings are supposed to be the Caboose!

I'm no expert on Behavioral Therapy, but I think the idea is to change a behavior by instituting a different habit (ACTION), with enough consistency that it affects a negative perception of self, allowing for more positive thinking (THOUGHT), thereby creating better self-esteem (FEELING).

That's how the train is supposed to run with relationships! Make the commitment first to the relationship. NEVER think, dream, or breathe the "D" word! Understand that feelings fluctuate like hormones, and never, never trust them! Determine in your mind and heart that you will act loving, whether or not you feel loving. Then, sit back and enjoy the scenery, knowing that this is one train (relationship) that will not de-rail!

Make the commitment (ACTION) to choose (THOUGHT) to love (FEELING).


Monday, August 15, 2005

To Love, Honor, and Cherish

And do you promise to love, honor, and cherish your partner ...

'till you get a divorce?

The Inspiration Behind "100 Reasons..."

I have to admit, I was taken aback by the title of a blog I saw. It can be found by searching for "...I Hate My Husband" on Google. What a sad story! Yet, just this morning I found myself thinking more negatively than positively about my own relationship with my husband. I decided, then and there, to put into action a thought I had about focusing on the good things. It's all about perspective. "Garbage in=garbage out!"
When I choose to dwell on "whatsoever things are lovely, pure, and of good report..." it affects my whole outlook. So, it's time for some serious reflections on the man I married... and why I CHOOSE to LOVE him!