Category Archives: Marriage

What It Takes to Stay Married

Just married! Leaving the church with the most beautiful woman in the world 🙂

Today (June 18th) my wife (Valerie) and I have been married 24 years. Hard to believe we’ve been together that long. In reality, we’ve been “together” for 26 years, but the first two we were dating, then engaged.

Next year will be the big 25, and I don’t have any time to spare in getting ready for it. We went to Disney World on our honeymoon, and that’s where we want to go next year – with the whole family! Donations WILL be excepted…better believe it.

Anyway, as I was sitting here doing some reading and studying in order to answer a question about prayer from a fellow blogger, another question randomly popped into my head:”What has kept us married for 24 years, if not simply prayer?”

Well, prayer has been an indispensable part of the glue, that’s for sure, but there are other things, too. Therefore, this evening I’m going to share them with you in hopes of helping your marriage and strengthening mine.

But that’s not all! I’m starting with my list, then I’m going to bring Valerie (my wife) into this with her thoughts!

My List:

God. First and foremost. Without divine intervention, I’m sure Valerie and I would have either ended up divorced at some point…or simply dead. Don’t think I’m being facetious, either; I’m being very serious. There have been more times than I can count that the Lord has worked miracles, moved mountains, guided circumstances, and healed incurable wounds with the Balm of Gilead. If nothing else and no one else, we owe our marriage to the One before whom we made our vows.

Commitment. If you want to know a dirty little secret, there have been times when my wife has said, “The only reason you’re still here is because you made a commitment!” Well, yeah, that’s true. But you know what? Whatever happened to making a vow and keeping it? There will be times in life when the only thing that will keep you trudging through is your promise, your word. If your word means nothing, then you’re marriage will certainly fail.

Our Witness. You see, my wife and I are unashamedly Christian. Everything we do – we believe – should bring glory and honor to God. Even when there were difficult times, we still wanted other people to know about Jesus. Therefore, we have stayed together through the worst of times if for no other reason than to be an example of God’s faithfulness to us.

Faithfulness. It may seem like a no-brainer, but staying faithful to each other and guarding against unfaithfulness should be an every-day commitment. Don’t expect your marriage to last when you start sampling the water from other wells. And here’s a little FYI… when your spouse gets too thirsty, don’t think he/she isn’t going to be tempted by a fountain in the desert. Know what I mean?

A Well-Watered Garden. Keep the grass green on your own side of the fence.

Forgiveness. Folks, we all fail. My wife isn’t perfect, but I’m less perfect. As a matter of fact, I’m a regular mess. If we didn’t learn to forgive each other we’d both be in a world of continual hurt.

Putting the Other First. It might sound funny, but my wife and I have actually gotten into fights (verbally, of course) over trying to please the other one! “Where do you want to eat?” can spark arguments even when all you want to do is be thoughtful! However, pride, putting yourself first, and always wanting to get your own way will end in real disaster.

Children. I don’t want to get too deep into this one, but having children has done a lot for keeping us married 24 years. For one thing, my wife was a child of divorce, resulting in abuse, emotional trauma, and a lot of unfortunate baggage. The last thing we wanted our three girls to endure was another broken family. We had to break the cycle. You do a lot and endure a lot for your kids, you know.

Church families. I can’t stress enough how much belonging to and regularly attending a church has meant to us. So many times, when there was nowhere else to turn, God used our church families to come alongside us with love, compassion, and support.

Love. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not just talking about emotional fluff or sensuality; I’m talking about the kind of love that’s expressed as a verb. Love is not a thing; it’s something you DO.

Listen to Your Wife! Yeah, this is a guy’s responsibility, but it’s important. Men, listen to her. She has a lot more to say than you do, and you want to be the one she talks to when she’s concerned, hurt, lonely, angry, etc. Did you get what I said? YOU want to be the one she talks to. If you don’t listen to her, who do you think will? Oh, and take that “woman’s intuition” stuff seriously – it’s real.

Valerie’s List:

Patience. Anthony has more patience than me. Actually, he’s the most patient person I know – it’s both a blessing and irritating at the same time.

Empathy. Even when something doesn’t necessarily bother me, it hurts me to see my husband hurt. I hurt when he hurts, but when he hurts when I hurt, that makes me love him even more. When we empathize with each other we learn a little better to see things from the other’s perspective and feel their heart.

Understanding. Even when Anthony doesn’t understand something, he takes the time to listen and try to understand, which lets me know he loves me and makes me love him. Sometimes you have to try to see things from the other person’s perspective, which leads to a better understanding. There is always more ways to see the same thing, and marriage requires both of us to take a step back, at times, and imagine ourselves in each other’s shoes. Trying to understand the other by listening and putting yourself in their position is loving them.

Shopping. I don’t like to shop. I don’t like to clothes shop, Christmas shop, or anything like that. I don’t like grocery shopping most of all! I know it runs contrary to the stereotype, but I just don’t like shopping! But when Anthony says he’ll go with me shopping – even though I know he probably hates shopping more than me – it puts pep in my step and joy in my heart.

Doing things I like to do even though he doesn’t like to do them. Or, to put it another way, Anthony watches the “chick flicks” with me and rarely even complains – sometimes he even cries! There are times I’ll even say “yes” to the war movie. The thing is, once we start watching the other’s movie, we often find out we like it. It’s when the other one asks to participate in something that we should stop and think about how often the other person did something with us, even when he didn’t want to. Simply being nice and thoughtful can make a marriage last a long time.

Conclusion

My wife and I are not marriage counselors, but we’ve got a lot of marriage experience. We’ve also seen a lot of marriages fail when they could have lasted. All they would have needed was to do what we’ve shared above.

Marriage is tough. Marriage is work. Marriage is not for the faint of heart. But marriage is a gift. Marriage is a calling. Marriage is meant to be a symbol to the world of God’s love and faithfulness to us.

For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. – Ephesians 5:30-32 KJV

If you’re married right now, know you are in the Enemy’s sights, and he wants nothing less than for you to fail in your commitment to each other. Hang in there. Be strong. Love each other with a Christ-like, cross-bearing love. Stay on your knees. Give God the glory.

Oh, and always have a sense of humor. Laugh.

And then you’ll have what it takes to stay married.

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8 Comments

Filed under Divorce, Life Lessons, Marriage, Relationships and Family

I Love My Wife

My wife has been out of town for a whole week visiting our oldest daughter in Charleston, South Carolina. On Sunday afternoon I will be picking her up at our local airport, and I’m looking forward to it.

You see, I love my wife. I miss my wife. I want her back at home.

I know men who tolerate their wives. I know a couple of men who hate their wives. I’m not like those men; I love my wife.

Why am I telling you this? Why am I writing a blog post about it? Because sometimes a person needs to know they’re loved. Sometimes a man needs to be a man and say, “This is my wife, and I love her.”

No, it’s not Valentine’s Day. No, it’s not our anniversary, or her birthday, or anything like that. I just love my wife, and I’ll be glad to have her home again.

Sir, do you love your wife? Ma’am, do you love your husband? Why not take a moment and say so? I’m afraid wedon’t say it – or show it – enough. Maybe our marriages would be a little stronger and a little sweeter if we did.

I love you, Valerie. I just wanted you to know.

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Filed under Defending Traditional Marriage, Marriage, Relationships and Family

Tuesday Tidbit

“As a married man with daughters ages, it becomes evident that it’s not his mind that goes; it’s that he acquires the ability to randomly change it.” – A. Baker

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Filed under General Observations, Humor, Life Lessons, Marriage, Parenting, Uncategorized, wisdom

Girls, Take My Advice

What I’m Not

I know it may offend some of you, but I need to get this out in the open right from the start – I am not a woman, nor do I feel like one…and I don’t want to.

I am very happy to be a man – one born that way – with no desires to experience female-related problems. Those males who do desire to “feel like a woman” seem to want to avoid those problems, too. For example, I rarely hear it reported that a sex-change operation will promise one the glorious ability to experience menstruation, heat flashes, mood swings, or endometriosis; that doesn’t appear to be a selling point.

And now that I think about it, should I ever – which I won’t – decide to become a “female,” I tend to think multi-tasking and “women’s intuition” wouldn’t magically appear with the removal of my guy parts and the injection of estrogen. So, if I couldn’t have those two advantages, why become someone who has to worry about hair, makeup, heels, fabric combinations, etc., etc., etc.

Oh, and if you think what I just said was stereotypical and sexist, it might have been. And if it was, then why is it that men who say they want to become women can’t become women in the masculine context in which they were born? In other words, why is it that Bruce Jenner had to turn into the stereotypical vision of what a “woman” is “supposed” to look like? Why couldn’t he, and every other trans, stay the way they were instead of trying to fit into the box of the stereotype? There’s MUCH more that I could say on this issue, but I will digress.

What I Am

Like I said, I know I am not a woman, and I don’t want to be. And because I am not a woman, it might be hard for me to understand …scratch that… it’s nearly impossible for me to understand how women think. However, I do have some valuable insight based on years of experience with women; therefore, you might find it beneficial.

You see, even thought I am not an estrogen-producing sis-female (to be PC for once), I have lived a long time with a bunch of them. But what’s more important than what I don’t understand is what I DO understand, and that is the mind of a man.

I am a man… a red-blooded, stereotypical, gun-toting, testosterone-producing (no shots needed), stand-up-peeing kind of guy. I have a one-track mind, can compartmentalize like you wouldn’t believe, and love the smell of gunpowder in the morning.

What’s more, I am a faithful husband, a spiritual leader, and a father to three wonderful girls. That’s what I bring to the table today.

My Advice

My daughters (at least the two younger ones) are eventually going to find husbands, one probably sooner than the other. The advice I would like to leave with not only them, but all of you other girls out there, is what to look for in a man you will marry. Take it from me – a man – I know the difference between a good one and a not-right-now-put-him-back-on-the-shelf one.

10 Words of Advice to Girls Who Are Searching

  1. Know your own worth.
  2. Don’t settle.
  3. Find a man who loves God more than you. Matthew 6:33
  4. Life is like a trip through the Atlanta airport – even the smallest of baggage gets heavy after a while.
  5. Never, ever assume the man you meet will become the man you want. Ain’t gonna happen.
  6. Accept nothing less than a spiritual/moral leader you can respect; if he looks up to you more than you look up to him, ditch him.
  7. It’s better to be single than smothered, abused, and/or controlled.
  8. Know who you are, what you are, and Who’s you are, then find a man who accepts and compliments (yes, I used that word) all you desire to be.
  9. If he doesn’t honor and respect his or YOUR parents, then he will most likely never be the kind of parent worth respecting – and he might not live long (Matthew 15:4; Ephesians 6:2-3).
  10. Lastly, make sure you like his family, and he likes yours… and that your family likes him, too. Marriage is meant to grow family, not destroy it.

Look, you don’t have to agree with any of my advice, but it comes from years of experience and professional observation. You have a choice in the matters of love, so don’t let someone sweep you off your feet without first doing your homework.

When you let the wrong man sweep you off your feet, you’re likely to fall from arms that can’t hold you. 

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Filed under Christian Maturity, Defining Marriage, General Observations, Life Lessons, Marriage, Parenting, Relationships and Family

Just Something Funny…Until My Wife Finds Out


A friend posted the above picture to his Facebook wall, noting he got this as a Father’s Day present.

When I read what was on the cup I literally laughed out loud. My wife, a little annoyed by my disturbing behavior, continued playing a card game on her phone (which is her normal practice as she winds down to sleep). 

She briefly glanced in my direction as if to ask, “What’s so funny?” But she didn’t ask… She knows I can’t keep something funny to myself. 

She makes a quick play on her phone before my inevitable interruption. 

I rolled over and said, “You’ve got to see this,” and showed her the picture. Hardly able to keep from laughing once again, I read to her what was on the cup…

As if waiting for a punchline, she asked, “And?”

Once again I started laughing… 

Then I said…

“And evidently you must be the other kind.” 

(I’m sorry Valerie, but it was too funny not to share.)

Marriage takes two 🙂

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Filed under Humor, Marriage

26 Ways to Contribute to a Ruined Marriage

Like I mentioned in a previous post, because it is both Father’s Day AND our wedding anniversary, I thought I would share with you a list of things I jotted down the other night when I couldn’t go to sleep.

Folks, there are a lot of resources out there meant to help your marriage to succeed. However, not a lot of them specifically deal with things that can ruin your marriage. So, after 23 years of everything from marital bliss to marital warfare, I can speak with authority about the following items.

Why 26? Because that’s where I decided to stop. Each one of these could be expanded upon and sub-pointed.

26 Ways to Contribute to a Ruined Marriage (in no particular order)

  1. Never pray together as a couple.
  2. Think about yourself more than your spouse.
  3. Believe that what matters most is your personal happiness.
  4. Never pray for each other.
  5. Pursuing your own interests while ignoring those of your spouse.
  6. Saying negative things about your spouse to other people (especially those of the opposite sex).
  7. Having a “Plan B.”
  8. Spending all your time, energy, and money on your kids.
  9. Avoiding sexual intimacy.
  10. Pornography (soft sore, hard core, in print, in video, in literature – doesn’t matter).
  11. Flirting with others.
  12. Arguing and/or fighting, but with the sole objectives being to win or hurt the other.
  13. Materialism.
  14. Complacency.
  15. Bitterness.
  16. Not putting God first.
  17. Using each other.
  18. Lack of trust.
  19. Lack of, or poor communication.
  20. Baggage not dealt with.
  21. Running to Mother.
  22. Lack of leadership (for men).
  23. Lack of submission (for women).
  24. Too many single friends.
  25. Fear of / intimidated by your children.
  26. Pride.

Honestly, any one of the above items could lead to disaster, but what about when several of them are in play? The Enemy would love nothing better than to see your marriage fall to pieces or be nothing more than an empty shell.

Start over and give your relationships to God. He can rescue you, heal you, and restore you – but only if you will let Him.

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Filed under Marriage, Struggles and Trials

Father’s Day / Anniversary Combo

Blended Celebrations

I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly like combined celebrations. Some people have the misfortune of being born on the 25th of December, and I’m sure they understand what I’m talking about.

For me, tomorrow is Father’s Day, but at the same time it will be my 23rd wedding anniversary. What were we thinking? And that’s not just me talking – that’s what my wife said!

Seriously, how am I supposed to enjoy reveling in the grandeur of the fact that, yes, I am the “World’s #1 Dad,” while at the same time focusing my attention on how wonderful my wife is? I’m not that good at multi-tasking!

Not About Me

But in reality, what would make me a better dad and husband than to forget about my celebrations and focus on my wife? If I really cared about myself, being selfish is the last thing I should be.

In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. – Ephesians 5:28 NLT

Father’s Day is a day we should, by all means, celebrate fathers, especially the good ones. But what kind of husband would I be if I let tomorrow be all about me? Heck, I wouldn’t even be the dad I am if it weren’t for the godly woman who’s stayed by my side for the last 23 years!

Without Valerie I wouldn’t be a father, nor would I have the opportunity to be a great dad. Without my precious wife picking me up from the floor all those times I wanted to give up, I wouldn’t be a dad; I’d be dead.

To accept the trophy of exceptional fatherhood without giving credit to my wife would be like winning an Oscar without thanking one’s directors and producers. I had the raw talent, but Valerie has been able to draw it out of me.

More Posts

I am going to be publishing a few more posts today and tomorrow. To be honest, there’s a lot I want to cover in relation to both fatherhood and marriage, but putting it all in one post would be too much. So, be on the lookout for those.

However, before I close this post out, let me just add that if it weren’t for the Lord, neither my marriage nor the blessed gift of fatherhood would have even been possible.

  • It was my God that allowed me to grow up with a faithful, consistent, godly earthly father who set the example for me.
  • It was my God who brought Valerie and I together way back in 1992.
  • It was my God who has kept Valerie and me married ever since June of ’94.
  • It was my God who gave us children.
  • It was my God who made a way when there seemed to be no way.

So, I guess I am looking forward to tomorrow, for more reasons than one. 

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Filed under Defending Traditional Marriage, Marriage, Relationships and Family