- 2015May 19
If you are reading this through my normal post, I would recommend heading over to my Phalanx page (you can connect to it from the tab at the top of the Home Page)…
Now you may be thinking that I meant “read with your wife” or “read to your kids,” (and I highly recommend both of those too)… but I meant what I wrote. Though we have been looking for a great book recently, throughout most of our marriage, I have been reading one book or another out loud at night to my wife. We have read mostly fiction, because it makes us want to get back to read the next chapter.
Most nights, we have gotten to bed, lied down in bed and I have read out loud to her. While I read, she generally scratches on me with her miracle fingernails. Sometimes she falls asleep while I read, but that’s good too. We usually limited ourselves to one chapter a night, or about 15-20 minutes.
By reading one chapter a night for most of our 17 year marriage, we have read quite a few books! Reading these together like this have given us a common source for inside jokes, common analogies (you don’t totally appreciate this until your wife uses an analogy from Lord of the Rings to make a point)… and something special to look forward to every night. Finally, intimacy is about knowing what is going on inside of one another’s hearts. Reading together helps you know this – because it really feels like we have experienced it together! (and sometimes later experienced the movies based on the books together too). I would never have foreseen all the advantages of reading together, but they are there.
The reading helps us to experience the emotional intimacy that is so important to marriage and so tough for us men to create to the degree our wife appreciates (and with the scratching, the physical intimacy* is there every night too).
So, here are some books that Ginger and I have read together, and some others that I recommend that we read separately and wish we have read together instead.
Lord of the Rings series TWICE (didn’t read the Tom Bombadil section the second time)
Three of the Pendragon cycle: Merlin, Arthur, Pendragon by Lawhead
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Dahl
James and Giant Peach by Dahl
The ENTIRE Harry Potter Series by Rowling
The complete Chronicles of Narnia by Lewis
Death in Silent Places
The Coming Global Storm
The Alamo by Myers Myers
Ted Dekker – Black, Red, White
Series of Unfortunate Events 1-3 (before we got sick of them)
The Gospels from the Bible
I think I am forgetting some too…
We would also recommend:
The 5 Love Languages
and The Fablehaven Series
I think we are going to start either the Percy Jackson series or the Ranger’s Apprentice series next.
I also recommend praying to God with your wife at night (I kind of have a deal with God, that if He will remind me to pray, I will. I mention this because until I did this, I often forgot to pray, and many of the days when I did remember, I would talk myself out of it.) More on praying with and for your wife later!
Men, it isn’t usually easy for us to create the emotional intimacy that most of our wives crave. If anyone has any other ideas on growing this plant in the marriage garden, let us know!
*I do not use physical intimacy as a euphemism for “sex”. As you will see in some upcoming posts, the word I use for sex will be “sex.”
- 2015Apr 07
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction of being loved for yourself, or, more correctly, being loved in spite of yourself.”
There are three main features to giving a gift to a woman. They can be summed up in this statement: every gift (including dates, by the way – anything you pay for is a gift, but more on dates later) must say: “I know my wife and I am thinking about her even when she isn’t around.” Or, to put it more succinctly, “I know my wife and I remember her.”
1. Know your wife – it actually is the amount of thought and preparation that counts for her. It was not a man who said “it is the thought that counts.” However, I often hear about dates and gifts that husbands thought were huge flops, but the wife was overjoyed with!
Once when I challenged a husband to take his wife on a special date. So, he remembered that she had always wanted to visit a restaurant just outside of town and there was a concert he knew she would enjoy. When he came in after the date he was crushed – they drove way out to the restaurant only to find weeds growing in the parking lot. It had been closed for months! Now they had to rush back to town and ended up eating fast food. They got to the concert to discover it nearly sold out and they had to get seats not next to each other, if I remember correctly. They ended up sitting at a coffee shop to discuss their individual experiences of the concert! He was almost too embarrassed to tell me about it. She came in a few days later and described the same date as one of the best events of their marriage! She loved it and gushed about him taking her to the restaurant she had mentioned long ago – and never mentioned to me that it was closed! Then she was so impressed that he had researched the concert and she loved it, and she loved debriefing everything after the coffee shop too! Why was their experience so different? Because their definition of what made a good date was completely different. His was: "Did it go as planned? Was it a date he could brag to others about it?" For her, it was “Does he know me well, and was he thinking about me when he planned it?”
So, how do I learn about her? Imagine that I decided to buy some flowers for my wife. Now, say I wasn’t sure what kind of flowers to get her, so I gathered together a bunch of my buddies for ideas. One says “roses,” another says “daisies,” and another says “carnations.” Whose input is best? None of them are any better than another. However, this is one person in the world who can tell me exactly what kind of flowers my wife would prefer (and I don’t mean her best girl friend, though I will mention her later in gift giving). Answer? My wife. (Incidentally, this analogy works well for explaining why all religions aren’t equal either.) Only my wife knows what kind of flowers she likes best, right? But how uncool would it be for me to call her from the store, “Hey, honey, what kind of flowers do you like?” If you don’t know, then you might need to do exactly that, by the way, because it is much cooler than not getting any or getting something she hates, but there is a better way. Listen and learn. Earn a Ph.D. in your wife – become the world’s expert on her! It might happen this way… you get her a rose and bring it home. She loves it, but mentions that irises are her favorites. Don’t be offended (“See, I get her flowers and she still criticizes me.”) Grow up, and take note. Hmmm. Irises. Got it. She is just helping you be great at what you are obviously trying to do – love her – so don’t be offended. Maybe she says “Roses are my favorite – especially the yellow ones.” Good job with roses. Next time, remember, yellow, like a Vogon Warship or a bulldozer is yellow.
Women will generally make comments about their favorites all the time. Watching TV, commenting on other women’s things, (BIG HINT) when she shops for other people’s gifts or sees other people opening gifts!!! Also, make it a habit to shop with them and listen. Stop whining, and don’t sit in the middle of the mall in one of those husband benches – go with her and begin to understand what she likes best. Here are some areas where any great husband must know her favorites:
Know her favorites, and weave them into the gifts. Here are some examples of favorites you must know:
Animal (real and stuffed)
Candy and/or chocolate bar (unless she is seriously dieting)
Flower (more on flowers later)
Restaurants (and meals at those restaurants)
Jewelry (favorites stones, metals, and symbols)
Personal feature (and least favorite)
Least favorite chore
2. Listen – and don’t wait. When she notes something that catches her eye – go back and get it asap if you think it is something that will be meaningful to her. I am telling you that this is one of the most important skills for getting good, meaningful gifts (for anyone). Do not wait until it is near an important date to get a gift. If you are out and spot something that she might like, go ahead and get it. You won’t regret it.
Give yourself plenty of time to purchase gifts – if you have done II – it should not be a problem. Be sneaky about things – know her better than she even knows herself if you can get away with it. The best is when she had mentioned something to you and then forgotten it herself!
Also, I am sure you would never forgot a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion, but if you did, having a small stash of gifts hidden in your closet that is a good gift rather than a lame gas station gift or (cringe) the old “Hey, I gotta run a quick errand, uhhh, suddenly today…” Put all important events on your calendar, your work calendar, your phone, and anywhere else you can put it. Make sure your friends have them on their calendars too, and that they remind you! Remember, we are all in it together!
3. Know what each gift means to her – if the thought counts, then it is not the gift, but the message it sends that is valuable to her. Do flowers say “I have screwed up again, please forgive me?” or do they say “I was thinking of you and wanted you to know how special you are to me.” (If it is the former, then you have taught her that meaning and you need to begin to give them to her randomly when nothing is wrong, or you lose flowers as a gift.) Know what meaning she attaches to different things and communicate the right thing. Remember – no strings attached, or it only communicates “he wants something from me” and then you have shot yourself in the foot. Let me reiterate this – if a gift is merely meant to put her in your debt, or to put things out of balance so that she has to work to bring things back into balance, then at some level she is going to feel that you are trying to prostitute her to something. Plus, I believe it is not an honoring philosophy in for a man of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Here are some more helpful thoughts on the matter: http://phalanxmen.wordpress.com/2010/08/14/giving-gifts-part-2-gift-ideas/
- 2014Nov 15
This is stolen/paraphrased from Dr. William Lane Craig
Faith is not another word for "ignorance". It is another word for "placing confidence" or "trust"...
For all you atheists who might read this – this is just a though project meant to clear a definition – it is not a trap of any kind. It will help you understand if you actually play along.
Imagine that you are fleeing a lethal storm at the top of a mountain.
As you are careening down the path from the top, you remember that there is a fork in the path coming up soon. You can only recall that one direction will lead you down the mountain (and to safety) and the other path will lead you back around to the top of the mountain (and to certain death)…
But you cannot remember which path is which.
As you come toward the fork, you see one path leading to the right and another to the left. You must get off the mountain. There is no back-tracking. The storm is bearing down on you.
What do you do?
You must take a path; so you take one. You chose left, didn’t you?
You take the left path… too late to go back.
What did you just place in that path? Faith. You are putting faith in it to save you. It either will or it will not, but you placed all of your faith on that path to save you. Faith to take you to the bottom of the mountain… etc.
That is commonly called “blind faith” – you chose left for no reason other than that you just did. Right or wrong.
Now, imagine yourself back in the same situation… but this time, as you careen down the mountain and come to the fork, you notice a sign that you have not seen before.
It has an arrow pointing to the left that says “DOWN” and an arrow pointing right that says “TO THE TOP”…
Now, what do you do?
Well, you choose the left path, of course.
What did you just put in that path? The exact same faith as before – the faith to save you – to take you to safety.
The exact same faith, but now that faith is based in reason, not blind luck… and thus would be called “reasonable faith.”
As you careen down the mountain, you see a man dressed as a forest ranger come down the other path, turn and see you and he yells “Follow me down the mountain!” and heads to the left. Reasonable thing to do? Follow him. Reasonable faith.
You find a map left on the ground by the fork in the path and it clearly indicates that the left path takes you down the mountain. Now when you go left you are being reasonable.
Or any number of other options… with differing levels of confidence, but still reasonable as compared to blind… I am not making any analogies between Christianity, conversion and mountain paths here. I just want people to understand what is meant by the phrase “reasonable faith.”
My faith in Christ is reasonable.