Mark’s Marriage Minute

Jake spoke up again, “ I’d say it’s pretty important that we think before we speak… it seems like whenever Lisa and I get into it, we just say the first thing that comes to mind. We don’t think about what we’re going to say or what the other person just said to us. We just—react.”

Lisa grimaced and reluctantly added, “That’s true. To continue with the sports theme, it’s like we volley back and forth looking for those opportunities when we can spike it on the other person’s side and score some points.”  (page 13, The PLEDGE of a Lifetime)

How often does the conversation with your spouse or a friend reflect what Jake and Lisa are speaking above? You volley back and forth all the while looking for an opportunity to score some extra points by spiking in a comment to hurt the other or make them back down from their attack?

There is an old proverb that says:  “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21 NASB)

Every word that comes out of your mouth, will score a point for or against your marriage. (Tweet this) And you will eat the result.

This week’s challenge:

When you see each other in the morning and again at night, practice pausing to think before you speak to your spouse and kids. Make every effort to give words of life and win together in your marriage and family!

Are You Serious?!?!

My Take On Ashley Madison

Hackers did it again. Last week the hacker group “Impact Team” broke into Ashley Madison, a website which connects married men and women with another partner to have an affair, and leaked the personal information of the site’s 37 million subscribers. Ashley Madison’s byline is: “Life is short; have an affair.”

Are you serious?

Wait – that isn’t strong enough.

Madly In Love (1)

Sadly, millions have fallen prey to this deception, and now their names, addresses, financial info, and personal preferences have been exposed. At least 2 suicides have resulted from the leak and Ashley Madison is being sued in a class action lawsuit.

Continue Reading »

Mark’s Marriage Minute

For Men Only!

This one if for all you men who like me, truly want to make a difference in your marriage and family! (from page 12 of my book.)

Mike the counselor is saying: “Jake, you mentioned when we first talked today, that when you two were dating, you and Lisa both enjoyed a sense of adventure and mission. As men, we’re stirred deeply by the sense of mission. We were made to rise up and meet the task at hand. When we do, there is a powerful sense of satisfaction.”

Mike leaned forward and continued more fervently, “I know you love Lisa or you wouldn’t be here, Jake, so stay with me on this. Learn everything you can. Do whatever it takes. Become the greatest lover you can be— that is one thing you will never regret.”

After those last words, both Mike and Jake were quiet. Mike wasn’t sure, but he thought he saw some red in Jake’s eyes. He knew he felt the red in his own.

“To say it another way,” Mike cleared his throat and went on, “as men we were made to pursue a destiny, to impact the world around us. We must begin with our own families. I believe when we are called to this task in the right way, we will respond.”

I believe in you!

Men – I want to say I believe in you! I really do. I know that deep down inside you want to do what is right. You want to love your wife and kids. Often we just don’t know how or what to do. I know that! Right now – as I write this blog post I am facing a big challenge in my life that I don’t know how to deal with!

Remember this:  As leaders, we will always be placed in situations that are bigger than ourselves. What we do next will make us fall, stall or stand up tall!

Here are two things I am doing right now in the midst of my challenge:

First I am praying hard. Real hard! I am not afraid to admit that I don’t have it altogether. I need insight and wisdom – so I am asking the One who has both to enlighten me!

Second, upon praying, the idea came to mind (I am believing God put the idea there) to get with other men I know who have done well when faced with this challenge. I have counted five men. My plan is to get with each one in the next two weeks to learn from them and find out what I am missing.

Here’s my CHALLENGE for you men:  

What are you facing in your marriage and family right now that is overwhelming or keeping you from having the impact that you want to have?

  • Pray and PRAY HARD for God to give you insights!
  • Listen to any ideas that come to mind and follow up on them
  • Don’t be afraid or too proud to do whatever it takes to learn from others whether it is other men, books, podcasts, websites, or conferences.

Let us be men who move forward in our most important relationships so that we love our wives and children well!

Men I believe in you!!

Why We Are SHOCKED When A Leader Falls

And How to Protect Yourself

Recently, Tullian Tchividjian, grandson of evangelist Billy Graham, announced his resignation as senior Pastor from Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida because of “ongoing marital issues” including he and his wife both having an affair. This isn’t the first time we have heard a story such as this, and it certainly won’t be the last.

Madly In Love

My question is: why are we SHOCKED?

Most of us have in the back of our minds that leaders shouldn’t fall – especially not Christian leaders. They should have it all together.

OR, maybe we have deceived ourselves into thinking that there is this point in life when we (or at least those who lead us) become immune to failure, moral or otherwise. There should be a time when we have all of life figured out and somehow we “arrive.”

I wish that were true.

Continue Reading »

Mark’s Marriage Minute

Winning Together In Conflict

The following is a mini-blog in a series taken from my book, The PLEDGE of a Lifetime.

In counseling with Lisa and Jake, their counselor Mike says:

“Learning to communicate well with your wife won’t come overnight. You will have to work at it—a great deal. It’ll take a lot of time and sacrifice, especially at first. But if you do the work, you and Lisa will experience what it means to win together. Your kids will notice, too. And so will others. I want to challenge you to keep this in mind as we work together. I’m going to be your coach, and I’ll do my best to teach you how to love well.” (pp. 11,12)

Picture the following scenario:

Think of the last time you were in conflict with your spouse. You both had your side of the story. You both sought to win. You tried again and again to get your point across, likely at the cost of interrupting the other and even hurting them in the process. At the end, neither felt heard. Both were disappointed and angry.

Now picture this:

The next time you and your spouse are in a conflict, the experience is radically different. Both are heard and understood. Appreciation is expressed by both parties for the other and their viewpoint. Misunderstanding is cleared up. In the end, you found a way to win together. And this becomes the norm. Furthemore, your kids begin to notice. Others do as well. You begin to share with them how you do it. Over time, your family experiences greater peace, your children fight less with each other, and win together when they do. Soon, your friends, speak of how their communication and marriage has also improved. In fact, one friend says it even saved their marriage.

Question: which of the above two scenario’s would you like to see as your own?

No doubt the second one!

It can be yours – but it will take work. I won’t happen overnight. It will a lot of time and sacrifice. Just keep the second scenario in mind and don’t give up!

To learn more on how to make the second scenario your experience, purchase Mark’s book here.

Zerrin’s Thoughts From Our Trip To Asia

Have you ever just NOT wanted to do something? Not wanted to go out of your way to do something, not wanted to speak up, not wanted to go somewhere? Four days before leaving for Asia, I still did not want to go! This was not like me – typically I love going new places and meeting new people. Four days before our departure I was awakened early by a strange dream…

Zerrin Asia

Something from the dream caused me to think of the story where Jesus is visiting Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38). I turned to the passage and felt like the Lord was speaking straight to my heart when he said to Martha “you are worried and upset about many things . . .”

“That’s right,” I agreed wholeheartedly!

Continue Reading »

Mark’s Marriage Minute

A MUST When It Comes To Good Communication!

We often wonder what goes wrong in our communication. Why did he or she react the way they did to what I just said? What’s up with them?

Are you willing to look honestly at your part when a conversation turns sour?

In Chapter 1 of my book, Mike is talking to Jake and Lisa about the way they communicate. He says to them:

“…here is the behavior we must recognize in and about ourselves:

though we want to be spoken to a certain way, we rarely monitor how we speak to others!”

We are so quick to react to or judge how others speak to us. Yet rarely do we take time to consider what words come out of our mouths and even more importantly, how they come out. This is critical if you want to have good communication.”

Did you get it? We would all agree that it makes a difference how people speak to us, but we rarely stop to take note of how we speak to others! We might even think it is too petty of a concern. But remember, if it makes a difference how someone speaks to YOU, then it makes a difference how you speak to them!

This Week’s Challenge:

Practice one personal change. Every time you speak to someone, take note not only of what you are about to say, but how you are about to say it!

Will you sound critical? demeaning? bitter? or defensive?

Will you come across as though you are disinterested or irritated?

Seek to show care, interest, respect and openness to other’s thoughts when you communicate this week – and watch the difference it makes!

Thoughts From Our Trip To Asia – Part 2

The Presence of God

A teacher has much to think about when he or she is preparing to share a lesson. For Zerrin and I, it was no different as we were looking ahead to what we would share with our Asian brothers and sisters about marriage. We knew the general theme would be what we discuss here in our blog, namely learning how to communicate and resolve conflict in love. But how would we begin? What would be foundational to what we had to say? What is most crucial even to you and I when we face each day with all of its challenges, and particularly those we experience in relationships?

Madly In Love (8)

The week before we left, God spoke the answer separately to both Zerrin and I.

I was studying Psalm 16, where David speaks of a path in life that leads to being full of joy.

Zerrin was studying Luke 10, the story of Jesus interacting with Martha and Mary.

This week I am going to share my thoughts regarding this concept, and next week Zerrin will share hers.

Continue Reading »

Thoughts From Our Trip To Asia

Wow! If you know me much at all, you know that is a word I use a lot. In my limited vocabulary, what it means especially in this case is: incredible, amazing, wonderful, way cool, and thank you Jesus…in short “wow!” Our trip to Asia was overwhelming, educational, stirring, joyful, humbling, and more.

Madly In Love (7)

All total we traveled nearly 21,000 miles, flew in eleven different aircraft, rode buses, subways, taxis, and a bullet train.

One of our favorite verses is Ephesians 3:20 “Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond what we could ask or even imagine…”  We saw this come true from the beginning to the end of our trip! 

Continue Reading »

Mark’s Marriage Minute

HOW To Be Heard By Your Spouse:

This week in my book we read what Mike (a marriage counselor) has to say about how to speak to our spouse:

“Well, here is a perfect example,” Mike pressed on. “We all want to be spoken to in a way that we can hear what is really being said. For instance, a man will best be able to handle hearing something difficult when he’s spoken to in a respectful manner. For women the same is also true, but in addition, most will better handle hearing something difficult when spoken to in a way that they feel safe, cared for, and loved.”

Here it is: the one clue to assure you can be heard by your spouse:

Husbands, your word is: LOVE

Wives, your word is: RESPECT

Now don’t just take my word for it. This is what the Apostle Paul wrote in a book of the Bible called Ephesians, chapter 5 verse 33:  “Let each individual (husband) love his wife even as himself; and let the wife see to it that she respect her husband.”

He is of course speaking in a broad sense of how husbands and wives are to relate to each other. But this most certainly includes how we communicate towards each other.

This week’s challenge:

Wives: whenever you are about to speak to your husband this week, think first: how can I say this in a respectful manner that would show honor and consideration towards my husband?

Husbands: whenever you are about to speak to your wife this week, think first: how can I say this in a way that they feel safe, cared for, and loved?