About a year prior to THAT DAY (when all of our problems came to a head,and I found myself asking if I was wrong to want a divorce), I somewhat reluctantly decided to see a marriage counselor. In one of the private sessions after answering an array of questions, the counselor asked me why I was so concerned with the way things appeared from the outside. Sounds a little like Jesus talking to the Pharisees, doesn't it?
For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! -Matthew 23:25 NLT
Fast forward a year and a few months to THAT DAY (when all of our problems came to a head,and I found myself asking if I was wrong to want a divorce). I was still focusing on the outside. For me I didn't see a cup, I pictured that shiny stainless steel trash can filled with stinking trash and it was time to take the trash out. There was a lot of trash, so I figured the first thing I needed to do was quit putting trash in.
Today's cultural is full of trash, which I just accepted to be "culturally acceptable" but what I failed to realize was how it hurt my soul. It was every where from the magazines I read, the music I listened to, the TV shows I watched, and the movies I watched. God's Word warns us about the dangers of culture and the importance of focusing on things that draw us closer to God.
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. -1 John 2:15-16 NLT
I was doing a lot of running that first year and I really liked music that was kind of fast paced and made me "feel pumped" during my run. I never really listened to the words, but one day the words were all I could hear. It was full of profanity, and ideas that were not reflective of the person I knew I needed to become. That day, I went to the local christian bookstore and bought some new workout music. For the next few weeks, I began filtering other types of media and began to turn to the Word of God.
I didn't realize that the change was noticeable to others until one day a co-worker told me there was something different about me. She asked me what I had been doing to make all these changes. I had almost lost 60 lbs. by this time but she said, "Craig you used to have the foulest mouth and I have not heard you cuss in weeks. How did you do it?" That was the first time I can remember witnessing to anyone. I asked her if she really wanted to know, then I turned to Ephesians 5 and began reading verses 25-28.
Not only did the types of entertainment have a negative affect on my language but it also put unreal expectation in my head that of my wife should be certain ways. So not only did she have to contend with preconceived ideas from my childhood of what a mom and wife should be like she also to contend with what our culture said made a woman beautiful.
I love my mother and thank her for everything she has done (and still does) for me, but for any husband out there who is comparing your wife to your mother: STOP! Your wife is not your mother!
If you think your wife is supposed to look and dress like the women you see in magazines: STOP! Your wife is not air brushed on a page of Men's Health.
Let me give you a scripture that helped me see my wife for the beautiful perfect gift from God that she is:
The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord. -Proverbs 18:22 NLT
Books that encourage us to step out of boyhood and into manhood:
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