Marriage the Prophetic Covenant

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Marriage as a Prophetic Act – The Covenant



You know this story; It’s in the Bible:

Long Long ago in the land of Egypt the Children of God, the Israelites, were working in the construction trade. Life was good. Lots of leeks and onions. One day little baby Moses was lost in the reeds. The Pharaoh’s daughter found him and raised him as an Egyptian.

When Moses grew up he moved to a far away land called the backside of the Desert. Moses settled there, got married and went into the sheep business. One day God told him to go back to Egypt and ask Pharaoh to allow the Israelites to leave Egypt. So he did.

He went to Pharaoh and said, “Uh (Moses wasn’t good with words), God said for me to ask you to let my people go”.

Pharaoh said, “OK, and oh by the way Moses, you folks have served us well these many years, take as much gold and silver as you want as a parting thank you gift. Have a nice day”.

A few days later as the Israelites were moving toward the Promised Land they came upon the Red Sea. “No problem” said Moses. They found a nice 4-lane bridge that had just been built and crossed it.

A couple days later they came to Mount Sinai. Moses said, “I’m going up to get the Law of God. Wait here and I’ll be back”. The people said, “We will pray for you”. 40 days later he came back down the mountain with the 10 commandments. The people were praying and fasting faithfully. They welcomed Moses with open arms. He gave them the law and they praised God.

In a couple weeks they came to the Jordan River. Moses said, “Well, there’s the promised land”. The people said “Good Deal! Lets send in some guys to make sure we know what we’re doing”. 12 men went in, came back and said, “there’s lots of Grapes, Milk, Honey and really nice beaches”. “No Problem”

They prayed that God would send a message to all the various "….ites" who lived in the land. The "...ites" all heard from God, laid down their arms, packed up and left town never to be heard from again.

So the children of Israel crossed the Jordan River via a newly constructed 4-lane air-conditioned tunnel. Not one person was tired, wet or dirty. No "....ites" were injured in possessing the land. The happy Israelites all moved into houses they hadn’t built, drank from wells they didn’t dig, harvested grapes from vines they hadn’t planted and lived happily ever after.
THE END

Now if that’s not exactly as you remember it, I have a question, why do we as Christians believe that when we leave Egypt (get saved and embark on our God ordained purpose toward the promise of God in our life) that from that day forward everything will be hunky dory? The Cinderella story exists only in the fairy tale that it is. Marriage is tough. Life is tough. Giving up is easy but ends up tough.

The real story of the Israelites and their struggles, falls, failures, defeats and victories is the life we all lead. Jesus warned us not to be shocked when tribulation comes in this life.

When we go into ministry, start a business, take a job, get married, have children and all the other decisions we make in life, the promise contained in those decisions will be equaled by the problems we will face in reaching our promised land in this life. Big Promise = Big Problems.

But it’s all worth it. Jesus also said that we should cheer up, even when big problems come that the world sends our way, he has overcome the world. The spiritual quality of a man or woman of God is best measured by how he or she reacts to life’s shock and awe. Victory is measured by the number of times we are knocked down versus the number of times we get up. If the getting ups is a larger number than knock downs, we win.

Hang in there – The battle is the Lords and faith without works is dead!



WARNING!!!!!
Don't Read this if:

I write to fellow Christians; Christians of every type, every denomination. If you are a follower of Jesus I welcome you. This book is for you. If you are not in fellowship with the Savior I doubt there is much here for you. Reading this book will only frustrate you. Sorry.

I love you, I hope you will come into a saving knowledge of Jesus but there is just too wide a gulf fixed for me to cross for you to benefit from an exposition of the unadulterated truth of the Word of God for Marriage. If you want to know Jesus because you believe there may be something here, please email me and I will put you in touch with a Godly person who can help you step over from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of LIGHT. God wants your marriage to be whole. He really does. It’s his plan for you.

All thru the Bible there are examples of how God dealt with people in correction; in encouragement and other ways he showed his love. I address issues and circumstances that show how your marriage and what goes on in it has prophetic significance for your ministry, your job and how you will live the rest of your life.

If the language “Prophetic” seems a little strange related to marriage, let me explain. The apostle Paul said in First Corinthians Chap 14 how he desired that we all prophesy. In many ways, by our very existence, as we are led by the Holy Spirit we all DO prophecy as we react in various ways to situations around us. Sometimes intentionally. Sometimes without intention. The people around us who trouble us are prophetic presences in our life to help us to understand the purposes of God and our heart’s attitude toward those purposes. If we watch and pray we can learn to grow into more of what God plans for us dealing properly with the situations in our life which are there to help us understand who God made us to be and what he wants us to do. Sometimes that prophetic presence in our life which gets under our skin is our spouse. They can make us so mad. Remember, that which offends reveals the heart.

What you read in this book comes from lifetimes of experience of successful Christian marriages and of lives and ministries that were shipwrecked by marriages that went off onto the shoals of divorce. If you think you see yourself in this book, please know that there are many people who have been part of this profile. It is an amalgam. As I have sat with people in difficult marriage situations truths surfaced. Only the truths are recorded here and not the painful stories that go with them. None of this is theoretical. None of this is academic. In fact, I have on purpose read no books on marriage after starting to write this over a year ago. I am not doing a study; I am relating life, good bad and ugly, as hammered out on the anvil of experience.

This is about dealing with the issues that will come up in your marriage. This is not 25 pithy tips on having a better marriage. There are lots of professional people in the world writing good books on marriage with that bent. My goal is to illuminate purely according to the word of God the issues that can help you and your spouse reach the goal of your marriage being all you ever hoped it would be.

Marriage was designed to be more than you could ever ask or think. Your marriage is supposed to be full of joy, peace, longsuffering, and compassion. You are familiar with the fruits of the Holy Spirit. They must first be in your marriage before they can manifest to the world thru you. It only flows out of the Holy Spirit that binds you together. There are really 3 people in your marriage. You, your spouse and Jesus. Jesus is the chief part, the cornerstone, and the glue that holds you two together. You can anticipate goodness from a Fathers heart with instruction and correction for your life.



So Your Spouse is a Pain and You Got Problems

Jesus said, in this world we will have tribulation. Some of it is in our marriage from time to time. It’s only thru the pain we are able to define who we are in Jesus. If you are in a pain free and problem free marriage you are in big trouble. Husband if that’s your attitude you don’t have a wife, you have a pet dog. Wife if that’s your attitude, you are living a lie giving worship to an unworthy Idol over Jesus.

It’s out of the problems and pain that the reality of our spiritual condition is revealed. Will we fight or will we cut and run? It’s a spiritual issue. Hosea and Gomer are examples God used to instruct Israel. How much more might he use pain in our personal lives to help us to a higher level spiritually. Don’t deny or suppress the pain. Embrace its effect for good.

Your problems and pain are much less than Hosea went thru. The problems and pain you have today are measurable and you deal with them such as they are. It may mean your marriage is less than you hoped it would be. You long for more. There is more. You are stuck with your pain, you can only learn to deal with it and rise above it. That is what this book is dedicated to do. If you will stay with it I promise you will benefit from it.

After almost 40 years of married life, much of it better than others I am struck by the truth which follows: by interviewing friends, relatives, neighbors, and acquaintances who have gone into painful marriages and opted out thru divorce, I have not met ONE who (other than a few physical abuse victims) who in retrospect would not say it would have been much better if they had stuck it out, fought the battle, suffered the pain and made it work. NOT ONE. Many are not Christian people. All would say that the divorce that ripped their family apart would not have happened if A. they had been Christians B. Had stuck it out longer C. or if a divorce happened, reconciled. Obviously I am not talking about someone undergoing significant physical abuse. They do not owe it to themselves, their children or anyone to stay in a marriage that threatens their very existence or well being. Among Christians the number of these desperate situations (in my experience) is very small.

I challenge anyone to come forward and differ. Other people who have studied marriage and say that it can be a good thing to get a divorce are simply wrong. There is nothing GOOD about divorce.

The number of Christian divorces we see across the country (which is phenomenal) is based substantially in inconvenience. My purpose is to help you understand that inconvenience isn’t allowed for as grounds for divorce.

Every marriage (mine included) goes thru some very difficult times. It might appear to all parties (advisors, people who tell others about the marriage, friends, casual acquaintances) that this marriage has no hope and so they advise. GET OUT. These people are helping reinforce lifelong decisions that they will be held accountable for in eternity. I fear for them.

If people understood the plan of God for their marriage, if they knew the purposes of God, if they could grasp the prophetic implications from the situation they would fight for the marriage. They would not give up so easily.

It’s from that perspective I share my passion for good marriage.
Jesus endured the cross not because he loved the pain, he hated the pain, but he understood the purpose of the pain. Jesus had a joy set before him that helped him endure the cross. Without that hope of Joy he might have given up.

I want to encourage you not to give up, recognize that they are part of the struggle. Discover in your own life those things you can identify which are difficult but if you endure will work out for good. Your life, your marriage, your covenant represents everything in your life past present and future. Learn to work with the Romans 8:28 plan God has for you. The pain is part of all things.


 Generational Curses and Blessing in Marriage

The Old Testament in several places says, “this curse shall be on you on your children and on your children’s children up to 7 generations”. The curse that is carried in a divorce or even in a separation goes on for a very long time. The curse is not just about the pain in that generation or that divorce. The curse is the repeating cycle. Children of divorced parents are divorced more. If you have a good role model in parents it helps you put flesh on how it could and should be. When struggles and pain come you are conditioned by example to be far less willing to just give up. But if your flesh and blood example was of divorce as a response to pain, then they do as daddy or mommy did. This isn’t hard to understand. It is hard to accept if you are the one in pain.

Breaking the generational curse is what it’s all about. The saddest statement I ever hear is, “I’ll be ok, my Dad (Mom) was divorced and they came out OK”. I know then that the chances of keeping them whole in their marriage is much more difficult because of the generational curse. They have no frame of reference for a sound marriage. It’s much worse if mom or dad are or were in ministry. It puts the stamp of God’s approval on their decision to divorce. I don’t want to open a larger can of worms than I already am opening but I question the wisdom of people in public ministry standing as examples of victory in Jesus who are divorced and leading others. My experience has been many of the problems we see in their ministry many times root in their inability to solve their marriage problems. I am not saying that a person who has been divorced shouldn’t or can’t ever be in ministry or be a pastor. I think it has to be very carefully thought out in prayer and with principle. Too many churches have gone shipwreck under this leadership. The curse from the leadership will become an example to the people. If Pastor did it It’ll be ok if I do.

I have a good friend who loves God and is an effective pastor with a congregation that loves him and who he leads with tremendous effectiveness. His wife divorced him without his desire. It broke him. He is one of my dearest friends in ministry.

This all happened years ago. He chose (properly) to stand for his marriage up to the day she remarried. He remains unmarried today. He is a mighty man of God and serves as an example for us to consider.

The curse of divorce is not only on a family and generations but can be so on a church or a fellowship. There is a spirit of divorce, a demon, not easily discerned. Sometimes churches in an effort to help people going thru or recovering from divorce invite that demon in. The demon comes when the Pastor or other well-meaning leaders taking less than a biblical stand with people in the process of getting a divorce. Pastor, love them but take a biblical stand. Do it for the sake of your church.

There is good news however. The generational curse is trumped by a generational blessing. When the curse is broken, rebuked by marriages that demonstrate the love that is possible between a man and a woman a blessing follows. That generational blessing is forever, not for just 7 generations. That’s why a blessed marriage is so critical in these times. The word blessing is about happy homes; secure marriages, children at peace, grandchildren at peace, great grandchildren at peace in stable home lives. They saw unqualified agape love and affection in addition to the Eros love that is expected. It breaks the back of the demon of divorce and strife that is so rampant in our churches and families today.

My purpose is not to put a guilt trip on you. If you are angry right now, be angry at the father of lies. The God of all truth wants to make us all free. You have a choice, to have your children grow up in a home where divorce is not a word, not acceptable, not an option, not even on the radar. This is a gift only you can give. Those children make families that work.


 The Marriage Order Prophetically Speaking

You may have heard at one time or another someone saying “his or her’s marriage is not in order”. What is an “in order” home and what does it look like? I hope to give you truth that will help you as you help others in marriage dilemmas. Maybe it will even help you. There is a prophetic marriage order. Jesus is the head of your home. Easy to say, hard to do. There are far more homes with “Jesus is the head of this home” on a towel, cross stitch, plaque or wall hanging when nothing could be further from the truth.

Jesus is a component of their home. Jesus might even end up being a weapon of condemnation against their spouse. Jesus is on the agenda. But he’s not head. This has nothing to do with being a Christian. It has nothing to do with going to heaven. It has everything to do with Lordship and submission and ORDER.

The ultimate headship of any home MUST be Jesus. If he’s not the head of a home that home is in danger of falling apart. The world knows this principle. A company’s personality reflects the it’s head. Look at Herb Kelliher and Southwest Airlines. It’s like him. Every corporation’s head eventually shapes the culture, values and personality of the company he heads up. Jesus should and will do the same in our homes. If the attitude of Jesus is reflected in the home then much of the conflict and pain can be avoided. And it starts with you.

Husbands, next to Jesus, you’re it. This is difficult because many husbands aren’t good at being the head of the home. They don’t like the role. They wish they didn’t have to do it. The fact is, scripturally and according to the Biblical order, after Jesus the husband is to be the head of the home; the head of his wife, the head of his children.

What does this mean? Ideally, he’s the man who makes the decisions the family lives by, rises or falls by, benefits or suffers from. He’s not perfect. But he is the head and he must be held accountable for making good decisions. This means he may seek counsel with his wife. But in the end he must choose. At that point, even if she has reservations, that decision must be followed. No second-guessing. No Monday morning quarterbacking. He’s your husband, he is next in line under Jesus and if your home is to be in order you will support and honor him in his position.

If a wife usurps that decision order on the part of the husband or undermines him after he has decided, then the home is out of order. Here’s the premise. If Jesus is the head of the home, and the husband is giving himself as Jesus did, dying for his wife and family, he will in fact only make decisions which are in order and which represent the sacrificial attitude Jesus carried. Everything Jesus is trickles down to the head of the home, the husband. This should and can be the best of all possible worlds.

When a wife usurps the position of her husband in decision making she is saying she doesn’t believe that her husband is operating in the best interest of the family. That she doesn’t believe he is operating as a servant to his family in the place of Jesus. In that she can help him. Not using Bible bullets as weapons, but using love and prayer. Believe me, he wants to be that servant. It’s hard wired in him. That’s what wars are fought over. Men from the beginning of time have gone into battle to fight for their families. It’s a basic drive.

In secular homes we expect out of order situations. But when it is in Christian homes it’s very sad indeed. It’s even worse when it is in a minister’s home.

There are husbands, even professing Christian husbands, who become selfish and not the head Jesus destined them to be. If that becomes the case it’s time for that wife to find a respected Christian man, pastor, or leader and have him sit down with her husband to bring him to account. I have seen more than once this situation and the husband took it very seriously, turned around and became the man of God he was designed to be.

If Jesus was your husband and you know him as the precious bridegroom illustrated in the Song of Solomon, I doubt seriously you would have any trouble submitting to him and his decisions. You would gladly put him in charge of your life. When that man who is supposed to operate in your household as the bridegroom in all the love that is ordained demonstrates flaws, she becomes squeamish and untrusting. It’s difficult but it must be solved and in order. It’s a spiritual issue.

The holy order is based on the love Jesus has for his Church and it’s family. He laid down his life for them. He gave all. He was sacrificial. That order continues with a flesh and blood bridegroom head of his household who in submission to his purpose would without question lay down his life for his wife and family. He then deserves the honor and respect and even obedience of the wife to this place of headship office in their home.

The onus is completely on the husband. It’s On his willingness to be completely submitted to his purpose in Jesus. This doesn’t have anything to do with net hours prayed per week. That’s a benefit not a measure. This doesn’t have anything to do with performing for his wife’s expectations, desires or even expressed wants. She can’t ever use her power as the object of his protection to manipulate him into her intent. This has to do with a wife trusting that her husband hears from God to do the right thing.

Even seemingly harmless emotional manipulations on the part of a wife to get a husband to come into line with her wants must be questioned as a Jezebel spirit. Manipulation is always sin (witchcraft). He can ask her, he most likely will defer to her many times, but he must be the one who makes the decision good or bad and lives or dies by it.

A woman has great power over a man. It’s not about sex. His desire to please her which goes much deeper than that. If she comes to a place where she tries to make things go her way by the bat of an eye has at it’s root control. It’s submission in all things. The next chapter is on Godly Submission. It’s not what you think.


 Submission - one way or two way street?

Submission to the husband and the wife must be voluntary and based on trust. If a woman wants to see a great example of biblical submission she need only look no further than Ester. While much has been made of her beauty, you don’t have to look very far to find Xerses falling all over himself to please and submit to Ester’s wishes. She was careful never to overstep even his most generous offer. She made sure she told the story only when it was time and then waited for a pagan king to react as the head of his household in his protection of her. That’s true submission. It’s voluntary and it’s not 50-50. it’s 100-100.

She was submitted to whatever his will was, even if it cost her life. He was submitted in love to her to give her anything she wanted up to half his kingdom. In the end he destroyed the threats against here. That’s a husband’s duty.

He knew he could trust her because she demanded nothing but his love even when she could have asked great riches. I somehow believe she knew her husband the king well enough to know he would not abandon her. He would protect her. Even if she was prepared to die at his hand she knew she could trust him. He was submitted to her will was that he knew he could trust her to do the right thing. She knew she could trust him to make the right decisions.

That’s what a marriage is all about. Knowing your marriage partner well enough to know you can trust them. You can trust them to do anything in the interest of your marriage and your family.

Married to my wife I know I can trust her to have our family’s best interest at heart and I know she can trust me to do the same. Decisions are only based on what matters most to one or the other. There is no need to discuss submission. I’m submitted to her in love, she’s submitted to me in trust. Even when hard times have come I can trust her to walk with me thru them as she can trust me to walk with her thru hers. That’s submission but it’s not equal and it’s not mutual. It differential based.

This is NOT mutual submission. Trust and love are the basis of submission. In the end that kind of submission results in good decisions. It results in a very high threshold for conflict or confrontation.

I have seen marriages where the trust factor wasn’t in place. She didn’t trust him, he didn’t trust her. So the marriage is headless and Jesus isn’t in his place in the marriage. The solution is to seek counsel from a Godly man or woman who can help sort this out. This isn’t about good or bad decisions. This is about trust, love and the Christ in the Husband. The decisions they make must be of necessity be decisions they both love. He loves it because he has heard from God, she loves it even if she doesn’t understand it because it’s in the best interest of the family for her to submit to his decision and back her husband. Hopefully he has consulted his wife for her input.

We do this all the time in government. We elect a President we respect, we believe he will do the right thing. We trust him. We hope he hears from God. We believe in him. We pray for him. When he makes a decision we don’t approve of, we live under it until the next President. It’s nearly the same in marriage but we don’t have a next husband as we do a next President.

With a President, we send our children into war, we pay our taxes, we submit even if we don’t like to.

No husband in his right mind will cram things down his wife’s throat without trying to explain himself. No wife in her right mind will scheme
and manipulate to get her way. Too much of this ends up being “I win you lose”. This confrontation builds walls of resentment that take a long time to tear down.


 DO YOU REALLY CARE ALL THAT MUCH?

The One Who Cares Most Decides: a good principle to live by in your marriage

One power struggle for many couples is decisions. The conflict comes because we exercise power over our mate, when we make them come to a decision other than the one they would have made without our insistence. It’s win-lose.

I’ll never forget when we built our house and later remodeled our basement. Peggy has always been the one with taste in decorating. But because I was the big strong man and because I liked being in control I insisted in having a say in the selection of wallpaper for one room in the new area we finished.

She liked one pattern. I liked others. So we compromised. We compromised on the ugliest purple and orange paisley wallpaper you ever saw. In the book it was acceptable. But once on the wall it soon became shorthand symbol for a rule that has served us well for the last 20 years of our marriage. The person who cares most decides. No compromise. If you really care, you decide. I’ll learn to love it.

So, she has had most of the decisions in decorating, I do most of the landscaping, she buys many of my clothes, I buy the cars. She decides on much of our entertainment and entertaining, I decide on vacations.

That’s not to say we don’t confer, or ask, or seek counsel but in the end the rule works well. The one who cares most decides. What’s really interesting about this rule is because it’s in place we try hard to ask the other’s opinions. The power struggles are off.

You might say, “but I care about those things”. He or She has lousy judgment to choose. They chose you, didn’t they? Guess what, they will learn their limits. Take off the leash. Let them make a choice. You will be happier.

Control and power plays can be the death of marriage. These decisions most of the time are not life or death. They are incidental and reversible. If you are the controller your life will be made much easier if you let go. Honest. Try it, you’ll like it.

One last issue about submission and I hate to bring this up, except I have run into it. This is where a husband uses the submission trump card to try to cause his wife to engage in something that she doesn’t want to because it’s wrong in the eyes of God. It is never ever God’s will for a wife to have to submit to ungodly acts out of obedience to her husband. If it doesn’t line up with the laws of God you need to first refuse and then seek Godly counsel to bring your husband to account. Let him know right out of the box these are your limits.

 "But I don’t LOVE him anymore!" Who said you had to?

Women of Faith, you are buying a lie if you believe that marriage fulfillment is dependent on your feelings toward your husband. There is no scriptural imperative for a woman to love her husband. This is not true for men. They are commanded to love their wives. More on that later.

Your only requirement is to Respect and Honor him in his role as your husband. This doesn’t mean if he’s nice, or if he brings flowers, or if he does the dishes with you. You must respect and honor him because he is your husband, a representative of God in your home.

I don’t doubt for a minute that he doesn’t act such he deserves it. I’ll bet he does really dumb things sometimes that tick you off. But, you still can respect and honor him; even if!

If you will make the decision to do just those two things in your marriage you will save yourself a great deal of trouble. For instance, when you are having a bad day, when he’s a jerk, when you wish he’d drop dead, when he does something really stupid you still can honor and respect him. You might not FEEL love right then. You might not even feel LIKE! You honor and respect a Judge in a courtroom. You honor and respect a boss who is a turkey sometimes. So, you can honor and respect a husband who’s only redeeming quality is that he is there.

If you love him, if you treasure him, if you want him, that’s even better. But don’t buy the lie that you must LOVE him at all times. You can’t, he must, you can’t and you should not feel odd about variability in feelings. You’re normal. You are hard wired to act this way.

Here’s the promise. If you will just Honor and Respect him the other things will follow. Even if they never do, you will have a more fulfilling life than you might without the whole “Love” thing as your focus. Give him a reputation in your marriage to live up to. What have you got to lose, your pride?

Here is a promise hammered out on the anvil of experience, if you will make the decision to stay in the marriage, to give it your best, to really give it your best without expectation of reciprocation, you will absolutely find yourself falling in love with in a deeper more vital way with this man than you ever did before. You may have heard the old adage that if you act as if you were brave, enthusiastic or any other external emotion then the feelings will follow.

Act as if he were the most wonderful person in the world, pretend to start. I promise in a few years you will wonder why you ever thought about leaving this man.

If you have wondered “what about me?” This is all about you. Your life on this earth will be richer and deeper if you start to find the things about your man which you admire, respect and can honor. Then as time goes on you will love him.

To know know know him is to love love love him. It’s true I tell you. Know him, and learn how to love him all over again. Love is better the second time around if it’s with the same man.



Getting your Oil Checked

As a man, you check your oil on your car from time to time to see if everything’s OK. It’s a clue to see if there are any problems and to see if there is a need for a change.

Men, your wife will check your oil from time to time. She will do something designed to frustrate you. She might say something to irritate you. She might pick a fight. She might buy something you told her not to. She might disagree with you about some issue for no other reason than she wants to check your oil. She wants to know if everything is OK.

She does this to discover the answers to questions she can’t ask. Are you committed? Are you willing to fight for me? Can I be secure in our relationship? Are we a partnership or am I all alone here? Do you really care? If I dropped dead, would you miss me? These and a thousand more.

So, what do you do when you sense the dipstick is in action? Stay centered, keep your eye on the ball and fight for the relationship. Believe me, she doesn’t care about the issues she brought up any more than the man in the moon. She just wants to see your reaction and she wants that reaction to reassure her.

It’s a positive thing really. She cares enough to want to work on your relationship. This isn’t a danger signal. Passivity an “I don’t give a darn” attitude is danger, danger Will Robinson.

Be positive, loving, reinforcing. Don’t get rattled. This isn’t about the issue. The issue is a straw man. You can spend all your life winning these discussions and later discover they weren’t about that at all. Win the battle lose the war.

So, get your antenna up. Tune to your wife’s frequency. Become sensitive about her true motives. Don’t feel hurt. She wouldn’t check the oil on a car she’s planning on trading in. The more she is assured of your covering of her in your relationship the less need she will feel to check your oil.

The Curse of the Power Struggle

One benefit of becoming a Christian is the fact that the curse resulting from the rebellion in the Garden of Eden has been repealed by the Blood of Jesus. For instance, we no longer die but we live again in Christ. We work, but God blesses the work of our hands supernaturally. Of course, thistles still grow. But we are to have dominion over the earth.

There is an element of the curse that is not widely shared. I believe it is not shared because of political correctness. I have never been particularly politically correct. So, hang on.

Let me be bold. When God pronounced the curse on Satan, Adam and Eve at the fall, to Eve he said an unusual thing:

Genesis 3:16 Then he said to the woman, "You will bear children with intense pain and suffering. And though your desire will be for your husband,[a] he will be your master."
Footnotes:
a. Or And though you may desire to control your husband.

This footnote is from the New Living Translation which I find very accurate. Many people as they have interpreted this maintain that because childbirth was now to be a painful experience that God was making sexual desire in women a curse. How can that be?

I don’t agree. I’m may be in the minority. But I’m not alone. Several Bible Scholars agree with me. For Example:

Yet this does not make much sense as a curse. Why should a woman's desire for her husband cause him to dominate her? Most men would gladly accept his wife's desires for him, causing him to treat her more gently rather than roughly, as is implied in this verse. How are we to understand this?
Richard T. Ritenbaugh

Is it possible that part of the curse of the fall is a continual power struggle between husband and wife? I believe it is.

Consider the battles royal that go on in non-Christian households. She wants this, he wants that. They fight about things, people, money, relationships and a hundred other big and small things.

When there is a household out of order it can be one where HE is domineering and she is simply a doormat or SHE is a shrew and controls everything and he is a whipped milquetoast.

In both cases this is not as it should be.

This certainly is not as it should be in a Christian marriage. The power struggle was settled at the cross. Jesus is Lord of all, which includes your marriage. Then Jesus implements an organizational structure that makes the husband the head of the home and he is supposed to rule and love as Jesus loves and rules the Church as his bride. (He gives up his life for her and as men that’s what we are to do).

The Devil is in the business of destroying homes, Christian or Not. So he aggravates the curse and propagates this monumental power struggle.

Sadly many good people who profess Jesus as Savior reject him as Lord. They reject him in the power struggle that goes on every day in their home which manifest itself as manipulation, pressure, threats, pouting, temper tantrums, anger, silence and all kinds of other ungodly tactics straight from the pit of hell. This is true regardless of gender. It’s ungodly no matter how is comes off.

What is however covered directly under the curse God pronounced is when a woman wants to control the purse and apron strings in her home as she uses whatever power she can to do so. This is a manifestation of the fall of Man. A curse on wives.

So, what do you do if you are a man and you are married to a wife who controls and manipulates your every move? Who uses the most underhanded threats to push you around? Who will not allow you to make the decisions you were destined by God to make?

First, you must know that no one can make you feel inferior without your permission. She is doing that to you. By your reaction you have given her permission. Not allowing you to be the man she wishes you were by her pressure is causing you to be the man she wishes you were NOT. A paradox.

Second, you must take a stand and prepare to stand the consequences. If you can’t you will continue to sanction ungodly behavior in your wife. You cannot allow this to continue. As painful as it may be you must call this bluff, even if it’s not a bluff. Then, if your stand causes even more problems, even to threatening your marriage, it will surface the root of sin in the whole episode. Right now both you and your wife are in a state of denial. You both know things are out of order. You have both bought into the democracy of marriage. It’s not a democracy. It’s a theocracy and you represent the Theocrat in marriage order.

Third, this is a spiritual issue. You are not at war with your wife. You are in conflict with the devil’s influence. She is not the devil any more than the apostle Peter was when Jesus told him “get thee behind me Satan”. But, you must recognize that the control factor in your wife is a spiritual issue. If she was submitted fully to Jesus at a deeper level you could expect her to respond in a deeper way. She is living on spiritual pabulum. You, her husband, must wash her with the word of spiritual regeneration. She must come to the place where she begins to recognize who she is in Jesus and who He is in you. This is terribly deceptive ground. Most of the time it revolves around money. Money is deceitful above all things, and it is at the root of all kinds of evil.

Get your priorities right and things will come into order. Jesus must be first, all the things of Jesus must be first, His word, what you watch, what you look at, what you do, who and where you fellowship. If you are not getting balanced encouragement in this area, find a Church that believes the word of God. Second in order is your Wife. A distant third is your Kids. Fourth friends and last your job.

If you make Jesus really first, she will follow.

If you are the wife of one of these doormat husbands you are out of order. You not in God’s will in your marriage. You don’t understand the gift of God that is your husband. You are to be subject to him. The devil has you deceived. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings but the truth can set you and him free.

Last, Men, if you would have your wife be in order according to Jesus you must be Jesus to her. This means making good decisions, being loving, caring, and most of all forgiving, even when she’s a total shrew.

You will change he by your stoic focused behavior, not by giving in. Consider this, sometimes she might be crying out for you to take spiritual leadership in the home and call the empty bluff she makes. I refer you to the chapter called, “Checking Your Oil”.

It could save your marriage.

Or, it could reveal that what you have isn’t a real marriage. Do you want your heart broken now or later. Do you want to start working on having a spiritually sound and in order household now or later.

The BAD news is, there is no later, only now.

 Training Up your Child by loving your Spouse

I will never forget the way my father treated my mother. It was embarrassing. He was way out of bounds. I thought the way he touched her was silly. Today we would say, get a room. He was passionate towards her, loved her like life itself, and demonstrated it without shame.

They died together in a traffic accident when I was 13. I don’t remember everything about them but the way he loved her and the way he showed it was imprinted on me forever. I give credit to that image for the marriage Peggy and I have now.

You have heard it said that the best thing you can do for your children is love their mother. It’s not only true, it’s imperative.

You are training the wife or husband of your future son or daughter-in-law. You loving your wife much more than leaving them an inheritance of cash will better serve your grandchildren’s security. The proverb says that a good man leaves an inheritance for his grandchildren. It’s true. Make sure it’s the right inheritance.

Be demonstrative. Touch her, kiss her, hold her, fuss over her and do it in full view of your kids. They will find much more security in that then anything else you might do for them. If she isn’t comfortable with that, do it anyway. She will become comfortable, then she will crave it. If you aren’t comfortable or if you don’t know what to do, watch a few soap operas. You’ll figure it out. You were created to love on her like this. Anything less is robbery. Paul the apostle said not to withhold from her.

Last, protect her. Cover her. Esteem her. Treasure her. Cherish her. If your kids act up and sass your wife (not their mother) take after them. Even if she has it coming, they have to get thru you first. Never ever side with your kids in dissing your wife. If you have problems, take that kid, lay them up against the wall and say, “don’t you ever talk to my wife that way again”. Make it clear that in any contest they will always come in second.

We all respect a good offensive line in football. They protect the quarterback with all they have. They do that for a game. You protect your wife, she is more than some quarterback for you. I confess I was not always diligent in this area, I regret every idle word spoken. I want to help you avoid the heartache.

In the end, the most important person in your marriage is Jesus. Next its your Spouse. Then your kids. Then your work or ministry (or church). I won’t embarrass you by asking if you live this way. But it’s not too late to start.



 Husbands, Love and Death

Husbands love your wives. That’s not a suggestion. That’s a command from the Spirit of God. You don’t have a choice. This isn’t about your feelings. This is about loving her.

So, how do you love her in a biblical sense? DIE! I mean you really die. Die to your own needs, die to your own desires, die to everything in behalf of your beloved wife.

I believe that the pattern we see so often in long married couples when the wife of 60 years dies that the husband follows on soon behind. I think of Johnny Cash joining June Carter Cash within 4 months of her death. Coincidence? I don’t think so. This doesn’t happen as often with women. They seem to handle this better. The same imperative doesn’t operate.

You my dear fellow are programmed to sacrifice your life. You are created to give yourself for your wife. Years ago in times of war men literally did so without question. Things haven’t changed that much.

So if your imperative is to love and die for her then let’s see if we can help you do so.

First, you can protect her. This means that if there is something she doesn’t like, something she fears, something she is uncomfortable with, then by all means protect her. Don’t place her in a compromising situation where she has to fail. Husbands do this all the time. I don’t understand it.

This of course doesn’t mean you don’t want to stretch her, challenge her, help he reach her full potential. Just make sure you do all you can to help her succeed. If you took her skiing and you ski well. Go to the bunny hill with her, take lessons with her. Help her succeed. This isn’t about competition. This is about protecting her. It’s OK for her to become better at something than you are.

Second, WORK! Many men believe that bringing home the bacon is love and protection enough. Other men are very comfortable with their wives working and they sit on their butts all day. You have a responsibility to protect her financially as much as you can. If your wife doesn’t choose to work and you can’t make it on your salary, make lifestyle changes to fit your income. That might mean rental, old cars and second hand shops. But you need to protect her. If she chooses to work protect her in that situation. Encourage her and be her confessor when she comes home. Be sparing in advice. Offer examples. Listen. Sometimes she just needs to hear herself talk. It’s OK. This is part of protection.

Third, protect her from your relatives. Wives, here’s an admonition to you as well. You are now one flesh. I don’t care if either of your Mothers, Fathers, Brothers, Sisters, Aunts, Uncles, and Grandparents hates and thinks your spouse is a ratfink, your allegiance and protection belongs to your spouse. No one else. If you are getting advice, encouragement, or pressure to deal in a certain way with your spouse from your relatives, stop it. Tell them to butt out NOW! Here’s the words, “Mom/Dad (or insert guilty party here), you know I love you, and I know you want the best for me, but I chose this person I’m married to. I swore an oath before God to make it work. So, please, If you want to be in my life I am going to demand that you never ever again say anything denigrating about my spouse, OK? If you decide to ignore this, I will choose him or her over you and I don’t want to have to make that choice”. A few strong-minded Moms and Dads will be miffed for a while but in the end the wisdom of this statement will get to them and they will admire you for your fortitude. Believe me, it’s the only way.

Last, protect her physically. Of course you would punch out anyone who tried to harm her. But help her avoid the situations which are damaging emotionally. Sometimes from you. Sometimes from others.

In any case, love this woman, give your life for her as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it.

 Temporary Insanity - Forgiveness and Forbearance

Every person has lapses; lapses in judgment, lapses in wisdom, lapses in morality. Most of the time these lapses are temporary. Sometimes they are monumental events. The lapses we hear about in the world many times involve a quart of Jack Daniels, Late Night and a seedy strip club. Lapses among Christians are more insidious. They sneak up on you. They are lies, strongholds that grow like cancer until they begin directing our lives. Once we come under their power we have little ability in ourselves to deal with this embedded demon.

These lapses are temporary insanity. In a wife many times it has to do with body chemistry. In husband it many times has to do with pride rooted in a bad decision. No matter the trigger, it’s temporary insanity.

How it manifests is more painful: I know many wives who decided they were not living the life they had dreamed about. They decide to get out of their marriage. They decide to leave their Husband and children. They want to be happy. They want to live. They want fulfillment. They want romance. This isn’t always about sex. It’s about having something they don’t have now. If you could roll the clock forward 5 years their future self would shake their finger at them and say, “wake up, what are you thinking”. An honest counselor might say, “Let me get this straight, you have a husband who, loves you as best he can. You have children who are in formative years and need their mother. You have a life (many times a good life) where you are warm, dry and well fed. And you want to chuck it all because you want to LIVE?” In effect he is saying, “You’re insane”.

The same is true for the man who takes up with a secretary or someone else to find “Happiness”. He’s suffering, from temporary insanity!

This is an infirmity as real as if he or she had cancer, kidney failure or came home with a broken arm or leg. It must be dealt with in exactly the same way. With care and understanding.

You would no more say to your spouse who is diagnosed with cancer, “What’s the matter with you? Get over it.” What about me? Who’s gonna cook my meals or, what am I supposed to do for income? If you are thinking about saying anything like this, just quack like a duck. The net effect is the same and you will do less damage.

Temporary insanity demands permanent forgiveness. Not acceptance. Forgiveness. This must be endured. This must be treated. This must be conquered. This must be healed.

If your spouse had a broken arm, leg or some other obvious problem you would be looking for ways to help, ways to serve. You certainly wouldn’t be whining “What about me”.

During this time of temporary insanity it’s not about you. It’s about your spouse. It’s about getting well. It’s about getting thru this.

The good news is, this is temporary. The disease may have deep roots. It may in fact have causes which need work. But it must run it’s course. If you value your marriage, your life, your children’s life then you must endure. This will pass. It will take time, more time than you will want to invest at the outset perhaps but the dividends are tremendous. The tassel after you graduate from this test is worth the hassle. Besides, if you decide to end it all, will you be happier after he or she gets well and is gone and the wound is deep? I don’t think so.

This kind of temporary insanity takes about 5 years to heal from. You will need doctors, you will need a hospital, you will need care, you will need hope but it’s all available in the right places. Your Christian Community.

I need to warn you however. Drugs are not the answer. I’m not talking about Pot, Crack or whiskey. I am talking about mood altering drugs designed by pharmaceutical companies to help you “Cope” with your pain and situation. They don’t help you cope, they mute your feelings. I know of several good people with whom I have spoken in this situation who under the influence of these drugs say, “I just don’t have any feelings for her anymore”. Of course not, it’s in the drugs. You can’t make good decisions about your future when you are under the influence. Be very careful about these legal drugs. They kill your ability to feel. The pain you are feeling will help you grow and learn. Dulled you drift aimlessly thru life.

Last, just like those who recover from a life threatening disease, things will never get back to like it was before. There will be a new normal. Most likely a better normal. The old normal wasn’t normal. The equilibrium you end up living in will hold better than the old one.

Forgive, heal and find a new life in a new commitment to each other. It’s worth it.




 Finances, Who Do You TRUST?

Money is painful stuff. Money is the ransom we are paid in exchange for our life (time). So when we are short, when we are in trouble, when we don’t have what we need we see it as a life issue.

And it is. So the question is, who is your source? I’m not talking about some pie in the sky philosophy. I’m talking about what you already know.

1. You are a child of a KING
2. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills
3. All the silver and gold in the whole world is his.
4. Everything is held together by his will and the power of his word and without it all things would disintegrate
5. He redirects circumstances in your life to make them work together for good
6. He has only good in mind for you, to do you good and not evil. To bless you to be a blessing
7. He will never leave or forsake you, If you are his child you won’t beg bread or be forsaken

And a hundred more truths you know absolutely. So what’s the rub. The rub is the world around you, TV, Radio, your friends, Newspapers, Magazines, neighbors and those pesky Jones’s who keep harassing you to keep up with them. If only you would be able to ignore them you would be happier.

As a child of the King you don’t have to live like this but you do have to understand your provision isn’t in your job, your pension, your 401k, your congregation, your salary or any worldly thing. In fact the circumstances to make any or all of those things work together for your provision is totally in the hands of the maker of all things.

The very work of your hands, the breath you take to allow your hands to do what you need them to do, the beat of your heart to keep those hands and lungs working and the commands of your God given brain all work together to cause you to have the ability to generate what you need. It’s all about him. It’s not about you.

Where couples get in to trouble is expecting their mate to be something they can’t be. I can’t expect Peggy to be God. I can’t expect her to do for me only what God can do. I know she expects me to do my part. I know she would be disappointed if I didn’t. Any friction would come if we weren’t being obedient in working to our God given ability to do what he’s called us to do.
This is a difficult area. It’s the source of most conflicts in marriage. It’s divisive because we don’t know who our real source is.

A taunt during the world series was “who’s your daddy?” It’s meant to act as an incentive for submission. I ask you, who’s your daddy, (Abba)? If you have the right answer much of the conflict regarding this difficulty can be answered.

About spending and debt.

In addition to allowing the world to press you into It’s mold, the potential for overspending and ending up in debt causes great difficulty in many marriages. Debt and bankruptcy in the church is a rising phenomena.

I won’t lecture you about debt or overspending. I don’t think I have to. You already have heard more about this topic than any one has a need to know. Good books by Larry Burkett and Dave Ramsey are on the market and will help you. I have read them and they tell the truth.

The problem is, you can be out of debt, you can have your bills paid, you can be earning all you need to, you can be financially secure in every way and still be in financial bondage. If you don’t know who your source is you will be bound by the spirit of poverty. Howard Hughes had a spirit of poverty. Most worldly wealthy people live in fear of losing money because they don’t understand their true provider.

A spirit of poverty is trusting in uncertain riches as your source. Very poor people and very rich people can and many do have a spirit of poverty. Money can be a curse and poverty can be a curse if it’s connected with a spirit of poverty.

Jesus is your source, not you. Get this understood between you and your spouse and you will find your wrestling with money to be cut in half.


Fifteen Undeniable Truths About Men and Women

1. Women want to develop a relationship with a man who’s decent. That’s before and after marriage.

2. Women are responders to a man’s attentions. If a man initiates a woman will respond, they are hard wired that way and can’t do anything else.

3. To a man what a woman looks like matters, to a woman what a man looks like is far less important. What a man looks like matters far less important to her than he is able to believe. The media and movies have distorted this truth. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

4. Treating a woman with respect, importance and value reinforces her self-image, which is fragile, and Dependant upon approval, particularly from men that matter to her.

5. Listening is a wonderful gift all women love. They crave the listening ear without judgment or advice.

6. The LOOK of love is rapt attention; joy in the eyes, and a smile. A smile good or bad is very attractive. A smile breaks down walls. What your smile looks like is less important than that you smile.

7. Women need lifting up, they respond to humor and a genuine positive attitude toward life. Irony and cynicism are funny but not uplifting. They like to cry at movies but want laugh in real life.

8. The TOUCH – after enough time of communication has passed a touch on the shoulders or hand has great power. Done too soon it is cheap and manipulative. Done right it is explosive. Use carefully. Don’t be grabby.

9. Women try to be standoffish and aloof because they have been hurt and manipulated. They desperately want to trust and even love someone. They just don’t want to be hurt again. The more attractive a woman is the more this is true.

10. Women who are at the bottom in their life (and some at the top) are looking for a man to rescue them. Men won’t find many women willing to rescue them. Some women who want to be rescued respond to any kind of a rescuer. This works sometimes and the relationship is great. Some rescued women are difficult to have a good relationship with. They needed rescue because of THEMSELVES. Marc Anthony said of Julius Cesar, “scorning the base degrees by which he did ascend”. Some rescued women can be Julius Caesars in that way.

11. Men are capable of living fulfilled without a woman but they are worse off. It is hard for a woman to feel fulfilled particularly in later years without a man. This seems to never stop. Women seem to need a man to feel complete. Men don’t feel it but are made complete with a good woman.

12. SEXY?? To a woman, sexy is positive, intelligent, self sufficient, strong, secure, able to converse, interested in them, self confident, in good health, fun and just a little unorthodox. Money and things are far less important to a woman than men believe. If that is an issue there is an out of balance situation.

13. For a woman, getting to know a man is the beginning of love. “To know, know, know him is to love, love, love him”, the song says. It’s true. They want to be understood and not be misunderstood. Communication is safety for her. “If you know all about me and still care about me makes me feel safe”

14. The more attractive a woman is (beauty) the more unapproachable they appear. This is not true (unless they are shallow, stupid and empty). In fact, as pretty women they have been used, manipulated, and abused by men. This causes them to maintain a distance they don’t really want. Some of the loneliest women are very beautiful. Women who became beautiful later in years (many bloom later) are less complex. Never let external beauty be your guide. It is deceiving and fleeting. The deception is on both men and women.

15. A rich spiritual life is very sexy.



An Admonition of Love

....based upon your vows spoken before one another and the covenant made before God and man, as a minister of the Gospel and authorized by this state, I now Pronounce you Man and Wife. What God has put together let no man tear asunder.”

THE FULL CATASTROPHE*
*Zorba the Greek describing his marriage and family

“..so if there are no other final issues to be resolved, by order of the court and your consents, I hereby decree this marriage dissolved and this divorce proceeding final.”

If this were Las Vegas or Reno it would be better understood. But it’s not. This is happening in the First Evangelical Baptist Pentecostal Lutheran Church of God in Christ Temple of the Word and Saint Mary. In other words, it’s in every church of every confession and every communion.

This catastrophe is now more common among first marriages in the church than in the world. The Church of Jesus Christ has become the divorce capital of the nation. How can the church reach a dead and dying world when we can’t keep our families alive? The devil must really enjoy this. The church is losing it’s spiritual authority thru the destruction of marriage and family.

It’s time to stop. NOW! We can pray, beg, hope, counsel, believe and intercede. All are good. But, the marriage covenant in the church must be set free from a curse. That curse is of the World, the Flesh and the Devil: a threefold curse. What our marriages need now is the truth. The truth that will set them free. Once the truth is known and acted on the result is a marriage resting in the confidence of God’s completed work.

Some years ago it was widely publicized that some witches and Satanists had put a curse on Christians, particularly leaders and Ministers to destroy their marriages. I can’t tell you if this is in fact what is happening, but I am here to say we have bought a lie and the father of lies is smiling.

We have more confidence in the world, flesh and devil to destroy our marriages than we do in the redemption of the cross to save them. If the covenant was enough to save your soul from an eternal hell, if it was enough to heal your broken spirit, if it was enough to heal your body, if it’s enough to be your provision, if it was enough to protect you till now, It’s enough to restore, reconfigure and make your marriage better than you ever knew.

Playing the Lie: Divorce will be Better for the Kids
The other day I was waiting in line, the Tammy Wynette song of many years ago, D-I-V-O-R-C-E was playing. I had not heard it for some time. The game she was playing described Tammy spelling various situations to avoid hurting her little Tommy. Somehow the whole mentality of this will be “better for the children” is beyond my ability to understand. IF that were the case, why spell it? We know intuitively that divorce is painful. Sure, kids are strong; they’ll survive. Of course if you cut off an ear, or an arm, or a leg on one of your children they would survive. You could remove one of their kidneys or gouge out an eye and they could function normally. But, they are wounded. When a couple makes the decision to divorce they are inflicting a wound deeper than even the loss of a limb might be.

Am I trying to inflict guilt? Not if you are past the point and have already suffered divorce. But if you are living under the illusion that you are doing right by pursuing a divorce that has not yet happened, I want to give you notice right now, you are inflicting pain on innocents. The pain in your marriage (short of physical abuse) is your pain. You have no right to transfer that pain or to avoid pain at their expense. Help is available. It takes burying your pride. But you can be helped.

You may be the child of divorce. You might even believe that you survived just fine. Is that so? Would life been better if Mom and Dad had changed their life, their marriage, and their home and created a secure environment for you? You can break this generational curse right now if you and your spouse will take this warning seriously and implement what I say here.

If you are reading this and you are already enriching the lawyers in a divorce proceeding, stop, stop now! The money you are spending is waste, and the counsel you are getting is driven by finances, not yours, the attorney’s. It’s his job. Like an auto mechanic who inspects your car and says, “I can’t find a thing wrong, you don’t need any repairs”. Like that’ll happen.

If you are already divorced, whether you initiated or not, you are in a tough place. I don’t envy you. I wish it weren’t so for your sake. Your scriptural imperative is restoration. That was the nature of your blood covenant in marriage in the first place. The divorce decree doesn’t change things. Stand for restoration and renewal. Be very very careful about remarriage. The disaster you have already experienced is exponentially aggravated by any further alliances. I know how tough it is, how lonely it is. But, ask yourself, what attracted me to my spouse in the first place. Is that quality still there even if it’s repressed? Fight for restoration. It’s worth it.

I address the remarriage issue elsewhere in this book. Know this, divorce is a sin resulting from hardness of the heart. It is as forgivable as any other sin. But, the admonition of scripture about knowing right and sinning intentionally is out there. God loves you, he really does, but he hates divorce. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A CHRISTIAN DIVORCE. Churches, particularly in America, are wrestling with integration of homosexuality into the ministry, even into Church Leadership. That doesn’t make it right. If you are getting counsel that elevates cultural mores above the plain word of God run for your life. I really mean, run for your life. We aren’t talking about light loving with no consequence.

I challenge you to stop or reverse the course that you might be taking. If this chapter speaks to your situation consider this: I wouldn’t have to try to convince you to stop murdering, robbing banks, or embezzling money. See this in a similar light so you might be able to understand why Jesus was so passionate and God spoke so clearly of this issue. It is almost never ever God’s will for married couples to get a divorce. Hear his voice. His voice is healing.



 A Story that Changed my Life and Marriage

In the 70's Peggy and I were at a Dale Carnegie convention in Texas. I was an instructor and organizer for many years. During the convention they showed a film called "The 8 Cow Woman". I didn't know it then but it was produced by the Mormons. I'm not Mormon. The story is worthwhile. I was going to tell it as I remembered it, then in poking around on Google I found it in it's original. I also found several entries on blogs objecting to the dowry system represented in the story. Please put your North American idealism on hold, read this allegedly true story for what it's worth. Have a little cultural understanding and extract the truth contained. I have and do know of many women who when treasured by their husbands, fathers, or significant male other have blossomed into the most charming beautiful people you ever will meet. I have seen the opposite. It's sad.

As a husband who loves his wife I owe her (and myself) an 8 cow treatment. I hope I have succeeded.

One last thing, the movie more than the following story showed not an abusive father of Sarita, but a disdaining one. One who treated his daughter as ugly, stupid and worthless. Because the most important man in her life treated her this way she became that. This story is about transformation.



My trip to the Kiniwata Island in the Pacific was a memorable one. Although the island was beautiful and I had an enjoyable time, the thing I remember most about my trip was the fact "Johnny Lingo gave eight cows for his wife." I'’m reminded of it every time I see a woman belittle her husband or a wife wither under her husband'’s scorn. I want to say to them, "You should know why Johnny Lingo gave eight cows for his wife."

Johnny Lingo is known throughout the islands for his skills, intelligence, and savvy. If you hire him as a guide, he will show you the best fishing spots and the best places to get pearls. Johnny is also one of the sharpest traders in the islands. He can get you the best possible deals. The people of Kiniwata all speak highly of Johnny Lingo. Yet, when they speak of him, they always smile just a little mockingly.
A couple days after my arrival to Kiniwata, I went to the manager of the guesthouse to see who he thought would be a good fishing guide. "Johnny Lingo," said the manager. "He’s the best around. When you go shopping, let him do the bargaining. Johnny knows how to make a deal."

"Johnny Lingo!" hooted a nearby boy. The boy rocked with laughter as he said, "Yea, Johnny can make a deal alright!"

"What'’s going on?" I demanded.

"Everybody tells me to get in touch with Johnny Lingo and then they start laughing. Please, let me in on the joke."

"Oh, the people like to laugh," the manager said, shrugging. "Johnny’s the brightest and strongest young man in the islands. He’s also the richest for his age."

"But " I protested. " if he's all you say he is, why does everyone laugh at him behind his back?"
"Well, there is one thing. Five months ago, at fall festival, Johnny came to Kiniwata and found himself a wife. He gave her father eight cows!"

I knew enough about island customs to be impressed. A dowry of two or three cows would net a fair wife and four or five cows would net a very nice wife.

"Wow!" I said. "Eight cows! She must have beauty that takes your breath away."

"She’s not ugly, " he conceded with a little smile, " but calling her ‘plain’ would definitely be a compliment. Sam Karoo, her father, was afraid he wouldn'’t be able to marry her off. Instead of being stuck with her, he got eight cows for her. Isn’t that extraordinary? This price has never been paid before."

"Yet, you called Johnny’s wife ‘plain’ "

"I said it would be a compliment to call her plain. She was skinny and she walked with her shoulders hunched and her head ducked. She was scared of her own shadow."

"Well," I said, "I guess there’'s just no accounting for love."

"True enough." agreed the man. "That’s why the villagers grin when they talk about Johnny. They get special satisfaction from the fact the sharpest trader in the islands was bested by dull old Sam Karoo."

"But how?"

"No one knows and everyone wonders. All of the cousins urged Sam to ask for three cows and hold out for two until he was sure Johnny would pay only one. To their surprise Johnny came to Sam Karoo and said, ‘Father of Sarita, I offer eight cows for your daughter.’ "

"Eight cows." I murmured. "I’'d like to meet this Johnny Lingo."

I wanted fish and pearls, so the next afternoon I went to the island of Nurabandi. As I asked directions to Johnny’s house, I noticed Johnny'’s neighbors were also amused at the mention of his name. When I met the slim, serious young man I could see immediately why everyone respected his skills. However, this only reinforced my confusion over him.

As we sat in his house, he asked me, "You come here from Kiniwata?"

"Yes."

"They speak of me on that island?"

"Yes. They say you can provide me anything I need. They say you’re intelligent, resourceful, and the sharpest trader in the islands."

He smiled gently. "My wife is from Kiniwata."

"Yes, I know."

"They speak of her?"

"A little."

"What do they say?"

"Why, just " The question caught me off balance. "They told me you were married at festival time."

"Nothing more?" The curve of his eyebrows told me he knew there had to be more.

"They also say the marriage settlement was eight cows." I paused. "They wonder why."

"They ask that?" His eyes lighted with pleasure. "Everyone in Kiniwata knows about the eight cows?"

I nodded.

"And in Nurabandi, everyone knows it too?" His chest expanded with satisfaction. "Always and forever, when they speak of marriage settlements, it will be remembered that Johnny Lingo paid eight cows for Sarita."

So that’s the answer, I thought: Vanity.

Just then Sarita entered the room to place flowers on the table. She stood still for a moment to smile at her husband and then left. She was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. The lift of her shoulders, the tilt of her chin, and the sparkle in her eyes all spelled self-confidence and pride. Not an arrogant and haughty pride, but a confident inner beauty that radiated in her every movement.

I turned back to Johnny and found him looking at me.

"You admire her?" he murmured.

"She's gorgeous." I said. "Obviously, this is not the one everyone is talking about. She can'’t be the Sarita you married on Kiniwata."

"There’s only one Sarita. Perhaps, she doesn’'t look the way you expected."

"She doesn’t. I heard she was homely. They all make fun of you because you let yourself be cheated by Sam Karoo."

"You think eight cows was too many?" A smile slid over his lips.

"No, but how can she be so different from the way they described her?"

Johnny said, "Think about how it must make a girl feel to know her husband paid a very low dowry for her? It must be insulting to her to know he places such little value on her. Think about how she must feel when the other women boast about the high prices their husbands paid for them. It must be embarrassing for her. I would not let this happen to my Sarita."

"So, you paid eight cows just to make your wife happy?"

"Well, of course I wanted Sarita to be happy, but there’s more to it than that. You say she is different from what you expected. This is true. Many things can change a woman. There are things that happen on the inside and things that happen on the outside. However, the thing that matters most is how she views herself. In Kiniwata, Sarita believed she was worth nothing. As a result, that’s the value she projected. Now, she knows she is worth more than any other woman in the islands. It shows, doesn't it?"

"Then you wanted.. "

"I wanted to marry Sarita. She is the only woman I love."

"But " I was close to understanding.

"But," he finished softly, "I wanted an eight-cow wife."

1 Comments:

  • My Name is Blessing.I will love to share my testimony to all the people in the forum cos i never thought i will have my boyfriend back and he means so much to me..The boy i want to get marry to left me 4 weeks to our wedding for another woman..,When i called him he never picked my calls,he block me on his facebook and he changed he facebook status from married to Single...when i went to him to his place of work he told his boss he never want to see me..I lost my job as a result of this cos i cant get myself anymore,my life was upside down and everything did not go smooth with my life...I tried all i could do to have him back to all did not work out until i met a Man when i Travel to Africa to execute some business have been developing some years back..I told him my problem and all have passed through in getting him back and how i lost my job...he told me he gonna help me...i don't believe that in the first place.but he swore he will help me out and he told me the reason why my boyfriend left me and also told me some hidden secrets.i was amazed when i heard that from him..he said he will cast a spell for me and i will see the results in the next couple of days..then i travel back to US the following day and i called him when i got home and he said he's busy casting those spells and he has bought all the materials needed for the spells,he said am gonna see positive results in the next 2 days that is Thursday...My boyfriend called me at exactly 12:35pm on Thursday and apologies for all he had done ..he said,he never knew what his doing and he sudden behavior was not intentional and he promised not to do that again.it was like am dreaming when i heard that from him and when we ended the call,i called the man and told him my husband called and he said i haven't seen anything yet... he said i will also get my job back in 3 days time..and when its Sunday,they called me at my place of work that i should resume working on Monday and they gonna compensate for the time limit have spent at home without working..My life is back into shape,i have my boyfriend back and we are happily married now with kids and i have my job back too.This man is really powerful..if we have up to 10 people like him in the world,the world would have been a better place..he has also helped many of my friends to solve many problems and they are all happy now..Am posting this to the forum for anybody that is interested in meeting the man for help.you can email him at orissatemple@yahoo.com

    By Blogger Sherry Francis, at 5:30 AM  

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