Posts Tagged ‘Marriage’

The Blessing of Family

Posted: September 28, 2015 in family
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James, the brother of Jesus, wrote in his epistle, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above . . .” (James 1:17a).  Some of those gifts are: salvation, the Holy Spirit, and Holy Scripture.  It truly is amazing to think about all the good gifts that we as Christian people have been given by our Lord.  Recently, I was overwhelmed by the thought of my family.  I believe that having a godly family would have to be in my top 5 list of “good gifts from above.”  Not everyone has a godly family.  For that sake, not everyone has been given the gift of a spouse or children.  When I started thinking about the blessing that the Lord had given me, it caused me to just stop and thank the Lord.

That same morning the kids and I were playing around after breakfast and family devotions.  I was playing the guitar, which is common in the Burrell home.  While watching the children running around and squealing with joy while playing with each other I started fooling around with my guitar and a few lines of a song started coming out.  It had been nearly a decade since I had written a song, but after just 30 short minutes I plucked my way through a melody and had written out some words to a song that I have now named “The Family Song” (pretty ingenious title I know). I also put a video together to go along with the song.

If you have any interest, this is a little brief history of my family by the way of a song.  The Lord has abundantly blessed me with the gift of family.  We are by no means perfect.  We are by no means a perfect model family.  I still get angry with my children when they do not obey.  I don’t always act like Christ to my wife.  I still struggle with issues of pride and selfishness from time to time.  However, the Lord who is both gracious and full of mercy has chosen to give me a family.  For that, I am eternally grateful . . . and because of that I sing.

We got married back in 2008
We said our vows and then set off to celebrate . . .  We made a covenant.
Then we had a girl, and we named her Belle
It means beautiful, and I think it fits her well . . . She means the world to me.
Then came our son, we named him Corban Blake
He’s just like his dad in every single way  . . . He was a gift from God.

We were just a happy family.
Trying to be what God wanted us to be.
We were just a happy family.
Trying to be what God wanted us to be.

But we weren’t done.  He gave us Gideon.
A silent warrior from the very beginning . . . He has his mother’s smile.
Josiah was named after the mighty king.
Oh what a joy that little rowdy boy brings . . . But he’ll be big someday.

Now we’re just one big happy family.
Trying to bring glory to our King.
Now we’re just one big happy family.
Trying to point all the glory to our King.

God has been so kind to bless us now.
We need to praise Him each day somehow.
His mercies are fresh and new each morn.
But there are some days that we need more.

Now we’re just one big happy family.
Trying to bring glory to our King.
Now we’re just one big happy family.
Trying to point all the glory to our King.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Adam B. Burrell

There seems to be an epidemic.  For every single godly young man (18-35 years old) that I know, it seems that there are 10 young godly women.  Most of these women desire to be married, have children, and have a family.  Their problem?  There is a massive void of spiritually sound men who are ready for marriage.  Why is this so?  Why is it so hard for godly women to find a man who is willing to play the role that God has called them to as a spiritual leader?  Here are a few thoughts:

What Are Christian Men Supposed to Look Like?

There are 4 words that best describe the role of a man in a marriage: Prophet, Priest, Provider, Protector. (If you want to know more about the 4 “P’s”, please look here)

For a man to be ready to marry, he needs to be ready to be a Prophet in his home.  This means that he is to be on the front lines of speaking God’s truth into their home.  This is what a prophet does.  He speaks to his people on behalf of God.  Men do this by knowing God’s Word, regularly reading God’s Word, and applying God’s Word in the home.  It seems that there is a lack of knowledge of God’s Word by many young men, thus making it difficult to be a mature spiritual leader.

A man is also supposed to be a Priest.  That is to say that he is supposed to be going to the Lord on behalf of his family (wife, children).  Most often this is through prayer.  This does not mean simply praying before meals, but going before God as an advocate for your family.  Since many young men have never been taught how to pray (must less intercessory prayer), it is a part of their life that seems lacking.  To be a suitable mate one must be a man of prayer, and many do not seem to fit this mold.

A man is supposed to be a Provider as well.  Paul writes in II Thessalonians 3:10, “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”  It appears that so many young men today have yet to truly grow up.  Again, this is not across the board, but it is generally true of many.  Countless young men desire to buy the newest toy and live the college life well into their late 20’s.  Often after college they get a job but never learn how to manage their money well.  To provide for a family does not mean that someone has to earn $100k a year, but a good provider will learn how to budget well what the Lord has given them.  This means becoming much more selfless. There is, however, more to providing than finical support.  This also includes providing time to be with your family instead of “your boys.”  It is providing energy to your family, in being there for the families needs.  If a young man wants to be a godly man . . . he must be a provider.  After all, this is what the Lord has called you to do (I Timothy 5:8).

The last characteristic of a godly man is one that is a protector.  You do not have to wield a hammer and be an Avenger to protect your family.  Yes, you should be willing to lay your life down for your wife and children if need be, but there is so much more to protection than simply shielding them from physical danger.  A spiritual leader will protect his family from spiritual danger as well.  That means not letting filth into your head or into your home.  This may mean having to rethink your entertainment choices and places of leisure.  With statistics like 50% of men within the church have admitted to looking at porn on a regular basis, it is no wonder we have a lack of young men who are willing to be protectors; many of these men are not willing to protect themselves.  It is hard, takes courage, and sadly for some men is just too much work.

What is the solution?

  1. If you are a young man that falls into these categories then the first thing that you need to do is REPENT. I know that society has failed to train you in godliness.  I am sorry that it is possible that even your church has failed to train you in biblical manhood.  You may not have had a godly example in your home, but it is time to stop and ask the Lord to forgive you.  After that I would suggest three things.  First, find a godly man who can help to teach you how to be a godly man.  Meet with him often.  Ask questions and observe.   Second, make a bond with other young men to keep each other accountable in putting aside your childish ways and growing into maturity.   Third, pray not only for wisdom in how to change, but the will to change as well.
  1. If you are a parent of young men, then start treating them less like adolescents and more like young adults. We have an epidemic on our hands.  There is a solution, however.  Teach them from God’s Word that God has given them the responsibility to be a spiritual leader.  Teach them responsibility by giving them chores and holding them accountable to doing them.  Make them get outside and sweat.  Take their video games from them and give them a weed- eater instead.  Pray, Pray, Pray.  Satan would love nothing else than to teach them to be lazy and selfish, or to consume them in their “work” that they never learn what it means to be a spiritual leader.  Either one is a victory for him.  Pray for them, but also teach them now before they are out of your home and away from your influence.
  1. If you are a woman in search of a godly man, trust in the sovereign Lord to bring one to you at the right time. Do not compromise and settle for less.  You will regret it.  Until that time comes (if it comes), remember that your identity is not found in marriage to a man, but in your marriage to the Lord.  Continue to shape yourself into the likeness of Christ.  Submit yourself to that Husband (Jesus) first, and if the Lord chooses to give you an earthly one, you will be better prepared to take on the role of a loving wife.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Adam B. Burrell

As most of you know, The Supreme Court recently made a ruling allowing gay couples to “marry” all across America.  To many of us, we believe that this was unwise and more importantly, an unbiblical stance.  Marriage has already been defined by the One who created it in the first place.  He is the supreme Judge who is over the Supreme Court.  However, we as Christians need to realize that the country that we live in is much more akin to Babylon than that of ancient Israel.  Our neighbors are no longer the Brady Bunch, and we no longer live in Mayberry.  So, we need to know how to live and what to say in the present day.  We need to act as Christ to a people who are by and large Christless.  If Jesus was here physically, I believe there are 5 things He would say to the LGBT community.

  1. You matter to Me, because I created you in My image.

According to John 3:16, Jesus came to die for a people from every tribe, tongue, and nation.  No doubt, there are gays who exist within this spectrum.  We know that God has extended some portion of grace to all (although not specifically saving grace) for scripture says that “he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust,”(Matthew 5:45).  Every person is created in God’s image.  He loves His creation. Those who are homosexuals matter to God in the sense that He extended love to His whole creation. It is not a complete effectual love, but it is love nonetheless.  You matter in His big picture.

  1. I can sympathize with your temptation, for I was also tempted.

Jesus was tempted. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” says the writer of Hebrews in chapter 4:15-16.  Jesus hungered, thirsted, slept, and wept.  Satan even tempted Jesus.  However, in this temptation, He was yet without sin.  Temptation is not sin, but acting upon it is. There are those who have homosexual temptations, but those temptations do not become sin until it is acted upon either through lust or a physical action.  They need to realize that Jesus understands temptation, and through Him, they can have the power to overcome that temptation.  While that thorn in their flesh may never be completely taken away, the Lord can give them the power that they need to overcome temptation (I Corinthians 10:13).

  1. I want you to have true joy, not just temporary satisfaction.

Sin can be enjoyable for a season (Hebrews 11:25).  Why else would people do it if it was not enjoyable? It is desirous for their flesh.  An adulterer must enjoy a one-night stand.  A glutton must enjoy the over eating, otherwise they would stop on their 2nd helping.  But Jesus desires your holiness more than your happiness.  To be holy, one must be redeemed by the Lord.  This happens through recognition of sin, a repentance of that sin, and regeneration for the sinner by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, for the glory of God alone.  Happiness is fleeting, but the state of joy is eternal.  The only way to have eternal joy and not just temporary satisfaction is through Jesus.

  1. I want you to know that you are destroying your body and damning your soul

It is just a simple fact that STDs are rampant among those in this lifestyle.  Statistically, 70-78% of the LGBT community has reported to have had an STD.  Roughly 50% for all people, both gay and straight, who engage in premarital sex are said to have an STD as well.  Homosexual males are 116 times more likely to be murdered and 24 times more likely to commit suicide than their straight male counter-parts.  The decision to be gay often has lasting physical consequences.  But, more importantly than the body’s destruction, is the damning of your soul. It is true that we are ALL born into sin and choose to sin. This sin separates us from God.  The Old Testament law condemned homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22).  Jesus condemned it by alluding to the Old Testament sexual laws as perverse in Matthew 19 and Mark 7.  Paul condemns it by saying “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals . . .” in I Corinthians 6:9-10.  This practice, if unrepented of, will lead you to hell – because it is sin.

  1. I love to save those who are lost.  

Jesus loves to save sinners.  He loves to draw to Himself, gossips, idol worshipers, womanizers, and yes even homosexuals.  In writing to the Roman church Paul said, Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance,” (Romans 2:4).  You cannot remain in your sin and be saved.  It would not be loving to allow a sinner to keep sinning.  It would not be loving to remain silent about the truth.  However, it is loving to warn of the coming destruction for those who refuse to acknowledge the Lord.  To do this there must be a willingness to acknowledge sin, to turn from that sin, and accept Jesus as the Lord, Savior, and Master of your life.  He loves to save those who are perishing, and is willing to save all who call upon His name.

I believe if Jesus was still physically present here on earth, this is what He might say.  However, we as His representatives need to be willing to pass this message on to our neighbor, family, and co-worker.  Yes, this lifestyle is a sin, and because of that, it is not one that is simply an “alternative.”  However, we must recognize our own lostness, sinfulness, and inability to save ourselves as well.  We need to remember that the homosexual community is not our enemy . . . Satan is.  They need Jesus just as much as us.  We must be willing to engage them in a respectful manner and lovingly have this dialog with them.  Jesus will sort out their sin in the end.  Do we let them become a member in the church while practicing this lifestyle?  No, God forbid!  But, the church is a good place for them to be to hear God’s truth and either deny Him or be convicted by His Word.  So, let’s be sure that when we are talking to our LGBT neighbor that we do it in a way that honors God.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Adam B. Burrell

Of all the hot button topics today, it seems none is hotter than homosexual marriage.  You can find examples of politicians, football players, actors, musicians, and even former mega church pastors (i.e. Rob Bell) chiming in with support for the normalization of homosexual marriage.  In fact, entire denominations have changed their doctrinal position to support this lifestyle.  In former days, Christians could attempt to take a neutral position on gay marriage.  However, it is so polarizing an issue today, soon (I believe within the next 5 years) we will know where everyone in the Christian community stands on this question.  I do not support the lifestyle of homosexuality for many reasons, and I am against making laws to normalize marriage between two persons of the same sex (the same goes for other marriage alternatives like a person who wants to marry multiple people or to marry an animal, etc.).  I believe the overwhelming evidence of scripture, church history, and nature is on my side.  The question I would like to answer then is: Why Does Biblical Marriage Matter To God, If It Indeed Does?

Consider these things:

Marriage is a picture of His love for us:

According to the Westminster Confession, the primary purpose of all life is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”  I submit that this is also then the primary purpose of marriage, so the question becomes: What does a God-glorifying marriage look like?  The Bible has a lot to say here.  Scripture repeatedly symbolically refers to the relationship between Christ and the church as a marriage.  That relationship is seen in the Bride (The church) and the Bridegroom (Jesus).  In the well-known verse Ephesians 5:25, Paul reminds us of what Jesus did for His bride: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”  When dealing with a marriage, it is ALWAYS seen between one man and one woman in the Bible.  There is no counter-example.  The Word constantly shows us this picture from Genesis to Revelation.  There is a feminine person and a masculine person in this relationship.  Marriage is a picture of his covenant love for His church and that marriage is between The Man and his bride.

Marriage is part of the process of growing the kingdom:

Part of the original dominion mandate given to Adam and Eve was to “be fruitful and multiply.” (Genesis 1:28)  Furthermore, we see this same mandate after the flood of Noah. (Genesis 9:7)  We see it again when the nation of Israel is born. (Genesis 35:11)  No less than 7 times this phrase “be fruitful and multiply” appears in Scripture.  Additionally, children are said to be “a blessing” in Psalm 127.  Here’s the point: part of the way of growing the kingdom of God is through procreation.  It does not take a scientist to know that it takes a male and a female for this process to happen.  If everyone decided to live the homosexual lifestyle, then we would only be one generation away from complete extinction.  How are we going to grow a kingdom if there is no one here to grow it?  Being fruitful and multiplying is a gift and a command from God.  Nature itself testifies to this.  Homosexual marriage and the homosexual lifestyle are anti-natural, and they are anti-kingdom growth.

Marriage is something that the Creator has already defined:

Are we allowed to rename the Mona Lisa, or even the iPhone if we wanted to?  No!  Why?  Because we did not create them, the naming rights belong to Leonardo Da Vinci and Steve Jobs, respectively.  It makes sense that only the Creator has the right to define what something is and what something is not.  The Lord has said that the only true and biblical marriage that He recognizes is that of a marriage between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24-25).  Since He is the Creator of this world, He has every right to define what He created.  If I, or anyone else, tries to step in and take the place of God by calling something good that He has called evil (1 Corinthians 6:9), may they be cursed.  That seems harsh but those are not my words or my view, but God’s Words and His view.  May it be a loud warning for those who would dare do so (Isaiah 5:20).  If God has declared something holy, just, or right who are we to say otherwise?  He is the Creator and as Creator has every right to set the rules and regulations.  Hear me out, what is more amazing than the rules themselves is that He forbids things like homosexuality for the good of mankind.  He has declared marriage to be holy, good and beneficial only when it is between one man and one woman.  Anything outside of these confines is sin and is detestable to God.

Does marriage really matter to God?  I believe it most certainly does.  Do homosexuals matter to God?  They most certainly do.  They, like every other person in the world, still bear His image.  We as Christians should still love homosexuals as our neighbors.  We should still treat them with dignity, as we should every human being.  However, part of loving your neighbor is telling the truth to your neighbor.  If we really want to love our neighbor then we must love them enough to tell them that God has something to say about the matter of homosexuality.  He has offered them grace and mercy.  He has offered them salvation, but to gain these things there must be recognition of their sin.  There must be repentance of that sin.  There must be forgiveness for sin.  This is what a loving neighbor would say.  This is what a loving God has said.  This is what the God of marriage has proclaimed.  Marriage matters to God and it should matter to us as well.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Adam B Burrell.

It is scary thing to see what seems to be a good and godly marriage come to an end because of an unfaithful spouse.  Most of these affairs do not happen overnight.  Most who have an affair do not just end up in the bed with a total stranger and wake up the next morning and wonder how they got there.  It started out as “innocent” conversations, but then it progressed from there.  It is hard to imagine on your wedding day that an affair could ever take place; but if we are not careful, we can let an adulterous heart slip in (which is sin in itself), which can easily lead to adulterous actions.  With so many people seemingly falling into this sin, it seems like we need to prepare ourselves against such things.  If a person wants to have an affair, they will find a way to do so, but most people that I know of do not want to have an affair.  However, it seems like many people do little preventive work to keep it from happening.  I will be the first to say that I need to apply these principles as much as anyone.  “My heart is deceitfully wicked above all things” as well.  Yet, through the strengthening of the Lord we do not have to be overcome by sin.  Here are some ways we can be proactive toward helping affair-proof our marriages.  I sincerely hope that you will consider them.

Don’t forget about your covenant:

When you got married you made a covenant with not only your spouse but also with God that you would remain faithful to each other “until death do us part.”  When you decide to go down the pathway of an affair you not only break that covenantal promise to your spouse, but you sin against, lie to, and break your covenant with God as well.  To break a covenant with your spouse is shameful, but to break it with God is fearful.  If the thought of an affair ever enters you mind, don’t forget that you are not just telling your spouse that they no longer “do it for you”, but you are telling God that your desire for that other person is more important that you desire to please Him.

Don’t be alone with a person of the opposite sex:

Before I got into ministry, a very wise pastor once told me, “You need to make it a rule to try your best to never be alone with another woman in a room (or car) that is not your direct family.”  I have found this counsel to be very wise.  I believe this is a principle that we should all take, not just pastors.  Scripture tells us that we are to “flee from the appearance of evil,” in I Thessalonians 5:22.  If you are never alone with a person of the opposite sex, it will make it hard to allow an affair to take place.  If you must ride together in a vehicle, then if they ride in the front seat, you ride in the back or vice verse.  Your marriage is worth fighting for and keeping pure.  It may seem uncomfortable to tell the person who you are riding with why you are not sitting next to them, but I promise you . . . your spouse will love you for it.  This is just another way of preparing yourself beforehand to “flee from the APPEARANCE of evil.”

Don’t have “close” friends of the opposite sex:

What I mean by “close” friends is to say an exclusive friend who your spouse is not friends with also.  I certainly have friends who are women.  However, once I got married, I gave up the right to have them as a “best friend” or exclusive “close friend” due to my special relationship with my wife.  I love her too much to allow a close relationship with another woman to possibly hinder ours.   It is not wise to have friends of the opposite sex that you have lengthy phone, e-mail, text, or even face-to-face conversations with.  If you are finding time to just “run into each other” at the store each week, or you just happen to “get coffee at the same place” together each Saturday morning after your run, then it may be time to change up your routine.  If you don’t, you might wake up one morning and find yourself on the road to an affair.

Don’t have closed social media accounts:

            If you have social media accounts then your spouse should have your passwords and have open regular access to them.  If they do not, are you trying to hide something?  Most people are not trying to hide anything, but allowing your spouse this open access to your social accounts shows transparency to them and would also help keep you from trying to do things that your spouse might not approve of (remember, you are one flesh now).  It is also not wise to be “friends” with someone on your social network that you might have once had a dating relationship with.  Why be friends with someone who you once had feelings for?  If you and your spouse are going through a hard time, then it might be easy to try to find some comfort through an old flame.  Having old girlfriends or boyfriends on Facebook, Twitter, or even in your e-mail contacts is not wise.  Avoid old flames, and enjoy your current eternal one.  It is too easy to just “check out” your old friend and see what they are up to these days.  This has led many down a road that has ended in affairs and even divorce.  Just avoid the temptation and just say no to your Ex’s friend invite.

Do have someone you are accountable to:

If you want to help affair-proof your marriage, one helpful way of doing this is by having an accountability partner who will ask you tough questions.  Find a close friend, of the same sex, that does not mind asking you about your thought life and your dealings with people of the opposite sex.  I truly believe that for a majority of people who have had affairs, if they would have had godly people speaking into their lives asking them these hard questions then it could have helped stopped the affair before it ever stated.  It is a wise thing to heed the Proverb to let “Iron sharpen Iron.”  Having someone ask you if “you have been with a person of the opposite sex in an ungodly way or a way that would offend your spouse in the last few weeks” really makes you take an inventory of your life.  Having someone there who can help you pray though your struggles is a huge blessing.  If we are honest with friends about our dealings with others, this can be one major step in helping to keep our “marriage bed pure.”

There you have it.  Here are 5 ways that if subscribed to, will help prevent an extra-marital affair.  There are a variety of others.  Do you and your spouse have any established guidelines or practices to help affair-proof your marriage?  Have you found anything specifically helpful in keeping your marriage pure?  If so, please feel free to share . . .

Soli Deo Gloria,

Adam B. Burrell

The last few weeks I have had the privilege of leading a small group study at the church in which I serve called “Sacred Marriage.” This past week while studying, a few thoughts occurred to me. My first thought was, “Am I still dazzled by Christ?” After thinking through reasons why the Lord still amazes me, my second thought was, “Does Christ still dazzle His Bride?”  It did not take long to answer that question, seeing as how I am part of his Bride. Yes, He still dazzles His Bride. Since Ephesians 5:1 says that we are to “Imitate God” and Ephesians 5:25 says that I am to “love my wife as Christ loves the church,” it seems like there could be some implications (albeit loose ones) that we should continue to pursue and even date our spouses, even after they have been married for 50 or 60 years.

How Christ still dazzles His Bride:

  1. He still woos people to be His bride. The bride of Christ, the church, still continues to grow to this day. While it is the Holy Spirit that actually does the drawing or wooing, the Spirit still draws people to Christ. If Christ is still adding people to His bride, doesn’t it make sence that He still actively loves her? He is still active in the process of wooing. The full number of saints has not yet come to the saving knowledge of Him. Until that time comes, He will continue to seek and dazzle His Bride. Since this is true, shouldn’t we continue to seek and dazzle OUR bride?
  2. He sanctifies His Bride. For those of us that are already followers of Christ, we know that we are being sanctified. We are being conformed to the image of Christ. This does not happen overnight. This is a lifelong process. However, it is a process that He has committed to make. He has promised to ultimately glorify us one day (Romans 8:29-30), but until that day we will continue in this process of sanctification. During this time, He is with us, making himself known to us . . . making himself more and more beautiful. If He continues to make himself beautiful to us in our sanctification, shouldn’t we do the same for our spouse?
  3. He still wows His Bride. Have you ever seen a beautiful sunset or roaring ocean tide and been taken aback by the beauty of God? Has your spirit ever been lifted into what seems like the third heaven while praising God? Have you ever been overcome by the holiness of God and hit your face to the floor in awe of who God is? When that happens, we truly begin to worship Him. The Lord still wows His Bride every day. This is true for the believer that has only recently come to know the Lord as well as the one that has been walking faithful with Him for 60 years. Christ is still in the process of wowing His Bride. If He still dazzles and wows His Bride, shouldn’t we continue to do that for our spouse?

Why we should still dazzle our spouse:

When we are going through the early years of dating, our relationship can be so exciting. It makes romance, dating, and doing special things easy, because it is part of the early process.  The problem I see with so many is that after we get married we see our spouse as already being “caught” and there being no need to continue to try to catch them. For some it is easy to think “why do I need to continue to be romantic, or date after I have already caught the person?” I believe that this is a foolish way of thinking. We all desire to be pursued in one way or another.  We are built that way. Most of us enjoy being made much of, in one way or another. Why should that stop after we are married? Shouldn’t marriage just be the beginning point? Does Christ not still woo, make beautiful, and WOW his Bride? It is easy to stop dating each other once you get married, become comfortable with, and just start living life with your spouse. Your spouse is more than just a buddy and friend . . . they are the person that you covenanted together with for life.

Men: If you do not regularly take your wife on dates (my wife and I shoot for once a month at least), then it is time to ask her out. Buy her flowers. Write her a letter expressing what she means to you and your family. A date does not have to cost much money. It can simply be going on a hike, or playing a game together at Starbucks. Men, you are the spiritual leader in your home, so if you are not doing a good job of making this happen, I believe the buck stops with you. Make it enjoyable. Make it regular. Make much for your bride.  Make much of her, because Christ still does for His.

Woman: God has made you all beautiful in your own way. Your husband once (and hopefully still does) thought you are beautiful. Allow him to lead. Make yourself attractive to him. You know what he likes and does not like. Make yourself available to him. Express your desires in the things that you like and don’t like so that he does not have to guess. Go and do things that he enjoys as well. While the buck stops with the husband when it comes to making these things a priority and finding time to do them, you have a big role to play as well. So ladies, dress up, make your husband feel important, and be the bride of Christ to your husbands. Enjoy a time away from the kids, or just time away from normal life.

Dating is a wonderful part of the beginning part of courtship. The culmination of courtship is marriage. It only makes sense that we should continue in that wonderful process of dating after marriage as well. While dating is not the chief end of marriage (the glory of God is), it certainly is one of the ways to continue to cultivate it. Christ loved, and still loves the church. He still makes much of her. If we want to have a healthy marriage that bears the image of Christ and the church, I believe a good date once or twice a month will help keep you in that process.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Adam B. Burrell

I have been blessed to become a father to four wonderful children (one girl, followed by three rambunctious boys).  I remember wondering when my wife got pregnant with our second child if I would be able to love him as much as my first.  A very wise person told me once that love does not divide, but multiplies.  After having my fourth child just months ago, I can testify that this adage most definitely rings true.  I have had the privilege of working with youth and their families for more than a decade now, and in that time I have noticed a disturbing trend that I don’t think most parents see as that troublesome.  This trend, I believe, is a tool that is used be “the deceiver.” This trend is putting the love for your children above the love you have for your spouse.  I have seen it more times than I can count.  It seems like a reasonable thing: to love your children more than anything else on earth.  It is a very good thing to love our children.  They need our love, and they need to be shown our love.  However, far too many parents make near idols of their children, leaving their spouse in the distance.  This is not wise, healthy, or biblical.  Yes, you are commanded to train and love your children (Ephesians 6:4, Proverbs 29:15, the book of Proverbs), but one of the best ways to love your children well is to love your spouse well . . . even more than your own children.

Here are two reasons why I see this is true . . .

You Made a Covenant With Your Spouse, Not Your Children

In the 5th chapter of Ephesians you read about the husband and wife relationship.  Verse 25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”  This is a huge statement when you start to understand the ramification and practical application of it.  One of the major reasons for Christ coming to earth was to redeem and rescue His bride from the punishment she so justly deserved.  Jesus loves His bride above all others on earth.  This is supposed to be true of all husbands as well.  When you made a covenant with each other in marriage, and joined yourselves together, you then became one flesh (Ephesians 5:31).  You became united.  This is a special relationship that you only ever enter into with one person (until death, or a biblical divorce happens).  This is a covenant that is made with your spouse, not your children.

You Will Live With Your Spouse Forever, Your Children Only Temporarily

            On your wedding day you most likely said something in your vows to this effect: “Till death do us part.”  My wife and I have made it a priority to try to go on at least one date a month to help continue to foster a great relationship together.  I have heard so many parents say that they have not gone on a date alone since they had kids.  One of the things that worries me about this is that after you spend 18-20 years pouring into your children (which you should), are you even going to know your spouse if you do not continue to grow your relationship together?  God has given each parent a great responsibility in raising their children, but one day they too will “leave and cleave,” Lord willing.  You will always have a certain responsibility toward your children, as they do to you, but the relationship you have to your spouse never changes or goes away.  By God’s design you will, or should, live with your spouse until death separates you.  However, you only have a temporary time with your children.  In one way, our children are only ours to borrow, whereas our spouse we have full ownership of (I Corinthians 7:4).

Children are a blessing.  Children are a gift from God.  We are to love them.  We are to train them.  We are to thank God for them.  However, they should never consistently come before your spouse.  Marriage, not parenthood, is a picture of Christ and the Church.  Marriage is a life-long covenant by design.  While parenthood is life-long as well, the meat of it is only brief.  For those of us who still have children in our home, let’s be sure that we are spending much time in developing our relationship with our spouse and not just our children.  Let’s be sure that when our children leave our home, we still have a thriving marriage with our spouse.  Let’s make sure that when we think through these things we think with our Bible open, and not just our hearts, which so easily can lead us astray.  Love your children well . . . but love your spouse even more.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Adam B. Burrell