Appreciating the Dance in Marriage – The 80:20 Ratio

The-80-20-Ratio-The-Secret-to-760x422In 1 Corinthians 7:28, the apostle Paul says that “those who marry will face many troubles in this life.” In this passage, Paul is making a case that a single person will be less divided than a married person in their ability to serve the Lord. While he clearly states marriage is not a sin, he just reminds us that some trouble will no doubt occur for those who marry.

Thus, enter what Dr. Emerson Eggerichs calls “The 80:20 Ratio.”

Dr. Eggerichs says that in many marriages, things are good about 80% of the time. There is a 20% that is going to exist even if a couple is totally selfless and loves Jesus – this is what Paul is referring to as trouble.* Simple personality differences. Differences of opinions. If left unchecked, this 20% can overtake the 80%, and before you know it, the marriage has become more negative than positive.

If couples could realize that conflict, or the 20%, is bound to occur, they could learn to “do the dance” so to speak of working through it, and the 20% could remain at 20%, or even decrease – it may even be possible to learn to appreciate the dance as it can teach us so much.

Let me give an example of what Paul is referring to when he says “trouble,” as well as how “the dance” operates:

My wife works fairly late each Wednesday night. When she comes home, she needs to wind down which she likes to do by watching a TV show before bed. It’s a legitimate need of hers.

Meanwhile, I’ve put our son down to bed and cleaned up the house, and some Wednesday nights I just want to go to sleep, even though she wants me to stay up with her. It’s a legitimate need of mine.

Who’s right? We both are.

Thus, enters the dance. We have to talk through it, either one of us submitting to the other, or coming up with a third solution.

Or, we could allow this small trouble to grow, and this 20% moment could blow out of proportion.

This is just an example – this could be applied to big and little things ranging from finances, to parenting, to sex, to how one squeezes the toothpaste.

The point is, we need to learn to realize that trouble will come (sometimes we get mad that we are having the trouble in the first place!), and learning to “do the dance” is a must.

It’s possible, with God’s help, we may even learn to appreciate the dance as it may lead to better solutions than we would have come up with as individuals.

God wants us to be one in our marriages.

Do you find yourself getting frustrated that there are frustrations in your marriage?

Trouble is bound to come for those who are married – let’s learn to “do the dance” so we can keep 80% (or more) of our marriage good.

*Please realize that 80 and 20 are arbitrary numbers chosen for example only – for some couples it may be more or less, etc.

Popsicle Prayers

IMG_448467240As our family has grown, the pace of our life has increased, as has the tension of struggling to find space to truly pray for others. While we have rhythms with quiet time, praying before meals, and bedtime prayers, we desired to have a space where we could pray for the many friends and family we have, as well as those special requests that come along. If we say “yes” to praying for someone who asks, we not only want to honor that, but we want to lift up those things in faith knowing that God will hear and respond.

Thus, enter “Popsicle Prayers.” My wife Emily had the idea of writing down our family, friends, and those special requests on popsicle sticks and putting them in a jar. Each time we sit down to eat dinner together, we have our son Atticus pick a popsicle stick from the jar (which he loves by the way). Then, we simply pray for that person and their needs along with thanking Jesus for our food.

Some of the benefits of this exercise we’ve found are:

-It doesn’t require additional time to be set aside – we include it when we already pray before meals

-It ensures that we can truly pray for all of those we care about in some sort of rotation

-Our son is learning to pray for others

So, I’m sharing this with you because if you are on the go and desire to create a bit more space for your family to pray, this is a simple and practical way to do it. Feel free to tweak and play with this idea, and I’d love to hear what you do with it or other ways you’ve found to incorporate prayer into your family life!

Knowing God (Week 5): Truly Knowing Him

knowinggod-fullscreenslide-1024x768

Rather than focusing on a specific attribute for this final post in the Knowing God series, I’d like to give a final overview of the topic, along with some application.

While it is good to know things about God, the ultimate goal is to truly know God and have a relationship with Him.

I can say I know Tiger Woods, but this wouldn’t be true. I don’t have a relationship with him. I know he’s a golfer who made some mistakes, and now has a lot of work to do if he wants to catch Jack Nicklaus’s records. But I don’t know Tiger Woods.

Similarly, knowing facts about God, doesn’t necessarily mean we truly know God.

Nonetheless, learning the information about the attributes of God is an important component of knowing Him better; it leads to a stirring of our hearts, which births a desire to know God better.

The prayer I’ve been praying for myself and everyone else on this knowing God journey has been what Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus: “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better” (Eph. 1:17).

Maybe you know a lot about God, but don’t feel a deep connection with Him right now.

Maybe you know Him well but are longing to get to know Him even better.

No matter what position you’re in, ask God to give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better, and see how He responds.

 

 

Knowing God (Week 4): Got Wisdom?

gotwisdom

Life has a way of presenting situations in which we are unclear as to what the best way forward is.

An attribute of God that He can pass onto us when we are in Christ, is wisdom. God is infinitely wise: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” (Romans 11:33).

Yet, He invites us to ask for wisdom: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

Solomon asked God for wisdom in the Old Testament and God opened His floodgates of wisdom (and more) to Solomon. Interestingly, notice why Solomon asked for wisdom here: “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours” (2 Chronicles 1:10)?

Solomon wanted help leading in the position that God had given to him.

What has God given you that you need help with? 

Maybe (like me) God’s gifted you with a child, and you need wisdom to know when to discipline your child and when to offer grace.

Maybe you want to lead your family better, but need wisdom to know how to best carry out that desire.

Maybe you need wisdom navigating relationships at your workplace.

Maybe you’ve found yourself in charge of many and you need wisdom to lead them well.

No matter what it is, God invites us to ask Him, and the God of infinite wisdom will pass some of His wisdom on to us.

Join me today in going to Him with what you need wisdom for.

Knowing God (Week 3): Not Appointed to Suffer Wrath

WrathofGodThis week we moved on from the “incommunicable” attributes (those that reside only with God) to the “communicable” attributes (those that can be passed on to us in some measure). One attribute that we don’t hear often in church is that of the wrath of God.

The wrath of God can be defined as God’s intense hatred of sin and evil. For example, Romans 1:18 says, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.”

There are two aspects of God’s wrath that I’d like to point out in this post:

1) We should share God’s hatred of what is evil. Romans 12:9 says, “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” I’m not saying we should hate people and act out on it. Let me give an example. Yesterday on the radio I heard a story of a man stabbing his son over a financial argument. A deeply rooted anger and sense of injustice welled up within me that I couldn’t explain – I believe it was this thought of me sharing God’s hatred of evil. However, as Jesus tells us to love our enemies, my mind quickly shifted to praying for this man, that he might be delivered from the enemy that has him so enslaved that he would commit such an act.

2) We should be extremely thankful for Christ saving us from the coming wrath of God. 1 Thessalonians 5:9 says, “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Hallelujah! I can remember reading Colossians 3:5-6 in college and being discouraged: “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.” I thought, man, I’m guilty of this list – God’s wrath is coming on me. I didn’t have a mature view of the cross and of Jesus’ love for me. According to 1 Thessalonians 5:9, I’m not appointed to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through Jesus. That is good news!

So, what should we do with this truth?

First of all, don’t be surprised if as you grow in Christ, hatred towards evil also grows. It’s ok. Some of Jesus righteous anger will grow in you as you grow in Christ. Just try to pray for those committing those acts so that they would receive Him.

Secondly, give thanks today for Jesus and His plan of salvation to save you from His wrath. 1 Thessalonians 5:9 is so encouraging. Let it encourage you. Also, consider listening to “In Christ Alone” which speaks of God’s wrath being satisfied on the cross and the benefits we receive as a result. Thank Him and worship Him in response.

If you would like to study the attributes of God on your own or with a group, click here and scroll down to “Knowing God” for resources.

Knowing God (Week 2): Greater than My Heart

omniscient_logo

The attribute that stuck out to me this week was omniscience (an “incommunicable” attribute that can’t be passed on to us). Omniscience comes from two words:

omni = Latin for “all,” and,

scient = knowing

Thus, “omniscience” means all knowing. Hebrews 4:13 says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

God sees all and knows all.

The super comforting part about this for me this week is that God knows me better than I know myself.

1 John 3:19-20 says, “This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.”

When I feel confused…God is greater than my heart and knows everything.

When the future seems unclear…God is greater than my heart and knows everything.

When my heart condemns itself for whatever reason…God is greater than my heart and knows everything.

Sometimes when I so badly want to know, Jesus is saying, “it’s ok, you don’t have to know because do…just trust me.”

What’s the area right now in which you just don’t know? Say a prayer right now in which you entrust it to Jesus. He knows. Everything.

Knowing God (Week 1): Dependent on the Independent

BEOh8g1CYAACKhu.jpg-largeThis week I began teaching an extension (a class focused on learning about a specific topic and helping folks get connected into our church) called “Knowing God.” In this extension, we are looking at God’s attributes, or characteristics. Today marks the first post in a five-week series I’ll do on what I’m learning as we move through this extension.

First of all, it’s worthy to note that some of God’s attributes are “incommunicable” – meaning that they aren’t passed onto us as humans. Yet, some of His attributes are “communicable” and He shares them with us as we receive Christ and are sanctified in Him (though we’ll never possess them to the extent that He does).

This week, the attribute that stood out to me the most is that of God’s independence (an incommunicable attribute). God does not need anything and is the only self-sufficient being in the world. Acts 17:25 says that “He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything.”

What amazes me though, is that even though God is this independent and infinite God, He chooses to give us life and salvation.

In fact, as much as he is completely independent, we are completely dependent on Him.

Immediately after Paul makes the statement above in Acts 17, he says, “Rather, He Himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else…for in Him we live and move and have our being.”

Wow! I have nothing without God. Every breath I take comes from Him. Each day is a gift ordained by Him.

Looking at this idea of God this week comforted me in that it was kind of like Jesus was saying to me, “I’ve got this” – in regards to my life.

He made me. He has numbered my days. He’s given me everything I’ve needed (and more) everyday of my life. Always.

I’m dependent upon the independent God of the universe and He loves it that way. Just like I love providing for my son, and just like I receive joy when he runs into my arms, Jesus is the same.

As it is He who made us, it is He that we are dependent upon, and He that will offer the most peace when we surrender all to Him.