Somehow, I have been added to several mailing lists from some random marriage counselors. No idea how I got on there, but now they send me all kinds of advice and cute stories. There’s really only a few that I read or support. Most get deleted within seconds of seeing them. Just like a coupon page for fast food. I am not going to use it.
I don’t claim to be a marriage counselor. There are no framed papers hanging up in here, boasting about some outdated course, taught by someone trying to make a living at something they never experienced. No formal college out there brags about me as a graduate. When I say I graduated from the school of hard knocks, you better believe that I was valedictorian of that class.
All I claim to be, is a knucklehead who evolved into an abusive husband and almost destroyed his family. My only claim to success is figuring out how stupid and arrogant I really was, and deciding to change. My credential are nothing more than one happy wife who honestly wished I would just die, at one point. Yeah. It was that bad.
When I read most marriage experts advice, I get irritated. It’s the same generic crap that I have heard for twenty five years. Just love each other, 50/50, two way street, submit more, love more, pray more, communicate more…. Yep. All that over and over. I am not saying that there isn’t some value to their advice, any more than there is value to the gazillion diets out there. All of them will have some effect on the person who has a sincere desire to improve. All will have some improvement, but unless you go for the big issue, it’s like a bandaid on a broken arm.
I don’t care if you are a Christian or not. I don’t care if you consider me a complete idiot. Your opinion of me has no effect on the fact that my marriage is better and more passionate now than when we were first married. Whatever you want to declare that you believe only has to be compared to the condition of your home. That’s the fact, jack.
The messages I hear from most of these guys, is just well packaged foolishness. It sounds so sweet and loving. It sounds like they really know their stuff because they use such eloquent words. They must be experts because of the beautiful artwork and catchy phrases they have on their website. Please don’t fall for it. It’s like fast food, it will fill you up, but there’s not enough nutritional value to sustain a healthy body for very long.
So, what is the foundational teaching that absolutely has to show up to be considered a legitimate marriage ministry? Ephesians 5:25. Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church. Until that one verse is sorted out, you will be building on a weak foundation.
Christian or not, doesn’t matter. The principle of that verse is the only solid way to make a marriage unbreakable. When the husband becomes selfless in his love for his bride, he does things and makes decisions a selfish man will never do. When a man treats the needs and desires of his wife as being more important than his own, he creates a passionate bond that doesn’t show up any other way. When a wife is absolutely convinced, for years, that this man values her above every other person alive, that guy has an incredibly happy home. When that husband willingly and joyfully sets aside his immaturity and selfishness to focus his life mission on loving that wife, he has created a relationship that will not exist any other way.
No selfish desires or attitudes have ever strengthened a marriage. The ideas that each person has to pull their own weight is just negotiation, not passion. Stop looking for timid compromises, go for the big win. I am not talking to the ladies here. With very few exceptions, the ladies are already committed to making the marriage work, even by sacrificing their own desires. The ladies are almost always willing to do whatever it takes to save their family. It’s the guys who are usually the aggravating ones.
Most guys will do whatever it takes to save a marriage under two conditions. It has to make me happy. It has to be on my terms. Period.
Both are violently selfish. Neither of those will allow you to be “all in” because to are constantly evaluating the benefit of the marriage for yourself. You will be open to considering affairs and divorce because you still expect the marriage to be all about you. Everything has to benefit you. You expect her to voluntary place herself beneath you, cater to you, adapt to you and submit to you… Just so you can say that you are happily married. Your idea of a happy marriage is still a selfish playground where it’s a never ending game of follow the leader. Nobody else gets a turn, just you.
What other relationship in your life would work under those conditions? Who else would even be your friend if you treated them like you treat your wife? How can you demand that she treat you with selfless love and respect, while you are the opposite? Why are you waiting for her to become the kind of person you aren’t willing to be? Ask yourself those questions and see what comes out.
I realize that this is becoming a recurring theme in here. I am not on a witch hunt for bad counselors. I am thankful for anyone who is honestly working to strengthen marriages and families. But, when I watch someone serving up fatty, toxic, greasy ministry burgers and trying to feed them to a desperate couple, it ticks me off. To continuously poison marriages with failed advice says that it was never an “honest” pursuit to begin with. It was someone who needed the spotlight or the applause. Maybe it was the shortest course in college. Don’t know. But it’s someone working at a job they aren’t qualified for.
Ken Nair, Joel and Kathy Davisson, Robert Mark Alter. Those guys teach the power of the husband learning to use Ephesians 5:25 and make a solid marriage. There may be others, I haven’t found them, yet. There are several that I support and encourage because I know that their heart is in the right place, even if they are still under the blind submission teachings. They are pursuing truth, the will probably find it, eventually.
I am that guy who fell victim to both of these evils. Fast food helped shape me into the mushy, fat guy I am. Pansy marriage advice helped shape me into a selfish and immature husband. I am currently in complete defiance of the bad marriage advice. That kind will never beat me up again. If I can steer clear of the drive thru, I will beat the other one, too.
Don’t allow your marriage to struggle and die because you are living on junk food grade counseling. Get registered on the marriage forum and get connected to the special forces of marriage ministry. These guys will get you through it. They have the good stuff for you.