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Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women

Archive for August, 2016

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

THE FIVE C’S FOR A SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGE

Good Morning!
A few days ago Ruth and I shared a few thoughts at a wedding ceremony about how to develop a successful marriage. Here, in a nutshell is what I communicated with the groom from our 36 years of married life:
CHRIST: Put Him first. Seek Him daily. Make Him the central focus of your marriage. Given the complexity and demands of matrimony and modern life, this will not happen without a deep resolve to just do it.
“For to me, to live is Christ…” (Phil. 1:21a)
COMMITMENT: The word “divorce” must never cross your lips. It simply is not an option. (Murder yes, but never divorce [compliments of Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth]). Resolve to identify and solve your problems…graciously. Determine that no one else shall ever occupy the inner sanctum of your heart except your wife, as long as you both shall live.
“May the God who gives endurance…give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 15:5,6)
COMMUNICATION: Learn to listen to the language of her heart…To the meaning behind her words. Never depreciate how she feels. Respect her emotions as legitimate and seek to understand them.
“Answering before listening is both stupid and rude.” (Prov. 18:13 – The Message)
CONSIDERATION: Call home if you plan to be late for dinner. Open the door for her. Throw your socks into the hamper. Be a gentleman. Bring home flowers or perfume now and then. Lead. Tell her she is beautiful. Apologize when you are wrong. Say “thank you.” Take her on dates.
“Husbands…be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” (I Pet. 3:7)
COMMISSION: Don’t live solely for yourselves. If you do, life will dry up before you. Invest in the lives of people. Win and disciple them. Bind up their wounds. Serve those less fortunate than yourselves.
“…Go and make disciples of all nations…For Christ’s love compels us…that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again…Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” (Matt. 28:19a; 2 Cor. 5:14a, 15b; Jms. 1:27b) (See Isa.58:6,7)
I doubt that there is any greater test of true godliness…or manliness, than how a husband handles his marriage. In fact, I believe that for the most part, the ball is in his court as to whether the marriage is a success or not.
QUESTION: Men, do you choose to have the right stuff to win in this, the toughest of all arenas?
My prayer is that you are having a great week!

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

5) We learned how to maintain communication with each other:

FIVE PRINCIPLES THAT TOOK OUR MARRIAGE FROM GOOD TO GREAT (Part 4 of 4)

We learned that communication is:

The “meeting of meanings.” (Paul Tournier)

Recognizing that talking and having sex is not necessarily communication.

Learning the art of disciplined listening – with the head and the heart. (See Jms. 1:19, 20)

Learning to respect the other person’s point of view. (See I Pet. 3:8-11)

Attacking the problematic issue rather than the person.

Courageously facing and resolving problems, rather than sweeping them under the rug.

Not allowing bitterness or resentment to remain in the relationship.

Understanding the meaning behind the words spoken.

Learning and responding to our spouse’s “love language”: 1

Words of affirmation

Quality time

Receiving gifts

Acts of service

Physical touch

We prayerfully internalized key Scriptures, such as:

“Don’t let bitterness or resentment spoil your marriage.” (Col. 3:19 – Phillips Trans.)

“Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” (Col. 3:19 – NIV)

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Pro. 18:21)

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to become angry, for a man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness life that God desires.” (Jms. 1:19, 20)

“A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.” (Pro. 17:27)

We discovered that to establish and maintain communication, we built into our schedule:

A few minutes each day to talk and pray.

A weekly date night.

A quarterly half day together to re-evaluate, plan, re-connect, and have fun.

APPLICATION QUESTION : Do you think your spouse feels that the two of you are in fact in touch with each other at the deepest level? One suggestion: Schedule a day or two on your calendar where the two of you can get away to re-connect. One goal would be to find out if either of you harbor resentment or bitterness toward the other.

This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection

R. Dwight Hill

1 Credit Dr. Gary Chapman – Five Love Languages – Zondervan Publishing House
Wednesday, August 17, 2016

4) We learned how to mutually accept each other as uniquely designed by God :

FIVE PRINCIPLES THAT TOOK OUR MARRIAGE FROM GOOD TO GREAT (Part 3 of 4)

During the first five years of our marriage, we tried to change each other into our image. Behind this drive lay (1) a basic discontentment with how God had made our spouse, and (2) the invalid perception that we were not being adequately served by our spouse. In time, thankfully, God strongly impressed upon us such Scriptural passages as:

If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps, he must give up all right to himself, carry his cross every day and keep close behind me… For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many…Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (Lk. 9:23 – Phil.; Mk. 10:45; Jn. 15:13)

In studying Romans 12:3-8, I Corinthians 12-14, Ephesians 4:11-16, and I Peter 4:10, 11, we came to realize that God had uniquely gifted both us. We came to the point of accepting, rather than trying to change each other. By God’s grace we learned that the other person was not necessarily wrong, just different.

We became aware of the importance of dealing with our own issues, and allowing God to be the one to deal with those of our spouse: “ Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matt. 7:1-5)

In seeking God’s help to accept and serve the other, we prayerfully internalized Scriptures like Ephesians 4:31, 32: “ Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (See I Thes. 5:11; Heb. 3:13; 10:24 and I Pet. 1:22)

APPLICATION QUESTION: Are you truly accepting your spouse? Or are you still trying to change him or her? If so, why? One suggestion: Identify the most critical aspect of your spouse that you do not accept. Commit before the Lord to pray regularly for (1) a change in your attitude from one of a critical spirit to a spirit of love and acceptance, and (2) determine that if he or she is to be changed, it will be God who does it. Not you.

This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

3) We were committed to the same purpose and calling in life :

FIVE PRINCIPLES THAT TOOK OUR MARRIAGE FROM GOOD TO GREAT: (Part 2 of 4)

We understood the importance of Scripture like Amos 3:3: Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” From before we met, we shared a common passion and calling: To participate with God in advancing his kingdom and bringing him glory. For us that meant (1) Evangelizing: Winning the lost: “[Jesus] said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” (Mark 16:15 ), and (2) Discipleship: Helping followers of Christ reach spiritual maturity: “Go make disciples of all nations…” (Matt. 28:19)

We understood that marriage was not primarily about us, but about giving our lives to God in sacrificial service to others: Jesus : “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. (Lk. 9:23, 24)

We understood that Ruth’s calling as my wife, and one flesh with me, was to partner with me (as Eve was called to do with Adam) in fulfilling God’s call upon my life. ”The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it…The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable (adaptable, complimentary) for him’”… (Gen. 2:15, 18) (See Gen. 2:20, 24; Eph. 5:23, 31)

We were clear on our biblical roles as husband and wife:

My role as Ruth’s husband was to :

  • Provide for the family : If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (I Tim. 5:8)
  • Provide leadership for Ruth: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything… (Eph. 5:22-24)
  • Love Ruth: “…Husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.” (Eph 5:28, 29 – NKJV)

Ruth’s role as my wife was to:

  • Submit to me : “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything…” (Eph. 5:22-24)
  • Honor me: “Let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly].” (Eph. 5:33b- Amp.)
  • Make the home a primary focus: “The older women likewise [are to admonish] the young women [to be} homemakers…” (Tit. 2:3-5 – selected)

APPLICATION QUESTION : If you and your spouse are not on the same page, purpose-wise, what steps do you need to take to begin moving in the same direction? One suggestion: Set a time within the next 2, 3 weeks where you can discuss the question of a common purpose and calling in light of Scriptural imperatives, such as Matthew 28:18-20

This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Yesterday I was talking on the phone with an old friend who knew me before I met my wife Ruth, and I was telling him that I am nutzoid over by her, after these 43 years of marriage. Then I got to thinking, why is that so? Here are five reasons:

FIVE PRINCIPLES THAT TOOK OUR MARRIAGE FROM GOOD TO GREAT: (Part 1 of 4)

1) We built our marriage on a solid biblical foundation : “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” (Matt. 7:24, 25) (See Pro. 24:3,4)

We made our time with God a daily top priority because we realized that without this vital connection with God we would not become the Christlike person our spouse would love through thick and thin.

We prayfully internalized marital precepts found in passages like Ephesians 5:21 -33; I Peter 3:7-12, and I Corinthians 13:4-8.

APPLICATION QUESTION : What action step(s) do you need to take to begin building a solid foundation of God’s word into your life? One suggestion is to start carving out 10 minutes a day, the first thing in the morning. Prayerfully meditate on a small portion of Scripture.

2) We determined that we would selflessly serve each other :

As followers of Christ, we recognized that we are called to emulate Christ in his humility by sacrificially serving others: ”Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mk. 10:43b-45)

As Ruth’s husband, I sincerely sought to apply this important Scripture: ”Husbands…be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” (I Pet. 3:7)

As my wife, Ruth, with Christ’s help came to embody I Peter 3:1-5: …You wives must accept the authority of your husbands, even those who refuse to accept the Good News. Your godly lives will speak to them better than any words. They will be won over by watching your pure, godly behavior. Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. That is the way the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands.” (NLT)

APPLICATION QUESTION : Husbands, if I were to ask your wife if she felt that you were a true servant to her, what would she say? One suggestion: For the next week make a conscious effort to lift the load around the house. Help with getting the kids to bed. Fill her car with gas. Pick up your own mess, etc.

This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection

R. Dwight Hill