Methods vs Motives

When my Dad was dying from liver cancer I realized one day that I had never told him that I loved him. The reason was because he had never told me that he loved me. I did love my Dad very much and I knew that he loved me, we just didn’t say it, that wasn’t what he did. I decided that I wanted to tell him at least once that I loved him before he died so I called him up on the phone and talked for some time about a variety of topics but I couldn’t get up the nerve to say I love you before I hung up. I was was so upset with myself that I called him up again five minutes later, he was surprised to hear from me so soon, but we again talked for awhile and I again hung up without saying “I love you.” I called him up a third time and when he answered I said, “Hi Dad, this is Dee, I love you” , and I hung up. A few minutes later the phone rang, it was Dad, and he said, “I love you, too”, and he hung up.

In my journal I wrote, “Why was it so hard to tell my Dad I loved him?” As I was thinking about that I realized that Patty and I had been married for 20 years and I had never told her that I loved her. I made a goal to tell her 5 times every day that I loved her. I wrote the goal down and read it every day. Some days I forgot, and some days I forgot until I read my goals before going to bed so I would tell her 5 times in a row. My motive was to communicate to Patty that I loved her, my method to make it happen was my goal and reviewing my goal. I have a goal to pray with Patty 3 times minimum each week, and I have shared that goal with guys in my accountability groups who hold me accountable. My motive is to grow in unity and oneness with Patty and I know that praying together is a very powerful way to make that happen, plus I believe that the prayer of a husband and wife is the most powerful form of prayer that there is. My method to overcome my forgetfulness and business in life is a goal and accountability to others. Patty appreciates my desire to be a good husband and spiritual leader in our marriage, and she doesn’t get offended by my method.

I often hear of wives being upset at the fact that her husband is praying with her because of a goal and accountability, or that he is taking her on a date once a week for the same reason. When they get upset they are forgetting a very important point, the motive of their husband in praying with them or taking them on a date is that he wants to please his wife, he wants to make his marriage better, he wants to be the spiritual leader in his marriage, the goal and accountability to others for the goal is the method of making it happen, motives and methods are way different.

Wives who can’t appreciate their husbands desire to do the things that will make her happy, who can’t appreciate the fact that he is trying hard to grow as a husband because he is using a method to help him be successful, are the kind of wives that will soon have husbands that will quit trying.

Men are mechanical in their pursuit of success in every area of their life, that is they need tools. My Dad used to say, “there isn’t anything you can’t accomplish if you have the right tools.” Goals, accountability, counseling, and reminders are tools, methods, and they work.

Wives, be part of the solution to your less than perfect marriage by appreciating very much, the fact that your husband wants to get better so much so, that he is using good tools to make it happen. If you don’t appreciate his desire and motive because of his reliance on a tool you will be the problem.

Date your Wife 2

The most critical element in a perfect marriage is communication. Not just information sharing but real, personal, intimate communication. One of the best tools to make it happen is dating. Our own home often is a barrier to intimate communication because of all the distractions. The kind of communication that effectively builds unity in the relationship takes time and in our own homes there are so many things that interrupt before much time can be spent on a regular basis. Kids, television, grandkids, our regular activities that we can see reminders of as we try to talk, cell phones, and a hundred other things. Also we get programmed in our home to just give information because of the schedules we keep we are usually in a hurry to do something or go someplace.

A husband who plans a date communicates value and worth to his wife. My personal goal is to plan a date once a week with Patty. We don’t make that goal, but we do probably average about 3 times each month. Our favorite date is to go to a restaurant because it lends itself to conversation sitting on opposite sides of a table making eye contact, waiting for our food and eating casually and drinking a cup of coffee after the meal. There is easily an hour of talking about a lot of different things but because of the time available it is much more intimate than normal conversation that happens on the fly in our everyday life.

In the early days of our marriage we didn’t have a lot of money so we seldom had a full meal, often just a piece of pie and a cup of coffee and many times just the coffee. We often would get a baby sitter after the kids were all in bed and go to WinCo shopping. I would push the cart and follow Patty as she put groceries in it. Then we would go to Shari’s restaurant which was a couple of blocks down the road from WinCo, both which were open 24 hours a day, and have a piece of pie. We sometimes would get just one piece, and split it, and get a cup of coffee or even just a glass of water, and talk for an hour.

Because of our regular times of talking we would both postpone talking about things that bugged us, or events where we were hurt or offended until we went on our date. Because of the delay we were usually much less emotion about the event and could talk about it calmly and rationally, and arrive at a solution or reconciliation. Because we planned on talking about things that were tough we approached the time much less defensively than if we discussed it at home impulsively.

We also have driving dates where we will drive up to see family or some other location, and talk in the car on the way. We both talk well in the car sitting next to each other, and there are no interruptions.

Patty and I have been married 51 years, raised 8 kids, have been very busy with ministry in our church, and have a very good marriage. I know that a key reason why is the regular times of escaping from the regular routines if life to connect.

Mawage – Princes Bride

I start teaching my “Leadership Class” this weekend. I teach classes for men and for woman. In the classes I do some teaching on how to have a perfect marriage. The blogs for the next several days will be part of some lessons I will teach, some old and some new in the class. I wrote yesterday that I was going to continue with “dating in marriage”, but I decided to do that tomorrow. I am going to alternate between husbands and wives responsibilities, weaknesses, problems, and solutions, so as not to give the impression that it is all about the guy.

One of the movies that was popular with our family when it first came out was “Princes Bride”. There were dozens of quotes that got repeated continually “ad nausea”. One of them was;


Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder today. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam … And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva

There are a few perfect marriages, but most have problems. Over the years as a pastor I have done hundreds of hours of marriage counseling, and have found that the problems are few, and repeated in most marriages. Yesterday’s blog was primarily about the problem of little to no communication or poor to bad communication that plagues many marriages which is primarily the husbands problem, and I suggested that dating was a great solution.

Today, I am going to write about the biggest problem that most wives have in marriages.

Proverbs 14:1 The wise woman builds her house,
but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.

How does a wife destroy her own marriage? by failing to forgive her husband of his sins, mess ups, thoughtlessness, poor choices, selfishness, and character flaws, and forgiving him quickly. Instead she keeps them in her memory bank and every time he repeats the sin, it gets bigger, it builds up, to the point that it destroys the marriage.

A husband and wife have great power to change each other to be more like Christ, but the way that it happens is different, and neither follows human logic.

Proverbs 14:1 The wise woman builds her house,but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.

Many wives don’t forgive, but remain bitter about an offense committed by her husband, and every time the offense is re-committed the bitterness grows. One of the reasons is that our human way of thinking assumes that if you forgive quickly he will be more apt to repeat it, but if you send a message to him that you were hurt by what he did by getting angry, or irritated, or remaining bitter that he will stop. Doesn’t work, never has, never will.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man/woman, but its end is the way of death.

The key principle for a wife to remember is that God needs to be the one who changes her husband, not her. He does that in response to the wife’s behavior, automatic, every time, it is how He works. If you attempt to be the direct change agent in the life of your husband by nagging, anger, bitterness, or retaliation, God will step out of the picture and let you try. If you forgive quickly, not because he deserves it, but because Jesus has forgiven you of everything you have ever done, God will work in your husbands heart, bring conviction into his conscience, prompt him to change, prompt him to ask you how he can improve and listen, possibly bring other men into his life to coach and teach him, and give him the power to change.

This principle works, God honors and works when we choose to forgive.

P.S. I am referring in this blog to the “common” kinds of mistakes and sins that husbands make, not the big ones of physical abuse or others that have a different solution.

Date your Wife

When I was in College I was wife hunting. I wanted to get married so I was always looking out for the kind of girl that I would want to spend my life with. Patty worked in the college cafeteria for a job and I noticed her every time I went through the line, and she would plop a big spoon of potatoes on my plate. One time through the line, when she put an extra scoop of potatoes on my plate, I asked her if she would like to go to a concert with me, and she said yes. That was the first of many dates that I asked Patty on, which resulted in many conversations, a growing relationship, and a wedding. I was a poor college student so I became the master of cheap dates. One of our favorite cheap dates was going to the TV room that was in the student Union building on Friday nights and watching “Mission Impossible.” Walks down to the local grade school several blocks from our college and me pushing Patty in a swing or the two of us doing teeter totter together was another weekly favorite. Our dates had several characteristics besides being cheap. The first one was that they majored on conversation more than activity. It was the hours of talking that resulted in our relationship moving from liking each other to loving each other. The second characteristic was that it was just the two of us so that conversation was more than chit chat and information sharing. A third characteristic was that we were both always in courting mode, meaning that we were both trying to impress the other person with our personality, and character. Being in courting mode resulted in good manners, disciplined speech, kind and gracious compliments, occasional gifts, and intelligent, well thought out questions. We were both working hard at making the other person feel special and getting them to like us.

An interesting thing happens to many married couples as a result of jobs, houses that need cleaned and fixed, meals that need to be cooked, lawns that need to be mowed, kids that need to be changed and disciplined, and the hassle of life, the dates stop or are greatly reduced. The thinking is that, “after all we live together, and sleep together, why have dates.

Men often have the attitude that the dating was for the purpose of winning her, conquering her reluctance, and you were successful so move on to work, hobbies, or whatever else there is left to conquer in life.

One of the things that often happens in marriages where dates are no longer part of their relationship is that intimate and meaningful communication stops. Conversation becomes information sharing about schedules, kids, activities, and bills. Husbands and wives whose communication moves to chit chat and talking about schedules become more like business partners than lovers.

The biggest consequence of no to little dating in a marriage is that often courting leaves the relationship. We take each other for granted, get irritated and angry, are not careful in our speech, quit working at making our spouse feel special, praise and affirmation is rare, and instead of spending time thinking creatively of ways to make our partner feel loved we become critical of their behavior and actions toward us.

Tomorrow I will continue this topic and write about how to make it happen and how to make them rewarding.

Jefferson Baptist Church

JBC began as a church with 22 people meeting in a small room in the Conser Hall in Jefferson, Oregon on October 7th, 1973. Patty and I helped start the church and were part of that first meeting while I was attending Western Baptist College, now called Corbin in Salem. I graduated from College in 1975 and became the Pastor on October 3rd, 1976 at the age of 28. I have now been Pastoring JBC for 44 years. The church, it’s ministries, the people in it, and it’s facilities have been the passion of my life these past 44 years. I haven’t yet, but one of these days I will run out of passion. I am thinking I can contribute at least a little bit for the next 10 to 20 years. I am thinking the way things are going that Jesus will be back before then anyway. All churches have their problems, but for the most part JBC is a very healthy church. We are characterized by people who forgive one another, pray for one another, support one another, encourage one another, and who are patient with one another. We are the “I love you church; we love God, each other, our neighbors, and the whole world, because God first loved us.”

I have written down a lot of information about the church over the years; events, growth, struggles, about people, ministries, and I periodically go back and read the things I have written, especially in the month of October. I am always amazed at what God has done and I am often overwhelmed with a great sense of being the most blessed man on the planet earth, it truly has been an amazing journey.

One of the major blessings has been the very strong partnership Patty and I have had from day one as we worked and served together, and also as we included our kids in the ministry of the church.

October is a good month. I was born in October, JBC was born in October, I became the Pastor of JBC in October, hunting season is in October, salmon fishing is hot in October, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Jesus comes back in October.

Clean Up, Pick Up, and Organize

I tend to be a messy person. Not me personally, I always brush my teeth, comb my hair and take a shower. My desk in my office gets very cluttered and difficult to locate because it is covered with papers and books most of the time. My shop is worse than my office, and outside around our place is lots of stuff that needs picked up and put away. It is one of those things that gets on my “todo” list everyday, but I seldom get to it. I am going fishing on Friday, and I haven’t found the fishing tackle that I need yet, I know it is in my “Man Room” somewhere, I know I remember seeing it, someplace. I get terribly frustrated when I am doing a project and can’t find a tool, when I am going golfing and can’t find my clubs, and when I am going fishing and can’t find my reel. I always vow that I am going to get everything cleaned up, picked up, and organized, but it doesn’t seem to happen.

I am always talking about “Character,” and the importance of growing mature in character. I have identified 26 different character traits that I work on. Which of the 26 does this problem fall under? Orderliness is number eleven, and I have considered myself orderly because of my disciplined use of my time, but I guess I better expand my definition. OK, here is a new definition, “Organizing my tools, work places, and stuff so that I waste little time looking for what I need, and get projects and work done effectively.” Ah, here is another definition that I just thought of, “Having my surroundings neat and organized so that I give the impression to other people around me that I am a competent and self-controlled person so that they have confidence in my leadership and influence in their life.” Here is one more definition, “Having all my tools and stuff organized so that I know what I have, can find it quickly so that I don’t have to keep buying another one when I can’t find it, and save lots of money.”

So, the key to changing and growing is to write the goal and the strategy for accomplishing the goal out in detail, break it down in small parts, pick one of the smaller parts as the starting point and then read it everyday. In order to increase motivation it helps to add a reward to the completion of a goal.

OK, my first goal is to clean up my boats, park them out of the way and put a cover on them. When I get that job done I will reward myself by taking the cover back off of one and taking it fishing!

The Prize

In 1 Corinthians 9:24 the apostle Paul says that he is exercising self control in every area of his life in order to win the race that he is in and the prize that will last for all eternity. The prize is to be the person who sits at right hand of Jesus on His throne even as Jesus sits at the right side of the Father’s throne. This goal in Paul’s life kept him on fire and full of passion for the Lord. Most believers don’t understand the end of life judgment that we must all go through and the rewards or lack of rewards that we will receive from Him. Because of this lack of understanding most believers are apathetic in living their life as believers for Christ and growing in their walk with Him. It really doesn’t matter if they grow or not or accomplish anything for the Lord of significance. In their thinking they are saved by Grace, no works required, so now that they are headed for heaven nothing else really matters.

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

1 Corinthians 3:13-15 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

The rewards that we receive or don’t receive at the “Judgment Seat of Christ” are significant and last for a long, long time.