APRIL,1969 / Volume 9 / Number 4
MONTHLY PUBLICATION OF THE BIOLA FELLOWSHIP president ................ S. H. SUTHERLAND editor ....................... AL SANDERS production .............. BILL EHMANN design .................... JOHN OZMON printing .................. CHURCH PRESS
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HOW TO BE HAPPY THOUGH MARRIED Tim F. LaHaye
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OH THIS MONTH'S COVER Mr. Israel Carmona, right, coordinator of Biola’s tours, discusses opportunities for travel this year with Dr. Vern Lewis, Assistant Prof, of Psychology at Biola College, and Biola student, Vir ginia Hollbrook. Dr. Lewis will direct the 4th “Europe Our Campus” tour this summer. Details are on page 36.
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HOW TO BE
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THOUOH MARRIED by Tim F. LaHaye, Pastor, Scott Memorial Baptist Church, San Diego, Calif. CHAPTER ONE
gether on the basis of their natural weaknesses. She is weak in assert ing herself, and he is weak in con trolling himself. He enjoys talking. She enjoys listening. So they just seem to hit it off. After a while they get married, unaware that in addi tion to these traits there are certain other, less desirable characteristics. All strengths carry their natural cor responding weakness. The problem is, when you have a strength that corresponds to another p e rson ’s weakness, it’s easy to look down on that person. For example, Mr. San guine will soon get on the nerves of Miss Phlegmatic or Miss Melancholy, because he is very careless. He doesn’t pick up his socks or his shoes. His closet is a mess. He never straightens his drawer. Consequent ly, she gets a little perturbed; be cause her precise, careful, efficient, even perfectionist, tendencies are offended due to his perennial care lessness. He will get annoyed at her fastidiousness. He thinks that it takes her too long to do anything. “It takes her forever to dress” ; “She is always late” ; and on and on and on he complains. This is a conflict on the basis of natural weakness. Mr. Choleric, the hard driving businessman type, will usually be at tracted to the more reticent type. He needs love. He doesn’t seem to be able to give much, for he doesn’t have much to give. He loves work or other forms of producing activity. 3
M arriage is the most sublime ex perience two people can share on this earth. It doesn’t always turn out that way; in fact, last year in America there were 500,000 divorces. Evidently something is wrong with this marvelous institution which God intended to be a great blessing. Many a person has come into my office for counseling, who starts off by saying “What makes people like us get married in the first place?” When asked this question, I usually steer the subject to human tempera ment. I’ve observed a basic rule that opposites attract each other. For some strange reason, I’ve never seen two people with exactly the same temperament who were drawn to gether and married. Mr. Sanguine, the warm, buoyant, effervescent, salesman type is nat urally attracted to the more reticent, phlegmatic or melancholy tempera ment. In his boisterous way he sees this person who never overstates the case, never volunteers too much in formation, doesn’t embarrass her self, and he goes home and thinks, “Why can’t I learn to keep my big mouth shut? Why don’t I give others a chance? Why can’t I be like Miss So and So? In her lovely way she is quite demure.” All of the time she is thinking, “I wish I were more like him. He is so expressive and demon strative. What a wonderful person he is!” These two are drawn to
ed or resentful, stop for a moment and take a look at it. Then pray about it, because your reaction is not dependent upon another person’s be havior. If you sense anger, hostility, and bitterness come within you, then you have sinned against God regard less of the reason. Oh, you can say, “I’ve picked these socks up ten thou sand times,” but that still is no justi fication for anger, bitterness, and wrath. The Bible tells us very clear ly, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption, but let all bitter ness, wrath, clamor, anger, evil speaking, and enmity of heart be put away from you, and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” When you really recognize that this is God’s will for you and how He would have you react, you can go to Him for power to “Walk in the Spirit.” If your partner goes off in a huff, angrily shouting at you, what is your reaction? Anger, hostility, bitter ness, wrath? If so, you have a spirit ual problem. This may sound ideal istic, but it through the Holy Spirit is possible. If your partner goes out of the house in the morning angry and upset, you can’t really do much about it. Instead of stewing and fum ing, you can pause and ask God to give you a forgiving heart. “Forgive him, Lord, he doesn’t know what he’s doing.” This is scriptural. Too many people chew about it and stew over it all day long. If you have a serious difference with your partner, something about which you have conflict, after you have examined the situation and af ter you have made your own attitude right with God, pray about it. Then communicate with your partner about it. Later on we will talk about communication in detail and how to sit down and share with your pp f- ner, but in the meantime let me just give this verse of Scripture. Ephe-
He loves himself, and finds it hard to love another. This individual will set out to make his wife happy by working for her. She, instead, seems to be an idealist and wants someone who will love her. He doesn’t seem to understand this. He thinks work ing hard, buying her things, etc., is showing love. They are so opposite they just don’t seem to understand each other. Psychologists call these differences, “personality conflicts.” Others call them “temperament con flicts.” These differences do not have to destroy a marriage! But they will if both people are so selfish they re fuse to let God modify the weak nesses that cause these clashes. The nine characteristics of the Spirit- filled life found in Galatians 5:22-23 are the perfect cure for such conflict. CHAPTER TWO Differences in marriage are not fatal! They just prove that you are individuals. Learning to live with these differences is the art that makes for a happy adjustment in marriage. Unfortunately too many couples get resentful, hostile, or bit ter when faced with natural differ ences. Here are some suggestions on how to manage your differences. When you feel yourself becoming frustrat-
Church of San Diego, prepares manuscripts for this month's broadcasts on "The Biola Hour" in his study. 4
sians 4:15 says, “But speaking the truth in love. . . It's important that we not only speak the truth, but also that we do it very lovingly. Pick a relaxed time when you can objectively share your feelings with out getting overly emotional. Never speak in anger! Always allow time for what I call reaction. Then leave the matter to the Holy Spirit. After you have stated your objection one time, then pray about it. Trust God to work in his or her heart. Finally, ask God, the Giver of love, to fill you with love so that you can overlook your differences. For get past mistakes and sins. Bury the hatchet deep when you forgive. Don’t keep the handle up where you can grab it quickly, but forgive and for get. Just because habit takes over and your partner may repeat the practice is no reason that you have to bludgeon him with the statement, “Oh, I knew you would forget! I knew you would do it again!” In stead, be forgiving. We love to be forgiven, don’t we? Then why not forgive “as Christ has forgiven us?” Forgiveness is a necessary part of every marriage! Try it, and let the Holy Spirit enrich your relationship. CHAPTER THREE The adjustment phase of marriage usually lasts anywhere from one to three years. During that period many of the heartaches and joys of marriage are experienced. Unfor tunately, it seems that the divorce statistics reveal that at least 75% of those who divorce do so within the first three years. In the first few years of marriage when tempers seem to be easiest to ignite and when emotions are closest to the surface, many a heartache has been experi enced because of the inability of two human beings to adjust properly to each other. Philippians 2:3 & 4, is the perfect cure for this problem. It states, “Let nothing be done through strife or
vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” This is the perfect antidote to selfishness! If you go into marriage with the idea that you are going to get out of it all that you can, you will find that yours will be a miserable marriage. I like to ask couples that come to me for marriage counseling, “Why did you marry in the first place?” Many times one or the other will say, “My home life was so miserable. I just wanted to get away.” Good home life will help young people avoid making a hasty, embittered decision that will later cause great heartache. Selfishness is the ruination of all marriage. If a young man goes into marriage determined to give of him self to his partner, and if the young woman expects to give her all to her partner, then they will be more con scious of their partner’s happiness than their own. The Bible tells us that you reap what you sow. If you sow bitterness, animosity, hostility, resentment, hardness, cruelty, that is what you will reap. I had a Christian woman come into my office one day for counseling. Her husband was a
Rev. TimLaHaye,pastor of the Scott Memorial Baptist Church of San Diego, is featuredthis monthon "The Biola Hour" in a series of messages on the Christian home. Counseling takes about one third of his time and provides inspiration for Bible study,writing, and sermons. He states, "I am convinced thatthe Bible has the answer to every human problem today."
and age when you have a working wife and a working husband, it is easy to have two corporations func tioning under the same roof. Just remember, “He that unlocks the purse strings, runs the household.” Selfishness is readily seen in our attitude toward money, but it is also seen in our attitude toward oth er things. Relatives, for one thing! I have often told young couples that one of the best things you can do when you get married is move a thousand miles from either of the relatives for several years so that you can make your mistakes in pri vacy. You are going to make mis takes. Happy is the individual who makes them without the complicated relative problem to resolve after he’s made them. Relatives create conflict without even trying, like, “Where are we going to spend Thanksgiv ing? We spent Thanksgiving last year at your house and Christmas at your house. Now we ought to spend Thanksgiving at my house.” You’ll find that when selfishness rears its head, it finds many expres sions, not only in the family, but also in the friends, appearance, cars, horses, furniture, babies, etc. The greatest heartaches in marriage are caused by human selfishness. God the Holy Spirit is able to cure selfish ness. Are you a selfish person? If so, you are not living with a happily married partner, because selfish peo ple do not produce happily married partners. Think on these things, and let God the Holy Spirit make you an unselfish person. CHAPTER FOUR Every couple that has ever come to me for marriage counseling has had the same problem» ^ selfishness! Their selfishness made it difficult for them to adjust to each other proper ly. Two people cannot adjust proper ly if they only think of themselves. Look, for example, at appearance. I can show you a simple analogy where
leader in their church, and she said, “We need help. We don’t want to go to our minister, because he knows us too well, and we would like to come to you for counseling.” I tried to listen to their story, and the crux of it as I recall was something like this: She and her husband clashed over money. The problem was that she wanted to spend it faster than he made it. She rebuked him because he didn’t make enough. He rebuked her because she spent it too fast. She just couldn’t pass up a bargain even if they couldn’t afford it. Their hos tility had reached such a height that they had gone for as much as eleven days without speaking to each other. I said, “How in the world do you live in the same house?” She said, “We have little ways. I’ll turn at the table to my son and say, ‘Junior, will you ask your father for the salt?’ ” Now isn’t that exciting? What a tes- timony that must be to children, a testimony of how futile it is to be a Christian. When Jesus Christ comes into our life, we learn to be gracious and kind, not selfish. Such an attitude as these folks portrayed certainly does not provide a climate worthy of raising - children to be Christ-like young people. Your selfishness or generosity of ten will be reflected by the way you react to money. Who is it that al ways gets the new clothes? Who is it that gets to do what he wants to? You’ll find that your program for taking care of money is very impor tant. I advise young couples that the husband should handle the money for the first ten or fifteen years of their marriage. My reason for that is sim ply this. The husband should be the head of the house, and in order for him to be the head of the wife, he should handle the money. In this day 6 Godly talk does not always imply a godly walk.
both the husband and wife can in dulge themselves and be selfish to the degree that it will cause an un happy experience. Here she is a beautiful 20 or 21 year old wife, married about two years. She is either expecting or has a small baby in her home. Her young husband comes home from work and finds her looking like a test pilot in a broom factory. He works all day where per haps there are six or seven “sirens” in the office. They always have their hair done up just right, wear tight- fitting clothes, short dresses (if they are not Christians). Essentially, these girls put their best foot for ward. They may go home and col lapse, but the young husband doesn’t see that. After eight hours or more in the presence of girls at their best, he comes home, thinking about that beautiful girl th a t he courted through high school and college. He drives into the driveway, opens the door and there she is, hair all askew, or in curlers, and the house is a shambles. She says, “Oh, I am so glad you’re home! Here, hold the baby.” Then she collapses! You say, “Well, she’s tired.” Yes, she’s tired, but do you know what she really is? Selfish. That may be the easiest way to live, but I’ll tell you a secret. It isn’t very smart. Ladies, let me give you a suggestion after counseling several hundred men. I have come to the conclusion that a girl’s attitude toward her appearance is very im portant. Get in the habit of looking forward to that time when your hus band comes home from work and be prepared for him. If you are tired, take a nap. Plan a nap. When you’re talking to the ladies next door or your mother on the phone, lie down on the floor, put your feet up on a chair, and let some blood come back to your head, or plan a regular nap while the baby is asleep, to get some evening energy. At 4 :30, if he comes home at 5:00, you should start primping. Put a little whatever you
put on your face to spruce it up, and put on a nice trim dress so that when you open the door with a big smile, he looks at the beautiful girl he mar ried. What will this do? This will spruce up your evening. Now, your refusal to do this is not only very unwise, it’s selfish. You indulge yourself in your tired blood routine, because it’s just easier to become complacent. I’ve seen women who have five or six children look as if they stepped out of a band box when their husbands open the door at night. That isn’t vanity, girls; that’s just good sense, motivated by gen erosity. What about the men? The average office worker likes to take his day off or his vacation to com pletely relax. He has to shave every day, wear a tie, dress up, so when he gets a vacation or has a day off, what does he like to do? Grow a beard, skip shaving and look like a bum. Men, may I give you a suggestion? When you are in the presence of the one woman in the world who is more important than anyone else to you, you ought to look your best. You don’t have to wear a tie on your day off, but if you want to give her a good affectionate hug and kiss now and then, (and if you don’t there’s something wrong with you), you don’t want to beard her to death. You want it to be a gracious expres sion of love. You say, “But it’s so much fun just to relax and not have to shave.” Yes it is, but of whom are you thinking, yourself or your partner? I am talking not about ap pearance primarily. I am talking about an attitude of life, selfishness. Whenever we indulge ourselves, we are being selfish! The Holy Spirit will replace that tendency if you yield yourself to Him. 7 There is victory in surrender when we allow ourselves to be truly conquered by Christ.
a mediocre, inconsistent home, un less the Holy Spirit used some out side individual to inspire the life of that young person. The reason that mediocre, Christian homes produce mediocre, Christian young people is because they see inconsistency. They may have seen mother and dad fight with one another for control or ex hibit wrath, hostility, bitterness, and explode, then go to church, and act sweet and gracious. More than one young person has sat in the back seat of the family automobile, heard mother and dad jangle all of the way to the church, because dad can’t un derstand why mother wasn’t on time. As soon as they drive into the church parking lot, their sweet, Christian smiles fasten onto their pasty faces, and they give everyone their best “Ipana Grin.” The kids sit in the back and think, “What hypocrites my parents are!” Your reactions will prove what you really are, and the people closest to you see them. The way to change your reactions is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. I am not going into a lengthy dis sertation on how to be filled with the Holy Spirit at this time. I would suggest that you read the Bible and pray reguarly. Make it a point to confess all known sin, as soon as you are conscious of it. On the basis of Ephesians 4:30- 32, I believe anger, hostility, bitter ness, and wrath keep more Chris tians from being consistent in the home and being Spirit-filled than any other sin. Galatians 4:16 commands us to “Walk in the Spirit.” Walking in the Spirit is the key to a success ful adjustment in a marriage. CHAPTER SIX Everyone is interested in happi ness in marriage, yet 500,000 people failed the happiness test last year and sought divorce. No doubt, there were many others that were just as unhappy but for some reason or an other they didn’t seek divorce. I am
CHAPTER FIVE Adjustment is the key to a happy marriage! If you adjust properly in the mental areas of life, it naturally will spill over into the physical areas, and if your spiritual adjustment is what it should be, it makes it easier to adjust mentally and thus physical ly. The Bible tells us that the com plete Christian man is one who is filled with the Spirit. Since the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long- suffering, etc., you’ll find it easy to make adjustment when the Holy Spirit fills and controls your life. In reality, you are the key to your home. Dr. Henry Brandt points out that adéquate parents are made up of adequate partners. Adequate part ners are made up of adequate people. Adjustment can start with one in dividual. You can make a proper spiritual adjustment and then lead your partner in making his. There is nothing so important in the home as Christian consistency. The average home experiences all of the traumas of life, consequently, what you are in the home is what you really are. You can tell much more by a person’s reactions than you can by his actions. We can pre meditate our actions, but we cannot premeditate reactions. They are the result of the real you. That’s a sober ing thought sometimes, but it is true nonetheless. Therefore, it is impor tant for us to learn to react in the Spirit. If you are not projecting a consistent Christian testimony in the home, then basically, you have a spiritual problem. Consistency in the home is par ticularly important as children grow up. I have observed as a pastor that the young people that come to us from consecrated Christian homes usually become consecrated Chris tians. The young people that come from unsaved homes can also become consecrated Christians. To my knowl edge, I have never seen a consecrated Christian young person come out of 8
a rich blessing through ignorance. For instance, I have dealt with many a frigid, frustrated woman who was in that condition primarily because of the old wives’ tales that she learned from her mother. They have all kinds of fears and bugaboos and witch doctor concepts that are en tirely incompatible with the Scrip ture. The Bible tells us that God cre ated all things. He didn’t create the body, as Dr. Brandt says, “part good and part bad.” Just because the re productive organs are special fea tures and we protect them does not mean that they are not “good.” As I tell young people, there is nothing wrong with sex, as long as it is re served for marriage. The Bible makes it very clear that the rela tionship between a husband and wife is beautiful, pure, and clean. This idea needs to be stressed particular ly for young women who have strange ideas that there is some evil connotation to “the act of marriage.” In fact, I found a beautiful princi ple in the Bible, that a married per son is still virtuous. Remember the story of Boaz and Ruth? He was about to marry a widow, and he re ferred to her as a “virtuoys woman.” Now, this is God’s attitude toward people who in marriage experience the normal blessings of physical union. It is a virtue! It is a purity, so long as it is reserved for mar riage! Why does the average Chris tian have such a warped view of sex? Basically it is ignorance. Ignorance breeds fear. Happy is the individual who studies the Word of God and doesn’t listen to the voices of others. In fact, it may surprise some of you to know that when God made Adam and Eve, they were both naked, they were not ashamed, they lived in the garden, and God said to them “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth” before sin ever came on the scene. Every now and then I will run into one of the oddballs who suggests that the forbidden fruit was the act 9
grateful to God to be able to say that Jesus Christ is able to bring happiness into a marriage. Let’s face it. When you get married, there are a lot of adjustments that have to be made in you and your partner. This adjustment in marriage not only will involve the mental area that we have discussed previously, but also the spiritual and the physical. I am not going into a frank expression of the physical adjustments of marriage on this broadcast. It is covered quite thoroughly in my book, “How to Be Happy Though Married.” But I do want to' emphasize that it is needful for Christians to understand the sub limities of physical union. I am in clined to believe that woeful ignor ance and stupid fears have kept Christians from enjoying all of the blessings that God intended for them in the physical areas of marriage. Many Christians know nothing about the ecstacies that God intended, and many seem afraid to learn. I remem ber buying some books by Dr. Henry Brandt for young people. I put them out in the book rack in the foyer of the church. All of a sudden the Chairman of the Board of Deacons, a very fine man, was all upset be cause he said we were, “distributing pornographic literature.” I said, “Now wait a minute; what are you talking about?” He was talking about this booklet by Dr. Brandt that contained a picture of the repro ductive systems of the male and fe male. I’m afraid his reaction is typi cal of most Christians. They think that all of these things are sinful and that we should never talk about them. I don’t agree! I think it is important for a minister to talk about these things, because he in a sense speaks for God. He is God’s physical, human mouthpiece. If he speaks from the Word of God, he is speaking the message of God to con fused people so that they may under stand God’s plan for man and woman — instead of ruining what could be
of marriage. They don’t realize that such a view would put God in a con tradictory position of commanding Adam and Eve to sin, which is un thinkable. God doesn’t tempt man with evil! Therefore, God did not encourage them to do wrong. He en couraged them to do what was with in the framework of holiness and righteousness. There should never be shame or an aftermath of reproach as a result of the act of marriage. Instead, it should be one of life’s most marvelous, beautiful, and uni fying aspects of life. CHAPTER SEVEN A discussion on “adjustment in marriage” would not be complete without considering adjusting to children. Many times I have had a couple say to me in the counseling room when I ask, “When do you plan to raise your family?”, “Oh, we’re going to wait a while, and adjust to each other.” I guess is a rather nat ural response for most people today, and has some merit. But I often wonder how long they plan to wait. Some people, I am afraid, after ten years aren’t much better off in ad justing than they were when they started. Children have a way of putting in their appearance whether you are adjusted or not. Then you have to make adjustments not only for each other but also for children. You’ll find that the wife who was free to come and go with her husband is now confined, and if she rebels against that, and chafes against that which God intended to be a source of blessing, her children can be a hindrance. One thing to keep in mind about children I would like to make pri mary: you don’t have to be an expert parent to be a good one. The most important one thing we can give our children is love. Almost all psycholo gists agree on the fact that the pri mary need of the human being is 10
love. The person who is loved has a built-in security, a feeling of being needed and wanted. No child starts off on a good basis when he feels that he really wasn’t wanted in the first place, and that he really is a hindrance in the home. Instead, a child needs to feel that he was loved, he was sought of the Lord, and his parents are grateful that he is a member of the family. I remember a minister friend who had a child with a bed-wetting problem. He went to the doctor, and the doctor wanted to try hypnosis on him. The minister thought about it and decided he would use some of the principles himself and not resort to the hypno sis. Each night before he went to bed, he took the child to the toilet. He came back while the boy was in that semi-conscious state where he was partially awake and partially asleep. Then the pastor would lean over the child and talk to him. He would call him by name and say, “Son, I want you to know I love you. I want you to know that I am glad that you are my son. God has given you to me, and I want you to grow up to be a fine young man.” Within two weeks that boy’s bed-wetting stopped and even more important, his behavior in the home changed. Instead of being an unlovely, cantakerous “critter,” he became a co-operative, joyous spirit. The only way we can account for it is by the fact that he was assured that his Dad loved him. Every boy wants to know the love of a father and a mother. I read an article some time ago by a psychologist in Read er’s Digest on the power ,of touch. The author said “When a man walks up to a boy and just puts his arm around him, he makes that boy feel secure. It is as if the father were saying, ‘This is my son. I love him, and I am proud of him.’ ” A boy needs to feel the approval of his fa ther. Most of us become so busy and self-oriented that we don’t take time to make our children feel that they
are really wanted. It is my firm con viction that you cannot give children too much love. Naturally, we flavor that with discipline. Fathers, may I emphasize to you this thought? Give gracious love and affection to your daughter. I have found in the counseling room that the girls who grow up to be frigid wom en are usually women who were re jected by their fathers. As little girls they came to dad to show him some little picture or something they made in kindergarten, but he was disinterested. He had no time to let his daughter sit on his lap and feel that he loved her. Instead, he just couldn’t be bothered with her. “Too busy.” So, rather than go through life continually being wounded emo tionally, she dials dad out. She builds up a resentment toward men that somehow is transferred to her hus band. I like to share with men that one of the best investments they can make in their daughters’ adjustment physically in marriage is to be af fectionate and loving while the girls
are growing up. You see, the loving father, the affectionate father, is helping his daughter learn to trust men and to be relaxed around them instead of being bundled up like a wad of nerves. Just because you don’t happen to be an affectionate person is no excuse. God can give you an af- ectionate spirit if you want it. CHAPTER EIGHT Many a time I have wished that I were a magician! As I sit in the counseling room and listen to a cou ple tell their problems in marriage, my heart aches for them, and I wish that I could reach into my desk drawer and take out a little magic wand, wave it over their heads, and presto, suddenly they would be trans formed. Sad to say, neither I nor anyone else has such a magic wand. I do, however, have a formula. I call it a set of keys, that opens the door to a magic way of marriage. There are six basic principles that come out of the Bible which, if used regularly in marriage, will guaran-
A happy Christian family is evidenced in the home of the Rev. Tim LaHaye,pastor of the Scott Memorial Baptist Church, San Diego. His messages this month on "The Biola Hour" concerning the Christian home have been a great challenge and help. His children are Linda, 20, Lori, 10, Le , 14, and Larry, a high school senior, 17.
but I’ve got a better answer and that is crucifying the old man and facing our selfishness as a sin. You may win a battle by selfishness but it only prolongs hostility and bitterness. Selfishness is the root cause of all marital difficulty. In fact, I defy you to find an area of maladjust ment in marriage that is not selfish. The best way to overcome selfish ness is to face it as a sin. Confess it. I John 1 :9 tells us we gain in stant forgiveness, and I John 5:14- 15 tells us that if we ask God to take it away, He will. Then, ask God to take away the tendency to selfish ness. Finally, repair the damage done by asking forgiveness. Repairing the damage is very important. I remem ber a couple that would never apolo gize to one another. They had a way of communicating their apologies. She would bake him a devil’s food chocolate cake. He always appreci ated the fact that this was her sign of apology. His was a little less ap petizing. He would ask her if she would like to go to the cemetery to visit her mother’s grave. For some reason, she enjoyed the melancholy experience of standing there at her mother’s grave side. How much bet ter if two people would just come up to one another and say, “I am sorry. I goofed. I sinned against God. I sinned against you. Will you for give me?” Then gradually selfishness will he overcome by the Holy Spirit. CHAPTER NINE The second key to wedded bliss is “Submission.” Admittedly this is the key that is pointed directly at one side of the household, that is, the wife’s. The command of God, “Wives, be in subjection to your own hus bands,” is not an obscure teaching in the Word of God. It was the pat tern for godly women in the Old Testament, and you will find that it is the standard of God for the wife today. There are many pas sages I could quote such as I Peter
tee the happiness that no other power in the world can produce. Remember this, the Bible is still God’s manual for human behavior more important than psychiatry, psychology, educa tion, social welfare, social adjust ment, or anything else. Happy is the couple that starts a marriage based on the Word of God. If you have Jesus Christ as the sure foundation for your home, then there is no rea son in the world why you cannot exercise the six keys to wedded bliss. The first key is maturity. What is maturity? Maturity is a spirit of unselfishness, that is not dependent upon age.' Some people very young in life are mature. Some never be come mature. The reason very sim ply is the opposite of maturity which is selfishness. When a child lies down on the floor in a super market, kicks his feet and screams his head off to get his own way, is he acting ma ture? Certainly not. What is the dif ference between the child that does that and the wife that slams the pan drawer, drops the iron on the floor purposely, or throws a dish at her husband angrily; or the husband who “stomps” out of the house, and slams the door so hard that it shakes on the foundation? We are all famil iar with such forms of raw selfish ness. Indulgence of any form of selfish ness produces human misery. The world says “Arguments are inevit able.” One psychiatrist said, “They are inevitable in a marriage and probably offer one of the best ways couples have to work out touchy problems. When most of the frustra tions have been talked out or dis charged in some vicarious way, the fight can be ended. Those marriages that exist without any type of fight ing are generally frozen or inflexi ble marriages in which other aspects of the relationship are compromised in order to maintain the facade of peace and harmony.” That psychia trist may be giving human wisdom 12
3:1-8 and Ephesians 5:22-24, 33. The result of the curse upon the woman was that she would be ruled over by her husband. This is the re vealed will of God. I have noticed that in this educa tion-prone day women have been brain-washed into the idea that they do not have to take a submissive role. Such educators do not under stand two things: one, the egocen tric nature of men, and two, the leaning role of women. God has put in a woman’s heart a capacity to be a dependent person. It doesn’t show up too' much in the early years. A girl may be rebellious, independent or self-sufficient. But as she goes on in life, if she is a normal woman, she will respond to this need for someone to lean on. Alas, if she has been the dominant one in the early years before she reaches her 35’s to 40’s when this usually kicks in, she will have created a man who himself is a leaner, and she will have no one upon whom she can lean. The only answer is to start off by faith in obedience to God’s laws and let the wife be in subjection to her own husband. Ladies, I would like to share something about your hus band. Do you know that your hus band is more egocentric than you? We have a tendency to think that women are more egocentric than men, but that’s not true. Women may be a little more vain, but they are not more egocentric. A man does not have the capacity to be a happy creature unless he is the head of his home. I have never known an ex ception. In fact, I have often shared this thought. I have never known a happy henpecker in my life, nor have I ever known a happy henpecked man. No man is going to be content to let a woman lead him around by the nose. Many a man is led by the nose, but he is not content and chil dren cannot be raised properly where the woman dominates. That is one great reason why we
A CHRISTIAN’S TESTIMONY Not half the storms that threaten me E’er broke upon my head; Not half the pains I’ve waited for E’er reached me or my bed. Not half the clouds that drifted by Have overshadowed me; Not half the dangers ever came I fancied I could see. Dear Heavenly Father, hold my hand Each moment lest I fall. Thine is the power to keep . . . my part, To let Thee, that is all. I dare not take one step alone; And, Oh, how sweet to know Thy loving, mighty, tender clasp Will never let me go. Father, our children keep! We know not what is coming on the earth; Beneath the shadow of thy heav enly wing, Oh keep them, keep them, Thou who gav’st them birth. Father, draw nearer us! Draw firmer round us Thy protecting arm; Oh, clasp our children close to Thy side, Uninjured in the day of earth’s alarm. Them in Thy chambers hide! Oh, hide them and preserve them calm and safe, When sin abounds and error flows abroad, And Satan tempts, our human pas sions chafe. Oh, keep them undefiled! Unspotted from a tempting world of sin; That, clothed in white, through the bright city gates, They may with us in triumph enter in. — Horatius Bonar 13 A PRAYER FOR CHILDREN
California. After the meetings were over, the pastor asked me to shake hands with the folks. Many were very gracious and came up to say good bye. In the crowd was a little 105-pound woman who looked at me with fire in her eyes. She said, “Well, I enjoyed what you said except that part on submission, and I’ve got a message for you. Just remember, you are a man.” I looked her in the face and said, “Madam, I didn’t conceive that idea. It came right out of the Bible.” “Yes,” she said, “and both Peter and Paul were men.” Then I looked at her and said, “Well, Ma dam, what gender is God?” Then she puffed off. I am sorry for that poor soul. She is rebelling against the known will of God. Unless she con fesses and gets that thing right with God, she will be a miserable person. Miserable people make miserable wives, and miserable wives make miserable mothers. CHAPTER TEN The third key to a happy mar riage is love. Three times in the Word of God we are told, “Husbands, love your wives.” This is not an ad monition, but an absolute command. “Husbands, love your wives.” Do you know what love is? Most people don’t. Most people really don’t com prehend the meaning of love. Let me read to you God’s description found in I Corinthians 13:4-8 from Living Letters: “Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not de mand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do wrong. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices when ever truth wins out. If you love some one, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You’ll always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.”
have all kinds of psychoneuroses in young people and children today. They lack a sense of security be cause they had no real father image. I remember a young woman who came in for counseling, who had a tremendous hostility problem. When we got down to the heart of it, it was against her mother. She had a very strong choleric-prone mother. The girl despised her mother because of the way she treated her father all through the years. She had loved her father and hated the way he let his wife push him around. May I say that you can push your husband around, you can dominate him, but you can’t make him happy while you do it! You won’t be preparing your young people for the right kind of Christian life. In fact, do you know LOST Lost interest, oh Lord can it be? Lost interest in souls who are call ing for Thee? Lost interest? Oh, where would I be, Yes, hopeless, had someone lost interest in me? Open my eyes, Lord, help me to see Lost interest in souls means lost interest in Thee. that you can’t be a spiritual woman and dominate your husband? The Bibles make it very clear that the wife’s position is to be in subjection to her own husband. Let me read to you a couple of passages. The Bible says, “Wives, submit yourselves un to your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own hus bands in every thing.” Sometimes I meet women who say, “Well, I can be subject to my husband in most things.” But the Bible says, “in everything.” Some years ago I held a week of meetings in a church in Northern 14
this passage which I just read in I Corinthians. I said, “Every time you speak to one another, give your speech the kindness check. That is, ask yourself, ‘Was that kind?’ If it isn’t kind, it isn’t love.’’ How many times we cuttingly, sar castically, cruelly knife the person we love. Men, let me tell you some thing about women. The one thing a woman needs more than anything else in the world is kindness. Most psychologists agree that the basic need of man or woman is love and approval. The more we love some one, the more we seek his approval. Since your wife has given herself to you, she desires your approval. Actu ally, what good is it if a woman is a proficient school teacher or a good doctor or a fine stenographer if when GOD'S PLACE Only to rest where He puts me, Only to do His will, Only to be what He made me, she comes home she is a failure as a wife? She may sublimate for a while and get her kicks out of being a career girl, but ultimately, if she is a failure as a wife, she is a fail ure. If you do not let her know that you approve of her and love her, then she is going to feel inadequate. In a vital sense then, it is up to you, isn’t it? You can make her feel se cure and loved. A young couple came in one time, He weighed about 235 pounds, she weighed about 98 pounds, dripping wet. He said in the midst of his counseling, “Pastor LaHaye, never in our marriage have I hit her.” With that he shook that great ham-like fist of his. I looked at that monster and thought that it was a good thing he hadn’t, because he would have 15 Though I be nothing still! Never to look beyond me Out of my little sphere; If I could fill another God would not keep me here.
Henry Drummond wrote a little book entitled, “The Greatest Thing in the World” and in it points out the nine characteristics of love found in that preceding passage. First of all, he cites patience, then kindness, gen erosity, humility, courtesy, unselfish ness, good temper, guilelessness, and sincerity. Study these characteris tics and examine your love to see if you meet these qualifications. Let’s take a good look at two of these characteristics. First of all, husband, are you patient with your wife? That means enduring. That means putting up with things. That means denying yourself and going along with things just because you love your wife. Isn’t it interesting how impatient we get with people we don’t like anyway? How critical we can be of people we don’t like. If someone we love does something wrong, what is our reaction? It is understanding. You make excuses for them in your own mind. If someone we don’t like makes a mistake, we chop them up in our mind. It’s un spiritual, but it’s done. The same is true of our wives. The man who comes home and doesn’t find the house just the way he thinks it should be can act in a very unlovely way. Actually, he is showing his love for himself in so doing. Then there is a second character istic, kindness. I would say that this is one of the primary characteristics. Somehow many of those having trou ble in marriage have forgotten to show kindness. They want to receive it, but do not have it. I remember a couple who had been married only two years. They were actually ready to call it quits even though they sensed that they had just a little bit of love left, but not much. The problem was they were very caustic and sarcastic in their speech toward one another. When this was revealed in counseling, I gave them some as signments to memorize certain por tions of the Bible, one of which was
killed her. I looked over at her and tears were running down her cheeks. She looked at me, and I knew what she was thinking. She was saying in her heart, “Oh, but how many times I’d rather you strike me than everlastingly club me with disap proval.” Disapproval is devastating. Always give your wife love! Com pliment her, be courteous to her, pre fer her, “In honor preferring one another.” Show your approval. Actu ally, if you examine the areas of aggravation, you will find that they are only a small percentage. As you look at y&ur wife, you will find that you do approve of many things about her. You may not approve of the way she keeps house, but she is a good cook, or a wonderful mother. Maybe she is a little disorganized or maybe she has a weakness in some other area but if you examine the strengths and the weaknesses, you’ll come out with a plus. The problem is that we are often prone to put the weaknesses of our partner under the magnifying glass of scrutiny, and they become so gigantic that they eclipse all of the rest. Show her some approval, love and kindness, and you will be amazed at how they come back to you. CHAPTER ELEVEN The fourth key to a happy mar riage is communication. Young lov ers rarely have a communication problem. In fact, they seem to be able to talk about anything. Lack of communication is almost always a problem for couples that come in for counseling. Either they communicate wrong (by that I mean at the top of their lungs in the heat of rage) or they don’t communicate at all. Ann Landers in her syndicated column wrote this about communi cation: “The most important single ingredient in a marriage is the abili ty to communicate. If my fan mail is a fair reflection of what goes on with Mr. and Mrs. America behind 16
closed doors, and I think it is, most marital problems stem from the in ability of two people to talk to each other. How precious is the ability to communicate! A mature man and woman recognize that there is unity in love, but at the same time there must be freedom for both individ uals. Neither should be swallowed up by the other. Each must main tain his personality and his identity. A solemn marriage means together ness but it also should mean respect for the rights and privileges of the other party. Couples who are secure in marriage can be honest about all kinds of feelings. A man and wife who can air their differences get the hostility out of their system and kiss and make up have an excellent chance of growing old together.” It has been an amazing thing to me to find that couples settle for a second- rate marriage when they could have a good, wholesome marriage by learning to communicate. A woman who did not know that I already had talked with her husband came to me for counseling. Their problem seemed to be that, “My wife isn’t 100% committed to the Lord.” At least, that’s what her husband thought. Her problem was that she didn’t think he was committed to the Lord though he wanted to go into Christian work but she didn’t feel he was spiritually ready for it. Any way, one night she asked me if I could come in. I was going home from church, and since she lived in the same area, she said, “Why don’t you come in?” I thought I was go ing in for just a cup of coffee before I went home. Little did I know that she wanted to trap her husband and the three of us get together. So there we were! Neither one knew that I had counseled with the other. He looked up; didn’t have his shirt on, was watching T.V., and was kind of embarrassed. When we got through the first few tense moments, she said, “I’ve invited the pastor over so we
could resolve some of our problems.” He said, “Okay, let’s do it.” For twenty minutes she rehearsed her grudges, starting back when they had been married for six months. When she got all through, he looked at her and said, “Well, honey, why haven’t you told me this before?” She said, “Well, I was afraid that you would get mad and blow up.” I turned to him and said, “Well, now, your wife has shared her feelings. Why don’t you share yours?” He started in and like her, it was like taking a lid off of a septic tank. Out poured everything! When he got all through, she looked at him and very calmly said, “Well, why haven’t you told me this before?” These two young people were telling me a lot of things, one of which is that they both had their separate weapon they used on each other to stifle communica tion. Henry Brandt, the Christian psy chologist, says there are three weap ons people use. One is silence. One is anger and explosion or the threat of explosion. The other is tears. That is, you tell me something that is negative about me, and if I don’t like it, I will break down and cry. I’ll get mad and explode or lapse into silence. These weapons stifle communication! The Bible says, “Speaking the truth in love.” In other words, don’t just say what you want to say, but say it lovingly. I would like to em phasize the need for communication about everything. You don’t have to put up with your partners’ disagree able conduct, but you have to love them anyway. I find it a lot easier if you have your day in court, that is, if you can talk to him or her kindly about it. Here are some simple rules for communication with your partner: First of all, pray for the wisdom of God and the filling of the Holy Spirit so that you seek the right time and the right place and say it kindly.
A MOTHER’S PRAYER I thank Thee, Lord, since little hands hands will hide Forbidden things and restless feet will stray. That I can point them to Thy truth and guide them Along a living way. I thank Thee, too, since wounds are sure to be That I can bind them gently, dry the tears, And, whispering comfort, tell them with certainty, That their heavenly Father hears. And oh, I thank Thee, Lord, since hours are of So swift a weave, that there is still today . . . And I have time to tell them of Thy love And time to hear them pray. — Ruth Gibbs Zwall GOD'S BEST God has His best things for the few Who dare to stand the test; God has His second choice for those Who will not have His best. It is not always open ill That risks the promised rest; The danger, often, is the foe Who keeps us from the best. Some seek the highest choice, But, when by trials pressed, They shrink, they yield, they shun the crowds And so they lose the best. Give me, Oh Lord, Thy highest choice; Let others take the rest. Their good things have no charm for me, I want Thy very best. I want, in this short life of mine, As much as can be pressed Of service true for God and man; Make me to be Thy best. —A. B. Simpson
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