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#6 of 09: Marriage, Cheating, Football & Steve McNair

I’ve been watching with the interest since last Saturday about the death of Steve McNair. One of the best quarterbacks of our time, killed in a murder-suicide (according to ESPN).

What this shows, once again is how easy it is to cheat, but also how dangerous it is.

I think in our culture, we’ve become used to the idea of cheating and we have a nice word for it, affair. But as Mark Driscoll says, “Affairs are what you get dressed up for, affairs are the prom. Cheating is adultery.” We need to use the right words so we understand the damage they inflict. Affair/adultery/cheating, however you want to slice it, it will inflict sometimes, irreconcilable pain. Even Skip Bayless at ESPN understands this when he tweeted, “McNair findings prove once again that affairs can be extremely dangerous. The danger makes them more exciting. But it can be lethal.”

I think most people would agree that cheating whether in a marriage or dating is wrong. But how does it happen? What is considered cheating?

It happens because on some level, there is a need that is not being met. It might be a need that you are aware of and have even talked with your significant other about, or it might be a need you have not realized. When that need is not being met, you will instinctively go looking for someone to fill that need. When that happens, cheating becomes easier.

There is a great book His Needs, Her Needs that lays out the basic needs for men and women. When these needs are not met, according to the authors, your love bank is not filled, it makes withdrawals. When your love bank is empty, you look to fill it.

For men, the needs are: sexual fulfillment (this is different from just sex), recreational companion, an attractive spouse, domestic support, and admiration/respect.

For women, the needs are: affection, conversation, honesty and openness, safety and security, and family support.

What often happens in our culture is we only see the womens needs as the necessary ones. “Of course he wants sex” people will say. Or, “how degrading, an attractive spouse.”

Think about it like this, if your husband talked with you with as much enthusiasm and frequency as you have sex with him, how would you like that. If the answer is, “he already does” then you have a problem.

Katie and I sat down early in our marriage and explained to the other what each one of these needs meant for us. It is different for each person. Your husband defines what is attractive, not a magazine cover, so let him tell you. If you do this, you will actually meet the need of conversation (look at that!)

There are also different levels of cheating. It could be physical (which is what we often think about) or it could be emotional or mental. Cheating happens when we allow someone we are not married to to meet a need that our spouse should be meeting.

So how does cheating happen? It doesn’t just happen, it takes place over weeks, months, sometimes years. Slowly, your love bank depletes and it is not refilled. Then, a man shows you attention, he is easy to talk to, interested in your life and you find yourself opening up to him, wishing your husband was like that. You are right there.

Or, a woman compliments you, she takes pride in how she looks (ironically, study after study say that people cheat on their spouse with someone less attractive than their spouse, so it isn’t looks), takes an interest in you, asks about what you like and bam.

Katie and I often talk about how we don’t meet with someone of the opposite sex alone and we get some weird stares. The reason. If you aren’t alone with someone, you aren’t in the position to cheat on your spouse. If you don’t share intamite things with someone, you can’t be amazed by someone. This doesn’t mean you aren’t friends with people you aren’t married to, but it does mean you are guarded around those people.

Do you share things with people of the opposite sex that you don’t share with your spouse? Are you making memories or having experiences with someone you aren’t married to? Do you find yourself looking nice for someone you aren’t married to? Do you find yourself thinking about what someone other than your spouse is doing? How they’ll be dressed when you see them tonight? When you are talking or having sex with your spouse, do you find yourself thinking about that person?

If you answered yes to any of these, you are having an emotional affair. Which sometimes, but not always, leads to a physical affair.

See how easy it is?

#9 of 09: Thoughts on Pastors Making it to the End

This summer, Katie and I were sitting on the couch, drinking coffee, reading through my twitter feed when we came across this post by Gary Lamb. By now, much has been written on blogs about Gary (most of it is not helpful for anyone).

I have never met Gary. I only know him from his blog, twitter and occassionally listening to his sermons. Seemed like a guy who was making strides for the kingdom of God, definitely slamming the devil and leading people to Jesus (which I’m a huge fan of).

Immediately as we read through it, we were saddened by the news. It definitely hits close to home being a pastor. It is a reminder that no one is immune. Katie and I started talking through the question, “How do we make it to the end? How do we make it not only in our marriage to ‘death do us part’ but also to the finish line of ministry? Are there things we should be doing that we aren’t doing?”

It was also timely in that on Saturday night I preached through Hebrews 12:1 – 3 on the topic of endurance. You can listen to that here.

I’ve written before about boundaries that Katie and I have in place, which, while they seem crazy to some people have done a lot to help us keep our integrity.

A few thoughts that Katie and I came up with as we talked about our marriage and finishing well that came out of the terrible news of Gary & Deanna:

  1. You are not immune. None of us (even those who wrote scathing blogs about Gary are immune from sin or failing). My favorites are the ones who say he fell because he’s trying too hard to be culturally relevant. Like we’ve never had a conservative, fundamentalist pastor fall in ministry. Come on. All of us sin, all of us can fall. You must realize this, you must live like this. You must always keep your guard up. Satan is a being that has been around since the start of the world, he knows our weaknesses and will not rest. To win the war, you must knock down the leaders.
  2. Have accountability. This starts with your spouse, but must go farther than that. Have filters on your internet, make sure people know your passwords, put your computer in a public spot in the house. Have people who you trust and who love you ask you the hard questions.
  3. Rest. The reason most pastors fall is because they are tried and they let their guard down. Seasons of life and ministry are hard. Life gets busy and it is easy to put your marriage, your romance and sex life on the back burner. It is easy to get crispy in ministry (if you don’t know what that is, you will). Make sure you are taking your day off, getting exercise, keeping boundaries: don’t check e-mail on your day off, don’t meet with people on your day off, don’t answer the phone on your day off. My day off is Monday, if you need something, call me Tuesday.
  4. Talk openly and honestly with your spouse about your season. You must be aware of the season of life you are in. Is it busy? Too busy? What do you need to do to slow down? Recently, I just took a retreat just to catch my breath, spend some extended time with God and get some sleep. Katie and I (separately) see a spiritual director, just to have someone who helps process our journeys and helps us to see what God is doing in our lives.
  5. Beware of warning signs. People don’t just happen into an affair. It doesn’t just happen one day. There are warning signs. Have you disengaged from your spouse? If you are not meeting your spouse’s needs, they will look for someone else to do it (I’m not saying this is right, just reality). Are you dating your spouse?
  6. Keep the right things first. One of the things Katie and I talked about as we’ve watched pastors close up and from afar fall is what the wife does. It is easy for wives to make their kids their first priority. It is easy for pastor’s wives to not be enamored with their husband, after all, they see him all the time, they’ve heard all his best stories and jokes a thousand times. People get enamored with pastors. Being on a stage seems sexy. They are often articulate, engaging, they are spiritual (which is a big plus to women, especially if her husband is not). Your first priority is your spouse, not your kids. One thing Katie does after church and into Sunday is talk about how great I did on Saturday. If I sucked, I know it, she doesn’t need to remind me. She builds me up so that if someone else gives me a compliment, while it is appreciated, it doesn’t fill my tank because she does.

As a church, you play a huge role in the health of your pastor and their family, you play a huge role in whether or not your pastor finishes well. Let them take their day off, make sure they take all of their vacation days, make sure he is dating his wife, offer to babysit their kids, pray for them. Also, care for the pastor’s wife, too many churches just try to take care of the pastor, but one of the greatest thing you can for a pastor is care for their spouse.

Right now, we need to be praying for Gary and his family, his church that needs to pull together and keep going through this. Pray that Gary and his wife work through this, stay married and get back into ministry.

I would say this to pastors and bloggers alike. As you react to this, ask yourself, “How would I want people to react to me if this happened to me?” That’s how we should react. And second, “Is there anything in my life that I need to repent of? Is there anything in my life that can lead me down this road that I need to get out of my life?”

Links of the Week

  1. Tiger Woods trangression & the gospel. Great insights as to what we can learn from what has happened in Tiger’s life.
  2. Aaron Menikoff on Preparing to preach.
  3. Cody Brasher on the courage needed to be a leader.
  4. 7 ways to protect yourself and your marriage from an affair. I wrote something similar about the boundaries Katie and I keep, this is incredibly important for every couple, but especially for pastors.
  5. Mark Driscoll on When was Jesus born? This is a common question I get a lot from people and this is a good answer.
  6. Stuff Christians like asks the questions, “How do you invite people to church?” This will make you laugh.
  7. Pastors are always there for people who are hurting, but what about when they hurt? Who Pastors the Pastor? This is a great article in Christianity Today.
  8. Tim Keller on How to handle criticism.
  9. What if Target operated like a church? Great question, they would probably go out of business or at least turn people off.
  10. Perry Noble on 7 reasons church plants fail. This is right on.
  11. 5 hard truths for church planters. If you are a planter, thinking about planting, part of a church plant or support someone who is, you need to read this. It is hard to describe what planting does to a person and their family.

Top Posts of October ’09

In cased you missed it, here are the posts that generated the most traffic in October, 2009:

  1. What is the 30 Day Sex Challenge?
  2. How a Wife Handles Her Husband’s Sexual Addiction
  3. When Male Headship Does Not Work (The Men Who are Still Spoiled Boys)
  4. 16 Ways not to Fight
  5. In Case You Missed Saturday (Some Pics)
  6. Say What You Think the Bible Says
  7. Saturday Night Mind Dump… (10/10)
  8. Boundaries in Dating & Marriage
  9. What Church Hoppers Say
  10. Adultery Ladder

30 Day Sex Challenge: Day 25 (Married Guide)

30day-bulletin

Everyday, I’ll be posting the 30 day sex challenge guides, both married and singles. Here is day 25:

If your spouse was going to cheat on you, what emotional need would the “third wheel” most likely be meeting?

How did it feel to even think about it? Most people don’t think about it until it’s too late.

Read Song of Songs 8:5 – 14.

Journal your answers to these questions, any thoughts from the passage and what you are praying for.

Saturday Night Mind Dump…

  • Wow
  • I’m not even sure how to put into words tonight or this week
  • Tonight was a night that God was definitely moving and working in our church
  • You pray every week for that to happen, and yet, we are often surprised when it happens
  • Love what God is doing right now at Revolution
  • I’m listening to the new Glorious Unseen and just thinking and praying through the conversations and the look in some people’s eyes
  • Lots of heartbreak and pain
  • Remember what I said tonight, “You are not alone, God is real, this is pain is real, but there is hope, it is hard work but there is hope”
  • There were a lot of couples and individuals who were doing a lot of work tonight
  • Love to see people working at life and relationships
  • This quote kept running through my mind tonight, “To have what few couples have, you must do what few couples do”
  • If you missed tonight, you can listen to the talk here
  • If tonight spoke to you and you need some resources or help as you move forward to healing or purity, here is a list of books and website software that have been incredibly helpful to Katie and I
  • Katie had a great follow up post to last week’s talk, definitely worth reading
  • Have you checked out Katie’s blog yet? She is writing a ton of stuff that is huge for women/wives to get
  • This week, she will be talking more about our journey, especially out of what I shared tonight
  • If you are a woman at Revolution or a pastor’s wife, you need to check it out www.missionalwife.wordpress.com
  • It was really cool to start a little slower tonight and allowing scripture to set the tone for the night
  • Never bad when a service starts with scripture reading and ends in communion
  • Everytime Hope sings Revelation Song, it is just awesome
  • Paul did a great job of navigating through some of the tense moments tonight
  • Not sure what the 30 Day Sex Challenge is or how to participate, go here to find out
  • And yes, Katie and I are doing the 30 day sex challenge
  • We did it last year as a church, but we were pregnant with Ashton, so we decided then that we would do it as a couple this fall
  • Pretty excited about seeing what God does in our relationship over the next month
  • We’ll both be blogging some thoughts as the month goes on, stay tuned
  • In case you missed them, here are the top posts from the last month
  • Expecting big things out of my Steelers tomorrow
  • As long as Jeff Reed doesn’t lose our 3rd game in a row for us
  • We’re thinking about heading out to Octoberfest tomorrow, should be fun
  • Regardless of what we do tomorrow, I’m really looking forward spending the day with Katie and the kids
  • I got to meet with DJ Jenkins who leads Cru at the U of A this past week, love hearing what God is doing in the lives and ministries of college students
  • Lots of energy and passion
  • Reading through a really challenging book right now
  • Agreed to do another wedding tonight, which means pre-marital counseling
  • Love doing weddings and helping couples get started on the right foot
  • Got asked tonight how we plan our sermons and how far in advance we plan, if you are curious you can see my answer here
  • You need to be at Revolution next week
  • If last week or this week has challenged you, next week is going to push even harder
  • Ladies, you need to call up all of your girlfriends (or whatever you call them) and tell them, “you need to get your man to Revolution next week”
  • What are we talking about?
  • Communication
  • Communication
  • Communication
  • (I had to write it more than once for all the men)

6 Reasons You Need to be at Revolution Saturday!

  1. I am preaching on SEX and it will be the most honest, direct, no holds barred talk I have ever given on ANY topic at Revolution.
  2. Hearing and applying this message can save your marriage now, protect your marriage in the future, and prepare you to get into marriage on the right foot.
  3. Many of us struggle right now because of our sexual history and God wants to free us from that and he wants us to move forward, forgiven.
  4. Many of us experience attacks on our minds, emotions and relationships that we don’t know how to handle or don’t know where they are coming from. We need to learn to protect ourselves, our marriages and our families.
  5. Many of us have not even thought about how to protect ourselves, our eyes, our kids and our marriages from the destructions of an affair, sexual addiction or porn. That needs to change.
  6. I will be singing a country love song.

All of those are true, except one.

See you Saturday night to figure out which one!

Marriage, Cheating, Football & Steve McNair

I’ve been watching with the interest since last Saturday about the death of Steve McNair. One of the best quarterbacks of our time, killed in a murder-suicide (according to ESPN).

What this shows, once again is how easy it is to cheat, but also how dangerous it is.

I think in our culture, we’ve become used to the idea of cheating and we have a nice word for it, affair. But as Mark Driscoll says, “Affairs are what you get dressed up for, affairs are the prom. Cheating is adultery.” We need to use the right words so we understand the damage they inflict. Affair/adultery/cheating, however you want to slice it, it will inflict sometimes, irreconcilable pain. Even Skip Bayless at ESPN understands this when he tweeted, “McNair findings prove once again that affairs can be extremely dangerous. The danger makes them more exciting. But it can be lethal.”

I think most people would agree that cheating whether in a marriage or dating is wrong. But how does it happen? What is considered cheating?

It happens because on some level, there is a need that is not being met. It might be a need that you are aware of and have even talked with your significant other about, or it might be a need you have not realized. When that need is not being met, you will instinctively go looking for someone to fill that need. When that happens, cheating becomes easier.

There is a great book His Needs, Her Needs that lays out the basic needs for men and women. When these needs are not met, according to the authors, your love bank is not filled, it makes withdrawals. When your love bank is empty, you look to fill it.

For men, the needs are: sexual fulfillment (this is different from just sex), recreational companion, an attractive spouse, domestic support, and admiration/respect.

For women, the needs are: affection, conversation, honesty and openness, safety and security, and family support.

What often happens in our culture is we only see the womens needs as the necessary ones. “Of course he wants sex” people will say. Or, “how degrading, an attractive spouse.”

Think about it like this, if your husband talked with you with as much enthusiasm and frequency as you have sex with him, how would you like that. If the answer is, “he already does” then you have a problem.

Katie and I sat down early in our marriage and explained to the other what each one of these needs meant for us. It is different for each person. Your husband defines what is attractive, not a magazine cover, so let him tell you. If you do this, you will actually meet the need of conversation (look at that!)

There are also different levels of cheating. It could be physical (which is what we often think about) or it could be emotional or mental. Cheating happens when we allow someone we are not married to to meet a need that our spouse should be meeting.

So how does cheating happen? It doesn’t just happen, it takes place over weeks, months, sometimes years. Slowly, your love bank depletes and it is not refilled. Then, a man shows you attention, he is easy to talk to, interested in your life and you find yourself opening up to him, wishing your husband was like that. You are right there.

Or, a woman compliments you, she takes pride in how she looks (ironically, study after study say that people cheat on their spouse with someone less attractive than their spouse, so it isn’t looks), takes an interest in you, asks about what you like and bam.

Katie and I often talk about how we don’t meet with someone of the opposite sex alone and we get some weird stares. The reason. If you aren’t alone with someone, you aren’t in the position to cheat on your spouse. If you don’t share intamite things with someone, you can’t be amazed by someone. This doesn’t mean you aren’t friends with people you aren’t married to, but it does mean you are guarded around those people.

Do you share things with people of the opposite sex that you don’t share with your spouse? Are you making memories or having experiences with someone you aren’t married to? Do you find yourself looking nice for someone you aren’t married to? Do you find yourself thinking about what someone other than your spouse is doing? How they’ll be dressed when you see them tonight? When you are talking or having sex with your spouse, do you find yourself thinking about that person?

If you answered yes to any of these, you are having an emotional affair. Which sometimes, but not always, leads to a physical affair.

See how easy it is?