14 Questions You Should Have Asked Before You Got Married

So, you’re going to get married?  You mind is made up and no one can talk you out of it? Good.

God says, “The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord.” (Proverbs 18:22, NLT).  We can truthfully reverse it and say that the woman who finds a husband finds a treasure. I found my treasure 46 years ago.

I smile–most times–when I see two people marry in the Lord. A few times I didn’t smile, but I tried to be optimistic, hoping things would work things out. With the horrible divorce statistics, though, you want to launch into marriage with as many factors on your side as possible. God wants you to enjoy marriage, not endure it.

Someone asked me about preparing to take a life partner. So, I’ve decided to formulate a checklist for those serious about making the right choice for life. I’ve probably forgotten a few things because I was smarter 46 years ago when I started. But, at least I am more seasoned (like a good Thanksgiving turkey).

Consider these things before you say, “I do!” Can you suggest some others?

1-Know a man’s true heart before you give him yours, because after you marry him you will know it. Samegoes for the female side of the equation. “As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.” (Proverbs 27:19, NLT).

We drench our first days of knowing each other with so much aftershave and perfume that we really don’t know the person. But, as we talk, interact and watch them live, the real person peeks out from the pretended perfection.

My wife and I became friends with a family who moved to our area many years ago. We shared lots of smiles, jokes and laughter for quite a while. One night, though, he made a comment about a group of people that surprised me. It wasn’t simply prejudiced, but hate-filled. And he said it with passion.

Other very unsavory things popped up in the way he conducted himself towards those of the opposite sex. It took a while, but the real person eventually crawled out of hiding.

2-Yes, appearance is important but it’s not all. Especially at first, we’ll be attracted by the outside but it’s vital to have a relationship that based on factors deeper than good looks.

I’ve noticed my pictures have changed through the years. (Some would say they’ve deteriorated but I pay them no attention. There were the sweet smiles of childhood, attempts to smile like Elvis Presley as a young adult, and the cool and assured smiles of the older adult. Maybe at the end I’ll be smiling the close-mouthed smile of someone with no teeth. I hope not.

The point is, our physical appearance changes. You young people think you’re always going to look like that. I just laugh at you. You know what’s waiting for you? Look at you daddy and mama … and eventually your grandpa and grandma. A bit depressing isn’t it?

Your relation better be more than skin deep because the skin is going to wrinkle and maybe even expand. Continue reading

Fried Flowers and How To Treat Your Wife

So what’s for desert? How do flowers grab you?

Once I was invited to speak for a group during an outing to a country restaurant in the southwest of France. This restaurant specialized in dishes that seemed a bit unusual, because they were all from sources close by.

I don’t remember everything we ate, though I do seem to remember that we started with bull-nettle soup. It was all quite good, thank you, but I did have a bit of a question about the desert, which was made from large white flowers from the area. The chef fried them.

Down South we used to fry everything except flowers. You gotta draw the line somewhere.

The floral desert was okay but I don’t think they are going to put the ice-cream shop out of business.

Let’s face it: flowers are nice to look at and nice to sniff, but when it comes to food, the ones who love flowers most have four legs and go, “moo!”

Dating and Courtship

It’s a bit like that in life (not the going “moo!” part but the flower part). An air-headed young man meets a silly young woman and they “fall in love.” Actually, it’s not love yet. They fall into selfishness because each one is intoxicated with how the other makes him/her feel.

Our attention centers on ourselves, so if we can say we’ve “fallen in love,” it’s with ourselves. Our love songs should say, “Oh, how I love me!” Real love concentrates on helping and bringing joy to the other one, on advancing the object of one’s love.

You still there?

Let’s admit it, though, beauty and perfumed air draws us toward the other person like flowers draws bees. (Notice to young men: go easy on the perfumed air. If we smell you before we see you that is not good).

So we “fall in love” and we go all tingly, and hope this feeling lasts forever. If it starts to wear thin, we drop that person and look for another who gives us the loving feeling and we do it over and over because that emotion is like a drug. I think most young ladies between the ages of 14 and 18 fall in love at least five times.

The problem is that some people are still hopping from relationship to relationship, chasing that feeling at 50. Most people who think they have fallen in love care about themselves. That’s why Artetha Franklin sings, “You make me feel like a natural woman.”

(What is a natural woman? Aren’t they all natural in their own way?)

Apples Are Better Than Apple Blossoms

It’s like eating flowers. Apple blossoms are nice to look at and nice to smell but there is no fruit there. Love is the fruit and fruit takes time.

When we really fall in love the focus shifts from us and the way we feel to the other person. We care about them. So, when people fall out of love and move on to another relationship, they’re just munching on flowers. It’s a shame, because the fruit is so much more nourishing if they had just waited and worked on the relationship.

When you pass from how you feel to how the object of your love feels, from what’s best for you to what’s best for them, you’re finally falling in love with them. Until then you’re in love with yourself.

Jesus shows us how it’s done.

“Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.

No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.” (Eph. 5:25-33, The Message).

Flowers anyone? No, I think I’ll order the fruit. Takes a bit longer and it’s not always so tangy but it’s nourishing!

Hummm …

“People sometimes wonder why I’ve taken this column in a spiritual and moral direction of late. It’s in part because we won’t have social repair unless we are more morally articulate, unless we have clearer definitions of how we should be behaving at all levels.

“History is full of examples of moral revival, when social chaos was reversed, when behavior was tightened and norms reasserted. It happened in England in the 1830s and in the U.S. amid economic stress in the 1930s. It happens through organic communal effort, with voices from everywhere saying gently: This we praise. This we don’t.” David Brooks writing in the New York Times

Images: flickr, creative commons, Jennie Ivins Fried Egg Breakfast Felt Ornament; ccharmon



Woman Brains Compared To Man Brains


I saw this article in the New York Times the other day:

“Obama to Unveil Initiative to Map the Human Brain  By JOHN MARKOFF and JAMES GORMAN

“President Obama on Tuesday will announce a research initiative, starting with $100 million in 2014, to invent and refine new technologies to understand the human brain.”

Actually, I think this should be a two-part study. He needs to allocate 99.99999 million dollars to study the female brain and a buck twenty-five for the male brain. The male brain doesn’t seem to be used too much and the female version is very complicated.

I could do the study on men’s’ brains myself and get rich. I wouldn’t even take 50 million. I’d only charge one or two million. Think of it. What savings! What cost cutting! Congress would be happy. As a matter of fact, I can hand in my report of the male brain already.

The New York Times article could read something like this:
“Porter Completes Study of Male Brain” Continue reading