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Husbands get the wives they prepare for themselves

Husbands get the wives they prepare for themselves based on Ephesians 5:26–27:

That [Christ] might sanctify and cleanse [the church] with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

This is discussing what Christ does with His, Bride, the Church. Since the context is marriage, it’s also explaining what husbands should do with their wives. Christ “sanctifies and cleanses” His bride, so husbands should sanctify and cleanse their brides. This makes a husband at least partially responsible for his wife’s sanctification.

Just as Christ gets the church He prepares for Himself, so husbands get the wives they prepare for themselves

There is a tremendous truth contained in these words. Christ does what He does in verse 26—sanctifying and cleansing the church—so that He can obtain for Himself the glorious church, or bride, described in verse 27 that “has no spot or wrinkle but is holy and without blemish.” The simplest way to say it is: Christ gets the church He prepares for Himself. Continue reading Husbands get the wives they prepare for themselves

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Can a wife love her husband without respecting him?

Can a wife love her husband without respecting him? Not only would I say it’s possible, I would say it’s common! Most women will say they love their husbands, and I believe they do. But many of these same wives might not respect their husbands. I’ve met men who have told me they feel loved by their wives but not respected.

In marriage counseling, when I hear wives expressing their frustrations about their husbands, it typically sounds like this: “I don’t feel that my husband loves me. I wish my husband loved me more. He never tells me he loves me.” But when husbands express frustration, it more often sounds like this: “I wish my wife respected me more. I wish my wife followed my lead. I wish my wife supported my decisions.”

In truth, it is much easier for a wife to say she loves her husband than to show it through respect. But it is through respect that a wife expresses her love for her husband. If a wife does not show respect, her husband will not feel loved. A good perspective for couples to keep in mind is that feeling unloved is as painful to a wife as feeling disrespected is to a husband.

An example from scripture of a wife loving her husband without respecting him

Continue reading Can a wife love her husband without respecting him?

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We want to answer marriage questions on Facebook Live!

Katie and I started using Facebook Live to answer marriage questions sent to us. Here are two sessions:

We’re striving for one live session each Thursday night at 7PM PST. After we finish, I upload each video to our Marriage God’s Way YouTube channel. Please subscribe to make sure you don’t miss any videos!

marriage-gods-way-author-scott-lapierre - answer marriage questionsI have to say this is much more in Katie’s comfort zone than mine. I like to plan things out in detail. By the time I preach a sermon, I like to have invested a lot of time polishing it. I wouldn’t mind the videos so much if they weren’t live. The inability to start over is particularly nerve-wracking, but this is the only way to participate with us. People can post thoughts, questions, contributions, etc in the comments section while we’re recording.

Below are the three most recent videos we’ve done. I’ll provide a brief explanation of each, so you can decide which to watch.

Marriage Tips from Marriage God’s Way 

Katie and I shared two tips from my book:

  1. Wives, embrace your husband’s leadership style, from Chapter Fourteen.
  2. Husbands, you get the wife you prepare for yourself, from Chapter Nine. Ephesians 5:26-27 says Christ “sanctifies and cleanses the church…that He might present her to Himself a glorious [bride]”. Christ gets the church He prepares for Himself, and since this is a marriage passage it contains the same application for husbands with their wives.

Continue reading We want to answer marriage questions on Facebook Live!

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3 Ways to Build a Stronger Marriage

Developing a strong marriage takes daily investment– you can’t set it and forget it. Relationships are ever changing, because people and life are ever changing. With intentional changes, you can build a stronger marriage and go deeper with your spouse.

Here are 3 ways you can build a stronger marriage-

1. Give Them the Benefit of the Doubt

There are going to be times in which your spouse says or does something that hurts your feelings. It can be easy to jump to conclusions that they did the offensive thing on purpose. Just because they know you better than anyone else, doesn’t mean that they always know how their actions will affect you.

Instead of concluding that they did something intentionally, give them the benefit of the doubt. Believing that they meant to hurt you will cause your defenses to go up. Going to them about an issue when you are defensive will usually lead to unnecessary fighting.

Rather than believing that they were trying to hurt you, consider that they did it unknowingly. Your spouse is not your enemy, but you can make them out to be if you don’t give them the benefit of the doubt.

2. Become a Lifelong Student of Your Spouse

study-your-spouseMy husband, Austin, says that I’m his favorite subject and that he is committed to studying me for the rest of his life. Boy do I give him a lot to learn.

Even if you have known your spouse for a long time, it doesn’t mean that you have them all figured out. They change- you change- everything changes. Continue reading 3 Ways to Build a Stronger Marriage

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What Keeps Couples From Communicating?

marriage-gods-way-author-scott-lapierre communicating wellOver the last few years, my husband and I have had some major breakthroughs communicating with each other. I feel that we have always had a great foundation communicating, but we were still missing the mark with each other. This is not to say that we have it all figured out, but there are a few things that we have discovered that keeps couples from communicating well.

Listening To Their Words Doesn’t Equal Understanding

We are told over and over again that all we have to do is really listen to our spouse. I can tell you that there have been plenty of times that I have intently listened to my husband and still didn’t understand what he was communicating. Why isn’t listening enough?

You Aren’t Speaking The Same Language

If I were listening to someone speak another language, I would have little idea of what they were trying to communicate. This happens in our native language as well. Words do not have the same meaning to everyone. One person in the relationship will say something as clearly as they know how and the other will not interpret it correctly.

My husband and I have very different ideas of the meaning of the word relax. For him, relax means to sit in front of the television and do nothing for the rest of the day. To me, relax means to leave the house and go do something so I can shut off the working part of my brain.

Reviews of Marriage-Gods-Way-author-Scott-LaPierre-front-coverAlso, before we go any further, let me encourage you encourage you to check out Scott’s book, Marriage God’s Way. You’ll be blessed and it will help strengthen the communication – among other things – in your relationship!

If you have any questions, contact Scott personally. He’d love to hear from you: scott@scottlapierre.org or (360) 977-2877.

Actions Are Misunderstood

Continue reading What Keeps Couples From Communicating?

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Ladies, be your husband’s best friend!

Be your husband's best friend!
Be your husband’s best friend!

Last year I preached a sermon discussing the different Greek words for “love.” One of the words – probably the most well known – is agape. This is an unconditional, sacrificial love that loves even when it’s not reciprocated.

This is:

  • The love God has for the world: John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 
  • The love man has for sin: John 3:19 This is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
  • The love husbands are commanded to have for their wives: Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.

Another word for love is phileō, and it refers to strong affection or brotherly kindness. This is…

  • The beginning of words like philosophy (love of wisdom), philanthropy (love of fellow man), or philharmonic (love of music).
  • Used of the religious leaders who love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets” (Matt 6:5).
  • The way Mary and Martha described Jesus’ feelings for Lazarus when they said, “he whom You love (phileō) is sick” (John 11:3).

You see the two words – agapaō and phileō – used together when Jesus repeatedly asked Peter if he had agapaō for Him. Since Peter was humbled by his recent denials, he wouldn’t tell Jesus His love for Him was unconditional; instead he said he had phileō for Him (John 21:15-17).

Now the most interesting use of phileō…

Titus 2:3-4 says “older women” are to “admonish the young women to love their husbands.” This word for love is phileō. So even though husbands are to have agapaō for their wives, wives are to have phileō for their husbands. Why aren’t wives expected to have the same sacrificial, unconditional love for their husbands that husbands are to have for their wives? Is it that husbands don’t want or need that kind of love? I don’t think that’s it at all: I think it’s that wives are to love their husbands differently than husbands are to

My best friend Katie.
My best friend Katie.

love their wives. Wives are to love their husbands by being their friends. I think most men – myself included – would say it can be very discouraging and trying at times being a husband, father, provider, spiritual leader, and everything else that falls on most men’s shoulders. Can having a wife with sacrificial, unconditional love be encouraging? Yes. But what could be even more encouraging?

Having a best friend.

 

What does it look like when a wife isn’t a friend to her husband, when she doesn’t phileō him? It’s described in Proverbs:

  • Her “contentions are a continual dripping” (19:13b, 27:15),
  • She makes him want “to dwell in a corner of a housetop” (21:9a, 25:24) or “in the wilderness” (Pro 21:19a).

But when a wife has phileō for her husband, when she is his best friend, “the heart of her husband safely trusts her. He has no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life” (Pro 31:11-12).

This post is from my book, Marriage God’s Way: A Biblical Recipe for Healthy, Joyful, Christ-Centered Relationships, chapter fifteen: “What Is Love?”

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When People Let Us Down

Discouraged

This relates to my last post that ended with the encouragement for our service to be done for God:

  • 1 Corinthians 10:31 Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
  • Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.

This is the solution when we feel like people let us down. We weren’t doing it for them. We were doing it for God.

A husband says, “I work hard. I provide for my wife. I love her, but it seems like she doesn’t appreciate it.” Remember you’re doing it for the Lord.

A wife starts to feel like, “I support my husband. I love him. I submit to him. I honor him. But he doesn’t put forth as much effort with me.” Remember you’re doing it for the Lord.

If you’re a husband, you should love and cherish your wife not because she’s perfect or deserves it, but because you love God and that’s what He wants. If you’re a wife, you submit to and honor your husband, not because he’ll always make the right decisions, but because you love God and that’s what pleases Him.

At work you’re diligent and you do your best, but you’re always passed over for promotions. Maybe you see others slough off or act dishonestly, maybe it’s even from those in positions over you. Remember, you’re doing your best work for the Lord. You want to be a good witness. You hope others will see Christ through you.

You have a friend and you’ve spent hours listening to the person’s problems, always making yourself available without ever being asked how you’re doing, how you’re feeling, if you need prayer. You give and give and you’re finally going through something, but your friend doesn’t have time for you. Remember you were doing it for the Lord.

I saved this example for last because it can be the most painful; it’s almost impossible not to take it personally, blame yourself, but I’ve seen it happen to wonderful parents…

You’ve invested so much in your children. Not just hours like in a friendship, but years of putting your child ahead of yourself, training, educating, instructing, mentoring, praying every night for your child to love and fear God. Then the child gets older and rebels. My encouragement: remember you were doing it for the Lord, and He is El Roi, The God Who Sees, and your service has pleased Him. Raise your children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, not because they’ll always make the best decisions, but because you love God.

If your service is for the Lord, you’re going to save yourself from two dangerous threats:

  1. Discouragement: if your service is for man instead of God, it will hurt when you don’t receive the recognition and gratitude you think you deserve. When you feel like your love and effort isn’t reciprocated, you’ll be frustrated or bitter or both.
  2. Pride: if your service is for man instead of God, you become susceptible to pride because it will matter that people felt like you did a great job. The compliments will become very meaningful. You’ll start to believe the praise.

If your service is for the Lord though, you’ll be spared from these threats and you’ll have the satisfaction knowing you’re pleasing the Lord and doing what He wants.

Let me encourage you with these two biblical examples…

In 2 Corinthians 11:22-29 Paul listed the physical, emotional and spiritual suffering he experienced as a servant of the Gospel and it sounds like more than one man could handle. He came to the end of his life and in one of the saddest verses in the New Testament he said, “Only Luke is with me” (2 Tim 4:11). That’s it. Only Luke. Hundreds, if not thousands of people Paul had served and helped in his service for the Gospel and he goes on to say, “No one stood with me, but all forsook me.” (2 Tim 4:16). And then listen to this: “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me” (2 Tim 4:17). When Paul felt like he didn’t have anyone else, he knew he had the Lord, and the Lord helped him through his most difficult times when everyone else had let him down.

Think about Jesus’ example: He spent years helping people to the greatest extent His physical body allowed. When He found Himself on trial, many of the same people He helped yelled, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” (Luke 23:21). When Jesus was arrested, with the exception of John, all the disciples fled and denied knowing Him. When Jesus looked down from the cross, John was the only one He saw along with His mother. We’re all going to experience people letting us down, but we have in Jesus a Savior who in the words of Hebrews 2:17 “had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest.” When we feel let down by others, we can go to Him and know He hears us and has experienced the same.

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What We SHOULD Recognize…

The Grammys took place a few days ago to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry. Soon after that, the Super Bowl took place recognizing the most outstanding team in the NFL. One player was even chosen as the MVP to recognize his outstanding achievements during the game.

We love to recognize people with awards, which I don’t really have a problem with…okay…to be honest I do have a little bit of a problem. When I used to teach elementary school I tried to stay away from awards for a few reasons:

  1. First, I wanted to prepare my students for life where you aren’t often recognized (and often shouldn’t be) for your effort.
  2. Second, I wanted my kids to do what was right because it was the right thing to do…not because they’d be recognized with an award.
  3. Third, sometimes the kids who were recognized didn’t really work that hard, while the kids who worked the hardest weren’t recognized at all.
  4. Fourth, when I saw kids recognized with awards it often led to pride…kind of like when adults are recognized with awards.

Despite the negative feelings I might have about giving people awards, if I had to choose some things that should be recognized, at the top of the list would be: staying married. When people have stayed married for 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years it’s a wonderful achievement that should be celebrated.

This past week my wonderful parents celebrated their 40th Year Anniversary. I just want to recognize them and say, Thank You. As a son, second only to watching my parents serve the Lord (which is another way they’ve really blessed me) there’s no greater gift they could give me. I’m so thankful for them and the example they’ve set, and the commitment they’ve made to each other, to my wife, my children, to our church, and most importantly to the Lord.

Mom and Dad: I love you both so much. Thank you. I’m very honored to be your son.

Parents' anniversary

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Lessons from Katie and the kids gone

When Katie and the kids left for our hometown of Fall River Mills, California this past week it was a lot harder than I thought. I’ll be flying out of Portland tonight (September 1st) to go see them and I can’t wait; this is the longest I’ve been away from them…which I know isn’t very long…which brings up what I’d like to discuss. Them being gone has made me think about a few things…

First, it’s helped me see that I’m pretty blessed by the availability I have to my family. When I say goodbye to them in the morning, I don’t say goodbye like most fathers do (for 9 hours or more); I say goodbye for an hour or two until they surprise me at the office or I walk home to see them. I can have most meals with them. If Katie’s having a rough time at home she’ll have me come home and help (i.e. spank one of the boys). Katie sends me coffee, smoothies, and love notes daily. Almost all the church’s activities involve my family. Whenever I go on visitations I bring my kids…sometimes even when I shouldn’t (like Linda Sprague’s retirement party: I knew something was wrong when I walked in and didn’t see any other kids, and it got worse when someone said, “I think your son just took a bite out of that cookie and put it back on the tray.”).

Second, I’ve been thinking about the reality of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 7:32, 33 that married people have to be concerned about their spouses, but unmarried people can really focus on the Lord. With Katie and the kids gone I was sort of like an unmarried guy again, able to get a ton of work done. It made me hope the unmarried people appreciate all they can do for the Lord during their seasons of singleness. When they get married, and especially when they have children, these other obligations will take priority.

Third, I’ve been thinking about how valuable my wife is to me as a pastor. I didn’t consider how much she helps me…until she’s not here to help me. I bounce ideas off Katie and talk to her about almost everything. Whenever I teach she always gives me feedback. She reads every one of my bulletin letters ahead of time (including this one, which involved a recommendation to remove two paragraphs that were “over the top.” I don’t know what that means, but I took them out anyway). I always go over my sermons with her (sometimes a couple times), but this week I wasn’t able to, and it really bothered me and this week we went over it late Saturday night. Proverbs 18:22 He who find a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord and that’s definitely been the case for me.

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A Woman Married A Bridge

Jodi Rose married the Devil’s Bridge in France.

People who define marriage as existing between one man and one woman receive criticisms like:

  • “You’re a bigot.”
  • “You’re hateful, unloving, intolerant.”
  • “What business is it of yours?”
  • And probably the most common: “If two people love each other why can’t they…”

What would people making these criticisms say if…

  • Two close relatives wanted to marry?
  • An adult wanted to marry a young child?
  • Multiple people wanted to be married to each other?
  • Someone wanted to marry an animal, an inanimate object, or herself?

Typical responses would probably be…

  • “That’s ridiculous!”
  • “It’ll never get that far!”
  • “You’re just being inflammatory!”
  • “Quit being stupid.”

Apparently it’s not that ridiculous, far-fetched, inflammatory or stupid:

Nadine Schweigert married herself. She “exchanged rings with her inner groom” saying, “I feel very empowered, very happy, very joyous…I want to share that with people, and also the people in attendance, it’s a form of accountability.” Accountable to, or for, what? She’s going to have trouble staying faithful to herself? How could that be a problem?

Jodi Rose married the Devil’s Bridge and no, I’m not trying to make this sound satanic by giving the bridge that name. On her blog Jodi wrote, “The Devil’s Bridge is everything I could desire in a husband – sturdy, trustworthy, sensual, kind and handsome.”

Someone might say, “You can’t act like something’s a big deal just because ONE PERSON does it!” Okay…

Now there is a problem for some of these people: their countries don’t recognize their marriages. I know it’s hateful, bigoted, intolerant, unloving, and cruel, but it’s true. This leaves them two choices…

They can follow Sal’s example and go to Guam where he was able to have his marriage to Nene recognized. In Guam the people are tolerant, open-minded, kind, and loving. What kind of country would Guam be if it didn’t define marriage as the union between a human and an electronic device?

They can get enough people together to picket, have parades, scream about equal rights, kiss their dogs, pillows, walls, snakes, dolphins and video games until everyone’s convinced marriage should be whatever they want it to be…because if enough people think something is right, it must be right! These people love each other and who are we to say two (or three) people who love each other…er…I mean love animals…er, I mean love pillows…er, I mean love video games…er, I mean love walls…shouldn’t be able to marry.

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Learning From Our Wives

There’s an interesting situation in this morning’s passage that I won’t be discussing during the sermon, but I’ve always found it particularly fascinating and as a result I would like to share some of my thoughts about it with you…

Right in the middle of Jesus’ trial, Pilate’s wife sends for him and says, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him” (Mat 27:19). Everyone knows Pilate; he goes down in history as one of, if not, the most tragic figures ever (with Judas). While I can’t say for sure what’s happening, it looks like God was mercifully trying to warn him through his wife. In Genesis 2:18 God said, “I will make him a helper comparable to him.” This verse means men need help and Pilate is the best example in Scripture of a man who should’ve used his wife’s help.

If you’ve been in our church for very long, you’ve heard me talk about the ways Katie helps me: I go over my sermons with her, she’s the one who initially found WCC and said, “There’s this great church looking for a pastor!” After every Bible study or church event I ask her how she feels like it went. We regularly discuss our family, the church…just about everything. Sometimes I think submission is criticized because those who misunderstand it think it means a husband doesn’t listen to his wife. While there definitely are examples of men who listened to their wives when they shouldn’t have (Adam/Eve – Gen 3:17 Because you have heeded the voice of your wife and Ahab/Jezebel – 1 Kin 21:25 There was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do evil, because his wife stirred him up), husbands should see their wives as the most common avenue, second only to the Bible and the Holy Spirit, that God uses to help us. Many times the guy who silences his wife’s voice in his life silences the Lord’s voice in his life.

I’ve noticed that many times women have a sensitivity to spiritual issues that men lack. Perhaps that explains God’s assessment in creation: everything had been “good” (Gen 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25) until 2:18 when the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone. The husband and wife becoming one flesh (2:24) seems to bring the completion or perfection God wanted.

This Sunday’s sermon, Matthew 27:15-26 A Disastrous Choice, can be found here.

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Aug 19, 2012

From the Pastor,

A few weeks ago a local Christian camp sent me an e-mail about a free stay at their grounds to hopefully stir up some business (they hoped I’d end up sending our church to stay with them). Katie and I celebrated our six-year anniversary on Aug 5th, so we were able to have a nice little vacation away while checking out the camp. This was the first time since our honeymoon the two of us have been away by ourselves and it was wonderful!

Speaking of marriage, I started rethinking a part of last Sunday’s sermon. I said something along the lines of, “Don’t expect your spouse to change. Instead focus on learning to accept the things you want to see changed.” I thought more about this comment (actually, Katie said something to me about it), which made me feel like I should’ve said it differently. The issue for me came down to sanctification, or the reality that all of us should be changing throughout our Christian lives into the image and likeness of Christ. Saying people don’t change in marriage is difficult to reconcile with sanctification…even though experience tells me people don’t often change the way their spouses want. It’s sort of been my experience when marriages improve, it has more to do with people becoming more accepting of each other, extending more grace, exhibiting more forgiveness, etc than it has to do with individuals changing. Although, you could make the case that being more forgiving, gracious, etc is changing. It’s just that the person changing is the one who wants to see the other person change…if that makes sense.

Katie reminded me that during our marriage I’ve changed a lot (hopefully she meant for the better), and I know she’s changed a lot over these six years (all for the better). So I feel like my statement was too strong and possibly even discouraging. I’d still encourage people to learn to accept the parts of their spouses they want to see change though. I think most married couples would be happier if they didn’t focus on trying to change their spouses, but instead focused on the good things about them. The only difference is I wouldn’t sound so negative regarding people changing, because hopefully all of us are changing regularly in our Christian lives as God works on us.