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3 Common Ways Husbands Mistreat Their Wives

3 Common Ways Husbands Mistreat Their Wives

A common way husbands mistreat their wives is by responding insensitively when they’re hurting. Elkanah’s response to Hannah in 1 Samuel 1 is a good example showing three common mistakes husbands make.

Watch the short video of Katie and I discussing this or read the transcript below…

Elkanah had two wives—Hannah and Peninnah. This was part of the problem! Polygamy in the Old Testament is descriptive, not prescriptive, portraying the reality of the era but it’s not allowed for Christians today. This is why God never condoned polygamy, and whenever it took place in the Old Testament, it always caused problems. No biblical examples of polygamy are characterized by peace and harmony. Instead polygamy is always filled with turmoil and strife. Peninnah and Hannah’s marriage is a perfect example.

Peninnah could have children, but Hannah could not. Making Hannah’s situation even worse was Peninnah’s cruelty toward her. First Samuel 1:6–7 records:

[Hannah’s] rival (Peninnah) provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that [Peninnah] provoked her; therefore [Hannah] wept and did not eat.

Consider Elkanah’s response in 1 Samuel 1:8:

Then Elkanah her husband said to her, ‘Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?’” 

Elkanah’s response is terrible, revealing three common mistakes husbands make

1. Husbands mistreat their wives when they ask insensitive questions

Elkanah gave the impression that his wife’s hurt was not legitimate. He knew good and well why Hannah felt this way—because she was unable to have children.

2. Husbands mistreat their wives when they try to cheer them up

He tried to cheer Hannah up. Proverbs 25:20 says:

Like one who takes away a garment in cold weather, and like vinegar on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.

Husbands should respond sympathetically by listening well and then saying, “I am so sorry. What can I do for you? Would you like me to pray for you, or read the Word with you?”

3. Husbands mistreat their wives when they make prideful statements

Elkanah asked his wife: “Is not being married to me better than all the children you could have?” What does it look like today for husbands to be like this? “You are one lucky lady. Think of all I do for you! Aren’t you glad you get to be married to me?”

As husbands, when our wives are upset, they want us to respond sensitively. 1 Peter 3:7 commands husbands to live with our wives in an understanding way. This means responding to them gently and demonstrating compassion toward them when they’re upset.

Discussion questions and activities for husbands and wives:

Answer separately and then discuss together:

  • Husband: List three times you responded to your wife in pride, and explain how you should have responded.
  • Wife: List three times you feel your husband responded to you in pride, and explain how you wish he would have responded.
  • Husband: Are you more tempted to respond to your wife in pride or anger? What triggers your response of either anger or pride?
  • Wife:
    • Do you feel your husband is more tempted to respond to you in pride or anger? Why?
    • What can you do to help your husband avoid responding in pride or anger?

Marriage God's Way bundle—1 book and 2 workbooksNOTE: Most of this post is from Marriage God’s Way and the Marriage God’s Way Workbook.  Save %30 and purchase the bundle—one book and two workbooks!

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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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Why are wives commanded to submit to their husbands?

Wives are commanded to submit because it’s necessary

We see the clear need for submission in all other areas of life. No organization can be successful without authority or headship:

  • Businesses have CEOs.
  • Sports teams have coaches.
  • Governments have presidents or prime ministers.

Just as we recognize the need for a leader, or a head, we also recognize that there cannot be two heads. We don’t see two head coaches, two presidents, two head pilots, or two head surgeons. Imagine how uncomfortable you would feel:

  • Flying on a plane with two head pilots arguing over the flight plan
  • Being operated on by two head surgeons quarreling over the proper procedure

Instead we always see a:

  • Head coach and an assistant coach
  • President and a vice-president
  • Pilot and a co-pilot
  • Principal and an assistant principal

Continue reading Why are wives commanded to submit to their husbands?

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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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“How to respond when husband mocks Christian beliefs?”

Katie and Scott on Facebook Live

Outline for video:

  • 0–6:43—Scott’s question
  • 6:44­–8:11—Katie’s thoughts on Scott’s question
  • 8:12–12:54—Katie’s question
  • 12:55–17:37—Scott and Katie’s thoughts back-and-forth on Katie’s question
  • 17:38–19:17—Katie shares from Marriage God’s Way
  • 19:18–24:56—Discussion of Christian Heritage Marriage Retreat

Scott’s question: “How should I respond when husband mocks my Christian beliefs?”

How should I respond when my husband mocks my Christian beliefs? My husband claims to be a Christian, but he randomly says the church is really his wife’s church and it’s ridiculous to believe in creation over evolution. Occasionally he does this in front of the kids too.

There’s a chance your husband might be saved, but it’s hard to reconcile your description with the behavior of a Christian. People can be saved and believe in evolution, but they wouldn’t Christianity. That sort of hostility toward the Gospel seems incompatible with regeneration.

Here are the two encouragements: Continue reading “How to respond when husband mocks Christian beliefs?”

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“Leave this church?” and “Hubby likes kids more than me!”

"Should we leave our church?" and "My husband likes our kids more than me!"

Outline for the video:

  • 0-0:49 Intro and explanation of some of our adorable kids joining us
  • 0:49-9:18 Question for Scott: “Should we leave this church?”
  • 9:19-14:13 Question for Katie: “How can I get my husband to pay more attention to me than our kids?”
  • 14:14-15:35 A few thoughts from Scott on the question given to Katie
  • 15:36-16:06 Marriage God’s Way book giveaway
  • 16:07-19:27 Update on Marriage God’s Way Workbook and closing

Question for Scott: “Should we leave this church?”

I wanted to ask about leaving our church because of their misunderstanding of some doctrines. I don’t think I’ve handled the situation well. We’ve been checking out other churches, so instead of being a voice of reason the awkwardness has us not going there at all. My desire has been to continue going there, but my wife does not enjoy it. Though the people are sincere, the church is dead and there is a heavy spiritual attack going on. Another reason my wife doesn’t want to attend is my former fiancé from three years ago is there. The girl and I have no interest in each other, but it’s still hard for my wife to see her.

Every church we visit there is a lack of sobriety, or the they seem to be off base somewhere important. Perhaps they allow female teachers or there’s a “pop Christianity.” I’ve suffered way too much to attend a ho-hum church. I want seriousness, Scripture, and the life of Christ.

I met with the pastor a few times to reconcile our differences. He’s a very intellectual person and familiar with Scripture. But he’s come to a different interpretation of almost everything I believe God has taught me. I don’t see the pastor changing his mind, and I don’t know if I should bring up to the rest of the church the things I think are wrong.

What should I do?

My response…

Continue reading “Leave this church?” and “Hubby likes kids more than me!”

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“What if my husband isn’t interested in the Bible?”

marriage-gods-way-author-scott-lapierre husband isn't interested in the bibleOn Thursday nights at 8:30PST Katie and I are answering marriage questions on Facebook Live. If you have a question, be sure to send it to us. This past Thursday I answered the following: “What if my husband isn’t interested in the Bible?”

Below is the video. Here’s a breakdown of the content if you’d like to skip to a certain part:

  • 0–14:15—I answered the above question
  • 14:15–16:00—Katie shared briefly from Marriage God’s Way
  • 16:00–28:15—I discussed Genesis 30:1-2, which contains instruction for husbands and wives
  • 28:15–31.5 – Closing thoughts

Part I: 0–14:15 – “What if my husband isn’t interested in the Bible?”

Here’s the full question:

“My husband isn’t interested in the Bible. I’m becoming more interested in theology, but my husband feels like the topics that interest me don’t matter. He feels like a Christian is a Christian regardless. My question is, for a wife whose husband doesn’t agree with her theologically, what should I do? Should I just relax and let God work?”

Here are three suggestions:

  1. Pray! If your husband husband isn’t interested in the bible, you can’t make him be interested. Spiritual hunger and spiritual thirst is just that: spiritual. You can pray God gives him that hunger and thirst, but it’s not something you can give him.
  2. Encourage him! Be enthusiastic whenever he discusses Scripture. That will hopefully excite him about discussing it with you in the future.
  3. Ask him questions! Give him the opportunity to share. Keep your expectations low if he isn’t very studied. Do your best to prevent it from turning into an argument. That will only discourage him from talking about the Bible with you in the future.

Continue reading “What if my husband isn’t interested in the Bible?”

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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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Nagging your husband can kill him?

Nagging your husband can kill himI preached a sermon on 1 Peter 3:1, which instructs wives to “win over their husbands without a word.” In other words, wives should strive to avoid nagging their husbands.

Soon after I saw a Danish study conducted by researchers from the University of Copenhagen that was published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health: “Stressful social relations and mortality: a prospective cohort study. The study suggests:

Husbands of nagging wives can actually be nagged to death. This significantly shortens one’s life, and could result in three extra deaths per 100 people per year.

The study followed nearly 10,000 men and women between the ages of 36 and 52 for 11 years. The researches found:

The stress of constant moaning can weaken the body’s immune system. People nagged by spouses are more likely to get heart disease and cancer.

Dr. Lund, the author of the study, blamed stress for causing the early deaths as it triggers high blood pressure and other issues. He said:

Excessive demands – or nagging – can more than double the risk of death in middle-age; it can lower the immune system and lead to other health problems.

Nagging affects men and women, but it’s worse for men

Nagging negatively affects women, which means men aren’t excused from being challenged by the results. But men find themselves particularly at risk—more than twice as likely to die as women. Unlike women, men don’t share their problems with close friends or family. Many men only confide in their wives who, unfortunately, happen to be the very person causing them grief. Dr. Lund said, “The one person [husbands] have as a confident is actually the one putting the [stress] on them.” The study suggested going to work could provide relief, because it gets husbands away from the source of their stress. Men who are unemployed are more likely to die demonstrates this fact.

The study confirms what God’s Word says

A nagging wife damages her marriage and her husband…

  • The contentions of a wife are a continual dripping (Proverbs 19:13b).
  • Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious (Proverbs 21:9 & 25:24).
  •  Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman (Proverbs 21:19).

Nagging makes a husband want to get as far away from his wife as possible. He would rather be on the corner of a rooftop or in the wilderness.

Proverbs 27:15-16 A continual dripping on a very rainy day and a contentious (or nagging) woman are alike; Whoever restrains her restrains the wind, and grasps oil with his right hand.

Restraining a nagging wife is impossible. It’s like trying to restrain the wind or pick up oil with your hand. When you try to restrain a nagging or contentious wife by responding, it makes her more contentious. She engages in even more nagging! All you can do is climb to the corner of a rooftop or dwell in the wilderness to get away from her.

What should a wife do?

Here’s an excerpt from my book, Marriage God’s Way:

If a wife wants her husband to read God’s Word more, pray more, or be a godlier man, rather than nagging him, she herself should read God’s Word more, pray more, and be a godlier woman. Wives should be encouraged by Jesus’s promise to send the Holy Spirit in John 16:8: “When [the Holy Spirit] has come, He will convict the world of sin.” Notice the emphasis is on the Holy Spirit doing the convicting. This includes husbands, unbelieving or otherwise! Wives are not supposed to take over the Holy Spirit’s role in their husbands’ lives. Wives should pray, and then trust the Holy Spirit to do the work Jesus promised He would do.

No husband can sit at home being unspiritual and lame while watching his spiritual wife without feeling ashamed. A husband might pretend that he is not convicted, and his wife might not be able to tell by looking at him that he feels convicted, but he does. In contrast, when a wife is unsubmissive, angry, and nagging, the husband does not see God through her and as a result avoids feeling convicted at all.

Discuss

  • Do you have any marriage questions? If so, send them to me. Katie and I want to answer them on Facebook Live.
  • What solutions do you see for husbands and wives when it comes to nagging? Share your answers in the comments section!
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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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Pastors and Wives in the Church

This past Saturday was the 4th Annual WCC Ladies’ Conference, the one time per year there’s an interesting twist in my relationship with Katie: I’m the one listening to her go over a message she’s prepared. I feel like the conference went wonderfully, and it reminded me how thankful I am for all the women in the church, and how blessed I am to consider them friends and sisters in Christ. With that said, I’d like to elaborate a little on something from the end of last week’s sermon: I discussed wives going to their husbands with spiritual questions. It’s important to notice I said “spiritual questions.” If a woman wanted to ask me about something relating to the church that I would know as the pastor – like for example a question about an upcoming activity – of course that’s fine.

I hope the reasons for this are obvious. First, husbands are supposed to be the spiritual leaders or heads (according to 1 Corinthians 11:3 and Ephesians 5:23) of their wives, and that’s not a role I would want to usurp. I want to be the pastor of WCC and the head of my wife and children, but I want the men of WCC to be able to lead their families. Second, I wouldn’t want to deprive couples of the opportunity to discuss spiritual matters together. Some of the best conversations Katie and I have revolve around time spent in the Word and I don’t want any spouses missing out on that with each other. If husbands didn’t know the answer to their wives’ questions, I’d feel privileged to have the husband come to me, provide any help or support I could, and see the husband go back to his wife “equipped” in the language of Ephesians 4:12. In this scenario the husband is still able to be the spiritual leader of his wife, and the wife can appreciate the seriousness with which he took his headship.

Now I’m anticipating two questions. First, what about widows or women whose husbands are not in the picture? Those are unique situations where the elders can help in the husband’s absence. Second, some wives might say: “Well, what happens if I go to my husband, and he doesn’t get back to me?” Great question. First, we’re going to address this at our Men’s Breakfast on Saturday, February 1st, encouraging husbands to lead their families well. Second, at least in some of the situations the husbands might take their roles more seriously if they felt like the responsibility rested solely on their shoulders and their wives wouldn’t be looking anywhere else. Third, it’s a little of a “two-wrongs-don’t-make-a-right” situation in that just because husbands don’t respond to their wives, pastors shouldn’t assume that role. Fourth, possibly speaking to these situations is Titus 2:3-5 regarding older women…admonishing (or teaching) the young women. Older women who have “been there and done that” make wonderful resources for not just younger women, but women whose husbands are absent.

family-worship

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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.