Saturday, November 29, 2003
Marriage links for the week
On most days, I spend 7 to 10 hours sitting in front of a computer. I've been doing that pretty regularly for the past five years or so. Yesterday, however, I played football with some friends. It was a lot of fun, brought back fond memories of the front-yard game of my childhood, but today I can barely move. When I was 19, I probably could have taken it in stride, but right now I can't point to a single muscle in my body that's not sore. That has nothing to do with my marriage. I just feel like complaining. Here are some links from the news this past week:
I love reading stories about happy marriages. This one involves a young Italian bride who grew to sincerely love her 59-year-old arranged husband.
Another reason I support President Bush: He initiated a federally funded effort to provide marriage counseling to political refugees who come to the United States. Key quote: "The refugee life has so many problems. If you have a good marriage, it's something that's almost too good to believe."
Blake, of StateDog, has a great story about rescuing his daughter from a scary and pretty awkward situation.
Trouble with inlaws? Stacy has it, but she and her husband don't let it bother them anymore.
And one more thing:
University of Texas: 46
Texas A&M University: 15
Hook 'em Horns!
Friday, November 28, 2003
Adultery of the eyes
A short while ago I wrote a post called Adultery in the heart. I tried to make the point that sex is a sacred physical bond between a husband and wife and as such should not exist anywhere else, even in the imagination. Otherwise, we run the risk of diluting our sexual passion by spreading it too thin. My argument revolved around the short excerpt from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount:
You have heard that it was said, "You shall not commit adultery." But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
I summed up my own thoughts on the matter with this:
I have found that when I can keep myself from thinking about other women and focus 100 percent of my thoughts and energy on my wife, our relationship deepens, grows, and offers more rewards than at any other time. That, I think, is why Jesus said what He did about lust.
While reading over blogs4God the other day, I came across a post at a blog called A Blog Apart that addressed the topic of pornography. It references an article by Naomi Wolf, a feminist social critic, that addresses the effect of pervasive pornography on our culture's sexual health. She says that when men see naked and nearly-naked women all day every day, their sexual energy disperses in many directions, with little left over for a flesh-and-blood woman at the end of the day. Here are some key quotes:
The onslaught of porn is responsible for deadening male libido in relation to real women, and leading men to see fewer and fewer women as "porn-worthy."
The reason to turn off the porn might become, to thoughtful people, not a moral one but, in a way, a physical- and emotional-health one; you might want to rethink your constant access to porn in the same way that, if you want to be an athlete, you rethink your smoking. The evidence is in: Greater supply of the stimulant equals diminished capacity.
In many more traditional cultures, it is not prudery that leads them to discourage men from looking at pornography.
These cultures urge men not to look at porn because they know that a powerful erotic bond between parents is a key element of a strong family.
Though she seems to be writing from a non-Christian perspective, her conclusion falls in line with Jesus' warning. Adultery in the heart hurts a marriage just like adultery in the flesh, though in a different way. Jesus didn't give us His command against lust to keep us from having fun, as so many people seem to think. He gave it to us so that we could have better marriages and lead more fulfilling lives.
Thursday, November 27, 2003
I know I have some international readers here who may or may not be aware that today is a huge holiday in the United States. It is the day that we set aside for spending with loved ones while sharing and contemplating the things that we're thankful for. Mrs. Happy and I drew up a short list of things we thank God for (the unabridged list would take days to compile) so that we could share it here. We are thankful for:
- Life, family, and salvation.
- her: My husband and best friend.
him: My wife and best friend.
- Our wonderful church, where we feel more at home than we have anywhere during our marriage.
- Our cute little apartment, and our landlady who's not a psycho, which is rare in New York.
- Old friends, who helped make us what we are. Current friends, who put up with us unconditionally and help us to grow. Cyber friends, whose encouragement does more than they can know.
- The joy we find in God and the happiness we find in each other.
- Health (most of the timeright now we're both fighting off colds).
- Our pastor and his family, who have made us a part of their Thanksgiving tradition.
- God-given gifts and talents, and the opportunities to use them at work, at church, and in the community.
- Our utter silliness with each other, which has not faded with age or experience.
- Our future together, whatever it may bring.
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
Anything in the world
For a few years after we met, the Happy Best-Friend and I used to spend quite
a bit of time together. We would sit together in church, meet for lunch on
most weekdays, go bowling between classes at the University of Texas student
union, spend Friday nights with a group of friends, then see movies on Saturdays
with a different group of friends. In between those regular activities, we
would manufacture any excuse to be in each other's presence. Anything would
- I'm making spaghetti for dinner and I always make too much so do you want
to come over and have some?
- I'm trying to make a birthday card for my mother but I don't know how to
draw a squirrel, so could you come over and help me with that?
- I'm so bored being in my apartment so I'm going to McDonald's but I always
feel like a loser sitting in public alone so do you want to come with me?
Of course, my roommate at the time would say things like "I like spaghetti" or "I
can show you how to draw a squirrel" or "McDonald's sounds good" and I would
have to shoot him with a rubber band.
One evening the Happy Best-Friend came up with the excuse that she felt like
taking a walk through San
Gabriel Park. It's a nice park: scenic, quiet, well-kept, and built around
a river so wherever you are in the park you can hear the beautiful sound of
flowing water. It provides swings, slides, trees, park benches, a hiking trail,
open fields, and lots of opportunity for laughing, talking, and having fun.
That particular evening we made use of the trail and the swings, then settled
down on a bench facing the river. We sat there and talked until well after
dark, until she began nodding off against her will.
I told her we'd both better get home. We had school the next day and I had
missed too many classes already. She slumped where she was sitting and said, "Oh,
I'm so tired." By that point in our relationship I loved her with all my heart,
even if I didn't realize it. So I bent over, put my right arm behind her knees
and my left arm behind her back, then picked her up and carried her to the
Mrs. Happy majored in studio art in college, and it happened that she had
a watercolor class the day after we went to the park. That day, she painted
a picture of a man carrying a woman in his arms and titled it Anything because
she came to realize I would do anything for her (click on it to see the full
She came across that picture yesterday while going through some old work.
She found all sorts of things wrong with it: "It's too faint, and I'm barefoot.
Why am I barefoot? I was wearing shoes. And you never had a shirt that color.
And I made you too tall and my arm is unnaturally long. Ugh."
I see something else in it, though. I see a picture revealing two people on
the cusp of adulthood looking onto an indistinct world where even a tree, normally
a symbol of firmness and stability, fades
out of sight. I see her stretching her arm out to hold on to a man who will
accompany her into that world, bearing her burdens when she can't carry them
herself, when she's not "wearing shoes." I see that man (or a slightly enhanced
vision of him) slowly coming into focus, not yet solid but much more than a
shadow. I see how the future looked to us in 1995, as envisioned by a Happy
Best-Friend who still signed with her maiden name. I remember how I felt about
that future myselfunsure, overwhelmed, slightly terrifiedand now
I look back on it with fondness and thankfulness that we were able to meet
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Here are a couple of things the Bible says about marriage, things I try to remember/practice every day:
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."
Ephesians 5:25, 2931
Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated always in her love.
Like a lily among the thorns,
So is my darling among the maidens.
Song of Solomon 2:2
The Bible is in many ways a love story, the story of how and how much God loves mankind. It's only because He loves me that I'm able to love anyone else.
Poetry update:The where we're from page now includes a poem from Stacy.
Monday, November 24, 2003
A long day yesterday turned into a late night last night which turned into an oversleeping session this morning which gave way to a "real life trumps blogging" situation (a concept promoted by Dean Peters, aka MeanDean, of Heal Your Church Web Site and blogs4God) this morning. Even so, I would like to point out that I have built a page for the Where I'm From poems that people send me (see this post for more details). The permanent link for the poem page is in the right-hand column under the About heading. Enjoy the poems there, and please consider writing your own and sharing it.