Wednesday, May 30, 2007

P4E.025 Horse Sense 3

"Consistency is your greatest ally.
Inconsistency is your greatest enemy."
Clinton Anderson

It's amazing how much horse training crosses over to human training! A character quality that I'm working on is "trustworthiness." My wife, Gwen, does not feel safe when I act, speak or think erratically. She doesn't feel safe when she cannot trust me to have the same Christlike character qualities on a consistent basis. She can't relax and be herself when she doesn't know who her husband is going to be day to day. Is he going to be gentle and mild mannered or is he going to be hot-headed and controlling? Loving or selfish? Caring or distracted?

I know the age old issue always comes up: "I'm human, I'll never be perfect." Even though Christ calls us to be perfect, this isn't about being perfect. It's about the sincerity of my pursuit of Christlikeness. What happens when I mess up? Can I consistently recognize my sins, feel genuine sorrow over them, ask for forgiveness and repent from them? Am I creating a track record of being Christlike that is occasionally broken or vice-versa? If I can be consistent in the honorable way that I handle my occasional inconsistencies, even that ministers to my wife. When I am consistent and trustworthy, Gwen is able to feel safe, honored, valued....loved. God help me to be consistently Christlike and trustworthy for her sake!

Peace, Kim

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

P4E.024 Horse Sense 2 Redux

My wife has helped me to see that my previous post might leave you with the impression that she was disrespectful in an un-Godly way. That is, that she was a raving lunatic. This was not the case at all. My apologies for any confusion there. My wife was always careful to maintain her integrity and never dropped to my level. What I meant was that I could not blame her if, inside, she had no respect for me because I really had not earned it.

In fact, this brings to mind the equation that I laid out before:

Christlike husband = Holy wife

This equation does not necessarily work in reverse, that is:

Holy wife does not necessarily = Christlike husband

We know of many holy wives who have bought into the idea that if they simply pray, be patient, be submissive, be quiet, be the Proverbs 31 wife, that their husbands will turn around and bless them and will treat them better and will become more Christlike. The problem is that, in general, it does not seem to be working. Here is an e-mail that we recently received (names are changed) that illustrates what I mean:

"Well, it has been a long time since we last spoke and
I know you have heard some things about the "state" in
which my marriage is in, so I figured in an attempt to
help other's who may really be searching, seeking and
persuing what it takes to make a marriage really work,
I would like to share my heart for a moment if I may.

Last May, a year ago, we relocated to (another state). I came
with the kids and my husband of almost 20 years stayed
behind to finish up on his work committments and to
continue seeing (a Life Partners counsellor) as he promised. Well, he
finished working but never went back to his weekly
visits with (a Life Partners counsellor) and when questioned about this and
the sincerity of his promise, he got mad!

I began to pray hard in May that God would show me
what to do here. I have tried "everything" I know how
to do for the entire duration of my marriage to make
it work. Counseling, seminars, marriage encounters,
therapists, medication, pastor intervention, group
Bible studys, in home couples groups, self help books,
PRAYER, intervention with family.....the list goes
on...all to the same sad end! No change that has ever
been lasting.

I got a clear sign from God last May that I was to
step out of God's way and let Him deal with my husband
as he saw fit! I decided to give it a try, to remove
myself emotionally, and see what happened. We became
more separated, with even less communication and
really never saw each other. When I gave a June 1st
deadline for divorce unless I saw some HUGE heart
changes, I got the same old, "He was busy, when he was
not working so much we could go talk with someone"
speech. I became mad, he was emotionless as usual.

Since I have been here I have met a lot of nice men,
some of which I have become friends with. I have taken
a lot of slack for speaking with them, and will not
justify my action there at all, as it was exactly what
I needed at the time. I have been ignored, rejected,
forgotten.....discarded like a piece of trash my
entire marriage, and the fact that gothers were able
to point out in my some good qualities I could not see
otherwise, due to the horrible things my husband has
made me feel over the years from his words and lack of
concern for me has helped me to see that I do not need
to suffer in a relationship as this anymore. I am a
good person and God does have a plan for me and my
life, and maybe it is without him as my husband.

I was scared to do anything for many years, and would
always find myself justifying or rationalizing why so
many situations in my marriage such as affairs,
pornography, etc. would creep up, and I always made it
my fault and just stayed for the next dose of hell.

Well, I have taken control of my life, I am filing for
divorce, and after telling him this repeatadly, have
gotten really no response or any type of action to
tell me to do otherwise.

I feel like we have been playing a Chess game for
years, and I am literally backed into the last
remaining corner on the board with two
choices......stay there and never complain about where
my marriage has ended up, as that is where I will
always be, or jump over him and continue to move from
square to square alone, and live for a change without
the fear of rejection, isolation, abandonment, and
neglet that I have felt my entire marriage from the
one that I have loved more than anyone else. I have
boarded up my heart, taken back control and have made
a descision "good or Bad" to never allow myself to
enter a relationshiop such as this again. I love him
as a friend, and the father of my children, but will
never trust him with my heart again, as he has shown
me that I am not worth fighting for, not even in the
least bit! I feel sad, but hopeful for my future, I
feel free for the first time ever, and I fell
empowered to walk where my feet take me and to make
something of myself, and my children's life before I
spend the next twenty chasing a dream that will never
come true.

I thanks you for your prayers over the years, your
support, your words of wisdom, they are forever in my
heart and will remain there as the ground work for any
future relationships I may have.

You may share this with your group if you wish, as it
serves to prove just what happens when a man "forgets"
what comes between him and God....PRIDE!! Pride and
the inability to humble the heart to the point that
God can really allow my husband to feel something and
then share it with me, has caused our marriage to end
here and now.

Take care,
Jane (not her real name)"

I know this couple well and can vouch for her portrayal of her efforts and her marriage. It broke my heart as I read it. I wonder how it affects you?

Peace, Kim

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

P4E.023 Horse Sense 2

"Horses won't want to respect you unless you show them that you're a
worthy leader."
Clinton Anderson

And neither will a wife. Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not comparing wives to horses. But, I am saying that wives will want to respect a worthy leader. When I was not getting any respect from my wife, I naturally thought that it was her shortcoming that she was not respecting (submitting to) her husband. That was not very Christian of her! It did not immediately occur to me that her lack of respect was due to my unworthy leadership. In fact, it took a very long time for that idea to sink in.

A concept that I've come to believe is an oxymoron is the concept of "demanding respect." Respect is earned; gained through consistent worthy leadership. Respect cannot be demanded any more than forgiveness or love or grace or friendship. Respect by definition is given freely, without coercion of any sort.

Ken Nair has shown me a startling equation based on Ephesians 5:25-26 "Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,"

That equation goes like this: Christlike husband = Holy wife
Its corollary is frightening. It goes like this:
Un-Christlike husband = ?? (you fill in the blank)

This is where I understood that pointing the finger of blame did me no good, but self-examination was very helpful.

Your ally in the pursuit of Christlikeness, Kim

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

P4E.022 Horse Sense

Last weekend we went to a clinic held by a well-known horsetrainer named Clinton Anderson. So much of what we were taught about horses and their trainers seemed to transfer to human relationships that I thought I would dwell on it for a bit.

"Frustration begins when knowledge ends"
Clinton Anderson

Whether Clinton knew it or not, this is a very Scriptural concept as in Proverbs 14:29 "He who is slow to anger has great understanding, But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly." Frustration and anger are two emotions that we men CAN name and do recognize. I can't tell you how many times I have been frustrated in my relationships with my wife and children. How angry I have been towards them, because I felt that they misunderstood me, mistook me, disobeyed me, disappointed me, had different opinions from mine, couldn't understand that my way was the right way.

I have learned a lot since those times and what that knowledge has meant is that I make every effort not to terrorize my wife and children anymore. When I'm slower to frustration and anger I gain greater understanding to the point that I don't get angry and frustrated. I know you may be saying to yourself, "Sure, Kim..." but, I am telling you that with God's help I have really changed directions in this area of my life. Sure, I still get angry, frustrated, impatient at times but much less frequently and that is not the track record I am making now. And, the biggest thing is that I now recognize when I get angry, frustrated and impatient and have the tools to acknowledge, apologize and repent from blowing up my home. God help me to continue.

So, what knowledge am I talking about that will ward off frustration and anger? It's the knowledge of my own spirit, of my wife's spirit and my children's spirit and all of the others who look to me for spiritual leadership. It's the knowledge of assessing their spiritual condition and knowing how God would have me minister to where they're at. It is the knowledge of God's Word to help me know what He requires of me. It's the knowledge of what spiritual fruit I will need to evidence to let God, others and myself know I'm operating in His will (See Galatians 5:22).

I haven't asked before, but, do you have anything to add to (or contradict) what I'm saying?

Peace, Kim

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

P4E.021 I'm on Your Side

In the past, I have viewed my wife like many Christian men do, as "support." This was fostered by my understanding that my wife was to be my "help." So, I went to "work" and she took care of all the rest. That was her role. I did not see it as my responsibility to help around the house or to do many things that would let her know that we were "one" or that I appreciated her at all. I was not on her side. My role was "breadwinner." In fact, I was insensitive enough to criticise my wife's handling of affairs on the home front. This was all very draining to her. It also forced her to become very independent of me. She could not count on me. I was busy with "work."

That did not work well. It was not Christlike. In Life Partners ministry, I was reminded that Christ was/is a source of strength, not a draining influence. Jesus said, "Come unto me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest...I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls." I want to be more like Him.

The last couple of weeks have been stressful at work. I have not been a source of strength for my wife, but have been rather weak. "Edgy." My old impatient self has been leaking out here and there. I've always gotten inspiration from music and song lyrics. So, this is dedicated to my wife, Gwen. This is my re commitment to you, dear:

When you're weary
feeling small
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all
I'm on your side
when times get rough
like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
I will lay me down

When you're down and out
when you're on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you
I'll take your part
when darkness comes
and pain is all around
like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
I will lay me down

like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
I will ease your mind

Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Song: Bridge Over Troubled Water
Album: Bridge Over Troubled Water

I love you Gwen!

And peace to all who read this blog! Kim