Men in the Arena and Your Best Version

In his classic work for men, Wild at Heart, John Eldredge claims that a man’s core passions are an adventure to live, battle to fight, and a beauty to rescue. Becoming your best version is a multi-faceted adventure.
          One of the largest opportunities in becoming your best version is building a healthy marriage. Pour into your wife. As she grows, you grow. As she thrives, your marriage thrives. You will struggle to achieve your best version without her.

Love Language Guy

Dr. Gary Chapman reached out to us with his latest book, 5 Simple Ways To Enhance Your Marriage…When You’re Stuck at Home Together, and we were happy to oblige. Gary wrote The 5 Love Languages, selling over thirteen million copies and has been on the New York Times best-sellers list continuously since 2007.
          His nationally syndicated radio programs air on Moody Radio Network and over 400 affiliate stations. More recently he appeared on the Men in the Arena Podcast, Episode 344.
          COVID-19 has forced a new way of life. Experts are predicting a spike in the divorce pandemic as Chapman writes, “Some are predicting that the divorce rate will increase in America when the ‘shelter-in-place’ orders are lifted. Reports indicate that is exactly what happened in China when the quarantine was lifted. Quarantines do not cause divorce-people do.”
          In this concise, practical book, Gary uses his lifetime of experience to help marriage with five ways to enhance your marriage.
          Here they are.

#1 Stop the Bombing

Gary wrote, “Everything we say is either a bomb or a balm. Bombs destroy. Balm is an aromatic oil or ointment that is soothing and healing. Harsh, cruel, condemning words like bombs exploding in the heart of the recipient. Kind, loving, affirming words are like an ointment of healing to the heart of the one who receives them.”
          In our interview Gary called men to initiate a truce to the cycle of anger bombs and retaliation, and declare peace so a marriage can move to the second way a marriage can stay strong.

#2 Tear Down the Walls

We, as men have to be proactive. We must obey Jesus in initiating change. In the fall release of my book, Strong Men Dangerous Times, I call fighting apathy the greatest battle a man will ever fight.
          Walls are negatively deconstructed one block at a time through the art of apology and forgiveness. An apology must be mutually exclusive from anything your wife did to warrant your anger bomb. Let your apology stand alone. Take full ownership.
          According to Chapman, walls are positively deconstructed when we. “Replace verbal bombs with verbal balms (and) replace complaining with gratitude!” Find ways to express gratitude to your wife and watch the walls come tumbling down. If you don’t say it, then you haven’t expressed it. Don’t assume anything. Say it.

#3 Speak the Language

You can learn more about what the five love languages are at www.5lovelanguages.com when you take the free test, have your wife and children take it as well. I emphatically recommend that every man do this.
          Don’t drop the ball on this one guys. It is teed up and ready.
          But learning her love language isn’t enough. You need to discover her love dialect. Learning that Shanna’s primary love language was acts of service wasn’t enough. Mastery of her specific dialect was a game-changer for our marriage.

#4 Have the Chalk Talk

During the pandemic when routines are shifting Chapman recommends that couples, “(Go) back to the drawing board and rethink your place on the team.” How have the roles shifted? Who will take on what? Chapman writes, “Marriage is a team sport. Successful couples learn how to work as a team.”
          He continues, “I have often encouraged couples to make a list of all the things that will need to be done on a regular basis after they get married. If they are diligent, it would be a long list. It would include such things as buying groceries, cooking, washing dishes, vacuuming floors, mopping floors, cleaning toilets, mowing grass, washing cars, keeping gas in the car, paying monthly utility bills, balancing the checkbook, etc.”
          Then write and compare both sets of roles. Discuss them. Get on the same page. Doing so will help to avoid and evade all sorts of problems.

#5 Go on a “Listening” Date

Chapman writes, “The daily sharing time is for the purpose of staying mentally and emotionally connected…For many years I have encouraged couples to have a daily sharing time in which each of them shares three things that happened in my life today and how I feel about them.”
          Notice it is not called a “talking” but a listening one. The goal is not for you to be heard but for you to listen to the heart of your wife. How is her heart? What is God saying to her? Where is she insecure, afraid, feeling alone? Listen without searching for a solution.
          The daily listening time, however, is not sustainable. We recommend it morphs into a week date night. While raising children, taking one night a week to get a sitter and focus on each other. Your time spent will be the single greatest couple of hours you will ever spend to transform your marriage into its best version.
          Do it now!

Boots on the Ground

Turn your marriage its best version during COVID 19. Identify the wall around your marriage. Really examine it. Name the block. Then systematically start tearing it down, brick by brick, until you can see your marriage’s best version.

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