Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Books that all teens (and their parents) should read

Teaching young teens is what I do for a living.  I’m a high school teacher by profession, teaching in a small private Montessori school in Cagayan de Oro City.  Being in such a small school, teaching in The Abba’s Orchard allows me to not only teach the ABC’s (you wouldn’t want me to teach the 123’s), but it also allows teachers like us to make a big impact in their young lives, an impact a teacher in a traditional school can only dream of having.

On this note, I have come up with a selection of books that all teens (and their parents) should read.  Some of these books I’ve recommended on this blog before, and it can’t hurt that I recommend them again.  However, I now strongly suggest that parents of teens should also read these books, so that they can mentor (key word: mentor…not force or coerce) their teen in walking the right path.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thank you, Zig Ziglar! RIP

I heard the sad news yesterday morning, but I wasn't able to make a blog entry about it because it was a very busy day at work.  I'll make my tribute now, better late than never.

We lost another beloved author in 2012.  First, we lost 7 Habits' Stephen Covey; yesterday, we lost one of the greatest motivational speakers and authors in Zig Ziglar, who died yesterday at age 86.

I have two of his books at home, and I remember that my dad considered his greatest work, See you at the top, as life-changing.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Thank you for the ‘7 Habits’ Stephen Covey. RIP

Thank you, Mr. Covey.  Thank you for your wisdom
This was supposed to be a no-blog day, since my workload is crazy heavy (not to mention I’m in the kitchen crew this week) and I have to prepare lessons, talks, and whatnot.  But what I saw in the news shocked and saddened me to the core; so much so that I had to drop everything and write a post.

Steven Covey, author of the granddaddy of self-help books, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has died at the age of 79.  He didn’t die of a lifestyle disease or anything like that.  He died from complications of a bicycle accident.  He was active, and highly effective, to the very end.

This amazing man’s work has touched millions of lives, including mine and so many of my friends’.  Simply put, he made our lives better.  He made us better people.

Not only have our personal lives have been touched by his work, but his influence even extends to my professional and ministry life.

Some of the best messages at church (and our church’s retreats) were based on the 7 Habits that Mr. Covey espoused, as well as a later book, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness

Monday, July 9, 2012

What is your opinion on angry and offensive Facebook status messages?

Really?  It's that simple?
Have you or any of your friends been guilty of venting or saying something very negative on your Facebook status updates in the heat of anger?  A lot of us are guilty of doing so, and the results to these very powerful posts vary from sympathy, to shock, to criticisms, to even being unfriended by people.

How do you feel about this topic?  Can you rationalize it by arguing that people have the right to say whatever they want (hey, it’s a free country; and Facebook is free, too)?  Or do you belong to the camp that asks the angry FB users to think twice before posting their gripes for all to see?

Before I tell you which side I’m on, I would like to implore you to watch another video clip from Dr. Wayne Cordeiro’s excellent talk, Dead Leader Running.  It talks about an excellent principle called “Find A Lightning Rod.”  This principle will help our lives (real or cyberspace) immensely, and it very excellently introduces my opinion on the subject.

Enjoy the video, which is based on a church leaders' summit a few years ago.  Please don’t read any further until you see the video in its entirety.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Suffering from burnout? Time management problems? Fill your tank!!

I don’t think I have any vices as you’d describe vices to be.  I don’t smoke or drink alcohol, my diet is quite good, and I have a daily exercise routine.  However, if I do have a vice, it’s this: I have this tendency to over commit.  Well, I dunno if it’s my fault, but, man, I just realize I truly have a lot on my plate.

And so this blog entry is for those of us who juggle through so many responsibilities and wear too many hats to the point that we fry ourselves.  How do we avoid burnout?  What time management skills can we use so that we can still excel even if the demands on our time are so high?

Maybe you can relate to one of my favorite speakers and authors, Dr. Wayne Cordeiro, author of the bestseller Leading on Empty: Refilling Your Tank and Renewing Your Passion.  He suffered from incredible burnout.  It was so bad that he was warned that if he doesn’t change his Mach 4 schedule, he’d never be productive again.  See his video here, an excerpt from his excellent Dead Leader Running talk:

Yeah, I can relate.  A co-worker and close friend calls me “the juggler” because of all the hats that I have to wear, from senior teacher, to husband, to parent, to active church member, to blogger.  Mach 4 schedule?  Yep. 

If you can relate as well, then I suggest you take a hard look at the tips Dr. Cordeiro presents in Leading On Empty.  The book is gold..  It would give you tips on how to bring joy back in your work, improve time management, and avoid burnout. 

There’s a smorgasbord of helpful lessons in Leading on Empty.  Here’s one that Dr. Wayne Cordeiro give in the same talk: Do What Fills Your Tank.  Check the excellent vid below:

Friday, June 22, 2012

Except from a Tebow article I’d like to share

This was a photo going around on Facebook, and I liked it so much I want to share here.  Of course, it’s no longer current news, but I’d like to share it as an example for those of us who believe in Jesus to follow.

 As for me, earlier in the history of this blog, I told myself I won’t be so open about my faith in Christ so that I can get a wider audience of parents.  I don’t think that became the case, and it surely will be even less so as my blog enters its 2nd year of existence.  I’ve decided to be a lot more open about my faith here in Lessons of a Dad, for the same reasons that Tebow is so open with his.

My relationship with Christ is also the most important thing in my life, even above my wife and kids.  Shame on me if I don’t declare that here…or anywhere.

So, if you have a similar faith but are scared to share it, I feel ya.  I was, and in a large part still am, scared to get that “Jesus freak” label from others.  Maybe you felt like this guy:

Here’s two books that could help you in your plight (one of them co-authored by Fireproof star Kirk Cameron):

God bless you all! 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Inspiring dad stories for Father’s Day

Ok, my message in yesterday’s pre-Father’s Day article (click here to see it) was a bit strong, but surely it had  to be said.  There’s a huge epidemic of fatherlessness and deadbeat dads nowadays, and it is my hope that somehow, the tide can be turned.

My favorite scene from the movie Courageous is the last scene, where the main character gives a testimony of his journey of fatherhood and challenges the other men in the building to not just settle for being a “good enough” dad, but only settle for the best father they could be.  May we all father like this guy did (btw, there’s a spoiler in there):

If you haven’t seen the movie or bought the DVD yet, I strongly suggest you do so.  EVERY dad should see Courageous.  It’s one of the most convicting movies I’ve seen since, well, Fireproof.

Now then, since my pre Father’s Day blog was a bit on the strong side, for Father’s Day itself I’ll post something inspirational.  Below is a radio broadcast of Focus On The Family, where the hosts recall their favorite listener-submitted stories of their appreciation for dads.  Enjoy…and be inspired to be the best dads you can be!
You may want to check out the books below, as they were listed as the resources for that broadcast.


You can also check out other books I recommend for dads. Happy Father’s Day, everyone!

Friday, May 11, 2012

How to effectively show love to your kids

A few months back, I featured Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages of Love for advice for couples.  I find that book fantastic when it comes to improving relations with your spouse (click here for that article).

Knowing the 5 Love Languages of love is also very beneficial to parenting.  If it’s vital to know your spouse’s primary love language, it’s just as vital to know the love language of your children.

In fact, one of the offspring of the best seller is called The 5 Love Languages of Children which is among the books I recommended as parenting books for dads.

(I know I'm supposed to make a mom equivalent for Mother's Day.  My apologies, work is still quite intense.  However, only a few of those books are dad specific.  The rest could be read and used by both parents).

Anyway, back to the topic.

Imagine a teenager running away from home, possessing in his heart great anger and resentment towards his parents.  “They don’t love me” he bitterly barks to his friends.

The grief-stricken parents, meanwhile, tearfully cry out, “How could he do this to us?  After all we’ve done for him!!”

Do the parents genuinely love the teen?  Of course!  But, maybe, they didn’t show it very well, or in the love language the teen understands.  The problem was not sincerity; it was how this sincerity was displayed.

So let’s review, folks.  What are the 5 Languages of Love?  Then, how can we figure out what is the best approach with our children?  So, he’s the 5 Languages of Love (taken from the book’s website)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Teen incredibly blessed from reading a book

Sometimes God blesses me, and this blog, in mysterious ways. 

I’m a Literature teacher, and at the end of each book, students write a reflection paper/essay about how the book has impacted them. 

Many of you have read my previous post about the assignments my teen students made about romantic relationships.  When they turned in their end-of-the-book reflection papers, they were also so good that I wanted to share them on the blog as well.  However, I was so swamped with work and schedules were so tight that I didn’t get a chance to copy them here.

However, there was this one student who has a habit for turning in his assignments late…as in REALLY late.  Among the submitted backlogs was a reflection paper of Boy Meets Girl which I feature below, as it was submitted when the frantic schedule was dying down and I was able to have some time to post this here. 

It serves as not only a great testimony of what reading some of the “grow books” of The Abba’s Orchard Erdkinder high school program has done for him, but what makes this so beautiful is it serves as a testimony of what kind of a young man he has become, compared to the type of person he was when he first stepped into our halls.

So, here’s his reflection paper on Boy Meets Girl, entitled…

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Teens talk about finding Mr. and Ms. Right, based on two great relationship books

One thing about February, other than being one of the most stressful months of the year for this teacher, is that for my Literature classes, I bring my junior and senior students towards books that focus on wisdom when it comes to romantic relationships (in keeping up with February being the love month). 

The juniors read I Kissed Dating Goodbye, while the seniors read Boy Meets Girl, both books written by Joshua Harris.  It is my goal that my students not only become excellent in academics, but excellent in life in general…and part of that means making wise decisions at love.  That’s the reason why I have added some non-literature books in the Literature curriculum, complete with exams, assignments, etc.

In case you’re wondering, the school I teach in is The Abba’s Orchard (the main campus is here in Cagayan de Oro, but there are campuses in Manila, Cebu, and Davao), and I am a Literature and Humanities teacher in the Erdkinder (high school) program of the main farm campus. 

A large number of my students are also very involved in various Christian youth ministries in Cagayan de Oro City (InsideOut, Lifebox, and JZone, mostly).  This background info would explain the quotes that I would feature below.

Anyway, one of the assignments that the juniors have to make (remember, the Philippines only goes up to grade 10, so the juniors are grade 9 and are around 15 years old) is a seatwork titled, What Matters at 50, based on one of the latter chapters in I Kissed Dating Goodbye

In that chapter, Joshua Harris says that we often focus too much on physical appearance often at the cost of what really matters, and he counters this in his own life by imagining the lovely lady at age 50…would he still be in love with her?  This exercise would make character evaluation more important than physical attraction.

For the What Matters At 50 assignment, the juniors are asked about what they think is important in looking for a potential romantic partner.  I asked permission to quote a few of my students here, as these entries blessed me tremendously.

One student said:

“By 50, I want to still see how handsome my husband is.  Not physically in a sense that he still looks like he’s 17, but handsome in a way that God’s glory can be seen in him.

“Boys usually misunderstand girls and think that we’re looking for some ‘hunk’ with 10 pack abs and a body that can lift 100 kgs.  But all we’re looking for, really, is someone who’ll still love us and tell us we’re beautiful when we reach the age of 50.

“What matters most at 50 is that his character pleases God and he still treats me nicely.  One of the important traits that matters is that God is in the center of his life, in my life, and our marriage.  When it’s like that, everything else will follow.”

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Financial Advice for young couples part 1

I am a huge fan of Focus on the Family's daily broadcasts. This time around, finance experts Scott and Bethany Palmer offer young couples practical advice for establishing sound financial principles for their marriage. (Part 1 of 2)

Stay tuned for part two of this video.  In the meantime, if you like what was said here, you can check out the books made by Scott and Bethany Palmer.  They're chock full of excellent financial advice for young couples and older couples alike (although it's better to have a great start, of course).

Anyway, the books made by the Palmers are:

First Comes Love, Then Comes Money Here’s the book description:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lessons of a Dad’s picks: books for Christian fathers

In my last post, I featured books for Christian teen girls, made after I noticed that Lynn, 11 going on 12, is just about the same height as her mother.  This time around, I’d like to focus on books that will assist my target audience, the fathers, Christian dads in particular. 

Gentlemen, we need all the help we can get, so here’s a list of books for Christian fathers.

I’m dividing this post into three parts, books for:

Parenting in general (one of the books being teen-specific)
Parenting sons
Parenting daughters.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Great books for Christian teen girls

We celebrated my wife’s birthday last week.  As she was walking arm in arm with our eldest daughter, Lynn, a family friend remarked, “Wow Jhean!  She’s just as tall as you are!”

I was behind the ladies when that comment was said, and indeed, Lynn is very close to her mom’s height, and I predict that she will exceed her next year.  Lynn turns 12 in just 2 weeks’ time, and it dawned on me yet again that, before I know it, my sweet little Christian girl will be a bona-fide Christian teen.

I thought to myself that, since Lynn is a bookworm, I need to figure out what great books to get for Christian teen girls…as I’m sure the kiddie books won’t appeal to her anymore. 

Of course, I’m not talking about infatuation-riddled novels about sparkly vampires.  No sir, these would be books that would grow her and inspire her to be the beautiful young woman that she is called to be. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A great example of a great boyfriend…and being so in a lust filled world

If, by reading the title, you haven’t guessed it yet, this particular blog post is geared to my single friends who are currently dating or plan to date in the near future.  If you belong to the group I just mentioned, please look long and hard at this young man’s heartfelt statements below.  It is a young man’s commitment to treat his girlfriend in the most honorable way.  How is your heart compared to his? 

  • The parents of my girlfriend place their trust in me. I will not violate it.
  • I will respect my girlfriend as I expect other men to respect my sister.
  • I will respect womanhood, because my mother is a woman.
  • I will ask my girlfriend to do nothing I would be ashamed of if my mother found it out.
  • My girlfriend has given me the honor and pleasure of her company. It is wrong for me to expect more in payment for this date.
  • My girlfriend will be a wife and mother someday. She must be an example to her children and the pride of her husband. I will help her to be as pure and decent as I want my wife to be.
  • Manhood means strength of character as well as body. Lack of self-control is a sign of weakness. I want my girlfriend to know that I am manly.
  • God is everywhere, sees everything, knows everything. Darkness may hide me from people, but it cannot hide me from God.

When I think of my bachelor years, oh how far I have fallen from this standard!  But man, I pray, pray hard, that the men who pursue Lynn and Mesoo will be just like him.  I pray even harder that Happy will be this kind of man, himself.  And I pray that the men who currently pursue my sisters in law and my cousins are this kind of men, too. 

In fact, I regret my past actions in this area so strongly that I have made it my mission to nurture younger men and women in my circle of influence to be like the man above.  If there’s a niche in ministry that I specialize in and strongly advocate, it’s boy-girl relationships.  Just ask my current and former students, as many of the books below are required reading in The Abba’s Orchard Erdkinder.

Ok, so do I have any recommended reading for you if you are struggling with temptation in this area, or if you have a child that does?  Yes.  Read on…and click on the links to purchase them easily online.

I Kissed Dating GoodbyeWell, if you’re a teenager and/or a student, I strongly believe that it is not wise to get in a romantic relationship, period.  It does not honor you nor the lady you’re pursuing.  I have good reasons why this is so, but that’s a whole other blog post altogether.  But the best book I can recommend on why I say this is Joshua Harris’ I Kissed Dating Goodbye.  Mr. Harris is such a gifted author, and his reflections and advice are so powerful and practical.  You will not look at your teenage years in the area of romance the same way again.  If you’re a youth pastor or youth leader, I’d advise you to get the small group study guide while you’re at it.  I have both, and I’m not afraid to use them extensively both in ministry and professionally (and my boss is all for it, too)

Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to CourtshipNow, if you know you’re ready to have a relationship and you’d like to be as honorable as the one above, I recommend another one of Joshua Harris’ books, his best in my opinion: Boy Meets Girl.  It’s his most inspiring work because, as one of my former students said, “it so clearly shows the blessings we receive if this relationship thing is pursued the right way.”  Amen.  It is very romantic, and yet very, very practical as well.  I so wish I had this book when I was younger…and if I can give every single, especially every single man, a copy of this book without appearing preachy or offensive, I would.  
Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ's Control

A book that Joshua Harris often quotes is Elizabeth Elliot’s Passion and Purity.  I personally haven’t read it, but some of my former students have, and say it’s also a must read.  If Joshua Harris reveres the author and her work, then that’s enough for me.

When God Writes Your Love Story (Expanded Edition): The Ultimate Guide to Guy/Girl RelationshipsAnother book that my students, who pursue this purity even after they leave my care, rave about is When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy.  My students who read it bugged me once to include it in the Literature curriculum.  They say it’s at or nearly as influential to them as Harris’ work.  One day (read: summer vacation) I’ll read it and see if they’re right.  But I trust them enough to include it here on the list of must have books.

Eros Redeemed: Breaking the Stranglehold of Sexual SinOk, what if you’re still single, but, like me, have messed up and would like to redeem yourself in the area of sexual purity.  Hey, we all make mistakes…and there’s a book that’s perfect for you: Eros Redeemed.  Basically, it talks about how you can have forgiveness and hope when you messed up in this area…and trust me, a lot of us mess up in this area.

Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is): Sexual Purity in a Lust-Saturated WorldIn fact, if your particular struggle is in the area of lust, be it in a relationship or no, then by all means get another one of Joshua Harris’ books, Sex is Not the Problem (Lust is).  I agree with him that lust is the biggest problem in young people today, and this book is excellent in tackling this topic.  This is definitely one of the strongest influences to my students’ lives as well (although here in the Philippines, it still goes by it’s old title, Not Even A Hint).

Btw, this book also has a study guide…or guides. Of course, lust is a sensitive topic, so for Sex is Not the Problem, there’s a guy version and a girl version for the study guides.

Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is) – A Study Guide for Men
Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is) – A Study Guide for Women

Anyway, so I hope you take this blog entry to heart.  God bless you in pursuing purity in an impure world.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Francis Chan’s newest book, Erasing Hell, is another best seller

Erasing Hell: What God said about eternity, and the things we made upFrancis Chan’s new book, Erasing Hell, debuts at No. 3 this week on the New York Times.  The renowned author now has three books simultaneously on that listCrazy Love is right behind it at No. 4, while Forgotten God is at No. 10. 

Man, that guy brings the awesome yet again.  Forgotten God is among my mom’s favourite books and as per her very strong recommendation I will pick it up when my schedule becomes freer.  I will be sure to pick up Crazy Love at the local book store as well.  (Sorry, as a Literature teacher, I already have more than enough books breathing down my neck as it is…pleasure reading will have to wait)

I don’t know him much as an author, but I know Francis Chan more as a very, very, VERY effective speaker.  There are many fantastic communicators out there and Francis ranks among the very best, alongside my favorites like Judah Smith, Andy Stanley, and Wayne Cordeiro

But what I really like with Francis Chan is (1) he is very visual, and I’m a very visual learner; and (2) he is hilarious, but he uses his hilarity to make powerful points; and (3) he very strongly attacks lukewarmness in the Christian life, which is something that I often struggle with. The other guys I mentioned tend to inspire me, but Francis Chan convicts me.

Here’s a youtube video to show you what I mean:

If his books can convict me as much as that short, little snippet of one of his talks, then I’m gonna take them up for sure.  Crazy Love, Forgotten God, and now Erasing Hell

Oh, he has also written some children’s books, too, and they are: Halfway Herbert, The Big Red Tractor and the Little Village, and Ronnie Wilson’s Gift.  Altogether, Francis Chan, who is the founding pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, CA, has sold more than 2.1 million books.

Lastly—and this has nothing to do with his writing or speaking ability, but it’s awesome nonetheless—Francis Chan can totally rock the dance floor.  You don’t believe me?  Watch.

And no, no more “It’s gotta be the hair” comments, okay? Well, I was tempted to title this “It’s gotta be the hair, part 2” this entry here being part 1.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

12 years and counting…and marriage principles that helped us last

Yesterday marked twelve long years of marriage to my beautiful lover and best friend, Jhean.  I could say they were twelve wonderful years; and yes, the highest of highs I’ve ever experienced are credited to my life with this wonderful young woman.  She truly is a great source of happiness and inspiration…the love of my life.

But these twelve years also marked some of the greatest struggles I’ve ever had.  Marriage and raising a family sure can be hard work, so hard that many people give up.  Furthermore, many of you know that I became a father and a husband at a very young age.  I was 21, Jhean was 18; just mere university students who made a big mistake and scrambled trying to rectify things.  Scary much?

But, here we are, 12 years and counting…and it has been one ride full of highs and lows.  I believe we have been blessed tremendously with certain things as a couple, and as I pondered on what helped us stay together, I came up with a few ideals and marriage principles that helped us last, which I hope can help the dads and husbands out there, too.

Principle 1: know who your wife is in God’s eyes.  My wife is a wonderful woman, but she has a very strong personality, and, growing up, she was not really trained to be gentle when it comes to what comes out of her mouth.  That can often exasperate me.  She has a whole bunch of weaknesses and flaws, too.  But in no way will I let these be the cause of a split.  Why?  Because in the midst of my frustration, I make myself see that she is my co-heir in God’s grace.  An equal partner in marriage and in God’s inheritance for us, so obviously, someone who should be treasured.  Here’s the verse:

“In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.” (1 Pet. 3:7)

Principle 2: Forgive much, because you have been forgiven much.  With two very different, flawed people in one roof, conflict is a given.  Forgiveness is a must, because there were times when I also had to be forgiven.  Maybe if I was Mr. Perfect, I could have the right to not forgive her.  But I have committed my share of booboos, so it would be very hypocritical of me to have a hard, unforgiving heart when she also has had to deal with occasional idiocy on my part. 

The bible commands us to forgive each other not once, not twice, but seventy times seven times (Matt. 18:22).  Can you actually keep count?  (“Aha, this is your 469th offense!  Just two more and that’s it!”)  No, you can’t.  So you shouldn’t keep count in forgiving others as well, spouse being on the top of that list.

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That LastsPrinciple 3:  Know each other’s love language.  Gary Chapman’s classic book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts is a must have for all couples.  The principles in this book would be a tremendous help, I tell you.

Basically, it’s like this: there are five different “love languages,” or expressions of love, that we all can understand: time, touch, talk, tasks, and treasures.  However, each one of us has a particular love language that stands out above the rest.  This is the love language that a particular person expresses the most, and it’s also the one who affects him or her the most when it is done to them. 

For example if wifey buys me things (treasures) or does stuff for me (tasks), I’d appreciate it, for sure, but it won’t really ring my bell.  However, if she gives me verbal praise, it would make my day…maybe even make my week.  Guess what my love language is: talk.  This is how I express my love, too.  I’m sure if you ask any of the girls I’ve dated, they’d tell you that my love letters are so loooooong.  Also, I’m known among my friends as a great encourager and counselor.  Well, it’s because talk is my love language.

If you want to make your spouse happy, get to know your spouse’s love language and learn to execute it well.  Wifey?  Her love language is touch.  Trust me, I’ve got that one down.

Another reason why knowing the love language is so important is because it is the one that hurts the most when it is violated.  Remember earlier I said that my wife has trouble taming her tongue?  She has realized that over the years, her harsh words have hurt me very deeply, much more than any other sin she has done against me.  As for her love language, if I leave the house without giving her a kiss or a hug, she gets a bit peeved.  A very close second for her primary love language is time, and I know I caused her a lot of pain when I gave more time and effort to my work than I did to her and the kids.

(Btw, there’s also The Five Love Languages Singles Edition for those who are not married; The Five Love Languages of Children which is among the must have parenting books; and The 5 Love Languages Men’s Edition: The Secret to Love That Lasts, specifically for us, dudes.)

Principle 4: know your role, and do it well.  Can you imagine riding in a car with two driver’s seats, two steering wheels, two gear shifts, and two sets of pedals?  It would not be a nice ride, would it?  A house that has two people in the metaphorical driver’s seat would surely have the same kind of chaos.  My wife and I believe in the Bible, and in it are clearly defined roles that the husband and wife should play.  We follow them, things will flow better.

Of course, following them is easier said than done, especially if you did not grow up in a household that modeled them.  In a nutshell, husbands are wired to want to lead and to provide, and are called to love the wife like Christ loved the church (Christ loved the church more than he loved his own person.  Do you think He wanted to go to the cross?).  Wives are called to submit and to respect, and I think the Bible said this because God knew that the greatest need of men is to be respected by the people whom they love. 

Now these roles were set up not because one is superior nor subservient to the other, as some, especially women, would think (“Submit to my husband?  Whatttt?”)  The roles were laid out so that there would be order.  So that there would not be two drivers seats, steering wheels, pedals, and gearshifts.  Equal partners; different roles.

What’s amazing is, if one spouse really does his or her role well, the other will likely follow suit.  A very fulfilled wife would say, “My husband loves me so much that he always prioritizes my needs and the needs of my children over his own (like Christ loves the church).  How can I not submit to a loving man like that?” 

The husband, in turn, would say, “She shows me so much love and respect.  Because of that, putting her needs before my own is not even a struggle.”  It’s a healthy cycle.

Of course, our selfishness and sin will keep this from being easy.  My wife and I struggle with this greatly.  Trust me, we haven’t arrived yet in this principle, yet there has been a lot of growth in the past 12 years, for sure.

Principle 5: Attend marriage and parenting seminars.  Schools teach us to learn a trade.  They teach you to be a great doctor, a great lawyer, great accountant, great engineer, etc.  But do you go to school to be great at the upkeep of the most basic, and most important, unit in society?  Is there husband 101?  Parenting 101?  Last time I checked, there was none, and so we have to go by the models we have, such as our own parents…and if they’re not shining examples here, you’re at a disadvantage.

Well, my wife and I have been blessed to attend the almost yearly marriage and parenting seminars that my church does.  We haven’t missed one since we started to worship at CCF.  We make it a point to equip ourselves in this area, or else we’ll just grope in the dark and the possibility of us ending up like so many broken families out there is great. 

And we learn so very, very much; even if we attend them for the nth time (well, now we are actually breakout leaders whenever these events happen).  If we didn’t attend these, who knows what would’ve happened to us.  Yeah, marriage is work, but regular work has a training period that equips the newbie for the job.  CCF’s seminars are like that for marriage, and attending them is a must…especially if you don’t have good models anywhere else. 

Principle 6: Join a couples small group.  This is a HUGE reason why my wife and I are doing well.  We have been blessed to be part of one of the several young couples groups in CCF.  We are a handful of couples around the same age range, going through the same things, having the same mindset when it comes to family and career…and boy do we help each other grow. 

A pastor or a priest (especially a priest, since he’s neither a husband nor a father) can’t help you out much with your domestic struggles, being in charge of a congregation of several hundreds of people.  But a close network of couples?  Genuine friends who struggle with what you struggle with, who try to walk in the right path alongside you?  Definitely some genuine growth and counsel will take place, it’s impossible not to.  (That said, our pastors are exemplary parents and husbands, and are tremendous at counseling if you set an appointment…but this can never be a regular thing)

Joining a young couples group is a definite must.  I have learned as much from my good friends in the group as I have in all the marriage seminars I have attended.    And that says a lot.

Of course, it takes a lot more than just a few principles to make a marriage work.  But doing these six is a good start.  And I for one am a very blessed man to have been married to Jhean for twelve years and counting.  It’s been a fantastic ride, with the right amount of dips and weaves and exhilarating highs.  Surely, I’m looking forward to many more years, as the best is yet to come.

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