Saturday, June 25, 2016

Going Viral: The Virus of Unmet Expectations

Written by my husband, Ken Alexander

Lori's recent viral post struck a chord where women on both sides of the issue lined up to voice their agreement or stark disagreement over a husband's responsibility towards household chores. A few days later, it made it to the Daily Mail news source out of the UK titled Blogger is blasted over 'outdated' advice for a happy marriage as she urges women to 'do your housework cheerfully'. The reason it struck such a viral cord is twofold: First because it did not fit with the progressive women's agenda that a wife married to a husband unwilling to meet her expectations should just take the high road and love him anyway. Second, because this is one of the hottest sources of frustration for most wives in the modern world. 

In my early years of marriage, Lori was often frustrated with me as her perception was that I was not doing enough to help her. I was at the time struggling to build a consulting firm and my head was stressed to its max as I raced across the US and Europe seeking success and security that comes from a good reputation. Hardly was I focused on housework after working a sixty hour week, and to be honest, I really detested household chores. But I had no issues caring for the kids, or cooking meals, and vacuuming. But dishes and cleaning was not my idea of my role in the relationship. 

Too often the root of this frustration came to Lori after talking to a family member or friend who helped to create the heart of the unmet expectations. I recall having a wonderful weekend with my wife, enjoying each other and the kids, and walking along in harmony together. I left on a trip and just after I got the the hotel in New York City, I grabbed the telephone and dialed the woman I had just spent a great week with. Looking out over Central Park from the 18th story with the lights surrounding it and darkness at the center, Lori answered the phone.

How's it going babes?

Oh, I'm fine?

Did you have a good day?

It was fine.

Well I had a good trip out, and my client put me up in a really nice hotel room overlooking the Park. It's way too expensive, but a really nice view. I wish you were here to share it with me!

Ya, you know Ken, you really don't help me enough around the house. We have four kids now and you know my stomach is not well. You really need to help me more.

Oh, WOW! Where is that coming from? You know I help a lot with the kids, and when you are sick I often cook the meals and take care of things. I don't get what you want from me? What happened between the time I left you this morning and I landed in NY?

I was talking to a friend today and she told me that you really should be helping me more. What I need is more help. My friend's and sisters' husbands help their wives more. 

Wait a second. You are telling me that when I kissed you goodbye today, you were doing great with our relationship and fine with how much I was helping around the house? Somehow between that moment and now you have talked to someone and you are upset over our relationship?  I don't know what to tell you, but I don't understand how your friends have anything to do with us and how we live out our marriage together.

Unmet expectations will kill any relationship. Lori's post hits the nail on the head, that many wives are dissatisfied with their husband's efforts to help them around the home. It is into this angry cauldron of frustration that Lori's post struck a cord, and those who are frustrated, or controlling, or just angry feminists lashed out at the clear and appropriate message that Lori gave.

Lori never said that a husband should not help his wife around the home, nor does she believe this, yet this angry brood read it into her words. Certainly husbands, especially godly husbands, owe it to the marriage to be attentive to their wife's frustrating and time consuming daily routine, and get in there and help. How much help and what kind of help needs to be worked out between the two of them, as a husband tries to please his wife, and she in turn tries to please him. It is the readers with a progressive agenda that read into what she wrote because they have a slow burning anger towards men who will not "do their fair share of housework," or men in general. A few Bloggers picked up the story with lies in their titles, like: "Blogger teaches men should NEVER help with house chores!"  Wow, where did Lori's post say that? 

And guess who gets to decide how much housework is "their fair share?" The wife does! And if it is not enough, or not done in the right timing, she gets to delve out the punishment of a bad mood, upsets, headaches and withholding affection. After all, my needs are not being met, so if you want me happy, you will do as I tell you to do. It would be an interesting survey to discover what most men think about housework and their wife's moods to control them in this area of the marriage.

What Lori did say was, if you expect your man to help more around the home, and your expectations go unmet, don't allow this to destroy your relationship, as so many young wives have a tendency to do. Instead, use the prescription that God gives you to win your disobedient man by lowering the expectations and showing him by your loving behavior that he should jump in and help more. You may also discover that your husband is not the cause of your upsets, but instead it is your own unsubmissive heart that God desires change by His Word, to make you and your marriage more like Jesus. 

And what should husbands think about the shoe on the other foot when a wife will not meet their expectations of frequency of sex? Should they ignore Lori's advice and destroy their relationship over it? Or graciously and joyfully work on the relationship until a wife  is more giving and serving in this area of the marriage?  

Lori and I have discovered in our relationship something that we now see playing out in thousands of other marriages who have discovered the simple, yet powerful choice of "I want to please you!" Pleasing others in a relationship is showing the heart of love, and when one spouse sets out on a mission to please the other, it is uncanny how often it unlocks the heart and mind of the other spouse to return the favors. Often the return is greater than the investment, but there are times when we invest much more than the disobedient spouse, finding little immediate return, yet trusting that God is taking our one little talent and multiplying it 10 and 100 fold.

This is our story. That as I began to invest in my disobedient wife, and she in turn invested a heart to please me, at times, a disobedient husband, God worked on both our hearts and turned our selfishness into a true and abiding love. We could not be happier with each other now, yet we suffered needlessly with unmet expectations destroying our harmony and intimacy. Did you ever think that true love and intimacy comes from accepting your spouse just the way they are, flaws, foibles and all, yet praying that God will do His mighty work in their hearts to help turn them into the man or wife of your dreams? And all the while much of the real journey is God's work in your own life, helping to use marriage and your spouse to make you more like Jesus, and show you what it means to truly love one another.

This same Jesus taught us to be servants, to expect little of others, to give grace upon grace, and to lay down our lives for our friends. The Christian message is all about serving one another, so don't for an instant think that men should not jump in and help around the home. But when expectations are unmet, will you continue to allow them to ruin the very thing you are looking for in love and intimacy?  Or will you put your own perceived needs aside for the good of the relationship, and to try to win your spouse by heaping love upon the heartache? By seeking their good even when they are not always in tune with what is best for you? 

This looks much more like the Jesus I know and love. The one who gave his life for others, and washed their feet first. Husbands, get in there and help with the kids. I wish I had done more, but I am also grateful for a wife who after 20 years of being disappointed in me finally deciding to try things God's ways in pleasing her man. Helping me to grow a heart much more like Jesus, and a joyful marriage done God's ways, with no nagging or bitterness, just love and acceptance.

Go ahead, and make your husband's life as happy as you can, because in doing so you become the big winner as God makes you more like Jesus. Then trust that God will do his mighty work in your man's heart as you invest the love and life of Jesus in him. Who knows, maybe he will indeed be won by the promise of God, as I was, to fall head over heels in love with my wife, even more than the day we were married. At the heart of marriage is vulnerability, and until we are ready to let go of our own selfish expectations and put the other spouse first, we can never find that same unconditional love that God gives to us every day, in Christ Jesus. 

"Why do two become one if life is trials and fears? 
If minds and hearts become stunned, by the person we hold so dear?
The answer lies in love you see, struggles will help us grow,
For only through pain it seems can be, the commitment of love that two can know.
We can't forget love's purpose here, for Christ is the one we wed,
He's the one who holds us dear, my Lord is the one who says,
"Take my hand I will lead you on, through joy and sorrow loves endeavor,
I am by your side the victory is won, your lives are mine together."
Ken Alexander, 1980 (our wedding day)

If any one would be first, he must be last, and the servant of all.
Mark 9:35

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Low Grade Irritation

Do you have a low grade irritation with your husband almost all of the time? For the first 23 years of my marriage, I had a low grade irritation with Ken. I was usually irritated with him about something. Sometimes, it would flare up into a high grade irritation but it was mostly a low grade one. He rarely would act the way I wanted him to act. Every once in a while, it would come to a head, we'd have a huge fight, and he'd apologize. We would have a few peaceful days but then that low grade irritation would rear its ugly head again.

I'm not sure what I was trying to accomplish with this behavior, since it never accomplished anything beneficial. It caused conflict and unhappiness between the two of us. You will never win your husband to yourself by being upset and angry with him. You will never win him with a low grade irritation. Have you been around a person who is always irritated with you? It's no fun at all! You know they don't like you much or accept you the way you are so you prefer not to be around them. Do you want your husband to feel this same way around you?

What causes a low grade irritation? Selfishness and dissatisfaction. He wasn't behaving and responding the way I wanted him to so I was irritated with him. Ken felt like he could never please me for long unless he was perfect, according to my rules. He eventually gave up and our marriage tanked. We became roommates and that was all. If he had a choice, he certainly would not have chosen to stay with me, since there was no joy in our relationship.

Is this the way your husband feels around you? Does he know you are generally irritated by him? Are you irritated often? If you are, stop. When you are irritated you are only thinking about yourself and what you want. God calls us to love others more than we love ourselves. We're usually not irritated with ourselves. We want the best for ourselves, so we must begin wanting the best for our husbands. They want our acceptance, grace, mercy, and love. This is what they want since they will never be perfect and may never live up to our expectations, but they can live happily with a grace-filled wife.

A grace-filled wife won't allow the little things bother her. She will have a long fuse. She won't get offended or her feelings hurt easily. Instead, she will be a peace maker who accepts others just as they are, especially her husband. She will never speak ill of him to others but only builds up and encourages him. Others, but mostly her husband, will love being around her since she is joyful and rarely complains. How does she do this? She can act this way because she understands who she is in Christ and never wants to blaspheme Him with her actions or her words. The Holy Spirit lives mightily within her and she believes the promise that she can do all things through Christ who strengthens her.

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, 
because love covers a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8

Thursday, June 23, 2016

My Post Went Viral

Yes, I had a post go viral. It didn't go viral because the women loved what I said in the post. It was because they hated it and it made them angry. One woman even told me to remove it since it was so evil. What was this evil post? 

It's just evil, isn't it? Just sixty years ago, I could write this same post and it would be received as normal living for women. The majority of women had as many children as the Lord blessed them with and were full-time homemakers. Their husbands were the ones working hard outside of the home providing a living. The women were working hard inside of the home for the family. They all knew their place in the family. Women depended upon their husbands to support them and men depended upon their wives to bear children and take care of the family. 

My mom only completed high school. She was a full-time mother as well as most of her friends. They all married around 20 or 21 years old and stayed married until death did they part. All of her friends were full-time mothers. Children were cared for by their mothers full-time. Dads worked hard to provide. No one thought anything about it. It was just the way it was and always had been. Who changed this? Was it from the Lord that caused women to leave their homes in pursuit of higher education and careers thus leaving their homes and children in a mass exodus or the enemy of their souls?

It was the feminist movement. Have you ever studied how the feminist movement and birth control entered this nation? Here is a post I wrote about it a few years ago. "How will the family unit be destroyed? ... the demand alone will throw the whole ideology of the family into question, so that women can begin establishing a community of work with each other and we can fight collectively. Women will feel freer to leave their husbands and become economically independent, either through a job or welfare" {Female Liberation, by Roxanne Dunbar}. You can go to the post and read more about it. The introduction of birth control was just as evil“The most serious evil of our times is that of encouraging the bringing into the world of large families. The most immoral practice of the day is breeding too many children,” she wrote.“The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it." {Margaret Sanger}.

So my question to you, Christian women, is why have you allowed Satanic inventions influence your life? This is something you will have to wrestle with. I hate birth control because of what it has caused - the long term consequences of it, namely 58 million babies slaughtered in the womb. I fault the feminist movement for all of the children being raised by strangers instead of their mothers, plus all of the divorces that have been perpetuated upon marriages, the confusion of roles in marriage, and the extreme wing that wants to see no differences between men and women.

Yes, I was attacked viciously on this post and other posts close to it. No, I am not bothered by it. I have been viciously attacked since I began blogging. This should come as no surprise to any of you. The world HATES God's ways. I LOVE His ways and will teach them to whoever will listen as long as the Lord allows me to do this. They judge me constantly; the same thing they are accusing me of doing. I have never called anyone a name, ridiculed or treated those with whom I disagree with disdain and disrespectful foul language.  Many believe that America is a place of tolerance, yet far too many are now trained by the system to attack any ideas that seem to go against their worldly agenda.  I am comfortable standing on the Truth as I know Who has my back and He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. They are being blinded by the enemy of their souls. We are commanded to speak Truth in love and plant seeds where we can. This is what I do and I love doing it. I also love watching God send thousands of new readers to my blog and Facebook. What Satan intends for evil, God can use to help pull His remnant together so that together we can support each other in the ways of the Lord.

Don't feel badly for me when I get hateful comments. We have been promised in Scripture that we will be hated because He was hated. This is nothing new. Jesus spoke the most radical words at the nexus of history that exploded forth the greatest display of God's salvation by way of the cross. They hated the creator God so much that they murdered His Son, and God turned their hate into the greatest good for mankind. Yes, pray for me and my ministry, and be an unashamed light in a world that is quickly growing dark with sin and blindness.  Continue to do what the Lord has commanded you to do and store your treasures in heaven. The time is short. So recognize that anyone can replace you in a job, but no one can replace you as a godly wife to your husband and as a loving mother to your children. 

The name of the LORD is a strong tower: 
the righteous runs into it, and is safe.
Proverbs 18:10

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Training Your Children Benefits Them for Life

"Training is a possibility long before teaching is. Before a child is old enough to know what is said to it, it is capable of feeling, and of conforming to, or of resisting the pressure of efforts for its training. A child can be trained to go to sleep in the arms of its mother or nurse, or in a cradle, or on a bed; with rocking, or without it; in a light room, or in a dark one; in a noisy room, or only in a quiet one; to expect nourishment and to accept it only at fixed hours, or at its own fancy - while as yet it cannot understand any teaching concerning the importance of the fitness of one of these thing. A very young child can be trained to cry for what it wants, or to keep quiet,  as a means of securing it" {H. Clay Trumbull}.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it {Proverbs 22:6}.

We trained our children to sleep through the night in a dark room by the time they were six weeks old so they all were great sleepers and slept through the night in dark rooms the entire time they lived under our roof. I trained them to eat salads by starting them off with only wholesome food when they were babies. They all love to eat salads now. We trained them to go to church on Sundays since we went almost every Sunday since they were babies. They all go to church faithfully unless they are sick or away. We trained them to not hold grudges or be mean. As soon as they were mean to one of their siblings, they knew to never do this again. None of our children have ever held grudges or been mean. 

When they were older, we trained them to work hard and be faithful in whatever they did by modeling this to them from the time they were young. All of my children work hard and were even faithful with sports teams or classes that had mean coaches or teachers. They weren’t quitters. We trained them to love and obey the Lord by reading the Word to them and praying with them when they were very little. We disciplined them when they were disobedient because we knew if they were obedient to us and not rebellious, they most likely would grow up to obey the Lord. We trained them in love by loving them deeply from the moment they were born in hopes of them experiencing a glimpse of what God's love is like towards them. They all love and obey the Lord, thankfully. 

We trained them to love to read so when they grew up, they loved to read. We trained them to not argue and fight with each other by not allowing it the first time it happened. None of them are arguers or fighters. We trained them to be tough when they were sick or in pain. Sure, I rocked them when they had fevers and did all I could to make them comfortable but I wouldn’t allow them to complain. I taught them to suffer in silence and their spouses appreciate it.

Are there things I wish I had been better about training them in? Yes, but we covered the most important bases in raising them; the character qualities. The Pearls don’t have fat children since they taught them to think before they eat and not eat too much. {The Bible speaks about a "fat" king so even though this word may be politically incorrect, it is biblically correct.}  “When I was a kid I was trained to eat to live, not live to eat. I was taught that food makes your body healthy or unhealthy, lean or fat, that overeating was gluttony and gross. My dad was very pointed, descriptive, and honest about biblical and life principles, and I am so thankful for that {Shoshanna Easling}.

You can train your children to be whatever you want them to be: fat or a healthy weight, love health food or love junk food, be neat or messy, be lazy or a hard-worker, be obedient or disobedient, be kind or mean, fight and argue or be a peacemaker, be joyful or grumpy. This is the power the Lord has given parents in raising their children. The Lord said that one of the purposes of marriage was to raise godly offspring. Take this seriously, women, and raise your children in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord.