Thursday, February 19, 2009

All you need is agape

I told y'all that as part of The Year Of Our Marriage (TYOOM) I am doing Kay Arthur's Marriage Without Regrets bible study. I am four weeks into it and have this to say about it:

Run. Run now. Figuratively speaking, I mean. Run really fast to Amazon and buy the book. Or run to Paperback Swap and order the book - they had plenty. And run to the phone and call your women's ministries woman and suggest she consider offering the bible study. If you are that woman, consider offering the bible study! To married classes and singles classes!

I have read lots of books on marriage, and Kay is knocking my socks off. Not literally. Literally, it is about 80 degrees here. Kay is knocking my flipflops off.

This week was on the man's role in the marriage, so the video (the videos are my favorite part) was taught by Wayne Barber, who does the men's DVDs. Since I am not a man, there was not much applicable there for me, so I thought.

The topic of submission is discussed in depth in the study. I have certainly been taught on submission, but not for weeks at a time. And being that it is such a complicated topic, it deserves weeks. Which we don't have so I am not going to touch submission with a thirty foot pole (read the book) except to repeat something that Wayne said today, which was essentially this:
  • The love that Paul talks about in Ephesians 5 in "love your wives" is agape, which is the unconditional love that always seeks the best interests of the other person above one's own. Agape is not a feeling, it is a commitment.
  • We are incapable of perfect agape love out of our natural sinful hearts. The only way that we can provide this love is via the power of the Holy Spirit, by letting Christ love others through us
  • If the love of a man for his wife is from Christ, it is unconditional and pure, and when witnessed by those around him, they cannot help but respect him.
He emphasizes that men are never to demand that women submit to them. Submission is something that we women do out of love of God and obedience to God. But if the man is loving his wife the way Christ loved the church, nourishing her, cherishing her, and presenting her holy and blameless by the washing of the Word (which is a TALL ORDER that I am glad I am not called to do), it is much easier and even desirable for his wife to submit to him.

Ok. I said I was not going to touch this - I am just repeating what the man said. Don't try and argue with me about submission. Read the book. Argue with Kay.

So why am I bringing this up?

Because as I was listening to this, the thought that kept running through my mind (besides a hundred thoughts of how blessed I am to be married to Walker) was I bet this would apply beautifully to children.

Especially strong willed children.

Like Princess Broccoli below.

Along the lines of something like this:

Eva Rose. I cannot force you to obey. I am asking you to obey because I love you, and because you love me. And the way that children show their parents that you love them is by obeying. This honors me. Now if you do not obey, you will receive a sad consequence, just like Jonah did when he did not obey God. But I am hoping that you will honor me now by obeying, because you love me. I know it's hard to obey. Should we pray right now for the Holy Spirit to help you?

This ties in perfectly with the heart-based discipline I love.

Y'all, I am so excited to try this, I almost can't wait for her to disobey tomorrow!

I also want to tell you now that for some time I have intended to write a series on what I have learned in the trenches as a parent of a strong willed child, and I am working on it. I will be publishing it next week.

Have a great weekend!

PS - So many of you have mentioned Love & Respect in the comments - we are actually going to a L&R conference tonight and all day tomorrow!


  1. good, do you think you'll be hanging on to it as a resource...or is a giveaway in the works?!? ;)

    can't wait to read your strong willed posts....NOT THAT I HAVE ANYONE IN THIS HOUSE TO APPLY IT TO.

  2. Oh I really love this! I'm going to try it with my, ahem, "strong" child. Oh yeah and with my husband. I think it goes both ways. If I love him unconditionally and give him respect, it will make honoring and cherishing me come more easily. Which makes respect and love come easier for me. If you haven't read Emerson Eggerich's "Love and Respect" you should. It sounds similar to you book. My husband and I loved it.

  3. can't wait to read it Missy.

    and yes, you are right. Submission can be beautiful.

    and let me just add, that a CHRIST-like, authoritative SEXY SEXY SEXY

  4. I just might have to look into this study. It sounds great. We are actually doing a series on marriage at our church right now and he just went over "submission" last week.

    As for the strong willed child, Noah, my 3 year old is beyond strong willed - that's actually a nice way of putting it. Mix strong willed with with a OCD - it's a horrific combination! But I have to say... he is my child!

  5. Sounds like a really great study! A wise person once told me that with kids and teens (and I guess anyone really), "If you can get their heart right, then the behavior will follow." I heard a pastor talk about taking a bunch of teenagers on a beach retreat and that the bus ride to the beach there was quite a bit of foul language used by the teens and the other adult volunteers wanted to pastor to speak on bad language that week. He told them he was just going to preach Jesus and that is what he did all week, never mentioning the use of bad words. Those volunteers were blown away by the difference in those kids' language on the bus ride home!

  6. I agree about Marriage w/o Regrets. Loved it. (also loved Eggerich's "Love & Respect").

    Really looking forward to your series. I also have a strong willed 4.5 son, Mr. Intensity. Have you read the book, "Raising Your Spirited Child"? I wrote about it here. It's a secular book, but helped me feel not alone in parenting um...such a strong...leader.

    Hubby and I subscribe to the heart-based parenting, and are so thankful for the Lord's new mercies every morning!

  7. I haven't heard of this book....thanks for the tip! I've always been troubled when people think of "submit" as a bad, old-fashioned, sexist word. When truly is a such a beautiful thing...

  8. And in marriage it's a beautiful circle. . .

    The man who loves with agape love leads to a wife who will gladly submit and respect him and the woman who submits and respects her husband will cause her husband's lovefor her to grow.

  9. Hi....I'm one of your imaginary friends!
    I've been reading your blog for a little while now, and have to tell ya- I LOVE it!

    I'm excited to incorporate this principle more into my marriage and my parenting! Thanks for sharing.
    Can't wait for your series next week!

  10. Hi friend. Been a while. Sorry. Just so you know...I'm giving myself one hour of computer time at the end of the day so that I can give important time to buz. So thank Walker Texas Nazi for me. God has used him on a big way in our marriage. thanks dude. On my way to get the book. Ever read love and respect? Awesome.

  11. Excellent words--thanks for sharing this!

  12. Oh, it sounds so wonderful the way you put those words to a child about obeying. Now, let me know how that goes for you!! I think transforming our minds about the strong willed child is half the battle.

    This study sounds amazing. I'm thinking I'll have to check it out.

  13. ...just ordered the book from Paperback Swap. Thanks for the glowing review - I was sort of looking for something new to read.

    I'm also really looking forward to your parenting post. I love reading your parenting stuff --- not because I think you do it perfectly, but because I know you don't --- and that means I can relate to you. :)

    Enjoy your L&R conference... sounds fantastic. I love that book, too. :)

  14. Oooh...first of all, I want to do this Bible Study now. Second of all, Deirdre's comment (Screamofcontinuousness) made me giggle out loud. (would that be GOL?) And third, I can't WAIT for your posts about parenting a strong willed child. I have one that has both my will and my husband's...COMBINED. I pray every day that Jesus raptures us before Kiddo hits puberty.

  15. Oooh, I want to hear how the conference went. And I want to read that Kay Arthur book now that you talked me into it. I am like you, I learn and study this stuff and it reminds me how blessed I am to be married to my man. We just saw fireproof and it has just reminded me that I already have the man that he became!

  16. That sounds like an awesome bible study! How exciting!

    You're little "Princess Broccoli" is so much like my twin girls were. It's fun to watch that strong-willed determination blossom into a confidence that helps them resist temptations as they get older. She's going to make you so proud. :)

  17. This is brilliant -- the parenting part especially. THANK YOU!

  18. Love this! Thanks for sharing. I'll need to look into that book. I agree with Musings on the parenting part--brilliant!

  19. Wow! This study sounds like something the hubs and I could benefit from. Do you mind sharing if you take this as part of your Sunday School, or care group, or is it just offered by your church as an extra study? I'd love to do a study like this, but sometimes it's hard to work with other couples' schedules, especially when there are kiddos involved.

  20. I think that no matter if people have an old fashioned or egalitarian marriage, so long as the man loves his wife with the agape love you are talking about and that the woman does likewise, both marriages are going to be strong and good. I tend to shy away from any marriage books because they tend to say that there is only one way marriage can look, and I think that is false. Each marriage is made of two individuals.

  21. isn't it neat when one thing you're learning can apply to so many other areas in your life? look forward to your parenting posts next week. i could use some motivation.

  22. Hi, I new to your blog and I thought this post was great. My husband has just taken a pastorate and last weeks sermon was on submission. Most of the comments have been positive but there is still a feeling of "i'm not sure about that" in the air. My prayer is that they will see God's perfect design for marriage and that my submission to my husband puts me in the most safest places I could be! Look forward to reading your blog. Come over and check mine out anytime. God Bless

  23. Wow, a blast from my past. First of all I grew up in Chattanooga and began attending a Bible Study with Kay as the teacher when I was in junior high... A LONG TIME AGO...

    I took several Precepts during my time there. I moved away when I married and the first Precepts my husband did was "Marriage Without Regrets". We were the facilitators and that was back in 1983 or 1984... I learned alot from it.

    I've also had strong-willed children. Some are "inside strong willed" "I may be sitting down but I'm standing up inside.. And others have been outwardly strong willed.

    So all that to say... I feel ya!

    Thanks for sharing your heart. I actually wrote about my marriage on my blog today...

    Can't wait to hear how it goes with Eva Rose...

  24. I am seriously going to use your speech on my 6-year old strong-willed sonny. I've been trapped in the house with three sick kiddies for the past four days (except for 1 1/2 hrs last night before husband had to travel today), and I was very snippy with him today. This is exactly what I want for him . . . to see obeying God (and me!) as a choice to be made out of love. Thanks!
    -- Nancy

  25. I want you to know that this morning I was faced with a situation that is becoming a habit in our house - one of my children lying about little things, but it's the LYING that bothers me. I knew I need something different than the typical behaviorist stuff that is so NOT working.

    I ran to the computer and googled It's almost naptime "I almost can't wait for her to disobey" and your post came right up. LOL!!! And I put those words in my head and went in and used them with my child. I HOPE something is sinking in. It's so heartbreaking.

    Anyway, THANK YOU! :-)



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