Archives For Marriage

The New York Post had a nude photo of Donald Trump’s wife Melania on its cover this week, with the title “Ogle Office.”  The photo was taken around 20 years ago, when Melania was 25 years old, in the thick of her modeling career and before she met Donald.  It was from a now defunct French men’s magazine, according to CNN.com.

Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump's daughter

Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump’s daughter

Ironically timed, there’s an article in today’s USA Today with Donald and son Eric’s thoughts on how (Donald’s daughter / Eric’s sister) 34-year-old Ivanka Trump would handle being sexually harassed.  Ivanka is a business woman and former model.  This was a response to a previous USA Today article where Donald says he thinks Ivanka should find a new job if she was being harassed in her workplace.  The articles, written by Mary Bowerman and Kirsten Powers respectively, both denounce Donald for insinuating it’s a woman’s fault if she’s sexually harassed.  Powers’ article sums up the feeling well in her last sentence:

All together now: Women don’t cause sexual harassment, harassers do.

Before I get in to my thoughts, let me say that I agree with Powers’ sentiment here.  As a pastor, I would re-frame it to say that a person (in this case the harasser) is responsible and accountable for their own sin.  No excuses.  Period. Continue Reading…

Celebrating 12 years of marriage today with Jennifer ‘Good’ Filipiak, as well as Father’s Day on the same day. A lot to reflect on and be grateful for. A lot of times on Facebook anniversary posts, we tend to make things sound like every second of our married lives is total bliss. This is seldom (ok never) true, but it feels like we are obligated to write such things, like our lives are that of Ken and Barbie, lest we put our spouse in a bad light, or even God in a bad light. “Praising God for his faithfulness of 12 years of utter bliss with my awesome Barbie of a wife.  I’m such a lucky guy!” Like there’s never been a day I was tempted to sin, to run away from it all, to rebel against God and my wife.  That I’m so lucky it’s all come so easy.  I don’t think this put God in a good light at all, but I think being honest does. Here’s the thing, as I look back at our 12 years of marriage, there’s been a lot of ups and downs, but the downs are precisely where God’s faithfulness shines through the brightest. It’s often a fork in the road where I get to decide, “Do I do what feels best in my mind? Or do I do and love the way God wants me to love?” If I’ve made a covenant to choose the latter, what happens is I then get to see the fruit of God’s faithfulness over 12 years. Decisions I didn’t want to make in year 4 bear fruit in year 11. Decisions I didn’t want to make when I was single bear fruit now. I get to see my two daughters and a woman I genuinely love and have learned to appreciate after repenting of so much entitlement and selfishness in my life.  A woman I at one point wanted to run away from so I could worship myself.  I see that God’s way is right. God’s way is the best. It is THE way, though all along the way there are times I want to choose my own way. Writing something flippant about the utter bliss of 12 years of marriage is deceptive and it makes other think that choosing God’s way and my way are the same things. “Oh that lucky dog. God must really love him (more than others). Some guys have all the luck.” No it has nothing to do with luck. I don’t live a Ken and Barbie life. My life is hard. Parenting is hard. Husbanding is hard. Depending on God to fulfill me instead of my marriage to fulfill me is hard.  My sinful self wants to do a whole lot of other things. Am I extremely fortunate, blessed and given grace upon grace that I don’t deserve? Yes. But could I have thrown it all in the gutter and led a life of sinful selfishness instead? Yes, about 1000x over yes. But by the grace of God, here I am. Doing my best to allow God’s Holy Spirit to keep me on his path. I’m not saying if you haven’t been married for 12 years with 2 kids, you did something stupid to throw it in the gutter.  Though I will firmly say if you are looking at porn, having premarital sex, letting your lust run rampant and living for yourself, you are only setting yourself up for failure and heartache both now and in the future.  What I am saying is the cards I was dealt were the cards of marriage; you may have been dealt something else.  I’m far from perfect, but I can honestly look at my marriage now and say I love Jen more than I ever have before, am more content than ever before, and I appreciate her more than I ever have before. And this has nothing to do with some silver bullet to make your marriage better in 4 easy steps.  It has to do with learning that I don’t deserve anything from God (except hell), but he’s given me so much instead.  And learning to take such joy and gratitude in that, rather than to throw a fit to him that he owes me something or that he’s holding out on me.  This is a far cry from the guy who wanted to escape from it all 3 years into our marriage and go live a life of sin. This is God’s faithfulness. His way is true. His way is right. I’m doing my best to continue to show my kids and my wife the same sacrificial love Jesus has shown to me, giving himself up for me on the cross. When you walk in the path of Jesus, you can look back over 12 years and SEE God’s faithfulness. In a marriage, you can see children, you can see memories, you can see inside jokes, you can see all the times you were there for each other through surgeries, miscarriages, C-sections, and just plain old bad days at work. You can see that obeying God instead of obeying sin was worth it.  It’s always worth it. You can see how God changed your own heart from one of selfishness to one of love.
With all my heart, I love you Jen, and I always will!

Trending on Facebook this week is the #GiveElsaAGirlfriend hashtag, a campaign lobbying to give Disney’s Frozen star a female love interest in the upcoming sequel.  Idina Menzel, the actress who plays Elsa’s voice, made headlines when asked in an Entertainment Weekly interview about the campaign,

“I think it’s great,” she told ET on Sunday of the online campaign. “Disney’s just gotta contend with that. I’ll let them figure that out.”

While the quote was taken a little out of context (click to view the actual video below, you’ll be directed to Entertainment Tonight’s website), it was an answer expected of any Hollywood star with a live camera shoved in front of their face, and it certainly gave #GiveElsaAGirlfriend all the fuel needed to push their campaign more and more into the public spotlight.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 1.19.38 PM

I have 2-year-old and 4-year-old daughters, both who love the Frozen movie (and yes, I have every word of every song memorized).  Almost every young girl in America loves the Frozen movie, and almost every girl’s favorite character is Elsa.

Here’s what I find so interesting about Elsa and the new #GiveElsaAGirlfriend campaign.  Elsa is single; she has no love interest in Frozen, yet she is still beloved by little girls everywhere.  A lack of a love interest didn’t slow Elsa down, nor did it slow down Frozen‘s huge box office rake.  The campaign to give Elsa a love interest at all speaks so loudly most don’t hear it because we’re already deaf.

What is so wrong with being single?

Or celibate? 

If someone isn’t interested in the opposite sex, why must it be campaigned by their friends and their society that they must find a same sex love interest in order to be whole and happy? Continue Reading…

calvin-hobbes-new-years-resolutions1. Cut down on your sarcasm

sarcasm-spoken-here-t-shirt-sarcastic-or-sinful-pride-humor-christian-300x300Yes I said it: sarcasm, for the most part, is not a good thing.  It builds environments of pride (even arrogance) and is a killer of vulnerability and transparency.  It also kills encouragement.  Check out this short post I did: 4 Indications that your Sarcasm Needs to be Checked.

2. Quit porn

just_say_no_to_porn_stop_looking_at_porn-150x150This one should be a no-brainer, but as many know, it’s much easier said than done.  Get Covenant Eyes on your phones, tablets, and computers.  Check out what is by far the most clicked article on my blog: Reasons to Stop Looking at Pornography…and how to do it.

3. Spend 30 minutes a day with Jesus

Isacred rhythms ruth haley barton bible reading hate giving “guarantees” when it comes to people’s walk with God, but if there’s anything I can give that’s as close to a guarantee as possible, it would be this.  Spend 30 intentional minutes a day with Jesus and it will transform your life.  I’ve been doing this since July and it has been the single-most spiritual transformative thing I have ever done.  Imagine you have 48 units of anything.  48 eggs.  48 Snicker bars.  48 dollars.  Can you give Jesus one?  You give enough to Netflix and the news and to football, yes you can give one of these daily 30 minute portions to spending intentional time with Jesus.  This is not 30 minutes of Bible reading–the problem with that is it’s all cognitive, just grinding away the mental gears.  Plus that sort of mindset is typically quite legalistic as well…I should do this, I ought to do this–No.  It’s also not Santa Clause style prayer requests…Jesus, give me this, Jesus give me that.  No, what this is is relational.  It is spending time in God’s presence.  It is taking the spiritual truths of Scripture (God is holy, you are not, but God is merciful to you!) and laying them before God–asking him if they are really true–asking him to make them second nature to you–asking him to break you with his holiness (and your depravity) and then to rebuild you in his mercy and your new identity in Christ.  It is engaging God with your heart, not simply with your mind.  There is a lot to this but if you want to go in this journey, I highly recommend the book Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton.  Last point, you will not do this if you aren’t in covenant with other people doing this.  Being in covenant is much more than accountability.  Accountability won’t work, you need something on the line for the many days you will not feel like doing this.  Try this: find at least one other person who wants to go on this 30-minutes-a-day journey with Jesus as well and commit to checking in with each other every 7 days.  Make it your goal to do this 5 days out of a week at minimum.  Make a covenant with this other person(s) that whoever doesn’t reach their 5 day per week goal has to pay $100 to the other person(s).  This will motivate you on the days you are getting lazy!  Try this arrangement in covenant for 60 days and by then, you should have a firmly established rhythm in place.  Ground rules:  You must be alone (not reading in bed next to your spouse, not having your kids playing in the room while you read).  This is solitude time with God.  Often this means you need to get up earlier than anyone else in your house.  Light a candle.  This brings focus and intentionality to your time.  Allow the candle to be a symbol of God’s tangible presence, like you are spending time with a friend–which you are!

4. Fix your marriage by fixing your perspective

How-to-Love-Your-Spouse-When-They-Dont-Love-You-BackMake it your resolution to stop trying to fix your spouse.  Instead, repent of your entitlement and allow God to completely transform your perspective.  Do you truly believe God is holy and that you aren’t?  Do you truly believe you deserve to be separated from God for eternity (a.k.a. hell) and without the intervention of Jesus’ mercy, that’s where you would be in this moment.  If you believe these things, then live in them (and stop asking God to give you what you deserve!).  It will change you.  It will change your marriage.  It will change everything.  Read more in the recent article I wrote for Covenant Eyes’ blog: How to Love Your Spouse When They Don’t Love You Back.

Authors, veteran church planters, retreat leaders, and marriage and ministry leadership coaches Tom and Sandi Blaylock (Pawleys Island, SC) share with honesty, grace and transparency the many struggles they’ve endured as a married couple in ministry.  These experiences have given Tom and Sandi a wealth of wisdom on how married couples can heal their marriages.  This interview truly goes “behind the curtain” of the Blaylock’s lives as ministry as host Noah Filipiak walks with Tom and Sandi through topics of working long hours, insecurity, woundedness, using ministry as a mistress, and what to do when a minister’s spouse is not interested in doing ministry.

Many people assume ministry leaders shouldn’t have marital problems when in fact the position of ministry leadership innately brings with it unique marital opposition.
Find Tom and Sandi at LifeWorthImitating.Blogspot.com and you can find their book Marriage on Mission at MarriageOnMission.com or on Amazon
Connect with Tom on Facebook and Twitter.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST EPISODE WITH TOM & SANDI BLAYLOCK BELOW: (or subscribe on iTunes)