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Coach Theo and Amber

IT'S NOT ABOUT US. UNEDITED.

Month

November 2017

Love Her Like The First Day, Dare 18

I still remember our first real date together. We were at Olive Garden eating those ridiculously good breadsticks. I wanted to know everything about Amber.  Like an investigative reporter, I interrogated her with questions about her entire life. I was so into her and wanted to know everything about her past, present, and future.

We all do this when we first meet, trying to discover if they’re the right one. Then if you’re like us, after that 18 month infatuation period ended, comfort took over. Plans, personal dreams, work, and other distractions got into the way. Slowly we started taking each other for granted. Careers squeezed in the way. Kids drew us so close yet so far apart. Before we knew it, our marriage was merely on auto pilot.

In Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas talks about levels of marriage. Here’s my paraphrase on them.

Levels Of Marriage:

  1. You’re done and ready to walk away.
  2. You’re resentful towards each other and blame each other for “personal dissatisfaction and lack of excitement.”
  3. You simply “get along.”
  4. You have depth and “pursue a deeper meaning, a spiritual truth hidden in the enforced intimacy of the marital situation.”

If you want to be in level four and continually pursue depth, you need to take initiative and be proactive in your marriage. So what if your relationship is good now. It can always get better. Jesus doesn’t want you to be luke-warm (Rev 3:16). The results of tomorrow are affected by the work you put in today. And if one day your marriage falls apart, it’s because of what you didn’t do yesterday.

Just like when you train to get in great shape, it doesn’t stop. You don’t just get to a point where you achieve your goals and can stop working out and still enhance your results. It’s a lifetime process and what you learn from training is that you can always polish things up, fine tune, and get better.

Our marriages are no different. Like training, they require the same intention, investment, and effort. If we want stronger and more conditioned marriages that can outlast adversity, we can’t settle for maintenance mode.

We’re halfway through the Love Dare Challenge and this book is continuing to change our lives daily. Going back to Day 18, the point is to get to know your spouse better, just like the first day you met them. Here are three steps outlined in this chapter:

  • Ask questions. The bible says “The ear of the wise seeks knowledge. (Proverbs 18:15) Love takes the initiative to begin conversations.
  • Listen. “A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind” (Provers 18:2) Hear your spouse, don’t just tell them what you think.
  • Ask God for discernment. “The Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6). Men and women are different and it’s hard to understand each other. God can show you what you need in order to love your spouse better.

Don’t just settle for a level one, two, or three marriage. Be proactive and initiate love. Whip up some homemade breadsticks and sit down with your spouse to get to know her better, and Love her like the first day you met her.

Don’t take my word for it. I dare you to try it yourself. And it may just be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.

Coach Theo

How One Girl Gave Back And It Keeps On Giving

Last year Brooke Berkowitz (9 yrs old at the time) chose to use the $400 she won from our Kids FMU Gives Back Project to do random acts of kindness throughout the community. She completed a lot of RAK’s! Below are some of her snapshots with captions of her kindness.

The Kids FMU Gives Back Project is a contest we launch every year during Thanksgiving. We open the contest to three hundred FMU kid members to submit an idea about what they would do with $400 to give back. Last year, thanks to the generosity of some of our other members, we were able to award four individuals with $400 each.

Brook chose to use her funds for multiple Random Acts of Kindness, some planned, some not. If she was at the store or restaurant with her family, she would intentionally look for opportunities to surprise a stranger with a RAK. I think we were all surprised to see how much she could spread this money around.

Here’s what’s really cool about Brooke’s story though. Even after using her last few dollars from her $400 earnings, she continues to feel the desire to keep giving back. Not only did her generosity hopefully touch the hearts of those she impacted and inspire them to pay it forward also, but she’s still leading her heart to keep thinking about ways to give back, no matter how big or small. And that’s the transformation and contagiousness that we really love to see.

This contest brings awareness to our kids to think about others. And like I always say, they want to do it. We, as adults, just have to give them the opportunity to do it.

This year, we decided that we’re going to follow Brooke’s lead. The child who receives the $400 will also be challenged to use it the same way Brooke did; to spread it out and give back to many people, in multiple ways.

Next week, kids will be able to enter our drawing for a chance to take on the RAK challenge. The winner(s) of the $400 will be announced on Thanksgiving morning at our Adult Turkey Burn Workout. Proceeds from our Adult Turkey Burn are what make our Kids FMU Gives Back Project possible.

It takes a lot of courage to do something nice for complete strangers. We’re proud of Brooke for being so thoughtful and determined and for setting a solid example for all of us to follow. Check out some of her RAK’s below!

It’s not about us. But it starts with us.

God bless,

Coach Theo

Saving Your Marriage, Dare 2

In Dare 1 we talked about how Marriage IS Training. And once you start to view the purpose of marriage differently, you’ll start to overcome challenges with better intentions and love towards one another.

Read Dare 1 Here

Today we’re talking about Sacrificial Service.

Sacrificial Service

Like a full-sized mirror, marriage shows us how selfish we are. Unlike any other relationship, it points out all of our deep embedded character flaws. When Amber and I went through some bad phases in our marriage, I used to tell her that she was the only one that could pull the anger out of me and make me look so hateful. Instead of accepting responsibility for the nature of my heart, I pointed the finger at her as if she controlled my reactions (insert face palm emoji here).

During our vows we all agreed that we would be there “for better or for worse,” “through sickness and in health,” “til death do us part.” But then we left the altar and things got real and we almost instantly forgot the words that just came out of our mouth.

Are you like me when you go to a wedding? I have a hard time sitting through them. Sometimes I want to stop the bride and groom before they walk down the aisle and yell “Wait, before you say I-do, has anyone explained how hard this is going to be when reality hits?!” Marriages are not fairy tales. They’re challenges. And you won’t enjoy the fruit without constant work and effort invested into them.

Loving and serving each other is easy when things are easy. It was easy when we didn’t have kids to take care of, when we didn’t work full-time, or when our workload wasn’t so much. But that’s when God wants us to serve even more, when things are hard, challenging, and exhausting.

When we come home from a long day of work, or a long day of managing our chaotic family life, and we don’t have any more energy to muster up, that’s when He wants us to ramp up our game even more.  When I’m too tired to do the dishes, that’s when I’m supposed to do them. When I’m too busy to change the light bulb that ends up only taking three seconds to change anyways, that’s when I need to suck it up and change it.

Sacrificial service is knowing that there’s always more to do. Our measurement of doing enough is not accurate in God’s eyes. Our work is never enough.

“The very definition of the word  sacrifice means that sacrifice isn’t sacrifice unless it costs us something: so men, it’s a fair question to ask, “How have I loved my wife in the past two or three weeks in such a way that it has cost me something-vocationally, financially, and with my hobbies, time, and comfort?” If we can’t come up with something, we’re not loving like the Bible calls husbands to love in Ephesians 5:25.” (Sacred Marriage, Pg. 170)

Dare 2

“It is difficult to demonstrate love when you feel little to no motivation. But love in its truest sense is not based on feelings. Rather, love determines to show thoughtful actions even when there seems to be no reward. You will never learn to love until you learn to demonstrate kindness. First.

In addition to saying nothing negative to your spouse again today, do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness (Love Dare Day 2).”

It goes both ways in a marriage. Husbands and wives shouldn’t expect to be served. Both however should expect to serve. “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matt 20:28)

Don’t take my word for it.  I dare you to try it yourself. And it may just be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.

#ItsNotAboutUs

Coach Theo

Saving Your Marriage, Dare 1

Are you going through a difficult time in your marriage right now? Are you feeling like there’s no way out? Are you talking about divorce, separation, moving out, giving up, ‘hating’ each other?

Amber and I have to speak out.

We’re seeing too many marriages fall apart around us.

Do you think we’re perfect? Do you know that we’ve almost divorced multiple times? Do you realize there are times when we ‘hate’ each other?

Statistics say about 50% of marriages fail. That statistic grows for married couples who run businesses together, to 90%.

Even though FMU is a mission and ministry in our eyes, there’s no doubt at times it can be extremely straining on our relationship. We fight hard to preserve this marriage and if we didn’t have God as our center point, we would lose the fight too.

Let me first say this, no one knows your situation but you. We are not judging you or your decisions. We are also not talking about extreme cases of abuse, addiction, or adultery. But, I personally know couples that have made it through these extreme situations. So with God on your side, I wouldn’t count yourselves out just yet.

Anyways, we simply want to share some things we have learned the hard way. My viewpoint on marriage has changed drastically even just recently, as I’ve personally had to work through many things in my own mind to try to get this right.

You’ll be seeing Amber and me talk out loud about marriages more. Our hope is that something we say may hit someone right when they need it most. For now, here is one of our major takeaways that is giving us a whole new perspective on marriage. And it’s helping us see each other and treat each other the way God wants us to.

Marriage Is Training

Think about this phrase, Marriage Is Training. This phrase in itself changes your entire outlook on marriage. No longer is a good marriage something that just happens, but now something you work towards, always. The process never stops. And just like training to be healthy physically, your marriage will always require hard work, dedication, discipline, and initiative to make it better.

Marriages are difficult. But have you ever thought that a difficult marriage can prepare you for greatness? Or that it can be a training grounds to build perseverance and resiliency? When you want to get in the best shape of your life, you don’t choose an easy workout. An easy workout doesn’t challenge you to get stronger and more conditioned. Without some strain, without exertion, there is no growth.

I’m starting to see that the purpose of marriage is to do much more than to make us happy. It’s to make us Holy. We have to unlearn the teachings of Hollywood drama and fairy tale endings and see marriage through the eyes of our Beholder. God uses the difficulty and challenges of marriage to push us to become selfless, rely on Him more, become more like Him, and be an example for Him.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Cor 4:17)

This isn’t easy and takes full focus, pro-activity, and grueling practice daily. Like a workout, the strain, exertion, and workout alone aren’t what enhance your performance. The active process of how you respond with patience, humility, and tenacity are what produce growth.

When you go through challenges in your marriage, just enduring or ‘getting through the workout’ doesn’t take you to the next level. You have to actively respond with patience, compassion, compromise, understanding, and grace. It’s the major relationship in your life that requires you to become more like Jesus. And if your wife was asked, would she say she was married to Him?

“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” (1 Tim 4:8)

Maybe you’re in a difficult marriage right now.

Maybe you think your spouse is a terrible person and there’s no way you’ll ever love them the same again.

Maybe you have every reason to leave them.

I just want to encourage you that it’s never too late and you’re never too far gone.

I know how pride, selfishness, and jealousy work. I also know the powerful force against you. Just staying married, let alone having a strong marriage, can be evangelical. And the enemy hates that. He’s latching onto your back trying to bring you down at all costs. You’re not fighting against your spouse. You’re fighting against a thief that is trying to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10)

But I know an even more powerful force that can take him down. Bringing, keeping, and prioritizing God into your life is the one thing that will change everything.

Amber and I are going through the Love Dare challenge with our life group right now. I encourage you to pick up the book and take the challenge with us. We’ll be back weekly with action steps that we’re taking to invest into our marriage.

Dare 1 is to “demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your spouse at all. If the temptation arises, choose not to say anything. It’s better to hold your tongue than to say something you’ll regret.” (The Love Dare, Page 4)

“Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” (James 1:19)

Think it’s easy? Or think it won’t work? Don’t take my word for it. Try it. I dare you.

And it might just be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.

#ItsNotAboutUs,

Coach Theo

Resources: Fireproof Movie, Love Dare Book, Sacred Marriage Book, Love Works Ministry, Sacred Vows Movie

 

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