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Larger Steak

One night at the dinner table, the wife commented, “When we were first married, you took the small piece of steak and gave me the larger piece. Now you take the larger one and leave me the smaller one. You don’t love me anymore.”

Her husband responded, “That’s nonsense, darling. You just cook better now.”

Successful marriages have two qualities: a man who is quick on his feet, and sacrifice. In this story, we see only one of the two.

When God created man and woman, he said they are to be one. That means that as husband and wife, we are to put one another first. We are to give before we receive and listen before we speak. We are to keep the holy triangle in place: God, husband, and wife. We are to put our husband or wife first.

And if, along the way, the wife becomes a better cook, well that’s okay, too.

Are Dogs Better than Women?

I’m just asking the question. I am offering no conclusions. But we need to approach these things with open minds. That is all I’m doing. I have no bias, as I am both happily married and a satisfied dog owner. I have split my time almost evenly: living 35 years with my wife and 38 years with four different dogs.

Today, I have both a wife and a dog. And I take them both for a walk two times a day. Beth is the best wife anyone ever had and Heidi is the best dog. It’s not even close – on either count.

But again, we must ask the question. Which is better – a wife or a dog?

Because wives can speak for themselves, I will present the case that dogs would make if they were able to type or use a computer. This is the evidence dogs everywhere would want us to see.

Why dogs are better than wives . . .

  1. Dogs never criticize.
  2. Dogs don’t expect gifts.
  3. Dogs don’t want to know about every other dog you’ve ever had.
  4. Dogs don’t hate their own bodies.
  5. Dogs don’t let a magazine article guide their lives.
  6. You never have to wait on a dog; they are ready to jump in the car 24 hours a day.
  7. Dogs don’t cry.
  8. Dogs love it when your friends come over.
  9. A dog’s time in the bathroom is confined to a quick drink.
  10. Dogs don’t expect you to call when you’re running late; the later you are, the more excited they are to see you.
  11. Anyone can get a good looking dog.
  12. Dogs don’t mind if you give away their offspring.
  13. Dogs don’t notice if you call them by another dog’s name.

I’ll add one more – on a personal note. At this very moment, as I am working on my computer, my dog is in my lap. My wife? She is over 1,000 miles away, visiting friends.

My dog would never do that to me.

The Rushmore Report: Top Ten Reasons People Divorce

Marriage is not easy. Unfortunately, even couples with the best intentions can end up in divorce court. While divorce is not inevitable, it is becoming all too common. Couples getting married must be aware of the factors that lead to break-ups. Then they must remain on guard; divorce can hit anybody. There are a number of reasons people get divorced; the following are ten of the most common.

1. Extramarital affairs

According to a report published by AARP, infidelity still plays a significant role in why people file for divorce. However, usually there is an underlying reason that causes a spouse to cheat, including anger, resentment, and growing apart.

2. Weight gain

Surprisingly enough, “forever after” often comes with the caveat “as long as you maintain your figure.” According to a survey reported by Men’s Health, one spouse gaining substantial weight can be a damper on marital bliss, right or wrong.

3. Money

The American Journal of Sociology recently published a study that found a husband’s unemployment can be a key factor behind divorce. A couple facing financial difficulties is often under a lot of stress, which in turn harms communication.

4. Lack of communication

A commonly heard phrase to successful marriage is “communication is the key.” Relationship coach Deb Dutilh has found that communication can quickly mar feelings of love and romance. Once parties stop communicating effectively, marital troubles that lead to divorce are not too far behind.

5. Abuse

According to Simple Divorce Advice, physical, mental, and emotional abuse all are common reasons couples get divorced. Most people in such a marriage reach a breaking point. Without serious counseling the marriage will end.

6. Incompatibility

Nothing stays the same. Over time people grow, develop, and change. Changing interests or dreams often lead to incompatibility. Divorce Magazine reports that incompatibility is a growing reason that marriages end.

7. Unhappiness

This is at the root of a high number of divorces. Sometimes individuals don’t realize that love in and of itself is not enough to keep you happy. A study published by Penn State University concluded that “severe unhappiness” by one or both partners almost always brings an end to the marriage.

8. Addiction

People can become addicted to substances, behaviors, and even other people. This can wreck a person’s life. An addict often finds himself out of control as his addiction affects every area of his life. Henry Gornbein, a family law specialist, sees this as the fastest growing cause of divorce.

9. Age

According to a study published by the Wharton School at Penn, the age at which a couple marries plays a huge role in the success or failure of their marriage. The younger the couple that marries, the more likely they are to see their marriage end in divorce.

10. Parenting styles

Parenting is an even larger undertaking than getting married. Attorney Jeff Biddle says he has seen dozens of marriages end in divorce simply because the parents cannot agree on the way they should discipline their children.

About the Author

Shannon Johnson is an attorney who walked away from her practice to pursue her dream of writing. She is a frequent blogger on her site, Love to Know.

The Rushmore Report: Six Habits of Healthy Couples

We are creatures of routine and can often find ourselves stuck in these bad cycles of either fighting, being too busy, or not having the right expectations. The only way to create new habits to build a stronger connection in your marriage is to become proactive. Here are six habits we have established that build healthy marriages. We promise you’ll see results if you put them into practice in your own marriage.

1. Cultivate positivity.

Maybe your spouse says something critical, something off handed that doesn’t quite land the right way. Our natural response is to retaliate or shut down. This can easily put couples in a toxic cycle of tit for tat. Trust us, we ran on that treadmill for years. Don’t do it. Go positive.

2. Compliment often.

It’s not enough to know how much you might love your spouse, you need to communicate that as often as possible. Words are extremely powerful. Practice a daily 60-second blessing.

3. Dream together.

Couples who stop sharing common goals together often drift apart and become more like roommates than lovers. You must cultivate a sense of excitement and anticipation about the future, which helps carry you through those dry seasons.

4. Own your mistakes.

We are constantly making mistakes and failing to deliver on our promises. When you apologize, it shows that you are willing to take responsibility for your actions in the marriage. Ask your spouse frequently if there is anything you need to apologize for in the relationship.

5. Pray together.

There is power as it is the practice of the presence of God. It is the place where pride is abandoned and hope is lifted. And when couples do this together, they simply become unstoppable in all that they do. Try it tonight. Pray as a couple.

6. Do date nights.

Yup, you guessed it. It’s our go-to cure for 100% of couples we coach. Date nights are about rekindling the romance and friendship by building emotional intimacy. Plan your next date night today.

About the Author

Meygan Caston is co-founder of Marriage 365, where she blogs on marriage and family issues.

The Rushmore Report: Did Pat Robertson Just Defend Polygamy?

Popular televangelist Pat Robertson, who serves as chancellor of Regent University and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network, has said he doesn’t know of anything in the Bible that condemns polygamy – the practice of having more than one wife or husband at the same time. “I’m not sure the Bible indicates polygamy is wrong,” he said. So what exactly does Robertson believe about polygamy?

Robertson continued, “But we don’t do it [polygamy] and there are a lot of laws based on the New Testament that don’t permit it, and that’s where we are.” He was responding to a question from a viewer identified only as Margaret, who asked, “Why did God allow the men of faith in the Old Testament to have multiple wives and concubines?” And when did God change his mind and make marriage monogamous?’

“I don’t think God changed his mind,” Robertson said.

Although polygamy is illegal in the U.S. and culturally unpopular, some researchers estimate that 50-100,000 people are involved in polygamous relationships and the arrangement is more common between men and multiple wives.

Robertson noted that a man will find it easier to take care of multiple wives than vice versa.

“The truth is that women have babies. And when they have babies they can’t fight wars because they are having babies, and they are looking after their babies and they need somebody to look after them – that’s why husbands are supposed to look after their wives. And a man can take care of several wives whereas one wife can’t take care of several husbands,” he said.

Robertson continued, “I think in the early days there must have been more women than men. Multiple wives were standard stuff in the primitive societies, at least they still are in Africa. I know one guy, the chief or something, the general, he had 60 wives. That’s a little excessive, it is, but nonetheless, God didn’t change his mind, but then came the New Testament. And Jesus gave the standards of marriage, man leaves his mother and father, cleaves to his wife, and the twain will become one flesh,” he explained. “And so that’s the biblical order of the New Testament, but the culture has changed. God didn’t change his mind.”

Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, told The Daily Beast in 2015 that if polygamy is legalized, he believes it could happen within “the next 20 to 30 years.”

Earlier this year, however, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to Utah’s anti-bigamy law brought by “Sister Wives” star Kody Brown and his wives, Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn.

Brown is only legally married to one of the “wives.” The fundamentalist Mormons who are part of the Apostolic United Brethren Church, claimed in their legal challenge that Utah’s law banning multiple spouses violated their religious liberty rights under the United States Constitution’s First Amendment. They claim polygamy as a religious belief.

About the Author

Leonardo Blair writes for The Christian Post.

Oldtimers

A couple in their nineties are both having problems remembering things. They decide to go to the doctor for a check-up. The doctor tells them they’re physically fine, but they might want to start writing things down to help them remember. Later that night while watching TV, the old man gets up from his chair.

His wife asks, “Where are you going?”

“To the kitchen,” he replies.

“Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?”

“Sure.”

“Don’t you think you should write it down so you can remember it?” she asks.

“No, I can remember it.”

“Well, I’d like some strawberries on top, too. You’d better write it down, because you know you’ll forget it.”

He says, “I can remember that! You want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries on top.”

“I’d also like some whipped cream. I’m certain you’ll forget that, so you better write it down!”

Irritated, he says, “I don’t need to write it down. I can remember it! Leave me alone! You want ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream. I got it, for goodness sake!” And with that he walks off, toward the kitchen.

After about 20 minutes the old man returns and hands his wife a plate of bacon and eggs.

She stares at the plate for a moment and then says . . . “Where’s my toast?”

You don’t have to be old to have a short memory. My uncle was a great example. The family joke was that he heard what he wanted to hear and remembered what he wanted to remember. We are all a lot like that. We remember what is in our best interest.

But there are a few things we must always remember – love God, treat others right, live lives that reflect His grace. And the good news is, we don’t even have to write that down. God did it for us.

It’s called the Bible.

The Rushmore Report: Three Reasons Christian Marriages Fail

I love God’s institution of marriage. Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many marriages – even Christian marriages – fail. I have met with hundreds of couples in my tenure in counseling and have, after much contemplation, exhaustive study, review and prayer, narrowed the list to three major reasons Christian marriages fail. Here they are, in no particular order.

1. Selfishness

2. Selfishness

3. Selfishness

It’s a well-known axiom in real estate circles that the three most important considerations when purchasing a home are location, location, and location. In similar fashion, I propose the three most important reasons Christian marriages fail – selfishness, selfishness, and selfishness.

If you have one selfish partner in the marriage, it can limp along. Two selfish people almost invariably results in carnage. A couple who professes Christ should be following biblical principles, and if they do, then the marriage can survive, thrive, and prosper.

We have seen many people benefit greatly from deliverance ministry, temperament analysis, and marriage counseling. We have seen others who reap very little. I believe the key begins with the attitude of the heart in this area of setting aside self.

If you are selfish, can you purpose and commit unilaterally to becoming more of a giver and less of a taker in your marriage? If you are primarily a giver now, you need to ask for the grace, wisdom, peace, and power of God in your situation. He is faithful and all things are possible for those who believe.

About the Author

Don Ibbitson has been a Christian counselor since 2001. Through Above & Beyond Christian Counseling he has impacted hundreds of marriages.

The Rushmore Report: Seven Ways to Affair-Proof Your Marriage

After an affair, couples often feel blindsided by the betrayal. “I have no clue how we got here,” one partner will say. “I can’t believe this happened to us.” But therapists who counsel couples in such a position usually have a good understanding of why it happened. We have consulted with such therapists, and now offer seven ways to minimize their risk of infidelity.

1. Don’t think you are immune to an affair.

If you think infidelity is something that only happens to other couples, think again. Accepting that an affair can occur in any relationship ensures that you’re better equipped to see the warning signs, said Alexandra H. Solomon, a clinical psychologist and the author of Brave, Deep, Intimate: 20 Lessons to Get You Ready for the Love of a Lifetime.

2. Recognize and tend to the needs of your relationship.

People who cheat often talk about how their affair partners simply fulfilled a need their spouse couldn’t, be it physical or emotional. To sidestep the same fate, clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark said you need to fiercely guard the connection that initially brought you two together. At the same time, check in occasionally to make sure everything is still okay on your partner’s end.

3. Define what monogamy means to you.

Talk openly and honestly about what kind of behavior isn’t acceptable outside the confines of your relationship, then set some clear, mutually agreed-upon boundaries, said Solomon. For example, you might think your borderline flirty behavior at dinner is okay, but your partner may think you need a reality check.

4. Close the door on old flames.

With Facebook at your fingertips, it’s all too easy to reconnect with an old boyfriend or that girl from biology class you always had a thing for in high school. It only takes a click to add him or her, but you ask yourself, “Is it really worth the temptation?” If you’re already having problems in your relationship, your answer should be a clear-cut no, said Dr. Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist and author.

5. Make time for sex.

It’s natural for your sex drive to wax and wane in a long-term marriage. But if you can’t recall the last time the two of you were intimate, you may want to address this issue, said Clark. “The truth is, touching and sexual activity drive up chemical reactions in our brain that promote feelings of connection, attachment, and desire.”

6. Don’t confide in someone other than your spouse (especially an attractive someone).

It’s fine and healthy to have close friends and family who listen to your relationship rants. But discuss your relationship problems with someone you’re drawn to in a physical way and you could be well on your way to an emotional affair, said Saltz.

7. Actively show how much your partner means to you.

The love you feel for your partner may be more than you ever imagined possible, but don’t assume he or she knows that. Your partner wants to feel wanted; make a point to prove your feelings to them on a regular basis, writes Clark.

About the Author

Brittany Wong is the Relationships Editor for The Huffington Post.

Stages of a Cold

A husband’s reactions to his wife’s colds during the first seven years of marriage evolve.

Year 1 – “Sugar Dumpling, I’m really worried about my baby girl. You’ve got a bad sniffle and there’s no telling about these things with all the strep going around. I’m putting you in the hospital. I know the food is lousy, but I’ll be bringing your meals in from Landry’s.”

Year 2 – “Listen, Darling, I don’t like the sound of that cough and I’ve called the doctor to rush over here. Now you go to bed like a good girl.”

Year 3 – “Maybe you should lie down, Honey.”

Year 4 – “Now look, Dear, be sensible. After you feed the kids, do the dishes and mop the floor, you better get some rest.”

Year 5 – “Why don’t you take an aspirin?”

Year 6 – “If you’d just gargle or something instead of sitting around barking like a seal all evening, you might get better.”

Year 7 – “For Pete’s sake, stop that sneezing! Are you trying to give me pneumonia?”

Does this sound familiar to anyone other than my wife? Remember the nice guy you used to be? Guess what? That was the man your wife thought she was marrying.

Shopping Carts and Marriage

The great Charlie Brown commented on what it meant to have a good day. “I know it’s going to be a good day when all the wheels on my shopping cart turn the same way.”

Don’t you love it when you get the one cart that has one wheel that is not aligned?

If ever we need our wheels aligned, it is in marriage. I heard about one couple who could never get aligned with their schedule. Bob called his wife from work in the middle of the afternoon. “I’m able to get two tickets for the show we wanted to see. It’s playing now. Do you want to go?”

Martha answered, “Oh, yes! I’ll get ready right away!”

“Perfect,” said Bob. “The tickets are for tomorrow night.”

Another couple was not aligned. The Vermont farmer was sitting on the porch with his wife. He looked over at her and thought about all the ways she had blessed him in 42 years of marriage.

Then he spoke, “Wife, you’ve been such a wonderful woman that there are times when I can hardly keep from telling you.”

To have a really great marriage, we need all wheels headed the same way. Then it is okay to tell your spouse you love them. Read the Song of Solomon, in the Bible. You will find a modern romance story. You will find two mates whose carts are fully aligned.