Month: February 2017

It’s Complicated…

itscomplicated-620x325Marriage is a complicated thing, isn’t it? You either love the person your with, or you want to set their underwear on fire while they’re still wearing them, and these two emotions interchange throughout a single day. Sometimes multiple times a day. There is rarely an in-between.

I – having been married going on 29 years – know a thing or two about this odd phenomena, and I am here to tell you, marriage or even just living together, is not for the feint of heart. Very often, it’s not even for the steadfast and sturdy!

My parents were not well-suited. Their marriage ended before I was six, and both went on to have second failed marriages, and in the case of my father, who went through three ex wives, (that I know of) before he married one who liked him enough to stick with it till he passed away a couple years ago. She’s a really nice lady. She’d have to be to put up with my father! My husband’s parents could tell the same story. Needless to say, the odds of long-term marriage were stacked against us, if one were to believe the statistics, and one usually does.

As if that weren’t enough to keep things from moving past the first date, we have very little in common regarding interests or activities. So much so, that we have a running joke between us – If I like it, he doesn’t and vice versa.

I’m serious! If he thinks something is funny, it’s usually because it’s repulsive, and I am not a repulsive comedy person. He likes the kind of rock & roll where people are beating on their instruments and screaming at each other, while I really love 50’s & 60’s oldies, classic rock, and classical. I love the ballet, & opera, he loves motorcycle racing, I want to sit and knit, crochet, or weave, and he wants to run, jump, lift weights and train for Crossfit. You get the idea.

So what can we attribute to our ability to beat the odds, and stick it out? I believe there are more important things than parents experiences,  stats, and little things in common. For me, it’s the big things, like politics, religion, morality, and a mutual understanding that God and family come first. Nothing else matters anywhere near as much as those, and if you don’t have those big things in common, your chances of a successful long-term relationship are slimmer than ours, believe it our not!

Another big deal for me is being married to my intellectual equal. That is HUGE for me. I could never be married to a man who was a nice guy with a great body, if he isn’t very mentally stimulating. Let’s face it… one day, the body and the looks are gonna go, and he may always be a nice guy, but if I can’t have an intelligent conversation, fugetaboutit! I guess I’m a cerebral kind of person. But here’s the cool thing… so is my husband! He drives me up the freaking wall 23 hours a day, 6 days a week, but we have the BIG DEAL things in common, and we can TALK about important stuff!

But that’s us. It may not be you. We have some friends who are at total opposite ends of the spectrum where politics and religion are concerned, but they have a crazy amount of little things in common, and they simply avoid the big issues. I personally could not live that way. Why? Because if it’s important to me, I tend to be passionate about it. If I’m passionate about something, I promise you will hear me talk about it. If I can’t talk about it, you are probably not going to like my attitude much, because I do NOT like walking on eggshells.

It’s like this blog – I have so many interests and activities that I participate in regularly, that you would not believe one person would even want to be involved in so many different things at once. And yet you don’t see me posting all that much about those things. What you do see, are things that I am passionate about. My husband is the same way. Lots of little things, a few big things, and we are still here. Still together, after all these years. Either that, or we’re just stubborn… Could be stubborn!

What about you? What are you passionate about? What works for you in your relationship? What do you have to avoid to keep the peace? What do you have in common with your significant other? Feel free to comment below, as I do enjoy hearing from my readers!

As always, Many blessings!

C.A. Bennett – Writer

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A Woman’s Place

I was having a conversation with my husband, in which he made a joking comment about how I would turn the Christian world upside down with my point of view on a woman’s place in the world and in her family. By this, he is referring to my stance on how women are not to be treated as subservient to men, but to be equals.

What must be understood about this, is that when I say “equals” I actually mean exactly that. I don’t mean above, or below, I mean alongside, next to, or together if you will. Equals. Why? Let me tell you… when the Lord created Adam, it didn’t take long to see that he was lonely, so the Lord decided to create woman, to be his helper. He did not take a bone from Adam’s foot to create Eve to be tread upon like a doormat. He did not take a bone from Adam’s skull so that Eve could rule over him. The Lord took a bone from Adam’s ribcage, so that Eve would walk through life alongside him. Notice the word “helper” here. The bible does not say “servant” in regards to Eve. Never once does it refer to Eve as beneath Adam in the Lord’s eyes.

Now, I need you to understand this, because it’s important, and in fact crucial to your understanding of my point; The bible was inspired by God, but written by man – or humans, if you will, so as not to dump on the males of our species, because that is not my goal nor my desire here – and it was written in a PATRIARCHAL CULTURE. In other words, it was written at such a time in history that women were considered the weaker sex and were treated more like servants than like equals on a pretty regular basis. In fact, women were often treated quite badly, and I am sad to say there are still places and people who still subscribe to that way of thinking. Not cool.

However… as a bible scholar and Religious Studies major, I have done a good bit of research on the topic of a woman’s role in life, and let me tell you, we are anything BUT subservient! Female rulers have played a huge part in history, and often in very positive ways. Queen Elizabeth I for one, brought a war-torn, financially unstable kingdom into the greatest military and financially stable status they’d ever seen. So much so, that her reign is referred to as The Golden Age. Elizabeth refused to be treated as lesser just because she happened to be born female. By the way, she is my personal favorite female historical figure.

Another wonderful example is Deborah from the book of Judges, who was a prophet, and leader of the nation of Israel at that time. Deborah is referred to as  “The Mother of Israel”, and lead the Israelites into battle against the Canaanite army, defeating them quite smartly. So what did you see there? A woman – who was married, by the way – became the leader of a nation, a military force to be reckoned with, a prophet, and the fourth judge of Israel. She was one tough chick! Does that sound subservient to you? Me either!

So let’s talk about subservient vs. submissive for a minute, because too many people get those two mixed up, and they are very different! In respect to the biblical use of wives being submissive to their husbands, we are talking about the family being a body, and the husband being the head of that body, and generally speaking, a body should only have one head. Submission to ones husband can be defined as, “a commitment to lift up your husband, encourage him,  and be his helpmate through life. ”

As a Christian woman, I firmly believe in giving our husbands their place as head of the family, valuing their contributions & hard work for the greater good of the family body. That said, I fully expect to be treated with the same respect from my husband, valued for my contributions and given the same consideration for my thoughts, feelings, and opinions as he is. Why? Because we are equals. We are also equals in our intelligence, both having an IQ of 130, which kind of adds a bit of credibility to the whole equal thing, in my opinion. Anyway…..

Subservient: “Prepared to obey others unquestioningly. Less important, subordinate, serving as a means to an end. Servant or slave.”

Ladies and gentlemen, no man, woman or child deserves to be slave to anyone, regardless of sex, color, creed, race, or religion. I will be subservient to no one, and neither should you!

Genesis 2:18-24 NIV

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

23 The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones

    and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called ‘woman,’

    for she was taken out of man.”

24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Many Blessings!

C.A. Bennett – Writer

Regrets – I’ve Had A Few…

My husband and I were talking this morning about our rapidly advancing ages – I’m 49, he’s 57 – how we’ve traveled this road called “life”, and where it’s taken us. Both of us are also taking college classes to further our careers or take them in a new direction as the case may be, and I asked him, “Don’t you wish you’d have signed up a couple years ago when I tried to talk you into it?” His reply was a resounding, “Oh yes! I’d be a lot farther along right now. Almost done, actually!”

That conversation brought me to this train of thought, and I’ll share it with you if you’ll let me; Nowadays we often see people saying, “No Regrets!” & “You Only Live Once!” which – to me – translates to “Whateva! I do what I want!” and gives no room for lessons to be learned, and only attempts to justify bad decisions and mistakes to be repeated. This is dangerous ground to tread upon. Why?

Let me give you an example of what happened to a very real friend of mine. For the purpose of this example, we will call him Tom.

Tom goes through life, throwing caution to the wind, drinking copious quantities of alcohol, smoking, using drugs, and generally behaving in ways that are a detriment to himself and others around him. When bad things happen to him, and they frequently do – he goes around shouting about how unfair his life is, and how he doesn’t need anyone to tell him what he should and shouldn’t do. He makes one bad decision after another that usually result in lost jobs, broken relationships, loss of privileges and property, and even being arrested multiple times. This man has lived by the idioms we have previously referenced; “No Regrets!”, “You Only Live Once!”, “Whateva! I do what I want!” Finally, our friend Tom reaches his lowest point by placing his family in jeopardy, and goes to jail for a bit longer, and this time, it’s serious.

Now the thing you need to know, is that deep down under all that bad behavior, Tom is a great guy who loves his family, believes in God, and wants to do well. However, he is a misguided soul who had a lot of really bad things happen to him early in life, and those things have had their effect on him.

But Tom made another mistake and this time, it’s a big one. Tom loses everything. His freedom, his family, his job, his dignity, and even his faith for a time. Tom found out that if you live like there are no rules, someone, somehow, sometime – will show you you’re wrong, and it’s gonna hurt.

Fortunately for Tom, he finally woke up to the things he’d been doing wrong and learned his lessons. His freedom was eventually restored, though there are some restrictions on him. His family was restored, and though his job was not restored, he went into business for himself and took a better, more productive path to life in general. His faith in God was restored, and he has since lived a clean, calm, and happier life, in which he has become a much better husband, father & friend. He does all he can to show the Lord his appreciation and faith by going to church, reading the bible, praising God, and spreading the word. Tom is finally the great guy everyone always knew he could be. Tom hasn’t stopped there. He is constantly trying to learn new things and better himself in every way. Tom’s a nice guy.

Does Tom still regret his previous behavior? Of course! In fact, he tends to live by the idiom: “Those who forget their past are condemned to repeat it.” does that mean he dwells on his mistakes and constantly laments them? No. Why? Because the bible tells us several things about our sins and how God handles them. Take a look:

1 John 1:9  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Philippians 3:13  “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

1 Peter 5:8  “Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Psalm 34:4-5  “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”

So we don’t need to live in a constant state of condemnation in order to be forgiven, but we DO have to do a few things:

  1. STOP doing things that God says are sin
  2. ASK for forgiveness
  3. LEARN from our mistakes
  4. DON’T repeat our bad decisions
  5. TRY our best everyday, to do good for God, Ourselves, and Others
  6. REMEMBER that no matter what – God loves you. So much so, that he that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him would not perish, but have eternal life – John 3:16.

God is a god of peace. He wants all of us to have peace, but we need to put in a little effort for that to happen. So in closing, I want to leave you with this – Philippians 4:7 – “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

So yes – You Only Live Once – Live smart.
C.A. Bennett – Writer