Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

The Most Important Year in a Man’s Life

Wai Jia and I brought a number of books to Uganda. One of them is Most Important Year in a Woman’s Life, The/The Most Important Year in a Man’s Life by Robert and Bobbie Wolgemuth. The whole premise of this book is to emphasize the first year of marriage as the most important investment for the couple. This is actually two books, one for the groom and one for the bride. Even though we are married for almost two years now, we still find this book highly relevant and beneficial for our marriage.

One of my friends are getting married next month. I quoted this from the book to encourage him to spend the first year to focus on his wife:

It’s often assumed that marriages fail because a lack of investment – time, effort, focus, and intentionality. That’s true, but only partially.

Mark and I have talked with countless couples whose marriages are flailing – or failing. Many are more than willing to work at it, and work sacrificially. As a matter of fact, some of the guys we know who struggle in their marriages are investing exponentially more energy, anxiety, and money trying to keep their marriages alive than couples with healthy marriages will have to invest during their entire lifetimes.

The question must be asked: if these couples are working so hard, why are their marriages failing?

It’s exactly what Jerry found out with ihs successful investment in CompuCalls. It’s all about good timing. Failed marriages are not the result of the lack of investment but the lateness of that investment.

We’ve seen it happen over and over. Men have come to us for help only after their marriages are in deep trouble – in some cases, headed perilously toward divorce. A man may become motivated to work on his marriage when it’s in critical condition. The work and the sacrifices he makes may be nothing short of heroic. But tragically, they come awfully late.

I’ve never met a man who said, “I am choosing to invest poorly” – financially or in marriage. But many men simply do. Their minimal net worth has been the result of neglect. Sheer default.

If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married. – Deuteronomy 24:5

I’m pretty sure what you’re thinking. C’mon, be reasonable. I’ve got work to do. If i were to take a whole year off, I’d be fired from my job – and that wouldn’t be good for neither of us.

Don’t worry. I’m not advocating unemployment. Just intentionality. Your job in your first year of marraige is to become an expert on one woman – your wife – and to learn, better than anyone else in the world, how to “bring her happiness.” And the OT advice is to take one year, ONE WHOLE YEAR. A weekend seminar or a great book about marriage will not be enough – not even the standard five-session premarital counselling commitment. There’s no other way to say it: It’s a big investment!

Because you’ve checked “get married” off your life, you may be tempted to pay more attention to other unfinished things, such as going on to graduate school, landing a good job, or staying in shape physically. But now that you’re married, your most important assignment is working on building this relationship with your wife.Page 15-19 – The Most Import Year In A Man’s Life

Wai Jia and I read one chapter at night whenever we are free. We will read one chapter for the husband to be and then one chapter for the wife to be. Another part that really struck me is the average bride spend 150 to 500 hours to prepare for the wedding. Yet, when it comes to marriage maybe ten hours if they are committed (read a marriage book or attend a marriage preparation course).

One of the things I am grateful for and also helped strenghten our marriage is attending the Marriage Preparation Course (MPC). We attended the MPC about one weeks after we started dating. I know and understand that attending Marriage Preparation Course as a date might not sound exciting or enjoyable. But for me it was a great idea since both of us know our relationship is heading toward marriage. It is through the instructors (later became our marriage mentors and good friends) at Marriage Preparation Course we learned how to live with one another.

Taking my medication

Since my liver transplant in 1991, I’ve been taking one drug to keep me alive.   The drug is called cyclosporine.  It is an immunosuppressant drug.  For thsoe who are not medically incline, cyclosporine lowers my immune system.  Since my body treats the liver as a foriegn host and will try to attack it, cyclosporine lowers my immune system and body thus able to accept the liver.   It is quite amazing when we think about it.  This drug is created from a fungus.  How did the scientist figured that out, I had no idea.  With three little pills, the size of M&Ms (but definitely not taste like M&Ms!), twice a day, it keeps me alive.

When I tell people about my medication, those who are in the medical profession will often be amazed that as a transplant recipient, I am taking only one drug.  Transplant recipients often have a cocktail of medications to boost their immune system to keep them healthy.  The first year after my transplant, I would take a whole bunch of pills and liquids.   Yet, sometimes, someone will ask me what are the side affects of taking cyclopsorine.  I would tell them in the most serious tune, ‘yes, there are some major side affects. I am alive.  It is not easy to ‘live’ with this but I finally get use to it.’

With all joking aside, not taking cyclosporine, my body will attack my liver and Cliff will see Jesus very soon.  Thus, this is important for me to take it every 12 hours to make sure there is a good cyclosporine level in my blood.

Ever since Wai Jia and I were married (one and a half years ago), I often wondered why she never made the effort to remind me to take my cyclosporine.  After all, she’s a medical doctor, she should know all the 101 side affects of NOT taking cyclosporine.  Doesn’t she care?   It never really bothered me but sometimes I just wonder.

Then a few days ago, I had a revelation.  Wai Jia is also taking some medication as well (not cyclosporine, thankfully.  This drug is already expensive for one person!).  As I reflected upon this, I realized I rarely made an effort to remind her to take her medication.

So the whole thing turned around.  I realized that by asking how come she doesn’t care, I am actually looking at a mirror and asking myself, do I really care her?

Over the weekend, we went to the church’s Marriage Preparation Course (MPC) to give a testimony as to how the course helped us as a couple (which for all those who are about to get married, definitely consider taking a MPC. It helped Wai Jia and my marriage.)  I am once reminded something a trainer said in my MPC.  He said that we are actually very selfish people.  In our own mind, we have a perception of who that person should be to us when we are married.  We will consciously (and unconsciously) force that person to fit that mould in our head.

As Christians, we often talk about agape.  Agape is a Greek word that means sacrificial love.  That’s the word we use to describe Jesus dying on the cross for us.  It is a love that costs one person something for the sake of another person.  With marriage, we often use the same word to describe how we treat our spouse. In fact for Wai Jia’s engagement ring, I etched agape on it.

Reminding me to take medication in the whole scheme of things is very small. I’ve been doing this for twenty years.  It is like breathing to me.   However, it reminded me how self-centre I still am and there’s still a way for me to learn to love sacrifically.

Last night, I shared my relevation with Wai Jia.  She said that she purposely chose not to remind me because she doesn’t want to nag me (like my mom. I will be honest. I don’t like my mom nagging me but I know she does it out of good intention!).   So for her, by loving me, choose not to remind me to take my medication.





Marriage Quote from Bonhoeffer

Marriage is more than your love for each other. It has a higher dignity and power, for it is God’s holy ordinance, through which he wills to perpetuate the human race till the end of time. In your love you see only your two selves in the world, but in marriage you are a link in the chain of the generations, which God causes to come and to pass away to his glory, and calls into his kingdom. In your love is your own private possession, but marriage is more than something personal – it is a status, an office. Just as it is the crown, and not merely the will to rule, that makes the king, so it is marriage, and not merely your love for each other, that joins you together in the sight of God and man.Dietrich Bonhoeffer