Alistair Begg on Comparing Your Spouse

Heard this today and decided to transcribe it and share it with you:
"Do we really think that we can sit on the plane and leaf through People magazine... and read about the exploits of the rich, the famous, the foolish, the cute... allow those images to penetrate the computer of our brain, and then realistically to apply the Bible to our marriage?

The fact is, it can't be done. And the degree to which we play with that stuff in our minds is the degree to which we make it increasingly difficult to live out this principle-- namely, DON'T COMPARE YOUR SPOUSE UNFAVORABLY WITH OTHERS in terms of looks, abilities, or anything." -- Alistair Begg, "How to Avoid Marital Failure"
And this was a bit later in the sermon:
"Don't take someone of the opposite sex into precincts that are the exclusive domain of your spouse. What does it mean? It means this: there's a lady in your office who thinks you've got broad shoulders and she'd like to cry on them? Tell her to keep moving. Go find someone else to cry on cause your shoulders are only for one girl to cry on, or more if you've got daughters.

(imitating someone else's voice) 'What, you call yourself a pastor and you say things like that?'

Yeah, cause I want to be a sensible pastor. Cause I want to be a married pastor. Cause I want to be a pure pastor for my kids growing up underneath me.
...Don't be so naive as to think that we can take into our lives that kind of stuff. You can't do it; you're not supposed to do it. You start to understand the principles of women ministering to women and men ministering to men... The only intimacy that should be enjoyed with someone of the opposite sex should be your wife or your husband, your sons or your daughters." --Alistair Begg, "How to Avoid Marital Failure"

After these (and a few other) things NOT to do, he added these prescriptions for marriage
(1) Be daily in prayer for the health of your marriage and the harmony of your home
(2) Be sacrificial in the expression of your love for each other. (Ask yourself, "what have I done in the last 7 days that was an act of sacrifice on my part for my spouse?")
(3) Be imaginative, daring, and occasionally extravagant in displaying your affection.
(4) Be sure that you don't use your children as the "glue" that holds you or the "wedge" that separates you.
("Remember this: the kids are the ones that are leaving-- we're the ones that are staying.")
(5) Be ruthless in resisting anyone or anything that will draw your affections from each other.
(6) Be ready to listen to, and willing to speak, about what's going on inside each other's heads.
(7) Be certain that a great marriage is possible with divine enabling and human effort.
(8) Be aware of how quickly time is passing, and seize the day.

And there's so much more worth hearing if you can track down this sermon. I highly recommend Alistair Begg's podcast, called Truth for Life.


Mrs said...

My, what solid words of truth. Especially about letting people of opposite gender cry on your shoulders.

I am so thankful to be home with our babies (HAH! 11, 15, and 19, but our babies still) and out of an office situation. My marriage has strengthened because of it. It's too easy to enjoy the attention of men no matter how well-meaning.

As for Himself, he rarely deals with women on construction sites!

Heather said...

Oh, how timely this message is! I don't compare my spouse to celebrities, but I do often make a mental wish list of things that could be different about him. I especially felt that your comment about being sacrificial hit home. Too often I allow myself to be the pampered princess without doing anything in return. I married a giver, and I myself and not one by nature. Thank you (or rather, thank God) for posting this.

Tracy said...

Thanks for the link. I enjoy Alistair's sermons quite often, and my hubby listens daily on XM radio.

Catherine R. said...

I think people have been seriously deceived about the male/female friendship thing. Obviously many people in the culture, but particularly many Christians, think it's "no big deal" and "why are you so uptight about it?" etc. I have learned this the hard way over many idiotic behaviors on my part. Also, I have seen the results of people who refuse to see the problem with being intimate friends with the opposite sex. I am so tired of hearing women or girls say "I get along better with men because women are so shallow and catty". Please.

I will even go so far as to say that I don't think God gives us our spouse for them to be our best bud. I really feel like God gave us other women to enjoy the gift of friendship. But I'm getting a little off track.

I do compare myself to celebrity women but not to their relationships or their men...they usually last 6 months anyway. I get mad when I think about Brad and Angelina and how their adulterous, self-righteous, shack-up relationship started. But I can't read the gossip rags without feeling like I am fat and ugly and my life is boring. I know it's bad but I am being honest. said...

Thanks for this timely post. It was very encouraging.


deb said...

Yes. I think that women and men put themselves in considerable danger when they get form close friendship with the opposite sex. I've had several friends who have been hurt by their spouses emotional affairs. The might not have been sex involved but the pain was just as real.

Catherine R. said...

I just wanted to add something. I don't want to portray myself as someone who these struggles do not apply to. I'm not above it. I do compare my husband to other men. Not necessarally celebrities but I do and I must pray and repent and see the foolishness of it for all it is with immediacy when it happens.

My husband is below average height for a man, he's 34 and makes not as much money as other 34 year olds etc etc etc. I am not saying this to shame him, but to show that my wicked heart is filled with criticism and that's why I need Jesus. One thing I try to do is imagine something unfavorable about whoever I am comparing him to and then reflect on the things I like about my husband and be thankful that I am fortunate to have someone with those good qualities.

We are all quite screwed up and need to hear about ways to deal with it.

Bethany Hudson said...

Such fantastic advice! My husband and I were so blessed to have a pastor who preached on these very things before we got married. I feel like it got us off on a good start. Some of our friends think we're crazy because we'll cc each other on emails that we send to members of the opposite sex (other than Brian's work-related, which go to multiple people, anyway) and call each other if we're catching a ride with someone of the opposite sex. But, you know what? We're taking precautions to preserve something very much worth fighting for!

Terry said...

Great stuff here, Jess. I like Alistair Begg also. His teaching is so Biblically sound, and with a cool accent to boot!

CappuccinoLife said...

Ah, we love Alastaire Begg. :) Consistently Biblical, practical, reasonable, and sensible.

And he has a really cool accent. :D

Jessica said...

We're committed to not being alone with a member of the opposite sex.
Here's my question though. How do you and Doug feel about him being with just two females when you're not around or vice versa? If you don't think this is appropriate can you explain why?
We're headed overseas and our team is made up of three single ladies and one other married couple. Anyways, I feel like we need to have appropriate boundaries set so that we're not making decisions in the moment.
I appreciate your thoughts.

Mrs. Sewell (Professional Wife and SAHM) said...


Great post! My husband and I love Alastair Begg...he is awesome!

Thanks for sharing this with us!

God Bless
Crystal <>< (SAHM)
P.S. we are still waiting on little miss Charlotte.

Christine said...

What wonderful nuggets to keep hold of. I swore off gossip magazines a while ago, and yesterday while at the doctor's office I picked one up (I had been waiting an hour and had already been through 2 magazines) and put it down after a couple of minutes. It just turned my stomach to read all of the junk in there! Thanks for passing on the wisdom you picked up this week!

a woman found said...

I love Alister Begg's teaching... so to the point TRUTH!


Anonymous said...

The mindless celebrity worship in our culture distracts us from too many real problems in the world and in our own lives.

I recommend turning off the tv and avoiding at least 95 percent of the movies in theaters. There are many more worthwhile things to spend your time and energy on.

Laurie B

MoziEsmé said...

What a practical and thought-provoking message.

Carletta said...

I just love Alastair Begg. I'm so glad he's broadcast in our area. Thank you for sharing!