What Sears Taught Me About Being A Husband

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I will NEVER forget that feeling for the rest of my life! As a small (shorter than most) seven year old, getting lost in Sears & Roebuck was a terrifying experience. To be honest with you, I am not really sure what was happening in my head that caused me to wonder off. I think I assumed that my grandfather would be right there and that I wouldn’t be going off far. I can’t really blame that amazingly clear television that was playing the cartoons on it. Well, I guess I could, but it would only be an excuse.

I’d received clear instructions of what to do when we got in the store. “Stay close,” “Don’t touch anything,” and “Don’t talk to strangers.” Those instructions had been explained to me. And wouldn’t you know that it was the very first instruction that I dismissed! It got me lost for a whopping twenty minutes in the store. Those twenty minutes felt like a lifetime. Fortunately, one of the sales representatives finally could tell that a crying seven year old with fear in his eyes warranted stopping him and asking where the adults were. Fortunately, the all call system in the store saved the day and my grandfather came to the rescue!

As you can imagine, I feared a pretty strong disciplinary reaction from him. But instead, he simply embraced me and checked to make sure that I hadn’t been harmed. Don’t be fooled, you better believe that I got the lecture of a lifetime in the car!

What is amazing to me is that the feeling that I felt as that small child in Sears is the same feeling I had the second day of my marriage! Wow!

Getting married is uncharted territory for most people. It is the coming together of two lives, with whatever known and unknown baggage that exists, two different sets of expectations, and in many cases, fear for the unknown. As quiet as most men are about this, husbands are afraid for their lives! The gender who’s supposed to be tough, triumphant, and have it all together is trembling on the inside!

The fear of failure, temptation, inadequacy, trust, preparation, providing for your family, and a host of other realities slap men in the face at the honeymoon (Actually, probably during the engagement party)!

As hard as marriage is, just like my Sears experience, I’ve learned some marriage lessons that could help others in the journey.

1) Follow the rules!

God has clearly given men some clarifying expectations about life, relationships, women, and marriage. I, like many husbands, have taken some of those instructions and immediately applied them. Some of the other instructions we had to learn the hard way. In either case, the rules existed. Whether we acknowledged and applied them is always another story. I’d encourage you if you are a husband (or want to be), to take some time to study what the Bible says to husbands. It’d be pretty insightful and encouraging. Plus, you’ll help save your life and your marriage.

If you are a husband (or want to be), to take some time to study what the Bible says to husbands.

2) Stay close to the right people.

I am absolutely clear that my wife and I would be divorced today if we didn’t have the right mentors and counselors pouring into us, telling us we could and would make it. EVERYBODY that is married faces challenges. One of the biggest challenges that husbands have is that as young men, many were taught to be “tough,” “get over it,” “man up.” This is counter-productive in marriage. While there are lots of things that you’ve got to own and take responsibility for, being honest about our feelings must be a priority, at all times. Being able to acknowledge hurt, properly resolve conflict, accept misunderstandings, and earning trust are realities that we must face without fear. The process to get there is a huge, but necessary endeavor.

EVERYBODY that is married faces challenges.

3) Don’t touch anything.

Can I go here? There are lots of nice toys in our world. There are loads of pretty shiny “things” that will distract and allure you from your place of safety. These “things” will unapologetically bait and hook you into their grips and then unashamedly and blatantly brag about how it hooked you. The implications can be short-term.  Most often, though, they are long-term. These “things” can impact your finances, physical health, emotional well-being (sanity), relationships, parenting, career, and forever alter your future. You can recover, but it may be a long road! It is VERY important for a husband to know exactly what he does and does not have permission to touch. It is literally a matter of life and/or death. Keeping your hands to yourself can spare your life.

There are loads of pretty shiny “things” that will distract and allure you from your place of safety.

I learned a lot from my episode at Sears. It literally prepared me for marriage. I hope, after reading this, you won’t get lost in the store. If you do, it’s time to do an all call!

Christopher J. Harris, a native of Palatka, Florida, is Director of Ministry Operations of the historic mega-church Fellowship Church of Chicago. He is also Overseer of Youth for Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International. Harris currently resides in Chicago with his wife and children. www.ChristopherJHarris.com.

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