Alethia Counseling Center

The Greek word for “counselor” is “Paraklete.” Think “two pairs of shoes.”

el-camino-path-cuts-off-640x426It literally refers to a person who comes to walk alongside. Too many people
attempt to journey down all the paths alone. There are times, and paths, when we need someone alongside to encourage, support, and help us.
Our symbol is the compass, since our goal is to help people walk the path when they need us.

Making the decision to come to AlethiaonBlackcounseling (as well as the counseling process itself) can be pretty difficult.  Maybe everyone needs some counseling from time-to-time, but it takes a certain amount of health to get it!  We applaud you for looking…  so here is some information about us that will hopefully help you make your decision wisely with all the information you need:

“Alethia Counseling Center” is in Tyler, Texas located at 7925 South Broadway, Suite 820.


If you are interested in scheduling with any of us, call us at 903 561 8955 today.

Back to the Greek:  “Alethia” is the Greek word for “truth – revealed, discovered, to be made known…” We want to help you and those you love discover how to life the fullest life possible.


9U5A0414Chris Legg, LPC.  I am the owner/operator and the lead therapist at Alethia.  I have been counseling since 1996.  I love to come alongside to challenge and encourage people to live in freedom!   I started counseling in Tyler in 2001, and have continued to have a passion for this community.  Coming to counseling is hard, and it takes courage, but I have sought to gather a team of therapists who are caring, professional and competent to come alongside us when we need a hand… and we all have times like that.  Take a big step toward a free-er, full-er life. www.chrismlegg.com


9U5A0362Millie Tanner, LPC.   As a Licensed Professional Counselor I see people who have different backgrounds, struggles, and ways of coping.  Pain can come from broken relationships, cold marriages, or the devastation of losing someone we love.  In those times a therapist can give encouragement and insight by asking the right questions to lead to a healthier way of living.  Through this many find freedom as light is shined on dark places in their lives.  www.tannertherapy.com


9U5A0482Zach Herrin, LPC.   I have been a counselor in some capacity for the last eight years. To recognize where you are gives you the freedom and choice to leave where you are.  Working with men and teens are high on my list, but I also love to help families and couples.  The counseling process can be encouraging and discouraging all at the same time but I believe from personal experience it can make all the difference… when we take the first step in asking for help.   www.herrincounseling.com



9U5A0431Keely Burks, LPC.  My desire is to see marriages healed and parent and child relationships reconciled. I consider myself blessed to come alongside people as they discover the truth of who they are, choosing not to believe the lies they previously subscribed to. www.keelyburkscounseling.com 



9U5A0357Amy Waters, LPC.  Hebrew wisdom tells us that “in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”  The decision to seek counseling is both wise and brave.  It is a joy and a privilege  to come alongside people in this way.   There are few things more rewarding that seeing people get in touch with the truth and be transformed by it. www.amywaterscounseling.com



9U5A0396Allison Cooper, LPC: I am an LPC with experience helping individuals, couples, and families. My Supervisor is Jennifer Brown.  I enjoy working as a team with clients to help them gain perspective, insight, and self-confidence when facing challenges.  It is my philosophy that through the therapeutic relationship clients can gain strength and find peace.




9U5A0446Josh Berger, LPC: Life is full of storms. The ebbs and flows they bring can leave anyone feeling shipwrecked. My role as a counselor is a grounding one: to equip and enable you to see light through the darkness. Together we pursue truth and beauty and lasting freedom.  www.bergercounseling.com




Deb outdoor open


Debra Henderson, LPC:  It takes courage and strength to ask for help. I have great admiration for the person who can admit they are in a “stuck” place, and choose to seek professional input. I am always honored when given the privilege to come alongside a person’s journey toward greater mental health. As a licensed professional counselor with NCC status and certification in trauma therapy, I have great faith in your ability to accomplish the task before you; therefore; I have worked extremely hard to acquire the necessary skills to assist you in the journey toward wholeness in body, soul (mind, will, emotions), and spirit.


IMG_4555Molly Moore, LPC-Intern:  I am an LPC-Intern, under the supervision of Chris Legg, and have experience working with children, adolescents, adults, and couples. I view counseling as a partnership where you, the client, and I, the counselor, work together to bring health to all areas of your life. I believe it is extremely important to take a holistic approach that not only examines the mental or relational issues you may be facing, but also the spiritual and physical issues, as well, to find a greater sense of healing and purpose.


And here is our newest member of the team:


Headshot_TylerTyler Sullins, LPC-Intern: I am a Licensed Professional Counselor – Intern under the supervision of Chris Legg, with experience working with individuals, couples and families My hope is to help clients gain insight and perspective in the midst of life’s challenges. It is a joy and a privilege to walk alongside clients as they begin to gain confidence and strength to deal with life as it comes. www.tylersullins.com





If you are interested in learning more or in scheduling with any of us, call us at 903 561 8955 today.

I have a new way of understanding emotions that has been working itself out in my head for a while…

Emotions are a way for our body to communicate with itself, specifically about the allocation of energy, I now think.

This would make sense from a design perspective – the usage of energy is vital to any creature and each of us would need the ability to interpret our environment and condition well, quickly, and intuitively.

Ok, I know that there is a lot more to emotions than that; we are more than animal and body… but that role is something I think we often overlook.  I think if we miss this basic role, then we are missing something very important.

In fact, maybe what I mean is that our emotions are something like a way for our bodies to communicate with our souls…

But that may be too poetic.

Anyone, here is what I mean about the communication.

When we are happy, it is our body’s way of telling us that our immediate future seems so positive that we don’t need to be concerned about how we spend energy.  There is no preparation for impending problems, so our instincts tell us that we can spend the energy however we want to.

Excitement would be telling us that our immediate future appears to be so bright, that we can actually waste energy on frivolity.

Now, examine anxiety.Anxiety-2

Anxiety is the emotion that says:  “There is something wrong here.  Figure out what it is and fix it.”

It is the emotion that triggers when there is a threat.  Your mind needs to discover the threat, see it as a threat, examine it, determine a response, and engage with the best response… in parts of a second.

Anxiety, is and must be, thus, a very quick and super intuitive emotion!

In a time of threat, there just isn’t time to be intentional and thoughtful  – danger can come on fast.

So, one of our most deeply instinctual emotions is going to be  powerful and deeply ingrained.  We would probably not have survived as a species without it!

A disorder could be understood as a time in which the emotions you are experiencing are not indicated by the actual circumstances.  When you feel something that isn’t at all connected to what level of energy is needed.
Obviously, it isn’t a disorder to feel anxiety – so the disorder must come in when the feeling comes when it isn’t needed – or functional – or wanted.

I am sure there are people with happiness disorders, or dysfunctions.  It seems possible that there are people who are way too happy way too often.  However, I am not likely to meet them in a counseling office.

Maybe they get taken in by a con artist they believed in, or maybe they get hit by a bus they were sure would stop… but they are happy, so they are unlikely to seek help… so m understanding of them hasn’t had the chance to grow very much.

Anxious people, however, turn up in counseling a lot.

So, anxiety says “something is wrong, find it and fix it.”

So the anxious person is working hard to either figure out what it making them feel anxious (presumably what is “wrong”) or they are working hard to fix it.

This is all fine when it works like it should.

If I sense something is wrong with a shady mortgage deal, I should sit back and analyze it to figure out what is wrong.

??????????????????????????????????????? Most basic:  If I am about to head down a dark alley in a scary city, I  SHOULD feel anxious!  I really need to take a careful look at the alley and search for threats… and be prepared to run or fight if there is one (see anxiety attacks).

Here is where it falls apart, though:

When we feel anxious when there isn’t a threat… and it won’t turn off.

A man decides that one of their goals in life is to have a very nice watch.  For them, the Rolex, or whatever brand, is a measure of success…  a $5000 watch.

But they can only set aside $100 per month.ttmp-moneystack

50 months… a little over 4 years.

That’s a long time to wait for a goal.

Now imagine that every single month that he walks to make his $100 deposit that there is a man on the side of the road hawking Rolex’s for $50.

There is no illusion that they are the real thing… and they are certainly not the symbol of success that he was working toward…

But it is here.  Now.  Quick.  Easy.

A cheap facsimile.   Counterfeit.

But, it would have some of the same feelings at 1/100th the price (or so it seems).

Of course, it will break, or rust within a month… or turn his arm green, or something.

He will have to buy it again next month… and the month after that…

So actually the price is, in the long run, more…

And the bank account will stay at $0.00.

If he doesn’t fight it, he just accepts the counterfeit, and lives with the green arm… and fools himself all the live-long day.

If he fights to resist the temptation, then maybe there are months in which he is weak and fails to resist the fake watch… but soon he feels the shame of people thinking it real and the embarrassment of having fooled himself.  He casts it off and returns to the plow, refusing to look back.

Those are his only two choices…remember and resist the temptation (submitting to something greater and more REAL instead) or submit to the temptation and embrace it.

Sounds like the dark side of the force, doesn’t it?

“Quicker, easier, more seductive…”

And even when the spirit is willing, sometimes the flesh is weak…

But the battle wages on, and when he fails, it is vital that he follow the lesson of Joshua after the failure at Ai.  “Get up.”  God told him.  Find the sin in the camp, root it out, and get back to what you know to be doing.

This is the lure of Satan’s (and the world’s) provisions.

Fear or control instead of faith.

Lies instead of Truth.

Illicit (the fake) rather than Intimate (what the man really wants).

And the enemy of Intimacy is smart, powerful and strategic…

I doubt if anyone knows how many millions go into the research on human sexuality in the pornography industry… I doubt if they ever share their research… but they are experts in the skill of tempting the eye and the heart and the mind.

Their Rolex’s are the best fakes money can buy.

And the resources are enormous.

There are some date offered from 2006 – which must be massively out-dated, but I couldn’t find anything nearer to current… and sites which seemed to be more up-to-date didn’t have as much info.  If I find better, I will report on it… but it takes time… for reasons not the least of which are getting that kind of search past my web-filters!

In ’06, the aproximate pornography industry revenue was $97 Billion… and imagine how hard an industry that one is to accurately measure its revenue!  That would have been larger than Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix, and Earthlink … combined.

In the US alone, the number was about 13 Billion.  Exceeding the revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC… combined.

Aprox 4.2 pornographic websites were in existence then… which was about 12%… I would not be surprised by any level of increase of number and percentage… unless it was a small increase.

There were about 68 million searches for pornography each day (or about ¼ of all searches)… and that was before smart phones were common.  And about 35% of all downloads online were pornographic.

These stats, and plenty of others can be found at various sites that reported on this finding… but I was looking at Familysafemedia.com

I post them only to begin to explain what we are up against… so, when I compare this to a guy hawking a Rolex on a street corner… remember that he has Billions of dollars behind his efforts to create the perfect counterfeit and market it most slickly… and he knows where to stand, when to call to you, and more…

Oh, and his Rolex’s are as addictive as a drug.

And he is trying to sell them to our children too.  He even puts little cartoon figures on them…

And he is connected to all kinds of other evil industries… and he takes advantage of the weak, downtrodden and desperate…

Hate him yet?


The Thief comes to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly.”  Jesus Christ.

For years I have talked to mostly men, and a few women, about issues connected to the temptations particular to pornography.   Since the incidents of women engaging in pornography is apparently on the rise, I have decided to go back and add both genders to the conversation here…

Hooked on love

Hooked on love

“Porno-graphy” is the combination of two Greeks words meaning the graphic representation or the graphic version of sexual immorality.

It isn’t new.

Since people could carve stone, there have been examples of pornography.

And for years, I have wondered at the roots of why it is tempting to us.

When you take out all of the factors that might “explain” the temptation – unhappy life, unchosen celibacy, and even the general drive toward sexuality – and all of these can be removed as variables – there is still an intrigue.  Why?

Even if we are happily married to a beautiful person with an active, varied and adventurous sex life… and we aren’t particularly in the mood for engaging sexually at some point we can still find ourselves tempted by pornography!

Now, before I go on, I want to clarify that I believe that viewing, reading, or participating with pornography is sin.  The fact that it is a temptation generally common to all people doesn’t make it less destructuve.

All sexual immorality is condemned as sin in the Bible.

See passages like 1 Cor 5:1, 1 Cor 6:18, 2 Cor 12:21, Col 3:5, and 1 Th 4:3.  It is sin, and as such, is toxic to human life.

God desires something better for us – a  more full, meaningful and life-giving way of living…

But Pornography is incredibly destructive to relationships and famously addictive… worse, it isn’t like alcohol or drugs.  As lethal as these are, they are external of the person.  Technically (though it is incredibly hard), a person can just leave drugs or alcohol somewhere and stay
away from that place.  Sexual addictions, like pornography (once it is inside your head) is like food.  You can stop doing meth…

But you can’t stop eating and you can’t stop being a sexual person.  It can make the addiction that much more lethal.

The endorphins that make the experience so addictive come from inside our own body, and they are some of the strongest feelings we
have.  The linkages can be very strong.

So, as we begin to look at some of the aspects of temptation posed by pornography, I don’t want it to be taken as treating sin with kid
gloves.  Far from it.  I think it can be healing and empowering to understand things.

Truth sets us free.
When sin is brought into the light, it loses a lot of its strength.  Additionally, for those NOT tempted by pornography, it may be valuable to hear and understand more.  So, let’s get to it:

Why is pornography tempting?

*  I believe that it is a “normal”, healthy thing that men are attracted to the female form (or in the case of a female, the male form).

*  I believe that it is also so that men are typically specifically intrigued with the parts of the female form that are special and different from the male form (and vice versa).

* I believe that it is also healthy for men and women to be intrigued with sexuality.

I believe that these are generally God given desires and interests.  Certainly most women and wives would feel like something was wrong if the men and husbands in their lives did not have these interests!

Again, I think these are God given healthy desires that anyone might want to find in their husband, son, etc.

Note:  I am not making any comment about homosexuality or any other specific individual attractions.  I can do that in another article  ometime… and attraction is a very complex science that would requires more than I am willing to take here.  I am speaking in general terms at this point.

God has offered an amazing provision for the experience and expression of these desires and interests… a place that is meant to be safe,
free and full of grace …

called marriage.
Marriage is particularly crafted to offer this place of safety for handling something as powerful as sexuality.
Marriage is like a secure castle wall in which the power of sexuality can be safely engaged with and enjoyed…

Does anyone doubt its power?
Like a fire, in the proper setting, sex is life-giving and enchanting;  out of the proper setting, it creates a constant risk of death and destruction.

I didn’t anyone doubted it… we all know how powerful it is.

Those listed above are God-given and healthy interests.

But there is a rule about that here on planet earth…

If there is a God given yearnings and God given provision, then there are also going to be alternatives…

Believe it.  Satan offers us many alternative ways to fill the God-given desires.  I don’t think he can create true desires.  He can only offer substitute provisions for the desires that God created.

So he does.  He has provisions too.


Pornography is one of them.

More on this battle we face next time.

Now we pick up at point two about dealing with bulling issues:

2. Developing open and ongoing communication with your child – communication is crucial for a good relationship with your child. What I am referring to here is telling your child how they can come to you if something inappropriate pops up on their phone or laptop while they are using it. Your child needs to know it is safe for them to tell you when these things happen.

Remember that bullying is a process of shaming, and so your child will likely be embarrassed when it happens. When they see that or accidentally see inappropriate material online, they need to know that they can come to you and be safe.


3.  Sibling safety, a bullying-free zone – Set a standard in your home that teasing and insulting one another will not be tolerated. Kids can be remarkably resilient, but when they are teased both at home and school it becomes too much for them to handle. Children desperately need to know that their parents and siblings love them deeply and are on their team. Insults and name-calling have no place in a family.

The concept of the family as a team also guides your children for how to care for one another whenever they are away from home. A team cares for one another. A team encourages and spurs one another forward. Team members put each other first. In this way, we teach our children what an appropriate level of responsibility for one another is.

But what do I do if my child is already being bullied?

The points above are never too late to implement into your home. If you have found out that your child is being bullied, take these two steps as a part of deciding what is best to do.

1.  Remove the shame – Bullying is, at its core, shaming another person in order to gain control. The assumption for a child is that if you were more popular or better at sports you would not have been bullied. This simply is not true.

Therefore as a parent you remove the shame from your child. Show your child respect by listening to all that they tell you about what happened. Listen first, and hold the talking for after they are finished.

Once your child is finished, remind them that it is not their fault that they were bullied. Praise your child for who they are, and speak identity into them. Be specific on this. Remind your child who they are. And especially if your child is resistant to this type of praise, find creative ways to speak this truth to them over the next several days.

2. Evaluate the decision as a team – What do we as parents do? Do we step in, or talk to a teacher or coach? How do we handle the situation? While there are many factors to consider, it is important to keep your child in the conversation with you and your spouse. This is directly linked to removing the shame. By making your child a part of the decision-making process, you are giving your child a voice when he or she feels voiceless.

Whenever possible, make a unanimous decision about what to do. Make sure everyone is on the same page and knows what is going to be said or done. Be open to your child’s feedback, and set a date that the three of you will talk again in the near future to follow-up. This allows for adjustments to be made and gives your child another chance to naturally share about what is going on.

Josh Berger can be reached and scheduled with for training, teaching, or counseling at Alethia Counseling 903 561 8955.

Just in time for the start of school we handle another common question we hear from parents:

“I just found out that my child is getting picked on in school. What do I do? Do I intervene or let my child learn how to handle these issues on their own?”

When Kids Get Bullied


For many of us, bullies were an unfortunate part of growing up. We dealt with the worry, the embarrassment, the shame. We hoped to avoid being the focus of their attention, and if we were fortunate we succeeded more often than not. Eventually the end of the school day came, and we went home. There was a break.

There was time to recover.

This is where bullying has changed recently. With the integration of the internet into every aspect of life, now it is possible for ridicule and mockery to invade our very homes. A status on Facebook, an embarrassing video on YouTube, a picture on Instagram – all ways that our children and teens can be attacked in the comfort of their home. It happens all too often. Now our kids do not get the time away from the bullies, and the impact that this is having is significant. The term for this harassment is cyberbullying. It is when bullies invade the sanctity of our homes through computer screens, tablets, and smartphones. So what do we as parents need to do? Before jumping into the dicey topic of bullying it’s important to take a step back, to remind ourselves of our end-goal as parents. Our role as parents is through self-sacrifice to love our children and prepare them for the life God sets before them.

Douglas Wilson calls this self-sacrifice the principle of “my life for yours”. We are to give of ourselves unconditionally, as Christ gave of himself for us. And parents sacrifice knowing that we are not our children’s savior. We equip our children, knowing that life will often not be as easy for them as we would like. But also knowing that our God loves us and uses the events in our lives to make us more like him.

We want our children to grow up into mature and godly men and women, and men and women who are “mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4) are that way because God has brought them through trials. Now with this as the framework we can better discern how we handle when our children get bullied. There are many different ways to bully, but the focus of this post is the bullying that invades our homes through online venues. When this happens, it is unique because of its anonymous nature. Anyone can put things online for all to see.

Because cyberbullying invades our homes, it is best to start actively engaging with our children before the bullying occurs. Bullying tears down and isolates; therefore it is best to integrate and build up. This is going on the offensive. Here are three points I recommend to parents who are concerned about cyberbullying or other risks associated with the internet:

1. Clearly defining what the purpose of having a cell phone or laptop is –This is best started at a young age. As you give your kids new freedoms, you lay out the purpose of why you are giving them this new freedom. For example, a cell phone is a useful tool that allows kids to keep in touch with you as parents easily when they are away from home. It is not a device to remove the child from the home by spending all of their freetime talking or texting. You may allow them to use the phone for talking to friends, and indeed you should, but that is not an inalienable right of your child. Giving that time is a blessing. So map out with your children what is and is not allowed to be done online and on their phone. Get specific, particularly as to what apps are and are not appropriate. I also recommend that parents require they have the username and password to every site your child logs into. This is simply for their safety. For the same reason, it is a good idea for phones and laptops to be kept in public areas of the house.

Next week, we are going to look at some more simple steps for dealing with bullying:

Today we have taken a question from one of our Facebook followers:

“Two of my friends have been hanging out with each other without me there – I don’t know why, but it is really bugging me – help?”

This is a question about jealousy and envy. It really has an easy answer, though not an easy one to hear, I will warn you. I will offer up an answer after I have explained a little bit.

Jealousy is such an interesting concept. I have a really hard time defining it, since it has to be defined in such a way that it is morally virtuous for God to be “jealous” (eg. Exodus 34:14, Duet 4:24, Zech 8:2) With this in mind, Jealousy is probably something along the lines of “desiring to get what is due us.” In 2 Cor. 11:2, Paul claims to have a jealous-like feeling that is the same kind of feeling God has, too. Naturally, it is truly God who is due every kind of worship, praise, admiration, tribute, sacrifice, etc… so it works out for Him to be jealous. He is right to desire to be given the position that is rightfully His – the first priority. Now, what about us? Break-Free-630x315

What are we due? Really… nothing. We are the creation who have earned nothing of our own accord. Our works just don’t add up to much that on our own. However, in certain relationships, we somehow feel justified in thinking we are “due” something… or “owed” something. We want to have something that makes us somehow special in that it gives us an advantage over another. I am jealous of something because I think I should get it. That makes some kind of sense if you are thinking about “I am jealous of attention my wife might give to another man” if it somehow is something that would only be appropriate for me.  I often reference the intimacy of God “wiping away our tears…” and use it as an example of this.  If I saw another mere man (not God, or someone else with that freedom, like her dad, son, or maybe brother) wipe away my wife’s tear, I would feel jealous… that kind of intimacy is really not for someone else.  Might there be some things that a teacher, parent, mentor, etc., might feel a certain kind of jealousy about?  Maybe, by that definition and understanding.

However, that is not usually what we mean when we feel jealousy… we usually mean that we feel somehow possessive or maybe that we want what they are getting for ourselves… at the root of this kind of jealousy and envy(which seems very similar to jealousy in that it is “to want something someone else has”) for people, is probably a lack of love.

The problem is that you don’t love your friends, or at least not very much. I told you it wouldn’t be fun to hear. Here is why I say this:

We think that someone who is our friend should not spend time with another friend – because we either think “I want that time and relationship for myself.” (envy) or “That person owes me more time or loyalty than they are giving me! (jealousy) rather than thinking “I love this person, so I want them to have everything best even more than I want it for myself!”   This would be love.

This is a key part of this:
The problem with your thinking is that you think love and friendship are limited commodities. Imagine: you dump out a bag of M&M’s on the table in front of a bunch of 1st graders. There are only so many M&M’s there! In the mad scramble, every M&M you get is one I cannot have! They are a limited resource. There are many commodities that are limited – but all of the most valuable things aren’t. You seem to think that any friendship that your friends give to one another represents friendship that now you cannot have! This is a lie from Hell I run into on a regular basis – way too often! I pray that God will teach us that love, trust, friendship, hope, faith, forgiveness, and the list goes on, are NOT limited resources. When my one of my children overheard me saying “I love you” to their mother, they said “Hey, you don’t love her, remember you love me!” (this actually happened) This is kind of cute in a 2 year old; it is only sad in us grownups, especially when they are married to one another – which I see regularly.

I pray that God will continue to free you of jealous feelings. We don’t own anyone; we haven’t purchased them with a price; they are not ours; we have not sealed them with our spirit. All of this applies to a dating relationship too. We don’t own each other and the things we want aren’t limited anyway! Are you jealous when your boyfriend or girlfriend talks to someone you are insecure about? Grow up – especially you guys. What are you afraid of? That she will fall for some other guy and leave you for him? Have you thought that through? So, rather than have her leave you for another guy she likes better, you would rather have a relationship for the rest of your life in which you are having to constantly control who she is around because you have chosen to spend your life with someone who you think is so weak in her character that she is going to run off with the first guy who flexes her direction? If you really think she is that kind of girl, then don’t date her! If you haven’t been able to trust any woman, then recognize that you are the problem, not her. Ladies, if you are dating a jealous guy, it may feel a little like love that he is so worried about where you are all of the time, but it isn’t… it is fear and the fearful need to control. 1 Cor 13 tells us that love is not envious (same word as “jealous” in that passage). It indicates a pretty serious insecurity and probably a pretty strong character flaw as well in him. I recommend dumping him for someone with more faith and less fear.

However – dating aside, my advice is that you learn to love your friends and praise God for their friendship. In fact, I would recommend that you pray for their friendship and grow, as well as for your friendship with them to grow as well!  In the end, it is all God’s from an ownership or “worthy of” perspective.

Your friend, even though I have other friends,

Loving with Limits

You may also have noticed that we have limits.

Though many of you may live as though this isn’t true, there are plenty of unlimited resources for us as humans – love, friendship, forgiveness, joy, trust, etc. I will write more about this later, because it isn’t the main purpose of this article, but it fits to mention it here:

Too many people live as if those things too, are limited resources.

Many men, especially, treat love as though it is a limited resource – like, say, a bag of candy. Every1_31 empty candy bag 1-1 piece of candy that I eat from the bag is candy that you cannot have.

This is a zero-sum perspective. There are only a certain number of pieces and as you make use from the total, you eventually end up with zero.

Here is a common way I see this lived out: a man lives in the assumption that his wife has, say, 100 points of love. If she loves her parents 30 points then she only has 70 points left. Divide her love out further between their kids, her friends, and he sees that she only has a very few points of love left for him. The truth is that we are not like a bag of candy with a zero-sum of love.

In regards to love, we are more like a tomato plant – the more we love, the more love we have! Love is a limitless resource in that the more we have, the more the total amount is! If I have 100 points of love and a I make a new friend who I love with 30 points, then my new total is just 130 points. There are many resources like this, and they are actually those things which are sweetest about life. I have known many who did not understand this and they live sad, competitive, predator-prey existences that are heart breaking.

Again, I hope to write more about this truth, but this article is meant to address those aspects of life that are more limited and how to love in them.

In some ways humans are also unlimited – we are eternal, and we are created in the image of God, and He has set eternity in our hearts.

However in some very real ways our existence here on Earth is greatly defined by limitations as well. My teachings on rest taught me this more than anything else I had learned. I became convinced that though we have a limitless calling, we are limited creatures. God’s provision for this inequity is rest… and rest is an application of the wisdom of accepting these truths. So, though our love for our wives may be well rooted and capable of endless growth, our ability to express that love is limited.

So, what are we to do?

Hire a consultant and follow their advice. I don’t mean me (admit it, you thought this was going to be an advertisement, didn’t you? Ok, it probably won’t hurt you to hire me too, as a counselor or even better to come teach a seminar to the men at your church, but that isn’t what I was going to say).

I mean your wife.

As I have mentioned before, we don’t think like them, gender to gender; within those genders, we are also individuals with radically different perspectives on things. Life rules (read about those under my therapy section), personality differences, personal preferences, etc. make us different enough to have difficulty seeing the world through each other’s eyes at the best of times. So, you will have to ask sometimes, and be happy to accept critical input the other times.

Ooooh, yeah, I know that last bit is tough, so let me create a picture for you that will make it easier. If you buy some pretty red roses for your wife and her response is anything other than shucking clothes, you may feel a little disappointed.

However, our gender can be insecure enough that if she offers even the most gentle and passive critical input, we can go into pouting “take my toys and go home” mode. Imagine she says “Wow, these are really amazing! Thanks so much!… so you know, I like pink roses best.” We might think “Oh, I see how it is, I can’t do anything right, can I? Nothing is good enough for you, is it? (we might even say these), see if I get her flowers again… etc.”

Why do we do that? Yes, insecurity. Let me help.

Remember that your purpose was to show her that you love her, right?; that you desire her, and think she is wonderful. She knows that, and she knows you can’t do everything, so she wants to help you do an even better job of showing her that you love her – that she believes this is evident in her critique! Why do we take that as destructive? Let me give you another picture for how to think of this.

Consider that you were making love to your wife (but stay focused on this article… foooccccuuuuusss).

Your goal is to pleasure her (assuming that you are not a lazy and selfish lover – if you just realized that your main goal in making love to your wife is to get pleasure, then call me and let’s talk. I’m not kidding, it can be a therapeutically significant realization).

Again, your goal is to pleasure her, so you start to touch and kiss her in the intimate ways that can create that pleasure for her. You have a desire to do a great job of pleasuring her, but only one person in the room knows what feels best to her, and it probably isn’t you. Sure, after a decade of loving the same woman and listening to her well, you have some great ideas, but her opinion still trumps your in almost all cases! So, fortunately, you have direct access to that person, since she is right there with you. When she says “more of that” or “slower” or “lower and softer” you probably don’t respond with “Oh, fine, I see how you are! I can’t do anything right…”

Some men do, I know. Again, that means that your insecurities are deep enough to get past your desire for your wife and intrude even in the bed. However, I think it is more common with more surface things, like with flowers… or dates, or the way you do the dishes, or driving, etc. (“she told me I loaded the dishwasher wrong, so see if I do that ever again”, “She is always criticizing my driving”).

See? She isn’t usually, really, just criticizing you, she is really just telling you when she feels more or less loved by you.

Most women feel less loved when her husband is driving aggressively or too fast, since he is willing to put her at unease or even risk just because he likes to drive that way! Think about what makes you feel unsupported or insecure about her love – the way she talks to other men? The way she spends money? Imagine if you asked her to change that and she ignored you or pouted about you criticizing her, and went back to doing what she wanted with even less consideration of you! So, stop complaining about being taught how to attain your hopes and desires of loving her best.

So, how does this play into limited resources?

I am glad you asked.

zenith-infotech Unless you are a lot different from me, you have a limited amount of time to devote to expressing love your wife… a limited amount of energy, money, and hours in a day, days in a week and weeks in month, etc. to dedicate to strategizing, creating, thinking, purchasing, and spending on expressing your love to your wife. If you have young children or teenagers, you have almost none of these (especially emotional energy) left over for this (and have compassion on the fact that she is also pretty much tapped out at the end of most days, weeks, and months too)

What to do

Therefore, it is vital to make the best possible use of what little we have to spend. Thus, you have to know what matters most. Once you have learned that from her, then

1. note and remember it.

2. keep doing it – most men a great sprinters at this kind of thing, but awful marathoners, and this is a marathon.

3. keep doing it – I thought it bore repeating.

4. find new places to apply this.

5. be prepared to sacrifice some of what you would otherwise spend on yourself. Not all of it, mind you; a totally empty husband is a poor one, but you probably aren’t as tapped out as you think. We whine a lot in our country and in our gender. Men used to harrow (like plowing) a field by hand all day for a month from sunup to sundown after doing their morning chores, with a break only for lunch, and then doing their evening chores afterwards. Actually, according to “Farmer Boy” (Little House on the Prairie book) that was a 9 year old boy. I think some of us are too easily “tapped”.

Application: So, I prefer my bedroom clean, as does my wife.

We have different opinions on what makes it clean, though. For my wife, it means the bed is made. The bed being made represents 75% of a clean room. A laundry basket of clothes doesn’t bug her much at all… but it does me. I, on the other hand, couldn’t care less about the bed being made! Bed = 3% of a clean room for me, maybe. All piles of clothes gone? 80% easily.

So, I have a sudden 15 minutes that I can devote to cleaning our room, for some reason. What makes the meter run the fastest for her? I cannot do it all. I can dust, clean up a pile of clothes, make the bed,Home_furnishing_bed_sheet_ or maybe something else. If I am following my own advice here, well, you know what the right answer is. My consultant has already advised me on what makes my wife feel the most loved by me.

In fact, the final comment I will make on this is to remind you that, at some level, hers is the only opinion, outside of Divine revelation (again, I am serious about that too), about how to love her that is valid.

Other helpers can be great – her family, friends, counselors, books, etc… but her opinion how what makes her feel most loved is most valid (again, outside of God). I know there are some circumstances in which most people, including our wives, may want things that aren’t good for us, aren’t biblical, and only make us feel loved because we are broken and hurting people, not because we are living in an abundant version of God’s love.

I know this, and maybe I can write more about it later.

However, I think it is very important that we learn from our wives what makes them feel most loved, and, within God’s designs for leadership, consideration, and sacrifice… try to love them the best we can! Listen to your consultant and encourage feedback from her – not hate it, encourage it.

Follow through, men. We are in this together!

Be considerate as you live with your wives…” -The Apostle Peter, a married man.