About Matt

I think the best way to introduce myself is to say that I enjoy life. I am married to my best friend and woman of my dreams. We our raising four incredible children together and having a blast along the way. When I am not at work, I am spending time with my family and loving every minute of it. You can follow me on Twitter @CookFamilyMin
Author Archive | Matt

Growing Old Together

Heather and I have been married almost 12 years now. We got married young, Heather was 19 and I was 23. In some ways, that seems like a lifetime ago. The time has flown by so fast that many times it also seems like yesterday I saw her walking down the isle in her wedding dress.

It sounds like a cliche, but I am crazier about my wife now than I was 12 years ago, and I didn’t think that was possible. Heather is literally my dream come true, and more than I ever imagined a wife could be. She is the person that I want to grow old with. I want to be a madly in love 90-year-old man trying to steal a kiss from a smoking hot 86-year-old Heather.

I want us to grow old together, and I work hard every day to make sure that dream comes true.

One of my favorite phrases is, “Begin your journey with the end in mind.” What that means is that when you start out on a task, project or event, go into that task with your eyes on the desired result. That focused mindset helps you to overcome the obstacles and variables that inevitably are thrown your way.

This phrase is so incredibly powerful, and vital to the success of our marriages. We have to meet our spouses at the alter with the intention of growing old together. We have to be so focused on that goal/dream that we refuse to allow any obstacle, hard time, financial issues, WHATEVER…. jeopardize that dream.

This is not easy. Keeping a marriage thriving takes work, sacrifice, compromise, forgiveness, tolerance and then MORE WORK. The amazing thing is that all of this is so worth it. The relationship that I have with Heather is so important to me, that I guard and protect it. I value her and I refuse to let anything come in the way of our relationship.

We all have issues that we deal with. One of the biggest marriage killers is pride/selfishness. We stop seeing our marriage a joint, team effort and start to think of ourselves more as two individuals. One person may feel neglected in one way, or just have a me-first mentality that is crippling to a marriage. Selfishness opens the door for unfaithfulness, which destroys a marriage.

A healthy marriage is never about one person. If I am thriving, but Heather is struggling, then our marriage is struggling. As her husband, it is my responsibility to think of Heather first, me second. This isn’t always fun. I do not always enjoy the long list of honeydo’s my wife comes up with, or watching whatever estrogen filled chick-flick that just came out. You know what though, those things are important to Heather. When I complete a list of things she wants done, it shows Heather that I value what is important to her, and my words have actions.

Another thing that can cripple a marriage is letting your guard down. I have a very strict line in my professional life that cannot be crossed. I avoid certain topics with female coworkers and never allow myself to be put in the position to where someone can question my behavior with a coworker. I keep that area of my life above reproach. I have seen coworkers cross the lines of appropriate behavior and it destroyed their marriage. You know what, it all starts with one step over that line. One step at a time, the coworker walked herself into an affair and divorce.

We have to keep our guard up and not become lazy. I think that is the biggest key to my future with Heather. I refuse to become complacent and take Heather for granted.  That means that as her husband, it is my duty to take full advantage of every opportunity I have to show her how much I love her.

I want to grow old with this amazing lady and watch her hold our grand-kids one day. I want to sit and hold her hand on a porch swing when we are in our 70’s. I want us to grow old together, and I work hard every day to make sure that dream comes true.

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Revenge Is A Lie

Revenge is a fascinating concept. The idea is that I should be able to hit you if you hit me. What you do to me, I get to do right back to you. Let me tell you, there have been times in my life when that sounded just fine to me. To be honest, revenge sounded incredibly sweet when it felt like we were walking through Hell. As people we trusted turned their backs on us and a pervert walked free, revenge sounded so very sweet.

Revenge is a lie

There is a one huge problem. Revenge is a lie. It is a myth that doesn’t live up to the hype. Sure I could have gone psycho on the person and had my 15 minutes of revenge, but then what? What comes next is the reality of revenge. It is called regret, remorse and living with the consequences of our actions.

As a Christian I have been instructed by God to not follow the pattern of revenge. 1 Peter 3:9 “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” This isn’t one of those scriptures that gets people all excited and the “Amens” shouting. This is right up there with “Love your enemies.” Why? Because it doesn’t allow us to take the easy way out.

When I disobey the scripture and take matters into my own hands, I take the situation out of God’s hands. When I am left with the aftermath of my actions, I then turn to God and beg Him to fix the mess that I made. Its a vicious cycle that leads to a path I have no desire to go down.

The problem is that walking out a lifestyle that obeys what Peter wrote isn’t easy. On a daily basis we have opportunities to get hurt and have our revenge. Our spouses tick us off and we give them the silent treatment. Or the wife gets mad and locks herself down like Fort Knox and it will take tiny shiny things called diamonds to unlock those locks. We get upset at our coworkers and then secretly plot their demise to get retribution. The other mom at the co-op says something that doesn’t sit well, and you make sure that get your jabbing comment in before you head home. This process starts at a young age. Just the other day I looked out the window to see my twins going Kung Fu on each other because of what one twin did that the other one didn’t like.

It is my job as a husband and father to live a life that reflects the faith I profess. That means I cannot take out the scriptures that I feel are no fun. Instead, I must show my family a Godly man that honors God’s word. I must love, when I really want to hate. I must forgive, when I really want lash out in anger. Doing so is not for the benefit of the others, but for my own. Forgiving when the other person shows no remorse helps me out, not them. It allows me to be removed from the bondage that situation could place me under.

So, stop the cycle of revenge in your life. When your spouse, child, parent, or anyone else you meet, does something that offends or upsets you, respond with God’s love that has been placed inside you. Be a walking example for your children so that they will follow you, as you follow Christ.

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What Is The Foundation Of Your Marriage?

There are two, newer communities in the Oklahoma City area that were built within the last ten years. These houses look really nice from the street. Going inside you see the new carpet, granite counter tops, tiled bathrooms and overall new “feel” make these houses really desirable. In fact, at first glance they look perfect.

foundation for your marriage

The problem is, there are major issues with the house that you cannot see. The builder decided to cut corners and not cure the foundation in correctly. As a result, the houses slowly began to show signs of major issues. Cracks began to appear on the walls. In some houses the cracks appeared small. Other houses looked like an earthquake had threatened to rip the house into two pieces.

I find it very interesting how similar this situation is to our marriages. When we first get married, the marriage has a fresh and new feel. The honeymoon stage is full of passion, bliss and love tinted glasses. Over time, the marriage begins to settle and take shape. The real world sets in, in-laws rear their heads, and children begin to appear. This is the moment that foundation of your marriage begins to be revealed.

Not every marriage is created identically. What works for one couple will not work for every couple. What the common denominator is that each marriage must have stable footing. For us, that foundation is two-part. First and foremost, we have placed God as the foundation for our marriage. In fact, the times when we may have dipped in our walk with God, we can look back and see the negative effect that has had on our marriage.

We place God as the priority and head over our marriage and family. His word and His will are the guide that we use to chart the paths we take. In times if joy and frustration, we maintain Him as our center and it has worked well for us. We do our best to reflect His love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness in our marriage.

The second part of our foundation is our friendship. It may sound like a cliche, but we actually really, really like each other. When we say we are best friends, we mean it. We love to just sit and talk over a cup of coffee. We go to the grocery store together. I sit in the car patiently as she runs all her errands on my day off. When i am not working, I want to be at home with Heather. When she goes on trips away for a night or two, I genuinely miss her.

When I hear couples talk about their desire for the weekend to end so they can go to work and get away from their spouse, it saddens me. Marriage should never be something that we want to escape from. Just like a house may begin to show wear and tear over time, we have to make the commitment to continually repair and restore our marriage. Any house, no matter how magnificent, will need upkeep. We must have the same approach to our marriages.

I encourage you to ask the question, “What Is The Foundation Of Your Marriage?” Answer it honestly. If you are not satisfied with your answer, then take steps to correct the issue. The most important investment you will make in your lifetime is the commitment you made to your spouse. Honor that like you do the investment you made in purchasing a home. Guard it, keep it safe, work on it constantly and see it thrive over the years.

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