Tiger Tale - Part 2

As depicted in my last post, "Tiger Tale," Earl Woods missed a great opportunity to teach his son what it means to be a man and a husband. An article in the New York Times on Saturday shows Earl to be more than negligent, he actually taught him to de-value marriage. According to the author, one year at the Masters, Earl Woods said “I’ve told Tiger that marriage is unnecessary in a mobile society like ours.”

Even though Tiger talks with great fondness about his children, his view of marriage must have terribly tainted by his father.

I wonder how often we de-value our marriages to our children? Maybe a derogatory remark about a spouse or ignoring our marriages or pouring our energies into our children while disregarding the feeling of our spouse .... all of these actions and more show that we do not value marriage in general and our own marriage in particular. What are we teaching our children by what we say and do?

Tiger Tale

Our daughter was at work on Thanksgiving day; she was working the golf shop at a country club. They keep a TV on with sports playing all day long. That morning she texted us that "tiger hurt in wreck." Being LSU alumni, our first thought was that LSU's mascot Mike the Tiger had been hurt. Nooooo .... we all now know which Tiger was wrecked.

I have been trying to avoid writing about Tiger wrecking his life and the life of his wife and children. But the time has come. I just read an article by Mike Wise in the Washington Post. It is definintley worth the time to read it.

He had the courage to admit publicly, in print, that he once had the same problem with women that Tiger has. He describes the problem, "this is really about a man who has everything and nothing at the same time, a guy medicating with women to fill emotional gaps -- the way some people use food, alcohol, drugs, work and golf on television."

As we have taught and counseled on marriage for over 20 years, in several countries, we know that this kind of sexual compulsion is common and accepted in much of the world. Does that make it right or good or benign?

Tiger Woods is well-know in the golf world for his extreme ability to focus and concentrate. His dad/coach would purposefully make distracting noises and motions while Tiger practiced to teach him to focus. Tiger is the most recognized and disciplined athlete of our day. His father spent countless hours developing a talent in a very young boy.

Earl Woods spent a lot of time teaching his son to be a professional golfer but what did he teach him about being a man? Earl was unfaithful to his own wife when Tiger was a teenager, which supposedly "devastated" Tiger. The father wasted a wonderful opportunity to teach his son how to be a real man, husband, and father. He taught him physical discipline and focus, but nothing about emotional or spiritual discipline and focus.

With what is Tiger left? Lots of money. No respect as a man. Rumors of his wife and children leaving him.

He will always be able to find women who will fall for him, for his celebrity, for his wealth and fame, but none will ever be able to trust him. None will see him as a suitable, lifetime partner or father to their children.

Proverbs 5 was written thousands of years ago but could have been written today for all the Tiger Woods out there today:
3 For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey,
and her mouth is smoother than oil.
4 But in the end she is as bitter as poison,
as dangerous as a double-edged sword.
7 So now, my sons, listen to me.
Never stray from what I am about to say:
8 Stay away from her!
Don’t go near the door of her house!
9 If you do, you will lose your honor
and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved.
10 Strangers will consume your wealth,
and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
11 In the end you will groan in anguish
when disease consumes your body.
12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
If only I had not ignored all the warnings!
14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin,
and now I must face public disgrace.”
Is Tiger sick? Yes. As Mike Wise ended his article (again speaking from his own experience) "I can only hope that he realizes he's sick and takes steps to get better."
But even an emotional sickness starts in the heart.
When my husband teaches other men about being faithful, he knows that every man is susceptible to the lure of lust. His message comes from Proverbs 4:23, Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
Tiger knows a lot about guarding his mind while playing golf but nothing about guarding his heart while living life.

Memorable Christmas

As I think back over my lifetime, I have had some great Christmas's with my family as I was growing up, a magical Christmas in the Swiss Alps while in college. But as I think of Christmas since I have been married, what is the most memorable? We have had some wonderful, idyllic times. However, 29 years ago, I approached the holidays while being pregnant with my first child, he was born 10 days before Christmas. When you have a baby this time of year, a woman has an incredible identification with Mary, the mother of Jesus - the hopes and fears for your baby child.

That year, we had been having a hard time financially. We were living in the mountains of Colorado - an absolutely magnificent place. We had a construction business but the recession of the early '80's had hit Colorado. Business was drying up and we were anticipating a move back to the homeland in the heartland.

Because of the impending birth and lack of resources, we decided to make something for our family members for Christmas. Ed went out and cut up one of our fallen aspen trees. He bored out the middle and made it into a candle. Suddenly Christmas had real meaning!

We were attending a very small church with a few families with big hearts. Just before Christmas, a couple came over to see us. They said that they knew that we probably were not giving each other gifts that year, so they wanted to fill the gap for us. It was a very touching moment. We weren't used to being on the receiving end.

In the years to come, we had so many great memories with our kids at Christmas, but that one is tucked away into a holy place in my heart.

In Sickness and in Health

How often are we really tested on that vow?

We have been married for 36 years. We have each had a few illnesses but nothing life-threatening, nothing really serious.

Until two weeks ago. I had a sudden abdominal pain; the pain was so severe that I couldn't even straighten up. Ed and Jacque rushed me to the emergency room. They did emergency abdominal surgery at midnight.

During the next week, my husband only left my side when he knew our daughter or a friend was there to take care of me. He slept there, he skipped meals, he got up with me all night.

After a week, we came home ... he continued the routine. I have been recuperating at home for 10 days now. He brings me breakfast, my coffee, and the newspaper in bed. I could get used to this. He cooks for all of our meals, even asks for special requests. He shops, cleans, and does the laundery.

He does all of the giving. I do all of the receiving. What does he got out of the deal? Nothing, except the joy he gets from seeing me comforted.

What does he have to look forward to? At least two more weeks of serving selflessly, maybe longer. A few more weeks of continued giving without receiving anything but appreciation.

There will be an end to my convalescence, I hope. But what if there wasn't, what if I remained an invalid for the rest of our married life? Would he quit serving selflessly? I don't think so, it's not consistent his character.

Why does he serve selflessly? He loves me, yes. But he also gave his word ..... in sickness and in health. He keeps his word - to me and to God.

How much is our commitment tested in health? How much is our faithfulness tested in health?

For some men, the health of their wife is irrelevant to their own desire to get their needs met. They are unfaithful. Or they turn to work, to drinking, to separate leisure activities. Not to their Lord or to their wife. Their vow becomes trivial.

In sickness and in health. Unconditional, unending, unlimited. Just like God's love for us.