Why I Never Sleep On the Sofa

These past few months, I’ve been delivering pizzas as a second job. Aside from myself, every delivery driver is a high school or college-aged, single guy.

Every now-and-then, a couple college guys will ask me questions about my wife, our relationship, and what it’s like to be married.

A topic in particular, although posed in a humorous manner, seemed to stand out during our conversation. We were discussing what it was like to fight with your spouse. One had inquired whether my wife and I ever got to the point where we would yell at each other. I answered honestly. He followed up by asking if I ever had to sleep on the sofa.

I shared with them my personal sofa-sleeping philosophy:

I never sleep on the sofa when my wife and I are in the middle of fight. No, it’s not because I want her to sleep on the sofa instead of me.

I choose not sleep on the sofa when my wife and I are fighting because I want to communicate to her and remind myself that, regardless of how I may feel, what words may have been said, or what may have been done by either one of us, we are committed to each for life.

Sometimes, I may have to sit in the living room or go on a walk to cool down before I go to sleep. However, I never let a temporary fight come in between our lifelong commitment to one another.

I also choose to do this because I think it is a tiny shadow of how Jesus loves His people. I am in no way saying that I am always or ever Jesus in this equation.

Rather, I simply see how Jesus chose to love unloveable people and in response to this inconceivable love, I choose to show love to my wife even when it kills me.

As for husbands, love your wives just like Christ loved the church and gave himself for her. He did this to make her holy by washing her in a bath of water with the word.

Ephesians 5:25 & 26, CEB

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What We’ve Learned From Our First Year of Marriage

By Tyler & Erin Saldaña

We said, “I do” one year ago today.

In front of over three hundred of our family members and friends, we vowed to commit our entire lives to each other. Here’s what we’ve learned in the past year:

  1. Love isn’t always easy. Sometimes we want to kill each other. And other times, we can treat each other horribly. Sometimes, it seems like it would be easier to just stay single your whole life, but then we remember that easier isn’t always better. Any good thing takes work. To have a good marriage, it takes both of us committing to put one another first on a daily basis.
  2. Being right isn’t the most important thing. Sure, we can fight to win the argument, but at what cost? Occasionally it’s more beneficial to lose the argument but win each other’s trust.
  3. Say what you really mean. Neither of us are mind-readers. When we have something that needs to be communicated, we both need to be up front and honest about our thoughts and feelings.
  4. Sex is a lot different than what we thought it would be. Don’t get us wrong: sex is amazing. However, it’s different than what we were led to believe. Sex is neither as glamorous as Hollywood makes it out to be nor is it as taboo as the church can sometimes preach. Sex is a unique and intimate time for us to connect with, serve and enjoy each other.
  5. Love covers a multitude of sins. Whether we’ve wronged or have been wronged by each other, love is the only thing that can heal what’s been hurt.
  6. It’s 100% worth it. The last 365 days have been filled with joys and sorrows, success and failure, laughter and tears. We are incredibly grateful for this past year and are excited for the many years to come!

How to Kill Your Pastor

We don’t always realize it when we hurt people, do we?

Sometimes, I’ll say a one-liner to my wife with no intention of hurting her. But somehow, it happens. If communicated during the wrong time, in the wrong manner, or with the wrong tone, it’s understandable that she can easily receive my words as death threats instead of love.

And you know what’s the worst part about these moments? Typically, when she expresses to me that I’ve hurt her, I strap on my armor and prepare for The War of the Saldaña’s Living Room (or cab of our ’92 Toyota pickup). Rather than being quick to listen and slow to speak, get angry and self-defensive as James encourages us to do (1:19), I draw my sword and raise my shield.

That is why I fear unveiling these thoughts and feelings with you. I don’t want Christians to immediately grab their sword and shield in defense of the way that they treat their pastors. But concealing them from you scares me even more.

No, not all of these have been nor are personal to me. However, I am friends with and have met many pastors who deal with many, if not all, of these issues. For the greater good of the church, I cannot keep my words to myself.

Tips on How to Kill Your Pastor

Christians: be careful not to kill your pastors spiritually, emotionally and mentally. You may not realize it but there are many things that you do that are wiping out numerous pastors every single day. If that is your aim, here are ten ways to help you kill your pastor:

  1. Criticize them. Proverbs 18:21 tells us that our tongue has the power of life and death. Instead of encouraging your pastor who probably works more hours than any other person you know for far less compensation than they deserve, while carrying the mental and emotional burdens of all whom they shepherd, why not use your words to criticize every single thing that they do?
  2. Expect a lot from them. I recently walked into a position that, to be brief, has countless traditions and habits, some good and some not so good. For many leaders, these expectations can be overbearing, distracting and draining to say the least. I know many in ministry who have found these expectations to be unbearable and spiritually crushing. Instead of just expecting them to preach the bible, make disciples, shepherd and love people, why not quench your pastor’s passion, vision and creativity by expecting that they fill a hole that isn’t their size?
  3. Demand for them to be Jesus. If they aren’t perfect, crucify them. Oh wait, they did that to our perfect Jesus, too, didn’t they? The bottom line is this: demand them to be a sinless person. If they’re anything short of perfection, get rid of them.
  4. Voice your dissatisfactions to everyone. I’m pretty sure that James refers to this as gossip but it’s okay; it’ll be our little secret. Tell your kids over dinner. Share it with your friends at the coffee shop. Post it all over their Facebook. Start a small group that meets to discuss the dissatisfaction that each of you have with your pastor. The more people that you get involved, the more your pastor’s leadership will diminish.
  5. Make them work more hours than there are in a week. Countless early mornings and late nights, ministry meetings and events, retreats and camps. If you can think of any more ways to ensure that your pastor works more hours than the average full-time employee, do it.
  6. Pay them next to nothing. Require at minimum a bachelor’s and master’s degree from them, acquiring for them at least six figures in debt. Then, offer them a salary package that not only prohibits them from actually living in the city that you’ve asked them to minister in, but also forces them to struggle paying the debt that they accrued for themselves by seeking to meet your education requirements.
  7. Don’t give them a mentor. Every leader needs affirmation, development and accountability amongst others. Deprive them of that.
  8. Withhold grace. If they mess up, don’t treat them the way that God treats us. Scold them. Remind them how jacked up they are. Make sure they never forget their mistakes.
  9. Strip them from their families. God calls them to be spouses and parents before they are called to be pastors; make sure that their schedule interferes with every possible time that they could interact and spend time with their spouse and family. If they haven’t seen their spouse all week, make sure their calendar is full. If their kid has a soccer game or recital, make sure they’ve got a meeting.
  10. Don’t consider their feelings at all. Yes, they are created in God’s image. Yes, they are your sibling in Christ. But not, you shouldn’t treat them that way. Their feelings should have no value nor consideration when it comes to how you treat your pastor.

Don’t Kill Your Pastor

As noted earlier, we don’t always realize when or how we hurt and bring people down. That’s why it’s important to reflect and assess how we treat one another. Whether you are an elder or a member of a local church, I beg of you to consider how you treat your pastors and assess whether or not you and your church are treating them in any of the ways described above. If you are, 1) ask for forgiveness from them and 2) seek ways that you can serve them, their family and ministry instead of bringing them down. In doing so, you may just save your pastor’s life.

For the record, the above statements in no way are a description of the way that Erin and I are treated at our local church. I serve in and am employed by an amazing church filled with many loving and supporting believers. Yes, every church has their issues but we are very grateful to be a part of and surrounded by the church that God has us at today.

Dear Erin: An Open Letter to My Wife

Dear Erin,

Since today is our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple, I thought I’d write and share with you forty things that I love about you. Why forty and not fourteen? Because fourteen is definitely not enough (neither is forty)! With that being said, here are forty things that I love about you in no particular order:

  1. I love your cute little smile.
  2. I love that you always place others first.
  3. I love the way that you look at me.
  4. I love that you love Jesus more than anyone…including me.
  5. I love your humility.
  6. I love that even if you are dead tired, you stay next to me on the sofa until I’m ready to go to bed because you enjoy sleeping next to me.
  7. I love that you love people.
  8. I love that you put up with my awkward and corky expressions and impressions.
  9. I love that you love and are committed to God’s church.
  10. I love to dance with you.
  11. I love that you’re my best friend.
  12. I love your willingness to grow and learn.
  13. I love how you emphasize the word “beans” when you say, “green beans.” It makes me feel better about how I emphasize the word “browns” when I say, “hash browns.”
  14. I love that you always strive to show me love.
  15. I love to pray with you.
  16. I love that you serve with me in ministry, both in vocation and in life.
  17. I love that you’re a dog person.
  18. I love the way your heart mourns and breaks for those who are hurting and broken.
  19. I love how you can totally pull off red lipstick.
  20. I love your willingness to submit to my leadership in love.
  21. I love that when we walk side-by-side, you always link your arm in mine.
  22. I love your boldness to tell me when you think I’m wrong or in sin.
  23. I love how you talk, make funny noises, and slightly kick a little in your sleep; it makes me think that your dreams are exciting.
  24. I love that you love to read your bible.
  25. I love how you laugh at my jokes.
  26. I love that you pursue holiness, not because you want to earn God’s love or be better than other people but simply because you love God.
  27. I love that even if I have only one sip of alcohol, you still insist on driving “just in case.”
  28. I love that you have a heart for those who don’t know Jesus.
  29. I love that even though you overhear me singing “Ke$ha, T Swift, and others in the shower, you still love me.
  30. I love how you know when I’m tired spiritually, emotionally, and mentally and allow me to seek rest on my own.
  31. I love that you watched The O. C. with me.
  32. I love that you don’t need me.
  33. I love how excited you get to see me.
  34. I love how you think that you look funny or weird or dorky in numerous outfits; you always look so beautiful.
  35. I love that you help me grow in my gifting and ministry skills.
  36. I love when you take a sip of my Coke.
  37. I love that you chose to marry me despite knowing some of my deepest flaws.
  38. I love that you choose to stay committed to me despite understanding and experiencing some of my deepest flaws.
  39. I love that you walked with me into the unknown, leaving the only lives we knew behind us in SoCal and began writing our own love story in NorCal.
  40. I love that no matter what, I know you will love and stay committed to our marriage and family, not because either of us are amazing or worth it but because God is beyond amazing and is beyond worth it.

Happy Valentines Day, my beautiful and sweet wife! May God bless us with many more together!

Love,

Tyler Saldaña