Wives, your husbands are not your…

A few months ago, I wrote Husbands, our wives are not our…, with the goal of encouraging us husbands to look at our wives differently. Today, I’d like to flip the coin on its head. Wives, your husbands are not your…

1. Saviors. The assumption of this statement is not that wives need saving–because we all need a Savior–but that many wives place the pressure of total hope and salvation on our husbands. The primary role of a man as husband is to lead, love, and provide for his wife and family; it’s a leadership role, not a salvation role.

We all need to remember that marriage is all about teamwork. In Genesis 1:27-28, God blessed the marriage of Adam and Eve, blessing them and commanding them to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth, and have dominion over the land. It wasn’t an individual blessing; it was a blessing and command to be carried out together. In this context, while your husband may be the leader of the household and the marriage, you also have much to contribute to the union. Which is why husbands are not your…

2. Servants. Actually, husbands aren’t your servants, but they should want to serve you. Jesus uses a slave and servant metaphor to illustrate how leaders put others’ needs above their own, and since the husband is called to lead his wife and his family, he is encouraged to lead with a servant-leader’s heart. So, if your husband desires to love and lead you with a Christ-like love, he will actually serve you.

However, do not look on or at him as a servant, and do not abuse his heart for you. Submit to him, because he is your leader. His role is to love, provide for, and take care of you and your family, and he can’t do this alone. Genesis 2:18 tells us that God made woman as a helper for the man. This implies two things: that the man is the primary worker, and that the woman supports him. Your men need your help, ladies. Supportive wives encourage, console, listen to, and cheer on their husbands; they don’t nag, scold, or gossip about him to others.

Also, helping their men lead may sometimes be a challenge to some wives whose husbands aren’t particularly proactive in every area of their family lives, but God is in the business of salvation, and I can assure you, I can speak from personal experience when I say it is possible. (And here’s an additional article that may be helpful to you.) Finally, wives, your husbands are not your…

3. Fathers. Genesis 2:24 tells us, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Clearly, your husband is not your father.

While fathers love, provide for, and take care of their children, do not get your husband’s role as father confused with that of his role as husband to you. Whether your father was a great man who loved, provided, and took care of you, or a deadbeat dad who disappeared from your life and left you to fend for yourself, it is not fair to your husband that you compare him to your father. (Nor is it fair for him to compare you to his mother, dear God.)

And, oh, to all the wives whose fathers were, unfortunately, never there for them: please do not expect your husband to fill in the gaps your father could not fill. Instead, know God is the father your dad couldn’t be, and trust He will use your husband to love you the way your father never could.

An author’s and husband’s note: I just want to honor my wife, Caths. She is my strongest supporter, my staunchest ally, my most passionate cheerleader, my gentlest critic, my favorite travel partner, and my absolute best friend. No one has loved me more unconditionally, despite my many flaws and faults, and no one is more invested in making a legacy of my life than she is. Writing this particular blog entry, I look at her and see how she lives out the spirit of what you’ve read, and I am forever grateful to God for partnering me with this incredible woman… for life

Three Reasons Why Worshipers Should Write Worship Songs

Songwriters are called to write songs, just as worshipers are called to worship.  But songwriters are also subject to songwriters’ block. What is a worship songwriter to do when it seems like there’s just nothing there?

Well, folks, I’d like to share my two cents on that, because I was on that sinking ship for several months. More than a year, to be frank.

A few days ago, a couple of days after writing my first worship song in months, I reviewed some of the songs I had written since attending the Every Nation Worship Writers’ Workshop last February 2014. As I reviewed them, I found myself overcome with gratitude for the season that He gave me to write worship music.

But after exercising a songwriting muscle that found me creating almost 10 songs in two months–songwriter/facilitator Mia Fieldes recommended regular songwriting time, which I was able to do until life sorta stepped in–I began a songwriting drought that lasted more than a year. During this time, I knew what I needed to do, but in my pride and flesh, I continued to resist God, and everything I’d learned during that workshop.

Well I sat down in my son’s room and decided to just worship. During this time, God gave me a new song–my first in over a year!–and God revealed to me what I’d been missing all this time. Here are three reasons why Christian songwriters should write worship songs:

1. Worship songs help people remember who God is and what He has done. Deuteronomy 31:21 says “…when many disasters and calamities come on them, this song will testify against them, because it will not be forgotten by their descendants.” Worship songs remind people of God’s identity and attributes. They also help us remember certain phases on our personal faith journey. (We often remember with fondness what songs were playing in church when we first drew near to God, and what songs we listened to during times of difficulty or happiness.)

Worship songwriters take scripture, ideas, and Biblical concepts, and put them into lyrics and melodies that help believers remember God’s identity and attributes. They have the sacred role of translating His Word into something that people can identify with and remember, long after the message has been processed. Has it happened to you that you don’t remember what a preacher shared during a worship service, but end up leaving and singing a song from that service for the rest of that day? That’s the power of the worship song.

2. Worship songs invite people to focus on God and not their circumstances. Life is hard, and oftentimes, if someone’s going through a tough time, mere platitudes and well-meaning advice can wash off a person, despite our best intentions. Music, however, has the power to sink in deeper and more effectively than a person’s advice. Next to God’s Word itself, there are fewer more potent tools at a discipler’s disposal.

Take Psalm 89, for example. It’s a great song that invites people to praise God in the difficulty of life and in the midst of the storm. It starts with exuberant praise, but the joyful tone changes at some point during the psalm, and goes all dark and emo. However, at the end, despite the horrible situation the psalmist is in, he ends with the conclusion, “Praise the LORD forever! Amen and amen!”

What songs have you sung in the midst of your heartache, in the eye of your storm, at the most jarring moment of your pain? There is freedom in worship, and music ushers us into that place of total praise.

3. Worship songs are an effective evangelical tool. When I was dating my ex-girlfriend–she’s my ex-girlfriend because she’s now my wife–she would take me to church, where I would get freaked out by all these people raising their hands and clapping along to songs with titles like Touching Heaven, Changing Earth and Church on Fire. (Yeah, I’m giving you an idea of how old I am.) It weirded me out, but I liked this girl and I wasn’t going to let some hokey music get the better of me.

But it did. Two months into “going to church,” one Sunday, they sang a song titled Heart of Worship, and the lyrics just flooded into my heart and soul like a tsunami of emotion. I was overwhelmed by this sense of awe and love, and I found myself sobbing in my chair. (It got so bad I had to step out of the hall. It was really embarrassing.)

God met me in that place, and used a worship song to break down the walls and barriers that were stopping me from truly connecting to him in an authentic and genuine way. When worship songwriters write worship songs, they reach out to people who don’t even know God, and can use those songs to usher their hearts into a place where they can know Him and come to a saving knowledge of Christ.

I should know. I am one of those people. And today, I’m humbly doing my part to carry on that esteemed role. If you are too, delight in it as much as you reverently carry out what God has called you to do in your season, and I am in faith that He will use you to birth amazing songs that will speak to the church.

The Deen Family Meeting: A Simple Family Meeting Template

My family and I had our February 2015 family meeting today. It was the first family meeting we had since our strategic planning meeting last January 1.

Holding regular family meetings is a good idea because allows your family the opportunity to sit down as a group to discuss issues and incidents that are important to them. It gives your family a chance to celebrate the wins, learn from the losses, and plan adequately for the future.

This was the agenda of our second family meeting for 2015. It serves as a template for what we discussed during the meeting.

  1. Opening Prayer. We always start by dedicating the family and the meeting to God. We pray for wisdom, clarity, honesty, and humility during this time.
  2. Highlight of the Month. The highlight of the month gives every member of the family an opportunity to talk about something that made him or her particularly happy. We frame it in the context of our family values, so we all see how God helps us become the world-changers we want to become for our glory.
  3. Goals’ Progress Reports. At the start of the year, we set family and individual goals, and this time allows us to review the progress of those goals. As we review the goals, we see how close–or how far–we are from meeting those goals because we can see clearly if we didn’t meet them. We then set clear action items per goal, to help make sure we meet the goals. For example, if one of my goals is to write 12 new songs for 2015, I would need to set time aside to pray and write those songs. (Tuesday nights at 9PM.) If I didn’t do that, I would never get around to writing them.
  4. Challenge of the Month. The Challenge of the Month is a summary of the individual and family goals that we aim to reach for in the next month.
  5. Closing Prayer. As the meeting comes to a close, we dedicate the next month to God, and ask Him for strength and wisdom to help us meet those challenges.

The Bible tells us to “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) We want our children to grow into world-changers who contribute positively to the world for the glory of God, and giving them the structure, discipline, and example on how to meet their goals in an organized and timely way may be one of the best gifts we can give our children as parents.

If you’d like to start family meetings in your household, I hope this simple template proves helpful as you customize it to meet your family needs.

Image taken from here. No copyright infringement intended.

3 Things to Do When You Don’t Speak Your Spouse’s Love Language



Gentlemen, if you’ve read author Gary Chapman’s 1995 book, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, you may remember his premise that there are five ways to express and experience love:

  1. Gifts
  2. Quality time
  3. Words of affirmation
  4. Acts of service
  5. Physical touch

He asserts that everyone ultimately has one or two top “love languages,” and we would do well to express our love to our wives in their specific language.

For example, a wife with a Gifts language may like and appreciate your spending time with her, but she would be really thrilled with a token of your affection, e.g., any small gift. On the other hand, a wife with a Physical Touch language might appreciate a material present, but what they really want from you is a warm hug or a short massage (which, by the way, is a great three-language gift: acts of service, quality time, and physical touch).

However, it’s possible, like in my case with my wife, that a couple can have love languages that are totally not your love languages. Caths, for instance, is a Quality Time person, which I’m not. On the other hand, my love language is Words of Affirmation, which doesn’t come naturally to Caths. What’s a couple with opposite love languages to do?

I have three suggestions:

1. Make a list of ideas that you can pull off, using your spouse’s love language. Take time to actually sit down and make a list of things you can say or do with and for your spouse, using his or her love language. You’ll be surprised at how many activities you’ll be able to identify, and once you’ve listed them down, you can begin to put these activities into action, a little at a time. Before you know it, your spouse’s love tank will be full to overflowing, and you’ll still have many other ideas in store.

chapman-5-love-languages2. Listen. When times get rough, don’t flare up, and don’t shut up. Chapman calls these expressions, “love languages” for a reason; they’re meant to be spoken in love. Many husbands will respond in two ways when their wives want to talk about improving their marriages: a) they immediately react in anger; or b) they shut up. Either way is dangerous, because both reactions will not instinctively deliver positive results. Remember that communication is a two-way street; for her to be able to hear you clearly, you must return the favor to her and set the stage for you to hear her. By simply listening, you can respond in a calmer, more loving way because your wife will know she will have been heard, and her opinion is important to you.

3. Graciously accept love, however it is offered. It’s natural for us to love someone the way we want to be loved. So if your spouse shows you love by paying you a compliment when you feel least worthy of it, or buying you a gift that may be too expensive for your taste, it would be counter-productive to immediately reject the gift, because you’re essentially rejecting their expression of love. Accept it graciously, then endeavor to make time to express your thoughts for future expressions of love. The key word here is grace; by appreciating the present and communicating about what other expressions of love you’d appreciate, you build up your spouse’s spirit and teach them a lesson about what you’d love more of, the next time around.

The big-ticket item to love languages is this: love is putting the needs of the other above our own needs. As the saying goes, “happy wife, happy life.” (The fact that there doesn’t seem to be a husband equivalent tells me that either men are too easy to please, or there is no word that rhymes with husband.) Husbands, love and honor your wives in ways that they will naturally respond to, and your life will certainly be richer and more pleasant for it.

Ephesians 5:22-28 puts it best: “22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”


Don’t know where to start on that list? Here are a few ideas to get your think tanks going:

  1. Gifts. My wife has a huge Pride and Prejudice collection; for our 12th anniversary, I got her a 113-year-old copy of Austen’s masterpiece, and I was GOLD, even if gifts weren’t my wife’s primary love language. Identify your spouse’s passion and fuel it in little and big ways; while spouses who appreciate gifts are about both quality and quantity, erring on the side of thoughtful quantity is safer. A little token upon your return from work, or something to wake up to, will be appreciated by a Gifts person just as much as a one-time big-time present. (I should know; Gifts are my secondary love language.)
  2. Quality time. My wife’s number one love language is quality time, which is probably my second-to-last (I can’t stand physical touch). Take it from me, gentlemen: the key here is FOCUS. When you spend time with a spouse whose love language is quality time, turn off your mobile phone and focus on her. Close the laptop and spend the time with her. Whether it’s sitting beside her and watching her favorite television show, to shopping for shoes for her at the mall, for a Quality Time wife, spending time with her where your time together is the goal, is the ticket.
  3. Words of affirmation. That’s my #1 love language, and anyone with a Words language appreciates encouragement.  Tell me when I did something right, or if you appreciate something I did or said. And complement me honestly. It’s that simple. (We’re not stupid, though; we know when we’re being pandered to, and false compliments or pity encouragements do not work, and hurt much more.) (Leave a comment below about how much you like this blog entry, and I’ll be over the moon. LOL)
  4. Acts of service. Wives with an Acts of service love language enjoy it when their husbands do little–or big–tasks for them. So drive them to the grocery store. Rub their feet. Do the dishes. Wash the car. Change the baby’s diapers. Book a babysitter, then take your wife out to a nice place to eat, then a show afterwards, and take care of the all the stops so she doesn’t have to. The possibilities are endless.
  5. Physical touch. Oh, blessed is the man with a Physical Touch wife! Hugs, kisses, meaningful strokes along her jawline or a naughty tweak on the cheek… all of these can speak volumes and fill up her love tank. Massages are magical; back hugs, piggy back rides, cuddles on the sofa, holding hands while driving… these are all great!


On Marriage Mondays, I share candid reflections on marriage and relationships. For comments and feedback, please email ganns@gannsdeen.com.

Three Reasons Why Your Family Should Plan Strategically Every New Year

20141230_140107At the start of every year, my wife, my two children, and I celebrate the new year as a family. This year, we drove up to Tagaytay and stayed at the PHINMA Training Center, a quiet and secluded Tagaytay facility that was perfect for our family’s Strategic Planning meeting.

This year marks the second year of our family’s strategic planning meeting. As Benjamin Franklin said, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Nobody likes to fail, and the first step towards that horrible conclusion, is the failure to plan. Here are three reasons why your family should strategically plan at the start of every year.

1. Planning sets direction. Speaker and author Steve Maraboli says, “When you establish a destination by defining what you want, then take physical action by making choices that move you towards that destination, the possibility for success is limitless and arrival at the destination is inevitable.”

Define goals for yourself and your family that you can work towards. Once you have these goals in place, it will be easier to identify what needs to be done, and what each member of the family needs to do to get there. What good is all one’s hard work if one doesn’t have a clear goal in mind, or a destination to head towards? Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else.”

And where do people without a plan end up? Nowhere.

2. Planning helps manage family resources. Having a plan helps couples manage their resources and budgets better. Planning requires we identify the resources–including time and budget–needed to see the goals to completion, and reduce the chance of failure and disappointment later on.

For example, if your family goal for 2015 involves a large expense, you can budget for it on a monthly basis to know how much you need to save. If your child’s individual goal is to learn how to play an instrument, you know that you’ll need to allocate not just the budget, but the cost and time to take your child to the tutor (assuming the tutor doesn’t do home visits). If your goal is to spend time with your family, you can identify how you’ll spend that time, then factor in the time and expense it would otherwise take to do that.

3. Planning sets people up for success. As men and husbands, we must take the lead role in setting our families up for success, especially our wives. When our wives’ goals are clear, we husbands would then know what we have to do to help them get to where they want to go. It sets the stage up for great communication and teamwork.

Family Strategic PlanningJust as importantly, we set our kids up for success. Shannon Alder says, “There is one gift that trumps all other talents—being an excellent parent. If you can successfully raise a child in this day in age to have integrity then you have left a legacy that future generations will benefit from.” Planning and skillful execution of that plan will pay off as you raise children who are better suited for the challenges of life.

If it helps, here is the agenda that our family identified in our strategic planning for this year:

1. Year in Review. For this part, we reviewed 2014, using our family’s Mission Statement and Values as a jump-off point. We asked ourselves to rate ourselves on a scale of 1-10, on how we did in terms of Godliness, Respect, Integrity, Perseverance, and Excellence. We also identified two to three highlights for the year.
2. Technology Policy Review. We reviewed our family’s Technology Policy, which we drafted to help our children discipline themselves in using the family’s various devices. We updated the policy to include a Consequences section, and revised the allowable times on weekends.
3. Family and Individual Goals for 2015. We set individual goals for ourselves (e.g., Nathan to become more organized; Nicki to have better eating habits), and a family goal to save up a certain amount of money by the end of the year.
4. Expenses. We’ll be making separate time to discuss operational expenses (monthly) and capital expenses (big, one-time).

We started and ended our session–and family time–with a word of prayer. Proverbs 16:3 tells us, “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” I believe the ultimate success of our plans lies in its ultimate goal: the honor and worship of God. May the LORD bless you as you plan for your families this 2015!

Sharing a Coke with God

Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 9.09.39 AMThe past few weeks, most of my friends have been agog with Coca-Cola’s Share-a-Coke marketing campaign. To those unfamiliar with it, you can buy Coke cans and bottles with the message, “Share a Coke with…”, and it offers a wide range of names, from generic tags like Bro, BFF, Love, and Hottie, to personalized names like Cat and Niel. (No kidding — I saw this combination at SM Manila’s grocery.)

I have found myself rummaging through rows and rows of Coca-Cola cans and bottles looking for my name and that of my kids. Last night, I found a bottle that said “Rose” – the name of my kids’ nanny – and even contemplated buying that one as a surprise present for her. I’ve bought cans that said, “Mommy,” “Daddy,” “Ganda” (beautiful), for my wife, and “Cutie” (for myself, haha).

Now, apparently, a Share-a-Coke marketing tour is now making the rounds of malls in Manila, where, for a PHP150 purchase of Coke products, you can get a customized Coca-Cola bottle with any name on it (8 characters). You gotta give Coke credit for this incredible campaign. It’s taking pretty much the whole country by storm.

What makes Share-a-Coke so great is that it empowers someone to bestow that “blessing of Coke,” so to speak, on you. “Share a Coke with Al.” “Share a Coke with Richard.”

It’s just a little disturbing for someone to have to pay PHP150 to see “Ganns” on a Coke bottle; “Ganns” isn’t one of the names on the standard list of names identified by Coke for the Philippines, unlike Nathan or Cathy, my son and wife, who could get it, if they happen upon it. There is no relationship between me and Coke; hence, an unusual name like mine doesn’t come normally.

Luckily, someone else knows my name, unlike Coke.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…” – Jeremiah 1:5

I don’t have to pay PHP150 to be recognized or known by God; in fact, I received salvation for free (“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Romans 6:23), because Jesus, God’s Son, paid the price with His life (“…for you were bought with a price…”, 1 Cor 6:20).

“Share a Coke” wins because it’s based on relationship. And the best relationship we can ever have is with God the Father, and you don’t have to pay PHP150 to have a relationship with God. And because of that relationship, God calls me “Son,” and I can call Him “Father.” Or “Friend.”

I’ll drink a Coke to that.

#myVictoryStory: I strip for discipleship!

Hi! My name is Ganns, and I’m the author of the wildly popular – more than 400 likes on Facebook! – ShenaniGanns Comics series of real life comic strips. This week, I’m posting five strips in support of #myVictoryStory’s third week: What do you remember from the person who discipled you? I honor five men who profoundly impacted my life through discipleship.

MONDAY, July 21: Three Things I learned from KC Lee


TUESDAY, July 21: Thank God for Gil Prudente!

gil _____ This blog post is in response to the Wee3 2 question, “Share the story of when you accepted Christ. How was the gospel shared to you, and what was so compelling about it?” from #myVictoryStory, a testimony activity of Victory Philippines. For more information on #myVictoryStory, click here, and to read other responses, please click here. Read other Discipleship blogs!

  1. Discipleship Works by Perci Paras
  2. #DFF by Jekoy Valle
  3. unfading by Sofia Paderes
  4. My Discipleship Notes by Emmanuel Gomez
  5. Spiritual Heroes, Part 1 by Joseph Bonifacio
  6. I strip for Discipleship by Ganns Deen
  7. More Caught than Taught by Paolo Punzalan
  8. You Are Never Meant To Do It Alone by Fiona Alvero
  9. My Discipleship Notes by Em Gomez
  10. On Discipleship by Carla Peralejo-Bonifacio
  11. The Defining Minute of My Manhood by Pastor Dennis Sy
  12. Because of Love by Elle Cabiling
  13. When I Grow Up by Karess Rubrico
  14. ROI of Lordship is Discipleship by Pastor Larry Uy
  15. Discipleship Stories Part 1 on DoCampusMinistry.com

#myVictoryStory: Is it him or Me?

by Catherine Deen

It’s all too common, it’s almost cliché. I was once a girl in a relationship with a non-believer.

I grew up hearing the Gospel almost every week during chapel time in school. I received Jesus as my “personal Lord and Savior” countless times. Still, true transformation is not evident in my life. This kind of pseudo-spirituality continued until I graduated from university and started my career.

I met the man who would become my first boyfriend a year after I entered the workplace. At that time, I thought I found my other half. I felt complete and happy for the first time in my life. I abandoned my faith and started going to church with him. Although I knew I disagreed with his faith, my own spirit was too dead to even fight.

Roller coaster My relationship went on for about a year until I met a Christian friend from college. She invited me to have a meal to catch up. During our dinner, she asked me point blank a strong question: “Cathy, how’s your spiritual life?” Not one to pretend, I honestly answered, “It is dead.” She took the opportunity to tell me about her new-found faith and how she came from being an atheist to a Christ-believer. She invited me to join her for a church service and I said yes. Needless to say, I was renewed in the Lord during that service. I knew almost immediately that God is already starting a work in me. I knew from that day that He is already dealing with my ungodly relationship.

As a renewed Christian, I knew that there were things that I needed to change. To walk in integrity, I had to clean up my life. I was obedient in many areas except one—my relationship. It was incredibly difficult for me to give up my boyfriend. In hopes that he would also accept the Lord, I invited him to church. He went, but he looked like he was being burned in the hall! His discomfort was so clear! I struggled and kept praying and hoping that he would turn to God. Two months passed, and there appeared to be no change.

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 1.23.35 PMIt was then that I had my long night of wrestling with God. I locked myself in my room, held my Bible and prayed hard for God to give my boyfriend to me. I told God that I did not want anything else but him. I argued, bargained and cried. I tried to find a word from the Bible that would support my desire but God kept asking me this one question:

Who do you love more, him or Me?

Through tears, I said “Of course, I love You more…but…” There was always a ‘but.’ It took a few hours of crying and bargaining with God until I finally said: “I surrender, Lord. I love You more. I will break up with him.”

The next day, I was decided to break up with him. I sent him a text message, telling him I wanted to talk. He sent a reply, saying he had a prior appointment. Because of this, I was unable to see him. On my way home, I got a text message from him that said: “Honey, today is my spiritual birthday.” I was so shocked that I cried on the train! It turned out that his prior appointment was with some of my church friends. They were planning a surprise birthday party for me and they shared the Gospel with him during the planning meeting.Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 12.54.50 PM

I reflected on this experience and realized that God has already prepared him for me long before. The Lord was simply waiting for me to obey. He wanted me to put Him first. He wanted me to make him the Lord of my life. Indeed, He is Lord of all or none at all.

Today, my boyfriend is now my husband and we have two children. He serves in the church and also DJs for a Christian radio show. You may know him as “Ganns Deen” of gannsdeen.com.


Caths Deen is a daughter of God, wife to Ganns, mother to Nathan and Nicki, and an educational administrator. She blogs at kpopunni.com.