Marriage should come with a MAP. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. And, were we to be handed it at the altar, most of us would be either unable to read it, disinterested in it, or disbelieving of it. While I was preparing this week, I came across a number of quotes and stories about marriage that were just too good to pass up, but didn’t fit nicely anywhere in this teaching, so here they go all at once!
Marriage halves our griefs, doubles our joys, and quadruples our expenses.
Woman to neighbor: “I have a marvelous meat loaf recipe. All I do is mention it to my husband and he says, ‘Let’s eat out.'”
Marriage used to be a contract. Now many regard it as a one year option.
The pastor was visiting the fourth-grade Sunday School class to talk about marriage as part of the lesson. He asked the class, “What does God say about marriage?” Immediately, one boy replied, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
These past two weeks we have begun exploring the topic of “Winning Big in the Game of Life” As we have done that, I’ve shared that the first step in getting on the playing field to Win Big is to enter into a relationship with God. Last week we talked about 6 characteristics that will help you to Win Big in Relationships. Today, we explore the area where it is most difficult to win big. And yet the stakes are extremely high. God has a plan for marriage that was revealed in the very beginning…
Genesis 2:24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Marriage is God’s vehicle to bring two people together in order to form the basis for family, home, and society. It is the fundamental unit whereby values are transmitted, character is shaped and stability of a nation is insured. Its survival is critical, the effects of its destruction can be multi-generational.
As a church, one of the values that we want to stand most strongly for is the building of Strong Homes. We believe in marriage. And we believe that God can take wounded and hurting households and move them to healing and whole families. It may be that you are here today as someone who has experienced the pain of divorce. It is not our intent today to, in any way, stigmatize or bring further pain to your life. However, it is our goal to build STRONG marriages and lift up marriage in a way that all of us can Win Big in this most critical arena of life.
In order to make the learning process easier, allow me to use the acronym of the word S-T-R-O-N-G in order to provide an easier tool to remember these key Biblical principles.
S piritually Alive………Strong marriages operate best when the husband and wife share spiritual life together.
The divorce rate of those who say they are “Christian” is almost equal to that of the general public, about 50%. The divorce rate of couples who pray together is less than 7%
T ruthful and Honest…Strong marriages require truth telling and becoming “one”
Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.22 He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.
R esilient and Resourceful…Strong marriages “gut it out” over the rough haul. They utilize whatever resources and opportunities come their way to build into their family lives.
Someone has said that “Marriage is two selves jockeying for turf”. That can be true; part of the process of building a willingness to bend, be flexible. A well known pastor said there should have been a psalm that said “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be broken”
Men’s brains are like laser beams (focused-one hemisphere use at a time), Women’s are like radar (both hemisphere’s used)
Proverbs 25:11 A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
O nly You……..Strong marriages are faithful. Trust only grows when faithfulness is present
Cleave and become one flesh. This clearly runs against the grain of our individualistic society where we all must have our own “identity”. In vogue conversations often mention ideas like “serial monogamy” and the inability of people to be faithful within marriage. Let me be clear…that is rubbish of the highest degree. It proceeds from the narcissistic society in which we live.
To cleave means to fashion together and make your focus
N atural & New……Over time, the equilibrium of “tried and true” and “new and freshly discovered” are played out in the relationship
A good marriage is not one where perfection reigns: it is a relationship where a healthy perspective overlooks a multitude of “unresolvables.” – James C. Dobson (1936- )
G rowing and Giving…Where self-sacrifice becomes the norm and growth is mutual and consistent.
Ephesians 5: 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
Mutual submission…rather than demand your rights in power, it means to voluntarily shield your rights in love
As unto the Lord…the key to the passage is not power or position.
Give yourself up. Bring to the full potential those we love. Perspective shifts from get to give
Biblical submission is not enabling wrong behavior; it is empowering right behavior.
But, when it all comes down to it, the real issue is putting it into practice.
Matthew 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Insert…Our Marriage Will Last