Topic: Sunday Message Verse: 1 John 4:19
Three Initial Series Comments
(1) Marriage is a complicated subject, so we’re not going to try to tackle everything about it in this series; (2) No two marriages are alike, and yet what we’re going to talk about will apply to every married couple; (3) Not everyone here is married, so while a lot of what's shared won't directly apply, there's benefit in being part of a church that talks about God's perspective on marriage.
The Five "not so secret" Secrets
(1) PROMISE: the importance of lifelong faithfulness and perseverance through tough times; (2) TALK: the necessity of on-going communication and mutual understanding; (3) FIGHT: the willingness to enter hard places and work through conflict resolution; (4) INVEST: the need to proactively nurture your relationship and care for your spouse; (5) FORGIVE: the recognition of hurtful actions toward each other and our responses to that.
Expectations for Marriage
We confuse the quality of marital love (which is "'till death do us part") with the infatuation stage of love (which doesn't last forever). So when that runs out and I no longer feel "in love," then I have doubts about my marriage.
View of Commitment
With a covenant, "the good of the relationship" is more important than "the needs of the individual." But with a conditional contract, the opposite is true: "the needs of the individual" is more important than "the good of the relationship". So with a contract mindset, I'll hold up my end of the deal but only if you keep holding up yours.
Forces Against Marriage
Within a marriage, there are two forces working against your success: your spouse and you. First, your spouse can't meet all your needs, but if you expect them to do so, then it will only lead to frustration and failure. Second, you also are the problem. Apart from the saving and transforming grace of Jesus, you are the center of your own universe and so you tend to evaluate the state of your marriage through the "me" lens rather than the "we" lens.
1 John 4:19 NIV
We love because he first loved us.
(1) Experience more of Jesus' love
More grace experienced leads to more grace expressed. We become more patient with our spouse, because we know how patient God has been with us. We become more aware of our spouse’s acts of kindness toward us, because we’re no longer demanding it from them or punishing them when they fail to deliver.
(2) Worship together as a couple
"Experiencing more of Jesus’ love” isn’t just supposed to be two individuals pursuing their own separate tracks. It’s meant to be a shared journey. Make your worship here a priority.
(3) Revisit your vows and reaffirm your promise
"I still do" means: “I’m still in this with you for the long haul no matter what… for better, for worse… for richer, for poorer… in sickness and in health... till death do us part." It's reaffirming your initial wedding vows with an on-going commitment to lifelong martial faithfulness.
(4) Never threaten or joke about divorce
When you threaten or joke about divorce, you begin to inject doubt and uncertainty into your marriage. You become suspicious. You start reading more into your spouse’s words and actions than you should. You look for them to mess up and disappoint you. Marriage is hard enough when you’re in a good place, but if you feel insecure and act defensive all the time, you won’t stand a chance. Take the threat of leaving off the table completely.
The next "no so secret" secret of marriage is TALK: the necessity of on-going communication and mutual understanding in marriage. We'll talk about the importance of communication in marriage, including exploring some of the differences in communication styles between men and women.