Jesus answered, ‘Don’t you know that in the beginning
the Creator made a man and a woman? That’s why a man
leaves his father and mother and gets married.
He becomes like one person with his wife. Then they are no longer
two people, but one. And no one should separate a couple
that God has joined together.’”
Matthew 19:4-6 (CEV)
Marriage is important.
It’s a special covenant, established by God, in which a man and woman willingly bind themselves together in love and become one. The Bible uses the marriage relationship as a symbol of the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church. It’s the foundation of a healthy family and a strong society.
Marriage is hard work…even for Christians.
It’s easy to get married, but difficult to stay married. And the goal is not simply to avoid divorce or separation. Anger, frustration, dysfunction and disconnection are not God’s intention for marriage.
Marriage depends on good communication.
It is vital for husbands and wives to talk with each other about hopes and dreams and spiritual things. Conversations need to deal with more than just work, kids and things that need to be done around the house.
Our goal is to encourage honest, open communication between husbands and wives. We believe that willingness to “risk” in this area can have huge benefits. Part of becoming successful in communication is unlearning some bad habits while cultivating new habits. Some of the bad habits couples get into are:
- Miscommunication… Everyone wants to be understood, but our ability to listen to others is often complicated by our need to say what’s on our mind. In order for good communication to occur a message has to be both sent and received accurately. If a person is focused only on sending a message it will very likely interfere with his or her ability to receive a message.
- Angry Communication… When a conversation starts as a complaint, it’s easy and natural for the receiver to immediately go on the defensive. A critical, blaming tone of voice creates a “survival” mindset in the other person, regardless of the issue. Focusing on your spouse’s failures in a harsh, disrespectful way erodes trust and intimacy.
- Passive Communication… Always giving up or giving in is also unhealthy. A spouse who consistently discounts his or her own wants, needs and feelings is also eroding trust and intimacy. Mutual respect and appreciation requires give and take, and recognizes the interests of both the husband and wife.
- Do look for something to praise your spouse for every day.
- Do make time to talk when there’s not a problem to solve or many distractions.
- Do unto your spouse as you would have him or her do unto you.
- Do appreciate the inherent differences between men and women.
- Do avoid volatile statements like “you always…” or “you never…”
- Do keep in mind what really matters. The goal is not to win an argument. The goal is to have a healthy, vibrant marriage!
- Don’t interrupt the other person.
- Don’t lose your sense of humor.
- Don’t assume that you know what your spouse is going to say.
- Don’t assume that you know how your spouse feels.
- Don’t try to have an important discussion when one or both of you is tired, angry, upset or hungry.
- Don’t stop believing that your marriage is important and worth working for.
Ephesians 5:15-33 (New Living Translation)
“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk… that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit… making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord… For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church… As the Scriptures say, ‘A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
Each month we will offer questions for couples to use in having healthy, spiritual conversations with each other. We encourage you to set aside some time – at least once a month – to discuss these questions in a friendly, supportive way. View the archived questions.
September Couples Questions
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”Matthew 6:33 (NLT)
“Jesus answered: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.’ This is the first and most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, ‘Love others as much as you love yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39 (CEV)
Our Education Ministry at First Baptist Church is called “Stages of Life.” That’s because we go
through lots of “seasons” as we move from birth to death. And each of these stages has its
own blessings and challenges.
One of the challenges for many couples is finding a way to live a balanced life. Schedules can
get full and complicated very fast. It’s easy to feel stretched thin. The responsibilities of work,
marriage, family, home, church and community can drain your energy and deplete your day
The key to living a balanced life is giving the appropriate amount of time and energy to each area. Of course you’ll spend more time working than playing. Of course you’ll spend more time in bed than in church (although you can sleep at both). Of course you’ll spend more time with your spouse than with your other friends. The goal is to give the right amount of time and energy to each one.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- You can’t do everything… and you shouldn’t try. Life is a series of choices. You have to say “no” to some things in order to say “yes” to other things.
- Set appointments for the important things… and protect them. That includes things like time with God, exercise, and dates with your spouse.
- A little can go a long way. It’s amazing the difference that even 20 minutes of something can make.
- You’re going to eat anyway, so why not share the meal with your spouse or children whenever the situation allows it?
- Combine responsibilities and activities whenever possible.
- Do you feel like you’re living a balanced life? Why or why not?
- What is one area of your life that is getting too much time and energy?
- What is one area of your life that deserves more time and energy?
- What do the Bible verses at the beginning of this section have to do with living a balanced life?
- Last month we talked about “problem solving.” How can you apply your problem solving skills to live a more balanced life?
We are asking our Adult Bible Study groups to identify “Marriage Enrichment Leaders” who will help to foster this emphasis throughout our church. These individuals are not “experts” nor are they claiming to have a perfect marriage. They are simply concerned members who want to nurture healthy marriages in our congregation. Our hope is that this area will continue to develop over time so that open, honest communication in and about our marriages will become the norm!
If you are interested in becoming a marriage enrichment leader for your Bible Study group, fill out the NEXT Step form.
Check out the following Marriage related resources…
Focus on the Family
Intimacy in Marriage
Check out @themarriagebed. Review past tweets. Consider following them. Do you agree? Disagree? Why? By yourself – or even better, with your spouse – read over several of their posts. Click on a couple of links.