Sunday, February 10, 2013

Lessons on Marriage

What do the following items have in common?
  • Cheese balls
  • Mr. Lawyer-pants
  • Mountain meadows
  • Growing asparagus
  • 9 minutes of prayer
  • Gold butterfly necklaces
  • Sweet Dorito vomit
They all help us grow to have a thriving marriage!

Intrigued? Read on....

We just got home from the 2013 CrossWay Marriage Retreat. It was filled with all kinds of good (figurative... and literal) food to chew on and digest. I encourage you to listen to the talks (which are available on CrossWay's website) if you were unable to attend. Here are some helpful things that I took away and hope to implement in my marriage.

First Session: Mike Bullmore - The Goodness of a Godward Marriage (click here to listen)
  • "Who you love determines how you live."
  • Cheese balls: Does my marriage tip toward a love of self or a love of God? Remember: In the absence of a biblical vision, we will default toward a self-focused marriage.
  • God's purpose in marriage: relational joy, growth in holiness, fruitful service.
  • Mr. Lawyer-pants: Be committed to preferring one another... that is, don't favor your own way of doing things. We all come in with expectations. Ask: "What is it like for my spouse right now?" And have humble compassion. Don't elevate your own way.
  • Revel in forgiveness—remember that it is a privilege to extend the grace and forgiveness you've been given.
  • A Godward marriage depends on a continual orientation toward God and away from self. This re-orientation needs to happen pretty much daily.
  • Mountain meadows: When you look ahead, this does not have to be an insurmountable cliff to climb, but a very walkable uphill path to a beautiful, lush place.

Breakout Session 1: Mark Rogers - Growing Through Conflict and Disagreement (click here to listen)

We didn't go to this one... because we never experience conflict. Haha. Just kidding. I'm excited to download it, listen to it, and talk about it with Eric.

Breakout Session 2: Dan Allen - Tending Your Spiritual Garden Together (click here to listen)
  • Remember, if you want to reap a harvest, it will take labor and sweat.
  • I am the primary human agent God is using to pour out grace on my spouse. And my spouse is the primary human agent God is using to pour out His grace on me. Remember this as you interact with one another—you are brother and sister in Christ. And remember God is working in you both.
  • Growing asparagus: It can take a long time. And you may not see fruit right away. Be confident that growth is happening under the soil even if you can't see it, and keep watering.
  • (A point my wise husband made) Sometimes we might plant and water, expecting a certain result. Let's not be discouraged if God brings about a different result. We may look at the asparagus patch we keep trying to grow... let's not miss the pumpkins growing over there.
  • My spouse can not be God to me. Don't expect my spouse to fulfill/satisfy what only God can. That will frustrate me and put pressure on my spouse.
  • No part of our lives is neutral—we're either fostering or hindering spiritual intimacy with our spouses in all we do.
  • 9 minutes of prayer: God will use all of our efforts. Just because we fall short doesn't mean we'll come up empty. Example: If you're not praying at all, set a realistic goal to pray together for three minutes, 3 times a week (rather than, say, 3 hours every day). It may not be much to start... but 9 minutes is better than no minutes. 

Ending Session: Jason Dahlman - One Flesh Serving Together (click here to listen)
  • Gold butterfly necklace: This is a gift God has given to you so that you can bless others, glorify Him, and experience the sweetness yourself.
  • Don't wait to serve until your marriage is more mature/stable. Serving is something that will make your marriage more mature and stable.
  • If your serving feels like it's dividing you, you're doing it wrong. Don't stop serving. Serve differently.
  • Serving others = loving our neighbors as ourselves (Luke 10:25-28). Remember: you do this together when you are married, because the two have become one flesh, all of the Scriptural commands are not just "me" and "I", but "we" and "us."
  • Sweet Dorito vomit: Even the un-fun things can be sweet when you are serving in unity.
  • Your marriage and serving your church are not to be in competition with each other. If you can't actually serve together, be involved in what the other is doing. 
  • Extend hospitality. Love your church and your community. And not just the people who are like you.
  • Pray together about whether god is calling you to go and serve on the mission field together. Not all believers are called to go, but all are called to be willing to go. If you're not willing, ask God to make you willing.
  • Let God's mission for His glory to be made known in the earth give you perspective... that little thing that bugged you today about your spouse may not be such a big deal in light of the eternally significant things happening around you.

What stands out to you from these talks? What do you take away from them?

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