Thursday, February 13, 2014

Marriage Game Plan

So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:33

Ready for Valentine’s Day? Tim Keller, Pastor of Redeemer Church and best-selling author, wrote a book that should be required reading for all couples called The Meaning of Marriage. In the book he provides a grand eternal vision of married love which I personally have found extremely motivating:
Within this Christian vision of marriage, here’s what it means to fall in love.  It is to look at another person and get a glimpse of what God is creating, and to say, “I see who God is making you to be, and it excites me! I want to be part of that.  I want to partner with you and God in the journey you are taking to His throne. And when we get there, I will look at your magnificence and say, ‘I always knew you could be like this.  I got glimpses of it on earth, but now look at you!’ ”

That is so good, isn’t it?  When I think that God has entrusted me with Anne so that I get to be the human agent He has called to encourage her to be everything God called her and created her to be – that I play some small but significant role in encouraging Anne to live into His amazing plan for her life – that changes my whole approach and game plan regarding our marriage.  But how can we get there?

Dr. Gary Rosberg and his wife, Barbara, help here.  In their book, Divorce-Proof Your Marriage, the Rosbergs have identified some biblical principles they feel are key if a marriage is to truly be divorce-proof.  Following these guidelines will not only improve our relationships with our spouses today – doing so will also establish a template our children can follow for their relationship with their future spouses as well. If we want to strengthen our marriages right away, let’s start showing our spouses...
  1. Forgiving Love  Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, all of our sins have been forgiven. The Forgiving Love He has shown us is essential in a marriage. It offers a fresh start after one spouse hurts or offends another. Without forgiveness, no marriage will ever last. (Matthew 6:12-15)
  2. Serving Love  Do you know your spouse's deepest needs? Loving him or her with a servant's heart is the best and quickest way to find out. Serve one another in love. (Mark 10:45, Galatians 5:13)
  3. Persevering Love  Marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. Are you in it for the long haul? Or do you have the tendency to "bail out" when the going gets tough? Persevering Love sustains us through the trials of life (and trials are what make any marriage real). (1 Corinthians 13:7)
  4. Guarding Love  In other words, let him or her know that you'll do anything to keep the marriage together (as long as it’s legal and moral, of course). The modern culture isn't all that keen on marriage – even though it's the backbone of society. Guarding Love protects your heart and the heart of your spouse from the threats to your marriage...and believe me they're out there! (Proverbs 4:23)
  5. Celebrating Love  That's right—celebrate your marriage! What a gift the two of you have been given. Celebrating Love equips you to maintain a satisfying emotional, physical, and spiritual connection with your mate. So celebrate it! (Song of Solomon 1:2)
  6. Renewing Love No marriage will survive if either or both spouses constantly challenge its integrity by threatening to leave. The fact is Renewing Love enables both husband and wife to regard the marriage covenant as unbreakable (just like God does). So share this gift with your spouse every day. Rejoice in the fact that you'll be together forever: "for better or worse!" (Revelation 21:5)
 Love takes time—any good relationship does. So stay the course...keep praying…and investing in each other!  I know it’s not easy, but it is significant…eternally significant.

This Sunday will be a tremendous encouragement for marriages at PCC.  Paul and Virginia Friesen will be here to unpack Good Intimacy – tooling all of us to grow towards oneness in our marriages. Be encouraged: your God and your pastors love you and are for marriages thriving at PCC! I love being your pastor!