Pastor Dr. Tony Evans says, to have a Kingdom Marriage we need to be able to set aside time to resolve anger, date regularly, grant forgiveness, pray together daily, and do something daily that expresses value to your spouse.
In our January 2020 class we kicked of the year reflecting on 2019 and thinking about how we want our relationship to grow in 2020. We personally answered the questions below, then broke into Men and Women groups to discuss.
The biggest take away was the belief that men had regarding not receiving from their spouse as much as they give. Many of the spouses acknowledged taking more than giving. We also discover the struggle men have to plan dates and leader courageously. In some cases, the women were waiting for their spouse to take charge, in other cases, the women acknowledged a need to step back so their spouse could lead.
In 2020, we are going to focus on practical ways to grow your marriage. We had so many people at our seminar request in our survey for specific tools to help them grow. We are excited about this opportunity to refocus from changing our spouse to bettering ourselves. Below are our 2020 focus areas:
Strong Marriage = Strong Families = Better Communities = Better World
Recently there has been social media battles between Christians on the topic of homosexuality and if same sex marriage should be permitted, accepted, etc.
I want to respond with a series of truths and finally resources for all to peruse.
Marriage Belongs To God; No one else has power our authority to undo His parameters.
Spiritually, this is not about marriage, it is about confusing believers and non-believers on God's word.
People will begin to do what seems right in their own eyes.
It is difficult as a believer to confront and correct our brothers and sisters in love. But biblically Christians are called to do so.
God does not say sit by and watch others fall in sin and love them as they fall.
What would Jesus do? Well He will turn away those who wish to persecute you when they have sins too. But even as He gave the woman at the well the opportunity at life abundantly, He called out her lifestyle with men. She reported to others to "come see a man that knows all about me."
Personally, I try to love everyone like Jesus does. I will stand on what I believe, and protect what I believe. I will not condemn others for believing or behaving contrary to what the Bible says. I will obey the will of God and do what He says to say and do, in love.
Correction in Love is of God, and is permitted. Judging is God's place.
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In one of the videos we watched on 5/24, the speaker gave an illustration I think was very valuable for all present. He talked about the smells a person would get if they applied pressure with their foot on a rose or on a skunk. He mentioned that the smell is already inside of the rose and the skunk, but the pressure applied releases those inner qualities, fragrances.
What do you smell like when times are hard? Do you release pleasant aromas that keep people around you when pressure, trials, or hard times arise? Or are you so smelly that people run and hide from you every time you are experiencing some type of turmoil?
I was thinking about this and I thought about skunks. If you get to close they spray you, even if you don't know you are too close. Don't be that spouse.
Instead, focus on the fruit of the spirit. Read Galatians 5:22, 23. Ask God to work in you so that you can produce/develop those fruit for others to see.
In 2008, Garry Brantley said,
“(Most of our) marriages are intact, and our lives are somewhat well managed. They may not be facing any major relational tension, but the typical rigors and stresses of life's responsibilities leave them somewhat dull of heart, longing for deeper connection and intimacy.
Such growth in intimacy and connection is possible. Marriages are not predestined to devolve into mere social contracts in which a husband and wife simply fulfill roles and responsibilities while passion and romance become inevitable casualties. A basic understanding of God, and how He created humans, will help develop deeper intimacy in marriage.
When we learn that God, who is love, created humans to exist in intimate relationship with Him and one another, we are in a better position to develop our relationships. By allowing God, the ultimate and infinite source of authentic love, to flow through us, we find ourselves loving each other in divine ways. We begin to experience marriage more as a "sacred dance" than a human contract.”
I am working on a list of practical activities that will help married couples move their relationship towards a thriving summer. I will post this list later.
Many couples find complacency in Fall and Spring. They are just surviving in their marriage. Everything is about a day-to-day routine, equal performance and responsibilities, priorities seldom include regularly scheduled marriage maintenance activities. Kids sometimes supersede the marriage as well as work or even church ministries.
A common phrase we hear when addressing reasons for not entering a relationship or for difficulties within relationships is "Unequally Yoked." 2 Corinthians 6:14 is often used to support this phrase. It is interpreted to mean that Christians should not enter into a relationships with unbelievers as their decision to not believe could hinder or destroy their witness. I believe that God created marriage for a man and woman. It is a covenant between the three. I believe marriage belongs to God, thus Christians should choose to marry Christians to be in the will and purpose God design for marriage.
Now, the purpose of this article is not to debate the interpretation but to provide additional insight for currently married couples. A lot of times Christians do not marry Christians, and a lot of times non-Christians marry each other. Can these unions please God? Can these unions be purposeful and give God glory?
If the couples are willing to accept Christ as head of their life and relationship, then the marriage can begin to move towards pleasing God.
Look at the graphics below. There are two triangles. One is an equilateral triangle and the other is an obtuse triangle. Obtuse triangles are know for have a large angle over 90 degrees with an opposite long side. One adjacent angle and side is noticeably smaller. In the graphic, you see a male and female having to travel different distances to get to God and to reach oneness. There is no Christ in the relationship thus making it impossible to reach God and become one. On the equilateral triangle, all sides and angles are equal. Thus, there is an equal distance between the man and woman and God. Christ is also in the enter, which makes it possible to move towards God and oneness.
When comparing Triangle A and B, notice that the male and female in Triangle A do not have Christ in their marriage so when they try to climb up from the valley through life's challenges, they struggle. In Triangle B, the coupe has Christ at the center of their relationship so as this couple moves closer to God, they also get closer to each other. This was God's design, a Christ-centered marriage where the husband and wife work to have a stronger independent relationship with Christ so their marriage can be center on Christ, so they can become one flesh. Marriage is a continuous process of becoming one. Marriages without Christ can not please God nor successful become one in covenant with Him.
Though some marriages begin unequally yoked, if Christ is introduced, both parties through Christ can come closer together in marriage and to God (Triangle C). Each spouse being saved, a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, makes for an equally yoked relationship. Notice the unequal distances that must be traveled. Sometimes our spouse may have to experience more and do more to get to the same place you are.
It is also important to note that one spouse being saved can bring Christ into the relationship. It can be enough to get the other spouse saved.
In addition, as you can see in Triangle D that even equally yoked relationships can still be at different places in the marriage and distances from God if there isn't consistent time spent nurturing the relationship with Christ.
Some Christians become content with their position on the path towards a Christ-like marriage. Men leaving their wives, or wives leaving their husbands behind as they draw near. this can cause discontent and isolation. More importantly, it doesn't please God. The two must become one and move as one. It is doesn't work living singled in your marriage. It doesn't work if you attend church sometimes while your wife/husband attends all the time.
Remember, marriage was designed to please God, to multiply believers that would do His will, to mirror the relationship between Christ and His people, the church.