Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 13 “Healthy Communication”+ LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 13 "Healthy Communication" - "Communication is to a relationship what blood is to the human body. Communication nourishes and sustains a relationship. Remove it, and you no longer have a relationship." The Bible has much to say about the importance of healthy communication and the results of bad communication. James said the tongue can be "set on fire by hell." So, how can couples grow and become more intentional when it comes to healthy communication?“Communication is to a relationship what blood is to the human body. Communication nourishes and sustains a relationship. Remove it, and you no longer have a relationship.”

The Bible has much to say about the importance of healthy communication and the results of bad communication. James said the tongue can be “set on fire by hell.” So, how can couples grow and become more intentional when it comes to healthy communication?

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 13 “Healthy Communication”

 

We’re in a series on God’s design for marriage. If you haven’t read the previous posts in this series, you can read them here. In today’s post we’ll talk about the importance of regular, healthy communication to a thriving marriage.

The authors of Family Life’s book Preparing for Marriage have this to say about communication:

Communication is to a relationship what blood is to the human body. Communication nourishes and sustains a relationship. Remove it, and you no longer have a relationship.

No wonder marriage counselors everywhere, constantly, hear the lament, “We just don’t communicate!” Even when there are other serious issues, lack of communication worsens them. Few people learn to communicate, solve problems and resolve conflict well, unless they are purposeful and determined to do so.

Even couples with great marriages will, often, tell you, they didn’t start out knowing how to communicate. Many will admit to years of struggle and heartache in this area. Couples who thought they could talk about anything during their dating time can find themselves hurt, angry, and frustrated as they move into the early years of marriage.

But sadly, if we don’t learn to communicate well, those feelings can grow and last for years. Those couples may resort to living separate lives or they may simply divorce.

 

Healthy Communication or Evil Communication

 

The Bible talks about all kinds of communication, not all of it healthy!

In the multitude of words sin is not lacking,
But he who restrains his lips is wise (Prov. 10.19).

An angry man stirs up strife,
And a furious man abounds in transgression (Prov. 29.22).

Whoever hides hatred has lying lips,
And whoever spreads slander is a fool (Prov. 10.18).

Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop,
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman (Prov. 21.9).

James said this in chapter 3 of his epistle:

For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.

See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.

So while communication is vital, it’s important how we communicate. We can allow our tongues to be used for good or for evil. How many marriages have been burned to the ground by tongues loaded with the fire of hell?!  Continue reading

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 12 “Loving Leadership” + LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 12 "Husband's Role - Loving Leadership" - Jesus' instructions about leadership could be characterized by three words: love, sacrifice and servant-hood.Leadership books, seminars, articles and posts abound in every realm of life. Sales companies want to lead their teams to more sales. Company executives want to motivate employees to loyalty and greater profits. Ministry leaders want to inspire more involvement and greater commitment to the church and its purposes.

Some lead through manipulation. Some through strength of character or charismatic personality. Some try leading through force, fear, or intimidation. But Jesus’ explanation of leadership contained none of those things. It might seem counter-intuitive to many. It surprised, even, His disciples.

Jesus’ instructions about leadership could be characterized by three words: love, sacrifice and servant-hood.

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 12 “The Husband’s Role: Loving Leadership”

 

We’re in a series on God’s design for marriage. If you haven’t read the previous posts in this series, you can read them here. Today’s post is on the husband’s role, that of loving leadership.

Ephesians 5 says:

23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

Are you a wise woman or a foolish one? Part 4: Friends & Counselors -Just as Christ is the head of the church, the husband is the head of his home. This is not a matter of personality or what works for each couple. God says the husband is the leader of his home.

He may default on his role. One of the complaints I hear from wives is, “My husband won’t lead. He leaves everything to me.”

Wives may refuse to submit to their husband’s leadership making it very difficult for him to lead effectively. In fact, some husbands simply throw up their hands and quit trying to lead, believing it’s not worth the battle.

In some marriages husbands and wives fight constantly over who will have their way. Their children live in a minefield where an explosion can happen at any moment.

Others divide responsibilities and assets and proceed to lead two separate lives. There’s my money and your money. I do my thing; you do yours.

Some husbands try to maintain control with their fists or some other manifestation of anger. Some by being harsh or treating their wives and children like their employees.

But what does God have to say? Lets look at the rest of Ephesians 5:

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

 

Three Key Words

 

We could sum up Christ’s teaching on the husband’s role in three words: love, sacrifice, and servant-hood. God has called husbands to loving leadership.  Continue reading

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 11 “RESPECT” + LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 11 "RESPECT" - RESPECT: It's a word that comes up often in counseling rooms. It's tossed out in the midst of arguments. Some demand it and can make you pay if you don't give it. We all want it, but most of us have trouble giving it.RESPECT: It’s a word that comes up often in counseling rooms. It’s tossed out in the midst of arguments. Some demand it and can make you pay if you don’t give it. We all want it, but most of us have trouble giving it.

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 11 “RESPECT”

 

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: It’s hard to see the word with out thinking about the old Aretha Franklin song (although I may just be showing my age). Aretha sang, “All I’m askin’ is for a little respect … just a little bit.”

I’ve heard that same plea across the counseling desk many times, especially, when husbands don’t keep their eyes where they belong, when they flirt with other women, or when a wife doesn’t feel her husband is showing her the proper honor in some other way.

We all know what it’s like to feel disrespected.

Those are real concerns. A husband should honor his wife in the way he interacts with her and with others.

But, wives are not the only ones who are disrespected. In fact, if we’re honest, there is a lack of disrespect toward husbands and fathers, in general, today. Maybe it started during the women’s movement. You know, “I am woman, hear me roar.” Often, the implication was, I can handle things. Get out of my way. I don’t need a man.

Think about the typical family show in the 50s and 60s: Father Knows Best, The Donna Reed Show, Leave It to Beaver, The Andy Griffith Show. Fathers held a place of honor. They were wise. Their wives and children showed them respect.

Now think about the typical family sitcom today. Often, the father is the bumbling idiot and the butt of the jokes. Wives are out conquering the world or rolling their eyes over their husbands’ actions. Children are anything but respectful.

While husbands, wives, and children should all show respect for one another, God has specifically commanded wives to respect their husbands and children to honor their fathers and mothers.

Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband (Eph. 5.33).

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth” (Eph. 6.1-3).

I’ve been doing a series on God’s design for marriage. If you haven’t read the previous posts in this series, you can read them here. Today we’re going to focus on the importance of respect in the wife’s attitude toward her husband.

 

I’ll Respect My Husband When He Deserves It!

 

Someone is thinking. You don’t know my husband. He doesn’t deserve my respect. You don’t know what he has done. He’s not a believer. He’s a drunk … a womanizer … lazy … you pick the adjective. He doesn’t care about me. He never shows me respect. I’ll show him respect when he deserves it and he shows me respect. Continue reading

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 10 “Resolving Conflict” + LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 10 "Resolving Conflict" - Conflicts and disagreements happen in the best of marriages, but what happens when we aren't resolving conflict biblically?Conflicts and disagreements happen in the best of marriages, but what happens when we aren’t resolving conflict biblically?

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 10 “Resolving Conflict”

 

In the first few weeks of this study we talked about some of the key components of marriage, then we covered the wife’s role and submission. Last week I shared a video by my husband Mike. His explanation of biblical decision making has helped many couples understand how to honor God in an area that can be difficult.

Mike uses a 4-way stop intersection to explain both the husband’s and wife’s roles and the responsibility each of them have to not allow differences to escalate into conflict.

But what happens when couples don’t seek to resolve problems biblically? And why is it so hard, even when we know what we should do? Look at James 4 for a minute:

What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask (Jas. 4.1-2 NASB).

Lust isn’t just about sexual desires. It can be the result of any strongly held desire. When we lust sexually, we’re so controlled by the desire for sexual pleasure that we’re willing to sin by going outside of God’s ordained will to obtain it.

When we lust after other things, we fight and quarrel, rather than resolving problems biblically. The things we want have become controlling desires and we, too, are willing to sin to get them.

Lustful desires might be having the house we want, spending money on a certain purchase, being in control, spending holidays or other times with our biological family, raising our kids a certain way, or a host of other things.

Even good things can become lusts if we’re willing to sin to get them or to hang on to them.

 

Unresolved Conflicts

 

Sometimes, when conflicts arise we go on the attack, verbally or physically.

Sometimes, we put up the “do not enter” sign. Our spouse learns that attempts to discuss the matter lead to anger, withdrawal, tears, or various forms of withdrawal. So conflict goes unresolved.

Sometimes, one spouse or the other is a controller. He or she may control through manipulation (tears, anger, withholding sex or affection) or fear and intimidation. It’s “one way, my way.”  Continue reading

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 9 “Decision Making & 4-Way Stops” + LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 9 "Decision Making & 4-Way Stops" - What can a 4-way stop intersection teach us about submission, biblical authority, and decision making within marriage?What can a 4-way stop intersection teach us about submission, biblical authority, and decision making within marriage?

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Decision Making & 4-Way Stops”

 

In the first few weeks of this study we talked about some of the key components of marriage, then the wife’s role, and last week we looked a little deeper at submission, what it is and what it isn’t.

If you missed the last two and you’re struggling with the idea of submission or not even sure if it’s biblical or fair, I encourage you to go back and read them.

Today I want to look at a practical explanation of what submission should look like and how it ties in with the husband’s role as leader (Eph. 5.25).

My husband does a great job of explaining what I want to share, so I’m going to let him do just that. This little video is an illustration he uses in the counseling room and when he teaches on the subject.

 

 

Some of you might be thinking, I would submit if my husband preferred me like that! We need to remember that our job is to trust God and allow Him to work in our husbands.

But we also need to understand that, in the same way, that a husband’s love for his wife is purifying and causes her to want to love him back, a wife’s respect and willingness to honor him and follow his leadership, softens his heart both toward her and toward God (1 Pet. 3.1-4).  Continue reading

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 8 “Submission, the S-Word” + LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 8 "Submission, the S-Word" - Submission, it's the "S-word" that raises our blood pressure and, sometimes, makes us wonder about God's idea of fairness. What is submission, anyway? Is it unfair to women? Is it unrealistic? Did men come up with the idea as a way to keep women down? Or is it really a biblical concept? If so, what should it look like?Submission, it’s the “S-word” that raises our blood pressure and, sometimes, makes us wonder about God’s idea of fairness. What is submission, anyway? Is it unfair to women? Is it unrealistic? Did men come up with the idea as a way to keep women down? Or is it really a biblical concept? If so, what should it look like?

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Submission: the S-Word”

 

Over the last few weeks we’ve talked about the key components of marriage that God laid out in Genesis 2.24: leaving, cleaving, and weaving. Last week I began talking about the wife’s role in a biblical marriage and today I want to go a little deeper on the subject of submission.

Epesians 5 says:

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

We’re to submit to our husbands in everything with one exception. I talked about that and some of the common objections last week. I also discussed the fall and its effect on the relationship between husbands and wives, especially when it comes to submission.

After Adam and Eve sinned, God said to the woman …

“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy,
    and in pain you will give birth.
And you will desire to control your husband,
    but he will rule over you” (Gen. 3.16).

Our desire would be to control or rule over our husbands and their desire would be to maintain control.

As women the list of ways we try to take control in our marriages is not very flattering. Among them are words, anger, tears, put-downs, nagging, criticizing, withholding sex, and all kinds of manipulation. And the list of ways we justify taking control is just as bad:

“He’s not a believer.”

“What if he’s wrong?”

“This is not the first century!”

“Men wrote to Bible to keep women down!”

“I have more education.”

“I make more money, so I should decide how it’s spent.”

We might not, actually, say some of these things, but they are often in our hearts and minds.

As I said last week, we women use what we’re good at to take control, often our words (nagging, criticizing) and emotions (anger, tears, bad moods).

Men’s sinful responses aren’t any better. They, often, either withdraw (sometimes with another woman, sometimes by becoming passive and uninvolved) or attack (with their fists or by trying to rule with an iron hand.)

And it’s certainly true that passages like Ephesians 5.22-24 have been used in sinful, unbiblical ways to try to control women.

But we can’t throw out submission because it’s been abused or misunderstood any more than we can throw out other passages of Scripture because they’re hard to understand or obey.

14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures (2 Pet. 3.14-16).

 

So, what should submission look like?

 

You might be surprised. First, let’s talk about what it’s not.  Continue reading

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 7 “The Wife’s Role” + LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 7 "The Wife's Role" - The Wife's Role: If there is one aspect of marriage that is often turned upside-down in today's culture, it's the roles of husbands and wives. If there's one issue that is usually part and parcel of marriage conflict, it's the roles of husbands and wives. If there is one subject that is most often misunderstood, it's this one.The Wife’s Role: If there is one aspect of marriage that is often turned upside-down in today’s culture, it’s the roles of husbands and wives. If there’s one issue that is usually part and parcel of marriage conflict, it’s the roles of husbands and wives. If there is one subject that is most often misunderstood, it’s this one.

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “The Wife’s Role”

 

Over the last few weeks we’ve talked about the key components of marriage that God laid out in Genesis 2.24: leaving, cleaving, and weaving. Last week we focused on how to weave our lives into the one-flesh relationship God’s wants us to have.

Today we’re going to talk about the wife’s role in a God-honoring marriage. Epesians 5 says:

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” Wives are to submit to the leadership of their husbands, according to verse 24, “in everything.” There is one exception and we’ll talk about that in a minute, but the commandment is plain.

For many of you reading this, that statement is not a surprise. It’s “old news,” if you will. You’ve heard it taught many times and you’re seeking to live it out. You, probably, even accept it as a good thing.

But for our culture as a whole, “them’s fightin’ words”!

Besides hundreds of hours of counseling, my husband and I taught our church’s “Preparing for Marriage” course for many years. I’ve seen so many prospective wives start the class excited to be there, until this subject rolled around. The more outspoken ones challenged the idea.

If you’ve ever talked to a new Christian or an unbeliever about submission, you’ve likely heard many of the same arguments:

“I believe in mutual submission.”

“That was for a different culture.”

“This isn’t the first century!”

“Paul wrote that and he was not even married (or a woman hater)!”

“Men wrote that and were just trying to keep women down.”

“You can’t take the Bible literally.”

“We’re not going to have THAT kind of marriage!”

“We talk about everything and decide together.”

You can probably come up with a few more. Some just reject it out of hand without even trying to understand what the Bible says.

 

Mutual Submission

 

imperfect authorityThere is mutual submission (Eph. 5.21). All of us are prefer others as more important to ourselves (Phil. 2.3-4). We’re to die to our own selfish desires (Lk. 9.23-24). Husbands are to be willing to die for their wives, not just literally, but in how they live out the command to love their wives as Christ does the church (Eph. 5.25). Wives are to die to their selfish desires to have things their way. Even parents must learn to die to self as they choose to do things for the good of the family as a whole and their children, in particular.

But just as Ephesians 5.25 has a specific command to husbands (more about that in the weeks to come), verses 22-24 above have a specific command for wives.  Continue reading

Marriage Made in Heaven? Part 6 “Weaving 101” + LINKUP

 

Marriage Made in Heaven "Weaving 101" - We all want intimacy in our marriages. We want our spouses to spend time with us, to consult us about decisions, to share our hopes and dreams, and to encourage us when we're struggling. We want openness and humility. We want to be treated kindly and to receive grace. Are there things we should be doing and not doing to achieve those things? And, if so, what are they?Weaving: We all want intimacy in our marriages. We want our spouses to spend time with us, to consult us about decisions, to share our hopes and dreams, and to encourage us when we’re struggling. We want openness and humility. We want to be treated kindly and to receive grace. Are there things we should be doing and not doing to achieve those things? And, if so, what are they?

We’ve been discussing the three components of marriage God laid out in Genesis 2.24 and other places in Scripture: leaving, cleaving, and what we’re calling “weaving,” growing in a one-flesh relationship. Last week we started talking about “weaving” and today we’re going to go a little deeper on the subject.

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Weaving 101”

 

As you remember, our foundation Scripture is:

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen. 2.24).

As I’ve said, the three key components mentioned here are all critical to a God-honoring marriage. They are “leaving,” “cleaving,” and “weaving (becoming one-flesh)”

Three weeks ago I focused on leaving. Briefly, it means we no longer depend on our parents emotionally, financially, or relationally. It means what they want or expect does not take priority over our spouse’s wishes and it means not running to them with every problem.

Two weeks ago, we talked about cleaving, including the fact that marriage is a covenant relationship.

Last week we began discussing what it means to become one-flesh.

Again, this one-flesh relationship includes the sexual aspect of marriage, but it is much more. Wayne Mack in his book Strengthening Your Marriage says, “Marriage is a total commitment and a total sharing of the total person with another person until death.”

Weaving our lives together means becoming one-flesh relationally, socially, and financially, as well as, physically. It’s a sharing of everything: thoughts, ideas, dreams, abilities, problems, fears, concerns, successes, and failures.

 

2 Kinds of Math: “1 + 1 = 2” or “1 + 1 = 1”

 

Because my husband and I have done so much marriage counseling over the years, we often notice how couples interact with one another. One of the saddest things we’ve observed is how often older couples go to a restaurant for dinner and eat the entire meal with hardly a word exchanged between them.

How does a couple who were once newlyweds, excited about marriage and each other, become so distant they can spend a hour sitting across the table with nothing to say? It happens one day, one choice at a time.

When God said, “they shall become one flesh,” we could say God’s marriage math is “1 + 1 = 1. That kind of math doesn’t happen by default. It takes effort. It takes laying down pride and selfishness. It takes making the time to communicate. It takes putting the other person’s preferences ahead of your own. And it takes being vulnerable and open to change.

Sin, selfishness, and pride are the enemies of a one flesh relationship. And without God’s help to change us from the inside out (2 Cor. 5.17), we are all selfish and prideful at our core. Even as believers in Christ, we’ve got to choose to put off pride and selfishness and to do those things that contribute to a strong, thriving marriage (Lk. 9.23-24).

But with many couples, the process of weaving never really happens or it gets short-circuited along the way.

Sometimes short-circuiting begins almost before the honeymoon is over.  Continue reading

Marriage Made in Heaven? Part 5 “Weaving” + LINKUP

 

 

Marriage Made in Heaven? Part 5 "Cleaving" - Previously, we've looked at an overview of marriage and have been discussing the three components of marriage God laid out in Genesis 2.24 and other places in Scripture: leaving, cleaving, and what we're calling "weaving," growing in a one-flesh relationship. Today we'll focus on "weaving."Previously, we’ve looked at an overview of marriage and have been discussing the three components of marriage God laid out in Genesis 2.24 and other places in Scripture: leaving, cleaving, and what we’re calling “weaving,” growing in a one-flesh relationship. Today we’ll focus on “weaving.”

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

The term “a marriage made in heaven,” may bring to mind different images, feelings, and expectations, but wherever you are, I believe this series has something for you.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Weaving”

 

Let’s look at our foundational Scripture once again:

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen. 2.24).

The three key components mentioned here are all critical to a God-honoring marriage.

Two weeks ago I focused on leaving. Briefly, it means we no longer depend on our parents emotionally, financially, or relationally. It means what they want or expect does not take priority over our spouse’s wishes and it means not running to them with every problem.

Last week, we talked about cleaving, including what it means when we say that marriage is a covenant relationship. God designed marriage to be a permanent relationship between one man and one woman for life.

Today we’ll talk about weaving, two becoming one.

This one-flesh relationship includes the sexual aspect of marriage, but it is much more. Wayne Mack in his book Strengthening Your Marriage says, “Marriage is a total commitment and a total sharing of the total person with another person until death.”

The marriage act should be a symbol of a more complete oneness. Weaving our lives together means becoming one-flesh relationally, socially, and financially, as well as, physically.

Couples should share everything, including: thoughts, ideas, dreams, abilities, problems, fears, concerns, successes, and failures. Ecclesiastes 4 says:

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. 10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

That’s not to say a person isn’t complete unless they’re married. If God has called you to singleness or a season of singleness, you are complete in Him. But when God said it was not good that man should be alone (Gen. 2.18), it referred to this idea of making up for what is lacking in each other.

Weaving our lives together is a picture of unity and deep intimacy, but it doesn’t mean we’re the same.

I’m always amazed at how God often brings together two people who are opposites in many ways. One will be a morning person and the other a night owl. One will be frugal and the other more spontaneous about spending. One may be outgoing and the other more of an introvert.

This can cause sparks as we’re learning to weave our lives together, but instead of expecting our spouses to be just like us, we should learn to appreciate each other’s differences. We should learn from and strengthen one another.

 

What Hinders Unity?

 

Genesis 2.25 says, “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” But as soon as they sinned, they “realized they were naked” and they tried to hide themselves (Gen. 3.7). This was more than just physical nakedness. It was vulnerability. They saw themselves in their fallen state. As soon as they sinned they wanted to cover up from God and, ultimately, from each other.

Sin still keeps us from the transparency and intimacy God designed for marriage. In our sin nature, we are self-protective and prideful, rather than open and honest. But the walls we build to protect ourselves keeps us from the intimacy we desire. We end up cheating ourselves.

Other sins like bitterness and unforgiveness, harshness, selfishness, stubbornness, anger, impatience, and unwholesome speech prevent us from unity and intimacy, too.  Continue reading

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 4 “Cleaving” + LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 4 "Cleaving" - The word "cleave" in <a class="bible-gateway" href="http://biblegateway.com/passage/?search=%26quot%3BGenesis&version=NIV" onclick="biblegwlinkpop(this.href,'"Genesis',800,950);return false;" target="_blank">"Genesis</a> means to cling or adhere; to abide fast; to be joined together." It means we are to stick like glue to each other. We're to cling to each other in sickness and in health; for richer or for poorer; for better or for worse. We're to stick together in joy and sorrow, good times and bad.We’ve all heard the phrase “a marriage made in heaven,” but it may bring to mind different thoughts and images. Perhaps, in your case, it’s of your parents’ marriage and whether it was a good one or a contentious one. Perhaps, it’s your own marriage and of the thoughts, dreams, commitments, even preconceptions, you had when you married.

Perhaps, it’s the thing to which you look forward or the one over which you’ve become discouraged. Wherever you are, I believe this series will have something for you. If your marriage is a good one, hopefully, you can fine tune some things and if you’re single, I pray you’ll take away truths that will help you in any future marriage or help you minister to others who are married. So, I hope you’ll tune in each week for this study, “A Marriage Made in Heaven?”

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Cleaving”

 

In week one I talked a little about God’s plan for marriage and how when Adam and Eve sinned and disobeyed God, it not only damaged their relationships with God, but with each other.

In week two I shared my own testimony of marriage, divorce, remarriage, and God’s grace. If you missed it, I hope you’ll check it out.

Last week I started talking about one of God’s clearest and most definitive statement on marriage. It appears four times (Gen. 2.24; Matt. 19.5; Mk. 10.7-8; Eph. 5.31) in His inspired Word (once in the Old Testament, three times in the New, once before the fall, and three times after). It was and is God’s plan and purpose for marriage in a nutshell.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen. 2.24).

Often, when a couple is struggling in their marriage, it can be traced back to a failure to follow this blueprint in one or more of these areas. So what are the components of God’s divine plan for marriage listed in this verse?

As I said last week the key words are “leave,” “joined,” and “one flesh.” The word “joined” was translated “cleave” in the old King James Version and we’re calling the idea of becoming one flesh, “weaving.” So we are to leave, to cleave, and to weave our lives together.

Last week I focused on leaving. Briefly, it means we no longer depend on our parents emotionally, financially, or relationally. It means what they want or expect does not take priority over your spouse’s wishes and it means not running to them with every problem.

Today we’ll spend more time on what it means “to cleave.” Continue reading