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 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

“Strengthening Your Marriage” + LINKUP

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource.

 

This week’s selection is Strengthening Your Marriage by Dr. Wayne Mack.

 

Strengthening Your Marriage - How is your marriage? Is it good? Is it great? Could it use some work or, at least, some fine tuning? Marriages, even good ones, need regular maintenance.How is your marriage? Is it good? Is it great? Could it use some work or, at least, some fine tuning? Marriages, even good ones, need regular maintenance.

Genesis 2.24 says:

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

This is much more than the obvious physical union between a man and a woman. This is a unity of hearts and goals that requires good communication and a laying down of our own selfish agendas to follow God’s agenda.

Amos 3.3 says, “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?”

As Christians our goals should be in line with God’s goals for marriage, but that won’t happen unless we know and understand God’s blueprint.

Dr. Wayne Mack’s book, Strengthening Your Marriage, can be a great tool for helping any couple do just that. The book is made up of 8 Units to study together as a couple or as part of a small group:

  1. God’s Purpose for Marriage
  2. The Wife’s Responsibilities
  3. The Husband’s Responsibilities
  4. Good Communication
  5. Financial Agreement
  6. Sexual Unity
  7. Raising Children
  8. Family Religion

Each unit begins with a teaching section in the form of an amplified outline. Key points are noted and all points are accompanied by Scripture references. The teaching section is followed by study questions and practical exercises to work through as a couple. Dr. Mack says: Continue reading

“Ever feel like you have a purse with holes?” July 22

 

Do you feel like your have a purse with holes? Have you put God on a back-burner? Are your priorities God's priorities? Could He be using circumstances to get your attention?Ever feel like you have a purse with holes? Have you put God on a back-burner? Are your priorities God’s priorities? Could He be using circumstances to get your attention?

 

Today’s Readings:
Ezra 5 & 6
Psalm 87.1-7
Proverbs 21.19-20
Acts 23.1-15

 

Ever feel like you have a purse with holes?

 

Ezra 5 & 6:

Are your priorities God’s priorities?

 

The people who had come back enthusiastic and ready to rebuild the temple, had met some resistance and gradually quit doing God’s work and, instead, got busy with their own lives.

God used the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to stir and rebuke the people about their priorities. In Haggai 1, God said:

“‘Consider your ways! You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.’ Thus says the Lord God of Hosts, ‘Consider your ways! Go up to the mountain, bring wood and rebuild the temple, that I may be pleased with it and be glorified,’ says the Lord” (Hag. 1.5-8).

What about you? Do you need to consider your ways? Are your priorities God’s priorities? Have you gotten “too busy” to be concerned about the things of God? Do you feel like you work hard, but everything goes into a purse that is full of holes? Could God be using circumstances to get your attention?

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Psalm 87.1-7:

Everything Comes from Him

 

Verse 7b says, “All my springs are in you.” In Acts 17.28 Paul said, “… in Him we live and move and have our being.” James 1.17 says, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above … ” (NASB).

God is the source of every talent, every ability, every blessing. Scripture tells us that He even blesses the unrighteous in many ways. The Puritans called it “common grace.” And yet, we are so easily puffed up and become proud of our achievements, our possessions, even, our children. We need to be careful to give God the glory that He and He alone is due!

 

Proverbs 21.19-20:

Contentious and Angry

 

In verse 19, God again sees fit to warn us, ladies, that we can easily go from being a blessing to being a curse to our husbands and/or children.

“Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman.”

Of course, we women are not the only ones who struggle with anger and it’s just as destructive when it’s you men.

angry kids childrenIf you struggle with anger get a copy of Wayne Mack’s book Anger & Stress Management God’s Way. In it he explains that anger that is selfishly focused or controls us is sinful—no matter how we try to justify it. If you’re dealing with angry children, check out The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo or Getting a Grip: The Heart of Anger Handbook for Teens. Both are extremely practical and helpful for parents and children alike.  Continue reading

“Anger & Stress Management God’s Way” + LINKUP

 

Anger & Stress Management God's WayWelcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Anger & Stress Management God’s Way by Wayne Mack.

 

Anger and Stress: Who hasn’t struggled with one or both of them at some time? And if we don’t learn to get them under control, they can cause a lifetime of damage.

Most of us know people who’ve been told they need “anger management,” but anger is ultimately a heart issue and if we don’t learn to manage it God’s way it will just show up somewhere else.

Stress is usually quieter, but can rob us of the peace and joy that can and should be ours.

I have used Dr. Mack’s book many times in counseling, but it can be used very effectively by individuals and couples, as well. It’s very readable, practical, and can be life changing for those looking for God’s truth in this area.

From the introduction:

Anger! Stress! These are two words that are used frequently in the course of our daily lives. They’re so commonly used because they describe a very common phenomenon. Who of us has not been on the giving and receiving end of anger? Unfortunately, the same is true of stress. We all know people or perhaps we’re the people who have been “stressed out.” Well, whether it’s anger or stress, we are all too familiar with the experience. Who of us has never observed or even been a participant in the devastating consequences of either of these two destroyers?

Yes, I call them destroyers because that’s what they are and do. Nothing good has ever come out of mishandled stress or sinful anger. Scripture says, “Wrath is fierce and anger a flood” (Proverbs 27: 4). How picturesque and how true is this description of sinful anger. An unbiblical kind of anger is like a flood that destroys people and property. Truly, “the wrath of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1: 20). In fact, it does the opposite. It never does anything good, but it surely does a lot of damage. So we must learn how to control it, or it will destroy us and other people either literally or figuratively.

Likewise, it can be said that stress is much like anger in its effects on the individual and his relationships with people. Eustress (good stress – a certain amount of concern) is good, but eustress can quickly and easily become distress, which by definition is that which causes sorrow, misery, pain or suffering.

The eight chapters that follow are full of practical information about the differences between sinful anger and righteous anger, the roots of stress, the consequences of mishandling anger and stress, and “the way of escape” from sinful ways of responding to the stressors and trigger points of life. Each truth is backed up with Scripture references.

One of the most helpful chapters contains six diagnostic questions to help us get to the Continue reading

“Sweethearts for a Lifetime” + LINKUP

 

Sweethearts for a LifetimeWelcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Sweethearts for a Lifetime: Making the Most of Your Marriage by Wayne and Carol Mack.

 

I’m frequently asked about good devotionals for couples. Sweethearts for a Lifetime is one of my favorites.

Wayne and Carol Mack have been married almost 50 years. Wayne was a pastor for many of those years. He has taught college and graduate school courses in biblical counseling at The Master’s College and Seminary; Westminster Theological Seminary, Biblical Seminary and the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation. He has conducted seminars and conferences and been the Director of a Counseling Center and Training School. He is a charter member of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (formerly NANC).

He and Carol are both Certified Biblical Counselors and and have done hours and hours of counseling. Their ministry has helped many couples throughout the years and, through this book, that wisdom and insight is available to us.

Who would benefit from a book like this?

Maybe you’ve been married for decades. Maybe you’re a newlywed. Maybe you already know your marriage needs some work. Maybe your marriage is basically solid, but like all marriages, can use ongoing tuneups to keep things running smoothly. Maybe you and your spouse aren’t a divorce statistic, but have long since ceased to be sweethearts. Or maybe you’re engaged and don’t want your marriage to end up like so many others. Is this book for you?

Yes … yes … and yes!

 

What can you expect to find?

The book is divided into three sections. Part 1 covers the six P’s of a good marriage relationship. Parts 2 and 3 discuss how to be a fulfilled and fulfilling husband and wife, respectively.

The chapters are short, making it possible to do one each day. Many include inventories and assessments to help you see where your marriage needs work and most have Continue reading

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