Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Refuge, Strength, Encouragement

This Sunday at TNC was week 2 in the "How to Wreck Your Marriage" series. As I said below this series so far has been very enlightening and I have learned so much that I have obviously forgotten. I have posted the sermon notes below.

How to Wreck Your Marriage

Week 2: November 8, 2009

THE MESSAGE: Watch online at http://www.truenorthchurch.com/.

Other than Jesus Christ, marriage can be one of the greatest refuges there is. Statistics for successful marriages, however, are staggering. It is said that roughly 2 out of 10 couples experience marriage the way God intended. Over half of marriages end in divorce, and the ones that do last may not be the strong, loving relationships among two people they were meant to be. One out of four marriages go through affairs, thus affair proofing your marriage is vital to its survival.

Although affair proofing a marriage is not entirely possible, measures must be taken to make it last. Proverbs 4:23 says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." Guarding your heart means staying in the game and not building walls. Marriage takes active participation between a husband and wife. Spouses must be a refuge and a source of strength and encouragement for each other. Don't be the opposites of these things. A blueprint to this is Ephesians 5:25-33.

When you're not a refuge to your spouse, their ability to be themselves goes down. Numbness enters the picture, and affairs follow the pain that was experienced. Fight. You can either fight for your marriage or fight in divorce. The passage in Ephesians states that married couples are united as one. Respect each other. When disrespect enters marriage, it's gasoline on a fire.

Seek intentionally to address and heal the major wounds in your life. Do you have pain from past experiences that is leading you to wrongful behavior? Share this with someone. Seek godly counsel and work it out. These things can ruin a marriage when not dealt with properly. God gives example of His healing in 2 Kings 20:5 when this happens. You have to trush in others to make your marriage work, and you must confess (James 5:16). Don't allow these wounds to sit in darkness and lead to darkness.

The environment necessary for love to grow in marriage is one of freedom and responsibility. Don't control your spouse's every move. Love can't be experienced without giving someone freedom to love you. Control leads to escape being sought, and in marriage, that escape is often an affair. Put boundaries in place, and don't overburden your spouse. A tired spouse will fanticise about what else can be.

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