At some point I want to re-jig and expand the marriage stuff we did. Week 1 is where I'd change things the most (I'd probably do more stuff like this and this). But for those who are interested, here is Handout 1. Handout 2 is here. I'll post Handout 3 tomorrow.
Marriage Course 1
INTRO – Not a bubble bath!
Lifting the lid on the fairytale. It’s really a battle!
The culture says it's meant to feel like a relaxing bubble bath.
Instead it feels like a scalding hot bath full of antiseptic, and you are covered in cuts and bruises.
But it's very healing!
Marriage and the Cross – dying to live
You can live to self and your marriage will die, or you can die to self and your marriage will live.
Your spouse has the power to harm and heal you like no other.
Marriage depends on change. And it starts with you.
Here's our prayer for the course - it's for each of us individually to pray:
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
What picture of marriage did you have when you began? Where did that come from?
How were these expectations changed by the reality of marriage?
Have you seen personal change for the better in your spouse which you can encourage them about?
Do you have a sense of where the LORD is calling you to die? Pray together about it (using Ps 139).
What is a marriage? Gospel presentation
One man and one woman bound together the way Christ is united to His church.
It is a gospel proclamation:
"All that I am I give to you, all that I have I share with you."
Christ says that to you. Do you know this to be true?
Now you say it to each other...
... and the world looks on and sees the gospel.
Your marriage preaches
For good or ill! But you can't stop it preaching
You may be preaching a lousy Christ to your wife, but you can't stop preaching Christ to her
You may be preaching a lousy gospel to the world, but you can't stop preaching
Marriage is momentary.
We think that Christ and the church is like marriage.
No - Christ and the church is the true marriage. We've got the copy.
You marriage therefore is not ultimate
Remember - you will not be married to your spouse in heaven (You'll be great friends though!)
We are not to build a World of Our Own.
The dangers of feeding each other’s sins - Ephesians 2:3!
How do you feel about the fact your marriage preaches the gospel?
How do you feel about the fact your marriage is momentary?
Are you in danger of seeking too much from your marriage / your spouse?
Are you aware of areas where you demand or allow sinful patterns in your marriage? What needs to change in you to address this?
What is a marriage? Covenant union.
God’s covenant “I will be your God, you will be my people”
Unconditional love – ‘I love you because I love you.’
Conditionality is the Killer!!
Think of ways in which you approach your spouse conditionally.
Usually resentment will be a good indicator of prior conditionality.
A troubled couple say "We don't love each other any more." The solution: "Love each other then!"
“Don’t love her because she’s beautiful, love her to make her beautiful.”
Unconditional love has power to cleanse and rename (Eph 5:26; Isaiah 62:4)
Vision for your spouse is crucial - Christ works with a vision for the church
In the context of unconditional love, there is the power to reshape our identity.
Individually, think and pray through the following questions (keeping in mind Eph 2:3)
What are my cravings?
How am I using my spouse to gratify them?
What is the shape of my flesh? Am I naturally needy, closed, loud, withdrawn, sharp, cold, lazy, driven?
How does this affect my spouse? How does it play out in the marriage?
Together, read through Ephesians 5:22-33:
How are husband and wife supposed to be different?
How are husband and wife supposed to be united?
How are we going? Are we different where we need to be different? And one where we need to be one?