Gospel Centered Marriage

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Mentor Training

Welcome to the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage” pre-marital mentoring page. We want this page to provide everything you need to provide every engaged couple in your church with a mentor couple who can walk them through a comprehensive pre-marital program. We also want to see the experienced marriages in your church enriched as they invest in engaged couples who are just beginning their marital journey.All the components necessary to launch this ministry at your church are available at: www. ...

Romantic Conflict

Mon Oct 30 2017 (43:52)

Luke 9:23-24

The following message was given at The Summit Church on February 9-10, 2013. It examines the implications ofJesus’ call to discipleship in Luke 9:23-24 for marital conflict and romance.This sermon represents the core concepts that are developed further in the“Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage” seminar series that is comprised of:FoundationsCommunicationFinancesDecision-MakingIntimacyThe content of this sermon became the foundation for my booklet Romantic Conflict: Embracing Desires the Bless N ...

Sex as One of God’s Gifts for Marriage (Part Two)

If you do a good job applying chapter four and have a basic understanding of the fundamentals of intercourse, then you may be wondering, “Is there really anything else we need to know? Let us go and do our thing already.” Which brings up an important point, you can be so intentional that sex becomes mechanical and loses its passion.There is still more to learn – things that can enhance your sexual experience and common obstacles to avoid – but do not fall into the pattern of thinking that you ne ...

Sex as One of God’s Gifts for Marriage (Part One)

How do you feel as we get ready to talk about sex? Nervous, excited, guilty, awkward, self-conscious, aroused, or tired of me asking question and ready to get the conversation started? Surprising to many people, the first step towards a great sex life is the ability to talk about sex. Sex is a “team sport” and communication is essential to anything involving the synchronization of two people’s bodily movements (not to mention schedules and emotions).For many couples the most beneficial thing the ...

Living in THE Love Story

What is the love story mold into which you want your marriage to grow? Cinderella, Pretty Woman, Snow White, Titanic, Gone with the Wind, It’s a Wonderful Life, Sleepless in Seattle, Grease, Jerry Maguire, Dirty Dancing, etc…? Whether the plot line comes from Hollywood cinema or not, we all have an ideal “narrative” we want our marriage to follow.As one friend of my wife pointed out, “All chic-flicks are about the same thing. The guy does everything the girl wants to win the girl’s love and atte ...

Appreciating Our Differences: An Essential Part of Lasting Romance

Which system is the right system? What gauge is the right gauge? What metaphor best captures what we’re supposed to be paying attention to? If you have read many books on marriage you know how confusing these questions can be: love languages, pink hearing aids, blue sun glasses, love tanks, love banks, waffles, spaghetti, Mars, Venus, his needs, her needs, love, respect, love dare, seven key questions, seven minute solutions, new marriages by Friday, fourteen secrets, etc… (that’s from a two min ...

20 Challenges Related to Marital Intimacy

What are we going to talk about in this seminar? Sex… romance… affection… affirming words… weekly date nights… talking about our feelings… vulnerability… What is “intimacy”?Chances are you won’t create something you can’t define and many couples have a hard time agreeing about what counts as intimacy. “Agreeing to disagree” is definitely not the solution to this dilemma.For this seminar “intimacy” will be used to capture the full breadth of romantic activities shared by husband and wife; from en ...

Headship-Submission Decision Making

We’re now in a position to discuss headship-submission. From chapter two, we know what we’re after (God’s will). From chapter three, we’ve assessed how to make wise, mature personal decisions which lay a foundation for joint decision making. From chapter four, we’ve examined consensus as the preferred first-choice for how to make marital decisions. But those approaches will not cover everything.The big question now should be, “What’s left? If we do a good job with what we’ve already learned, sho ...

Consensus Decision Making

For some consensus is the epitome of all things good… “if only everyone could get along and agree on the kind of world that was best.” For others it is the encapsulation of all that is wrong with the world… “trying to get everyone to agree results in bland, sterile uniformity with no conviction or passion.” When you consider anything significant out of context you will eventually reach those kinds of polarized positions. That is why we are considering consensus decision making in the context of ...

Personal Decision Making

It is one thing to “see” a fashion faux pas or the spin on a curve ball. It is another thing to be able to know what to “do” in response to either; what fashion correction to make or hot to adjust your swing. In the last chapter, we gained eyes to see several of the most common misconceptions or points of confusion about decision making and God’s will. In this chapter, we will strive to learn what to do with that information.As we walk into this conversation, there is a dilemma we must address. ...

Thinking Well about God’s Will

Often when someone is going through a hard time they will talk about “working on” or “processing” their pain. Those sound like concrete phrases. If someone is “working on” a fence, we can safely assume hammer, nails, or paint is involved. If a store is “processing” a purchase, we can assume they are shipping the product and passing the finances through their accounting department. But in the relational or emotional realm phrases like “working on” and “processing” become highly ambiguous.Similarl ...

20 Challenges Related to Marital Decision Making

Trying to learn how to make decisions, as an individual or as a couple, can feel a bit like trying to learn how to breathe. It seems like something that has to be natural in order to be effective. If we had to think about breathing, then we’d fear getting distracted and suffocating. When we think about being intentional in our decision making it can quickly feel like such an effort would take over our lives.There is good deal of merit to this concern. If we tried to bring overt thought and presc ...

Getting In to Saving

Momentum is a gloriously dangerous thing. It can either propel you forward or cause you to crash. If you have made it to this point in the process (not just the seminar), then you have created a lot of possibilities that will either greatly enhance or deter your personal, marital, and spiritual life. But either way, at this point something significant will happen.While debt is a powerful negative force of slavery (Prov. 22:7), money is a powerful neutral force. Well-managed money does not necess ...

Getting Out of Debt

It is the rare (but wise) couple who begins planning (budgeting) before they begin doing (spending). From the moment he asks, “Will you marry me?” there are more expenses than there are funds available. Most couples have accumulated debt even before they start planning their wedding, honeymoon, and life together. The result is that most couples have debt to eliminate (chapter four) before they can move toward short-term and long term saving (chapter five). The absence of a financial plan generat ...

Creating a Budget You Will Actually Use

In this chapter we will take the journey from mere numbers on a piece of paper to a living document that directs your life towards your family mission and values. Embracing this distinction is the difference between something you will try-and-quit and a lifestyle change that you’ll embrace and advocate for others. The purpose of a budget is more than mere number-awareness, but spending your life on purpose for the distinct reasons God created you.This chapter will read like “step work,” but it i ...

What Is a Budget Anyway?

Budgets are a victim of prejudice. Everyone hates them, but most people who hate them don’t really know them. They have only heard budgets talked about badly and have embraced that negative sentiment as their own. Or they take a simplistic caricature of a budget and deride it to make them feel better about their own budget-less existence. They make jokes about budgets to reinforce the idea that these are absurd, slavish documents that should be ostracized.Here is the challenge of this chapter – ...

20 Marital Challenges Related to Finances

Imagine you’re on the Family Feud game show. The host comes to you and says, “We’ve surveyed 100 families and asked what they believe is a good idea, but still don’t do. Can you give us one of the top five answers?” There is a good chance if you answered, “Budgeting,” you would have the #1 answer.There is no one who really believes, “You can neglect paying attention to your finances and expect everything to turn out fine. Spend what you want, when you want, try not to be excessive (but don’t def ...

Uncomfortable Forgiveness: Absorbing the Cost of Their Sin for His Glory and Our Good

C.S. Lewis hit the nail on the head when he wrote, “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive (p.115; Mere Christianity).” We instinctively realize there are few gifts that we can give or receive which are more precious and costly than forgiveness. With a bit of reflection, we realize that forgiveness is not something we can give ourselves (contrary to the popular notion). It is something that must be given at significant personal cost to the giver. This is ...

Repenting with Excellence: Changing the Momentum of Your Marriage

The first half of this seminar was about preventing the need for repentance – the better we understand the challenges of communication, how to listen well, and engage in day-to-day communication, the less we will need to repent. The last chapter was focused on limiting the severity of what we have to repent from – the better we understand what makes conflict spiral, the less damage our sin will do. But no amount of writing on this topic will remove the need for both husband and wife to be excell ...

Conflict Resolution: Navigating Differences without Dividing

The best outcome for marital conflict is neither avoidance nor victory, but honor and unity. We must realize how much the mindset we take into conflict determines the outcome of our disagreements. Many of us feel like conflict is inherently wrong and, therefore, whenever it occurs, feel defeated. Others of us are competitive and when conflict arises have an instinctual “game on” response that generates a “refuse to lose” mindset.Conflict done well can be the best friend of your marriage. This is ...

Day-to-Day Communication: The Oil in the Machine of Marriage

What is the least obvious and most important part of a fish tank? The water. Water is essential for the life of the fish and plants. Water upholds and sways the decorations. Water is what reflects the light in “aquatic” ways and captures our attention. Yet no one ever looks at a fish tank and says, “Wow! You’ve got great water.” If the tank is algae-ridden, then people may say, “Yuck! You need to clean your water.” Water in a fish tank shares a roll similar to day-to-day communication in a marri ...

Listening: The Neglected Key to a Marital Communication

We often miss the power of common things. Being at a little league game doesn’t seem like a big deal until you hear an adult lament, “My father never came to any of my games.” We often only fully appreciate the significance of small things our spouse does after they pass away and “life feels so empty now.” When we look back at the people who most shaped our lives, it usually because of their presence and care in ordinary moments rather than great actions or profound words.Listening is another co ...

20 Challenges Related to Marital Communication

Many couples who sincerely try to improve their communication fail to get the results proportionate to their effort. The result is that they feel defeated or get angry. From this they either begin to blame “incompatibility” or their spouse. Periodically they feel convicted and commit to “try harder” at what didn’t work before.The purpose of this chapter is to help you discover common misconceptions or oversights about communication that prevent sincere effort from producing marital unity. These ...

The Unique Aspects of a Christian Wife’s Job Description

In this podcast we will look at the five key characteristics of a Christian wife. These are the gender-specific responsibilities for women that God adds to the gender-neutral responsibilities of marriage. Well-Suited Helper Submissive to Her Husband Woman of Competence Enthusiastic LoverOverseer of Her HomeBoth a husband and wife should be able to say, “What I do at home is the most important and satisfying part of my life.” Until we do, the sacrifices of being a Christ-like servant-leader and C ...

The Unique Aspects of a Christian Husband’s Job Description

A true man is one who loves and leads his family well. Any married man who fails in loving or leading his family is less than masculine; regardless of strength, influence, income, intelligence, sexual prowess, or appearance. These attributes have become a counterfeit economy for masculinity, replacing the biblical ideal. In this podcast, we will look at the five key characteristics of a Christian husband. These are the gender-specific responsibilities for men that God adds to the gender-neutral ...

The Shared Job Description of a Christian Husband and Wife

In these final three podcast from the GCM: Foundations semianr, we will be looking to answer the following questions: (a) What does the Bible actually teach and what do Christians only culturally assume about gender roles? (b) What are the pre-requisites to the healthy and satisfying implementation of roles within marriage? (c) What kind of process can a couple walk through in order to effectively discover what roles will look like in their unique marriage?There is an overlooked assumption in th ...

Marriage as Covenant

What makes marriage hard? Ouch! That was a hard chapter. What makes marriage work? Wow! It is so easy to neglect those things. What is powerful enough to overcome the obstacles to a long and mutually satisfying marriage? Covenant! Only when we see what God made marriage to be will we treat marriage as God intended for it to be treated and experience in marriage what God intended to give.When something becomes common, its meaning and significance are forgotten. This is true of marriage and the we ...

What Makes Marriage Work?

What?!? What does it take to make marriage work? How does our marriage enrichment not degenerate into a series of random acts of kindness driven or distracted by the tyranny of the urgent? How do we ensure that our individual acts of marital enrichment are working together to build a momentum and gather energy from one another? These are important questions to ask, even if you are not currently discouraged or overwhelmed by the number of seemingly unrelated things that need to be done to improve ...

20 Challenges Related to Marital Foundations

Why?!? Why do so many marriages that begin with sincere love and the best intentions end in divorce? Why do so many marriages that start with great promise and greater dreams end up just staying together “for the kids” and “living as roommates”? These are disturbingly relevant questions regardless of where we are in our marital journey (i.e., dating, engaged, newlywed, or celebrating an anniversary).Whatever the answer is, Christians are not immune to “it.” The divorce rate among Christian coupl ...