Marriage Course 2 – Enjoying the Differences?
INTRO – The Good News of Marriage
The Bible is a love story.
The story of the King who marries the prostitute.
He sets His affection on her, not because she's beautiful but to make her beautiful.
She gains all His riches and He takes all her debts.
She has His name, His family, His status the minute they are united.
So how does Jesus feel about us (His bride)?
Delighted (Isaiah 62:4)
The power of Christ’s unconditional love:
1) OPENS YOUR HEART TO HOPE
Christ loves us even in the midst of our failures as spouses.
2) SUPPLIES THE POWER TO LOVE
John 13:3-5 – Jesus loves out of the love He receives from His Father.
We should love out of the love we receive from Jesus
3) FREES YOU TO EXAMINE SIN
A Christian's sins are like defused landmines - they still make you unfruitful
But they won't kill you - so dig down and root them out!
4) PROVIDES THE MODEL FOR MARRIAGE
Don’t love your spouse because they’re beautiful, love them to make them beautiful
Do you have a sense of Jesus’ love towards you – that He is delighted in you? Do you have a sense of His love towards your spouse? How would a deep knowledge of this affect your marriage?
How have you experienced unconditional love in life? In your marriage?
The Genesis of our Differences – Creation
Genesis 1:26-27 – Humanity is a unity in diversity because we image the Trinity
Men and women have different roles but equal status – just like the Persons of the Trinity.
Genesis 2:20 – Eve is a helper who is Adam’s counterpart.
Eve is from Adam’s side – his equal but different!
We must learn to appreciate rather than resent our spouse's differences
Might that annoying habit in fact be something God-given and 'suitable for you'?
You have married your equal - if you don't think so your marriage is in trouble!
What views of ‘men’ and ‘women’ have you brought into marriage? Where do they come from? How have they affected your marriage?
Do you agree that it’s possible to have equality with different roles?
Have you appreciated the differences of your spouse sufficiently? Have you appreciated their equality?
How is your spouse a ‘helper suitable for you’? Why has God put you two together?
The Genesis of our Differences – The Fall
The original sin is the outworking of marital dysfunction!
The silence of Adam, the grasping of Eve.
The Nagging Cycle: Proverbs 19:13; 21:9; 21:19; 25:24; 27:15
Husbands are responsible for nagging wives too!
The nagging wife is forever blowing the whistle to call 'off-side'
The husband is tempted to snatch it from her mouth or ignore her
Instead he should pass her the ball and they work together as a team.
The curses compound the differences
They strike at the heart of the calling of the man and woman
The woman, particularly gifted in nurture and family, will find this shot through with pain
The man, particularly gifted in impacting the world, will find this shot through with frustration
Think of the crises we face as men and women
A woman's typically comes when the children go to school or leave home
A man's typically comes when his career disappoints
Ephesians 5 is the redemption of this:
Husbands must lead in sacrificial love.
Wives must receive and respect their husbands.
But in the flesh:
Fallen men either become harsh overlords or retreating cowards. (Usually both at various points)
Fallen women either become closed and embittered or demanding absorbers. (Usually both at various points)
For Husbands: Do you love your wife and does she know that she is loved? Talk to her about this.
For Wives: Do you respect your husband and does he know that he is respected? Talk to him about this.
For Husbands: What models of masculinity have you grown up with or tend toward? Do you recognize in yourself the harsh overlord or retreating coward?
For Wives: What models of femininity have you grown up with or tend towards? Do you recognize in yourself the closed and embittered wife or the demanding absorber?
Where have the proper roles of Ephesians 5 worked in your marriage? Encourage each other.
Can you identify any of the negative patterns we’ve described tonight in your marriage? Be specific.
How might an unconditional resolve to love and submit redeem this situation? Pray about it.