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Marriage Course Handout 3

Handout 1

Handout 2

Marriage Course 3

INTRO - Matthew 19:5-6

The Fact of Oneness – you don’t produce oneness.  God HAS produced it.

The Kind of Oneness – Oneness on a mission.  INTIMATE ALLIES

Both ‘face to face’ and ‘side by side’

The Priority of Oneness – Marriage needs to be your ultimate human relationship

Have you left father and mother?

Are other relationships trumping your marriage relationship?

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DISCUSSION 1

How are you tempted to feel that your spouse is ‘alien’ to you?  How do Jesus’ words confront this feeling?

Can you describe a time when you experienced a deep oneness with your spouse?  What did you enjoy about this?

Is your marriage your ultimate human relationship?  Does your spouse know that you put your marriage first?

One way of asking this question is to ask:  Is your spouse’s respect and approval the one you seek most (or is it family/job/friends)?  Are you more afraid of upsetting family/job/friends or upsetting your spouse?

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PART TWO: SEX AND WORDS

Sex takes the clothes off every blessing and every problem of marriage!

Sex is not shallow.  It’s very deep.  One flesh is the very nature of your relationship.

The man moves out in strength to woo and serve and uncover his woman, to enter her world for her benefit and to bless her and make her fruitful.

The woman is to encourage his advances and warmly receive her husband and nurture their union.

Here I'm talking about sex, but I'm also talking about everything.

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1 Corinthians 7:1-5 – you belong to each other – bodies and all!

Neither spouse can simply demand sex and neither can simply refuse it.

There is a clear bias towards making love here.

Sex is to be freely given but it's also to be freely given.  You’ll have to talk about it!

For married couples seeking to reignite romance in marriage: http://www.romanceinmarriage.org/

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WORDS

Proverbs 12:18 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 15:4 The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.

Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Words are life or death!   Use very carefully!

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Proverbs 15:1 – Christ has turned away the wrath due to us.  He answered our harshness with gentleness

Part of taking up the cross will be to answer each other with gentleness.

It will feel like a tremendous sacrifice - but it will bring life

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DISCUSSION 2 Beware putting pressure on each other.  Remember change begins with ourselves and the atmosphere of marriage is unconditional love.

SEX

What messages about sex did you receive growing up?  What does sex mean to you today?

What do you think a God’s eye view of sex is?

“Sex takes every problem and every blessing of the marriage into the bedroom and takes the clothes off it.”  Does that resonate with you?  What problems and blessings have been intensified in your sex life?

How can you ensure that sex is freely given and freely given?  Is there added time and space you need to give to your sexual relationship?  And/or do you need to talk to another trusted couple about this area?

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WORDS

How were words used in your home growing up?  Has that affected the way you use words in your marriage?

When have your spouse’s words brought ‘healing to your bones’?  When have your own words brought death?

What makes for a good and healing conversation?  Perhaps it will be different for you than for your spouse.

Jesus ‘washes us with water through the word’ (Ephesians 5:26).  Do you have a vision for how your words can cleanse and heal and bring your spouse towards greater Christlikeness?  What can you do to ensure you keep on speaking healing words to each other?

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Forgiveness

Three images:

1)      Cancelling a debt;

Matthew 18, especially v27: Take pity, cancel the debt, let them go

2) Turning the other cheek;

Not lashing back.  Not shrinking back.

Standing your ground in gentleness

Ignore the aggression, leave the relationship on the table

3) Overlooking wrongs

Not everything has to be confronted!!!

This will require a big view of Christ's forgiveness.

Put a figure on it - He has cancelled £100 billion for me.  My spouse cost me £200 today.

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Homework:

On Forgiveness:

How can you seek to remind yourself of Christ’s forgiveness daily?

Are there issues where you need to ‘take pity’, ‘cancel the debt’ and ‘let your spouse go’?

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Finally, write each other a vision letter:

Jesus washes His spouse with water through the word (Ephesians 5:26).  His words to us cleanse us and bring to where we ought to be as His people.  A vision letter is an opportunity to do this for our spouses.  What is your vision for your spouse?  As you look at your spouse you see wonderful, God-given gifts and you see fears and sins holding them back.  Where do you think they could be in 10 years time if the Spirit really got a hold of them?  Put words to your vision for your spouse.  Read out your letters to one another (they only need to be a side in length).  Pray together towards this vision.

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