Summary: This is the outline I adapted from Jack Allen’s book of the same title and used at a marriage retreat.

Session One: Introduction & First Down


Some marriages start out with a big play.

A. What are "Big Plays?"

a. $40,000 wedding, new homes, new cars, birth a kid, vacations, graduations, financial success.

b. Although they have a big play....many of those marriages will fail.

(Big plays rarely win a football game either.)

B. Winning football teams string together enough first downs (small plays) to do two things.

a. Move the ball into a position to score.

b. Keep possession of the ball so the other team doesn’t get a chance to score.

C. Over the course of this weekend I want to give you four key plays that make a winning marriage.

The four plays....

1 First Down: Focus on the goal

2 Second Down: Commitment

3 Third Down: Honor

4 Fourth Down: Teachability

D. Let’s Pray and get busy.

First Down: Focus On The Goal


Most of us have fond memories of our wedding.

*So much emphasis was put on the cultural and social blessing of the wedding/marriage.

*vows, promises were made before family, friends and God.

*We sometimes lose focus of the fact that it is God that will give us the power that will allow us to keep those vows/promises.

A It’s hard to keep focused. (Can you remember your wedding ceremony w/o watching the video tape?)

a It’s easy to forget that it is God...and not the photographer/caterer...that authors and blesses your union.

b Successful football teams will line up for first down with one clear goal:

To execute the play as a single unit. (Not flawlessly, just successfully)

Matthew 19:5-6

"[5] and said, `For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ ? [6] So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

*The play we are trying to execute is to become ONE.

B Men and Women tend to focus on different areas.

a Women tend to focus on significance inside the home/family. The Home is Cursed!

GE 3:16 To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."

Men tend to focus on significance outside the home. Career is Cursed!

GE 3:18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return

(IL) Put 20 women in a room and their husbands in another room and ease drop on each room. The women will talk about their families and men will talk about their jobs.

b Take your pen and draw a squiggly line going to the left and write "She Chases Kids".

Now take your pen and draw a squiggly line going to the right and write "He Chases Career"

*They are drifting apart just the way married couples can drift apart!!!

C A better focus comes by acting like Christ.

a Another picture. (Dray a Cross) Draw a line going to Jesus from the right and another going to Jesus from the left. (Two things happen)

*As men and women we draw closer to God.

*As husbands and wives, we draw closer to each other.

b How do we do this? Matt. 7:24-27

MT 7:24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. [25] The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. [26] But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. [27] The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

We can build our marriages on solid ground by...vv:26

(1) Listing to God

(2) Doing what He says. (It’s that easy!)

*Jesus Never calls a bad play. People who want to follow God’s game plan spend a lot of time with the play book. (Bible)

D How do we talk to the coach? (Ex. 33:11)[11] The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.

a How do you get advice from a friend? (Ask!)

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