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Summary: God created marriages for our good and for His glory - how then do we seek to make our marriage the very best it can be? What are the "little foxes" that threaten the home and how do we deal with them?

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All The Little Foxes - Song of Songs 2:14-15 - November 18, 2012

Series: After The Honeymoon #8

Well this morning we return, after a long hiatus, to our series on marriage entitled, “After the Honeymoon.” And again, our desire through this series is that good marriages would become great, that hurting marriages would find healing, and that whether we are married or not, that the Word of God would be allowed to inform, shape, and direct the way we live our lives. So what we talk about this morning is going to be for everyone – it will apply to our marriages, yes, but it will also apply to any relationship in general - a friendship, an acquaintance, a family member – and it will apply to, to our churches. So while I may focus on the marriage union in light of this series, remember that God’s truth is truth for all, and that as we grow in God’s word we grow together as the church.

Now you may remember from previous messages that the purpose of marriage is two-fold. First, marriage is for God’s glory. God chose marriage as the living illustration of Christ’s relationship with the church. Jesus is the bridegroom, if you will, and the church is His bride. This is the imagery we find in the Bible. And in that relationship, in that union, we learn a lot about the significance of marriage in God’s eyes. The world does not hold marriage in much regard these days – God, however, esteems it highly. And as a wife is to willingly submit to the headship of her husband, so too is the church to willingly submit itself to the headship of Christ. Now, for a woman, that idea of submission can be daunting. It can evoke anger, and fear, and bitterness. It can bring forth pain, and distance and rebellion. But it can only do those things when that headship is being abused. Because the other part of the relationship is this: Jesus so loved the church that He lay down His life for her. And husbands, we are called upon to love our wives in the same fashion – not demanding and taking, but lovingly leading and laying down our lives again and again that we may bless our wives and so honor God just as Christ as has done. Marriage is for God’s glory but He’s only glorified when we do marriage God’s way.

Secondly, marriage is for our good. Scripture tells us that it was not good for Adam to be alone. That’s the testimony of Scripture. It was, however, good for Adam to have Eve in his life and for the two of them to share life together as husband and wife. Why is that? Because as we do life together in an intimate union like that, we are living out the truth of the Gospel message which we have received. We are, by necessity and hopefully by desire, practicing grace, forgiveness, love and mercy in the context of that union. And sometimes your spouse acts as a mirror that reveals the work that God is trying to do in molding and shaping you for His glory and His work. As we respond to that we are growing in our faith, and in relationship with Jesus, as our attitudes, thoughts, values, priorities are transformed and redeemed by Christ.

So those are the two purposes of marriage that we have talked about during the course of this series. But those purposes open up a whole new world of questions that we desire to have answered, don’t they? Questions like this: What exactly is God’s plan for marriage? After all marriage isn’t a manmade institution but rather a God created union between one man and one woman.

How is it that marriage is for our good? We’ve talked about that a little bit but the truth is that a marriage may be fantastic, yet even the best of marriages is going to have those moments when we find ourselves wondering, “what good can come of this?”

How do we make our marriages the very best they can be? When you’re first married everything is new and exciting and we tend to see the world through rose colored glasses. But as the years pass maybe some of that excitement wanes. Maybe children come along and all your time and energy, or that of your spouse, has been poured into raising the children – and you wouldn’t trade those kids for anything, well maybe some days you would!, but generally speaking you wouldn’t trade those kids for the world, but it’s changed your relationship with your spouse. Or perhaps your spouse begins to suffer from an illness or a disease and new challenges have entered into the life you’re doing together and its put an incredible strain on your relationship. Maybe one or both of you have become workaholics and you’re never home to connect with each other. Or perhaps you’re both at home and you’re just not speaking much – the hurt and the heartache that you’ve experienced is threatening to tear the two of you apart. So how do we recover from these things? How do we make our marriages the best they can be?

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