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Summary: Unless the Lord builds the house its builders labor in vain! Marriage is an excellent proving ground for drawing lcloser to God and living out the reality of the Gospel message. As we seek God we also grow closer together! This message challenges every

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Growing Together - Hosea 10:12 - June 10, 2012

Series: After The Honeymoon - #6

The early years of Paul and Grace’s marriage were, what we would consider to be, fairly typical. When they got married there was so much excitement and enthusiasm that they couldn’t imagine it ever being any different. They had so much in common, and so many things that they liked to do together – their friends said they were “inseparable.” They found joy and satisfaction and contentment in each other’s company, whether they were doing something adventurous, or simply lying in bed reading books to each other. As long as they were together life felt right – it was good.

Paul had come to faith in his mid-twenties. He was a very new believer when he first met Grace, but he was hungry to know God better and that passion to go deeper with God, is one of the things that Grace was first attracted to. She liked what she saw in his life.

For her part, Grace had turned to God while still a child, and now, also in her mid-twenties, her love for Jesus was vibrant and full of life. That love tended to express itself best through music and worship. When Paul first saw Grace singing to the Lord, her face just seemed to radiate love and joy, and it was so heartfelt that Paul was mesmerized and he thought to himself, “this is a woman I could love.”

They made it a practice early on in their dating relationship to pray and read God’s word together. Those were exciting times as they drew closer to God and grew closer to one another as well. Within a year and a half of that first meeting they were married and setting up their new place. Life was great – there were a few minor adjustments to make of course – there always are. Paul discovered the hard way that Grace’s feet felt like block’s of ice and she learned that when he snored it sounded like a freight train hurtling through their bedroom. But all in all married life was everything they had always dreamed it would be and more.

They didn’t notice – at least not at first – that things were subtly changing. Looking back years later they could never figure out just when the changes first began. Maybe it was when the kid’s started to come along or when Paul accepted that new job. Somewhere in there, life got busy – very busy it seemed – and amidst all that busyness the fabric of the marriage began to unravel. It’s not that they didn’t love each other anymore – please don’t hear that this morning - it’s just that after 15 years they seemed to have drifted apart in ways they weren’t even sure they could explain to themselves, let alone to one another.

Their marriage wasn’t bad – it just was what it was. The passion was gone. The excitement was gone. In some ways even the contentment was gone. They would catch little glimpses of all those things from time to time - but the reality was that in between trying to stay ahead of the bills, trying to keep up with the kids and their school work, dealing with illnesses and problems in the extended families, there was very little life left for each other.

Somewhere along the way they had shifted from really living life, to merely struggling to survive. One of the first casualties in this struggle was their intimacy – that sense of closeness that you share with the one person in the world who knows you better than anyone else. Instead of the romantic walks, hand in hand, that they used to take, or the shared laughter as they played a game together, more and more they retreated into their own separate worlds – Paul into the T.V. and Grace into her books. Every so often one would look over at the other, silently gazing at them, wondering what had happened to what they used to have, and not knowing how to get it back again. And perhaps you’ve been there. Perhaps you are there right now. Or maybe you simply fear that that is the direction that your marriage is headed in.

French author Antoine De Saint-Exupery once wrote these words, “Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking together in the same direction.” And what Paul and Grace had failed to do, and what so many couples struggle to do over the long haul, is to continue looking together in the same direction. Paul and Grace were looking for answers within each other, even getting to the point of blaming each other for their own unhappiness, never realizing that the very life they were longing to rediscover, was only going to be made possible as they started to look together in the same direction – turning their gaze towards God - both as individuals and as a couple.

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