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Summary: While most of Americans have given up on the idea of marriage, God still restores and heals marriages in trouble. Discover the principles of a healthy vibrant marriage.

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How to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage

May 2002

· Our society has given up on marriage.

· 61% of women ages 18-49 say they would consider raising a child on their own. (Time, Aug. 2000)

· Today, 67% of first-time marriages will end in divorce by the fourth year.

· Marriages are the spiritual cells of the church. That is why Satan has strategically attacked marriages.

1. Keep the marriage covenant sacred.

Matthew 19:3-6

“Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason? Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female 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? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

TATOOS OR BUMPER STICKERS

· Covenant – a pre-arranged set of conditions designed to create a healthy marriage. In a covenant marriage, both spouses rescind all their rights and accept all of the responsibilities.

· Contract – both spouses keep as many rights as possible and accept very few responsibilities.

· Every covenant has to be entered by an act of sacrifice. Covenant means “to cut.”

· We have contract marriages because we have contract Christianity.

2. Die to your selfish desires and serve your mate.

Ephesians 5: 22, 25,28

v. 22 – “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” (The burden is on the man)

v. 25 – “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”

v. 28 – “ In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”

· Jesus is the example for both the husband and the wife.

· Nowhere in Scripture is the husband or wife told to enforce these requirements on each other. Each person must be obedient. SARAH AND ABRAHAM; RUTH AND BOAZ.

1 Corinthians 2:13 – “spiritual truths in spiritual words.”

· Two servants in love. We must lose authority over our own bodies and we must lose our individuality.

· Apathy is our greatest enemy and selfishness is our greatest sin.

· Selfish people cannot be happy.

· If you are not willing to make changes in your own behavior, why should you expect your mate to do so?

· Don’t tell your mate when you are serving them!

3. Speak words that bring life and health to your marriage.

Proverbs 10:19

“When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”

Proverbs 12:18

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

Four predictors of divorce: (91% accuracy) University of Washington research

a. criticism

b. defensiveness

c. contempt (unresolved anger)

d. stonewalling (emotional check-out)

· Leave the past in its proper place – forgiven.

· Your body language can negate your words.

· Know when to call a timeout and go to your corner.

· 69% of couples struggle with ongoing problems that remain unresolved for years. (University of Washington)

4. Realize that only Jesus can meet your deepest needs.

John 6:35

“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”

There are four basic needs that humans are instinctively motivated to satisfy all their lives:

1. Acceptance – knowing you are loved and needed by others.

2. Identity – knowing you are significant and special.

3. Security – knowing you are well protected and provided for.

4. Purpose – knowing you have a reason for living and knowing that God has a plan for you.

· No human can meet your deepest needs. When you put too much hope in a person or enter a relationship with unrealistic expectations, the relationship will end in disillusionment or divorce.

Jeremiah 17:5

“Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord.”

Jeremiah 17:7-8

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.”

· Transfer your expectations to Jesus.

· (Hopi Indian Story) Rejection is our greatest fear because love is our greatest need.

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