Summary: Sermon 2 of 4: Steps to laying a strong foundation in marriage
Extreme Home Makeovers
Laying a Foundation for a Strong Marriage
Woodlawn Baptist Church
September 11, 2005
(The idea for this sermon title and series came from Outreach Magazine)
During the spring of 2004, I had the privilege of helping, or mostly watching as Kenny Lamar and a friend of his built the foundation for our pavilion across the street. I want you to remember that I told you last week that remodeling is seldom as easy as it is made to look, and what I want to talk to you about today is no different. I watched the entire process of pouring a foundation from start to finish, and while I think I could get a simple one laid, it would never go as smoothly as Kenny made it to look.
Building a strong and healthy marriage is no different. The principles and ideas I am going to share with you are easy to talk about. As you hear them some of you will understand that you have some commitments to make or some work to do. Some of you will go beyond understanding and make those commitments. You may even take action. But I want you to know that beyond the words and prayers must come much effort. Like a good foundation, no good marriage happens by accident. Every part of the process is important, and every part of the process requires attention and labor.
In Psalm 127:1, our foundation verse for this series of messages, the psalmist said, “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” I’d like to pause here and lead us in a word of prayer. Let’s ask God for wisdom, for Him to search our hearts, and let’s surrender our marriages over to Him.
Now, every foundation worth building on is built by following certain steps. I’d like to share some of those steps with you and apply them to marriage.
Clear the Land
Before any work can be done on the foundation, there is a certain amount of work that has to be done in preparing the land. In fact, most often you’ve got to remove whatever junk is there. I’ve been watching a group of men pour a slab over on Waterloo, and the owner decided to have his slab poured right in the middle of an overgrown lot. The crew cut down trees, brought in a limb shredder to mulch up the majority of it, then a stump grinder to take care of the stumps. They cut away the scrub brush, hauled off rocks and finally brought in a box blade to level the ground.
Our slab didn’t require so much work. The ground was relatively clear, but it was still very un-level and full of big rocks. The point is that you can’t just go in and dump some cement on the ground you’ve got. You’ve got to remove the junk.
Marriage is no different. In fact, there’s no aspect of following Christ that’s any different. What was Paul’s constant admonishment to us? In Ephesians he told us to “Put off the old man.” He said it in a variety of ways, but the point was always the same – you cannot build the kind of life you want on the overgrown, rough and ragged ground of your life.
When two people come together in marriage, they come together with their past sins, their family dysfunctions, with hurts and hopes and Cinderella dreams of what marriage is supposed to be like. Many come together having already been sexually active, which leads to a variety of issues. Many come together having been emotionally or physically abused. Many have had only a mom or a dad. We all have wrong ideas about what marriage is or should be, and the only thing to do with all this baggage is to deal with it.
Like our property, some of you come with less junk, but others, like the land on Waterloo, require some major addressing. In either case, a strong and healthy marriage will only come when these issues are properly addressed. If it is sin, repent of it. If it is wrong thinking, replace it. If it is unfair expectations, adjust them. Perhaps there is guilt and shame that has never been dealt with. It is time. Maybe you’re repeating the sins of your parents – you’ve got to address those things – clear the way for a stronger and healthier marriage.
I say all that like its easy. In some cases perhaps it is, but for most of us clearing away the sins or hurts from our past is a long and difficult process. It may take time to even identify what the real problems are. Regardless, I want you to know that in Christ you can experience victory in these areas of your life. When He began His earthly ministry He stood in the synagogue and said,