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Summary: (PowerPoint Slides and Cell Study Notes freely available by emailing Emile@Wolfaardt.com) Learning to love in marriage in a way that sees the marriage through each of the Seasons of a Marriage....

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Love for a Lifetime

Fireproof Your Relationships: Sermon Three

Matthew 19:3-6

Good morning friends!

Two little guys were sitting in a wedding, watching what was going on, when one asked the other, "So, how many marriages can you have?"

His friend whispered, "16, I think."

16?"

"I think so."

"How do you know?"

"I added it up one time. Every time I come to a wedding the pastor says ‘Four better, four worse, four richer, four poorer.’"

Of course, we’re all hoping for the better and richer ones…

We’re learning these days about how to Fireproof our relationships, and I want to talk to you this morning about how to fireproof your most important relationship of all: your marriage. If you’re not married, I hope you’ll take careful notes in this message, because what you’re going to learn will make a huge difference in any future marriage, should you decide to enter into one and it will empower you to help your children and friends in their marriages..

Sometimes when I do a wedding, looking at the rings, I mention three things about them. (1) They’re round, which means they have no end. That’s the nature of marriage. (2) Because they’re round, they are made to be equally strong at all points. And (3) they’re costly; all marriages start with a sacrifice and are sustained by sacrifices. Then I ask them to say their vows, which always end with, "As long as we both shall live."

In the movie, Fireproof, Caleb and Catherine are starting down the road to divorce. Caleb explains to his friend, Michael that the marriage is probably through. To which Michael responds, "I’ve seen you run into a burning building to save people you don’t even know, but you’re going to let your own marriage burn to the ground."

Watch this clip with me. Clip ‘Session Three’ from your Fireproof CD

Find a Bible and Turn to Matthew 19:3-6.

One time Jesus was asked about marriage. Here’s how that went down.

Matthew 19:3-6 - Read - Pray

"Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate." That’s the warning we hear pastors give at the conclusion of every wedding. By this point, the couple is beaming. They’re about to turn and face their parents and friends, as husband and wife, for the very first time. The music will swell, the people will stand and clap, and the ‘endorphin induced euphoria dressed up as mature love and relational bliss’ couple will start to exit down the aisle and walk off clasping hands silhouetted against the divine backdrop of the setting sun into the surrealistic aura of utopia and live… happily ever after.

It’s at that moment I’m almost tempted to say, "Wait, wait! Let me tell you what’s most likely to happen from here! Because reality is, while you married for better and worse, richer and poorer, in sickness and in health, there’s going to be a lot more worse, poorer, and sickness than you really want. And yes, you’ll have better and richer and health, but not nearly as often or as early as you would like."

What I want to say to every married couple is that All Marriages Go Through Seasons. Nobody gets a cakewalk. That’s just not how life works. Like the rotation of the earth, they move through stages that are predictable. Many experts agree that there are six of them, one following the next.

Here’s how it works: the Seasons of a Marriage

Two young people meet and fall in love. Unlike the rest of the world, they have a picture-perfect relationship. While in this first season, they know that they have something special between them. Theirs is a rare love, not like the common stuff their parents’ experienced. More like Anthony and Cleopatra or Romeo and Juliet .

She calls it, "A match made in heaven."

He says "We love each other."

It’s magic every time they’re together, and misery every moment they’re apart. There’s such a strong chemistry that passes between them that you’d almost be tempted to call it a chemical addiction. And some people do.

Experts have astutely labeled this early stage Romance.

1. Romance Ever heard of it? It’s the first season of a marriage: The Romance Stage. It starts when the couple fall in love - and can go on for years if it is nurtured - but will last no longer that 18-36 months after the marriage.

During romance, all is right with the world. Women lose weight and men lose money. She’d rather spend time thinking about him than eating; he’d rather spend money on her than pay the rent.

Romance is the season that most love songs are written about. [Start to play quietly in the background "When a Man Loves a Woman" - Percy Sledge]

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