Summary: Part one of this marriage series, using some material from Making Marriage Work, by Pastor Mark Magee, found here at, as well as my own stuff.

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The Art of Marriage

Part 1 – The Foundation for a Successful Marriage

Genesis 2:18-24

February 13, 2011

Me: I enter this series with much fear and trembling, and my mind goes back to a cartoon I saw once where a pastor and his wife were driving home from church, and he says to his wife, “You know, my sermons would be a lot more powerful if you wouldn’t say ‘Ha!’ after each point.”

I often mention the fact that I’ve been married for going on 23 years. In fact, next Sunday is our anniversary, and immediately following lunch, my bride and I are going away to our yearly Pastor’s retreat with the other pastors in our District, but also taking a few days just for ourselves.

But I’m fully aware that I don’t have it all figured out yet, and that my application of even the stuff I’m going to share today can be lacking greatly at times.

So please don’t think that I think that I’ve got a total handle on this stuff. I’m still working on it.

We: I think that all of us married types, if we’re honest, would have to admit the same thing.

We realize that we’re not the perfect spouse all the time – even as we realize that our spouse isn’t the perfect spouse all the time.

New Deal: Tim Timmons maintains that there are basically three stages in marriage. Stage #1 is the Ideal. That’s when everyone is excited, when love is grand, and “our marriage is going to be different!” But then along comes stage #2. The Ideal becomes an Ordeal. This is when we realize that our Prince Charming has warts, and that our Sleeping Beauty is not nearly so lovely once she wakes up. Then, far too often, along comes stage #3. And that’s when either one of the spouses begins wishing for a New Deal. Have you noticed that trend in our culture?

Well, let me tell you that God’s plan is that we should have a marriage that blesses both spouses and honors God.

You might be sitting here today with what you would describe as the perfect marriage. You’re getting along (for now), and things seem to be going well in every aspect of your marriage.

If that’s you, then praise God! But you can still learn from our Scripture passage today.

But some of you might be on the other extreme: your marriage is falling apart. Your spouse and you can barely be in the same room as each other without screaming.

And you’re wondering if you’re going to make it as a couple.

And if that’s you today, then my prayer is you will take what you will learn today and over the next couple of weeks, and determine to make them part of your marriage.

Because I believe that if you do, God will bring healing to you as individual spouses, and to your marriage overall.

Most of us are somewhere in between those extremes, and we want to learn how to move over to the side where marriage is mostly a joy, right?

I think that God’s Word has some hope for all of us, no matter where we’re sitting at the moment.

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