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Summary: Part one of this marriage series, using some material from Making Marriage Work, by Pastor Mark Magee, found here at Sermoncentral.com, 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.

And by the way, this will also be helpful for those of you who aren’t married – yet. Keeping these things in mind will help prepare you to be the best spouse possible. So you may want to pay attention.

And for those of you who have already gone through the pain of a divorce, then my suggestion would that you would pray for the marriages represented here today, that they might not know the pain you’ve had to deal with, and my prayer for you is that you will find healing as you continue your journey.

God: Much of what I’m sharing with you today is from a message I found entitled, Making Marriage Work, by Pastor Mark Magee out of Delaware.

It was kinda like Mary Poppins: “practically perfect in every way.”

And so I thought it would good to share some of what he had to share. I am grateful for his willingness to share this material, and I hope God will use it in your life today.

Just like the foundation for following Jesus is the Scriptures…The foundation for a successful marriage is God’s Word.

Genesis 2:18-24

18 The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."

19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.

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