Summary: Intimacy is one of the hardest things we are called to in this life. Because it’s hard, we engage in a dance - drawing close, backing away, drawing close, etc. Is there any way to stop the cycle?
Prt. 1 of series Life After the Wedding
Wildwind Community Church
January 22, 2006
Video – What makes a good marriage?
Almost everybody knows what makes a good marriage. Isn’t it amazing that there are so many divorces and bad marriages? Think about those two facts. Almost everybody knows what makes a good marriage. Ask anyone on the street and they’ll tell you. Communication, commitment, humor, picking your battles, trust, respect – people know what it takes to keep a marriage strong.
So why do so many relationships dissolve?
Because it’s one thing to KNOW what it takes, but it’s another thing to HAVE what it takes. It’s one thing to know what it takes, but it’s quite another thing to have what it takes. It’s as easy to list the qualities that make up a good marriage as it is to list the qualities that make up an Olympic athlete. Let’s do that for a minute. What are the qualities that make an Olympic athlete? (Have congregation call out some things)
Thank you, well done. By the way, any Olympic athletes in the room? Any former Olympic athletes in the room? That’s what I thought. It’s one thing to know what it takes. It’s another thing completely to have what it takes. So when it comes to marriage, do you have what it takes? If not, are you willing to get it?
I want to lay out for you where I want to go in the coming weeks – the topics we are going to be touching on. I want you to go away from this whole series remembering some basic things that have potential to make your marriage, and thus your life, a whole lot better.
First, God wants marriages to be healthy.
Second, a good marriage takes two, but all you can do is focus on you.
Third, your marriage is God’s will for you now.
Fourth, marriages falter and fail for a pretty narrow number of reasons, and those reasons are both predictable and preventable.
Fifth, adultery is the natural path many marriages will go down if you do not take specific steps to prevent it.
Sixth, there are definite, proven steps you can take to fix a broken marriage or improve on some of your weak spots.
That’s six topics. Sounds like six sermons, doesn’t it? The truth is that I have no idea how many sermons this will be. All I know is that those are the six things I want to make sure you understand thoroughly. Because my hope in the coming weeks is not that you will just know what a good marriage looks like. Most of us already know that.
My hope, my prayer, in the coming weeks is that we will accomplish three things:
1. First, I want you help you ask the right questions. If you’re asking the wrong questions in your marriage, then it doesn’t matter what the answers are, does it?
2. Second, I want to help you realize and embrace the right answers. If you’re going to move forward, it’s important that you not think that good marriages are good by accident, or that bad marriages are bad because of fate.
3. Third, I want to see you serving the right god together. Bob Dylan said you’ve got to serve somebody. I think every individual, as well as every marriage and every family, will serve somebody, will have a god of some kind. It may be power or money or environmentalism or Allah, or Jesus Christ, or even just the god of family itself, but every marriage will serve somebody or something. I want to see you serving the God who I believe intended marriage for the companionship and well-being of the creatures he loves.
You know I believe God wants all marriages to be healthy ones. Probably not exactly the most daring thing you’ve ever heard in a sermon, huh? Yet I think we need to spend some time on it. Because if we think about it for a minute, we end up in that same strange place we’re in when we list the qualities of a good marriage. If everybody knows what makes a good marriage, how come there aren’t more good marriages? If God wants every marriage to be healthy, how come more marriages aren’t healthy? How do we explain the contradiction? I think we explain it by going back to our Olympic athlete example. We know what it takes, but many of us do not have what it takes. We know it takes commitment, but many struggle to make commitments. We know it takes sacrifice, but many struggle with selfishness. We know it takes patience, but many struggle with a short fuse. We know it takes the long haul, but many of us are addicted to the short-term and the big rush. We know God wants marriages to be strong, but again we are confronted with the difference between what God wants and what we are capable of delivering. So we find that the answer to both questions is the same. Why can I know what makes a good marriage and still not have a good marriage? Because deep down inside, something is wrong with me. What I know in my head is not translating into what I feel in my heart and/or what I practice with my actions. Marriage reveals what is lacking in us, doesn’t it? We stand at the altar on our wedding day and make all these lofty promises, and we really mean what we say. And before the honeymoon is over, hubby snaps at wifey because she’s too tired to do whatever he wants to do. Wifey mocks hubby in a snide remark about how he wasn’t exactly her knight in shining armor at the restaurant yesterday. It’s not that we didn’t intend to keep our commitments, and it’s not that the commitments should never have been made. The problem is that we lack the character to be what we aspire to be.