Summary: This is part 4 of the series and focuses on the engagement.
What Is Jesus Costing You? Part 4
Scriptures: Matt. 28:19-20; James 5:14-15; Ezek. 18:23-24; Heb. 6:4-6
The last time I stood before you I discussed the third stage of developing a long term relationship. The 3rd stage consisted of the individuals becoming boy/girlfriends. As you may recall from the sermon or from your personal experience, this step requires that both parties agree to make a commitment to one another. This commitment centers on the decision that each person will give their focus and attention to that one person only until the relationship ends.
This morning we will examine the fourth phase. This phase involves the couple making the decision to be united hopefully for life. This decisions results in the couple getting engaged. The engagement phase of the relationship can be compared to a contract negotiation between two parties. During this phase the couple began to make decisions to determine how the relationship will move forward after the actual marriage ceremony takes place. As you would expect, the costs greatly increase, but that is not what I want to focus on this morning. I want to shift your attention to the negotiations that takes place during this phase versus the actual costs that are incurred in this relationship.
I. First Step Negotiations
How many of you have ever watched HGTV where they have engaged couples purchasing their first homes? I have seen several shows where couples were close to their wedding date and decided to purchase their first home prior to the wedding so that after the ceremony they would have their own place to come back to. I enjoy watching the interactions between the two individuals as you can see that they are trying to work out the partnership. Because this is a TV show, some of it might be scripted, but there are times when you can really see the negotiations between the couple start to break down. One may want a home with three bedrooms while the other must have a finished basement and four bedrooms. Both are so set on what they want that at times they are unwilling to bend and the search continues until they find something that will give both of them what they want. This is what happens also within the actual relationship. When you get engaged you begin to sort out responsibility and accountability lines.
Shortly after a couple gets engaged, they begin to establish boundaries for how decisions will be made. For example, they decide who will have the final say based on any given situation and the importance to the person. Most men do not care what color their wives want to paint certain rooms in the house while most wives do not care what type of lawnmower the husband buys to mow the yard. If something falls within their realm of responsibility, they have the authority within reason to make whatever decision they need to in order to fulfill their share of the responsibility. These interactions are decided upon during the engagement phase as the couple talks through how they want to interact with each other on crucial decisions that must be made. The key here is coming into agreement about the responsibility and the authority needed to carry out those responsibilities. Once these decisions are made they begin to operate in their specified roles after the wedding.
When Nikki and I were first married, her first job was in the home mortgage lending business. Her knowledge and understanding of that business gave us an advantage whenever we have purchased a home. Nikki is the one who reviews the contracts and literally tells me where to sign based on what the contract says. She is the one who reviews the financial data to ensure there are no hidden fees within the loan package. When we purchased one of our homes, the lending agent was talking to me as if I was the only authority figure making the decision. When I turned to Nikki and gave the contract to her to review and she began to talk his language with the questions she was asking him, he realized one that she knew what she was talking about and then it dawned on him that he had blown it with her. I just sat there smiling as she made him sweat. I did not feel weak or “unmanly” because in this area Nikki was the expert and I needed her. There is no telling what we would have gotten into if I had relied on my knowledge and power as the man of the house. The opposite is true when we purchase cars, that is my area and she sits back and let me work my magic – sometimes to her dismay.
These “areas of agreement” begin to develop during the engagement phase of the relationship and are perfected once the marriage takes place. Now think about this spiritually as it relates to our relationship with Christ? Are there similar negotiations that take place between us and Christ pertaining to who is responsible for what? Absolutely there are. Let’s review a couple of Scriptures.