RELATIONSHIP GOALS 3 - HAPPY FAMILIES

STORY – On my wedding day – she took my breath away! Not sure if it was her stunning good looks or my fear of a lifelong commitment!!!!

REVIEW

It’s important to review our learning over the past 3 weeks. We learned that God is Love, (a selfless kind of love) and that being in trinity, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit practiced from eternity love between themselves so that love pre-dates creation. We are made in God’s image so that we are spirit beings, we have the capacity to communicate with God and we are created as love beings. Our love relationship with God comes though the grace of God revealing to us His great love and we love Him because He first loved us. Our love for God results in our obedience to Him and our expression of worship and communication.

Today is about building great relationships in the family environment.

Marriage is the foundation[1] of the relationships we build in the human family.

WHY IS THAT?

Because Marriage is designed by God to be the structure into which children, the next generation, can be created and nurtured in an environment of maximum stability. Children’s development is greatly impacted by instability, and lack of love. “Children thrive in stable and nurturing environments where they have a routine and know what to expect. Although some change in children’s lives is normal and anticipated, sudden and dramatic disruptions can be extremely stressful and affect children’s feeling of security.”[2]

In the beginning God created man and the whole of the relationship the first man Adam had with God was sufficient for his well-being but it meant there was no possibility of procreation, so God said,

Gen 2:18 AMP Now the Lord God said, “It is not good (beneficial) for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper [one who balances him—a counterpart who is] suitable and complementary for him.”

And…

Gen 2:21-24 AMP So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 And the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man He made (fashioned, formed) into a woman, and He brought her and presented her to the man. 23 Then Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” 24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

This was the first marriage, where God was the creator, priest, and celebrant of this union.

Jesus comments about this union of marriage between a man and a woman in the New Testament,

Matt 19:3-8 AMP And Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” 4 He replied, “Have you never read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined inseparably to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” 7 The Pharisees said to Him, “Why then did Moses command us to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” 8 He said to them, “Because your hearts were hard and stubborn Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.

LET ME SAY THIS - If you have been impacted by divorce – you are welcome here and this is the right place for you. The church is a place of healing and restoration – divorce can be a painful and difficult experience to go through. God loves you and he provides healing and restoration for you through faith in Jesus Christ.

God understands how you feel, if you have experienced divorce, for He Himself has experienced divorce….

Jeremiah 3:7-9 (AMP)

7 I thought, ‘After she has done all these things she will return to Me’; but she did not return, and her treacherous (faithless) sister Judah saw it. 8 And I saw [that even though Judah knew] that for all the acts of adultery (idolatry) of faithless Israel, I [the Lord] had sent her away and given her a certificate of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah was not afraid; but she went and was a prostitute also [following after idols].

Sin messes up our lives and selfishness and brokenness results in the ruin of many marriages. We must do all we can to avoid it, but in the end if it happens, the road back to wholeness and emotional health begins with a relationship with Jesus.

UNDERSTANDING COVENANT

What is a covenant? A contract is an agreement between parties while a covenant is a pledge. ... You seal a covenant while you sign a contract. A contract is a mutually beneficial relationship while a covenant is something you fulfil. A contract exchanges one good for another, while a covenant is giving oneself to the other.

Marriage is a covenant. It provides a life-long foundation for love, raising children and bettering society. When God looks at marriage he sees the same kind of relationship as Jesus has with the church (all believers) that is why He says,

Ephes 5:25 AMP Husbands, love your wives [seek the highest good for her and surround her with a caring, unselfish love], just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,

And …

Ephes 5:31-32 AMP For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined [and be faithfully devoted] to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery [of two becoming one] is great; but I am speaking with reference to [the relationship of] Christ and the church.

HOW DOES THIS GOD KIND OF LOVE WORK IN THE FAMILY ARENA?

Love is not based on sex, good looks, earning capacity, connections to a higher status, but on friendship.

In a healthy marriage the husband and wife are best friends. We will talk about sex another day and it’s really important and something God created, but today let’s focus on God kind of love in our family relationships.

The big key is communication. (In fact, this is the oil in all relationships)

Here’s some tips about great communication in marriage.

1.   Be intentional about spending time together talking.

2.   Use more "I" statements and less "You" statements.

3.   Be specific.

4.   Avoid mind-reading.

5.   Express negative feelings constructively.

6.   Listen without being defensive..

7.   Freely express positive feelings.

1 Peter 1:14 AMP

[Live] as obedient children [of God]; do not be conformed to the evil desires which governed you in your ignorance [before you knew the requirements and transforming power of the good news regarding salvation].

 1 Peter 1:22 AMP

Since by your obedience to the truth you have purified yourselves for a sincere love of the believers, [see that you] love one another from the heart [always unselfishly seeking the best for one another],

1 Peter 3:1-2 AMP       In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate, not as inferior, but out of respect for the responsibilities entrusted to husbands and their accountability to God, and so partnering with them] so that even if some do not obey the word [of God], they may be won over [to Christ] without discussion by the godly lives of their wives, 2 when they see your modest and respectful behaviour [together with your devotion and appreciation—love your husband, encourage him, and enjoy him as a blessing from God].

1 Peter 3:7-8 AMP  In the same way, you husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way [with great gentleness and tact, and with an intelligent regard for the marriage relationship], as with someone physically weaker, since she is a woman. Show her honour and respect as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered or ineffective.

8 Finally, all of you be like-minded [united in spirit], sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted [courteous and compassionate toward each other as members of one household], and humble in spirit; 9 and never return evil for evil or insult for insult [avoid scolding, berating, and any kind of abuse], but on the contrary, give a blessing [pray for one another’s well-being, contentment, and protection]; for you have been called for this very purpose, that you might inherit a blessing [from God that brings well-being, happiness, and protection].

APPLICATION

1.   God designed marriage and family for the nurture and well-being of man and wife and children. Therefore you can expect God’s grace and help to create, build, restore and heal your marriage.

2.   The toolbox God gives us for working on our marriage contains the main tool called love (that’s agape love) The other tools in the toolbox are sympathetic, kind-hearted, courteous, compassionate, humility, prayer.

3.   If you have been wounded by divorce, abuse, violence or rejection within broken family relationships, then find your hope in Jesus and His unrelenting love to heal and restore you. Seek Him, then pastoral care, then counselling as needed.

4.   The key is communication – love expressed in words are very powerful they are spirit and life.

FOOTNOTES

[1] https://www.premierchristianity.com/Blog/Children-raised-by-married-parents-fare-better.-The-research-proves-it

[2] Sandstrom & Huerta 2013. The Negative Effects of Instability on Child Development: A Research Synthesis(Page 5)  - https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/32706/412899-The-Negative-Effects-of-Instability-on-Child-Development-A-Research-Synthesis.PDF

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