Valuing Family Togetherness

God designed families to stick together.

In marriage, we die to our single life in order to look forward to being together. This means that time together becomes the default, rather than time apart.

When Kevin and Marcia got married, their single lives had to die. They made “together” a sacred value in their family. Every effort has been made to form their family to be together as a default habit.

How Families Can Withstand Pressure

Two different families may come from the same mold, but we won’t know the difference between the two until pressure is applied; job, finance, emotional, psychological. Once the pressure comes there is no amount of skill or training that can compensate for being hollow – it all falls apart.

If families are built from the inside out, they can sustain pressure from the outside in.

From self-absorbed to self-sacrificing

What does it take to save a galaxy? You might think of mighty heroes with outrageous powers, or genius warriors with superior weapons. But chances are you wouldn’t think about a group of selfish miscreants made up of an orphan, a murderer, a raccoon, and a talking tree. Yet that’s exactly what Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy gives us. A ragtag group filled with flaws responsible for stopping a wickedly powerful enemy.

Now, like every movie in our At the Movies series, Guardians has a message that echoes the Bible. We see in the New Testament another group of ragtag misfits brought together by Jesus. We call them the Disciples, and they were very much like the Guardians. A mix of people from different backgrounds, brought together for a purpose greater than themselves. And like the Guardians, we see the disciples take a very specific journey.

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How Do We Pursue a Calling and Marriage Simultaneously?

Before Christians should get married, they should talk all about their respective callings. Our callings are primary before marriage, but once we are married, our marriage becomes primary. If two people with strong callings don’t discuss their callings before getting married, there will be challenges. Figuring out how two callings work together requires compromise, prayer, and a commitment to one another above everything else.

How Do We Practice Emotional Restraint When Dating?

Miles says it’s important to limit how fast the emotional intimacy grows in a dating relationship. Many couples play “pretend marriage” in their dating relationship, but dating should be special. Miles suggested seeing each other a couple times a week, texting a couple times a week, and leaving things at that. Miles advises not to think too far ahead when dating, which creates a “fake” intimacy where commitment doesn’t match up.

We often used the word “love” too quickly; marriage is the ultimate expression of love and because love is more than merely an emotional commitment, using the word love in a relationship should mean that a commitment of marriage is eminent.

Why No Sex Before Marriage?

There are two big relational principles in the Bible that we can bring into dating: one is commitment, and the other is intimacy.

It makes sense that God would reserve the deepest level of intimacy (sex) for the highest level of commitment (marriage). Until marriage, any other commitment can be described as “we’re exclusive, for now.” But as we know, that can change. So when you add the deepest level of intimacy to the mix, it does not line up with the level of commitment you experience, leading to heart break.

How Do We Teach Our Kids the Proper Perspective of Marriage?

If you have a great marriage, you take care of this. When you build a model of what God values in marriage in an imperfect marriage, your kids will learn how to have one too because kids get their core values out of the environment in which they are raised.

If you’re from a broken family, be intentional about spending time with people who have great marriages. Utilize the community within the church to help expose your kids to couples who have healthy relationships. Point out to your kids what’s healthy, and help them learn from it.

“Soft Startup” Fights in Marriage

In this video, Dr. Wendy Dickinson of GROW Counseling discusses the art of the “soft startup”.

The soft startup is a way to approach fair fighting in marriage. Couples that know how to fight fairly are ones that know how to start with a gentle start up.

  1. Learn how to label your feeling. (not your spouse’s)
  2. Focus on the situation.
  3. Ask for what you need in a positive way.

Fighting For Family Dinner Time

Date Nights should be about fun, dreaming together, and discussing shared values. Fight Nights should be about listening, compromising, and self-correcting. Many people use their Date Night as their Fight Night. Separate the two and learn how compromise fits into the bigger picture of your life. Pastor Kevin shares how he and his wife compromised to create a regular family dinner time.

The Evidence of Love is Keeping Your Word

Just as God forgives our sins and asks us to grow and stop sinning, we need to correct our behavior in our relationships and strive to be holy. Pastor Kevin explains it like this, “When I mess up, the evidence of the other person’s love might be their forgiveness of me; but the evidence of my love, is when I self-correct to keep my word.”

Marriages Stuck In Disillusionment

In Sustaining Love: Healing & Growth in the Passages of Marriage, Mennonite Pastor and Author David Augsburger wrote about the four stages of marriage. The stages include: Dream, Disillusionment, New Dream, and New Depth. In the Disillusionment stage, all you can see is each other’s differences, and marriages often get stuck in this stage. There needs to be a breakthrough to advance to the next stage of New Dream. Breakthrough can happen when you learn to self-correct.

Self-Correct

Download Full Fight Night Rules

Healthy Relationships Have 3 Habits:

  1. Close enough to listen.
  2. Clear enough to compromise.
  3. Committed Enough to self-correct.

What I Need To Know:

  • Trust is the foundation of relationships.
  • Self-correction is the foundation of trust.

What I Need To Do:

  1. Keep my word.
  2. When I mess up: The evidence of the other person’s love might be forgiveness; but the evidence of my love is self-correct to keep my word. (striving to require less and less forgiving for the same thing)

Questions:

  • Is it time for you to finally surrender to God (walk with God)?
  • Will you make these 3 healthy habits the practice of your marriage? 

How Kevin & Marcia Got Past a 2.5 Year Fight

Kevin and Marcia faced an issue in which they simply couldn’t reach a compromise. They went through all the Fair Fight rules and steps, and still there was no resolution 2 ½ years later. It wasn’t until they both submitted to each other – Marcia to Kevin as his wife, and Kevin to Marcia as Christ loved the church – that they found a compromise which honored God.

Real Relationship Solutions Involve Compromise

Even though it’s childish, it can still be disappointing when you discover the world doesn’t revolve around you. The truth is life is never all about you – especially in marriage.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interest of the others.” – Philippians 2:3-4

Compromise

Download Full Fight Night Rules

Healthy Relationships Have 3 Habits:

  1. Close enough to listen.
  2. Clear enough to compromise.
  3. Committed Enough to self-correct.

What I Need To Know: Real relationship solutions involve compromise. (because nobody gets everything they want in life)

What I Need To Do: Serve the other persons interests while I solve my own. (instead of just solving it for me)

Fight Night Rules: (con’t from last week)

9) We agree to set directions for solutions. If we cannot agree on the mutual compromises that will strengthen our relationship & life together; we set another ‘fight night’ time and continue the process toward agreement.

10-16) See Full Fight Night Rules

17)If we discover we cannot come to a wholesome resolve through discussion and prayer and processing over time; we will agree to take it to selected friends for processing.

18) We will not “vote” on issues through friendships (gang up). The goal is not ‘right’ vs. ‘wrong’ with a win/lose motto: the only goal is win/win.

19) We agree to openly pursue counseling in the event that we cannot come to agreement following the praying & processing assistance with friends.