- Biola University’s weekly marriage newsletter
- Love & Respect Conference and 10-Week Study (RightNow Media)
- Focus on the Family: Marriage Podcast
- Recommended books:
- How We Love – Milan and Kay Yerkovich
- Love and Respect – Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
- 5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman
- Boundaries in Marriage – Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend
- Kingdom Marriage Devotional (for couples) – Chrystal Evans Hurst & Tony Evans
If you are struggling in your marriage or need more support, please reach out to any of our pastoral staff or directors and they can provide resources for counseling, support, and prayer. To reach our prayer and care teams directly, visit our prayer and support page.
- Read Ephesians 5:21-33 together. How does verse 21 impact the way you read verses 22-24?
- Ed said that Paul addresses husbands and wives differently because they have different needs by design.
- We both need love and respect. Men tend to have a deeper need for respect. Women tend to have a deeper need to be loved. How do you see this in one another?
- Do you agree?
- Husband, what are some ways your wife respects you? Give specific examples if you can.
- Wife, are there things that make respect hard for you (from your own history or from the relationship)?
- Wife, are there things you can do to grow in this posture? Are there things your husband can do to help?
- Wife, how has your husband loved you? Give specific examples if you can.
- Husband, are there things that make loving hard for you (from your own history or from the relationship)?
- Husband, are there ways you can grow in your choice to love? Are there things your wife can do to help you?
- What is the purpose of your marriage? How are you doing on that purpose?
- Is there an active spiritual life in your home? What specific (manageable) things can you do to grow in this area?
Healthy marriages communicate in healthy ways. The foundation for healthy communication is speaking the truth in love.
(If you are single, remember, this principle is vital to all healthy relationships.)
1) Ed identified two situations that challenge us in trying to speak the truth in love.
- When we are hurt/disappointed/frustrated
- When we have objective criticism of our spouse
- Which is the bigger challenge in our marriage? (If single, which is the bigger challenge for you?)
2) Am I more likely to use the truth as a club or to leave it unsaid?
3) Is it harder for me to be aware of my hurt/frustration/disappointment or to honestly admit to it?
4) Identify any behavior patterns you have fallen into to avoid conflict.
5) Ask your spouse (or a friend) if they think you are generally receptive or unreceptive to their criticism of you.
6) Ask yourself prayerfully: Do I have a teachable spirit? Is my personal goal truly to become more and more like Christ? Then ask your mate (friend) how you can help make it easier for them to speak the truth in love to you.
If you’re not married:
- Try to examine what shadow purposes you’ve been pursuing in your dating life or in how you have thought about marriage.
- For some additional work, find a friend (a friend, not someone you might be interested in) and ask them to have a conversation with you about this. It will help you gain even more perspective.
If you are married:
- We have an exercise designed to encourage this conversation. Sometime this week, sit down together for an hour and work through the exercise.
- Sometime this week, spend some time together in prayer about your marriage. Ask God to clarify your purpose and deepen your commitment to it. “I don’t know how to do that.” Get over yourself. Put your big boy pants on and do it.
Exercise for Couples
The secret to a healthy marriage begins with keeping our real purpose front and center in our thinking ... and doing the work of fighting off shadow purposes.
- What do you argue about most often in your marriage? When are you/when have you been the most fulfilled in your marriage? What do these answers tell you about your purpose in your marriage?
- Look at Genesis 2:20b-24. As you read this, keep in mind what a radical departure this is from cultural norms. Understanding the atmosphere of the Ancient Near East, we would not be surprised to find a call for a woman to leave all of her significant relationships and to be united fully in this one new relationship. That is a given. But to find a similar charge given to a man, that is completely without parallel in this time period. What is the significance of that? What do you think it means to “become one flesh”?
- Now look at Ephesians 5: 25-32. See especially verses 26, and 28-29.
- What does Paul give as the purpose for a husband’s love?
- The word “holy” primarily means to be different, other-than, set apart. It also means to be morally pure. How does this affect your understanding of a husband’s purpose?
- Does this passage shed any light on your understanding of what it means to “become one flesh”?
- What purposes, either consciously or subconsciously, have you been pursuing in your marriage? In other words, have there been shadow purposes for you?
- Are there ways in which you, as a couple, have answered WHAT instead of answering WHY?
- Can you think of any practical difference that keeping your purpose before you would make in your everyday married life?
- Psychologist Larry Crabb says, “Our highest purpose as husbands or wives is to be an instrument for promoting our partner’s spiritual and personal welfare.” If you are doing this with a spouse, tell one another what the other could do to further promote your spiritual and personal welfare.