February 22, 2011

Marriage 101: Lesson 4

Lesson 4: Maximizing Communication

This week was a little different in that we had a substitute substitute speaker! Pastor Paul was preaching to the church this Sunday, so he obviously couldn't lead class at the same time, so Pastor Troy was going to teach. But apparently he got really sick late the night before, so his father led us. Two awesome facts about him- {1} He has been married 53 years (I can only hope!!!) and {2} As a teenager he promised God that he would read a book of the Bible EVERY DAY. He's very thankful some days for books like Philemon :)

Anyway, because of the late night speaker change, we didn't follow as closely to our outlines/books and it was more of a general knowledge sharing session. I'll share the basic outline first and then his insights. 

{ 1 Peter 3:7 }
"Likewise husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered"
- Understanding way = according to knowledge with study. A husband should be increasingly aware of his wife's physical, emotional and spiritual needs. 
- Weaker vessel = not intellectually weaker, but physically and emotionally. This also includes the fact that we put ourselves in a weaker position by submitting to our husbands. 
- Showing honor = considering someone as valuable and precious (Eph. 5:29 - cherish is the same word used in 1 Thes. 2:7 as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children)

{ Our general differences }
1. How we think: Men are focused and categorical, women are holistic and integrated
2. How we talk: Men use minimal words for the purpose of facts and solutions. Women use maximum words and convey emotions for the purpose of empathy.
3. How we find things important: Men are interested in the big things, women are interested in all things.
4. How we communicate: Men go side-by-side in recreational settings (golf), women talk face-to-face in conversational settings (coffee)
5. How we perceive things: Men primarily use their eyes, Women use their ears. 

Our differences are the things that can make us strongest- it takes two different eyes to have depth perception! The hard part is understanding and working with the differences. 

There are two main things outside the outline that really stuck out to me that were shared (mostly to the guys). The first was to listen to your wife's gut instinct. Not that it's always right, or often even logical; but God will often give cautions that way. He told the story of a business in Texas he knew that got out of a deal which they later found out to be fraudulent because multiple exec's wives had "bad feelings" about it, and they listened to them. I mean, it was Pilate's wife who cautioned him not to get involved in the crucifixion...

The second thing was a list of "steps to harmonious marriage communication" he was given at a conference 30 years ago. He kept it and passed it on because it turned around his marriage after his wife told him he wasn't doing well supporting her emotionally. It involves {1} setting a specific time each week {2}selecting a characteristic of Christ (he gave us a list of 49 with corresponding verses), {3}writing a letter/discussing together how we each demonstrate the attribute, feel when it is demonstrated or not, share specific times where it has been and hasn't, respond to it and how God builds us with or without it, {4} pray together about achieving the characteristic and {5} memorizing the corresponding Scripture together. 
We started with "attentiveness" (Heb 2:1) and I can't wait to work our way through the list and grow to understand each other even more! 


February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day

My guy is so good to me - my favorite flowers and phineas and ferb chocolate :D

February 13, 2011

Marriage 101: Lesson 3

Biblical Absolutes: Roles and Responsibilities
If you know me (which, if you're reading this, you probably do) you know that I love absolutes. Yes or no, black and white answers, do it or don't; so I really liked this lesson. Not because it was anything new, but because it was a reminder of the clear cut roles we have as men and women in Christ.

We started with discussion of Piper (This Momentary Marriage) chapters 6-8, which outlines and defines the roles of husband and wife according to Ephesians 5:22-33. Husbands are called to loving headship, which he defines as "the divine calling of a husband to take primary responsibility for Christlike, servant leadership, protection, and provision in the home." He goes on to list four ways the husband is PRIMARILY responsible for the family: Spiritual protection, Physical protection, Spiritual provision and Physical provision. Wives, on the other hand, are called to respectful submission, which Piper defines as "the divine calling of a wife to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts".

We then we to the scriptures to look at how men and women are compared and contrasted there.
First we looked at how we are alike in Genesis 1:27 and Galatians 3:26-29: We are all equal in creation, salvation and redemption. Then we looked at our differences in 1 Corinthians 11:3: Man is head of wife as God is the head of Christ. This was an interesting discussion in and of itself in how God the Father could be above Christ when they are both God. What we came to realize was that this is where the women could model themselves after Christ in His submission to God the Father's authority in coming and dying for us despite being equal in worth to God the Father.

We then looked at four passages describing the roles of husbands and wives, beginning with the passage Piper used in his book
Passage          Role of the husband        Role of the wife
Eph 5:22-33   Loving head as Christ   Submit as the church
                  nourishing & cherishing         respectful

Col 3:18-20      Love & don't be harsh           Submit

1 Pt 3:7         Considerate, respectful       Weaker partner
                            and kind                  & fellow heir

Titus 2:2-5     Worthy of respect,           Reverent, loving
                  self-controlled, teachers       self-controlled,
                    Sound in faith, love         pure, busy at home,
                      and endurance             kind & submissive

Here is the end summary of the day:
(1) The roles God is calling us to live out in our marriages are to reflect a picture of Christ and the church (Eph 5:22-33)
(2) Particular roles and responsibilities do not reflect value, but instead reflect purpose and order (1 Cor. 11:3). Value was established at creation (Gen 1:27) and validated in the Gospel (Gal 3:28)
    - Both are made in the image of God, relate directly to God, are equally redeemed by Christ and should follow Christ's example.
(3) Roles and responsibilities were ordained by God in creation before sin and apart from culture.
   - Eve was created to help Adam and Adam exercised authority over her, which have always been counter-cultural.
(4) Your focus is to be on yourself, not your spouse.
   - We answer first to God!
(5) God calls the husband to loving leadership (SIX TIMES)
   - Greek agape: unconditional and sacrificial love
   - Leadership that protects, cares, understands and serves
(6) God calls the wife to respectful submission
   - Greek hupotasso: to place oneself under the authority of
   - Submission is voluntary and communicates submission to God

February 6, 2011

Marriage 101: Lesson 1 & 2

So today was Mike's and my second class at Cornerstone on marriage. (geee!!!) Here's the run down on the last few weeks. I want to do an overview of what we're learning each week on here, if for nothing else, it'll be easy for me to look back on in the future. So here we go:

Lesson 1: Knowing Christ 
The first thing we did in class was to write out each other's testimony and write down our understanding of the purpose of marriage (see lesson 2).
We then discussed Matthew 7: 24-29 and the differences of marriage founded on Christ {1 man + 1 woman forever} or not {6/10 of IA marriages end in divorce, 80% if there is a trauma involving a child, and more than half of women say they wouldn't marry their husbands again} and how the most common form of idolatry today is a person desiring a relationship with another more than a relationship with God.
From there we went on to discuss the story of the woman at the well in John 4:4-42, in which Christ explains to a woman who had tried to satisfy herself with relationships (5 ex-husbands!) that HE is the only thing that can quench her thirst. Once she realizes what he is saying, her excitement is seen by all and many come to know Him through her. Because of this, we then practiced a basic illustration of the gospel to share with others, the bridge diagram:

Big message: Marriage must be built on a foundation of gospel of Christ

Lesson 2: God's Design/Purpose
Our homework before this week's class was to read chapters 1 and 3 of John Piper's book This Momentary Marriage. The main points of the chapters were that 1) Marriage is God's because He designed it, and 2) The purpose of marriage is to glorify God. He challenged us all to hold marriage to higher standard as it is meant to reflect Christ and the church.
One of the other things he mentions is that in Heaven there will be no more marriage (Matthew 22:30), which was one of those things about Heaven I always thought seemed almost... depressing. Not that Heaven could be depressing, but you know what I mean. Our teacher, Paul Sabino, said he and his wife had come to understand it this way: After the death of a loved one, you may keep a picture of them {side note: an incredible organization that helps parents who lose infants is NILMDTS), but when you get to Heaven with them, are you going to just sit and look at the picture or are you going to run into their arms?!? Marriage is supposed to be the image or reflection of Christ and the church. Once we're there with Him, why would we need the picture anymore, He's right there!
We read Genesis 1:26-28 and 2:18-25 and saw that God created and ordained the first marriage by making Eve the perfect helpmate {literally "power corresponding to" in Hebrew} for Adam. From there we read on in Ephesian 5:22-33 about the parallel of Christ and the church and man and his wife. In this passage we see that women are called to be respectful and submit (as the church does to Christ - following a good and true authority) while men are to love her and aim to sanctify her in leading both towards Christ.
Big message: The strongest gospel message we give should be the clear reflection of Christ's ^^mountainous^^ love and relationship with the church through your marriage.

February 3, 2011

The Crazy Continues

Yup, it's possible. I now have a design and basic layout for a program (as much as you can have without a ceremony plan, set bridal party, location etc) plus a plan for a little DIY decorative fastener for it that won't make me want to kill myself. Can't post pictures because it won't really make any sense, but I'm excited about it.

Also super excited about a pretty simple decorating idea that is very us. I love it and REALLY hope it'll work out. We'll see though - it's more DIY but I'm not worried about that. Shouldn't be too bad I don't think, but we'll see once we have a date to have to be within.