On Monday mornings I often try to think over our Sunday sermon and work to apply the things I've learned throughout the week. Some weeks are more successful than others. I do better at remembering the message if I write notes during the message, but even if we just talk about the message on the way home in the car, more of it 'sticks' in this overloaded brain of mine. I am thankful for the 30 minute drive to home from church because it often gives us time for good discussion - and because the children know that they will be asked specific questions, they tend to listen better.
This weekend we were blessed by the ministry of Dr. Richard Angwin from St. Petersburg, Florida. We did a lot of laughing and a lot of 'cringing' as we saw ourselves in the message. During the Sunday School hour he introduced us to his Biblical clinical counseling ministry and talked about how he is able to help using the unique gifts and education God has allowed him. He took us to Ephesians 5:21 ff and reminded us of God's incredible design for a mutually satisfying marriage relationship. We had a good laugh when he told us that the women were given just three verses because God knew that's all they needed to 'get it'. The men were reminded of their roles as savior, sanctifier, nourisher and cherisher.
In the morning service he encouraged us with the story in Mark 5 of the demon possessed man who was healed by Jesus when He cast the demons from the man into a herd of swine. I'd never thought of that as a particularly encouraging message, but Dr. Angwin challenged us to see in that snarling, dangerous, angry wild man the need for Jesus. I was surprised to see (though I've read it many times before) that even with the demon fully in charge of the man, he fell on his face in worship Jesus - before he was healed and restored. Dr. Angwin challenged us to never give up witnessing to the friends and family who many snarl and lash out angrily at us because just like the demon possessed man, they are searching for God. Who are we to give up on the difficult people in our lives when God is still working to draw them to Himself? We have no right to give up on someone Christ died for.
The evening service brought us to the topic of fixing a broken marriage, but I think even those with a good marriage relationship benefited from the points he made.
If both the husband and wife are committed to saving the marriage it is more likely that the relationship will be salvaged. Even if the motive for saving the marriage is poor or self-serving, just having that desire increases the marriages chances for survival.
2. Identify and Share
If the husband and wife are willing to delineate and share the things that they are doing to destroy their love for one another in an honest and open manner they increase the chances for their marriages survival. If a spouse feels that they cannot share their bad thoughts, they will also withhold their good thoughts from their spouse. Dr. Angwin talked about the importance of romantic love to a healthy marriage relationship and how our habits of hurting one another break that love down.
3. Do the work
Stop doing the ungodly things that you are doing to break down the marriage. Never mistreat, lecture, disrespect or intentionally hurt one another. Treating one another with care and respect. This requires a change in habit - either we change the way we think or we change the way we behave - either one will produce results. Learn to deal with anger in a proper way or that anger will turn inward cause self destruction and depression.
4. Start re-building
Find out what you need the most from one another and consistently meet those needs. Generally men need recreational companionship, an attractive spouse and their wife's admiration. The man's strongest need it to be the hero - they need success and someone to recognize their efforts. Without affirmation men dry up. Women need caring, loving and affirmation. They desire conversation, honesty and need to be cherished.
There was a 5th point that I didn't quite get, but I wanted to remember the points I did - so here they are! I just wanted to better grasp the things that touched my heart yesterday, so I thought if I took a moment and typed them out it would help a few thoughts stick in the sieve that is my brain!
I'd love to know if there was one thought or Scripture passage that encouraged or challenged you from your pastor's sermon yesterday!