The following is a resource from the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Decision Making” seminar to help small groups effectively encourage and hold each other accountable with this material.
How do small marital problems become big marital problems? There are two primary ways: (1) they get ignored, and (2) they are dealt with alone. Ask yourself these questions about any case of divorce or chronic marital unhappiness you know:
If that couple had addressed their struggle early on with the love and perspective of fellow Christians, how different would their life be now? How many generations would be blessed? How much pain and suffering would have been alleviated? How much sin and destruction would have been averted?
The condition of Christian marriage is a church problem. When the church does not fulfill the one another commands of the New Testament, every marriage in that church suffers (even the good ones). Excellent, crisis-based pastoral counseling (no matter how effective) will not have near the impact as small groups regularly asking one another simple, fundamental questions about “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage.”
For this reason, every seminar in this series will contain a series of accountability questions to be used in the small group life of our church. It is suggested that at least once per month any small group with married couples divide men and women for the prayer time and ask one of the questions below. These questions are written in the first person plural (i.e., we, us, our) to imply that every person in the room should have an answer.
- Which style of decision making (individual, consensus, headship) do you most over/under use in your marriage?
- Which of these 20 challenges creates the most tension or angst in your marriage?
- How are you prone to over or under emphasize God’s sovereign, moral, and individual will in decision making?
- When are you prone to use the “Bull’s Eye” mentality towards decision making and experience undue stress?
- Which of the seven steps of decision making are you most prone to neglect or get stuck on?
- What decision are you making where this would be useful so that we can encourage you as you use this process?
- Which of the values of consensus / friendship are you most prone to neglect?
- What decision are you making where consensus would be useful so we can encourage you in this process?
- Couple: What areas of your life do you need to manage better so that decisions do not unnecessarily get pushed into the headship-submission category?
- Husband: What aspects of the responsibilities of a husband as head of his family do you need to grow in?
- Wife: What aspects of how a wife responds to her husband’s leadership to you need to grow in?
Possible Rebuttal: Wow! That seems really personal for a small group discussion.
Response One: It is not more personal than a divorce is public. And, it is not more personal than the Bible calls for us to be transparent about our sin.
Response Two: Once you have done this for three months and seen the benefits to your marriages, you will laugh at the defensive rebuttal. Accountability is only scary like swimming lessons are scary for a child. Putting your face in the water is only intimidating until you do it. Then you realize a whole new world of freedom and fun awaits.