This video segment is one of six presentations in the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Communication” seminar. There will be four more seminars in this series covering the subjects: foundations, finances, decision making, and intimacy. As those presentations are ready they will be posted on this blog.

NOTE: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. You can request a copy from Summit’s admin over counseling at (please note this is an administrative account; no individual or family counsel is provided through e-mail).

GCM Communication Part 5 from Equip on Vimeo.

Plumb Lines: These are the “sticky” statements that capture the core messages of this chapter.

  • Repentance and forgiveness are the life sustaining inhale, exhale of a healthy marriage.
  • Repentance says, “I value our marriage more than my pride.”
  •  “I’m sorry,” is for mistakes. “Will you forgive me,” is for sin.
  • True repentance is followed by change or it is mere remorse.

Memorize: Matthew 7:3-5 (ESV), “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:

  • “Speck” – When we’re upset we suffer from “moral vision impairment” – other’s offenses appear larger than ours.
  • “Log” – Jesus’ comparing log and speck isn’t meant to measure offenses but correct our disproportionate vision.
  • “Hypocrite” – The failure to repent results in a second sin, one of character rather than action, hypocrisy.
  • “First” – We repent by faith; our repentance is not guaranteed to be met with forgiveness or confession.
  • “Then” – In a gospel-centered marriage our faith creates an environment in which confession is safe and natural.

“Self-centeredness by its very character makes you blind to your own [sin] while being hypersensitive, offended, and angered by that of others. The result is always a downward spiral into self-pity, anger, and despair, as the relationship gets eaten away to nothing (p. 57)… Only if we are very good at forgiving and very good at repenting can truth and love be kept together (p. 163).” Tim Keller in The Meaning of Marriage

“I have a theory: Behind virtually every case of marital dissatisfaction lies unrepented sin. Couples don’t fall out of love so much as they fall out of repentance (p. 96).” Gary Thomas in Sacred Marriage

“Confession shouldn’t be this scary thing we do our best to avoid; and sin, weakness, and failure should not be the constant elephant in the room that husbands and wives know is there but cannot talk about. Confession should be seen as a wonderful gift that every marriage needs. It should be liberating. It should be freeing. It should not be seen as a moment of personal loss but as an opportunity for personal and relational gain (p. 79).” Paul Tripp in What Did You Expect?

“If you aren’t really taking responsibility for what you did, then you aren’t confessing sin (p. 176)… When you are able to describe yourself that accurately then you’re going to be more successful at changing and your spouse is going to find it easier to forgive (p. 177)… Confessing sin is a proclamation of the gospel: a proclamation that there’s a way back from failure, that there’s rescue and healing from brokenness. We don’t have to hide our sin from each other. The reverse is also true. Refusal to confess and forgive is a proclamation of hopelessness and despair. It proclaims that the only hope of overcoming sin is covering it in the same pointless way that Adam and Eve tried (p. 189).” Winston Smith in Marriage Matters