How often has a married couple said to each other, “I don’t feel like I know you like I used to,” or defensively, “Why would you think that?” These kinds of statements reveal that the spouses quit learning one another and that their expectations were either not communicated or unhealthy.

In the first of three sections in the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Foundations” seminar we will seek to answer two broad questions to set the stage for the rest of the seminars. What makes marriage hard? What makes marriage work?

This evaluation (Marriage Evaluation_Knowing Each Other & Healthy Expectations) is meant to help couples see what they need to focus on in this first section.

Several of the plumb lines from this first section will include:

  • Character is a better predictor of marital satisfaction than compatibility.
  • You will be married to at least a dozen people over the course of one marriage.
  • We don’t need higher or lower expectations; we need healthy and articulated expectations.
  • The “ordinary” moments of marriage are often the most significant moments in a marriage.
  • The best spouse is the best learner, so we will never “arrive” as a spouse.
  • We will have to take the risk of being known before we experience the joy of being loved.
  • If we are going to do marriage enrichment well, it must be a lifestyle connected with our life purpose.
  • A thriving marriage is lived in a story larger than either spouse, or even both spouses combined.

In this first section you will learn to:

  • Identify the 20 most common challenges to enjoying a gospel-centered marriage
  • Tell your marriage/life story so that you can put the gospel at the center of it
  • Celebrate the non-moral differences in your marriage as a way of worshiping God as Creator instead of fighting about them as if your preferences were sovereign.

At the end of this section we would want

you to realize:

It would be easy to be overwhelmed and think that a good marriage requires a perfect spouse. When we’re honest, we quickly realize how far short we fall from being a perfect spouse. But Jesus put this kind of high standard before anyone who wanted to be his disciple, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48).” His purpose, however, wasn’t discouragement, but revival.

That is the aim of a gospel-centered approach to marriage. We want more than marital enrichment. We want marital revival! We desperately need an intense awakening to what God called marriage to be; not a mere nudging towards more functional principles. The general condition of marriage in our culture cries out to God for a radical transformation of our “common sense” and “best practices” about marriage, because they’re not working.

If we are going to seek a gospel-centered marriage, we must realize such an endeavor will cast us to our knees begging God for the grace, strength, and wisdom to bless our spouse and homes in ways that we are, in ourselves, utterly incapable and sometimes even unwilling to do. But from our knees we will find that God is both willing and capable to give the kind of marriage we could have never had on our feet.

That brings us to one final virtue that is absolutely necessary to experience and enjoy a gospel-centered marriage – humility.

Marriage is a journey from our weakness (both spouses) to God’s strength. Due to the affects of sin, many of our weaknesses are exaggerated strengths. So even our strengths must be handled with humility or they betray us and our marriage. But when handled with humility even our weaknesses become a blessing to our marriage. It is only the gospel that will teach us to view life this way.

Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Foundations
Dates: June 23 and 30, 2012
Time: 4:00 to 6:00 pm
Location: The Summit Church, Brier Creek South Venue
Address: 2415 Presidential Drive; Durham, NC 27703
Cost: Free