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Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Most married men – and an increasing number of married women – intentionally look at porn at least once a month. And to be honest, many of you gave up Playboy a long time ago for material far more brutal and graphic.

Gentlemen, here’s a reminder of the inevitable effects on your marriage:

I have not mentioned the effect of lust on my marriage. It did not destroy my marriage, did not push me out find more sexual excitation in an adulterous affair, or with prostitutes, did not ever impel me to place unrealistic demands on my wife’s sexual performance. The effect was far more subtle…

I stare at a Playboy centerfold. Miss October has such a warm, inviting smile. She is with me alone, in my living room. She removes her clothes, just for me, and lets me see all of her. She tells me about her favorite books and what she likes in a man.

Because I have… gone over every inch of Miss October as well as the throng of beauties that Madison Avenue and Hollywood recruit to tantalize the masses, I start to view my own wife in that light…. I begin to focus on my wife’s minor flaws. I lose sight of the fact that she is a charming, warm, attractive woman and that I am fortunate to have found her.

Beyond that, lust affected my marriage in an even more subtle and pernicious way. Over time, I began to view sex schizophrenically. Sex in marriage was one thing. We performed OK, though not as often as I liked, and accompanied by typical misunderstandings. But passion, Ah, that was something different. Passion I never felt in my marriage.

If anything, sex within marriage served as an overflow valve, an outlet for the passion that mounted inside me, fed by sources kept hidden from my wife. We never talked about this, yet I am sure she sensed it. I think she began to view herself as a sex object – not in the feminist sense of being the object of a husband’s selfish greed, but in the deprived sense of being only the object of my physical necessity and not of romance and passion.

“The War Within”, Anonymous, Leadership Magazine, Fall 1992

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David Powlison on what is helpful – and hurtful – about Gary Chapman’s popular 5 Love Languages series.

God’s grace aims to destroy the lordship of the five love languages, even while teaching us to speak the countless love languages with greater fluency.

Read the entire article here.

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This is from a post by Ray Ortlund about church planting, but it also resonates with me when we talk about the kinds of marriages we’re praying God forms within our church:

I long for the rising generation to have their own living memory of what only God can do.

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Did I Get Married Too Young?

One of the reasons we’re doing the Love and Marriage series (Feb 14-Mar 28) is to convince the 18-25 crowd that makes up close to 50% of our church to wisely and actively pursue marriage. We understand that cuts against the grain of conventional wisdom – even within the church – but we believe the reasons most commonly given to delay marriage have little if any theological grounding.

Now you know why I’m posting this article from the Wall-Street Journal, entitled ‘Did I Get Married Too Young?’

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Saw this on Justin Taylor’s blog earlier this week – it’s influenced this week’s message from the Love and Marriage series (Sunday at 5pm, meeting at Faith Presbyterian Church).

Paul Tripp, What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage (pp. 51-52)

[God’s] grace purposes to expose and free you from your bondage to you. His grace is meant to bring you to the end of yourself so that you willing finally begin to place your identity, your meaning and purpose, and your inner sense of well-being in him.

So he places you in a comprehensive relationship with another flawed person, and he places that relationship right in the middle of a very broken world.

To add to this, he designs circumstances for you that you would have never designed for yourself.

All this is meant to bring you to the end of yourself, because that is where true righteousness begins.

He wants you to give up.

He wants you to abandon your dream.

He wants you to face the futility of trying to manipulate the other person into your service.

He knows there is no life to be found in these things.

What does this practically mean?

It means the trouble that you face in your marriage is not an evidence of the failure of grace.

No, these troubles are grace.

They are tools God uses to pry us out of the stultifying confines of the kingdom of self so that we can be free to luxuriate in the big-sky glories of the kingdom of God.

This means that you and I will never understand our marriages and never be satisfied with them until we understand that marriage is not an end to itself.

No, the reality is that marriage has been designed by God to be a means to an end.

When you make it the end, bad things happen.

But when you begin to understand that it is a means to an end, then you begin to enjoy and see the value in things that you would not have been able to enjoy before.

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Marriage Is Going to Hurt

The world treats marriage like a punchline or a puzzle – the playground of fools or a problem that can be solved if we just find the missing piece of the equation.

But the Scriptures see marriage as a mystery – not a joke or a jigsawed mess but a relationship that never fully makes sense until the Holy Spirit connects the life between spouses to the life that exists between Jesus and the Church.

And until we see our marriage through the lens of the sacrificial leadership of Jesus and the happy following of the church, things are going to be a bit off. Maybe not terrible but dislocated enough to bring more pain than we ever intended on the night we became engaged or the afternoon when we said ‘forever’ to each other.

Marriage is going to hurt – not because we don’t love each other but because our love is far too often interrupted by the pain of mutual rejection. Passivity snuffing out pursuit. Respect replaced by repulsion.

Herein lies the mystery of marriage – love is not found by playing it safe but by pressing into the pain. We find the freedom to forgive the inevitable wrongs we will suffer at the hands of this person who promised to love us forever because we know they will fail and because our lives don’t depend on their love.

Make no mistake – we can’t thrive without an unbreakable love that never wavers even in our most miserable failures. But that love will never come from a boy or girl. It’s found at the dusty, blood-stained foot of a splintered cross and at the jagged entrance to an empty cave where the Jesus who absorbed the pain of our hostility towards him and his creation walks out in the power of his humiliation and exaltation and promises to love us forever.

Because what we discover is that for all of the dreams we had for this man or woman, all they are at the end of the day is just that – a man or a woman. And while their presence in our life is an incredible gift from God, they can never take the place of God in our universe.

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From Paul Tripp, What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage, pp. 237–238:

“Your marriage may be good. It may even be great. You may have grown together in appreciation, respect, unity, understanding, and love. You may have learned where problems typically exist for you as a couple, and you may have learned how to solve them together. You may have identified places where you and your marriage need to mature. You may have created a lifestyle of honest communication and efficient problem solving. You may have forged a solid and enjoyable friendship between you. You may be able to look back and be thankful because you recognize what you once were compared to what you are now.

“But there is one thing that you need to accept: your marriage may be great, but it is not safe. No marriage this side of eternity is totally problem protected. No marriage is all that it could be. This side of heaven daily temptations are constant threats to you and your marriage. This side of heaven the spiritual war goes on. This side of heaven good marriages are good marriages because the people in those marriages are committed to doing daily the things that keep their marriages good. Things go wrong when couples think they have reached the point when they can retire from their marital work and chill out, lay back, and slide. Perhaps the greatest danger to a good marriage is a good marriage, because when things are good, we are tempted to give way to feelings of arrival and forsake the attitudes and disciplines that have, by God’s grace, made our marriage what it has become.”

HT: Justin Taylor

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