Finding the Foundation of a Fulfilled Marriage

The following notes are from the second session at the Ironwood couples’ retreat this year.  Our speakers were Dennis and Marilyn St. Lawrence.  Dennis is the pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Chariton, Iowa.  I liked how this message was geared to responding to God and then people.  Ironwood provides access to the messages as well.  Go to ironwoodaudio.org  User name:  CRC2017 and the PW: Transformed.

Everything rises or falls on our relationship to God!

Psalm 11:3 (NKJV)

3 If the foundations are destroyed,

What can the righteous do?

1 Corinthians 3:11 (NKJV)

11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Christ is not a means to an end (a better marriage); He is our life.  He is the goal.  The marriage is the means to an end:  Christ.

Marriage doesn’t create problems; it exposes them.

1 Timothy 1:19 (NKJV)

19 …having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck.

Our foundation must be cleared of:

1. Sins of our youth.

-Response to God:

Psalm 25:7 (NKJV)

7 Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions;

According to Your mercy remember me,

For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.

-Response to spouse:  God is allowing me to see how my failure in my youth has damaged my ability to make our marriage what God intended.

2. Premarital relations

-Response to God:

Psalm 51:10 (NKJV)

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,

And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

-Response to spouse:  I realize I have focused on getting rather than giving in our relationship.  I ask your forgiveness for the hardship my sin has caused.

3. Marriage against parents’ wishes

-Response to God:

Proverbs 1:8 (NKJV)

8 My son, hear the instruction of your father,

And do not forsake the law of your mother

Proverbs 5:12–13 (NKJV)

12 And say:

“How I have hated instruction,

And my heart despised correction!

13 I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers,

Nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me!

-Response to disapproving parents:  I was wrong for marrying against your wishes.  Would you forgive me for the grief my disrespect has brought?

4. Inadequate preparation for marriage.

-Response to God:  O God, please forgive me for treating lightly what is sacred to You.

-Response to spouse:  I realize my lack of preparation has placed great pressure upon you.  As I now begin concentrating on my personal responsibilities, I ask for your forgiveness and prayers.

5. Wrong attitudes in marriage

Wrong attitudes are more deleterious to a marriage than wrong actions.

-Response to God:

Galatians 5:22–23 (NKJV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

-Response to spouse:  Would you forgive me for failing to demonstrate godly character and for not giving you the love I owe you?

Great marriages are not chemistry and capability; they flow from great character.  Great character is the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

6. Words that damage and defile

-Response to God:

Psalm 19:14 (NKJV)

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

Be acceptable in Your sight,

O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

-Response to spouse:  I realize the words I said to you were unkind and unloving, would you forgive me?

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