Relationship Restart

At our recent Relationship Restart event, we discovered and shared a few game-changing truths about marriage.  

1.  Marriage is a gift from God.

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”  Genesis 2:18  
It all starts here.  Your spouse is a gift from God.  God gave them to you so that you would have a partner for life.  God gave them to you so that you grow to be more like Him.  Second to the Bible, your spouse is the #1 tool that He uses to make you more like Him.

2.  Relationships are about feelings, not facts and fairness.

I learned this one from Michael Smalley.  Kristi and I spent a day with him and this simple statement forever changed our relationship.  No longer were we required to read each other's minds to communicate clearly.  No longer were arguments settled by Google to see who was right.  Now, we share what we are feeling and work together instead of fighting against each other.
Look at how communication changes when you know that relationships are about feelings:
  • Express what you are feeling. Instead of hiding it.   Express it instead of stuffing it.
  • Own your feelings, Don’t blame your spouse for your feelings.  When we blame, defenses come up.  When we own and express our feelings, intimacy grows.
  • Know that your spouses’ feelings are valid.  You can argue over facts but you can't argue over feelings.  When feelings are expressed, they are valid even if they don't line up with your view of the facts and fairness of a situation.  When your spouse expresses what they are feeling, you have one job:  hear them.
  • After you hear their feelings, keep it simple and ask how you can help.  Sometimes, there will something that you need to do or change.  Other times, simply expressing the feelings is all that is needed.  You can't fix everything, but you can help your spouse process their feelings.

“Your feelings are like your children. Listen to them. Care for them. Just don’t allow them to make major decisions for your family.”  Ryan Pannell, Focus on the Family

3.  Intentionality and work is required for marriages to thrive.

Some would say that this is a very unromantic view of love, but it's not.  Love isn't just a feeling.  Love is a verb.  Love isn't just a feeling.  Love is an action.  Love isn't just a feeling, it is a decision lived out in commitment to one another.

In Matthew 19, Jesus set the bar high for the intentional marriage.  
4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”  Matthew 19:4-6
This passage isn't just a warning against divorce.  This is a how God sees marriage passage.  When we are married, we become one flesh; no longer two but one.   Our job in marriage is to intentionally grow as one - let nothing separate us.

In a world where everything - you job, your hobbies, your kids, your family, your phone - pull you apart from your spouse, intentional marriages work to become one.    God has designed marriage so that we will be one with other in every way - emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  Marriage is about oneness and none of this is possible without intentionality and the commitment to have a distinctly Christian marriage.  A marriage that is committed to oneness, faithfulness, loyalty and even forgiveness.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  Colossians 3:12-14  
As believers in Jesus, we forgive as Jesus forgave and we clothe ourselves with the things that will guard our heart and give us the relationship that we long for.  There will be seasons when the love will feel one-sided.  Love and forgive anyway.  Keep loving and forgiving allowing nothing to separate you.  Your spouse is a gift from God and your commitment before God is more than a contract; it is a covenant.
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