This morning our sermon text is Mark 10:1-12. Jesus speaks on marriage and divorce. To complement the message, I want to share some practical resources that every married couple can benefit from. Whether you’ve been together for 50 years or 50 days, we can all use a marriage tune-up from time-to-time.
Husbands – let me challenge you, take your wife out to dinner this week and bring this insert with you. (Ladies, remind him if he hasn’t by Thursday!) Read it beforehand. Discuss each topic below. Create a plan. Follow through. Watch God work.
Four Scriptures to Memorize
Godly marriages must be built on God’s word. Here are four passages that every Christian couple should learn. Challenge each other to start with one this week.
Genesis 2:24 (CSB) – “This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh.”
Ecclesiastes 9:9 (NIV), “Enjoy your life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun…”
Matthew 19:6 (NASB), “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Colossians 3:18-19 (NASB), “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and don’t be bitter toward them.”
Four Books to Read
Here are four of the best books on marriage available. Use my simple “1-2-3 plan”: Pick 1 book. Read 2 chapters. Find 3 things to discuss. Repeat weekly.
The Meaning of Marriageby Tim Keller (352p) Rich, practical, and saturated with Scripture. It may be the best, recent Christian work on marriage.
Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel by Ray Ortlund (128p) A brief, captivating book that will give you a deeper, moving, gospel-grounded view.
Each for the Other by Bryan Chapell (224p) Dive into each area of life that marriage entails. Learn how grace + sacrificial love = a Christ-like union.
Awaken Loveby Ruth Buezis (262 p) Explore intimacy, sensuality, and romance as God designed it. Sprinkled with personal insights and helpful tips.
Four Questions to Ask
What is a good memory you have together from the last year? (5, 10, etc.)
What is one thing you’d like to improve in order to love your spouse better?
Of the nine fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23), which one do you see most in each other now?
What is something new you’d love to do with your spouse in the future?
Four Quotes to Ponder
Wit and wisdom can help us think deeply about our marriages. Here are four quotes on marriage that I keep coming back to. Discuss what each of these means.
“Marriage isn’t hard because we deal with the opposite sex. Marriage is hard because it’s the first time we truly deal with ourselves.” -BJ Thompson
“How to know if you are married to the right person? Short answer: Look at the name on the marriage certificate.” – John Piper
“If each spouse says…’I will treat my selfishness as the main problem in the marriage,’ you have the prospect for great things.” – Tim Keller
“Marriage is like a burrito, messier on the inside than on the outside. Also, it will make you gain weight.” -Sammy Rhodes (Ha! Laughter is good too.)
Four Areas to Discuss
Neither husbands nor wives are mind readers. Healthy couples have messy, hard, and awkward talks. But sharing and listening are the best way to work together moving forward. Here are four everyday aspects of marriage to discuss regularly.
Money – Are we giving generously, saving purposely, and spending wisely? Which area can we grow in? What financial goals do we have for the coming: week, month, and year? How can we get there?
Intimacy – Finish the sentence, “I feel most loved/cherished when you…” Do we have a language/approach to initiating sex? What would you enjoy more (and less) of? Be specific. What are some next level, romance suggestions?
Time/Priorities – Do we have quality us time each week? Do you feel too busy? What must we say “yes” too? No too? What’s the ideal week look like?
Communication – Rate our communication from 1-10. Ask each other: what can I do to improve my role? When do we communicate best? Does texting help? Hurt? Discuss each other’s tone/approach. Autopsy a recent conflict.
Four Activities to Enjoy
Give each other a letter that speaks of what you love about your spouse.
Go somewhere you went on an early date. Recreate the experience together.
Watch/Listen to a sermon online together. Discuss what God’s word said.
Share your hopes/dreams/fears/concerns for the next season of life.