Free Christian Marriage Seminar/Counseling – In Love for Life

Free Christian Marriage Seminar/Counseling – In Love for Life

Articles Blog


There used to be a show on TV
and you have to go back a ways if you remember this it was entitled The Love
Connection, that’s where I got the title for this class, The Love Connection. And
it was a kind of a version of The Dating Game, if you remember this show what they
would do is they’d bring a girl on, a single girl, and they’d
bring four or five guys out and she would question each of them and give
them some questions and try to find out about them and they got her to
pick one of them to go out on a date and then the following week she’d come back
and he’d come back and they’d talk about the date how well it went or
how badly it went, that type of thing and that’s where they got the the
comedy some of them got along and some of them did not get along. Of course
nowadays we have progressed to programs like The Bachelor or The Bachelorette,
never mind choosing among three or four you choose among 30 or 40 and of course
the interaction between the two probably would not have been permitted
on television back in the day when they were doing The Love Connection let’s put
it that way, they wouldn’t be allowed to put
the things that they do now on TV back then. And of course with the
Internet that’s a whole new game we’ve gone further than these kind
of quaint TV shows to any number of dating or matchmaking websites that
promise, they promise you basically you’re going to find the right partner.
And these services they try to match people based on a
couple of different areas, I say this and I don’t mean to be cynical, but looks
comes first, looks come first. Why? Because they don’t
send you a printed version or a printed description of the individual,
has a nice personality a good person they send you a picture you want to
see the picture before you actually read th bio. So looks as first, activities
things that you like to do, needs, character is in there as well. And
usually in these type of things people find a person who looks and acts like
they want or they have the kind of needs that they feel they can deal with but
these type of matchmaking things they don’t always end
up in a loving relationship because good looks and similar activities and needs
and character these type of things don’t equal love nor are they the
same thing as love. A lot of people think well if his needs and my needs match
and I like the way they look and he’s got the type of
character I can deal with on so forth that equals love and it doesn’t it
doesn’t equal love not necessarily. Now I don’t usually quote Ann Landers again a
lot of younger people don’t know who she is but you know she’s a columnist
had a column for a long long time, I don’t usually quote her but she had an
article long ago describing the difference between love and infatuation
and I want to read just part of it as an example to show that people are confused
many times when it comes to love. In the article entitled, Love or Infatuation?, and
I’ve printed the entire article on your notes there so you could read it for
yourself later on, she says, “Infatuation is instant desire. It is one set of
glands calling to another. Love is friendship that has caught fire. It takes
root and it grows – one day at a time.” Now in this lesson I want to talk about the foundation of every marriage and
that is love and we’re going to see that love is more than just a set of glands
calling to each other, it’s more than just looks or activities or needs
that are combined. So the title of this series is, In Love
for Life, and there’s a reason that I chose that title for the series In Love for
Life because marriage was designed by God to last a lifetime
right, we agree on that as Christians that’s what the Bible teaches one man
one woman. It’s designed that way for a lifetime and my thought is if God
gave us marriage to last a lifetime then He’s also given us the ability to
love one another for a lifetime as well and the key is to find how do we
maintain that love for one another for a lifetime?
Because that’s the only way we can remain married for a lifetime. This
series explores how to keep that love going for an entire lifetime and it’s
not an easy thing, it’s a challenge, it is a challenge. So I want to
begin by talking about romantic myth and how this has developed. Sexual
attraction has been around since Adam and Eve but not the Westernized
idea of romance, that has been popularized by books and movies in our
Western culture. Mr. Right comes along and he sweeps you off your
feet or there’s one person in the world one soul mate and what you have
to do is find that soulmate when you find that soulmate boy the
everything the stars are aligned. But history has a different story about
romance; until the Middle Ages marriages were mainly organized by families and
they were strictly supervised. I mean this was a universal custom it wasn’t
just a custom among some people it was a universal custom, marriages were arranged.
Abraham for example arranging Isaac’s marriage was not the exception
it was the rule and for up until several hundred years ago organized and
formalized and arranged marriages were the rule. And then French
saw, it would have to be the French right, French songwriters began to produce ballads that introduced the idealistic romantic
dramatic idea of love, love at first sight. Your heart beating all of a
sudden and they wrote these ballads and these poems to entertain French nobility,
the lords and the ladies of the Royal Court in France. Now these songs were
radical at the time just like rock and roll was radical then punk rock
was radical, radical ideas well these songs were like radical ideas
radical introductions into the thinking of that time into that culture and it
was a departure from the customary way of contracting marriages based on the
ability to provide, the family background, the agreement of beliefs and so on and
so forth that was the way things were done and all of a sudden these songs
were talking about love at first sight and escape and so on and so forth. Now
I’m not saying there were no impulse elopements or adultery but these were
the exceptions not the rule at the time. Arranged marriages were the way
that things were done and you know what it worked, it worked. And so the heroes of
these stories and songs were always brave and beautiful and chivalrous. Now
at the time common people were not thought capable of the same kind of
emotions so love stories were always a monopoly of the aristocracy. Okay? And so
the culture of romance was really for the rich, for the royalty because they
felt that common people the peasants they didn’t have the ability to have
these kinds of feelings. Well along comes the French Revolution uh-oh
along comes the French Revolution and the nobility in France fell right, but
here’s the thing, the stories remained and they were passed on to the
masses and they spread throughout Europe so they went from the nobility to mass
marketing. Until that time believe it or not falling in love with all the
emotional stress and strain was considered an unfortunate experience.
Oh no she’s in love oh dear get out the icepack you know I mean lock her up in
the room for a while send her away because a bad thing has happened she’s
become infatuated. At that time it was preferred that one’s marriage was based
on careful selection careful organization and approval by both
families. And the point I’m trying to get across is that everybody wanted this not
just the parents, the individuals the young people as well, that’s what they
wanted to they wanted to find somebody or be introduced to somebody
that would be acceptable to their parents and that’s what they were looking for. And so the introduction of romance as an art
form made it at first an acceptable experience alongside the traditional
marriage arrangement procedure and eventually it became the preferred way
to go about getting married okay. So a little social history there in
five minutes, the history of romance. Well this happened to the point
that now arranged marriages are held as unnatural and rejected by most Western
societies. Now when we were in Montreal working, one of the members in the church, he was from India and he
had an arranged marriage I remember him telling me he had met his future bride
one time when she was like 14 or something like that and he was maybe 16
or 17 years old when he had gone back to India on a vacation and they had written
to each other and his parents and her parents thought they would be a
good match for each other and I think about 10 years later they
corresponded from time to time and then with you know
Skype and so on and so forth they were able to talk to each other and and
eventually they arranged the marriage and he went to India and they got
married and he brought the bride back with him and I met her. Now they
told her this story they had already been married three or four years by now
they had a little baby and they seemed happy and so on arranged marriage, and for them
our way of doing things seemed rather strange, risky you don’t know
her family you don’t know his family the parents don’t know each other you don’t
have a complete history you know they found that kind of kind of risky. Anyways
the point I want to make here is that the success of a marriage does not
depend solely on how carefully you arranged it or how romantic or
infatuated that the couple is. For example Adam and Eve that was
an arranged marriage. So for centuries arranged marriages succeeded in
providing life time unions that were satisfying and productive, and for the
last couple of centuries marriages begun with a simple romantic urge have also
been able to produce long and successful unions; I’m not arguing for one or the
other I’m just trying to give you the history here. So regardless of how they
begin the marriages that work are the ones that eventually base their
relationships on love not compatibility or romance okay, not arguing for
compatibility over romance I’m just saying compatibility or romance is not the key ingredient to making a lasting marriage:
love is the ingredient that creates a lasting marriage. All right so let’s
talk about romance versus love here. I want to make a distinction
like Ann Landers did between romance and love, every marriage needs
romance you know a spark a sparkle of course but it can’t survive on just one
ingredient alone you watch on TV nowadays or maybe more on YouTube or
something you know guys the way they propose to their girlfriend spectacular
you know a plane is rights I love you will you marry me or there at the you
know whatever a big sporting event and the guy asks the girl to marry him on
the jumbotron you know something really romantic “oh” but you know that “oh” that
doesn’t last 40 years. You know what I’m saying. You don’t have access to the
jumbotron every week, every day. So let’s talk about romance and what it
does shall we, first of all romance produces the wrong expectations.
Previously an older and Eastern cultures young people were prepared for marriage
by preparing themselves for conjugal living. In other words the woman would begin
preparing a dowry and you know what a dowry is: things that she would bring
with her into the marriage in those days linens and dishes and the
stuff that you needed to prepare a home. She would be educated that both the
man and the woman would develop skills for work and again in the older
cultures a woman would prepare to know how to be a homemaker how to cook how to
care for children how to manage a home and the man would learn a skill
or get into education things have changed in that but the point
I’m trying to make is that there was a time when people
actually prepared themselves for marriage and going to the movies on
Friday night this is not preparation for marriage you understand what I’m saying.
People would consciously prepare themselves for marriage. The relationship
was allowed to grow within the context of a home and shared commitment to
family and the land and so on and so forth. You see, further back the love was the product of the life together okay, today
we prepare for marriage by looking for and usually idealized the perfect mate
for ourselves, that’s how we get ready for marriage, we try to think is
who’s the right person for me and will I find that person?
So people focus on their image and then they look for a matching image.
That’s why we sell, that’s why we have The Gap and we have a
hundred different clothing stores for men and women, it’s all about the image.
And after they have found mr. or miss right they marry and they begin to learn
how to live the conjugal life. In other words nowadays we do it backwards; before
people would prepare for the conjugal life okay and then find the person today
we find the person and we learn how to live the conjugal life after
we’re married okay. So we fall in love and then we learn how to live together.
At a different time in history we live together and fell in love. So
history shows that one method begins with very little emotional investment
and grows with knowledge and practice and the modern method begins with total
emotional investment and high expectations and then must adapt to the
lesser reality and that’s a kind of a stark awakening.
A lot of people in their marriages after a while they go, “who are
you?” “Who are you, you’re not the guy I married.” And the reason for that is well you didn’t know who you were marrying before
that’s the problem. Now the problem with romance, it emphasizes the wrong things;
romance looks for the spark the fire and it’ll often reject a potential partner
who is spiritually emotionally and socially suitable. Romances courtship is
based mostly on the pursuit of physical intimacy ignoring more important
elements of human relationships. Romance searches for a partner that feels good
looks good but it ignores issues of character and adaptability and comfort
which make long-term relationships possible. I’ve counseled with
people who aren’t married yet but they’re having
problems in the relationship they’re dating or maybe they’re engaged
and the other person’s making them miserable and they’re asking me well how
can I get over this so we can get married and I’m thinking you’re
still thinking about getting married? I think a lot of the older people
that are in the audience listening to this or living listening to this on on
video you probably had the experience where you see two people kind of you
know get together and you’re saying to yourself man that is a train wreck
waiting to happen right? Everybody knows that except who? Except the two
individuals on the way to the train wreck. That’s what romance does it blinds
you, you don’t get to see it. Number three romance does not take advice, romance
doesn’t take advice. Romantic couples feel that they don’t need
the benefit of counseling mentoring or teaching because what they feel is real and what they
feel is the major determining factor. It always amazes me that a young woman
would spend $2,000 on a dress that she’ll wear once but will not consider
investing 500 dollars into premarital counseling that might guarantee her
happiness. I mean happens all the time. If people
put as much focus on preparing themselves emotionally and spiritually
for marriage as they do for the party, no offense you know what I’m saying some
people are in the business of doing weddings you know which is fine,
because it should be a happy and glorious time of course, but what I’m
saying is getting ready emotionally and spiritually that’s also very important
and usually we neglect the one and focus on the other. Romance doesn’t take
advice and in doing this they miss out on the important marriage preparation
while heading for a disaster. And then: Romance demands perfection. The intensity
of romance is caused by the idealistic way that we view our beloved, we’re swept
up by this fantastic feeling about this person, what happens to the perfection
and the intensity of the feeling when it drops even a little, because most people
who are in love the thing that’s going through their mind is oh please let this
thing just stay up there I don’t want to see it go down not even for a moment
because if it goes down just for a moment maybe oh maybe I’m not really in
love you know I got to keep that intensity. Romance is not about building
something romance is about maintaining something and usually maintaining
something that’s not even real. So when romance slows down or it disappoints or
it stops we look for somebody else to give us that feeling. That’s what’s going on in Hollywood
people there have the money and I mean to kind of create this artificial
romantic thing you know hey let’s take a plane and let’s jet off to Paris or
something get the money to do that and when things don’t go well
and they have to actually work at something, hey I got the money
my lawyer will send you a letter I’m just going to call the movers move my stuff
out I’ll go live at the hotel for a couple of you know… ordinary people don’t
have that luxury. Alright let’s talk about, and hey I’m not
against romance we’ll talk about romance in its positive context here I’m just
showing you that the effect of romance of what it has on the individual while
they’re going through it. Let’s talk about love shall we, now there are
several emotions experiences that we all have referred to as love but the kind of
love that is necessary to make a marriage work can be defined as this: it
is a commitment to make another’s welfare equal to one’s own and the self
discipline to back up that commitment. Now that doesn’t sound romantic,
it doesn’t sound romantic but it is the essence of what creates love
and maintain love. Notice the components: a commitment to consider another’s
welfare equal to one’s own, this is the highest form of human love, the highest
form. When people marry they make a promise not just to be each other spouse
or never to leave they promise first to do what? I’ve done enough weddings,
the first thing you know taking the vows I promise to the first
thing is always love I promise to love, it’s not I promise to pick up my socks
and underwear is not the promise you make, I promise to love. The commitment is to do this whether a
person is well or ill, whether we are in good circumstances or bad circumstances,
the promise that I’m making is no matter what happens I am going to love you,
not romantic love you. Love you a commitment to
consider your welfare equal to mine that kind of love, you are as important to me
as I am to me, that’s the commitment I’m making. Whether you remain beautiful or
whether you have an accident and lose one of your arms. Whether we’re both working and pulling
in a lot of money so we can do stuff or I lose my job and we have to live off of
your salary, no matter what I’m I am committed I am committing to love you
as much as I love myself. This is a very old movie but
there’s an old movie called Love Story way back when oh my Eric Segal had his
character in this movie say, love is never having to say I’m sorry, but a
better definition is this: love is not having to watch out for my own welfare
because my partner is watching out for my welfare and my partner will do for me
just as good as he or she would do for themselves. The other part of love:
self-discipline. We don’t promise self discipline I never nobody ever said that
in a marriage vow, I put the ring on I promise to control myself,
that especially on the wedding night you know come on. But I’m telling
you in order to love you need self-discipline, nobody can love
without self-discipline, you can’t do it. Paul in I Corinthians chapter 13, that
beautiful passage on love he says, “love is
patient love is kind love is not jealous love does not brag and is not arrogant
love is not rude love is faithful.” I’m telling you this kind of behavior of
love is not possible without cultivating self-control you can’t be patient
without self-control you can’t be kind without self-control why? Because a lot
of times kindness is just putting your hand over your mouth and controlling
what you say. Most of the times kindness is not so much what you say is what you
don’t say that’s kindness and that kind of action requires self-control,
controlling our tongue. Is not arrogant, does not brag, love is not rude,
all those virtues that cultivate love require self-control. So the commitment
to consider my partner’s welfare equal to my own requires me to control my
sinful and my selfish impulses. I’ll give you an example, I have to go pick up my
wife at 10:00 p.m. at her mother’s, she’s at her mother’s, and I’m over up my buddy
and I’m watching the game whatever game you want to watch OU / OSU bedlam,
whatever you know game you’re watching but it’s 9:50 it’s gonna take me 25
minutes to get over to my mother’s or to pick you know but now it’s 10 to
10:00 and they’re tied they’re going into overtime, “oh,”
“I love her but I love OU a lot too.” You see what I’m saying, not a huge
thing am I going to just let her wait she’s got a coat on she
knows I’m supposed to pick her up at 10:00 I’m just going to let her wait
tapping her thing or am I going to just say hey I can pick up the score on the radio
I’m going to go and be there when I said I was going to be there, self-control. Or
another example, I love him but there’s this new guy at work and he’s
giving me signals and so on and I kind of feel attracted to him,
you know what do I do? Or I’m tired and she’s tired and the
baby is crying and at 3 a.m. Psychologists say that some people are
unable to love not because they don’t feel attracted to other people but
because they lack the self-control to accomplish what love requires and that
is considering another’s welfare equal to our own. So marriages that are built
on this definition of love whether they are arranged or whether they are the
result of a romantic impulse will survive they will grow because they have
the single most important ingredient, and that is a commitment to the other
person’s welfare equal to the commitment we have to our own welfare. Well what
does Paul say by the way that we should love our wives how? As we love ourselves.
So how do we build on love, love which is commitment to another’s welfare equal to
our own, sustained by self-control that’s the basic ingredient that’s the basic
building block and once we have that building block in place then we begin to
add to it in order to give our relationship its unique identity and
flavor and its direction. If love is in place it is a joy to add the other things it’s what growth in marriage is all
about, the problem is what we do many times is we try to put compatibility of
interest at the center, oh you like wrestling
I like wrestling who will who would have thought a girl likes wrestling I love
wrestling whoa that becomes.. oh you like to dance the tango I love the tango
you like to take dance lessons me too, we put that at the center. Oh you like sex
oh I like sex too we both like sex let’s put that at the center. The problem with
that kind of scenario is you put those things you know comparable interests if
you put that at the center that will not sustain anything you can’t build
anything on top of that see what I’m saying? You got to have the right thing
at the core you got to have the right building block I put a circle you could
you could put bricks whatever diagram you want, you’ve got to have the right
thing at the core in order to enable a relationship to grow; in other words if
the right things at the core you can put other things on top of it and it’ll hold
steady. Not just good things but bad things too. I’m not saying we consciously
add bad things but you and I know if you people here have been married any length
of time there’s always bad things right, like oh yeah you like the tango I like
to tango oh but you you kind of like looking at other women tango too.
Oh I didn’t know that about you. And the bad stuff comes too, and so when we
have this discipline commitment to another’s welfare, I won’t do anything,
somebody says yeah you know why wouldn’t you cheat on your wife Michael
well because I love her yeah but B I would never do anything to hurt her.
I couldn’t stand her being hurt because of me I couldn’t stand it it would kill me. If love is in place it’s a joy to add
other things, if something else is at the core it will not support the
difficulties of life that are sure to come and it won’t promote growth in
other areas. So it’s never too late to take your marriage apart, I’m not talking
about divorce here but I mean reexamine your relationship and then put
it back together again with love at the core and then adding the other layers,
because I notice in this class some people are here because well they just
they’re always in the auditorium class because this is where they like to be
and others are young marrieds are dating whatever and others have been married
for quite a while and they just figured why not come and listen to this. It’s
never too late for those who’ve been married a long time and it’s never too
early for those who’ve just met to understand how to build a relationship a
marriage relationship that will last a lifetime. So what is needed of course is
a recommitment by each partner to put the others welfare above themselves,
never too late to do that in and you’ve been married one year five years forty
years it doesn’t matter is never too late to say to ourselves you know what
from here on in my goal in my relationship with my husband or my wife
is to do those things that place their welfare equal to mine. And to begin
asking God to bless us with the spiritual gift of self-control, Galatians
5 tells us about self-control. You cannot love properly without self-control, in
other words I control the things within myself that jeopardize my relationship
or that harm my relationship with my partner whatever that is; and then
together begin to ask God to help us go higher in love to consider our partners
welfare just not equal to ours but actually over ours. Like the
PowerPoint says here equal to one’s welfare that’s the highest in human love
but above one’s own welfare that’s Christ’s love, that’s a higher
form of love. When we have this kind of love now
we’re starting to love our partner with agape, Bible kind of love
spiritual kind of love and you cannot believe the rewards that come to you in
marriage when you get to the point where you’re putting the welfare of your
partner how your partner feels and thinks and so and so forth above your
own when that happens then the rewards are great are great indeed. All right so
that’s a little bit of an introductory lesson let me just show you some of the
lessons coming down the pike in this course next week: The Currency of Love,
the way or the method if you wish to build in our relationship. Holy Sex
Part 1 and 2 explains the spiritual nature of human sexuality. The Money Trap,
one of the top three reasons for divorce money, some people think oh it’s adultery
no it’s not money how people handle money and how they think about money one
of the greatest causes of stress in marriages. Why Christians Divorce, we
shouldn’t divorce but we do so this lesson looks at the reasons why
Christian people divorce. Then Remarriage and Renewal, an encouraging
lesson for those who have been remarried thinking of remarrying and so on and so
forth. Three lessons on Blended Families. Why? Because the majority of families
that exist today are blended families my kid your kid our kid or one of the
partners has had a previous marriage with no kids or whatever but these are
blended families brings unique challenges to the marriage. And
we’re going to talk about that and then the last one Keeping Your Spouse Happy
it’s what we want most and maybe we’ll give you some
insight into what the Bible says believe it or not the Bible does talk about how
do I keep my spouse happy and we’ll talk about that. Alright that’s our lesson for
this morning, thank you for your attention, we’ll see you next week.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *