Friday, October 31, 2014

Befriending my spouse. Trick or Treat?

On Friday I started a series that addressed the importance of modeling gospel driven marriages. God is the Architect of the brilliant plan to capture the hearts of the generations through His families (Malachi 4:6).

God has designed the family to be the channel to pass on His plan for redemption to the next generation (Genesis 12:1-3; Psalm 78:3-8). NBFamilies are working to discover providential opportunities where - traditional parents, single parents, grand parents, step parents, foster parents - can experience God’s life changing presence in their homes.

Let this sink in:
  • Our kid’s hearts are being shaped by observing our marriages.
  • Our kid’s faith is being influenced by observing how we treat each other as husband and wife.
  • Our kid’s faith, their ability to trust, their sense of safety and security, is either being bolstered or being destroyed every day, as they watch us.
  • Since marriage is a metaphor for God’s love for His church, (Ephesians 5:25-32) what are our kids learning as they study how we relate to one another?


Friendship is a key component in marriage. But when couples begin to work at maintaining their life together (earning income, paying bills, keeping up with the household, the kids, the extended family, etc.), sadly, friendship is the first thing that is neglected and ignored. Friendship is typically what started the couple down the path to marriage. But when friendship is ignored and neglected, destructive feelings like grief, loss, frustration, disappointment, can replace the feelings that friendship can bring.

A friend is . . .

  • Someone who is delighted to see you and does not have any plans for your immediate improvement.
  • Someone who can relate to your struggles and weakness
  • Someone who gives comforting favor when we are our ugliest
  • Someone who shows respect for your opinion
  • Someone who is careful not to give unwanted advice
  • Someone who has an interest in what is happening to you

We need three basic things from our friends—especially when that friend is our spouse:

  1. Acceptance - Proverbs 17:17-A friend loves at all times. A gospel driven friendship between a husband and wife must be characterized by essentials of the gospel.
    • The admitting of mistakes
    • The gift of repentance
    • The gift of forgiveness
    • The gift of mercy
    • The gift of grace 

  2. Affirmation – 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing. With every encounter, make it your aim that you spouse is better off for having been in your presence. Affirm them regularly and often. Affirm them even if they disagree that they are worthy of your affirmation. The bible is full of commands to affirm one another:
    Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. 10 For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? 12 And if somebody overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.
    A gospel driven friendship between a husband and wife must be characterized by essentials of the gospel.
    • The gift of presence. Be present when you are with your spouse. Make eye contact. Silence your smart phone. Listen attentively.
    • The gift of hope. Tell your spouse how they are right for you. Demonstrate faith with health anticipation of a brighter and better future. Talk about days that you are looking forward to experiencing with them.
    • The gift of extravagance. Spend precious time, money, and energy on your spouse. Make a sacrifice of any size, but the greater the sacrifice, the greater id characterizes the gospel.
  3. Accountability – Galatians 6:2 Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. This characteristic of friendship may be the most delicate. Knowing whow and when to be accountable to you spouse requires wisdom (James 1:5). Pray for your spouse. Encourage them without nagging or expressing disappointment. Lighten your load by being honest and open. Real intimacy shares responsibility mutually. A gospel driven friendship between a husband and wife must be characterized by essentials of the gospel.
    • The gift of transparency
    • The gift of authenticity
    • The gift of loving truthfulness.
Jesus doesn't promise you will always feel like friends, but He promises you can have an eternal anchor for your soul: THE GOSPEL (John 16:33). Our kids need to see what it looks like to follow Christ more than they need to hear what we say it is like to follow Christ. Parents are the models of following Christ. This is no easy task. Yet there is no better way to teach them than to show them. Our kids need to see us struggle, mess up, yet reply with gospel centered reaction.

Our responses to one another, especially in the arguements, must be graceful and gospel centered:

  1. Mistakes are made,
  2. Grace is offered,
  3. Forgiveness is experienced,
  4. Repentance causes change and
  5. Mercy is enjoyed!
The gospel response is always the best response and this is how our kid’s faith will be influenced. Is it time to have a conversation with you spouse and begin living a gospel centered marriage? That is my prayer for you.

God bless our marriages!

Dr. Phil Sallee, Pastor


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