As previously mentioned, this section of our discussion pertains to behavior within the realm of marriage. In pre-marital counseling I teach that engaged couples can practice all the aspects of marriage while dating – except living together and/or having a sexual relationship.
Overall we are looking at Six Reasons Marriages Fail. Thus far we have examined Role Reversal, Money and now Sex. We will conclude with In-laws, Religion and Life Dominating Sin.
Like money, sex is not the most important aspect of the marriage relationship; but it is a barometer concerning what is going on in a marriage relationship.
The mere mention of the word money evokes a variety of thoughts and emotions in many individuals.
The Bible is perhaps one of the most quoted and misquoted books ever written. For instance, it is often stated the Bible says money is the root of all evil - but not so.
Actually, First Timothy 6:10a reads: “For the love of money is the root of all evil.”
Regardless of how money affects any person’s mind and emotions, money is one of the six reasons marriages fail.
Money can be problematical in other types of relationships, but our focus on money is how it can affect marriages.
For many years we were told the three problem areas in marriage were money, sex and in-laws.
Study, personal observation and many years counseling has caused me to add three categories to this infamous trio: Husband/Wife Role Reversal, Religion and Life-dominating Sin.
When creating a list there must be a first item a last and those in between. Starting with Role Reversal and ending with Life-dominating Sin does not mean they rank in that order. Each marriage would have to be evaluated to determine the Number One problem area. Any one of these six might be at the top of a list.
We are the Number One source of our own problems – and this is the good news!
If God were the Number One source of my problems I would not want to contend with an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Being on a daily basis to ward off problems.
If Satan was the Number One source of my problems I would not want to contend with an un-seen adversary who “as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
Yes, other people’s poor choices vitally affect us, but even so, I would not want to contend with every one around me who is trying to control me and fit me into their mold.
This flies in the face of those who ask, in the face of problems and difficulties, “Why did God let this happen to me?”
The response to this accusation against God is that He is the solution: Christ is the answer.
Blaming Satan by saying, “The Devil made me do it,” is easily denied by James 4:7: “Submit yourselves therefor to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from thee.”
You may recognize this as the title of a book written by Hal Lindsay in 1977. It is. But the same arena is alive today as then – in fact ever since we were introduced to Satan in Genesis 3:1:
“Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he (the serpent) said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”
Since Satan cannot be overlook as a potential source of problems, let’s look at the impact of this brief introduction to the most devious force known to mankind.
We will never be without problems yet we need never be without a solution.
Shakespeare said it this way: “Sorrows (problems) come not single spies, but in battalions.” Another truism attests: The harder I try the behinder I get. And a still familiar lament from a past television series puts these words to verse: “If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.”
Needless to say, perhaps we have all been there at one time or another; but we need never be without a solution.
All problems come from one of four sources. We will look at these over the next several sessions because knowing the source of the problem will point us to the solution.
During the next six lessons we will look at the detail supporting these Biblical Ground Rules. We will begin with a brief review of the following:
If we cannot agree we will not be disagreeable.
Granted, this is sometimes easier said than done. We should expect a man and a woman to bring different perspectives into a marriage relationship. To be different is not necessarily to be wrong. Different can mean to be better.
A husband’s perspective combined with his wife’s perspective can ultimately become their perspective. Genesis 2:24 re-enforces this conclusion: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” That is to imply to be of one perspective.
The Number-one reason married couples come to New Hope Counseling Service simply stated is: “We have a breakdown in communication.”
Unless you are out of touch with the community around you, it is a known that the break down in the family structure has reached epidemic proportions.
Although not playing the blame game through the following reminder, Scripture is clear that the husband/father is the Spiritual leader in the family structure. He, of course, is to be supported fully by his wife the mother of their children. Often times she is the primary parent exercising direct supervision over the children.
Without a doubt, today perhaps more so than ever, the family unit is under severe attack. The Christian family, in particular, is under attack at times by so-called religious- based groups who ignore God’s plan for the family.
The foundation of the family, as Christians know it to be, was laid in the Garden of Eden. We learn this from Genesis 2:24:
“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
Dr. Ed Wheat in his book, Love Life: For Every Married Couple, says, “These twenty-two words sum up God’s entire teaching on marriage. All else that is said emphasizes or amplifies these three fundamental principles originated here, but never changes them in the slightest.”
Today "submission" is often viewed as a curse word making the following biblical principle difficult to grasp.
Why? The hurdles to understanding are due to a misapplication of definitions, usage and context.
This biblical principle, or tool, states:
If you submit, God is in control.
If you resist, others are in control.
Note: The words wife and husband do not appear in this biblical principle.
A continuing theme in this series has been: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure.
This lesson logically follows that which was taught regarding a breakdown in communication in any relationship but here specifically in marriages.
When a couple reaches a point in communicating where they say literally or figuratively I don’t, can’t or won’t they must return to a point where they can say “I do.”
We couple this time-tested truth with the following question: What Christian would abuse another when practicing the Word of God? The answer is obvious.
Recently we have been looking into several aspects of communication breakdown that is the Number One reason people come to New Hope for instruction and counseling.
What do we, as a counseling ministry, when two people who once said, “I do,” now say: I don’t, I can’t or I won’t?
Before embarking on the mechanics of the solution two parties at odds with each other need to examine their commitment to healing the here-to-fore unresolved issue(s).
To help them arrive at their individual level of commitment to their marriage we give them a piece of paper on which is written four words in this configuration