My Notes from the "Love Worth Fighting For" Marriage conference in Ocean Grove NJ on 2011-09-17)
Note: We have a DVD of the Marriage Conference and would like to loan it to you for 2 weeks if you just ask.
Kirk Cameron (from the old TV show Growing Pains) was the main presenter.
1. The Heart of the problem is the problem of the heart: it is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). Only God can heal that heart bent on selfishness. Kirk realized he has a heart that could destroy the marriage from the inside.
In the Fireproof movie, the main character got the Love Dare book from his dad. The turning point was not the Love Dare, but it was when God changed him.
You can go for all the counseling, speak the love language, fill the love tank, do the love dare, but if your heart is wrong on the inside, it will not be possible to fix your marriage on your own.
You have to go to God who can transform you.
It isn't about saying a prayer to be saved, it's about a change of heart.
When he grew up he was "too smart" to believe in God. But then someone took the time to explain the Gospel to him. If we look at the ten commandments, many of us have stolen, used God's name in vain, lied... We've broken the 10 commandments.
When we lie to a child, the child will do nothing. If we lie to our wife, we will sleep on the couch; If we lie to our boss, we may lose our job; if we lie to the government, we could go to jail. It's all the same offense, but it's who you offend. We have all offended God. The good news (the "gospel") is that God sent his son to die in our place for the forgiveness of our sins.
What does it have to do with marriage? Everything! If we don't have that power of the Holy Spirit, we won't be able to live the marriage God intended.
2. There is only one person you can change and it's not your spouse. If you're trying to change your spouse, how's that working for you? Kirk believes that God reserves the right to change your spouse. And God reserves the right to change you.
We need to look for separateness and send off alarms when it happens. We need to move toward togetherness. If you see yourself drifting apart, it's time to go into rescue 911 mode.
When we start to realize how much God loves us and what Jesus did for us on the cross. We realize how much God did for us when we realize that we didn't care about him; he died for us when we didn't have a heart toward him. This realization is so great that when we realize God forgave us of so much, then we can forgive those around us.
Surrender yourself to the Lord. It's not about changing yourself, it's about asking God to give your spouse a new you!
3. I must have an effective war strategy to destroy sin in my life or it will destroy me.
This is also a change of heart. We can put up safeguards (like internet filtering for example) and that will help for a while, but we need God to change our heart and give us a new heart in order to make the change.
One sign of being a Christian is that there is a battle going on between sin and God's Spirit within you. The Bible says In 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Be so dazzled with God's love for you on the cross that you love your spouse more than your sin.
4. God has ordained for the man to be the head of the home. We are to be the leaders. This is a message to men for women
Kirk used the following material from a sermon by James MacDonald (from Walk in the word)
1 peter 3:7. The 6 verses before this one are for the women, but this one verse is for the man. God knew he had to keep it simple for the guys!
There are several points in this verse:
1. Dwell with them, spend time with them. Invest and share. This will radically transform your marriage. The way you get good is by spending time at it, whether it be getting better at playing music, golf or whatever. Spend time one-on-one 15 minutes a day just talking. Then, after a while, one night a week, then one day a month, then one weekend a year.
2. Dwell with them in understanding: study her, know her. Before you were married, you studied her like crazy. You wanted to know everything about her.
You have to keep studying: what fires her up, what brings her down, when is a good time to approach her, when is a bad time to approach her. They love when you understand them.
Romance springs from sacrifice and planning, not convenience.
Intimacy with your wife is icing on cake after a good day.
Being nice and giving complements can't be overdone.
A little help goes a long way: washing dishes or helping with something stressing her out. Keep a little 3 by 5 card of notes of what works and what doesn't
3. Give honor to your wife
This means more than respect; treat her as rare and precious. Think of a military general singling out one man to honor him. Be her biggest fan, honor her. Kirk told the story about kissing his wife instead of the actress in the movie fireproof.
You can honor your wife by how you talk to her amongst your friends. You could give her some money to buy whatever she wants. You can honor her in front of your children by giving her a day off and doing her work for her.
4. The wife is weaker
This is about protection, you are supposed to protect her. You should put your arm around her to give her Security to make her feel safe,
When she feels she's in danger, be patient with her, like if you're driving too fast.
You can make her feel safe in her absence. Many men have to travel, have neighbors or family watch out for her. Call her to let her know you're checking on her safety.
Protect her by managing your aggression during an argument with her. If you have to talk fine, but don't raise your voice or punch the walls or throw things.
Here they showed a clip of the fireproof meeting when Caleb lost his temper.
If your wife ever cowers in front of you, then you're being the coward
5. Joint heirs
In order to have that long term relationship you have to keep opening up to her. Wives want you open up so she knows who you are. She wants you to let her know about you. Are you a closed book to her? Maybe your wife has a good friend because this friend is listening and sharing feelings. (You should be the one she talks to). God revealed himself to us, we need to open up to her.
6. So that your prayers will not be hindered
If you feel your prayers are a struggle, cut off, or hindered, maybe because you're not doing these things.
When a man does all these things above, then a marriage can have life breathed back into it.
Yes, the wives need to be changed too, but "Everything rises and falls on leadership" and God has ordained men to be the leaders of marriages.
We have a DVD of the marriage conference and would like to loan it to you for a few weeks if you like.