Here’s a principle that holds true 98% of the time: What you think your future will be like determines how you act in the present.
Looking at it positively
You think nice guys wins, so you are kind to the people around you.
You think that God will make everything right in the end, so you are able to let go of making people pay for their mistakes.
Looking at it negatively
You think everyone always takes advantage of everyone else (and always will), so you beat them at their own game and take advantage of them first.
People won’t change unless you remind them of their failures, so you never let up on the people in your life about the mistakes they’ve made.
The principle applies to marriage and relationships too. If your marriage is primarily about you and your happiness, your odds of abandoning it when you are no longer happy go way up (and that day will come). Consider that the rise of no-fault divorce in our country is a natural outgrowth of the idea that marriage is for personal happiness. But if you think your marriage is about something larger than you, you stay in it and work on it precisely because its not about you.
Here’s a quick recap of last week’s message on marriage and sex: The Kisses of Your Mouth. You can listen here.
We talked about how marriage is for the purpose of sanctification
God is more interested in you being holy than happy (and surprisingly, happiness comes as a byproduct). Marriage is an incredible tool for sanctification. Sanctification, by the way, is a word that literally means "to make holy."
We did a bit of Marriage counseling
Song of Solomon chapter 2 talks in metaphorical language about the little foxes will destroy the vineyard of your marriage:
- Like not agreeing on what you are building together
- Like not agreeing on how you’ll organize your home (your way isn’t the RIGHT way. You need the way you’ll do it together)
- Like not sharing your schedules or having an agreed on budget
- Like having destructive attitudes (criticism, contempt, defensiveness, stonewalling)
- Like not working through past pain so that it really is in your past
We talked about some practical advice (from Song of Solomon chapter 1) for making love come alive in your marriage
- Like brushing your teeth & showering (the fundamentals never go out of style)
- Like making your spouse your standard of beauty (ignore the magazines in the check-out line. Industry secret: every model is air-brushed to look flawless)
- Like being a good steward of your body and making an effort to be attractive to your spouse (hint:let them dress you--and give-away the things they hate)
- Kiss each other. It's fun and burns 2 calories (and can lead to more if you do it right). Three cheers for calorie burning exercise!
- Husbands: tell her she’s beautiful. She’s verbal.
- Wives: let him see the beauty he appreciates--all of it. He’s visual.
We’ll be going into the heart of the brokenness of our culture with regard to sexuality: pornography and addiction. We aren’t going to shame, badger or beat anyone up. Grace is the way we do everything.
We're talking about it because porn addiction is epidemic in our culture. And contrary to the way it's talked about in public, it’s not the casual, funny, normal thing it's made to seem. Experts agree: it's destructive. One stat: a recent survey of lawyers found that 58% of divorces were due to one spouse spending excessive amounts of time with porn. We want anyone stuck in it to be free. So we’ll be offering hope and a way out. Grace always helps.
A caution: we’ll be talking honestly about it, so please think through having young children present. We won’t be vulgar, but we won’t mince words either. We’ve given the message a strong rating of MA-14. Consider this, the largest user of online porn is boys ages 12-17, so having boys there that age is actually very fitting.
If you think porn isn't that big of deal and we shouldn't be making an issue of it, read this article. Be forewarned, it’s on a Christian website, but it pulls no punches.