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Attitudes Conducive to a Sucessful Marriage relationship

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El Edén                        June 3, 2003 Leslie and Anilsa’s wedding


Phil. 4:4-8

I.        Introduction

A.     This morning we are here to witness the forming of a new home. For Leslie and Anilsa, this ceremony marks the beginning of a new life together that will continue till death or till Jesus comes. There have been many couples who have come to the marriage altar with great celebration, rejoiced with a multitude of guests with much festivity, but a few years later the joy, the love in their relationship was gone, and they were simply enduring each other or perhaps even terminated their union with separation or divorce.

B.     Attitudes are capable of making the same experience either pleasant or painful.

C.     With the right attitude, all the problems in the world will not make you a failure. With the wrong mental attitude, all the help in the world will not make you a success. Warren Deaton

D.     Marriage is the beginning of a new relationship for life. A lifetime of experiences – all kinds, a lifetime of living together, planning together, deciding together, working together – and our attitudes toward each other, toward others and toward the experiences we face will make all the difference.

II.     Rejoicing

A.     Today is a day of rejoicing. And everyday is to be a day of rejoicing. And to Leslie and Anilsa – it may be hard to imagine days that are not.

B.     Attitude is the EYE of your soul! Your attitude determines how you view life. If your attitude is negative, you will see life negatively. If your attitude is positive, you will see life positively. If you have a thankful attitude, you will see things you encounter as gifts to be thankful for. “I may not be able to change the world I see around me but I can change the way I see the world within me!” No wonder the Scripture says, “Rejoice in the Lord always.” (Phil. 4:4) Being joyful is not a matter of chance or circumstance. It is a matter of deciding to rejoice! And
since the decision of whether or not we will rejoice is left up to us, Paul reiterates the command: “I will say it again; Rejoice!”

C.     We think of joy, satisfaction, hope … the absence of complaining, criticizing, worry, disagreement

D.     It is not something that comes naturally—can only come from God and lead to Him.

E.      As we notice some of the other attitudes in these verses…we will understand better the key to a continual attitude of rejoicing.

III.   Moderation – Attitude is the FACE of the soul

A.     Your attitude determines how you appear to others. Other people mirror the attitude they sense we have. Jesus put it like this: “The way you treat others is the way you will be treated”

B.     Others should know us for our moderation

1.      “sweet reasonableness” – a person easy to get along with

2.      Moderation,” says Dr. Macknight, “means meekness under provocation, readiness to forgive injuries, equity in the management of business, candor (sinceridad y honestidad) in judging of the characters and actions of others, sweetness of disposition, and the entire government of the passions.

C.     characterized by love — in the marriage relationship

1.      Listen to Paul’s words (1 Co. 13). In vs. 4 he says, “Love is patient, love is kind.” Sometimes you will be stressed out. Sometimes you will be frustrated. “Love is patient & kind.” Sometimes you might want to give harsh criticism when your spouse does something foolish or hurtful. “Love is patient & kind.”

2.      Second, Paul tells us that “Love is not jealous or boastful.” Sometimes we try to make ourselves look better than we really are. We may even criticize our partner to make us feel better about ourselves.

a)      Our competitive spirit may get the best of us, & we try to prove that we are better, smarter, more professional, more talented than our partner. Such selfish behavior in a marriage will prove to be unproductive, even destructive.

b)      May I suggest an alternative that is much more worthwhile & enjoyable? Build each other up, learn to praise the unique gifts of your life’s partner.

3.      Paul’s next advice is to avoid arrogance & rudeness. Paul knows that sometimes we treat those we love with less courtesy even than a stranger. We may take our spouses for granted. Occasionally we may be rude to them in private. Even worse, we may be rude to them in public.

a)      Paul would urge that we strive to treat our spouse with reverence & respect just like we would want him or her to treat us.

4.      Of all the ideals that Paul holds up before us, this next one may be the hardest. “Love does not insist upon its own way.” Now, Leslie, Anilsa, I’m going to assume there have been times in your relationship with each other, that one or both of you have insisted on having your own way.

a)      Such behavior is present in most relationships. But it is not helpful. Marriage is intended to be a journey filled with compromises.

b)      If both of you are willing to compromise; if both of you are willing to respond to the wants & needs of the other, & not just your own, then your marriage will be much more peaceful & productive. “Me” & “My” need to give way to “Us” & “Ours.”

5.      Paul’s next description of love is difficult to follow. He tells us that love “is not irritable or resentful.” I wonder if there is anyone here who has never been irritable or resentful?

a)      In fact, most of us fail to live out this quality of love. Rather than being pleasant, we are sometimes easily irritated or angered. Rather than politely answering a simple question of a spouse, we may respond with a loud or hostile voice. Too often we become argumentative & defensive.

b)      I believe that Paul would urge of all of us, that when we fail to live up to this ideal, we avoid making excuses for our behavior & simply admit we are wrong. “Sorry, I’ve been in a bad mood today! Let’s start over.”

c)      Paul’s model of Christian love may even suggest a strange double standard. When our spouse is irritable, we are to be patient. When we are irritable, we are to ask for forgiveness. If both of you live by this advice there will be peace in your home.

6.      Paul sums up his beautiful description of love with these words, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” In other words, love never gives up. It hangs in. It holds on. You can count on it. This is the type of love you are to have for one another - love that can be trusted.

D.     Characterized by mutual submission

1.      it means that it=s something both of you practice in your relationship with each other. First of all, it means esteeming or cherishing or treasuring or valuing. That means that you put each others= needs before your own. When you treasure something or in this case, someone, you serve them, you think about them, you put their needs and requirements at the top of your list of what==s most important.

a)      Treasure each other

1)      Treasuring each other means that you need to study each other. You know each other pretty well. But believe me when I say that people are really, really complicated. There=s far more to each of you than meets the eye. And it will take the rest of your lives and beyond to figure out.

(a)    Ask yourselves some questions such as: "What makes him/her really happy? What does he/she like least of all? What touches his/her heart? What is his/her deepest desire?"

b)      Be accountable to each other

1)      The second thing that mutual submission means is this: be accountable to each other. Accountability isn=t the same as catching each other doing something wrong or poorly. It=s very easy and very natural to catch each other doing it (whatever "it" is) wrong. Anybody with a critical spirit can do that. That sort of negative stuff undermines trust and creates shame, neither of which build a marriage relationship. Accountability means intentionally submitting certain aspects of your life (generally the weakest parts of your life), to each other. You submit these parts of your life to each other in order to be encouraged, to be strengthened and corrected, to be prayed for and about, and to make sure that you aren=t ignoring them because they==re too embarrassing to deal with. Submitting to each other through accountability is the most important part of making disciples of each other. Of course, it requires a certain amount of vulnerability and trust, but that=s why the marriage relationship is such a good place for accountability to happen

c)      Respect each other

1)      Finally, the third thing that mutual submission means is this: respect each other. Respect is shown in many different ways. But let me just remind you about a couple of them. Taking the time to listen and say what=s on your heart is one way of showing respect. It would be really easy after a hard day at work, to limit your conversation to "What==s for supper" and "what do you want to do this evening?", or even to argue about your irritation of the moment. It=s much more difficult, but far more healthy, to ask questions, to talk about what matters, and to listen carefully to each other. That is respect. It sends the message that you consider each other more important than other things, that you respect each other. Another way of showing respect is found in your decision-making. It is profoundly disrespectful to subtly manipulate each other in order to achieve some desired goal or result. You know how that happens. The silent treatment, the cold shoulder, scheming, bargaining.  It would be better, when you disagree, to set the decision aside until you can agree honestly, and without manipulation

E.      I like to think that “The Lord is at hand” means He is near to help us right now.

IV.   Peace – Attitude is the EAR of the mind — Your attitude determines how you understand your world. Attitude is the librarian of your past and the listener of your present.

      A.  Worry paints a mental picture of what you do not want to
happen. Therefore when you worry negative sounds will drown the positive. Instead of worrying, pray.

A.     Phil. 4:6, 7 B The remedy for anxiety and worry: prayer. We are to pray about every thing no matter how small and insignificant it may seem. God is interested in the details of our lives, in the most minute details. He wants us acknowledging Him in all our ways or steps because He wants to care and look after every single step.

1.      Now picture the scene: we are walking throughout the day, sharing with God every step of the way, and God is taking care of every step of the way. What then can take the peace of God away from us? Absolutely nothing! For as we walk in prayer and fellowship with God, God is infusing us with His presence and peace. No matter the conflict or trial, we are continuing to share with God and God is continuing to infuse us with His peace. Through prayer He is giving us the peace to conquer and walk through the trial. Our relationship with God and His peace is unbroken.

2.      The promise: peace. Peace means to be bound, joined, and woven together. It means to be assured, confident, and secure in the love and care of God. It means to have a sense, a consciousness, a knowledge that God will provide, sustain, deliver, guide. A couple can experience the peace of God only as he walks and moves about in prayer. Why? Because only God can deliver through the most severe circumstances and tragedies of life; only God can infuse assurance and security within the human soul. The wonderful promise about the peace of God is twofold.

a)      First, the peace of God passes all understanding. It is beyond anything we can ask or think. It surpasses all our imaginations. Think of the most terrible situation you can imagine; then think of the peace you would want as you went through that trial. In actual experience, the peace of God is far greater than anything you could ever imagine or understand.

b)      Second, the peace of God keeps our hearts and minds. The word Ashall keep@ is a military word meaning to garrison, to keep guard and protect. The peace of God is like a most elite soldier who guards and protects the most precious possession of God: the believer=s heart and mind.

V.     Attitude is the VOICE of your heart! Your attitude will determine how you relate to those around you. It is never content until expressed. It is more honest and more consistent than your words. Attitude always tells how things really are with you. “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Prov 23:7)

A.     What we speak begins with what we believe. If you are a peaceful person, you will speak peace. If there is agony in your heart, you will speak pain. If you are truly grateful, giving thanks will come easy and naturally. The quality of our thoughts affects what we feel and how we handle life.

B.     V. 8 —The word “think”  means to consider, reflect, reason, and ponder. The idea is that of focusing our thoughts until they shape our behavior.

C.     When thoughts come to mind about our companion, we need to ask:

1.      Is this thought true? (not just preconceived notions or imaginations or suspicions)

2.      Is this thought right? (meaning in right relationship with God and others- does this thought contribute to the growth of our relationship?

3.      Is this thought pure? (not distorted by wrong motives)

4.      Is this thought lovely?  pleasing, winsome, kind, gracious; things that excite love and kindness. Our thoughts are not to be thoughts of unkindness and meanness, grumbling and murmuring, criticism and reaction. The believer’s thoughts are to be focused upon things that are lovely—that build people up, not tear them down.

5.      Is this thought admirable? Can I share this thought with someone and cause them to admire me and others more? What if what I am thinking were displayed for all the world to see?

6.      Is this an excellent thought?

7.      Is it praiseworthy?

D.     When we put our attitude through this filter, we will find it easy to speak the best, not the worst; to speak of the beautiful and not the ugly: to speak praise and not curse.

E.      Attitude is the VOICE of your heart! Your attitude will determine how you relate to those around you.

F.      If you will compare this list to David=s description of the Word of God in Psalm 19:7-9, you will see a parallel. AThe law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.@ The Christian who fills his heart and mind with God=s Word will have a Abuilt-in radar@ for detecting wrong thoughts. AGreat peace have they which love Thy Law@ (Ps. 119:165). Right thinking is the result of daily meditation on the Word of God.

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