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Your Marriage Isn't Perfect

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How walking in love is vital to understanding the following instruction on marriage

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Introduction:

When the topic of marriage comes up, we all too often jump to . Husbands want to complain that their wives don’t submit and wives want to complain that their husbands aren’t loving them.
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But Paul first lays a foundation, which actually goes all the way back to chapter 4. In vs. 25 he reminds us… that we are members of one another. As members, we should walk in righteousness and holiness.
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When we get into the details of marriage at the end of chapter 5… Paul reminds us again, in vs. 30… that we are members of His body.
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Christian fellowship, and the call to walk in Christian fellowship doesn’t end when we leave the church building on Sunday… it continues on when we get into our cars with our spouses and drive home.
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A lot of people look at and think of it in terms of it in terms of Christian Fellowship… But they don’t always remember, or realize… that Christian fellowship continues in the home and in the work place.
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After laying this foundation in in vss 1-21… Paul then builds upon it with a discussion on marriage… then on family life… then into the work place.
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So today… with marriage in mind… we are going to look at this first section in … - Since marriage IS CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP for the Christian… we are going to consider this in light of marriage.
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Ephesians 5:1–2 ESV
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
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Wives and husband will later receive detailed instruction. Vs. 21 says that, in Xtian fellowship, we will submit to one another… and it’s the same in marriage.
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But the wife needs special instruction, because there is a burden of responsibility (not of power nor of authority)… but responsibility, on the husband before God on behalf of his family.
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Here, as Christians, we are told to walk in love. But later, the husband will receive special instruction, because he is called to love his wife as Christ loved the church. His love is to be sacrificial on behalf of his wife.
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Both submit… both love… but there is added burden and responsibility in both of these areas for the husband and wife.
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But this lends us the context. WE ARE TO:
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WALK IN LOVE
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If we follow X’s example… walking in love means: “giving ourselves up” for the other.
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EXAMPLES / DISCUSSION
-picking up the slack when the other one is lacking. (my migraines / Julie’s illness)
-Choosing to be strong when the other one is weak… when one is stressed or depressed… being strong when you need them to be.
-Sending Chad to the cabin… w/o guilt.
-Chad never gets to cook fish at home… ever.
-Chad won’t fight for a refund… story of the cruise.
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Ephesians 5:3–5 ESV
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Eph 5:3-5
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BE THANKFUL, NOT IMMORAL
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Husbands and wives who are truly thankful for their spouse, are not as prone to go looking for something outside of marriage.
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BUT… When we start comparing our spouse to other people… when we start feeling resentment towards our spouse, because they lack in areas where we expect more… When we place unrealistic expectations on our spouse…
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We are not being thankful.
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We are instead.... SETTING OURSELVES UP FOR FAILURE.
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Our spouses aren’t perfect… and if we dwell on all the things that they aren’t… then we are essentially paving the road for destruction.
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EXAMPLES / DISCUSSION
I wish Julie liked fishing. But she has no interest whatsoever… so I could dwell on that and compare her to women who do fish with their husbands. But that wouldn’t be beneficial. I didn’t marry a woman who likes to fish.
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I’m thankful that she is happy to spend time with me… even if we are just reading books, eating food, or watching a movie.
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julie: UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS… - Julie’s story - Jerry / postpartum / etc. / Ave’s word from the Lord. - Yes, the Lord spoke to Julie… but Chad reviewed time at work and discovered that he was working way too much. -
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(Chad)… often times, when I have a list in my head, I HAVE TO DO THINGS IN ORDER… no matter what. The curtains could be on fire, and I HAVE TO finish my list before I put them out. This drives Julie crazy… so I have had to learn how to actually break my list and help Julie at times.
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Ephesians 5:6–14 ESV
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
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DON’T HAVE SECRETS
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Secrets rarely remain in the dark. Secrets exposed in the past, are always regretted in the present. Secrets are… plain and simple… A BURDEN.
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Marriage is hard enough… but when we are carrying the burden of a secret… of something that will be poisonous and destructive… it makes marriage a thousand times more difficult.
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Let me ask this: “What would happen right now… if your spouse looked through your phone.... your text messages… your computer’s browser history? And I’m not talking about birthday present, or anniversary present kind of secrets. (Christmas lying is ok). WHAT WOULD HAPPEN?
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Try not to let anything that needs to be hidden from your spouse, into your marriage.
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EXAMPLES / DISCUSSION
We have seen secrets destroy a lot of relationships…
(Chad) - I never get away with anything in life. I get busted every time… so there’s no way I’m going to do something that requires me to keep a secret… because I know with certainty… that I will get busted.
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(Julie) - lets Chad know when guy friends communicate (Scott and Andy)
(Chad) - I keep Julie posted during the day if I go places for work.
(Julie) - thought Chad had perfume on him and FREEEKED!
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Ephesians 5:15–17 ESV
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
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SPEND YOUR TIME IN WAYS THAT WILL BENEFIT YOUR RELATIONSHIP
Spend your time in ways t
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We can easily walk in ways that don’t benefit our marriage. We can easily spend our time doing things that do not benefit our marriage… and some things are benign, and that’s unavoidable… But some things are down right destructive.
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EXAMPLES/ DISCUSSION
We have always gone on regular dates… at least 2-3 times a month. We have always made it a point to get away by ourselves a couple times a year.
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Not child centered parenting… when children leave, we still have each other.
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Be willing to talk through things. Chad doesn’t like to… but Julie feels like she has to talk some issues to death… Be willing.. even when it hurts, because it does...
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Ephesians 5:18–20 ESV
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Eph 5:18-20
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RECOGNIZE WHAT IS PRAISEWORTHY ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE
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God does things that are praise worthy. He has given you your spouse. Recognize what is praise worthy about this arrangement.
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(Chad) - My wife gives me the opportunity to be like Jesus. I’m supposed to love her as X loved the church… a sacrificial love. I am not thankful that she is sick… I could be resentful and frustrated… but her illness keeps on giving me the opportunity to love in a sacrificial way… I don’t like it… but I’m thankful for it.
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(Chad) - I recognize that this is the wife God gave me. He knows better than me… so… no matter what there is about Julie that I might not like… She is the best wife that God has for me. Praising God for my wife, keeps my heart in check.
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(Julie) - we will never starve - Chad will do anything with me even he doesn’t want to… like shopping on Sunday and Disney. - Chad is not ADD like me.
EXAMPLES / DISCUSSION
Ephesians 5:21 ESV
submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
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KNOW WHEN TO TAKE THE LEAD AND WHEN TO GIVE THE LEAD
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EXAMPLES / DISCUSSION
(Chad) I have a responsibility before God to lead my wife and my family. Not because I’m stronger… not because I have authority.... but, because I have responsibility. That doesn’t mean I’m the boss of everything.
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We as Christians… submit to one another… we place ourselves in different orders depending on the situations we face. - It’s the same in marriage.
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Spouses need to negotiate through many decisions… and sometimes, one spouse has better insight and understanding than the other.
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EXAMPLES / DISCUSSION
(Julie) - story of being called to C’ville, but going to check out Henderson, NC. - Chad always listens and considers my ideas. - homeschooling - pulling out of all ministry.
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(Chad) - Julie is never afraid to speak her opinions. She makes a ton of decisions with the kids… and the finances. Since I don’t like anything, I let her make the majority of plans for vacations… Julie plans all the fun, because my idea of fun is boring for everyone else.
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Conclusion:

Our marriage isn’t perfect. We extend each other a lot of grace… and if we could give you just one piece of advice… it would be just that: EXTEND GRACE TO EACH OTHER.
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(Chad) - I didn’t learn how to say I was sorry until we were married for 10 years. (I’m sorry you are mad) - When I learned the most important question of marriage. “Help me to understand why you are upset.”
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Harboring bitterness doesn’t help anything.
Resentment hasn’t resolved a single conflict.
Un-forgiveness will never draw you closer together.
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Your marriage will continually give you opportunities to be bitter, resentful, and angry…
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And yes, they are indicators that you probably have some issues to work through… but they are also opportunities to extend grace.
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