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TEXT: Ephesians 1:15-23
The Secrets of a Satisfying Marriage - Part 1 of 12
Bobby Earls, (Acknowledgement is given to Rick Warren for Sermon series)
September 6, 1998, FBI
It was Andy Stanley who preached a sermon recently in which he encouraged his people to "factor in God."
As we begin this new series of messages directed at marriage, a series I have entitled "The Secrets of a Satisfying Marriage," that's what I encourage you to do.
"Factor in God."
Today's message title is God's Power for Your Marriage.
In other words, "How God Can Help My Marriage."
If you're in a struggling marriage, factor in God.
If you've been married for 20 or more years and your marriage is as about exciting as watch grass grow, factor in God.
If you're just starting out in marriage and you want your marriage to be strong and healthy, factor in God.
If you're planning on marriage in the near future, factor in God!
If you're single and you think a miracle might yet happen, factor in God.
It was the Apostle Paul writing to the Christians of the first century world in the ancient yet sophisticated city of Ephesus who reminded them to remember the power of God available to each them to help them be successful in all of life's endeavors, including marriage.
(Read Ephesians 1:15-23)
"How tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God ... the same power demonstrated when Christ was raised from the dead."
1:19-20 (Ph)
There are three important points in any relationship we need to understand if we are to have a healthy relationship.
Even if you're single today, this message can relate to you since all relationships have the same three basic stress points:
* Unexpected differences-You find that the person you're relating to is more different than you thought they were.
* Unmet needs-all of us bring certain needs into any relationship.
When they're not met it causes stress.
* Unforgiven mistakes-One of the problems we have as human beings is that we hold onto our hurts of the past.
We refuse to forget and forgive.
This always causes stress and problems in any relationship.
Even when we know we have these problems in our marriage the common complaint I hear is "I feel there's nothing I can do.
I feel powerless to change it."
I've got good news for you.
What you cannot do, God can! Factor in God.
God can give you the power to fathom your mate's differences, the power to fulfill your mate's needs and the power to forgive your mate's mistakes.
The Power to "Fathom" My Mate's Differences
I chose the word "fathom" -- I know it's not a word we use a whole lot.
It means "to understand the depth of something."
If you're going to have a successful, satisfying marriage you have to understand the depth of the differences between you and your husband or you and your wife.
The number one complaint I hear all the time, "I just don't understand him."
or "She just doesn't make sense" or "I can't figure him out" or "I don't know why he acts that way."
Welcome to the club!
The Bible says in I Cor.
2:11 "No one can really know what anyone else is thinking or what he is really like, except that person himself."
(LB) Only that person can know.
Before Penny and I got married, all we could see was how alike we were.
The day after the wedding... all we could see was how different we were.
We are so different.
I think it is God's humor that He loves to put opposites together and watch the sparks fly.
If you're like most couples,
One of you is an early riser, the other one is a night owl.
One of you is daring and impulsive, the other is cautious and reserved.
One of you says, "I play by the rules," the other says, "Forget the rules!"
One of you loves to talk, the other is a bump on the log.
One of you loves to spend money, the other is a tightwad.
One of you loves to cuddle, the other is a porcupine.
Sex: One of you is a firecracker, the other is a dud.
One of you says, "Drop everything!", the other says "Drop dead!"
Like the guy who went home and handed his wife two aspirin.
She asked "What's that for?"
He said, "For your headache."
She said, "I don't have a headache."
He said, "Gotcha."
One of you is neat and organized and on time, the other is "flexible", mellow, late.
Differences aren't wrong, they're just different and maturity is when you realize that differences doesn't mean right or wrong -- it just means we're different.
Differences bring balance to a marriage.
You need a balance.
You eat with a knife and fork, not two knives.
The greater your differences, the greater your potential for growth in marriage.
The marriages that I see that are in the most problems, are where the two are exactly alike -- same weakness, same problems and they're bored to tears with each other.
God allows those differences in your marriage for your growth.
The first foundation is to understand that God wants to give you the power to fathom -- understand the depth -- of your mate's differences.
You really, really are different.
God wants to work in your life if you'll let Him.
I Peter 3:7 "You husbands should try to understand the wife you live with..." Circle the word "try" -- it takes great skill.
Men and women are inheritantly different in thousands of ways.
We're different biologically.
Every cell in a man's body is different from every cell in a woman's body -- genetically by "X" and "Y" chromosomes.
We're different.
Women mature faster.
They have a slower metabolism.
(That's why a man can gobble down a couple of hamburgers, a hotdog or two, a pack of fries, onion rings, a 1/2 dozen colas and top it off with a banana split and not gain an ounce.
On the other hand, a woman can walk in a room and just smell the same food and gain a pound and a half) We're different.
We're different behaviorally.
We think different.
Men assume that women think like men.
Women assume that men think like women.
We don't.
We think very differently.
What a man says tends to reflect what he thinks.
What a woman says tends to reflect what she feels.
We're on different plains.
You need to be aware of that.
We're different in background.
Not only is every woman different from every man, but every woman is different from every other woman.
And every man is different from every other man.
We're all unique.
It's no wonder we don't understand each other.
Yet this is the first foundation for a successful marriage.
Proverbs 24:3, "Homes are built on the foundation of wisdom and understanding."
How do you know when you have wisdom and understanding?
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