8.02.2017

Another great chapter!

Chapter 8 of this book was as challenging as the one before.
And I loved it! (With a wow-that-was-totally-convicting-and-I-have-a-lot-of-work-to-do kind of love. <grin>)

✢ The quality and character of a marriage aren't set in two or three grand moments of choice. No, the character of a marriage is formed in thousands of little moments of saying yes to one thing and no to another.

✢ It is not enough to identify the weeds in your relationship that need to go; you must also think about what God is calling you to put in their place.

✢ You cannot escape the influence of what you do and say on the person you live with and on your relationship to him or her.
Ask yourself: How do I daily influence the way my spouse thinks about God, him or herself, and life?

✢ We will never gain ground in our relationships by addressing wrong behaviors because the real battle of relationships lives at a much deeper, more profound level.
-You can only understand this deeper battle when you understand the fundamental nature of sin.
-You will never understand the struggles of your marriage until you begin to face the reality that something lives inside you that is destructive to relationships. The Bible gives this thing a name: sin.

✢ Healthy marriages are healthy because the people in those marriages have learned to recognize and say no to selfish instincts that lurk in their hearts and in the heart of every one of us.

✢ Selfishness is one of the big weeds that choke the life out of a marriage, and we must continually recognize that selfishness is first a condition of the heart before it is ever a set of choices, words, and behaviors.
-Your biggest struggle is with the selfishness that tempts and seduces us all.
-We must pull this weed again and again, along with all the weeds of destructive words and actions that attach themselves to it.

✢ The problem in our marriages is not first that we don't love one another enough; no, the problem is that we don't love God enough, and because we don't love God enough, we don't love one another as we should.

✢ Serving in love means being committed to ...
joy
peace
responding in ways that are kind
the vows you made when you got married
gentleness
the daily exercise of self-control

✢ If you are going to pull out the deeply rooted weeds of a selfish heart and plant new seeds of self-sacrificing love into the soil of your marriage, you need help.
-Your instincts of self-orientation are as sturdy as the sin that still remains there.
-If your marriage is ever going to be what it was designed to be, you need Divine intervention.

✢ The big battles in marriage are not the ones you fight with your spouse. The big battles are the ones being fought in your heart.
If you are ever going to have a marriage of unity, understanding, and love, you have to be willing to fight daily, but not with your spouse.
You need to be committed to fighting with yourself.
You need to be committed to fighting against the powerful draw of self-focus.
You need to fight the instinct to indulge those boiling emotions and powerful cravings.
You need to exegete your desires, corral your motives, critique your thoughts, and edit your words.
You need to battle until your litany of "I wants" becomes a joyful list of "I would be glad to's."

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