Have you ever apologized to your spouse? Chances are you have, or else you probably should have at some point. Adultery, drunkenness, emotional and psychological abuse are things that take place within marriages in the church. Equally toxic to our relationships, and more pandemic, are pride and selfishness. How do we learn godly behavior and thwart destructive practices that threaten our marriages? The Foundations of Marriage class seeks to address just such matters.
The Foundations of Marriage class starts up again for the fall quarter, and we will be using Bryan Chapell’s book, Each for the Other as a guide for class study and discussion. The book focuses on sacrificial love, which is essential to any thriving marriage and any genuine relationship between a Christian and God. And if we’re living for eternity in the eyes of God, how should we be treating the eternal creature, our spouse, in our marriages?
We first read this book over six years ago during our engagement. I (Rachel) realized there were very few marriages I had observed that I could look to as a true biblical working model of Christ loving the church. It’s rare to find a couple that makes you think, “I would love to be like them in 20 years,” and I began to doubt my own ability to be a wife that would glorify God in loving my husband, and the fear hit me—could we really have a good marriage? This book caused us to have some great conversations and God used those talks to calm my fears that yes, we really can have a great marriage if we keep our relationship God-centered. It’s really that simple. It’s just the application and obedience to Scripture that takes some work!
Our class is for couples married at least 40 days (may your honeymoon be 30 to 40 days) and up to 10 years. We are serious about coming together with a humble attitude of wanting to change. Ephesians 4:22 tells us “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires.” You can possibly relate. Before becoming a Christian, I was not a good person, both inside and out. Upon becoming a Christian, I (Luke) realized fixing the outside as the Lord empowered me was just the beginning. Fixing the inside was much more important, but it will take a lifetime and the character-sharpening influence of those in my life. Apart from the Lord, no relationship will refine you like your marriage relationship.
Our class is a community at Tenth that supports one another as we go through life being married. We share our lives, experiences, and lessons; and we strive to live in the way described in Romans 12:9–13:
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Our class is very hospitable. We generally have a community hayride, a Christmas party, girls’ nights out, group dinners in our homes—and we’ve been known to have a few Sunday classes at the Jersey shore near our standard 9:00 am meeting time, depending on traffic.
Beginning next Sunday, we will be meeting at 1716 Spruce, 3 Rear; we encourage you to bring the morning beverage of your choice, arrive at 9:00 am and take a few minutes to get to know us and catch up on what is happening with other couples. The class study begins at 9:10. We have a time of prayer around 10:00, during which we seek the Lord’s grace for our marriages based on our study topics, as well as for various other matters on our hearts, and then have fellowship time prior to the 11 am service.
If you are in your first year of marriage, it is especially important to connect with a group of peers at this time. Additionally, if you are no longer a newly-wed, married 2 to 10 years, it’s not too late! Or, in addition to any ministry commitments as a couple, come join us on Sunday mornings. You will make new friends, learn about the Lord’s vision for marriage, and have the opportunity to minister to others to strengthen marriages at Tenth. Any reasonable person has to admit a class like that is a pretty sweet deal.
© 2020 Tenth Presbyterian Church.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Luke & Rachel Balinski. © 2020 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org