Click the button for a quick, downloadable PDF of all listed resources.
Click the button to access a listing of recommended counselors.
Marriage: 6 Gospel commitments Every Couple Needs to Make by Paul David Tripp
Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts by Drs.Les and Leslie Parrott
Saving Your Second Marriage Before It Starts by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott
You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis Chan
Marriage That Works by Chip Ingram
Boundaries in Marriage by Cloud & Townsend
Liberated Through Submission: The Ultimate Paradox by P. B. Wilson
Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Drs. John and Julie Gottman
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by Drs. John and Julie Gottman
A Celebration of Sex: A Guide to Enjoying God’s Gift of Sexual Intimacy by Dr. Douglas Rosenau
Marriage Night 2020
Your Time-Starved Marriage
Five Lies That Ruin Relationships
You and Me Forever by Francis Chan
Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage podcast
Focus On The Family does a Best Marriage Podcast
Family Life Blended by Ron Deal
Small Things Often by The Gottman Institute
Love and Relationships by Debra Fileta
Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage with Greg and Erin Smalley
Miss a Marriage Lab?
Catch up on what you missed!
Question of the Week
Do I actually believe that our marriage can get better?
“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Marriage is God’s creation and design.
He designed it so that two imperfect and sinful people would come together for His purposes. That means that you each enter into the marriage and exist in the marriage as works in progress. As a result, marriage will always be a work in progress. You will never “arrive,” BUT there is always hope no matter your difficulty.
Consider this – your yard, like your marriage, is a work in progress. There are weeds to pull, grass to mow, and seed to plant. It doesn’t end. Marriage is the same, especially if you’re pursuing the marriage that God intended for you.
There is no room for lazy optimism – “If I leave it alone, it’ll get better” – or critical pessimism – “It is what it is and all it’ll ever be.” Instead, Jesus calls us to Biblical Realism – “No matter how good or bad things are, there is always room to grow.”
- Are you more likely to err on the side of lazy optimism or critical pessimism?
- What are common behaviors of lazy optimism? What about critical pessimism?
- When you think of biblical realism, what do you immediately think of or focus on?
- What are some godly behaviors of biblical realism?
- Spiritual – How are we doing spiritually?
- Relational – Are we connecting with each other?
- Fun – Are we having fun?
- Sex – How healthy is our sexual intimacy?
- Health – How healthy are our schedules, rhythms, and habits?
- Spend time sharing your insights with your spouse. Fight the urge to point out all the problems, frustrations, and disappointments around these categories.
- This week, identify 1-2 things that you can do to serve your spouse and increase their score in one of these areas.
- Identify 1-2 things you can do this week to improve your own score in one of these areas.
- Set a reminder on your phone – in a few days, follow up with your spouse.
THE GOAL: Do something together that will help you grow closer together and or as an individual.
- Read a book or listen to a podcast. Then, grab coffee and discuss what you are learning.
- Grab dinner and have a discussion around 3-5 hopes and dreams you have for your marriage.
- Brainstorm a list of family or marriage values.
- Create a list of how you want to be pursued and have your spouse pick 1-2 ideas to try.
- Make a list of ways your spouse can pray for you.
- Together, set annual, quarterly, or monthly goals.
Question of the Week
During the weekend message, we discussed 5 practical areas in which to move towards your spouse:
- Create a unique relationship.
- Cancel debts quickly.
- Catch the foxes.
- Close the bedroom door.
- Cultivate spiritual support.
This week, ask your spouse: How can I move toward you in one of these practical areas?
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
One of God’s intentions for marriage is that a husband and wife would be connected in such a way that the best way they could describe that connection is “being one.” This connection happens when two individuals are so closely connected that what makes them distinct and disconnected is outweighed by what makes them unified and connected. This is what God wants for you and your spouse. Think about that for a moment.
- Mitigate and manage anything that produces disconnection and disunity.
- Maximize and promote anything and everything that produces connection and unity.
- Have you ever had moments or a season where you felt “one” with your spouse? What was happening in your life when this happened?
- What are some things you do for your spouse that make you feel connected to them?
- What are some things that your spouse does that make you feel connected to them?
- Where do you have the most room in your marriage to grow? In the things you need to maximize and promote or the things you need to minimize and manage?
Feeling connected with your spouse can be a complicated and confusing process. But for simplicity’s sake, think about connection in relation to three important categories – relational connection, sexual connection, and spiritual connection. These are not the only categories, but they are major ones. If you are connected within the three, you will likely feel VERY connected to your spouse.
Imagine that each of these categories has three dials, and the dials move from 1 to 10. A one means that your connection in this area is very poor, and a ten is an excellent connection. When your dial and your spouse’s dial have a big gap, you will likely feel disconnected. When your dial and your spouse’s dial are close, you will likely feel connected.
Take a moment for each of you to “set the dial” to where your connection is as a couple. Try to think of clear examples of why your dial is where it is. It can also be helpful to define what a “one” and “ten” look like.
1. Relational Connection
Intention – What actions and behaviors make me feel that my spouse is intentionally loving me?
Attention – What actions and behaviors demonstrate a priority to them?
Appreciation – What actions and behaviors demonstrate that they see me as valuable to them?
2. Sexual/Romance Connection
Frequency – How often do I reasonably want to have sex?
Spontaneity – How often should sex be planned (like after date night) versus on a random day of the week?
Variety – How much variety do I want to have in our sexual experiences together?
3. Spiritual Connection
Reconciliation – How long does it take to ask for and give forgiveness? How long does it take for us to return to peaceful and joyful interactions?
Formation – How often do we share what God is teaching us and how we are trusting God?
- Mission – How are we partnering with each other to build God’s kingdom in our marriage, our family, and our church?
After reviewing each of your answers, take some time to discuss how you could move the dial from where you are to ideally where you think you could be. If time and emotional energy are short, pick one category for each of you.
Connected people are partners, and partners negotiate. So lovingly and understandingly negotiate how you can dial in your connection.
THE GOAL: Do something that will produce “face-to-face” time and meaningful conversations that aren’t about the logistics of family life or your schedules.
- Plan a Progressive Dinner
- Read a devotional together and discuss it
- Do community service together, then get dinner
- Build a campfire and make s’mores
- Get a couples massage
- Create a photo book together with pictures on your phone
- Go to dinner… but pick your spouse’s meal
- Make a list of all the things you appreciate about your spouse
- Play The Questions Game
- Do a dinner and night at a hotel away from home