Sven and I are a fan of Paul Tripp's stuff. When we were in MN, we highly enjoyed the Case for Kids video series, which teaches parenting and discipline from a Christ-centered perspective. We borrowed the series from our church and had some friends over to watch the videos together. We hoped to own a set of our own someday to watch with friends.
Paul Tripp held a marriage conference this weekend entitled, "What Did You Expect?" Christ-centered and biblically-based, Paul Tripp takes us to the heart of any marriage struggle: it's not that you don't love your spouse enough, it's that you don't rightly love God. Following is a summary of what was covered.
He pointed out that we must understand the whole theme of scripture in order to understand what the bible says about marriage. We cannot isolate marriage passages and rightly understand them.
"A marriage of unity, understanding, and love is not rooted in romance, but in worship." "Romance is never the cause, but the fruit of a good marriage." "Worship is first your identity before it's your activity." Luke 6:43-45 states that how we behave and speak is based upon what's inside of us, not on what's on the outside. Marriage problems are heart problems. In order to gain ground in your marriage, you must admit that "I am my biggest marriage problem."
II Cor. 5:14-15 states we are to live for Christ who made us alive. Sin causes us to live for ourselves instead of Christ.
1: the dna of sin is selfishness (Gen. 3).
2: Sin is anti-social (looks inward, not outward). It's not about us, it's about God. If we make it about us, we will be miserable.
3: Sin causes us to dehumanize people in our lives; they become either vehicles or obstacles. When our spouse is helping us reach our dreams and goals, we act graciously towards them, but when they get in the way of our dreams and goals, they become an obstacle and we are spontaneously irritated with them.
He pointed out one of the most misused words for us in America - "need". He stated point-blank that a wife does not need love, a husband does not need respect. Are these good and blessed things? Oh, yes, but they are not needs. We must not treat blessings as entitlements or we suck the life out of our marriages.
When Satan can get us to view less as more then he's got us. Gen. 3 is a good example. Eve thought she could have wisdom outside of God who is all wisdom. Satan tricked her into believing that less was more and then he had her. This is how he gets us to sin and compromise our marriages.
But, there's hope in II Cor. 5:14-15 - Jesus came to rescue me from myself.
"Marriage, this side of heaven, is always a war between two kingdoms." The kindgom of self and the kingdom of God.
Matt. 6:19-34 -
1: Everyone lives for some kind of treasure.
2: Our treasure controls our heart.
3: What controls our heart will control our behavior.
What kingdom are you responding out of? Your reactions come forth out of allegiance to one of these two kingdoms. How can you tell? - Is your relationship with your spouse the sweetest it's ever been?
I Jn. 4:7-11: True love is defined by the cross. Love is a "willing self-sacrifice for the good of another that doesn't demand reciprocation or that the person being loved is deserving". In our marriages, we need "Cruciform Love" - love that shapes itself after the cross. We harm ourselves when we call things "love" that don't measure up to the definition of love.
Gal. 5:13-23: Ugliness in relationships kills us.
Three big manipluative strategies:
Rather, serve one another in love. We can't keep the 2nd great commandment (love your neighbor as yourself) unless we keep the first (love the Lord God). You can't fix marriage relationships horizontally, you fix marriages vertically. If you love God, you can then love your spouse.
1: Where do you get that kind of love? True love is born out of gratitude, not duty. If we have gratitude towards God, we can love.
2: We ought to love. By design, not duty. Just as birds ought to fly, they were made to; so we too, ought to love, we were made to.
3: Each day, look for places to love; commit and be faithful.
How do we worship?
Worship God as Creator. Look at our spouse and celebrate the creator, instead of looking at our spouse and trying to "play creator" and "re-create" our spouse to who we think they should be. Celebrate God's design in our spouse's gifts and talents.
Worship God as Sovereign. Acts. 17 says God determines where we live and our number of days. God directs our days and has directed us to our spouse. As we encounter differences between our tastes, instincts, culture and interaction, worship God for how he's molded and is growing our spouse. Our home should be a beautiful mix of hte husband and wife's tastes - one flesh. Marriage was given by God to bring about two things: God's glory and our good.
Worship God as Savior. Recognize that God's timing is always right. When faced with the sin, weakness and failure of our spouse how do we respond? Encourage the good things that God is at work on in their lives. In order to do this, we must recognize our own need of a Savior. The big problem in marriages is self-righteousness. Celebrate the work of our Savior, confident aht we have no power to transform our spouse. That power is Christ's alone.
The result of a life that is founded in worship? A marriage with tenderness, appreciation and romance. A marriage of unity and love is rooted in worship. What kingdom are you serving?
On a side note, Paul Tripp had a table with a bunch of his books and materials. The Case for Kids mentioned earlier was there. It's retail price is $124.95, but the nicely reduced conference price was $45.00. Sven and I planned on someday forking out the $125.00 to own it, if we were ever blessed to have that amount to use for it. But $45! We could hardly believe it. We sat there looking at it from a short distance and then I broke our thoughts with, "We don't even have $45.00." "I know." Of course my mind was trying to conceive how we could come up with $45.00. I stopped myself and prayed, "Lord, if you want us to have this video series, you can give it to us and we don't need $45.00, but if not that if fine too. Thank you." After the conference, some friends of ours gave us a call. They had purchased the Case for Kids, but the case was cracked. They called the church asking if they could exchange it for an undamaged one. They talked to Paul Tripp who said they'd send them another one, no need to exchange. Our friends wanted to know if we wanted the damaged one. What a wonderful blessing to us! Praise God he lives in our mundane little moments, as that is what our lives are made up of.