“But the marriage union is designed to be all in, where a couple can be vulnerable, transparent, and forgiving— not on guard. The actions that come from being on guard create distrust, build walls, and sabotage marriages. They set in motion the very outcome the couple didn’t want— an outcome that too often comes because it feels inevitable— because couples have a sense of futility when they most need hope instead.
There’s a passage in the Bible that says that without a vision, people perish (Prov. 29:18 KJV). And the irony is that the hope people need— the good-news truth that will give them strength to reclaim their marriage— is actually there. They just don’t know it…”
*Feldhahn, Shaunti (2014-05-06). The Good News About Marriage: Debunking Discouraging Myths about Marriage and Divorce (pp. 18-19). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
BIG IDEA: FEAR SABOTAGES MARRIAGE
Matthew 6:31–34 (NLT)
31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Data from “The Good News About Marriage”
- The actual divorce rate has never been close to 50 percent. It’s significantly lower and has been declining over the last thirty years.
- Most marriages aren’t just so-so. The vast majority are happy.
- The rate of divorce in the church is not the same as among the non-churchgoing population. It too is significantly lower.
- Remarriages aren’t doomed. A significant majority survive and thrive.
- Most marriage problems aren’t caused by big-ticket issues, so being in a marriage, or fixing a troubled one, doesn’t have to be as complicated as people think. Little things can often make a big difference. * (p. 10)
FEAR 01 – FEAR OF BEING ALONE.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)
13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
Where the perception of happy marriages is that only 15% to 25% are happy, the reality is over 80% of marriages are happy and would do it all over again. “In reality, though, around 80 percent of marriages are happy, with around 30 percent being very happy!” * (p. 60)
“Two out of three unhappily married adults who avoided divorce or separation ended up happily married five years later.”
“Among those who rated their marriages as very unhappy, almost eight out of ten who avoided divorce were happily married five years later.” * (p. 53)
The vast majority (93 percent or more) are glad they married their spouse and would do it all over again— including those who had at one time considered divorce. * (pp. 60-62).
FEAR 02 – FEAR OF COMMUNICATING.
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.
1 Peter 4:8
Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.
FEAR 03 – FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN.
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
FEAR 04 – FEAR OF INTIMACY.
21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. 25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself.
1 Corinthians 7:5 (NLT)
5 Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
FEAR 05 – FEAR OF NO HOPE.
“imagine the difference to our collective consciousness about marriage and divorce if we began to say “Most marriages last a lifetime” rather than “Half of marriages end in divorce.” * (p. 25)
“Right now, according to one of the most recent Census Bureau surveys, 72 percent of people who have ever been married are still married to their first spouse. In other words, more than seven out of ten people are still married to their first spouse.” * (p. 21)
“around 25 percent of first marriages may have ended because of divorce rather than widowhood” * (p. 21)
“Many factors dramatically affect the chances of divorce. Those who marry young (teens and young twenties), who don’t go to college, who live together before marriage, and/ or who do not attend religious services together have a higher risk of divorce. Those who get married in their mid twenties or later, go to college, don’t cohabit first, and/ or worship together could realistically have a 5 to 10 percent divorce rate.” * (p. 38)
“Weekly church attendance alone lowers the divorce rate significantly— roughly 25 to 50 percent, depending on the study.” * (p. 66)
“Wilcox documents that those who attend worship services regularly have an average drop of roughly 50 percent in their divorce rates compared to those who do not. Simply stated, couples who go to church or other religious services together on a regular basis have the lowest divorce rate of any group studied, regardless of other factors such as how long they’ve been married.” * (p. 72)
“In a vibrant church with couples who are trying to put God first, more than half of them are not just “happy,” they are at the highest level of marital happiness and enjoyment.” * (p. 78)
“Fully 68 percent of highly connected couples agreed or strongly agreed that they pray together regularly. Only 19 percent of highly connected couples reported not praying together regularly. By comparison, most highly disconnected couples (73 percent) reported no regular prayer with their spouse. Among those taking this assessment, it was unusual for a couple who prays together to feel highly disconnected in their overall relationship. * (p. 81)
Tools recommended for additional growth during this FEAR series:
Coming up at Open Life
Student Life New Time
Student Life | Wednesdays at 6:30pm
6:30pm to 8:00pm each Wednesday, if you have a student in 6th through 12th grade, or want to serve the students of Open Life and this community this is for you…click the link below for more info.
Backpack Program Serving Opportunity
The Backpack Program Thursdays at 6pm at the Sumner Community Food Bank. The Backpack Program assists over 200 students throughout the Sumner School District by providing food for the weekends throughout the school year. If you would like to help fill bags of food, all you have to do is come out to the Sumner Community Food Bank on Thursdays. (We serve every week except the 1st Thursday of the month)
Open Life 101 at the NEW YMCA
Open Life 101
Select the link below to help us lock in the date of our next 101. Find out why do we do this thing called church? Why do we behave the way we do? What exactly do we mean when we say “_______”? And how can you get involved in this compelling mission?