Marriage ( 2 ) Covenantal Love Slides by: Timothy Chan, based on John Piper’s “This Momentary Marriage”& Tim Keller’s “The Meaning of Marriage”
Popular Opinions On Marital Happiness❖ An increasingly common view on marriage: ❖ “Marriage is when two people love each other so much that they commit to spending the rest of their lives together, building a family together.” ❖ (Q) Do you agree with this? Why or why not?❖ Kim Kardashian, explaining her quick divorce, said: “I love with all of my heart and soul. I want a family and babies and a real life so badly that maybe I rushed into something too soon. I believed in love and the dream of what I wanted so badly.”
Popular Opinions On Marital Happiness❖ A HubPages entry entitled “How do You Know If You Married the Wrong Person” lists a few points: ❖ Incompatibility: ... Marriage is not only about commitment and responsibility. Couples must also be compatible in order for the marriage to work. ❖ No “Spark”: ... If you kiss your partner and you feel nothing then you know that you married the wrong person. ❖ Opposites: ... You married the wrong person if your partner loves clutter while you are a well organized person.
Falling In Love❖ Some might say: ”Love shouldn’t have to be hard. If two people are truly soul mates, then love should come naturally!” ❖ (Q) Do you think that if you marry the right person, then love would be natural and not require that much work? Why or why not?❖ Real love takes time and sacriﬁce.❖ “When you ﬁrst fall in love, you think you love the person, but you don’t really. ... You actually love your idea of the person – and that is always, at ﬁrst, one- dimensional and somewhat mistaken.” (Tim Keller)
You Never Marry The Right Person❖ “We always marry the wrong person. We never know whom we marry; we just think we do. Or even if we ﬁrst marry the right person, just give it a while and he or she will change.” (Stanley Hauerwas)❖ “You don’t know, you can’t know, who your spouse will actually be in the future until you get there.” (Tim Keller) ❖ In other words, we have to see our spouses not simply as who they are now, but in terms of who God is shaping them to become in the future.
You Never Marry The Right Person❖ “Over the years you will go through seasons in which you have to learn to love a person who you didn’t marry, who is something of a stranger. You will have to make changes that you don’t want to make, and so will your spouse. The journey may eventually take you into a strong, tender, joyful marriage. But it is not because you married the perfectly compatible person. That person doesn’t exist.” (Tim Keller) ❖ (Q) What tough changes have you had to make over the years that resulted in a stronger marriage?
Two Types Of Relationships❖ Consumer relationship ❖ It lasts as long as the “vendor” meets your needs at a cost acceptable to you – if another vendor oﬀers better services or value, you’re free to switch ❖ Marriage = experience of romantic fulﬁllment❖ Covenant relationship ❖ The good of the relationship is more important than the needs of the individual ❖ Love is more action than emotion
Two Types Of Relationships❖ Parent-child relationship is a covenantal relationship ❖ Parents have a binding obligation to take care of their children, even when it’s thankless hard work, even when it’s not emotionally satisfying.❖ “[When] children leave home, many marriages fall apart. Why? Because while the parents treated their relationship with their children as a covenant relationship ... they treated their marriages as a consumer relationship and withdrew their actions of love when they weren’t having the feelings.” (Tim Keller)
Covenantal Love❖ “Wedding vows are not a declaration of present love but a mutually binding promise of future love. ... in a wedding you stand up before God, your family, and all the main institutions of society, and you promise to be loving, faithful, and true to the other person in the future, regardless of undulating internal feelings or external circumstances.” (Tim Keller)
Covenantal Love❖ (Eph 5:25, 28a, NIV) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her ... In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives ... ❖ Paul urged husbands to love their wives in v. 25, but in v. 28, he repeats it with a verb that stresses obligation. He commands them (“ought”) to love. ❖ Emotions can’t be commanded, only actions. So Paul is commanding actions of love.
Covenantal Love❖ (Q) Some say, “I’m sorry, I can’t give love if I don’t feel it! I can’t fake it!” Do you struggle with this? How would you respond to this statement?❖ (Rom 5:8) But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Actions Of Love Lead To Feelings Of Love❖ “Our culture says that feelings of love are the basis for actions of love. And of course that can be true. But it is truer to say that actions of love can lead consistently to feelings of love.” (Tim Keller) ❖ Our outward actions can shape our inner feelings.❖ “Do not waste time bothering whether you “love” your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we ﬁnd one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.” (C. S. Lewis)
How To Love With Action❖ (1 John 3:18) Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.❖ How to love with action? 1. Not living for yourself 2. Using correct “love currency”
Not Living For Yourself❖ “Whether we are husband or wife, we are not to live for ourselves but for the other. And that is the hardest yet single most important function of being a husband or a wife in marriage.” (Tim Keller)❖ “You only discover your own happiness after each of you has put the happiness of your spouse ahead of your own, in a sustained way, in response to what Jesus has done for you.” (Tim Keller)
Not Living For Yourself❖ (2 Cor 5:15) And he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.❖ (1 John 3:16) By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
Not Living For Yourself❖ Jesus loved us even when we deny him, betray him. He said, “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing.”❖ Spirit-generated selﬂessness = ❖ Thinking yourself less ❖ Realizing that, in Christ, all your needs are met
Love Currency❖ Wife: “I don’t feel that you love me!” Husband: “But I do love you!” ❖ They’re using the wrong love currency❖ “It is not enough to simply say, “I love you.” Nor is it enough to give love to your spouse in the way to which you feel most accustomed. ... learn to give your spouse love in the way he or she ﬁnds most emotionally valuable and powerful.” (Tim Keller) ❖ In other words, learn your spouse’s primary love language and send love over those channels.
Love Currency❖ Aﬀection ❖ Physical aﬀection (eye contact, caresses, being together, holding hands) ❖ Verbal aﬀection (honest praise, thankfulness, appreciation, aﬃrmation)❖ Friendship ❖ Do common tasks together (recreation, gardening chores) ❖ Share your life together (spend quality time together, show interest and pride in his/her work world), be supportive and loyal to each other
Love Currency❖ Service ❖ Menial tasks (childcare, housekeeping) ❖ Emotional support (show respect, give conﬁdence to what he/she is doing, stand up for him/her) ❖ Spiritual service (pray daily for each other)❖ Examples of other love languages ❖ Commitment to change and growth (willing to take correction, accountability to make changes) ❖ Give space (allow spouse to have privacy time)
Final Exhortations❖ (1 Pet 4:8a) Above all, keep loving one another earnestly ... ❖ The greek word translated “earnestly” here literally means “stretched out.”❖ “Love comes from you, but marriage from above, from God. As high as God is above man, so high are the sanctity, the rights, and the promise of love. It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.” (Dietrich Bonhoeﬀer)
Suggested Exercise❖ Discuss with your husband/wife what his/her primary love language is. Examine how you have communicated love in the past, and how you should change and improve in the future in this area. Make commitments to each other to love with action.
Summary of Study #2❖ You never marry the right person. Even if you do, they’ll change into a diﬀerent person in the future.❖ Marriage is not a consumer relationship. It is a covenant relationship.❖ Covenantal love is more action than emotion. It values the relationship over ﬂuctuating feelings.❖ Actions of love can lead to feelings of love.❖ Married people must learn to live for others and not for yourself, by following Christ’s example.❖ Learn your spouses’ primary love currency and love them in the way they ﬁnd most emotionally valuable.