Learning How To Develop
Love In Marriage

This evening I want us to interview God just before Jesus began his earthly ministry. We are interviewing God one month before Jesus is baptized by John. We ask the questions. God gives the answers.

We: "God, I understand that in less than five years You will start Your plan to save the world."

God: "Actually, I will put the plan in motion in about a month."

We: "That is quite an ambitious project--most people do not even know that You exist. Most people have never heard Your name. They worship other gods that they believe exist, and they trust them. So what is Your plan to make Yourself known to all people in the whole world when most of them have never heard of You?"

God: "I will start with one man, Jesus, who is my son. He will teach and work in one small nation, Israel. As he works with these people, he will choose twelve men to follow him and learn from him every day. Then Jesus will be killed, be buried, and be resurrected from the grave. I will make him the Savior of the world, Lord, and Christ. Forty days after his resurrection I will bring him back to me. Then I will use my Spirit to work through the men he trained. At first, they will teach only in that one small nation. But, in time, they and the people they teach will begin working in many nations. Through believing people who teach other people, in less than a hundred years Jesus will be the heart of a world movement."

We: "Now let me get this straight. You plan to give the world a Savior, and you will start with one man in one small country. He will prepare twelve men. And with only that, You will produce a world movement in less than 100 years? That is hard to believe."

God: "I am using the mustard seed principle. You must understand that I am not interested in controlling people. I want to completely change people. So I am putting the power of life in My message about the Savior. That life giving message will have a small beginning, as small as a mustard seed. When a mustard seed springs to life, it becomes a huge plant. When My message springs to life, it will touch the whole world."

  1. God has never used quick fixes.
    1. From the time God promised Abraham a son until Isaac was born was twenty-five years, twenty-five years of struggle and faith building.
    2. Israel had to leave Egypt at night, had to walk to the other side of the Red Sea, had to travel through a harsh desert wilderness--it was a faith building experience that involved struggle.
    3. Faith in Jesus is not a quick fix; nor is repentance, baptism, or forgiveness--it is a faith building experience that involves struggle.
    4. God changes lives through faith, understanding, and struggle; He does not fix situations in ways that require no effort.

  2. Marriage in America is in an awful state--the troubled ones far outnumber the love filled ones.
    1. Marriage in the church is in an awful state--the trouble ones far outnumber the love filled ones.
    2. That is unnecessary, but a quick fix that requires no effort, no time, no pain, no commitment, and no prices does not exist.
      1. Enjoyable, enduring, love filled marriages that provide life long closeness, companionship, and romance are available to any couple who will make the commitment to learn how to build them and pay the price.
      2. It can happen for couples who learn how to make it happen; it never happens by accident.
    3. The problem is enormous and the need is enormous.
      1. It has taken generations to bring marriage problems to their present state.
      2. While there are no quick fixes, there are effective ways to significantly improve any marriage regardless of how good or how troubled it is.
    4. We will use God's mustard seed principle to begin teaching people how to build romantic love in their marriages.

  3. All marriage relationships have the same ten basic emotional needs.
    1. Those needs are:
      1. The need for affection.
      2. The need for sexual fulfillment.
      3. The need for conversation.
      4. The need for recreational companionship.
      5. The need for honesty and openness.
      6. The need for the spouse to be attractive.
      7. The need for financial support.
      8. The need for domestic support.
      9. The need for family contentment.
      10. The need for admiration.
    2. In any marriage, the most important emotional needs of the husband and the most important emotional needs of the wife are not the same emotional needs (Dr. Carl Brecheen talked to us about this during our December "Marriage Enrichment Seminar".)
      1. Understanding each other's most important emotional needs and fulfilling those needs is the key to building romantic love in every marriage.
      2. Most husbands and wives have never learned nor understood the other's emotional needs.
    3. There are five things that destroy romantic love in any marriage (Dr. William F. Harley, Jr., Love Busters):
      1. Angry outbursts: the deliberate attempt to hurt your spouse by using anger.
      2. Disrespectful judgments: the attempt to change your spouse's attitudes, beliefs, or behavior by forcing him or her to think like you do.
      3. Annoying behavior: habits or activities that annoy your spouse.
      4. Selfish demands: the attempt to force your spouse to do something through an implied threat.
      5. Dishonesty: the failure of a spouse to reveal thoughts, feelings, habits, likes, dislikes, personal history, daily activities, and plans for the future.
      6. Each of these attack romantic love in marriage.
    4. Virtually all marriages are less than they could be for two reasons:
      1. We fail to meet each others' emotional needs because we do not understand them.
      2. We do things that attack romantic love in our relationship.

Helping a couple learn how to meet each other's emotional needs and helping them learn how to stop attacking romantic love will powerfully bless any marriage.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 1 February 1998

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