1. Job’s Sacrifice and Intercession Turned Away God’s Wrath
Job 42:7-8—And so it was, after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.”
Relationships that continue to find ways to cultivate friendship in marriage are stronger than those that do not. Working to be best friends with your spouse is so important for satisfaction in the relationship. Doing life with someone you like spending time with is like a balm to your soul.
Another thing to think about here is the point the Scott makes in his book, Marriage God’s Way. He says:
It is natural to focus on the romance- eros (physical attraction or romantic love) of a marriage. But in doing so, we forget that marriage should actually be the union of two best friends. In many ways, phileo (a strong affection towards a friend) is a great description of what marriage should be: a deep and close friendship….
Of greater relevance to marriage is the fact that phileo is the love wives are instructed to have for their husbands. When Titus 2:3-4 commands older women to admonish younger women to love their husbands, the Greek word used is philandros- a combination of the words phileo and aner (Greek word for husband).
Friendship is certainly a need for your marriage. So how do you cultivate that in your relationship? Here are some ways you can do that.
1. Cultivate Friendship in Marriage Through Shared Experiences
Simply living in the same house doesn’t necessarily equal shared experiences. Some things will happen naturally, but to cultivate a deeper relationship, you have to become more intentional.
Set aside specific time to do things together. If you and your spouse do not have the same idea of fun, then plan to take turns doing the activity the other one likes.
Striking a balance with your shared experiences is important. Both of you need the freedom to suggest things you like doing and have the other go along with it. Best friends are just happy to be spending time together, whether the activity is their favorite or not. Continue reading “3 Ways to Cultivate Friendship in Marriage”→
Last post discussed the importance of correcting people, something largely ignored by the world. Our culture often says “love” means letting people do whatever they want whether it is detrimental to them or anyone else. Disagreeing with someone’s choices or lifestyle makes you at best unloving, and at worst hateful. This logic demands sitting back silently while people make decisions that are detrimental to them or others.
The Bible, on the other hand, points out the logical reality that love demands correcting people:
Proverbs 9:8 Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;
rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
He will love you, because he has the wisdom to recognize you have done him a favor.
Correcting People: The Behavior of Friends Versus Enemies
Developing a strong marriage takes daily investment– you can’t set it and forget it. Relationships are ever changing, because people and life are ever changing. With intentional changes, you can build a stronger marriage and go deeper with your spouse.
Here are 3 ways you can build a stronger marriage-
1. Give Them the Benefit of the Doubt
There are going to be times in which your spouse says or does something that hurts your feelings. It can be easy to jump to conclusions that they did the offensive thing on purpose. Just because they know you better than anyone else, doesn’t mean that they always know how their actions will affect you.
Instead of concluding that they did something intentionally, give them the benefit of the doubt. Believing that they meant to hurt you will cause your defenses to go up. Going to them about an issue when you are defensive will usually lead to unnecessary fighting.
Rather than believing that they were trying to hurt you, consider that they did it unknowingly. Your spouse is not your enemy, but you can make them out to be if you don’t give them the benefit of the doubt.
2. Become a Lifelong Student of Your Spouse
My husband, Austin, says that I’m his favorite subject and that he is committed to studying me for the rest of his life. Boy do I give him a lot to learn.
Took place this past Sunday the 21st after service. I arrived a little late, because I was rushing over from teaching on marriage at another church’s Family Camp. When I arrived, I was touched by the number of people who attended. I know people are busy (and they seem to be busiest during summer), but they took time to come out and support me and Marriage God’s Way.
Someone wrote on Facebook…
“Look at all the support from your family/church family Scott LaPierre! That’s gotta feel so cool. Awesome!!!”
This summarizes exactly how I felt, but there was more than just friends from WCC. A number of families from other churches also came to celebrate with us. One particularly special guest was Mike Pritchard. I acquired his website services through an auction last year, and we’ve become friends as he helped me prepare for the publication of Marriage God’s Way. Living over three hours away, I never expected him to come. But he did and it meant a lot to me.
Last year I preached a sermon discussing the different Greek words for “love.” One of the words – probably the most well known – is agape. This is an unconditional, sacrificial love that loves even when it’s not reciprocated.
The love God has for the world: John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
The love man has for sin: John 3:19 This is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
The love husbands are commanded to have for their wives: Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.
Another word for love is phileō, and it refers to strong affection or brotherly kindness. This is…
The beginning of words like philosophy (love of wisdom), philanthropy (love of fellow man), or philharmonic (love of music).
Used of the religious leaders who “love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets” (Matt 6:5).
The way Mary and Martha described Jesus’ feelings for Lazarus when they said, “he whom You love (phileō) is sick” (John 11:3).
You see the two words – agapaō and phileō – used together when Jesus repeatedly asked Peter if he had agapaō for Him. Since Peter was humbled by his recent denials, he wouldn’t tell Jesus His love for Him was unconditional; instead he said he had phileō for Him (John 21:15-17).
Now the most interesting use of phileō…
Titus 2:3-4 says “older women” are to “admonish the young women to love their husbands.” This word for love is phileō. So even though husbands are to have agapaō for their wives, wives are to have phileō for their husbands. Why aren’t wives expected to have the same sacrificial, unconditional love for their husbands that husbands are to have for their wives? Is it that husbands don’t want or need that kind of love? I don’t think that’s it at all: I think it’s that wives are to love their husbands differently than husbands are to
love their wives. Wives are to love their husbands by being their friends. I think most men – myself included – would say it can be very discouraging and trying at times being a husband, father, provider, spiritual leader, and everything else that falls on most men’s shoulders. Can having a wife with sacrificial, unconditional love be encouraging? Yes. But what could be even more encouraging?
Having a best friend.
What does it look like when a wife isn’t a friend to her husband, when she doesn’t phileō him? It’s described in Proverbs:
Her “contentions are a continual dripping” (19:13b, 27:15),
She makes him want “to dwell in a corner of a housetop” (21:9a, 25:24) or “in the wilderness” (Pro 21:19a).
But when a wife has phileō for her husband, when she is his best friend, “the heart of her husband safely trusts her. He has no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life” (Pro 31:11-12).
Last Sunday I concluded a brief sermon series on being part of a church family and being involved in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ. This past week I received an e-mail that showed the importance of reaching out to people, and how powerful it is to receive a simple invitation for fellowship. Here’s part of the message, which I received permission to share…
“In the past I have been one of those people hurt by others, and in spite of trying to make friends no one returned the kindness. I tried several people and still no deal. Everyone had their own friends already or were too busy. So I became too busy as well and worked all the time. I became one of those people you described who didn’t put in the time or effort to make friends. Frankly I was tired of trying. I was done. People at work were my only so-called-friends and only one was a believer, and he did not return the kindness either.
Your sermon challenged me though. Lately I had been wanting to try again – largely because of the church family at WCC – making the sermon’s timing very good. Then something happened: a person at church actually invited me out to get together, and he actually followed through and it had nothing to do with me helping him with anything. Whenever people contacted me in the past it was never simply for fellowship: they wanted something. The last time someone called to just do something was about two years ago when my friend who moved away overseas came to visit. I honestly have some hope now that having friends and fellowship will be possible in our family at WCC. Thank you for the challenge. I will work on making that time.”
It’s wonderful how powerfully God works things together. You have an individual who’s already feeling challenged to be more involved in the church. God confirms the conviction through the preaching of His Word. Then God stirs up someone to send an invitation. How unfortunate would it have been if the person didn’t send the invitation? In last week’s sermon, I said personal involvement is more important than corporate involvement in the church, because while there’s a sign up sheet for the nursery, church cleaning, serving in the kitchen, etc. there’s no sign up sheet for making people feel loved; there’s no sign up sheet for making people feel like part of your church family. If you don’t pursue this sort of involvement in people’s lives, they miss out on those blessings.