This blog, "Unity in Relationships" seeks to introduce you to thought patterns that will promote a heart that desires to be an influence for God-given unity in your relationships. If this is something you desire than this blog and course is for you. (From the ministry of Lowcountry Biblical Counseling Center)
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Growing Your Marriage
by David Roupe (Counselor at Lowcountry Biblical Counseling Center)
When I grew up in Southwestern Pennsylvania, my father always had a garden. Since he grew up in a family of 12, the garden was an essential part of the family sustenance. It was so important that all 12 members worked in it to maintain and ensure a successful harvest. That mindset carried over to our family so that participation in the family garden was mandatory.
Marriage is much like a garden. There are several components necessary for a successful marriage, and all need to participate in order to make it work well. The Bible instructs us in the practices necessary to produce a glorious harvest! Any couple who will work at it can reap the reward of a vigorous and healthy marriage.
The first principle of a healthy marriage garden is found in Galatians 6:7, which says, “whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” It stands to reason that if you sow kernels of corn in a row, you should not expect tomato plants to spring up. The same is true for marriages. If you speak unkindly, act selfishly, or think negatively toward your spouse, you should not expect to have pleasant conversation, loving service, nor a positive attitude in your marriage. You reap what you sow, so what kind of seed are you sowing in your marriage?
The next principle is that you must feed and water your garden. My dad’s favorite fertilizer was well-composted cow manure. He would mix it in with the soil at the time of planting in order to give the young plants plenty of nourishment to grow strong and healthy. Likewise, it is vital for all couples, but especially young couples, to feed the marriage with biblical teaching, abundant worship, and lots of godly counsel. “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future,” (Pro 19:20). All gardens need water to survive. “[God] waters its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth,” (Ps 65). Likewise, marriages need the watering of the Word of God to sustain them through the drought of life to which we are often exposed. Daily downpours from the refreshing, cleansing, and life-giving stream of God’s Word will keep your marriage healthy and thriving…are you there?
The final principle in your marriage garden is that careful cultivation will maximize your harvest potential. My job in the family garden was to pull weeds and suckers. It was hard work, even for a young back, and could be tedious at times. But my dad explained how the weeds would compete with the plants for nutrients, water and sunlight, causing the plants to be stunted in their growth, producing smaller and fewer vegetables. In your marriage garden, weeds represent the sinful behaviors that have a propensity to spring up in relationships and drain the sustaining nutrients from a vibrant marriage. “If you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the flesh, you will live,” (Rom 8:13). This is hard work, but God promises a great reward! Do you regularly identify and pull out these destructive, intruding behaviors?
The other cultivation job I did was to remove “suckers.” Suckers are the branches on plants like tomatoes that grow but do not bear fruit. They “suck” nutrients from the plant but produce nothing. Marriages experience “suckers,” too. One of the chief offenders today are cell phones and electronic devices. Nearly every week I have to admonish couples to “pinch off” their time and attention-sucking gadgets. When they do, they find they have more time together, and they actually talk! Time in the same room, each on their own electronics, is not quality! To have a more fruitful marriage, are you willing to pinch off those time-suckers that detract from quality time with your spouse?
There are many other parallels of gardening to marriage. But if you will remember and practice these three – sow what you want to reap, regularly feed and water, and cultivate out the weeds and suckers – you will be rewarded with an abundant harvest full of beautiful fruit that will glorify our Master Gardener
Forgiving sins against us can be very difficult. Below are three truths to "hear" daily and four commitments to exercise in order to find the power to forgive. For each section look up the verses cited and write a prayer to the Father confessing where you have struggled to believe His perspective or apply His instructions toward the person to whom has sinned against you. Ask him for help in believing His Word and doing His will in the pain you are suffering. Ask him for his forgiveness as you commit to moving forward in forgiveness. Hide in your heart daily for the next month key verses from this study. Choose verses that best remind you to affirm and put into action what the Holy Spirit has revealed to you about biblical forgiveness. Move away from bitter thoughts by rehearsing specific verses below and taking specific steps of obedience by faith.
A. REHEARSE THE TRUTH - Renew Your Faith Daily In Three Biblical, Faith-Affirmations
by Tim Bryant, Director of Lowcountry Biblical Counseling 1. Do I have the facts right?
(Prov 18:13) Sometimes what we think is sin against us is just “possible” sin. We must be sure we are dealing with the facts, not our own interpretation. If you are in doubt, BE CAREFUL! You may not need to share your concern at all; in fact, your view may be so inaccurate that to go forward would be exercising presumption (Prov 13:10) and contention (Prov 26:21). If this is the case, you must learn to humbly examine your interpretations in light of other reasonable interpretations (Prov 18:2). If after honest evaluation you still think you need to go and share your concern, go, but ask the offender appropriate, clarifying (not accusatory) questions. Then listen very objectively to the explanation, knowing that you may not have had all the information. Let them know that if your understanding of the situation is not accurate, you want to understand it better from their perspective (Prov 18:17). Lis…
Tim Bryant, director of the Lowcountry Biblical Counseling Center, leads this second session in the Relationship Workshop. Have you ever considered the relationship between loving sincerity and overflowing with thankfulness? Learn how to need people less so you can love them more through thankfulness. You will learn a strategy for handling disappointments in your relationships by letting thankfulness before God keep your heart quiet and content, so you can remain loving when disappointed in relationships.