Welcome to Kelly Martin's Blog! Here I share my stories from my blessed life as a wife to a super-talented man, Jason, mom to my precious kids, Lucy, Jack, and Connor, and friend to my amazing girlfriends who inspire me every day!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

10 Questions

So our Cgroup is about two-thirds of the way through a marriage unit, based on the book "Real Marriage" by Mark & Drace Driscoll.  It's a very real look (pun just can't be avoided :) at what a biblical marriage looks like - what Jesus said marriage is to be.  Our whole group is getting so very much out of it, and in fact, I told a friend the other day that I feel like I have a whole new marriage. (In providing the link, I actually found videos of each chapter.  Our group is working through the book, but you could even check out these videos if it interests you.)

But, it hasn't been without some tough, uncomfortable conversation, and definitely lots of intentional effort.  That said, it's been totally worth it, and I can't wait to see what the rest of the study might produce.  It's awesome!

But, one of the chapter homework assignments was to get together with a couple whose marriage you feels "reflects the Gospel" and ask them your list of ten questions that you and your husband created.  There were two couples- us included- in our group that had the same couple in mind.  These two are just amazing people, filled with the Spirit, truly the hands and feet of God.  So, our group decided to invite them to share with all of us at one time.  So, last weekend, Jason smoked some more meat, everyone brought sides, and we ate some delicious food, yet filled far more than our bellies that night.  I think their responses were so helpful, that I want to share it.  I'll not go through it question by question (I will include the list at the end, however), but rather, more informally - kind of jumping around in my notes (you know, the same way I probably talk :).  Enjoy!

When asked about the keys of a healthy marriage, they repeatedly mentioned, "keep short accounts," "pray together everyday," "stay humble and teachable," and emphasized that there's never an excuse for unkindness in marriage.  I can speak to the power of praying together.  Jason and I began doing this about a two years ago, and while we aren't diligent and successful enough that we do it everyday, it was obvious to us that it was a game-changer once we had started doing it.  What a weapon against the enemy! and it does truly as the husband said, "bind your hearts together."

And another thing he said that I think ties in with one of the keys to a successful, healthy marriage is that "you have to be willing to initiate those hard conversations."  Isn't communication usually the cause of so many arguments you have with your spouse?  I know it is with us.  Either we've not properly understood what the other is expressing, we assume, or (and this is probably the case with us) we automatically respond so defensively, that we don't even address the real issue at hand.  And this goes straight back to no excuse for unkindness in a marriage.  I don't think it means that we don't have to have hard conversations, but no matter what difficulty we're having with each other, there's NEVER a reason to be unkind.  That just plants bitterness in our hearts, the seed that can (and probably will) bring death to a marriage.

A great way to put forth a good effort to combat miscommunication is the way this couple suggested arguing.  A way to argue that glorifies God?  Do tell!  :)  So, "Passing the Baton" or whatever object you have laying around, a pen, book, whatever. But anyway, only the person holding the whatever talks.  Then, before the other gets to take the baton to thus respond - they have to say, "Okay, what I heard you say was..." and if they didn't hear the other correctly, the speaker gets to correct/clarify before the other responds. 

Good "one liners":

*"Men:  be patient to listen.  Ask your wife, 'how's your heart' and be present just to listen, not fix it."

*"Call forth the truth of what you see in your spouse with gentleness and respect.  Sometimes we see it better than they do."

"It's the hundred little choices you make."

and my personal favorite, because it just gets right to the point:

*"Are you willing to do whatever it takes everyday to make your marriage what God intends it to be?"

Speaking to carving out time for your spouse - because our marriages all began based on friendship, right?  Wouldn't many of us have said, "I'm marrying my best friend" when we were engaged?  Yet, it's so easy to join up "shoulder to shoulder" (as our book names it) instead of "face to face" - the couple spoke about how "you'll never find time, you've got to make time."  Outback America was a program they mentioned that is awesome to do with your spouse (they also do it with children).

They suggested going to see a counselor for marriage "tune ups" just as we do to take care of our cars.  *Jason and I did this once about a year ago, but I cowered away from returning to dive into some of the issues that it actually, quite unexpectedly revealed.

As to how their marriage glorified Christ, it was beautiful to hear them speak about how they were "drawn to Christ IN each other.  They spoke to "submitting" - that touchy word Christians so very often get all wrong.  They said, "Submit to each other, as you submit to Christ.  It's a selfless marriage that glorifies God."

(This gets me going when the scripture is used wrong about submission.  2 Peter 3:1 says, "In the same way {'same way' speaking to "when you become a Christian"}, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands."  But, don't stop there, where people do when they misuse this scripture.  For, just a few lines later, verse 7 says, "In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives.  Treat your wife with understanding as you live together.  She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God's gift of new life."  If you ask me, the husbands have the far tougher end of the bargain.  They are to love their wife like God loved the church.  Remember what God did for the church?  Oh yeah, he sent his son to die so that we may be saved.   They are to sacrifice themselves for us.  And this takes many forms, not just literal death, although I know Jason would take a bullet for me.  Sacrificing themselves in working a job to support the family; being the sole provider for a family is a stressful, burdensome responsibility.  I appreciate Jason so much because of his willingness to do this so that I can stay home!   But back to the scripture, 1 Peter 5:6 sums it up nicely:  So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God...  It's not about submitting to a person, it's about submitting to God.

So, there ya go.  And if you find yourself wanting to do a little interviewing of you own, here's the list of questions we asked.  I encourage you and your spouse to set aside a night to get together with your couple that you think has a marriage that reflects the Gospel, treat them to dinner, and let yourself be filled with new wisdom. 


What's the root cause of most of your arguments?  (Kids, sex, money, a
past wrong, etc?)

What's your approach on working through conflict when it arises, and
what does your reconciliation process look like?

What would you say is/are the "key(s)" to a healthy marriage?

What's a specific behavior (or few) that you've put into place which
seems to make a real, positive difference in your marriage?

Is there a book (other than the Bible) or class/seminar you would
recommend to a couple that's trying to improve their marriage?

What are a few core principles you try to stick with, that help to
keep your marriage harmonious?

What are your policies for carving out time for one another?

In what ways do you assure your spouse of your love for them?

What would you consider your greatest stumbling block?

As your children have aged, how have the different stages of their
lives affected your marriage?

What does it mean for you to "Glorify God" through your marriage?

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