When it comes to describing a good marriage, it seems like everyone has an opinion but few seem to be moving forward with purpose. We believe that God designed marriage as a lifelong commitment that offers one of life’s greatest opportunities for personal and spiritual growth.
To help you grow in your marriage, we have put together a plan to help you make time for one another, learn God’s design for your marriage, learn practical skills for building your marriage on purpose, and join other couples on the journey of building a healthy marriage. Our passion is to equip couples to live out five marriage essentials: honor, relational intimacy, spiritual intimacy, partnership, and message to others. These five essentials coincide with the five biblical purposes of the church, and they form the basis of our seminars and resources
The couples ministry of CRL has take on the mission of spreading the word of God to married couples and bringing them into a journey with Christ. We dream of a world where every family is strengthened and guided by the love of Christ thereby nurture and foster Christ's love withing our families.
we urge you to come and join us during our weekly times of prayer and find out that you are really not alone. All the decision making and balancing between work, family and education come easy if you have Jesus by your side. therefore join us and experience a transformed family life
For more information on the family / couples ministry, please call Thushi or Romesh on 777 660402.
CDs of the previous meetings are available at the sales counter on Wednesdays and also at Tabor. There will also be a crèche / a few community helpers who will help look after your kids during the meeting time.(Next Meeting Details)
As human beings we carry positive and negative emotions. When certain incidents we dislike take place or if something we feel is valuable and important is not done by our spouse, then we become negative and we carry that negative emotion. Having negative emotions is normal. However, based on this sometimes we take negative actions such as being aggressive, shouting, screaming and speaking against that person. Sometimes we withdraw. The ‘silent treatment’ is also a reaction. We may think we are holy because we don’t speak out, but if we do that as a reaction, that is not holiness. Sometimes we use our children to pass messages because we don’t want to talk to our spouse.
When we keep on meditating on negative emotions, then we take a negative action and fall into sin. That's where we have to change. That's why Jesus says, "Moses has said you should not fall into adultery, but I tell you that if you look at another person in lust you have already committed adultery." Is Jesus telling us not to look at a person of the opposite sex? No, but he is saying if you carry sinful thoughts and meditate on those sinful thoughts then in action you will fall. Scripture says if your eye (arm / leg) causes you to sin then pluck it out, because it is better to go to heaven without your eyes (arms / legs) than going to hell with your eyes. Does that mean Jesus is asking us to cut our eyes /arms and legs? No, the Lord is saying, if your eyes are leading you to sin then don't look / don't go to that place / don't do it. That means, stop the ‘action’ which leads you to sin.
Psychologists believe it is better to express your negative emotions. But we learn about marriage from the author and designer of marriage itself, from the manual He has given us – through scripture. At these meetings we learn to seek the mind of God and how we should live a family life that is pleasing to Him. But knowing scripture alone is not enough - to put that into practice we need the power of the Holy Spirit. The word is Jesus and the power is the Holy Spirit.
On the cross, Jesus did not put out his negative emotions to those around Him. Instead, He expressed it to the Father - "I don't want to go through this pain, I feel like death is better than going through this - but Father, if it is your will then let me go through it." As couples, we have to share our negative emotions with the Lord. That's why personal prayer is very important, because we can share all our feelings with the Father. That's why as the third person Jesus comes into our lives in our marriages. 1 Corinthians 8:1 - We know that we all possess knowledge, knowledge puffs up but love builds up. We may learn from the Internet or from psychology about marriage. But love builds up. That means, when you love your spouse, you build up that person's life. When s/he is built up, the whole family will go forward.
There are two ways that we can love and build each other up:
1. With our words:
• Compliments - You can see something small or great in your spouse and express your appreciation.
• Speak with kindness - 1 Corinthians 13:4 “ Love is kind…, Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer takes away anger, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
• Use gentle words - Instead of commanding, use gentle words. 1 Corinthians 13:5 …it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs…
• Words of acceptance - You listen to the other person and allow them to speak their feelings, thoughts and ideas without stopping them.
• Present tense words - Don't keep on dragging the past again and again. At this present moment if something is affecting you then discuss it. Don't bring the past in.
2. With our deeds/actions
• 1 John 3:18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. Loving with actions means being patient, kind and all the characteristics of love you get in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
Today let's ask the Lord to give us that grace.
• What we think about love and what the Lord teaches us about love are two different things. We are human beings and cannot love the way the Lord wants. That's why we need the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit comes, He will pour out God's love into our hearts and allow us to love like Jesus.
• Let's ask for that gift of love because St. Paul says it's useless having the gift of tongues, faith to heal sick people and raise the dead, if we do not have love.
1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply because love covers a multitude of sins.
• Marriage is the unification of two sinners.
• There will be times when we will fail each other, mess up and hurt each other.
• It is important to remember God’s definition of love (1 Peter 4:8) and know that loving each other deeply can cover all those sins.
• This verse reminds us the true power of love.
Five love languages for a loving and long-lasting marriage :
One way of knowing our spouse’s love language is how they criticize / complain about us.
In order for our ‘Love Tank’ to be filled, our spouse needs to deposit ‘love’ in this particular language.
Every one of us have a primary and secondary love language.
Words of affirmation
• Affirmation is a declaration that something is true. It’s a positive statement, intended to provide empowerment, emotional support or motivation. This can be conveyed in the spoken word face to face, a text or sms, love note etc.
• Eg: You did a difficult job well, thank you for being there for me, I love being with you
• Ecclesiastes: 12:4 And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.
• It is all about giving the other person your undivided attention – even if it is 15 minutes. Failure to do so will be very hurtful, and sharing quality conversations, quality activities would make them happy.
• Eg: This can be done by cultivating common interests, planning a vacation together, setting aside regular time to talk, praying together etc.
• Ecclesiastes: 12:4 And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.
• Receiving gifts make these people feel more loved. It’s not materialism, but the thought that counts. It’s a visual representation of love.
Acts of service
• Doing things you know your spouse would like you to do. If done with a positive attitude, it is really an act of love.
• Ephesians 4: 2-3 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace
• It’ss not only about sexuality. A hug, a pat on the back, holding hands, physical presence and accessibility are crucial.
We are all called to make Christ the centre of our marriage.
Collosians 3: 12 – 14 12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord[f] has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
There are many jokes about marriage. This is because it is portrayed as something difficult to go through. Marriage can be compared to a computer programme like photoshop; many people know what it is about, some know how to navigate through it, but unless you learn all the programme features from the manual, its full potential cannot be harnessed. Similarly, if we do not study the manual for marriage – the Holy Bible - we cannot enjoy all its beauty.
Many people go to the internet to learn about the bible. However, the information available is mostly on Christian sites, and these may not be according to the Catholic doctrine or teaching. Therefore, it could mislead us.
Marriage is a sacrament in the Catholic Church. A Sacrament is a visible sign of an invisible / internal blessing. The Lord comes into our lives in a deeper way through the sacraments. Eg: The Host and Wine – transubstantiation – the external remains the same but the internal changes. The Host becomes the Body of Christ and the Wine becomes the Blood of Christ. When we consume the Holy Eucharist, Christ becomes a part of us and our body, and we become part of Christ’s body. This brings us closer to God. Therefore, since marriage is a sacrament, it brings God into our lives.
The Sacrament of Priesthood - This is to bring God into lives of people. We are given a mission to Priesthood or Marriage and one sacrament is not superior or inferior to the other. Priesthood is given to one person, but in Marriage it is given to two people. In the early church most of the Apostles were married except Paul and Timothy. The early church was most effective in bringing God into the lives of the people.
Our normal mission is to secure a job, earn money, buy a home, a car, educate our children, get married etc. This is not the mission God has for us. Our mission is to bring God into the lives of others. Then God starts taking care of our needs, because we are living the mission. We need to be a disciple on how we treat each other, how we treat patients, how we treat our children etc., by being led by the Holy Spirit.
Marriage is a calling :
Jeremiah 31:32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.
Isaiah 54:5 For your maker is your husband the Lord almighty is His name the Holy one of Israel is your redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth.
2 Corinthians 11:2 I am jealous for you with a Godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to Him.
Revelations 21:2 I saw the Holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
How to experience God in your marriage :
• Before marriage during courtship everything is wonderful. But after marriage things change.
• When your spouse’s weaknesses and bad qualities appear, then your own also come out.
• Then ‘explosions’ take place and we bring each other down. But we have a choice to either bring out the best or the worst in each other.
• When difficulties and arguments arise, the worldly solution is to separate.
What is holiness in marriage ?
Praying together ‘only’ won’t do. First each spouse must have a personal relationship with God, instead of trying to sort things out with each other. We must make time to pray first before making time to talk. We must bring Christ into the picture, because Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. Instead of trying to fix the faults your marriage, if you have a relationship with God, everything else will fall into place.
Luke 19:10 For the Son of man came to seek and to save what was lost.
• Normally we are attracted to more powerful, beautiful and rich people, and not to the weak, ugly or poor.
• But God is fully complete in himself, so he’s not attracted to “more” because there is nothing more than Him. God is attracted to the sinner and the broken.
• God will first minister to our brokenness. Then we are free to see our spouse in a new light.
• Then we start experiencing being loved by God. Nothing on earth can compare to the fulfilment, beauty and peace in God’s love.
Hosea 3:1 The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”
• Marriage is uplifting your spouse through your journey with God; not through external / worldly ways.
• Accept the partner God has given you, from God’s hands. Don’t weigh the good and bad qualities and try to fix it. Journey deeper and God will work supernaturally in your life.
• When each spouse journeys deeply with God, their relationship with each other becomes holy, this blessing also flows to their children.
Marriage and sex have a divine origin. God created sex, but the world has a distorted view of it. One worldly view is that sex is shameful. Some people are obsessed with it….we see it in media, movies, books, talk shows, serials etc. Another view is that sex is for pleasure alone and unrestrained passion.
But God created sex. Gen 1:27 - God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. - Sin distorted sex in the world and only “in Christ” can we rediscover the original idea of sex.
1 Corinthians 7:3–5 - The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not rule over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not rule over his own body, but the wife does. Do not refuse one another except perhaps by agreement for a season, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, lest Satan tempt you through lack of self-control.
St. Paul speaks of sexual intercourse and the purpose of it. The primary concern in engaging in sexual intercourse is to LOVE and SERVE our spouse.
The purpose for sexual intercourse:
1. Mutual Love - Sexual Intercourse strengthens the relationship and brings about a healthy bonding. Gen 4:1 - Adam knew Eve his wife and she conceived and bore Cain - It is central to the marriage and helps us ‘know’ our spouse.
2. Children - Sex is for marriage and marriage is for family. That does not mean that people who cannot have children should not get married. At the same time it does not mean that the only reason to engage in sexual intercourse is to have children. Having children is the noblest reason for marriage.
3. Satisfaction of sexual desire - Sex is an appetite. We were created with sexual desire like the desire for food. However we should not desire sex the way we desire food.
4. Unity -What happens after child bearing years ? Genesis 2:24 - Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh. Sexual intercourse should be regular. Total union of body, soul and spirit between husband and wife. This total union can be experienced especially through sexual intercourse when the act is an expression of genuine love, respect, and commitment.
There are differences between men and women in the area of sex. Men are more focused on physical sex and women’s sexual response is more tied in with the relationship. “Husbands crave sex, wives crave romance”.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR SPOUSE - Caring involves understanding. 1 Pet 3:7 - Likewise, you husbands should live with your wives in understanding, showing honor to the weaker female sex, since we are joint heirs of the gift of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
We need two main things to live a happy married life
1.We have to know the mind of God for our marriage.
2.We need power from on high to carry it out – through the Holy Spirit.
No husband or wife is perfect, so don’t expect your spouse to be perfect. Think of, and then write down 5 points you love about your partner.
Now if you examine these points closely, you will discover that actually you love these things about your spouse mainly because of what he/she does for you – how they love you.
Ephesians 5:25 – Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
Titus 2:3-4 – Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husband and children.
But the problem is that we find it difficult to constantly give that un-selfish love. Most people think that love is a feeling, but it’s not. It’s an action, attitude and commitment. In the bible, it is described as follows :
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 Love is patient, love is kind, love does not envy, love does not boast, love is not proud, love is not rude, love is not self-seeking, love is not easily angered, love keeps no record of wrongs, love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, love always protects, love always trusts, love always hopes, love always perseveres, love never fails.
So love is something we give our spouse. We each need to replace the word ‘love’ with our own name in the above scripture verses – Eg: Jane is patient, Jane is kind…. When we replace the word love with our own name and read it, what happens in our hearts ? Do we have those qualities in us ? Are we challenged by the Lord ?
Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrated His own love for us in this; while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Jesus loved us even though we rejected Him. Still, He didn’t stop and continues to love us un-conditionally.
So let’s spend at least half an hour everyday in prayer. We don’t need to ‘say’ prayers or make it something burdensome and tiring. We just need to be in the presence of the Lord and listen to Him. We need to accept and believe in His love for us, and allow Him to love us.
Romans 5: 5-6 – And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit whom He has given us.
Our first calling is to become a child of God; we were made in His image and likeness. Through baptism, we enter into God’s family. So everyday we need to spend atleast half an hour with our first family – the family of God. If we are married, our second calling is to spend time with our spouse as husband or wife. Thirdly, we are called to be parents – a mother or father.