Love for a Lifetime
Fireproof Your Relationships: Sermon 3
I want to talk to you this morning about how to fireproof your most important relationship: your marriage. What I want to say to every married couple is that ALL MARRIAGES GO THROUGH SEASONS. Like the rotation of the earth, they move through stages that are predictable. Hereís THE SEASONS OF A MARRIAGE
The first season of a marriage is the Romance Stage.
During romance, all is right with the world.
M. Scott Peck says that this phase of love is a prank played on us by our otherwise rational minds to trick us into doing things that we would normally never consider.
This romantic stage lasts right up to somewhere between the "I now pronounce you man and wife," and the first time he leaves the toilet seat up or the first time she says, "I was too tired to cook anything so I bought you a TV dinner."
Psychologists tell us that romantic feelings of infatuation wear off about 2 Ĺ years into any relationship.
REALITY is the second season of a marriage.
Reality is what sets in when romance wears off.
"Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away."
Being in love is what romance is all about.
Choosing to love is what reality is all about.
Reality clarifies what romance conceals
RESENTMENT is the third season of every marriage.
During the resentment phase, the one who was once the object of our affection now becomes the target of our frustration.
Itís during this resentment phase when character is tested and the need for love comes into play, really for the first time.
Itís because of this kind of feeling that the Apostle Paul wrote,
"ÖClothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive each other whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity" (Colossians 3:12-14).
If Godís kind of love, that focuses on you and your needs, not me and mine, then the relationship can enter the fourth season of marriage. Itís called the season of REBUILDING.
If Godís kind of love doesnít get practiced, then the marriage never makes it through all the seasons.
THE THREE GREAT SKILLS OF LIFE-TIME LOVERS
Remember That Weíre Different, and Adapt Accordingly.
Men Talk in Generalities; Women Talk in Specifics.
Men Tend to Be in Touch with Their Thoughts First and Then Their Feelings; Women Tend to Be in Touch with Their Feelings First and Then Their Thoughts.
Men and Women Have Very Different Ideas on How Evenings Should Be Spent.
Men and Women Appreciate Sex from Different Perspectives.
ASK AND GRANT FORGIVE-NESS.
The Bible says: "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgive you" (Ephesians 4:32).
A third skill is DECIDING TO LOVE AND KEEP ON LOVING.
One of the biggest misunderstandings about marriage in our day is that love is a feeling. Love isnít a feeling, itís an action.
To love is a decision. To hang in, even when happily ever after isnít happening, thatís love.
The older I get, the more conscious I am that I only have one life. So my choice is, instead of trading in difficult relationships for new relationships and starting the whole process over again, I want to keep and deepen my marriage, my friendships and my memories of those Iím in relationship with.
I donít want short bursts of life repeated over and over again. I want one life, where I learn in successively deeper levels how to love and build up one woman for one lifetime.
Friends, all marriages go through seasons. For most people, rebuilding is a normal state. After the first round of Romance and Reality and Resentment, most marriages come back to rebuilding in one area or another of their relationship.
If we work the rebuilding stage sincerely, we can come back around to romance. It might not be as sizzling hot the second time around or the third time around or the fourth time around, but just like spring follows winter and summer follows spring, marriage passes from one season to another to another, over and over again.