Monday, June 9, 2014

Building a Marriage that Goes the Distance (Part 2)

Preached by David Kautt
Community Christian Church, Durant, Oklahoma
Sunday morning, June 8, 2014
Proverbs 5:15 – 23, “Drink water from your own cistern,
And running water from your own well.
Should your fountains be dispersed abroad,
Streams of water in the streets?
Let them be only your own,
And not for strangers with you.
Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice with the wife of your youth.
As a loving deer and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
And always be enraptured with her love.
For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman,
And be embraced in the arms of a seductress?
For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord,
And He ponders all his paths.
His own iniquities entrap the wicked man,
And he is caught in the cords of his sin.
He shall die for lack of instruction,
And in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.”
Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”
How many of you took me up on my Chili’s Restaurant Challenge Friday night at 6:30 pm?  I’m sorry to say that my wife and I didn’t make it over there till nearly 7:30 due to some car trouble we had on the way over.  But we did end up making it – finally – and we did enjoy a meal and a time of fun together with each other.  It’s something we all – every married couple here – ought to do together – on a regular basis.
Last Sunday, in order to set the stage for Kent and Mary’s 40th anniversary celebration, I preached a sermon entitled, ““Building a Marriage That Goes the Distance”.  Not knowing all there is to know about Kent and Mary’s life together, nor all there is to know about your marriage, I preached in hopes that what I planned to say would somehow be appropriate and meaningful.  It wasn’t until everything was over last Sunday that I realized just how appropriate it was.
For like in my own marriage – and maybe as is the case in your marriage – there were some times when Kent and Mary thought that a 40-year anniversary would never be reached.
Kent and Mary, thanks for sharing that high point with us!  Thanks for inviting us into the celebration with you.  God knows all of us need examples and illustrations declaring loud and clear “It is possible!”  Building a Marriage That Goes the Distance – “It’s possible!”
Praise God for His grace in Kent and Mary’s life and marriage!  Thank God for the witness – the testimony – their lives and marriage give to that effect!  Praise God!
Building a Marriage That Goes the Distance.  Last time I pointed out to you that that kind of marriage is RARE!  It’s RARE!
And the reasons it is rare are these, remember?  Most marriages make use of any old Builder, any old Blueprint, and any old Foundation.  But not the marriage that goes the distance!  No!  Those who take seriously their vows: “In sickness and in health; in poverty and in wealth; in prosperity and in adversity, till death do us part,” those who do more than mouth those words, but who intend to LIVE by them, do so by seeking a Better Builder.  “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it…”  They do so by consulting a Better Blueprint.  “This! This is the way!  Walk in it.”  And yes, they do so, by utilizing a Better Foundation, the only one God every lays: Jesus Christ. The Rock, Jesus Christ!
But having all these things in one’s favor is just the start, isn’t it?  On that strong, stable foundation, Jesus Christ, a husband and wife must purpose to set up several essential “pillars” in this “Home”, this relationship, this marriage they are building.  In keeping with the guidance of the Better Builder – and abiding by the instructions He has set forth in His Better Blueprint, a husband and wife sets up the pillar of “Exclusivity.”  The pillar of Exclusivity.  Remember?  We talked about it last time. 
Proverbs 5:15ff:  “Drink waters from your own cistern, running waters from your own well.  Let your fountains, your rivers of water, be only your own and not for strangers with you.”
The principle of Holy Jealousy and the Pillar of Exclusivity!  A Marriage That Goes the Distance simply must have it!  It must!
And remember, those that DO, those marriages that are built and bolstered by this pillar of exclusivity – they are safer and certainly they are stronger than those trying to go the distance without it!
Building a Marriage That Goes the Distance.  The Pillar of Exclusivity is a must!
Secondly, to Build a Marriage That Goes the Distance, we must set up and establish yet a second essential pillar.  I call this one the “Honor Pillar.”  The “Honor Pillar.”
The writer of the book of Hebrews put it well, when he simply said, “Marriage should be honored by all people, and the marriage bed kept pure.”
Fellows, how many times a week do you find yourself making jokes about marriage, or even making fun of your wife?  And, ladies, before you think you’re off the hook, whose husband were you putting down the other night, as you and your husband hosted that other couple that are friends of yours?  Ladies – I bet it wasn’t the other woman’s husband!
The Pillar of Honor.  Brothers and sister, do you realize how crucial this pillar is to the strength and success of your marriage?
How many of you have seen the movie “Fireproof” with Kirk Cameron? Do you remember the plot line? Fireman, Caleb Holt – his marriage was burning down right before his eyes.  And as long as his words were laced with anger, bitterness, hatred – you heard him scream at his wife, Katherine – and as long as his actions were selfish things like viewing pornography on his computer, and stashing away for the bigger boat he wanted… as long as his words and his actions sent forth the message to Katherine, “I love MEmore!”, their marriage was going to continue to disintegrate!  And sadly, (you remember) because Caleb didn’t honor her, Katherine went looking for someone who would!
But then what?  Then, Caleb chose, he deliberately decided to honor his wife.  Remember?  He demolished the computer.  There’s an honoring action!  He left a card with the words, “I love you – YOU – more!” in its place.  Those are honoring words.  He humbled himself and admitted how he had failed Katherine and hurt her.  More honoring words!  And then he capped it off with the huge sacrifice:  he took the boat money (several thousand dollars) and used it to buy a hospital bed for Katherine’s invalid mother!  More honoring actions!
Ladies - you who saw the movie - did those words and those sacrificial, unselfish actions do anything as far as Katherine was concerned? Did they affect her?
Remember the scene at the mirror as she put back on her wedding ring? Remember the scene in the bay of the firehouse as she said to Caleb, “If I haven’t told you, Caleb that you’re a good man, you are!” 
The Honor Pillar. Where husbands and wives say AND show their spouses that they love them MORE.  Words like that and the actions that back them up do more to build and strengthen a marriage than almost anything I can think of!  The Honor Pillar – it’s a MUST have – if you and I intend to Build Marriages That Go the Distance!  It is!
There are two additional pillars that go kind of hand in glove with the Honor Pillar that I’d like to introduce to you at this time.  They are the Encouragement Pillar and the Gratitude Pillar.  The Encouragement Pillar and the Gratitude Pillar. 
As you’ve heard me say at least a dozen times already, this sermon series is about Building a Marriage That Goes the Distance.  We’re not looking at Proverbs 5 and Hebrews 13 to come up with suggestions for all the engaged couples in our midst about how to have a Better Wedding! There are already loads of those kinds of books and magazines and websites. No!  Young couples, let me make it clear.   This study is to point you, and all of us moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, to what it takes to make a BetterMarriage. One that will not only enjoy the honeymoon, but one that will humbly praise God for the depth and breadth of meaning behind those “I do’s” and “I wills” 20, 30, 40, even 50 years later!
The Encouragement Pillar and the Gratitude Pillar - set up alongside the Honor Pillar and the Exclusivity Pillar – these Pillars are essential components to Building a Marriage That Goes the Distance!
Let me take a few moments to explain what I mean by the Encouragement Pillar. We’ll come back to the Gratitude Pillar next time.
The Encouragement Pillar.  Athletes tell us that one of the challenges inherent in running a marathon is breaking through and making it past “THE WALL.”  “The Wall.”
I’ve never run a marathon before, but having run some pretty long distances before, I kind of know what the marathoners means by the term, “The Wall.”  Hitting the Wall
You’re there, maybe 5 years into your marriage and she miscarries, maybe for the third time.  You’re there, maybe 15 years into your marriage and Boom! He loses his job.  You’re there, maybe 25-30 years into your lives together and he gets cancer, her mother dies, the nest is now empty, and Boom! You hit the Wall!  “I don’t think we’re going to make it!”  “I’m not sure I’m up to all this or want to continue through all this!”
The Wall. It’s a point in your marriage when your “Hope” fuel tank is just about dry!  The trials and maybe even the turbulence of your life together may have just about done you in!
What do you need?  What does your marriage need?  What does your spouse, the wife of your youth, the man you married in his prime… what does she need?  What does he need?
hope-recharge!  You need, he needs, she needs, your marriage needs - encouragementEncouragement!
The two of you need to get away, like my wife and I did, for a hope-recharge, an encouragement refill, a Weekend to Remember!  Where the two of you can say to each other:  “This, too, shall pass!”  But, even if it doesn’t, God has promised us:  “I will never leave you or forsake you. I am your helper.  Don’t be afraid!”  (Hebrews 13:5-6).
Encouragement.  Because Marriages That Go the Distance – like running a marathon – require endurance.  Because Marriages That Go the Distance may actually get HARDERthe further down the road they go, they need – Listen, my friends – they simply MUST have regular refueling of encouragement and hope, or else what God intends to produce what is PRECIOUS, will actually end up producing what is POISONOUS!
Encouragement.  The Encouragement Pillar.  Can I give you 3 or 4 “Hope Re-Fuelers,” and then we’ll close?  Here they are:  
“Honey, I know this is a hard time, but let’s not forget:  we’re on the same team!”
“My dear, I know that things look pretty hopeless right now, but let’s keep in mind that with God all things are possible.”
And, one more:  “Honey, I know you may not think so right now, but listen to me.  You’re still the best, even if…”

Building a Marriage That Will Go the Distance.

Is it worth it?  Ask Kent and Mary. 

Is it worth it?  Ask Harold and Jane. They reached the 60-year milestone recently. 

Building a Marriage That Will Go the Distance.  It IS worth it!  It IS!

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