Marriage Retreat - Recap
May 10, 2017 0 comments
A couple of weeks ago we had a richly blessed marriage retreat, and I wanted to share a little recap of what we covered. If you have interest, you can download the outlines here. Those outlines include discussion questions for couples, a short list of book recommendations, and some additional resources intended to serve couples going forward.
Session 1: Believing the 'One Flesh' Reality
In Session #1 we looked at the biblical definition of marriage from the very first marriage in Genesis 2, focusing especially on the idea of being "one flesh" together (Gen 2:24). We said that this definition, when "functioning" in our marriages, can have a transforming effect. It puts our respective roles in the right context of our fundamental equality as husbands and wives. This definition also orients our hearts toward mutuality - mutual concern, mutual care, and mutual help for each other. And this definition defines our goal in marriage - that of a growing relational intimacy in which we increasingly reflect that "one flesh" reality, by God's grace.
Session 2: Experiencing the 'One Flesh' Reality
In Session #2 we surveyed the Song of Solomon (or "Song of Songs"). This book of inspired love poetry really answers an important question: given the fall of mankind in Genesis 3, are our marriages doomed to some lifeless existence - or can that "one flesh" reality still be enjoyed through real intimacy in marriage today? God's answer through this book is a resounding "yes", we can and should hear echoes of Eden in our own marriages today. We saw three snapshots of the couple, through their love poetry, pursuing "oneness" and enjoying the intimacy in marriage that God still makes possible today, by his grace!
Session 3: Restoring the 'One Flesh' Reality
In Session #3 we drew insights from Matthew 18 for how to minister to one another, given that husbands and wives are called to mutual love, care and help. Matthew 18 outlines the heart we must have for ministry to each another, pursuing each other like the shepherd pursues the one wandering sheep. It also outlines a process for ministry - going to each other to help each other when real sin is occurring, and involving others when necessary to get help for our marriages. And this passage speaks to the important pattern of ministry, forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven us. However, we started that session saying that the details of every situation matter, as we were deriving general principles that wouldn't apply to every situation (i.e., if abuse were occuring in a marriage).
The Hope for Every Marriage
Most importantly of all, in each session we looked to our hope for our marriages found in Jesus Chirst. From Genesis 2:24, we looked ahead to Ephesians 5 where the apostle Paul quotes that very verse and says that every marriage is intended by God to point to Christ. From Song of Songs we remembered that, while the book is not an allegory of our relationship with God, marriage is also a metaphor that does point us to our relationship with the God of all grace. From Matthew 18 we were reminded of the great love and mercy of God in Christ to us, who has atoned our unpayable debt through his Son.
All in all, it was a fantastic time. If you had a chance to pray for that retreat, please know that God was graciously answering your prayers!
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