The Discipline of Fellowship

Since we are in the middle of the Love Month, I feel I have to cover a few tough basics for all the marriages and future marriages out there. These are three practices that I did not know and/or practice very well in my first marriage, and so I must make it known up front right here that I don’t speak from the positive experience, but chose to learn it the hard way. Now it ranks up there near or at the top of my list of regrets in life.

You see, I know how to kill a good marriage. I know how to be the engineer of a passenger train loaded with people that love me and run it to about 100 mph, and then derail it. Casualties are deeper than I can imagine, and more numerous than I’ll ever know, so this is my disclaimer on the topic. I am not a champion of these efforts, yet. But will be some day as our Father teaches me how to love and serve Gina more as I’m called to do. Thank you for any prayers you might offer.

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My material today comes from a wonderful book by Gary Thomas called, Sacred Marriage. Every man that is married and wants to walk close to his Father or someday wants to marry well should read it, but today I’ll give you a taste of some of his thoughts mixed with mine. He describes three spiritual practices that are essential in any Godly marriage calling them, the Disciplines of Fellowship. We will start with the first today.

The first one is to not run from conflict. Fight or flight, with fighting being the preferred choice as long as it’s not destructive. A spouse sometimes chooses to walk out of the room, go for a drive, or even bury into the infamous silent treatment. All of those are destructive choices to the marriage and move away from confession and forgiveness. This does not mean you cannot take a short break from the discussion/fight to let emotions cool down. This is quite helpful, at times, to keep the right portion of the brain engaged to do the talking, and decreases stupid words that move away from reconciliation. Sometimes that is necessary for an hour or two.

But whoever leaves the discussion, and waits a few days to bring it up again, if ever, is expressing to the other spouse that the relationship isn’t worth the effort. Not important enough to work on. To fight for. And therefore they might be forfeiting the joy of reconciliation in many types of intimacy. They might miss some “oneness” that the Father had in mind all along as a result of the conflict.

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Thomas calls this “falling forward.” When couples resolve conflicts many things happen, and probably much more than we even know. But for some, they are growing towards each other through struggles, getting to know them better, and having a closer walk with our Father according to 1 Peter 3:17.

So let me encourage you all to keep falling forward in your love triangle. Resolve to be a better spouse today than you were yesterday, and maybe even try to out-serve your other half. Maybe surprise them. Just don’t forget to make sure this month that your closest “neighbor” is reminded of our heart for them.

Hope you all have a blessed Love Month, and thanks for reading.

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