Does your marriage need a miracle? Has the relationship become stale and boring and plain? How do you get the romantic feelings back? If you are thinking of marriage counseling, why not get some counseling from Jesus? The first miracle Jesus ever performed was at a wedding. I believe that Jesus wants to do a miracle in your marriage. He can put the sparkle back.
As a believer in Jesus, you can choose to live, act, and think in one of two realms. You can live in the realm of what you are capable of or you can live in the realm of what God is capable of.
I believe that two committed Christians who have a spiritually vital relationship with God, will experience relational vitality in that they will have more joy, more intimacy, more freedom, and will have a much better life together than if they were not believers. Why? Because they will live in the realm of what God can do.
One of the great areas of need in our culture is in the area of marriage and family. If there is an Institution that Satan hates – it is marriage. Marriage is one of the first institutions that God created. It was created before the fall. It was created before the law. It was created before there was a church.
All the way back in the book of Genesis – God created man and woman. God created Adam and Eve and put them in the garden. They were together. It was paradise. The scripture says that they were both naked and they knew no shame. God was the creator and the inventor of sex.
He created it and he put it within the boundaries of marriage.
One thing that I tell couples in pastoral marriage counseling is that the moment you get married, Satan wants to destroy your marriage because you are following Gods plan.
And Satan wants to destroy it.
I think that it is a very interesting biblical fact that the first miracle that Jesus ever performed was at a Wedding. He began his ministry by performing a miracle at a wedding. That tells me that God is concerned about your marriage, about your family.
In John 2 we have the recorded story of how God put sparkle back into a marriage. This couple was facing the first crisis of their life together. Most of you will recall that what happened was they ran out of wine. For this young couple this must have seen like something major.
I believe that this was a real incident in real lives of real people. But I want to speak figuratively this morning.
When they looked for wine-when they expected for there to be a sparkle, all they found was water. This happens in a figurative sense in every marriage. Let me use a little symbolism. A little analogy today.
I believe that this wine represents everything in a marriage that is good. The wine represents romance. The wine sparkles in the cup. The wine represents the hope that every marriage has.
The wine represents the desire that every couple has when they take their vows and that is that their marriage will rise above the mundane and the ordinary and will be something special.
But this couple had no sooner gotten married and they found out that all they had was water. The wine ran out. Water represents the ordinary, everything that is common, the plain, the simple. Water is colorless, tasteless, even boring.
Do you see what I am saying? They went into this marriage with great hopes and great expectations only to soon have their hopes and dreams shattered with the tasteless reality of life. The sparkle was gone.
There are a lot of Christian marriages in that live below where God really wants them to live. Sometimes people can be married for years and pretend that there is not a problem. Or they choose to live there life in the realm of the ordinary instead of the realm of something that is meaningful.
The thing that this couple did that was right and good was that they came to Jesus with their problem right away.
This is good simple advice. Bring your home to Jesus. Bring your life to Jesus. When you find yourself in a predicament, the first place to turn is to God. The greatest resource that you have been given for your home, for your family and for your marriage is God. I still believe that the best place to solve your problems is by living according to the Bible. And by turning to God. The best place to solve is on your knees in prayer.
Jesus gave two very simple instructions for the miracle at the wedding of Cana. I want to use these commands in a figurative way today. We could say these commands are Jesus giving marriage counseling.
The first thing Jesus said was “Fill the jars with water.” And then he said to “Draw out water and give it to the master of the banquet.”
Next summer, my wife and I will celebrate 40 years of marriage. I have learned a few things about life. I don’t consider myself an expert at all, but what I have learned in 39 years of marriage, and 35 years of ministry is that empty people make poor marriage partners.
If you would go to Jesus for marriage counseling He would say:
- GET FILLED UP WITH GOD
I know some couples who regularly skip church to do things together. They think this will help them but they miss the benefit of regular church attendance. At church you get filled up with God through worship and the Word. That helps you to become a better husband or wife.
The greatest thing that you can do for your marriage is to have a relationship with God that is real. Ephesians 2:19 says, “that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Find a church where you experience his presence and get filled up!
Now I want you to understand very clearly that your relationship with God is not defined by what happens on Sunday in church alone. Your relationship with God has to do with what you do during the week.
God intended that every day we as believers would have a time when we get alone with God…why? Because we are empty. We need him to fill us up. Ephesians 5:18 “…be filled with the Spirit.” We need to be with God and allow him to fill us every day. We fill our minds with his Word. We fill our mouth with Praise to God. We fill our spirit man up with his love. I know that I am a better husband, friend, lover, and companion when I have spent time with God in prayer and meditation of scripture.
You may not need marriage counseling if you were filled with the Spirit of God because you would exhibit his fruits. Galatians 5:22 says “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” I wonder what kind of a marriage each one of us would have if we completely filled up with love, joy, and peace.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Do you see the picture? The word used here is sanctify. That word simply means “set apart”
God wants you to be set apart so that God himself will fill you through and through.
God wants you to get filled up with him. The picture is… you can be filled with honey or with acid. Some people are so full of acid that if you brush up against them – you get burned. God wants us to be so full of him, that when your wife calls you honey…she means it.
I am telling you that a vital spiritual relationship with God will make a better husband or wife out of you.
You may be reading this and you are just kind of empty. You need Gods filling. Others of you are broken… the honey leaks out. You are like a broken vessel. You need to be healed. I am not talking about a physical healing. I am talking about a spiritual healing. I am talking about becoming a whole person.
Never forget that Gods picture for marriage is:
Some people think it is:
½ +½ = a whole
Gods formula for success is:
one whole person + one whole person = one positive marriage.
We live in a world where marriage partners have issues. Don’t buy one of these T-shirts like I saw the other day. The T shirt said, “I have issues…and that is why I am a mess.” I want to buy a T shirt that says, “I brought my issues to Jesus and now I am whole.” There has to come a time and a place when you come for healing.
Sometimes it takes more than getting prayed for on Sunday morning. Sometimes in order to get healed it may take you reading books about your issues. Sometimes in order to get healed it does takes marriage counseling. But I believe the first step for many marriages is to get filled up with God. It takes some time to get filled up with God.
Spend an hour a day in prayer and a half hour in the Word for six months. I guarantee you, your marriage will improve. Ask God to fill you with himself.
You will become more like God. How is God? He is loving, kind, good, gentle, caring, passionate. This is what our homes need. Some may say, I am brokenhearted. Jesus said he came to bind up the brokenhearted. Get in his presence and let Him. Jesus came to set you free, to make you whole. Either God can heal people and restore them to health and wholeness or the whole Bible is a lie!
Bring your issue to Jesus and get healed. Get filled up with God. And only then will you become the marital partner that God wants you to be.
And Then Jesus had another commandment for those at the wedding in Cana. Once the vessels were filled with water, Jesus said, John 2:8 “Now draw out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
I want you to notice something in this: It was as they drew the water out and gave it away that the miracle occurred.
If you want to see what God can do in your marriage.
Let’s put it like this.
Get full of God.
2. GIVE OUT OF YOUR FULLNESS TO YOUR PARTNER.
When you give to your partner out of the fullness of your spirit and heart. God comes on the scene and God takes the mundane, and he makes it special. God takes the boring and the ordinary and he puts a sparkle in it and adds color to it. God wants your home to be special.
What can I give to my marriage?
Let give you two things you can give to your marriage.
- GIVE A HIGH COMMITMENT TO MAKE THE MARRIAGE WORK.
Jureen (my wife) and I a few years ago, made a commitment to God and to each other not to use the “D” word. Divorce is not an option for us. It’s just not. I want you to understand something. Marriages that last 25 , 40, or 50 years are not necessarily problem free.
The old guy says to his buddy … “How come you’re so healthy?”
The guy says, “It’s the outdoor living!”
How come you spend so much time outside?
He says, My wife and I when we got married 55 years ago and we said that when we had an argument, one of us would take a walk. It’s those walks!
Even marriages made in heaven need down to earth maintenance work.
Dr. Kensey studied 6000 marriages and 3000 divorces and he wrote, “There may be nothing more important in a marriage than a determination that it shall persist. With such a determination, individuals force themselves to adjust, accept situations which would seem to be sufficient grounds for a breakup if continuation of the marriage were not the primary objective.”
The first thing that you need to do is that when you get ready to stand before a minister and say, I do, you better be willing to say, I do for a lifetime. No other options, that is real commitment to making a marriage work. Are they perfect? No! nobody’s perfect!
I like what one lady said, When I got married, I decided that I would make a list of everything that he did that I would excuse, and I was going to start with the top 10 problems in his life.
and things that he did that would irritate me. She said, I never got around to making that list, but every time he does something that irritates me, I say, Lucky for him it’s on my list.
Give your spouse a high commitment to make the marriage work. A friend of mine got married and his wife was from a family where the dad was kind of a deadbeat dad, he didn’t support the family, and this ladies mother had raised her and her sisters and so one day he realized that she was bothered by all of this.
She opened up one day, She just said, My great fear in life is you will leave me one day. We have these kids, I didn’t complete my education. I don’t know how I would support myself. I don’t want to be my mother. He pulled the car over and he reassured her that he was in for the long haul. They cried that day and prayed together alongside the road.
Contrast that to a situation where one spouse or the other or both are constantly saying.
That’s it! I am getting a divorce? Or Why don’t you just leave?
Your husband or your wife need to hear more than I do. Than need to hear a constant diet of “I still do…”
The second thing that you can give to your marriage in order to see what God can do is…
2. GIVE THEM AFFECTION IN THEIR LOVE LANGUAGE
Dr. Gary Chapman, a leading family and marriage therapists, has described in his book, The Five Languages of Love, five unique love languages men and women utilize in relating to one another. Jesus was great a marriage counseling. Giving is the most important part of marriage. That is what puts the sparkle back.
Affection is a great need of both men and women. Affection is one of the greatest needs that a person is born with and one that we never outgrow. When a man or woman has someone in his life who truly loves them and who will freely express that to them, it sends a powerful message of affirmation, trust and commitment.
Not all of us had the privilege of growing up in a loving home. However, I believe that any one of us can learn to be more loving. Do you know which of these five is your predominate love language? Maybe you can figure it out today:
(a). Words of Affirmation
Some of us need to improve a bit in learning out to verbally express affection to our spouses. Some people best sense affection from a steady diet of compliments. There is no greater example of this in literature than the Song of Solomon. There we find a man verbally expressing love for his wife, complimenting her again and again. Listen to what he says…
“Your hair is like a flock of goats…Your teeth are like freshly shorn sheep…Your neck is like an ivory tower…Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon.” (Song of Songs 4-7)
Now, men, there is no way you can compete with a smooth-talker like Solomon, but you can try. I would advise, however, that you be careful about comparing your wife’s nose to one of the largest towers in Mid-East. She might not see it as a compliment. But I think you get the point. We could learn a lesson from King Solomon: say kind, caring things to the woman in your life.
Solomon’s compliments can be summed up – Song of Solomon 4:7 “All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.”
Men also need compliments. Ladies if you don’t compliment him, the devil will send someone else near to give him those words.
(b). Quality Time
Quality time means giving someone your full attention. It means looking at each other while talking. Some ways of doing that are through participating in similarly enjoyable activities at the same time. It may be working in the yard, it may be walking in the neighborhood, it may be traveling, it may be playing a sport or working on a hobby. However, it is translated, it means having quality time to interact together.
In marriage, this is so crucial to the long-term health of your relationship. One recent study indicates that the average married couple spends less than 37 minutes in a typical week doing something together. When you consider the fact that there are 168 hours in a week, that not much time together. That’s less than one-half of one percent of your time. No wonder so many marriages fall apart.
Some women are not too sensitive to how much men would like their full attention. Men are the same way!
(c). Receiving Gifts
This way of expressing love in understood in the following way. It is providing something that you can hold in your hand and say, “This person was thinking of or remembering me”. It may be a gift of something you purchased, it may be a gift of something you made or it may be a gift of yourself, your time and attention.
(d). Physical Displays of Affection
Some women find the predominate way that they sense affection is by touch. It may be a hug or holding a hand, or it may be just an arm around a shoulder. Hugs have all kinds of positive benefits for our lives.
Studies have shown that a man cannot get too many hugs. They did a survey that life insurance companies study and found that women who kiss their husbands every day before they go to work have fewer accidents on the freeway. They also discovered that men who kissed their wives the last thing before they go to bed at night live longer than any other men. They also found that the same group of men earned more money at their place of employment.
If you want to avoid an accident and live long and see things pay off, begin and end the day with a kiss.
By the way God is Pro Sex. He invented it. He also established the boundaries it belongs in…Marriage! Much marriage counseling can be avoided simply by following the next scripture.
1 Corinthians 7:4-5 says, “The wife’s body does not belong to her alone, but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone, but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time…so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self control.”
A boy was courting a girl and took her out for a long drive around his farm. He stopped a car where two his cows her nuzzling one another, licking each other around the lips. The boy looked at the girl and said, “I sure would like to do that”. She said, “Go ahead, it is your cow.” Humor doesn’t hurt a marriage either.
(e). Acts of Service
It may be helping around the house, preparing a hot meal, seeing that the house is a warm and inviting place to come to. While those actions may not appear to suggest affection, reality they are ways of communicating that one perceives needs in that man’s life and is willing to see that they are being met..
How can we discover our own “love language?” Three questions asked make it possible to determine your own love language.
- What do others do which hurt me the most? The opposite of what hurts is likely your love language.
- What do you request most from others? What we request most may be our love language.
- How do you most consistently express love in your most significant relationships?
Answer those three questions and you will likely discover your love language.
So the question is this today Are you going to be satisfied with the mundane? Do you want more out of your marriage? Jesus did his first miracle at the wedding in Cana. He put the sparkle back.
Jesus marriage counseling is the best marriage counseling.
Some of you may be here today and say, I just wish God would make my marriage what it once was. Let me tell you about the wine at the wedding. The sparkle that Jesus made was better than the sparkle they had at first. God can make your marriage better than it ever has been.
The following letter appeared in the Ann Lander’s newspaper column a few years ago. It puts flesh on the words I have given you. I’ll close the articlee with it.
“Dear Ann Landers: I’m going to tell you about a love story that I witness every time I go to the nursing home to see my husband who has Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, I know firsthand how this terrible illness affects family members, but I would like the world to know what love really is. I see a man who, I understand, has spent the last eight years caring for his wife who has Alzheimer’s.
They have been married more than 50 years. He cooks and feeds her every bite of food she eats. He has bathed her and dressed her every day all these years. They have no other family. She lost a baby at birth and they never had any more children. “I cannot describe the tenderness and love that man shows for his wife. She is unable to recognize anyone, including him. The only things she shows any interest in are two baby dolls. They are never out of her hands.
I observed him when I parked my car beside his the other day. He sat in his old pickup truck for a few minutes, then he patted down, what little hair he had, straightened the threadbare collar of his shirt and looked in the mirror for a final check before going in to see his wife. It was as if he were courting her. They have been partners all these years and have seen each other under all kinds of circumstances, yet he carefully groomed himself before he called on his wife, who wouldn’t even know him. This is an example of the love and commitment the world needs today.”