For a partnership that's close and strong.Want to strengthen your marriage but unsure how to start? Marriage will help you and your spouse draw insight from one another and from the other couples in your group to build the kind of close relationship you've always wanted. Whether you need to stabilize shaky foundations or just want to make a good marriage even better, here's how to • Get the most from you and your partner's different personality traits using a brief, eye-opening self test • Weed out common “romance busters” that drain the excitement from your marriage • Resolve conflicts quickly using a simple three-step peace process• Prevent daily responsibilities from robbing you of real intimacy . . . and more. Marriage will help you and your mate not only recapture the thrill in your marriage, but also maintain and build upon it to create a satisfying, lasting relationshipthe kind God designed you both to enjoyInteractionsa powerful and challenging tool for building deep relationships between you and your group members, and you and God. Interactions is far more than another group Bible study. It's a cutting-edge series designed to help small group participants develop into fully devoted followers of Christ.
About the Author
Bill Hybels is the founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., and chairman of the board for the Willow Creek Association. The bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Leadership Axioms, Holy Discontent, Just Walk Across the Room, The Volunteer Revolution, and Courageous Leadership, and classics such as Too Busy Not to Pray and Becoming a Contagious Christian, Hybels is known worldwide as an expert in training Christian leaders to transform individuals and their communities through the local church. He and his wife, Lynne, have two adult children and two grandsons, Henry and Mac.
Kevin G. Harney (kevingharney.com) serves at Shoreline Community Church in Monterey, California. He is the author of many books and studies, including Organic Outreach for Ordinary People, Seismic Shifts, and Reckless Faith.
Sherry Harney (sherryharney.com) has served as a children’s ministry director and a women’s ministry director, and is the author of more than sixty small-group Bible studies. One of her greatest passions is investing in the next generation of women in the church.
Read an Excerpt
MarriageBuilding Real Intimacy
By Bill Hybels
ZondervanCopyright © 1996 Zondervan
All right reserved.
Chapter OneLearning from History
THE BIG PICTURE
It was the summer of 1974, and Lynne and I had been married two months. She informed me that the garbage disposal had quit working. I told her to call a repairman.
The war was on!
"What do you mean, call a repairman? Why pay fifty dollars for a job any able-bodied man can do?"
"Well, you don't expect me to do it, do you? I don't know anything about garbage disposals. I'd probably electrocute myself if I touched it. Besides, we're short on butter knives."
"You could do it if you tried. You just don't care enough."
The problem was that Lynne's dad fixed things, her brother fixed things, her uncles fixed things, her cousins fixed things, and so she assumed that all men fixed things. Unless, of course, they weren't interested in what was going on at home. Unless they were too preoccupied with concerns outside the home to devote thirty minutes to household needs.
From my side, I had never had a successful experience with anything mechanical in my life. I knew I would waste hours and probably money if I tried to fix the garbage disposal or anything else. I also believed, as my father had, that the sensible approach was to stick with what I was good at and pay someone else to do what I wasn't good at.
A WIDE ANGLE VIEW
1 Tell a story about a time you and your spouse discovered how differently you approach things.
A BIBLICAL PORTRAIT
Read Genesis 2:21-25 and Ephesians 5:31-33
2 Both of these passages present three critical steps in the marriage process. What does it mean to:
Leave our father and mother
Be united to our spouse
Become one flesh
SHARPENING THE FOCUS
Read Snapshot "The Powers That Shape Us"
The Powers That Shape Us
Lynne and I now realize that who our fathers and mothers were, how they related, and how our families operated played a major role in shaping us as individuals. This is true for everyone. Two decades spent in close proximity with a single group of people can't help but shape our personal identities. We are who we are largely because of the experiences we have enjoyed-or endured-within the context of our unique family units.
Family dynamics determine our self-esteem and self-confidence. Family values shape our character. Family experiences influence our concepts of how marriage should be structured and how children should be raised, of how we should view work, recreation, education, money, politics, and religion. We all look at our families and decide either to repeat the pattern if our experience was basically positive, or try to create an opposite situation if our experience was basically negative. Either way, we are profoundly affected by the attitudes and actions of our families.
No One's Perfect
Sadly, there are more to family memories than highlights. In addition to being one of the greatest determiners of personal identity, the family is also one of the greatest causes of personal pain. No one grows up pain free. The apostle Paul tells us that no one can live a totally righteous life (Rom. 3:23), and that includes parents. There is no perfect mom. No perfect dad. We are all products of parents who were sinners. They too were products of parents who were sinners, just as our children will be. We must realize that imperfect parents always cause some degree of pain to their children. The baton that is passed from one generation to the next is always at least a little disfigured, a little scarred.
3 How did your parents handle:
Expression of emotions
Celebration of special occasions such as birthdays, holidays ...
Discipline of children
4 Cite at least one difference in your personalities that can be traced directly back to your family backgrounds. How has this become an issue in your marriage, and how are you seeking to deal with it?
5 What aspects of your parents' relationship do you respect and want to see imitated in your own marriage?
What are you doing to develop these in your relationship?
Read Snapshot "No One's Perfect"
6 What is one characteristic that marked your parents' relationship that you want to avoid in your marriage?
What would it require for you to confront and avoid these same patterns?
7 How could you creatively thank or affirm your parents for the positive ways they have impacted your life?
PUTTING YOURSELF IN THE PICTURE
Looking Back Together
Take time in the coming week to talk with your spouse about an incident in your past where one or both of your parents did something that wounded you. Discuss the following questions:
Could it have been avoided?
How have you recovered?
Are there steps you need to take to continue the healing process?
How do you plan to keep from repeating the same mistake in your family life?
Take time to pray for healing in the heart of your spouse and commit to continue praying for them in the days and weeks to come. Also, take specific steps toward continuing the healing process in your lives.
Call or meet with one of your in-laws and ask them how they feel their life has impacted your spouse. Give them freedom to talk about their positive and negative influence. Follow this up by telling your spouse what you learned. Take time to affirm your in-laws, honoring them as people who matter to you and to God.
Excerpted from Marriage by Bill Hybels Copyright © 1996 by Zondervan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of ContentsCONTENTS
Introduction: Building Real Intimacy…9
Learning from History…13
How Are You Wired?...19
Planning for Peace…27
Whatever Happened to Romance?...35
Fanning the Flames of Marriage…43
Living in Crisis Mode…49