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Planting Hedges in Marriage (Part 4 of 4)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Cross Radio
June 23, 2022 4:00 am

Planting Hedges in Marriage (Part 4 of 4)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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June 23, 2022 4:00 am

Throughout each day, we make countless little decisions that may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things. But these little decisions add up over time and can either erode or build up relationships. Hear more on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.



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Every day we make countless tiny decisions that may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, as will hear today on Truth for Life. These little decisions add up over time and can either erode or build up a relationship. Alastair beg his teaching from Ephesians chapter 5 were in verses 22 through 33. I have concluded that there are many marriages which are frankly doll doll really doll and while routine in and of itself needn't be equated with boredom. It certainly is possible to fall into the trap of going through certain motions activities again and again to the point of disinterest and disenchantment. The fact is that laziness and taking our partner for granted, often squeezes out the kind of creativity that marked our courtship. I'm not referring for a moment to superficial expressions of imagination that are often promoted by self-interest or by guilt, the kind of bizarre stuff you read about in books really stupid things start about little things that keep the home fires burning because when the other factors are in place, the carefulness and the devotion etc. then these little things have a part to play where the other aspects are not there meaningful communication devotion. You know that the commitment to the whole shooting match, then let's not kid ourselves that you know 20 minutes with a card and a coffee shop is going to fix the problem because it sure is.

But it never ceases to cause me some of the deepest pain of all in pastoral ministry. When I have to sit and listen to my wife tell me how when her husband took her lover. He all of a sudden became Mr. imagination and they will always say to me where any get this stuff from the fact of the matter is that it is rooted in selfishness and it is rooted in sin and sometimes I have to say to the wife as I seek to help both she and he to come to repentance and faith this with others. I try and help them put the train back on the tracks.

It's not uncommon for the wife to have had a real blind spot in relationship to this as well and actually to being devoid of much meaningful imagination on her own part, so if variety is the spice of life, at least one of the spices of life, then let's make an honest attempt to keep our marriages interest determined to break out of monotonous routines. It's only when you get out of the rut. Incidentally, that you will see how deep the rut wants and of marital failures brought about by countless little decisions made in daily which erode the relationship, then surely we can anticipate a measure of success by being content with small gains over a long period of time probably did most of his 25 years to see the benefits of companionship, persistence, communication, creativity, but is not what everybody told is the older people told us about compound interest. They said a little bit over a long period of time will multiply and compound and you will be surprised one day, just do what I'm telling you they say and you can begin to imagine if you will just do as they say and put that small amount of money away and allow it to build your surprise.

Goodness gracious. They were right. 25 years later and did what they said. The same is true in marriage to listen to the older folks listen to those find them. You'll see them around. They hold hands when they walked to the car. You know they don't need to write a book for you. Is there here I see them I watch you walk to the car. I watched many of you want to the car this morning as I did my little research project.

I know you're going to. I wonder if we held hands going to the car. It doesn't matter whether you did over the number of you are so messy that's good. I like the ones with the husband was two steps out in front and the wife caught him up and caught his arm and pulled him back in the others. We had to move his coat together.

On the other side so you get a hold of her so they can walk together a life was by real fast doesn't I I'm voting down dull, boring marriages, I just want you to know that there is no reason for a Christian marriage distinct.

As a result of a sad lack of imagination on the part of those whom God has given the powers and wisdom and love truth that are contained in the Bible. We don't need to go anywhere else. Okay still here like to change the analogy I want to do one and then the one I'm changing the picture from finding hedges to pulling weeds and I have a number of weeks that we will pull over time ever we called unbroken ties. You know it has to do fight. Let me give you a great quote here this give you this fabulous quote I thought this was the best thing I've ever read on this you know the old chestnut about your in-laws and stuff and interfering in coming over for Thanksgiving and who's going to lose house for Christmas all Apollonian did all those major funeral things the best thing you did move an ocean away from at least one side of the family wanted one of the weeds that can so easily infect a marriage is is the undue interference all the in-laws are in lobster or whatever you want to call them and I came across this so this wonderful illustration from a book called the other woman in your marriage by Norman Wright." I'll never forget the wedding of one of my best college friends John Engstrom years ago actually was in the wedding itself that impressed me as much as something that happened at the rehearsal dinner, Mrs. Engstrom, John's mom was seated in the front table with John, his bride and the bride's parents at a particular time at the dinner. Mrs. Engstrom stood up and pulled out a beautifully wrapped box. She unwrapped it, and with great ceremony displayed one of her favorite old aprons holding the apron high for everyone to see. She reached into her purse and brought out a big pair of scissors with a flourish. She snipped off the apron strings and handed them to John's bride to be.

Never again. She said well I have the same place in John Engstrom's life. You are now the woman in his life. It was a moment of formal releasing in front of many witnesses, and the most significant witnesses of all where a young bride and groom. It was a profound moment, but a joyful one to and there was a feeling of rightness about it all.

I stayed like that quote do or not but anyway I but I trying to to two weeks week number one taking each other for granted. There's nothing brilliant about this.

The Bible says that husbands are to live in consideration with their wives wife certain I see that they love their husbands, I just read this it makes it easier. Oh Carl loves doing the dishes, don't you, Carl.

I was a guest of a family in Australia and we had just finished our meal in the absence of the dishwasher machine that is.

I volunteered to help with the project. In denying my offer. The young wife assured me that it would be all taken care of by Carl. Her husband playfully. I inquired just how it was that she was so sure that her husband love doing the dishes.

Hence her question across the dining room table. All you love doing the dishes don't you call. Neither she nor I was prepared for the response in the underlying sense of bitterness which accompanied no said Carl in front of the gas from America. His mother and father his brother-in-law and all his kids. No said Carl. I don't enjoy doing the dishes. He then went on to explain that the reason for his constant endeavor in this regard. Ever since they had been married some 12 years was on account of his frustration with his wife's untidy approach to the kitchen. By this time, I was just sliding slowly down going man.

It's a long way back from Australia.

Her assumption was all wrong.

He never addressed the matter in a constructive fashion and I turned out I just spoke my unfortunate nose into a hornets nest. I then found myself for the remainder of my stay trying to help this young couple pulled some fairly large size weeds from their marital garden is interesting, just a tiny thing was a passing comment and suddenly we were in and it was dreadful and not every situation is as serious as that.

But every one of us as couples needs to make sure that we prevent the growth of this ugly weed that husbands realistically, we need to learn what it means to live in consideration without wife's part of this surely means that the passing of time and familiarity with things doesn't allow us to be deadened to the sense of wonder and all that we have the immense privilege of waking up each morning next to this woman who is an express gift of God for our lives. God and his perfect wisdom has provided for us in this way, even in the bad days that remains the case and it is consequently possible for us to neglect the expressions of appreciation which are also necessary and need to be done with frequency and we neglect to do them because we say to ourselves, but they're just doing what they're expected to do is not deserving of special mention Goldman test yourself on this and it's not a nice test. I can assure you because I've tried it in preparation. How often do I use the words thank you I appreciate you I can do without you.

How long is it been since I complemented my spouse for some aspect of her character other than her appearance. When is the last time I spent a special card or flowers or came home early so that she might have some time in our own free from our own responsibilities. Sadly, it's really too bad that we assume that intermittent bursts of Gilman's may be assuaged by little bursts of appreciation, but the fact is again in learning from others. It would appear that is not so much the big things in life which you convey this on them as birthdays and anniversaries is not a good idea, but it is in the casual routine of apparently inconsequential events that we make it clear that were not dating your spouses for grant in the 60 somebody sang the song when those little things that you do make me glad that I'm in love with you the way you walk away you hold my hand the way you talk and make me understand you know I love those little things that you do is in the little things the little things you go unsaid with a family and the loss of a loved one, especially the loss of a mother or father and you listen as the children begin to articulate some of the immediate and earlier reflections upon the life of the one who is just gone and in those encounters. Just listen carefully and you will find out the kind of man and kind of father kind of husband I it won't be necessarily in the funeral when everybody's had a chance to clean it up spruce it up and see it right. It will be in those unguarded moments that you will find out there really like and it will be in those unguarded moments that people will discover for themselves what you and I really like in relationship to our responsibilities tonight to pull the weeds you see, I got a great illustration of this in my files. I may have shared it with some of you before, but I love it so much, came out of Wally Pepin's marriage for all those years before he recently remarried and just a matter of days before his wife passed away. They had gone on a trip down to the Mohican State Park, but in response to this trip he received this little note and reads as follows dear Wally, I want to say thank you for a wonderful time away. The beauty of the mountains and the golf courses were super. The time with you was wonderful.

You are my beloved husband as well as a fun companion and friend. Thank you for the beautiful little box was stationary and it this is a sheet from I love the dainty design of it in the pretty color. The Lord gave me the very best when he gave me you I love you more now than the day we were married. All my love issues and what I find most stirring about that is not so much the content is the context because it's not a note from a young wife and I nearly blush of marital excitement. This is written by a lady in her 70s who by this time had been married to this man for 1419 years. I can pretty well guarantee that in the course of those 49 years they must've written enough letters to one another notes so as to be able to wallpaper their house.

Let me just mention as I did last time. The next we do which will come and give you one illustration on real ugly weed that interferes with the progress that is essential in a kind of Ephesians 5, marriage is what we might refer to as the comparison trap. The comparison trap.

It's it's a real it's a beauty and it's often very subtle. You know, for example, the wife said I saw Jerry down at the tennis courts brief pause now there's someone who has managed to keep a waistline come out and say you know what you could buckle your belt.

If you try Henry Nonno I saw Jerry down to the Corsair someone who marries to keep a waistline and so the husband instinctively sucks and is got tries not to buckle under the routine comparison of his belt sized every scrawny, malnourished character, on whom his wife Hempstead said her gaze and is often worse for the ladies you know I fit so many girls tell me about this I got a great illustration of it that came from somebody again out-of-state.

I made reference in something that I was saying to the importance of delighting ourselves in the wife of our youth, not delighting ourselves because our wife looks like a youth but delighting ourselves and rejoicing in the wife of your youth, so as not to get into the trap of comparing our spouses unfavorably with others at the level of intellect or status or buying power or business acumen or whatever it might be and I have this letter.

Dear Mr. Beck while listening to your reference to Solomon's instruction to enjoy the wife of one's youth. I remembered an incident which I thought you might like the night my husband and I met. I wore the kind of skintight bright purple jumpsuit which only looks good on someone as young and slender as I was then. Shortly after giving birth to our eldest daughter.

I felt enormous old and depressed tearfully. I told my husband inside. I'm still the girl in the purple jumpsuit but outside I feel like a whale. My husband launched a secret mission to buy me a new purple jumpsuit. I've given the old one to the Salvation Army in a fit of closet cleaning as purple jumpsuit were not exactly in season that year he had to go to seven different stores explaining persistently to each puzzle. Clark that yes, it had to be a jumpsuit and yes it had to be purple.

Finally found one one-size-fits-all and presented it to me with a car that I cherish which read sweetheart you always be the girl in the purple jumpsuit to me.

I hope you are encouraged to hear what a joy, a loving, godly husband can be and I was encouraged and I hope you are encouraged and I firmly believe that as our culture increasingly disintegrates the level of the family and marital fidelity that one of the great bridges into the postmodern mind is going to come no misunderstanding.

When I say this is going to come not as a result of our ability to articulate the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which ability we need to possess and which articulation we need to give, but one of the great bridges of opportunity is not going to come as a result of that, but is going to come as a result of husbands and wives living in such a way that even at the level of adequacy. It will prove to be so strikingly different from what is representative in our culture that people will literally be banging down the door of your house to find out what is the key to doing what you do and in that moment you will tell them about Jesus and then they'll say that I thought that Jesus was just another man and you'll say oh no. Have you ever considered the evidence for the resurrection, and they'll say or know and then you'll tell him of that. But the door opener increasingly is going to be husbands and wives who are prepared as an expression of self-sacrifice, first to the Lord Jesus and then to one another to live radically different life's to the glory of his name.

As we've heard today from Alastair Greg, it's little things in marriage that can make a big difference if we want to continue to pursue the oneness that God has designed for us listing the Truth for Life with Alastair. Greg will be back close in just a minute with prayer, untruthful life. We often invite you to open your Bible.

The reason is because our mission Truth for Life is straightforward to teach God's word without adding to what were taking away from it.

It's teaching that is grounded in Scripture teaching you can trust to be true.

Studying God's word together is one way to enhance your marriage and help you do that, we now have Alistair's daily devotional titled Truth for Life 365 daily devotions available for purchase. This devotional will guide you through daily Scripture meditations for a full year. Alistair's corresponding commentary will encourage you to consider how to think differently and how to reorder your affections based on what you learn to find the book a Truth for Life.org/store.

It's available for our cost of eight dollars and shipping in the US is free, there's another book we want to tell you about today titled gospel shaped marriage subtitle is grace for sinners to love like saints. This is a book that provides straightforward clarity directly from Scripture to give couples certainty about God's purpose and framework for marriage.

When you read the book, you'll get a better understanding of how God equips you to create a healthy loving marriage, request the book when you give a donation to Truth for Life. Just click the image in our app or visit our website@truthforlife.org/donate and if you rather mail your donation along with your request for the book right to Truth for Life at PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, OH 44139. Now here's Alastair to close with prayer God and our father, we thank you tonight that your word is intensely practical. We thank you for the straightforward words of Paul and for the clarity with which Jesus spoke and we thank you for the examples around us here in our own church family of those who by your grace of weather the storms made it through the valleys battled in many cases, to new frontiers and new day's may their tribe increase. We know were not perfect. We know we haven't got it absolutely right, but we pray that we might bring our regrets and our failures, our imperfections and our inconsistencies to the foot of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ and laying down our burdens may go forward in the power of the Holy Spirit to live as lights in a dark place. We thank you that there is tremendous encouragement in your work tremendous encouragement from being united in Christ enjoying the fellowship of the spirit of God. We pray that we might draw a deep from these wells as we face this week and as we face.

All of our tomorrows for Jesus sake, we asked about the pain. Thanks for listing today. So how can we be sure to enjoy marriage not simply over a lifetime. Join us tomorrow to find out the Bible teaching of Alastair big is furnished by Truth for Life where the Learning is for Living