Foundations Course 2. Married Couples Course. Foundations Courses. We are in a journey: new way of living. We are learning to be like Christ. The community: school of love. Initial to underway commitment – before the end of the year. . Community and Family Course. Sex is for ____________.
Married Couples Course
Sex is for ____________.
Marriage is for ____________.
Family is for ______________.
Community is for ______________.
Talk 1. Communication in Marriage
Talk 2. Living Together As Husband and Wife
Talk 3. Order in Family Life
Talk 4. Sex in Marriage
Goals of the Session
1. To explain to the married couples in the course the importance of good husband-wife communication and to motivate them to do it.
2. To get them to begin the regular husband-wife meeting.
1) It is a key to successful marriage: all marriages have difficulties; a successful marriage is one where the partners have learned to work through the difficulties by good communication.
2) It is a way of loving. We cannot effectively love and support our partner and children in the right way unless we are regularly communicating with them.
– The right kind of communication is a practical tool to serve one another.
Modern society makes communication a special need.
a) There is a pluralism of approaches, and many new ideas, that need to be discussed if husband and wife are to stay unified.
b) Modern life changes regularly and rapidly. We need to be in touch with each other to deal with the changing circumstances adequately.
b. Regular communication does not happen automatically.
1) It should not wait until “we feel the need.”
2) Many couples do not recognize its importance or establish it as a priority.
3) Just because couples “talk a lot” does not mean that they are communicating effectively.
4) Older married couples can usually improve their communication.
a. What should we talk about?
• We need to be in touch with each other’s daily life.
• We need to be in touch with the significant responsibilities and relationships in each other’s life in order to support each other.
• We need to talk about our common responsibilities: our children and parents, finances, schedules, activities, etc.
– Husband and wife should view themselves as a pastoral team for their common life and responsibilities.
When and how should we communicate?
1) We need to take time; it needs to be a priority.
– When the pressures are greatest, we need it the most.
2) We need to communicate regularly.
a) We need some “check-in time”- urgent practical things, emergencies, etc.
b) Married couples in the community should have a regular husband-wife meeting.
• It should be a regular time each week.
• It should be a good time, not when we are tired or pressured.
• The time needs to be cleared of other things and protected.
• It should be in a good place, one where we can talk freely and not be constantly interrupted.
• A lengthy enough time should be scheduled, even if it is not all used.
c) The use of the checklists (see hand-outs).
a. Some problems are difficult or even seem intractable.
1) Ordinary, objective problems we can handle without much trouble – if we communicate regularly.
2) Some are significant objective problems where we do not know what to do or we disagree about what to do.
3) Some are “personal problems” – problems in how we relate together, what we think of one another, what we can handle.
4) Some you avoided because you did not have confidence you could work them through. Some will surface as you begin to be in regular communication.
b. You can work through most problems by patient discussion, either in your regular husband-wife meeting or in a special discussion (or even in “an emergency session”).
c. If you do not think you can discuss something together, you should talk to your pastoral leader about how to tackle it.
Do not discuss problems in the following situations:
• at the dinner table with the children present
• at a quiet restaurant (especially if you plan on going there again)
• when one of you is about to go out the door somewhere
• when you are really angry
• when other people are present
• never, never, never while in bed, going to sleep
• right after one of you comes home from a long, hard day.
Goals of the Session
1. To help the participants to relate well together in their daily life as husbands and wives.
2. To help the participants to understand the place of romantic love, sexual intercourse, and spending leisure time together within the whole of the marriage relationship and to help them to value these things without over-idealizing them.
• Husbands and wives should love one another as husbands and wives.
• We have already given a basic presentation on the relationship of husband and wife in the Community and Family Course.
• By ignoring the practical consequences of men-women differences, modern society makes it more difficult for husband and wife to love one another well.
A. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. (Col. 3:12-20)
B. Before all else, we need to treat one another well, as Christian brother and sister.
a. The woman should want to be “his woman”; the man “her man” (1 Corinthians 7:2). Husband and wife are intended to be something for one another, something no other brother or sister can or should be.
b. A chief part of this is the sexual relationship (Talk 4).
c. Connected to this is the “romantic side” of the relationship.
Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
a lovely hind, a graceful doe.
Let her affection fill you at all times with delight,
be infatuated always with her love.
d. A husband should see that his wife is cared for, provided for and protected, and that the family works well for her and for her (their) children.
e. The wife is the maker of his home, the one who cares for the immediate needs of her husband and of his (their) children.
f. He needs to love her as a woman; she needs to respect him as a man.
They should love one another by valuing their differences, their differences of individual personality but also the differences that come from belonging to the opposite sex.
a. There are individual personality differences. We chose our spouses because of (or despite of) what they were like. We should continue to love them the same way.
b. Men and woman want different things in their relationships, and they need to accept and respect that in the other. They differ in:
• The role of expressing feelings
• The role of talking, especially talking about difficulties and weaknesses
• The role of intuition versus analysis (subjectivity and objectivity)
• How they relieve personal stress
• How they express love
• Approach to sex
• Concern for the person and what a person is like or feels versus concern for accomplishing things
c. The husband and wife should not expect all their needs to be met by their spouse. Especially, the husband needs male friends and a good relationship with his sons, and the woman needs female friends and a good relationship with her daughters.
d. The husband should seek to love his wife both by serving her as a husband should and by pleasing her when he can.
The married man is concerned… to please his wife. (1 Cor. 7:33)
The wife should seek to love her husband by serving him as a wife should, and by pleasing him when she can.
The married woman is concerned… to please her husband. (1 Cor. 7:34)
Each married couple will do this somewhat differently. And they will normally adjust how they do this in different periods of their life together.
a. Husbands and wives have to spend time together and should get along well.
She is your companion and your wife by covenant. (Malachi 2:14)
b. Some husbands and wives will have more of the same interests and will find it easier and more enjoyable to spend time together than others.
c. They should not evaluate their relationship primarily by how they spend leisure time together. Nonetheless they should seek to find things to do that both would enjoy.
d. Each married couple will do this somewhat differently.
e. The greatest goal is to love one another well as brother and sister in the Lord.
Goals of the Session
1. To instruct the participants in what should be the role differences between husband and wife in marriage, and to encourage them to move toward implementing them.
2. To put the headship of the husband in the family in the proper context, and to help both husband and wife to accept its importance.
a. Many marriages in contemporary society function without order and therefore without differentiation of roles. This is a cause of the current family weakness.
b. As we saw in the Community and Family Course, the differences between husband and wife in the family are founded in God’s creation of the world.
c. It is becoming clearer in modern social science that the differences are built into us; men and women are oriented to function in complementary ways in family life.
d. The culture of scripture is different than ours, but the human nature is the same. We need to adapt scriptural teaching (make it practical) for our society.
– We also need to avoid the bad ways of relating characteristic of many men and women in our society.
a. Order [structure/pattern]: is not simply a matter of “giving and taking orders” but of different positions and roles put together for unified functioning.
b. This involves some exercise of authority to preserve unity. [Ex. Building a house/sports team]
c. The model of good order is that of the persons in the Trinity and of Christ and the Church in redemption (1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:24-25).
d. Godly order:
• Founds the relationship on godly relating (love, trust, service), rather than on worldly ways (balance of power, compromise, safeguarding “rights”)
• Does away with power struggles, turf wars, and tensions
• Clearly locates responsibility so things do not fall between the cracks
• Provides a base of peace and unity for raising children, allows united effective action
1) They serve as head of the family and therefore of the wife (governor, protector, provider).
• They have the responsibility for final decisions when discussion does not produce agreement.
2) They should have primary responsible for:
Presiding over and directing the family when they are together, including prayer times
• Overall discipline of the children
• The teaching, training, and discipline of the sons, especially once they reach the age of 4/5.
• A set of tasks in the house and family (budget, heavier physical work, etc.).
3) They take concern and responsibility for the wife and family as a “shepherd” and not just as a chief administrator (Eph. 5:25-30).
4) At the same time, husbands often properly have their centre of gravity time-wise outside of the home so that they might provide for the family (financial concern) and represent the family in society and the community.
1) They have areas of primary responsibility as well:
• Making a home, “ruling the household” (1 Timothy 5:14, Proverbs 31), seeing the home provides for the immediate needs of the family members
• Caring for infants and raising the small children
• Teaching and training of the daughters
• Being a help for their husband (Genesis 2:18), especially in his care of the household and its members
She is not just the husband’s delegate, nor can he have her do whatever he so chooses (e.g., take charge of the spiritual life of the family).
2) She is the second authority in the family (cf. 1 Timothy 5:14). She serves with and under him in the leadership team for the family, supporting his lead.
3) She needs to be submissive to her husband; otherwise the husband and wife cannot remain unified.
– This involves communicating directly her observations, thoughts, and concerns.
4) Being a wife and mother is a worthy career and should be the centre of gravity for her use of time; though sometimes (usually not at all times in the development of the family) it is right for a wife to also work outside the home.
a. There are some common problems in men being good husbands:
• Passivity and irresponsibility in the family, leaving the family life to their wives, living mainly outside the circle of the family
• Fear of exercising appropriate authority over their wives, of displeasing them, of provoking an emotional reaction
• Focusing on the sexual relationship and the pleasure that they get from it so that they will not jeopardize that, even if they fail to relate to the wife in a way that makes the family go well.
b. There are some complementary problems in women being good wives:
• anxiety and lack of trust leading to taking on responsibility that is not theirs
• lack of submissiveness, leading to manipulation
• bad “Feminist” attitudes, desires to be the same as men.
c. The antidote is submission to God’s plan and learning wisdom about how to make it work.
d. The ultimate solution is Christian love (the Christian Personal Relationships Series is a big help).
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.
Goals of the Session
1. To help the participants to locate the place of sexual intercourse in marriage and to help them to approach it in a Christian way.
2. To encourage the participants to have regular sexual intercourse and to take the pressure off the relationship that comes from “performance” orientations to engaging in sexual intercourse.
3. To give the principles that will allow married couples to decide their approach to family planning.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
[1 Corinthians 6:19-20]
a. Various views of sex in human life
• An older (now uncommon) view: sex as tainted or shameful [God created sex = good]
• The dominant one in contemporary society: sex for personal pleasure (recreational sex)
–often involving the ideal of unrestrained passion [sex-obsessed society]
– often including a major focus on technique
• The Christian view that sex was created by God for a purpose (cf. Community and Family Course).
– Therefore it is good, if used rightly.
– Because of the fall, it is disordered and often out of control.
– In Christ, it can be restored.
b. The purposes for sexual intercourse
• Procreation: sex is for marriage; marriage is for family.
• Mutual love: sex can strengthen the relationship between husband and wife.
• Satisfaction of sexual desire.
The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not rule over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not rule over his own body, but the wife does. Do not refuse one another except perhaps by agreement for a season, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, lest Satan tempt you through lack of self-control.
1 Corinthians 7:3-5
a. Sexual intercourse should normally be regular.
b. Each partner has the right to it, although under some circumstances it should be foregone by agreement.
c. …in holiness and honour [dignity], not in the passion of lust like the heathen who do not know God (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
Not: anything goes. Restraint is a value.
a. There are differences between men and women in this area as well.
1) Men are more focused on physical sex.
Women’s sexual response is more tied in with the relationship.
2) Men are more quickly aroused, especially by visual and tactile stimuli.
Women are aroused more slowly and respond to tenderness and consideration during the day.
b. Each should serve the other.
1) Women should be willing to have sex as often as the man wants.
2) Men should be willing to take time in lovemaking.
c. Some helps
1) Communication about sex should be ongoing, including any problems.
2) Sexual adjustment often takes time, both at the beginning of marriage and at times of transition (pregnancy, childbirth, getting older, etc.).
3) Sexual intercourse should not be over-idealized; intense pleasure should not be considered the sole value (mutual love and service should be).
4) If there are special problems, get help. Begin by discussing them with your pastoral leader.
a. Marriage is for family (increase and multiply), so couples of childbearing age should have some children if they can.
b. We no longer live in social circumstances where we can have as many children as possible and everything will work well.
c. There are some ecumenical differences in this area:
1) Orthodox, Protestants, and Catholics all believe that family planning is responsible and permissible.
2) There are some disagreements about what methods are acceptable, with the Catholic Church being the most restrictive.
d. Each couple needs to make their own decisions in the light of their circumstances.
1) Christians value children over material comfort, “quality of life”, etc. Raising godly children is a significant contribution to the kingdom of God.
2) To limit the number of children is not automatically lack of faith.
We should be grateful for the blessing of marriage and sex!