Last Friday, I enjoyed listening to Gary Thomas (author of Sacred Parenting, Sacred Marriage and Sacred Pathways, to name a few) talk at a CIFT Pastor’s Forum on the theme of “Building Spiritually Intimate Marriages in the Midst of Ministry.”
I took notes on my iPad Mini and am sharing some of what I learned today and in the next post here. This isn’t a transcript. (I don’t type that fast on my iPad touchscreen!). When I take notes, I’m writing what I’m learning. So Gary should not be “blamed” for these notes. These are my reflections on his teaching. They are rough edited, so bear with their “journal-like” nature. With those considerations in mind, here is my journal from his teaching:
Story: Maintenance on F14s is critical. Is it any less so for pastors/Christian leaders and their marriages?
But our roles sometimes get us too busy to do this critical work. The danger is marital failure, which costs so much more in damage to churches and ministries.
If we pretend to invulnerable here, our default mode will be failure.
Carson, D A. “One of the most striking evidences of sinful human nature is the universal propensity for downward drift. “
We might even get too tired to enjoy the gift of marital intimacy (sex). You never drift into good things like intimacy.
The process of giving birth and raising children radically changes a woman. We must continue to grow to know one another so as not to grow apart. Knowing one another doesn’t happen automatically. It’s isn’t a product of drift.
An answer to marital drift is turning towards God first and towards one another second. (Mt 6:33). What are we seeking first? Intimacy? Sex? Personal preferences? What?
Two human causes for marital drift :
1. We get bored with each other. What was new becomes familiar. What was surprising becomes old news. This happens to everyone. Small lives can’t sustain big marriages. Only seeking Jesus first enlarges our souls enough to sustain life, marriage and other vital realities.
Selfishness becomes especially boring especially quickly.
Seeking Him first brings bigness to our souls and relationships.
What are we urging people to seek first in the way we lead in the church?
We can have the appearance of seeking kingdom work but from the small motive of personal ambition. Ambition gets boring as well.
2. We have lived on false intimacy.
Relationships often start with infatuation. That is an easy place to feel close. Instant and exciting, but unsubstantial.
How do we let conflict draw us together rather than drive us apart?
I urge engage engaged couples to be sure they don’t talk about the wedding three days a week. Wedding isn’t the focus. Marriage is.
After wedding is setting up house. Then come kids. New thing after new thing. Eventually though the empty nest leaves us with no new things. Is like we’ve been teammates but not lovers. Drift.
(Read Part Two - this link will be live after 6:30am on Th., 2/21/13)