(The following are edited highlights from the message that was preached by Michael Larsen on July 28, 2019.)
We’re going to begin a new series today that I’m calling "The Marriage Matrix.” We’re going to look at “Unlocking the Marriage Matrix” and a lot of the keys.
The Matrix movies are some of my favorite movies, but what is a matrix? A matrix is something within or from which something else originates, develops, or takes form. That sounds like marriage to me! A matrix is a binding substance that keeps two things together. That sounds like marriage to me.
The Bible doesn’t call marriage a matrix. But it does call marriage a mystery. Ephesians 5:31-32 says “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife and the two are united into one. [There’s the matrix – united into one.] This is a great mystery. It is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.”
God’s ideal for your marriage is harmony, unity and intimacy. But that’s the ideal and most of us don’t stay there. God’s goal is for you to have these six keys that unlock the potential of your marriage for it to become all God wants it to be.
The first key we’re going to look at in the marriage matrix is…
Key #1: Communication
Proverbs 13:17 says, “A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a trustworthy envoy brings healing.” What this means is reliable communication permit progress.
Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth but only that which is good and edifying that it may minister grace to the hearers.” That’s honest, authentic conversation when you do that.
Key #2: Consideration
You must be considerate of your husband or your wife. 1 Corinthians 1:10 says, “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
God’s purpose in your marriage is not to make you happy. That’s a benefit of it but it’s not the purpose of marriage. The purpose of marriage is to make you holy.
1 Peter 3:7 says, “Husbands, show consideration for your wives in your life together so that nothing may hinder your prayers.”
How do you show sympathy? How do you show compassion? How do you show consideration? The next three verses give us three practical ways.
1. By being helpful.
Offering practical help. Ephesians 4:2 says “Show your love by being helpful to each other.”
2. Sympathize with their doubts and fears.
The Bible says in Romans 15:1-2 “We must be considerate of the doubts and fears of others. If we do what helps them we will build them up in the Lord.”
3. Forgiving their mistakes.
Colossians 3:13 “You must make allowances for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember the Lord forgave you so you must forgive others.” Forgiveness is one of the primary building blocks of marriage. And it’s a way of showing consideration.
Key #3: Compromise
If you don’t learn to compromise it will lead to destruction. Look at Mark 3:25 “A home divided against itself is doomed.”
Virtually all those conflicts can be traced back to one issue. It’s the issue of selfishness. In fact the Bible says this in Proverbs 18:1 “People who do not get along with others are only interested in themselves.” In fact, when you go to the New Testament we discover when Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter, he basically says that the mark of real love is compromise. Verse 5 “It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
Romans 15:5 “May God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us.”
Key # 4: Contact
I’m talking about physical touch, physical contact, affection. You must touch to keep in touch.
It’s easier to act your way into a feeling than it is to feel your way into an action.
Of course, in marriage that includes sex. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 7:3 “The husband should not deprive his wife of sexual intimacy which is her right as a married woman. Nor should the wife deprive her husband.” The primary purpose of sex is not to have children. That’s not what the Bible says. The primary purpose of sex is to cement a husband and wife together in a spiritual union and a bonding that is exclusive to them that involves nobody else in the world. That’s why God says, Don’t have sex out of marriage. It has profound spiritual implications. It is meant primarily for bonding a husband and a wife together.
1 Corinthians 6:16 “There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much a spiritual mystery as a physical fact. As it is written, the two shall become one.” There’s a spiritual connection there.
Key #5: Commitment
God expects us to keep that commitment. In Malachi 2:16, the last book in the Old Testament. They’re very strong words, “‘I hate divorce,’ says the Lord, ‘So make sure you don’t break your promise to be faithful to your mate.’”
Commitment somewhere along the way will mean being willing to be unhappy for a while.
Key #6: Christ.
It takes three to make a marriage stand.
Colossians 2:2-3 says this “God’s secret is Christ Himself. He is the key that opens all the hidden treasures of God’s wisdom and knowledge.”
What is the foundation? Jesus Christ. Isaiah 33:6 “He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge. The fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.”