The Bible starts and ends with a marriage – Genesis 2 tells us about the marriage of Adam and Eve; Revelation 21 tells us about the marriage of Jesus with his bride, the church. Paul in Ephesians 5 helps us join up these two passages when he says:
‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’[Genesis 2:24] This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Paul says that marriage is ultimately about Christ! When a man and woman commit to one another by making vows and through sexual union, we have a clear picture of what God has done in committing himself to us in Jesus. He has entered into a covenant with us, made pledges towards us, is committed to serving us, has promised to make us radiant and, by the Holy Spirit, we are now united to him and can know intimacy and security with him. A friend of mine recently put together a nice 3 minute video to portray this.
However most of us do not have such an exalted view of marriage and certainly the day-to-day of marriage can feel anything but ‘exalted.’ It can feel hard, complicated, boring and restricting. Are we to listen to the advice that the only options out there are to be ‘single and lonely or married and bored?’ Leanne and I have met with many couples over the years to talk to them about their marriages and whilst all can seem rosy on the outside, inside there is pain and hurt, frustration and disillusionment, a lack of communication and a lack of understanding of one another. Leanne and I ourselves have known this all too often too and have to work hard at our marriage to ensure it is fruitful.
As I wrote previously, unlike most institutions in this world (schools, hospitals, nation-states, corporations, sports clubs etc etc) marriage was not invented by man, it was given us by God. So if God invented marriage, we better think about what he says about how to make marriage work as to not do so would be like buying a car and ignoring the maker’s instruction manual. With this in mind we want to spend some time with couples in the church thinking through what God says about marriage and how we can build marriages which have Christ at the centre.
- Who – either those preparing to be married, or those who are married and want to enrich their marriage (and if you have done it before you can do it again…Leanne and I always benefit from going over the materials each year!).
- When – 7.30-10pm, the first Friday of every month, starting in February (2nd Feb, 2nd March, 6th April, 4th May)
- Where – Steve & Leanne’s house (Leopardstown Heights)
- Why – to learn together about how to build fruitful marriages with Jesus at the centre
- What – we’ll start by having a meal together, then Leanne and I will share before getting you to discuss certain questions as couples and as a group. We also ask you to complete a questionnaire in advance of the course.
Here is the outline for the four evenings;
- Biblical Foundations – the purpose of marriage
- Communication & Conflict, Love Languages & Decision-Making
- Q&A based off the questionnaire
- Sex, Intimacy and Romance
The course is free of charge.