He did not use any "popular marriage passages", but brought to light that all Scripture is applicable for life. He started in Luke 6:43-45, "For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." He began with the heart, which he called the core of my personhood. Everything that we do begins in the heart. The fruit of our lives are our words and behavior, which proceed from the heart. One of the things that stood out to me was as he was talking about the last verse of this passage, 'out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.' What we really thinks comes from our mouth, and it begins in the heart. He talked about often we say to someone "I didn't mean to say that..." When truthfully, we should say, "Please forgive me for saying what I really meant." The heart is the issue. We learned three applications from this passage: a) All marriage problems are heart problems, b) Lasting change in marriage will always travel through the pathway of the heart, c) I am my biggest marriage problem--it is me.
The second part he really honed in on was concerning two kingdoms. Either I am living for the kingdom of myself or the Kingdom of God. I loved these words, "Jesus gave His grace not for my kingdom, but to be a part of a much better Kingdom." He spoke concerning this passage, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33). Everyone lives for some kind of treasure, and in marriage we are all seeking for some treasure. However what rules and the heart and satisfies the heart becomes our functional treasure.
During this time, what would strike me the most was how he presented, 2 Peter 1:3, "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to his own glory and excellence," Simple, but so true. I have all I need in Christ. He spoke that we could talk about how we "need" certain things. I could say that I need a husband, then when I get a husband, I could say I need certain things from him. Within our culture, it has become popular to say that men need respect and women need love. Paul Tripp pointed out that this idea went against what Scripture has to say. We have all we need in Christ. We can pray for a husband that loves or a wife that respects, but these are not truly needs. The power of Christ has granted all I need for life and godliness. I am thankful to rest in that truth.
His definition of love-- Love is willing self-sacrifice for the good of another that does not demand reciprocation or that the person being loved is deserving. It is truly the way God loves, "We love because He first loved us."1 John 4:19. He is way more eloquent than I could ever say it.
Needless to say, it was an awesome, challenging weekend. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn, to be reminded of how all Scripture is important for marriage, challenged to seek God's kingdom in marriage, and to recognize and receive His grace in marriage.