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How to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage: Together in Love

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
February 11, 2022 3:00 am

How to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage: Together in Love

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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February 11, 2022 3:00 am

One writer said, “Marriage isn’t 50-50. Divorce is. Marriage isn’t dividing everything in half, it’s giving everything you’ve got.” Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us see how to divorce-proof our marriages. When our culture tries to unravel the family – the very fabric of society – we need to work hard at knitting ourselves together in the love of God. This message is part of a popular teaching series from Pastor Greg ... a series called Home Sweet Home.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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Today's episode of A New Beginning is brought to you by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Learn more at And while you're there, browse our library of free ebooks designed to help you grow in your faith. The number one threat against our marriage is simply selfishness, because we go into a marriage honestly thinking that it's all about us, and that person is going to meet all of our needs, and we never stop and think, maybe the problem is me. Today on A New Beginning, help for our marriages. Pastor Greg Laurie helps us diagnose and treat this marital disease called selfishness.

The antidote to selfishness is selflessness. One writer said, marriage isn't 50-50, divorce is. Marriage isn't dividing everything in half, it's giving everything you've got. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us see how to divorce-proof our marriages. When our culture tries to unravel the family, the very fabric of society, we need to work hard at knitting ourselves together in the love of God.

This message is part of a popular teaching series from Pastor Greg, a series called Home Sweet Home. Now I've been married 42 years. That's how long it's been.

But here's the amazing thing. I still remember vividly, like a video loop in my mind, Kathy walking down the aisle. She didn't really look all that different than she looks now as a matter of fact. She was a vision in white.

I look like one of the guys from Duck Dynasty you know. But underneath that she could see that underneath all of that hair was a bald man. And that's pretty much what she got. But you know when you stop and think about marriage after we say I do there is a lot more to be done. And if you think you are done you are finished.

It has been said, if love is a dream then marriage is the alarm clock. And I think one of the problems is when we see marriages start to unravel it isn't usually overnight. It is over a period of time when there is neglect. Just like your garden. If you neglect your garden it will grow over with weeds.

If you don't take care of your body you are still going to have problems. And if you neglect your marriage it will slowly but surely die. One comedian said, quote, the secret of a happy marriage remains a secret.

Is that true though? Or are there actual secrets in the Bible? Well I believe there are. I also think there are things that are threats to our marriage.

And I would like to identify some of those in this message. How to divorce proof your marriage. You know the Bible says in the Song of Solomon chapter 2 verse 15, it is the little foxes that spoil the vines. It is always little things left neglected that ultimately turn into big things that can ultimately become destructive things in your marriage. So what are some of the threats against our marriage today?

Number one. I think the number one threat against our marriage is simply selfishness. If you were to sum up why people have marital problems it would be because of selfishness. If you were to pick one word to describe why a marriage ultimately fell apart again it would be selfishness.

Because we go into a marriage honestly thinking that it is all about us and that person is going to meet all of our needs and we never stop and think maybe the problem is me. In James 4 to 2 we read these words. Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from?

Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way and you fight for it deep inside of yourselves.

That is it. We want our own way. We want her to do what we want her to do and she wants the guy to do what she wants him to do. And of course we live in a culture that is completely self-absorbed. My generation. The baby boomers were described as the me generation. Now they are saying this new generation called the millennials is the me me generation.

How is that even possible? More self-absorbed than we were. And I think we are partly responsible because of the whole inane self-love movement. Self-esteem movement that gained popularity back in the 70s. We were told that the reason we have all the problems in our culture today is because we don't love ourselves enough. And if we would learn to love ourselves more then everything would go much better. And so there was all this emphasis on self-image and self-love and so forth. And did it fix things?

No. It actually made things worse. One expert said quote, the problem is that when people try to boast self-esteem they boosted narcissism instead. All that self-esteem led people to be disappointed when the world refused to affirm how great they know they are. You know so it is sort of the mentality of there is no losers. Everybody is a winner. No. There is losers. Like when I go to my grandchildren's games like soccer games I will ask someone, what is a score? Oh we are not keeping score.

Oh please. Really? And then some guy will tell me it is 4 to 2. You know it is like yeah come on. We need to keep score. We need to give out grades. People succeed. People fail. And that is true in life. And that is also true in marriage. And this started a long time ago in the Garden of Eden. The origins of sin and selfishness and a focus on ourselves are a result of the fall.

After the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden. It is very important because God said something to them that is often misunderstood. A verse that is not grasped in its original context. After Adam and Eve fell into sin the Lord said to Eve in Genesis 3 16, your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you. Now by the way that is not a positive thing.

Remember as a result of the fall and the curse. Now here is what God is saying. From this point on Eve your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you. So don't ever use that as a proof text guys if you are trying to get order in the house. I should rule over you.

No. That was an observation about the results of sin that would follow the choice of Adam and Eve. Why do I say that? Well interestingly the word desire as in your desire will be for your husband actually means to compel, urge, or seek control over you. It is the same word that is used in Genesis 4 7 when God warned Cain sin is crouching at your door. It desires to have you. That is control you.

But you must master it. God was saying, listen Cain sin wants to master you. You must master sin. So coming back to the word.

Your desire Eve will be for your husband. In other words God was saying from this point on you are going to want to control your husband. And then when God said to Adam and you will rule over her that also was a word that actually was unique.

It represented an authoritarianism that was not in God's original plan. This is not the servant leadership that the husband should be displaying but rather it is a guy wanting to dominate a woman. So you could effectively say the battle of the sexes began in the garden. Male chauvinism and women's liberation if you will started there in the garden. Women have a sinful inclination to control men. Men have a sinful inclination to control women. And neither of those is God's original plan.

So that is the origin of all of this. It is selfishness. Look we don't need to love ourselves. We already do love ourselves. You love yourself. I love myself. And so when the Bible says love your neighbor as yourself it is not saying learn to love yourself first then love your neighbor.

It says hey duh in the original Greek duh is implied. You already love yourself so love your neighbor that much at least. And of course in Ephesians 5.28 husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself. So it is not that we need to love ourselves. We need to love someone else more than we love ourselves.

Or at least as much as we love ourselves. And Philippians tells us don't be selfish. Instead be thinking of others as better than yourself. Don't think about your own affairs but be interested in others. So one of the primary threats against marriage today is selfishness.

And the antidote to selfishness is selflessness. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hey everybody Greg Laurie here encouraging you to join us this weekend for what we call Harvest at Home. It's worship. It's a message from the Word of God.

You can watch it with your family, in your front room, or you can watch it on the go on your tablet, on your phone, or your computer. Take it with you. Take the Word of God with you and join us for Harvest at Home at Well we're talking today about those things that threaten marriages. Pastor Greg is helping us divorce proof our marriages.

Here's another threat against our marriages. Communication breakdown. Communication breakdown. In a survey that was taken among divorced couples they were asked, why did your marriage fail?

86 percent said deficient communication. I mean men and women we are so different from each other. The way we even communicate. You know look at a conversation between a man and a woman. A guy will stop and say, you know, where do you want to go out for dinner? And she'll say, well I want to go to this place.

And you have to start learning how to read between the lines with women. Just last night my wife was saying, I want to go to dinner. I said, great.

Where do you want to go? She said, you decide. I said, good. Let's go get sushi. I don't want sushi. Okay. Let's go to that place that has those really great burgers. No I don't want a hamburger.

Okay. Well let's go over to this other place. No I don't want to go there. Well let's go to the Mexican.

Yeah that's where I want to go. Why didn't you just say that in the first place? You know she told me to choose but ultimately she had her will. I mean it is sort of like, you know, when a man and wife are talking two different things are heard. She says, let's stop and ask for directions. And he hears her say, you are an idiot. You don't know where you are going.

You are not even a man. She says, can I have the remote control? And he hears her say, let's watch something that will bore you beyond belief. I can't believe some of the things Kathy wants to watch.

We are complete opposites in every way. She says, you know, I would like to redecorate. He hears her say, let's take a whole bunch of money and just flush it down the toilet.

Just like that. She says, you know, you need to get in touch with your feelings. He hears her say, blah, blah, blah, blah. She says, are you listening?

He hears her say, blah, blah, blah, blah. Yeah. So this is part of the problem. Communication breakdown. Look you are going to have conflicts in marriage. You are going to have disagreements. So you have to learn how to have a fair fight. You have to learn, and I don't mean coming to fisticuffs. I am talking about a disagreement. You have to learn how to disagree agreeably and ultimately find some kind of solution and resolution.

And I believe the guy should be the one that takes point in that. So you have to learn how to listen. What is it that is the problem exactly? Because you know a guy will ask a girl, or his wife in particular, what is wrong? She will say, nothing.

But you know something is wrong. So you don't accept that answer. You are going to have to take some time and find out. Listen to her. Understand what she is saying. Listen to him. Understand what he is saying and never let it get elevated to shouting and screaming. In fact the Bible tells us, get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander. And instead forgive one another. So don't elevate it. Don't escalate it.

Deescalate it. Resolve it. And then once each has said their peace now it is time to forgive one another. And again as the Scripture says, let not the sun go down on your wrath. Listen to this. Fight to resolve not to win.

If you go into the disagreement to win you have already lost. Here is the third threat against marriages and this is a big one. Adultery. Adultery.

It is such a big deal it made God's top ten. And sadly every one of us listening to this message knows at least one couple if not more that have had their marriage devastated by adultery. Think of how many marriages would still be together today if this one sin was not committed. Just if America alone stopped committing this sin for a year it would change the face of our nation. How many families would still be together.

How many people would still be loving each other. And then this just gets passed on from generation to generation. I heard about a young pastor that was listening to a visiting evangelist in his church and the guy was speaking and the evangelist said, you know some of the happiest moments of my life have been spent in the arms of another man's wife. There is kind of a pause and people are shocked and then the guy says, and that woman was my mother.

And everyone laughs. Ok. Another man's wife. Happy moments in his mom's arms. And so the young pastor said, I have got to use that line. So a couple of months passed and he thought I am going to use it in this sermon. He said, you know some of the happiest moments of my life have been spent in the arms of another man's wife. And then he forgot the punch line. And he said, and for the life of me I can't remember who she was. Well that didn't go well.

That didn't go well. You know unfaithfulness is one of the greatest threats against marriage today. Stats tell us that 40 to 50 percent of all married men have had extramarital affairs and 70 percent of all married men under 40 expect to have an extramarital relationship.

That is scary. So a bunch of guys are just waiting for what they would see as an opportunity. And so this just gets worse. And it is men of course. But now women are catching up. The numbers for women being unfaithful to their husbands is higher than ever. In 1953 while one half of married men had been unfaithful to their wives only 26 percent of the wives responded in kind. But today while only 19 percent of married women knew their husbands cheated on them 41 percent of the women cheated. So they are just going out and doing that as well.

This is destroying the fabric of the family. And God has warned us about this sin. In 1 Corinthians 6.9 He says, don't you know the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God nor the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers. Solomon warned us about going to the house of the prostitute.

In Proverbs 7.24, listen to me my son pay attention to my words. Don't let your heart stray toward her. Don't wander down her wayward path for she has been the ruin of many. Numerous men have been her victims. Her house is the road to the grave. Her bedroom is the den of death.

Wow. Her house is the road to the grave and her bedroom is the den of death. And Jesus of course took this to another level. He said, you have heard that it has been said you shall not commit adultery but I say unto you if you look on a woman with lust in your heart it is effectively the same thing. By the way that phrase that Christ used, look on a woman, in the original language could be translated continuously looking. It is not a casual glance.

No. It is continuously looking. And not only that but it speaks of intentional and repeated gazing. So you know you are going to see an attractive guy like right now. I mean the guy next to you. Not me of course. Or you are going to see an attractive woman and go oh attractive woman, attractive guy.

That is not the issue here. It is like when you say I am now going to go looking for this and I am not only going to go looking for this. I am going to go looking for this lustfully.

I am going out of my way to feed the flames of lust. Now in the old days you would have to go searching for a place to stimulate your lust. But nowadays it is only a mouse click away. Pornography of course is everywhere on the Internet. They estimate that the worldwide sex industry is around $57 billion. There is 4.2 million porn sites. And pornographic search engine requests total 68 million per day.

As I said wickedness is just a mouse click away. And of course the word pornography comes from the Greek word porneia. And it is interesting because that word is actually used a number of times in the New Testament. We learn in 1 Corinthians 16 our bodies were not made for it. We should not seek it out either according to 1 Corinthians 7 and 2. And finally 1 Corinthians 6 and 18 we should run from it. And then finally we should repent of it if we have fallen prey to it. 1 Corinthians 12 and 21.

You need to run. Remember the story of Joseph and the original cougar. Potiphar's wife. She was an older woman. Attractive no doubt.

Laying lustful eyes on the attractive handsome young Joseph. And she was very upfront about her intentions. She just said day after day have sex with me. And he repelled her advances. And one day she just grabbed him and pulled him down on the bed and he did what any clear thinking red blooded young man would do or should do under such circumstances.

He ran. And sometimes literally it is as simple as running. It is as simple as hitting the off button. It is as simple as terminating a conversation. And so you need to take the step because people that get into the trap of adultery lose perspective.

And here is the thing we don't think about. We call it an affair. What a stupid word that is. An affair.

Sounds like a cruise or something. But really it is the worst thing you can do. It is adultery.

And God tells you not to go there. But when a person has committed this act it is not one time. Because when two people hook up and engage in this kind of a lifestyle it is all about sex.

It has nothing to do with love. So it is going to be many many times. It is going to be a lot of lying to cover up what they have been doing.

So effectively if you are a Christian you go into a completely backslidden state of immorality. And I have also found people that are found out in affairs they say it was only once. They are liars.

They are always liars. And you will find out later it wasn't once. It was many times. And it wasn't one person.

It was more than one person. See it is just a trap that gets worse and you don't ever want to go down that road again. You say but Greg come on now won't God forgive me. Yes He will. God will forgive you if you have fallen into the sin of adultery. But your spouse may not forgive you quite as quickly. And as I will point out it technically is grounds for divorce. Hopefully that won't happen. But it is a deal breaker. And even if it has been forgiven there is a lot of time that needs to be taken for trust to be restored.

So we don't want to go down that road ever. Pastor Greg Laurie with important warnings about the lure of immorality and the other dangers to our marriages. And there is more to come as this message continues here on A New Beginning.

And then we are making available an encouraging book this month that offers encouragement for those who have suffered loss. Pastor Greg let's talk to the friends and loved ones of someone who has just suffered a terrible loss. What are the right words to say to that person and what are the wrong words? Okay well I would say let me start with some of the wrong words and then I will talk about some of the right words.

Wrong words. Are you over it yet? I actually had someone ask me this two weeks after my son died. Are you over it yet? Listen when someone loses a loved one especially a child they will never be over it. They will get through it by God's grace but they don't get over it. So don't ever ask them are you over it. I had someone say to me well God picks his best flowers first.

What a ridiculous statement. First of all your loved one is not a flower and that makes no sense at all. But then someone else might say well do you have other children? Well at least you have them but listen no one can take the place of the child or the loved one you lost. Sometimes people will try to compare it to their pain. Oh I know what it's like for instance if you lost a child they'll say I lost my grandmother. Look I'm sorry you lost your grandmother but it's not the same as losing a child because you don't plan for that. So don't say those things. So what should you say?

Short answer less is more. You know Job went through the worst suffering imaginable. Some friends showed up and for the first few days they said nothing. They just saw Job and his pain and misery and they wept for him.

That was fantastic and you know it's really when they started talking that the problems began. So choose your words carefully as they said less is more. You could say something like I'm really sorry. I'm praying for you. I love you.

Is there anything I can do for you? No Greg they need a sermon. You know maybe they don't need a sermon. Maybe they just need a friend. Remember when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane he took Peter, James, and John with him and he said stay here with me watch and pray for the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak and then he went and began to literally sweat blood according to Dr. Luke as the pressure of the impending crucifixion was coming and he returns to them and they're asleep and he said could you not stay awake with me.

Here's the point. Jesus didn't need sermons. He needed friends. He just needed someone to be with him and when someone has lost a loved one just being there the ministry of presence if you will can really be a big deal. Well we're speaking about loss and that coincides with a resource we're making available to our listeners right now. It's a book by a family who suffered tremendous loss in the last couple of years the Evans family.

Many of our listeners are familiar with Dr. Tony Evans and their family suffered the loss of eight different family members in the last few years. The book is called Divine Disruption and I know you highly recommend it. I do and not only do I recommend it I want to put a copy of this book in your hands because this is a book that's going to be encouraging to you. It's subtitled Holding on to Faith When Life Breaks Your Heart.

Am I talking to somebody right now that has a broken heart? Maybe you're having a hard time holding on to your faith then you need a copy of this book Divine Disruption that I will send to you for your gift of any size. Some of you may only be able to send a little bit but whatever you send will be invested in expanding this radio ministry. So please whatever you can do it's greatly appreciated and as our way of saying thanks we'll send you your own copy of this brand new book by Tony Evans and his children titled Divine Disruption. Yeah that's right all four of Dr. Evans kids contributed their encouragement.

Priscilla Shire, Crystal Evans Hurst, Jonathan Evans and Anthony Evans. It's rich encouragement from five different points of view. We hope you'll send a generous investment today and ask for the book Divine Disruption.

You can call us at 1-800-821-3300 and we can take your call anytime 24 7 that's 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning Box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or just go online to Well next time Pastor Greg has more practical insight on how we can divorce proof our homes. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by harvest partners helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life share your story leave a review on your favorite podcast app and help others find hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-06 09:40:40 / 2023-06-06 09:50:47 / 10

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