Last weekend, 60 Creekside guys went to Mt. Hermon. Justin Buzzard taught us how to date our wives. This was a good retreat.
It was Christ-centered; it was challenging and encouraging; and it was tremendously practical. But men, this retreat won't benefit us if we're forgetful hearers. Let's be effectual doers.
We need to think creatively. We need reminders. We need to sharpen one another. And above all, we need fresh repentance and faith in the gospel. Let's keep the conversation going. Let's change the culture of our church. Let's dream big. And let's take great care of our wives; let's cultivate them and guard them. Here are some things we learned. I need to be reminded of them. I'm guessing you do too.
- Ask hard questions. "Is my wife flourishing under my care? What do I see when I look at her face?"
- You're either the best thing about your marriage, or the worst thing.
- Passivity is the original sin of masculinity. Adam was told to guard the garden (Genesis 2:15), but he did nothing as his bride was being seduced by Satan.
- The first thing Satan tried to destroy was a marriage. He hates you. He hates your wife. He hates your marriage. If you're surprised by how difficult marriage is, remember that you have a powerful adversary.
- You cannot live the Christian life apart from God's power.
- Grace will change you. Deep down in your bones, you must recognize that God has given you a life and a wife that you don't deserve. If you don't feel that way, it's time to repent.
- God's grace is stronger than you think. It is stronger than your sin. Do you believe that?
- The real God loves the real you. Don't hide behind performance, sarcasm, work etc. Grace frees us to be honest.
- Throw away your list of excuses. No more, "buts". Make a resolution today: "I will never again make time an excuse." God gives everyone 24 hours each day. He's not going to give you 27. You're not special. Take responsibility. But remember the definition of responsibility: my response to God's ability.
- Marriage is about God's glory. You're marriage is about more than you and your wife. Think big. Does your marriage give people a glimpse of the gospel? Does it make people long to know Jesus? Does it make singles long for a Christ-centered marriage? Does it make marrieds long for a more Christ-centered marriage?
- Write your dream down.
- Make a plan. You plan for your hobbies. You plan for your business. Do you plan for your marriage? Plan for the year ahead. What big things are you going to do? Plan for the week ahead. What small acts of service are you going to perform? Thing big picture and small picture; air war and ground war.
- Be a student of your wife. How does she experience love? What are her hopes and fears?
- Have lots of sex. Make sex about her, not you. During sex, you are both known and loved. It's a signpost to the gospel.
- Leadership is taking the initiative for the benefit of others.
- When you are mistreated by your wife, remember this: you've mistreated Jesus. Yet he loves you. Let his love be your example and motivation.
- If you're wife is cold towards you, remember: she is a cherry hidden in an ice cube. Only grace (i.e. love from you that she doesn't deserve or expect) will melt her heart.
- Don't underestimate small acts of love towards your wife.
- Husband, you lead because God has called you to lead. Leadership has nothing to do with your spiritual maturity. Lead in response to God. Take initiative for her benefit.
- Think, "team." Your marriage is a partnership. Tackle issues together.