Our Generation’s Justified Phobia of Marriage: Changing the Odds (Part 2)
We know the odds are stacked against us. A group of us in my small group through Buckhead Church are individually tackling this issue in order to give it our best shot to renew our perspective on what will be the most important relationship in our life: our marriage. While we are unable to control the messages we received in earlier years, there are ways that we are acknowledging our past and embracing the tools, knowledge and skills that will enable us to change what we’ve seen in the generation before us. We are experiencing tremendously positive transformations individually and as a group once as we’ve recognized that we have a terribly misconstrued and biblically ignorant perspective on cultivating a God-centered other-serving marriage.
If We Could Just Figure Out What To Do, We’d Do It
We are willing to do what it takes to do the leg work for preparation, including reading, learning and practicing. Singles like us are taking educated steps to enable us to develop as individuals. We face the challenge ahead of us: to retract the marriage misconceptions instilled in us in our upbringing and from culture in our churches, families, and schools. We must re-learn how we can create healthy life-long commitments, if only for the reason that it is an undeniable desire in our heart to marry. We talk candidly to each other to share our struggles in Buckhead Church’s small group program, we schedule time during the week with God, and we practice and pray for a selfless and other-serving heart. Most of all, we acknowledge that we will always fall short and slip up, and we brace to carry each other through those inevitable situations.
How We’re Getting in the Ring. And Giving It All We’ve Got
Specifically, my small group and I have become diligent students on learning about Christ-centered relationships over the past few weeks. Following is a compilation of resources and excerpts we’ve found most helpful:
- *The New Rules for Sex, Love, and Dating series* by Andy Stanley (Buckhead Church)
- Boy Meets Girl, Part 3: Still Dating Dad by Louie Giglio – (Passion City Church)
- Fight Club series(North Point/Buckhead Church) – Of all relationships in life, few are as important or as complicated as the relationships between fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, or sisters and brothers. These relationships impact us more than we want to admit. Although we are tempted to write these relationships off when they are painful, we still know that there is something in us that needs that connection.Drawing largely from personal stories, this four-part series explores the unique dynamics of the family. Whether you are a parent or a child, you’ll be challenged to put on the gloves and step back into the ring, because when it comes to family, some relationships are worth fighting for.
- For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn – What’s going on in a man’s mind? From their early days, every woman has struggled to understand why males behave the way they do. Even long-married women who think they understand men have only scratched the surface. Beneath a man’s rugged exterior is an even more rugged, unmapped terrain. What bestselling author Shaunti Feldhahn’s research reveals about the inner lives of men will open women’s eyes to what the men in their life—boyfriends, brothers, husbands, and sons—arereally thinking and feeling. Men want to be understood, but they’re afraid to “freak out” the women they love by confessing what is happening inside their heads. This book will guide women in how to provide the loving support that modern men want and need.
- Shocking Statements of Jesus, Part 5: Divorce and Remarriage by Andy Stanley – We believe the goal of marriage is “one-ness.” But God says, in fact, the result of marriage is “one-ness.” In this message, Andy Stanley explores Jesus’s shocking statements about marriage, divorce and remarriage. And he explains why trying to “un-one” what God has joined may just be harder than we think.
So Far, It’s Been Worth the Fight
Only after diligent study, prayer, questioning church leaders individually and speaking candidly with other Christians who are able to reflect on their experience to share what they wish they’d done are we able to make a change. Living by the principle of “we reap what we sow” has been a difficult discipline to learn, but it’s by far one of the most fulfilling heart changes. And, practicing the principle “Character is doing what’s right, even when (and especially when) it’s hard” serves not only our Lord but also fosters our relationships in this life. It’s one of the greatest challenges we’ll face.
Note: To learn more about Buckhead Church’s small group program, check out their website and find information on “Grouplink” (a program to connect individuals with a small group held twice a year) coming up mid-August 2011.