Real Marriage. Real Friends. {Chapter Two Review}

This week we have the second dynamic of our duo, the Jones dynamic. As Laura mentioned last week, you will certainly see distinct differences from what we read in last week’s introduction to this series (and as we continue throughout). This is why we’ve asked you to hold on for the ride. Because, despite our differences, we are unified in Christ as Laura stated, so that’s really all the unifying we need right? Don’t get us wrong, we do love each other! But, yes. We (aka my spouse *wink) are guilty of using the word ‘aliens’ to describe our dear friends. But, to his defense, he is actually very fond of the creatures (real aliens that is) or at least the idea that they exist. : )

Chapter two starts off with the story of Martin Luther and his wife, Katherine. Wow. An ex-monk and ex-nun marry. Despite Martin’s desire to never marry and the lack of love that began their marriage, God worked mightily through them to develop a deep love and friendship with one another. I guess this is somewhat of a side note, but as I read of Katherine’s faithfulness to him and devotion to working tirelessly for their family (and the 40-100 plus people she often housed and fed at a time), my first thought was Laura should be writing this post as she probably can relate much more to the driving, gardening, preparing, raising, entertaining, working, and, and, and that Katherine so consistently kept up with. I even chuckled a little when they mentioned Martin having to frequently ask her to relax. That’s certainly one area Katherine (er, Laura) and I differ! So, the second thought I had was conviction as I stared at the ever-growing creature called laundry and my no-plan for dinner that night. That then brought me to truth, remembering that although I need to believe that Jesus is better than my comfort (which will bring me to consistent, God-honoring home and family care), I also need to understand my acceptance is in Jesus without basing my performance on what I see in others. Okay, so, really a side note.  Getting back to topic, though, Martin ended his life referencing his wife as “the greatest gift of grace a man can have…” (p.23). This study of Martin and Katherine brought Mark and Grace to the conclusion that marriage is about friendship.

Josh and I have found that a friendship rooted in Jesus is what continues to drive and grow our marriage. But it is first grounded in Him and is a result of His great love for us. But, it was not always this way (and certainly continues to be an area we struggle with daily). Early on, we enjoyed one another, we liked to hang out, we became friends. This is the start of what drew us into a relationship and eventual marriage. However, we did not grasp the meaning of marriage (or friendship for that matter). We didn’t recognize that it was for God and about God, we basically just thought it was all about ‘me’. So, that’s how we interacted. Life was lots of fun when both of us were enjoying our time, but at the first sight of inconvenience, we quickly bailed on our friendship. It has definitely been a work of the Spirit in us to develop a real, gospel-centered understanding of marriage and through that, has cultivated a genuine friendship. Now, our friendship is much sweeter, because it is (by God’s grace) motivated by the unconditional love of Jesus, instead of by the condition of how we feel (or at least that is what we desire to pursue).

The Driscolls continue and conclude the chapter with what they believe it means to be married through the acronym, F-R-I-E-N-D-S. I’ll just touch on each one and potentially interject here and there.

F stands for Fruitful. “The ultimate goal of marriage and family is the glory of God” (p.28). When marriage is about the glory of Jesus & not ourselves, we are truly able to be fruitful. We are truly advancing God’s kingdom together.

R stands for Reciprocal. This is an active covenant commitment to love one another. This kind of love is what we practice on each other. This is the visible display of Jesus’ covenant commitment to his people.

I stands for Intimate. Intimacy is not just for the bedroom but to know & be known deeply. This carries the idea of being face-to-face, “time for conversation, friendship, and intimacy” (p.32). Learn each other in deep ways, adapt to the interests of your spouse, seek to serve them through personal conversation and care in their lives.

E stands for Enjoyment. Are we really enjoying the time we’ve been given together as a couple? As you are face-to-face, enjoying, learning, spending time and growing together, remember that life is short. In fact, Mark says, “married life can seem as if it’s only five days long. The first day you meet, the second day you marry, the third day you raise your children, the fourth day you meet your grandchildren, and the fifth day you die first or bury your spouse . . .” (p.36). So, enjoy your spouse, God gave them to us as enjoyable friends, and we will have taken our last breath before we know it.

N stands for Needed. There should be a commitment in marriage to not be a loner. The Triune God has lived in community throughout eternity past & created his people to live in the same community with one another.

D stands for Devoted. There should be devotion and dependability through every season of life. When you are truly living in community (face-to-face) with your spouse, you know how to better serve & be dependable through every season.

S stands for Sanctifying. It is through the working of the Spirit in us that shows us our sin, however living with another person can definitely help in revealing our hearts. When we both realize who we are married to, a “weak, failed, flawed sinner” (p.40), we will deal with each other in love and patience. “A godly friend loves God & loves us enough to hate our sin & speak truthfully about it with us” (p.41).

All of this to say, my husband and I felt this chapter was lacking in deep, theological truth. While it certainly skimmed the surface, we didn’t feel the root issues were addressed or the real purpose of seeking friendship with your spouse. We did add some extra thoughts here and there throughout the acronym summary (although we spared you the eight paragraphs we felt were needed for each letter) to clarify what we feel marriage is about if used in those terms. We are hoping to see more depth as we go, so we will let you know what we find. Thanks for sticking in for chapter two and being patient with us as we work through this. This whole process is new to me, but I am thankful for the opportunity to be stretched and think more critically about what I believe. Check out last week’s post if interested in a copy of the book yourself.

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Posted on March 14, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. christa bohannon

    Yes, yeah for opportunities to think critically! 😉 Thanks for the post! I’m going to refrain from commenting on aliens, real or otherwise.

  1. Pingback: Thinking of You: March 17, 2012 « orangetreehill

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