Cultivate a Healthy Marriage

These are some notes I took while listening to a lecture from Tim Keller and his wife. Awesome stuff. You can download the whole talk for free here.

The Marriage as a Garden
- a garden takes an enormous amount of work
- a garden takes constant attention
- it is a long way from seed to the apple tree!
- you can't just plant a seed and expect fruit the next day

Planning and Planting
- why did you get married/what is the purpose of marriage
- who are you in the marriage

- why marriage: family security/prestige...later for happiness (middle ages)
- the purpose of marriage is Gospel reenactment (to help your spouse become his/her future glory self through sacrificial service) - love is an action first, feeling second
- most important thing in marriage is to develop a servant/ministry mind-set

- both spouses take on the role of Jesus (man-Jesus as head of church, woman-Jesus as sacrificial, submissive Son to the Father)
- 'helper' - can only help out of strengths that the other doesn't have
- difference between ontological (essence) and economic (role) standing
- tie breaking headship is only exercised when the women is going down a road that is sinful or destructive to herself, the marriage or the family
- the Biblical pattern calls both men and women to submit

Fertilizing and Watering
- communication
- love language
- sex

4 rules for communicating in conflict
1. before you say something to your spouse you MUST ask yourself - first! - what is my motive? (are you coming from a ministry mindset or a selfish mindset) why am I sending this message?
2. always start with the part that is your fault - even if it is only 5% (take care of your own 'log')
3. attack the problem and not the person
*you've done this
*I'm affected like this
*I think this way would be better
*I'm asking you to see if I'm missing something I
4. make it safe for your spouse to criticize
*ways you make it unsafe: 1) blow-up; 2) apologize really quickly and be hyper-spiritual; 3) explaining too much

Love Language
- you can't tell me you love me in Finnish, I don't speak Finnish so I won't hear you
- behaviors that when others do them make me feel loved
- speak the language so others feel loved, even if it doesn't speak love to you

1. According to the Bible sex is really good and in marriage needs to be frequent
2. The biggest pleasure and the most lasting pleasure is giving pleasure
3. Mastering number 2 answers the frequency problem
4. Biggest problem in sex is the male/female differences (context)
5. Sex is such a sensitive thing that it rises things that you could otherwise probably ignore

Weeding and Pruning
- marriage brings you into conflict not with your spouse but with your own sinful self
- pruning hurts, it feels like a death, but it must be done

Opposites in Marriage
- conflict avoiders v. conflict confronters

- if one person has a problem, you both have a problem (1 Cor. 12)
- you have to want to solve the problem not score points, this requires a Gospel humility
- you need to learn to step off the battle field and become the coach

How to Repent
* the way you repent is not to make excuses
1. Figure out what your % of the wrong is
2. Make no excuses (separate the occasion from the cause)
3. Offer to make a change (debrief - how can we make sure this never happens again)