How an affair begins

That’s the title of an article by Andrée Seu in the online version of World Magazine. She explains:

A friend of mine told me that now she understands how adultery begins.

She went to a woman’s house to drop off a package as a favor to someone, but the woman was not home. The husband was, and they exchanged pleasantries for a few moments. My friend noticed the carpentry project the man was working on and commented on his artistry. She asked him a few questions about it, and it didn’t take much to encourage him to spill forth for an hour and a half about every aspect of the work. It was fun.

It’s an important warning that we should all hear. Read the whole article.

Paul Tripp: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage

A few weeks ago, Paul Tripp was in Memphis, TN, for Redeeming the Realities of Marriage, a weekend marriage conference. My wife and I were able to sit through some of the sessions, and if you can go to one of his conferences, it is a great opportunity to enjoy a weekend together and talk through some of the areas that present growth opportunities in your marriage.

Attending the live event is beneficial, but you can also watch Tripp’s presentation on DVD (which you can view and purchase here).  Tripp provides a good framework for marriage relationships, centering his presentation on the Kingdom of God and our attempts to build our own kingdom. If you want some more information before purchasing the DVD, check out these bonus videos at Westminster Bookstore. Tripp explains some of the themes of the conference such as love, sin, worship, and God’s kingdom.

Tripp has also written a book based on the material from the conference: What Did You Expect: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage (Crossway, 2010: 288 pages, Audio CD). Tripp begins by examining the “essential wisdom perspectives that Scripture gives us for a realistic expectation of marriage: 1) you are conducting your marriage in a fallen world; 2) you are a sinner married to a sinner; 3) God is faithful, powerful, and willing. Tripp then examines the centrality of worship in all of life and the importance of it in a proper understanding of marriage. We should especially view our marriage in light of the Kingdom of God because we are tempted to be about the process of building our own kingdoms in our life and our marriage. Our marriages will find healing as we align our lives with God’s Kingdom.

After explaining the importance of seeing your marriage in light of the Kingdom of God, Tripp structures the book by explaining six commitments that will encourage a lifestyle for a healthy and strong marriage:

  1. We will give ourselves to a regular lifestyle of confession and forgiveness.
  2. We will make growth and change our daily agenda.
  3. We will work together to build a sturdy bond of trust.
  4. We will commit to building a relationship of love.
  5. We will deal with our differences with appreciation and grace.
  6. We will work to protect our marriage.

Each commitment has 2-3 chapters that explains the particular commitment and places it in light of the big picture of the book.

If you have read some of Tripp’s other books (such as Instruments in the Hands of the Redeemer, War of Words, and Relationships: A Mess Worth Making), you will recognize some of the material. Tripp is applying the aspect of heart change and the gospel of grace to the area of marriage, but even if you have read the other works, this particular study on marriage is important. It would be wise to use this material not only for current marital growth, but also pre-marital counseling as we attempt to prepare couples for the realities of marriage. If you want to preview the book, Crossway allows you to browse the book online.

Important Questions to ask Before Marriage

John Piper has a post that includes a list of helpful questions to ask as one prepares for marriage. He writes:

In each of these sections one item could be added that I have not listed, namely, How do you handle and live with differences? How do you decide what can remain differences without jeopardizing the relationship? So as you deal with each subheading, include that in the discussion.

Here are the sections: theology, worship and devotion, husband and wife, children, lifestyle, entertainment, conflict, work, friends, and health and sickness. Read all his questions.

A Marriage Conference with Paul David Tripp

Independent Presbyterian Church in Memphis, TN, is hosting a marriage conference with Paul David Tripp on September 11-13. The title of the conference is “What Did You Expect: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage.” You can view more information here, as well as sign up for the conference.

Westminster Bookstore also has some resources to go along with this theme: “What Did You Expect: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage.” You can view and purchase the DVD or the Audio CD.

Can the gay marriage issue cost someone Miss USA?

Chicago Tribune:

Miss California says candor cost her the crown in Sunday’s Miss USA competition.

Carrie Prejean, 21, probably knew she was in trouble when she acknowledged her opposition to same-sex marriages in response to a question from openly gay judge Perez Hilton, the celebrity blogger.

“In my country, and in my family, I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman,” Prejean replied. Later, she lost to Miss North Carolina.

[HT: Ryan Sayre Patrico @ First Things]

Wise Marriage Advice to Husbands

David Mathis @ Desiring God:

The apostle Peter writes,

Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)

This is strange at first glance. How does caring for your wife connect to having unhindered prayers?

Here’s Wayne Grudem’s challenging commentary:

So concerned is God that Christian husbands live in an understanding and loving way with their wives, that he “interrupts” his relationship with them when they are not doing so. No Christian husband should presume to think that any spiritual good will be accomplished by his life without an effective ministry of prayer. And no husband may expect an effective prayer life unless he lives with his wife “in an understanding way, bestowing honour” on her. To take the time to develop and maintain a good marriage is God’s will; it is serving God; it is a spiritual activity pleasing in his sight.” (1 Peter, 146)

Christian husbands shouldn’t feel that time given to their wives is “time away from the real ministry.” Time invested with our wives is time well spent. It’s God’s will—“a spiritual activity pleasing in his sight.”

9Marks on Marriage

The new 9Marks eJournal is on the topic of marriage, particularly how it related to the pastoral ministry and the role(s)/struggle(s) of a pastor’s wife. Here are the articles online:

Videos of Dave Harvey on When Sinners Say I Do

I meant to link to this earlier, but I forgot!

Justin Taylor pointed everyone to some YouTube vidoes of Dave Harvey talking about his must read book on marriage [you can view the table of contents, forward, and preface here]. You can see the main page for the videos here. Below are the individual links from Justin’s blog:

Why I Wrote This Book 02:37

Why a book on marriage? And why talk so much about sin? Dave Harvey explains.

Chapter 1: What Really Matters in Marriage 02:41

What determines the quality of your marriage? Dave Harvey explains in this overview of chapter one: “What Really Matters in Marriage.”

Chapters 2-4 02:29

Often the deepest conflict is the one we’re not aware of, and our fiercest enemy is within our own hearts. Dave Harvey points us to the only hope for victory in this overview of chapters two through four.

Chapter 4: Taking It Out for a Spin 03:44

What actually causes conflict in marriage? You may be surprised at the answer in this overview of chapter four.

Chapter 6: Forgiveness, Full and Free 03:37

Is restoration possible after sin devastates a marriage? Hear one couple’s story in this overview of chapter six.

Chapter 7: The Spouse in Sin 03:18

Growth in holiness is not a solo project. In this overview of chapter seven, Dave Harvey explains how to humbly, patiently, and courageously lead your spouse to repentance.

Chapter 8: Stubborn Grace 04:28

God’s grace doesn’t just bring you to conversion, then leave you on your own. In this overview of chapter eight, Dave Harvey explains how the grace of God provides staying power for your life and your marriage.

Chapter 9: Concerning Sex 03:01

Sex. It’s a topic that has everyone’s attention. But it’s easy to forget that this topic has God’s attention as well. In this (G-rated) overview of chapter nine, Dave Harvey explains what the gospel has to do with this part of marriage.

Chapter 10: When Sinners Say Goodbye 04:12

It’s been said that all we need to do is live long enough, and we’ll be bereaved. In this overview of chapter ten, Dave Harvey talks about maintaining hope when “death do us part” actually happens.

The Divorce and Remarriage Discussion

At the beginning of October, I referenced an article by David Instone-Brewer on divorce and remarriage at Christianity Today: “What God has Joined Together: What Does the Bible Really Teach about Divorce?” This article is a summary of his book on divorce and remarriage.

When the article came out, Justin Taylor provided a summary of the article with a chart from Andreas Kostenberger’s book God, Marriage, and the Family.

Since then, there has been a discussion concerning the issue of divorce and remarriage around the blog world. This is a run down of the discussion.

When Sinners Say “I Do”

I am always interested in new books, especially books that deal with the gospel and its relationship to life. Over at WTS Books they have Dave Harvey’s new book, When Sinner’s Say “I Do”: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage. Go here to see the book. Once there, make sure you follow the link to the Table of Contents and to Paul Tripp’s foreward, where he says, “I read this book on marriage and this an honest impression of mine—it blew me away….This is the best book on marriage I have ever read.”

PS: While we are on the topic of marriage and books, this book by Gary Thomas is one of my favorites, and WTS is having a sale on it! If you are not familiar with him, buy this book!