Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Righteous Reflection

Hey Covenant Groupies,

I don't know about you, but growing up I often found it amusing to be able to see my reflection in a mirror, a car window or even a dinner plate. Juvenile Right? Maybe not so much!

Our lives are still commanded to be reflections. As Christians, God has mandated that we consistently reflect His love, life, mercy, pain, reconciliation and so much more on earth.

Ok you say, I know that. But today's post goes a bit further as we talk about reflections in marriage.

I remember first hearing this in the beginning of my marriage. I didn't like it, because all I saw was a fault filled man in Kevin that was assigned to ignite growth and maturity in me while exhibiting immaturity himself. What kind of reflector could he be, was my question.

What then was he going to reflect of me, but more blemishes, about me? Like I said, I didn't like the thought of that. He lived with me everyday and there would be some things he'd see in me that may not be so great; things I may have felt needed no changing at all.

Quickly, we were tested in that area when he confronted me about my speaking to him and my "not so wifely" tone of voice. Wow! I had never been confronted on that; I was raised this way. Talking forcefully and confidently was my way of life. Then, if you lived it to, you were perceived as an even stronger woman. Kevin, however was raising the standard and it was so very uncomfortable for me to hear this (here's the jab: from someone who had faults as well).

What I didn't grasp was that as well as I could see Kevin's faults, daily he was reflecting mine to me.

What I had to get pass was the fact the although faulted, Kevin was certainly going to be used by God to bring me into an even more righteous relationship with God.

That's exactly what's been happening for almost 8 years now. He's been the best mirror I've ever had the pleasure of being reflected in. He's honest, yet stern sometimes.

But regardless of how harsh or gentle he's being, I know with all my heart it's for my good and the upholding of the Covenant.

I trust him to keep me grounded. He always wants the best for me.

Because of Kevin, I've been reflected so much better than I thought I'd be.

Who's your Righteous Reflection?
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Our First Kiss Told Me...

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Just the other day I found a book that a really good friend gifted me with. She knew that I just loved kissing. I always had, since my Dad used to kiss me and so she bought me, "The Art of Kissing."

Yes people, there is an art to this act that we daily take for granted.

I've had this book for years and had misplaced it. When I found it, immediately I thought of Kevin and my kissing style(s). No, I'm not sharing that LOL! I wanted to share my simple thought about our very first kiss.

Read below:

He kissed me. He kissed me like it would be my lips that would save him - from himself, heal him - from all of life's pain and revive his soul - as God intended.

The kiss was, although quick, very intentional. I could tell he planned it. But why? Did he think if he asked I'd say no? Maybe, so he just went for it. And I'm so glad that he did!!!!

I will never forget that moment - Ever!!!!!
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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Who Gets/Deserves Respect?

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Yeah Groupies I've been away for a while getting a great deal of work done. Most of it required that I be on set with client Kim Fields and I took some much needed time to re-group. Thanks so much for bearing with me.

I must tell you though about something that happened a few days ago that was so annoying. I had a conversation with a friend and we had some troubling dialogue. Allow me to invite you in.

Her: I'm tired of my husband asking so much of me. Doesn't he realize that I work a 9to5 just like him?

Me: What's he asking?

Her: For dinner, more alone time away from the kids, etc.

BREAK: her list was long, but totally not unreasonable

Me: Have you guys talked about this.

Her: Yes, but it just turns into an argument and quite frankly, I'm tired of having this discussion.

Me: At work, when your supervisor asks you to do something do you tell him "No" or argue about working a 9to5?

Her: Heck no, he signs my check.


Ok, now you all know that this just hit a HUGE nerve with me. It boggles my mind how we, women, will honor every other man, but leave the scraps for our husbands. We will honor our fathers, bosses, family friends, clergy (all rightfully so), but will pick. And choose moments to respect and honor our husbands.

We took very sacred vows, yet when it's time to live them out we just don't remember any of them.

Do we egotistically apply value to respect? Is that why our husbands fare so poorly in that area even though he, covenant, deserves it?

I have much more to say about this but I have to go now. Will pick back up tomorrow, but SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS MATTER please.
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Can't Forgive You, or Can I?

Hey Covenant Groupies,

I've been on the set with Kim Fields so I've missed a few opportunites to blog. However, something interesting happened on set today. Check out how the conversation went down:
I was asked, "If you came home and found your spouse in bed with another woman, would you forgive them and/or consider staying married?"

Quickly, I responded, " First of all, it doesn't matter if it's in my bed or a hotel bed, initially I'd want to hurt them both, Yes I would" to both questions. The gentleman looked at me perplexed and said, "I couldn't forgive my wife and the relationship would be over."

Now I know marriage is hard and people even have their levels of tolerance, but it has always struck me funny how people have such a line down the middle mentality and apply it to a relationship as if a indiscresion in marriage has levels and degrees of punishment.

Now, I ask you, who are we to withhold forgiveness from anyone or to refuse them a second chance? Do we not all need forgiveness (for something and aren't we afforded 2nd chances daily?) Obviously God is better at this whole forgivess/2nd chance thing than we are, but doesn't He require us to behave as He would? I'm just sayin'.

Sure infidelity and any level of betrayal is devastating, but to list infidelity as the highest sin in marriage tells me that there may be no real foundation on which this relationship is standing.

There is a distinct difference between sex and the full scope of intimacy (physical, emotional, psychology, physiologically - you name it). Sex can be used to just fill a fleshly desire where as sitting on a computer shareing intimate life challenges and details, with the opposite sex, may be seen as far worse.

However you look at it, it's difficult, scary and taxing on a relationship with our spouse, friends, children, even God when infidelity creeps in.

Let's persevere to keep those pesky temptations out of our most intimate relationships.
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Friday, August 20, 2010

Choose to Celebrate!

Hey Covenant Groupies,

I just ran across something that was shared at one our churches' past couples retreat. What a great reminder that we ahould always seek to celebrate our Covenant.

As couples we should enjoy our marital relationships. Proverbs 5:18 exhorts us to: "Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth."

Rejoice is a verb, a word of action meaning to express ecstatic joy. God is telling us to celebrate!


Celebrating Marriage

C- Clear your conscience - Psalm 139:23-24

E- Encourage spiritual growth - Hebrews 10:24

L- Lower your defenses - Phillipian 2:4-5

E- Enlist in His Service - 2 Timothy 2:1-4

B- Bust up bitterness with forgiveness Hebrews 12:13, Colssians 3:12-13

R- Recreate together Mark 6:31-32

A- Adore God with Praise and Worship Together Psalm 150:1-6

T- Talk transparently Colssians 4:6, 1 Peter 1:15

I- Intimately Relate 1 Corinthians 7:3-5

N- Negotiate as a team Amos 3:3, Philippians 1:27

G- Giving honor to your mate Ephesians 5:22-29


Hope you enjoy!
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Love Times Two; Doesn't Equal ONE

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Yesterday's post has finally been released!!! Here it is.

Please know that, from me, this is a rhetorical question and somewhat dialogue. Today, there was a mini-debate about whether you can be in love with two people at the same time; to the same degree? I know that when we're discussing unconditional love the answer is NO! That's all that matters on this blog.

However, lustful, romantic and conditional love always leaves room for another love to drop on by, take a squat and even compete for what you already thought was love; often, even to the same degree. Certainly, someone is being cheated out of what each of us truly deserves; not only the lover, but the object of that person's love. How awful!

Anytime love is unconditional, nothing can move into that space except any and all things unconditional.

From the mind where conditions reside though, there is a belief that loving two people at the same time is not only possible, but healthy.

Didn't we do stupid things like that when we were children; had an extra person around just in case the first relationship didn't work out? How ridiculous!!!!!

We did that out of fear, insecurity, uncertainty, immaturity, you name it. But now we're adults, why do we still look at love as this dispendable commodity that can be passed from person to person. Don't we lose something when we float from one relationship to another without first examining where we went wrong, how we are at fault for its demise and what needs to be changed in us before we move on?

Love loosely if you want, and you'll find youself by yourself. No one wants to compete for love that they rightfully deserve; and they shouldn't.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Where is Today's Blog????? Stuck in my Blackberry

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Please know that we have a post for today, but it is currently being held hostage by my Blackberry. Yes, I have recently found it much more convenient to blog from my phone; forcing me, of course to depend way too much on it. Although convenient, sometimes Blackberry creates great annoyances in my life; like hold important information hostage.

Please be patient.

Be on the lookout for today's post tonight or early in the morning.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Your Husband: Who Do You Say That He Is?

Hey Covenat Groupies,

Something really life changing happened yesterday: the man that I have been with for 10 years and that I know VERY well, has just gotten another adjective added to his already exhaustive and beautiful description; BRAVE.

At a doctor's appointment yesterday, Kevin and I were discussing a severe injury that he had gotten as a small boy, which has left a scar; some would even venture to call it a shameful imperfection. To some it's still visible to this day, but to others, not so much.

Well, we were discussing how he handled growing up in Texas, Brooklyn and the Bronx, with the insensitivity of kids; being teased, mocked or even called names. After looking far off for a moment and then directly into my eyes, he said, "I was never insecure as a child and never have I ever been as a man. I've always had great friends, never missed a beat with the girls and always had great creative jobs that demonstrated my true gifts" Oh people, people, people you have to know my man to know what I'm saying here.

Kevin has never feigned to protect me; at any cost from anyone. I have always seen his courage manifest itself for me-ALWAYS. But for himself NEVER. He's relaxed and calm and humble and extremely funny. So, when he looked me in my eyes and told me that with confidence and pride along with how my amazing mother-in-law empowered him to not be ashamed and gave him choices as to how he would present this life changing injury to his peers, he took the route of the brave and chose not to hide, but to instead be naked and answered any questions his friends had. Many adults wouldn't have even taken such a route.

Still, I don't know why it brought tears to my eyes, (maybe because I can see my mother-in-law speaking powerful words into his little spirit, or because even though I may have questioned his standing up for himself, I now know that he can and does - in his own way or even as a former school teacher knowing how tough children can make your life, the man that God created me for was busy teaching his friends compassion - maybe that's why his Spiritual Gift is Mercy or maybe it's all of the above) but I do know that when we have our children they will have a brave father who's willing to offer them a freedom and liberty to be brave and courageous and not to hide from anything that anyone would want them to feel shameful about.

Hi, I'm Rhonda and I'm married to an awefully BRAVE man! How about you?

Share a brave story about your spouse.

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Monday, August 9, 2010

When the Warrior Takes a Break

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Recently, while speaking with another impassioned wife about marriage; we specifically began to talk about those moments when the roles become reversed in our relationships.

Oftentimes when the characteristics of manly strength, power decision making and confidence that we love reigning from out husbands then fall heavily on us, we admitted that we felt a certain way about this and them.

We had to admit to ourselves and each other that we don't like it; it's really unappealing to us as women; as wives. Not because women feign power (we actually love it), but because we know deep within the recesses of our men that's how they function best; by being powerful and strong. When their best is defaulted to us we begin to walk that very thin line of operating outside of our true role and we are now taking on both his role and ours.

For me, I believe that can be, both good and dangerous. Good because sometimes the helper has to become the leader, authority and head (within limits, of course). Dangerous because, as Pastor Tony Evans says, When a husband relinquishes his rightful godly role and his wife has to pick it up, trying to get that authority back from her is truly difficult.

As multitaskers, we've found in recent decades that we can do both and do them successfully. But soon we realize that we resent the men that have put us in this dual role of responsibility and other men are treated with disdain too.

But as my friend and I continued our conversation about our husbands (respectfully of course), we quickly realized that, not only was this conversation necessary for us to confess some ungodly feelings about our men to one another and lift them up in prayer, but we were also holding one another accountable in our perspective marriages to pray for and with one another.

As wives, we dared to venture into that water and not see ourselves. Our men work hard and treat us truly well. There are days when that manly warrior is going to need to pull from our woman warrior, just a bit and it's okay. Every warrior needs to take a break and relax a little.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Souls Mated Together - Never to Part

Hey Covenant Groupies,

You know, love is such a soul captivating thing; emotion. As I mentioned yesterday, Kevin and I had a really great weekend. On Sunday, we watched "The Notebook." I had seen it before and he had only seen the beginning. So, we settled in to watching the film.

What I love about watching movies with Kevin is his filmmakers eye sees everything; from each characters perspective. He's never prejudiced against the woman or the villian; he's so open and willing to explore every aspect of the film.
So, needless to say, we enjoyed "The Notebook."

It was the end of the film and his reaction surprised me though. I don't want to ruin the end of the film for those of you who haven't seen the movie, but the longtime lovers actually transition together; in their sleep. Yes, it was beautiful.

As I looked to ask Kevin his thoughts, he was quiet and had a little lump in his throat. After inquiring, he said, that that was how it needed to happen for us; to die together. I had heard him say this in jest before, but this time it was different. He was so sentimental.

We discussed how we could not function without one another on earth; at least we can't humanly imagine it.

I don't believe that God created souls to be interterwined; mated, if you will, as husband and wife and ever, in any way shape or form, had us come together for us to ever see ourselves without one another. How are souls brought together by God ever imagined separated, EVER?

I have no fears in life, none at all, except to live this earthly life without this man I was truly created to be with and vice versa.

Can you ever se yourself without your spouse, EVER?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Modern Day Courting - Singles Let's Raise our Standard

Hey Covenant Groupies,

What is going on with you all? I can't tell you busy my days have been. For some reason, I thought that my Summer months in the office would be just like my Winter Spring months; they ususally are, but not now. I have been overtaken by paperwork, client meetings, article writings, interviews you name it, I'm doing it. I'm so not complaining though. I just miss posting blogs.

So, here we go. Yesterday, Kevin and I heard something strange, yet refreshng. We listened to a Pastor share a story of a couple, not a young couple either, a rather seasoned couple approached him and asked for his permission to date one another.

He went on to informed them that they didn't need his permission, but he did appreciate that they trusted him enough and looked to him as a father figure to even ask. The Pastor said that he did the same thing over 30 years ago with his soon to be girlfriends' father, not his Pastor.

Why don't we do this anymore people? Why don't we trust our elders enough to seek their counsel when courting? Maybe we could save ourselves from so much hearache and trauma tha comes along with bad and untimely relationships. We miss out on their wisdom, experiences, and even certain standards that should be considered when dating.

I certainly didn't grow up in a "traditional" home, but when Kevin asked my Mom for my hand in marriage, I found it quite endearing. My Mom is one of those people that you either respect or you don't. She doesn't demand it, but her beliefs are strong and highly character driven. She kinda makes you want to be on point with manners, whether you're thinking about it or not.

Just like the Pastor wondered of himself, Kevin and I wanted to know exactly what that couple saw in this man and his character that made him worthy of such a life-altering question? We don't know the answer yet, but we concluded that this says a great deal about this man on and off the pulpit

Monday, July 26, 2010

Marital Discovery-Misplaced Anger and Fear

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Kevin and I had a truly amazing weekend!!! It was full of sponteneity, fun, excitement and the Lord.

We had several great conversations this weekend, but on Saturday in particular, one of the most interesting ones was concerning Mel Gibson and how men tend to deal with anger.

We were discussing how a man that was in a 30 year relationship and bore 7 children with his wife, then becomes this raving lunatic that we've seen lately. Additionally, we discussed how, often men especially when they make bad choices began to lash out due to the overarching feeling of failure and guilt.

Let's be clear, neither Kevin nor I believe that all of this MG "crazy" popped up out of nowhere, but instead that the stability of his past relationship gave him a sense of security and balance and his anger was probably better managed. Ultimately allowing his rants to be comforted by his wife and then distinquished by her love for him.

Why they didn't stay married is a matter that they know and must live with. Obviously, Mel isn't dealing with this too well.

Then you have this fresh relationship wher he again, bears a child with his girlfriend, but Mel not feeling so into her and their relationship anymore begins to feel trapped because of the child, which now binds them for life.

To my knowledge, Mel Gibson has never faced domestic violence charges in his 30 year relationship with his ex- wife; how does this rage just show up? Does the never-ending feeling of being trapped in a less than healthy relationship bring out this type of anger in men?

Maybe his life as a man began to feel meaningless and less satisfying without the stability of his once stable home.

Maybe he questioned his relationship with God.

Maybe he felt like he was betraying the life he once had and did not deserve to move on.

I don't know, but there certainly is a huge battle raging inside of him and if he doesn't recognize it and get a hold of it soon, he will be lost forever and lose whatever may be left of him.
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A New Road – A New View

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Well Kevin and I have arrived; arrived at this new place in our marriage. It’s like being on the road with your favorite person for an extended period and then you scan the map only to realize there’s a new road coming up. You’re almost hesitant to embark on this new road. On this new road, everything’s new: the sites, sounds, requests, desires, the person you’re with and even how you see the journey that you’re on begins to look different; even better.

We’re making plans for a more exciting and full life. We’re planning fun-filled days and romantic evenings. We’re beginning to look forward to the simpler things in life while keeping ourselves healthy, operating in our ministry and loving one another immensely. Too often we, get stuck in a marriage flow and can’t seem to get out of it. We were in a flow. We’re now coming out.

I guess, for many couples, it may have taken longer than necessary because no one wants to admit that they’ve hit that flow. Wouldn’t we then have to blame someone for the flow? No, not really, we didn’t blame one another, but we did admit it and began on a Mission Statement, A Marriage Plan and a Marital Reassessment.

I’ve noticed that this new road is inviting new elements to our lives. We’re listening to one another more, maybe even better than before, we’re discussing our spiritual journey, we’re calm and patient with one another and our love is so ALIVE!

Recently, we’ve been in lifestyle, health and domestic mode. We’re car shopping, remodeling our place and sticking to all of our doctors appointments. Why, you ask? Because for us, all of these things at this stage in our lives, have become important to us. Yes, unfortunately, we’ve missed several Dr’s appointments, put aside some much needed painting and decorating, and have been rather comfortable without a car for almost 5 years. For the past several years, work has literally consumed us. We’ve not gone on a vacation in 10 years, boy do we need one.

So, here we are, we’ve arrived. With all of this newness waiting for us to join it and we're game.

Stay tuned as we journey on this new road. This is new for us. We truly believe that God has some great and interesting things in store for us and we’re excited to share it with you.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Supernatural Love - No Ordinary Love

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Well, as you can see, we've been MIA. So much, professionally, spiritually and personally, has gone on in the past week it's just too much to get into. So, I'll leave it for some other time.

I do want to sahre this though. Recently, in the past couple of weeks, Kevin and I have been in the company of some amazing friends and each one of them made individual, uncollaborated comments about our marriage. One couple said they wanted what we have, another said that we're the perfect model for marriage, that the ministry of marriage is our calling and another said that they've never seen a couple like us, ever but now they know that real love is possible.

Growing up, I never learned that marriage was meant for others. I was taught, instead, that I was to mind my business when it came to personal intimate relationships of others. And I did. Boy, times have changed. To hear folk speak so boldly, openly and complimentary about something so sacred as our marriage, often puzzles us. Since we live it each day, we'd like to see what they see.

Under ordinary circumstances this can cause some folks to get puffed up and a bit prideful, but these are our friends and they know that these words, for us, have absolutely nothing to do with us and we always give God the glory. The love they see is God! This way of loving is not natural, but totally supernatural. For me marriage is spelled, K-E-V-I-N.

God broke through some severe ugliness, with a lot of resistance on our behalf to get us just to where we are now. So, I know what people say is a true testiment to two people being broken so that God shall forever get the glory.

At this stage in my marriage I don't know how to not look at my husband and be in love with him, how to touch him and not be excited, how to watch him leave for work each day and not Thank God for him, how to hear him say I love you and never ever want to hear anyone else say it, how to fight with him and not feel broken and less than, how to hold his hand and not feel so completely safe, how to smell him and not know that I can carry it with me no matter where I go, to know that Friday is coming and still look forward to date night, how to hear him pray and be thankful that he's invited me into his soul, how when I see him, I know with every fiber in my body that God made me specifically for him.

We train consisitently and intently not to love our way, but God'way.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Several months ago we had Pastor Jamal Bryant in town for the beginning of his book tour. We stopped by the former Gospel Uptown and he left the room on fire!!!!!! He shared how the church was instrumental, or lack ther of, in the healing of his and three other Christian couples marriages that have all ended in divorce. As well, he discusses the Black church in comparison to the earthquake in Haiti.

Tell us what you think. This is a hot 11:08 minute sermon.



Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Mother's Love: Mother-in-Law, That Is

Hey Covenant Groupies,

How we pray that you all had an amazing 4th of July weekend! Ours was quite interesting to say the least.

Well, with that said, Kevin and I spent our date night, last Friday, listening to a beautiful mix of music; Classic R and B, Hip-Hop, CCM, Gospel, you name it. We spent the evening singing our heats out!It was blissful!

Then, out of the blue an old Stlystics song came on and Kevin became quiet. He was thinking of his Mom, who he was very close to and who we lost 2 years ago. He told me that as a kid he often knew the mood of his Mom depending on the music she listened to. This song, in particular, meant that she was sad.

Soon we just started talking about her and how much fun she was, how funny and insightful she was etc. Then the Lord quickly reminded me of why I have always called her "The Best Mother-in-Law Ever."

From the first time we met she knew Kevin and I were getting married. Her immediate gift to me was to give me snippets of who her son was; his mood swings and what they meant; how to deal with them and how not to let them come between us. She also shared his emotional hurts, how people hurt him and how he's dealt with them, his fears and so much more.

Over the years there have been things about Kevin he's not been able to express to me, but thanks to his Mom I recognize them, thank her and ask the Lord how to deal with Kevin in a loving manner.

I've always look at her giving as a beautifully wrapped precious gift with delecate instructions of care in order to get the best out of it for a very long time.

Not many people can say the same about their mother-in-law, but I truly miss mine and thank God for her heart of giving. She simply refused to let me/us start off not knowing the truth. Now that's unconditional love!!!!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Losing a Child: A Dream Deferred?

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Well, today cold be a rough day for me, but fortunately, it's not. Five years ago today, Kevin and I lost a baby while in our 2nd trimester. Yes, it was devestating and painful. I wasn't going to write about this-at all, but the Lord has led me to.

As much as Kevin and I desire children, as much as we were looking forward to being parents and as much as we enjoyed the entire pregnancy process we do believe that God had and has so much in store for us. We do relate so well to many of the couples in the Bible who were unable to bear children, at the same time we know that God opens and closes the womb and whatever He has in store for us, our prayer is that we remain true to dedicating our children back to God, try to remain as blameless as possible as we teach them God's ways and keep our arms wide open just like the prodigal's father.

Because of a promise from God, we've continued to live our lives waiting patiently on the Lord. He is not a man that he should lie. And although it may not happening when we desire it to, we do know that, often, deferred dreams are some day awaken in order to begin journey's that lead to dynamic legacies.

We're ready!!!!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Covenant Marital Vows: They Matter!!!!! Part #2

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Here is the continuation from yesterday's article

Covenant

Today most people don't understand what covenant means. Our culture is built on contracts, and everyone knows that a crackerjack lawyer can find a loophole if you really want out. So contracts get longer and longer as the parties try to close all possible loopholes, but litigation increases because people change their minds and want release from their agreements.

One contract that is increasing in usage is the prenuptial agreement. A covenant is not at all like a prenuptial agreement. For one thing, there is no escape clause. In ancient times, a covenant was a legal agreement, but with two major differences from contracts today. A covenant was made before deity. And the penalty for breaking it was death. People might negotiate out of contracts, but not out of a covenant.

The covenant between God and Abraham was more binding than a wedding certificate is today. God impressed on Abraham the importance of the covenant: "As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you." While Abraham didn't walk the blood path, there was a symbol of his acceptance of the agreement. The proof of Abraham's commitment was that he and every male descendant was circumcised (Genesis 17:9-14).

But in the covenant of blood, God traveled the blood path alone. By doing so, he said that if Abraham or any of his descendants violated this contract, God would pay the price with His own blood. There would come a day when God would heroically have to keep that promise.

For centuries in liturgical churches the service of holy matrimony has been clearly spelled out word for word. As I read several liturgies, I was struck by the similarities between the church service of holy matrimony and the biblical concept of covenant.

For example, the marriage service is conducted before God. Historically a covenant was always a religious ceremony, made before God or gods as witnesses. It was the one treaty between enemies that was enforceable, because neither party was willing to risk the wrath of their deity.

In the English Book of Common Prayer (1662), a wedding service begins with the minister addressing the congregation: "Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God…to join together this man and this woman in holy Matrimony." Again and again, the couple and witnesses are reminded that God is witness to this union.

Second, a covenant had witnesses. Likewise, the marriage vows are made before human witnesses. Why is that important? A pastor I know challenged a friend who had just announced he was leaving his wife of six years. "Oh no you're not!" said the pastor. "You made a vow to love your wife until death. I know. I was there and I heard you. Now you stay with her and work things out." The man was shocked, but he stayed, and today their marriage is much healthier. I wonder what would happen if, like this pastor, more witnesses challenged couples to fulfill their wedding vows.

Third, both a covenant and a traditional marriage ceremony declared the seriousness of the commitment. In The Book of Common Prayer, the minister utters these words in his opening exhortation to the congregation and the couple standing before him: "Holy Matrimony…is commended of Saint Paul to be honourable among all men; and therefore is not by any to be enterprised…unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men's carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God."

Recently, as I reflected on the vows Jo and I exchanged at our wedding, I was struck by the one-sidedness of our commitment. There were no qualifiers or disclaimers. I had promised to love Jo for better or worse until death, regardless of her actions or attitude. Likewise, Jo promised to have me for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, for as long as we both shall live, regardless of how well or poorly I behaved. No doubt we both assumed we would reciprocate in our love for each other. However, our vows said nothing about being loved back. By our words, each of us assumed 100 percent responsibility for the marriage. That's the nature of covenant. Each party makes an irrevocable vow.

Fourth, something of great value was exchanged. God wanted to give Abraham and his descendants a country, but He did it in the context of family. Did Abraham realize he was actually getting the best end of the deal? He was entering into a long-term relationship with the God of the universe. The land was very important, but it wasn't the most important thing — it was a symbol of the value of their relationship.
I am impressed again by the nature of the exchange in the traditional marriage service. It particularly struck me when I read the words uttered by the husband when he places the wedding ring on his wife's finger: "With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow." In other words, the husband gave everything he had to his wife, including his body and his earthly possessions. No longer were there his or her possessions. Everything was theirs. Why is this important? Because in giving our all, we actually gain what we want.

Permanence of Marriage

Obviously millions of couples chafe under the idea of covenant, feeling that the permanence fences them in. But Jo and I feel secure within these boundaries. Without the possibility of divorce, Jo and I know that regardless of our problems, we will be there for each other. And when we disagree or fight, we had better figure out a way to resolve our differences, for we are going to be together for a very long time.


From The Marriage Masterpiece, published by Tyndale House Publishers. Copyright © 2001, Al Janssen. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Getting engaged: Tiffany's Engagement Ring App

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Yeah, two posts in one day, but I couldn't help but share this one. Talk about taking the connectability out of getting engaged.


Getting Engaged Goes High Tech

As if getting engaged and getting married isn’t already swept up in the hubbub of today’s technology (how many people congratulate friends on an engagement via their Facebook walls?! Yeah, guilty!), Tiffany’s takes it one step further with their iPhone App: The Tiffany & Co. Engagement Ring Finder. The app (launched June 14) is completely free (sigh. Unlike the Tiffany’s rocks it features) and it’s one of the snazzy updates to modern weddings that we actually like.

Why? For starts, the app lets you size your ring by placing a ring (one that properly fits the same finger where your wedding bling will go) and aligning that size with a ring size on the app. Browse the entire Tiffany & Co. selection and view your options (in all different carats) true-to-size.

This app is a big duh to the gentleman who is going to (at least you hope) put a ring on it—you can share your favorites via Facebook and Twitter (or email them if you’re being blatantly obvious). This way your guy knows the size, cut, carats, everything. Are the days of ring shopping or dropping subtle hints, like “accidentally” leaving the ring you love up on his screen, or the more old-fashioned, “Today I saw a woman with a Platinum Solitare Engagement Ring and I loved it,” GONE?!

Whether you’re getting engaged soon or just love playing around with pretty wedding rings (er, we may have been stalking the Tiffany & Co. website since we were teenagers), go here to download the app.

-Cait Rohan

GIRL TALK TIME: How did you get your engagement ring? Did your fiancĂ©/hubby go undercover to find out what cut and style you were after? What do you think of the ring app? Does it take the guesswork out of ring shopping in a good way or do you think guessing was half the fun anyways? What modern updates to engagements/weddings are you really loving? If you’re not engaged/married yet, what do you want your ring to look like?

Covenant Marital Vows: They Matter!!!!!!

Hey Covenant Groupies,

It's been a few days since my last post. Kevin and I have been in celebratory mode. His birthday, his vacation weeks quickly approaching, our friend John Gray's birthday and soon my birthday. Whoo! We're just coming up for air. Parties, dinners, fun have kept us busy.

TAKE A PEEK INTO OUR FUN:




So, on to today. I found this great article about Covenant marital vows yesterday, today and in the future. It's rather long so I'll break it up into two parts. Here is Part #1. Part #2 about the Covenant will be posted tomorrow.

The Covenant Marriage

How serious are marriage vows? If they are anything like an Old Testament covenant, they're very serious.

By Al Janssen

If God really got married, the logical question is, "When?" Did I miss the wedding ceremony somewhere? The answer emerged when I learned about an ancient ceremony used between two nomadic tribes to make a peace treaty or to promise a boy and girl in marriage. The fathers would slaughter a goat or other animal, cut the carcass in half, and then at sundown walk barefoot through the blood path. The slaughtered animals symbolized what would happen to either party if they violated the terms of the agreement.

This was the ceremony God chose to use when he entered into a covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15. God asked Abram to take a heifer, a goat and a ram, plus a dove and a young pigeon, and slaughter them. But there was an unusual twist in this ceremony. While Abraham and his descendants were committed to this covenant with God, only God walked the blood path, thereby signifying that if Israel violated the agreement, God would pay the price with His own blood.

Technically, Abram and his descendants weren't married to God in the same sense that we understand a wedding ceremony today. It would be more accurate to say they were betrothed, which means that they were promised to each other. It is the same for Christ and His bride, the church. The wedding feast celebrating this marriage remains in the future at the wedding supper of the Lamb.

In our culture, couples are first engaged — they declare their intent to marry — but either party may back out before the wedding day, and there is no legal consequence for breaking an engagement. Such was not the case with betrothal. A betrothal was an ironclad contract that could be severed only by unfaithfulness or death. Though a couple might not celebrate and consummate their marriage for years, legally they were still considered married.

Such was the case with Joseph and Mary when she was found with child by the Holy Spirit. If a girl who was betrothed was found not to be a virgin before the wedding feast, when the marriage was consummated, she could be executed. This explains why Joseph, upon hearing that Mary was pregnant, decided not to make a public spectacle of his wife but to put her away privately — that is, until God spoke to him and revealed the identity of the child in her womb.

I wonder what the impact was on the children who witnessed a covenant sealed in blood by their fathers. Though they might hardly know each other, and indeed it might be years before they were ready to celebrate the wedding, they surely understood the commitment being made. There was only one way to escape from this marriage — by death.

Marriage Today
When a couple marries today, a lot of effort goes into the wedding. According to Bride's magazine, when the average couple adds up the costs of a wedding dress, tuxedos, dresses for the bridesmaids, rings, invitations, flowers, music, photographer, wedding cake and reception, they spend more than $19,000.
When we were married, Jo was a poor schoolteacher and I was a poor writer. We had less than $1,000 for our wedding. Jo brilliantly maximized the reach of our limited budget by making her own wedding dress and soliciting help from friends and family for such things as food preparation.

A major element of our planning was the ceremony itself. We'd both attended many weddings, and the norm of the late seventies was for each couple to custom-design their ceremony.

In that spirit, Jo and I sat down one Sunday afternoon to write out our commitment to each other. We discussed what we were doing in marriage: pledging to be faithful, to take care of each other, to support one another during good times and hard times. We scribbled several drafts, but none of them captured the right tone.
Finally, we settled on the following:

"I Al take thee, Jo, to be my lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health 'til death do us part."

"I Jo take thee, Al, to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health 'til death do us part."

Those words or a slight variation of them have served Christians for centuries, and we couldn't find anything that better expressed what we were committing to each other. They expressed the vows we were making — an irrevocable commitment to each other with God as our witness.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Power of Love

Hey Covenant Groupies,

As many of you know, I love the ministry of Dr. Larry Crabb. His background in marriage counseling combined with the Word of God is truly magnificent.

I read something from him today that took me "there" again.

"The power of love is found in connection, that profound meeting when the truest part of one soul meets the emptiest recesses in another and finds something there, when life passes from one to the other."

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blending Two Spiritual Lives

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Often we spend time with friends and discover that, in their relationship, it's lacking in the intimacy department. Not sexual intimacy, but Spiritual Intimacy. Their stories sound so familiar to Kevin and mine. We spend so much time, in our marriges, getting intimate sexually only to realize that the truest form of intimacy is Spiritual.

We struggled for so long in this same area of our marriage and it was difficult to overcome.

This article was such a wonderful reminder of some of the things we had to use to overcome this issue.



He shook his head dolefully as we talked about our future marriage and my thoughts on spiritual intimacy. "I'm not so sure I'm knowledgeable enough to be the spiritual partner you need me to be," Dale said. "You know the Bible so much better than I do. You've been a Christian decades longer than I have."

Over the course of our conversation, Dale realized that God's plan for spiritual intimacy did not depend on how much time we'd spent in a church — or even the amount of understanding we each had of spiritual things. We both deeply loved God, and that was a great place to start building a spiritual foundation.

Since we'd both been single for many years, we were used to deepening our relationship with Christ on our own. We had to learn how to share our deeply personal spiritual lives and grow together as a couple. As we've worked to deepen our spiritual intimacy, I've learned a few things along the way.

Let Go of Misconceptions

Dale's steps in creating a Christ-focused home were not what I had expected, but our life together has ended up even better than anything I had planned. The tone and attitude he established set a firm foundation for our marriage.

I may have subconsciously expected to marry a pastorlike man. Dale did not live up to my unrealistic expectations, but he did fulfill the role God designed for him in our marriage. Though he didn't sit me down every night for an hour of prayer and Bible study, Dale lived out 1 Corinthians 13. He incorporated the fruits of the Spirit into everyday living, and he directed many of our conversations to what Jesus would say or do.

In such an atmosphere, instead of holding on to my preconceived expectations, I enjoyed the journey of growing together spiritually.

Encourage Each Other

One of the most productive things I found I could do is encourage and empower Dale with genuine love and appreciation. When I see him take a positive spiritual step, simple affirmation gives him the courage to continue building our spiritual intimacy.
I watch for those moments — when he takes the risk to pray in a group or comments during one of our Bible studies. I make sure I let him know how proud I am of him and acknowledge his initiative. As I applaud his efforts to seek God, our spiritual relationship grows stronger day by day.

Accept One Another

Naturally, I sometimes wish my husband would change in certain ways, but I know better than to nag or criticize. One friend of mine thought that if she nagged her husband enough, he'd take his rightful place as a Christian husband. Instead, she built a wall of criticism that kept him from even trying. Now, years later, they are spiritual strangers.

As I take my concerns to God, He teaches me to be patient and entrust my husband to Him. At the same time, I must continue pursuing my own growth without worrying that my husband might fall behind. We're not running a race but traveling together on a lifelong journey; the progress of either one of us benefits both.

Work As a Team

Dale and I keep in mind that we are a team. So we make plans together regarding our spiritual life: church involvement, small-group connections, goals for prayer, Bible study, tithing and other disciplines. We address all these things as a couple, even if both of us don't participate in all of them at the time.

Though each of us may grow in different areas at different times, we will stay connected spiritually as long as we work as a team and pray for each other. Praying daily is especially important to us — whether together or on our own. As we cover each other in prayer, our hearts and minds naturally come to a special place of love and desire to see God work in our spouse.

As we've encouraged and accepted one another, and trusted God in the areas where we fall short, we've found that our spiritual intimacy is one of the most beautiful aspects of our marriage.


This article, written by Susan Mathis, first appeared in the Couples Edition of the May, 2007 issue of Focus on the Family magazine. Copyright © 2007, Focus on the Family. All rights reserved.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Celebrating!

Hey Covenant Groupies,

We hope everyone had an amazing, blessed, fun-filled and peaceful Father's Day!!!!

Today's a special day for us and should be a national holiday. So, unfortunately, no posts today.

Hubby's birthday and we are celebrating.

Until tomorrow!!!!
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Thursday, June 17, 2010

The "FALL" of Love

Hey Covenant Groupies,

I read an article the other day about love and how easily and how often we fall into it. The article writer was focusing on the lack of stability there is in relationships and that they just don't have the same sustainability of generations past. I totally agreed with the writer.

However, I wondered about the phrase "FALL in love". I immediately thought of falling and the connotations of always wanting and even fighting/struggling to get out of or get up when we FALL. Falling has never been a positive word.

Then God reminded me of the word FALL and Adam and Eve in the Bible. Their actions are the epitome of Fall; God's creation desiring to live opposite of God's design accepting any outcome no matter how temporary. God gave directives and roles for both and they were supposed to "be" and live in the Garden; God's perfection creation for us.

I guess where I'm going is, maybe we are supposed to just "be" in love; even "be" love to those we're married to, neighboring with, meeting on the street etc. As opposed to finding ways to change the pace and flow of love the way it was created to be; freely, honest and unconditional. God didn't fall in love with us; He is love.

Just a thought.
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Marital Love Mirrors Truth

Hey Covenant Groupies,

While watching television the other day, a sneak peek of a Fall new show, was lost on our attention. It didn’t interest Kevin and me at all. That is, until, the trailer was coming to a close. After resuming volume, I heard something very interesting. One of the characters said, “Not until you fall in love, will you ever truly know yourself.” Hmmmm was the only thing that came to my mind.

I began to reflect on Kevin and my marriage. When we were newly married, there was hardly anything Kevin could say to me that had credence; I questioned everything as if he was being interrogated. I didn’t trust his motives to “do right” by me.

However, what I began to notice was that when God began working on me, He allowed me to see that Kevin often recognized things, traits, characteristics and attitudes in me that were not so pleasant. That wasn’t so much the difficult part. What was difficult was that I had to take character and growth advice from another flawed human being. I often said, How can he tell me (blank), when he’s flawed in (blank) area?

Maturing later allowed me to recognize that I was asking the wrong question. Instead, what I should have been saying was “Thank you God for sending me someone who would often put up with the mess that I am, yet love me enough to correct me in order for me to grow into the person you’ve ordained me to be.” Yeah, I know it’s a lot, but the truth, nonetheless. But I’m a firm believer that the fuller your mouth is with praise the less full it will be with fault, complaints, gossip, lies etc.

I remember hearing a Pastor say once that God gave us spouses to be our mirrors and if there’s nothing that a mirror reflects back, it’s the truth. Kevin is and will always be “my truth.”

He was so intentional to not let me stay where I was. Honestly, it was not until I got married that I knew me; who I was supposed to be. This is truly why I love this ministry of marriage. Call me selfish, but I’d rather give people me now rather than me then.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I do... If, When, and Until

Hey Covenant Groupies,

WOW! I can’t believe that it’s been 7 days since my last post. I missed coming here so much. I was filled with client issues, contracts and meetings. My nights were long and exhausting.

Well, I’m back and something was, of course, on my mind. When Kevin and I first got married, neither one of us were walking the walk, seeking change or committed immediately to living out the Marriage Covenant we’d just vowed to live under. It was too hard! I guess to really depend on a God who wanted nothing, of value from you, in exchange for obedience and trust just wouldn’t translate into a reality for us; as, I’m quite sure, it doesn’t for many others.

More importantly, it was difficult for us to grasp the concept that we didn’t vow to be married based on what the other does or does not do or how we perform. After many fights, disagreements and confrontations, we had to come to the understanding that I Do… if, when, and until is unproductive, unsuccessful and no where near what God had in mind for marriages.

This became very evident when I started measuring how much more I washed dishes, laundry, cleaned the house or took out the garbage over how much Kevin did and it used to infuriate me and I began to resent him. There very few things I’m afraid of, but resenting my husband or anyone is one of them. There is so much discontent, anger and hurt in resentment and it takes so long to overcome. But I remember Author Gary Thomas saying that his wife didn’t refill the ice trays after using them and it angered him very much, then one day he counted just how long it takes to refill and ice tray; 7 seconds just in case you were wondering.

He chose then to refill them himself when she forgets, because that’s what a Covenant spouse does, we must refrain from inviting resentment into our marriage and take a hold of sacrifice.

Too often we choose to live under the limited and awful conditions where we forfeit truth, intimacy and our Covenant vows. Does it make us feel better to hold up a self-righteous mirror to our spouses? It’s so tiring to set about keeping score in a marriage with another adult. It may have worked in elementary school, but not so much here.

Can we commit to day to say, I Do…, not if, when or until, but in spite of?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Making Room for God - During Retreat

HAPPY Tuesday Covenant Groupies,

We hope you had a fulfilling and powerful weekend. Kevin and I just returned from our 12th Annual Couples Retreat with our church. We are so ecstatic that we went; at one point we discussed not going. We welcomed two new facilitators, Eric and Carletta Yancy from Sanctuary Covenant Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They were truly amazing and insightful. They brought a new flavor, concepts, demonstrations and divine revelation. Kevin and I were excited that so much of what they brought to this retreat were sheer confirmations from God for us.

Since we’ve been at our church, the whole retreat experience is all we’ve known. I have seen and know of other people who’ve gone on retreats and done things a little different than how we do it. For example, initially I thought we were supposed to be truly alone with God and our spouse with the exclusions of technology and anything else that normally takes up a lot of our time. But, it’s never been that way for us.

Additionally, we thought it was so important to spend time with other couples; outside of just lunching and shopping together. As well, we needed to know what God had next for us in ministry.

So, this time I asked the Lord why were we going on this retreat, how different was it going to be and what He wanted from us during our time together? He quickly answered. The first thing that was going to be different was me leaving my phone home and I was not going to work during our breaks. Kevin had to bring a little work along, but it didn’t interfere with anything because he didn’t have to oversee anything. Kevin and I were going to spend serious quality time together. We spent valuable time with other couples sharing God’s Word and the value of marital accountability and finally, God revealed a few things that He’s doing in our marriage and ministry.

We’ve gone to the retreat for several years and it has been increasingly difficult for us to spend time together; we’d go out and spend all of our time with other couples, sometimes to the wee hours of the morning, do a little shopping or even catch up on some much needed sleep. All the while, we’re inadvertently denying ourselves much needed time together. Well, not this time.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

QUESTION OF THE DAY!

Hey Covenant Groupies,

How's everyone? I hope you had an amazing weekend. I know I've been away for a few days, but believe me, Kevin and I needed it. As well, work has had me bogged down too.

Anyhoo, our, Kevin and my, discussions have been vast and plentiful. I just love talking to my husband. there's just something about him that energizes my Spirit and I want to do more and be better.

But aside from all that, I was recently speaking to a very dear friend and we were discussing the status of a relationship that she presumed was over. In the midst of the seperation, change has occurred in both parties, but she's stll a little suspicious of him. Quite frankly, I know it's fear. I just pray she doesn't make him pay for past mistakes too long. You know what I mean. They are truly making a go of it now and that excites my heart so much. I can hear the absolute joy when she speaks of him and their new journey together.

So, today's questions is: Do people really change? If you thought your heart was over someone and they popped back up in the picture, you're both single, would you receive them or or hold past transgessions against them.

I know this question is loaded and a bit ambiguious, it's meant to be. I've constantly learned from my husband, that sometimes a question is just that; a question. No need to read into it or make more of it.

Share your thoughts.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Hey Covenant Groupies,

** PLEASE NOTE: YOU MUST FORGIVE THE OLD ENLISH. I JUST LOVE IT!!

The scripture about Zacharias and Elizabeth, parents of John the Baptist, found in Luke 1:5-7 has been heavy on my mind for quite some time and I couldn’t figure out why. I know once before when I read it, God had given me some great revelation about it. Usually when this happens I begin to dig into God’s Word for answers. I went through the Matthew Henry Commentary and this is what it said:

Zacharias and Elizabeth were a very religious couple. They were both righteous before God; they were so in His sight whose judgment, we are sure is according to truth; they were sincerely and really so. They are righteous indeed that are so before God, as Noah in his generation. They approved themselves to Him, and He was graciously pleased to accept them. It is a happy thing when those who are joined to each other in marriage are both joined to the Lord; and it is especially requisite that the priests, the Lord’s ministers, should with their yoke-fellows be righteous before God, that they may be examples to the flock, and rejoice their hearts.

They walked in the commandments and ordinance of the Lord, blameless.

1) Their being righteous before God was evidenced by the course and tenour of their conversations; they showed it, not by their talk, but by their works; by the way they walked in and the rule they walked by.

2) They were of a peace with themselves; for their devotions and their conversations agreed. They walked not only in the ordinances of the Lord which related to divine worship, but in the commandments of the Lord, which have reference to all the instances of a good conversation and must be regarded.

3) They were universal in their obedience, not that they never did in any thing come short of their duty, but it was their constant care and endeavor to come up to it.

4) Herein, though they were not sinless, yet they were blameless; nobody could charge them with any open scandalous sin; they lived honestly and in offensively, as ministers and their families are in a special manner concerned to do, that their ministry be not blamed in their blame.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

He said/ She said: The Giver and The Receiver

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Why is it when I desire tp please my husband, he gives me some resistance? Now when I say "please my husband", what I means is that I take sheer pleasure in seeing my husband have what he needs and desires. If I'm the one who can give it to him, well that's even better. That means everything from the simplest of things to the grandest of things, but he makes it so hard. Again I ask, why?

See, when the shoe is on the other foot and I need something, there can be no discussion, he'll go ahead and get it, sometimes going even further than necessary to see that I have it. No, I'm not complaining, but I want to do the same for him.

A great example: I love to cook and unless I am totally beat, I cook each night. I believe that a man/husband should, by title alone, should be entitled to many things and a home cooked meal each night is just one of them. However, Kevin often tells me that I don't have to cook and that I should just relax if I've had a long day.

I just can't help my need to "DO" things and "BE" for him all that would add to his joy that make him happy.

I know Biblically men are the givers and women are the receivers, but by nature women have become the givers. How do we balance this when our men won't let us give?

I could go on with tons of examples, but you get the meaning, right.
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Monday, May 24, 2010

No Marriage License - Covenant Agreement ONLY!

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Happy Monday! Today is an amazingly beautiful day - just because. I wanted to share something different today. This is a video of a couple getting married without all the fanfare; we've seen that before, no HUGE reception; we've seen that before, simple attire; we've even seen that before, but maybe we've not seen a marriage where the couple doesn't sign a marriage license, but a marriage Covenant ONLY!

Check this out and let us know your thoughts.


Friday, May 21, 2010

My Deepest Needs-Who fills them?

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Happy Friday Ya'll

I had a crazy experience this morning. I wanted to spend some time talking to Kevin this morning before we parted for work. Needless to say, it didn't happen; he was rushing and I was waiting.

Immediately, I found myself getting angry at him, however, I didn't access why I was REALLY getting angry. But shortly, after asking God to take my anger away and reveal my true ache, He did.

He had me read the passage below. Mind you, I haven't picked this book up for about four years, but He sent me directly there.

Share your thoughts about the passage.


For one of the most profound ways in which the Lord touches us and teaches us about Himself and His own essential otherness is through the very limits He has placed upon our relationships with one another. It is an enormous source of human frustration that our need for intimacy far outstrips its capacity to be met in other people. Primarily what keeps us separate is our sin, but there is also another factor, and that is that in each one of us the holiest and neediest and most sensitive place of all has been made and is reserved for God alone, so that only He can enter there. No one else can love us as He does, and no one can be the sort of Friend to us that He is.

Mike Mason, The Mystery of Marriage
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

QUESTION OF THE DAY!

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Yesterday on "The View," Elizabeth Hasselbeck was hosting with her husband Tim Hasselbeck. This week the ladies are hosting alongside their best male friends and the discussion came up about being "best friends" with men. Tim was delighted to be asked by his wife and said that as a married woman, Elizabeth couldn't have been able to bring another man because he's her best friend.

You know I totally agree with him.

Let us know your thoughts.

Is your spouse really "BEST FRIEND?"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Marital Harmony: Taking up the Cares and Crosses of One Another

Hey Covenant Groupies,

I was just recollecting the fact that, not only are we embarking on our annual Couples Retreat, which God has allowed Kevin and I to participate in for 8 years but that we have about 4 newly married couples in our church, one couple just reached their first year. The one year mark with any couple always gets me to thinking about Kevin and my first year. I HATED it! I wanted a different husband and a different life. It was a horrendous struggle for the both of us. Just the mere fact of getting to know one another was so excruciating. I think we talked about that in pre-marital counseling, but I didn’t remember any of it when we had our issues; which stemmed a lot for our awful personalities. I wanted him to familiarize himself with my ways and vice versa.

I do, however, remember wanting the husband described in Deuteronomy. He was called to be attentive, caring, and at home. For us, it didn’t happen immediately, but shortly after being married, God created a wonderful situation where Kevin and I were able to spend quite a bit of time together; his hours at work were cut and we began working together – daily. Whoa! Be careful what you ask for. Again, not easy, but we had to work on it. Before we knew it, our year had come and gone, we were still a bit clueless about one another and the truest sense of our intimacy suffered because we were trying to do EVERYTHING all at once which caused some very important things to fall by the side. God was so merciful to us.

I want to share with you what the commentary says about this Deuteronomy husband and also, why the first year of marriage is so important to God that He mentions it in His Holy Word.

Matthew Henry Commentary Breakdown:

In Deuteronomy 24:1-5 the Bible speaks specifically to the husband and the role he is to take in truly loving his wife. However, if he finds something wrong with her and begins to detest her, he may, of his own free will and hardness of heart write her a letter of divorcement. Furthermore, the Bible says that in order to avoid detesting his wife a husband is “not to be sent to war or have any duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.”
This fitly follows upon the laws concerning divorce, which would be prevented if their affection to each other were well settled at first. If the husband were much abroad from his wife the first year, his love to her would be in danger of cooling, and of being drawn aside to others whom he would meet with abroad; therefore his service to his country in war, embassies, or other public business that would call him from home, shall be dispersed with, that he may cheer up the wife that he has taken.

NOTE: 1. It is of great consequence that love be kept up between husband and wife, and that everything be very carefully avoided which might make them strange one to another, especially at first; for in that relation, where there is not the love that should be, there is an inlet ready to abundance of guilt and grief. 2. One of the duties of that relation is to cheer up one another under the cares and crosses that happen, as helpers of each other’s joy; for a cheerful heart does good like a medicine.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Couples: Bearing Burdens Together; as ONE

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Just recently, I received a call from Kevin during the work day, which is quite normal for us, but it was what he said that leads me today's post.

He called and asked me if everything was alright? Was I feeling well? If I needed anything from him? Crazy thing was, I wasn't feeling so hot, but no one knew this but God. Also, only God could have known that I needed a word from my covering. Kevin went on to say that he felt something was wrong and wanted to let me know that he was here for me; that my man was here for me and that he had my back.

Although my mood was kinda just alright, that call put me in a state of restoration; after the tears of course.

When reading about the story of Hannah and Elkanah in 1 Samuel Chapter 1, Hannah's weeping over her barrenness and Elkanah not only comforts her and has compassion for her, but he carries her burden as the Bible says a husband should. Based on this verse, the Matthew Henry Commentary shares, " Those that by marriage are made one flesh ought thus far to be one spirit too, to share in each other's troubles, so that one cannot be easy while the other is uneasy".

That's how I felt when Kevin called me that day; his Spirit was troubled because mine was. God knew that and gave my soul just what it needed.

Let's not forget to carry our spouses' burdens with them. They need our understanding, love, support and compassion.

Have a great Saturday!
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

QUESTION OF THE DAY!

Hey Covenant Groupies,

The color of REAL love.

We've seen, for years, many African American celebrities and non-celebrities taking a walk on the other side of love; non-African American relationships. The reasons vary from "not being able to find a man," African American women are loud," we have nothing in common," "black men are lazy" and they gone on and on.

Alfre Woodard, Halle Berry, Heidi Klum, Quincy Jones, George Sanford Brown, Kimora Lee Simmons etc. have all opted to date and marry outside of their race.

If your child came home with someone of another race, would that be a problem? If so, why? Does our Christian faith afford us the right to be liberal or affirmative in our perceptions and opitions about race?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

God's Grace: A Covenant to be Desired

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Today was a bit of a wild morning. I won’t go into all of the details, but it started off with my morning reading of Genesis 13, Psalm 19, Proverbs 19 and John 13. Kevin and I spoke about it briefly concerning something God spoke into my spirit last week about the two of us remaining BLAMELESS; not perfect, but without blemish where we can be called onto the carpet about anything. In other words, despite the character attacks, rumors and lies, we will remain blameless.

As I meditated on this, I was moved to revisit some other areas God took me to in my commentary in the book of Genesis. It talked about the Covenant God renewed with Abraham after he moved ahead of God and had Ishmael with Hagai. It struck me hard when I found out that because of he was not apart of God’s plan to be born, he would not be covered under the Covenant; only Isaac would be covered and sanctified.
The summary of the Covenant between Abraham and God reads like this:

1. What we may expect to find God to us: I am the Almighty God. By this name he chose to make himself known to Abram rather than by His named Jehovah, Ex. 6:3. He used it to Jacob, ch.28:3,14; 48:3. It is the name of god that is mostly used throughout the book of Job, at least in the discourses of that book. After Moses, Jehovah is more frequently used, and this, El-Shaddai, very rarely; it bespeaks the almighty power of God, either, (1.) As an avenger, from sdh he laid waste, so some; and they think God took this title from the destruction of the old world. This is countenanced by Isa.13:6, and Joel 1:15. Or, (2.) As a benefactor s for asr who, and dy sufficient. He is a God that is enough; or, as our old English translation reads it here very significantly, I am God all-sufficient.

He is enough to us, if we be in Covenant with Him; we have all in Him, and we have enough in him, enough to satisfy our most enlarged desires, enough to supply the defect of everything else, and to secure to us a happiness for our immortal souls.

2. What God requires that we should be to Him. The Covenant is mutual: Walk before me, and be thou perfect, that is upright and sincere; for herein the Covenant of grace is well-ordered that sincerity is our gospel perfection. Observe, >(1.) That to be religious is to walk before God in our integrity; it is to set God always before us, and to think, and speak, and act, in every thing, as those that are always under his eye. It is to have a constant regard to his word as our rule and to His Glory as our end in all our actions, and to be continually in His fear. It is to be inward with Him, in all the duties of religious worship, for in them particularly we walk before God (1Sam. 2:30), and to be entire for Him, in all Holy conversation. I know no religion but sincerity. >(2.) That upright walking with God is the condition of our interest in all sufficiency. If we neglect Him, or dissemble with Him, we forfeit the benefit and comfort of our relations to Him. >(3.) A continual regard to God’s all sufficiency will have a great influence upon our upright walking with Him.

This was a great start to a day that I have walked into with all joy and voluntary availability.

lord, I pray to stay in Your Covenant of Grace as Abraham, Sarah and Isaac. When I have taken liberties with your grace and mercy, reveal that to me, so that I may confess and repent, afterwhich, please restore me back to your Covenant of grace.

In Jesus Name I pray,
Amen

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Date Night

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Our date night delight tonight was a night at the theater. We saw C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters.

WOW!!!!! Is all we continue to say.

Will post thoughts tomorrow.
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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Praying Together: Necessary for Marriage to Last

Hey covenant Groupies,

Although it was announced a few weeks ago that the National Day of Prayer was no longer going to be recognized by the government, President Obama is now asking that we honor and recognize it today. If it had passed, he would have been the first President in office never to celebrate it.

So, in honor of prayer, you know we're talking about prayer and marriage and how necessary it is in the lives of couples who desire to live in a satisfying and lasting marriage.

Author Dennis Rainey wrote this article that I thought was really appropriate for today.

ENJOY!!



Prayer: The Secret to a Lasting Marriage
Dennis Rainey
Executive Director of FamilyLife Ministries

Maybe you've had a similar experience with your own spouse:

One night, my wife Barbara and I ended up in bed facing in opposite directions.

Since early in our marriage, we have prayed together each night before we go to bed. But that night, I didn't want to pray with her. In my conscience, however, Jesus Christ was asking me, "Are you going to pray with her?"

"I don't like her tonight, Lord," I replied.

"I know you don't," He said. "But you're the one who tells people that you pray with your wife all the time." Slowly, the Lord turned me over, and I said, "Sweetheart, will you forgive me?" And Barbara and I talked and prayed.

I thank God for that tradition of prayer He has helped us build early in our marriage. I am not exaggerating when I say that Barbara and I might not still be married had it not been for daily prayer.

If there is one simple ritual I would urge couples to begin adopting in their marriages, it is this one -- the habit of praying together every day.

When I was still a newlywed in 1972, I asked my boss and mentor, Carl Wilson, for his single best piece of marital advice. He and his wife had been married 25 years and had four children.

"Denny, that's easy," he said. "Pray daily together. Every night for 25 years we have prayed together as a couple."

Since that day nearly three decades ago, Barbara and I have missed daily prayer fewer than a dozen times. That discipline has helped resolve conflicts, kept communication flowing, and, most importantly, acknowledged our utter dependence upon
Jesus Christ as the Lord and Builder of our family.

Surveys at our FamilyLife Marriage Conferences indicate that less than 8 percent of all couples pray together on a regular basis. I suspect that less than 5 percent of all Christian couples pray together daily.

Let's bring back a popular slogan from the 1950s: "The family that prays together stays together." I believe that if every Christian couple would pray together regularly, our nation would experience a spiritual renewal of historical proportions, including a dramatic drop in the Christian community's divorce rate.

And when the divorce rate drops within the church, we will see a spiritual and moral awakening in America.

I want to challenge you to something today: to commit to praying with your spouse for one week before you go to bed each night.

Please don't say you're too busy for this. Don't let time in front of the TV watching a ball game or a sitcom keep you from praying together. The average American adult watches 30 hours of television a week -- and there has to be a little time in there to pray!

By the same token, don't let hobbies, singing in the choir, or working at the church keep you from praying together. It's easy to get busy -- we all have a lot going on in our lives. But don't get so busy that you can't make the time to pray together with your spouse. Avoid living independently of one another. God gave you your spouse, and your marriage is the single most important relationship you have on this earth.

Of course, you'll have interruptions when you pray together. Anyone with a telephone, children, or even pets can be guaranteed of that! But I encourage you to go past the interruptions. Time for devotion and prayer with your wife or husband is just too important.

When you pray together, you multiply your joys, divide your sorrows, add to your experiences with God together, and help subtract your haunting past from your life. During the rugged times of your marriage, you can share your burdens. Prayer can also take away the desire to get even and replace it with a willingness to work things out.

I urge you to make this commitment with your spouse. You may be afraid to start, and let me assure you, you are not alone. Many people are hesitant to start praying with their spouses. If this is the case, try saying this prayer: "Lord, teach me how to pray with my spouse. I'm afraid."

I can promise you; it will be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do for your marriage and for your family.


About the author: Dennis Rainey is the executive director of FamilyLife, an organization founded in 1976 with the goal of effectively developing godly families, one home at a time. Parents of six children, Dennis and his wife, Barbara, have written numerous books, including best-sellers Moments Together for Couples and The Questions Book for Marriage Intimacy.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

QUESTION OF THE DAY!

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Today's question is spicy and requires some real Biblical thought.

If you found out that your spouse has been unfaithful, does that mean that the marriage is over or requires that some work, maybe work you've never done before, is required?

Is infidelity a deal breaker?
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Monday, May 3, 2010

A Godly Man – Not a Passive Man

Hey Covenant Groupies

Recently, the Lord woke me up in the middle of the night with this message to post for today.

Show me a passive man and I’ll show you a ministry that’s lacking, a wife that’s not being properly led, a family that’s out of control and a man not walking in the warrior image of God. This man has, unfortunately, allowed the Fall of Adam to truly define his life. Adam's passivity has befallen and remained the over arching factor in many men's lves. But God has created man to be consumed with walking in His Ways, His Will and being obedient to His Work. How can that happen when far too many men have relinquished their leadership roles to their wives? It saddens me to see a man that has become so comfortable with having his wife lead and make every decision that affects them as a couple and family all on her own.

We’ve heard everything from, “She just makes better decisions than I do,” “She doesn’t take what I say seriously and I’d rather avoid the argument anyway,” and “I’m never home to make any decisions.” Our men have even stopped standing up for us. How many of us can actually call our husbands heroes? How have we gotten so far away from the hunter, the pursuer, the fighter, the rescuer and the aggressive men we read about throughout the Bible; the man of Christ even?

The very essence of a man is strength and masculinity and when that has been forsaken, he’s totally denied God and misrepresented His very image. Conversely, many men take their manhood too far and are abusive, demanding, and severely rude; all in the name of headship or being the man of the house. But God, our God is not like that at all. He corrects when necessary and loves ALL the time.

Lets face it ladies, a man that stands up for what he believes and Who he believes in is undeniably irresistible; his truth is very sexy. His worship, His prayer, his fears, his hopes, his love are all pure and carry the weight of true sacrifice; because it’s what’s right ; what’s he’s been designed to do and not what’s comfortable.

I had no idea how much this even mattered to me until God reminded me of the many times; even recently how often Kevin has sacrificed himself to stand up for me and made me truly feel like a loved and desired woman. When I asked him why he does that he often tells me how he will always come to my rescue-NO MATTER WHAT!!! He says that he needs to be my hero; the restorer of my femininity. That’s HUGE for someone like me as I’m quite sure it is for many-many women!

I even love hearing him make great decisions for our family and making sure that everything runs smoothly because his role as a husband, provider and protector is so very important to him. A godly man does not fear the circumstance that could possibly jeopardize his reputation and image, but his concern always begins and ends with God and His image.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fred Hammond: Talking about Love, Marriage and Relationships

Hey covenant Groupies,

Recently, my PR Firm, Affinity Public Relations had the honor of hosting an amazing event at Gospel Uptown in Harlem. It was a Media Lounge and pre-reception at to help kick off A Night of Inspiration at Carnegie Hall.

Here's some footage I captured with Fred Hammond speaking about his new album, books he's currently writing, love, marriage and relationships. I cant wait for the album!!!

Hope you enjoy!!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lionhearted and Lamblike: The Christian Husband As Head Part#2

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Part #2 is here! This article is sooo good and is a continuation from yesterday's article.

Please share your thoughts.

Mutual Submission and Unique Roles
But the problem is that egalitarians seem to stop with mutual submission, as if that were all one needed to say about roles in marriage, or as if that is all that the text has to say. And when they stop there, most people today are left with great ambiguity and great confusion about the proper roles of husband and wife. Once you clarify for people that a husband and a wife should be mutually humble, and mutually ready to serve each other, and mutually eager to meet each other’s needs and build each other up—once you have said all that, there remains a great uncertainty as to what, if anything, distinguishes the role of husband and wife. Is it only the biological gift of childbearing that distinguishes the roles? Or is there something more pervasive?

What is so astonishing is that egalitarians don’t embrace what every ordinary reader can see in Ephesians 5. After declaring that there is mutual submission in verse 21, Paul devotes twelve verses to unfolding the difference in the way a husband and wife should serve each other. You don’t need to deny mutual submission to affirm the importance of the unique role of the husband as head and the unique calling of the wife to submit to that headship.

Jesus, the Bridegroom, Served His Bride
The simplest way to see this is to remember that Jesus himself bound himself with a towel and got down on the floor and washed this disciples’ feet (the bridegroom, serving the bride), but not for one minute did any of the apostles in that room doubt who the leader was in that moment. In other words, mutuality of submission and servanthood do not cancel out the reality of leadership or headship. Servanthood does not nullify leadership; it defines it. Jesus does not cease to be the Lion of Judah when he becomes the lamb-like servant of the church.

After calling attention to the mutuality of submission or servanthood in verse 21, Paul devotes the whole passage through verse 33 to making distinctions between the role of the husband and the role of the wife—between the loving headship of a husband who takes his cues from Christ, and the willing submission of a wife who takes her cues from how the church is to follow Christ.

What we need to hear from this text today is not just a call to mutual submission that leaves young men groping for what it means to be a husband and young women groping for what it means to be a wife. What we need to hear is what headship and submission mean. What are the positive, practical implications of being called head that give man his distinct role in marriage? It is not enough to say, “Serve one another.” That is true of Christ and his church—they serve each other. But they do not serve each other in all the same ways. Christ is Christ. We are the church. To confuse the distinctions would be doctrinally and spiritually devastating. So also the man is the Christ-portraying husband, and the woman is the church-portraying wife. And to confuse these God-intended distinctions, or to abandon them, results in more disillusionment and more divorce and more devastation.

The Roles Are Not Arbitrary or Reversible
One of the things that are crystal clear in Ephesians 5 is that the roles of husband and wife in marriage are not arbitrarily assigned and they are not reversible any more than the role of Christ and the church are reversible. The roles of husband and wife are rooted in the distinctive roles of Christ and his church. The revelation of this mystery is the recovery of the original intention of covenant marriage in the Garden of Eden.

You can see this most clearly when you ponder what sin did to headship and submission and how Paul’s teaching here in Ephesians 5 is so perfectly suited to remedy that corruption. When sin entered the world, it ruined the harmony of marriage not because it brought headship and submission into existence, but because it twisted man’s humble, loving headship into hostile domination in some men and lazy indifference in others. And it twisted woman’s intelligent, willing, happy, creative, articulate submission into manipulative obsequiousness or groveling in some women and brazen insubordination in others. Sin didn’t create headship and submission; it ruined them and distorted them and made them ugly and destructive.

Recovering Roles from the Ravages of Sin
Now if this is true, then the redemption we anticipate with the coming of Christ is not the dismantling of the original, created order of loving headship and willing submission, but a recovery of it from the ravages of sin. And that’s exactly what we find here in Ephesians 5:21-33. Wives, let your fallen submission be redeemed by modeling it after God’s intention for the church! Husbands, let your fallen headship be redeemed by modeling it after God’s intention for Christ!

Therefore, headship is not a right to control or to abuse or to neglect. (Christ’s sacrifice is the pattern.) Rather, it’s the responsibility to love like Christ in leading and protecting and providing for your wife and family. And submission is not slavish or coerced or cowering. That’s not the way Christ wants the church to respond to his leadership and protection and provision. He wants the submission of the church to be free and willing and glad and refining and strengthening.
In other words, what Ephesians 5:21-33 does is two things: It guards against the abuses of headship by telling husbands to love like Jesus, and it guards against the debasing of submission by telling wives to respond the way the church does to Christ.

Defining Headship and Submission
So let me close for now with brief definitions of headship and submission and then come back next week, Lord willing, with practical application of what this headship in particular looks like.

Headship is the divine calling of a husband to take primary responsibility for Christ-like, servant leadership, protection, and provision in the home. (See next week’s message for the biblical basis of the words “leadership, protection, and provision.”)

Submission is the divine calling of a wife to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts.
A good deal is at stake here. I hope you take it seriously whether you are single or married, old or young. Not just the fabric of society hangs on this, but the revelation of the covenant-keeping Christ and his covenant-keeping church.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lionhearted and Lamblike: The Christian Husband as Head, Part 1

Hey Covenant Groupies,

I found this interesting sermon on desiringgod.org today. It's taken fron Ephesians5:22-33. Its pretty long, but I do suggest that you read it in its entirety. You may very well find something that intrigues you or even mimicks your life right now.

This is just part#1. Part #2 will be posted tomorrow.


Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.


If the Lord wills, both today and next week we will focus on what it means for a married man to be the head of his wife and of his home. We focus on this for two reasons. One is that the Bible says in Ephesians 5:23, “The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church.” We need to know what the Bible means by this statement so that we can exult in it and obey.

The other reason is that few things are more broken in our day than manhood and headship in relation to women and families. And the price of this brokenness is enormous and touches almost every facet of life. So for the sake of faithful biblical exposition and exultation, and for the sake of recovering biblical manhood and Christ-exalting family structures, we will, Lord willing, spend two weeks on this important issue of headship.

First Things First
Our emphasis in these weeks so far has been that staying married is not mainly about staying in love, but about keeping covenant. We did eventually come around to saying that precisely by this unwavering covenant-keeping the possibility of being profoundly in love in forty years is much greater than if you think of the task of marriage is first staying in love. Keeping first things first makes second things better. Staying in love isn’t the first task of marriage. It is a happy overflow of covenant-keeping for Christ’s sake.

We have spent most of our effort in these five messages so far pondering the foundations of covenant-keeping in the way Christ keeps covenant with us. We have looked at marriage as a showcase of covenant-keeping grace and as a combination of forgiveness and forbearance. And the last time we were together we took up the question: Can you help each other change? And if so, how do you do that graciously?

Headship Seen in Light of the Gospel
Up till now we have spent little time on the distinct roles of husband and wife—headship and submission. This was intentional. Foundations in the gospel are needed before these things can shine with the beauty they really have. There is nothing ugly or undesirable in these distinctions of headship and submission when they’re seen in the light of the gospel of grace.

So now the question presses on us: What is headship? And what is submission? The plan is to deal with headship in the next two weeks and then after Easter deal with submission and other issues relating to marriage.

This week will be largely foundation for headship, and next week will be largely application. What does it actually look like in practice?

The Mystery Revealed
Let’s move into this text at verse 31. It’s a quote from Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” In the next verse (v. 32), Paul looks back on this quote and says, “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”

Now why is the coming together of a man and woman to form one flesh in marriage called a mystery? Mystery in the New Testament does not mean something too complex or deep or obscure or distant for humans to understand. It refers to a hidden purpose of God that is now revealed for our understanding and enjoyment. Paul explains what the mystery is in verse 32. The marriage union is a mystery, he says, because its deepest meaning has been concealed by God during the Old Testament history, but is now being openly revealed by the apostle, namely, that marriage is an image of Christ and the church. Verse 32: “I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”

So marriage is like a metaphor or an image or a picture or a parable or a model that stands for something more than a man and a woman becoming one flesh. It stands for the relationship between Christ and the church. That’s the deepest meaning of marriage. It’s meant to be a living drama of how Christ and the church relate to each other.

The Parallel Between One Body and One Flesh
You can see how this is confirmed in verses 28-30. They describe the parallel between Christ and the church being one body andthe husband and wife being one flesh. Verses 28-29: “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it . . . .” In other words, the one-flesh union between man and wife means that in a sense they are now one body so that the care a husband has for his wife he, in that very act, has for himself. They are one. What he does for her he does for himself.

Then he compares this to Christ’s care for the church. Verses 29-30: “No one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.” Be sure to see the parallel: Christ nourishes and cherishes the church because we are members (that is, arms and legs and hands and feet) of his body. And husbands nourish and cherish their wives “as their own bodies.” No one ever hated his own flesh. Wives are our own flesh as the church is Christ’s own body. Just as the husband is one flesh with his wife so Christ is one body with the church. When the husband cherishes and nourishes his wife, he cherishes and nourishes himself; and when Christ cherishes and nourishes the church, he cherishes and nourishes himself.

All of this underlines what Paul calls a “profound mystery”—that marriage, in its deepest meaning, is a copy of Christ and the church. If you want to understand God’s meaning for marriage you have to grasp that we are dealing with a copy of a greater original, a metaphor of a greater reality and parable and a greater truth. And the original, the reality, the truth is God’s marriage to his people, or now in the New Testament, we see it as Christ’s marriage to the church. And the copy, the metaphor, the parable is human marriage between a husband and a wife. Geoffrey Bromiley says, “As God made man in His own image, so He made earthly marriage in the image of His own eternal marriage with His people” (God and Marriage, pg 43). I think that is exactly right. And it is one of the most profound things you can say about human life.

The Roles Are Distinct
One of the things to learn from this mystery is that the roles of husband and wife in marriage are distinct. Consider the way Ephesians 5:22-25 unpacks the role of husband and the role of wife in the mystery of marriage as a copy of Christ and the church: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Husbands are compared to Christ; wives are compared to the church. Husbands are compared to the head; wives are compared to the body. Husbands are commanded to love as Christ loved; wives are commanded to submit as the church is to submit to Christ.

It is astonishing how many people do not see this when they deal with this passage. Or, seeing it, neglect it. I have in mind those who would be called egalitarians—the ones who reject the idea that men are called to be leaders in the home. They put all the emphasis on verse 21 and the teaching of mutual submission. All agree that verse 21 is overflow from verse 18 where Paul commands us to be filled with the Spirit. Verses 18b-21: “Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

So submitting to one another is seen as an expression of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Husbands and wives who are filled with the Holy Spirit serve one another. They humble themselves and get down low to lift the other up. They find ways to submit their immediate preferences for comfort to the need of the other. Amen to that! May it happen more and more. I have no desire to minimize the mutuality of submission and servanthood.