Last week our family took a little trip to the BEAUTIFUL mountains in Asheville, NC for the Gospel-Centered Marriage Conference. This has to be one of the best conferences we’ve ever been to. The conference was not only about our marriage, but how to help our children as they go into their marriages.
I thought I had a good grasp on what marriage was about, but after 3 days of gospel-centered teaching I am upside down!!!
“Until we understand the cross, it’s almost impossible to understand marriage, because at the center of marriage is the cross. That’s why Paul says ‘This is a great mystery but I speak concerning Christ and the church”. What he’s saying is ‘I’m speaking of the cross’. Marriage is meant to display the glory and the accomplishment of the cross. On the cross was the ultimate sacrifice.” Scott Brown
The conference was not just for married couples but for whole families. Just imagine if you will, a huge room filled with about 2200 other people, from tiny infants to the elderly under some of the best teaching concerning marriage.
Friday afternoon Jeff and I went into one session while the girls sat under Paul Washer’s teaching. When we met up afterwards they were both on fire!!! Both of them…they could not stop talking…at the same time! They had both been convicted and encouraged. As a mom I cannot express the excitement in my own heart to see and hear my daughters (17 and 20), desire marriages that truly reflect the image of Christ. They are purposeful as they pray and PREPARE to be helpers to their husbands one day. They are aware of not getting caught up in the emotion and romantic fantasies that lead to disappointment, discontent marriage and broken hearts. That being said, there is no guarantee that they will never endure a broken heart, but they are going into adulthood knowing that marriage is not about ‘their needs being met’, but knowing that IT IS ABOUT THE GOSPEL!
From the onslaught of our sinful flesh, Hollywood, TV, Christian fiction, pop music and generations of un-Godly parenting and just flat out bad theology, it is amazing that any marriages survive.
At one point during the weekend I just sat back and felt the heavy of weight of why so many marriages, even within the Church fail. They fail because they started wrongly, they fail because they have such humanistic world views. They fail because they, both husband and/or wife, are not seeking God’s answers. And sadly, many pastors, teachers and counselors are not teaching from Scripture.
You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together.
One of the speakers, I can’t remember which one right now, talked of being yoked together. So often we think of this as they just both have to be Christians, but there is so much more to it than that! Because marriage is about being yoked together for God’s glory (and our good) and to do His work here (advancing the Kingdom); because of that there is much more to consider than are the two Christians.
When an ox is yoked to another ox, their ability to get work done is MULTIPLIED!
But if you yoke an ox with a donkey their ability to get work done is hindered greatly, it is always a struggle because they are not equally yoked.
This is why we will be involved in who our children marry (and they want us involved), this is why they need to understand what marriage is really about BEFORE their hearts are entangled in a relationship.
“We ought to be able to say with Thomas Gataker, ‘There is no society more near, more entire, more needful, more kindly, more delightful, more comfortable, more constant, more continual, than the society of man and wife, the main root, the main source, the main original of all other righteous societies in this world’. And yet, keeping an eye on eternity more than anything else, the Puritan’s shared Gataker’s longing that though we live together for a time as co-partners in grace here, may we reign together forever as co-heirs in glory hereafter.” ~ Dr. Joel Beeke
You can buy the MP3′s or the CD’s HERE. They are a must! I make no money off the sale of these I just think every family needs a copy! Do your marriage a favor, do your children and grandchildren a favor and listen to these. We NEED strong marriages and strong families…because there is a lot of work to do!