Welcome to the Winter 2015
edition of the From His Heart Newsletter: REAL
. We trust the insights below will be a blessing to you. Scroll down to view the following articles in this edition or click here
to download the newsletter as a pdf.
- How to Create Unity from Uniqueness in Your Marriage
- Q & A with Jeff - Dealing with Conflict in Marriage
- From Debbie’s Heart - What's Your Role in Marriage?
- A Note From Jeff
- Your Gifts at Work
by Dr. Jeff Schreve
One day when our girls were very young, I came home from work to find Debbie visibly exhausted and frazzled. The kids had completely worn her out. When I asked her how she was doing, she responded by saying, “The kids are still alive, so I’ve done my job!”
That frustrated little comment sent me into instant “fix-it” mode. “Well, what do we need to do? Should we put the kids in daycare? Should we hire someone to watch them? What about boarding school? Should we try that?!” I had totally missed her point.
Debbie wasn’t looking for me to fix it. She wasn’t looking for my solutions, she was looking for my shoulder to cry on. She just needed me to listen to her, commiserate with her, and give her comfort.
Nowadays when she approaches me with an issue, she’ll let me know upfront, “Now, I’m going to tell you something, and I don’t want you to fix it!” I sincerely appreciate the preface as it helps me know how to respond.
This story underscores the dramatic way in which God created the two sexes so uniquely different: with different abilities, different needs, and different ways of processing the world around us. But why the marked differences? God made men and women different so He could make them one!
In Genesis 2:23, Adam meets Eve for the very first time, and he is excited! He exclaims, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
To put this verse in the vernacular, Adam said, “Wow! This is it, God. This is my Mrs. Adam, the one I was looking for and longing for. She is like me… but not like me. She is the greatest companion I could ever imagine!”
I think the great philosopher Rocky Balboa described this relationship perfectly. When asked why he was attracted to his future wife, Adrian, Rocky said, “She’s got gaps. I’ve got gaps. Together, we fill gaps.” Well said, Italian Stallion!
You see, God made men with gaps… and He made women with gaps. But when a man and woman come together, they fill those gaps.
My life was pretty good before I met Debbie. However, after I met her, it became very good. She brings so much joy… so much fun… and so much love and beauty to my life. She’s so different from me. But we come together and fill those gaps. I help her, she helps me—and that’s what marriage is all about. We are much stronger together than we could ever be apart.
So don’t worry that you’re different from your spouse or significant other. Let those differences fill each others' gaps as you turn your uniqueness into unity!
Q: Pastor Jeff, you talk about how God created men and women differently in order for them to compliment one another. So why is there still conflict?
A: Conflict is a direct result of sin. In the garden of Eden, the differences between Adam and Eve brought them closer together. All that changed, however, when sin entered the world. If you read about that event in Genesis 3, you’ll see that one of the first results of sin was for Adam to blame Eve for eating the fruit—even though he was right there with her when it happened (Genesis 3:6, 12)!
In much the same way, conflict in marriage begins when we give in to sin … which is inevitably going to happen at some point. So the important thing is to recognize what’s happening by identifying any sinful attitudes that are present in your own heart—things like pride, anger, and selfishness. Then, when you’ve addressed the sin and confessed the sin, you can start moving toward resolving the conflict.
Q: What can I practically do to move toward more unity in my marriage?
A: Unity in marriage is a lifelong process. It comes through effective communication and a sincere desire to meet the needs of your spouse. God made women with a need to be loved… and He created men with a need to be respected.
If a husband will really love his wife so she feels loved and cherished, and if a wife will really respect her husband so he feels respected and honored, unity and closeness will naturally happen. The key is to focus on your own job description, and do your job as a husband and as a wife. If you will meet your spouse’s needs, your needs will get met in the process.
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I HATE snakes. Loath them! A while back I saw a photo of a two-headed snake (I think we can all agree that anything with two heads is a freak of nature, right?). I did some research and found that any two-headed creature is both confused and vulnerable. They argue over who is going to eat… and often die of starvation. They can’t agree which direction to go when in danger and are extremely vulnerable to their prey. The result? They don’t live long.
Sadly, this can often describe marriage: two people fighting for control, causing the marriage to be starved of intimacy and closeness, and making them extremely vulnerable to the prey of affairs and divorce.
God created marriage, defines marriage and made the blueprint for marriage. He gave both the husband and wife different roles—each equally important. One isn’t better than the other. They are of equal value. The Bible tells us in Ephesians, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:22, 25).
Husbands are to LOVE
their wives and be a servant leader, not a self-serving dictator. You are not to be passive in the relationship, but you are to lovingly lead! God wants you to cherish your wife, sacrifice for her, protect her, and be faithful and true to her.
Wives are to be respectful helpers to their husband. (“Helper” is in NO way a demeaning term. In fact, God refers to Himself in both the Old and New Testament as “helper.” This term means “to bring something to someone that they are incapable of bringing to themselves.” That’s our job as wives!) A wife is to submit to her husband’s leadership.
This doesn’t mean you blindly obey or submit to verbal or physical abuse, but that you cooperate with him as he leads your marriage and family. God wants a wife to be her husband’s biggest cheerleader, to honor and affirm him, and his leadership, in the home.
Easy enough, right? HA HA!
The ONLY way we as husbands and wives can ever fulfill our roles in marriage is to first submit to God and allow His Spirit to fill and control us. Trust HIS plan and daily look to Jesus to give you the power to love and respect your spouse.
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A Sunday school teacher walked into church one morning with two bottles: one filled with water, and one filled with whiskey. He was going to talk to his class about the evils of alcohol and had the perfect illustration in mind.
So as class began, he put the two bottles on the front table. Then he pulled two worms out of his pocket. He dropped one into the whiskey and one into the water, and he told the class to watch.
Within a few minutes, the worm in the whiskey bottle had curled up in a ball and died. But the worm in the water was swimming around and having a great time.
“Okay, class,” the teacher said, “what’s the obvious lesson here?”
One little boy spoke up and said, “Drink whiskey and you won’t get worms!”
When it comes to marriage, many people today are a lot like that little boy: They’re missing the point! As our society tries so hard to tell men and women they’re really the same, people are becoming more and more confused.
But God doesn’t want us to live in confusion. That’s why so much of His Word is dedicated to explaining and understanding the uniqueness that exists between men and women. And when we open and read His blueprint for human creation, we find refreshing clarity in who He’s created us to be!
I’m so excited to be able to help uncover that blueprint for you by sending you my sermon series,Understanding the Sexes: God’s Blueprint for Men and Women. Another helpful sermon series,Family Matters: What Does God Say about the Troubles Families Face?, will help you as you seek the Lord in raising your family according to His word.
It’s my prayer these two encouraging resources would help strengthen your marriage and family in these troubled times. So thank you for giving—and for standing with us to share real hope from the loving heart of God with men and women around the world!
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Such practical, God-inspired teaching! I’ve now listened to every archived sermon on your website. I’ve also shared them with many coworkers and friends. I even showed a stranger in a doctor’s waiting room how to access your sermons through the OnePlace app. We were talking about both our mothers battling lung cancer, and I just had to share! —Renee
Your ministry is such a blessing. I appreciate so very much that you stand on the truth and look to Jesus. Thank you for being a trustworthy light. —Amber
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