I am so relieved that we are down to the double-digits for
the wedding countdown. This semester has been a blur, and I find it hard to
believe that Fall Break is next week. Yes, there are plenty of
items left on the ever-increasing To-Do List, but I am looking forward to the
day when I can say that I have survived this semester...
The highlight of the school semester has been our Marriage Enrichment class. The class is in the middle of a three-week segment of communication exercises. Dr. Cutrer has us divided into small groups and within those groups we are instructed to pick a topic for discussion with our spouse/fiance'. The topics are intended to be neutral issues the two can commonly agree upon, rather than one broadsiding the other with some kind of attack. While the spouses are in the hot seat, the rest of the small group listens and observes how they are relating to one another (and whether or not they are really listening). I know that some can treat these as they are titled, mere "exercises," but there is so much to glean from such an assignment. Rather than treating it as an assignment, our small group as a whole seems to have really savored the opportunity to learn from one another. It's amazing what can be revealed when you are forced in such a setting to examine your tone of voice, nonverbals, and ability to actually listen in the presence of others. You also learn that men and women simply communicate in different ways on different levels, and much tension and anger can be alleviated when such is considered while trying to talk through an important or seemingly insignificant issue (I say that because I have been amazed at how quickly a "non-issue" escalates into one that is anything but insignificant).
With that said, here are more quotes from When Sinners Say "I Do", the book I have been reading during the few winks of spare time I have:
- This might be a helpful illustration for understanding the operation of remaining sin. Original sin fills the "engine" of our hearts with the "oil" of depravity--dark, greasy, and staining everything it touches. Circumstances come along and heat the engine. When the engine is hot--when events in our lives test our hearts--whatever is in the engine spews out. The heat (the circumstances) did not fill the engine with oil, it simply revealed what was in the engine. ~p. 70-71
- Your spouse was a strategic choice made by a wise and loving God. Selected by Him, for you, from the beginning of the world, your spouse is an essential part of God's rescue mission for your life. Often a spouse plays his or her part by raising the engine temperature and heating the oil. But if we're wisely honest we will realize that God is behind it all, revealing the familiar sin so that it might be overcome by amazing grace. ~p. 71
- It's not wrong to desire appropriate things like respect or affection from our spouses. But it is very tempting to justify demands by thinking of them as needs and then to punish one another if those needs are not satisfied. A needs-based marriage does not testify to God's glory; it is focused on personal demands competing for supremacy. ~p. 74
- Sinners who say "I do" have a different road to travel. It is the road of astonishing, undeserved grace--a grace so remarkable that it shows us the problem and then delivers the solution. ~p. 75