The “Marriages that Minister” study was very eye-opening for me. It explores in a much deeper way how the relationship of Christ and His Church is mirrored in the relationship between a husband and his wife. Passages on marriage that I had always looked at in very shallow, obvious ways were revealed to have much more meaning and depth when they were opened up and examined in light of God’s goodness, His perfect design, and His great love for us. It caused me to look at how Jesus loves, encourages, and relates to His bride, and how He wants me to apply those same principles in my relationship with mine. – Chris
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Not being married, I came in wondering exactly how this was all going to fit into my life. God spoke to me about applying this to every relationship, not just for marriages. My personal union with Christ is the most important thing. Intimacy with others will come out of this. – Jennifer
Truly understanding God’s design for marriage to be a portrait of Christ and His bride the church, whose divine mission is to reveal heavenly truths and bring Him good pleasure changed my heart. Actually, I am “broken-hearted” and grieving that my marriage was so far from this purpose and design for so many years. The essence of not understanding that brings turmoil and destructiveness into our marriage.
“Hope” was imprinted on my heart. Knowing that through an intimate relationship with Christ, we can be empowered to minister to each other gives me hope that our marriage can be healthy again. This strength will move us toward the goal of fulfilling this portrait.
This series has provided me with a great understanding of the institution of marriage through God’s eyes. His plan, purpose, and design are so clear now. It is my desire to fulfill His plan and renew my covenant with Christ and my spouse. – Darnell
“Marriages that Minister” has been used to strengthen my relationship with Christ and bring the intimacy to a much deeper level. I have a better understanding of election and how that relates to my choosing of my husband. I love my husband and through this study understand that I am to love him in the way I am biblically called to as his wife; loving, respecting, and empowering him towards godliness as my walk with Christ deepens.
I found the matrix on encouragement to be the most misunderstood by the world but have so much appreciation for the truth of it. Just as unity with Christ is expressed by singing praises to Him when my husband and I are connected on a deep level emotionally, and spiritually, we are led to an intimate level of praise physically. This in turn is praising Christ for the marriage that He has blessed us with. Expressing our gratitude and thankfulness sexually enters my husband and me into a deeper level of unity. I believe this is the most challenging topic to minister to others. Our world has corrupted the sacredness of sex. Sex isn’t designed as a duty or as a way of creating unity without understanding our identity, intimacy, and industry with Christ. Christ designed sex as a way of expressing the intensity of our spiritual love given to us by God.
One of my favorite phrases said was how spouses are not designed to need one another but can be the icing on our life. I think that is a wonderful thought. My husband is placed in my life to walk with me, as God guides us. He is a precious gift but not something that my life depends on. In the situation that my husband and I faced, I had to learn that I could not depend on him for happiness or joy. I was to only look to Christ for all my needs. There was such freedom in releasing our marriage to Christ. My marriage was His and it was not my job to change my husband but to be his helpmate. I was giving my husband a place in my heart that was only intended for Christ.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to be under such wise counsel. My husband and I make an effort daily to grow our marriage using the picture of Christ’s relationship with the church. God has been so faithful, and God has helped us to endure the trials we have faced in our marriage. We believe that God wants greater things for marriages than what we are seeing in marriages today. My growth through this study has been amazing and my prayer is that I can use what I have learned to be a testimony of God’s mercy, grace, and love in our lives and marriage. – Tiffany
I have grown so very much throughout this class. We believed that our marriage, even though rocky at times, had grown and was becoming stronger. I am thankful that Christ intervened and made us aware of how we needed to proceed in order to be properly restored through Him. We were still trying to do things on our own without Christ. Even in this class, there have been times we have had ups and downs. I would contribute that to mostly the both of us being resistant to release control and allow God to transform us and our marriage into His image.
Each lesson taught me something I didn’t previously know and had not been taught. My husband and I both come from divorced families and had no clear examples of husband and wife in a marriage ordained by God. I have gained so much knowledge in learning my role as a godly wife and am grateful that Christ has given me practical instructions through His word which has been so clearly explained in this class. To know what is expected of me as a godly wife and to completely understand what that means when given in scripture has opened my eyes to something I have never experienced.
With this new knowledge, I realized that I had been insecure and had placed my husband in the God-place by seeking security, validation, affirmation, significance, identity, and love in him and not Christ. These were things that kept me in bondage to dependence on him, self-seeking gratification, and being self-absorbed because I was looking for completion in things, not Christ. All the while portraying that things in my family were “perfect,” seeking to please the world and what “it” says the standard should be.
We both have agreed that allowing our marriage to reflect the things we have learned will minister to others. Most people will say they want what they once had, but we have decided that we want better than we had—to be new in Christ. – Erika
When we were invited to attend “Marriages that Minister” I was just thinking to myself, finally, I get to tell on my wife, and everyone will see how I had been treated and see her for what she really was—a front. What I didn’t plan on was God revealing what kind of a person I really was (not loving, cold, mean, selfish, prideful, etc.) and how He was going to change my life.
I have learned so much from this godly wonderful group and how Kirk and Melanie presented God’s plan for having a godly marriage. I had no idea about how to be a godly person, husband, leader, father, or family man. Learning how God’s design for marriage started with Adam and Eve and how our marriage is outlined to mirror Jesus’ love for the church was a GREAT MYSTERY to me, but now I understand the concept and embrace it. Our marriage was struggling tremendously, and we were on the verge of a divorce, but we didn’t even realize this until this group revealed how far from God our lives were. Jesus’ love for me and forgiveness of my sins has strengthened my relationship with Him, thus empowering me to dwell with my wife with understanding. Christ’s relationship with the church which exemplifies the husband’s relationship with his wife was now my quest to learn, obey, and achieve. Having a true relationship with Jesus and allowing Him to reform my life meant I had to die to self and give up my free will. I have made up my mind to die to self and to allow God to change every aspect of my life. – Kenneth
What did you learn from Marriages that Minister that you think others really need to know?
The contrast between marriage as the Lord has intended it and what “we have made it.” And yet by grace and empowerment through Christ, we may attain a glimpse of God’s holy purpose for our relationship and live beyond “happiness” or mutual satisfaction. – Anonymous
I think what people really need to know is that the goal for marriage isn’t to make each other happy but to point each other to Christ. I think this goes against everything society tells us. Changing this view of marriage could really make a difference in people’s relationships. – Jennifer
First, the ultimate goal of marriage is to accomplish His good pleasure. It shows the world a portrait of Christ and His church. Marriage is not about getting what we desire. Second, teaching the iProcess is important. People have to see themselves (identity) as God sees them—they are loved by God. Too many people look for their worth in their spouse. Third, the kind of love a husband is to have for his wife is the least characteristic of what a man is. That love God designs for a husband to give is also the least way a woman desires to be loved. – Deanna
How is Marriages that Minister different from other marriage materials you know?
The focus is Christ and Christ alone – which proves wildly sufficient – and yet the depth and the facets of that truth are astounding to consider. – Anonymous
I love how you guys spent time focusing on our personal relationship with Christ as a priority, not just on how to BE better. Focusing on the heart issue I think is different from other marriage material. You didn’t just address the symptoms and give band-aids to cover those. You spoke to the heart of the issues. – Jennifer
“Marriages that Minister” focuses on Christ and what He can do through the couple. It teaches that marriages are not for self but to glorify God. It makes you look at your marriage in a totally different way than the world (and even the “Christian” world) does. It teaches you have to be right with Christ before you can be right with your spouse. – Deanna