Author and counselor Paul David Tripp says the little, day-to-day moments in a marriage are profound. Because if God is there in the little moments, they are supremely important.
Author and counselor Paul David Tripp says the little, day-to-day moments in a marriage are profound. Because if God is there in the little moments, they are supremely important.
Bob: According to author and speaker, Paul David Tripp, marriages that thrive are marriages where husbands and wives do sweat the little stuff.
Paul: I would like you to do something, right in this moment—I would like you to pretend that you’re sitting with me in front of a flat screen television and we are watching together the little moments of your marriage. What would I see? What would I hear? The character of marriage isn’t set in three or four big moments. The character of marriage is set in 10,000 little moments of your marriage.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, March 6th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey. I'm Bob Lepine. If we could see all the little moments of your marriage, what kind of picture would that paint for us about how you love each other?
We’re going to hear more about that today. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Monday edition.
Dennis: Are you still rockin’?
Bob: Don’t you wish there was a boat big enough that we could get all of our listeners on one big huge cruise ship and just go do a cruise with everybody?
Dennis: One point six million listeners—[Laughter] —on a boat? I think it would sink!
Bob: That would be a big—it would be a big boat!
Dennis: If anyone could do it—Tim Bell, who headed up this year’s cruise—Tim could make it happen!
Bob: Tim, the cruise director.
Dennis: Tim, go get that ship built. [Laughter] In five years, we’ll have 1.6 million. Only thing is—we’re growing—so you better make it for 2 million.
Bob: The thing is—it’s just such a great week to be with everybody on the boat—kind of all pulling in the same direction / all like-minded when it comes to marriage, and family, and Jesus. I can’t think of a better week for couples than a week on the Love Like You Mean It® marriage cruise.
Dennis: I would meet people who had never been on a cruise before. I’d say, “I just want you to know—I feel sorry for you.” They’d look at me, “Why is that?” And I said: “Because what other cruise you ever go on is going to be downhill from here. You are onboard the most well-organized Christian cruise with great teaching, great music, ballroom dancing, comedians—
Bob: Movies under the stars.
Dennis: On and on it goes, Bob! I’m just telling you—if there’s a better one, I don’t know what it would be.
Bob: The reason we’re talking about this is because it was just two or three weeks ago that we were on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise—Valentine’s week.
We had 2,600 of our closest friends who joined us for the week.
Dennis: And they still were at the end!
Bob: Here’s the thing—we asked the folks onboard if they wanted to join us again next year—we’re 60 percent sold out for next year. We thought, “We better get to our listeners soon and let them know: ‘If they’d like to be a part of the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise in 2018, you better get in touch with us quick,’” because we’re headed to some beautiful ports. We’re going to be in the Dominican Republic / we’re going to be in Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas—got a great lineup of speakers / a great line up of musicians who are going to join us—and it’s a day longer next year than it was—
Dennis: Six full nights.
Bob: —this year.
Dennis: That’s exactly right.
Bob: So we’ll leave on Sunday morning—get back on Saturday morning. The cruise is starting to fill up. We wanted to just make you aware this is going to be happening. If you sign up between now and March 20th—that’s when the early-bird rate goes away—
—so if you want to take advantage of the best pricing available, now is the time to sign up. We do make it easy for folks who get in touch with us early to get onboard the cruise because it really is a great getaway for couples.
Dennis: If you want a little taste of what you’ll receive on the cruise, let me introduce you to one of the speakers this year—Paul David Tripp, who’s a pastor, author, and international conference speaker.
Bob, you mentioned, earlier, you saw him all around the ship—he was having a blast with his wife Luella onboard. The audience thoroughly loved his message.
Bob: He spent time on Thursday night talking about what is at the root of every marriage problem that every couple has. By the end of the evening, everybody was going: “That’s right! That’s the problem.”
Paul: Since this is the Love Like You Mean It cruise, I need to talk to you about the first time that I told Luella that I loved her.
We met in college—I was standing behind Luella in the college lunch line. For me, it was love at first sight / for Luella, it was first sight. [Laughter] After several months of dating, I decided that I was deeply, madly in love with her. I was shopping for that moment when I would look into her eyes and say those deeply romantic words. I thought I’d hear birds sing / violins play. Well, that evening came—it seemed like the right moment. I looked into Luella’s eyes—I said, “Luella, I love you.” She said: “You what?! You love me? What do you know about love? Don’t ever say that to me again!”
I heard birds dying!—[Laughter]—violins breaking! She was really quite right. I was the deeply mature age of 17—knew little about love.
I want to talk to you this evening about why marriage is such a struggle. Don’t look at me like you don’t know what I’m talking about. Why is it that this person—that once just brought such joy to my heart / when I would hear their voice on the phone, my heart would lift—is able to draw such irritation out of me?—is able to pull such hurt out of me? Why is it that we go through these awkward moments and disagreements? Why is all of that stuff going on?
Happy news this evening is you don’t have to wonder about that, because the Bible is very clear about why marriage is a struggle—and very clear about where help is to be found.
Maybe the best way to launch our journey together is to talk a little bit about my marriage. Luella and I have been married now for 45 years. [Applause] That, in itself, is an argument for grace. I know you’re looking at me and thinking, “This man is way too young to be married this long.” [Laughter]
Luella and I, throughout our marriage, have struggled with this one particular issue—well, it’s really been my struggle—it’s the issue of time. Some of you can relate to this. Luella was raised in Cuba. She has sort of an island and a Latin view of time.
[Laughter] She lives on a bit of a vibe—you know, if we agree on a certain hour—for Luella, it’s a rough estimate. [Laughter] I was raised by a man who thought the soul litmus test or the value of a human being was punctuality: “If you’re on time, you can live!” [Laughter] So we’ve struggled with this issue.
The point of this story is—Easter morning—our children were still home at this point. If you have multiple children, you know that even Sunday morning is not a relaxed time—we’re stuffing children in vans, saying: “Shut up! We’re going to worship.” [Laughter] We call that preparing our hearts for worship. [Laughter] It was Easter morning. Our church decided—for reasons I don’t really understand—to have a full breakfast before the service on Sunday morning. What that has to do with the resurrection of Jesus, no one knows; but it was a tradition.
Well, I woke up with feelings of futility; because I knew that that meant we had to leave an hour-and-a-half early. About time to go, I go into the bathroom—Luella’s standing there and our, then, nine-year-old son. I could tell by the way she was dressed that she wasn’t near being ready. I began to say helpful things to her—[Laughter] —like: informing her it was not an Easter dinner / it was an Easter breakfast—she found that helpful. [Laughter] That’s a lie! Telling her a couple of our children are already in the car, waiting—like usual. Reminded her that I was an elder in the church and my arrival before the ham and eggs was very important to my ministry.
About then, our nine-year-old son said, “Daddy, may I say something?” I should have said, “No.” He looked at me very seriously—he said, “Daddy, do you really think this is the way a Christian man should be talking to his wife?” [Gasps]
I said, “What do you think?”—trying to escape the conviction. This little boy looked at me, without hesitation, and said: “Daddy, it doesn’t make any difference what I think. What does God think?” I walk out of the bathroom, being duly corrected. I get to the threshold of the door; and I hear this little voice behind me, saying, “Daddy, may I say something else?” [Laughter] I’m thinking: “No, no! Please don’t!” He said, “Dad, what I mean is: ‘What does the Bible say about it?’”
I went into my bedroom. These two thoughts hit me right away: First, my pride reared up. I want to be a hero to my son—it was embarrassing that he saw through that moment and saw the tension his mom was feeling. That didn’t last very long. I want you to hear what I’m about to say—I immediately thought, “How could it possibly be that God would love me this much that He would have one twit of care about this minor little moment in the Tripp bathroom?” It wasn’t just a Paul and Luella moment—God was in that moment.
Now, think about this—this is one moment on one morning, in one room, in one house on one street, in one neighborhood, in one city, in one state, in one nation, on one continent, in one hemisphere, in one globe in the universe; and God is in that moment. That is love of such magnificence—I can’t wrap my brain around it!
Now, brothers and sisters—I think this is exactly what gets us in trouble. A husband will say something nasty to his wife in a little moment of life but he’ll walk away from it / backing away from it, saying: “It was just a little moment. She knows I love her.” A wife will lash out in bitterness that she’s carried for six months, but it’s in a little moment—she’ll say: “It’s just a little moment. He knows that I love him.” Listen, the little moments of your marriage are profoundly important—precisely because they’re the little moments.
If God doesn’t rule the little moments of your marriage, He doesn’t rule you; because that’s the address where your marriage lives.
I have little interest in talking to you this evening about the great big moments of your marriage, because that’s not where your marriage lives. The character of a marriage isn’t set in three or four big moments. The character of marriage is set in 10,000 little moments of everyday life. I would like you to do something, right in this moment—I would like you to pretend that you’re sitting with me in front of a flat screen television and we’re watching, together, the little moments of your marriage: “What would I see? What would I hear? What is happening in the little moments of your marriage?”
I have great enthusiasm for shining the searching light of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ on the little moments of your marriage.
I’d like you to turn in your Bibles, if you would, or get out your iPhone® or your iPad®—or what other weird, sad, off-brand you’re carrying—Laughter] —to 2 Corinthians,
Chapter 5. Now, I want to say something about the Bible that will be our guide, because I think this is important to say. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this or not, but your Bible isn’t arranged by topic. That frustrates some of you—you wish it was arranged by topic, and you wish that you had little tabs on the end of the page to give you / send you to your topic of interest. The Bible isn’t arranged by topic—because of divine editorial error—but because of divine intention.
The Bible is essentially a grand redemptive story. Maybe the better way to say it is: The Bible is a theologically-annotated story.
It’s a story with God’s essential explanations and applications. So that means that, if you want to understand marriage, you can’t just run to the passages that mention the word, “marriage”; because that’s not the way the Bible works. To the degree that every passage tells me about things about God, and things about myself, and things about life in this fallen world, and things about the disaster of sin, and things about the operation of grace—to that degree, every passage tells me about something / everything in my life. That’s how the Bible works.
I want to take you to a passage that—I think you cannot understand the struggle of marriage without this passage. Yet, I think that it’s familiar to us / we’ve read it many times; but we hadn’t been hit with its dramatic, relational import.
Let me begin reading just two verses—2 Corinthians, Chapter 5:14-15: “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this, that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.” Verse 15 says this: “He died for all.” Now, listen very carefully: “that those who live should no longer live for”—what’s it say?
Paul: In that phrase, “should no longer live for themselves,” Paul identifies something deep inside of every heart in this room, something deep inside of every couple who’s ever been married, and something deep inside of every human being that has ever lived.
That is the reason for the chaos of every relationship that’s ever existed in just a few words. It’s dramatically profound! It’s gloriously eloquent—Jesus came so that those who live should no longer live for themselves!
That’s what sin does for us—sin causes me to be way too self-absorbed, way too self-oriented, way too self-possessed. Sin causes me to stick myself in the center of my universe and make it all about me. Sin causes me to shrink the field of my concern down to the claustrophobic confines of my wants, my needs, my feelings.
Sin really does make it all about me—my wants, my feelings, my needs, my happiness, my plan. Paul says sin is fundamentally “me-istic”—it’s not a word—I made it up. [Laughter] “I want,” “I want,” “I want,”—that’s why you have never, ever had one single relationship in your life that hasn’t disappointed you—other than your relationship with God—because there’s something inside of us that pushes against all the things that are necessary to make love work—to make unity work, to make understanding work, to make romance work. Paul names it—it’s the selfishness of sin.
I want to live with a wife who says to me every day: “Of course Paul, I agree with you.” [Laughter] I’ve lived with the glory that is you.” [Laughter] I want to live in a world where chocolate is always at ready reach—just coat the world in it so I can take a bite. I want children who say, “Yes, father, I will forthwith go and obey because you, sir, are wise.” [Laughter] I want neighbors who move into the neighborhood just because I’m there. [Laughter] I want to drive on roads paid for by other citizens who choose not to use them. [Laughter] “I want…” “I want…”“I want…” “I want…” “I want…” “I want…” “I want…” “I want…” “I want…” “I want…” “I want…” “I want…” “I want…” “I want…” “I want…” “I want…” “I want…” “I want…” “I want…” “I want…” “I want…” “I want…” “I want…” “I want…” “I want…” “I want…” “I want…”“I want…” “I want…” “I want…”
Are you uncomfortable yet? [Laughter] “I want…” “I want…”
Welcome to the selfishness of sin. It takes the beauty and the brightness of marriage and makes it dark; because—when I’m driven, the core of what motivates me is what I want—what I say I need / what I feel when I’m in the middle of my universe. My marriage is driven by law: “You do what I want,” “You do what makes me happy,” “You sign on for my plan, and I will be nice to you; but you get in the way of my plan, and I will strike back at you in some way. I will punish you in some way.”
What a horrible way to live—it’s a marriage of human rules and human judgment. No wonder the joy is out of your marriage. No wonder the tenderness is out of your marriage. No wonder the happiness is out of your marriage. Listen—that doesn’t happen to us—we do that to us! You’ll never, ever move beyond that unless you own that’s inside of you—unless you own: “We do that to us.”
Now, notice the logic here—Paul is actually arguing that the DNA of sin is selfishness. That’s what sin is about—sin is always putting you in the middle of your universe; it’s you writing your rules; it’s you demanding your way. Now, you sort of know this.
Husbands, when you’re up in your wife’s face and saying something nasty to her, you’re not doing that because you’re ignorant of the fact that’s wrong. If you’re a Christian man, you know that that’s wrong. You’re doing that, at that moment, because you don’t give a rip that it’s wrong—because there’s something that you want and, at that moment, you will rise up and do what is wrong in the eyes of God; because there’s something you want from that woman—selfishness of sin.
Wife, when you set your heart on something and you won’t let it go—you beat on that man every day—day after day, after day, after day—until he’s beaten down. You don’t do that because you’re ignorant of the fact that that’s wrong. You do that because, at that point, you don’t care that it’s wrong. You’ve put yourself in the middle of the universe and you’re saying, “I will get from this man what I want, no matter what,”—selfishness of sin.
It’s the DNA of sin. You don’t sin out of love for someone else / you don’t sin out of love for God. You put yourself in the middle of the world and you say: “I am the lord. I will have what I want,”—that’s sin.
Bob: We’ve been listening to the first part of a message from Paul David Tripp. This is a message he presented just a few weeks ago onboard the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise as we were together with 2,600 folks, who were all there—they were there to relax, to have fun, and to listen to great music, and to see some great ports—but they were also there because they want their marriage to be as good as it can be.
Dennis: As I was walking off the ship Bob, a young man came up to me—probably, in his mid-30s—and he said: “I just got to tell you—we came to this event—we were not in the game. I’m so sad we haven’t been in the game.” I said: “But look! You’re in it now!
Dennis: “You’re going to move from the bleachers onto the field and get in the real game!”
He got a grin that broke out across his face and you could tell he got it—that marriages were put here by God, not for our happiness, but to make a statement to the world of who God is and what His love and forgiveness are like. It’s a great privilege to represent Him on planet earth.
Bob: We had such a great time with our listeners onboard the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise this year that we just want to make sure as many listeners as possible can join us next year. We expect that this cruise is going to sell out early. We’re going to the Dominican Republic, Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas. We are more than 60 percent sold out right now. If you are interested in being on the Love Like You Mean It marriagecruise, go to FamilyLifeToday.com and get more information; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY for more information.
The early bird rate ends on March 20th, and we expect to have a limited number of cabins available after that time. Get in touch with us now if you’d like to attend next year—online at FamilyLifeToday.com—or call 1-800-FL-TODAY and be part of the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise in 2018.
Now, tomorrow, we’re going to hear the conclusion of Paul David Tripp’s message on the biggest obstacle in your marriage. I hope you can join us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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