Your Mate: God’s Perfect Gift, Part 1
About the Guest
Hear the many benefits to "leaving and cleaving" in marriage from pastor and marriage expert Crawford Loritts.
Hear the many benefits to “leaving and cleaving” in marriage from pastor and marriage expert Crawford Loritts.
Your Mate: God’s Perfect Gift, Part 1
Crawford: I'm not married simply because I want my sexual needs met. I'm not married because I want somebody to clean up after me. I'm not married because, when I come home, I want my food there. I'm not married because I want some little trophy wife, on my arm, when I go to the dinner or this kind of thing.
Your husband and your wife—they're not manikins. They're not a piece of jewelry. They're not something that makes you look good. That's the primary relationship in your life. Everything else—including how you spend your leisure time, your friends—they are woefully second to that primary relationship.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, November 14th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Is your marriage relationship your primary relationship?
Have you stopped to consider: “What is the purpose for your marriage?” We’ll consider both of those things today. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the—
Dennis: I’ve got a question.
Bob: You have a question?
Dennis: I think I know the answer to this. Have you and Mary Ann ever hosted an Art of Marriage® event?
Bob: The two of us together?
Bob: She has been the silent partner in our hosting of The Art of Marriage.
Dennis: Of course, but she’s by your side.
Bob: Oh yes. Oh yes, we’ve had opportunity. We’ve had a couple of Art of Marriage events hosted at our local church, and we had nothing to do with that—that was other people in the church who said, “We’d like to host it.”
Dennis: Yes, but you put your stamp of approval on it.
Bob: I did.
Dennis: And you hosted it—
Bob: And it was a great ministry for the church.
In addition to that, I’ve had the opportunity to host an Art of Marriage event for people who are involved in local radio—
Dennis: Oh, that’s right.
Bob: —husbands and wives—where we’ve done that.
Dennis: Down at WinShape in Georgia.
Bob: In Georgia. And in fact, I’m going to be hosting one today and tomorrow at the WinShape Foundation for—
Dennis: You are omnipresent. [Laughter]
Bob: I do try to be.
Dennis: Here’s why we’re mentioning this, folks, because, if you see what’s happening on television—see what’s happening in our culture—marriage and family are in trouble. Frankly, about five years ago, FamilyLife pulled back and said: “How can we strike the best offensive weaponry to make a difference in marriages and families—in addition to everything else we have going on—our radio broadcast, Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways, our tools and resources we create?”
We thought, “We want to create The Art of Marriage and put that tool in the hands of lay couples—men and women—who want to make a difference in their neighborhoods, their communities—maybe, a bigger area—a section of the state.” We have now had in excess of—I think over 12,000 couples who have hosted The Art of Marriage in their community, with over 350,000 people attending.
Bob, we’re coming to folks today, saying: “Would you join this movement of lay couples, who want to make a difference in marriages and families, by hosting one on the weekend of Valentine’s, out in February—2-14-14. We are looking for 2,014 Art of Marriage events hosted by you.”
Bob: And if that’s not a great weekend for you, that is fine. You can pick a weekend that works better for you. But we thought: “Valentine’s on a Friday. Wouldn’t it be great if there were churches, all around the country, doing special events for couples on that weekend?”
Dennis: And couples, in their homes—hosting, maybe, half a dozen couples coming into their home—maybe, going down to their basement and watching the videos of The Art of Marriage. It’s a plug-and-play conference event that is a home run. I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging, but you were the one who created it. I was just kind of a bystander on this. It really is the finest material that is available out there—to really strengthen marriages and families—that we can put in your hands.
Bob: Well, you’re a little more than a bystander because you’re one of the people who is speaking as a part of The Art of Marriage video series. One of the guys who was one of the very first people that we talked to about The Art of Marriage—one of the first people we filmed for this—is a pastor from Georgia, who has the same birthday as you; right?
Dennis: Crawford Loritts is a very good friend; and frankly, is the highest-rated speaker on The Art of Marriage. There are over 15 different experts in this series. It’s not a talking-head.
If you haven’t been online to check it out, you really ought to go look at the trailer. You’ll see this is a cutting-edge, fresh approach to marriage and family; but it’s based on the best-selling book in history, the Bible.
Bob: That’s right. You can see the trailer at FamilyLifeToday.com.Just write that down, though, because today we want you to hear Crawford Loritts talking about God’s plan for marriage. This is taken from Genesis, Chapter 2. This is a live presentation Crawford was doing in another setting, but it gives you an idea of the kind of teaching that’s at the heart of an Art of Marriage event. Here is Dr. Crawford Loritts with input on God’s design for a husband and a wife.
Crawford: I love sitting down with couples who have been married 40, 50, 60 years. I love sitting down and just listening to them talk. I love looking in their faces and seeing the beauty of endurance—understanding that they've been through some storms together and the fact that they are still standing. It's not that they've just survived, but they have thrived because they've been through some storms together.
They don't make as much as they used to. They've had to downsize and sell the house. The kids, sometimes, have to send them a little help; but their sweetness—there’s a wealth of experience there, and they've made it. That's a vision for myself and for Karen. I look at her sometimes and say: "I just want to be so old with you—you pass me the box of Depend®s." [Laughter] Ah, you laugh. You're going to get there. Are they showing? No? [Laughter] Alright; I'll hear about that.
Oneness grows as we receive our spouse as a gift from God. That's the big idea of this presentation. Circle that: "It grows as we receive our spouse as a gift from God."
You might say: "I don't feel like he's a gift from God. I feel like he's a gift from somebody else. I'm not going to mention his name, but I don't feel like he's always a gift from God." Yes.
God's plan for oneness in marriage involves three responsibilities. You must leave, cleave, and become one flesh. That's God's plan, based upon His purposes. Simple—leave, cleave, and become one flesh. Somebody asks you, “What is God’s plan for marriage, rooted in this Sacred Book here? What is His plan?” “Leave, cleave, and become one flesh.” Every successful, distinctively Christian, marriage is framed by those three ideas:
You leave, you cleave, and you become one flesh. Now, we're going to unpack that in this presentation.
First of all, you leave. The first responsibility is to establish independence from your parents. One of the things that disturbs me a little bit—a trend over the last few years in our culture—this is very, very disturbing to me—but adulthood and adult independence is getting later, and later, and later, and later, and later, and later, and later.
You know, we are living in a culture in which we are not raising our kids to celebrate and to embrace independence. There is this tacit expectation that we've created in our children—that it's okay to keep relying upon Mom and Dad.
Hear me on this. Karen and I have raised four kids. One of the things that you have to have locked dead in your mind is that those kids are born to go. [Laughter] I don’t mean that as funny. They’re born to leave. You have to, not only expect that, you’ve got to raise them and instill that expectation in them. You have to instill that in. You have to embrace independence. Set them up for independence—to go, to leave.
And some of us are reaping a harvest of parental interference because, quite frankly, we have encouraged them to interfere. We’ve overly relied on them—overly depended upon them. If you give a dance, you have to pay the band.
You’ve asked them for stuff. You’ve asked them for money. You’ve asked them to come and help you out. You’ve left the door wide open. So, don’t be surprised if they give you lots of unsolicited advice. It is a huge pattern in our culture. Kids are growing up with the expectation: “Hey, yo, dude! Mom’s going to take care of me,” “Dad’s going to take care of me.” We've got to break this whole cycle.
Genesis 2:24 says: "Therefore, a man shall leave”—the Hebrew for leave means go—get out—"his father and his mother." I'll never forget—our youngest son told us—my youngest son, when he graduated from college, was being interviewed by this large urban church to be the youth pastor there in Chicago.
So, you know, he'd gone through the interview process and this kind of thing. Then, the final question—he was telling me this—the senior pastor asked him—he said: "Now, Brendan, once again, why do you really want this position? Why do you really—what's on your heart?" He went on and talked about his passion for young people—and yada yada—and went on. He said, "But there is one other thing I've got to tell you." He said, "What's that?" "My Dad said I can't come home." [Laughter]
And he said that did the deed. So, you see? You laugh, but it's true. Now, leaving must be done in the context of honor to one's parents—honor to them. They have sacrificed for us, and they have carried us, and they have invested in us; but we need to do it in a way that honors our parents.
At the top of page 57: "It is essential that your spouse is the primary relationship in your life." Your spouse is the primary relationship in your life. Your in-laws must know that—on both sides of the equation--that once you say "I do," those significant relationships change. Your mother is always your mother, but your mother is not your wife. Your father is always your father, but your father is not your husband. The critical primary relationship has to do with you two.
One of the gifts that—and Karen's been really good at this—that we have given our kids—we have huge traditions, growing up around the holidays—but when they got married, we said to them: "Your marriage, your relationship, and your traditions are primary. We don't want you to feel the pressure of having to do what we've always done, as a family."
I think you need to pull some of those expectations off the table very, very practically—that now, this is the primary relationship. I’ve run interference with my parents about certain things: “No, no. What Karen says goes.” I will always back my wife up, and vice versa. You have to establish the boundary—practically speaking—project—this is, indeed, the primary relationship. If you don't do that, you are inviting huge problems in the marriage and in the family.
Be careful not to be financially dependent on your parents.
Now, in today's economy, certainly, we all need help. Certainly, we all need help. For younger couples, let me give you this piece of advice: “If your parents give you money, please offer to pay it back.” Offer to pay it back. Don't continue like you were, as a teenager. Let them see you owning the responsibility of your own direction and of your own life.
People will treat you the way you let them treat you. Part of the problem with controlling parents is that children do not project enough independence. We revert back to this "Mommy/Daddy, help me," mindset. I'm not talking about being-in-your-face, but project the fact that you are willing to take the responsibility for your own life and to stand on your two feet. People will treat you the way you project yourself and you let them treat you.
Again, I labor this because this is a huge issue. I have met 50-year-old men—who get around their mothers and fathers—and act like they're 14. Help, yes—dependence, never. Rough spots in our lives—understand that.
Letter C: "Beware of over-dependence in other areas—friends, hobbies, and activities." Remember, when you said "I do," you're married; okay? You can't act like a teenager. You can't act like hanging around your boys all the time or hanging around your girlfriends all the time. Your hobby is not your surrogate mate. This is the establishment of clarity about this relationship right here.
I'm not married simply because I want my want my sexual needs met. I'm not married because I want somebody to clean up after me. I'm not married because, when I come home, I want my food there. I'm not married because I want some little trophy wife, on my arm, when I go to the dinner or this kind of thing.
Your husband and your wife—they're not manikins. They're not a piece of jewelry. They're not something that makes you look good. That's the primary relationship in your life. Everything else—including how you spend your leisure time, your friends—they are woefully second to that primary relationship. A very, very important concept—leave.
Now, let's make it personal. Is your attachment in any of these areas hindering oneness in your marriage? Take a look at these things. What about parents' money? This is a little something that they use to reel you in—overly trying to please your parents because you don't want Mount Vesuvius—you don't want them upset.
Past romances—things that you have not cut the tie with—hobbies—more in love with the first tee, or the fishing boat, or whatever?—friendships, after-work parties, pre-marriage dreams, siding with parents versus spouses. You go, "Ouch, I didn't realize we were going to get this personal." Yes.
The degree to which you leave is the degree to which you can cleave. I mean, that's a huge statement. The degree to which I sever the tie is the degree to which I can cleave to my wife or my husband.
Roman numeral II: “The second responsibility is to establish commitment to one another: ‘Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife.’" You know, the last 15 years or so, we've gotten scared of the term, co-dependent; and rightly so. Co-dependence is a very unhealthy thing—where you smother one another. You're so personally needy that you end up controlling each other, emotionally. That's not a healthy thing. That's not a healthy thing. However, the very fact that you are married says that you passionately need the other person.
Interdependence is a wonderful thing. God has called us to be healthfully interdependent on one another. You need that person sitting next to you.
You desperately need that person sitting next to you. When you said, "I do," it was a statement of profound neediness. You don't know what you would do without the other person, and that's where this cleaving comes together.
That person—that you're married to—must never feel as if you are using them; rather, that you profoundly need them. That's the reason why I tell young couples—if one is painfully independent and cannot press into the other—I always tell them, "Hey, back off a little bit until you can get to that point. Don't get married—not just yet." Genesis 2:24 says, "Therefore, shall a man leave his father and mother and hold fast his wife."
God created Adam with an unmet need. Adam was alone. And, by the way, this is prior to the fall—obvious observation. So, neediness is not a sinful disposition. Neediness is not something that came along later on, because we were sinfully inclined, and it's a part of the fall. No, God created—and this is a profound statement—prior to the fall of man, God created, in all of us, an unmet need. To be needy in this regard is extraordinarily healthy.
Bob: Well, we've been listening to the first part of a message from Crawford Loritts about God’s design for marriage. Again, Crawford is one of the featured speakers in The Art of Marriage video event that we’re hoping many of our listeners will rally with us on and host one of these events coming up in 2014. We thought Valentine’s weekend might be a great weekend for couples to do this.
Dennis: It would, in all 50 states. In fact, we have a map where you can click your location and register your conference—whether it’s held in a church; your basement; maybe, in a friend’s house; in a school; on a military base. There have been lots of these held in various locations, including on boats that have sailed in the Gulf of Mexico.
Bob: That’s right.
Dennis: Here’s what we want you to do. Be a part of the movement of 2014 events that we’re hoping and praying will occur on February 14—that’s 2-14-14—2,014 events—making a statement on behalf of marriage—saying: “You know what? I refuse to do nothing. I want to do something for marriages in our community. We’re going to host this thing.”
Yes, it is a little work to do it; but it’s about as easy as you can possibly do it because we provide all the content—we provide the manuals. All you have to do is click on the location of your conference, register the date, and then begin to promote it. We’ll even help you do that.
Bob: Right now, to show our commitment to this, we’re going to make the DVDs, and all that’s in the event kit, available to you, at no cost, as long as you will agree to take at least five couples through The Art of Marriage event, sometime in 2014.
So here’s what you need to do: Go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click on the link you see there for The Art of Marriage. We’ll get you a certificate that will get you a free event kit. Then, as soon as you’re ready to order your manuals, you include that certificate with your order; and the event kit comes to you, at no cost. It’s our way of saying: “Let’s do this together. Let’s make a difference.”
Dennis: Yes, Bob. The reason we’re doing this is because we want there to be no excuse for people to make a difference in marriages and families where they live. We want to make it easy for you to do it. We’ve created the kit, the manuals, the DVDs.
I’m telling you—I just talked to a guy, this afternoon, who had just come from one last weekend. There had been over 80 people attend. They had several people indicate a decision to receive Jesus Christ.
Dennis: So it’s evangelistic. He’s getting ready to hold another one next week. So, there are all these folks, around the country—we have some couples who have actually held—isn’t it 23—
Dennis: —or 24 events?
Bob: I think 24 was the last number I saw from our friends in North Carolina; right.
Dennis: And they’ve impacted thousands of people through The Art of Marriage. What we’d like to do is come alongside you and make you a hero for marriages and families where you live.
Bob: Go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link you see there for The Art of Marriage to find all the information you need about how you can get the certificate for your free Art of Marriage event kit. Then, let us know the date and location of your event. We’ll put it up on the map, and we’ll provide any help you need getting set up for this event.
Again, the website: FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link for The Art of Marriage; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY; 1-800-358-6329; that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY”.
And with that, we have to wrap things up for today. We want to encourage you to be back with us tomorrow when we’re going to hear Part Two of Crawford Loritts’ message talking about God’s plan for marriage. I hope you can join us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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