Sustaining Us

Ten Tips For Having A Healthy And Successful Marriage

Tim Lundy
Apr 25, 2021    42m
Have you found there are peaks and valleys in your marriage satisfaction? This message shares ten Bible-based tips for sustaining a healthy and successful marriage through the different stages of life. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

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This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: 00:08 What a great story. I loved hearing Sam and Reba share just their background, their perspective, and the reality of what they're dealing with now in marriage. And, you know, they told their story, this series, we entitled it, The Story of Us, because all of us have an us. And especially those of us who are married, these first few weeks were really focusing there on that marriage relationship. And last week we looked at how do you establish us, and some foundational principles for those who are starting out in marriage. This week, I want to shift it a little bit. What about those of us who've been an us for a long time? How do you sustain us? How do you protect it? How does it grow stronger over time? And I've been married 30 years now, and with seven kids, three grandkids, how do you sustain...And the thing about it that I love, is scripture speaks to it in every part of marriage and every part of life.
Tim Lundy: 01:18 And so this weekend, we're going to look at some just basic principles, again, just like last week, it was pretty basic principles. This week. I want to look at 10 ways to sustain us. Now, anytime you talk about marriage, we could talk about so much on it, but 10 ways, especially at a foundational level.
Tim Lundy: 01:36 So let's dive in and look at the first way. The first way is, all of us have to recognize and embrace your current season of marriage. This is the hard part about teaching a marriage series, is you've got a spectrum of people that are in different seasons of it, and a lot of ways you're experiencing something that is very unique to you as a couple, but also to your season. And as we think about it, you know, one of the books I love in the Bible is Ecclesiastes, in it Solomon has such practical wisdom that he lays out for us. And he speaks really honestly, he talks about some of the frustrations of life, the vanity of life, how life really has no meaning apart from God. But then he also talks about some of the practical and simple ways that God's blessed us in life.
Tim Lundy: 02:28 You know, famous passage from Ecclesiastes 3, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.", Ecclesiastes 3:1. Or if you're, you know, a fan of the old song, Turn, Turn, Turn, it goes through all the different ways that there's a different season. The same is true for marriage, and the different seasons have a different level, frankly, of marital satisfaction. As researchers chart it, you can kind of chart it. It doesn't go as clean as my graph is in just a second, but you can chart it, it pretty much follows a W in most marriages, there's always exceptions in it. Here's what I mean, the W of marriage, this is a marital satisfaction scale. So the higher up on it, higher people would say, we're satisfied with our marriage, not talking about family as a whole.
Tim Lundy: 03:21 And so newlyweds start out, and if you're new in a relationship, there's about an 18 month window, it really shouldn't even count because your brain is so flooded with hormones and chemicals, that love really is blind. That you're just as happy as can be, you think it's always going to be that way.
Tim Lundy: 03:39 And then on this scale, notice it takes a pretty strong plummet from this early point, when you add kids, a newborn, preschool kids. You just start adding in one or two here, and it goes way down on the marital satisfaction scale. It doesn't mean that you don't want to be married, it doesn't mean that you don't like having kids. I mean, kids are so fulfilling and so joyful, it's just as a couple, suddenly, a lot it's changed, you don't just have the two of you. One the markers, the reason it's so low here is, you're literally really physically exhausted. You're getting so little sleep, you're having to care for another person, you can be so focused, mom is so bonded, especially in those early months, that it really can have an impact.
Tim Lundy: 04:29 Now it's interesting, it climbs back up some during the elementary years, and you can understand why, suddenly you're not having to dress someone every day, they can dress themselves, they can feed them themselves. Just getting rid of car seats, I remember the time that was saved of just not having to load kids in the car seat, and you suddenly have a little more time for each other. And for the most part elementary kids still like mom and dad, mom and dad are somewhat cool.
Tim Lundy: 04:58 But notice it plummets again with teenagers. And again, this is one of those tough areas, it's not as much physically exhausting, it can be emotionally exhausting. And really, if you charted the W accurately, this point is lower a little bit even than this one, it's tough in those years.
Tim Lundy: 05:20 Now, if you walked through that and do it well, a lot of marriages, especially where they invested in the marriage, when they get to the empty nest, it climbs again.
Tim Lundy: 05:31 And so, it's just important to see wherever you are on this, and it doesn't always graph perfectly. I mean, there was a time in our marriage where we had a newborn up to a 16 year old, so we were covering all three of these categories at the same time, and it stretches you. I point this out because it's important for you to expect it, to not be surprised when you hit a season.
Tim Lundy: 05:59 You know, John Gottman, I think is probably the best the marriage researcher. And if you study the stats and the things that he researches in marriage, that 50% of all divorces, half of all divorces happen within the first seven years, and a lot of times it's because of this plunge right here. I mean, the expectation is, we're just going to stay up here all the time. And then when you find yourself down here, a lot of times couples will go, maybe I did something wrong, maybe I married the wrong person. And the surprise of that, opens the door to a willingness to bail on it. Maybe you're there right now, I'd encourage you, don't do it, don't give up right now. Don't live in this expectation that it's got to stay up here. Guys, marriage is a rollercoaster, it's not a merry-go-round. And rollercoasters, they have some ups and downs, but you know what, over time, rollercoasters are a lot more fun than the merry-go-round. And I would say by design, those challenges, those ups and downs, can actually strengthen your marriage.
Tim Lundy: 07:07 Now, with that, let's go to the second point, you've got to, in the ups and downs then, hold fast to God's expectations for your marriage, but hold loosely to years. Now, what do I mean when I say that, well, God has some clear expectations for your marriage. If you read the scripture, there's clear commands. And we looked at some of them last week, you can read through the Bible, but just even as you go through it, what are some of God's expectations for your marriage? Well that you, as a couple would leave and cleave, that you form your own household, that you'd be naked and unashamed, that you're absolutely vulnerable with each other, that you married for life, you don't pull apart what God brought together. God expects you to have a vibrant and active sex life, in fact, he commands it, he says don't deprive each other. The whole book of Song of Solomon celebrating how important that is. I mean, I can go through scripture after scripture, he calls you to love the way Christ loved, submit the way Christ submitted.
Tim Lundy: 08:13 There's all these expectations God has, and we need to hold tight to those, but let's be honest, we also bring expectations into the marriage. Now we don't always call them expectations, we don't say, well, I'm putting these expectations. We call them hopes, dreams, desires, and as you come into marriage with these things, some of it is the hope that this person is going to make me feel secure, or the expectation this person is finally going to make me happy, or the expectation we'll see life the same way. And so when it comes to money, or children, or how you hang the toilet paper over the top or behind, I mean, it can be big things or small things, and if we're honest, all of us add a layer of expectation on top of those core things that God expects of us. Now, here's the hard part. It's hard in life to actually be loose with ours and hold fast to his, a lot of times we do the opposite.
Tim Lundy: 09:22 You know, it's interesting. The last series I did, we spoke on Marvel, these miracles of Jesus. And we kept noticing in every story how there was one group, the Pharisees, they hated the miracles Jesus did. And their problem was, Jesus kept violating their expectations, the rules they had come up with. See, the Pharisees problem, is they took God's commandments and they added to them, they had this whole layer of things that they thought people should do on top of what God had already commanded people to do. And as we saw in those stories, Jesus always kept these commands, but he didn't feel bound to their expectation, their rules in life.
Tim Lundy: 10:05 You know, as I look at that, I think a lot of us, we approach marriage, we're kind of marriage Pharisees sometimes. That we don't hold our spouses to just what God commanded, really where we get most frustrated, sometimes where we get most sideways, are those expectations, those rules, those things we brought to it. And I just want to challenge you in it, maybe you're frustrated right now in your marriage, step back and ask, is my spouse really doing something beyond what God says? Now, if they are, we need to call them to it, we hold fast to those. Well maybe you need to release some of the things that you've placed on them, and a lot of times they're not right wrong issues, but it takes a humility to let it go. Remember that verse I showed you last week, Philippians 2, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit." You don't do anything in the marriage where you're starting with what I want, my expectation, "But in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interest of others." Guys, if we really would live out these verses, do you know one of the greatest freedoms that'll give you, is you'll stop expecting your spouse to do in your life what only God can do. See at the core of it, if you're looking to them to make you feel secure, if you're looking to them to make you happy in life, if you're looking to them to fill some void that nothing else has filled, I'll be honest, I think you're looking to them to do what only God can do. And releasing that expectation brings freedom.
Tim Lundy: 11:58 Listen to the words, I love this from Christopher West, he talks in his book, Fill These Hearts. He said, I had a surprising discovery in my marriage. He said, years ago, my wife and I were out to dinner and she observed that something was different about our marriage in recent years, something good. She asked me if I had any insight into what it was? After reflecting a bit, I said with a smile, yeah. I think I know what it is, I think I've been realizing deep in my heart that you can't satisfy me. She got a big smile on her face and said, yes, that's it. I've been realizing the same thing, you can't satisfy me either. Now he says, I imagine anybody that was sitting next to us would overhear the conversation and think we were headed to divorce. But, but listen, he says, I love my wife more than words can express, and I know that she loves me, but I can't possibly be her ultimate satisfaction, and she can't be mine. See, that's why our conversation that the restaurant was a cause for rejoicing, only to the degree that we stop expecting others to be God for us, are we free to love others as they really are, warts and all, without demanding perfection from them. Whether a spouse, a friend, a son, a daughter, or any relationship, but only to the degree that we are free from idolizing human beings, are we free to take our ache for perfect fulfillment to the one alone who can satisfy. Those are powerful words, and I would call you to that in your marriage.
Tim Lundy: 13:42 Man, those things that God expects of us as a couple, and as husbands and wives, you need to hold fast to those, don't waiver. But those expectations you've added to it, man, one of the most loving things you can do is hold loose. That doesn't mean you don't get any of them, but if we hold it loosely, it allows God to do in our life what only he can do.
Tim Lundy: 14:06 Look at the third point, and I talked about this last week, we won't belabor it, but you've got to decide to put Jesus first in your marriage and embrace his operating system. Remember last week we talked about it on a computer, there's a core operating system. I mean, it's either windows or it's a iOS system, maybe Linux, if you really into it, but there's a core system that it's got to run off of. And what you want to do in your marriage is both of us have committed that Christ is at the center of our system, Christ is at the core of our marriage. I would really challenge you this, if you find your marriage in a tug of war, where as a husband and wife, you feel like you're constantly pulling back and forth over every issue, maybe over those expectations. Now, the only way to win a marriage tug of war, is to drop the rope, drop the rope because when you win, we lose. The only way we win, is when we win, and we would never win in a tug of war, it just, it won't work that way. If one or the other has the courage to go, you know, I'm going to stop fighting over this, I'm going to stop pulling from my way and drop the rope.
Tim Lundy: 15:20 In fact, I would encourage couples get rid of your tug of war rope, and both of you get climbing ropes. Here's what I mean with that. Instead of this pulling back and forth on this horizontal level, man, both of you need climbing ropes, that you're climbing on a vertical level. That you recognize what Colossians 1 says in it, look at this verse here, "Jesus is before all things, in Him all things hold together." It literally says, Jesus is first, he's over everything, that whole passage in Colossians points it out. And I'd say he's over your marriage, and instead of pulling back and forth fighting, what would it look like if both of you start climbing? And as you get closer to him, what happens in that? You get closer to each other as well.
Tim Lundy: 16:08 And that whole operating system, you know, the key to the operating system, it was fascinating this week of studying Ephesians 5 again, that great marriage passage. But before Paul ever tells husbands and wives how to live that out, notice what he tells all of us, the only way you're going to live those passages out is the operating system. Look at Ephesians chapter 5, "It says be filled with the Spirit....submitting to one another out of reverence. Christ." He said the Holy Spirit's the key to the operating system, and whether you're a man or a woman, all of us are called to submit to each other. Why? Out of reverence to Christ, because he's overall. See you both have to commit to that system.
Tim Lundy: 16:50 But I'd say with that system, look at number four, you need to protect your head, heart, and home from the constant outside influence. There's always something trying to corrupt that system. And again, let's, let's go back to the computer illustration. I mean, you think about your computer, you've got your operating system. Now, what do we guard against at all costs? We absolutely don't want someone getting on our computer and stealing our information, and we especially don't want a virus. So what do we have? We have a firewall in place. I mean, we love, we want a strong firewall. And I always picture the firewall, my imagination, it's kind of like the bouncer, he's in front of the door of the computer. And so then you got this email that comes along, or this program comes along, and it comes up and says, hey, can I get in? What does the firewall do? Man, he looks, he goes, you're not on the list. Oh, come on, let me go, let me look around, let me stay for a while. Firewall goes, you're not there, you're not getting in. They go, do you want a cookie, everybody loves a cookie, let me leave you a cookie. No, no, cookies. See, we're vigilant with our computers, I mean, we have warnings, we have layers, we have systems.
Tim Lundy: 18:09 Now here's my question, are we as vigilant regarding the operating system of our homes, of our hearts, of our lives? That's what Proverbs 4 tells us, look what it says in the passage, "Guard your heart." Notice what it says, "With all vigilance." Why? "From it is the source of life." Your heart in you needs to be guarded with the same vigilance you guard your computer. Why? Because the culture is constantly trying to invade, constantly trying to mess it up, constantly trying to come in. That's why Paul tells us in Romans 12, this is what this whole command is in Romans 12, "Don't be conformed to this world." Don't let the world shape you in its thinking, "But be transformed." How? "By the renewal of your mind, that by testing...." So you test every thought that's coming in, " may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Do we do this in our homes? Do we do this over our hearts? Do we do this in our marriage?
Tim Lundy: 19:14 So that in the same way, when those thoughts come, in the same way that maybe you're struggling in your marriage, and then you watch a movie and you go, oh man, well, they had an affair. Oh look, it looks so fun. Oh, there were no consequences with that, maybe I could do that too. Or maybe you find yourself, you know, my wife doesn't talk to me much, but man, there's a woman at work, she really gets me, she's kind of into me, I like talking to her. Something comes on your computer and it says, it doesn't hurt to look. It doesn't hurt, just look here. Guys, this is what you need to realize, all of that is just like a program, it's just like somebody coming to your computer with a virus, and you need a spiritual firewall that says, you're not getting in, you don't get to stay here. You take every thought captive, you don't get in and don't leave your cookies either, don't want them, don't eat them.
Tim Lundy: 20:20 See, we have to do this all the time, because whether we realize it or not, TV, movies, they all are kind of planting, thoughts, they all have a worldview and a system that's so different from what God teaches. Reality TV, guys, reality TV is not real, it's not. I know it looks like it's real people, but that girl that you see crying there and she's so broken hearted, she didn't get the rose, and the bachelor was going to be the love of her life, I mean, she just knew it. No, it doesn't matter that he was sleeping with five other people on the show, that doesn't really matter, he was her soulmate and she's devastated, can't even talk about it, even though she's going to be on four talk shows the next day to talk about it. I mean, all of that, it's not real. But we can kind of get caught up and go, oh, that's what romance really looks like. Even social media, even people we know, we look at and go, oh man, look at their life, oh, look at their date, look what they're eating, oh, look what she did. Guys, this is their curated life, it's not their everyday life. That's why it is so important, hear me on this, hear me, show the same diligence and vigilance over your heart, over your mind, don't let them in, put the spiritual firewall in place.
Tim Lundy: 21:47 Shifting topics a little bit, let me give you number five. Number five, you look at it, when you experience conflict and failure, choose kindness and forgiveness. Now here's the reality, in that roller coaster, in the up and down, especially certain seasons, you're going to experience conflict. Conflict is not the sign of a bad marriage, conflict is the sign of an alive marriage. Sometimes when I've counseled couples, and they tell me, oh, we have zero conflict. I usually get more worried, because usually that is the sign of, either both of them are apathetic and they don't care anymore, or one of them is so dominant, they don't allow conflict and the other one has shrunk back so much, they can't even push back at all anymore. Guy's, in a normal marriage, with normal people, you're going to have conflict.
Tim Lundy: 22:46 Now, sometimes that conflict is so destructive, it's so toxic, and in that, I'm not talking about at a base level, you're going to need help with that, and we'll talk about that in a minute. If it's reached the point, especially if there's physical conflict, or just verbal conflict to a level. See, I don't say this to diminish at all, but do you know for most couples, most couples, it's just personal conflict, it's those places where those expectations clash. And if we would just live out, again, here's part of that core operating system, this verse from Ephesians. Look at this from Ephesians, it says, "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." I mean, if we just applied that, the next time you're in conflict before you respond, if you would just ask yourself is what am I about to say, is I'm about to do, is it kind? And if it's not kind, don't say it, don't do it, we just put that governor.
Tim Lundy: 23:57 The next time your spouse fails you, because they're going to fail you, they're a real person, and you find yourself frustrated, and you need to forgive them, ask yourself is what I'm about to forgive them for, is it greater than what Christ forgave me? It's amazing when you start bringing that in perspective, we don't like it in the moment, in the moment we like being mad. And you may even tell yourself, they don't deserve forgiveness. They probably don't, but neither did you. Aren't you glad Christ didn't make that the standard, that he didn't sit with his arms crossed looking at you, going well, when you deserve it, I'll give it? No, as Christ gave to you, as Christ did for you, remember again, that's our operating standard, that's the system that we work off of.
Tim Lundy: 24:51 As we do that, number six, surround yourself with people who are for your marriage and make it stronger. You need to surround yourself with people who are for your marriage. And this is so important, you know, that passage from First Corinthians 15 says, "Do not be deceived, bad company ruins good morals." I would add to that, bad company ruins good marriages as well. If you have enough voices, if you have enough people around you, who are constantly pulling at your marriage, constantly criticizing, and maybe it's the friends that you have and the people that you hang out with. I mean, if you're a wife and you've got a group of women, you love to get together, and maybe, you know, it's good to vent about husbands at times because it's hard to be married to a man. We recognize that, and so I don't think there's anything wrong with it. Here's what you need to ask yourself though, as you're driving home, as you're going back to your marriage, are you going back more in love with your husband or more frustrated? Do you find yourself in this attitude every time around those voices, it makes me more skeptical of men? The same way guys, do your friends, do the people around you, are they constantly belittling your wife? Do they make comments? You know, the hard part is when this is actual family, sometimes it's in-laws, where they say things about your spouse or they try to come between you and your spouse. And you may have to put some new boundaries, some healthy boundaries in place, that you go, you know, the people I'm going to surround myself, they are people who are for us, they're for our marriage, because all of us need that system.
Tim Lundy: 26:38 As you do that, number seven, I just say, if you're struggling, get help. Get help, don't wait. You know, John Gottman, I told you the researcher, he said couples that are struggling in their marriage, these are ones that are already struggling, on average, it takes them about six years to ask for help. That's the average, six years. And a lot of times we don't want to go get help, we don't want to see a counselor, because it feels like failure. And I look at that and go, the only failure is not getting the help. And maybe you're severely struggling, maybe you're in a place that you need some help. I'd encourage you, you know, the Christian counseling center of San Hosea, man, they've got a great staff. Now, it may take a little work to find the right counselor for you, but it is worth the effort.
Tim Lundy: 27:35 Now, as I say that, some of you immediately go, wait, I've got to pay money for counseling ? And I go, depending on the severity, yeah, it's worth the investment. And think about it, I mean, if our cars are broken, we pay money to get them fixed. We pay somebody to help us do our taxes. Why? Because those are important. Well, I think your marriage is too. I mean, we pay money for gym membership, we pay Peloton fees to be able to cycle with a bunch of people online with it, we pay streaming services, guys, we pay for a lot of things we think are important. And you may need to slot some money, and budget some money, for some professional counseling. If you really, maybe you're at a place that you'd go, Tim, this is one of our core issues is the money issue. We have a benevolence ministry, we'd love to sit down with you and help you, reach out to us in that.
Tim Lundy: 28:28 You know, for a lot of couples, I would say this is most couples, you really don't need professional counseling, a lot of times you just need biblical life coaching. Believers, who've been trained, who want to come alongside you and encourage you. You know, I'm excited. Paul Gerlach and Amy Taddie on our staff, they've just launched a whole biblical life coaching program, they've trained a lot of people, they're excited to come along, help people, whether it's in marriage issues or just life issues. And so I'd encourage you, go on the website., there's a tab that you'll see at the top, get help. And, and under that, you can, you know, find that resource for biblical life coaching or just email us, and we'll get you connected with it, but don't wait until it's too late in it.
Tim Lundy: 29:19 Number eight, we've got three more and we'll finish out with it. Number eight, focus on the positive and express gratitude. Focus on the positive. Again, I'll go back to Gottman, I quote him a lot because I think he's the best researcher. But Gottman says in strong marriages, there's a five to one ratio of positive comments to negative comments. So let's be realistic, in every marriage there's going to be some negative comments, but he says the difference is in a strong marriage, it's five to one, five positives to one negative. In marriages that are about to go under, do you know what the ratio is? It's 0.8, it's less than one, to one negative. So 50 50, and really the positive is less than the negative. If you just step back, if we just applied again, let's take one of those basic life verses, but apply it to our home. Philippians 4:8, 'Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there's any excellence, if there's anything worthy of praise, think about these things." What if you took that checklist and you go, all right, I'm going to go down the line on that. And where's my spouse doing this? Where is my spouse living this? Where can I think about the positive things they're doing and then express it?
Tim Lundy: 30:49 That's the other part that they found, the University of Georgia did a study, they studied 468 couples, they traced them over years, and the thing they found, they said more than anything else, more than number of kids you have, more than economics or that, the one constant they found of the strongest couples was that they had a commitment to express gratitude to each other. And the key part was not just in the good times, but in the hard times, when as a couple, they would choose, let me thank them for what they are doing, let me express gratitude. They said it's a buffer that keeps you from going to that toxic place. So let me ask you, when's the last time you just thanked your spouse, you verbally, or you wrote it out, or you told them in a real way, something that they do that maybe you've been taken for granted for a long time? Express it to them.
Tim Lundy: 31:53 With that, number nine, you got to be proactive and give thought and energy to your marriage. Be proactive, don't, don't get in that reactive faze, especially if you're at that lower part of the W. When you got little kids, and when you got teenagers, or you got a lot going on in your life and home, and we live here in the Valley and it's really busy, it's so easy that we do marriage reactively. And we can do okay reactively, we may have good reactions, but if you're not spending the thought and the energy to actually do something proactively, you're not experiencing what it could be. Paul in his command to husbands and wives, look how he summarizes it. He says, "However, (this is to the husband) let each one of you love his wife as himself." And that's not a sentiment there, he's talking about an action. "And let the wife see that she respects her husband." And again, he's not just talking about an emotion, he's talking about interaction. So guys, does she tangibly know that you love her? When's the last time you showed her? Ladies, when's the last time he felt your respect? He felt you were for him? See, its in those moments that you realize that I can go a long time, and maybe with the seasons of life, I've just not been proactive about it.
Tim Lundy: 33:18 You know, years ago, I stumbled into this the hard way. It was a hard season just in marriage, we had a lot going on, we had a lot of little kids so we were in that low part of the W already. I was working in a big church, we were in the middle of a massive capital campaign, so I had a ton of extra meetings. I came up on a week where I had extra meetings with the campaign, I did a wedding on Saturday, a preached three times Sunday morning, and then on Sunday night, I had to launch this class called explore. And I loved teaching it, it was two hour class, I teach an hour and then do an hour of questions. And it was mainly for those who were exploring Christianity, but it's pretty intensive, so it took a lot of prep for it. And we had a big group, we had a couple hundred people that came to it, and I had this team that was serving with me.
Tim Lundy: 34:02 And I got through teaching on that Sunday night after that long week, and I was walking out, and part of that team, we had a guy on our team who's a florist. And he had set up the dessert table for all the people who came, and he put this beautiful flower display right in the middle of it, it was in this silver vase. And I was walking out the door and he said, Hey, Tim, you know, I hate for these flowers to just go to waste now, do you want to take them home? I was like, yeah, sure, I'll take them home. And I took and grabbed the display and he said, hey, I just need the vase, just bring it back next week. And I said, sure, that's awesome. So I drove home, went in the house, put the vase on the kitchen table, went upstairs. The kids were in bed, so I wanted to kind of kiss all of them and say goodnight to them while they were in bed.
Tim Lundy: 34:44 And I came out, I was in the hallway upstairs, and I'm walking out and Lea meets me in the hallway. And she says, I can't believe you did that, and I noticed she kind of had some tears in her eyes. And honestly, at this point, I'm just so clueless, I'm like, can't believe you did that is a good thing, or I can't believe you did that, I've done something bad. I'm kind of in that moment of all right, what's going on here? And I had learned enough in marriage, just in those moments, just be still, don't talk too much. And so I'm kind of like really? And she said, yes, I can't believe that after this hard week, and with you being gone, and with all that we've been going through, that you would go out on a Sunday night and get me that beautiful flower display. I can't believe you picked tulips, my favorite flower.
Tim Lundy: 35:45 And I'm sitting there going, well, I know that now. She said, it's just too much. She came over and she gave me the biggest hug, put her head on my shoulder. And you know, in that moment, I'm just like, hey, glad this is a win. And then she pulled back, and she looked up and, you know, the tears are there. And she said, where in the world did you find a florist open on a Sunday night to get a display like that? I mean, I love the flowers, and that vase, oh, that vase is beautiful. Where did you find them? And everything in me, I had that kind of crisis moment, you know, where I wanted to go, baby, I'll do anything for you, try to just cover, but I couldn't lie. And all I did, literally, I said one word, I went, well. And before I went further, I could just see it, suddenly the gears were turning and you could see it in her eyes. And it was like, the tears literally sucked back into her eyeballs. She goes, wait a second, wait a second. She kind of pulled back, she goes, I know what happened, somebody brought them to your class didn't they? She said, I bet you're just walking out tonight, and somebody calls out, hey, Tim, do you want to take the flowers home? And you said, sure, I'll take the flowers home. She goes, I bet you even have to give the vase back, don't you know? I've got to say at that point I was a little amazed, I was like, man, you got all of that out of one word, you could be on a game show or something, you know, like name that screw up. Oh, I can name that in one word.
Tim Lundy: 37:34 I mean, I literally, but I kept my mouth shut enough, I'm just listening in it. And she goes, am I right? I was like, yeah, that's exactly what happened. She goes, okay, thanks for bringing them home and went downstairs. And I'm like, how did I just go from hero to zero in one second? And then another part of me almost was defensive, like, what did I do wrong here? Here's the reality, I didn't do anything wrong, I just had not been doing a lot right, especially in this area. And when this showed up, this tangible display, it was this window to show me how much she really was longing for that kind of thought and energy. What about you? When's the last time he seen it and felt it? When's the last time you stepped back and you go, what could we do proactively to invest here?
Tim Lundy: 38:50 Final point, will end where we began in Ecclesiastes. I just, put this over the whole thing, enjoy life and the gift of marriage in every season. Enjoy life. I love these words of Ecclesiastes, look what he says. He says, "Go eat food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart." He says, go out and have a good meal, get a good glass of wine, because God has already approved of your works. He said, let your clothes always be white." White here, meant it's fancy clothes, you actually dress up a little bit. "Do not spare precious ointment on your head." They would put ointment on their head if you really want it to look good, and usually it was scented, so it's kind of like putting on perfume or cologne. Do you hear what he's saying, go and have a good meal, go out and dress up a little bit, don't just stumble out into life. And then look what he puts with this, "Enjoy life with your beloved wife during all the days of your fleeting life that God has given you on earth during all your fleeting days; for that is your reward in life and in your burdensome work here on earth." He goes, guys, life is short, work is burdensome, in fact, if you get too caught up in it, you're going to miss the good windows when they come. Do you know what Solomon's saying, go out on a date, put a little effort in it, get a great meal, enjoy life together. See, if you live life always looking for that next season, if you live life, if we're always looking forward to if we can just get past that, you're going to miss the windows that God's giving you now.
Tim Lundy: 40:45 For those of us who are married, I'd encourage you, ask somebody in our church who wants to be married, they'll tell you what we have is a gift. Ask somebody who misses their marriage, and realize we have a gift. It doesn't come easy, it'll cost so much of who you are, but what God gives in it and through it, and how he can use it, is so worth it. No matter your season, no matter your station, no matter what you're dealing with, I'd encourage you to go through these 10 things, maybe as a couple, sit down and go through these 10 things together. As a church, we're to think of some ways, how we can help you in it. In fact, be on the lookout, as we finish out this series, we're planning a date night, a date night for couples. We're doing it out in the tent, it's going to be really fun, you're going to want to be a part of it. But whether you do it with us, or whether you proactively step out and make that investment, just do it, do what God's calling you to do.
Tim Lundy: 41:57 Let's pray. Father, we do thank you, we thank you for the gift of marriage. I thank you for Lea, I just thank you for what a gift she is to me. She can't be what are meant to be in my life, and I don't want her to be, only you can fill those places in my heart. But she surely is the partner, the friend, the person that I can walk through life together with, and I thank you for that gift. Lord, I pray for all of us who are married, would we live out your word, would we guard our hearts and homes, would we really make what you've taught us our core operating system, would we take the time to enjoy what you've given us and enjoy life in marriage? We thank you that this is possible, and we pray this in Christ's name. Amen.

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032