Sunday, October 27, 2013


Listen to audio for complete teaching

Avoiding Ditches - TONIGHT

what we will learn together and the tools you will walk away with, will help you on your journey toward intimacy and oneness.

We want Marriages that go below the surface .. no more surface relationships!


If we want to avoid going off into ditches in our relationships, there are a few things we need to understand what we have or are bringing into the relationship.

A husband-to-be said to his future bride: “If this is who you really are, we should get along just fine.” After he had been married for awhile, he said to his wife, “Why are you so insecure and controlling?” You were not this way before we got married.”  When we say ‘I do’, we get the whole person – the whole package. We talked briefly last week about the fact that each of use brings baggage with us into the marriage – of course, some of us have more baggage than others, but we ALL carry baggage! When we are dating we may think the suitcase is like this for our future spouse, but then we quickly discover it may be more like this  (suitcases).

The things in these suitcases have been accumulating for many years. Now our spouse becomes ‘part owner’ of ours.. and we become ‘part owner’ of theirs. Oh JOY! :-)

Often, many of us believe that once we come into marriage, our baggage and its contents will be forgotten or lost. We may even try to hide the contents from our spouse but for some reason, they have a way of finding our bags and from time to time they seem to even drag the stuff that we have packed so tightly in there.. out.  When your baggage/ some of its contents is exposed – we call that being triggered.

Role play – what this looks like - Mike & Lillian

If our relationships are going to grow in intimacy, we have to acknowledge the baggage – what am I carrying? Begin to ask and respond to the questions: How do our fears and past wounds affect the way we relate to each other? Treat each other? Treat others even?

We already mentioned some of the baggage: fears, past wounds; what else is there? Past influences & beliefs: beliefs about what? _________  deficiencies/ inadequacies: what deficiencies/ inadequacies do we bring into the relationship? ________  Addictions (discussed in last class – substance abuse, gambling, workaholism, spending, church/ religious activities, food, excitement, etc) , compulsive behaviors (examples – cleaning, organization, financial rigidity)

And.. what did we learn last week that drives many of the negative behaviors we do?  Pain/ unhealed wounds, family of origin issues, unmet needs

When we are in pain and we believe our pain is a result of the relationship or lack thereof, what do we do?
Here are a few of the typical human responses:
-        We try to change the other person – we do this by manipulating and making attempts to control – we may resort to threats, anger, criticalness or even enabling until we get our desired results – getting our needs met and feeling loved
If the spouse responds to the above, it is still not received. Why? We know in our heart that the other person is not freely giving or loving. They are doing it all out of the control and manipulation. Therefore, it only creates more insecurity in the relationship.
-        We withdraw and put up a wall. Why? In reality this behavior says the individual may be question themselves and their abilities to ‘be’ what it takes in the relationship. They may feel defeated and inept. At times.. this person will also control but in a different way so they do not experience the feeling of inadequacy. How? They create distance, silence, use anger. And.. during this pulling away, the person may pursue other ways to feel adequate – ideas on how?  ___________
If we take the time to understand these things, it will enable us to do what we talked about last week… ‘attach the problem’ not the ‘person’.

We were designed for something more than our self-protective devices and controlling behaviors in relationship. What?  

God’s design: Oneness/ Intimacy in all the parts – body, soul, spirit
Do you have any idea what this even looks like?

3-legged stool – Stool is ‘one flesh’
Leg 1 – Body: sexual expression of love in marriage. Bonds us together, for enjoyment – so much more than physical  - it is a spiritual activity.. involves all of who we are coming together

Leg 2 – Spiritual Oneness: Each individual experiencing more and more of God’s resources and the sufficiency of Christ in their life – as we grow in Him, we are able to extend God’s love, acceptance, and forgiveness to each other. Spend time as often as we can in prayer together – couple that pray together, stay together, reading the Word together or a Biblically-based book, serve/ do ministry together.

Leg 3 – Soul Oneness:  Probably the hardest of them all – Mind/ Emotions. This takes a husband and wife willing to be totally open and honest – sharing who they are inside and meeting each other’s needs. We have to be willing to communicate our needs, wants, desires openly to our partner. We need to understand our spouse and be willing to see his/her viewpoint.

We have already discussed that we have to each own our own ‘stuff’ in order to move forward and have a great relationship. We have to be committed to the process and ask God for help. We also need to have an understanding of the problem and the actual goal/ vision for our marriage.

We are going to break up into couples right now to go through the assignment you did and brought with you.  First, share what you came up with for the first personal question. And then.. read your letter to each other. If your partner is not here, you will be teaming up with Mike and I.  Once we are done, we will come back together before we dismiss.

Home assignment for this week
Invite Jesus to help you identify your triggers, wounds/ baggage then…spend time one evening talking about the following:

1. Ask your spouse/ fiance’ how they think you have been dealing with your baggage?   - tried to forget it – hoped they lost it  - trying to hide it   - unpacking it

2. Talk about triggers that you are beginning to see now that you have a better understanding of what is happening in your conflicts, etc.  What are your triggers? How do you feel/ respond when hurt or disappointed? What is the meaning behind the pain?

3. Discuss some of the baggage that these triggers are tapping into and how they have affected or are affecting your relationship. Use the worksheet provided to dig deep/ underneath the surface.

Exercise Handout -- we will use these for group discussion next week and then do Personality Types the following week which will be a blast!

Note: portions of these teachings are taken from "The Heart and Soul of Real Marriage" by: Bridge to Life Ministries



8-12 WKS
assignments – most weeks – brief – not long
recorded – notes – blog:
various resources being used … small groups and/or couple time

Topics we will cover: Tonight starts Putting Marriage in Perspective, we will also have classes on – How We Love, Personality Types, Avoiding Ditches, Gender Lies, Investing in our Spouse – loving well, The Journey of Oneness/ Intimacy, Unpacking the Baggage, Relating Face to Face – conflict & wounds


Getting to know you

Whether you are here to enrich & strengthen, or find hope for a troubled relationship, what we will learn together and the tools you will walk away with, will help you on your journey toward intimacy and oneness.

Truths – Marriage….

-        reveals who we really are
-        it’s not about happiness
-        is being attacked – threats exist to hinder intimacy in marriage & the destruction of relationship
-        we cannot find the intimacy we long for without facing strongholds, entering into spiritual warfare & making a commitment to stay connected (connectors)

Marriage on the surface vs. Marriage below the surface:
Iceberg example

It doesn’t take long after the "I do’s" to realize that our expectations of marriage are a bit different than reality.

“Love is blind, but after you become married you will see again” – Polish saying

“When you have fire in your heart, smoke gets in your eyes.” – Russian saying  (kind of life love is blind)

When we face disappointment in our relationships… the walls begin to be built. The wall also represents unresolved issues that develop over time or… they could be walls be came into the relationship with from past hurts in prior relationships or our family of origin.  So… in order for us all to have healthy, loving, great relationships… we have to be willing to go beneath the surface (what people see) to what really is.

Let’s talk about facing reality.. facing he problems that may hinder intimacy and ones in a relationship.  (Brainstorm)  What are some of the problems that need to be identified so couples can get to a solution? :
   Ex:  money issues, communication problems, critical spirit, verbal/emotional abuse, anger, sexual, kids/ parenting differences, jealousy, avoidance/ passivity, infidelity, mistrust, control issues/ dominance, addictions, in-laws

Family of origin issues/ the past – 2 broken people trying to do healthy relationship = impossible – apart from each owning their issues and working on them individually as well as together

Challenge:  start right now in seeing the problem as the enemy – not your partner!  Together.. you can fight and overcome the enemy no matter what that is!!!!

Oftentimes.. the problem gets resolved/ healed when we identify its source and origin.. what is driving the behavior or attitude, etc. – sometimes… those core issues have a lot to do with unmet needs.

Basic Needs:
Physical, Emotional, Spiritual (Brainstorm)

Some basic needs for all people:
Security, to be loved unconditionally, to be #1 to someone, to be cherished, understood, safety, to be heard, respected, valued, feel competent, touch-physical intimacy, affirmation (emotional needs list)

Emotional Needs
Affirmation, affection, attention, acceptance, appreciation, comfort, encouragement, respect, security, support, understanding

Preparing for Our Journey of Intimacy

1.  We need to be fit – be responsible for your own condition first – you can only change you.  Luke 6:42

42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
2.   We need the right equipment – connector- with commitment
3.   We need an experienced guide – God, seek godly counsel if needed, the group, the Word, don’t ask just anybody…  Prv 15:22 22 Plans fail for lack of counsel,
    but with many advisers they succeed.--  CAUTION
1.    We need a map – We get lost because: we don’t use a map, we trust our own instincts rather than a compass or map, don’t take time to study or prepare, rely on skills of the partner rather than joining them in the process and they may be totally off course. Prv 3:5-6  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.[a]


1.    Separately: to the best of your understanding, what are you doing that is fueling the struggles/ hindering the health you desire in your relationship?
2.    Write a short letter to your partner expressing your dream and desires for your relationship.  Bring it with you next week.  This is a kind of vision statement… what do you long to see your relationship look like?

Without a target… we get nowhere…  What are you aiming for?

Note: portions of these teachings are taken from "The Heart and Soul of Real Marriage" by: Bridge to Life Ministries