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Monday, October 12, 2009

Journey through the book "The Marriage Builder" Part 1: Security and Significance in Christ

This book might just put all marriage counselors out of business. Just kidding. But it truly is ministering to me at a deep heart level. I am half way through it, and it has left me with much to ponder about what human beings need, how those needs are met in a Biblical way, and how God is glorified in human relationships in general and marriage relationships in particular.

The major theme running through the book is that human beings are designed for intimate relationship. We are created to know and be known. We need security and significance. At this point, bells might be going off for some of you (they would be for me if I was reading this). You may be wondering, “Is this another self help-y book on marriage?” One of the things I appreciate most about this book is that it avoids some of the frequent errors of other popular marriage books--which is falling on one extreme of the spectrum between “It’s all about me and my feelings” selfish psycho-babble crap and the "Let go and let God...God doesn't give you more than you can handle" hyper-spirituality crap.

The concepts in the book are based on the truth that we are created in the image of the triune God of love who experiences perfect love and unity between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The God of this perfect relationship created human beings to be in relationship. In fact, human beings need relationship. We need relationship with God. Christianity is all about relationship with the Triune God. We are also created for close relationships with others.

Dr. Crabb contends that “the Scriptures teach that relationships offer two elements that are absolutely essential if we are to live as God intended: 1) the security of being truly loved and accepted, and 2) the significance of making a substantial, lasting, positive impact on another person.” (p. 20 )

I doubt that there is a person alive who does not want or need these two things—married or not, Christian or not.

Dr. Crabb asserts that if the needs for security and significance are not met, “it makes no sense to exhort people with unmet needs to live responsibly before God any more than it does to instruct someone with laryngitis to speak up” (p. 20). Here is the kicker though: “…we do not need to feel secure or significant to function as we should. I may not feel worthy or accepted, but I am still responsible to believe what God has said. His Word assures me that in Christ I am both secure in His love and significant in His plan…Christ has made me secure and significant. Whether I feel it or not, it is true. I am instructed by God to believe that my needs are already met, and therefore I am to live selflessly, concerned only with the needs of others. The more I chose to live according to the truth of what Christ has done for me, the more I will come to the sense the reality of my security and significance in Him.” (p. 21)

Ouch, this was convicting. I have no doubt that this is my number one problem in marriage. When life becomes difficult, when conflict arises, when I am sinned against, when the opportunity to sin presents itself, I do not live like I believe that my security and significance comes from Christ. I know that the only answer here for me is to root myself and establish myself in the great truths of Scripture, which shout to me that my security and significance are in Christ!!! I must cry out continually to God: “Fill me with your Spirit! May I be strengthened with your power through your Spirit in my inner being so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith! May I be rooted and grounded in your love! Give me strength with my brothers and sisters to know the breadth and length and height and depth of your love---to know your love that surpasses knowledge that I may be filled with all the fullness of you!!” (See, Ephesians 3:14-21) I need to keep going back to Biblical promises and truths like these:

How easily I forget that my security and significance are in Christ! When my husband has had a bad day and takes it out on me (like I have done to him many, many times before), how easily I forget! When the enticing comfort of an idol pops into my mind, how easily I forget! When a friend abandons, betrays, forgets, how easily I forget!

When I forget, I feel despair and I justify my sinful responses…I retreat, I lash out, I rebel, I indulge.

There is a lot more that God is teaching me through this book, but that will have to wait until my next post…..


Abbey said...

Man I appreciate your reviews on what you read! My stack/to-read list is getting way out of hand! (A good thing, but now to find time to whittle it down...)

Anonymous said...

I want to be a follower and I'll figure out a way!!

Bina said...

Thanks, Abbey. Man, I imagine it has got to be hard to find time to read with an infant and a toddler!

Nish, you can be a follower by clicking on the "follow" button on the left hand side of my blog. :)