A month ago, as I started thinking about this past message on marriage, a few things were on my mind.
at the marriage retreat
#1—PCC’s annual marriage retreat was a week before the message. We didn’t want to duplicate material from the retreat in this message. And, as a pastor who was helping teach at the retreat (which ended up being a lot of fun, but was crazy intimidating), I was freaking out about how I would come up with enough material. So, I started reading. I read books for the marriage retreat sessions. And I kept reading, looking for other material that might help with a message. I stopped reading one book halfway through; it was like a never-ending blog post, and I wasn’t connecting with the author.
Then I found this book. I referenced it in my message Sunday. It’s short, accessible, and written by a man, which was refreshing after the rambling female voice in the never-ending blog post book (Yes, I’m aware of the irony that I am a female who writes with a female voice in blog post form.). It’s one of those short books that references lots of other books, articles, and studies; I found the “Notes” in the back very helpful. This book doesn’t lay out secrets to a successful marriage, or a recipe for relating to the opposite gender. Thank goodness! I’m so tired of those books. If you’re like me and looking for a fresh approach to marriage, then check it out. This is the guy who talked about 5 years of marriage behind like kindergarten, which gave me the idea to extrapolate out the Terrible Two's and Tantrum Three's of marriage.
#2—Not everyone is married. Shocker, I know. I consulted with two young, single people, one male and one female, about what I could discuss related to marriage that could help them. They both said expectations. Coming from a generation with a less-than-positive perspective about marriage, they wanted help forming realistic, God-honoring expectations of marriage. They wanted a chance to start forming expectations now, before they’re married. So, that’s what I set out to do. While I didn’t explicitly address the unmarried population in my message, and I should have, I did consider them; actually, I let them inform the direction I would take.
The direction I took with Scripture, well, that was all mine. Maybe I’ll do another blog post about that...