New Hope Notes

Fixing Our Families
Faith Fixer Uppers

Pastor Wayne Cordeiro, Pastor Richard Waialeale
September 24, 2017 - W1739

[Pastor Wayne Cordeiro via video]

 Thank you for joining us in this section of Faith Fixer Uppers.

 Let me begin today by speaking to couples. Now, although I've been speaking to couples, the principles that we're going to apply today will apply to every single one of us. And in my many years of counseling marriages, you know, I've never found one problem marriage. But I have found dozens and dozens of problem people that got married. What I'm saying is the problem is not with the institution of marriage.

 It's important to make that distinction because marriage is not the problem. We're trying to get rid of the institution of marriage in today's society, but we're really fighting the wrong battle and we're barking up the wrong tree.

Think about it this way. Marriage is something that requires maintenance because marriage is a living entity. It's dynamic and includes people, emotions, and futures and so many important things. And anything living requires maintenance, and marriage definitely requires maintenance.

Now, when we're courting before marriage, we'll think that marriage is going to be trouble?free. It's idealistic. It seems like everything is going to be smooth sailing. And it seems that way because you're dating. Each person is putting his or her best foot forward. It's romantic, so we think, “Yes! Happily ever after! My goodness, what a perfect woman I found!”

And then we get married, and then the next morning arrives, reality hits, she gets up and her hair looks like Phyllis Diller, and she looks at you and she says, "Enjoy it. It's time you find out about the other side of me. Go ahead and look. Welcome to the rest of your life."

When you're dating, you're delighted to see how similar you are, but the day after the wedding, the two of you realize that you're not the same. You're very different. You need character to handle the differences because the differences are going to be there throughout the rest of your marriage, and character may not have been built yet. Although the romance has been built and your future has been planned, character is still what you had, and it may not be enough. That has to grow.

Now, we would all agree that it's easier to get married than it is to stay married. When you're married, there are problems you're going to need to work through. It's a high maintenance deal. People's marriages often lack maintenance, and that's how the problems result. We think the marriage is failing, but it's really not. The problem is character flaws arising, not that the marriage is dropping. Because those character flaws, character malfunctions, immaturities and pride don't come out right away. All of those things begin to surface under the pressure of relationships.

Marriage could be compared more to a marathon than a sprint. One of the tough things is that you and your partner are going to go through this marathon together, and although character needs to be built along the way, often you don't build it at the same time. Take your time and build well.

If you lose your marriage and your family, it doesn't matter if you're a pastor or an elder, you still lose.

I always tell these couples that you need to fight for your marriage and your family because if you don't fight for your marriage and your family, nobody else will.

So let's take a look at a few ingredients that will help build the love that will last a life time 

  1. RESPECT. 

    Husbands must love their wives. Wives must respect their husbands. The first ingredient is found in Ephesians 5:25 which says, "Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church..." You see, the ways husbands love their wives should depict a living object lesson to the watching world of exactly the way Christ loves the church, which is you and me. We're the church, not a building. And God is giving men the baton so that they can become that living object lesson of how God loves people.

    Living out that lesson is quite an honor. I mean, God gave that to husbands and said that people are going to see the way they love their wives, and they're going to realize, “Ah, that's how God loves us!” But if we do that poorly, they'll have a poor image of God.

    Remember this, husbands: God will be your highest priority. Now, your wife will be very happy with that because if God is your greatest love, she will be much loved and much cared for because God will be speaking to you. But if God is no longer your first love, she's in trouble and so is your marriage because your strength and your love and your grace is going to come from God, not from your spouse. If you put her first or others first or your business first, that will not give you the grace and the spiritual power to take care of your family. You're going to have to do that on your own and you're going to run dry pretty soon.

    So God is your primary and first priority. Then after God, your second priority is your spouse, no, not your children, and not your job. Your spouse is more important than those. Following your relationship with God, your spouse is the next priority.

    Now for the other spouse, Ephesians 5:33 says, "...the wife must see to it that she respects her husband."Wives, there's an office of a husband that has been placed in your life by God. Keep your respect for that office high because respect is sort of like the soil in which love grows. When you respect someone, it's easier to love that person. But if you lose respect for that person, it's tougher than nails to love them.

    Respect is so incredibly important in building a love that will last for a lifetime. God says in Ephesians 5 that respect is also mutual. It's not just a one?way street. It's mutual.The Bible says, "Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband."

    Let me talk to mom and dads for a second. The best thing you can do for your kids is to love and respect each other because when they see that love between the two of you, there's going to be such a confidence and a security that's built into their lives and developed into their hearts. And once you begin to establish these priorities in your life, you'll be able to cooperate with God's design for your marriage.

    And, Dads, let me just speak to you. One of the best things you can do for your family and your kids is to love their mother with all your heart, and there will come a sense of security in your family because they know the head of the home has come under the authority of God.

    2. Reconcile.

    We got to make the choice to reconcile or keep relationships healthy before the problems hit you. Problems are going to be inevitable, but are we going to be someone who when the problems hit, just look for someone to blame? You see, it's up to us, especially Dad and then Mom, to see the conflicts coming and then begin to rectify or resolve them before they explode 

    Read with me this next scripture, "Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation."(2 Cor. 5:18) All of us has been given the ministry of reconciliation through Christ Jesus. You and I have that ministry regardless of the problems, we have that capacity within us.

    Often when things happen, problems explode, we try to figure out who we should blame. Instead, because of that capacity God has given you, figure out how to fix the problem not fix the blame. Remember, God's first and best option is to heal your marriage, not to put blame on someone, but both people need to be willing, both husband and wife. It requires a willing heart on both sides, so you do it as a team.

    Maintain your marriage early on when the troubles and challenges are just starting. Resolve them right away. Don't wait until they fester and get infected. Set your heart to resolve every single one of them, and don't let it go underground. Because it will start a sewer system in your marriage. You got to resolve every single one you can before it goes underground.

    Remember, your spouse is not the enemy. The enemy is the enemy. So learn to humble yourself, ask for forgiveness, fight for your marriage, and do whatever it takes to reconcile.

    [Pastor Richard Waialeale]

    Continuing, here is the third point.

    3. Recreation.

    Fixing our family requires some recreation. See, someone once said that the family that prays together stays together. But I want to add to that. The family that plays together stays together. You got to add that recreation to your life to be with one another. 

    In the book of Ecclesiastes it says, "Live happily with the woman you love through the fleeting days of your life. For the wife God gives you is your best reward down here for all of your earthly toil." (Eccl. 9:9)

    Here's the point. There is a big difference between being around one another and being with each other. That's something that you'll have to take time to do, to be with each other not just be around each other.  

    Before you were married, you were dating. Before you built that marriage, you started being friends. Build the friendship with your spouse. It's so important. You want to be able to say that your wife is your best friend and that your husband is your best friend. That's why recreation is so important. That's why you have to establish that friendship and the joy of being with one another.

    Work to the point where you're able to say that your husband is your best friend and that your wife is your best friend. In John 15:15, Jesus says, "No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends."

    Pay whatever the price is required, make the necessary sacrifice and regain the friendship of your spouse or of your small groups. A lot of you are in small groups. You know, Arlene Alda, wife of Alan Alda, said this: "In our society, it's becoming easier and easier to leave your spouse, but in any society, it will always remain difficult to leave your best friend."

    And how do you do that? How do you regain back the fire?

    4. Remember

    Love is not an emotion. It's a choice. Love may include emotions, but it's not determined by emotion or romance. The commitment and the choice you make will be reserved for a lifetime. 

    In John 13:34 it says, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you..."Do you think God loves us by emotion? Do you think God loves us according to our performance? No. God loves us because He chose to love. God so loved the world.

    Love is being committed to God and God's very best for the other person. If you love, you want God's best for the other person regardless of how you feel. Loving someone else is loving God's best for that person, even if it doesn't involve you.


  1. What are the four ingredients that will help build the love of a lifetime?

  2. Why does marriage require maintenance?

  3. Why is marriage a marathon and not a sprint?

  4. Why is it that your eyes are opened after marriage rather than before?

  5. Who is the real enemy in your marriage?