Teamwork and Partnership in Marriage Speed painter video clip • See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9ficvPdpZg Hedonic Adaptation “We easily get used to things that make us feel good.” Dr Sonya Lyubomirsky, professor of psychology, Author of “The Myths of Happiness” There are many examples of hedonic adaptation in the Bible Adam & Eve – “bone of my bones” to mutual blame Abraham and Sarah – from faith to faithlessness Isaac & Rebekah – from first love to cold disregard Jacob, Rachel, Leah – from love triangle to triangulation to strangulation Ahab and Jezebel – codependency to mutual evil Ananias and Sapphira – admiration to deceit Redemptive Marriages Boaz & Ruth’s “hesed”: kindness, respect, love Redemptive Marriages Joseph and Mary – nurturing the Lord Redemptive Marriages Priscilla and Aquila – amazing portrait of partnership in marriage For the next 30 minutes • Read six passages from Scripture • What are the signs of teamwork and partnership in their marriage? • Reflection questions • Personal response from my marriage Priscilla & Aquila: Rome to Corinth 1 Acts 18:2-3: There he (Paul) met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. Isthmian Games The first sign of partnership You enjoy working together with your spouse – and with others Reflection Think of your spouse/friend/family member. In what ways have you worked together? In what ways has working together strengthened your relationship with one another, and with God? Personal reflections on working together Huey Fern and I currently work together to earn a living. We share: one computer, one car, one home office, one calendar (iCloud), email accounts, bank accounts, company. Not every couple can work like this. It’s not easy (use of car; bedroom space). Working together is a powerful way of building intimacy in marriage, and connection in parenting. Red flag: Drifting apart in separate worlds Tip: Take turns talking and listening at day’s end. Priscilla & Aquila in Ephesus 2 Acts 18:18: Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. The second sign of partnership You make decisions with your spouse – based on faith, and for the sake of the Kingdom. Reflection Think of your spouse/friend/family member. What’s a decision that the both of you made together – on the basis of faith and trust in God? Looking back, what gave you the courage? In what way did God reveal Himself to you? Reflections on trusting God together God’s voice: “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch” At Regent: from wealth to poverty (2 jobs to 0; paying rent and housing loan). How are we going to live in the most expensive area of one of the world’s most expensive city? It’s not easy (toilet paper, old bread). But trusting God together built resilience and flexibility in our marriage (e.g. walking to work). We were poor but we were rich. Red flag: A sense of self-sufficiency. “I did it my way.” Tip: Pray together. Every night. Every week. Priscilla & Aquila in Ephesus 3 Acts 18:26: He (Apollos) began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately. The third sign of partnership You are being mentored in God’s Word together – and you mentor others. Reflection Who has mentored you, or contributed significantly to your spiritual growth? Thank the Lord. What spiritual contribution are you making to the lives of others? Reflections on mentoring Hwa Chien and Kim Guat: “never hit below the belt”. 24 hours of conversation in their home. We mentor 4-5 people. They stay in our home and join our family rhythm and work. Highlight: praying with Hannah. Regent friend. Red flag: A self-absorbed marriage/family Tip: to find mentors, invite a married couple for coffee. Ask them about their top 3 values Priscilla & Aquila back in Rome 4 Romans 16:3-4: Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. The fourth sign of partnership You serve God’s people in the church – usually in quiet and courageous ways. Reflection In what ways have you (and your spouse) served the church together? Reflections on serving the church The local church is the primary arena for God to move powerfully throughout history. When God works, there’s bound to be risk and sacrifice. Examples: Fong Yang & Constance; couples in CDPC Puchong; individuals who have made sacrifices. Our own struggle to serve. Red flag: No commitment to serve the church Tip: Serve God’s servants. Faithfully. Cheerfully. Quietly. Priscilla & Aquila back in Ephesus 5 1 Corinthians 16:19: The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the [Ephesian] church that meets at their house. The fifth sign of partnership You serve God’s people in your home – and you do it with warmth and hospitality Reflection In what ways have you served God’s people through your home? Reflections on serving Christ at home In modern urban life, the home is one of the most powerful ways to impact lives. You don’t need a big place. All you need is a floor and a glass of water (Mildred). Our 900-sq ft apartment: ground zero for iBridge. Red flag: Not ‘welcoming the stranger’ Tip: Don’t just eat. Be a host: prepare questions to ask, listen, pray. Priscilla & Aquila back in Ephesus 6 2 Timothy 4:19: Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. (2 Tim 4:16-18) “At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” The sixth sign of partnership When people think of you (and your marriage), they think of God. Reflection Think of a person/couple/family who has expressed gratefulness to you for blessing them (e.g. Ian and Nouvelle Hadfield’s thank you card) In what ways is your marriage a visible reminder of God’s loving partnership? The six signs of partnership and teamwork in marriage. 1. Working together – and with others 2. Making decisions together – based on faith 3. Being mentored in God’s Word – and mentoring others 4. Serving together in the church – in quiet, courageous ways 5. Serving together at home – doing it warmly 6. When people think of us, they think of God – and when they think of God, they think of us. Exercise: 5 minutes If you’re married or in a relationship… • Thank your partner (in a specific way) for building teamwork and partnership in your marriage. • Discuss and pray about one thing you’d like to practice together this week to build teamwork and partnership. If you’re single or your spouse isn’t here… • sit in groups of three: What’s one sign of partnership/teamwork that you’d like to cultivate (in your family/marriage/workplace/friendships)? The six signs of partnership and teamwork in marriage. 1. Working together – and with others 2. Making decisions together – based on faith 3. Being mentored in God’s Word – and mentoring others 4. Serving together in the church – in quiet, courageous ways 5. Serving together at home – doing it warmly 6. When people think of us, they think of God – and when they think of God, they think of us.