Needless to say, this group is a special thing. I am so blessed, challenged, and encouraged to be a part of it... and hopefully the other ladies feel the same. The group was birthed out of one of the ladies' desire to share what she had been taught and shown by another lady, a mentor of sorts. Through that beginning we began to meet once a month... since that time we've continued to meet regularly and have completed two book studies. Hopefully our hubbies have seen fruit from this endeavor.
As a group, we read a book together, often about marriage, and come together once a month to talk about what we read, how it impacted us, where we see success and where we see failures in our own actions, responses, and experiences with our mates. It's a time of openness and honesty and the more we come together the more we realize that THIS IS REAL LIFE and this is the life we were called to lead together, not alone, but with like minded believers encouraging us along the way!
The last several months, we've been working through Larry Crabb's The Marriage Builder. Last night we were able to meet and wrap up this study. In this book, Dr. Crabb breaks his teachings up into two main parts:
- PART I: The Goal of Marriage
- Chapter 1: Oneness - What Is It and Why It Is Important
- Chapter 2: Spirit Oneness - Who Meets My Needs?
- Chapter 3: Soul Oneness - I. Manipulation or Ministry?
- Chapter 4: Soul Oneness - II. Communication, or "What Do I Do When I'm Angry?"
- Chapter 5: Body Oneness - Physical Pleasure with Personal Meaning
- PART II: Building the Foundation
- Chapter 6: Building Block 1 - GRACE
- Chapter 7: Building Block 2 - COMMITMENT
- Chapter 8: Building Block 3 - ACCEPTANCE
Although I read this book during my engagement with Mr. McGoo, reading it again after almost four years of marriage really brings a different and more realistic perspective to the study! The entire book has been impacting and challenging... a call for us to step up to the plate for what God desires in our marriages, rather than sitting back and doing things as the world alludes to reality - often a false reality.
Last night we specifically focused on the closing chapter to the book, ACCEPTANCE, which ultimately talks about FORGIVENESS. It was a great night of fellowship, deep discussion, and conviction of how God calls us to do things differently from what the World says.
I'll leave you with a quote from the chapter that rocked all of us when reading The Marriage Builder by Larry Crabb...
"We must reflect on the degree to which we have been forgiven. In Matthew 18:21-35, our Lord commands us to forgive each other. The theme of the passage is that forgiveness of others should flow naturally from an awareness and appreciation of how much God has forgiven us. We must never demand better treatment on grounds of what we deserve; our lives merit eternal punishment. Yet God has forgiven us and granted us eternal joy. Reflection on the sins that God has forgiven must provide context for memories of our partners' offensive behavior. Only one who appreciates God's forgiveness can truly forgive others."