My fiancé and I attended the “Love Worth Fighting For” marriage event last weekend sponsored by Feed Your Faith. For those of you who haven’t heard, it’s an event that features Kirk Cameron and musician Warren Barfield.
Kirk gives advice on how to fireproof marriages, giving examples from the movie Fireproof. I took a lot of notes and learned a ton, and even though most of us on Boundless aren’t married, I think the information is still valuable to those of us seeking a strong and healthy marriage in our future.
As the event was split into two sessions, I will split what I learned into two posts. Kirk gave so much good advice, and Warren actually moved me to tears with some of the stories behind his songs.
It was encouraging for me as I move toward marriage in the next few months. Their advice reminded me how blessed I am to be engaged to a man who is willing to fight for me, giving whatever it takes. And instead of just knowing it, I need to act like it and work harder at fighting for him, too! That’s where the advice in session one hit home.
Kirk discussed three problems that cause marriages to go up in flames. The No. 1 problem wasn’t what I expected. It isn’t money, communication or even sex. It’s selfishness. He said, “The heart of the problem in marriage is the problem of the heart.”
He seemed to be speaking right to me when he gave this word of caution: You can get all the marriage advice in the world from literature, but if you don’t have a supernatural transformation of the heart by Jesus, it’s no good. If we can’t learn to sacrifice for others out of love, marriage won’t work. It takes action, not study.
The second problem Kirk said we all face is that after dating someone and being married for a while, we discover things about the other person we don’t like. We set out on a mission to change them. But really the only person we have authority to change is ourselves. Kirk said that “God reserves the privilege of changing your spouse for himself.” It’s not our job.
He talked about how he imagines the anthem in Hell is, “I did it my way!” Instead of acting out of selfishness, we need to learn how to act out of love and sacrifice. How do we love someone we suddenly find unlovable? The same way God loved us when we didn’t deserve it. Kirk said that “love is an action that lays down its life for those who reject you.” And we’re supposed to do it over and over again.
Only God can change the heart. This is where Kirk gave some of the best advice, and this applies to married, engaged and dating couples, and even singles praying for marriage: “It’s not about getting a new spouse. It’s giving your spouse a new you.”
When things start to go wrong and you’re suddenly not as happy in your relationship as you thought you were, or you find yourself unsatisfied with singleness, cast a vision for who you want to be.
What kind of spouse do you want to be? Write it down and work toward it every day. We’re not responsible for the other person; we’re responsible for ourselves.
During the last part of the session, Kirk focused on a third problem: our battle against sin. Our sins, especially our secret ones, can destroy our relationships. He said the only way to stop it is to crucify the flesh and die to the self. Replace the inner desire with something else, and ask God for help.
He said to burn the bridges to sin and then take all the energy you put toward practicing your sin and instead direct it toward loving your spouse (or significant other) better.
My main take-away from the event is that our issues in relationships are heart issues. And it’s a faith issue. Generally when we struggle with loving others well, we haven’t been loving God very well.
For our relationships to be successful, we need to focus on God. He needs to be the center. And we need to focus on doing things His way instead of our own. What areas of selfishness do you see hindering your relationships? Are you working toward personal growth, or are you still waiting for the other person to change?