New Hope Notes
Pastor Mark Gungor
Greetings! From My Family And Friends In Green Bay, Wisconsin.
This weekend I want to talk to you from my recent book, “Be?Attitudes of Marriage.” The story behind this is that I have six grandchildren—six little chubby?faced monkeys! Isn't it one of the most fabulous experiences in life? It’s God's reward to you for not having killed your children!
Grandparents and grandchildren have a special connection—they share a common enemy! Grandchildren like it when you read stories to them from a big illustrated book with simple stories; and I thought I wanted to write a book like this, so I did! This is not a book for children (you’ll traumatize them); it’s a perfect relationship book for men: It’s short, to the point, and has pictures!
Jesus, our Lord, in His famous Sermon on the Mount gave his Beatitudes, which is a fancy word for blessings: Blessed are the poor, blessed are the meek, etc. I wanted to give my Be-Attitudes For Marriage—they’re not blessings—it’s a play off the word “Beatitudes.” They’re attitudes you should be. If you incorporate these attitudes into your life, you will be able to succeed with anybody—whether you’re married or not—but, especially, if you’re married! I just want to lightly go through these Be-Attitudes:
Attitude No. 1: Be nice.
For some reason, the closer we get to people the meaner we get—just like a rattlesnake! This ought not to be! We’ve actually been taught this in our crazy culture! People ask me, “How have you been able to be married for so long?” I said, “It’s because we’re not honest with how we feel. I’m sure there are mornings my wife wakes up, looks at me, and feels that she’s been blessed by God; and, I’m certain there are mornings when she wakes up, looks at me, and is convinced she married the spawn of hell!” A simple good morning will suffice.
You are under no obligation to share everything you think! In fact, new studies from the psychological community are proving that those who don’t let everything out are the healthiest. The idea that you should just let every little thought come out of your mouth is crazy!
Proverbs 29:11 KJV says, “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.” Who will you listen to?
1 Corinthians 13 (the love chapter) verse 4 says, “Love is kind.” So be nice, and quit being so mean! Quit living by how you feel. Your feelings aren't your friend. They get you in all kinds of trouble.
Some of the nicest people in the world, come to church, shake everybody’s hand, until they get home—and the demons come out! Stop it! Be nice.
Attitude No. 2: Be Content.
Learn to be happy. If you always think something must change before you can be happy, you will be a victim all your life! Paul says in Philippians 4:13 NLT, “For I can do everything through Christ,who gives me strength.” This is one of the most misquoted verses in the Bible! We always quote it as a victory verse that will get us out of trouble, but that’s not the context! There are lots of great victory verses in the Bible; but this verse says, “My life stinks!” In verse 12 NIV, Paul says, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
Paul is actually saying, “I know what it is to be hungry. I know what it is to be miserable. I know what it is to be in horrible circumstances; but I’ve learned the secret: “Be content no matter what my circumstances.” Then he says, “I can do all these things through Christ who gives me strength.” That’s what that verse is about: We can be happy no matter what because our joy doesn't come from circumstances; so learn to live separate from your circumstance. Life is tough—sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is just another train coming at you! Jump out of the way! Learn to be happy.
Attitude No. 3: Be Connected.
Get some friends. We all have psychotic people we call our friends because they’re as crazy as we are—I’m talking about other couple friends. If you don’t routinely get together with couples to share your crazy, you will have problems. Get together and talk things through because people will see things you don't see.
Attitude No. 4: Be Prepared.
Life is difficult, and sometimes unpredictable! The other problem is that sometimes life is predictable! That's the reason I always tell single people when they are dating: Look for somebody of character. Don't get caught up in how cute they are. Character will last a lifetime; but sexy has a shelf life!
I love reading stories of couples that have been married 75 years. The interviewer says, "When did you work out your differences?" They say, "We ain't never worked out nothin'. Still drives me crazy." They die holding hands!
Attitude No. 5: Be Proactive.
You will reap what you sow. You cannot escape it. It doesn’t matter how smart you are, how spiritual you think you are, nobody escapes it. If your life stinks, it’s because you’re doing stinking things. People don’t like to hear that today, but it is the reality. A lot of people don’t know what to do with life today. That’s why the church is here. We do life together. Come get help, get involved. Learn the scriptures. We’ll show you what to do.
Attitude No. 6: Be Clear.
In virtually every relationship there is one person who is much more emotive than the other one. If you want something from God, what’s the first thing you must do? You must ask, even though Jesus is God (unlike your husband) and knows what you want before you ask Him. If you don’t ask, you’re not getting jack squat out of God!
There are three simple things you must do to get a man to do what you want him to:
(1) Ask for what you want. You may say, "Well, if he truly loved me, he'd know what I want." No. Men don't have ESP. We have ESPN, and it's totally different! Just ask.
(2) Ask more than once. Asking a man to do something once is like never having asked him to do it at all. Why must I keep repeating myself over and over? Because we don't want to do it! Is this really a mystery to you, girls? If we wanted to do it, we'd have done it already. Not only do you want him to do it; you want him to want to do it!
(3) Don't insult when you ask—insult is not a motivator for a man. Also, don't insult God when He doesn't move according to your timetable; apparently, your husband is more godly than you thought!
Some of you girls are thinking. “You know, Pastor, if I had a spiritual, godly man, I wouldn't have these problems.” Godly man? All right, let's talk about that…
It's about you and God. If you want something from God, what's the first thing you must do? You must ask. Even though Jesus was God (unlike your husband) and knows what you want before you ask Him, He said to ask. And if you don't ask, you're not gettin' jack squat out of God!
Jesus taught that you must ask more than once! That proves God's a man right there! Jesus said ask. Keep on asking. Keep on knocking. Why must I keep on asking, why? I don't know.
Attitude No. 7: Be Patient.
The good news is that marriage is a dance that is perfected over time; and every study shows that women improve men. It’s true! Married men are happier, healthier, live longer, and make more money than their single counterparts—same age, same race, same education. They just do better. In fact, they say that one of the most dangerous things in America is for a man to remain single! The good news is that you can get a man where you want him—it just takes a long time! You can get him there. The bad news is that he dies because it took so long! You know, be patient!
Attitude No. 8: Be Dead.
Pick up your cross and lay down your life. Be crucified with Christ. Jesus said in John 12:24 NASB, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Jesus said new life would break out of that seed and climb out of the dirt!
Nobody gets everything they want. Even though we teach faith and how to believe in God, nobody gets everything. At some point, we must let go and let God! Learn to be content in our circumstances. God wants us to die because dead people are easy to get along with. Seriously. You can insult them, and they don’t care. You can poke them with a stick, and they’ll never hit you back. At some point we just need to let go!