Ministry Leads: Elder Dan & Tavie Brooks
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. So what God has joined together, let man not separate. Matthew 19: 5 - 6
The Marriage Keepers Ministry exists to encourage couples to live in agreement with God's original design for marriage by:
- Equipping couples through bible based teachings for DISCIPLESHIP
- Connecting couples through fun outings for FELLOWSHIP
- Inspiring mature couples to embrace other couples for MENTORSHIP
PRINCIPLES FOR MARRIAGE
The following links are designed to empower, encourage, and equip couples to become Marriage Keepers who grow in their marriage and become ministers of marriage to help other marriages:
Marriage Keepers obey the laws of the institution of marriage:
LAW #1 – Marriage is a covenant relationship: Marriage is a permanent relationship united together by God. (Matthew 19:6b) The only way out of marriage is death. It is better not to make a promise before God, than to make it and not keep it (Ecclesiastes 5:5).
LAW #2 – Marriage is a heterosexual relationship: God’s original intention for marriage was for a man and a woman. (Genesis 2:22-24) What God says first about His creation is His original purpose and it cannot be changed. Therefore, man cannot pass laws legally recognizing same sex marriages because it was not God’s original intention for marriage.
Here are our scriptural references that support the churches rejection of same sex marriages:
- God made a woman from man for man: (Genesis 2:22) God did not make a man from man for man; rather, He made a woman from man for man.
- Adam declared the woman was for man: (Genesis 2:23) Adam made a decree that woman was for man; therefore, whatever Adam named became the original intentions for man and woman.
- A man is united with a woman to be his wife: (Genesis 2:24) A man is united to a woman to be his wife for marriage – not another man to be his husband in marriage. (Proverbs 18:22)
- Only a man and woman can become one flesh: (Genesis 2:24) The body parts of the man and woman are compatible in order to consummate their marriage to become one flesh.
- Only a man and woman can conceive children: (Genesis 1:28) God commands the man and woman to have children to continue life and the institution of family. Same sex marriages are incapable of obeying God’s commandment to be fruitful. Adoption is not what God is talking about here to begin a family.
LAW #3 – Marriage is a monogamous relationship: Marriage is between one man and one woman. (Matthew 19:5) The Bible doesn’t teach polygamy.
LAW #4 – Marriage is a sexual relationship: Marriage is the only relationship in which you can lawfully express sexual intimacy. (Hebrews 13:4)
LAW #5 – Marriage becomes a family relationship: Marriage is the only lawful relationship by which you are commanded by God to have children in order to continue the dynasty of your family name. (Genesis 1:28)
The Purpose for Marriage
Marriage Keepers live by the following five purposes for marriage:
- Worship: The purpose for marriage is to worship God by modeling the divine love and reverence between Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:24-25, 33) The husband loves His wife sacrificially just like Christ loves the church. The wife submits to respect her husband’s Headship just like the church submits to Christ in respect of His Headship. Each day you are together you worship God through your marriage by demonstrating your love and respect for one another in order to represent to the world the object lesson of the love and respect Christ and the Church have for one another.
- Companionship: The purpose for marriage is for a man and woman not to be alone but have a covenant companion to go through life together. The husband and wife complement one another so they can fulfill the mission for marriage. (Genesis 2:18) The woman serves the man as his wife, helper (assistant), and mother of his children in the marriage. The man serves the woman as her husband, the head, and father of the children in marriage. The man and woman share their common interests with one another to become best friends. They share the good timesof their life to rejoice with one another as well as going through difficult times to support one another.
- Pleasure: The purpose for marriage is to enjoy the pleasures of sex with one another in order to remain purebefore God. (Proverbs 5:19). God made sex for marriage. Marriage is the only place sexual intimacy is legal. Marriage keeps a man and woman sexually pure in the eyes of God. (Hebrews 13:4) Therefore, you are supposed to enjoy one another sexually and not to deprive one another of sexual pleasure, unless by mutual consent. (I Corinthians 7:3-5)
- Family: The purpose for marriage is to have children in order to continue God’s institution of family on earth. (Genesis 1:28) You get married to have children to continue God’s institution of family. Marriage is the only institution God legally ordained for children to come into the world. Marriage gives children parents who will provide a home for them in order to train and instruct them to make them sociably responsible in the context of a family. (Ephesians 6:1-4)
- Dominion: The purpose for marriage is to have dominion over the earth through living by the principles of God’s Word so you can make wise decisions, and have successful outcomes in everything your family does from generation to generation (Joshua 1:8).
God wants you to live by the principles of His word. God’s principles will prosper you (health, wealth, and relationships) and cause you to make wise decisions in order to have successful outcomes in everything you do in marriage. These principles are to be passed on to your children’s children in order to continue a family dynasty from generation to generation of marriage, health, and prosperity in your family line (Proverbs 13:22).
Code of Conduct for Marriage
Marriage Keepers live by the following seven rules of codes of conduct for marriage:
Rule I – Dedication: We will continue to dedicate our marriage to God and our church as the covering for our marriage. (Matthew 19:6)
Rule II – Deposits: We will demonstrate our love for one another by making daily deposits into our mate’s love bank, i.e., celebrations of anniversaries and birthdays, love notes, planned date nights, just because I love you gifts, get awayvacations, and words of encouragement. (Hebrews 10:24)
Rule III – Devotion: We will have weekly devotions to encourage one another with the word. (Ephesians 5:25-26)
Rule IV – Decisions: We will inquire to God before we make major decisions about our faith, family, future, and finances. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Rule V – Division: We will not let unresolved issues divide our marriage. We will be patient and longsuffering with one another until we resolve our disagreements. We will stand with one purpose, one vision, and one voice in order to live as one flesh in our marriage. (Matthew 12:25)
Rule VI – Deprive: We will not withhold a good thing from one another such as sex, affection, or communication. (I Corinthians 7:5)
Rule VII – Divorce: We will not use the “divorce” word. What you say over your marriage will manifest in your marriage. (Proverbs 18:21)
Keeping your Passion in Marriage
Marriage Keepers maintain passion in their marriage by keeping the following nine principles:
- Keep Communicating – Make sure each day you take time out to talk to and encourage one another. Remind each other how much you appreciate one another. Have regular marriage meetings when you discuss just the positive things about your marriage. Always talk about your future together.
- Keep Courting – Do not fall into a rut because you expect your spouse to be there always and you do not have time to court anymore. Keep going out on dates, writing love notes, and acting silly with one another.
- Keep Managing – Be a good steward with your income and stay out of debt. Debt causes stress on the marriage. Know how to manage your money through sowing some, saving some, and spending some. Remember: when there is bad finance there is little romance.
- Keep Surprising – After a couple has been together a while, they tend to get a little bored. Take an impromptu vacation, try a new move in the bedroom, and get dressed up for a night on the town with each other.
- Keep Exercising – Tend to your health through proper diet and exercise. You both want to have a good quality of life and this is done by taking care of your bodies. Make sure you have an exercise routine and eat properly.
- Keep Romancing – Statistics prove sex is one of the most important parts of marriage. Make sure you keep your sex life on fire. Have sex as often as you can. Make areas in your home conducive to romance, where the two of you can have privacy and tranquility to enjoy sex with one another. Do not forget that kissing and touching your spouse is a great way to keep the heat between you burning. Every once in a while give your spouse a long passionate kiss that does not lead to sex.
- Keep Celebrating – Remember to celebrate the special times in your marriage. This includes your birthdays, wedding anniversary, and holidays.
- Keep Remembering – Make sure your take and keep pictures of you having fun with one another over the years. Look at these pictures periodically to bring back old memories to encourage you to build new memories together.
- Keep Trusting – It is difficult for couples to recover from lying to one another or cheating. Preventing infidelity and working to improve the relationship you have rather than seeking a new one is important to keep your marriage safe. Without trust, your partner will not be able to love you and keep passion and romance alive and your marriage will become difficult.
Open Communication in Your Marriage
Open communication is when couples feel safe and secure enough to have straight talk with one another without the fear of negative reprisal. If you’re unable to have open communication both spouses will become distant and closed to talking to one another. This will lead to serious issues in your marriage that may lead to divorce. The key to having a successful marriage is open communication.
Effective communication makes open communication work. Effective communication is the skill set to use the correct words to convey your disagreement to another person for their clarity and feedback without escalating the disagreement. Effective communicators cause growth in your marriage relationship.
Use the following principles taken from James 1:19 to help you become an effective communicator:
James 1:19. So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
- Be swift to hear: Be ready to listen first. Always listen to understand your spouse’s point of view. This may be an old issue and you’ve heard it before, but don’t prejudge their comments and you may hear something new every time to help you come to a resolution. The first rule of effective communication is at all times listen to understand before you try to be understood.
- Be slow to speak: Get clarity before you speak. Always make sure you understand what your spouse means before you respond with a charge or a defense for your behavior or actions.
Here is how you can get clarity every time in communication:
- Repeat to them what you hear them saying
- Tell them how you receive what they are saying
- Ask them is this what they mean by what they’re saying
3. Be slow to anger: Stay in control. Always remain under emotional control. You’re not always going to hear what you want to hear. An effective communicator remains under control and suspends accusations that will escalate the offense and prohibit one spouse from wanting to continue in dialogue with them to resolve the problem or disagreement.
Accusations start sentences with “you” by definition. Here are some “you” statements: “You did this.” “You did that.” “You made me feel awful.” These are fighting words and will, more than likely, put the other person on the defensive.
When you use the word “you” it does not inform the person how you feel. You must use the word “I” to have the opposite effect: “I feel this way….” “I was hurt when…..” and “I get frustrated by…….” These phrases help to create sympathy with how you feel and are the first steps to resolving conflicts.
Effective communicators avoid fight, flight, fake or fold during communication:
- FIGHT – You disable it. You try to avoid your own hurt by attacking your spouse to disable them in the conversation. You blame, judge, criticize, belittle, yell, hit, push, or curse them.
- Your Aim: strong-arm the other person into loving and supporting you and your way.
- Why it never works: It closes the spirit of your partner toward you even if their actions seem to fall in line with my wishes.
- FLIGHT – You avoid it. You avoid hurt by avoiding all contact with your spouse or the real issues of your marriage. You withdraw, pout, become silent, or keep a physical distance.
- Your Aim: Keep the peace, without ever really making peace.
- Why it never works: It never deals with the issue. There is always a distance in the relationship.
- FAKE – You swallow it. You pretend that everything is alright. You sacrifice your real needs with a smile. You even begin to believe your feelings are not valid. Your motivation is fear of losing your love one.
- Your Aim: to keep the image of a happy marriage
- Why it never works: It builds resentment in the heart of the faker: dishonesty blocks the natural expression of love
- FOLD – You assume it. You give in and assume the blame. You never fully value or communicate your own feelings. You say, “It’s my fault.”
- Your Aim: You want to avoid rejection.
- Why it never works: It causes depression
Principle: All successful marriages have open communication through effective communication. If you’re unable to have open communication both spouses will become distant, and closed to talking to one another. This will lead to serious issues in your marriage that may lead to divorce. Continue to work on the principles for effective communication so you can have open communication in marriage.
Handling Conflicts in Your Marriage
Marriage Keepers use the following guidelines to prevent conflicts in their marriage:
You need to set aside regularly scheduled meetings so you can keep your spouse the priority, talk about the positive things in your marriage, and remember the purpose for your marriage:
- Priority: It is the time you put one another first. You want to give one another your undivided attention. Put up the cell phones, and turn off the television. You want to communicate how you’re doing personally so you can continue to remain open and exposed to one another. You will continue to grow as one person because you’re sharing your thoughts and feelings with one another.
- Positive: It is the time to give positive feedback about your marriage. Positive feedback encourages your spouse to know they are doing something right that pleases you. It also makes hearing the negative things about your marriage much easier. Remember the rule of negative words: it takes ten positive words to overcome one negative.
- Purpose: It is the time to celebrate your marriage. God put you together for companionship and friendship. Enjoy one another playfully and sexually. Use this time to break the monotony and enrich your relationship. Your meeting time can become a date night, renewing your vows together, or any other creative idea you may think about to celebrate your marriage. Just make sure you’re meeting regularly so you can be inspirational and motivational about your marriage.
Sometimes you can’t avoid a conflict in your marriage and you have become frustrated. You do not want your frustrations to turn into a “shout it out” instead of a “talk it out” time. Therefore, before shouting begins, set up a meeting to talk about your frustrations with the marriage. This is a time when you feel like you can share exactly how you feel, and not be threatened that your opinions or emotions will not be respected.
Always have solutions when you are critiquing the behavior of your spouse. If you’re unable to solve the problem “table” it and talk about it at the next meeting. Do not discuss it until your next scheduled meeting time (if possible); this is called “containing” problems in the marriage. Warning: You don’t want to turn your regular scheduled meeting times for priority, positivity, and purpose into conflict time. You may want to set another time for conflicts so you will always have a regular time that you just encourage one another.
Use the principles taken from Psalms 139:23 to help you prepare to handle a conflict in your marriage:
Psalms 139:23. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me, and know my anxieties; 24. And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting.
- Search me – Ask God to search you to know your motives
- Show me – Ask God to reveal your areas of being wrong
- Share with me – Ask God to give you solutions to resolve the issue
First, ask God to search for any wrong in your heart. You may not be wrong in principle but you may be wrong in the way you’re handling the problem. Then ask God to give you the wisdom, understanding and knowledge how to discuss the issue correctly in order to find solutions and bring growth to the relationship.
Here is how you prepare to meet your spouse to discuss a conflict:
- Know exactly what is bothering you
- Examine why it bothers you
- Write down solutions to solve the problem
- Inform your spouse you want to talk about your problem
- Allow them time to review the problem
- Set a meeting time
- Follow the rules for conflict resolution at the meeting
Rules for Resolution
Conflicts in marriage should be handled through ground rules of engagement. Here are the ground rules for you to follow when you’re resolving a conflict in your marriage:
Rule I – Be Spiritual: Start the meeting with prayer, and yield to the character of the Holy Spirit that will help you to manifest His patience and self-control as you go through the process of solving the issue in your marriage. If you’re not a Christian, commit to keep yourself under control during the communication until the issue is resolved.
Rule II – Be Scriptural: Use the Scriptures as your source and guidelines to solve your problem. If you’re not a Christian, study books on marriage that pertain to your issue that will help guide you in your resolution. This will bring a third party into the conflict to help keep you both from being so opinionated that you can’t see the other person’s point of view.
Rule III – Be Selfless: When both parties are selfless, willing to prefer the interests of their spouse before their own, the solution to the conflict will become much easier. Make this statement part of the culture of your marriage to help you have a selfless relationship: “How can I help you?” When both parties are interested in helping one another then you will be able solve any conflict that may arise in your marriage.
Rule IV – Be Specific: Solve one issue at a time. Do not bring up other issues that have nothing to do with the current discussion.
Rule V – Be Salt: Let your words be with grace seasoned with salt. (Colossians 4:6) Communicate words that are flavored to make them easier to receive. You use principles of effective communication and suspend criticisms that would escalate the conflict. Do not start sentences with “you” but with “I” to season your words. Using profane language or name calling has NEVER helped resolve problems in marriage. They usually cause irreparable damages to the marriage relationship.
Rule VI – Be Sure: Pursue clarity before you respond. Here is how you use the principles of effective communication to receive clarity in communication:
- Repeat to them what you hear them saying
- Tell them how you receive what they are saying
- Ask them is this what they mean by what they’re saying
This rule ensures your spouse that you are listening to them and not prejudging what you think you know about the person or the issue. This will help you be open to hear something new about what they are saying to help you see their point of view of the issue you are discussing to bring resolution.
Rule VII – Be a Solver: Share solutions to the problem and do not criticize one another. It may take more than one meeting, therefore, you should be patient with one another through the process of reconciliation. Most conflicts are solved because of a selfless act of forgiveness or change of behavior by an individual.
Once both spouses have decided on a solution – move on and do not bring it up again just like God does for you. This means when you see one another there should not be any animosity arising in your heart or comments that references the offense. Your goal in conflict resolution is not only to resolve the conflict but to make sure the relationship is restored and you’re able to go forward stronger than before.
Be determined to resolve the issue and don’t be a quitter. If you’re unable to resolve a conflict and it becomes a major disagreement in your marriage, seek to solve your issue through pastoral or professional counseling. If you use counseling, then you must empower the counselor to become the final arbitrator, and you will need to obey their counsel in order to resolve the conflict in your marriage.
Seven Disciplines for your Children
Marriage Keepers use the following seven disciplines to instruct their children in order to mature them to become godly adults:
Discipline #1 – Authority: Instruct your children to obey all authorities. All authorities are established by God therefore your children should obey their parents and civil authorities (Ephesians 6:1-4, Romans 13:1).
Application: Here is an order of correction you can use to teach your children when they disobey authority:
First, discipline your child with talking (correction)
Secondly, discipline your child with taking (privileges)
Thirdly, discipline your child with touching (spanking)
Lastly, discipline your child by turning them over (consequences)
The father should be the primary disciplinarian and the mother secondary. You never discipline your children in uncontrollable anger. Some refrain from touching their children with spanking. It’s your decision, but when your child is disobedient, you must teach them there will be consequences for their disobedience or they will begin to believe they can disobey you without consequences.
Also, teach your children to obey civil authorities in order to be protected from those who do evil or be punished if they do wrong and break the law (Romans 12:5-11). Once a child understands the purpose of authority and how it covers their life, they will become teachable to follow your instructions as parents, and be respectful to those who hold authority in our community. A child who honors and obeys authority will easily follow the next six disciplines.
Discipline #2 – Purpose: Instruct your children in God’s purpose for their life (Proverbs 22:6).
Application: Parents should ask God about His purpose for their child. Then they should guide their children in the direction of that path. God’s purposes are always connected to making a contribution that will serve others in a positive way that leaves a legacy of their faith in God. Here is a motto for them to live by: “I will serve others to leave a legacy of my faith in God that I left this world better than I found it.”
Discipline #3 – Character: Instruct your children to be a character driven person (faith, love, integrity, loyalty, and truthfulness) before performance.
Application: Teach your children to value character before performance. We live in a performance driven society. Your public success excuses your private failures. Explain to your children success in their private life is just as important as the success in their public life. Remind your children their gifts and talents may get them in the door, but their character will keep them there (Psalm 25:21, Proverbs 10:9, 11:3).
Discipline #4 – Worldview: Instruct your children to live by a biblical worldview verses a humanistic worldview when making decisions about their lifestyle and purpose in life.
Application: Teach your children from the Scriptures how to receive Christ, to faithfully serve Him, and to live morally like Him in order to keep the spiritual legacy of Christ in your family from generation to generation (Joshua 24:15).
Discipline: #5 – Accountability: Instruct your children to be accountable for their actions in order to receive more responsibility.
Application: Teach your children a sign of maturity is when they become accountable for their actions. A person who is accountable for their actions will receive more responsibility. A child who is not accountable for their actions is not ready for more responsibility and lose what they have in life (Luke 16:10-12).
Discipline #6 – Decisions: Instruct your children to seek counsel from older individuals (Grandparents, Parents, Mentors, and etc.) to help them make wise decisions concerning life, relationships or vocation decisions. When there is no one to help them, seek God in prayer so they can make the right decisions to go in the right direction in their life (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Application: Teach your children that the choices they make become the end results and/or consequences they will live. Therefore, they should learn how to acknowledge God through prayer before making decisions and receive directions in order for them to be prosperous and successful in whatever they plan to do according to God’s purpose for their life (Joshua 1:8).
Discipline #7 – Education: Instruct your children to excel in their academics (Proverbs 22:29).
Application: Teach your children the value of education and doing their best every time. To develop their skills in order to excel in whatever they do. Drill into their minds that ignorance leads to poverty and education, with hard work, leads to provision for yourself and prosperity to make a contribution to help others.