Marriage: Giving and Recieveing

‘There is nothing nobler or more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their  friends’   Homer


Individual Exercise

Opening Questionmarriage

Do you find it easier to give in your marriage, than receive? If you are single, divorced or widowed, what is your experience with the closest

person to you in relationship?


Share this with the person next to you, giving examples of both giving

and receiving


Group Work


What in essence is the difficulty in giving and receiving, what holds us back?


You may like to widen this beyond marriage, if you have time, or talk about the issue as you look at the following


Acceptance- can we accept each other fully? There needs to be mutual commitment. There needs to be a leaving of the family we were born into, creating space for the marriage, a letting go of childhood dependency etc (Gen 2 v.24)

Q. In a marriage that you know, can you think of a way that,  

     each person, has given the other acceptance in a way that

     counts for them both?


Sustenance-Just as God sustains us, in marriage we need to sustain each other in a number of ways. Through togetherness; relaxing together, thinking together, praying together, relating sexually, not be exclusive with others 

(Matt 19 v.5)

Q. Can you think of other ways to sustain each other?

    What has worked for you?

Significance-Can we give and receive and have equality, accepting difference? (Gal 3 v.28) we are created by a loving, giving God and created to love, give and receive in relationship. Men and woman are equal; we differ physically and with our personalities, but the difference compliments as well as maybe lead to conflict?  
Q. Can you think of an example where you have made your spouse?
     or another close to you feel significant?

Achievement-Just as Jesus through relationship with his Father was able to flow and produce fruit, so we in marriage are able to achieve, this will be done if we are truly humble and open to grow. In the reading (Eph 5 v.22-33) the word submit is used. This does not mean being a doormat! ‘Submit’ to one another out of reverence for Christ’

It’s about offering and freedom, marriage should have space, love and understanding for mutual submission

Q. Can you think of how service flows out of your marriage,

    either to those around you or to each other?


Blocks that prevents the above: a few examples

  • Lack of commitment, clinging to parents, lifestyle, patterns of childhood, unfaithfulness etc

  • Wrong or unhelpful expectations of ‘roles’ mis-understanding of other’s needs, keeping the best for self etc

  • Insisting in dominating, over-powering

  • Wrong understanding of achievement, children seen as possessions, success, living only for each other etc

    Jesus’ headship


  • Self-Sacrifice- Jesus’ headship was not about taking power but about giving himself and also receiving (washing the disciples feet)

  • Sensitivity-Jesus was acutely aware of the individual needs of those whom he related to, in this way he affirmed the person even though he might be saying something challenging and confronting (woman at well)

  • Unconditional love-Jesus offers us unconditional love, so too we offer this in marriage/close relationship (Rom 5 v. 8)

  • Forgiveness-The ultimate act of forgiveness on the cross, consistent, the model within marriage


    Maybe the most important aspect of any relationship is to listen to each other. If you are married then this coming week spend one hour with your spouse, listening fully to them. Then ask them to do the same for you. If you single, divorced or widowed then ask the closest person to you if they would do this with you?

    Some areas which cause difficulty


  • Loss and change--relatives, jobs etc
  • Sex—physical, abuse, won’t get help
  • Children—infertility, tiredness, emotional upheaval
  • Money—too little or too much
  • Possessions—sharing, letting go of
  • Family patterns—up-bringing, circumstance
  • Time—it’s use and mis-use
  • Personality—clashes, changes
  • Holidays—difference in opinion, want to go, not want to go
  • Christian Life—praying together, church expects to much 

    You may like to close by praying for marriage, the issues that you

    are aware of, that have been raise by the group.


  • As you close, please pray for all that your group has discussed, for issues raised and for each other as well as the wider community and the world


Sharon Seal, 29/04/2009