The Art of Marriage

by Andrea Cooley

Remember back in October when we wrote about Capturing the Spark in your marriage for 31 days? One of my and Adam’s goals for this year was to go to a marriage conference. Well, the conference in Des Moines was a few weeks ago and we already had plans. So I went to the Family Life website to see when the other conferences in Iowa were. The next one is in November. By then we will have a newborn, so escaping for a romantic weekend probably won’t be realistic.

We still wanted to do something to invest in our marriage before our lives change dramatically. So we talked to some friends who wanted to do a couple’s Bible study. They suggested reading The Art of Marriage. We’re halfway through the book and are both really enjoying it. The study includes a DVD with videos to watch each week. There are group discussion questions in the book and also homework for the couples each week.

We’re doing the study with 4 other couples. One of the couples has been married less than a year and the rest of the group has been married 2-5 years, so we’re the longest married couple at almost 7 years! That’s obviously not to say that we aren’t learning a lot from the others!

There’s lots of great stuff that we’re learning. Last week was all about submission. I definitely need to re-read that chapter and apply it in our marriage. Here are some highlights so far:

• The ultimate purpose of marriage is to reflect God’s image. It is a picture of Christ’s sacrificial love for the church. That means that our marriage, the way we treat each other and talk about our spouses to others, is a testimony of our faith. Makes me think twice before complaining about Adam or disrespecting him!

• We are called to receive our spouses. This means embracing our differences instead of trying to change each other. We’re on the same team! That’s so important to remember when we’re arguing about something insignificant.

• Marriage is not about my happiness, but about ours. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that it is not Adam’s role to fulfill all of my needs. God is the only one who can do that. But culture tells us that if your spouse isn’t making you happy, something’s wrong.

Submission is a hard word to swallow. As a wife, I am called to be Adam’s “helper” and he is called to be the leader. It is my job to cheer Adam on, encourage him when he makes mistakes and let him know that no matter what, I love him. Biblical submission doesn’t violate the personality or strengths that God has given me. Instead it enables me to live out my personality to its fullest.Here’s a video about the study and you can order the books here. At first I wasn’t sure it was necessary for both of us to have our own copy, but there are questions for both of us to answer, so it’s nice that we each have our own.

Has anyone else done the study? Or have another marriage study they recommend?

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Andrea Cooley

  1. Another great book is Love and Respect…Emmerson Eggerich.

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