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Session 1: Growing Together, Not Growing Apart

October 5, 2018 Pastor: Dr. John Cox Series: Finders Keepers Marriage Conference

Topic: Marriage Conference

We are all missing some of the basic heart abilities that we need to make relationships work. You have blind spots, your spouse has blind spots… Presto, we have marriage problems!

So what are the heart abilities we need to do marriage well? I call them the "FOUR I’s”


Do I have the ability to let you in? Can I be intimate, close and let you know my heart…as well as care about yours?


Do I have the ability to also keep you in? Even if we aren't being close right now, can I hold on to love and not let my needfulness control the relationship? Can I be strong and grounded in me and not just need you!?



Good relationships are always a complex blend of being close and yet still being you.

Do I have the ability to be me in a relationship? Can I know who I am and what I want, and let that matter in my marriage? Or do I become a chameleon or a follower, where somehow my heart and opinions disappear in the relationship?


Do I have the ability to also let you be you? Can I make room for you in the relationship too? Can I enjoy that you are different from me?

And most importantly… Can we work together to both matter when we disagree?



Making sense of the “yuck” in life and in each other is a primary cause of marriage problems.

Do I have the ability to forgive you (and the fallen world) for letting me down? Can I metabolize and find peace with the ways in which you disappoint me... without creating distance and anger? Do I live in constant protest against how fallen the world is, or do I have the ability to live with humility and patience?


Do I have the ability to forgive myself? Can I live in a place of humility and grace that doesn't require me to always have to be perfect for you? And more importantly, can we live together as broken people from a position of grace and humility rather than judgment and criticism


Impulse Control - Emotional Management

Can I Think? (and not just React)

Can I Feel? (and not detach)

The hallmark of adult functioning is the ability to have a feeling (angry, insecure, hurt, ashamed) and instead of just reactively striking out or be able to think about it...reflect on it...and DECIDE what to do. Do I have the ability to think...and not just react?


In order to be emotionally close in a relationship, I need to be able to let my emotional world be a part of my life. So can I Feel, and let my heart be emotionally available?

The beginning point of a good marriage is moving from a position of blaming one another for our problems to a place of looking together at where our character blindspots and missing heart abilities, are limiting us.

This is the Gospel!! Now let's grow together!


Questions for Thought and Discussion

1) Knowing which character skills are weak spots for us is an important insight for both of you to have in your marriage.


Married - Talk together about in which of the eight character abilities you might be blind spots for you.  (Let you in, Keep you in....etc).   In which ones do you think your spouse might struggle?   Where else in your life do you see your blindspots causing you trouble?(parenting, job, etc)


Singles - What might your blindspots be? Do you see that affecting your dating? Or affecting the guys/gals you pick to date?    Talk with your growth people about your growth areas, and let that be a focus of your prep for marriage.


2) Most people come into a marriage with the expectation that "my spouse should make me happy." We talked about how our default approach to disappointment there tends to be blame; making your spouse the problem instead of solving the problem.


Married - Talk about ways in which you both might be using blame to address the losses and the hurts in your relationship.   If we can talk about the boogey man of blame, it decreases it's power and we can start working together as a team to make this marriage better!!


Singles - How critical are you of the limitations of those you date? How critical are you of Your faults? How can you make yours and their limitations and faults something you can ultimately talk about in a safe way?

More in Finders Keepers Marriage Conference

October 7, 2018

The Seeking God of Eden

October 6, 2018

Session 2: Intimacy and Strength: How to Make Closeness Work

October 6, 2018

Session 3: Conflict and Fighting: Learning to Both Matter