Marriage Material (part 2): Less of Me

TO START

Over the next three weeks let’s make it our goal as a group to memorize I Corinthians 13:4-8a. Here’s the text:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Practice saying it together as a group. Have one person read it one line at a time and have group members repeat it. You might also have everyone write it out on an index card (or color it via this pretty downloadable coloring page: http://www.bibleparent.com/pdf/1corinthianesv.pdf).

You might offer a prize for group members who memorize it by next week. Kids aren’t the only ones motivated by the treasure box.

 

DISCUSSION

Consider the characteristics of love from I Corinthians 13 we covered this week. Define each one in your own words and offer an example of what it would look like to live that characteristic out in a marriage.

  1. Love is not self-seeking.

  2. Love is patient.

  3. Love is kind.

  4. It does not envy.

  5. It does not boast.

  6. It is not proud.

  7. It does not dishonor others.

What’s the problem with selfishness? What does selfishness do to a marriage? Give an example.

When, referring to the Copernican shift, Justin called us to put our spouses “at the center of our universe” instead of ourselves, how did that make you feel? How does the prospect of making that kind of effort make you feel?

  • Do you feel vulnerable? Does it seem dangerous? Do you feel guilty?
  • What would need to change for you to take that call to selflessness seriously? What’s keeping you from exercising that kind of selflessness?

Make a list of things you could do to self-less in your marriage--be practical and specific. What opportunities do you have to serve your spouse on a daily basis? Once you’ve made a long list, choose two or three things to do THIS week. Report back to your group next week about how you did.

 

SCRIPTURE READING

Read Philippians 2:3-8

  • According to this passage what shouldn’t we do? What should we do?
  • What example does Paul give of selflessness?
  • Paul says Jesus refused to use His equality with God “to his advantage.” In what ways are you more powerful than the people around you (your spouse in particular)? Do you ever use that power to your own advantage? What does that look like? What would it look like to use that power to their advantage?

 

PRAYER

Consider this prayer from Saint Vincent:

“O Dearly beloved Word of God, teach me to be generous, to serve Thee as Thou dost deserve, to give without counting the cost, to fight without fretting at my wounds, to labor without seeking rest, to spend myself without looking for any reward other than that of knowing that I do Thy holy will. Amen.”

Pray it together.

Now, change the words a little to ask God to help you be selfless in your relationships. Maybe have a female pray it for the wives and a man pray it for the husbands:

“O dearly Beloved God, teach me to be generous, to serve my spouse even more than he/she does deserve, to give without counting the cost, to fight for him/her without worrying about my wounds, to labor beside him/her and for him/her without looking for any reward other than knowing I’m doing what you want of me. Amen.”

 

TAKE A QUIZ

Consider this “You Might Be Selfish If…” list from a christian blogger. Keep track of how many hit home. No winners or losers in this quiz, just some good self evaluation.

You might be selfish if you get angry when someone cuts you off.

You might be selfish if you refuse to forgive.

You might be selfish if you don’t allow yourself to be inconvenienced.

You might be selfish if you don’t give money to church or charity.

You might be selfish if you are chronically unhappy (because selfless people are content).

You might be selfish if you refuse to help certain people.

You might be selfish if you are lazy.

You might be selfish if you think that what you are doing is more important than what others are doing.

You might be selfish if you insist on having your way.

You might be selfish if you always have to win or always be right.

You might be selfish if you refuse to sincerely apologize.

You might be selfish if you like being in control and find it hard to compromise.

You might be selfish if you hear constructive criticism as a personal attack.

You might be selfish if you find it difficult for someone else to be the focus of attention.

You might be selfish if you don’t want to work with others on a team.

You might be selfish if you prioritize what’s for your benefit rather than what might benefit others.

You might be selfish if you usually give negative feedback first.

You might be selfish if you are irritated when others ask you for help.

You might be selfish if you hear a message and think “______ (fill in a name)” should hear it.

You might be selfish if you think, “someone should do something about this” when you could do it.

You might be selfish if you are self-conscious about helping strangers in public.

You might be selfish if you are grumpy, sour, complaining or whiny.

You might be selfish if you only help others when it makes you feel good.