Leon Fontaine - Love and Respect
I want to talk about love and respect, isolated and ashamed. There was a movie that was done years ago that rocketed into stardom called, The Titanic. They took the actual sinking, a very historical event of a horrible tragedy. And the movie is a love story between this two people on the Titanic. Now, that one was made up. But there's actually a true story that witnesses recorded on that faithful day when the Titanic sunk, and it was a couple named Ida and Isidor Straus. Now, they were an immigrant couple who started a little store called Macy's. They were on the Titanic for holidays.
As the Titanic was going down, Ida climbed into the boat where they instructed her to, and then she realized that her husband wouldn't be coming with her but he would stay on the boat because men weren't allowed in. She climbed out of the boat and the crew were arguing trying to convince her to stay and she goes, "No". She goes, "Wherever he goes, I go". It didn't matter what they tried to say. They couldn't convince her. He couldn't convince her to get back on. They sat down on the chairs, on the deck of the Titanic and they went into eternity together. I don't know how you look at love. Everybody seems to have different ways and things that are important to them. But today, I want to talk to you about marriage. The power of a good marriage, not a perfect marriage. The power of a good marriage is absolutely crucial.
Now, if God made marriages to be the very foundation of civilization, of homes, future of His church, of His kingdom advancing. It's only going to advance when we understand the crucial importance of a marriage. And when you work on your marriage, and you do things that even sacrifice for your marriage and the things that you do to build your marriage. You literally are impacting your children, your grandchildren, your generation. You're impacting the church of Jesus Christ. The witness of Jesus. And this is crucial, if we are going to live in a way that is blessed, happy, free. I don't care if you're single today. I don't care if you are an older marriage that thinks, "Ah we, you know, we've kind of learned all this". No, I don't believe you have. I don't believe anybody stops learning and growing in this area.
Now, study show us that when you develop a problem solving marriage, not a problem making one, not a problem finding one, not a constantly problem criticizing one, but a problem solving marriage. Those are the happiest people. Those are the healthiest people. Those are the wealthiest people. You see, love in marriage is developed. It's worked on day by day, season after season. And nobody just finds the right person yet one of the most naãve things that are destroying marriage is that if you find the right person and you get married, that you will live happily ever after. That you don't need to do anything if you're meant to be, it's just going to grow and develop. I want you to know that nothing just does that. You need to work on it.
Now, I need to make one caveat. I need to kind of deal with one thing before I go on and teach on this. And that is that every time I teach on relationships and marriage. There are people listening who are in horrible circumstances. They're being abused, dealing with incredible pain, even children, family units. And so I want to say this, that when I'm teaching unless I say so, I'm often teaching to in a general way. We know that Christian psychologist have four areas that they really caution people. That if these things are in your marriage, your marriage is in crisis. And you better consider having it fix quick or leaving, stepping out, just make sure that you understand. And those areas are adultery, addiction. They are abuse and abandonment. In those areas, you know, you need to get some professional help. You need to recognize. You don't just keep going with no change, to be very cautious.
So that's not what I'm teaching on today. I'm teaching on marriage. Now, in Proverbs 30:18, it says this, from the wisest men other than Jesus that apparently ever walked the planet Solomon. He said, "There are three mysteries I find absolutely amazing, no, make it four, he says, that I cannot comprehend. The way of an eagle flying in the sky. The way of a snake moving over a rock. The way of a boat gliding through the middle of the sea, and the way a man becomes one with his virgin wife". God has a plan for a man and a woman to come together, and His plan is amazing. It's incredible. Now, we live in a fallen world. And so I'm talking today to tons of people who got married who aren't virgins, tons of people who are in their second, third marriages. And so we know there's forgiveness. We know there's renewing the mind. And so don't look in the past and get all guilty. The Bible says forget those things which are behind, and we press.
So make where you are today work. But it's interesting that when the Bible talks about this, it literally talks about Solomon saying, "I can't understand it". There's a ton of things he understands yet there is something about marriage. There is something about a man and a woman who choose to love each other. Now, listen to me. There is no end of what that marriage can do. You've got one person with gifts and abilities completely uniquely different than the other person with different gifts, abilities, skills. You bring them together and if they will learn to work together, they will have an incredible impact on this life, on their generations, on the people around them, for the kingdom of God. There is no end for new experiences and growing together. Whereas so many elderly couples have kind of a jaded look. They stuck it out. They stayed together. But you'd have to say a lot of their dreams and desires in marriage, they just got realistic.
And now, there's very true that we need to be careful how much pressure we put on the other to meet all the things that you desire. But you should never release that. As marriage grows and you learned to develop your marriage and problems solved. There's no end. That the seasons that are ahead of you, the intimacy, the friendship, the power, the influence, the understanding. The enjoyment of life that is there when marriages do it God's way is something the world has no clue. And if you need counseling, get it from people. If you're going to get a secular counselor to a certain degree, fine. But they have no understanding of a born-again person marrying a born-again person where the nature has changed. Where a fear nature which is a fear-sin nature. When you get born-again, you have a faith-love nature. And something tremendous will begin to develop and grow in your life.
Now, I'm going to talk about one thing about women and I'm going to teach on one thing about men. But they are so profound that if you get this today, wherever you are in your marriage from being a single person just looking for someone, newlyweds, or you're great grandparents. God never designed your marriage to end with the joy, the companionship, the laughter that life can bring. In this one verse I'm teaching from is Ephesians 5:33. You can read a lot of books, and I read a lot of books on a ton of subjects. But every time I go to the Bible, I find a depth of understanding, a brilliance as Holy Spirit guides and dives into everything from psychology to physiology to health to relationships to finances to systems and structures. I'm stunned at the wisdom and the brilliance in the Bible.
Here's what it says, he says, "Let each man of you without exception love his wife as being in a sense his very own self, and let the wife see that she respects her husband". Now, there is no word that is placed in the Bible for no reason. And when you get back into the original and you study this thing out, and you recognize why didn't he say that wives should love their husbands? Men love being loved. Why doesn't it say that men should respect their wives? Every woman needs and wants res it's showing something very powerful about the marriage relationship. And as we dive into this, you're going to discover how important this is.
Everybody thinks that if you communicate, that solves all problems. Did you know that much research has looked at this. That if you've got couples who just talk, they're going to be okay. But it's not true. It's not true. Communication does not work. Communication can destroy marriages very fast if we don't learn to communicate. In fact, I'll give you these two things. Communication doesn't work without compassion and empathy. If you do not have these two when you communicate, then your communication can destroy. Words can destroy. They can be horrible. Now compassion is a sympathy, a concern for the suffering of others, your spouse. Empathy is the ability to share in their feelings, your understanding, and loving them so much. This empathy and compassion, when you communicate with these two, this is when communication becomes very powerful.
Most couples when they talk about something, slide into age old rots of, "He always says this and gets mad. She always says this and gets angry". And it never gets anywhere. So it's just a replay over and over and over of them communicating ineffectively and just making the heart of the person that they love harder and harder until it just breaks up. The heart stops working. Now we know as you study and you work. We've been counseling with marriages for decades and oversighting the counseling of our pastors with couples. That if a woman isn't loved and connected with, she feels fearful and isolated. Fearful and isolated. And it's something that every woman herself needs to understand. That, you know, a lot of times we have feelings and emotions, but we can't name them. And one of the keys to learning and growing is to understand what emotions, what feelings, what kind of words that coming from.
And so in a marriage, when a couple doesn't connect, the woman will struggle with fear. She will struggle with this feeling of disconnection and being isolated. You know, in the study of babies. Baby girls they always show much greater fear reaction than boys. Being alone for most little girls is far scarer than for little boys. And a woman has a deep need to feel connected to her spouse and if not she will be fighting this feelings her entire life. Now, remember this. You need a relationship first with Jesus because only He can heal a heart that's not working. It's broken. Only He can do that. But when you get married, you want your heart to be healed with Him and then you also want this relationship. God said Himself it wasn't good for a human being to be alone, and He created a woman. He had a man and a woman. So this is crucial.
Now, men need to understand that. That in your entire marriage one of the quicker things that will manifest even if your wife doesn't understand it, is if you don't learn and grow in all the different ways to connect to your wife, to help her to feel this love and cherished and valued that you up her temptation in the area of fear. Now, men. If a man isn't loved with respect, he feels shame. He feels inadequate. He feels like a failure. And there are men right now that are listening to me and you don't know why you get so angry when your wife wants to talk, or every time you get involved in any topic that you just struggle emotionally. And those are the emotions that men will deal with because as you talk about a problem, a man knows that his role in life is to keep his wife happy, to make sure that he's not failing her. So he's always going to fix something. When you talk about it, he wants to fix it because in fixing it, he can deal with this shame. This feeling of inadequacy and this feeling of being a failure.
Now, men as well recognize, that if you have not got a great relationship with God, and He has healed your broken heart, helped you to establish beliefs that gets your heart to work properly. That your wife can never meet this needs just like the same is true of her meeting her needs. But when you understand that every time, you know, when a man hears his wife say, "Honey, we need to talk". Almost every guy I talked to, we did polls on this when we do different marriage courses. It's just like he cringes inside. He will do it if he has to but there is absolutely no joy. And that's wrong. There ought to be joy about taking your marriage to a new level. There ought to be great peace and excitement about building your marriage. But the issue is he doesn't realize or maybe he does, that every time a problem comes up. He should have seen that. He should have fixed it. He should have handled that. So now he's ashamed. Now he feels like less of a man. He feels like a failure.
And so when we understand this two deep things in a woman and in a man, and there's lots more than this. But this two right here will change your entire marriage if all you do is play this video together. Put a pencil and paper and just talk about that. You know, and say and admit it. Honey? Yes, in our marriage, you might be lady say to your husband, "That yeah, that I struggle. When you see me sometimes in attack mode or when you see me, you know, just getting bluesy and doubt. I'm feeling disconnected. I'm feeling unloved and I'm fighting it. But if you can help me with this. I know it's also my relationship with God". But when he understand that, then he can reach out and begin to love and give and recognize the power that he has to help you feel connected, loved, appreciated. And when you talk as a couple, ladies it's a stunning thing to know that this man, that I think is just always grumpy or angry. That I can speak to him in a way and let, that I literally can make him feel so respected because as I bring up issues, we can do this together.
Let's think of ways to communicate that minimizes, because he has to decide how he feels. You can't control other person's feelings. But in a marriage, you can figure out a way to communicate and talk that is not going to heighten the shame. That not going to heighten the inadequate feelings that that man has. That he's a failure. Because when you do, you ramp up the temptation that the enemy can bring in, to quit, to walk, to this marriage is not working, and it can come on both of them. I want to challenge you to make sure that your relationship is growing with God. Make sure that you deal with this massive issues in communication. And I want to you to do it today. I'm giving every couple an assignment. I want you to talk about this message about respecting love. The purpose is not to fight. The purpose is to understand.
And I'd like you sometime tonight to set aside some time just to say, "Pastor Leon said we should talk about it". There usually be one in the relationship that doesn't want to. So, you know, and if you need to apologize say, "You know what, truthfully, some of us guys need to say I just had no idea". I couldn't understand, or I couldn't seem to stop the irritableness and the anger and my desire to never talk with you because talking is not just about problems, but marriages should work on stuff. And now I realize, I was feeling ashamed. Men hate the feeling of feeling inadequate, feeling like a failure. It's something we all struggle with in our relationship with God and in our families. This one message today. Listen to it over and over.
Some of you men need to find the freedom because you bring this inadequate feeling into your marriage and your wife's never been able to overcome it. Some of you women, you have brought this feeling of being isolated and unloved into the marriage and it wasn't him. And you need to make sure that you get healed and let God touch you. But as you talk together, good marriages have an ability to assist the spouse and walking out of freedom that they've never had before in their life. You're not just getting married to be lovers but you're also best friends. We were laughing and joking around in the office earlier. That, you know, country in western music always says that a man's best friend is his dog. And one lady said, "Yes, because he'll not to talk to his dog".
You know, I'm glad that we can laugh, and we can have fun. But please value your marriage. Marriage is a perfect institution created by God. It's the people that are imperfect in it. Make sure, make sure don't miss today. Talk this through. And your relationship can be one that every time you go, "Hey, let's go for a walk and talk". That it's, "Yeah"! And the wisdom that you can gain from these two simple but profound concepts. That a woman needs to feel loved and connected and a man needs to feel respected, not inadequate and ashamed.