J. Gordon Duncan

Culture, Business, Fitness, Etc.

The Disease of Demand in Marriage

Marriage challenges abound. Since becoming a pastor, the single largest counseling issue before me has been dealing with issues surrounding married couples. Oh, issues like substance abuse, pornography, etc are always before the church, but marital conflicts appear to be the front runner.

For example, everyone goes into marriage with certain expectations. Couples have the expectation that once they get married, there are certain actions and support that they will receive from their spouse. There is anticipation of mutuality, kindnesses, and grace. There are expectations surrounding house work, income, sex, and children. Some of these expectations are communicated, and some are assumed.

Underlying most spouses’ expectations is the assumption that their spouse will return their love and affection with at least equal fervor. Basically, the thought is, “If I love and support you, you will love and support me.”

Problems arise, however, when an expectation of return becomes a demand of return. This attitude creeps into the relationship and become a requirement. Demands, though, are deadly in a marriage. One spouse demands that the other at least meet their efforts which is the basis of self-righteousness and not love.

When we read that, we are sure to wonder, “Is it wrong to expect our spouse to give as much we do?” While an expectation might be appropriate, a demand kills. The real challenge in marriage is not trying to get a spouse to match our efforts. The real battle is creating an agenda of change that focuses on self and not spouse.

When couples don’t do this (removing demands and insisting on personal change), the next thing that happens is that couples begin to walk through the motions. Devotion becomes duty, and as CS Lewis says, “Duty is no substitute for love.”

Hope in a marriage cannot be found in the guarantee that a marriage will flourish or that their spouse will change. Instead, hope is found in the person of Christ who loves, forgives, and enacts change. And as a couple, or even just one spouse, shifts their focus from their circumstances to the character of God, the basis of change and hope become clear. It is found in the person of Christ.


July 25, 2017 Posted by | church, church planting, family worship, men, mission, missional | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Chapter Excerpt on the Goal of the Church from The Gospel Carries Us

Below is one of the fifty plus articles from “The Gospel Carries Us” and its goal is to give a gentle exhortation to living as the church is called to live.  I hope you enjoy it

The beautiful design of God is that by His empowering mercies and grace, if you are humble, look after each other with sober judgment according to the faith that God has given you, if you rely on God’s mercy and grace, the church will function like a body.  If you fail to be humble or look at yourself with sober judgment according to the faith that God has given you, then the church will function as one that is lame or blind or deaf.  Christ will no less be glorious or victorious, but His bride won’t as effectively accomplish what God has called her to which is creating and engaging community for the glory of Jesus Christ.

The simple takeaway is this:  By faith, God is commanding each and every one of you to be humble, seeing others as better than yourself.  By faith God is commanding each and every one of you to see yourself with sober judgment finding infinite value only in Jesus Christ and not in what you do or what honors are heaped upon you.  Then as the church does that, she will create that loving community of believers that God intends for us to be.  Believers will participate in the life of the church because every believer is essential to the life of the church.  Believers will serve without a care or concern about getting personal praise or glory.  Service to Christ within the church and to the larger community in which each church exists will be done in the power and mercy of Jesus Christ seeking to glorify in Him in all that is done.

You can purchases “The Gospel Carries Us” in three different formats:

Kindle at Amazon
Nook at Barnes and Noble

August 23, 2012 Posted by | church, gospel, mission, missional | , , , , | Leave a comment