The Little Moments of Marriage

Right now I am reading Paul Tripp's What Did You Expect?? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage. I began reading it because of some counseling I was asked to do with a couple. This has quickly become my favorite book related to marriage issues and hopefully the Lord is using it to mold me more into the husband He would have me to be.

In one chapter, Tripp explains how our marriages are mostly made up of little moments that have lasting impact on the shape and quality of our marriages. Tripp writes,

In his wisdom, God has crafted a life for us that does not careen from huge, consequential moment to huge, consequential moment…You can probably name only two or three life-changing situations you have lived through. We are all the same; the character and quality of our life is forged in little moments. Every day we lay little bricks on the foundation of what our life will be. The bricks of words said, the bricks of actions taken, the bricks of little decisions, the bricks of little thoughts, and the bricks of small-moment desires all work together to form the functional edifice that is your marriage...”

“...We tend to fall into quasi-thoughtless routines and instinctive ways of doing things that are less self-conscious than they need to be. And we tend to back away from the significance of these little moments because they are little moments. You see, the opposite is true: little moments are significant because they are little moments. These are the moments that make up our lives…We must have a ‘day-by-day’ approach to everything in our lives, and if we do, we will choose our bricks carefully and place them strategically.”

So, let's be careful with the bricks that we will use to build our marriages today.


Pastors: Keep Doing the Same Things

Someone, Einstein I believe, once said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results." On some level that is true.

However, in pastoral ministry that may not be the case. Paul is very clear in 2 Timothy 4:5 about what the goal of pastoral ministry should be. And it involves doing the same thing over and over again.

C.J. Mahaney explains:

As Paul begins to summarize the pastoral call, he paints the picture this way: “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5). The pastor’s biography should be a simple one:

  • he was sober-minded,
  • endured suffering,
  • did the work of an evangelist,
  • fulfilled his ministry.

He is sober-minded, not like those described in verses 3 and 4 who are vulnerable to fads and trends. He is not seduced by novelty or religious innovation.

He also endures suffering. He understands that suffering isn’t rare; it’s the norm. He is not going to avoid it. If you are a faithful pastor, it’s going to happen: you’ll be the target of criticism from within the church and slander from without. You’ll be opposed by the world when you preach the gospel. And you won’t be exempt from the personal suffering that’s part of living in a fallen world—suffering that God will use to accomplish his purposes in your life. God wants you to be confident that he is at work through your suffering, so that you can endure it with a solid, not superficial, joy.

The pastor is to do the work of an evangelist. Even though Timothy is serving in an area where evangelism and church planting are taking place, Paul wants evangelism to remain a passion in his life. This is all too easy for pastors to neglect in their preaching and personal life.

These imperatives combine to make one point: fulfill your ministry. Be faithful. Discharge the full range of your responsibilities. Persevere until the task is complete. Regardless of opposition or apathy, regardless of apparent success or lack thereof, regardless of church size, regardless of suffering—fulfill your ministry.

For the duration of our lives and ministries, we are called to relentless faithfulness. Today, be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. Tomorrow, be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. Do it today and do it all again tomorrow, and do it all again the day after tomorrow. Keep doing the same things.

In a culture where innovation is paramount, and the calls to produce something new seduce not just the world but also the church, this is wisdom from above: pastor, just keep doing the same thing. No innovation needed. This is what Paul is charging Timothy, and God is charging us, to do: be faithful. Do the same thing. Don’t be distracted by what’s new. Fulfill your charge. And do it all again tomorrow.