Compiled by the staff of Dynamic Steward

Summary: Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend urge couples to take their ?blinders? off and apply these six practical steps for facing reality in marriage so that marriage can be even more rewarding.

Introduction. In the book, Boundaries in Marriage, Drs. Cloud and Townsend speak of six kinds of conflict in marriage. The second conflict they note is entitled: ?Immaturity or Brokenness of One Person,? and it is the theme of this study. None of us comes to marriage as a ?complete? person—for we all ?fall short of the glory of God? (Rm 3:23).

?In every relationship, reality eventually surfaces. When it does, it is very important to face it in the following helpful ways? (p. 176). Here is a summary of some ways to face reality that Cloud and Townsend list:

1. Accept reality

?Accept reality about yourself and your spouse.? At times you won’t have the emotional ability or the skill to face some situations as you would like. ?When this happens, don’t be surprised.?

Discuss Ephesians 5:22-33 and Romans 3:23. In what ways can these passages help you to accept one another as you really are?

2. Communicate your support to your spouse

?We do not grow when we are judged, nagged, condemned, resented, or subjected to some other lack of grace. We all need to feel that someone is on our side and supporting us. Let your partner know that you are her [his] biggest supporter ?? (p. 177).

Read and discuss 1 Thessalonians 5:14. Contribute other Scriptures that encourage us to encourage one another.

3. Face issues as real problems

We need to be supportive, but we also need to be honest about our problems. ?Part of love, remember, is honesty and requiring holiness and growth from each other. So when your spouse in not mature let her [him] know. Be direct. Tell her what you see as a problem? (p 178).

Read Romans 2:4b. How can this text help you to relate honestly to one another? As couples, how can we be honest and still demonstrate the grace that each other needs?

4. Own your problems

?If you are the one confronted with your immaturity, own it? (Ibid.) Wise men and women want to get feedback and heed it, the doctors say.

It has been said that we can learn much about ourselves from our enemies! Share examples of confrontations that may have hurt but that led you to a growth experience.

5. Get a plan

Design a plan to deal with your immature issues and get help from others. ?We need help, mentoring, support, and teaching? (Ibid.).

Suggest types of support that we might give and receive as members of the body of Christ. For instance, if you are having trouble with organization, a friend who has matured in this area could help to hold you accountable and suggest ideas to aid you.

6. Make it mutual

?Guard against labeling one spouse ?the problem person.’ This is never true.... [And] Guard against the one who is the most functional being seen as ?the OK one.’ God says that you are equal in his eyes, and you should be equal in each other’s as well? (p 179).

Read Philippians 2:3-5. Discuss how this passage encourages the reality of mutuality and equality in your marriage relationship.