Living the gospel is risky business. It means that we have no personal righteousness to defend anymore; nor anything to prove. The (ideal) result is a individual who is humble and teachable… and this means critiqueable. This person knows he/she is saved by grace and has more flaws and sinful tendencies than he/she is even aware. When I begin to flare up when critiqued, challenged or rebuked, I can KNOW that I am living by the flesh and not by the gospel/Spirit. But when I am living by the gospel, healthy, helpful conversations can take place that get two married people speaking at the heart level about how they can love each other well—especially if they have not been doing so in the past. Here are some questions to consider asking. But make sure you both are prepared to live by the gospel. Otherwise, this could get ugly!
1. Are we both prepared to live by the gospel – finding our righteousness in the gift-righteousness of Jesus and our identity that of a completely forgiven, fully-loved and accepted son or daughter of the Father?
2. Why do you think so many marriages fail? Why do you think marriages succeed?
3. What could happen if we lavished forgiveness on each other in the way the Father has lavished it on us?
4. But why is it so hard to forgive? And why is it so hard to really repent (not make excuses or do pennance, but confess a wrong and acknowledging the real hurt/pain the sin has caused someone else)?
5. What does it mean to love? (not the emotion, but the action – see 1 John 4:9-10 and Romans 5:6-8)
6. What would it look like if I were to love you well? What could I do differently?