Transformational Homes: Holy Marriage

The following are notes from a seminar led by Luke and Christina Embree at homeRoxbury Holiness Camp, Summer 2015. 

“Marriage As Holy”

  1. Let’s start at the beginning: Genesis
    1. Adam and Eve
      1. Adam only recognizes Eve as an extension of himself
      2. Adam blames Eve (and God) for his sin
      3. God curses the earth and the serpent but not humanity
      4. Adam recognizes Eve as something new: the mother of life
  1. Three types of marriage (our marriages today fall into one of three categories)
    1. Contractual Marriage
      1. Needs-centered
      2. Functionally-oriented
      3. Creates a partnership
        1. Identifiers
          1. Prenuptial agreements
          2. Business/contractual language
          3. Easily dissolvable
    2. Covenantal Marriage
      1. Event-centered
      2. Expectation-oriented
      3. Creates Trust
        1. Identifiers
          • Prioritizes past
          • Uses character language
          • Community oriented (it considers the effect on others)
    3. Sacramental Marriage
      1. God-centered
      2. Person-oriented
      3. Creates something sacred
        1. Identifiers
          • Recognizes weakness and potential
          • Uses the language of worship
          • Most difficult to dissolve
  2. Moving toward Sacramental Marriage
    1. We’re going to approach marriage as an act of worship
    2. We’re going to accept our spouse as she/he is but recognize the potential for him/her to grow into the Image of God
    3. We are going to invite Christ into the everyday

“Practical Marriage” 

  1. Marriage as Holy – IRL
  2. Impractical Marriage
    1. Realities of life make some of the recommended ways of keeping your marriage strong feel nearly impossible.
      • Financial Constraints
      • Time constraints
      • Daily Life “stuff” constraints
      • Family constraints
      • Other?
    2. If our goal is to have a “good” marriage these constraints will always cause roadblocks, division, and strife. Inevitably, we will come away at some point feeling tired and defeated.
      1. Ex: If you constantly hear that your marriage needs to have a date night once a month, and for whatever reason, you truly are unable to do so, than you can begin to perceive that your marriage is in a bad place or your spouse is not committed even if it’s not true. It’s the stereotype story played out again.
    3. If our goals is to have a “holy” marriage, than these constraints can actually drive us closer together and into the presence of God.
  1. GOOD vs. HOLY
    1. Inward Disciplines: Meditation, Prayer, Fasting, Study.
      1. Prayer/Fasting “Dr. Dave Stoop tells us that one-tenth of one percent of couples who pray together daily will get a divorce. That incredible statistic underlies what Norman Vincent Peale, the well-known pastor from New York City, used to say: “I have never met a couple who prayed together who didn’t stay together.” – Jim Burns
        1. This does not have to be a long, drawn out period of time, but it must be a commitment. 1 Tim. 2:1 “first of all” we must pray.
        2. Share about prayer in our marriage
      2. Meditation/Study
        1. Devotion and devotional are not synonymous. Reading through a devotional with your spouse does not a devoted couple make. That’s good and if you can swing it, that’s even better. But, being of “one heart and mind” is best. Make time to share what the Lord is speaking to each of you, even if its only 15 minutes/day.
        2. Examples: Coffee Time, After-dinner Walk
    2. Outward Disciplines: Simplicity, Solitude, Submission, Service
      1. Simplicity/ Solitude
        • Celebrating the simple moments. It’s okay to “date” on the fly, at home, after bedtime, in text, email, etc. It’s okay to not be together – sometimes the best thing for your marriage is giving the other person space. It’s NOT about the “marriage,” it’s about the relationship in Christ.
      2. Submission / Service
        • Our mutual submission to each other should lead to service towards one another. We should be seeking the good of the other in worship towards Christ. Eph. 5:21-33.
        • Practically this means finding out what is actually service to your spouse and then doing it.
    3. Corporate Disciplines: Confession, Guidance, Worship, Celebration
      1. Confession/Guidance – Recognize the need for healthy relationships with others. Give space for that. While we should always be open and honest in your marriage, it’s okay if you don’t know everything. Allow for grace to be experienced.
      2. Worship / Celebration – This is key because this is marriage. If our marriage is holy unto the Lord, it IS worship. Everything from sex to dishes is worship. It is by its very nature a holy thing. Speak that to one another, post it in your home, share that with your kids. Just as you would communion or baptism, celebrate your marriage as a way to connect with God.

For the notes from the other three sessions, please click here.

For more information about practical discipleship in the home or transitioning to a more home-focused ministry at your church, go to ReFocus Ministry or “like” our Facebook page.

About the presenters

familyLuke and Christina Embree are parents to three wonderful kids and following God’s calling to full-time ministry.  Luke, a pastor with the Brethren in Christ denomination, is currently completing his Master’s of Divinity at Asbury Theological Seminary. Christina currently serves as a family minister at Nicholasville UMC is passionate about seeing churches partneringsmallbadge with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. Currently studying Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at and is a contributing blogger at, Seedbed, and D6 Family.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s