Pastor's Big Ask | Why Aren’t More Couples Happy?

Understanding How To Have A Happy And Joyful Marriage

James Greer
Oct 24, 2021    28m
God did not create us to be alone. He wants us to all have a happy and joyful marriage. But then why are so many couples unhappy? Join us this Sunday as Pastor James walks us through what could be preventing you from having a happy and joyful marriage. Video recorded at Pineville, Louisiana.

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This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

James Greer: [00:00:00] Well, good morning, Journey Church. Hey, I want to shout out to Pastor Darrell who's sick this morning and pray for him too. Amen? Well, this is the last message on the Pastor's Big Ask. Oh, boy, it's really one that's really gone through my mind for a long time, and it's why more married couples aren't happy. And it's always good to know what stands in the way of them being happy because if we can find out what stands in the way of being happy, if we can change that, maybe we can become happy. Amen? I mean, you know, it's the right habits continually that bring happiness. But what I'm saying is that even in the beginning, even the beginning, Genesis 2, verse 18. And the Lord God, He said, it's not good for man, woman to be alone. I'll make him a helper comparable to him. It's known that it's not good that we be alone. You say, well, I'm here and I'm not married. I love Isaiah 54. It’s says, good, the Maker will be your husband. He'll be the one that has relationships with you and for you. But I notice that one of the reasons that couples aren't happy is because they forgot what it was like to be alone.

James Greer: [00:01:28] It's like so many Christians. You know, when Christians get saved, isn't it exciting? Man, they get baptized and we're cheering them and man, we all stand up and man, it's a brand-new start. And if you're not careful, you even forget what Jesus did for you. I mean you stop coming to church. You forget the price that He paid. You forget that He, it just becomes ritual, it becomes routine, it becomes a habit. I just came to church. I went home. And you forgot that He saved you from hell and delivered you for something. Amen? And God realized that even Adam, Adam had a relationship with God like nobody. He would actually walk and talk with God. I mean physically, he had the best job. If you could have any job, Adam had it. He had a wonderful environment. But something was missing. You say he had a great home, but it just proves that to have a great home is what goes on inside of the house. It's not the size of your house. Did y’all’s daughter get home from the military?

James Greer: [00:02:34] Ooh, congratulations, sweetie. Anyway. That's part of the family. Amen? That's what really brings happiness. You know? And so if we're not careful, men and women, we forget what it was like before God sent us our mate. We forget how lonely it was. We knew that something was missing, and it was our mate. See, God's greatest second gift to a husband and wife is their mate. The first greatest gift is Jesus Christ. And if you're not careful, we begin to take it for granted, what God has given. It can become an obligation to be fulfilled. Marriage at sometimes can be an obligation because it is commitment. And it’s a commitment that we made, a covenant that we made to God. But remember, I didn't get married for an obligation. I got married for an opportunity. Yeah, baby. I don't know about y'all. When I got married, I didn’t say, oh, honey, I'm marrying you for an obligation. Baby, I got married for an opportunity. I can still remember the opportunities I dreamed about. I'm not going to share some of them with you. Steven said, thank you. But I can tell you, Hebrews 13:4 says, hey, the marriage is honorable among all. Amen? And the bed undefiled. But fornicators and adulterers, they're going to be judged. I'm not going to tell you about those dreams. Okay? But I am going to tell you about some dreams that I did dream about.

James Greer: [00:04:06] I dreamed about every day coming home and having somebody talk to, somebody to watch TV with, somebody just to be together with, sometimes just sitting there, not even talking. And y’all, man, I'm going to tell you, I'm a baby. I love to come home and have my wife there. I mean I just love it. See, when you get married and two become one, you want to be together I hope. Or at least I hope in the beginning you did. Amen? And some of you act like you don't want to be together. Think back when you did want to be together. And see, that's what happens. The longer you're married, if you're not careful, you forget how you longed for each other, how you wanted to be together. And now it's become an obligation instead of an opportunity. And you need to go back and remember why you wanted to get together in the first place. Amen? Second reason, second reason. It's harder than you ever dreamed it would be. Marriage is hard. And then at first, it was great. And Lord caused a great sleep to fall on Adam and he slept and He took one of his ribs and He closed of the flesh in that space. I mean, you know, it started out great. And the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man, he made it into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And so they're rocking along. And Adam said, this is now bone of my bone, this is flesh of my flesh, and she shall be called woman. And then it goes on and said because she was taken out of man, therefore, a man shall leave his father, uh-oh, and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked.

James Greer: [00:05:59] And the man and his wife, and he's not ashamed. Now what I want to tell you. Can you imagine here's Adam, he's never seen anything from animals yet, and God brings him this naked woman. I mean he was the happiest man in the world. He was the only man, but he was the happiest man. The problem is Adam did not realize that after the fall, how hard it was going to be for two to become one. Now before the fall, they were rocking along. I mean they were naked. They were not ashamed. They were running around the Garden of Eden. There's no telling what they were doing. I don't know. You know. Yeah, I do know. Anyway. But it's like couple. Man, I used to do a couples counseling and before they’d get married, they'd sit on the couch. And I’d say, now, look, it's not going to always be like, oh, I know. I love her. She loves me. We're going to just be one big happy family. I'd say it's not even worth talking to them about it. Come back in six months and we'll talk.

James Greer: [00:07:02] You know, but I wish it would. But the problem is you’re selfish, he’s selfish, they're both selfish. You got two selfish people, and they're going to have to work on their selfishness. I talked about last week, the number one problem in any relationship, man, woman, boy, girl, friends, whatever it is, is selfish. But most people don't know they're selfish. That's why last week I gave you a selfish test. If you don't know what it is, go back and look at last week. See, the truth is about this, the two becoming one, something hard and stubborn and somebody hard and stubborn equals ouch, it hurts. Ouch and hurts plus time and turning to God will equal something incredibly special. It takes a long time, longer than you thought. It's definitely not painless. It takes time and takes pain. It's just like metal being melted into another metal. Marriage breaks down areas that you never thought were going to have to be broken down. It's a process and it's painful and it hurts. And you never realize you're going to have to give up your time. You're going to have to give up some of your ways. You're going to have to compromise. Marriage is work. Marriage is work. You've been married 20 years? Marriage is work. I've been married 47 years. Marriage is still work. Number one, you forget how lonely you were before you got married, and you start taking it for granted. Why don't you go back and think about what it was like and start thanking God for sending you the mate that you have today? Number two, realize it’s work. But number three, realize it's until death do us part. Now, sometimes that means you want to shorten your mate's lifespan.

James Greer: [00:09:02] So you see, the problem is marriage is a long-term commitment or a covenant. The problem is most people today are short-term minded. You do understand today most people want instant gratification? What happens when that instant is over? Most people don't realize to have happiness, you ready?, and success, it depends on what you do after you make a decision. This is important. Real success in the long term in life is what you do after you make a decision. Me and Debbie didn't have a successful marriage just because I decided to marry Debbie. Our marriage was a success because what I decided to do after I decided to marry Debbie every year for the next 47 years, every single day. The decision I made. We're going to find out. We're going to stay together. I'm not going to go in the other room and sleep by myself anymore. I already did that. She did not come and get me. I'm not doing that anymore. Then I'm mad because she didn't come get me. You know what she said? Who left, dummy? There is a verse that says do not go to bed at night mad. Believe it, practice it, don't do it. Amen? But it takes work. But listen to what I'm telling you. It doesn't matter if this is on your job. It doesn't matter if it's your family. It doesn't matter what the decision you make. It's what you do after you make the decision that will greatly determine the success in your life.

James Greer: [00:10:38] Carlisa, that's the appropriate answer. Carlisa, didn't you just get promoted and have a new job? Do you know what's going to make you successful at the job? Not the promotion? Did you know that? It's the decisions in the work you do after you got the promotion that's going to make you successful. If you try to be successful because only you got the promotion, you won't be successful. Amen? And so do you understand that applies in every area of your life but especially marriage? When you get married, it's what you do after you get married that's going to greatly determine the success of your marriage. Amen, Brother James. Write it down. Apply it. Galatians 6:9 says, don't grow weary while doing. Why? In due season you shall reap if you don't lose heart, if you don't give up, if you don't quit. Why? Therefore, as you have opportunity, let us do good unto all but especially to those who are the household of faith. And you say, well, the household of faith is those other Christians at church. Hey, how about especially do good to those that, says another translation, to the people that are close to you? How about your mate? What if it says this? It could say, you're going to get tired. There's going to be times you lose heart in your relationships, on your job. There's going to be times you get discouraged. There's going to be times you want to give up, feel like you're going to faint. That's when you need the power and presence of God through the Holy Spirit to help you push through.

James Greer: [00:12:08] Do not quit. Do not give up. You push through. Ask the Holy Spirit for His power. You push through and you begin to reap. You begin to have times of harvest. You begin to have joy. You have these incredible times. It doesn't matter in your marriage, in your job, in all your life. You're going to go through seasons of life and don't give up, but especially the household of faith, especially in church, but especially those closest to you. Your mate should be close to you. Amen? So why don't we practice doing good to them and for them? Amen? This week. Why don’t we have homework? Why don’t we say, hey, Pastor James gave us homework. I need especially be good to my mate. Look for ways to do good and be good to my mate this week. Amen. We're going to be happy. And don't say, he said we got to be good. Here. No, I mean let's try to do it with the right attitude. Huh? In precious Jesus. Fourth reason. This one’s not funny but it's sincere and it's a shame. It’s the easy accessibility to drugs and alcohol. I was out at the Grant Parish with the sheriff this week, and I was with the Rapides DA last week. And he said, it's epidemic. In fact, the 23rd of November, our church will be feeding the 90 prisoners in Grant Parish. And so I probably jumped the gun. But anyway. If you want to help, you can talk to Debbie. We’re going to take some of the turkeys and feed the prisoners. Both the DA and sheriffs in Rapides and Grant both told me it's epidemic. I could tell you it affects all families. It’s either affecting you directly or you have a relative that's struggling with drugs and alcohol. Both, you ready?, prescription, legal and illegal drugs because of the accessibility.

James Greer: [00:14:12] I've never seen so many couples struggling with addiction that I am right now. It's almost totally out of hand. I didn't say there was something wrong with having a drink, did I? I don't really believe that's biblical. I know Paul told Timothy to take some wine for his stomach. But he didn't say drink 15 bottles. There's something wrong with having too much. There's something wrong with having addiction to drugs. It's destroying lives. It’s destroying marriages like I've never seen before. We do offer CR on Thursday night which is a great program. Amen? But I want to tell, CR, in the beginning, most people need more than CR before they get to CR. CR is a great maintenance program, and when you get out, you need it. We've had the wonderful privilege at Journey Church to work with both Rapides and Grant. Rapides is on a fast pace. We're working with the DA and Ricky Bellegarde and the sheriff. And many times we can do alternatives if it's not too far to jail and sometimes and put them in long term facilities. And I just want to say that three months, six months a year in a rehab compared to struggling and destroying for a lifetime is really not as long as it seems.

James Greer: [00:15:46] I know it's going to be hard. I don't know the answer. But I know the answer is not hiding from it. It's just as rampant in churches as it is out of church. We have problems at church. We have problems out of church. I say that we try to address it, and we try to help people and don't hide from it. I say in James 5:16, it says, just confess your trespasses one to another. Let's pray for each other. Let's pray that we can be healed. Let's understand the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Now there are some people, I have seen very few people, Kevin's one of them that's in the back, he can tell you, but it's very few, Kevin, that were total alcoholics like you were. Kevin would drink a fifth every day. I have permission to tell. I wouldn't tell this. He would drink a fifth every day. He was a total alcoholic. He knew he was at the end of line. He totally surrendered to God through Jesus Christ, and God took it away from him. I know of one or two people. I talked to a man named Justin yesterday that just joined a church. It happened to him. But I want you to know the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. And 90% of people, that does not happen to. It means you need to come and you say, hey, I want you to pray for me, I want to be healed, and I'm willing to surrender to Jesus Christ. I'm willing to go get the help that I need. I'm willing to go to the facility if I can get one open. I'm willing to go for three months, six months, a year, whatever it takes. Fifth reason I think couples are not happy. There's too much social media and fake media.

James Greer: [00:17:53] The first problem with there's too much social media is they're taking in too much of the wrong information and not enough of the right information. The Bible says, that man shall not live by bread alone but every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God. Listen, men, women, boys, and girls, you can't live off social media. You've got to take in God's Word if you want to really live, if you want to make right decisions, if you don't want to live discouraged and you don't want to live in depression. Now, not only taking the wrong information, because of the social media today, many times you're looking at the wrong things and talking to the wrong people. I've known people today that because of social media, they begin talking to people they hadn't talked to in 10 years. I know people that have run off with people and met people they hadn't seen in 10 years. I know people on social media that met people they've never met and ran off and had affairs with them. I know people that are looking at things that they shouldn't be looking at. I know what Job said in Job 31:1 and 2. He said, I have made a covenant with my eyes. Why then should I look upon young women? And look at this other translation that says, I've made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust upon girls. I know full well that almighty God above sends calamity on those who do.

James Greer: [00:19:15] I don't want to bring undue burden, misfortune upon my life. Man, you would almost had to hide in a closet today not to see some things. I mean I watch things on TV today, 10 years ago, I would’ve shut TV off. I just get so used to it today. I mean I watch saying, I can't even believe I'm watching it. But I tell you, men and women, you got to be careful not to lust after them. Sometimes you can't help to look. But you can help to lust. Lust, it'll get you in trouble. Before I give you the answer to lust, men and women, I want to talk about men who do look at pornography. I don't think you should. I believe you need an accountability partner. You need an app on your phone and your computer. I think no matter what you do, both mates need to be have access to the other person's phone. Why would you not let your mate see your phone? Hello? I know I just started some fights now, baby. At church. Online. I said, I think both mates should be able to see the other person's phone. Amen, Brother James. Second, I want you to know it does not mean your husband does not love you, and it does not mean you're not good enough if your husband happens to look at porn. It means they have an addiction problem. I didn't say it was right. I just want you to know it doesn't mean they don’t love you and it doesn’t mean you’re not good enough.

James Greer: [00:20:56] It's believed that 80% to 90% of all men have looked at porn, and the number of women is now going up. It’s 20% plus and going. The only answer to lust is surrender. If you continue to lust, it'll lead to disgust. Surrender is becoming preoccupied and completely dependent upon Christ. That will then reflect in your behavior. Lust is preoccupied with the wrong thing, just like surrender is preoccupied with the right thing. Lust that preoccupied with the wrong thing that leads to wrong behavior. Lust is when you believe you can have what you're preoccupied with, that it will make you happy. But it won't because only Christ can. Remember Proverbs 15:3. It says the eyes of the Lord are on every place. They keep watch over evil and the good. God sees you. He's watching. In closing, I want to tell you, we have covered some heavy-duty stuff in this last message of the Big Ask. So whether you're married or not, we've covered things that affect every relationship in your home, on your job. The answer is surrender to Christ. Surrender your life. If you're here today and you're not saved, surrender to Him as your Savior. If you're saved, surrender to Him as your Lord, that He's going to be the ultimate authority in your life. Surrender your lust. Surrender your drugs. Surrender your addiction. How do you do it? Take the first step and ask for help. Say if I can get help, I'm willing to go get help. You say, well, I'm not going to check in. Well, you're going to check out then. In all the years I've been, I don't know very few that can do it on their own. You want to, but you just can't do it. A few can. And the few that do, it’s because they got hurt so bad they had to.

James Greer: [00:23:09] So it's a call. Journey Church, online, here, downstairs, upstairs, this is a call to get help. Journey Church is not going to look down on you because everybody here is messed up in some way or another. And if you're not, you don't belong here. When I say surrender, because He's the one that can deliver, He can protect, and He can provide. What is it you really need this morning? You need to surrender to Him. Remember what attracted you to your mate in the first place and try to enjoy that today. Remember how lonely you were before God sent you that mate. You don't want to be lonely again, do you? Well, start enjoying what you got. Quit taking your mate for granted. Quit looking at it for an obligation. Man, look for the opportunities today. Amen? Don't you like to be with them, sit with them, watch TV with them, travel with them? Amen? Sometimes I don't even have to talk. I can just be with her because that makes me happy. Remember to keep working. Work on your marriage, work on your job. Don't give up. You’ll reap.

James Greer: [00:24:26] Man, the reaping is great. Then there's always the sowing. You've got to go back to sowing. You’ll get discouraged. You’ll want to give up. Don't do it, don't do it. Pray and ask God to give you the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit to push through. Then you’ll had those times of joy and peace and just great times. Enjoy the good times when you have them. Make the best of them. They help you get through the other times. Spend less time on social media taking in the wrong things. Spend a little more time taking in the right things which is God's Word. Hey, I'm all social media, and I use it all the time. I love it for pictures and things, and I love it for keeping up with the people at Journey Church. I love to see where you're going and what you do. And I don't like it when you do stupid things and negative things. So be positive. Don't say ugly things about anybody. If you have that, go say it face-to-face. That's not the place for it. Not Journey Church members. Y'all use it for the right things. I got a great idea. How many y’all are on Facebook? Raise you hand. Holy Moses, precious Jesus. I know there's at least one insight that you learned today from this message. Post that.

James Greer: [00:25:58] One insight today. Post that. Do something good. Let's spread the Word. Make a covenant with your eyes. It doesn't matter if you’re a man or woman. Look on some good things, on God's Word. Do you realize that God wants to radically bring joy and peace, that He wants to bring glory in your life? Look at John 10:10. It’s the devil that came to steal, to kill, and destroy. That Jesus came that you could have life and you can have it more abundantly. How many have you forgotten what God's done for you? Some of y'all, He's delivered you from addiction. Some of y'all, He saved you from a life of destruction. Everybody that’s accepted Christ, He's saved you from hell. Man, maybe don't we need to go back and just start thanking Him for what He's done? Maybe today we need to remember where we came from and what He's done for us. Would you stand and let me pray with you and pray for you? God, you're such an awesome God. You're a wonderful God. I pray today that people would surrender their lives. They don't worry about anything or anybody else. Surrender their problems to the Lord, capital LORD, the one that's ultimately in control of the whole world, the host of all the armies. Surrender your problems. Surrender your life. If you're not sure you died and you’d go to Heaven, today is the day to surrender your life, surrender your addiction. God, I pray today if there's those that need to join the church, today would be the day. If there's those that need to follow through in baptism, today would be the day. Today if those need to follow through, have somebody to pray with them and pray for them, God, I pray that you’d have your will and your way. And I ask it in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

Bruce Goulart: [00:27:57] On behalf of Pastor James, I just want to say thank you for joining our online experience this morning. Y'all, what an amazing finale it was to our Pastor’s Big Ask series. But this Wednesday, we are having an amazing event. Junk or Treat. Y’all, it starts at five o'clock, and we want to see you there because this is going to be fun for all of the family. And if you need someone to pray with you right now, we have people on standby that want to pray with you. So there's a link in the description that if you click on and fill out, someone will get with you right away. Again, I just want to say thank you for joining our online experience this morning and see you next week.

Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.
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Journey Church
2900 Donahue Ferry Rd
Pineville, Louisiana 71360