As you work through this study please realize some information shared by people in your group may be sensitive and private. Make a commitment, if you haven’t done so already, to keeping the environment safe. Honor what others share, listen without judgment and maintain confidentiality. The series may help you discover areas of opportunity in your relationships. If you choose to share, keep the goal of healing and reconciliation as your reason.

Main Idea
Strong families are the result of two key ingredients – solid marriages and effective parenting practices.

Discuss
While some of you are not married, everyone is part of a family. How have you seen the relationship of a solid marriage to the overall health of a family? How did the health (or lack thereof) of your parents’ marriage affect your family?

In your own experience, what do you appreciate most about the way your parents raised you? What was something that you would like to take from their playbook? What did you learn from them that you would NOT want to do in raising a child?

What does the Bible say?

Marriage:
Read Ephesians 5:15-33
Read Matthew 19:3-8

According to these verses, how did God design marriage to function? Do you know anyone who has this kind of relationship? Does their marriage contrast with others you know? If so, how?

How does your relationship compare to God’s standard?

Married: How would you describe your relationship with your spouse? What can you celebrate? What area would you like to grow in?

Divorced: What actions/attitudes on your part do you think contributed to the break-up of your relationship? If you hope to eventually reconcile or remarry, what is the most important thing you need to change in your own life in order to engage that relationship in a healthy way?

Single: If you hope to one day marry, what can you learn from these verses about what it takes to have a healthy marriage? What changes are necessary in your character/attitudes for you to be “ready” for marriage? If you do not believe that God has called you to be married, how can you support healthy marriages in your circle of influence?

Mike said that the root of every relational problem can be traced back to selfishness.

We all have relational problems. Ask yourself “What is one way my selfishness has contributed to the problem?” Why do you think this area is such an issue?
What would it look like for you to be able to compromise for the sake of your relationship? Is the benefit worth the cost?

Parenting:
Read Proverbs 22:15
Read Deuteronomy 6:4-9

We saw that failure to parent intentionally can have consequences that last for generations. (i.e. Middle East crisis) It is important that we do our best to get this right.

What do you learn about parenting from the verses in Deuteronomy? What kind of relationship do these verses describe?

We often think of discipline as something negative – but discipline is a part of loving our children well. (Proverbs 3:11-12, Hebrews 12:11) Discipline is caring enough to set boundaries for the welfare of the one receiving it. What instances of discipline are you most grateful for in your own childhood? (What lesson did you learn, what pain was avoided, etc.)

Read Proverbs 22:6

What adult in your life was the most influential in “starting you off in the way you should go?” (Someone who helped you identify and live in your gifts and strengths?)

Think of a child in your circle of influence. What gifts and strengths do you see in their life? How can you begin to help them to grow into those gifts and use them in a way that glorifies God?

Live Obediently
Read 2 Corinthians 4:5-18

Spend time this week praying for the families at Hope and for your family in particular.
If you are married, identify one way you will begin to build into your marriage this week. Tell someone in the group and ask them to hold you accountable to making this change.
If you have children (or know children that you have influence with), think of one thing you can begin doing this week to be more intentional in your relationship with him/her? Tell someone in the group and ask them to hold you accountable to making this change.

Tweet this: Strong families don’t happen by accident. @LifeOnMission #Family2.0

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