What Did You Expect? A Book & Conference Review

My husband and I went to a marriage conference this past weekend in the D.C. area.  Conferences can be so expensive these days, but this one was affordable, so we decided to go!  The special speaker was Dr. Paul David Tripp.  Dr. Tripp has many wonderfully rich books, but the focus of this conference was, “What Did You Expect?”.

“Unlike other marriage books that only diagnose horizontal problems, What Did You Expect? fights a much deeper war over the worship of our heart. It’s only when we worship God as Creator, Sovereign and Savior that we will ever love as we should.

What Did You Expect? challenges you to look into the mirror of God’s Word and see yourself with clarity. Maybe it’s you. Maybe you love yourself more than your spouse. Maybe you love your little kingdom more than God’s big Kingdom. When you reach that level of honesty, you’re at the edge of real good things for your marriage.”  an excerpt from Dr. Tripp’s website. 

Shan and I have been married for almost 19 years.  The conference was so good for my heart. I honestly believe that we should constantly keep growing and learning in our marriages. There is always room for improvement.  I learned things at this conference that I wished I’d been taught when I was engaged or newly married.  Invaluable information!

I’ll share a few quotes and things that keep coming to mind as I rehash the weekend.  I’m surprised my hadn’t isn’t sore from writing so fast!  So much meat to chew on.

Session 1:

“Being married is being willing to be an instrument(a tool) in God’s hands in the life of your spouse. A tool of grace.” 

“Your marriage will never be the paradise that you long for. Now is not the destination, it’s our preparation for what’s to come.”  He talked about how that needing and longing for paradise is hardwired by God.

Session 2: 

“There is no marriage problem so deep that the grace of God is not deeper.”

This section was very powerful!  Dr. Tripp talked about the two kingdoms: Self vs. God. We often put ourselves on the throne..our happiness and desires.  We forget that God is the Throne-Dweller and to have that place in our lives. The struggles will amp up as we feel our spouse is getting in the way of our happiness and our desires. He also asked us how much of the anger we’ve had in the past few months came from anything having to do with the kingdom of God?  The bottom line is that no human being can every give you happiness.

“While we’re working on our personal happiness, God is working on our holiness.”

“God wants us to crave LOVE.  Love that rises to the challenge when we don’t deserve it.  Love doesn’t walk away, it walks towards you at those hard moments.”   I think it’s hardest to walk towards someone when they are being downright ugly and sinful.  That’s when we need to be the most kind and loving.  Be a tool in Christ’s hand.

Session 3: 

“Trust in an unending construction area in your marriage.”  Consider what you may do that makes it hard for your spouse to trust you.  Do you break little promises? Are you always reliable? Are you attentive and listening to the things your spouse finds valuable? Do you make excuses for failures or broken promises? Have you withdrawn from your spouse?  These are all ways we can break trust in small ways.  “Trust is more a matter of character than of activity.”

What can build trust?  Having the Fruits of the Spirit for one.  (Galatians 5:19-24). “I want to build that trust with you, not because I trust you, but because I trust the Lord.” 

We need to take character seriously!

1.) Always play it straight.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.  No self protective talk.

2.) Be good for your word. Keep your promises even if they are small.

3.) Face up to your wrongs. Self-rightous defensiveness breaks trust.

4.) Watch out for the other person.  Nurture them.

5.) Keep short accounts.  Don’t let anger, hurt or division fester.

6.) Trust in spiritual warefare.  I need a warrior to battle on my behalf.

Do I trust the Lord enough to do the hard work in marriage?

Session 4:

“Ignoring wrong is not grace.”

Ephesian 4: 25-32 was taking apart in this session.  It was so humbling!  I have not understood this passage in a correct light before.  So much to learn from just this passage alone.

“If your marriage has the inability to handle TRUTH, it is not a gospel-centered marriage.”  

“Truth not spoken in love is not truth because it is bent and twisted.” 

“A grace-driven marriage establishes a regular practice of repentance and forgiveness.”

The chat on Eph. 4:29…Let no corrupt talk…was eye opening!

This passage doesn’t have anything to do with our vocabulary, but in how we talk.  Do you build others up?  Do you try to control?  Shame? etc. “Actions of control are not actions of change and transformation.”

“When I see the weakness, sin and failure of my spouse..do I show and speak grace?” I’m afraid I fail so badly in this area.  I can become short, quiet or choose to run away when he is struggling.  I have work to do!  He talked about walking towards in love when your spouse is struggling most. That is real love.  “Greet sin with kindness.”

“Your failure to forgive in marriages rooted in forgetting.  We forget how much we’ve been forgiven.

“No one gives grace better than someone who understands how much they need it themselves.”

“God, help me to remember how much I’ve been forgiven and continue to need forgiven each day.  I am so in need of You.  Keep that thought in front of my eyes so that I can be forgiving, loving and kind to my spouse.”

Thanks for reading and letting me share some of what we learned from the weekend.  I’d highly recommend this wonderful book to anyone who is engaged or married.  If you get to chance to attend a conference of Dr. Tripp’s, please go!  He’s funny and speaks the truth in much love.

*This post contains an affiliate link.  I was not asked to give this endorsement.  It’s purely from loving the conference and a great book.


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