Dr. Paul Chappel is the senior pastor of Lancaster Baptist Church and the president of West Cost Baptist College. He’s the author of more than 25 books including the soon to be released, ‘Are We There Yet? Marriage-A Perfect Journey for Imperfect Couples’.
Dr. Chappel’s co-author is his wife Terrie. She rode a bus to Sunday School at the church his father pastored in Northern California. Later in life she went to Bible college where they met and eventually married. They’ve served the Lord in Southern California for the past 31 years.
Who is this book written toward? Dr. Chappel noted that they wanted this book to be a blessing to those couples 5-10 years into marriage while sharing some of the truths that have helped them over the years.
He feels marriage is more of a journey than a destination. For example, he explained how you can learn more in 30 minutes of playing basketball with someone than in 30 hours of interviewing. The same is true of taking a journey. You get to know that person during the journey. We have this tendency to think that if we can ‘reach’ a certain vacation, house or goal, that will provide the essence of what we want in the marital relationship. However, God teaches us in his Word that we need to enjoy the journey and not always look at the destinations.
He also described marriage as imperfect people on a perfect journey. He referred to the Bible’s description of people as having a sin nature, so as imperfect people, we have to learn to be the recipients and givers of God’s grace during the journey. That also includes being good forgivers and partners as we grow together in Christ.
Direction in the marriage relationship is also important. The Bible is the ‘GPS’ of a good Christian marriage. So the early part of the book covers the early teachings from Genesis where a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife and they become one flesh. The destination is that unity; the oneness that we have with each other and the Lord. The enemy will fight that along the way but he believes in God’s pattern. A three-fold cord cannot be broken, so as a couple works together and is woven together in Christ, they find that his sustaining grace is real.
One of the biggest situations that he faces in marriage counseling is the area of expectations. Chapter two of the book covers that topic. It begins with an advertisement they saw for a Mexican resort that included horseback riding. As it turned out, the horse had only one eye and the hotel had cockroaches which obviously is not what they were expecting. In similar fashion, Dr. Chappel described how men and women enter marriage with certain ideas and about one year later, a certain reality sets in. That’s where it has to be realized that the true expectation of a godly marriage is the expectation to serve one another in love. On the other hand, if the expectations are self-focused, there will be disappointment every single time.
Other marriage related issues discussed on this broadcast included:
–What are the 3 downward steps to take every day?
–The importance of communication.
–What are the root causes of conflicts?
–What about forgiveness in marriage?
–Is there a way we can prepare for trials?
–Is it necessary for a husband and wife to sync their itineraries?