Click Here to Download as Word 6.0



A Study in Biblical Relationships





 To introduce the multi-lesson series on relationships. 






How many of you played the Board Game Candy land when you were small. You may evev have it today .. Discuss what the game was like and how it was played. Perhaps bring a game to class and hold up the playing board.


Now what does the game Candy Land have to do with relationships. Well, a lot of couples today live in tired marriages or other relationships that could be characterized by the term DutyLand. DutyLand is an environment wheresomeone maintains their marriage or other relationship solely out of a sense of obedience to God or duty to each other. Now while obeying God and having a sense of duty are good things, DutyLand is a relationship characterized “soley” by these motives. In DutyLand the  relationship no longer functions from love but soley out of a sense of duty.  DutyLand can refer to a stagnant or dull relationship with God, a tired marriage, a difficult family relationship or even a strained business partnership or church oriented relationship. All of these relationships can become Duty bound despite starting out with joy and excitement.


        Did these relationships  start this way? No they didn’t . Rather they started out living in place I call CandyLand. It was a great place full of warm fuzzy feelings and lots of love. But over time as they journeyed through life somehow the relationship left Candyland and the players slid, fell, jumped, crept, and even oooozed down the street, over the hill, out of town and right into a place they never wanted to be. DutyLand.!


    No one who lives there actually wants to live there and those who do usually make dreadful partners. And everyone who lives in DutyLand  will probably tell you that they no longer know how to get back to Candyland for the road to Duty Land only seems to run one way.


       For many people living in Duty Land is tolerable at least until mid life hits. It seems this town  is bearable as long as there are other things to focus on like kids to raise, careers to conquer or homes to build, missions to achieve. Yet as time goes by, 40 comes an goes, the kids start being independent, your career levels out, or your church goes into decline it is not uncommon for one decide they simply can't do it any longer. The once committed suddenly finds DutyLand a hopeless place. And when they do,  in what seems like an  instant,  they escape DutyLand. Yes they escape, but sadly so they often do so by completely breaking their relationships. Marraiges move into AffairLand and/or DivorceLand , good friends move into SilentLand and  Christian brothers and sisters move into TraditionLand.



Is there another way to escape DutyLand? Is there a way to return to CandyLand? Or is there another town where one can escape DutyLand without living in DivorceLand. This question is at the heart of why this series was written.


    The premise of the following material is that such a place does exist. I call it DevotionLand     What is this town like you might ask, whats different about it as compared to CandyLand or DutyLand ? Well,  DevotionLand is a place where life’s pressures still exist but in Devotionland  there is something special that makes relationships work much better than duty and that something is devotion. Devotion is the term I think best describes a relationship not of warm fuzzy’s but of love based on a deeper connection.  A connection that allows the growth of love in a relationship despite the presence of pressures. A place not of warm fuzzys with no depth, nor a place where separate lives and loneliness are common. But rather a place where hearts can grow in friendship, intimacy and union.  Interested ? If you are come and lets take a look at DevotionLand.





Now in order to best understand where the relationships or marriages in your class are at pass out the attached survey.  Have each person fill it out and return it anonomously.  It is only 2 pages and will help you  tailor the next few weeks to suit the people you are working with. The survey is martial oriented but can be customized for other relationships. For singles have them select a significant relationship in their life and use it to answer the questions as best they can.



10 Characteristics of Couples Living in DevotionLand.


Now before we begin, let me give you a preview of the characteristics of relationships already living in Devotionland.


1.      They demonstrate a commitment to each other & the relationships  success. 

2.      They demonstrate a commitment to a grace relationship

3.      They demonstrate a positive communication pattern displaying respect, dignity and courtesy and apparent readiness to build up the other verbally

4.      They enjoy an intimate relationship protecting each others weaknesses and meeting each others needs.

5.      They demonstrate an understanding of their positions relative to God and their God given roles.

6.      They demonstrate a commitment to growth of the other

7.      They demonstrate an interest in enjoying mutual activities

8.      They demonstrate a desire to work towards spiritual unity

9.      They demonstrate effective problem solving methods

10.  They like each other .. they have become good friends!



The Challenge of “Devotionland”



If you are living in DutyLand you will have to change something significant to leave it. Eveyone in DutyLand knows this even those who look to DivorceLand for answers. And this change will require re-allocation of time. Time you currently spend on other things. Further this time shift will cost you ! It may cost money or comfort, or advancement and others including children, friends or broader family may not like it. But you must be willing to commit to the re-allocation of time for the journey. Time for your partner! For you this may be a spouse, it may be God or it may be another but in any case, time must be allocated to the other if a relationship is to grow.



Ask: So do you want to go to DevotionLand.? If so, you will be getting assignments and here are the first two.


1.      Spend at least 30 minutes per day (while you are awake) just talking with your partner. If you don’t have anything to talk about, take 15 minutes each to share your day with the other. Include what you did, what happened, etc. Perhaps the biggest miss conception about discussions is that they always need to be about deeply meaningful things.   They don’t !.


2.      Track in a small booklet the time you spend with your spouse. On each line list the date, the time and what you did. When this series is over you will do something with this log.


*        *        *



                           Survey On Relationships (Marital)


Male ______                                                                           Female _______





In our marriage I think we could use more  ..

A Lot more is Needed


what Needed


We have enough

1.      Grace




2.      Commitment




3.      Acceptance




4.      Friendship




5.      Adjustments to our family roles




6.      Meeting of Needs




7.      Conflict Resolution




8.      Physical Intimacy




9.      Emotional Intimacy




10.  Security




11.  Goal Setting




12.  Guidance in Child Raising




13.  Communication Skills




14.  Recreation with each other




15.  Spiritual Unity / Intimacy




16.  Appreciation




17.  Affection




18.  Expression of Approval




19.  Attention




20.  Giving of Comfort




21.  Encouragement




22.  Respect




23.  Helping each other




24.  Time together




25.  Problem Solving Skills







26. ________________________________________________________________


27. ________________________________________________________________


28. _________________________________________________________________




How is my spouse doing

A Lot

A little

Not at all

26.  My spouse makes time to talk with me




27.  I like the way goals are set in our family




28.  My input is considered in family decisions




29.  My spouse practice's honest confession




30.  My spouse forgives completely




31.  My spouse is interested and supportive of my personal growth




32.  My spouse is  good at listening




33.  My spouse lets me inside (discloses self)




34.  My spouse is sensitive to my feelings




35.  My spouse wants to pray with me




36.  My spouse gives me undivided attention




37.  My spouse demonstrates leadership in the family




38.  My spouse demonstrates servanthood




39.  My spouse makes me feel secure




40.  My spouse's relationship with God is growing




41.  My spouse demonstrates  submission




42.  My spouse demonstrates commitment  to me




43.  My spouse is judgmental




44.  My spouse is easily angered




45.  My spouse is highly opinionated




46.  My spouse is loyal




47.  My spouse tries to get even




48.  My spouse keeps their word




49.  My spouse stereotypes people




50.  My spouse keeps confidences








How are we aligned ?

A Lot

A little

Not at all

51.  We are aligned on what we value




52.  We are aligned on our Christian convictions




53.  We are aligned on our expectations for each other








How I am feeling ?

A Lot

A little

Not at all

54.  I sleep well at night




55.  I am often joyful and affectionate




56.  I am prone to escaping into work, TV, food,  fantasies, etc




57.  I  have trouble concentrating




58.  I am impatient or quick tempered with my spouse




59.  I am feeling lonely




60.  I feel loved




61.  I feel valued




62.  I feel respected and admired