The couple's Bible study for Christ-Centered Relationships

The Couple’s Bible Study for Christ-Centered Relationships

Your Marriage God’s Way Workbook is the couple’s Bible study husbands and wives can do together for Christ-centered relationships. Read or listen to the introduction to see why this workbook stands out among husband-and-wife Bible studies.

Your Marriage God's Way book and workbook by Scott LaPierre

Let me commend you for prioritizing your marriage! You went beyond simply reading Your Marriage God’s Way to also purchasing this accompanying workbook. Second to our relationship with Christ, our relationship with our spouse is the most important relationship in our life. We should invest in it so that we can have Christ-centered relationships. That’s what this workbook is—an investment of time and energy (spiritual, mental, and emotional), for your joy and God’s glory.

Being not Only Hearers, but Doers

In Your Marriage God’s Way, I wrote:

The importance of going beyond hearing (or reading) to obeying is a regular theme in Scripture. Jesus said, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it…If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (Luke 8:21; John 13:17). We do not learn God’s Word simply for the sake of knowing it. We learn it so that we can apply it.

James 1:22 urges us to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” This verse reveals a common mistake people make. They learn God’s Word and believe they have done enough and fall short of applying it to their lives. Husbands and wives do this when they believe they have a marriage built on Christ simply because they know what the Bible teaches, read Christian marriage books, and attend Christian marriage conferences. But none of their learning will have any effect if they are not obeying Scripture’s instructions. As believers, our responsibility goes much further than simply obtaining information. We must obey what we have learned (pages 241-242).

You are doing your part to be not just a hearer (or reader), but a doer (or obey-er) of the Word. What better way to apply what you have read than to go through a workbook with your spouse? I am confident your investment will pay great dividends for you and your spouse. Why am I so certain? Two reasons: First, the instruction in Your Marriage God’s Way is drawn from the Bible. As the Author of marriage, God knows exactly what husbands and wives need to have healthy, joyful Christ-centered relationships as He intended.

The second reason is less spiritual and more practical. Before becoming a pastor, I was an elementary school teacher. That’s when I learned how people learn. When I started preaching—telling people to open their Bibles versus telling students to open their math books—it was another form (albeit infinitely more important) of teaching. Whether I’m delivering a sermon, speaking at a conference, or guest preaching, I do my best to provide those in attendance with message handouts that have lessons and blanks to fill in.

Why do I do this? Because as you’ve probably already heard, people retain more information when they take notes versus only listen.1 But did you know their retention is even better when the notes are handwritten versus typed?2

Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve written much by hand. We’ve moved away from letters to emails and many of us rely on our computers all day. But you can be encouraged in knowing the answers you write in this workbook will have a much better chance of staying with you because you wrote them down. Plus, this will help you remember the content from the book as you cement the material in your heart and mind, especially as you put things into practice.

An added benefit of writing your answers is you will have a record you can refer back to. It is always exciting and humbling to see how God changes us in our journeys to have Christ-centered relationships.

Using this Couple’s Bible Study

I know you are eager to begin, and here are some guidelines that will allow you to receive the most benefit from the Your Marriage God’s Way Workbook:

  • Within this volume are questions for each section of Your Marriage God’s Way. Read the corresponding section in the book before you look at the workbook questions.
  • Instead of reading an entire chapter of the book and then answering the questions, it is best to read one section at a time, then answer the corresponding questions.
  • Some questions are addressed to both spouses, while others are for only the husband or wife. Whatever the case, be sure to discuss all your answers with your spouse.
  • Husbands and wives can share a book, but they should each have their own workbook.
  • While the goal is for couples to talk about their answers with each other, they should not do the work together or use the same workbook. That’s because some questions are designed to be answered separately from each other, then discussed when you are back together.
  • Plan the location and atmosphere in which you will discuss your responses: Would it be best over a meal together, or while on a walk? Most couples find it easier to be more consistent if they choose the same time and place each week.

Take Your Time and Pray!

Christ-centered relationships are built on prayer. There is no rush. Allow time for prayer, conversation, and reflection. Do not hurry to answer questions, ask questions, or share your responses. So that you both have the opportunity to make the most of each lesson, consider working through no more than one chapter per day. Pray when you begin and conclude the couple’s bible study. (If for some reason you are not able to do the workbook with your spouse, you should still pray.) When you begin, pray specifically for

  • graciousness and honesty in answering the questions
  • humility in receiving your spouse’s responses

When you conclude, pray specifically for

  • your spouse to be the husband or wife God wants him or her to be
  • the Holy Spirit’s help in applying what you have learned and making the appropriate changes

Finally, remember to thank God for the gospel that equips you to have healthy, joyful, Christ-centered relationships He desires for you.

Expect Tension with This Couple’s Bible Study

Couples pursuing Christ-centered relationships may be surprised to discover bumps along the way. In chapter 2 of Your Marriage God’s Way, on page 26, you’ll read this:

As you work your way through this book, if you find yourself feeling frustration toward your spouse, recognize that God can use this for your good. Romans 8:28 says, “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” This can apply to marriage problems too. God is calling your attention to the areas in which you need to improve, and the best way to help each other grow is to be willing to ask each other tough questions.

This will be true as well when you use this workbook. Whenever you experience tension, remember, God is at work strengthening the weak areas of your relationship.

Focus on the Way Your Spouse Feels

Many questions in this workbook include the word feels. This is because

  • it is not a question of whether a husband thinks he loves his wife. It is a question of whether his wife feels loved.
  • it is not a question of whether a wife thinks she respects her husband. It is a question of whether her husband feels respected.

Consider these two passages from Your Marriage God’s Way:

  • “Note the emphasis here is on how a wife feels. A husband might insist, “My wife is the supreme priority in my life. She is more important than anything else.” But the wife might not feel that way. A wife’s perception is her reality. It’s not about what the husband thinks, but about how the wife feels” (page 125).
  • “A wife who does [these things] will have a husband who feels respected” (page 137).

Focus on the way your spouse feels. Then, after learning that, make the appropriate changes that will make it possible for your spouse feel differently. The unwise alternative is to disagree with or try to talk your husband or wife out of feeling the way he or she does. In the section titled “Embrace the Struggle,” you’ll see this:

For example, a husband might say, “Outside of the Lord Himself, do you feel like you are taking second place to anything in my life?” If a wife answers that she does not feel she is the supreme priority in her husband’s life, the husband should not try to talk her out of the way she feels or persuade her to see things differently.

Likewise, a wife might ask her husband, “Do you feel I respect you?” If the husband shares how she makes him feel disrespected, the wife should not argue with her husband and try to convince him he is wrong.

To try to disagree with how your spouse feels could make things worse. Rather, each spouse should listen to the other, acknowledge any weaknesses that are pointed out, and try to make changes that will remedy the situation (page 26).

Similarly, if your husband or wife is hurt by something you have done, do not try to make him or her feel wrong. As you listen to your spouse’s thoughts, commit to not interrupting or arguing. Do your best to thoughtfully consider your spouse’s feelings. If you make a genuine effort to understand how your spouse feels, then you will better learn how to treat him or her the way he or she wants to be treated.

Crucify Your Flesh When Doing this Couple’s Bible Study

What do I mean by flesh? Part of Galatians 5:19-21 says, “The works of the flesh are evident, which are…hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions…envy.” As you continue through this workbook, you are going to hear answers that reveal your weaknesses, hurts you have caused, ways you have failed (even if unintentionally). Your flesh will want to flare up, exhibit the previously mentioned works, and threaten what God wants to do in your marriage. You must crucify these responses and exercise patience and compassion. Keep these verses in mind:

  • Romans 6:6—“Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” NOTE: “Old man” and “body of sin” are synonymous for the flesh.
  • Romans 8:13—“If you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
  • Galatians 5:24—“Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

List three ways you will need to crucify your flesh:




Stay on guard against your sinful nature tempting you to get angry. Do not let pride have victories in your marriage! Instead, humble yourself and ask for forgiveness. There are right and wrong ways to do this.

Apologize the Right Way

Conflict is part of every marriage on this side of heaven. Because fault is almost always on both sides, if we’re going to experience healthy, joyful Christ-centered relationships, both husband and wife must apologize well. When we do, God can strengthen the weak areas of our relationships. Having this kind of heart and perspective can encourage humility and allow us to view tension in our Christ-centered relationships positively.

Some people—whether intentionally or unintentionally—act like they are apologizing, but their “apologies” are simply ways of making excuses and shifting blame. This only serves to increase frustration and hurt. Sincere apologies have the opposite effect—they diffuse aggression and prevent bitterness. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath,” and there are not many softer answers than apologies made the right way. To do this, make sure you avoid two words:

  1. Avoid the word but because it is the destroyer of apologies. When an “apology” contains this word, it is an excuse disguised as a confession:
    • “I’m sorry, but if they hadn’t done that…”
    • “I am sorry, but this happened…”
    • “I’m sorry, but I never would’ve done this if not for…”
  2. Avoid the word you. When an “apology” contains this word, it is often a manipulative way of shifting blame and making the other person feel bad about being hurt or upset:
    • “I’m sorry you did this…”
    • “Well, I’m sorry you are mad…”
    • “I’m sorry you are offended…”

Instead, make sure you apologize the right way, which involves two steps:

  1. First, say, “I am sorry for…” or “I am sorry I…” followed by confessing the offense you committed. 2.
  2. Then, say, “Will you please forgive me?”

The second step is important because it

  • reveals you recognize you have done something requiring forgiveness
  • shows you are not minimizing your actions
  • engages the other person and requires a response

Although Saul was the king of Israel, a more appropriate title for him would have been the King of Excuses. Do not be like him! Read 1 Samuel 13:1-14 and 15:1-29. What was wrong with Saul’s “apologies”? What excuses did he make? Who did he blame? Provide three examples:




The Negative Consequences of Failing to Apologize Well

A sincere apology can diffuse aggression, while an insincere apology that shifts blame or makes excuses will increase frustration and hurt. Hebrews 12:14-15 says, “Pursue peace with all people…looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” Some couples who have been married for years or decades have become more like roommates than people in love. They have built-up resentment toward each other from hurts that have been piled on top of other hurts. Often this is because they have let pride and stubbornness prevent them from apologizing well and taking responsibility for their actions. Their marriages have suffered terribly as a result. Don’t let this happen to you. Apologize the right way when doing this couple’s Bible study. And when your spouse apologizes to you, forgive the right way as well!

Forgive the Right Way

If your spouse asks for forgiveness and you say, “I forgive you,” you are obligated to do your best to forgive the way God forgives. God does not forget our sins, but He does choose not to remember them:

  • Isaiah 43:25—“I will not remember your sins.”
  • Jeremiah 31:34—“I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
  • Hebrews 8:12 and 10:17—“Their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

We cannot cause ourselves to forget offenses that have been committed against us, but we can strive to be like God and choose not to remember what has been done to us. When we say, “I forgive you,” we are committing to do our best to

  • not think about our spouse’s sin
  • not hold the sin against our spouse
  • refuse to bring up the offense in the future

There will be times when you’re doing this couple’s Bible study that you don’t want to forgive your spouse. You may feel like he or she doesn’t deserve it. You know what? You’re right. He or she doesn’t deserve it. But you know what else? You don’t deserve to be forgiven either. Not just by your spouse, but by God Himself. You are forgiven, though, because of what Jesus has done for you. And because Jesus has forgiven you, you should forgive your spouse. This isn’t merely my opinion. Consider these two verses:

  • Ephesians 4:32—“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
  • Colossians 3:13—“Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

Why are we expected to be tenderhearted, forgiving, and patient with each other? Simply put, because of Christ! It is important that you draw on this truth as you continue through the workbook. When you don’t want to forgive your spouse, remember what Christ has done for you. You aren’t forgiving your spouse for your spouse, but you are forgiving your spouse for Jesus.

You are taking steps to have Jesus’s teaching serve as the foundation for your marriage. I hope this excites you because Jesus said, “Whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock” (Matthew 7:24-25). You should have much confidence that your marriage will survive the storms of life because you are wisely striving to build on the rock.

I have been praying for you and will continue to as you go through this couple’s bible study. If you have any specific requests for me, I invite you to please let me know. I would love to hear from you and how God is helping your Christ-centered relationships.

Your brother in Christ,
Scott LaPierre

  1. S.A. Beeson, “The effect of writing after reading on college nursing students’ factual knowledge and synthesis of knowledge,” Journal of Nursing Education, 35(6), (1996), 258-263.
  2. P.A. Mueller and D.M. Oppenheimer, “The pen is mightier than the keyboard: Advantages of longhand over laptop note taking,” Psychological Science, 25(6), (2014), 1159-1168.

22 Responses

  1. Good evening,
    My church is developing a Couples Ministry and we would like to use your book in a small group class. My question is, how do I use the workbook in the small group?

    Crystal Slowe

    1. Crystal,
      That’s great to hear. Thank you for letting me know. I think the book and workbook are good resources for small groups.

      Don’t plan on doing the workbook during the small group. I’m going to assume you plan on covering one chapter per week in your small group? I would recommend having couples read the chapter in the book and do the corresponding chapter in the workbook prior to the small group meeting. Then come to the small group and discuss the answers together and share insights they learned from the book.

      If you wanted couples to discuss their answers with each other prior to the small group meeting, and then at the group they could share how those conversations went. This would be an alternative approach. But either way, I would discourage people from doing the work in the workbook during the small group.

      Also, couples can share the book, but they need their own copy of the workbook. They should also do the work in the workbook separate from each other. Husbands and wives don’t want to be answering questions about their spouse with their spouse sitting there looking at them :-).

      I will pray for your group. Please keep me updated!

  2. This is a great post and very helpful! I have clung to the verse about not letting bitterness take root in the past. You are right- relationships (marriages, friendships, other family) without apologies can quickly turn bitter. But a sincere apology can make all the difference.

    Of course, God tells us to forgive anyway. But a good apology really helps!

    1. Thanks Beka.

      Yes, I’ve prayed that too. Asking God to take the bitterness out by the roots. I have trouble doing that myself. Right: commanded, but an apology makes it much easier :).

  3. I have found myself being more cognisant of when I start to have excuses disguised as apologies. Far better to just own any mistake you made and recognize the hurt in another than to try to ‘save face’.

    Very interesting interview.

  4. Learning to accept responsibility for my side in any mistake or argument has been life changing. It is hard, but so freeing to just admit, yep, I’m not perfect and I’m sorry. It has changed my marriage. My husband sees my humility and is quicker to apologize himself.

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      Wow, that’s great. Thanks for sharing. Wonderful testimony.

      Yes, it is freeing to give up fighting to be right and simply confess. Some similarities to our relationships with the Lord.

  5. Yes we should apologize to our children. This teaches them we are not perfect and that they too will mess up and need to apologize. We have way too many children that never say they are sorry, they just don’t own their mistakes.

  6. Great post! I’ve definitely been aware of not adding “but” to my apologies for a long time, but had never thought about the “you” aspect. I didn’t have time to watch the video yet, and I’m brand new to your site. I can tell you must have a wealth of great relationship advice here and I can’t wait to dive in.

    One thing I add to my children’s apology “script” is to have them admit that they’re wrong. (My kids are 5 and under). It goes a little something like this:
    “I’m sorry for X. I was wrong. Will you please forgive me?”

    1. Hi April,
      Glad you were able to learn something new from the post!

      Thanks also for the feedback on the site. Looking forward to having you along with us!

      Great script for your kids; sounds very much like the one I’d recommend! How many children do you have?

  7. This is really easy to read and well laid out. Thank you! Grrr.. the “I’m sorry YOU feel that way.” is truly the most frustrating one. From some of the ministries I have been a part of, it is easy to tell which ones have an atmosphere of amends and forgiveness among leaders and participants, and which ones don’t. It truly is so important.

    1. Hi Alyssa,
      Yes! Just yesterday my wife and I got a message from someone that said, “I’m sorry you think…” It is frustrating, because it communicates the person really don’t feel bad about anything he/she has done.

      I agree regarding your ministry point; it’s one of the most important parts of having a healthy, joyful, congregation.

  8. YES. Love what you said about the “but” word. That is something that my father struggled with; he was always unsure of why his children/other family members wouldn’t take his apologies seriously but his apologies always had that same word in them. Shifting the blame to others or making excuses while apologizing ruins the apology completely. Also loved your point on how we should say what we’re apologizing for. Mention the offense. Be humble and get rid of the pride that we may not even realize is in us! It always means so much when someone is willing to admit that they were wrong for a specific thing.

    1. Hi Kay,
      Now that I’m going through these comments, that seems to be the theme: using the word “but.” Almost everyone notices how it destroys apologies!

      Ouch! Sorry to hear that about your dad. Maybe you can share this post with him :).

      Yes, we have to be specific when we’re apologizing, otherwise the person won’t know what we’re sorry for doing. Yes, admittance truly diffuses aggression!

  9. Thank you for sharing! Great Counsel for my heart! As a prideful person apologizing can be so hard sometimes! Thanks for the honest transparency. One question I had, that might have been addressed and I just missed it, was what do in the case of being sorry for how I handled something, but to honestly sorry for what I said. So not blame shifting or making excuses, I am talking about the situations where I would say I am sorry for how I said something, but not for what I said. I run in to that in ministry life where what I said I would totally repeat again, but how I said it wasn’t very tactful. Any thoughts on that?

    1. Hi Jamie,
      I’ve always felt like if people acknowledge their pride, they can’t be too prideful. It’s the prideful people who don’t see their pride, while the humble people are able to recognize it.

      You said, “…so hard sometimes.” Again, that’s humble. It’s typically hard for everyone all the time.

      Good question.

      You can definitely apologize and ask for forgiveness for the way you said something without asking for forgiveness for what you said. I have had to do this before. I call it, “Being right and still being wrong.” You’re right about what you said, but wrong because of the way you said it.

      Here’s what I have said: “When I confronted you the other day, I was too harsh. Please forgive me.” Or, “I’m sorry for the way I talked to you the other day. I should’ve been kinder. Please forgive me.”

      You’re not apologizing for confronting the person, and you’re not apologizing for what you said…just the way it came out.

Do you have a question or thought? If so, please let me know. I do my best to respond to each comment.

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