Chapel Service

All American Speedway

Roseville, CA

October 16, 2010

“The Chase”

to a Championship Marriage

Bob Butcher

In review:

We just finished a three part series on forgiveness.

Using the analogy of the “expert” archer from Our Daily Bread on October 9th, we can see how God looks at forgiveness.  After he shot his arrow that archer would simply paint a bull’s-eye around where the arrow stuck and hence he was an expert as long as nobody saw his method.    However, God in His view of life & forgiveness sees our aim.  He is not fooled.

If we follow the popular “if it feels right then it is” mantra of today, then we are not on target at all because God painted the bull’s-eye around forgiveness.  We can do what we want, think what we want, and it may feel right to us as this age says to do today, but in reality the bull’s-eye is still only around forgiving those who hurt us.

Proverbs 14:12 says “There is a way that seems right to a man, but it’s end is the way of death.”

Instead, we need to pray: “Teach me Your ways Lord, and I will walk in Your truth.” (Psalms 86:11)

Therefore, we need to aim at the right target!

Since our marriage is the largest area of life where happiness and forgiveness is attacked today let’s turn our aim to marriage.  Where is God’s bull’s-eye and our aim?  We’ll look at that in light of how God made men & women different.

“A Championship Marriage is the union of a man and woman who have learned God’s mechanics of forgiving and put them to use daily.” – Bob Butcher

“Twelve Ways Race to a Championship Marriage”

(Twelve principles that will help you create and maintain a successful marriage.)

Successful couples are savvy-wise.

They read books on the subject, attend marriage seminars and couple’s weekends, study on the internet and maybe best of all, observe other couples that display strong, love-filled, dynamic marriages.

However, these couples will tell you that they mostly learn by experience – trial and error plus a lot of work and grace for each other.   That is the REAL secret.

These days everyone is into the top ten list or twelve like “The Chase” so let’s look at some principles of success learned from working with and observing some great friends & their marriages …especially a few racing related ones:


  • Happiness is not the most important thing.

Happiness doesn’t mean joy …the God kind at least.  People misuse that word today.  Joy is the ability to still be happy even in the midst of troubled times because of faith in the Lord and His love and plans for you.  These days being happy is not only like a drug in our society, but also addictive.  People do almost anything at the drop of a hat to be “happy”.  Everyone wants to be happy, but happiness will come and go just like an ocean ebbs and flows. Great marriages learn to intentionally do things that will bring happiness back when life sucks.


  • A marriage crisis doesn’t mean your marriage is over.

Crises are like thunder and lightening storms: loud, scary and dangerous. But to get through a storm around you on a race track you have to keep driving, …often without being able to see where you are going.   A crisis can be a new beginning. It’s out of pain that great people and marriages are produced and great race teams become strong.  If you look at the Chinese word for crisis it consists of two characters; …the word (or symbol) for Risk/Danger combined with the word (or symbol) for Opportunity.


  • Smart couples discover the value in just showing up.

When a good race team is going through a tough season they keep showing up …in faith that they know it won’t last forever and will turn around.  When things get tough and couples don’t know what to do, they need to hang in there and be there for their spouse. Time has a way of helping couples work things out by providing opportunities to reduce stress and overcome challenges.  This is the work of the Lord in a maturing process He has designed for each of us.  (Romans 8:28) Never forget your vows …”for better or for worse.”


  • If you do what you always do, you will get same result.

That is the actual definition of insanity! Great couples have learned that you have to approach problems differently to get different results. Often, minor changes in approach, attitude and actions make the biggest difference in marriage.  You racers keep this in mind and remember what a simple minor change in tire pressure can do for an ill-handling racecar.  Sometimes it doesn’t take a huge change.


  • YES, Your attitude DOES matter.

Changing behavior is important, but so is changing BOTH of your attitudes. Bad attitudes often drive bad feelings and actions into major wrecks, …yes, on track and in your marriage!


  • Change your mind, change your marriage.

How couples think and what they believe about their spouse affects how they perceive the other. What they expect and how they treat their spouse matters greatly.  It also affects how their spouse views and responds to them.

  • You can change your marriage by changing yourself.

Yes, You first! Coming up we will study the differences between a man and a woman’s response.  The Bible has some vital things to say about this.  But right now great, experienced, veteran couples have learned that trying to change their spouse is like trying to herd cats – almost impossible.  In all reality, the only person we can change in our marriage is ourselves.


  • The grass is greenest on your side of the fence – where you can water, feed, and nurture it.

Successful couples have learned to resist the grass is greener myth – i.e. someone else will make me happy. They have learned to put their energy into making themselves and their marriage better.


  • Love is a verb, not just a feeling.

Everyday life wears away the “puppy-love, teenage crush, and feelings side of marriage.” Feelings, like happiness, will fluctuate. But, real love is based on a couple’s vows of commitment: “For better or for worse” – when it feels good and when it doesn’t.  We said it earlier but this simply needs to be both said and thought about more than once.


  • Marriage is often about fighting the battle in your head.

Smart couples have learned to resist holding grudges, bringing up the past and remembering that they married an imperfect person – and so did their spouse.  These are like “mind games” at the track and can end up biting you in the tail big-time!


  • Men & women respond differently because of the way God wired them.

Let’s look at these differences very briefly.  At Phoenix we will look at this in depth.

Kathy & I just began facilitating a seven week course at church back home.  We want to bring the strengths and wisdom of these classes as they unfold to you.  So for right now just ponder these simple scriptures about men and women concerning marriage:

    • Ephesians 5:33 –“Each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself, …

…and the wife must respect her husband.” (New International Version)

    • Note that scripture speaks to the husband about his wife first and then it speaks to the wife afterward.
      • Women respond to LOVE:
      • Men respond to RESPECT


Bibliography / References / Helps:

First & Foremost:  The Bible


New King James

New American Standard

The Message

YWAM (Youth With A Mission)

MRO (Motor Racing Outreach)

Church On The Hill, Salem OR

Life Church, Salem OR


Love and Respect

Rev. Emerson Eggerichs Ph.D.

Love  and Respect Ministries, Inc.


The Marriage Turnaround

Mitch Temple (LMFT, M.S., M.S.)

Moody Publishing, Jan. 2009