What Did You Expect? by Paul Tripp
Study Guide for Chapter 7 – “Pulling Weeds”
“It Was Just a Tiny Weed”
Last week a person from the Gas Company came by to check our gas meter. As she attempted to check the meter she mentioned how we should keep bushes and weeds away from the meter so that it can be easily read. What was once a little weed a few months ago had now evolved into an entire weed bush! This is often the picture of the sin in our lives. Our sin starts off as a “little weed” in our marriages,
beginning with an inconsiderate remark, which then turns into sharp or snide comments, which then leads to defiant or an argumentative attitude. Mix these comments with a lack of asking for and granting forgiveness, and the result is a marriage where words destroy and tear down instead of encourage and build up. Our sinful words start off small, but over time they will overtake us. Can you see the weeds and weed bushes in your marriage?
Take heart, because chapters 7 and 8 will guide us as we daily commit to growing and changing by God’s
grace. So let’s begin pulling up weeds!
Please read chapter 7 in What Did You Expect?
Key Quotes and Lists from Chapter 7
- Commitment #2: “We will make growth and change our daily agenda.”
- “Perhaps one of the fundamental sins that we all commit in our marriages is the sin of
- “What keeps you too busy or too exhausted to address the struggles of your marriage and to do
the good things that make your marriage grow” (107)?
Bible Passage Focus
- Ephesians 4:1-16
Learning God’s Truths
1. Read Ephesians 4:1-16. This study and the following study will be spent going over the truths
found in this passage. Beginning in verse 1, there is a transition from theology (chapters 1-3) to
application (chapters 4-6). Paul begins his application speaking about the unity Christians have
as a result of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
a. In verses 1-3 what does it look like “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling?” See
verses 2 and 3.
b. Verse 2-3 list characteristics of a gospel-centered person. Write definitions of each that
you find in the text.
c. Verses 4-6 speaks about the unity Christians have. What unifies Christians?
2. How does the sin of inattention cause conflicts in marriages? See pages 101-104 in What Did
3. Tripp lists six areas that hinder and stop growth from happening in a marriage. Write down
descriptions of each.
Applying God’s Truths
4. Pick one godly characteristic from Ephesians 4:2-3 and think of you’d like to ask the Lord to grow
you in that area.
5. Think about your marriage and choose two descriptions from the list of six things that keep
marriages from growing. Answer the questions for the description. Remember the truths found in Ephesians 4, and combat sin with those truths
a. Selfishness: “Where are the weeds of selfishness in your marriage? How are you doing
at finding them and pulling them?”
b. Busyness: “What keeps you too busy or too exhausted to address the struggles of your
marriage and to do the good things that you’re your marriage grow?”
c. Inattention: “Is your marriage suffering from inattention? Have you become
comfortable with taking one another for granted? Where are you neglecting the work
that is necessary to keep your relationship healthy?”
d. Self-righteousness: “What thoughts, desires, motives, goals, choices, words, or actions
need to be uprooted if your marriage is ever going to experience what God’s grace
makes possible to experience?”
e. Fear: “Is there a way in which your husband or wife has become your replacement
messiah? Are you so afraid of failure that it keeps you from doing with courage the
things God has called you to do in your marriage? Do the ‘what ifs’ keep you from living
in your marriage with joy in the here and now?”
f. Laziness: In what ways has your laziness hurt your marriage? Where will laziness lead
your marriage ten years down the road? Why are you lazy?
6. Share the two descriptions you chose for question 5 with your spouse. As a couple, come up
with one area you want to be more attentive to in your marriage. For example: “We are going to
make sure we keep Wednesday and Sunday evening free from commitments or appointments
so that we can have a family dinner and a time to spend with one another. We give each other
freedom to ask this question . . . “ Remember that the point is to fight sin, not one another.
Support one another as your spouse changes sinful habits and attitudes. Give each other the
benefit of the doubt!
7. Think of a Christian brother or sister who you trust and send them an email asking them to help
you to grow. Send them an email asking for feedback in the following questions:
a. Am I a humble person or only in certain situations?
b. Am I gentle with other people, especially with those who differ from me?
c. What situations have you seen me become impatient?
d. Do I bear with others in love?
e. Am I a person who seeks unity? Remember that hearing truth about ourselves is
sometimes hard to hear, but the person is trying to help you to grow in your friendships
Personal Take Home Truth
Write down what truth stood out to you from the reading or study.
“What keeps you too busy or too exhausted to address the struggles of your marriage and to do the
good things that make your marriage grow” (107)?