Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Christian Marriage

 A Dozen Things You Must Know Before You Tie the Knot

Author: Glenda Thomas

  1. Marriage was conceived by God, planned by God and designed by God. Therefore we need to seek God�s guidance in marriage. Too often we do what we have seen done without question. Everyone has opinions about marriage but you cannot afford to listen to everyone. Remember, what works for some people may not work in your relationship. Then who do you listen to? I�m glad you asked. I suggest reading books along with workbooks that focus on Christian marriage. For example: �Before You Say I Do�, by H. Norman Wright and �Too Close, Too Soon� by Jim Tally.

  2. I recommend getting Christian-based pre-marital counseling. There are counseling assessments that can help you to understand yourself and your potential mate better. Family history, personal types, and other aspects of your lives can be explored and discovered during the course of counseling: Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis and Family History Index. These are survey-like questionnaires that reveal information that facilitate the pre-marital counseling process. It can actually be fun.

  3. When you first get married, there is so much excitement going on, from the preparation to the honeymoon. Eventually things settle down and you start to find the rhythm of your new life. And all of a sudden you look at this new person and you ask yourself why did I do this? Some people panic when they experience this and think something must be wrong with them. Believe me, it is quite normal. There will be your first argument and figuring out which way the toilet tissue paper will roll and getting use to sharing your schedule and more adjustments to make and doubts will come up. Hopefully, knowing that doubts will occur will be a relief to you. You are normal.

  4. Take time to have fun. There is work involved in being happily married but you must take time to have fun together. Learning to live with a new person in a mutually satisfying relationship requires work. Learning to communicate so that you understand each other, attending marriage, seminars and figuring out what works best is necessary, and so is fun! Don�t abandon fun times as faded memories you had when you were single. Create new memories together! It is important to enjoy being in the presence of one another and give and get that special personal attention. ??

  5. Sexual purity before marriage is not emphasized these days due the social pressure and non-Christian influences. Sexual purity before marriage is the foundation to trust in your marriage. Many men will pursue their partner and yet not respect them after they give in or accuse them of infidelity after they get married. It may not make sense, it just is that way. We have counseled so many couples who have difficulty trusting due to their own sexual impurity prior to marriage. I use the word �purity� instead of virginity because your sexual behavior is more that not having sexual intercourse. Purity covers all of our behavior, not just �doing IT.� For example: oral sex and similar acts are impure between people who are not married. God�s plan for sexual fulfillment and sexual expression is in marriage. Because you are engaged doesn�t give you the right to have sexual intercourse or to �shack-up� together. The bed is undefiled in marriage, but whoremongers God will judge. Hebrews 13: 4. Sex was not meant to be a casual sport but a special, loving, physical oneness. Sex is what makes marriage � marriage. You become one flesh with your sex partner. We are all special to God, and He wants to save us from guilt, shame, disease the haunting of former lovers and degradation of impurity in our lives. He wants us to experience the most intimate act of love. If you and your potential mate cannot �help yourself� now, in the face of temptation, what�s to say you can resist temptation after marriage?

  6. Know what your potential mate values. What do you value? What is most important to you? Are your values compatible? During the dating period you should be discussing these kinds of things. Do you want children? If yes, how many? What religious convictions do you hold? Are you two compatible religiously? This is a very crucial area to explore because while you are dating and even in the early part of your marriage you may not experience much conflict about religion; however, once children are born there is greater conflict because each parent wants the children to be brought in their belief system. For Christians, God has given His will and that is that we do not unequally yoke ourselves with unbelievers II Corinthians 6:14. What greater yoke is there than marriage?

  7. Discuss all past serious love relationships. To talk openly about your past relationships is very critical because being open about something so personal takes you to the deeper level of communication. Each of you is entitled to have full disclosure. There should not be any surprises once you are married. If you or your mate suggests leaving the past in the past without revealing this part of your life, I can guarantee that one day someone from the past will show up when you least expect it. When this happens it can ignite insecurities and cause more pain than necessary. If you feel you do not want to trust your prospective mate with your whole self � perhaps you are not ready to make such a major step as the lifetime commitment of marriage. This is a test of honesty and vulnerability.

  8. Never settle. No one is perfect, but you deserve the best possible mate that God has for you. Some people accept a marriage proposal for the following reasons: they believe that no one else is going to ask them, because they have kids and no one wants them, �I�m no great catch, I can�t be choosy� or �I don�t love them but this person is stable and can provide for me�. None of these are the reason to say �I do�. Marriage, as God designed it, is to be a beautiful union of two people who are committed to Him, full of the king of love that He gives us, a place to grow, an incubator for our children. The ultimate goal is for everyone to experience love here on earth and to finally have a family reunion in heaven. Ask for God�s guidance in bringing the mate for you into your life. Wait on the Lord, don�t settle.

  9. Ask and answer important questions. While you are dating hopefully you using this time to get to know one another. One way to start is by asking some key questions. What kind family structure were you brought up with? Single parent, two parent. As a result of your family of origin what do you expect marriage will be like? What decisions did you make early in your life because of your upbringing? Complete this sentence: �When I get married and have kids, I�ll never �.� Describe your relationship with the parent of the opposite sex i.e. son and mother or daughter and father. The relationship with the opposite sex parent has a tremendous effect on how we deal with our mates. If a man disrespects his mother that is same kind of attitude he will have toward his wife. Recommend book �1,000 Questions for Couples� see Resources pag. Email me.

  10. Accepting your mate-to-be is something you need to contemplate early on in your relationship. Acceptance begins with accepting yourself. There are things you are good at and some things you need to grow in, this is what makes up who you are. Acceptance creates an environment where each person is allowed to be themselves and be loved unconditionally. The way God loves us. If an individual has not been use to being accepted and has low-self esteem they may find it difficult to accept that someone truly loves and accepts them. This is where pre-marital counseling can be helpful. When we plant seeds we do not stand over the sprout yelling, �Hurry up and grow! You are not growing fast enough you slow poke!� Like plants, as we grow, we need nurturing and care and love; just like the plants need sunshine and rain and cultivating. To the degree that you know yourself, you will be more capable of getting to know your partner for life. Never try to change another person.

  11. Be aware of any signs of abusive behavior. Does your partner try to bring around to their way of thinking by verbal put downs, name calling, profanity? Are you ever threatened with bodily harm, do you feel threatened? Have you been hit, pushed, �wrestled�, shoved, and slapped at any time for any reason? None of the above behaviors are acceptable. You do not deserve to be hit. And it is not your fault that you are abused. Does your partner try to isolate you from your loved ones and friends? End the relationship or let them know that you will not continue unless they get PROFESSIONAL HELP. Don�t fool yourself � whatever negative behavior is evident before marriage will be magnified afterward. Many people are killed every day from violence by someone they know. Please take this seriously!

  12. Start a devotional or quiet time to come before God as a couple. Establish time on your own to commune with the Lord. The value of each is that 1 you establish sharing a spiritual life together it will get you off to the right kind of start that includes the Lord. There are 3 parties in a Christian marriage, God, you and your spouse. Seeking spiritual guidance and wisdom will be a great sustainer when it times get difficult. And 2 you need your personal time in devotion because, although you are married, your spouse cannot meet all of your needs - only God can supply all your needs. Philippians 4:19.

  13. BONUS FOR INDIVIDUAL�S WITH CHILDREN When children are involved please ask them about their feelings. If there are negative feelings dig deeper to find out why they feel the way they do. I strongly recommend counseling for all involved since the after the wedding all of you will be involved. What plan have you all worked on to facilitate communication? If both parties have children, include all children in pre-marital discussions and counseling. Suggested book �Before You Remarry�.

  14. BONUS FOR INDIVIDUAL MARRYING SOMEONE WITH CHILDREN Ask yourself the following questions: Am I in tune with the feelings of the children? Am I willing to listen to the children? Am I flexible enough to endure the rocky waters that occur during the adjustment period? Am I open to new information such as classes, counseling and books that will help me understand how to blend into this family? Be honest and open. To men: Are you willing to separate your manhood and stand the negatives of the children while they adjust? Do you trust your mate�s ability to deal with their children?

  15. Medical tests Recommended Before the Wedding HIV, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, and Blood Type compatibility

Glenda M. Thomas, Editor of Sister 2 Sister Newsletter



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