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The Christian's guide to mate selection and marital preparation will give the reader, Christians and non-Christians alike the insight, ...
The Christian's guide to mate selection and marital preparation will give the reader, Christians and non-Christians alike the insight, wisdom and practical strategies needed to select a competent compatible mate as well as prepare them for a long lasting lovable marriage. In this book, you will discover:
• What marriage really is
• 5 reasons why couples might refuse the counsel they so desperately need to make their marriage a success
• How to choose Mr. or Ms. Right
• The greatest mistakes people make when choosing a mate
• The role of your family of origin in mate selection (using the genogram)
• How to avoid defective dating
• How and why you should maximize your single life before getting married.
• Six qualities to look for in a mate
• Eight essential things you must understand before walking down the aisle.
• Understanding blended family issues when marrying someone that already has children
• What to do before you say "I Do"- Rules of engagement
• Preparing for the sacrifices of companionship
• And practical marital preparations.
This must read book is a prerequisite to a healthy happy marriage
Don't say "I Do" without reading
What Is Marriage?
"And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib which the Lord God had taken from man, made the man. And Adam said," This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother an shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh." Genesis 2:21-24
What is marriage and why get married?
Preparation for marriage is the foundation where by a solid long lasting relationship will be built. In preparing for marriage, we must start with a definition. According to the third addition of the new American Webster Dictionary, marriage is the legal union of a man and a woman. To get a more precise definition we must look to God, who is the author of the marital institution.
Through the following scripture text we derive a working Biblical definition of marriage. Malachi 2:4, Genesis 1:28, Hebrews 13:4, Proverbs 5:18, Amos 3:3, 2 Cor. 16:14. Marriage is a covenant established and intended by God between two consenting adults of the opposite sex, for companionship, sexual intimacy and childbearing. Further, these consenting adults are to be agreement partners for the rest of their life.
My definition for marriage, which is a compilation of all of the former; states that marriage is the legal/spiritual contractual agreement or covenant made between two consenting imperfect adults of the opposite sex for the rest of their natural life. As stated in our introduction, a decision of this magnitude warrants investigation. Statistics state that over half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. A 2001 survey by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that one in five marriages divorce within the first five years (Paul, 2002) Barna's research state even more specifically that in the church 33% of Christian marriages ends in divorce. Divorce is devastating enough, but when children are forced to endure the rigors of this process, it is especially taxing. 65% of all divorces involve minor children. Children of divorce have been affected to the degree of acting out in school, drug usage and sexual promiscuity.
In some cases, if a couple wants a divorce, they have to prove grounds for the divorce claim. This has after, led to fabrication of allegations, putting the child in the middle of such disputes and additional stresses such as child support and custody and equitable distribution of assets. With this in mind it is wisdom for your marriage to not be destroyed for the lack of knowledge.
It has been my experience that a lot of people, including Christians refuse to receive counsel on this subject; even though the Bible states in the book of Proverbs in the eleventh chapter and the fourteenth verse that "where no counsel is the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety". Listed are five reasons why a couple might refuse counsel.
Five reasons why couples might refuse counsel I. I have always made my own decisions!
Because marriage is not for "children" it might be logical for adults of legal age to conclude that they can proceed on intuition or the success of previous accomplishments when it comes to marriage. However a couple who has given their lives to Christ must put aside their ego and human intuition and rely on direction from the Holy Scriptures. Proverbs 3:5 states that we should "trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not to our own understanding. In all our ways we should acknowledge him and he would direct our path".
The scripture clearly admonishes us, when making decisions, be it miniscule or life changing, that we should rely on the direction of:
a) Holy Spirit (John 16:13)
b) The counsel of Godly people (Psalm 1:1)
c) The Holy Scripture (II Tim 3:16)
For any Christian to believe that they have gotten a handle on there own future devoid of God's directions is headed for disaster. "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man but the end thereof are the ways of death". (Prov. 14:12)
II. Love is all I need to make it
Albeit, there is nothing like the euphoria of falling in love; the sense of preoccupation with the object of your desire, giving you the feeling that nothing else matters as long as you and your mate are together. You wake up in the morning with your loved one on your mind, you make it a point to make sure that they are the last phone call you make before going to bed so that their voice can be the last voice you hear before closing your eyes. You just know as you walk hand in hand or arm in arm coming from the theater that this feeling will never end. You just know that this feeling, the feeling of "love" without a shadow of doubt is all you need to stay together "for ever and ever amen".
This popular thought, one that is easily fueled by highly charged emotions and exacerbated by cleverly written love songs designed to evoke affect, may cause a couple to be swept away in that affect and become devoid of rational deliberation.
The longevity of marriage is dependant on more than just a feeling or the statement "I love you". In order for a marriage to stand the test of time, love must be expressed in commitment, patience, longsuffering and other character traits that we learn from God. If a couple refuses counsel because they feel good about each other, they will soon be frustrated when something pops up that they don't like. Having the courage to get counsel will give definition and direction to their "feelings" of love. (I Cor. 13:4)
III. It's a sign of weakness to ask for direction or help
One or both partners may have been reared with the philosophy "Never let anybody see you sweat", which is to say not to reveal any sign of weakness. Asking for advice on any matter would be admitting that they couldn't handle the challenges that life affords. If they were unsure about a number of things regarding their relationship, instead of getting counsel, they would put on their poker face and act confident in their decisions. This would be a frivolous attempt to cover up their weakness. After Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they made an attempt to cover up their weakness (disobedience) by sowing fig leaves together. Their attempts were fruitless because their coverage was temporary at best, given time the fig leaves would have completely disintegrated totally exposing their weakness. In Genesis 3:21 we read that God made them coats of skin, which means that God had the right solution all along. We can gain valuable insight from this. Although you may have been reared in a household environment that encourages covering weaknesses, if we seek Godly counsel we invoke God's solutions for our life.
The Bible tells us that "if any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things are passed away behold all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are also commanded to "be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds", that is to say our old inferior thought patterns should be replaced by the word of God, which is in part received by wise counsel.
IV. I don't trust peoples advice
With so many people of disreputable character it is easy to see why there is a general lack of trust in our society. The list can get extensive; from crooked politicians to defrocked priests, you can hardly blame so many people for being guarded. Christians however must develop an ear to hear God through the voice of the scripture, the Holy Spirit and anointed wise individuals. While unsavory characters do exist, we cannot reject Biblical wisdom; therefore as people of God we must become students of the scripture so that instead of rejecting counsel because of mistrust, we validate counsel by our knowledge of the scripture.
V. One partner is willing and the other is not
This is often seen when one partner is a member of a particular church and the other is not fully active or not a member at all. The active member has grown accustomed to receiving formal and informal counsel from the pastor or assigned leaders, further the active member is confident in the direction given through regular teaching and preaching sessions. The other partner on the other hand, rarely attends services or fellowships and may come to resent the minister's "expert opinion". A couple in this situation may argue about the validity of the counsel. The contention may eventually cause the counsel not to be sought.
Although some of these reasons might appear valid, the Christian must keep in mind that we belong to Christ and must seek his will for our lives. It is not his will that we perish, not only in our souls but also in every area of our life, including our relationships. Wise counsel should certainly be sought after; this point cannot be stressed enough. Proverbs 4:6 states, "do not forsake wisdom and she shall protect you; love her and she shall watch over you"(N.I.V.)
Why do you want to get married?
In order to adequately prepare for marriage, you must ask yourself why you want to get married. Although there are many personal reasons for wanting to get married, you must examine whether your reason is valid enough to handle the challenges that are sure to arise, in one form or another. I again refer you to the marriage vows in which most couples repeat on their wedding day.
"Do you take this man to be you wedded husband? And do you solemnly promise before God and these witnesses, that you will love him, comfort him, honor and keep him in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, forsaking all others for him alone, you will perform unto him all the duties that a wife owes to her husband, unto God, by death shall separate you".
Note, the promise before God is to handle the relationship in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer and for better or for worse. Although the words health, richer, and better are what most couples want to key in on, having the right motives for getting married will ready them for times of potential crisis such as illness, lack of financial resources and less than amiable circumstances. Some of the reasons why people get married will not cause them to endure the occasional turbulence that marriages will face.
Let's look at four of the most invalid reasons for getting married.
Number one "My mate will make me whole"
Some people feel that the person they marry will make them complete. They are somehow under the impression that the void they are feeling in their life, whether its loneliness or emptiness, will be erased soon after getting married. In a sense, they have already psychologically transferred the responsibility for their fulfillment into the hands of another imperfect human being. No matter how good the potential mate will be, he or she will never be able to measure up. The job of an individual's wholeness and happiness belongs to God and God alone. He is to be our El Shadai- the many breasted-all sufficient one, who supplies our every need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Of course, there are certain things that each partner will bring into the relationship, but he or she should never be expected to be anyone else's "all and all". This fact will be quickly discovered when you find out that your partner just does not have the right words to fulfill an emotional or intellectual need. They may be great in one or two areas, but grossly underdeveloped in others. If they are lacking in these particular areas they will not be able to immediately fulfill that need in you; as a matter of fact, it might take them years before they are able to and that is in fact if that particular area is important enough to them to devote time energy and prayer to bring about the change. A proper understanding of this fact should be well understood. If you allow God to be your Jehovah Jireh, the Lord your provider, you would allow God to fill your life with a support system of people that can bring a sense of fulfillment in various areas. In this way both you and your mate will be spared the pain and frustration of unfulfilled expectations
Number two Pressure from family and friends "I thought you would be married by now"
Some people take the mad dash to the altar to squelch the criticisms of family and friends. Often their personal decision is clouded by loyalty to loved ones that may mean well. Such pressure has a tendency to push a person ahead of God therefore ahead of his timing. When this happens the person most likely will not receive God's best. They must also watch out for the devils alternatives. We learn in Matthew 4:1-11 it was when Jesus was under the pressure of fasting 40 days and nights that the devil presented him with an alternative to obeying God.
"Again the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain and sheweth him all the kingdom of the world. And the glory of them; and saith unto him, all these things will I give thee if wilt fall down and worship me" (Matthew 4:9).
We must be very careful because "the devil goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour". He would be more than happy to deceive the Christian into buckling under pressure and settling for second or even third best. Remember "the thief cometh not but for to steal, kill and destroy".
Although current pressure has the ability to push you into not waiting on God, you must consider that marriage is not just a current commitment; marriage requires a life time commitment in which all of the people that provide the pressure or criticism are not required to make. At the first sign of challenge their opinions may quickly change. At this time you will find that the only opinion that matters is yours and God's. Be confident in God and you will find out that there is wisdom in waiting.
Number three My biological clock is ticking "I only have a short window of opportunity"
Even worse than the pressure from family and friends is the internal pressure that most woman experience as they near their late thirties and early forties. This pressure provides a tremendous motivating factor for rushing into the martial relationship.
The consideration of difficulties and complications that can stem from the risk of child bearing in the later years may cause some woman not to thoroughly think through the selection process. They may not be so concerned about financial stability, compatibility or even whether the person is saved. They may overlook God's requirements all together. You will hear them justify their decision to family and friends by saying "He's a good man." "He works hard and is attentive to my needs and what's most important; he says he loves me." They further rationalize that there are not many men out there especially saved and in the church. Because there is such a short window of opportunity and I may lose this chance forever, I'm going to go for it. Again I say that marriage is a lifetime commitment and successfully having children does not provide the glue that keeps relationship together, especially when a Christian violates the Word of God to knowingly marry a person that is not saved (Has accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, growing and maturing in the word of God, attending a church on a regular basis and uses his gifts talents and abilities to build the Kingdom of God.) The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 6:14-16
vs. 14 "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteous with unrighteous? And what communion hath light with darkness? vs. 15 and what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth an infidel? vs. 16 and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For yea are the temple of the living God as God hath said, I will dwell in them ...
Excerpted from The Christian's Guide to Mate Selection and Marital Preparation by William Garrett Davis Copyright © 2010 by Dr. William Garrett Davis. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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