Song of Solomon 8:6 Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.
Colossians 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. 20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
I. The purpose of marriage
Cassandra- I believe God used marriage as a picture in the Bible. He likens us as his bride, and he tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. A good marriage can glorify God- two are better than one. Two can reach the lost more effectively than one, they can encourage each other to keep going, and they can motivate each other during the hard times. They can bring forth children, raise them right, and send them forth as arrows to win the lost.
Leslye-God instituted marriage. He gave the woman to the man to be his helper. Together a married couple can accomplish great things for the Lord. There is a plan for each couple, they have something that God wants them to accomplish for Him.
B. What marriage is not.
Cassandra- Marriage is not two people shacking up with each other. It is not two men, or two women. Marriage is not common law. Marriage is two people coming together, before man and God, and establishing a covenant. It is having witnesses, it is having someone officiate your vows to each other. Having a ceremony keeps you and everyone that witnessed said vows accountable. It is for life.
Leslye- Fornication is not marriage. People that just say "I am married now," it is because they want an easy out. A person needs to go to the government and get that marriage license so it is difficult to part ways. Marriage is commitment for life. You are making a covenant with that person and God! Divorce is a sin, and if you get remarried after you get divorced it is also a sin. I am not against people that are divorced or anything. But marriage is for life, you need to purpose that before you even go in to marriage.
1. Shacking up
Cassandra- Shacking up is simply that. Fornication. It is moving in so the lusts of the flesh can be fulfilled, without any of the commitment.
Leslye- If you do not flee fornication as the Bible tells you to, you will likely struggle with lifelong consequences. I have talked to a lot of blended families and there are so many problems, unsaved other parent, custody battles and discipline issues.
2. Temporary...marriage is for keeps
Cassandra- The good, the bad, the ugly days- marriage is for keeps. We have never uttered the 'D' word in our marriage...'Divorce', that is. We have always known we would HAVE to work through our problems...because marriage is for life.
3. Between two of the same sex...marriage is one woman, one man, no matter what the world says.
Cassandra- Marriage is one man, one woman. Period. Sodomy is still an abomination, no matter what the world is telling you. God will never recognize homosexual marriage.
Leslye- God made marriage for a man and a woman period. The purpose of dating is marriage. Don't give someone your heart until you get married, you don't want to get hurt so don't give your heart away until you know the person is the one you will marry.
II. Dating...or, preparation for marriage
A. Dating Testimony
Cassandra- I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home, with the focus on me being a stay at home mom and homemaker when I got married. I was also raised being taught that the dating game was bad. My dad died when I was 17, and our church went downhill, so we started looking for a KJV Baptist church. We found one 45 minutes away, and it happened to be my husband's dad's church. When we first started attending, it was NOT love at first sight. We are both firstborns, and competitive by nature. I couldn't stand the fact that he knew more Bible than me, and he was always trying to best us girls in the youth group competitions. I remember ranting and flipping out about something he had done to my mom. My mom just kind of smiled and said, "You are going to marry him someday." I said, "Not if he was the last man on earth!" Well, I guess moms have a way of knowing these things, don't they? As he grew up a little, he started maturing a little, and taking notice of the pretty girl in the youth group. We became friends, although he still infuriated me at times, haha, and I started noticing what a great guy he was- underneath the bragging, of course. When he was 19, he came to realize that I was everything he wanted in a wife. We were close friends by this time, and he couldn't stop thinking or praying about me. I was close to him, but trying hard not to 'really fall in love', because he still hadn't officially pursued me. After praying one night, he finally decided to go for it. He talked to his dad, who talked to my mom, who talked to me. We officially started dating. The first night he had gotten the green light, there were a bunch of people standing around in church. In true Cassandra fashion, (I tend to say what I think, in front of whoever is there) I blurted out- "Do you know how long I have liked you?!" He said, in an awkward way, "Um, we will talk about that later." It was a fast courtship, but not fast enough. We had chaperoned dating, and we were never alone until we drove away from our reception. We were engaged three weeks after becoming official, and married six months later. We had our first kiss at the marriage altar, and had a great honeymoon. The wait was worth it. We have grown, learned, and have fallen more deeply in love with each other with every passing year.
Leslye- I do not have a great testimony to share like Cassandra. What I can tell you is that it is worth it to do things the right way so you won't have regrets later on. Keep yourself pure until your wedding day.
B. Teens dating, what age, how we will do it, etc.
Cassandra- Our teens won't date. We want them to enjoy being a child. Responsibility and taking care of a family will come soon enough. We don't want them to have the burden of trying to constantly please someone when they are a teen. When they are old enough to get married, and they are attracted to a girl or guy who is the type of person they want for marriage, then they can pursue a relationship. It will be chaperoned, and my hope is that all of my children will marry pure, as their dad and I did.
Leslye- I will not let my teenagers date until they are old enough to marry. My oldest does have an interest in boys already and she is only 11. I told my oldest daughter that she needs to learn how to run a household before she can even date. What I want for my kids is for them to meet somebody and then give their heart to them. I believe you will know if you have found the right person. You will have feelings for them right away. Those butterfly feelings are what drive a couple to altar to be married. Get married quickly, so you don't have temptations of fornication or any regrets on your wedding day. I am very protective of my girls, I want them to be pure on their wedding day. Because I was not pure when I got married, I want that so much for my girls. My daughters need protection. They will not have any unchaperoned time with boys until their wedding day. A daughter that is sent off to work is a dangerous thing because teenager make bad choices. They could end up committing fornication. Teens don't make good choices for themselves. They feel that little bit of freedom and think you will never find out that they are doing wrong things.I have talked to a lot of blended families and they have a lot of problems.Unsaved other parent, discipline issues, custody battles etc.. Those problems are not even worth one hour of fun.
III. Life after Marriage
A. Our spouse is not responsible for our happiness.
Cassandra- This is the main thing I want to get through to women. When you get married, do not hang all your hopes, dreams, and desires on your husband. He is not responsible for your happiness. You are. Don't think, if you are miserable when single, that marriage holds all the answers. Don't think that your husband is going to swoop in on a horse and carry you away to Fairy Tale land. If you have found that mystery land, please, give me the directions! Your husband can not bring you unending happiness. Your children can not bring you unending happiness. What they can bring you is a lot more work and frustration! You alone hold the key to your happiness. Contentment is what will bring that happiness. Fall in love with Jesus, and his word. Take happiness in the little things in life. Don't compare yourself or your marriage to others'. Look out for others, and pour yourself into them- this is what will bring you joy.
Leslye- You can't base how you do things on someone else character or behavior. That is not Christian. We all have the choice to walk in the spirit. Your husband or your wife might not be walking in the spirit, but you must decide to walk in the spirit anyway. It is easier to say that then to do that. You have to decide that going into marriage. You need to have a realistic expectation goin into marriage. Your marriage won't be like the movies. It is not a fairy tale. Your man is not a knight in shining armor. Yes, there are times that marriage is that wonderful fairy tale, but honestly life is full of ups and downs. Marriage is not a feeling, feelings come and go, but marriage is forever. Even if you are married to a man that is not good to you, you can still have a happy marriage. Learn how to be a good wife by waling in the spirit. If you can learn how to walk in the spirit you can have a lot of help in your marriage, God's will help you along.
B. Submission- what it is, what it is not.
Cassandra- Submission is not being inferior to your husband. It takes humility on your part to be submissive to another person, especially when you don't agree with every decision. God will bless you for it, though. Being submissive is not listening with a horrible attitude. It's keeping your mouth shut, and going along joyfully.
Leslye- Before you even say anything or react from your feelings, you need to weigh it. How much does this thing really matter? Is it worth ruining my marriage, or making my husband angry at me or yell at me. If it is not that just don't say it. You must choose to take out the trash before it comes out of your mouth. Don't drink the poison, put that stuff down! Let it go, most things are ok to just let him have his way. If there is something you disagree with your husband about something it is ok to let it go, let him make the decision if he wants. In the grand scheme of things does this thing really matter that you disagree with? If you do it like the Bible says, you will have a good marriage, and he will see that you are not a nag and will ask you opinion about things.
If your husband fails at something, that will drive him to do better. Men naturally have a sense of wanting to succeed. It is ok if he doesn't pay the bills and your lights get turned off or you get kicked out of your home. Your husband is still learning too, he is learning life skills on the job. You can't be mad at him when he fails at something. You need to be there to support him. This "I told you so" attitude is not helpful and it will make your husband hurt and upset. If he makes a bad choice and fails, be there to support him through those times of failure. You might think you can do things better, but if he wants to do something a certain way, its is ok to let him take the lead (and possibly fail.)
Having a bad attitude about submitting, is not submission. It is just bitterness. Every thing you "submit" to with a bad attitude you are just planting seeds of bitterness, and those roots of bitterness will ruin a marriage. Submit joyfully, and forgive him if he is not doing things your way.
Don't just go around telling people your business in your relationship. You might move on but other people don't forget. That will hinder him in his Christian life. No husband or wife is perfect. How would you feel if he told people what you do wrong in your relationship? Do you want a good marriage? I can sit on my throne and say "I am right and he is wrong, I am righteous and he is sinful, etc" but that will not make your husband love you, he would rather be on the corner of the housetop.
C. Husband takes priority over every other relationship.
Cassandra- When the kids grow up and leave, the husband stays. Make him your first priority. Find out what pleases him, and do it. Find out his love language, and try to fill his love tank. Don't talk to others about your problems you have with him. Keep your private times together private. It's no one else's business. Make him the number one person in your life.
Leslye- Your kids should not come before your husband. When your kids are all grown up and all you have is that man right next to you, you are going to wish you spent more time investing in that relationship. So start right now, favor him above anyone else.
D. Learning from each other...figuring out each other's love language, trying to do things that please him, and not doing those things that make him mad.
Cassandra- Find out what makes him mad, and THEN DON'T DO IT. Hopefully he will have the same attitude with you! We all have hot buttons. Don't push them.
Leslye- If your husband likes a certain part of your house clean then make sure that gets done, make it a priority. Read the book, Created to Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl if you haven’t already. There is a lot of good things in that book. I do not endorse everything in that book but there is helpful information in there.
E. Three things men crave and need.
Cassandra- Men need to know that even if the whole world is against them, their woman is in their corner. Back up your man. All the time, but especially in public. Don't talk down to him. No matter what Hollywood says, men are not stupid, and not children.
Leslye- I try to encourage my husband when he is down on himself about something, I try to find something good about it. I encourage him and try to lift him up. I am not on autopilot with my husband. I try to be engaged in my relationship with my him. He works hard on his sermons, I make sure I tell him the good things about the sermons he preaches. I don't just take a nap during when he is preaching. I want to learn. And if he preaches a good sermon I make sure I tell him. If your husband is doing ANYTHING nice for you, you need to focus on those things and throw out the bad. What are you going to do?Run away from your relationship? Abase the bad things in your relationship. Look and find good things about your husband. The same goes with your kids, they also need the same kind of praise.
2. A happy wife and happy kids
Cassandra- When your husband comes home to a well run home, a happy wife, and happy kids, he will be a happy man. If you are sad and depressed and down in the dumps every day when he gets home, he is going to dread coming home.
3. Physical relationship
Cassandra- Men need physical attention. God put this desire in them, and it is not gross, evil, or wrong. The marriage bed is undefiled. Please remain pure until marriage, but once you have that ring on your finger, give yourself joyfully to your husband! The physical love between a man and woman is great. It provides a connection that you can't get anywhere else. It also produces children- one of life's biggest blessings! Give him steak every day, and he won't go looking for that McDonald's hamburger elsewhere. Men need this from their wives. Try to practice good hygiene, and keep yourself up for your husband. Try to eat healthy, and even exercise a few times a week, and this will help you feel better overall!
Leslye- Make time to spend with your husband. There is nothing wrong with openly telling your husband that you want to be with him physically. Tell him you are available to him. After being with kids all day it can be challenging to find time alone. Put the kids to bed early.
F. Different men need different type of women...be the woman your husband fell in love with.
Cassandra- My husband loves my independence and my spunk. He loves that he doesn't need to 'babysit' me, and that I can make decisions on the not so important choices. I balance the checkbook and pay the bills, he brings home the paycheck, and for us, this works. Not many men could handle my Anne of Green Gables personality, however. He is truly my 'Gilbert'. Chances are, your husband is attracted to your personality, he fell in love with you. There are always irritating things about us, however. If he doesn't like you laughing loudly at social functions, then try to dial that back. Hopefully he will do the same, say, if he has a belching habit! We are trying to please our spouse. Try to give up irritating habits that he might not like.
Leslye- Not all relationships are the same! Work on the things you can change...yourself! You cannot change your man, but you can sure be the best wife you can by getting into Gods Word and finding out what God expects from a wife. In turn it will improve your relationship with your husband.
G. Loving even in the difficult days
Cassandra- Realize that every marriage will have its ups and downs. Sickness will come. Financial hardship will come. Hormones happen. But stick with it. God can create a beautiful masterpiece out of your marriage. Cling to him, his Word, his promises, and cling to each other. Be each other's 'person'. The one that you confide in, love with, and enjoy life together with. Some days will be hard and gory and difficult, but yet others will be glorious and beautiful. Buckle up and enjoy the ride together.
Leslye- No doubt you will have hard times. Love isn’t just a feeling it is a choice. You must learn to have forgiveness and be willing to work together to make a marriage work. For us on the good things about your husband, prop that up and abase the bad things. You can have a great relationship if you do things God’s way.