Category: Engagement

Real Marriage Tour

realmarriageAs a single with a heart for marriage, I quickly discovered that marriage is like an exclusive club. In my attempts to gain insight on common problems in marriage, I found that singles are not exactly welcome in marital Bible studies, that single studies rarely involved real marriage issues or preparation, and that books are divided into two categories: married couples that need to love their spouses more and singles who should stop being so impatient.

I spoke to a pastor of my predicament: not being able to learn about marriage without actually being married. He was able to relate to my distress, being of the same mind when he was single himself.

“I actually used to sneak into marriage conferences before I was married,” he told me with a sheepish grin. “I wanted to know what I was getting into.”

And many singles share the same desire. We notice the 60% divorce rate, and want to know what measures to take immediately to keep from becoming part of a statistic.

So you can imagine my excitement when I heard of Pastor Mark Driscoll’s marriage conference, the Real Marriage Tour, that extends an invitation not only to married couples, but to singles as well.

The tour is based off of Driscoll’s new book Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together. The book – co-written with his wife, Grace – is all ready #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List. The book takes a different approach to typical relationship books, asking first and foremost, “Are you friends with your spouse?”

“The first human friendship in the history of the world was a marriage,” Pastor Mark said at his conference in Corona, California. He went on to talk about the three different types of marriages: marriages where couples oppose one another (back to back), marriages where couples work together (shoulder to shoulder), and marriages based in friendship (face to face). He discussed serving your spouse, being friends with your spouse, and making your spouse your top priority.

The singles, however, were not left out. Pastor Mark applied all his topics to singles as well, not overlooking individual character and expectations when going into marriage, and – biggest of all – sex. And this wasn’t your typical uncomfortable conversation on fornication; instead, he addressed it as God’s gift. Not a god, not gross, but an amazing part of marriage.

Pastor Mark left no stone unturned. He addressed everything from porn to premarital sex, from lust to post-marital sex. Most of his sex talk was based off of 1 Corinthians 10:23, asking the questions “Is it lawful? (Biblically and legally)”, “Is it helpful?”, and “Is it enslaving?” He even took the time to do a few Q&A sessions with the audience that asked their questions via text message.

Even though Pastor Mark made us all laugh to tears with his insights, I don’t believe anyone left without some heavy conviction. Beyond his discussions on marriage and dating, Pastor Mark got to the core of faltering relationships: selfishness, pride, and a lack of a real relationship with Jesus Christ. In our love for Christ, we submit as servants to one another, because that is the picture of Christ’s love for us.

“All Christians are called to be servants,” he said, “It is a high honor because that’s what Jesus was.”

To find out more on the Real Marriage Tour visit The Hub website, which offers tickets and resources for the tour, as well as resources for small group Bible studies written by Mark Driscoll and other pastors such as John Piper and Matt Chandler. You can also go to marshill.com to watch Pastor Mark’s sermons about Real Marriage. (And I highly recommend his Song of Solomon series, The Peasant Princess.) Driscolls’ book, Real Marriage, can be purchased at most bookstores or any of the sites mentioned above.

I thank Pastor Mark for inviting singles with a heart for marriage into the exclusive club. Perhaps if more pastors and conferences let singles have backstage passes to learn about the real hardships of marriage, we can see the divorce rate diminish considerably, and see more marriages paint the beautiful picture of Christ’s love for His church.

I Vow

vows“To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”

It’s been my thought this week that wedding vows are slightly vague. People don’t mind reciting them at the alter, but I don’t think anyone really thinks about what they’re promising.

How many people think about these vows before marriage? How many think of them when they want a divorce?

What if the vows were more specific? Would you still be willing to make them?

For better: When things are going smoothly and we both feel loved and appreciated, I promise to cherish those times and not take them for granted.

For worse: When we can’t do anything but fight and hurt each other to the point where we don’t even know if we can stand one another, I promise to do what it takes to repair us.

For richer: When we don’t have to worry about paying the bills and keeping food on the table, I promise to appreciate your hard work.

For poorer: When you’ve lost your job are are unable to find one for months; and we have to worry about how we’re going to pay bills or feed the family, I won’t blame you for our hardship or turn against you.

In sickness: When you’re diagnosed with a painful or incurable disease, I promise to take care of you for months or years at a time if I have to; or when you’re mentally unstable or depressed I promise I won’t leave you to destroy yourself.

In health: I promise to take care of myself physically and mentally for both our benefits; and to also fulfill your sexual and emotional needs to create intimacy and a stronger bond between us.

To love: I’ve made a conscious decision to treat you with respect and give you what you need, even if we’re not getting along or you’re not fulfilling all my needs in return. I understand love is an action, not just that romantic high we had when we first met.

To cherish: To honor you and appreciate you even if you don’t treat me well all the time. I understand how sacred and beautiful marriage is and I promise not to take it for granted.

Till death do us part: No exceptions.

What do your vows mean to you? Did you simply recite them, or did you mean them? Meditate on the weight each line holds. In there lies your goal in marriage.

Why You Should Get Premarital Counseling

couchWe have all heard of premarital counseling, but it is really necessary?  What is the purpose of premarital counseling and how does it affect marriage?

Helps you understand the adjustments you’re going to have to make
You’re not going to be single anymore! This is a truth you’re going to have to adjust to. Marriage involves self-sacrifice and new priorities. Find out if you’re ready to make these adjustments and how to do it.

It opens up discussions on compatibility
Think you two are perfect for each other? Then put it to the test. See where you’re strong as a couple and where you bump heads. If you get good reviews, great! But better to find out you’re not right for each other now then deal with a horrible divorce later.

It teaches you navigation through rough patches
They’re inevitable. Every marriage has rough patches, but they’re less daunting when you know how to get through them together. Learn about common problems and how to face them.

Premarital counseling statistically reduces divorce by 30%
The number may seem small, but look at it this way: that’s nearly 1 in 3 couples. Divorce is a messy and painful route to go – yet it seems to be happening everywhere. One in three divorces may not have happened if those couples obtained premarital counseling. Be that one in three.

When it comes down to it, you’re making a promise to stay together for life when you stand at that alter. Arm yourself with the necessary information that will enable you to keep that promise.

For information, go to your local church – they’ve seen it all! You can also check out these resources: