Tag: marriage

Marriage: Sooner or Later?

wed3I wrote in an earlier blog post that people in Tennessee marry young compared to those in California. However, these couples seem to thrive just as well as couples in California. This makes me wonder: is it better to marry early? Or is it better to get married later? What are the benefits of sooner over later? What are the benefits of later over sooner?

I can tell you that the selfish, codependent woman I was five years ago was not fit for marriage. She was searching for Jesus in all the wrong places, she wasn’t considerate to the opposite sex, and she was a complete mess. I’m still a mess now, but at least I have a bit more wisdom in my satchel, and my character has matured greatly since my early 20′s. The older I get, the more prepared I feel for marriage… and there are those that agree with me!

On the other hand, marriage is a real crash course on character and wisdom, and when you marry early you have the joy of growing in these areas together.

So what do you think? Is it better to get married sooner or later? Leave your comments below or on our Facebook page!

Should Opposites Attract?

fireandice3He’s a morning person. She doesn’t wake up until noon. He likes Nickelodeon. She likes the History Channel. He’s introverted. She’s extroverted. And these two are… dating? Is that a good idea?

Opposites attract. There is something about someone completely different from you that is intriguing and mysterious. Curiosity about and admiration for someone completely different from us draws us in. But should we seek to spend our lives with someone who is opposite of us?

Being opposites has a lot of challenges. The very things that draw us in at first can be the very things that grate on our nerves later. Opposite personalities can eventually work against one another.

So the question this week is: What are the benefits of being married to someone opposite of you? What are the drawbacks?

God did not make us uniform. He likes variety. He created us with different personality types, different interests, and different preferences. And He expects us to work at being harmonious with one another in spite of this. When we spend time with those who are different from us, we are given the opportunity to learn to appreciate others for their differences, we are given the opportunity to show grace to others, and we are given the opportunity to learn how to relate to different types of people. All of these things mature us.

So write your thoughts in the comments below: Should opposites attract?

What Business Would You Start With Your Sweetheart?

Happy Labor Day!pollbusiness1

Life involves a lot of hard work. It’s not that work is a bad thing – in fact, work is a blessing. God created Adam to work in the Garden of Eden before sin came into the world. On top of that, God also created Eve to be Adam’s helper. Both men and women were designed to work.

Adam and Eve were work partners. They ran the Garden together. So the question this week is, if you had the opportunity, what kind of business would you like to start with your spouse? (Or future spouse?)

Would you want to start a restaurant together? Would you want to start a non-profit organization together? Would you want to run a little mom and pop shop? What kind of work would you like to do with your spouse someday?

Whether or not you start a business together, marriage itself is work and it involves team effort. Satan hates marriage because it represents God’s love for us. Therefore, marriage will always be under attack. It will take a lot of work between you and your spouse to keep enemies from coming and destroying your relationship. Your spouse and you are partners, you are warriors against spiritual forces. Lean on the Lord and work at protecting, restoring, and growing your marriage.

What is the Best Age to Start Dating?

birthdaycupI dare you to ask this at a sweet sixteen party just to see what happens.

I once saw a Youtube video where a couple of guys talked about their experience dating in middle school, and just how pointless it was to do so. They explained that they barely knew what a relationship was, let alone how to have a solid one.

So the question is, when is a good age to start dating?

Whenever you start dating, you have to look at the intention of your relationship. At fourteen or sixteen you may be completely smitten with a member of the opposite sex, but are you heading towards marriage or heartbreak?

Granted, the age you marry is dependent on who you are, where you live, and what your culture is like. Being a California native, I’m used to seeing people get married between 25-35. Marrying later in life is normal there. But here in Tennessee, everyone is married between 18 and 21. The age people start dating is dependent on what age is normal for marriage in your culture.

The bottom line is despite your age you should be intentional about where your relationship is going, and decide to be responsible in that relationship. The pain of a premature relationship saps the joy out of a young heart. Don’t begin dating out of rebellion or discontentment- date with the intention of a fruitful life.

The Reason You’re Not Married

weddingbouqetfinalSummer is the season for weddings. And it appears I have now officially reached the age where I get to watch all my friends get engaged and stroll down the aisle into marital bliss. There is are mixed feelings between my other single friends and myself;  happy for our friends who are starting a new chapter of their lives, and yet wondering when we’ll reach that part of the book ourselves. Some of us even suffer from periodical anxiety, questioning why the years go by yet we haven’t met someone to share our lives with. That kind of anxiety brings up horrible questions. Questions like, “Why doesn’t anyone want me?”, “What’s wrong with me?”, and “What do I need to change in order to be loved?”

These questions unnecessarily burden our hearts. Our imaginations attempt to come up with the answers, creating paranoid chaos. We conclude with, “I’m not attractive”, “I’m too messed up to get married”, or “There’s nothing loveable about me.” Some of us even decide that God doesn’t really care about our love lives, and that He probably deems our dreams of marriage as silly.

But these conclusions are wrong. Here’s why.

The Reason You’re Not Married Isn’t Because You’re Not Lovable
Psalm 139:13 says, “For you [God] created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” I want you to remember this truth for the rest of your life: God created you. And when I say “create” I don’t mean “mass-produced.” The Creator of the universe took the time to design you, inside and out. He passionately loves you despite the brokenness within you. And if God Himself loves you, there is not one person who can stand before you and tell you that you’re not lovable. That argument won’t stand in the Holy courts. If you want to read about God’s love for His people, just check out Isaiah 43:1-7. If you’re looking for someone who is willing to do anything out of their love for you, this passage will tell you Who that Person is.

The Reason You’re Not Married Isn’t Because You’re Messed Up
Here’s another truth for you: everyone is messed up. It doesn’t matter how perfect they seem on the outside, everyone is sinful and falls short of perfection. (Romans 3:23) Married couples will attest to the fact that messiness exists before and after marriage. There isn’t a hidden spiritual clause saying that once you get yourself together as a single person God will bring you a spouse. That’s not the way marriage was designed. Marriage was designed to be a picture of God’s love for His church. We don’t become the bride of Christ after we stop sinning or stop screwing up. Our salvation was not based on a reward system, and neither is marriage. Marriage would be a poor example of God’s love if we had to be perfect before we walked down the aisle. God loved us while we were sinners – your future spouse will too.

The Reason You’re Not Married Isn’t Because God Doesn’t Care
I’ve suffered from the delusion that God isn’t incredibly interested in my romantic life. I’ve pushed my desires aside, labeling them as silly, and telling myself that God cares more about my relationship with Him than my marital status. And there is some truth to the last part of my logic – God wants my greatest love to be Him, not my spouse. But God takes marriage seriously. It is the witness of His love for His church. If anyone thinks marriage is important, it’s God. He invented it, He has a purpose for it, and most of all, God is a crazy romantic. I can only imagine Him carefully piecing together every love story, excited at His glory revealed through every relationship. Sooner or later, His glory will shine through your marriage. Right now, however, He is showing His glory through your single life. God is just as excited about this part of your story as He is about the later chapters.

So what is the reason you’re not married? I can honestly say that I don’t know. Only God knows, and He may not tell you the reason until later in life. But I do know that God hears every heart, and can see your desire to be married. He won’t forget you. As your friends change their Facebook relationship statuses, rest in the hope of God’s romantic and passionate nature. And remember, you all ready have the greatest love there is: His.

Things You Give Up After “I Do”

rings2The transition from single to married is not an easy one.  There are adjustments to make – including giving a few things up.

#1– Spending Time Alone With the Opposite Sex
It’s not about your level of self-control or whether or not you find the person attractive. Spending time alone with anyone of the opposite sex is dangerous. Any step towards adultery has to be recognized and avoided, such as dinner alone with a coworker, inviting someone over when your spouse isn’t home, or even carpooling alone together. It’s not about whether or not you’re actually having an affair, it’s about preventing an affair from ever occurring.

#2– Putting Yourself First
Marriage isn’t built to simply fulfill one person’s needs. It is designed to be a team of two people supporting each other, being each other’s strength in weak times, and working together to create a home and strong bond. As a single person, life tends to revolve around yourself, but when you get married you are willingly putting someone else first. Your life is no longer about your needs and wants, but making sure your spouse is getting their needs met first. This doesn’t mean to enable your spouse or to become a slave of their needs, but to be a loving helper.

#3– Flirting With the Opposite Sex
Don’t be tempted to see if you “still got it.” There are three parties that are hurt by mindless flirting: your spouse, the person you’re flirting with, and your marriage. Flirting outside of marriage is driven by selfish desires. As gratifying as the short term results may be, it’s the long term results that need to be taken into account. If you want to be flirtatious, turn to your spouse. Chances are they’ve been waiting for you to flirt with them all along!

#4– The Phrase “My Money”
How each married couple handles money successfully is different, but it is important that you discuss money as a couple. A lot of marriages are damaged because of financial conflict. Make sure to be considerate of your spouse’s opinion when it comes to your spending habits, despite who makes more or who’s better with money. Your life is now a combined account, and your bank account should be as well.

Affairs Don’t Just Happen

affair2The news loves stories about affairs. There is always something about the politician, the superstar, or the infamous athlete who cheated on their spouse. While I watching the news one day, someone next to me responded to one of these types of stories with a nonchalant, “Affairs just happen.”

Do they?

I don’t agree with the idea that affairs are accidental. While there are few that purposely make the decision to be unfaithful, the majority that commit an affair are guilty of failing to protect their marriage. Affairs don’t just happen. They are cultivated; they are given opportunities to solidify.

There are some ways that people encourage affairs:

#1- Daydreaming about someone who isn’t your spouse
2 Corinthians 10:5 says to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” How often do you capture your thoughts? It’s easy to let your mind wander on the possibilities of other romantic and sexual partners, but those thoughts are dangerous. Every action begins with a thought. The more you think about someone other than your spouse, the more likely you are to invite sinful behavior. Fantasies may be thrilling, but they’re damaging. Even though you aren’t acting on your thoughts, you’re still weakening your marriage, and you’re giving Satan a foothold to play with.

#2- Creating intimacy with the opposite sex
Sometimes it’s easier to talk with someone else about how you feel, what you’re going through, and what’s on your heart. But just because it’s easier, doesn’t mean it’s better. Emotional and spiritual intimacy should be present in community groups and with friends, but even more so, it should be present in your marriage. Creating a strong emotional bond with someone who isn’t your spouse can open up the pathway to an affair. Don’t let any friendship be more intimate than your friendship with your spouse.  Talk about intimate things with others who are of the same gender you are.

#3- Failure to pursue your spouse
Marriage is hard, no matter who you’re married to. The idea that you married the wrong person and it would be easier if you had married someone else is ridiculous. But we want that infatuation high; the feeling that this is the person you care about more than anyone, and they feel the same about you. That passionate, romantic feeling is still hiding in your marriage somewhere. Bring it out. Pursue your spouse with romance, affection, consideration, and friendship. It won’t be easy all the time, and you may get rejected quite a few times before making any progress, but it’s worth it.

I have no intentions of pointing my finger at those who have had affairs and declare them guilty; the Lord is the final Judge, not myself. (And the process of forgiving those who have sinned against you with affairs is a topic for another time.) I write this not to make anyone feel guilty, but to make people think about how their actions with the opposite sex affects their marriage. Affairs don’t accidentally appear, they slip in through the unguarded back door. Take extra precautions to safe guard your marriage. It’s worth it.

Your Marriage Masterpiece

marriagemasterpieceYour Marriage Masterpiece
by Al Janssen

Each marriage is a small paint stroke of an incredible masterpiece God has painted to show His deep love for His people. Do you see it?

Using illustrations across the Old and New Testament, Al Janssen pulls away the mysterious veil that obstructs our view of God’s marriage masterpiece. With creative narration and deep insight, Janseen exposes the passionate love of God in a way we all may have overlooked.

Topics Covered:

  • Modern views on the marital relationship
  • Being self-centered and looking for self-fulfillment
  • God’s covenant marriage with His people
  • Pure sexuality and faithfulness in marriage
  • How God fights for His bride – and how we need to fight for our spouse
  • Jesus purchasing His bride with His blood
  • God’s unconditional love despite failure of its return; loving our spouse when it is one-sided
  • The adventure and sacrifice that comes with love and marriage
  • Fictional illustrations of angels learning about God while looking at the marriages of men, perfect life in the Garden before the Fall, God’s prophets speaking against lustful idolatry, and other scenarios presented in the Bible

Study guide available in the back for individual, small group, or couple discussion.

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