Preparing for Marriage

Posted: January 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

Recently a good friend of mine asked about issues that a couple should be working through (discussing, praying about, etc) before becoming engaged.  It was a question that I had not thought a lot about in terms of thinking systematically.  So that question, as good questions often do, set me to thinking, studying, and working. 

As with most things, John Piper has been helpful.  The list that he posted here is nicely put together.  I will pull some things off that list that I think are prominent.

*Everything in italics are my thoughts added to the statements of John Piper’s original post that is linked above.

Theology

  • What do you believe about…everything? –I would particularly spend time talking about the gospel itself. 
  • Discover how you form your views. What is the reasoning-believing process? How do you handle the Bible?—Understanding how each views the Bible is also important.

Worship and Devotion

  • How important is corporate worship? Other participation in church life? –this will be important as families grow and life gets busy.
  • What would our family devotions look like? Who leads out in this?—As Richard Baxter has said, if we could see revival in our homes we could see revival in our churches and land.  Revived homes will happen when families worship together.  Making this a point of conversation before marriage sets you up for success.

Husband and Wife

  • What is the meaning of headship and submission in the Bible and in our marriage?—read a good book on biblical manhood and womanhood together. Divine Design by John MacArthur or What’s the Difference by John Piper are easy reads.  
  • How do you understand who and how often sex is initiated?—a difficult topic that should be approached tactfully and carefully.  But definitely something that should be understood going into a life-long intimate (read sexual) union.

Children

  • If and when, should we have children?  Why?  How many?  How far apart?—although, as my wife has noted, this may change over time, it would still be helpful to be aware of what the other person thinks about these things.
  • Would we consider adoption? –in a culture that is seeing adoption on the rise (at least in some evangelical circles) this will probably be something that a couple continues to hear about.  Thinking together about adoption is wise.

Lifestyle

  • Own a home or not? Why?—anything that has a couple potentially spending money in the six figure range should be discussed.   
  • View of money in general. How much to the church?—money is a source of stress and the cause of many divorces.  How money is viewed, spent, and given away should be considered together. 

Entertainment

  • What kind of vacations are appropriate and helpful for us? –if nothing else, this will allow you to learn a little about the other persons view of leisure and relaxation (it also helps to plan future getaway surprises)
  • Should we have a television? Where? What is fitting to watch? How much? –I find television is something that steals my time and attention.  It also puts images in my head that are hard to get rid of.  I am not a television Nazi…I like a few shows…but making sure to feel each other out in terms of the tube will help in setting boundaries later.
  • What are the criteria for movies and theater? What will our guidelines be for the kids?–a helpful discussion that impacts how you raise a family!

Conflict

  • How do you handle your frustration or anger?—a helpful bit of information as you move forward and enter into the realm of relationship.
  • What is our view of getting help from friends or counselors or pastors?—one wants to go to the pastor, the other to a counselor away from the church, or one wants to do nothing.  Problems will arise.  Knowing where the other wants to turn will be helpful.

Work

  • Should the wife work outside the home? Before kids? With kids at home? After kids?—simply helpful to talk about.  If you are adamantly opposed to each other’s views, then working through this is extremely important.
  • What determines where you will locate? Job? Whose job? Church? Family?—moving is a big deal.  Moving because of another person’s job (which means you probably lose yours) is an even bigger deal.  How do you work through this?

Friends

  • Is it good to do things with friends but without spouse?—arguing over “going out with the boys/girls” happens more than we think!

Health and Sickness

  • How do you think about exercise and healthy eating?—groceries, dinner-times, etc. will be affected here.

 All these things require an ongoing conversation.  You do not simply discuss these things once and expect that you are on the same page for the rest of your life.  Minds change.  Hearts are softened (or hardened) in certain areas.  These preliminary discussions are simply a place to start.  They allow you to think through some issues together before actually being together

Communication is a huge part of any relationship.  If God had not communicated with us through the prophets, Jesus, the apostles, and the written record (Bible), we would not have a relationship with Him.  Praying and reading the Bible helps us to have a vibrant relationship with Him.  In the same way, communicating within the context of the marriage relationship is crucial for it to be what God intends it to be.  Thinking together through the things listed above (and the things in the larger document at the DG website) will not only help you to determine whether or not moving towards marriage is right and good, but it establishes a precedent of communicating together. 

Marriage is not to be entered into lightly (Richard Baxter lists about 20 disadvantages to marriage to make that point in one of his writings).  Taking time to think thoroughly together is the best and wisest course of action.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s