C.H. Spurgeon

Sinners, let me address you with words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done, nothing felt; he gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost, forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you, and in these words of pity he addresses you, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Considerable Questions BEFORE Saying I DO

A person I know is considering the thoughts of marriage with someone they have been dating for a while now. They asked me to present them any questions or thoughts I might think would help them consider things they should be pondering before they say "I do."

I figured I would just share what I am sending them, and maybe it could help others who are wishing to get married or are aready married. Please add any insight and other thoughts that you the reader may have that we may all be better persons!






The number 1 question to keep in the forefront of your mind is:

Have I accepted this person for who they are, or do I believe I can or need to change them to conform to what I really want/need?

If the answer is “I believe I need them to change” then one needs to either just break it off now, or simply put off any ideas of marriage until either you or they change (by God) to where each of you can be accepted by each other as-is (realizing there is always room for improvements on each behalf).

If the answer is “Yes, I accept them” then let’s move on to the other questions of importance.

1. Are they (Am I) saved? If one of you is not saved, should a Christian even consider dating them, for can we be unequally yoke with nonbelievers? We cannot go into a relationship expecting to change someone, for only the Spirit of God can move a person to repentance and ultimately salvation. Share one another’s testimonies. Beware of false conversions to justify relationships!


2. If they are (I am) saved, how is their (my) relationship with God? Do they (I) act like it? We are known by our fruits, and the broken or lack of relationship with God will truly hinder a good relationship with one another. Be aware of false godly relationships, and be honest with yourself to acknowledge if such a false relationship exist in either you or them. Repent and get it right when the Spirit reveals such things to you.


3. Are we of similar Christian beliefs? We may not see exactly eye-to-eye in every detail, but on major points concerning salvation and doctrines, great differences can cause problems down the line; not to mention in the raising of children. Again, don’t think “I can change the person” for that is God’s job. Realize that you and/or they may change ideas and convictions over time as you both mature and grow closer to God becoming better Christians, and more comfortable with one another.


4. Are our ideals of modesty similar, or do they (I) dress differently around me (them) or others? Keeping the lifestyle of Christianity in the forefront of our mind (meaning not to be conformed to this world), realizing that not all dress “codes” are expounded upon in Scripture, do we pretty much agree on what is acceptable and non acceptable attire between ourselves? The reason is two fold: [1] to not later be ashamed or embarrassed as to the attire of the other and [2] we must agree to give stability to the learning of correct attire for the children. Though we may not personally “like” all the attire the other chooses to wear, yet if it is not immodest, can we accept them and their attire for whom and what they are without trying to change them?


5. Do our families mesh? There can be countless reasons as to why there may be opposition between families, but everyone should try to work out the differences to get to a point of accepting (not necessarily agreeing with) each other enough to where all can get a long at least when together. Problems between you (them) and their (your) parents can hinder your relationship, even more so when children come. If there is a known problem between families, you both need to work together to do your best to resolve the issue sooner than later. This will build unity between you and them, allows the families to see that you two will stand by one another (make sure your stance is grounded in Scripture), and will hopefully move the families to dwell in harmony for your sakes if nothing else.


6. What are my flaws, how do they affect them, and am I working on them? To know and acknowledge our flaws (and our sins) is a good thing, but only when we are ready to do something about it. Even though the other person may accept us for who we are, our own flaws and sins can/will hinder our relationship with them and God. Don’t judge yourself against them or others, judge yourself against the standard Jesus Christ, and make a conscious choice to obey the Spirit of Wisdom, repent of sin, and pray that God will move in you to change those things that are wrong.


7. What are their flaws, how do they affect me, and are they working on them? Remember, you cannot change them; it must be done by the Spirit (as with you). Some flaws are petty and just need to be accepted, whereas some flaws may need correcting and all sin needs correcting. How do you handle their flaws and sins, with grace, mercy, longsuffering, and godly words of encouragement, or do you become angry, bitter, quick to judge, and harsh with your words toward them? These things either unite or destroy a relationship. If they are working on their flaws and repenting of sin, then walk with them instead of beating them down. If they are not, consider this may not be the relationship you need to be in (at least not at the present), pray that the Spirit would move them to repentance, and be an example of Christianity to them; for, the tables may indeed be turned one day, and it may be you that needs that soul to help lead you back to the way of righteousness.




A. Make a list of your own flaws, and how you plan to go about changing them. If you don’t think you have any, you are only lying to yourself. But, also make a list of your good qualities, and how you can expound on them.


B. Make a list of their flaws, and if they are working on improving upon them. If you don’t think they have any, you are just in “goo-goo” land and need to acknowledge them – but not by being legalistic or overly judgmental – some things you will just have to accept (as will they). But, also make a list of their good qualities, and what you like most about them.







Ø By flaws, I mean something that can be changed by the way we think or act, that may be wrong (sin) or simply just could be better. I am not talking about vanity such as surgery, or what others may consider flaws but are not.


Ø By good qualities, I mean how they talk, act, and carry themselves. Saying they “look good” is not considered here, because you may think they don’t “look good” tomorrow.


Ø BE REAL! IF YOU ARE DOING THINGS SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU THINK IT WILL MAKE THE OTHER PERSON LIKE YOU, YOU MAY ONE DAY STOP AND THEN WONDER WHY THEY DON’T LIKE YOU ANYMORE AND THEY WILL WONDER WHY YOU STOPPED.


Ø YOU’VE GOT TO GET PAST SURFACE QUALITIES! OUTWARD LUST WILL NOT KEEP A COUPLE OR FAMILY! DESIRE THAT INWARD SPIRIT AND GODLY PART OF THE PERSON!








8. Can they (I) accept constructive criticism from me (them)? How are you (they) with constructive criticism from others? What about from them (you)? Do you (they) feel comfortable sharing encouraging (not demeaning) words where you (they) believe they (you) could do better? There must be trust and honesty between one another so that the words we share are understood as wanting each of us to be the best we can, not that the other is looking down upon us. Pride will keep us from listening to the voice of others when we think we are perfect, and pride will cause us to hurt others when we speak to them as if we are perfect.


9. (LADIES) Can you submit to him as a godly wife? No, I don’t mean what the women’s lib is trying to say regarding this matter. A godly submissive wife, a stay-at-home mom, IS NOT a door mat to her husband, lesser than her husband, or not worth as much as her husband. God has ordain the structure of the home (Christ, Husband, Wife, Children), but that does not diminish the qualities and great things the wife indeed brings to the home, not to mention the support a husband needs to stay close to God and his family. Realize that by submitting to your husband, you are ultimately submitting to God (His Word), so if you believe you are unable to submit to him now, rebellion is the only option left which will not help either of you as a couple.


(MEN) If she is rebellious in nature toward her parents, family, and/or friends now, that should be a clear sign to you that she is not spiritually mature and ready for marriage; nor are you spiritually mature enough to change her. God must work in her life, and rebellion against parents is simply against authority, and in marriage it will most likely convert to rebelling against you as she assumes you will “try” and take over as her authority. Remember you should want a help meet, not a slave or lesser.


(SUBMISSIVE) “Unresistingly or humbly obedient.” Again, this is not the wife making herself a slave to the husband, for no husband that truly loves his wife wants her to be his slave. Being submissive is not an easy thing to do. If you think it is, you probably don’t realize what it means.


10. (MEN) Can you love her as Christ loves the church? If you immediately say, “Yes” you are simply lying to yourself and her. Yes, we are to strive to be obedient to the Word of God, but at this point we are most likely still in “goo-goo” land where everything seems perfect. What about when she makes you mad, or does the opposite of what you think she should do? Are you merely happy because she seems to desire to do whatever you want, and doesn’t contradict you in any way? Have you asked her about what she wants or had her desire something opposite than you, and you happily embraced it over your own thoughts and desires? Do you protect her, her purity, her spiritual and physical well being over yourself for her sake or your own – meaning is it selfish or selfless motivation on your part? God knows, don’t lie to yourself or her.


(WOMEN) What do you think? Does this guy really love you? Are you experiencing love by his words and deeds or by things and his easy obedience to all that you ask or require? You should not start your sentences with “If you love me…” and neither should he, for this is simply just a tactic that we use to get what we want by making the other person feel like if they refuse they don’t really love us – when in all actuality it is us who are exposing our own selfish desires and not true love for the other person.


(LOVE) Do not mistake lust for love. Love is not based on emotions, attractiveness, or hormones. It should be based on a choice of commitment to care for the spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being of the other person regardless of how they treat us. True love is harder to do than we think. It just seems easy when we are in “goo-goo” land.


As a couple, realize that ideals and convictions can/do change over time (hopefully conforming closer to the Scriptures), so show mercy and longsuffering if your ideals (or theirs) mature/change faster/different than theirs (or yours). Both should have a desire for the entire family to draw closer to Christ, so respect each others opinions without simply disregarding them because they are different than your own. Weigh all against Scripture, be humble enough to admit fault, repent of sin, and be gracious enough to give the other credit for good sound advice.


This is by no way an expounded list, and each of these topics could be expressed in numerous pages of writings alone. Hopefully, they will just get your minds to ponder the importance of knowing yourself and the other person in an honest, deeper spiritual and mental connection, than simply just a superficial skin deep attraction called lust.

5 comments:

BEAST said...

So now you are a marriage counselor?

Marriage, as it happens, is a tripartite contract that has nothing to do with God.

Beast

Travis Foulks said...

When I was on the verge of getting married my pastor preformed the marriage counseling. The very first question he asked was....
"What will you do if this does not workout?"
Now it seems like a simple question but it has a meaning to it that tell you if should consider not getting married. If you have a plan laid out for what to do if you get divorced then rethink the whole thing. This question tells two things....
1. Are you serious about this relationship and the commitment it will take to push through whatever happens?

2. Are you going to be fickle with your spouse?

If you have a plan set up to move on without this person you are probably opening the door for divorce. It is a serious commitment that had less to with love then Oprah would have you believe.

Writer, Splinters of Silver.com said...

Beast,

First, if you would read my post, you would notice it covers things that even non-Christians should consider before making a commitment that should last forever.

Second, asking if I am a marriage counselor means nothing, for anyone that is or has been married can share what they found to be beneficial to the marriage and what has hurt the marriage.

The idea is to help those who have not been married to avoid the pitfalls and failings of others, so prayerfully they will have a happier, healthier, and longer marriage than the majority of persons today.

-----------------------

Travis,

Very good points! Thanks!

BEAST said...

I think there are secular marriage counselors who do a better job than religious counselors.

After all, religious people have higher divorce rates than no religious ones.

Beast

Writer, Splinters of Silver.com said...

"After all, religious people have higher divorce rates than no religious ones."

Could you show me some documentation for this conclusion?

Also it sure would be nice to total the number of couples living in sin (i.e. fornication, a sexual relationship outside of marriage), which is possibly behind your reasoning that religious marriages have a higher divorce rate, since a breakup of these non-married couples wouldn't count in your conclusions.

At any rate, my post deals with causing people to ponder the thoughts of commitment BEFORE marriage, not during (though could be), or sadly incase of divorce.

And, in all fairness, being religious or secular does not make one a better or worse marriage conselor in and of itself.

Tim

John Bunyan

To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved 'are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.' (1 Pet. 1: 3-6) But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul…. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul.