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Marriages Today

I started a Bible study on marriage over four years ago.  I even have my notes left over which show how I would take sermon notes and then a stray thought would occur concerning the marriage Bible study and I would write it down.  Don’t remember why I was working on it exactly at the time though.  Now I’ve decided to combine it with some Bible study on courtship, sorta the lead up into marriage (“Biblical” Courtship) and then a look at Biblical marriages.  Aha! That is interesting. 😉

I know that some of what started my initial Bible study was the number of emails I get regularly from ladies all over the world.  My last set of emails concerning marriage were from Romania.  There is often a regular theme that occurs.  Essentially a woman has determined that she did not marry “Mr. Right” (warning: future long rant on that one coming up) because she did not do things God’s way, “Biblical” Courtship.  So now she desires to straighten out the mess she made in order to seek God’s will and find the real “Mr. Right”.  See a problem there?

The post on The Perfect Marriage Made in Heaven is just a humorous look at some expectations that have been placed on young adults so that they do everything just right.  This is particularly stressed for those in the homeschooling community, even if only indirectly.  After reading the post, my oldest son joked and said obviously the young man in the story never slept.  My daughter pointed out that she could buy soap and honey cheaper on sale and save money and time.  Her book keeping would be simpler, it would be balanced and she would then have more time for Bible study.

Don’t believe a seemingly impossible burden has been laid on young people?  A pastor friend of ours, who pastors a local Reformed Baptist Church, actually said that if it was possible we seemed to have succeeded in making our young people take marriage too seriously.  If everything is not perfect then don’t proceed.  This is from the pastor of a church full of young people.   He said he runs across men in their late twenties and thirties who say they aren’t prepared for marriage yet.  In another church I know, the average age for marriage is around thirty or later.

How have we extended adolescence through the twenties now?  See when my grandparents married it was not unusual for young ladies to marry at fourteen and a young man to be married by sixteen.  More importantly these marriages still lasted a lifetime and they did not have an easy life.  But now we have gotten to a point that marriages are begun typically in the late twenties and early thirties.  Yet they don’t necessarily last any longer.  But why?  Are young people today really that immature?  Even those which have been homeschooled and we expected more from?  Are we not preparing them adequately?  Have we scared them from marriage?  Is selfishness the issue?  Now, of course, there are some who aren’t delaying marriage but by far the majority are.  {Albert Mohler has a whole series of posts and audios concerning this subject.  I’ll post some links later.}

Another complaint is that there are large portions of young ladies who feel deserted by the young men they know.  It appears that often the goal has been set so high for a young man that he gives up and moves to a different pond to fish from.  It is easier to do so when the young men go away to college and yet the young women they grew up with are still at home in the shrinking pond.

But marriage is a serious matter and it takes maturity and forethought.  How do you navigate between the two ditches of protracted delay and lack of maturity and preparation?

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Marriage Made In Heaven


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The Perfect Marriage Made in Heaven

Here’s the story of a lovely lady …   Whoops, wrong generation, wrong story. 😉

Here’s the story of a “marriage made in Heaven“….

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Standing before the preacher / elder in the beautifully decorated church are a young groom and his beautiful young bride.  The congregation is full of families who have come to witness the marriage of this couple.  They all think the couple is perfectly suited for each other.

The groom is a twenty year old young man who is the eldest son of a large family.  He was homeschooled from the beginning.  He has always been his dad’s right hand man.  For highschool he was dual enrolled so he completed his college eduction right along with his highschool by using online courses.  He never stepped foot on campus until his college graduation.  Since graduation he has developed his own company working from home.  He has been so successful that his younger siblings are employed by him now also.

After he had set aside enough money he began to build himself a house on the 20 acres he purchased and cleared in his early teens.  Working every free moment and on weekends he was able to mostly build the whole house on his own.  He only took breaks from building to put in his garden, the fruit orchard and mow the hay.  Now at twenty he has a fully self sustaining farm with a nice three bedroom home.  He works from his shop behind the house.

After he was established, then and only then, did he approach the father of a young lady to seek the father’s approval to court his daughter with the plan to marry as soon as the father gave his approval.  After having read all the important courtship books, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Boy Meets Girl, What He Must Be: … , and Her Hand In Marriage, he felt prepared to pursue this next step.  The young man had prepared a book with the answers to as many questions as he could possibly imagine the father asking.  This was presented in a bound volume to the father at the meeting.  The father was so impressed with the book, the very sound Biblical answers and what he already knew about the young man over the years,  that he instantly said yes.  The book also contained the young man’s personal guidelines on how he envisioned the courtship and its boundaries to proceed.  No physical contact at all, no time spent alone, no social media, never anything done without the parents approval and the father would be given weekly accountability updates from the young man.  Included were bank statements that showed the money set aside as the “bride price”, three years wages.  The young man also volunteered to work with the father once a week so that he could be mentored by his future wife’s father.  For added accountability the young man offered a job to the young lady’s older brother.

The father approached his daughter to let her know about the young man.  Even though she really didn’t know the young man she was willing to court and marry him because her father thought it was a wise choice.  She trusted her father completely.  Thankfully she had been preparing her trousseau (hope chest) since she was a child, all she lacked was a wedding dress.  She had “guarded her heart” so well that she knew very few young men beyond her own brothers.

As a nineteen year old young lady she was very busy serving in her home and helping to serve other families.  She could run a whole household without any trouble.  She had in the past year taken over for a bedridden mom with several children.  By the time she left that family’s home she had made new church dresses for all the little girls in addition to her other responsibilities of homeschooling, cleaning, caring for the baby, cooking and helping to manage the family’s home business.

The bride also was homeschooled.  She has an herb and soap business she started at twelve.  She had also become such a good seamstress that she had made dresses for the last few weddings at her church.  But her true love was baking.  She found the greatest pleasure in serving her family the softest, whole grain bread.   Her father had allowed her to buy a neighboring field with her own income.  So now she was able to pay her brothers to grow wheat for her baking.  Nothing tasted better than home grown wheat, ground and baked by hand.  Her honey from her bee hives provided just the right amount of natural sweetness for her bread.

Everyone who knew her would attest to her gentle and quiet spirit.  No one ever remembered her saying a harsh word  or even joking around with others.  She was very, soft spoken and was known for her smile that could bring joy to anyone.

Today is the culmination of the past four months courtship.  The bride is dressed in a beautiful wedding dress she had made during her courtship.  The bridesmaids all have dresses the bride made for them.  The wedding cake and much of the food was lovingly prepared for the guests by the bride.

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Disclaimer: Any resemblance to actual marriages is purely coincidental. 😉

So what did I leave out of the “perfect” marriage made in Heaven?

Just in case you didn’t catch on this is all said in jest. 😉 Life doesn’t work like that.

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Marriage Made In Heaven


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Courtship is Like Potty Training …

First the disclaimers …

No, I don’t have anyone courting anyone.

No, I don’t have anyone interested in courting anyone.

No, I’m not trying to push my kids into courting.

No, I don’t have any experience with courting.

So yes this is all in theory.

Now hopefully that will limit the rumors. 😉

Had to get that out of the way for my kids sake.

 

Anyway back to the topic.  Spring has sprung around here and with it came some weddings and wedding showers plus a multitude of other things.  And kittens …  (Anyone want kittens?)  Thus we have had lots of opportunity to discuss the matter and watch how others have proceeded.  Some have been the typical public school and dating process while others have been the homeschooling and courting method.  Guess what? They are equally just as married when everything is said and done.  It is the process that is the interesting part and this has been part of our discussions.

 

Courting Is Like Potty Training

1)      Everyone has an opinion on how it should be done and many are eager to share their opinion.

2)      Sometimes everyone is ready except those who should be.

3)      May involve tears.

4)      May take lots of time or be rather quick.

5)      Many things sound great in theory but do not actually work in practice.

6)      There is no magic age.

7)      Patience is a virtue.

8)      Watch for cues of interest.

9)      Requires physical (fiscal) and emotional readiness.

10)   Although the parent maybe ready, the child may not be ready or maybe the child is ready and not the parent.  Sometimes everyone else but the parent and child are ready.

11)   May be messy.

12)   Pressure from others “Isn’t it about time … ?

13)   You can have read all the books but that doesn’t necessarily help in your particular case.

14)   Sometimes observing others makes things easier.

15)   In the end you often look back and think “Why was that a big deal, it wasn’t that bad?

 

But like I said everything is in theory until you’ve put it into practice. 😉


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Created To Be His Help Meet – Challies’ Review

Tim Challies has reviewed the book Created To Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl in a two part review.  It is a very interesting review and discussion and worth considering if you have read the book or had it recommended to you.

Created To Be His Help Meet

Created To Be His Help Meet (Part 2)

I have read many of the Pearl’s books (included this one) and they are very interesting.  There are many “pearls” of wisdom that can be found but along with those is much that must be weeded out and sifted through.  Taken 100% at face value there would be many, many problems that could develop by utilizing their methods of parenting and marriage.

Example:  You cannot physically spank some children until they will obey.  That can and will lead to abuse which has happened with devastating consequences based on supposed instructions from the Pearl’s parenting books.

So because of the issues with the Pearl’s books I have a hard time recommending them to others so I don’t.

What is the problem with the Pearl’s books?

Their doctrine.

Remember the series on doctrine I posted earlier?  Renewing the Attitudes of our Heart Series

Here are two quotes from that series:

A.W. Tozer said in The Knowledge of the Holy:

It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate.”

According to John MacArthur:

Doctrine matters. What you believe about God, the gospel, the nature of man, and every major truth addressed in Scripture filters down to every area of your life. You and I will never rise above our view of God and our understanding of His Word.

That is what happens with the Pearl’s material. Their faulty doctrine shows through and colors their teaching.  A person’s teaching cannot be separated from their doctrine.

Some would say “But the Pearl’s are Biblical and use Scripture to back up their teaching.”  Which is true to an extent.  However, their doctrine is interpreted based on flawed assumptions.

I couldn’t begin to tell all the doctrine issues that occur in their materials but here is a sampling.  Not only that but books will say one thing and then later Micheal Pearl will post a rebuttal to the criticism on their website.  Either they express themselves very poorly or they tone down doctrine at times when confronted.  I could spend time posting quotes from them but that isn’t my point.  Just understand that faulty doctrine can be exhibited in a myriad of ways.

Doctrinal problems with the Pearls:

1)  X + Y = Z  (I only explained this one because it is the most obviously taught but hardest to explain.)

This is a common flaw everyone falls for at times.  If you do X and you do Y the result will be Z, always.  In other words, church plus stay at home mom will lead to saved children.  Or maybe we don’t think life is that simple.  Active church membership plus stay at home mom plus homeschooling plus family devotions plus cutting out TV plus a mission trip will lead to saved children.  Few of us actually think this out but we often unconsciously think that we’ve done all the right things so why isn’t our results working out like we thought.

The Christian Life isn’t a set of hoops we must jump through in order to arrive at the right destination.  Many go through the “hoops” in a different order. Others skipped “hoops” we think are important and achieve better fruit.

The Pearls teach that if  your children are made to be obedient when young that the adult fruit will be good.  Or that if you are the perfect wife your husband won’t divorce you or if he does you can win him back and have an even better marriage.  People do not respond like Pavlov’s dogs.  There are more factors to life than X and Y.  People can choose to sin despite everything.  Other outside influences can affect decisions.  God is Sovereign over all.

2) God’s Sovereignty

3) Christian perfection

4) Gap Theory

5) Infants are born without sin or a sin nature.


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To Teach What Is Good (Titus 2) – Carolyn Mahaney

I haven’t listen to too much of Carolyn Mahaney however, I found her series on modesty to be very helpful –  “Modesty Heart Check” by Carolyn Mahaney. Her series on Titus 2 is now available as a free download audio.

To Teach What Is Good (Titus 2) – Carolyn Mahaney

Here is the updated series from Carolyn’s classic messages to women based on Titus 2. Topics include self-control, purity, kindness, having a love for husbands and a tender affection for children, making your home your center of ministry—and more. Carolyn teaches about how these qualities in women glorify God and draw others to the gospel.

“In an unusually compelling series of eight lectures to women, Mrs. Carolyn Mahaney explains the significance of Paul’s command to women in Titus 2:3-5 … Wives, mothers, singles, widows—all will benefit from the solid instruction, touching stories, and uncommonly clear and powerful exhortation contained in Wisdom for Women from Titus 2.”
—review in the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s Update, June 2000

HT: Sheri at Graham Family Ministries

Note: The Sovereign Grace website had technical issues initially due to the over whelming demand.  So if you had difficulties downloading try again later.


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Money and Marriage – Free Kindle Book

Money and Marriage [Kindle Edition] – Free Kindle Book

Matt Bell (Author)
Product Description

Newlyweds quickly discover that money is a big deal in their new marriage. Getting on the same financial page is essential because research shows that the more frequently a couple fights about finances, the more likely they are to divorce. Financial expert Matt Bell shows you how to make the most of each other’s financial strengths, teaching you how to work together to build a solid financial future. Through a 10-step action plan, you’ll learn how to prioritize goals, get out of debt, build savings, and much more—all in a way that minimizes stress on your relationship and maximizes unity and balance.

Disclaimer: I haven’t read the book; however, I enjoyed the negative review it was given.

I don’t understand why the author an/or publishers left out of the description the very pertinent fact that this is a religious book. Did they think they were going to trick us into downloading and reading it, and then we would magically convert when we read all the bible quotes?

Sounds like something I can recommend. 😉


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Facebook and Divorce

Why does this not surprise me in the least?

Pastor Warns Staff to Give up Facebook (Note link removed)

Thou shalt not commit adultery. And thou also shalt not use Facebook.

That’s the edict from a New Jersey pastor who feels the two often go together.

The Rev. Cedric Miller said 20 couples among the 1,100 members of his Living Word Christian Fellowship Church have run into marital trouble over the last six months after a spouse connected with an ex-flame over Facebook.

Because of the problems, he is ordering about 50 married church officials to delete their accounts with the social networking site or resign from their leadership positions. He had previously asked married congregants to share their login information with their spouses and now plans to suggest that they give up Facebook altogether.

“I’ve been in extended counseling with couples with marital problems because of Facebook for the last year and a half,” he said. “What happens is someone from yesterday surfaces, it leads to conversations and there have been physical meet-ups. The temptation is just too great.” …

This isn’t necessarily something I agree with.  However, I think it is worth discussing.  It might just turn out that many, many other pastors and counselors are seeing similar results from social media.  Anyway, funny how the harm Facebook is causing keeps popping up. Remember the previous post with John MacArthur’s warnings ?

Social Media and Digital Discernment – MacArthur

Might Facebook be hindering your marriage?

Are you more social with others than your spouse?

Are you in regular contact with old flames?



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Would Your Children Take Your Advice About A Spouse?

In Would You Have Taken Your Parents Advice? I shared that I wouldn’t have taken my parent’s advice about a potential spouse.  However, I could honestly at this point say that at least my oldest two children would listen and consider advice from my husband and I.  They are the only ones who are teens and mature at this point.  The others will remain to be seen.

Why do I think my children would listen when I wouldn’t have?

I don’t really know except that their life has been so different from mine growing up that honestly it is like comparing apples to oranges.

  • Intact family
  • Homeschooling
  • Christian faith
  • Living out our Christian faith daily (although flawed at best)
  • Different type of church life
  • Less peer pressure
  • Parental guidance for choosing friends
  • Living life as a family instead of individuals together in a house
  • Friends with similar values
  • Seeing others who have valued their parents input
  • Preaching to support the concept of parental guidance

Although the proof is in the pudding, or in other words until the event happens we won’t really know what will happen.

Do you have any clue why your children might listen better than you would have?

Or do we as parents always self-deceive ourselves?



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Would You Have Taken Your Parents Advice?

In light of the post yesterday about the difference between Lot and Abraham in helping their children choose a spouse, what did or didn’t your parents do?

Would you have taken their advice?

My parents had very little input into my marriage, not that I asked for it either.  However, even if they had desired to give advice or share their wisdom I probably wouldn’t have listened.  I came from a broken family and between my parents there were a total of at least four divorces.  So needless to say I wouldn’t have considered their opinion important or useful.  Also neither were actively striving to live as a Christian nor attending church so that would have also played into my decision to not take their advice.  (Not that I had a good understanding of being a Christian myself.)

My experience shows that we as parents must earn the privilege to assist our children in choosing a spouse.

Would your children listen to you now?

What would you have to do to get your children’s heart so that they trust you and your wisdom?



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