Friday, August 7, 2009

Preparing for Marriage

Recently Dr. John Piper posted a list of discussion questions for couples considering marriage. Looked of interest to me and providentially I've been reading on that topic myself. (I'm the father of five unmarried children so I ought to be somewhat intested, right?.)

click below to read see the questions Dr. Piper quoted.

Just finished reading, Boy Meets Girl, by Joshua Harris a very helpful book with a very realistic and doable approach to courtship, engagement and marriage appropriate for a man and woman who love Jesus Christ and want to honor Him above all else. Harris shows courtship to be a period of time where a man and woman begin a relationship to determine if marriage is the desirable outcome. Rather than casual dating, this is a purposeful course of action with the goal of considering marriage. The couple enter into this with the desire to remain sexually and spiritually pure saving physical expressions of love for after they are married. Harris defines courtship as not a promise to marry, and not a commitment to future marriage but a friendship designed to see if marriage is the proper outcome for the couple. A successful courtship is one that reaches the desired end of determining either that marriage should take place or should not. Either way, the courtship is considered a success for the goal was to determine whether the couple should marry - having determined yes or no the proper outcome has been reached. And having conducted themselves with respect and integrity towards one another in honor as brothers and sisters in Christ should the courtship not end in marriage both parties to the courtship will be without shame or regret. The book is very practical, describes in a lot of detail how Joshua Harris and his bride-to-be lived out their courtship process including both the good and the bad.

Harris kept up returning to this theme concerning physical expressions of love during the courtship: Whatever physical expression you save for marriage will be special then in marriage, but what you do not save for marriage after marriage will not be so special as it could be. .... Something to consider, huh? For Joshua Harris and Shannon that meant during their courtship these physical expressions would be allowed: Arm around the shoulder, brief side hugs (whatever that is?), and holding hands. As a couple they actual prepared a list of guidelines concerning both what they would discuss, and would allow or not allow during the courtship. Then they shared the list with their close friends, pastor, and parents for the purpose that they would hold them accountable during the courtship process.

I recommend the book for you if you are looking for some ideas of how a courtship could be actually put into practice in our time and our culture with some practical examples.

Joshua Harris quoting Matthew Henry:
"Eve was not taken out of Adam's head to top him, neither out of his feet to be trampled by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected by him, and near his heart to be loved by him"

Matthew Henry - commentary on Genesis

Postscript: I think this post follows somewhat well also from the lesson we should learn from Passion and Patience regarding the one seeking immediate gratification and the other patiently waiting. The one who waits will have his joy lastingly.

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