Planning your wedding is one of the most important events of your life. It is a day that you both will forever remember. It will be etched in yor mind! Your wedding should consist of all the things that reflect you. The friends, relatives and love ones who participate are instrumental in making this a great, wonderful festive occasion. The theme, music, invitations, color palate, gown, bridal wear, grooms wear, flowers, decorations, and time of the venue all reflect the ambiance that you want to create as you together celebrate your special day. Regardless as to however large or small it should be a grand, marvelous memorable occasion.
Today weddings vary and are quite different and sometimes diverse. Some elect to have a large reception immediately after the ceremony; some have a small private wedding and then a large or small reception. Going to a remote place, a tropical island, beach side, seashore, valley, garden, and winery or on a mountaintop, or some unusual place, or just having a traditional church wedding is your choice. Others decide to just keep it very quaint private and personal and just have a few close friends and family in attendance. Whatever you do, please do not get so caught up in the wedding plans that you do not take the time to be mindful of one another. Yes it is a special day! A good photographer will capture the essence of your day! Yes it is all important; but so is your relationship!
The point here is whatever you choose to do make sure that your main focus is the marriage itself.
Many marry and have not really taken any time to plan the marriage. What do you mean? They have not taken the time to have a candid open discussion as to what happens after the wedding. It is important to set some priorities! I know that you know this but as you plan the wedding really keep in mind that after the wedding there is a marriage. Where do we go from here…?
Agree upon a budget and exercise some discipline! Picking a theme, a color scheme and a menu that you both like can be a fun adventure! During the course of planning your wedding there will be some moments when you are not on the same page! Some moments when you will disagree as well. This also gives you both the opportunity to see how you respond to pressure as a couple. There will be a time when you will get a lot of suggestions as to what or what not to do! This gives you the opportunity to begin to make the transition into becoming a couple. You are open to discussion but you want to do what makes the both of you happy! This is a great time to help others learn how to respect your wishes and accept you as a couple. I also believe it is a wonderful time to allow the “Bride & Groom” to shine!
There are a lot of resources to help you plan your “Special Day!” I suggest attending some bridal fairs. Be mindful as well when you attend any weddings together. If you have not already started, begin now clipping out suggestions in magazines etc, and having some open discussion as to what you both want ! This gives you the opportunity to gather some ideas as to how and what you would like to see within your wedding to reflect you! I suggest premarital counseling as well! This helps to give you some incite as to what expect once you are actually married!
It is important to build a strong foundation in your marriage. Who, when and how you marry are important! How you plan your apartment, condo or home is a part of marriage. How will you furnish it? What is your style(s)? What is your budget? What career and job decisions you make will be a part of marriage. What are your religious beliefs and convictions? What size or type of family do you both want or do not want will be an important role in your marriage? All the above factor into building a great strong, long lasting fulfilling marriage. All the love, and planning that goes into planning that “Special Day!” Should continue on even more so into the actual marriage itself. So think ahead and plan wisely!
God gave us healthy Christian marriage boundaries in which one man and one woman should live together. Marriage is still ordained by God. As the Originator and Creator of life God designed marriage to be a monogamous relationship between a man and a woman. For the last couple of years I have been journaling about the significance of a committed CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE!
Many Christian leaders and congregants have fallen prey to infidelity and adultery. Sex practiced outside the confines of marriage is rampart in the Churches as well as in the world. LORD Help us! I have observed how this has resulted in a real breakdown in the overall quality of relational dynamics in many marriages. Over the last couple of decades the significance of marriage has been slowly watered down. This has allowed strange and disturbing beliefs about marriage to come to the forefront. There has been a steady but sure deliberate attempt to redefine marriage. There has been a successful evolutionary transition to blur the once clearly defined lines of marriage and minimalize the need to reinforce its healthy boundaries. Allowing its boundaries to become grayed and frayed by encouraging open marriages, unisex dress, the acceptance of male to male and female to female relationships and gender choice lifestyles.
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was born of the virgin Mary, lived a sinless life committed to the ways of our Father, was crucified, died and was buried. But that was not the end. He arose with all power! When He ascended to heaven He left us His Holy Spirit, His Comforter to come and reside within us. To help us live victoriously over sin. Sin is what separates us from God. God knows us inside and out. He knew us before we were even formed in our Mother’s wound. He knows what is best for us. He could have made us robots and forced us to be a certain way. But because of His graciousness and His mercy He allowed us free choice. He gave us healthy boundaries because HE knew not everyone at all times would adhere to His will and His way. His Holy Spirit is readily available to help us make proper life choices that please Him. For a man and woman desiring to live together marriage is His way. Galatians 1 tells us that Jesus Christ gave Himself; “for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever…”
It is becoming increasingly clear that the world in which we live wants to ensnare and entrap the children of God. To offer any and every smorgasbord or appetizer that the flesh desires and present it as an alternative way to live. I encourage you to really take some time to “Be still and know” to take a personal self evaluation. To deeply gaze internally where no one but GOD sees and examine where you are spiritually. Not in respect to someone else but to see if you really are growing spiritually. Is the Fruit of His Spirit apparent in your life? Not just on a surface level for others to see. I mean are you really walking closely with the Lord? Be honest with yourself because God already knows! If you truly are you can expect some type of persecution. This is why it is so very important that you know the WORD of God for yourself. So you can distinguish, recognize and discern when something is not of God.
Many have abandoned the Faith and now embrace a liberality that is not God sanctioned. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has been evaded by encouraging the acceptance of perverted lifestyles that are sanctioned and practiced by many Christians. Perverted meaning to change what was once considered unnatural or abnormal to normal. PLEASE slowly but surely read and ponder on this passage of GOD’S WORD expressed in Romans 1 “Therefore GOD gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the TRUTH OF God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised, Amen. Because of this GOD gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged NATURAL RELATIONS for unnatural ones. In the same way the men abandoned NATURAL RELATIONS with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion…” What or who do you believe?
Marriage how God designed it is becoming increasingly unpopular! This is why it is so important to STAND UP for Christian Marriage! Paul vehemently expounds on the necessity to not “trying to win the approval of men.” Paul constantly throughout the Scriptures rebukes the Church to stand on God’s principles.Paul knew that by taking this very unpopular stance some would attempt to negate his credibility. He knew that they lay in wait to discredit him. But he also knew that God knew the TRUTH!
There is no spiritual value whatsoever in using the Scriptures to justify something that God has not ordained nor sanctioned. Slowly but surely many continue to allow the healthy boundaries that God designed for marriage to be treaded upon by the unacceptable desires of the flesh. This does not have to be! Allowing the sanctity of MARRIAGE to be reduced to a relationship between same sexual partners who want to justify a relationship contingent on their personal sexual preferences. LORD HELP US! Why not simply call it something else? Why redefine the definition of marriage. Why take something that was meant to be HOLY MATRIMONY and make it totally UNHOLY.
Many marriages have gone shipwrecked. The fulfillment of the flesh has taken the forefront and many will do whatever is necessary to fulfill the desires of the flesh. Many Christians are evasive and negligent at discussing sex openly in a healthy manner, although we know that sex outside of marriage is widely practiced within the Church. Many relational issues are skirted and the financial concerns have in many cases become the dominant priority. Divorce, adultery, infidelity, promiscuity, pornography, living together, same sex relationships are on the rise. Pandora’s Box has lost its lid and just about every and anything goes. Family values for Christians are continually laid aside. Relinquishing and abandoning the principles that God originally intended. In many instances many of us who have been charged to proclaim and live out the Word of God have sat on the fence and allowed any and everything as acceptable and hidden it under the trendy term “unconditional love”. “GOD is LOVE”. Study I Corinthians 13 here you will find a description of what HIS LOVE really entails. Self Control is a part of His Fruit!
God’s Holy Spirit was intended to give us the ability to overcome sin in the flesh and live out our lives to please Him. Today you can find a support group for just about anything you want to help you find some comfort to indulging the weaknesses of the flesh. It’s sad to say but true; it’s as though for many going to worship has merely become a social club. Just join, pay your 10%, do as told and you can do as you please, acceptance, no problem. Many just go to Church then go right back home to live very worldly lifestyles. LORD HELP US! Jesus dying on the Cross paved us a WAY TO THE FATHER! Grace and peace is acquired through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We the Church, His Church is supposed to be His Bride.
We are also called as Believers! Do you believe the Word of God? Do you believe in Marriage? What do you really believe in, or do you even know? God wants us to surrender every aspect of our lives over to Him. When you do, just know that there is a vehement attack lodged to discredit the testimony of faithful believers who have sincerely committed to the “Narrow Road” lifestyle. HALLELUJAH anyhow! It goes much farther than singing, shouting, talking and preaching about it. We must make a sincere effort to live out our lives pleasing God daily. The CHURCH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST! Think about this for a moment or should I say for a while. This is really deep stuff!
The enemy has really pulled out all stops to deceive, distract, camouflage and get a stronghold on the people of God. God’s standards have been compromised and the ways of the world have been embraced. This is what I mean when I say that the “world is now within God’s CHURCH.” In man’s unquenchable thirst for power, bigger sanctuaries, larger congregations and wanting to control others, there has been a huge shift in spiritual priorities!
Many have subscribed to undercover manipulation, worldly ways means and methods and allowed them inside of God’s House of Worship. All too often just to gain a position. The most important position spiritually is your position in Christ! God knows the posture of our hearts. God has given us guidelines to live by as Christians. Marriage is one of those guidelines.
There is but one CHURCH and that is the one that Jesus is coming back for! Did not God say “BUT Seek ye first HIS kingdom and HIS righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well…” What does this mean that we are to seek HIM first for EVERYTHING? What is anything anyway without Him? According to His Word when we “seek Him first” something will happen. This means that we should seek to do things His way. Marriage is His way for the believer to live together as man and wife. We cannot change what has been done. But stop right where you are and see where you are? What and who do you support? Who do you really live for? God’s way or man’s way? Be honest with yourself because God already knows!
We must pray for our young people. The world has any and everything to offer them except Jesus! “Jesus is the WAY the TRUTH and the life!” Think about it; They are now encouraged to “dress down” for Jesus and “dress up” for prom? God has given us His Holy Spirit to lead guide and protect us. Have you really thought about what eternal life means? It all does not happen on this side of heaven. But while we are “still here” we need to get busy living to please Our Heavenly Father. Proverbs 22 tells us to “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” He did not say may? He said won’t depart!If you do not stand for something you will fall for anything. ALL God’s Word is true! He does know what is best. His inheritance according to I Peter 1 “can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in HEAVEN for you, who through FAITH are shielded by God’s power…”
Where is your FAITH? WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE HIM! For Christ sake we will suffer in this world. Trials are a part of His refining process. They yield and teach us patience. There is no greater gift that you can give your children as a model of a committed monogamous Christian marriage! God wants us to follow His moral standards. “As obedient children, do not conform to evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. BUT just as HE who has called you HOLY, so be HOLY in all you do; for it is written; “BE YE HOLY BECAUSE I AM HOLY.” Being HOLY means to be set aside for His purpose. Not to blend in for the sake of acceptance. Hallelujah! His unspeakable joy is available! God’s plan for mankind was set in motion way back in the beginning. We who claim to be Christians need to really begin to live as though we really believe that Jesus is coming back! We really do need to consult embrace and support His view for marriage. Don’t give way to anyone’s false teaching. It is never too late to start. Please begin to spend some quality time getting to know the Lord through His WORD. “For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the GOSPEL OF GOD!”
MARRIAGE = ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN = GOD’S WAY = HOLY MATRIMONY!
Caring Enough To Listen=Communication
When God created marriage he intended for it to be beautiful. It was designed for companionship. Marriage was not meant to seem like a sentence. It was not meant to be full of an on going drudgery. Nor was it meant to neither suffocate, smother, nor repress each others unique individuality. It was made so the realization of “two becoming one flesh” could be realized. It was meant to help mature and grow a man/woman in a husband/wife relationship, to learn how to love, submit, commit, respect, and learn together what it means to work through
Having healthy good communication is an important component within a good marriage. I want to encourage you to make it a priority to learn how to effectively communicate to one another. To know where one another are, to consider each others opinions, to be objective and express your self freely. It is important to make a conscious effort to treat your partner with respect. This does not mean that you have to agree on everything. This communicates I care enough to take the time to really get to know you. Having each others best interest at heart is also important. You should also be able to express your concerns if you feel they may be making a wrong decision. When expressing yourself say “I feel” or “I think” in expressing your point of view. You also want to learn to admit when you are in error. No one is right all the time. Part of being a good spouse is saying and doing at times what no one else will. You both have a responsibility to fulfill your commitment to one another as well as to the Lord.
Marriage was really designed as a partnership to help you become all that you were meant to be. Many couples often live as strangers. Within the boundaries of marriage you should grow to be able to spiritually, mentally, emotionally and yes physically openly learn to express your deepest inner thoughts in a healthy way. It is important to really get to know this person you have committed to. Ask yourself do you honor God in your relationship? Is submission a part of your marriage? It is important to include and seek the Lord’s direction and trust Him to teach you how to build a healthy relationship. It is never too late to start if you have not already. Does your marriage include intimacy? God our Creator is a God of order. You should never get to the place where you think you do not need to consult the Lord.
Here is a little of background history on the first marriage: God made the heavens and the earth which were spoken into existence through His Word. The Word became flesh and “dwelt among us”. The Word as revealed in the scriptures tells us He is Jesus Christ. (See John 1) After creating the man from the dust of the earth God took the man He had created and placed him in the garden to take care of it. The one thing that Adam did not have was a companion “a suitable helper.” All the animals that God made already had partners. No doubt that Adam was brilliantly intelligent. Adam personally named all the animals. God caused Adam to go into a deep sleep and from within Adam He took one of His rib bones and made him a woman. She was taken from within Adam to be with Him as his God given partner. Not to be less than; her role was equal yet different. Someone to share his life with. Adam named her Eve. Initially they were open and not ashamed. They were even physically naked. It was not until after they had disobeyed God that they actually realized they were naked. (See the rest of the story in Genesis)
We are all naked before God. He knows us from the inside out. God is Omniscient meaning all knowing. There is absolutely nothing He does not know. Think about it for a moment, does not our Creator/ Manufacturer know our intended purpose? So why is it we do not consult Him whenever a problem, situation or issue arises? You listen to everyone else? God did not intend for us to look to the world for a marriage model. This is one of the major reasons why nearly 60% of marriages don’t succeed. I have been observing marriage relational dynamics for many years. No two marriages are alike. We are all very different. But God’s principles must be included if you really want your relationship to succeed.
One of the biggest problems in marriage or any other relationship really is poor communication. To communicate means to convey a thought, idea or relay information clearly. To transport information so that it is satisfactorily received or understood. Listening is crucial; it is a necessary component when one desires to effectively communicate. Communication is both verbal and nonverbal. Good healthy communication manifests when you are able to openly connect with who ever you are trying to communicate to.
Many problems and issues arise, when the time is not taken to communicate directly to each other! This is what really only further compacts the situation. If you have not taken the time to develop intimate communication with your spouse now is the time to get started. How do I do this? Stop hiding behind issues and past hurts. Get over them. Stop hanging on to the things that you cannot change. This does not mean that you forget. It means that you no longer hold whatever has happened against them. You instead choose to become wiser from whatever has transpired. When past issues become current issues what do you do? You must deal with them. Don’t allow too much time to go by.
Confrontation in marriage is important. There is a way to have healthy redemptive confrontation. Your intentions should never be to tear down your spouse. It should be to communicate how you feel retardless if you agree or disagree. Confront you must. Otherwise the issue will become cancerous and nibble at the core of your relationship. The marital relationship was really designed to encourage transparency. This encourages and develops trust and intimacy. Intimacy will give you a responsible freedom because you are able to trust one another. It is really important to pray for as well as with one another. In many cases there have been such poor marriage role models that you simply do not know what to do.
Many people who are married are lonely. This really does not have to be. Don’t settle for a superficial relationship that is on for public view. Think about it God is always present! Learn to live on a deeper level. Learn to become sensitive to one another’s needs. Your needs are important but not to the extent that you overlook the needs of your spouse. Some needs have exclusively been reserved to be met only within marriage. This does not mean that you can, nor are you responsible for the fulfillment of all of their needs.
Don’t just assume that your spouse knows something, or is happy or….. Many have just not learned the benefits of being open in marriage. (This is not at all the same as having an open marriage. In that case why marry at all?) It takes time to develop and build effective communication. How well do you really know this person you have committed to? Being open is the catalyst that ajars the door for developing effective communication. One must learn to listen as well, in order to effectively communicate. Don’t think short term, think long term. Get to know this person that you have committed to love, honor and …….. Or was that too just for the people?
Don’t always mentally construct your response or rebuttal as you listen. Let it be your goal to attentively listen to whatever your spouse or anyone is trying to convey to you. If you are really interested in improving your relationship you must also learn how to listen. Taking the time to listen attentively to how your spouse feels validates that you care, value and are genuinely concerned about them. This helps them to open up. Remember, God intended for your spouse to be your “helpmeet”. Listening effectively is an art. The next time you talk to them really listen. Check yourself out and see how well you listen? If necessary repeat what they have said to confirm you heard correctly what they were trying to convey. Don’t always personalize everything they say. This will help you dispel erroneous and distorted conclusions or assumptions. Effective listening says you really want to hear what is being conveyed.
A good strong marriage or any other relationship for that matter consists of good healthy communicatio. You do not have to agree with what is being conveyed. Sometimes just being a sounding board is necessary. You want to create an environment in which you do not have to feel like you are walking on egg shells. A major complaint in marriage is that my spouse does not understand me. Do you understand your spouse? Don’t make it a habit of always waiting until you are angry to fuel your ability to say how you feel. Plan ahead a time when you together can talk about whatever concerns you. Here is the opportunity to acquire some self-control skills. Think about it. Flying off the handle is really letting someone control you by remote. In this case your emotions only get the best of you and you impulsively say a lot of stuff that you can’t take back. You have actually stored it up, and bottled it up, to the point that it has fermented and become toxic. When this is the case it often results in flaring hot tempers which just usually yields more hurt feelings. If this is the case change is necessary in order to develop a healthier way to communicate.
The scriptures tell us “to be angry and sin not.” God does not tell us to do something that is not possible. Think about it now that you are calm and centered. Your feelings are important; they do need to be validated. Exercising self control strengthens your ability to not let your feelings control you. You should really want to create an environment where both of you can openly share how you feel. You also want to be able to freely express yourself even when you don’t agree about something.
When you are always usually fueled by anger to express yourself it often leads to a breakdown or barrier in the relationship. Please don’t use that “nobody’s perfect” excuse to justify your ranting and ravings. Self control is a virtue. This does not mean that you stuff how you feel and just let any and everyone walk over you. It means that the majority of the time you choose to decide how you want to respond or not respond or simply just overlook. Rather than to just simply react. Don’t make everything an issue. Just observe what happens when and if you go off. Does it get the results you want? Do you really feel better? Or in fact have you just created another barrier? Sometimes no one wants to confront you and tell you if this is the way you are…
Confrontation is a healthy part of communication. Constructive criticism really is a good thing. Getting the Lord involved always helps. He is always right there. But you are given the free will to choose to invite Him in? You build your self control as you exercise it in your life. This also helps to foster an environment in which you can build a healthier stronger marriage. Don’t ever take one another for granted. If you have; change it. You do not have to continue to live with dysfunction. The correct way to point the finger is in both directions. The good thing about God it’s never too late to change. Remember the only person you can change is yourself. Are you happy with the way that you communicate with your spouse? Is there room for improvement? Take some time and think about it? There is always room for improvement. Don’t let pride take the forefront in your relationship. Care Enough To Listen