Preparing For Marriage

Q. My girlfriend and I have been praying and talking with God about marriage and have been following His guidance throughout our relationship. I wanted to ask if you had any recommendations on some resources (books, sites, etc.) we could look into about preparing for marriage as a couple seeking Christ. We both realize that is a very large step for our spiritual lives and each other. Naturally, neither of us having been married before we realize that we don’t have any experience or insight about marriage and know that rather than just building upon a good foundation, we have the opportunity to allow God to build a great one. Thanks so much!

A. I believe the best place to begin is in the Bible. After that you can study to see how men have interpreted the Bible. There are three passages in the New Testament that summarize the ideal relationship between a husband and wife. Frankly, I believe that if more couples would focus on those three passages, we’d have a much higher percentage of healthy marriages among believers.

The first is Colossians 3:18-19:

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

Then Ephesians 5:22-28

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

And finally 1 Peter 3:1-7

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

Study these together and see what the Lord tells you about applying them to your marriage. You can’t do better.

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