Posts belonging to Category Marriage



Power Cut/Electric Marriage

Albert Mohler’s reflection on the recent power outage in Louisville, Kentucky reminded me of this (very sad) poem by Steve Turner.

“POWER CUT/ELECTRIC MARRIAGE” – by Steve Turner

When the lights
            went out
and the sounds
      died down
and the pictures
      stopped moving
there was nothing
left to say
      between Mr and Mrs.
Both forced within
the same dull radius
of candle flame
their silvered anniversary
barely showed a glint.
The stereogram had
now stopped its mad
                  singing.
There was no hot
coffee in which to
drown the need for
            conversation.
Television did not
feel bright enough
to play gooseberry
            that night.
Sheltering together
within the dull radius
                  of flame,
quartercentury lovers
wonder if it’s still
possible to be friends.
And on the night
electricity walked out
of their lives
there was nothing left to do
                        but sleep.

(Source: Steve Turner, Up To Date, pp. 28-29.)

I first read this Turner poem probably back in college days (early 1980’s). I found it incredibly sad then, and it has haunted me ever since.

Click here for more poems.
Click here for poems by Ray Fowler.

Living Together Before Marriage Series

Here are links to all four posts in the Living Together Before Marriage series:

What If We Already Lived Together Before Marriage?

Living Together Before Marriage Series:
    ● Statistics on Living Together Before Marriage
    ● Scriptures on Living Together Before Marriage
    ● Living Together Without Sex
    ● What If We Already Lived Together Before Marriage?

“What if we already lived together before marriage?” This is a question I am sometimes asked when presenting the scriptural and statistical reasons for not living together before marriage. If the Bible says not to live together before marriage, and statistics demonstrate a high correlation of undesirable outcomes for those who do, what if you already lived together before marriage? Is it too late for you? Is there anything you can do? The answers are: “No, it is not too late,” and “Yes, there is something you can do.” God reveals himself in the Bible as a God of grace, and even when we fail, we can still trust God to help us.

First of all, as far as breaking God’s commands in this area, we must understand why God gives us his commands in the first place. God gives us his commands to protect us from harm and to lead us in the way that is right. So even God’s commands are an example of his love and grace to us. However, God’s greatest expression of love and grace was given at the cross. When we break God’s commands, we sin against God, but God offers us forgiveness through his Son, Jesus Christ. When Jesus died on the cross, he paid the penalty for our sin. When we confess our sin to God, putting our faith and trust in Christ, God forgives us and cleanses us. So if you lived together before marriage, the first thing you should do is simply confess your sin to God and put your trust in Jesus Christ who died for your sin.

Secondly, as far as the statistics go, people who have lived together before marriage often wonder, “Is there a way of avoiding the undesirable outcomes reported in the statistics?” There are three things we should try to grasp here.

  1. The consequences of sin:  We should understand that even when God forgives us, we still often suffer the consequences for our sin. The repentant thief may still have to spend time behind bars. And the couple that lived together before marriage may struggle with certain issues in marriage as a result.
  2. The challenges of marriage:  We should also understand that every marriage poses certain challenges. Obviously, we should try to bring as little baggage into a marriage as possible, but we are all sinners, and so we all bring the consequences of various choices into our marriages. And that brings us to the third point, which is:
  3. The power of prayer:  I believe that any couple that puts Christ at the center of their marriage and asks God to help them can overcome the particular challenges they face in their marriage, whether those challenges arise from living together before marriage or from some other wrong choices they made along the way. It may not be easy, but God will help you if you ask him.

What if you already lived together before marriage? Confess your sin to God, put your trust in Christ, and ask God to help you. God is a God of grace who will pardon your past and help you in the present. He’s got a pretty good future waiting for you, too!
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Well, that concludes this series on living together before marriage. I hope you found the series helpful and encourage you to pass the posts on to others who may benefit from the material. As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome. If you haven’t done so already, click to subscribe by email or feed reader so that you don’t miss any future posts.

Link to all the posts in the series:  Living Together Before Marriage Series

Living Together Without Sex

Living Together Before Marriage Series:
    ● Statistics on Living Together Before Marriage
    ● Scriptures on Living Together Before Marriage
    ● Living Together Without Sex
    ● What If We Already Lived Together Before Marriage?

This is the third post in a series on living together before marriage. The first post presented statistics which demonstrate a high correlation between living together before marriage and undesirable outcomes. The second post presented various Scriptures which prohibit living together before marriage.

Many of the Bible verses in the second post assumed that couples who live together are also sexually involved. That is usually a fair assumption, but what about those rarer cases where a couple lives together but is not sexually active? Is it okay for a couple to live together if they don’t have sex? For example, how about the couple that moves in together for financial reasons but chooses to abstain from sex until marriage?

Well, I would applaud the decision to abstain sexually until marriage, but there are still good reasons not to live together before marriage. Let me share with you three.

  1. The first has to do with temptation. Let’s face it: living together, sharing a house, or sharing a bed is not the best way to fight temptation. If you are truly serious about saving sex for marriage, the last thing you should do is move in with the person whom you love and to whom you are sexually attracted. When you live together before marriage, you open yourself up for temptation.
  2. Secondly there is the matter of your testimony. The Bible says we should avoid even the appearance of evil. (Ephesians 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:22) How does your decision to live together affect those around you? What kind of an example does it set for younger people who are watching? How will people view your relationship who do not know about your commitment to abstain sexually? Our testimony affects how people view Christ and the church. Many have rejected Christianity because they do not see people living it out. Living together presents a poor testimony for Christ and his church.
  3. And thirdly there is the matter of trivialization. Living together trivializes marriage by taking away from the uniqueness of marriage. Living together pretends to be marriage, but it is not the same thing. It is really a mockery of marriage and therefore dishonors marriage. This goes against Hebrews 13:4 which says: “Let marriage be honored by all.” I think it’s sad when a couple who lives together and finally gets married says, “It’s not that different.” They have lost out on part of the joy and uniqueness of the marriage relationship which God intended for them.

After reading these posts, someone might ask, “What if we already lived together before marriage?” Is it too late for us? Is there anything we can do to make it right?” That will be the subject of the next and final post in the series.

Check out the other posts in the Living Together Before Marriage series:
    ● Statistics on Living Together Before Marriage
    ● Scriptures on Living Together Before Marriage
    ● Living Together Without Sex
    ● What If We Already Lived Together Before Marriage?
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Did you find this post helpful? Click to subscribe by email or feed reader so that you don’t miss any future posts.

Scriptures on Living Together Before Marriage

Living Together Before Marriage Series:
    ● Statistics on Living Together Before Marriage
    ● Scriptures on Living Together Before Marriage
    ● Living Together Without Sex
    ● What If We Already Lived Together Before Marriage?

“The honeymoon was over before the wedding day ever arrived.” (See the testimony below.) Last month I posted some statistics on living together before marriage. Since then I have received a number of inquiries as to what the Bible says about living together. So in this post I would like to share some of the Biblical teaching about living together before marriage.

The statistics in last month’s post showed a high correlation between living together and undesirable outcomes. This should not be surprising, because the Bible has some strong things to say about living together. God is a loving God, and he gives us his commands for our protection. Those who choose not to live together before marriage will likely avoid many of the negative outcomes described in the earlier post. Here are some Scriptures on living together before marriage:

  • Proverbs 14:12“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”  This Scripture stands against the arguments, “Everyone is doing it. It’s the new way. It’s accepted in society.” That may all be true, but just because a path seems right doesn’t make it so.
  • Ecclesiastes 3:1,5“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven … a time to embrace and a time to refrain.”  As the following Scriptures indicate, the right time for living together is after marriage — not the year before, not the month before, not the night before. There is a time to embrace, and a time to refrain.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:18“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.”  Living together almost always involves premarital sex. By living together before marriage, you dishonor both yourself and your partner.
  • 1 Corinthians 7:8-9“Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”  This isn’t the place to get into why Paul recommends singleness over marriage in this particular passage. However, it is important to note that the Bible encourages a couple that is struggling with sexual temptation to marry rather than burn with passion. Of course, this assumes a couple that is ready for marriage. I recommend that all couples get good premarital counseling from a pastor or Christian counselor before getting married.
  • Galatians 6:7-8“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”  Although the original word in the Greek means “to sneer or to scorn,” the English word “mock” is instructive when it comes to living together. “To mock” means “to imitate, to pretend in order to deceive.” You can’t do that to God without consequences, and you can’t do that with marriage. Living together is literally a mockery or imitation of marriage in that it does not require a public commitment or lifetime vow of faithfulness.
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6“It is God’s will that you should … avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him.”  To “wrong” someone in this verse means “to exceed the proper limits.” To “take advantage” means “to defraud, or to take more than you’re entitled to.” It is the picture of someone who takes more than they should while selfishly disregarding the best interests of others. When we live together, we exceed the limits God has set for us. We take more than we’re entitled to.
  • Hebrews 13:4“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”  The marriage bed can only be kept pure when the sexual relationship is kept within marriage. Anything else brings God’s judgment. Do you love your partner? Then why would you invite God’s judgment into their life? Why would you willfully rob them of God’s blessing?

You will notice from these Bible verses that I am assuming couples who live together are also sexually involved. And I think in most cases that’s a pretty fair assumption. I will address the (much rarer) situation of couples who live together but are not sexually active in a later post. But let me end this post by sharing the testimony of a young woman that I think effectively sums up some of the major problems of living together before marriage.

I wish I could tell every young adult in America that you truly will reap what you sow. Living together may seem wonderful initially … but eventually it creates more problems than you can imagine. I lived with my boyfriend for two years before we got married. I knew I was breaking my parents’ hearts, as well as my Heavenly Father’s heart! My boyfriend was not a Christian, but I figured I could change him if we moved in together.

The “this-is-yours, that-is-mine” mentality that enabled us to “successfully” live together completely unraveled once we got married. We had become too separate and selfish, making it nearly impossible to become “one flesh.”  The honeymoon was over before the wedding day ever arrived.  (Excerpt from letter printed in “Family Feedback,” Focus on the Family, May 1994, p.23)

Do you have any thoughts or response to all this? Feel free to share them in the comments.

Check out the other posts in the Living Together Before Marriage series:
    ● Statistics on Living Together Before Marriage
    ● Scriptures on Living Together Before Marriage
    ● Living Together Without Sex
    ● What If We Already Lived Together Before Marriage?
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Did you find this post helpful? Click to subscribe by email or feed reader so that you don’t miss any future posts.

Statistics on Living Together Before Marriage

Living Together Before Marriage Series:
    ● Statistics on Living Together Before Marriage
    ● Scriptures on Living Together Before Marriage
    ● Living Together Without Sex
    ● What If We Already Lived Together Before Marriage?

Here are some statistics on living together before marriage from Michael McManus, author of the book Marriage Savers. Statistically speaking, living together is not a trial of marriage, but rather a training for divorce.

  • The number of unmarried couples living together soared 19-fold from 430,000 in 1960 to 8.3 million in 2015.
  • More than eight out of ten couples who live together will break up either before the wedding or afterwards in divorce.
  • About 45 percent of those who begin cohabiting, do not marry. Another 5-10 percent continue living together and do not marry.
  • Couples who do marry after living together are 50% more likely to divorce than those who did not.
  • Only 12 percent of couples who have begun their relationship with cohabitation end up with a marriage lasting 10 years or more.
  • A Penn State study reports that even a month’s cohabitation decreases the quality of the couple’s relationship.

Here are some more statistics relating to the children of cohabiting parents.

  • Children of cohabiting parents are ten times more likely to be sexually abused by a stepparent than by a parent.
  • Children of cohabiting parents are three times as likely to be expelled from school or to get pregnant as teenagers than children from an intact home with married parents.
  • Children of cohabiting parents are five times more apt to live in poverty, and 22 times more likely to incarcerated.

Check out the other posts in the Living Together Before Marriage series:
    ● Statistics on Living Together Before Marriage
    ● Scriptures on Living Together Before Marriage
    ● Living Together Without Sex
    ● What If We Already Lived Together Before Marriage?
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Did you find this post helpful? Click to subscribe by email or feed reader so that you don’t miss any future posts.

Martin Luther, Love and Marriage

Justin Taylor shares about Martin Luther and his marriage in the article: Love and Marriage: Luther Style. Read about Luther’s earlier bachelor life and how he helped his future wife, Katie, escape from a convent in a fish barrel. Find out 20-year-old Katie’s response when Luther tried to set her up with a 60-year-old teacher. Learn about the shortest engagement on record: proposed to and married on the same day! (June 13, 1523) Consider the following four lessons Justin shares drawn from the Luthers’ legacy of love and marriage:

  1. Martin and Katie didn’t put their hope in marriage; they put their hope in God.
  2. Martin and Katie didn’t marry each other because they were infatuated with each other; instead they grew to love each other because they were married.
  3. Martin and Katie viewed marriage as a school for growing in godliness.
  4. Martin and Katie enjoyed the God-given gifts of life and marriage unto the glory of God.

It’s a fun article. Be sure to read the whole thing.

Albert Einstein’s Wedding Contract

Tim Challies blogged today about Albert Einstein’s wedding contract. See what you think of this:

Albert Einstein’s Wedding (Marriage) Contract:

A. You will make sure

  1. that my clothes and laundry are kept in good order;
  2. that I will receive my three meals regularly in my room;
  3. that my bedroom and study are kept neat, and especially that my desk is left for my use only.

B. You will renounce all personal relations with me insofar as they are not completely necessary for social reasons. Specifically, you will forego

  1. my sitting at home with you;
  2. my going out or traveling with you.

C. You will obey the following points in your relations with me:

  1. you will not expect any intimacy from me, nor will you reproach me in any way;
  2. you will stop talking to me if I request it;
  3. you will leave my bedroom or study immediately without protest if I request it.

D. You will undertake not to belittle me in front of our children, either through words or behavior.

Wow! Other than the final point, that’s a pretty brutal contract. What’s even more amazing is that his wife accepted it! Be sure to read Tim’s article for more background on Einstein and the contract as well as some good, theological reflection on it all.

They Sit Together on the Porch

I found this poem earlier today at the WorldMag Blog. Very touching.

“THEY SIT TOGETHER ON THE PORCH” – by Wendell Berry

They sit together on the porch, the dark
Almost fallen, the house behind them dark.
Their supper done with, they have washed and dried
The dishes–only two plates now, two glasses,
Two knives, two forks, two spoons–small work for two.
She sits with her hands folded in her lap,
At rest. He smokes his pipe. They do not speak,
And when they speak at last it is to say
What each one knows the other knows. They have
One mind between them, now, that finally
For all its knowing will not exactly know
Which one goes first through the dark doorway, bidding
Goodnight, and which sits on a while alone.

Click here for poems by Ray Fowler.

Chances of a Man Winning an Argument

Here is a graph showing the chances of a man winning an argument while dating, during engagement, and then after marriage.

Chances of a Man Winning an Argument

I don’t know. I tried to convince my wife that this is true, but she said, “No way!” so I guess she must be right.

HT: Bradley Wright

A quote from Billy and a quote from Ruth

There is too much information on the Grahams flying around the web right now to post it all, but I really liked these two quotes that Matt McCarnan posted over at PastorBlog.

I have been asked the question, ‘Who do you go to for counsel, for spiritual guidance?’ My answer: my wife, Ruth. She is a great student of the Bible. Her life is ruled by the Bible more than any person I’ve ever known. That’s her rule book, her compass. Her disposition is the same all the time–very sweet and very gracious and charming. When it comes to spiritual things, my wife has had the greatest influence on my ministry.
—Billy Graham

I saw a sign on a strip of highway once that I would like to have copied on my gravestone. It said, “End of construction. Thank you for your patience.”
—Ruth Bell Graham (from “A Hearing Heart,” InDecision Magazine, January 1970, ©1969, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association)

Related articles:

Massachusetts Marriage Amendment Defeated

This just in from The Christian Post on the defeat of the proposed marriage amendment in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts lawmakers blocked a proposed constitutional amendment Thursday that would have let voters decide whether to ban gay ”marriage” in the only state that allows it.

The proposal, which sought to change the state’s Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, needed 50 votes to advance to the 2008 statewide ballot. It got 45, with 151 lawmakers opposed.

The narrow vote was a blow to efforts to reverse the historic court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in the state. More than 8,500 gay couples have ”married” there since it became legal in May 2004 …

The measure needed 50 votes in two consecutive legislative sessions to advance to the ballot, and it had passed with 62 votes at the end of the last session in January.

I live in Massachusetts, and this is a big disappointment to the many people in the state who feel they should have the right to vote on an issue of this magnitude. The Massachusetts Family Institute collected a record-breaking 170,000 signatures in support of the amendment, nearly three times the required signatures needed for certification by the Secretary of State and the greatest number ever in Massachusetts history.

In November 2003, it took only four Massachusetts judges to make gay marriage legal in the state (by a 4-3 vote). Now in June 2007 the proposed amendment misses the ballot by five legislative votes. Meanwhile, the entire voting populace of Massachusetts is left out of the decision making process, including the 170,000 who signed the petition. I feel the legislature has really let the people down on this one.