Prep for What? Part 2

Posted on January 13, 2012 by

In the first post for Prep For What?, I talked about the failure of Christian churches to adequately address pertinent topics regarding marriage. Submission, headship, the hierarchy of marriage, and communication differences were the first 4 I touched upon. These are what I would consider the skeleton in which a marriage should be held upright with, especially since we are “The Body of Christ”. If this structure does not exist, marriage is likely to encounter a myriad of issues and is likely to be anti-Scriptural, such as with “mutual submission” or “egalitarianism.”

However, without the muscles on the body, we cannot move. The way we care for these muscles can also affect a marriage and determines the direction of a marriage. With this said, I introduce 3 additional key points:

5. Men should be encouraged to join men-only groups/activities that provide access to strong male mentors who can provide insight and direction. These should be men who are family men, or patriarchs who demonstrate that they have the best interests of the community’s families in mind. I’ve learned that men do not want to share their struggles with women and don’t want to have women telling them how to do things. Men are best ministered by other men. These will also be men who will not tolerate having their church overrun by feminists who think they can just bully the pastor around. Men who have strong male mentors will build a sense of confidence and leadership that later on becomes a natural part of their personality. When making decisions, they will know to lead the way by holding onto their wives’ hands firmly, but gently and safely having her walk by his side.

6. Same for women. Scripture instructs older women to teach younger women about these things in marriage. In fact, it goes beyond spending time with each other in activities-it means to teach each other how to strengthen our marriages versus just doing what we want for the sake of it. I once went to an all-women’s social activity and was given very wise advice there– you do things that are good for the marriage, regardless of what others say. If your husband wants to try something, try it. If your husband advises something for your own good, do it whether it be less drinking, hanging out with toxic friends, losing weight, etc. As women we often hear other women lament on these things. Hardly do they receive encouragement to try these things in order to help her marriage, and I understand that certain things are personal such as losing weight. Women will often tell other women that they look great and have exceptional behavior…it’s not true, so why bear false witness? It reminds me so much of when I chopped off my hair and wore it straight years ago. While all the women I knew gave me accolades for looking like a “modern, hip woman,” my husband was most displeased. In other words, he was grumpy 24/7 for a year. Now, whenever a woman mentions something to me about how her husband suggested something, I encourage her to do so for him or at least give it a try. Teach each other to cook, sew, care for children, administrate the home, and please the husbands.

7. Encourage courting couples, especially younger ones, to spend time with couples that have been married for a while. There should be more encouragement for them to commingle around couples that have large families. Couples soon to be married need to understand that children are an integral part of faith life and can strengthen marriages. That means having a firmer stance on contraceptive use and premarital sex, too.

Men often do not have experience with children and they need to be introduced slowly and gently, to learn that they can still be strong and masculine men, but also fathers. This does not mean that men are incompetent with infants and children; it’s quite the contrary. Men have a different role with infants and children, and coupled with a woman, it is complementary. Men learn how to be involved fathers by observing other fathers. Spending time with families will also give a man the opportunity to observe if the potential wife handles herself well around children and expresses a nurturing side that he wants to see. Women should spend time around married couples with children to observe 2 things: one, how the married couple interacts and learn from them; second, learn how to care for children.

More important, exposing courting couples to family life will teach how and why sex, marriage, and children are interrelated. I hypothesize that courting couples who spend more time around married couples with children are less likely to engage in sexual behavior outside of marriage and are more likely to understand that marriage is a lifelong commitment. There is a reason why couples from other cultures marry young and don’t think that marriage and having a family are “scary” to approach, because it is a fact of life.

The conclusion to come.