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Logo of GYC 2016: When All Has Been Heard

3. Advising Love’s Commitment: Engagement and Wedding

Sebastien Braxton Candis Braxton

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One of the most dangerous parts of love’s journey is the engagement and wedding. It may seem as if all is downhill from the proposal and acceptance, but in fact it is all uphill from here. We will answer questions like: Should we go forward no matter what? What happens if we are physically intimate during this time? How do we find godly pre-marital counseling? And much more!

Conference

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  • January 5, 2017
    11:55 AM
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This message was presented at the G Y C twenty sixteen conference when all has been heard in Houston Texas for other resources like business online W T Y C. When So let's go ahead and have some prayer as we begin. Mighty God Everlasting Father. We appreciate all that you've already done in our lives so far at this conference here in Houston. And Lord we pray that as we go to another hour of listening to practical advice as well as biblical insights that your spirit will guide us into all truth. And Father that you may show us things that we can never have seen or your spirit not present here this afternoon as we offer ourselves up for your blessing. We trust that you will not only speak through us which will speak to us and Lord that will be able to walk away with a better understanding and better equipped to tackle these aspects of the relationship is our prayer in Jesus name him and. So this afternoon as we continue on in our exploration of relationships. And advising love as what we've talked about. We've we've called this one advising love's commitment advising love's commitment. Now we talked about love's beginning we talk about love's growth and of course we touched upon these things we recognize that we had to make choices and what we are able to share. And a lot of these things are really very interconnected. So to talk about them in one session you feel like you'd be repeating yourself to bring it up again but it's equally relevant. So we tried our best to kind of isolate content that was very very specifically relevant to that area of relationships that we wanted to speak to. And so please believe that a lot of things that we've talked about this morning do apply to engagement do apply to marriage and other parts of a relationship and the later ones that will still talk about you'll see those things apply and also to attraction in courtship and things like that but for us we want to be very focused on that specific area that we are targeting So here we're looking at engagement and wedding and we entitled this commitment because engagement is defined as a formal agreement to get married now. Why do we use the word formal because we said that in courtship as opposed to dating is this relationship that we are building with the aim towards marriage. Right. If you're dating you're just out there having fun. But if you're courting that means I'm spending time with this person with an eye towards marriage. Now as you step into engagement and you decide as a young man to make that proposal and invite that to now go public and say now we are making a public agreement to get married. That means not only are you and I privy to this relationship and where it's going. We believe that we have enough evidence to start going even deeper and that's really what engagement is all about it doesn't mean OK now we've been courting Now we're engaged and so it's all downhill from here. That's exactly what it doesn't mean. And so we want to talk a little bit about the Jewish process. Sting is always slightly off. In my mind. Zein I cannot handle this. So take your Bibles go with me to the book of Luke Chapter twenty two new chapter twenty two years ago. I spoke at engines University and had shared this particular concept. With those young people. About some things I research about some cultural aspects of how the Jews went about their engagement process on their way to marriage and what that could kind of teach us about a new chapter twenty two and we know that Jesus is instituting the Last Supper So let's start in verse fourteen says when the hour had come. He sat down and the Twelve Apostles with him verse fifteen. Then he said to them with fervent desire. I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer for I say to you I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. Then he took the cup and gave things and said Take this and divide it among yourselves for I say to you I will not drink of the fruit of the vine and to the kingdom of God comes verse twenty. Likewise he also took the cup after supper saying the cut this cup is the new covenant in my blood which is shed for you now I want you to notice that Jesus is associating the drinking of that cup right he pours into one cup. How many cups one cup but it is shared among thirty men. In in this cup he says for you to drink from this cup. You are entering into a covenant with me. Entering into a what a covenant. Guess what a covenant is. An agreement. Now the very interesting fact is that when a young Jewish men back in those days was interested in a young Jewish girl or even any any young lady in the eastern cultures at that time it was always an understanding that you couldn't just go to a girl and be like hey girl how you doing. You know I came here to G. Y.C. I'm from San Luis Obispo. And you know I'm just sad trying to serve the Lord in. You know I saw you over there given some Bible studies I was moved and so I decided that you know. I'd like to get to know you better. And so you know she decides you know whether she's interested or not or how she responds and there's this awkward space that kind of starts happening in or she starts going super giggly and tells all her friends back at the hotel room. You know it's like oh there's this guy he's super fun. And as they start talking in there he is and of course we know what Sabbath is going to be up in here. You know coming up in a couple days people about to break out those outfits they never worn. They want people to know that they are available and civil. But you recognize that in our culture. This is what we do this is how we approach things but in the Jewish culture. If I saw a young lady I couldn't just go up to her and be like Hey How you doing down from the tribe of Levi all this stuff nun and you had to go back home to your father. I remember we read this morning about Sampson and Sampson wanted that woman from Timna right. What did he do. He went to his parents and said what get her. For me because he couldn't go do it on his own. Because culturally You don't just go take a girl and her parents have nothing to say about it. So. In those days. You as a Jewish person went to your dad then your dad went to her dad and they had to work out a dowry because they're saying hey we if you marry our daughter we're losing some work in the house. We're losing some hands you know we're losing some people to help cook clean help you know Rachel was out there water in the she. So to lose a daughter was to lose a worker says you gotta pay me. And so this is where Jacob Jacob was working for seven years right to pay for his wife imagine that's how much of a helper Rachel was seven years of pain. Now moving forward in the story. After the two fathers come to an agreement they decided to throw a banquet and in this particular banquet that they throw. They decide that in this particular setting all her family all his family and as they get together in this banquet all eating and drinking everyone knows what the banquet is about because at the center in the front of the room is the father and the Son and the Father and the young lady and they're sitting at a table and there's one cup. And at some point in time in this you know engagement. He decides to take some great juice import into that Cup Everyone stops partying at that point. Because they know what's about to happen. He drinks from the cup. And then he offers the cup to the Jewish girl and at this point in time she has to make a decision exactly what she's going to do is she going to drink that cut or she not so if she pushes the cup back over then what happens is is the fact that she's saying I'm not entering into a covenant with you. I'm not interested in going forward in this relationship but if she drinks the cup that means she's interested in the relationship. She's accepting. In a public formal agreement to get married. And here Jesus says I've been longing to drink this cup. He's drawing upon this idea which is a very common Jewish understanding that we were entering into a life long commitment but notice in the same thing he says I won't drink this again with you until a future time because as soon as she drank that cup Well let's assume that she joined the cup and she accepted his formal offer for marriage then he made a statement. We're going to go to John Chapter fourteen. John in the fourteenth chapter. So John fourteen. John Ford. He comes back and Jesus is talking to his disciples were very very familiar with with this particular passage and he says Let not your heart be troubled you believe in God believe also in me. This is what the guy is telling the young lady in the Jewish banquet. In front of everyone because at this point in time they both know that they're not going to be hanging out and spending all this time together. He looks at her and says Look. Don't let your heart be troubled because she knows as soon as she accepted that particular thing she decided that she had to now go and start preparing to take care of a home. Also he had to go back and do something and notice what the text goes on to say in my Father's house are many one. Mansions or the Greek word is rooms there are many rooms. And he goes on and he says if it were not so I would have told you I go to do what prepare a place for you see in order to get married. He had to build unto his father's house a place for him and his bride. And he could not get married until he had finished preparing that place for his bride. Can you imagine that in our day right. You can get married so you learn how to build a house. Amen. You know when you got married. The brother was a lazy. Because if he's lazy you're never going to marry. You'll never be married. But here's the condition. Right. The condition is is that when he's building a house on to his father's house for his bride. It's not done when he says it's done it's only done when his father says this is worthy of your bride. So can you imagine again when Jesus says no man knows the day or the hour. The only person who knows is who the father. Because God is telling Jesus that guess what you can't go back until what you are building for them is worthy. That should sober us about heaven. But to get to our point. After he does this. I want you to go to Luke Chapter twelve. Luke Chapter twelve. So he goes to start building on to his father's house but she also has work that she needs to do. So as she leaves that bank when she goes back home to be with her mother. Now the she is engaged in Jesus makes a statement that is referencing another cultural fact at that time verse thirty five of Luke Chapter twelve. The Bible says let your waist be girded and your lamps what burning in you yourselves be like men who are doing what wait for. There what master when he will return from the wedding that when he comes and knocks they may open to him when. Immediately you see he's using the prophetic significance of the fact that lambs being burning is associated with waiting for someone to return. So that when they knock you open. Are you tracking. But here's the irony in prophecy the church is not the bride the city in the New Jerusalem is the bride without time to get into that but in a prophetic context. We are the virgins we are not the bride. So we have other roles outside of that but in terms of Christ receiving his kingdom that is the idea of the marriage in prophecy. But in terms of the Jewish culture for her to go home and start learning how to cook how to clean how to take care of a house every night she went to sleep. She knew day. You never know when he's going to finish the house isn't that correct. Because who knows the day. His father when his father says the house is good he will be on his way to go get his bride. But she doesn't know her mom doesn't know the guy doesn't know. So no sense pestering your fiance. When are you coming you know the house is halfway done but until his father says it's good to go. He coming back. So every night before she went to sleep. If he was to come in the evening she would leave a lamp burning in the window. And that lamp was to do two things it communicated one that if you came in the middle of the night in no street lights right back in those days there wasn't like people had switches where you could buy a click click click. Oh so much here at the door. No you had a lamp and that lamp was put in a window so he knew where to find her. If he came in the middle of the night to take her to the wedding Can you imagine. Ladies you had to get ready in one night. Hey it's time to get Mary boom did up. I'm here house is done because we're not brothers ready to get married. He just built a house and trying to wait a minute. So he comes in she gets up. She's coming now. And as he's drawing are out they're going to go off to the wedding and virgins have the lamps to light the way to the wedding. Are you tracking this. Now the second reason why those lamps are there is to let Also the groom know that her love for him is still the same. If he comes to the house and he doesn't see a lamp it communicates to him that her affections have gone to someone's So can you imagine that Jesus is preparing a place for us. That only God could approve and after doing all of that when he returns a second time he finds our lamps not burning. Because our factions have gone to this war to someone else in this Jewish engagement process when he finally came to get his bride her lamp was burning he found her he takes her to the wedding. And they go there to get married. And we always communicate to people and I'm speaking we is my wife and I that when people are dealing with engagement in this Jewish illustration. It reminds us of some very key point. And that very basic key point is you're engaged. But you're not married. Not yet. It is not until you go before witnesses. And be. For God and you make a death commitment to a nother person then you are married then they are yours and you are there's but until that day. You are engaged. Now why is this significant you know my friend Angelo we still have this conversation. A lot. With other young guys because they'd be like you mentioned all my girl from men. That's my girl. Pictures on the phone and everything and we say look she's not yours yet. And he's I you know what are you saying. And so Angelo would say. So if you are engaged right you're trying to get married and let's say two months before the wedding you decide you know I'll know. You know know if I'm going to go through with this like I'm feeling calm nervous maybe we should call it off postponing. Two months. He said. Would that be wrong. And I know that's not wrong. I mean people probably not going to be happy. Might be out of a little money. But that's not wrong then Angelo would say OK what if it was two weeks before the wedding you get married two Sundays from now. And you decide you know I'm getting a little cold feet. Would that be wrong side. I mean that's not wrong. It's kind of messed up. But it's not rob and then Angela would say what if it was the day of the wedding. She's putting on her wedding dress with her mom and they're her maid of honor make up the whole nine. And then get a knock at the door. Hey I need to talk you're not supposed to see me on the wedding day. Now it's important. Look I know we had this whole thing planned we've got people in the church. But I just don't think I can go forward with this. Would that be wrong. Every time I give this illustration it's always the women staring at me like you know that's wrong. And all the guys are like men are brothers got courage. But when he goes in to tell her that is it wrong that he said man I mean you might get hit a couple times you know Sam parents might be looking for you seem I'm going to have a getaway car but it's now wrong and he says until you come before that audience. And you stand before God in these witnesses and you make a commitment he says. Repeat after me. I such and such I said do some only swear. To take such and such as my lawfully wedded wife. To have and to hold. For better or for worse for richer or for poorer in sickness and in health. And I do swear to cherish her above all others forsaking them. As long as we both shall live. When you say I do. Then you just cross the line up until that moment you can always go back in May. Her. It may not feel good but you know Mary. But once you cross that line and you come to somebody's crying man life is hard. My marriage is on you Mary. Just as someone came to me earlier today and I said Yeah but would have this and would have the person I said Look. When you got married. You said for better or for worse. It just got worse. That's what you said. So don't tell me all things are going difficult in my marriage or my really what did you not say for better or for worse. Yes or no you did. Or young people like to write their own vows in our days all you know I love you. I'll make mistakes. I'll do this crying and everything. Now the relationship. Did you not say even when you are messing up I'm still going to show you. Christ love well here you go show Christ love. And in this vein. This is why we call it advising love's commitment. Because it's not this period of time we take for granted as if well one gauge so pretty much. It's all downhill from here men's is planning a wedding getting Mary. Wrong. And when we look at the Jewish approach we can take some things culturally from that which Jesus drew from to illustrate. Right. They're not principles but they're illustrations to show the fact that just because you drink that cup you still got stuff to do and if you don't handle your business like he doesn't build his house and you don't keep your lamps burning and going to be no wedding. Sorry this is not correct English. There will not be a wedding. Sometimes my mom this isn't my service and she's like stop saying ain't but. So in this sense. We wanted to introduce this process so that. When you think about all the work that has to be done in order to get ready to have a successful marriage engagement is that. Time to do and we find it rich in Jewish culture and tradition and how they approached it and Christ drew from that to help the disciples understand the hope and what was going on in Christ going away. Why am I going to prepare a place for you but this cup that we're drinking is a covenant. Just so that you always drink the skull you do show the Lord's coming until he comes and his death. And what he went through. So anyway. Let's move forward. Perhaps you should have started with that or ended with that and over and you just had to lay that down so I let you go ahead. Amen amen. But as we go into our key takeaway. I T key takeaways the first one is that engagement is not marriage and I think we heard that we understand that it's probably something want to hear over and over again because that's pretty much the crux of it but it's not marriage. It's just another. Another step in the progression to that the belief that God can bless a marriage to this person and making it a public informal direction of your relationship. So it's not marriage but it's a public declaration of what the next phase that you guys want to enter into gether. Which is more than just you know we like to post the picture on Facebook of the ring in the hand and we're like OK but there's a lot more work that goes into it at least we should take that period and have let it be putting on even greater glasses or greater goggles to really be looking at the situation and seeing if this is really what we want to enter into with this person. Do we really want to keep around them burning for them or you know we have the option to take it out the window. So do it while you have the chance. Now one of the clearest Biblical is traces of this is Mary and Joseph take your Bibles to Matthew Chapter one. Matthew in the first chapter. Now the Bible doesn't talk a lot about engagement but the little that it does talk about it is helpful. So Matthew Chapter one verses eighteen to twenty five. Are you there. All right. The Bible says. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. After his mother Mary was B. troth to Joseph that means they were engaged to get married so the context of Christmas is all surrounding in Gauge me they were engaged to get married before they came together. The Bible is very clear before they came together so before you are married you should not be coming together. Amen. Physically you should not be coming together and you know what I mean by that. Some people think because they're engaged Well you know we basically marry. Well when you basically have a pregnancy on your hands this and people start counting the months down from when the baby was born so when you got married or hold on a single. This is not lining up. People start raising questions. It also means you shouldn't be cohabiting. Joseph and Mary were not living together before they were married. So this all coming together and people think well we're just going to go and move in shack up all this kind of stuff before were even married. No it was very clear and unequivocal in the text that Mary and Joseph were engaged in this was before they were coming together. They're not made that decision yet. And they're not taking that step because they knew it was inappropriate the Bible says in verse eighteen that she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Now the Bible has to give us that information because Joseph. Didn't have it otherwise this story would have made a lot of sense. Initially. Hey man Joseph and Mary were engaged. Except then she was pregnant. What. You'll be thinking the same thing. Joseph was thinking. I don't know about you but as a guy. If your girlfriend or your fiancé comes back before your wedding and she's I hate men. I'm which out of the Holy Spirit. If you will. I write. That's just hard to swallow even Joseph can swallow that and marry someone his brother the truth. Look man an angel came tomorrow meet so many His name's going to be Jesus. Right OK. So you can pregnant outside of marriage and that's going to be the Son of God. The child that you're going to give birth to this is are going to swallow. So the Bible says in verse nineteen then Joseph her husband look even calls him her husband. He says being a just man and not wanting to make her a public example was minded to put her away how. Privately. So they're basically married in Joseph this is is basically look at the situation that we haven't even you know what we call consummated our marriage. We haven't slept together we haven't consummated this thing. So he's saying look she's pregnant. I don't know what's going on. I'm I have to just pull out of this thing but I'm not going to a publicly because if you look at Deuteronomy right there's a whole bunch of public stuff that's associated with this that would not be very pleasant for Mary. But in Mary's experience right. She has no power over the situation can't stop Joseph from doing what he's about to do. And God knows that and this is also a very subtle lesson to women as well. She. Saw that Joseph in his mind he could not stomach this thing was a sin here trying to argue when twist his arm and manipulate situations to make him go forward. Mary from the very beginning as to why God shows or was she made herself a servant and submitted unto God she was humble and in this moment of time what greater embarrassment could marry have face. As a girl who asked kept herself. WHO ARE has been faithful and now God wants the coming to be like oh you're pregnant but it's actually a supernatural occurrence and. Now the very guy you've been waiting to spend the rest of your life with is like I'm out because God chose you for a specific work and he's trying to solve this in his mind. So in this experience between Joseph and Mary we see the fact that Joseph being the man that he was was like I'm not trying to embarrass him. That's how much respect and love that he had for Mary. He couldn't swallow it. But he was unable to go for it either because he probably partially believed her and partially did it. But he had no evidence otherwise. In this particular vein he decides to put her away privately in other words he was pulling up in his mind until this thing was officially consummated. And we were going forward and we're coming together. Joseph that you can still pull out. Even then. And Mary was a good woman. And he knew that but he felt as if he could not go forward with God's blessing with this situation in his mind. It was not something he could handle So what does God do the Bible says in verse twenty. It says but while he thought about these things that means it was on the brother's mind. It was an easy decision for Joseph. Joseph was sitting here thinking about these things and wondering and debating within himself. I don't know maybe maybe are making a mistake. Maybe I mean Mary is always been a pure woman always been home but always been godly it's just hard for me to just take what this is who ever heard of a woman getting married outside of any sexual intercourse. It just didn't happen. You don't have any examples. So you can only imagine what Joseph was going through. And right here. But yeah good to see that we don't get ahead. So we see that there is a situation here even where Joseph saw he had a reason not to go forward. Right. So he was not. Many times we think that we should not or that we should go forward no matter what Joseph here even for himself shows us that we don't have to. And we should not go forward no matter what. I was thinking about how this or. OK. I guess continue. OK. You boss. It was something. So you. You face a very very unique situation and Mary and Joseph got it. You got it. Yes Go it. So earlier we were talking about our non-negotiable zoo member the list that we were making talking about the guys you Carmen saw Abrahams a crime and sin the previous in the previous session. And we were talking about how it's important for us to have that list of non-negotiable for ourselves and for some Joseph was experiencing here maybe it's OK I don't mind you know this was a mistake and I can handle this. I don't mind being a parent to a child that is not mine. For others it's a clear no. So it's really important for you to know what those non-negotiable is are and not to feel and still they're not justifiable enough for you to see to pull out as well. And I think that's the biggest thing that we want to bring out from this initial point. Right. You've got to have your non-negotiable. And you've got it. Maintain them no matter what you compromise now you will compromise a leader. And the more you compromise the less happy you will be because guess what those standards will return and you'll be think you know what I don't want that too late you signed up. So it's better to go without and let it be. That's just not my thing. Then to go forward and realize you know what I thought I can handle this. But I can not that we're not only ruin your life it will ruin the life of another person. And not only that your family's because it's not just you getting married your families are also married. It's a very important point that marriage is not just a selfish thing between me and one person. So any way. I want to go forward. Old thing. We looked at Mary and Joseph and we saw that Joseph immediately sought to end the relationship when he felt that God could not bless he just cannot settle in his mind in God and to come to him in a dream. Said Look Joseph take Mary your wife. Don't stop this go forward. Why because this is what it is and because he had that supernatural experience from God he was able to go forward. Now we recognise in our lives doesn't always going to intervene the same way he intervened in Josef's life. But even though God may not give us a vision or visit us in a dream in our sleep. God will still find ways to speak to us in a way that we know that it's him. We've all had those moments where we knew it was God talking to us. Now we may not be able to describe it. We may not be able to say oh when you hear it. This so when it's three knocks on the table or something that's all you know is God talking to you you may not be able to do that but you're able to at least say look I know in my heart that was God telling me to do that. And in this sense this is where Joseph was and he was able to move forward. So now another thing that we wanted to bring out was that engagement can be a very dangerous time for temptation in Josef's case right there was no issue there was no sin. There was no breaking out but we also recognize as we mentioned earlier because we feel like we're almost married. There's heavy attraction the things are flowing so you just start becoming a little more lax on down trees and so it's very very important to really soup up your protection during your engagement because you're spending a lot of personal time together. You're spending a lot of time bonding in terms of emotional intimacy. You're having conflict and all these things bring you together and are going to drive that passion to want to express that in a physical way. And if you have it. I was just thinking you know. Sometimes when we think of marriage especially females we think of this is kind of like the climax first right. Yes. And I was thinking when I was for me. Besides marriage now the other thing I can liken it to is going to college. You're going. You're going to college I was the first one in my family to go. And so it was like everything was done so that I could actually make it. And once I was accepted. It was like wow this kind of says the state and then I remember when I got there was like well what do I do now when you become lax OK. I mean I hear suddenly at the studies much oh I need to I can go explore this or do that. Granted we know with relationships or. The about the the physical attraction etc all those other things a little different but essentially it's just coming coming down to we get to a place to overcome. And we let our guard down because we think it's not feeling from here. There's nothing to worry about already we've already checked off this guy and qualifies in all these different ways. God has approved intended. And so we're like OK. Everything is clear but that's exactly the timeline when you know I friend the devil likes to try to come in and try to mess up a good thing. And so it's important if not to have more of a guard and to be more diligent during that time. So one of the things that those of you are taking notes. One exercise you can always do right to start clarifying your boundaries is if you look on and you draw on a piece of paper. You draw a circle or a square and you cut it in half. Right. And as you cut that square circle in half. You put your initials on one side and whoever is this other person on the other side doesn't have to be relationship related but in our context. This is your fiance or whoever. As you put that person on the other side you recognize. There is a boundary right there is a place when your space ends and that person space begins. Are you tracking what I'm saying. Now in that space right that line is defined differently on each side. You see on your side you have to think about what are those things right that I do to him and that I allow him to do to me that communicate to him that he's different from every other man in my life and on your side as a woman you have to say OK what are the things I mean as a guy you have to say what are the things that I do to her and what are the things that I allow her to do to me that communicate to her that she is different from every other woman in my life. And this is very important because sometimes guys get confuse why a girl is upset when they do things for some other girl or is because in her mind. She's like I thought this was just for me. Now you just given this thing hours if you give everybody flowers it doesn't make any difference that I gave you one. Because it doesn't make you so. And I remember you know one of the things for me. You know was going to the gym and exercising. Right. Like I was like I don't I don't go to the gym and work out with women because I feel like when I'm at the gym and I'm working out. I'm just very light vulnerable I just start talking and just given out my whole soul and everything. And so it's like look. There's something about lifting weights and all that kind of stuff that just makes you super vulnerable and relaxed. And so for me it was always the thing that I can't take a young lady with me to the gym. Some guys can do that they work out together it's all cool for me that's not cool. Like I can't hang like that and I had to know that about myself and so if my wife ever heard of me going to the gym with some other girls she'd be like that's a little weird. Because immediate that time she knows it's a boundary from. And in this sense in engagement right. If we start doing those things that we know are communicating to that person and communicating to me that I'm special and that he's special and we just keep in that cycle. That's what starts taking it to a point of escalation and all it takes is a weak moment to be alone. And it will play itself out. And so in that time of engagement do not ever think that it's OK to succumb to that kind of physical temptation or that it's OK now to let our boundaries down because we're engaged we're getting married. No you should actually be for them up and strengthen them and reinforce them. And the last point of to say on this is that you know. My wife was a very very good person at managing to. And when I met her I was not very good at managing temptation. You know for my wife I just think Candace was very very dramatic. Right. If she was I don't want to eat this cake shooting at the outside in the trash or like. You know. Just give it away to somebody or something and for me I'm like nah man I'm good. You know just leave it in the fridge. I can manage this thing. And next thing you know I'm in the cake like I said I was in everybody else. I mean you said you were going to I came home and I'm just I'm struggling right now and Jesus Take The Wheel. In this case and I wasn't good at managing and Candice was a practical illustration of something my spiritual mother used to tell me she was a Sebastian if you're serious about not going forward in this kind of sin and temptation. You have to make it impossible for it to happen again. Impossible. We're not talking about like you know I mean I could share another you know several stories but. Well why was I do not. It would think about it still. I'm a key move in this. Pre-marriage counseling is not an automatic stamp of approval for marriage. I think it's probably our pet peeve as a couple is that people will come to us but I hate I want to get counseling. You know before before we get married and one of the first questions we have to ask people is are you open to this relationship not working out. Because sometimes people actually do counseling and they want you to do their wedding and model things if I see things during a premarital counseling that are problematic and I feel like I can't sign off on this. I'm not going to do your what. Not going to help indorse you destroy your own life. So in this sense you know we recognize that premarital counseling is not something that's just all we all go through it is just the required preparation eccentrics cetera et cetera you know ask these questions think about these topics that's all well and good but it's really about you. Recognizing hey here are some deep issues out a friend who is engaged. They. Going to premarital counseling and it came out in the sessions that the woman said I'm not really attracted to her fiancee physically. This came out in a premarital session. So he was in their shock he was blown I mean here we are just basically said like physically you are not attracted to. Point blank and she said look I'm just being honest like I'm attracted to your mind in all these other things are physically like I'm not I'm not feeling you like that. And so the counselor. He was trying to manage this. He said look you know I think what she's trying to communicate is. And when. What about friend came to me like yeah I don't know you just couldn't get over it like he just called off the engagement. And in that sense right. You can look at him to say oh man I heard your heart and I can only imagine how he feels but on another level. I say Would you like to have found out now or after you got married. Are you following. And so in a sense this is why we say it's not just an automatic stamp of approval. And it's another pet peeve is when people come and they want to have counseling like six weeks before their marriage. Oh yeah pretty much the community just being married and they just want you to approve it for them they did it. But actually it's doing yourself a disservice because what we don't realize about pre-marriage counseling is that it really opens our eyes to things that are going to happen after. Well I think that we should be considering what what occurs after we say I do kind of like the what now. And many times the reasons why WOULD BE We become disappointed in our marriages or in our relationships is that the expectations that. We have are not being met and many times it's because those expectations have never even been voiced or heard or articulated and so we're expecting something that we never shared and the other person has no idea that we expect. And that's where conflict comes in and. It goes. All right so we say here are some critical areas. That I can just kind of highlights in terms of premarital counseling they do want to kind of talk about these. OK sure. I mean we all know money is always an issue. So taking financial matters talking about the reality of that. So what what you're into ritual finance plans are things like you know how much debt are you coming with are we going to have a joint bank account how we're going to tackle these things are we going to be having what's our plan for repaying these things would you be paying yourself as our combined thing just having kind of mapping a way forward is how you both of you money and finances so that when the tons challenges do come up. You already have you're ready on the same page when it comes to the finances so to lessen the strain that typically comes during the first couple years of marriage and you also recognize that money. Financial issues is the number one reason for divorce is disagreements on money. So definitely. I want to second that as a very very important area to discuss how you're going to spend money how you buy things house debt. All that kind of stuff. This is critical thing the other area of just our expectations for marriage in general. Why do you want to get married. What does marriage mean to you and we're not talking about you know the cookie cutter response of you know God created marriage and it's opposed the better our spiritual our physical I mean all those things are. RAY But let's talk about why it is they you personally are looking to to be married. What does it mean to you. And what you expect your spouse to contribute to the marriage. What you expect what you expect to contribute to the marriage looking even back at what you were what you both experienced or saw as examples of marriages around you because many times you don't realize how much those things influence how we view it and then how we ourselves think it is supposed to be. So really taking the time to think about that and also talk about that and find where there are there may be some talented sponsor ways that you not think things the same way so that we can you can carve out together what you want your marriage to mean together and one of the things that you know we always start with in every premarital counseling session. Usually the first or second session is that we outline three basic expectations in every relationship. The first thing is you have on realized expectations. Right. So you have to start with the fact that there are expectations that you have another person that are not going to be realized or that are not real lives. The second type are unexpressed expectations. Right. So a lot of times in our in our marriage and engaging in this we don't always express our expectations but we respond when they're not met and then we're wondering where these conflicts came from and the third one is on realistic expectations. So sometimes you expressed it. It's not realized but the reality is it's not realistic. No person can live up to that you know once our mind to tell you know young woman in a session I said look you want this brother across land and sea climb the highest mountain swim to the deepest ocean right. Just so you will barely accept him like that's not a relationship. Right that's. You know some sort of Greek empathy or empathy or Gladiator kind of stuff why all he's going to wind me on tours you Jane like this is that's not a real relationship. You're making is rather go through every single thing all the rigamarole just you can have one little ounce of you know of affection and I'm like that's not appropriate. That's realistic. You just can't expect a person to do that. So it's very important with the marriage expectations. Conflict resolution. I think we'll talk about that more in our in our marriage. The next session on marriage but just again kind of looking forward. Looking back and also looking forward looking back to how you saw conflict handled in your family. And. And. How you intend to do how you intend to solve conflict in your own marriage. Again this also requires from even our first session of having that that sense of like or taking that time for introspection and knowing where you are at night knowing what you are pushing areas are knowing. Just being honest about those things. That that can trigger conflict in how you yourself resolve or face conflicts some of us retreat some of us go in when we need to just calm down. So taking the time to really maybe even carve out as we'll talk about later carving out ways that we intend to manage how we take care of the conflict that that me that will arise because one arise. So. Religion spirituality. You just want to make sure you're matched on those kind of things we recognize that having worship together is something that's expected. But not everybody understands how to have family worship. Especially if a person was converted from the world and didn't have a family like that. Those are discussions you want to have about how do we want to run our family worship. How do you want to worship together morning and evening just evening just morning. Are we going to read to what Turks are going to have a devotional you know it all depends on how that conversation goes and what you expect religion and spirituality to look like in your home. Very very important and even on a more practical level you know we recognize Well Subash and I we have a very different styles of of the way that we. He likes to be alone and have his personal time quietly on more of a I want to do everything together and so kind of figuring out even for us how how engaging in spiritual things was going to be how we would do it in a way where it. It's still gave each one of us what we needed separately and then also combined together collectively so taking time to think of this to figure out how that or to think about how that will play out division of labor. You know. I know many times we think that's such a minor detail but when you're living with a person day in and day out those things matter because it all goes. If he doesn't put ing this fork like this or can you please change toilet paper roll or you know so. Is he going to take out the trash. So taking the time to talk about how you want to divide the labor. It may seem very like not important but it really helps later on establish something absolutely because if you consistently persistently fail to take care of your house so responsibilities. Right. You have problems and I recall you know it used to hurt me that I would forget to take out the trash and I was seen Candace carrying out the trash. Now but then I got to get the SO THERE'S ONE morning. Sure enough right. I'm sleeping in and I come out and all I hear is that beeping sound and I realize it's the garbage truck. Because I said Just don't take out the trash like if I forget just leave. The trash like do not take out the trash ever. She's I OK Now obviously that's a problem because the trash builds up where you could to put it. So this morning. Right. It was cold super cold in Boston. I had like a robe on it somehow slippers and I grabbed the trash and. I was flying through the house she was I were as you do in because for me it was like look you know how can you be out here preaching and doing all this stuff and you can't take care of basic household responsibilities. And it's like look you can't you can be like well you know I'm excellent in this but you fail in basic stuff that doesn't require a college education pick up the bag carry it to the other can before Friday. It's like that's all you have to do. And so for me it was the division of labor is very huge and also you get these cultural inheritances of how housework is many. Right. So you marry some brother who thinks man a woman cooks cleans. Cuts builds construction and she does everything just like I do I don't do this. And one of the things that you know my wife and I talked about in terms of division of labor was the fact like you know I don't do anything with the bowels. So all my plumbing and all that kind of stuff. I will call the local plumber. You know but stuff gets backed up in order. That's just not my thing like she's like they just get the plunger put this down my nana we need to call the plumber. Just the whole stuff is splash and I'm like no mistake this in to children in parenting as you just can't win. So so so in that sense like she already knew going into the marriage like if the toilet is backed up right. I'm not going to handling men. And also of course like she said children in parenting recognising that sometimes it's fathers. You know and husbands we just want to do all. Fun stuff we don't want to do the hardcore stuff. Right. So it's like oh yeah let's play with the kids all the diaper needs to be changed. OK and the diapers over there. Help yourself. But again you have these cultural inheritances of what I saw in my house or what someone else saw in their house and you know you get a woman like my wife who grow up with you know a single mom very strong woman. You know she's not necessarily look at that about to do everything for you. You know when you grow up in a strong woman home. Who is very independent has her own mind is intelligent. There's some ways that we can manage this right and I think that it's very important. You have those conversations about what those expectations are. And you know in my house my mom was also a single mom and so I felt like certain responsibilities were also placed upon me because I was the oldest So it's like well you just have to do this because there was no dad so even carving out that whole experience from myself was something unique that was in this really model to me and so having those conversations are very helpful. You just have a few more as you happen. So. Just a few popular police and misconceptions. One is that sometimes we think they're all. You know this thing he does or she does. You know it's kind of irritating or kind of rubs me the wrong way we have an issue with that we take issue with it but we kind of just put it on the rug say Ah. When we get married. I think that will change. Just my let you all know marriage is not at change machine that's really not an O.T. and so I guess the best way to think of it is if this person were not to change at all. I guess. This is that indication for us to in our engagement phase if this person were not to change at all and if in fact they were to get worse. What I still want what I still want to be married to them. Meaning what I. It's not of course you know it's not just. Receiving the benefits of this person. But will I still be willing to put in to be. To be a tool to minister to this person even in those times and that's very sobering. But yeah we need to realise that marriage is not going to change things. So either you talk about uni it's very important in this indictment time to really talk about those things and again nonnegotiable seems to know what those are and recognise that marriage is not only is not going to change. It's not make it worse because you don't see it all the time you know before it's like you go to your house or go to my house and you know she may do this one thing that gets on my nerves. We talk about it but hey you know I'm in a relationship. We're having our first argument. You know we think this stuff askew. When you get married. It's not cute anymore. Because it's happening all the time and sometimes it's happening in front of your family or it's happening in front of friends and then people start getting embarrassed to start acting some kind of way. And again these. Just keep creating other issues around them so I think it's very important. You know you know babe in terms of what you're highlighting in that not being the change machine is directly connected to the fact that it's also going to get worse. It's just going to magnify these things in your life. Now I know we keep pointing out the negatives right. We're only doing that so that because I think we already see what the positives over always focusing on what those positive things are the benefits. Also we just want to also bring to life. You know what is this other side were to happen because at the same in the same token marriage can be a vehicle that guy uses to help us to grow and that's what it should be. But we should also be considering. Well if if this were to go the other way. Who would I still be living. So just money to to make sure we're clear on that much. So I. Once in gauged it's too late to say no I think we addressed this. Yes this point. Obviously it is not too late to say no. Once you come down. They say I'd like to introduce to you Mr and Mrs such and such is truly so. At that point in time but engagement is not too late. It's too costly to call off a wedding. You know a lot of people use this excuse. And it is a misconception. All of us would be bad stewardship. You know for me to call off my wedding. On my you know be bad stewardship. It's for you to get married to this person instead. That's bad. You just wasted your whole life you worried about a couple thousand dollars. And you could give back a couple thousand dollars. You can't get your life back and you still choose. You can't get your life by that. So here in terms of some practical counsel you know we also wanted to talk about you know your wedding and recognizing you know some ways that you can and you can bring God into how you conduct your wedding and how you plan your wedding. You know one of the things that we did in our wedding. Was to have our wedding was actually on a Saturday night after sabbath had ended and what we decided to do was to create a a a program because we knew a lot of our family was going to be there that weren't necessarily believers and so we decided to have the best man and the maid of honor. Where they decided they were reading a narrative form of our of our personal testimonies and how God led us together in bringing out those different things that we had done in our lives as well as in how we manage the reception and all the things that was in all this dancing and all this kind of craziness going on. And we wove in other different elements to still make it engaging in fun and all those different things. But we definitely want you to think about a lot of the ways you can bring in symbolism and usual wedding. As a opportunity to showcase what God has done in your life. And what you're expecting God to do through your marriage and we feel like that's a very very important to actually take time to look at that. Where is that going to come out in your wedding service where is it going to come out not only in the sacredness of the service but where is it going to come out in terms of how you have fun after you're married and what you're doing at the reception a lot of people just think Well once the wedding is over. You know when it's time to get down. You know in reality is it's not just how you celebrate your your wedding and how you conduct it but it's also what you do afterwards not it we're married and we're ready to have fun. How do we do that is godly people. And it's very important that our family that are not believers can see that we are normal individuals. Just because I'm a committed Seven Day Adventists doesn't mean I don't know how to laugh. I don't know how to have a good time. I don't know how to engage and be fun and I'm not negating our relationship before I decided to join the church but I also have to recognize that this is who I am and I have to engage in that authentically and biblically very very important. All right well. Mom has given me the sign off. So we're going to go and pray and our session I just want to remind people again that we have a I don't think we put the U.R.L. here but if you have questions on those of you were here before you know that there is a Web site says type forn. On if you don't have it you can come to me afterwards I can give it to you. And we can look at the different questions you may have in our succession on Sabbath afternoon. So let's go and pray as we enter Father in heaven. Thank you Lord. So much that we can think about this aspect of relationships and consider in a very special way that we don't have to fill controlled or box or so. Stuck or trot and that we can focus on not disobeying it we can focus on being true to what we know is right and what we believe to be the very best. And what we know that God can bless and Lord that we would leave all the pain and the worry and the costs. To Jesus. To cast all our cares upon him because he cares for us at the same time Help us Lord to do the necessary work to build a strong foundation for a marriage that would last until eternity. But as we look at engagement and wedding. We still want Jesus to be a part of even those parts of our we don't want to take them for granted and so we pray with these able to give today. Pray. This is on offer this prayer. She says and this message was presented at the G Y C twenty sixteen conference when all has been used in Texas a supporting ministry at the Seventh Day Adventist church spire young people to Christ centered and so winning Christians for other resources like visit us online.

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