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A Marriage Conversation

Here are some resources from A Marriage Conversation from Billy Raies this past weekend. Unfortunately we were not able to have the audio recording, however, I pray that you are served by the resources!

Books for married couples and singles

Love That Lasts:  When Marriage Meets Grace by Gary and Betsy Ricucci

The Meaning of Marriage by Tim and Kathy Keller

What Did You Expect by Paul Tripp

Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel by Ray Ortlund

Not Yet Married:  The Pursuit of Joy in Singleness and Dating by Marshall Segal Audio/Video resources Ministry and Marriage in a Secular Age - Tim and Kathy Keller, YouTube Sustaining the Covenant of Marital Love - John Piper, Tim Keller, Don Carson, The Gospel Coalition For the Singles/Couples Currently Dating/Engaged Pre-Engagement Counseling/Discipleship…Don’t reduce marriage to a mere topic addressed by the Bible.  Don’t use your Bible like you use “Google” to learn about marriage.The Bible is not a collection of unrelated stories or topics; but is rather one unified story—the story of redemption through Jesus Christ.From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is one great story—the story of Jesus. If you don't understand this central truth, you'll miss the point of the Bible…and the main point of marriage.The goal of your learning the redemptive storyline of Christ in your Bible is not to grow with a mere abstract knowledge of God or of topics like marriage, but to better understand what God is doing in history in a way that compels you to seek to join Him on His mission of redemption through the power of the Holy Spirit.  With this in view, you will begin to see marriage in the context of the gospel…the gospel according to marriage.Seeking God’s will for your life, whether that be what to major in, what college to attend, who to marry or why you stay married is far bigger than just wanting to know what you should do over the next few years of your life.  The better you understand God’s main plan in all of history, the better you will understand how your education, vocation and marriage fit within that glorious plan.Too often, we make God appear very small when we reduce His will to just where we should work or who we should marry.  God is much more glorious and loving and wonderful than that!!!  God wants you to see your vocation or education or marriage as part of His massive plan to make disciples of every neighborhood and nation! Pre-Marital Counseling/DiscipleshipPre-marital counseling will not make you perfectly ready for marriage but will give you a Biblical tool kit to use as you face the difficulties and challenges of marriage.Strongly consider completing your pre-marital counseling prior to setting your wedding date.Remember, you are not mainly preparing for your wedding day.  You are preparing to bring God glory together for a lifetime.Setting a wedding date before your pre-marital counseling is not wrong, but it can result in one of the following problems... For some couples, the pre-marital counseling becomes just another item to check off the list.  “Invitations ordered…check.  Cake ordered…check.  Wedding dress/tuxedos ordered…check.  Pre-marital counseling…check.”  The goal of pre-marital counseling is not to just get it done.  The goal of pre-marital counseling is to grow in the character and mission of Christ together.Some couples set a wedding date that is so close to the date that they were engaged so as to make the pre-marital counseling feel like you are cramming for a final exam.  Speed is not the goal of pre-marital counseling; sanctification is.Some couples ask if they can start the pre-marital counseling before the wedding and finish it after the wedding.  Once the rings are on the fingers, many couples do not sense the importance of finishing their pre-marital counseling because they are already married and very busy.It is much more fruitful for your wedding date to be dictated by your pre-marital counseling rather than your pre-marital counseling be dictated by a wedding date.  For example, what if you discover through your pre-marital counseling that you should not be married to each other or need to work through a few things a little longer?  If the date has already been set, many couples go through with the wedding out of pride or not wanting the embarrassment of telling the invited guests that the wedding date has been put on hold.    God will use finishing your pre-marital counseling first as a wonderful means of His grace to increase your faith, peace and joy for your wedding date and beyond!!!Another way these principles could be practiced is by setting your wedding date far enough in advance so that you felt the freedom to make any adjustments as necessary and grow as disciples of Christ through the counseling. For Married Couples: Because of indwelling sin, even the best of marriages need encouragement and accountability.Read one gospel centered book on marriage a year.It is wisdom to seek the help of your pastors during difficult seasons.It is wisdom to meet with your pastors at least once a year to talk about where your marriage has grown stronger and where it needs to grow.The various seasons of life are designed by God to promote the growth of your love for one another.  Be on guard against assuming that because you have been married 5 years, you know what love is.  God intends our love for our spouses to mature as we mature in Christ.  As such, if you think your understanding of the love of Christ as a newlywed is going to be sufficient for when the season of raising children begins, you will likely experience great frustration and conflict.  If you think your understanding of the love of Christ during the parenting years is sufficient for when your nest is empty, you will likely face frustration and conflict.  If you think your understanding of the love of Christ when you are healthy will be sufficient for the seasons in which you are sick or aging, you will likely face frustration and conflict.  Being vitally engaged with your local church is a foundational way for God to grow the covenant love of marriage. 

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