Day #12 of this series, Marriage Ministry, who needs it?
Think of the many things in life that require proper training. You start a new job; you get trained in the way things are done there. You want to start a new career or your first career and you have to be trained, sometimes with a college education. To drive a car, a semi-truck, or fly an airplane, you have to be trained. And that’s okay; these are all very important reasons to be properly trained.
But what about getting married and having children? How much training or even forethought goes into the two most important things you will do in life? There is nothing more valuable to society than healthy families and yet so many families are started with the simple notion that LOVE and DETERMINATION will see them through.
I know because that’s how we started and I see it continuing everyday. Starry eyed couples jump into marriage and start having babies, or they start having babies and then they get married, and they never stop to consider that it would be a good idea to get some proper training to lay a Solid Foundation for their family.
If we could have done things right and received some help right from the start, we could have prevented a lot of pain for us and our children. We had the dream of a healthy marriage and family life; we just lacked the understanding of what it would take. We didn’t know what we were missing until we were past the point we could have used it. So we have learned way too much from the school of hard knocks when we could have done things better with proper training.
Three ways to lay a solid foundation for a healthy family
When we were married thirty years ago we had never heard of pre marriage counseling. Now today there are many pastors who offer and sometimes require pre-marriage counseling. The amount of sessions will vary from one pastor or another and the material they use will also vary. There are also some counseling services outside of church that offers pre-marriage sessions. The important thing is to get some important information to engaged couples and start them to think in a mature way about their upcoming marriage and sometimes their decision to marry, or not to marry.
I personally prefer pastors or Christian counselor so that the information that is given is based on the word of God. I also believe there should be several sessions that cover a wide range of topics and dig into some personal history so as much important information as possible will be brought to the table.
Some pastors have the option to focus mainly on the couple’s personal history from a biblical perspective and then pass the couple on to a pre-marriage class to receive some foundational training about marriage. This is the way it works in our church and the pre-marriage classes are a vital part of the overall marriage ministry. We have a great couple, Justin and Alisa, who are gifted teachers and they set a wonderful example of a young family who is all about laying the proper foundations.
2) Early marriage
Marriage Builders classes, like the one we teach, is a great way to start those early years of marriage. Those are the years when everything you thought you knew is put into practice. It is a great time to refresh your memory on what you learned from pre-marriage and to work out the kinks you have discovered along the way.
Many churches offer these types of classes in some form or another, usually in a small group setting and very often using some type of curriculum that has been developed by leading experts on Christian marriages. If your church doesn’t offer these classes, you may be able to attend the classes that another church is offering. I know we have an open door policy for our class.
Another type of ministry that would be good, especially during those early years, is marriage retreats or conferences. We attend our pastor’s marriage conference and we also have attended a couple of weekend retreats. They are becoming more and more popular and with the internet it would be very easy to find one that fits your needs and location.
The first years of marriage would be a lot easier for every marriage if couples would find a mentoring couple to help guide them through it. Some churches offer a marriage mentoring program, but if your church doesn’t, I’m sure there are older couples around that would be glad to fill the need. Ask your pastor or church leaders if there is such a program and if not ask them if they would recommend to you an older couple they think would be interested. You will want people who are trust worthy so it is very important to go with a good recommendation if you don’t already know them.
There is so much material on how to have a healthy Christian marriage, your choices are endless. For starters you are here, which means reading blogs is one form of reading you are doing. We appreciate you being here and reading our material. Now also we strongly recommend you checking out some the other marriage blogs out there. And there are endless amount of books, audio, and DVD material. Check out some of our recommendations here.
Finally for the sake of your marriage and for the sake of raising healthy children, get some training on how to be good parents. We are not born with this information and we should not just rely on our own experience from the way our parents were. In fact many times we will still do things wrong in an effort to do parenting better than our parents did it.
Again, there are classes you can take on raising children. Our church offers them and I’m sure many other churches do and again they would gladly accept anyone who would like to attend.
Also, read and research and communicate together about the ideas and concepts you are learning on parenting. Don’t get caught up in a huge tug-a-war over who has the best ideas on parenting and who has the most favorable upbringing that qualifies your opinions. Let the expert information and the knowledge you gain from study and open communication keep you centered on what is the best way to raise children.
So, get the training you need to lay a solid foundation for your family and future generations to come. And remember the old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Thanks for reading and please feel free to post your comments. We would love to hear from you.