7 Truths About Marriage You Will Not Hear In Church

by Frank Powell

Ever wish you had the answers to a test before you walked into the classroom? Maybe some of you did have the answers, but you better keep that to yourself. I took some really hard tests during my time in college.

And if you spent time in college you remember review days. The professor would walk into a class full of students (some of which I had never seen) and give some insights about the impending test. Miss review day, and it would be foolish to expect a passing grade.

But it never failed. I would follow the guideline. I would study the handout. But on the day of the exam, the professor would put the exam on my desk…and there it was. A foreign formula or equation. It wasn’t in the notes. It didn’t show up on the study guide.

Looking back, I realize something…the teacher did not intend for the study guide to be comprehensive. It was simply not possible to include everything from the required readings, class notes, and lectures.

The same is true with the church and marriage. I am grateful for the foundation the church gave me in regards to marriage. It was a good study guide. But there some things on the test I did not learn until marriage began. So, I am going to give you some answers to the test that some of you might not expect to see. I grew up in church. I spent most of my time with Christian people. I was told much about marriage. But these 7 truths about marriage I never heard in church.

1.) Sex is a gift from God. Explore It.

Make no mistake…God created sex. But through the years, God’s people allowed Satan to steal this gift. Without a fight.

I was never educated about sex…and I grew up in a Christian family. My framework for sex was built by my friends and the movies I watched. Big UH OH. The cloud of lies formed during my teenage years still hinder me from enjoying the fullness of sex.

It is time for God’s people to take back the gift of sex. The lies surrounding it are ruining lives and marriages. If you are married, here’s a challenge. Explore sex. Explore the fullness of it. Pray for sexual intimacy with your spouse.

Parents…it is time to stop allowing Satan to define sex for our children. Educate them. Start early. The average child is exposed to pornography at age 11. Eleven!! And many parents wait until high school to have “the talk” with their children. At that point, you are not building a foundation for sex. Your’re trying to destroy a foundation Satan has already built.

Church leaders…I am convinced of this. The situation in our culture today is too urgent to allow parents to override you here. Talk about sex. If parents refuse to educate their children, you do it. Do not let Satan beat you to the punch. A false understanding of sex is destroying young people. It is destroying our nation. It is destroying the world. And we are doing nothing!

Sex is a beautiful gift created by God for a man and a woman that have vowed to spend the rest of their earthly lives with one another. If you are married…open this gift and enjoy the fullness of it.

2.) There is more than one person out there for you.

Soul mates are made…not born. I am not sure where this idea of soul mate originated, but it is false. Maintaining a healthy relationship is more about commitment than perfection. Every person on earth has imperfections. And the reality is we could spend our lives with more than one person.

Tiffani (my wife) is not perfect. There are nuances about her that frustrate me. But I realize these frustrations are really a result of my imperfections. I love her so much. And I love her more every day. I am committed to her.

I meet too many young people waiting for something that is not real. “I just couldn’t marry her because she smacked her food.” “He just wasn’t the one…he had this weird twitch when he smiled. But I know my soul mate is still out there. I just have to keep looking.”

Or you might have just missed him or her.

What if God does not want you to find a perfect person, but an imperfect person that will draw you closer to Him? What if God desires you to marry a person with flaws to expose yours? What if God wants to teach you the value found in committing to one person forever, not the exhausting pursuit of searching your entire life to find the perfect person?

Soul mates are made…not born.

3.) The first year of marriage is hard…really hard.

What have we done? Are we going to make it? Why is this so hard? All questions I asked myself many times during my first year of marriage. We were arguing. We were fighting. It was really hard. And every day I thought something was wrong. I thought we had a bad marriage. Nobody warned me about the first year. But take this as a warning…the first year of marriage is difficult.

If you are in the first year of marriage and thinking about giving up…congratulations. You are now…married!

But let me encourage you…things get better. Every marriage has struggles. Yours is not unique. Don’t give up. There are better days coming. Your marriage will get better. Do not walk out. Nothing worth having comes easy. If you walk out now you disqualify yourself (and your spouse) from years of joy.

4.) A spouse does not complete you.

I hate you, Jerry Maguire. You brainwashed a generation to believe a lie. Spouses do not complete people. I bought this lie, and it wasn’t until I let go of any notion my wife could fill some void that I was able to truly love her. Until then, I was always frustrated. I expected Tiffani to do something she was incapable of doing.

If you are empty, broken, or insecure, and you believe a spouse is the silver bullet to your problems…buckle up. Marriage will be a bumpy ride. Only God can fill those voids. You will never be able to enjoy the beauty of marriage if your spouse’s job is to complete you.

5.) Marry somebody with similar goals, dreams, and passions.

Marry a Christian, yes. But I would go even further. Marry somebody with similar passions and dreams. Now, I understand this breaks down at some point. People are not machines. No two people want exactly the same thing in life. However, if you love foreign missions and your potential spouse hates going overseas, some tension will arise.

Synergy is extremely important in a marriage. If your spouse has the same vision as you, they will understand your struggles and support your pursuits. They will encourage your walk. They will be empathetic. There is much power in two people doing life with the same goals, dreams, and passions for life.

6.) Marriage is not for everybody.

Paul talks about this in I Corinthians 7. He tells the church at Corinth to remain in their current situation. If unmarried, then stay unmarried. If married, then stay married. He later says this…

So then the person who marries his fiancé does well, and the person who doesn’t marry does even better.

Even better? I never heard that in church. Maybe it is time for God’s people to accept the reality. God has not called everyone to marry. I talk with young men and women consumed with finding a spouse. And most of the pressure comes from…US. The church. Once a person reaches mid-twenties, we assume they have a fatal flaw if they aren’t married.

“Bless your heart. You are almost 30 and not married? I know this must be hard!?”

Shame on us. I am worried many failed marriages are the result of Christians pressuring people into something God did not design them for. Marriage is holy and good, but it is also possible to follow Jesus without a spouse.

7.) The wedding day is a lie…don’t buy it. 

I love weddings. I love officiating them. It is a rare moment where I get to make a divine proclamation that forever changes the status of two people. Powerful.

But in an increasingly individualistic, “me” culture, weddings create a potentially dangerous situation. “Every girl lives for her wedding day.” It is all about the bride and groom. Everyone looks at them. Encourages them. Congratulates them.

Many couples buy the lie of the wedding day…it is all about me. But marriage is at odds with this mindset. A successful wedding day is one where everyone serves you. A successful marriage is one where you serve your spouse. The wedding day is a day where the spotlight is on you. Marriage has no spotlight. The wedding day is about saying a bunch of words that most couples never take seriously. Marriage is about putting the words into action. The wedding day is joyous and celebratory. Many seasons of marriage are about persevering and not letting go through the storms.

Embrace your wedding day. Prepare for it. Celebrate it. But do not make the mistake of believing the lie. After your 20 minutes of fame, the spotlight is gone forever. It is no longer about you (and this is a good thing…you will see).

____________________________

What are some truths you have discovered about marriage the church never taught you? There were several more I had to remove because of length. Let’s continue the discussion!

I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen!

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516 comments

Bethany Welborn July 22, 2014 - 6:31 pm

I’m almost finished reading the best book on marriage I’ve ever read…and believe me, I’ve read quite a few. 😛 It’s by Tim Keller, called The Meaning of Marriage. He expounds on many of the points you brought up here, especially concerning singles; good grief, have we got it so backwards sometimes when it comes to single Christians. Anyways, thought I would recommend the book, it’s been SO encouraging to find a book on marriage that doesn’t sugarcoat or over-simplify both the grit and glory of marriage. Paul called marriage “a profound mystery,” and that’s so stinkin’ comforting on the days when you have absolutely no idea how to understand this person you’re married to. It’s not easy, any more than it was easy for Jesus to die for His bride and present her to Himself, radiant and pure. As long as we refuse to see marriage as something sacred and complex and rugged, we’ll just keep wondering what in the world is wrong with our spouse, our marriage, ourselves? Whew, sorry… *steps down from soapbox* 🙂

Frank Powell July 23, 2014 - 11:15 am

Bethany, thanks so much for your comment. I have not read that book, but I love Tim Keller. He is so real and authentic. I should pick it up. Love you and Bryan. So thankful God has allowed our paths to cross!

ellenlcrews July 23, 2014 - 12:29 am

Women. remwmber we are called to submit to or husbands… before you marry him think carefully about who you are surrendering too. Do you want to surrender and submit to a man who will not bend a knee to the Lord? If you do merry a man who has not surrendered to the Lord you will face a daily challenge of submitting to a man’s self centered agenda that will run contrary to the Lord’s plan and will for your life?

byGod'sgrace July 24, 2014 - 4:59 pm

I did not learn from anyone at church what the Bible says about divorce and remarriage, but it seems to me that the right to put away an unfaithful spouse is limited (by gender specific terms) to men. (Mat 5:32) The wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives (I Cor 7:39) & should her marriage end in divorce she has only these options: 1)remain unmarried 2)be reconciled to her husband.
If a man marries a divorced woman, he commits adultery.
How many couples are living in adultery that believed they had a “scriptural” right to marry?

Katy July 24, 2014 - 7:01 pm

This is a strange cherry-picking of the scriptures. The Word talks about marriage and divorce and remarriage all over the OT and the NT, and there aren’t any contradictions. God absolutely provided divorce as a way to free the oppressed and abused spouse, and it conferred the right to remarry. Please do some serious study on this topic before you post comments like this on marriage articles for other Christians. Jesus did not contradict the laws of Moses, and our Father in heaven loves and protects His daughters just as much as His sons.
The choice of a marriage partner is no doubt the biggest choice a person will make in their lifetime. It will either make your life better or it will destroy you and your children if you choose poorly. It should be approached with that level of seriousness – but also knowing that if your spouse should forsake all of his vows before God and attempt to destroy your soul, God does not expect you to lay down your life to the idol of marriage. It is the law of LOVE that is to govern us as believers.

Frank Powell July 28, 2014 - 9:37 am

Ellen, I appreciate your comments. I think it is possible, however, to have a very good marriage with no consideration for God. I know several marriages this way. It is not possible to attain the fullness of marriage without God, but a very good marriage is entirely possible. It is important to submit, but even that word needs to be approached carefully because of the negative connotations is carries in our culture. Blessings!

ellenlcrews July 23, 2014 - 12:38 am

Your husband will be wrong. He will fail. He will make mistakes. The path and descisions that he choses will often look wrong errant and at times dumb. His mistakes and errors will not ruin your marriage… yelling screaming resisting and undermining him will ruin your marriage… and will ruin your children’s charictor. You will teach your children to rebel when they think authority is wrong. They will often error in their judgment as teenagers and young adults and think you are wrong. And there will be times you are in fact wrong. The teenager who has learned by example that submission to authority is more important than their right to protest will be much more likely to be content happy and resist temptations of drugs sex and tom follery than the child who learned well from their mother how to fight resist challenge and disregard their father. They will eventually disregard you too mom on the way out the door to premarital sex teen pregnancy along with drugs and alcohol abuse

ellenlcrews July 23, 2014 - 12:49 am

Last of all ! I forgot to say!~ if your husband is wrong pray shut your mouth and PRAY for him. Ask God for wisdom. Ask God for humility.
Remember men are humans and have real hearts that love and hurt. Love them tenderly. Patiently. Believe in them. Know before you merry him if he is a man who cares about the Lords way. Not his way and you will never loose sleep worrying about the mistakes you see him making. .

Frank Powell July 23, 2014 - 11:14 am

Thanks for commenting. Good thoughts here. One of the big themes I see in your comments is humility. Humility drives a marriage. Understanding you are not perfect. Understanding your spouse will let you down. Understanding God must be at the center. Understanding authority and submission. Not as an old-fashioned “do whatever I say.” But as a life-breathing path to a more fruitful marriage. The world is full of people that believe the only person they have to submit to is themselves. Not dismissing this truth. But it will not birth life and joy. Humility. Vital for marriage. Vital for life. God bless you!

I'd tell you face to face July 23, 2014 - 10:06 am

To give you a little hope, I was taught all of these things in a church. I was taught them more in church than I ever was at home. I think a truly Biblically minded church would teach these. Thanks for posting for those who haven’t been taught.

Frank Powell July 23, 2014 - 11:09 am

This is very encouraging to hear. I completely agree with you. All churches should teach these things. Hope your understanding of these going in has birthed a more fruitful marriage. God bless you!

Joel July 23, 2014 - 11:10 am

I would argue that this list could be very helpful and apply to non-Christians as well. It contains a lot of insight and you can tell you are putting your heart in to this to help people. Well-written article. Consider this shared.

Frank Powell July 23, 2014 - 11:18 am

Joel, thank you so much for your words here. I really have thought a lot about this. Of course, I am a Christian. I do want marriages, Christian or not, to be full of joy and peace. I believe God designed them to be so. Thanks for sharing! Blessings!

Robin July 23, 2014 - 12:03 pm

The idea that there is soul mate out there for you is the result of what Perry Jinkerson calls “rose colored glasses.” He ripped mine off real quick in pre-marital counseling lol And I am thankful for it.

Frank Powell July 23, 2014 - 7:12 pm

Rose colored glasses. I like that. Sometimes it is a very healthy thing for us to be realisitic about a situation. Thanks for reading!

Alyssa Thys July 23, 2014 - 4:40 pm

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. This list is very true. Our culture and the church fail to inform people about some important truths about marriage. It’s difficult and wonderful all at the same time.

Frank Powell July 23, 2014 - 7:10 pm

Alyssa, thank for your comments. I pray the church begins to realize our responsibility to teach some of the difficult truths about marriage. We need to be more counter-cultural in this regard! God bless you!

Justin July 23, 2014 - 6:51 pm

I’ve literally heard all 7 of these truths multiple times in multiple churches.

Frank Powell July 23, 2014 - 7:08 pm

Justin, praise God that your faith community has done a good job of teaching you the truths about marriage. Thanks for reading! God bless you.

Indiglowblu July 23, 2014 - 8:36 pm

I have always said the whole celebration thing is backwards. You should not have a celebration until later after you have done something more than choosing the person to marry. Wait until you havebeenmarried 5 or 7 years and then have a marriage celebration. A wedding is nothing more than a celebration of a choice you made that you hope will work out and all the people who congratulate you for the choice you made, leave you standing with the hardest part to confront after being told what a great thing you have already done(which is nothing compared to building a marriage over the next years of your lives). Your list is spot on!

Frank Powell July 24, 2014 - 4:55 pm

Thanks for commenting. I understand what you are saying. It does feel as though we are pouring out a ton of money and resources to celebrate something that has not yet happened. Does seem backwards. That being said, I believe there is something to be said for the way history has traditionally surrounded weddings. There is a healthy way to celebrate. It is a great day. Our materialistic culture has lost the beauty of the marriage bond and surrounded it in exquisite decoration and planning. I pray we can restore the wedding ceremony as a divine time where two people are pledging love to one another and to God. Good thoughts!

Guest July 29, 2014 - 3:19 pm

Although, you yourself likely had a wedding. There is nothing wrong with celebrating a union God has blessed.

Lauren July 30, 2014 - 9:50 am

Good points about celebrating after we’ve put in the work. I like that! I think also, though, we’ve lost the understanding that the wedding day isn’t at all about us. It’s a chance to proclaim the gospel to our unbelieving friends and family, and it’s our chance to play out the metaphor of the Bride of Christ and Christ our Bridegroom coming together for the first time! You’re so right in that we celebrate two people that haven’t actually done anything yet, but isn’t that like God and His grace? 🙂 What a blessing a wedding day can be for many people for many reasons for years to come if done in the right way!

Virginia Sowell July 23, 2014 - 9:36 pm

This is a wonderful, and very truthful list. My biggest struggle happened when our children were little. It’s an overwhelming time of joy but also several years of little sleep and differences about how to raise these precious babies. I’m glad my husband and I got through that time. I just want to tell parents of young kids to hang on – it gets better!

Frank Powell July 24, 2014 - 7:51 pm

Virginia, I completely agree. I have two young boys, and this season rivaled my first year of marriage. It is very difficult. Thank you for this very truthful comment! God bless!

rebeccaphdz July 23, 2014 - 10:41 pm

I totally agree! I am in my 8th month of marriage! I love my husband more than the day we did “I do.”I completely agree with the idea of exploring sex. Since or wedding day we have ben ankle to grow more intimately and passionately than I ever thought possible. This year has been a new experience for the both of us but I am truly happy with my life choices. And the wedding day… never again will I do that. The wedding day has no reflection of the marriage to come. When ppl ask how married life I can’t help but feel happy, beautiful, excited… I love being married to my husband. Wouldn’t want it any other way.

Frank Powell July 24, 2014 - 5:03 pm

I agree with you Rebecca. After my wedding day, I struggled to find out why so many long for it. My wife did not want a wedding. She was not concerned with the craziness surrounding a wedding. She wanted to be married. I would not listen. Looking back, I should have. Sex is something that has been so distorted by the world, many people will never be able to see it as a gift of God. My wife and I had to go to counseling, and our time in counseling did so much for our marriage. It opened my eyes to the fullness of sex. I would recommend it to anybody! Thanks!

Abe July 25, 2014 - 2:51 pm

Good to know that your wife didn’t want a wedding. I was beginning to consider myself the only female in the world who simply wants to be married without the whole wedding craze. However, my fiancé wants a wedding. Doesn’t make me very happy, but I hope we can come to a compromise.

Amissa July 26, 2014 - 2:25 am

I also did not want a wedding but my husband convinced me. He regrets it. I see so many couples spend so much time on their wedding day but hardly any on their future marriage. A wedding is 1 day but marriage is a lifetime. Marriage is a blessing. With every blessing comes responsibility.

etanya July 28, 2014 - 3:35 pm

Men typically want the big wedding but they don’t want to help with the planning. For my wedding, I wanted to have a small elopement ceremony. It was cheap and everything was preset so I didn’t have to plan a thing. My husband was the one who wanted a big wedding so he could invite his entire family. So I said to him, “I hate having to plan stuff and I hate parties, so if you want a big wedding you’re going to have to plan the thing.” Needless to say he decided that an elopement ceremony was the way to go.

elle August 1, 2014 - 12:34 am

You’re not the only one. I didn’t want a wedding but my husband (who was married before – and has a wedding) did so I gave in. I would have much rather preferred my original plan of renting a dress, tux and photographer and taking pictures in the park. That’s all I wanted anyway. The rest of it was whatever.e

Josie July 28, 2014 - 9:21 am

My husband and I got engaged in the spring and wanted to get married that following summer. Neither of us believe in long engagements, as we’ve seen the toll it had taken on many friends’ and family members’ relationships. Being the eldest child and only girl on my side of the family my family wasn’t ready for that, so we pushed the wedding back to December of that year (which was still too early for some people in my family). We had been praying about it, and knew it was the right thing to get married. So we eloped. We got married just the two of us in a local wedding chapel, then had a larger wedding ceremony with our family in December. I loved my wedding and it was beautiful, but so stressful at times but I loved my simple marriage ceremony (the first wedding I sometimes call it) the best. I had always thought I would want a huge wedding but in the end I realized how unimportant the decor and the setting and the perfect venue really were to me. It was intimate and just the two of us (and the chaplain) there was no getting caught up in the festivities of the day… the only thing we were doing that day was committing our lives to one another.

LaNise Kirk July 23, 2014 - 11:41 pm

I thoroughly enjoyed the article. Thank you for the candor regarding such an important issue like marriage. I have to say that after 18 years of marriage, I would have to add to your list: love is a decision, not just an emotion. My Father told me on more than one occasion that you may not “feel” like loving your spouse everyday, but marriage is about deciding to love them each and everyday. Making a conscious decision because that is what the marital commitment is about, the decision to love, the choice. I was blessed to have a minister for a Dad who did a lot of marriage counseling, but I fear we aren’t being as open with young people in the church as we should be about marriage and the everyday mechanics of it. Thanks again for the article! Excellent. I am going to have my 16 year old daughter read it as well.

Frank Powell July 24, 2014 - 4:57 pm

Great point there. Our culture certainly has messed up the true definition of love. Emotions are certainly involved, but they cannot be the driving factor. Ultimately true love is about devoting your time, energy, and life to a person. This is what Christianity so powerful and transformative. We are making that decision everyday to live our lives for God. Thanks for you comment!

Katie Marie Holland July 24, 2014 - 6:21 am

I very much agree with this article. I had never heard about the Theology of Sex until I went to a Christian College.

However the part I love best about this article is point 6. I am 25 and not married. I haven’t seriously dated and I really don’t want to. I have had this discussion with so many people (some who even thought I was homosexual because I don’t date much) but I am in no hurry to marry. I have pointed out Paul’s verse that you mentioned above and that there were people in the Bible that didn’t marry. This didn’t make them less worthy or pitied in the eyes of God. I read an article a while back (I wish I could remember the name or author) about how the church is supposed to embrace the unmarried and lift them up. That they are supposed to become their families and that there are certain roles that they can fill in the church. I have chosen to not marry, and I am content with that decision. This doesn’t mean that I will miss out on motherhood (as so many people have pointed out). I usually reply with,” That is what adoption is for.”

Sarah K. July 24, 2014 - 8:07 am

I completely agree! No ONE told my husband and I of these things. We had to find them out the hard way. But i had the complete opposite problem you describe with sex. My parents started early with sex ed WAY early like 9 yrs old. and all they said was sex is B-A-D BAD. I had this so ingrained in me that when i got married and had sex for the first time I had a freaking panic attack! All my could hear was my dad’s voice saying “you messed up Sarah! You gave up your virginity now you are worthless.” I didn’t realize I had let my virginity define part of who I was instead of my faith. And the first year of marriage is not just hard… Its REALLY hard in ways I could not have imagined. I got to discover all the skeletons (even ones he wasn’t aware of) in his closet and he found mine. As far as the wedding…geez, I cant agree more! Everyone, friends and family included expected me to plan every last detail and as a scientist who couldn’t care less about frivolity…. I’m thankful my mom stepped in! And i would never have a wedding again! talk about a stressful way to start a marriage! We were glad when it was over!

Frank Powell July 24, 2014 - 7:49 pm

Sarah, I am so sorry to hear about your first sexual experience. This is a story that I am hearing more often from people. It is a terrible response to the way culture has stolen sex. Parents scare their kids out of sex, and thus create a a situation where they even see sex inside the institution of marriage as evil and wrong. Thankful your attitude has changed. God bless you!

Kenny Thompson July 24, 2014 - 9:39 am

I definitely want to get married some day but I’m 30 and haven’t dated since I was 21. I’ve always thought that maybe I wasn’t called to be married, but people are always telling me that that’s not biblical. After reading #6 I can find some comfort in being solo for the duration of my life. Also #4 is great advice people need to learn to be happy alone with God before being with someone. Thanks Frank!

Frank Powell July 24, 2014 - 5:00 pm

Kenny, I will be praying that God gives you clarity on this. I will also pray that the pressure from those around will not cloud what God is calling you to do. Thanks man!

mscassied July 28, 2014 - 8:27 pm

Kenny, go read 1 Corinthians chapter 7! Not all are called to marry! If anything it is better to be single than married in the sense that you have your undivided attention to focus on the Lord! Be well!

hikingsierra July 29, 2014 - 9:42 am

Kenny, see my post above!

Kenny Thompson July 31, 2014 - 7:42 am

I don’t see your post.

Rebecca Lewis July 24, 2014 - 11:58 am

I’m in the “even better”. I hate that singleness is almost approached by the church as a disease to be healed rather than another state of being in Gods kingdom.

Frank Powell July 24, 2014 - 4:58 pm

“A disease to be healed rather than a state of being in God’s kingdom.” This is “tweetable” for sure. Thanks for your example. Marriage is a beautiful reflection of God’s relationship to His people, but God can use those who choose not to marry in a very powerful way as well.

Dana Junkin July 30, 2014 - 11:26 pm

I’m 32 and single. In the south, used to be if you weren’t married by 20 you were considered “old maid”. I used to think if only I could get a husband I would be complete. I’ve had to realize that I have to be complete in my relationship with God first. My brother is 36 and on his first marriage. I’ve learned it happens in God’s timing, if it’s in God’s will. I don’t want to grow old alone, but I can’t worry about that. My mother said she prayed over all three of us when we were born, that God would send the spouse we need. I’d like to think that he’s out there, but at this point only God knows.

Soph July 31, 2014 - 1:11 am

I am happy you have a praying mother, and if you desire to marry then it shall be so. God loves you enough to do exceesingly above all that you can ask or think.He can give you a lamborgini if you have been praying for a new bell for your bike. So keep your head up, God is more than able sis 🙂

Chris Gadlage August 1, 2014 - 7:26 am

Used in premarital counseling often…
substitute “marriage” (or nearly anything) for “gold medal” and it holds up.

Brittany July 24, 2014 - 12:21 pm

I learned all but 2 & 7 in my church.

Frank Powell July 24, 2014 - 7:46 pm

Thanks for reading and commenting! God bless!

BenjYarnball July 24, 2014 - 12:25 pm

Great points about some truths about marriage, Frank. I mean, spot on. Each of those truths rings true to me! Even your order was well done, starting with sex, because if a church is not cautioning the youth about sex, they are probably being silent about it, allowing lies and perversions instead to inform us while we are young.

If I could make a counterpoint though, I have been to more than one church – including the one of which I am a member – where the pastors are very up front with just about all of these marital truths. My church is a “conservative” church in Atlanta (not a conservative city, but a conservative state for sure), and yet we regularly hear preaching on the merits of singleness, the gift of sex in marriage, Jesus’s completion of us (and not a spouse or anything else), and the real challenges inherent in two people becoming one in marriage. I understand you’re writing about the rule, not the exception, and that A LOT of people are being grossly under-served by their church leaders when they don’t speak the truth about marriage. And you obviously are seeing clearly to be able to list out these hard truths in marriage. But in rebuking churches, I’m not sure you’re being fair to Church, that is, Christ’s work in his people and the Holy Spirit’s effective leadership of those called to pastor the flock. Maybe throw God a bone now and then for his victories in his church? Instead of coming down hard on the church so frequently.

Frank Powell July 24, 2014 - 7:54 pm

Your comments here are very fair. In my defense, I tried to be grateful for the foundation the church gave me in regards to marriage. I just know there are very important truths the church needs to emphasize and teach. You are correct though in what you say. God bless.

edswife July 24, 2014 - 1:53 pm

Married 30 years…..and I agree with you 100%!

Frank Powell July 24, 2014 - 5:06 pm

Thanks for you comment here. Good to know someone with infinitely more wisdom than me on marriage agrees. Blessings!

Dees Murphy Britt July 24, 2014 - 3:15 pm

Frank,
Don’t know if you remember me from college, but I had no idea you had gone into ministry! So blessed by this. My husband and I have been married for six months, and you addressed some struggles we have had. My uncle told us in marriage counseling that, “women marry expecting the man to change, and men marry hoping she never will.” If only we had truly understood what he meant! So thankful my husband can love my ever-changing self.

Frank Powell July 24, 2014 - 5:05 pm

Dees, I definitely remember you. I transitioned into ministry about 4 years ago. Crazy Ride, but God is so good!! Thanks for reaching out. Glad to hear you are doing well. Marriage is so amazing, and it does so much to mold us into better people. I hope God does some amazing things through your relationship. Blessings!

Daniel B July 25, 2014 - 9:32 pm

That type of broad gender stereotyping isn’t useful for most married people. Learn your particular man or women, not what someone says “men” or “women” “do”. It’s just flat-out sexist too, in both directions. Men are really immature and thus need to change more, but then they also accept their partner as she is while women are picky and demanding. BS.

NotMakingDinner July 24, 2014 - 6:12 pm

I agree that marriage is not for everyone. But by Christian standards, sex outside of marriage is a sin. Are you endorsing a life without sex or an unmarried life with sex?

Frank Powell July 24, 2014 - 7:45 pm

Thanks for commenting. This is the danger of writing and maintaining a blog. It is easy to assume something based on what I do (or do not) say. I would never advocate sex outside of marriage. Again, the Bible clearly says (I Corinthians 7) that if someone is burning with passion (for sex) he or she should marry. If someone can not restrain himself or herself from sexual desires, he or she should marry. On the other hand, it is a dangerous thing to assume that a marriage will “fix” a lusting issue. It is a bad foundation for marriage. There are people, however, that I believe are able to contain themselves and serve God without a burning passion for sex. God did not design me for that. God bless!

DanielB July 25, 2014 - 9:30 pm

“If someone can not restrain himself or herself from sexual desires, he or she should marry”

That might be the most annoying verse in all the Bible. Sure, just go marry someone. Easy as that.

DonkeyHoatie July 24, 2014 - 6:32 pm

If I may, I’d suggest truth #8: Marriage is work. For both people.

You take 2 flawed and different creatures and put them together and there will be friction. I liken it to taking 2 cars, putting them side-by-side on the road, and telling the drivers to stay right next to each other while driving down the road. If neither of them touches the steering wheel, they will eventually drift apart or into a wreck. If one steers but the other does not, the one actually steering will end up chasing the other until they end up in a ditch. Only when the two drivers have their hands on the wheel, and they both keep their eyes on the road ahead (Christ, in our case), with intermittent checks on each other to make sure they stay aligned, will they accomplish the goal. Anybody who thinks that problems will fix themselves or that their side doesn’t have to change is going to end up in trouble.

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 12:31 pm

Great point! Marriage is hard work, but the hard work is absolutely worth it! Blessings!

Mark Carson August 1, 2014 - 10:06 am

I have 35+ years of wonderful marriage under my belt (yes, to the same fantastic woman) and I confess that marriage is 24/7 work. Anyone can give up because the “work” is too tedious. A marriage without work is boring!

AdjustedSails July 29, 2014 - 12:49 pm

THANK YOU!! i’ve had so many friends say things like, “why didn’t u warn me?” i’m like, uhhh…going from being a housewife to working, i don’t wonder of my working friends, “why didn’t u warn me?” marriage is work. why are ppl surprised, especially christians, that it takes work for two to become one? 🙂

Nanz August 4, 2014 - 3:17 am

I like how you put it…”Why are people surprised, especially Christians, that it takes work for two to become one?..
I honestly believe that this is so partly because the true essence of marriage is not being thaught and well exemplified in the body. So long as we keep trivializing marriage and not recognizing that it a sacred institution created by God Almighty as a shadow and type of a greater mystery, we’ll keep missing it.
Anyone who seems to suggest that marriage takes no great effort stands to minimize the impact of the “ongoing” ministry of reconciliation=marriage. If Christ, enabled by the Spirit of grace, had to endure all then we have no excuse. Marriage must be viewed as a ministry, and like any ministry within the body of Christ, it’s a tool the Father seeks to use in fulfilling the over-arching goal of reconciliation.
Lastly, believers need to be taught that Yes, we make room for the Holy Spirit, but may I add that He’s a Spirit of order, plan and strategy…? The key is INTENTIONALITY!!! People spend years planning a wedding but expect the marriage to “just happen”…”just work itself out”. The Holy Spirit will help alright, but you’ve got to give Him something to work with.
But His grace is ever constant and sufficient.

Amy July 30, 2014 - 2:44 pm

So true! I’m 41 and single but one thing my sister told me many years ago (she’s 11 years older than me and married in 1995) was that marriage is hard work. I always shake my head at people that claim marriage is easy, even more so when they say that it’s a lie that it’s hard work. Comments like that are no surprise that those people are divorced. They can try to convince themselves it’s because x, y and z and blame the other person, but if you don’t put the work into your marriage, it will fail.

It’s like any job, you don’t put the work into applying and interviewing for a job, only to get it and then treat it like it’s a waste of your time. No, you show up every day, work hard, and get paid. It’s the same with marriage.

ReAnn Ring - Atlanta August 3, 2014 - 12:21 am

Exactly why I have not chosen to marry … it’s too distracting from the ministry work God has called me to that has brought me GREAT fulfillment … I sort of wish this “list” in the article was a big stronger about singleness and the super advantages a single person has …. I love it, have never been married, and see marriage veeeerrrry realistically.

Tanya Barker August 5, 2014 - 8:40 pm

Having been both married and single I can tell you both states have advantages. It’s not whether you are married or single that is the point it’s are you ready to give 100% to life and relationship. If you are ready for that then be content with what God leads you to. I have been very happy in both places and because God is my fulfillment I don’t look to people to fulfill me, I can give without looking for reward.

Wife July 31, 2014 - 1:29 pm

I just would like to add that many times that hard work is not divided equally 50-50. Many times it is 75-25 or 100-0. If we go in with the idea that is an equal thing all the time, we will surely grow resentful.

married person August 1, 2014 - 12:56 am

I had no idea that I would be in a marriage that this is my struggle. I truly think that one can’t truly know someone until after being married for a while.

lordssaints August 1, 2014 - 3:05 am

SO TRUE. people need to learn when to step up and help the other. in my house we all do the work then we all sit down together afterward when it time to relax.

Lauren M. August 3, 2014 - 4:31 pm

Quite honestly while it is sometimes uneven, it should be 100/100…..both partners need to work at it with all their might to make it work. There will be times when one is weak and in that moment the other needs to be strong, but both need to work at it whole heartedly.

secret July 31, 2014 - 1:39 pm

what if the two people are going in the same direction and to the same place but not exactly the same room. would it work for one to try to kind of cross into that other side.

lordssaints August 1, 2014 - 3:03 am

VERY GOOD WAY OF PUTTING IT.

Daniele July 24, 2014 - 9:34 pm

This article was so beautifully written. I was raised in the church and I identify 100% with the questions and stares towards the one who is not married or plans to marry by 25. In my case I am so grateful that I waited on God and didn’t succumb to the pressure of others to marry before my time. I just recently married less than 60 days ago and I am in my late 30’s. I believe I needed to experience life as I have until now because it has groomed me for such a time as this. I am in a much happier-healthier place. I have learned so much about myself in my twenties and early thirties. I believe the maturity of working through previous challenges in life has taught me how to handle the challenges that arise as I start this new life with my husband.

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 1:12 pm

Thanks for your encouraging words. Blessings To you!

John M. Harris July 24, 2014 - 9:52 pm

To be fair, I’ve said a reasonable facsimile of each of these from the pulpit on a Sunday morning at my church.

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 1:13 pm

Thanks John. The church needs more men and women that will teach the fullness of marriage without fear. Blessings!

John M. Harris July 24, 2014 - 9:54 pm

Here’s the way I put #2 “don’t worry that you might marry the wrong person, everybody does”

Guest July 29, 2014 - 3:43 pm

But then that leaves the door wide open for divorce.

John M. Harris July 29, 2014 - 5:02 pm

I don’t think so at all. How so?

John M. Harris July 24, 2014 - 9:57 pm

#7 I say “invest in the marriage more than you invest in the wedding”

Britta July 25, 2014 - 12:05 am

I love this post 🙂 I have been engaged to my fiancé for a couple of months and are those young kids just graduating college (which doesn’t really seem that young in today’s society).. but it has been my goal to place my focus on our relationship, our undying relationship with God, and learning more and more as I prepare to truly be a godly wife. It is so easy to get so sucked into the materialistic/spot light aspect of the wedding, but I want to keep my focus on the Creator who is making this all happen and make that the theme of our special day!

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 12:39 pm

Britta, thanks for reading! I am thankful for your desire to live for God and allow Him to be the standard in your relationship. Satan will attack this, but I will challenge you not to waver from your devotion to God and your spouse. Blessings!

heart shattered July 28, 2014 - 9:11 pm

I first started noticing changes in my son when he and his wife was planning their wedding. My son had never spoke to me the way he did during this time. Very disrespectful and inconsiderate of me, his mother. I know that was going to be HER day and I completely respected that……however, I found that I was the only parent ‘left out’ of the preparation. The day of the wedding the only words spoke to me from the bride was very rude. Since then my son doesn’t speak to me at all……and I now have a four month old grandchild I’m not allowed to see. I feel my son has been changed to suit her. I love them both and pray someday that God will bring us back together. In saying all of this…..I guess my point is…..there are so many other families dealing with very similar situations. Couples getting married and then forgetting about their parents who got them to that point. I feel my son isn’t allowed to speak to me. I’ve tried to talk to them both but they want nothing to do with me. Anyone reading this, that is doing their family this way…..I beg you to come to your senses…..grow up……and remember you only have ONE earthly father and mother. Treat them with respect. I guarantee you that went thru a lot to get you where you are today…..no perfect parents…..no perfect people……but I love my children with all of my heart….and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t cry over my loss.

Ashli Nicole Carpenter July 25, 2014 - 6:49 am

Thank you!!! I am 32 and am about to get married. This was very enlightening and I appreciate its honesty. Gives me a more realistic view of what I will expect in my marriage. 🙂 I have been married once before and it failed miserably. He left me for another woman because married life want what he expected. That experience in itself taught me a lot and better prepared me for my second (and last) marriage. So many ppl fail to tell these truths that you have mentioned here. Why? I don’t know. Thank you again for your transparency.

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 12:44 pm

Thanks for your honesty! I pray for a wealth of blessings in your upcoming marriage!

Vic July 25, 2014 - 8:20 am

Marriage is not a 50-50 proposition. It’s a 100-100 proposition. Each person must try to give 100% to making the marriage work every single day. In this way, when one of them is tired, grumpy, angry or something else and can’t give 100% then the other person will pick up the slack and still there will be more than 100% put into the marriage. And 50-50 usually leads to keeping score…. I did this so you have to do this… that’s not how it works. You just do all that you can and don’t expect anything in return. And if both do that, then there won’t be any missed expectations or disappointments, only loving giving from both partners.

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 1:11 pm

Sacrificial love. Great words here. Do without expecting in return. One of the keys to meaningful marriage.

Kay July 25, 2014 - 9:39 am

35 yrs…and counting…and there are a couple of things I would add….First, love is a choice, not a feeling. It isn’t just a matter of choosing to stay when things get rocky…it is also a choice to love the other person. And that choice cannot be made in the context of “feeling”, because those change every single day. While I recognize that I was head over heels in love with my husband when we married, I did go through a time period where, for ten years, I felt absolutely nothing. I choose, for ten years, to love him regardless of my lack of “feeling”. Eventually, the feelings returned. And of course, that was nice! But love is choice. Pure and simple. The second, and probably the most important “advice” that we have offered to our children (all ten of them), is this: If you are a Christian marrying a Christian, then the most important relationship you have to that person is as your brother/sister in Christ. You are that first, husband and wife second. When I remember that my husband is my brother in Christ, I find I can choose (there’s that word again!!) to honor him, serve him, love him, and lay down my life for him much more so, than when I just function in the realm of “husband and wife”. We won’t be married in heaven. But we will know each other there as brother and sister. So in that context, our relationship is an eternal one. I prefer to function in our eternal relationship. I prefer to treat him as my brother in Christ first. My husband second. We are so “programmed” by the modern-day “church” to treat our brothers and sisters in Christ so much better than we treat our spouses, that if we could only bridge the gap that husband and wife are brother and sister first, it could help to stem the tide of dissolving marriages that plagues the “church” right now. Other than these two points, I think you have written a fantastic article. Keep it up!!!

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 12:34 pm

Kay, great points here. Love is so much about making a decision to stay pure and committed. I appreciate your words! Blessings!

lewrites July 26, 2014 - 11:41 pm

AMEN! I am not yet married, but I have always thought these same things as I have watched my friends hit rough spots in relationships. They question the relationship because things aren’t easy, and it’s like, you’re buying into this huge lie. It’s not going o be easy, you’re not always going to have this nice feeling. But I’ve felt so out of place trying to say that since I’m single. It’s wonderful to hear a voice of experience saying the same things. I hope you have many more happy years of marriage!

Kay July 29, 2014 - 8:40 am

Thanks so much. We plan to stay together until “death do us part”….But let me encourage you to not keep your mouth shut when you have words of encouragement for friends who are struggling in their marriages. Words of wisdom are just that…words of wisdom. The words are what “qualify” you to speak. NOT the fact of your current “marital status”. The principle of living with your mate as your brother/sister in Christ is well established in Scripture, for those willing to search it out. Truth be told, the man who spoke this truth to my husband and I was recently divorced at the time. But the “fact” of his own failed marriage did not negate the truth of the words spoken. For us, they were powerful, radically altering the course of our relationship and the course of our lives. And a truth that has stuck with us all these years. (This truth was spoken to us just 15 months into a very stormy marriage at the time!!) So if God gives you encouraging words to share with a married friend…share them. You are not responsible for the “outcome” of those words, nor are you the one the “qualifies” yourself. None of us are “qualified” to share….it is only God that puts His “stamp of approval” on the Truth of His Words. So, share. Be willing to speak what you know the truth is, in love and seasoned with much grace. For always, except for the grace of God, go I.

Rach July 29, 2014 - 11:05 am

Kay, thank you so much for sharing these truths. I completely agree. I have been married 8 years and going through a difficult time but God has really been placing on my heart that he wants me to be better as a result of being married, not necessarily happy (although nothing wrong with happiness :-))

Teddie August 7, 2014 - 2:40 am

I too am going through a pretty difficult time in my marriage of just about 8 years! I also feel God wants me to be a better me bc that’s really the only thing I have control over. And the better me through God I become, the better wife and mother I become too!

crystal December 29, 2014 - 8:51 am

Marraige is what you make it as a couple. If you don’t sew into it, you won’t grow. That’s what I have learned. Friendship is a must! Without it you will have failed each other. I have been married for 26 years. It’s been a rocky ride. Some good years some bad some okay. We are committed to the children but not to the marraige because if we were we wouldnt be on this path if destruction. Once last child is gone a decision will have to be made.

Lois July 27, 2014 - 1:11 pm

Beautiful, Kay! I got married at 50 as a very “mature” believer. Ha! Little did I know how much I still had to grow! Marriage has broken me in ways I could have never imagined, and is still breaking me. We will celebrate four years in Sept. Your encouragement to see my husband as my brother is so timely! Thank you, may God bless you.

Nicole July 28, 2014 - 2:43 pm

Man. 35 years! Bravo! I hear what you’re saying often and I know it’s right but it is HARD! I’m almost 11 years in and in that space you described. I’m really struggling to do what you’ve described.

Kay July 29, 2014 - 8:28 am

Nicole: Yes, it is hard. We don’t “naturally” want to die to our desire to be “happy”. We don’t “naturally” want to let go of our childhood programing that taught us life with “Prince Charming” would be all peachy keen. It is very hard to treat your spouse in the manner we are called on to treat our brothers and sisters in Christ. But, the grace is there to do so. Ask for that grace. Your strength of will won’t hold out long enough to overcome. But God’s grace will give you the ability to shift your thinking, to where response becomes what is natural, and not “forced”. Remember what John the Baptist said? “I must decrease, that He may increase”? That same principle applies here. When we finally see that marriage is not about our “happiness”, but about us being conformed to the image of Jesus, we find we can walk that out in how we respond to our spouses. Believe me when I say, that even after 35 years, each day is a “asking for grace” day. I cannot love my husband as first my brother in Christ without the ongoing, daily (sometimes minute to minute) grace of God being poured out on me. But at the end of the day, there is a deep gratitude in my heart for that grace. Just ask, Nicole. He will give to you what He has given to me every single day for the last 35 years. Just ask.

Mark August 3, 2014 - 10:01 am

Why does one have to die to our desire to be happy? It sounds like you find your joy in the grace of God to tolerate your husband. You need the grace of God minute by minute. Is it that hard? I wouldn’t want a relationship like that. “Husband, I’ve given up my desire to be happy and it’s only by the grace of God that I can live with you.” That doesn’t sound like what God would have for us.

Kay August 4, 2014 - 8:06 am

wow. How little you understood my comment about dying to our “desire to be happy”. If we, as the “church” would stop teaching and believing the the purpose of marriage was to be “happy” and instead teach that the purpose of marriage (beyond procreation) is to be conformed to the image is Jesus, we would see a great deal fewer divorces in the “church”. I do not “tolerate” my husband. And yes, I need God’s grace minute to minute to die to me and allow Him to shine forth. Not because living with my husband is “so hard” but because I am, left to own devices, a selfish, self-centered, manipulative creature in my “natural state”. Walking in the new creature that God has and is making me into requires minute to minute, day to day, dying to me. Too bad you aren’t a fly on the wall at my house. You’d see how much joy, laughter, smiles, hugs, and absolute enjoyment I have being around that man. In fact, we have agreed that his headstone on his grave will read, “He made me smile every day, and laugh most days”. Maybe, you need to go back and reread the Gospels and spend some time really looking at the words of Jesus. Dying to ourselves is what our walk with God is all about!

Mark August 4, 2014 - 9:15 am

Thanks for clarifying. I didn’t mean to imply that you didn’t have a happy marriage. I do not believe our natural state is as you describe. God saw all that he created and behold it was good. I guess you need the grace of God to protect yourself from you — your natural state of self centeredness. Procreation preceded marriage. And marriage was created long before Jesus. People are wired to connect for our own survival – both emotionally and to procreate. Marriage was created by people and has evolved over the centuries to a union between 2 people who love each other. That is relatively new, in the last 250 years. Prior to that it was a family arrangement. Biblical marriage included polygamy. I’ve read the Gospels, I just interpret them differently than you do.

Diana August 5, 2014 - 1:12 am

Hey Mark I would like to correct you regarding our natural state/ carnal nature. Kay was right when she said our natural state left to our own is “selfish, self-centered, manipulative”. The key word here is left to our own. In our own state we are wicked beings, yes we were created in the image of God and when He had created everything He saw it was good but sin came in and its wickedness ruined the pure nature of how we were created and the only way to reconcile us back to our original state is through Christ, for our own righteousness is like filthy rags, Read “Jeremiah 17:9 – The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?” “Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” 1Cor 2:14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from
the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand
them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”

Without Christ we are nothing and know nothing and sin consumes our thoughts and actions, but praise God for Jesus Christ that he comes to save us and renew a right Spirit within us which guides us and leads us back to our father and draws us closer to His image just as He had created us before the fall of man.

Marriage is the only institutions that teaches us about God and it can be said that if we fail in our marriages we have failed God, that being said things do not go wrong but they start wrong and when God is not the center of your union form the beginning then your marriage will definitely be harder.

Kay August 5, 2014 - 8:09 am

Diana: Yes..I so agree. The pivotal point of the entire Gospels is the Cross. Our righteousness is filthy rags, and without Jesus at the very center of our beings, we are completely lost. Thank you for stating so eloquently and beautifully the Truth.

Mark: I won’t argue with you the “history” of marriage nor whether marriage is a God-ordained, God-started institution, or a creation in the most recent history of man. That is a pointless argument. And whether God sanctioned polygamy or not is also a point I will not argue. My point in my entire postings is that without Jesus at the center, without the grace of God, it is impossible to be “Christian”. You cannot, whether through strength of will or constant buffeting of the body, conform yourself to the image of Christ. This is only the work of the Holy Spirit. Once you realize that there is nothing good inside of you, bending the knee at the Cross and admitting you are completely lost without Him is the next step. If Jesus is not at the center of everything you are and do, not just your marriage, but your entire life will be much harder. And why make your life harder, when a simple giving up of your pride, and repenting (turning away from) that which separates you from God, and an acceptance of His grace, makes living a joy…a yoke easy to bear, and a cross worth carrying? Once bending the knee at the Cross, admitting your inability to live as a Christian in your own strength, and accepting His grace to do so, living with your spouse, and treating him/her as your brother/sister in Christ becomes natural, easy, joyful, and worth it all. That is the point. The entire point of marriage is to conform you, through the work of the Holy Spirit, to the image of Jesus, and to further God’s Kingdom on the earth. Any other “goal” or reason to marry is a distant second. My greatest “happiness” comes from bending the knee at the Cross daily, repenting of my selfish pride and arrogance, accepting His grace, picking up my “cross” and following HIM daily. End of story.

Mark August 5, 2014 - 10:01 am

It seems your faith works for you, brings you great joy and helps you be the person you want to be and the person you believe God wants you to be.

When you define your experience as “Truth” it feels like arrogance. God said, I believe it, that settles it.

Definition of arrogance
an insulting way of thinking or behaving that comes from believing that you are better, smarter, or more important than other people.
an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions

Kay August 8, 2014 - 9:45 am

you know…it’s funny….they said the same thing about Jesus when He claimed He was “the Way, the Truth, the Life”…..If you judge me as “arrogant”…so be it. I’ll not argue with you whether I am or not.

Mark August 8, 2014 - 10:26 am

Claiming you have the absolute truth is a presumptuous claim but because you believe it to be truth you don’t see it that way. I only brought up arrogance because you said you rely on God’s grace to help you with that. I said that your claim of absolute truth felt arrogant. I don’t know if you are or not. I can separate your claim from you as a person.

John said Jesus was the way, truth and life 50 years after he died. We have no way of knowing if Jesus said that or not. In fact everything written about Jesus was years after he died. Paul wrote before the gospels and didn’t even reference much of what is in the gospels such as the virgin birth. Christianity evolved after Jesus died. Jesus had no intention of starting a religion. Who he was created a movement that was very powerful.

Janet August 27, 2014 - 4:10 pm

Sir you don’t know Christ.

Mark August 5, 2014 - 9:39 am

When I stumble onto a Christian blog of this kind, I always seem to be the lone voice of dissension that needs to be set straight by quoting the Bible to prove I am wrong. Just because you believe it doesn’t mean it is absolute truth. All religions claim to be the absolute truth.

If God is the creator of everything, then he created our sinful nature. You can’t have it both ways. Where did our sinful nature come from if not from God. Even if you assume he gave us free will gave in to Satan, we also have to assume he knew that would happen and in all his power he could have done something about it? What kind of a loving creator would devise a plan that separates us from him requiring the death of an innocent man to redeem the creation? We would never tolerate this behavior in each other. Why do we accept it in God?

The verses you quoted in the Bible are the observations of ancient authors of fellow human beings and we how they think we relate to what they define as God. Every culture in history creates a deity (or deities) and devises a system to encourage good behavior (reward of heaven) and discourage bad behavior (threat of hell). That’s the purpose of religion and it has contributed to our survival.

I refuse to believe that I’m inherently wicked and evil and I don’t think I’m prideful to believe that. I can believe I’m good and still practice humility and compassion for my fellow humans. When I make mistakes (sin), I accept that as part of the human experience not a definition of my worth. Even when people do horrific things, it can usually be traced back to a horrific childhood. To believe in original sin is the same as living in shame. I don’t think that is God’s intention. Striving to conform your life to that of Christ is an attempt to feel worthy. We are ok exactly as God made us. We do not need to be redeemed. There are many Christian theologians that don’t subscribe to substitutionary atonement.

Bringing this back to marriage, Christian marriages fail at a higher rate than atheist marriages. Faith in God can be key to one couples success and irrelevant to another couples success. It is not absolute.

Kenneth Hymering August 5, 2014 - 8:28 pm

Wow, where to begin? First mistake: God didn’t create our sinful nature. He created us perfect but with a free will. Sin was already present before man sinned. Sin was there in Satan. He seduced Adam and Eve, and the moment they sinned, everything changed. From that moment sin had a permanent place in our hearts, and we can see the consequences every day. So yes, Eventhough I don’t like it either, we all are inclined to do evil. And he did do something about it! Right at the moment it happened, he had a plan ready to save us from ourselves. That plan worked when Jesus died for us on the cross. And in a way you are right when you say that we are living in shame. And no, that was certainly not God’s intention. The problem you talk about with marriages is that first of all there are many atheist couples that don’t get married at all. So it’s almost impossible to know what the exact numbers of failure are. But even then, usually when a “christian” marriage fails, people will admit that it was sooner a lack of faith that caused that then anything else. The fact that I am a christian, doesn’t mean for one second that I am a better person then anyone else. It just means I try to keep different standards and hopefully with God’s help that I recognize my sins. And yes that is sometimes hard when you get confronted with all the many things where I failed, but then there is the blessing of the forgiveness we have in Jesus Christ. And that is what I can hold on to…

Mark August 5, 2014 - 9:36 pm

The marriage research is done on marriages, not people living together so the numbers are valid. Marriages of atheists seem to survive better than marriages of Christians.

And you didn’t really react to what i said. You don’t believe God created everything? Where did Satan come from? Why would God create an adversary that seduces people into sin so they stay separated from him? Or is he not responsible for Satan? And if God is all powerful why would Satan have any power at all. I never understood that.

If God is all powerful, all loving and all knowing, I think he could come up with something better. It’s like making someone sick so you can heal them and be the hero.

Autumn August 6, 2014 - 12:06 am

Okay, first off, I do agree with what you’re saying about everyone having their own truth based on how they interpret the Bible and world experience. Therefore, I have no authority to tell you what’s right or wrong or truth. I’m replying to this because whoever is debating with you is not getting what you’re trying to say and the side needs to be represented.

One(because I think this is the most important thing) – the belief about God creating sin but being perfect and loving. First you have to understand this, sin is an absence of God. God cannot create it, because it is darkness and God is light. The best way to think of it is God is a flashlight and there is a person in the middle of the room and they represent humanity. When the flashlight is shining at the person what happens? A shadow is created showing where the light does not exist. Sin is the shadow. You could say that the flashlight created the shadow, but that’s not quite the right word is it?

So if you understand that, then we talk about my next point. God “allowing” sin. If a guy became interested in a girl and threw himself at her completely not caring about how she feels about him because he’s in love, we as a society of somewhat mentally stable people recognize that as wrong because he does not really love her. Now, if another guy loved the girl and never did anything that he thought would make her uncomfortable, we would be yelling at the girl “Pick him!” Because it’s obvious to us that when you love someone you want them to choose to love you back. The idea that it’s not a choice for them feels wrong. God loves us. He wants us to choose Him, because that creates such a stronger love in us. So, He gave us choice – free will if you want to call it that. When we choose not to love, he leaves our minds but is still there creating the shadow sin.

About your statement, “We do not need to be redeemed.” There’s a book, I believe it’s ‘The Power of Myth’ by Joseph Campbell, that talks about the archetypes of creations myths. He says creation myths can be broken down into three elements. 1)Separation (ex. from God or a utopia) 2) Alienation (suffering) 3) Compensation (ex. Jesus dying so we can go heaven). When things keep on reappearing in myths and stories, that’s because it holds truth and/or we have this unexplainable instinctual need for it. The fact that so many religions (including the ones we now call myths) are based on trying to redeem ourselves to get back something we have lost, means that we have a need to be redeemed and that we have lost something.

Unfortunately, people misinterpret the redeeming part of the Bible. They think they have to be this very specific person and everyone has to be that person if they want to do God’s will and go to heaven. That is very false and has caused lots of problems in my life and just about everyone’s. The book of Romans contains a lot of verses addressing this issue. Just because God calls some people to be this one way doesn’t mean everyone is, and being that way, that person, is not what our redemption relies on. Christian redemption is based on Christ who calls us to try to fill ourselves with God’s light and try to get rid of the shadows but whether or not we succeed doesn’t effect that Jesus redeemed us.
Sorry, that became a side rant. I’m just really passionate about that subject. Back to actually participating in this discussion.

The divorce rates, atheist vs Christian. It makes a lot of sense that the Christian divorce rate is higher. Two main reasons – sexual repression and being pressured into marriage. The Christian subculture is not always a healthy one. Many Christian grow up with the completely false idea that sex equals sin, so they repress the sexuality God gave them and when they have sex they feel really guilty and like they did something wrong. But then they keep that inside of them because the Christian subculture is not one that encourages talk of sex unless it’s to say “wait till marriage” which is something most people end up not doing. The subculture ignores that we are sexual creatures, so we let fester the guilt that we feel about having sex even when it’s with someone they’re married to. (Book on it- “Real Sex” by Lauren Winner) Also the Christian subculture falls prey to the idea of marriage equals happiness and there is something wrong with you if you don’t get married and get married earlier so you can have sex. So you can see why lots of Christians get divorced.
Atheist on the other hand, have just about nothing pressuring them into marriage and are better adjusted to thinking of themselves as sexual. They feel no need to get married unless they really want to, which means they’re probably going to be more devoted to the marriage. So less divorces.
But the Christians who struggle with their sexuality or buy into the idea that everything is smooth sailing once they get married, are neglecting parts of God. So I’d argue that they didn’t have faith in God in their marriage and that if they did they’d probably not get divorced. You have to understand that not every person who calls themselves Christian is following God. There are so many half hearted, just go to church on holidays/ every Sunday, Christians that only view a very small portion of God and misinterpret or don’t actively practice Christianity.

Okay, I could probably say more but it’s actually really late where I am and I need sleep. Plus this entire debate has so much going on that it’s like a bunch of yarn knotted and tossed around a room. If you would like my view on something specifically please just bring it up in a reply.

Kenneth Hymering August 7, 2014 - 2:56 pm

Thank you Autumn, I think you said that very well. Specifically where it handles about Christian marriages, I think you are absolutely right. Whenever I make a comment in our church community, that we should be more open about teaching our children about sex (in the right way and the right time off course) people stare at me as if I’m possessed or something. Christians are generally not raised to have an open mind. As a converted Christian, I don’t have a christian background, I find that to be a sometimes fatal flaw in the way we raise our kids. And off course I am not talking about sexuality alone, but it is a good example.

Mark August 7, 2014 - 5:31 pm

Autumn, thanks for taking the time to engage in the discussion. You say, “The fact that so many religions (including the ones we now call myths) are based on trying to redeem ourselves to get back something we have lost, means that we have a need to be redeemed and that we have lost something.” I think it means that as humans we believe we have a need to be redeemed. That is different than actually needing to be redeemed.

You also say, “Christian redemption is based on Christ who calls us to try to fill ourselves with God’s light and try to get rid of the shadows but whether or not we succeed doesn’t effect that Jesus redeemed us.” I don’t think we are to rid ourselves of our shadows we are to accept them and understand them. We are perfect in our imperfections. The striving to be perfect like Christ is perfect is impossible and fruitless. It creates shame. I believe that many people attracted to the idea of redemption, suffer from shame and see their faith as a way to address the shame. Believing that God/Jesus loves them is a good way to accomplish that.

There is an interesting book called Faith Instinct (Nicholas Wade) that addresses the commonalities of all religions and the purpose they have in humanity.

Kenneth Hymering August 7, 2014 - 2:42 pm

Actually no the numbers are not entirely valid. I won’t go into it too deep, but atheist couples that don’t get married but do live together as if they are, could also be counted. Again, I don’t want to nitpick, so I’ll leave it at that. Why do you think that number of failures is higher in christian marriages? I’ll tell you this: It’s not because they believe in God. I am curious as to what you think about that. Your second question makes me wonder how much you actually know from the bible. Because God never created an adversary. God did create angels, and one of them, Lucifer, a very powerful and mighty angel, got jealous of God. He thought he could do things better then God. Now that is a very short version, but basically that is how Satan came to be. After that we could, and still can, decide not to trust Satan but to trust God.

Unfortunately we didn’t, and we still don’t. We betrayed God. We chose to listen to Satan even the very first time he approached us and told Adam and Eve that God lied to them. Adam and Eve decided to listen to Satan, and not to their friend, God, who had created them. How would you feel if your best friend all of a sudden decided to listen to a total stranger, accusing you of lying to your friend. That is exactly what Adam and Eve did. And yes, we, me too, still do that every single day. In spite of that, God still loves us and grants us mercy through his son, who died for all our sins, past and present. And he did that while we were his enemies! Can you believe that? Would you die for an enemy? Some people will die for a friend or a relative, but for an enemy? That, my friend, is a love that we simply do not understand.

Mark August 7, 2014 - 5:22 pm

You asked why I think Christian marriages fail. The faith component of a Christian marriage can be supportive or destructive. I’ve seen it posted on this blog that if you just focus on Jesus or keep God #1 that everything will be okay. Sometimes couples do this and don’t tend to the relational issues that need to be addressed. Sometimes someone’s faith changes over the course of the marriage and that becomes a deal breaker. This would not happen in a marriage between non-Christians.

You wondered what I know about the Bible. Actually quite a bit. I know the Lucifer-fallen-angel story. I just don’t interpret literally like you do. It’s a metaphor. As is Adam and Eve, Garden of Eden, the fall, etc. Not literal. If interpreting all that literally is powerful for you and connects you to God to be a better person that’s fine by me. However, having said that, I would imagine that it is powerful for you because you believe it to be absolute truth. Just because you believe it to be true doesn’t make it so. But, at least in this country, we are free to believe what we want.

Kenneth Hymering August 7, 2014 - 11:21 pm

The faith component can only be destructive if it is not given the proper priority. People that really focus on their faith will thrive in their relationships, but the focus has to be pure, and that is very often the problem. Like I said earlier, nobody is perfect, or as we call it, without sin. It’s difficult to keep the right focus. But that has already been explained in a beautiful way by Autumn below this comment. Now about the theological part, I’m sorry but that’s too easy. You asked me where Satan comes from? And why God created an adversary. Then if I give you the answer, which is indeed in the bible, and you say that is a metaphor? If it’s a metaphor for you, then I don’t understand that question. I think it is clear that God did not create an adversary, but that his creation decided to become adversarial.I do agree with you on your last statement, and I am thankful that we live in a country where that is (still) the case.

Mark August 7, 2014 - 11:36 pm

If God is all powerful, all loving and all knowable, then why would he allow for an adversary to wage war with him and not do anything about it? It only makes sense as a metaphor — written by man in an attempt to understand the tension between good and evil. When we want to do good and do evil instead it feels like we are in control of another being. Especially in addiction. It would be easy to see how humans could come up with Satan to try to explain that feeling The same could be true of the positive feeling of transcendence. We’ve all had those experiences where think there is something greater than us. We call that God or ???.

crystal December 29, 2014 - 9:05 am

Great come back God is the Author and Finisher of our Faith. The story of Falling angels

crystal December 29, 2014 - 9:02 am

Wow yaw went deep. Very good dialogue from both parties.

Rebecca Sipe August 1, 2014 - 2:56 am

Thank you Kay! Sometimes wives get so caught up in the fairy tale of love, that reality becomes much harder to deal with. It took me the first 7-yrs to get over that, in my first marriage. But, neither of us were Christians when we married. I was saved in 1986 but the Lord showed me that he refused to bow before the Lord, and I eventually fled for my life after nearly 10-yrs.

My 2nd and final hubby is a wonderful man, although quite laid back. I hate having to push his buttons to get him to meet me. I kept thinking about The Walton’s and how Erin used a broom to back her hubby into a corner. I always thought that sometimes these little drastic measures are needed. Now, I know that ONLY God can bring us closer together. Thank you for bringing the positive perspective back to me, Sister Kay!

Kevin Derrick Winemiller August 1, 2014 - 4:38 am

Wisdom from the elder thank you I wish you many more years.

Senegal December 22, 2014 - 8:46 am

Another way of articulating this concept is to think of “love” as a VERB, rather than only a feeling. It is something you DO. I touch you; I talk to you; I feed you; I LOVE you. And one can CHOOSE to enact a verb deliberately.

cbcb9 July 25, 2014 - 10:47 am

I really enjoyed this article. My husband and I will be married for 11 months 8-4 and it has been tough!!!! This is the 3rd marriage for both of us, so your point about there is not just one person for someone is so true. We both went through horrible marriages and finally found each other but what makes the difference with this marriage is we actually want this marriage to last. We work through every fuss, fight and argument and work together to resolve the issue. Since this IS our 3rd marriage, we do have children from those previous marriages which does tend to make the situation a little bit tougher. We have discovered though that if WE, as husband and wife, work as an undefeatable team our kids (7 of them by the way) don’t even attempt to cause problems. I will say though that my husband may not “complete” me but he is definitely my other half…his strengths make up for my weaknesses and my strengths make up of his and I think that is how God intended it to be. Thank you so much for sharing this.

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 1:10 pm

I pray God works in a mighty way through your relationship. You two certainly face struggles many do not, but His power is sufficient to cover any barriers. Blessings!

Donna Lane July 25, 2014 - 11:29 am

I enjoyed your article very much and believe that you have hit on some real issues of marriage that are not always taught in the church. When I teach the teenage girl’s class I do talk about these truths as well. One thing I do stress with the girls is that love is a decision, so make sure you have enough information to make the best decision for your life and who to share it with! Take time to know a young man before jumping into the deep water of marriage!
Also, make sure that after the babies start to come along, remember that you are a wife first! I realize that feeding and diapering and all those other things that you have to do for the little ones are “immediate” kinds of chores, but make sure you are taking the time to be a spouse as well! Keep dating, keep listening, keep loving, despite all the demands of parenthood! Later on when those children are teenagers, you will be glad you are still a partnership when they are trying to play you off one another :).

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 12:43 pm

Yeah that is good info. Kids are a gift from God, but there is a tendency to get things backwards. Our children are not more important than our marriage. Too many couples sacrifice their marriages for their children.

Dennis July 25, 2014 - 12:01 pm

Bluwarermission.org. Pastor Jordan Seng. He gets all of this

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 1:08 pm

Dennis, I will check this out! Thanks!

Paul Downing July 25, 2014 - 4:28 pm

The catholic church knows these points. I am a devout catholic and the church has taught me at least 4 of the points you have listed.

Erin July 26, 2014 - 7:50 am

Agreed! As I was reading through the list I kept thinking “Great point! I’m glad the Catholic Church taught me this!”

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 12:36 pm

Paul, I have heard this from several commenters. I have no context for the Catholic Church, but it sounds like you guys have done a good job of communicating some truths about sex that most denominations never touch on. Thanks for sharing!

Theo July 29, 2014 - 12:48 pm

Try reading Theology of the Body. This is where the Church get’s a lot of its modern sexual theology.

Misty Lemon White July 25, 2014 - 5:05 pm

Thank you for this article! If I had read this when I was 18, I might not be on my 3rd marriage. However, I do feel like I got it right this time. I know divorce is not in God’s plan and I struggle with that often. However I was raised that God could bless any marriage, even if it was not one that He put together.

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 1:08 pm

Misty thanks for commenting. God certainly can work through any marriage. I pray your current one continues to place God as the cornerstone! Blessings!

Andrew Sanders July 25, 2014 - 5:29 pm

Ive always been told the 7 year itch. Make it past 7 years and you’re good. Lies lies lies. Marriage is a struggle everyday. I love my wife, but some days I just want to shake her and she wants to rip my hair out but we learn everyday what it means to be a married couple. We let each other down and then lift each other right back up. Thanks for this and keep going strong for God.

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 1:06 pm

Andrew, never heard the 7 year itch. It is definitely a farce though. Know my couples divorcing after decades. Blessings!

Hjwilliams2014 July 25, 2014 - 8:31 pm

I love #2. My view on soul mates is exactly that. My husband is my faith mate. I’ve have explained to others that my husband and i my not be the most compatible. That there is someone in this big world that would be more compatible for the both of us. But We put our faith in God and our faith into each other that we will continue to strive to be the best mate we can for each other.

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 1:05 pm

Good thoughts here. Thanks for commenting!

Daniel B July 25, 2014 - 9:28 pm

“It is all about the bride and groom. ”

Heck, that would be a nice improvement. Most weddings are just about the bride.

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 1:04 pm

Ha, good point Daniel. I have met very few guys that even care at all about the wedding day. But the day should definitely be a celebration of bride and groom. Most weddings are not. Thanks!

Amy July 25, 2014 - 11:04 pm

I agree with this a lot! Society had really messed up our view of marriage. However, I have to disagree with 1 and 6 being things you won’t hear in Church, if you’re Catholic. For example, the Church has this program of Theology of the Body that really goes in depth into how special and sacred sex is, and that it’s not bad or evil, but an intense expression of love that is so powerful it can create life. Also, the Catholic Church believes in vocations, and that some peoples vocations are not to marriage but to celibacy, which is a beautiful, sacrificial calling that is similar to Jesus’ own calling to celibacy. But that’s just my two sense. Great work!

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 12:40 pm

Encouraging to hear! I wish all churches followed this guideline. Blessings!

John Thurman July 26, 2014 - 12:15 am

As a boomer who had 43 years with my original wife and a counselor with over 35,000 hours in the chair-I appreciate your comment and think that pastors, ministry leaders, engaged couples, and married folks should read it and Get a Grip on Their Relationships. Thanks for posting – looking forward to more of your thoughts.

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 1:03 pm

John, your insight and expertise makes this comment very meaningful. Thankful for your work and ministry. Blessings!

serriekue July 26, 2014 - 12:20 am

Very good article, however I would like to address #6 “Marriage is not for everyone”. There are very few Christians who should not marry and those that don’t should probably be in ministry. We have to take a look at the context in which he was writing this. The first century Christians were experiencing extreme persecution. If Paul would have meant this in all circumstances it would have been in contradiction to the rest of Scripture, Genesis 2:18, Eccl 4:9-12, Prov 18:22 come to mind right off the top of my head. Until the 1970’s singleness was very very rare. What happened? The women’s lib movement, no fault divorce, Roe v Wade. And now we have a majority of women in this country that are not married. Of those not married it breaks do to a few have never been married, most are divorced, some are widowed and some are living an alternate lifestyle. These are consequences of a society that has devalued marriage. I do have to mention that too many Christian men are not living up to their biblical duties and finding a wife. It is not God’s intention to have so many women without husbands. It is the natural order of things and most should be married, but too many men have opted for marriage later in life leaving women in their wake. Then when they do decide to marry in their late 30’s or 40’s they expect to marry women in their 20’s. Unless these men are in the ministry, are not fully functioning, or are incapable of taking care of themselves they really have no business being single. Satan has done a good job of emasculating the men in our society. Making them passive, fearful, lacking confidence, deadbeats and lazy. Passive in that they let the women find them instead of them finding a wife. Fearful in being too scared to ask a women out for fear of rejection. What happened to winning the women over and pursuing? Lacking confidence — being too afraid to be themselves again out of fear of rejection. Deadbeats — living with their parents past 25 instead of being a man and being responsible for his own life. Lazy, because he is not living up to his manly duties of finding a wife and starting a family. He doesn’t have to share his money with anyone and can do whatever he wants when he wants. If he needs his sexual needs met all he has to do is turn on the computer.

Sorry for being so blunt. I did not mean this as a man-bashing post. Of course most men are not like this, but too many are. I love watching my brothers in Christ who are in committed marriages and being the spiritual leader of their families. I also envy it. If Christians aren’t getting married and having children who is going to raise the next generation of Christians? The first command God gave to both Adam and Eve was Genesis 1:28 “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” There wasn’t a condition placed on this command that we should stop after the population reaches 7 billion.

Granted there are some Christians meant for singleness, but that is a very low number and usually meant for people that have no sexual desires or those who are in very dangerous places where you wouldn’t want a wife or children to trod. Our desire for marriage is God-given and as natural as breathing. It is not more spiritually mature to “be ok” with being single if you truly desire marriage. It is spiritually mature to keep preparing for your spouse, staying pure while trusting God’s perfect timing in finding you a spouse and not settling for less than God’s best for you. Too often when we’ve waited so long (I’m 48 and never been married, no children) we are tempted to settle, but this is the 2nd biggest decision of your life and it needs to be cultivated and not rushed.

Sorry for being so long-winded.

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 1:02 pm

I am not sure where the Bible says men have the responsibility to find a wife. God did tell us to be fruitful and multiply, but we can isolate this text as the duty of men. In Acts 10, Phillip encounters an Ethiopian Eunuch. After he is converted, Phillip did not command him to be married and multiply. In fact, eunuchs were castrated (most of them), so it is highly unlikely this could have a family. God calls us all in different ways. Some are called to marry. Others are not. Blessings!

Pastor J July 26, 2014 - 3:29 am

This is very meaningful insight. I would change the “will not” in the title to “rarely”. There are many pastors, churches and ministries that require couples to complete extensive counseling as preparation for marriage, including the study and review of wedding vows. I participated in such counseling and require couples that I marry to do the same. God bless you.

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 12:56 pm

Thanks for reading and commenting. I agree with you. Pre-marital counseling is am important part of the process.

Erica July 26, 2014 - 6:44 am

Regarding #1, might I suggest delving into The Theology of the Body? As a Catholic, I feel like our Church doesn’t shut up about how great and holy sex is. 🙂 The marital act is considered the holiest thing a couple can do, in the natural realm, for in that act, the couple opens themselves to co-creating a new life (with the help of God, of course), with an eternal soul destined to spend all eternity enjoying the Beatific Vision. Woah!

St. John Paul II spent decades of his life giving talks on the Theology of the Body. They’ve been collected in the book “Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body.” A book he wrote himself, “Love and Responsibility” is also a great resource.

(I suppose I should point out that sex isn’t just holy because it can make babies, although that’s a huge deal. JPII talks all about how sex is a mutual self-giving [“this is my body, given up for you”], and even goes into how it is a gift for a husband to ensure he and his wife “end” together. He really doesn’t shy away from the nitty-gritty. But anyway, sex is for babies and bonding… both are very good and holy things.)

God bless! +

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 12:55 pm

Erica, sounds like a need to do some study in Catholic theology and teachings. Glad you were exposed to this early. Blessings!

Steve July 26, 2014 - 7:32 am

Marriage is not a 50-50 proposition. Marriage is a 100-100 commitment.

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 12:50 pm

Absolutely true! Thanks!

Ljackson July 26, 2014 - 7:50 am

This really rings true today as my husband and I renew our vows tomorrow after 30 years of marriage. People have asked me how we did it. I reply that I put my husband above all things except God and he does the same for me. We actually will tease each other that we are putting the other first. It’s about honoring your spouse.

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 12:50 pm

30 years! Now that is something to celebrate! Congrats!

Heather H July 26, 2014 - 8:53 am

This is right on, except it depends on the church. I learned all this from church mentors and teachers prior to getting married 15 years ago. I love how you put that your spouse doesn’t complete you, that is God’s job. So hard for our “romance bombarded” culture to hear. Thanks for writing this.

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 12:49 pm

Heather, thanks for commenting. Blessings!

Johnny July 26, 2014 - 9:59 am

I grew up knowing this stuff from both church and home. I also teach it… conversationally, classes, pulpit and counselling. Some folks may be just not listening or already distracted with being “in love”.

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 12:49 pm

Johnny, thanks for teaching the fullness of marriage. blessings!

Shay July 26, 2014 - 10:11 am

The first year of marriage was easy for is. It was the second year after our first child that was hard. My husband would think that I loved our son and put our son before him, which wasn’t the case. It’s just that he was my first child and not his so I was experiencing everything for the first time as to where he has been there and done that, so to speak.

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 12:48 pm

Shay, I agree. First kid was hard for us too. Second one was even harder. Blessings!

Heather Adams July 26, 2014 - 10:40 am

I am very thankful for this article. I am in my first year of marriage and it has been harder than I ever thought it could be. My husband and I have both lost our jobs and both have gotten really sick in the past few months. I feel I am at my breaking point. This article will hopefully give me the strength to keep going. Thank you.

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 12:47 pm

Heather, I am so sorry to hear about your struggles. Don’t let go. Your marriage will get better. Rely on God’s unchanging hand. Hold on to it. Both of you.

Jennifer DeFrates July 26, 2014 - 11:37 am

I whole-heartedly agree with this, and more! I have my own blog about parenting my daughter for Heaven not Harvard, and I addressed parenting her to understand what a Godly attitude toward marriage should look like. http://heavennotharvard.com/2014/05/

Frank Powell July 26, 2014 - 12:46 pm

Jennifer, I will have to check out your work. Encouraging to hear there are parents out there that value the truth of marriage. Blessings!

Jennifer DeFrates July 26, 2014 - 1:41 pm

I would love that! If you have any feedback, you can email me at heavennotharvardmom@gmail.com I strive to handle God’s word very carefully and to be faithful in my witness and testimony.

KK July 26, 2014 - 6:19 pm

I thing before a couple marries the Church should teach them about Blood Covenant, who’s is what marriage is. Understanding of this basic tenet of our faith brings greater understanding of gods plan for marriage

Frank Powell July 28, 2014 - 9:34 am

Thanks. Blessings!

Alesia July 26, 2014 - 9:20 pm

A friend I grew up with who is very religious shared this article on fb. I am not what I would call religious at all, so it intrigued me and I read it. So even if I remove all religious references the advice is right on target. I have been married to my husband for 30 years, and dated over two years before we married. I would add one more to your list: For the couple’s parents (both sets): Do not make it easy for the couple to “run home” to a parent’s home. Unless you believe there is some kind of abuse or threat, do not let them have a spat/argument/war and just bail out. An amazing amount of these problems magically disappear after a few days. Send a kind, but clear, message that running home during the heat of the moment is not an option.
And one comment about the ceremonies. Many weddings grow into beasts that waste enormous resources both tangible and intangible. Don’t be that parent who is creating this beast to secretly satisfy something in yourself. My folks offered me either a modest wedding or the $$ the same would cost. Our hybrid was a ceremony in my husband’s parents living room with 12 guests and the $$ for the balance. I don’t think there is a wrong way but be honest and reasonable in making your choice.
Very sound advice. Thank you for adding to what I will tell my 17 year old daughter!

Frank Powell July 28, 2014 - 9:33 am

Alesia, I appreciate the point about in-laws. I actually had that point in a draft before I edited the final post. In-laws are a very important (and never discussed) part of marriage. Your wife can be awesome, but if you have terrible in-laws, your marriage will be difficult. Blessings!

Rachel Sabey Lipford July 26, 2014 - 10:36 pm

I would add that marriage means you are always growing. At no point do you stop, sit back and say, “Now we know all there is to know about each other. Now we have finished growing together.” After 9 years, my husband and I are still learning, and also adapting to the changes we’ve undergone as we’ve added kids, dealt with illness and death and divorce among our loved ones, and stretching ourselves to try new things. I resonate with all of your points, especially I am shocked to realize how many parents fail to educate their own children about sex, and let kids (who really know nothing) explain it instead.

Frank Powell July 28, 2014 - 9:32 am

Rachel, great point. Thanks!

katietaylor July 27, 2014 - 8:30 am

I’m applauding number one. We freak out about sex while kids are teenagers, telling them “it’s great, and wonderful between two people, but don’t touch it.” There’s also this other dimension for women where we’re guilt tripped for having normal sex drives. We’re told we control the man, and that’s biblical. Over time when people actually get married, the church says nothing more. You’re on your own magically figuring out the dirty deed. And somehow churches are surprised that women are using sex as a weapon (we’re taught it’s biblical, after all), and sexually affected. I have a friend that works at a psychological research facility that has figured out (and this is run by many Christians, so it was absolutely nothing against our faith), that many individuals who grew up learning sex from church end up sexually affected with many of the same problems some face after molestation. How would permanent psychological damage be a plan of God? We engrained lies into our teenagers to scare them out of sex, then just sit back and say “well, you’re married, have fun now!” I knew a middle aged woman who remarried a man after her husband unfortunately died, and she found out she had absolutely no idea what an orgasm was. No foreplay was ever done in her previous marriage. She thought any of that was dirty, because we teach that. So telling teens who have already been exposed to porn to just “not touch it.” Is doing virtually nothing as their getting consistent mixed signals between the media and the church. Over time, if they don’t learn sex from porn, they usually don’t learn it at all (after going to a Christian university, there was always this complete opposite extreme which REALLY affected marriages as on their wedding night, the girl didn’t know even what her own private parts looked like and the man was watching porn since he was twelve). Sex in the church needs help.

Frank Powell July 28, 2014 - 9:32 am

Katie, good thoughts. Thanks. Blessings!

Tim G July 27, 2014 - 9:26 am

Although I think almost everything said here is spot on, titles like this are difficult for me. I, for one, have heard the first six of these things in church. Thats where I learned them. And although some of number 7 is good the way it is phrased isn’t really helpful. The wedding day is true, so we are to take the things that we have sworn and hold to them forever since God has truly made us one. My wife and I have repeatedly referred back to this day to encourage ourselves and one another to serve in the ways that we swore to serve. But other then that, and the title that makes it seem like the church is lying about marriage (which may be true some churches, but very much false in others), the content here is great.

Frank Powell July 28, 2014 - 9:31 am

Tim, thanks for your comment. I intended to portray to those reading that I am grateful for the church’s foundation in regards to marriage. But there are also truths I never heard in church. Not a declaration of the church. As Christians, we can always stand to improve. Blessings!

Zachary Tagoe July 27, 2014 - 9:31 am

Idk about #2. We most certainly can’t go into marriage thinking like that. I believe there is a specific person that God wants us to be with.

Frank Powell July 28, 2014 - 9:29 am

Zachary, we will have to agree to disagree. Blessings!

Guest July 29, 2014 - 3:41 pm

No. God is firm on what is true and what is not. Soulmates are definitely Biblical and saying they are not is false teaching.

Zachary Tagoe August 3, 2014 - 3:39 pm

I understand what Paul was saying now. My pastor explained it to me this morning. Marriage can get in the way of what God has called certain people to do.

crashtx1 July 29, 2014 - 9:21 am

What about Paul’s teachings that it’s better to not marry?

Mark July 27, 2014 - 1:15 pm

Sex is a gift from God. Explore It. Sex is more than a gift from God, it is necessary for the survival of our species. I don’t think it’s helpful to attribute our misunderstandings of sex to Satan. That is ancient thinking. As is the idea that sex is only for marriage. Sexual expression is a normal part of the expression of any relationship. There are healthy and unhealthy expressions but being married is not a requirement for healthy sex.

Frank Powell July 28, 2014 - 9:08 am

Mark, thanks for your comment. You must understanding that my framework for sex comes from God. This is the lense through which I view life. If we back up somewhat, however, and look at sex from a broader perspective, I think you would see God is behind sex. Sex has destroyed the world (pornography, rape, incest, molestation, etc.), but the destruction only comes when sex is used outside of the bounds which it was created. Again, this is my framework, and I appreciate your comment.

Mark July 28, 2014 - 10:05 am

I understand your framework. That’s why I challenged it. Attempting to determine what God thinks of sex is actually a narrower perspective, not a broader one. I actually agree with your belief that God is behind sex, but you also believe God is only behind sex in marriage. Married men still rape their wives. So there must be broader guidelines for what is healthy sex other than marriage. And sex has not destroyed the world? War in the name of religion has done more harm in the world than sex. And it’s people use of sex that is problematic not sex itself. Choice of words is important.

Melanie July 28, 2014 - 10:29 am

God considers sex outside of marriage “sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 7:2), therefore sex can only be considered healthy if it’s done between a husband and wife. God was very specific about that in the bible. With that being written, because marriage is a requirement for sex so it will also be for healthy sex. “But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband”

Mark July 28, 2014 - 7:40 pm

God was also very specific about what we are to do with children who disobey their parents — stone them to death. Why do you take some things literally and not others? If it’s such a healthy thing to wait for marriage how come very few people do it — even in the church? You learn so much about someone’s ability for intimacy through sexuality that it is foolish not to explore that before committing to spending your life with someone. People who believe they should wait also rush into marriage because they want to have sex. Crazy! I’m not talking bout promiscuity or sex addiction. I’m talking about sex in a committed adult monogamous relationship — married or not.

Nicolaus July 29, 2014 - 5:34 am

Stoning of children is a wonderful example of old testament law given to the Jews in the days of Moses. “The Law” of the Jews was done away with when Jesus came and gave a more perfect understanding of the Scripture (old testiment) and we were given the New testament that is now to be followed. Hope that clears up a bit of the confusion there.

Mark July 29, 2014 - 8:57 am

Who gave that law to stone disobedient children to the Jews and why?

darren August 2, 2014 - 4:24 am

THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY…..through moses not to the jews to the ISRAELITES …PUT TO DEATH ONLY IF THEY CURSED THEIR MUM AND DAD lev20:9, ………. then if AFTER MUCH TOLERANCE OF DRUNKENESS AND PROBABLE VIOLENCE ELDERS WERE SOUGHT AND A DECISION “COULD” HAVE RESULTED IN STONING, check for the why in the last verse deut 21:18-21 and IF YOU BASH YOUR MUM OR DAD TODAY thanks to Jesus at worst prison time exodus 21:15 WHY…hmmm long story, ln a nut shell….. to keep the peoples consecrated and holy …a curse in that age was deadly, even in this age the effects are real but the ceremonies to achieve them are complicated. CHILDREN? When is a child not a child, what age of maturity are you thinking….. Can you quote the scripture regarding the disobedient jewish children cause I honestly cant locate it…. is it after the wars between Judah and israel.. oh by the way the order of quoted ch, vrs, has a clue for you if you apply timing of events and compare our laws today you will be amazed

Mark August 3, 2014 - 9:47 am

If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. — Deuteronomy 21:18-21

He that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death. — Exodus 21:15

He that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death. — Exodus 21:17

When confronted with these verses in the Bible I’m told that the coming of Jesus wiped all this away. We don’t want to believe that this is the “word of God” so we explain it away. Why don’t we just admit that the Bible is man’s (not women’s) way to explain the unexplainable in the absence of science.

darren August 6, 2014 - 8:56 pm

Your right and you replied wisely. Explainations are such a method to make one right or the other wrong, so what is inbetween A CHASM. John 16 rich man and lazareth. 26 letters of the english alphabet and ifinate combinations to produce books in libraries that cant be measured.. jesus did destroy th OT Laws on the cross, thats true, yet those who keep the law of OT Dont act or obey them. Does it make a difference if you knew man was made from dust, woman was made by bone and blood. Would it mak a difference if you knew man disobeyed woman was decieved, would it make a difference if noah didnt get drunk and curse Cain. ?. I know only one thing today mark. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love….. unquote.

Jenny Daniel August 3, 2014 - 2:44 pm

What if you never loved you spouse ? you got married coz you found out you where pregnant and was confused, then went on with the marriage thinking you where going to fall inlove with time, after 8 years nothing happend your life became a leaving death! and just found out you are deeply inlove with someone else, should you still go on with the wedding?

darren August 9, 2014 - 7:37 am

In the first instance you did the right thing by preventing the birth of a illigitament child, if you are inlove with some one else and your current husband is making your life deathly than you will not be breaking gods or pauls commands regarding divorce. Im not going to give you advice if …you should go on with your marriage, I will tell you though that if you seek first the kingdom of god all things will be added…….. im not lying… he will deliver you ..in the name of Jesus I ask God to free you Jenny Daniel…amen

darren August 2, 2014 - 1:57 am

Dear mark…. stoning to death is old testaments. Christ Jesus crucified abolished every law and comand of the OT …thats one of the greatest truths of Gods very own repentences … has any born again believer told you that god doesnt know every thing, not even what you think at any given moment? If you care I can prove it with his very own Words… but it will have to be between you and me….painter_2000@hotmail.com. … use the letters JHC as subject if you do email me OK. I dont want to get stoned by anyone lol… haha shoul I say “viruses ed

M. Allyn Box August 3, 2014 - 11:08 pm

Intimacy has nothing to do with sexuality. Intimacy is the product of a marriage. Offspring the product of sexuality.

Mark August 4, 2014 - 9:50 am

Sounds like you have not had a sexually intimate experience and many marriages have very little intimacy. It is not marriage that makes a good relationship. The act of marriage symbolizes a commitment to learn how to be in relationship. if it’s not working, get help.

M. Allyn Box August 4, 2014 - 10:29 pm

But its an intimate relationship that makes a good marriage!! Which in turn leads produces a healthy and fulfill ing sexuality.

Mark July 29, 2014 - 4:15 pm

Sex was around long before marriage existed. Good thing or we wouldn’t be here! And monogamy didn’t become the norm until about the 9th century. Prior to that polygamy was very common, including in the Old Testament (but that doesn’t count). It was only until 100 to 200 years ago that we started marrying for love. Prior to that it was a “business” deal between families.

Scott July 29, 2014 - 4:54 pm

King Solomon had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. That’s Biblical.

Kyra July 29, 2014 - 10:18 pm

Just because someone in the Bible did something doesn’t mean it was right. Look how his wives led him astray. David had an affair with a married woman and then had her husband killed. Would you say that because it’s in the Bible it was right?

Samitas July 28, 2014 - 8:34 pm

I didn’t take his comments the way you did. I took it to mean that we have allowed young people to learn about sex from pretty much every source except from the church. He talks about married people who do not understand sex in a biblical context–this certainly would include the rape of a spouse. I didn’t take it as a fundamental interpretation of the Bible moment either.

darren August 2, 2014 - 1:43 am

Dear mark, sex = birth=life= unwanted babies=abortion=1st degree murder, even hitler and all his weapons of killing does not = the sum of all silenced infants since abortion was invented … all else you wrote I am in agreement….. In my view, I dont know how God views abortion, do you have any knowledge or convictions regarding those who terminate and the specialist who are the terminators…

M. Allyn Box August 3, 2014 - 11:20 pm

God is the giver of life. We can make babies all day everyday but without God they wouldn’t live. He decides when life is born. Not us. Every act of God has its purpose. If we snuff it out before it comes to fruition then we interfere with Gods will. He knows best for all.

Todd August 3, 2014 - 9:07 am

I think one needs to separate pornography, rape, incest and molestation from the attributes of sex. Porn, rape, incest and molestation is sin that manifests itself in the form of sex. And for this reason, sex as a gift from God has been tainted in the world today. The Bible describes two heterosexual acts of sex as sin. One, adultery, is the act of sex with another man’s wife or a wife who has sexual relations with a man who is not her husband. And second, is fornication. Now this is a tougher one, because fornication has changed so much with time and the modern Christian church has made all sex outside of marriage sin, however concubines where sexual partners outside of marriage and where not forbidden. The true Biblical definition of fornication is sexual relations without commitment. Meaning, prostitution, orgies, bestiality, and one night stands. As a matter of fact, it is the act of sex that yokes us, regardless of a marriage ceremony or certificate from the State/County. How that yoke is of God thru Jesus or of the yoke of sin is entirely based on your relationship with Christ and your relationship. I can attest to this one thing, I once had sex with my wife, who used sex as a weapon and a tool, who made sex deplorable, and now I have my unmarried spiritual wife with whom I make love with and with whom I have every intention of being with her for life. God is with us and we are not sinning, as He has blessed me from years of torment and pain in a horrible marriage to one of bliss, peace, and with joy.that I have in Christ. But with that said, those that think you need to have sex to see if you are compatible and will have a good marriage are nonsensical. You first have to find who you are, who they are, and know each other before you succumb to sexual temptation without commitment…and if you can abstain from sex before marriage it will be blessed. Amen

Autumn August 6, 2014 - 5:06 pm

I agree with everything you’re saying here. Sex is a life uniting act and God wants us to have life uniting intent when we have sex. Ultimately that is the most important thing. However, I’m not a hundred percent sure about being blessed if you wait till marriage. The idea that your virginity is whats going to bless you and your marriage is wrong because it takes God out of the equation. It can also contribute to some negative view son sexuality even after someone is married. But I’m not sure if I’m interpreting your statement right, so if you’d like to clarify anything or reply to what I’m saying I’d love to hear it. Also thank you for that insight about the meaning of fornication in Bible times. Something get lost in translation and then it sometimes get understood in the exact opposite way it was intended. So thank you.

crashtx1 July 29, 2014 - 9:20 am

The article is written for those that follow the Bible. Not judging your Christianity, but your comments are not biblical.

Mark July 29, 2014 - 9:48 am

You are judging my Christianity as not Biblical. 🙂

crashtx1 July 29, 2014 - 9:57 am

Your comments on sex are not Biblical. That’s not a judgement, that’s just fact.

Todd August 3, 2014 - 9:14 am

NO offense mark, but there is nothing greater than God…even the survival of our species. And it is not ancient thinking to talk about Satan and sin…they (even in our modern world) are intertwined since the beginning of time until the end of time. But I did elaborate on healthy and unhealthy expression of marital and non marital sex.

Mark August 3, 2014 - 10:58 am

The value of any religious belief comes in the belief that it is absolute truth not that it actually is absolute truth. Just because you believe Satan is real doesn’t mean Satan is real. But you have to believe he is real or the value of believing in Satan won’t have any effect on you.

Matt July 27, 2014 - 1:17 pm

Great article. I would point out that you mentioned that these are lessons you Don’t hear in church. I know we teach them and that all of these lessons are found in God’s word, He left nothing out. Even the passage you quoted about marriage not being for everyone Paul points out that if you cannot control your passions (sex) you should marry. These lessons in the Bible cover every eventuality in Marriage that I have yet come across.

Frank Powell July 28, 2014 - 9:18 am

Matt, thanks for your comments! Blessings!

Mark July 27, 2014 - 1:20 pm

There is more than one person out there for you. Agreed. I remember being told there was one person God had in mind for me. Your frustration with your wife’s habits are not due to your imperfections. That implies that if you were perfect you wouldn’t be frustrated. Striving for perfection in ourselves and others is a waste of time.

Guest July 29, 2014 - 3:22 pm

That person was right, the author of this blog post is wrong.

Mark July 27, 2014 - 1:25 pm

The first year of marriage is hard…really hard. Marriage can be hard if there are unresolved issues from childhood that create reactions to your partner that are unhealthy. If it’s really hard, you didn’t prepare enough for it. Go immediately to therapy and explore issues with your parents and any trauma you may have experienced that is triggered in your marriage. The longer you wait the deeper hole of pain you will dig which may not be able to be resolved. Also explore what causes you to experience shame. The church is really good at creating shame.

Mark July 27, 2014 - 1:29 pm

Marriage is not for everybody. We are wired for connection. Single people can have deep friendships but I would bet that single people would like to be married if they found the right person. It can be very discouraging and, of course, single people should not be made to feel less than married people. And Paul’s opinion of marriage and singleness is irrelevant.

Mark July 27, 2014 - 1:36 pm

The wedding day is a lie…don’t buy it. I don’t think the wedding day is a lie and I don’t think most people believe it is all about me. It’s about the couple. Most people intend to take their wedding vows seriously. What I do think is that the money spent on weddings these days is immoral. A cheap wedding is $20,000. If you divide that over a 40 year marriage it would be $500 or about $40 a month for your entire marriage. Spending that kind of money on a marriage that ends in a few years is even more irresponsible. We must change the culture on weddings.

Guest July 29, 2014 - 3:23 pm

Bravo!

Mark July 27, 2014 - 1:40 pm

A spouse does not complete you. Expecting a spouse to complete you is not a realistic expectation but being in a satisfying relationship is far better than being single. I experience more of myself because of my relationship with my wife. Also expecting God to fulfill your emptiness and insecurity is also a bumpy ride.

Frank Powell July 28, 2014 - 9:17 am

Mark, thanks for your comments.

bbbbarry July 27, 2014 - 1:49 pm

Good article, with many points that too many ignore. As usual, some things are advanced as Principles Of Life that are in fact this guy’s experience, like the bit about the first year being hard. For us, it wasn’t, and our marriage still isn’t the kind of “hard work” that some people say marriage always is — maybe it is for them, but I’m sure there are many marriage relationships like ours too.

His 2nd point, about there not being just one person for you, is the most problematic. He seems to think he’s arguing against the idea of soulmates​ and yet his actual arguments seem to be against the idea of checklists — which in many ways is the opposite. At one point, he even posits to a hypothetical counsellee that your focus on your checklist has made you miss your soulmate.

Someone who *does* believe in soulmates isn’t going to do this kind of Seinfeldian checklisting (twitchy smile! close talker!); that person will say, “When I find The One, then that’s that — I’ll take her even if she has acne and is an alcoholic with a problem kid. No matter how ‘perfect’ someone else may be, that person isn’t The One. I want The One, no matter what.” This is what a believer in soulmates sounds like, not some frivolous kvetching about “imperfections.”

I’ve put those words “perfect” and “imperfections” in quotes, because they seem to be the hinge of this author’s misapprehension. We use the word “perfect” to mean “without flaw.” (“Wow, she’s perfect! How on earth did she agree to marry *you*?”) But we also use the word to mean “fitting.” (“Wow, she’s perfect for you! How on earth did you find your perfect match in all the earth?”)

It’s important not to get confused about these things. I remember telling a relative what I wanted my wife to be like: interested in literature and the arts and history, well-versed in music and film and drama, good at what she does, able to share enthusiasms, religiously devoted, free-spirited, well-dressed. She told me I was holding out for some ideal woman who didn’t exist. My response was that those descriptions described *me* pretty well — what, I don’t exist? I can’t expect to find my match?. She said that I can’t expect to find a carbon copy of myself — but of course I wasn’t expecting a carbon copy: as it turns out, Catherine’s religious devotion isn’t the same shape as mine, but she is religiously devoted; her well-versedness in music and film and drama doesn’t line up with mine, but she’s well-versed; her free-spiritedness isn’t a carbon-copy of mine, but she does have that quality. The fact that we match well in all those qualities but aren’t carbon copies is no surprise (to us). We’re constantly educating and expanding and challenging each other. That’s exactly what I wanted, and what I held out for, and what I’m experiencing, and it’s a topic on which our author seems not to have been thinking quite clearly enough.

I tend to think that God’s will for our mate may be like a nice big spotlight: well-defined and fairly exclusive (I’d never have married a non-Christian, and, realistically, wouldn’t have married someone who’s not my match in several dimensions), and yet there may be more than one person in that light from which to freely choose.

I’d love to see another blog post that hits this topic well. Those who grew up with the mantra “God Has A Wonderful Plan For Your Life Jeremiah 29:11!!” need to hear more about the freedom and responsibility that look more like real life than salesmanship. That seems to be a theme for this author — I’d be very interested in hearing something that makes some of these distinctions better.

Frank Powell July 28, 2014 - 9:16 am

Much to digest here. Thanks for commenting. I will consider coming back to the topic of soul mate at another time. I appreciate your thoughts. Well articulated.

crashtx1 July 29, 2014 - 9:17 am

I think you have to put #2 and #5 together. One without the other is problematic.

Becky July 27, 2014 - 3:07 pm

Brilliance! Thank you for being open to God’s voice and sharing this wisdom!

Frank Powell July 28, 2014 - 9:13 am

Becky, thanks!

Julianna July 27, 2014 - 8:29 pm

Great article! My only issue is with #6. I’ve been single a long time and I get that from every single married church person I’ve ever met. “Oh, well, you know Paul says you should stay single.” And they’ll quote that verse. Funny thing is I won’t bring up my singleness to them and I would prefer them to not give advice to single people especially because many of the people who have said that to me were married really young and will also say things like, “Well, I NEEDED to married at 20 cuz I was horny.” Okay, they won’t use the word “horny” but they will say they had a strong sex drive or something to that effect. What really irritates me is that they seem to think being single later in life is somehow easier than being married but they romanticize the single life the same way single people can romanticize the married life. The fact of the matter is if you love Jesus and have a walk with him there are going to be struggles, PERIOD. The verse you REALLY never here people quote is this one: 1Corinthians 7:9. The really funny part about this verse is it’s primarily directed at young women. There also a few verses in 1 Timothy 5 urging young widows to be married so that they don’t lose their faith and get drawn away by their desires. This isn’t to say that one should marry just for sex; (that would be REALLY stupid because there’s A LOT more to marriage than sex), BUT if you are someone with a strong sex drive, like myself, trust me, being single is nooooooo walk in the park and the only thing that has kept me from going crazy is Jesus. There’s also this notion that remaining single makes someone more spiritual. News flash: in 1Timothy 4:1-3 Paul actually refers to that idea as being demonic in origin. I know this is a bit of a rant but I’ve had so many people say or imply that “maybe you have the gift of singleness” or “Well, you know, marriage isn’t easy,” as if divorce rates didn’t tell me that. And I would never ever go to anyone about my frustrations as a single person! They would make their business to tell me these things. So probably those people struggling with their singleness and telling you about it just need someone to talk to and encourage them. Not feed them some BS about how they’re supposed to be single. Just let them know they need to pray about it on the daily, fight to stay focused on Jesus, and take advantage of their singleness while it’s still there so they don’t have regrets when the get married. The biggest thing is to pray and stay focused on Jesus. And I don’t mean that in a cliche` or trite way either. It will be hard; in fact it will feel like pure hell, but keep trusting God, loving him and do what he says, and he’s going to help you out. Just be patient. I’m 26 now, female, and in a wonderful relationship with an awesome guy and we are planning to get married but I had to go through a freaking ton to get here.

Frank Powell July 28, 2014 - 9:13 am

Good thoughts. There is always a tendency for those on one side of the bridge to romanticize life on the other side. What is dangerous, however, is this mentality only draws on the seemingly positive aspects of the other side. The single would love to have a partner. The married would love to be able to make his or her own decisions. You said it well. There are struggles on both sides. Blessings!

Sharon July 27, 2014 - 9:14 pm

This is great! I’ve been married 32 years and been in full-time ministry with my husband for 30 of those years. We have been asked for counsel many, many times. Over and over I have told young people #s5 and 7. I have felt like they fall on deaf ears. Thank you for saying this on a platform that many will see.

Frank Powell July 28, 2014 - 9:11 am

Sharon, thanks for your comment. It is encouraging to have my words confirmed by you and so many others. Blessings!

morgan July 28, 2014 - 12:23 am

Find a good couples therapist. The first year does not have to be bad.www.familyandlifesolutions.com.

Larry July 28, 2014 - 6:30 am

#6 I would have to say that marriage is the program. Some people, like Paul, had callings in life that made marriage cumbersome. But if a person really wants to get married, I think they should.

Frank Powell July 28, 2014 - 9:10 am

I completely agree. Marriage is certainly not looked down upon by God, but there are some people that would be hindered by marriage due to their calling. Blessings!

Sharon from Around the Table July 28, 2014 - 7:20 am

Married happily for 32 years, 30 of them in fulltime ministry with my husband, 24 in Latin America. We’ve had lots of people come to us for “counsel” and we’ve repeatedly told them #5 and #7. So often I felt it fell on deaf ears. It was just nice to have our beliefs affirmed. Keep telling the truth! (P.S. I do think we hear them in church or mens/womens Bible studies though.)

Frank Powell July 28, 2014 - 9:09 am

Thanks for your encouraging words. Blessings on your ministry!

Remco July 28, 2014 - 9:12 am

About the sex thing… My wife and I have been married for 15 years during which our sex life slowly but steadily dwindled down to a “sexless marriage” (that is 10 or less sexual encounters per year – see wikipedia). I married with the assumption that our sex life would be blessed by God because we’re trying to live for His glory. I’m very happy that we’ve been blessed with 4 beautiful children but nothing had prepared me for a sexless marriage. The Christian books that I had read about sex in marriage (including the classic “The Act of Marriage” by Tim LaHaye) didn’t come with a big disclaimer; something like “be aware that the generalizations made, and expectations raised, by this book may not apply to all couples”. Or were they outright unrealistic and misleading? I don’t know, I hope we are the exception. But I do believe that we also need to teach our kids that failure (at having a mutually satisfying sexual relationship with our spouse) is also an option, and that we need to love our spouse even when our own desires remain unfulfilled.

P.S. We quite enjoyed our first year together.

Guest July 29, 2014 - 3:39 pm

Remco, you and your wife are in need of immediate spiritual and sexual counseling, while we are commanded to love our spouse at all times, including when any of our needs, sexual or otherwise, are not being met, we are also called to meet the needs of our spouse and convey our own needs. God designed sex to be wonderful in marriage and leaving this out willingly is in direct defiance to Him. Not to mention that teaching your children that this is acceptable is leading them away from His teachings. Even if you are the one being rejected sexually, it’s not ok to teach your children this is permissible.

Kat94 August 10, 2014 - 10:36 pm

YES they were unrealistic and misleading. Your wife is TIRED from chasing after your kids and taking care of every detail in all of your lives. The body craves what it needs the most and she wants sleep! “our sex life would be blessed by God because we’re trying to live for His glory”. Really? There’s so many things wrong with that statement I don’t even know where to start.

Stephanie July 28, 2014 - 9:24 am

When Paul was saying marriage isn’t for everyone it would be good to clarify. If you can’t live a life of righteousness without being sexually tempted, then marriage is right for you.

Frank Powell July 28, 2014 - 9:37 am

Yep, absolutely!

Gina Pennell West July 28, 2014 - 9:46 am

We have been married almost 30 years, we are Christians. I believe that marriage is a lot of hard work. It is easier to leave than to stay. I think that a lot of people get to a certain point in their marriage and they decide to “get through it” because of the children. That is why there are a lot of people of separate and divorce when their children leave.
I don’t know that there is a magic recipe for marriage nor do I think that people who choose not to stay married are wrong. I do believe that you have to deal with your own problems and issues. I do believe you have to choose to find what made you fall in love when times are rough. Romans 8:28

Kristin July 28, 2014 - 12:06 pm

It is sad that we DON’T hear these truths in church! I hope that changes in the near future.

Gammie B July 28, 2014 - 12:23 pm

Very good article that addressed some wonderful points! My hubby and I just celebrated our 27th anniversary last Thursday. I am thankful and feel daily blessed being married to him. God has walked faithfully with us in our marriage journey – through many seasons… good and bad, happy and sad! The bottom line. Marriage is hard work. Rewarding hard work, but hard work, just the same. For many anniversaries now, my hubby, Jeff and I evaluate our marriage, goals both individually and together, and our continued dreams. Here is what we’ve learned: 1.) Love is an action word… choose to serve your partner, choose to die to self… most things are not that important! 2.) Humility vs. pride. Pride gets in the way of so many precious opportunities. Choose humility 3.) Forgiveness!! Learning to ask for forgiveness and giving it is sooooo key to moving forward. And truly forgiving means not bringing up past wrongs, which only poisons growth in a marriage. 4.) Sex is not just about sex, but about respect, intimacy and affection, smiles & touch, affirmation & service, eye contact, holding hands, communicating & dating. It starts from the moment each of you wake up in the morning, until the moment you go to bed. It’s little notes, bringing the other coffee. Being thoughtful. Always CHOOSING to think about the other before yourself. The sex itself WILL become routine (but don’t get me wrong – we still LOVE making love!), but the love and touch of that other person NEVER gets old. Sometimes it’s just cuddling on the couch, or laying skin to skin in bed. My hubby turned 50 a couple years ago and I turn 50 next month. Much has changed with our kids (we’re also grandparents!), our bodies and our perspective in so many areas. But something that has not changed is our love for our Lord. He is the same yesterday, today and forever! We are continually thankful for His word and the wisdom that guides us. This world, or a person will NEVER ever completely satisfy, but loving Jesus does satisfy, which helps us realize in marriage that we need to daily work on ourselves with God’s strength because we certainly can’t do it on our own. I know there are many, many heartbreaking circumstances out there in which people must divorce. I’ve had friends that I’ve cried and prayed with as they’ve walked through some horrific marriages. We can only choose our own behaviors. God knows – He loves, forgives and heals. So as I said, I know that I’m blessed and in humility am thankful. We live in a world in which satan is in the business of destroying, but Jesus is in the business of restoring, and bringing love, peace & joy to those who believe.

rick July 28, 2014 - 12:44 pm

I have heard and taught all 7 of these in classes… Why must “the church” be used negatively in the title? Many already have a false, unfavorable view of the church…

Frank Powell July 29, 2014 - 1:35 pm

Rick, I attempted to give credit to the church for the framework she gave me. I am not trying to bash the church. I love the church. I believe, however, the church can always stand to improve in some areas. Marriage is one of those.

dannicalliope July 28, 2014 - 1:00 pm

My mother taught me all of this, and the church backed it up. My pastor did not preach specifically about sex from the pulpit, but the Sunday school classes and youth camps had several lessons to help young people develop a healthy mindset about sex. And my pastor and pastor’s wife were always available for counseling (I’m a woman, so I would have gone to my pastor’s wife about sex because it would be more comfortable). When my husband and I were to be married, we had premarital counseling with our pastor and his wife and sex was a topic of it. They also gave us a book called “The Act of Marriage,” by Tim and Beverly LaHaye which not only gives the reader an overview of how God created sex for marriage (and the healthy benefits of a healthy sex life for both partners) but also a great anatomical/biological overview of the human body. We take it for granted that everyone knows these things, and truth be told, I knew most of it–but there a lot of people who don’t really understand their body or what sex is, and this book would be very helpful in that area.

Judy July 28, 2014 - 1:07 pm

I so appreciate your article on marriage and spelling out the real work it takes to make a marriage relationship work. If I may add one thing. My husband and I have been doing pre-marriage counseling for over 30 years and the one thing we required of each person was that they spend time alone with the Lord, asking Him to confirm to them that this person was the person HE had picked out for them. Having that confirmation was going to be the ‘sticking power’ they would need in the first five years of their marriage. We were blessed to have on going contact with many of the couples and they came to us to say that the confidence they had in “God said” was what made them stick it out in the rough times. Marriage is a job of work, especially when it was God’s idea. He requires nothing less than death to ‘self’.

Kate July 28, 2014 - 2:23 pm

This might have already been added, but “Marriage does not define you.” And I mean that this way: You married an independent person, and you were an independent person when your spouse married you. You have “become one,” congratulations — but it’s still important to be independent. I married my husband, but I don’t have to become him. The same goes for him (not) becoming me. I would hate to be married to myself, because then there’s nothing unique for me to bring to the table anymore.

MackaEvo2 July 28, 2014 - 2:26 pm

You lost me at the first point… Sex being a gift from god for a man and women. There is more then one thing wrong with that line

Guest July 29, 2014 - 3:35 pm

No there isn’t. It’s completely scriptural.

Kat94 August 10, 2014 - 10:20 pm

Can you cite your scripture references?

Nicole July 28, 2014 - 2:41 pm

This is amazing. I think about things I wasn’t taught in church (about marriage) all the time. I don’t know if I would have even listened but you are SO right!

Milli Mil Marlon July 28, 2014 - 2:49 pm

Awesome!!!

RansomsFlight July 28, 2014 - 3:14 pm

It makes me sad that “the church” never taught you these. Now, I’ve been in churches of varying levels of health, but in the thoughtful, evangelical, biblically literate churches I’ve been a member of, these were all taught. #6 wasn’t taught as well as the others (and I had my fair share of people treating me like I wasn’t a legit adult while I was unmarried), but it was taught. And #3 was taught so thoroughly that I’m constantly having to check myself to make sure I’m not missing something important; I’m in my tenth month of marriage and it’s actually been in most ways the easiest and best year of my life. Maybe this is because I had so many friends married for so long before I was, and I learned a lot by watching them, but…you know, I loved being single, and I love being married even more. I didn’t believe in soul mates on my wedding day, but now I’m starting to wonder. I can’t imagine another person who could love and know me as well as my husband does.

All that to say, I do think some of this gets missed or misstated at some churches. Obviously; I mean, many of these commenters had similar experiences to yours. But there are some of us that did learn these “truths” (I debate that term for some on this list) in our churches; there are many churches out there teaching biblically and thoroughly. Would’ve been nice to title this “7 Truths About Marriage That I Didn’t Learn In Church”, not “7 Truths You Won’t” et cetera. =)

Frank Powell July 29, 2014 - 1:38 pm

Thanks. I agree with you. Some churches have done better than others at this. My goal is not to bash churches, but to challenge minds. Blessings!

vabeard July 28, 2014 - 3:20 pm

Best list about marriage EVER. Everyone that ever thought about getting married should read this list.

OkieGirl July 28, 2014 - 3:42 pm

Love this article!!! More people need to talk about #1. All I was taught growing up in a Christian home is to NOT have sex. Oh, apparently I could have it after I got married. But nobody explained how very important it is to a marriage. And how it weighs on so many other relationships in your life as well.

zac July 28, 2014 - 4:09 pm

My Archbishop and Pastor both taught on this in service at my church. Light Of The World Ministries in Stockbridge, GA

I guess you can just call it 7 random truths

ajchestnut July 28, 2014 - 4:32 pm

As I approach 30 I hear more and more about how incomplete my life is because I am not married. People often tell me that our purpose as Christians is to be fruitful and try to imply that I am somehow sinning by not being married. I appreciate that you have noted that marriage simply isn’t for everyone and supported the sentiment with biblical text. It comforts me to know that there are Christians out there that can make the distinction between what we have always been taught and what can be found in the Word. Thank you.

RansomsFlight July 28, 2014 - 5:14 pm

I got so tired of hearing that, ajchestnut! My single life was really good, because I refused to believe I needed anything else to make it complete. The one thing I hated was not knowing if I was one of the “not for everyone” category or if I was in the “not yet” category. Felt like I could prepare for either but not knowing which to prepare for was difficult. But while I was single (into my mid-30s) I was heartily, fully, gladly single, and now that I’m married, I’m heartily and fully and gladly married. I love marriage, but I loved singleness too. I am encouraged by every woman who stands on her own, bearing fruit for Christ and his kingdom, no matter what her future holds. You rock.

Frank Powell July 29, 2014 - 1:37 pm

Thanks for your comments. Find strength in who God has called you to be. Sounds like you have done so. Blessings!

look up July 28, 2014 - 4:42 pm

Having loved my spouse through a storm or two, let me tell you that everyone has problems. Seeking an affair, either actively or not guarding against one, will not fix any problem you have in your marriage.

mscassied July 28, 2014 - 8:35 pm

I’ve heard all of these (and more) in church multiple times lol! Well, except #2. I do agree with what you said about no one being perfect, commitment, and imperfections but I believe that the Lord in fact does have a “perfect” person for me. Meaning that we are fit to be together through Him and His spirit not due to our physical natures, if that makes sense. I’ll need to thank my pastor for being transparent about the true realities of marriage. As a single woman it’s good to be reminded the marriage is not a Disney movie all of the time. Good post!

postie July 28, 2014 - 11:03 pm

As a Catholic I believe that the wedding day is very important. It is a sacrament a day to be bound to God in “holy matrimony”. The mass you share with your friends and family uniting them to our marriage vows. It all depends on the focus, the glam of it all or the actual union before God.

Daro Thol July 28, 2014 - 11:46 pm

I would also say don’t worship your marriage. It is not your God. Christ died on the cross so that we can be His people through faith. As His disciples we should be Loving God with all our heart, Loving people without condition and Making Disciples of all nations. The rest is secondary.

Daro Thol July 29, 2014 - 12:06 am

I would also say don’t worship your marriage either. It is not your God. Christ died on the cross so that we can be His people through faith. As His disciples we should be Loving God with all our heart, Loving people without condition (starting with our spouses) and Making Disciples of all nations. The rest is secondary. Marriage is important and we should work hard at it. However, the more attention we place on the marriage the more valuable it becomes and the more focus it requires. Too much focus on anything is the root cause of idolatry. And marriage can become an idol because it is all you’re working on and thinking about. But if we focus on loving God, loving people and making disciples we are more likely to treat our spouse right because God and His mission is on the top of everything. If two married people did this, they wouldn’t have a lot of time to focus too much on themselves within the marriage, which is usually the main problem in marriages.

meegan July 29, 2014 - 12:07 am

While I feel the title is mostly for grabbing attention-it certainly did mine.. I learned most of those truths in Church from bible study teachers and mentors. I am so thankful for my church and speaking the truth about marriage and what to expect because otherwise I would have believed the fairy tales and movies. My husband and I have been married for 9 years and have had plenty of hard times… our motto that I love to encourage other couples to do is to choose that Divorce is not an option (apart from the biblical adultery is grounds for it) Divorce is never thrown out as a threat and both of us know we have to work through any trouble we have because Divorce is just not an option. We discussed that and decided when we talked about getting engaged. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

Doula July 29, 2014 - 5:14 am

Good thoughts! However, I disagree with #6. The use of this passage is taken out of context of a marriage-culture that still exist in many places of the world, however not so much (or at all) in America. When reading this passage with an American/Western world-view it is badly misconstrued – unfortunately, as it has been done here. That said, I very strongly believe that marriage is for everyone (everyone is designed for marriage) – and that God does call everyone to marriage. Though, not all will marry. Just I as strongly believe God “wants all to be saved” – that salvation is for everyone (everyone is designed for salvation), though not all will believe and be saved. Marriage and Salvation are linked in Scriptures and are mysteries.
Getting married out of boredom or pressure can truly result in “failure”. Not because people are not called of God to be married, but because of getting married out of boredom and/or pressure.
I have lived in a culture where a young man was beaten-up very badly by his father because the young man didn’t feel he was ready for marriage. His parents forced the marriage on the man out of “honor” for the family – the young man accepted his “fate”. Another young man was told he had two months to choose a wife, and if he didn’t choose one his parents would find a wife for him – it was not a matter of “if” he married, it was simply a matter of “when” – and within a certain time frame – to save the family’s honor in the community, and because it was the “right” thing to do “before God”. I believe it is these kinds of cultures Paul is addressing, saying it is “better not to marry” – warning parents/and individuals not to cave into peer/community pressure to marry “for God” or “for honor of parents/family”. Where “getting married” and not the hearts/individuals involved and long term relationships that is most important. These cultures of “Get married not matter what!” are STILL very much ALIVE and well in many places in the world – it is these cultures Paul is addressing. Paul is NOT addressing the culture of America/Western world-view where people are not going to be beaten nearly to death or thrown out of the family (and treated as if they are dead) for choosing not to marry (at the family’s appointed time and/or in the traditional way). In fact, America tends to lean in the other direction – more and more people are not getting married – not even for the first time, and there is a lower and lower expectation of people marrying.
All this to say, let’s be careful not to take Scripture out of context and use it to explain why people should not/don’t marry.

Steven July 29, 2014 - 6:19 am

I have to agree, accept for the first year being hard. Ours became more difficult around year 3 when kids came along. I love my wife and kids, but it is definitely work! By the way you are SPOT ON about talking to our kids about sex, I have already started with my 9 YO. Great article! http://Www.everydaydadblog.wordpress.com

samantha July 29, 2014 - 8:46 am

I enjoyed reading this, but I have to say that the Church, the Catholic Church, does teach all of these things before you get married. As a couple you go through 6 months of engagement classes that help you in the beginning of your marriage.

Jesse Bettina Temple Mays July 29, 2014 - 9:20 am

1. Don’t nag tell once then tell on them to God he can take it. It always works. 2. Sometimes you don’t like your spouse but if you direct yourself toward God you will again. The holy spirit has saved my husband many times. 3. A “good” marriage takes a huge effort you must put points into your emotional bank accounts and not look at withdraws. Bunny Wilson, put out a tape a long time ago that explained how to greet your spouse when they get home from work. My kids would have a daily competition in the summer one with an icy drink, one with a hug and something else. They had to wait 4ft from the door and I was with them. My husband said he never felt more loved. We don’t do it now 14yrs later but I do it in small ways, be home, have something for him once a week tell good news. 4. Pray, Pray, Pray, Study the bible together sometimes I put audio on in the morning especially if time is short. (bible gateway.com). 5. If it bothers your spouse try not to do it. Keep your facebook pg open to them or share it. Be transparent.

sues1976 July 29, 2014 - 9:29 am

I enjoyed this so much. My husband and I will be celebrating 38 years this Oct. Every point is spot on. Our second year was the hardest because I was on cloud 9 for much of the first year. These are subjects that really need to be addressed in the church. This was so well done that I think It will inspire a lot of pastors and teachers to wake up to these needs in the church.

Rachel A. July 29, 2014 - 9:53 am

I very much enjoyed this article. I’ve had this small bit of fear because other folks have always mentioned the terrible first year, and it’s actually been pretty fun! (So, should I be scared?) We’ve been married for “5 minutes” compared to the decades of other couples (almost a year), and it’s been quite a journey. We both believe that it takes commitment, love, patience, and faith to make it work. We’ve had a blissful 9 months so far, and it’s been scary to hear feedback from others pointing toward the negative aspects. We’re very happy, and we’ve talked and managed through the “negatives” so far. We don’t expect perfection in a shallow, hollywood-like kind, so there are fewer disappointments.
One of the things I was surprised to learn when we did the premarital course was the sex part. I thought it’d be a Tabboo Fest, but they highly encouraged developing that intimate relationship in a marriage, which in a way is a beautiful connection between both individuals. The other aspect I had a bit of trouble with, although it’s more cultural, was this whole idea that I stopped being “me” to become part of the “us”, which carries some logic, but it’s been highly misinterpreted. I can say I’ve always been supported by him, and I’ve supported him as well. Besides being friends for a long time, that individuality is what made us fall for each other, so why stop?
The last point I wish it could be published more often! As a former bride, I think I weirded plenty of people in the wedding planning business by my “carelessness”. The only ones who got my point were my now husband, our priest, and some close friends. We talked about this several times during the planning process: We don’t care about a “perfect wedding”, we care about a strong healthy marriage. The wedding day goes by in a flash, (and if you’re lucky, you’ll remember most of the events), but what’s really exciting is starting the journey of the rest of your life with someone you love and respect dearly.
We’ve been very lucky to be supported by plenty of couples who’ve been married for long decades. They’ve shown us that, unlike what the stats say, you *can* have a long lasting marriage, *and* have a happy, fulfilling life. For us it’s been a bliss so far, and one heck of a gift from Him. 🙂

SA July 29, 2014 - 10:04 am

#3. Absolutely, but I will add there will come a year down the road (for me it was year #7) that will be harder. If you have not 100% died to self, or even if you have, you will find yourself completely depleted from the struggle of compromise and wonder if you really want to do this struggle for the next 70 years. I will tell you from experience to drop to your knees and resurrender to God. It is worth it. Celebrating 25 years in four days and am so blessed to walk this journey with my husband. Still fight. Still struggling sometimes. Still grt irritated by stupid little things like chomping ice. Still love. Still comfort. Still worry. But the exhilaration of knowing it is him and I against the world and we are winning is awesome. More importantly knowing he loves me in spite of all of my faults, failures, and mistakes is something I would never give up for my younger self to not struggle.

Frank Powell July 29, 2014 - 1:53 pm

I agree. For my wife and I, year 4 has been equally as hard as year 1. Mostly because of external variables beyond our control. This is wise advice though. Thanks!

Megan Philip July 29, 2014 - 10:37 am

I am not yet married, I hope this doesn’t disqualify me from the discussion. But in reference to #2 I agree that we should be looking for the “perfect person” because we ourselves are flawed. I do agree however, that God will guide and has created that match (or “perfect”) for us, the one who matches our goals, passions, beliefs, the one who will truly bring about the work God wants to do in us. And that just can’t be anyone. It can’t be several people. I mean sure we could marry who we want but I believe God is so strategic and specific in who He wants us to marry. I believe He orders our steps even in marriage. I view marriage, amongst many other great things, as an assignment. An assignment to each other. A purpose to be birthed in that family as a result of that union. Because the two become one flesh, it’s a little unsettling to think that we could be joined together with several people and the choice is ours. I will use the example I always use of Mary and Joseph. Mary had to marry Joseph, she couldn’t marry, let’s say, Jim lol. Jim did receive word from the Lord not to be afraid to Mary to be his wife, nor did he receive direction to flee to Egypt because Herod wanted baby jesus’ life. Joseph did. Jim was not part of the lineage of David, it was Joseph. I don’t believe God only put people in the Bible together, but I believe He is the best match-maker even in our lives today! I also believe marriage as well as singleness is a calling, a calling by God. As with everything, we seek the Lord regarding His plan for our lives, and yield accordingly.

Frank Powell July 29, 2014 - 1:50 pm

Megan, fair points. My point was more about allowing a checklist for a spouse override the man or woman God has designed for you. These two people are often different. Thanks!

Kimmie Bee July 29, 2014 - 10:48 am

I would add that marriage is NOT 50/50.

There are seasons where I have to put in 75 and my husband puts in 25. This is especially true during Youth Mission trips, Winter Retreats and Annual Youth Day…my husband is a youth pastor. During these seasons, I plan date nights, send lovey-dovey text messages, make his favorite meals, etc. with the knowledge that he is being pulled in another direction…for a season. When I am pulled in other directions (be it family issues, ministry, work…) he picks up the slack. The best part about not bying into this 50/50 thing is that you leave room for God to make up where you both lack. Jesus is our helper, especially when neithr of us are able to make it to that 100%.

Frank Powell July 29, 2014 - 1:49 pm

Kimmie, you are right. Sometimes your spouse is hurting or struggling. You must carry the weight. On seasons will be the opposite. This is true of healthy marriages. Thanks!

Taylor Robles July 29, 2014 - 10:53 am

I agree with all of this. Question: when is a good time to talk to your children about sex. This is something that I have struggled with. Part of me does not want to take away their “innocence”, but the other part of me does not want them to be influenced in the wrong way as the article has said. When is a good age, how do you talk to them about it, and how much do you tell them?

Stetsi July 29, 2014 - 12:01 pm

I had a brilliant mother who was very open and clear with her children about where babies come from and the “close” kind of relationship her and my father shared. She shaped very early that “mommy and daddy snuggle naked.” That God gave them a gift which led to us being in this world, that sex is the perfect bonding gift God gives to those who are married.

Keep in mind- innocence is stolen when truth is thwarted- not when its given. Regardless of what age you choose to tell them, or even how- the point is that you’re the first to do so, meaning you get to shape their initial view on what sex is. If that FIRST mindset is the one they take into EVERY life situation to follow…you’re going to have a child (and ultimately an adult) who has a Godly, biblical and well-rounded view of what sex is.

Frank Powell July 29, 2014 - 1:48 pm

Taylor, I believe this is something you need to pray about. It is hard to say. My inclination is to tell your kids earlier rather than later. Their innocence is not going to last regardless. So, why not educate them on the truths of sex, and not allow their curiosity to be aroused because some fellow 5th grader mentioned sex at school? I think parents have the opportunity to control this situation. My opinion only.

Guest July 29, 2014 - 3:32 pm

Protect their heart. Shield them from sexual impurity and only talk to them about such matters as they approach marrying age.

Jenni B. July 29, 2014 - 11:43 am

I’m completely grateful and astounded after reading these truths. We need the raw,uncut version if we’ll ever live life truly abundantly. For me, # 6 is the toughest truth to swallow. I’ve asked God to remove my desire for marriage if it’s not his will for my life. Thank you for feeding us! Please pray for me.

Frank Powell July 29, 2014 - 1:46 pm

Jenni, thank you for reading. Praying for God to give you clarity and strength! Blessings!

Stetsi July 29, 2014 - 11:44 am

So many great points here. So. Much. Truth.

As a 20-something, I can attest to being on the receiving end of many of these mistruths in my church upbringing- especially that of not being properly educated about sex by our pastors/ leaders/etc.

I would wonder a step further and ask if you have an identical article to this one, titled “7 Truths About Marriage We’re Dropping The Ball On As Parents” because while I’m totally with you, in that the church has been seriously slacking, I would add that many of these truths are issues our parents never dealt with or brought up either. And as a parent is the number one source for a child’s rearing and education, they should be held to a higher responsibility than the church. They should be correcting their children where the church has misled, and should even go to the church, and beseech the leadership to shape up and…oh I don’t know…teach the Bible.
But I agree on your stance because not everyone comes from a Christian home. I get it. Some don’t join a church until they are older and need to be re-taught some of these principles, and its just not there.
However, as an agreer with you, (and with you being the one to have the online blog and not me) I would urge you to write a sister post to this, calling out the parents to be the first-line teachers of these truths to their kids, while they still have the ability to shape their kids’ minds.

I also truly appreciate your stance on the wedding day. Far far FAR too many of us are sucked into the materialistic lies that focus way more on the “me” and “us” and completely forget the fact that it is a SACRED covenant made before God and a vows made before one another.
As a man, who has researched wedding trends over the last 100+ years, I have come to understand the “industry” aspect of why we do what we do and I have come to be very troubled by it. I also take a very strong standpoint on it, and for that, I am not well-liked (on that topic) among my female friends. I truly wish more material was readily available for the young and old alike, but especially my 20-something colleagues who fall to it the hardest.
In any event, I appreciate the view you have and the points you make on the subject, and I’m glad you added it into this article.

Lots of good stuff here. Thanks for the read!

Frank Powell July 29, 2014 - 1:45 pm

Great thoughts here. I will consider your idea of a sister post. The responsibility starts with the parents. Thanks!

Connie July 29, 2014 - 12:14 pm

We have been married 18 years. I remember my friend telling me we would have bad YEARS! She was right!

Frank Powell July 29, 2014 - 1:44 pm

Connie. Thanks for commenting and reading! Blessings!

Kristine July 29, 2014 - 12:37 pm

#8 You become one in flesh, similar in souls, but your spirit is God’s.

#9 Every person was made by God, for God. You don’t own anyone. Spouse. Children. They are God’s.

#10 Only by pride cometh contention. Contention? Someone is being proud.

#11 God calls a man to live with understanding toward his wife. His aim should not be trying to get her to understand him, but to understand her. On the other hand, God calls a wife to reverence her husband. Her attitude has power with God and her husband. In these two things, the rubber of their faith hits the road.

Frank Powell July 29, 2014 - 1:44 pm

Good points Kristine. Thanks for adding something to the discussion. Blessings!

Martin Burch July 29, 2014 - 12:45 pm

I really enjoyed this post… I do have one clarifying suggestion… instead of saying that there is more than one person out there I think it would make your point to say… “Don’t expect a soulmate”. That’s really the point. The way it reads sounds like polygamy is an option

Frank Powell July 29, 2014 - 1:43 pm

Martin, fair point. Thanks for commenting!

Theo July 29, 2014 - 12:45 pm

I think you would love Theology of the Body by John Paul II. My wife and were exposed/studied it and it addresses some of the stuff you brought up here. It really helped prepare/understand God’s gift of sexuality and marriage!

Frank Powell July 29, 2014 - 1:43 pm

Theo, sounds great. In a library today…might just check it out! Blessings!

Bill July 29, 2014 - 12:57 pm

This is shitty advice. You sound like a cult leader.

Esther July 29, 2014 - 1:14 pm

I think this is great advice. Why do you think that Bill?

Frank Powell July 29, 2014 - 1:42 pm

Bill, I am not presenting these as “must believe” statements. I want to challenge people to think. I pray this is the message my words send. I would never judge or condemn anyone. Thanks for commenting!

Guest July 30, 2014 - 1:07 pm

While I believe some of the advice in the article is biblical the bible commands us to judge.

“He who is without sin cast the first stone” (John 8:7)

The popular interpretation of this passage is that only someone who never sins can declare that someone else has sinned. But the issue before them, adultery, was a criminal act under the law of Moses. Given this context, the popular interpretation would require us to conclude that Jesus was demanding that the State be abolished because it would mean that nothing could be called a crime. All judges in court systems are sinners, all legislators who make the laws are sinners, and all executives who enforce the laws created by the legislators are sinners. So the popular interpretation is absurd. Jesus was not an anarchist. He recognized the authority of Caesar (Matt. 22:21).

Here’s an alternative interpretation that makes sense: “without sin” refers to the particular sin under discussion, adultery, not absolute sinlessness.[1] Jesus was expressing the rule that a person who should be prosecuted for committing a particular crime is not a legitimate witness against someone else for that same crime. If these men were guilty of adultery, they should be the “stonees,” not the “stoners.” How did these men know how to find the woman “in the very act of adultery” (John 8:4)? Probably because they had visited that location to engage in adultery themselves. That’s why they left, leaving no witnesses against the accused. The law of Moses required at least two witnesses, and those witnesses had to be the first ones to cast stones to execute the criminal:

On the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses the one who is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. (Deut. 17:6-7)

If the witnesses refused to initiate the execution, no execution could take place. Jesus is not saying anything against the law of Moses; He is upholding it. He is not saying that stones should never be cast. “He who is without [this] sin cast the first stone” means, “If you can do it lawfully, go ahead and stone her.” Shocking, isn’t it? But this is the real Jesus, not the Sunday School Jesus, meek and mild.

The Pharisees thought that they had trapped Jesus. As one who claimed to be the Messiah, the Pharisees knew that Jesus would have to uphold the law of God. Yet the Roman government had taken the authority to execute criminals away from the Jews. Only a Roman court could execute a criminal (which is why they had to deliver Jesus to the Roman authorities to have Him put to death). Jesus avoided the horns of the dilemma by endorsing the Mosaic law, but showing the Pharisees that the requirements of the Mosaic law had not been met in order to carry out a judgment against the woman.

Jesus’ last words to the adulteress release her from liability before the impromptu court, but He still judges her for her sin of adultery: “Go and sin no more.” He’s like a judge who tells an accused when charges are dropped because of tainted evidence, “The police didn’t get the goods on you this time, but don’t let me see you back here again. Stay out of trouble.” There’s no support for non-judgmentalism here.

Kevin Sanders July 29, 2014 - 12:59 pm

Some good thoughts here. I think many go into marriage with unrealistic expectations. And many singles believe the myths about “soul mates.”

Here’s something I wrote about this a while back that kind of goes along what some of what you said:
http://kevinsanders.org/2011/02/gods-will-and-the-one/

Frank Powell July 29, 2014 - 1:40 pm

Kevin, read your article. Thoughtful words. Thanks for commenting! Blessings!

Guest July 29, 2014 - 3:29 pm

No myths. Soulmates are scriptural.

Kevin Sanders July 30, 2014 - 1:30 pm

Just like unicorns.

Guest July 30, 2014 - 3:03 pm

God made Adam and Eve for each other! Soulmates are scriptural.

Kristine July 29, 2014 - 2:09 pm

One thing I might add (something you don’t really hear): Some say marriage is 50/50. Others say 100/100. To me, the happiest marriages are 0/100 where the Lord is 100… loving the Lord completely through your spouse, letting Him love you through them. It is work, but it’s as nothing when the Lord loves through each of you.

Also, books are nice, but there is no book on your spouse. Go to their Creator every time, listen to Him. He’ll give the most creative and timely ideas. Ask Him to make clear to your spouse what you need. He doesn’t mind you asking. Marriage is a three-fold cord with the Holy Spirit… never just the two of you. How you respond to one always effects the other.

Kristine July 29, 2014 - 2:14 pm

#8 You become one in flesh, similar in souls, but your spirit is God’s.

#9 Every person was made by God, for God. You don’t own anyone. Spouse. Children. They are God’s.

#10 Only by pride cometh contention. Contention? Someone is being proud.

#11 God calls a man to live with understanding toward his wife. His aim should not be trying to get her to understand him, but to understand her. On the other hand, God calls a wife to reverence her husband. Her attitude has power with God and her husband. It’s where the rubber of their faith hits the road.

Kristine July 29, 2014 - 2:19 pm

One thing I might add (something you don’t really hear): Some say marriage is 50/50. Others say 100/100. To me, the happiest marriages are 0/100 where the Lord is 100… loving the Lord completely through your spouse, letting Him love you through them. It is work, but it’s as nothing when the Lord loves through each of you.

Also, books are nice, but there is no book on your spouse. Go to their Creator every time, listen to Him. He’ll give the most creative and timely ideas. Ask Him to make clear to your spouse what you need. He doesn’t mind you asking. Marriage is a three-fold cord with the Holy Spirit… never just the two of you. How you respond to one always effects the other.

Guest July 29, 2014 - 3:29 pm

I love your perspective of marriage being 0/100. In a spiritual sense, I totally agree. On a mortal level, I’ve never liked the 50/50 or 100/100 analogy. I think, during the span of a marriage, every ratio from 0/100 to 100/0 is covered, and the most successful marriages happen when that average is 50/50.

eatmydessertfirst July 29, 2014 - 3:00 pm

A healthy productive marriage is made up of healthy, whole productive people who enter into marriage. If each person goes in with emotional deficits and expects their spouse to fill those deficits, misery will ensue. Marriage IS work but the work is within ourselves.

Guest July 29, 2014 - 3:17 pm

The most dangerous articles and blog posts are those that have sound Biblical standpoints with a single lie snuck in. God DOES create our spouse just for us (anyone remember Adam and Eve? Rebecca and Issac?). This is why plural marriage, sex outside of marriage, and marrying someone with whom you’re unequally yoked are wrong. Notice; however, that I did not say He creates ONLY one person for us. If a person is widowed or widowered, God may deem fit to bless them with another spouse for that season of their life, but it’s not because God doesn’t create soulmates.

Maxine July 29, 2014 - 3:53 pm

I’ve heard them all at my church!! Lol! Amen!

Guest July 29, 2014 - 4:15 pm

The title is very negative to church’s and its leaders. http://christianstandard.com/2005/09/cs_article-102/

Jeron McGough July 29, 2014 - 4:24 pm
Raven Lewis July 29, 2014 - 6:43 pm

I’ve been married for 1 month and this is EXTREMELY encouraging to me! My husband and I are going to post this in the house and revisit it throughout our 1st year to make sure we remember our problems are not unique and our marriage will survive if we both die. I love you and your wife for being so honest! God bless!

Sarah July 29, 2014 - 7:09 pm

I liked this article, I think it speaks a lot of truth that we need to hear. but I have to disagree with you on the first year is hard. I don’t know where that came from or why it was even started. One of my profs told me the first 6 months were the hardest. so not true. I don’t know if it was because my husband and I were just super nice to each other (can’t be true, I’m a brat) or what but if our first year of marriage is really hard than I like really hard. Our first year was awesome, we had maybe 2 huge fights that blew over rather quickly. I think people just had a hard time adjusting to their spouse so that could make it hard. But it was not hard for us and for that i am grateful.
I totally agree with “a spouse doesn’t complete you.” I started telling my husband that long before we got married. I like to say that the three of us (God, myself and my husband) make a pretty awesome team. I know that kind of mind set really helps remind me that my husband can’t and isn’t capable of fixing everything, making everything easy or good for me. We have to rely on God.
I am a youth pastor and I am constantly telling my teens that they may grow up and never get married. I remind them that not all of us will even have kids if we do get married. I always try to get them to understand that it just might not happen and that it’s perfectly fine, not to let others look down on them, or feel sorry for them. God has a plan for each of us and it’s not always what the “normal” people do.
I think that’s it. I liked this read! Thanks for sharing.

eef July 30, 2014 - 1:11 am

I have read a lot of material about marriage through the years. During our marriage my husband and I have thrown most of the things we have read and heard out the window. Instead we have chosen to go by the bible. So, our honeymoon took us away from everything and everyone for a month and still today nobody knows where we were in that time. No pictures or updates anywhere on the internet, just God and the two of us. And really it was the best! Our first year of marriage we did not start anything new, no ministry work, no moving overseas etc. It has been an relaxed, fun, amazing year. No pressure, but a lot of time to be together and grow closer together. (Safe to say our first year of marriage was not hard at all

evianne July 30, 2014 - 4:13 am

I had commented here this morning and now my comment is gone?!

Ben July 30, 2014 - 4:45 am

Thanks for all that!
I’m 5 months in, so I am in that first year of marriage. I feel like giving up almost every day. Any tips, ideas, experiences on how to grow and make things work out?

AW August 1, 2014 - 2:23 am

Just as relationships have their ups and downs, I think it is magnified in marriage. Some say marriage is hard in the first year, some say it’s easy. Your perspective likely differs based on whether you lived together before marriage and the history of your relationship; also, everyone has their own definition of “hard”. Here are my tips (based on my recent first year experience).
1. Unconditional love means unconditional forgiveness. Forgive and move on.
2. Always give your spouse your best, regardless of how you feel (mad, sad, frustrated, doesn’t matter).
3. Never use the “D” word or make any reference to leaving your spouse (or asking if they want to leave).
4. Remember that you are still in a relationship, so continue to do the things that made your relationship great before marriage (dates, love notes, having fun together, etc.).
5. Be open about your own expectations and feelings, and be ready make adjustments to accommodate your spouse’s expectations and feelings.
6. Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath (hard to do, but very important to resolve issues right away rather than let them grow).
7. Focus on the positive. When things get rough, remember what you love about your spouse.
*I hope you find this helpful. It is a different world being on the other side of marriage, and I think we need to do the best we can to make marriages work. It’s easy to give up.

Vineetha Rajeev July 30, 2014 - 5:55 am

Thanks for putting it all together as a great article! Just seems to assure that: ‘Hey, relax, it’s nothing new, just the way it has got to be’. These insights come only from real experience 🙂

GF July 30, 2014 - 9:13 am

10 reasons for why to not get married.

GF July 30, 2014 - 9:14 am

10 reasons for why to not get married:

http://www.theintentionallife.com/?s=why+not+to+get+married

Elle July 30, 2014 - 9:33 am

The best marriage article I’ve read and wish I read before I got married!!!! The first year is the worst and no one believes it!!!

SthrnBrn July 30, 2014 - 9:45 am

It really grinds my gears to hear people say how hard marriage is. It’s not THAT hard and if it is, I believe there is something wrong.

Laura Laird July 30, 2014 - 9:57 am

I love this article! I am a very romantic, fairy tale, crying at romantic movies kinda gal, but I did find out – the hard way at times – that marriage is not a fairy tale and it is not about “living happily ever after”! Isn’t funny that no one tells you what happened AFTER Snow White married her prince… Or Cinderella’s rich and handsome guy fitted the shoe on her delicate foot… Or Sleeping Beauty was woken up from her slumber by true love’s first kiss. No one tells you how Cinderella gained a few after having 12 kids and the Prince made bad investments and lost his money and his castle, which forced her to raise the kids by herself and go back to scrubbing floors at night for a living so they could make ends meet while he broke his back trying to find a job in the “real” world. How they started to fight over money and had no time left for dates and intimacy, not to mention sex… And how the prince buckled under pressure and had an affair with that sexy, young bar wench down the road… 🙂 I’m being funny, obviously but the truth is marriage is hard work. Even or sometimes especially for Christians. Because we have a set of morals to live by and unless we truly ask for and purposefully receive God’s grace we will buckle under the pressure. I would add to this list the fact that just like marriage is not a magic fairy tale, nor is having kids! Women especially over romanticize becoming mothers and unfortunately the culture we live in, sometimes especially the “churchy” culture puts even more pressure on mothers to be “perfect”! So when we find out motherhood is not exactly the heavenly experience we expected, we are quietly being guilted by looks and sighs and well intended “advice”. But the truth is becoming mom and dad adds to the pressure and difficulty of marriage and things can change for the worst in a hurry. We all need the Jesus’ strength, mercy and grace and we need one another! As mothers, we should be encouraging and supporting of each other and live judging behind. 🙂

Nis Nis July 30, 2014 - 10:31 am

I grow up with some of the worst examples of marriage! And knew that no man would want to marry me. Because of this God had to teach about His institution of marriage . These where not easy lessons. I now desire to be married but now I feel that the lessons God has taught me are not valued by the world standards and every person that I meet wants me to compromise but are not will to sacrifice themselves. So now I am back to square one and I am so ready to take myself of the board again!

DrumminD21311 July 30, 2014 - 12:26 pm

Marriage is not for everybody? Does that mean those people can never have sex since sex is only allowed within marriage?

Julius July 30, 2014 - 1:37 pm

Thank you! A lot of excellent points.

Laura July 30, 2014 - 2:12 pm

I’d have to add to the sex point that if you were a virgin when you got married and you didn’t have sex on your honeymoon or the wedding night, you are NOT a failure! Sex does take work. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t even happen the first year. Everyone is different. Don’t put the pressure on yourself to be like ‘everyone else’. The truth is everyone else is struggling with it too. 🙂

Jenna Madsen July 30, 2014 - 2:42 pm

My husband and I are coming up on our 1st year of marriage (September 21), and as I look back on this almost-year long journey I have to admit it was much harder than we expected. We had amazing pre-marriage counselling with our Pastor, and he told us “expect the unexpected, things are not going to be perfect”, and boy was he right! It started 5 days after the wedding when my grandmother passed away suddenly. It was hard, shocking, tragic, and just so sudden. I felt like the honeymoon was over, (after only 5 days!) because of that. My husband then broke his ankle in December, and we hadn’t even been married for 2 months at that time. Because of the injury he was laid up for 3 months, needing me to do everything for him, and I mean EVERYTHING. I suddenly had this immense pressure on me: working a full time-job, cooking & cleaning, getting groceries, walking the dogs alone, and making sure he was clean, fed and content on the couch. After he was ready to go back to work he had an extremely hard time finding a job, as he had lost his job due to the injury. He just now found work, 8 months after his accident. We both have had to put our vows to the test seriously over this last year: “for richer or poorer”, “In sickness and in health”, and (what we had added during our wedding ceremony because this is what our relationship is built upon) “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:6

God seeker August 5, 2014 - 9:56 am

Stick with it, girl! It sounds like God is allowing your marriage to refine you as a vessel of honor for His glory. You will see best results if you get better by focusing on God instead of becoming bitter from allowing your circumstances to drag you down. Keep your head up! Marriage is a wonderful way to grow in the agape love of God, which is a death of sorts, but in a good way that has eternal value and brings much happy holiness to your life. Love to you from a three-years-married who also has experienced surprise post-wedding husband health issues, deaths in the family, job searches, and so on. 🙂

Bethany_Tomus July 30, 2014 - 2:51 pm

I’ve heard all of this in church. Many times.

Chris Barnes July 30, 2014 - 2:58 pm

This is a very good list – but I would disagree slightly with #3. The first year of marriage can be hard for couples that have lived on their own for quite a long time. If, OTOH, a couple gets married at a young age (say, 19 like me & my wife), the first year of marriage is actually not all that big of a deal. Especially if
1) that first year is 1500 miles away from both parents (ie. we had to rely on ourselves and not go running home to momma)
2) the marriage was entered with the attitude of “divorce is not an option – no matter the cost”.

Dr. Susannah August 1, 2014 - 10:46 pm

I laughed when I read your comment. My husband and I married at 18, moved far away from both families, and agreed, from the beginning, to put our commitment to each other between our relationship and any problem/conflict we might ever have. 32 years later, we’re better than we’ve ever been, and our ‘We’ keeps getting warmer, easier, more fulfilling, and wonderfully, more exciting.

Olof Drofn Eggertsdottir July 30, 2014 - 3:41 pm

Marriage is a partnership that needs a a business plan. Why a business plan? Because if both of you do not have the same vision for the future and similar goals and both willing to work in the same direction and go into the partnership with eyes WIDE open then you are in for a rough ride. To be able to pull out the business plan during the marriage and remind each other what you are working for then it is hard to remember on nights where all 3 kids have the stomach flu and you have not slept and there is vomit and poop everywhere and this is just the cherry on the top of 6 years of having at least one child under the age of 2 and needing constant supervision, attention and soothing at night. When you have that plan and you can see that this was planed for and having children is HARD on a relationship and this is known ahead of time then we know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Jeremy July 30, 2014 - 4:31 pm

Frank, I’ve been married for 18 years and I believe my wife and I have explored sex greatly. Is there a boundry to your exploration, at what point does our exploration cross a line, that we should then, get back into a proper place? Can you expound on exploring?

Kyna Allen July 30, 2014 - 5:50 pm

I’m feeling grateful that I was a member of a church, Center For Hope Ministries in Bloomington Illinois, that taught me these truths. At the same time I feel sad for those whom have been misled, wether by their parents, church, friends or family.

Mary Wells July 30, 2014 - 6:24 pm

Another possible point: When people show you who they are, believe them – for good or bad. For example, a man who can’t stop flirting with other women when you are courting, is telling you there’s more than one woman who catches his eye. Don’t count on marriage changing that. It can be a living hell for a full-time mother at home to know her husband is out there somewhere, still flirting. The opposite is also true of women who can’t stay loyal to one man. Marriage doesn’t always change that. Ask yourself, very seriously, why you still feel you need to marry such a person, and why you wouldn’t rather do the work necessary to stand on your own and not need such a person, rather than convincing yourself you can’t live without them.

Roger July 30, 2014 - 6:27 pm

Love the article, written amazingly well. But I have a question: in it you say, we need to accept marriage isn’t for everyone. So are you saying, these people are y supposed to ever have sex since God wants us to wait for marriage?

Frank Powell July 30, 2014 - 7:09 pm

Roger, absolutely not. I hope no one reaches that conclusion. Paul clearly says in I Corinthians 7 if someone can’t contain their passions, they should marry. I would say this is most people. If someone’s lust is consuming them, they should seek a spouse.

juliannah July 30, 2014 - 7:12 pm

I’ve realized, now that I’m in my second (and final) marriage that everyone’s “meant to be” is really “meant to be for that part of your life”. Maybe it is your whole life, maybe just ten or twenty years. I can’t look at my children and tell them that my marriage to their father was a mistake. If I did, I’d be saying THEY were a mistake. God put their father and I together for that time of my life, so my children would come to be. Now, we are divorced and maybe failed each others because we are human, or maybe because we didn’t try hard enough. But I have remarried now, and it’s so much better. I think I’m with my final “meant to be”. I hope so. I do not believe I can go through the trauma of separation and divorce just to have another marriage. And now, my marriage is completely different and much more happier than our best day with my first husband.

Sharon July 30, 2014 - 7:57 pm

On soul mates… I think God does have a plan for our lives and that includes a specific person. I would not call it soul mates, and I would not expect this person to be perfect. But they will correspond to each other in ways that sharpen and clean each other up. His rough edges are by design to help shape her. While expecting perfection is WRONG, trusting God to provide His intended match for our lives is RIGHT. Otherwise, excellent article!

Jaushwa July 30, 2014 - 8:41 pm

Beautiful essay. Could not agree more. Just celebrated my first year of marriage. Every one of these points is true.
Thank you for writing this.

Charity July 30, 2014 - 9:44 pm

Good points! I find focusing on what I can “give”, and not what I “get” helps tremendously.

Deborah July 30, 2014 - 10:02 pm

August 4th I will be celebrating 30 years is marriage. I believe forgiveness is #9 in a marriage. I am often reminded to forgive my brother just as I ask Christ for forgiveness.

Terena July 31, 2014 - 2:20 am

I was raped by an elder of my church, then the so-called Christian man I married repeated raped and sodomised me then walked out on our two small children and I when I tried to insist he gets help. Who can you trust? To me sex is a filthy,painful, degrading curse

Sue July 31, 2014 - 12:25 pm

We trust Jesus my friend not people. People will let you down. I don’t care what people say, it does matter what church you go to. It sounds like the church you were part of was not seeking Jesus. Church is about religion, a relationship with Jesus is about healing. I would encourage you to get into His word and find out about His love for you. Because His love never fails. Don’t stop seeking Him because of what man has done. He loves you and wants to heal your pain. I will be praying you find His peace and His presence. I am so sorry you have been hurt by the church and by man.

Kat August 10, 2014 - 10:11 pm

I think it is definitely over- emphasized in this day and age. If everyone would cut themselves out of the culture a little more I think they’d find that they stopped “needing” it so much. We’re bombarded with it on tv, radio, billboards, magazines…I don’t think God ever intended his people to be obsessed with it and many, MANY Christians ARE obsessed with it. And the church seems to be preaching that we wives better do our duty. I cannot keep up with my spouse’s needs and it only builds resentment between us. All it is to me now is duty. I think at this point it needs to be de-emphasized and brought back to the middle of the road. Everything in moderation, everything for God’s glory- NOT our own.

meniru July 31, 2014 - 2:33 am

Icheoku particularly likes the instruction that marriage is not for everyone – damned if you do, damned if you do not, so you decide? Anyway, how Icheoku wishes that all these men and women of God would be preaching the Bible as it is without selectively choosing what suits their occasion. Imagine Saint Paul himself saying, “If unmarried, then stay unmarried. If married, then stay married. So then the person who marries his fiancee does well, and the person who doesn’t marry does even better. (I Cor. 7:38)” Icheoku says simply beautiful and Icheoku approves of this message.

Keith July 31, 2014 - 2:52 am

Love all 7 and have been preparing for them even with my children under 10 in just the way we address sex early and talk in terms that are different than the world about relationships and marriage.

On thing I would emphasize is that marriage most definitely has a spotlight and that is Jesus Christ! Marriage is a picture of how Christ loves and sacrifices for his church, so the spotlight is definitely not on the bride or the groom, but it should be firmly planted on Jesus :)!!

Bre July 31, 2014 - 6:07 am

No one talks about what it’s really like having kids. I feel some people see it as really easy , all you have to do is have sex! Well yes , but the emotional ride you go on once you’ve made the decision to try , no one tells you that . It’s not easy, pregnancy it’s easy ,labor it’s easy , have children is not easy!

Jasmine E Young July 31, 2014 - 7:22 am

This is wonderful! I don’t think I could have said these better. My first year of marriage was the best and worst year of my life, if I can be candid. It was a year of absolutely seeing God’s meaning for marriage and not understanding it bit. I have been in church all my life. I was a single woman dedicated to God during and after college and grad school. I was single until 31, married at 32. I was at the church when the doors opened and when they were locked. Very dedicated…….and you mean to tell me that not one time in the many sermons received, revivals and second (sometimes third) services attended, and even in messages I gave myself….there was no mention of some of these truths. Thank you for this. I am sharing it with the World. I have been married nearly 2 years now (August 18th) and I have made it my business to tell people the truth. Thank you!

Kylie July 31, 2014 - 7:53 am

I’ve only been married a year, but I would offer that the church forgets to say that children will come in God’s timing. I have felt so much pressure, as a woman, to have a baby. Nevermind that we are newly married, young, and very sure that God is calling us to do other things before we have children. I do believe God values children and the church should support parents. However, just like discounting the gift of singleness, I think a lot of people do not understand the damage that can be done to a marriage if you have children be for God’s timing.

Torie Pendleton July 31, 2014 - 8:10 am

I would add that marriage is a decision. Both people must decide and be settled on the fact that they are committed to the person before them. That is what gets you through the hard times. Our society does not value sticking with one thing anymore. Many of us have multiple houses, cars and a lot of merchandise. We change careers when we get bored and move on to different schools to better our future. We change churches on a whim. Marriage in America is the same, consumer living at its worst.

sonjajo July 31, 2014 - 8:20 am

We have been married 21 years.Wonderful article excellent points for sure I agree with what you have shared Thank you. The first 10 years of our marriage was really tough. We had great times with the kids but our personal relationship was really on the back burner. Then if we wanted to stay married we had no choice but to find out who we were as a couple, and we made a verbal choice to stay married and to seek out time to really get to know each others hopes and dreams and to love each other for who they are as a individual. Life was like a Disneyland fairy tale, because we chose to have those life time outs. We chose to make the hopes and dreams we shared with each other to come true. Of course not all but ones that are within our reach. We participated in classes together like ballroom dancing, couples massage classes and activities like Nascar races and some travel. We incorporated these new talents and desires in our lifestyle to keep it fresh and new. Then came the real trial my husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness ALS Lou Gehrigs disease. For the last 5 years we have been going to a depth in our relationship I would not have never know existed. Daily we face each other dealing with things that we have not ever thought either one of us would have to do for each other not at the young age of 47. Some days we look at each other and cry together, we have found ways to laugh together, and we have also had the same conversation about the choice each one of us made to continue on this road together. Our marriage today has a deeper love for one another, at the same time ALL the work we did in our marriage prior to this horrific diagnosis has laid a foundation in our lives needed to be able to endure this stage in our lives. So I guess my final word is to share you never know how the hard work you do in your marriage TODAY will not only effect the long term marriage but may be the only thing that will sustain your marriage later down the road. I have had choices to make in communication what to say and what not to say, conversation that was so hard my heart would ache but with Gods Strength and His Love and His Family it is truly amazing how it all comes together even in the darkest times in your marriage. The good times in my opinion are just that good times. But when you have the toughest time in your life and you endure to look for the best, cry about the worst, laugh at goofy things and sometimes just let each other rest in knowing the relationship is firm, and secure. This is when you know God has brought you two individuals together to be one. Thank you for your article it was a blessing 🙂

Joey July 31, 2014 - 8:39 am

I really did enjoy reading this. I agree with a lot of it as I am a Christian and all. As I was reading I felt less informed than I did educated. While reading I though “wow this person has some issues with his wife”. So right after the sex part I lost interest. Good writing and like I said I agree, just be careful in your words as it just sounded like you had a lot of issues.

Mike July 31, 2014 - 9:14 am

My point would be Marriage will test you. I used to believe that marriage was always getting along with your spouse. Never arguing or anything like that. I found in the 5 1/2 years of being married so far, that it isn’t like that at all. If it weren’t for the test how would the marriage grow stronger. A lot of our fighting came because of my being a veteran. We married within weeks of my return from Iraq. For the first year my wife was having to deal with the test of my having PTSD. There were times I thought she was going to give up, but she didn’t. Our love grew stronger that first year, and continues to grow every day.

Sue July 31, 2014 - 11:03 am

25 years and counting!! I would add that marriage is also about commitment. I think something we tend to take for granted is that the commitment is not to the person so much as it is to God. You promise God to love this person forever and to stay committed to loving this person inside the bonds of marriage. Anytime I have even contemplated calling it quits, I recall my commitment I made to God. So often we base love on feeling but that is not it, it is commitment. Jesus was committed to the cross and he even asked God to take the cup but he chose to follow whatever the Father wanted. He knew it wouldn’t be easy but he did it anyways because of his love and obedience to the marriage. Think about it, he is our groom and he became that groom on the cross. If he was willing to go so far and laying down his life (his choices) for us, shouldn’t we do the same for our spouse. Our choice should be not my will but thy will be done.

anonymous July 31, 2014 - 12:07 pm

Regarding the last point, even as a person who was in full-time ministry, marrying the man I truly desired to serve God with, I still held on to ideas that my wedding should be about me (even on a tight budget). I was an elementary teacher, and many of my students and their parents came. It was fun to have the kids there but part of me thought it wasn’t very romantic and was disappointed, wishing that instead more of my favorite friends would have been able to make it. Also, one of the parents approached me and asked me something about the upcoming school year. I was wishing she would just let me forget about my responsibilities for that day! Looking back, I think it was wonderful to have so many children there. The primary purpose of marriage is the procreation of children and betterment (sanctification) of the spouses. Not my personal happiness. If I could get married all over again, I would like to incorporate this in the ceremony: There is a tradition in Croatia that when the bride and bridegroom go to the church to be married they carry a
Crucifix with them. The priest blesses the Crucifix and instead of
saying that they have found the ideal partner with whom to share their
lives, he exclaims, “You have found your Cross! It is a Cross to love, to carry with you, a Cross that is not to be thrown off, but rather cherished.” Then they have that beautiful reminder in their home to take up their cross and follow our Lord. (Even if that cross is coming from the person they thought would make them happy!)

Chrys Jones July 31, 2014 - 1:42 pm

Number 3 is not necessarily the same for everyone

Amanda C. McNeil July 31, 2014 - 2:06 pm

I love that Gary Thomas says “Marriage is designed to make you holy, not happy.” I enjoyed your interpretation of that as well. As a premarital counselor I treasure being able to bring up these truths before the wedding day and help couples approach marriage with a well-rounded view of the intensity of the commitment they are about to make.

I would just say a caveat though, that the first year of marriage doesn’t have to be so hard. Sure there are a lot of changes, adjustments, and quirks about living with someone and joining your lives together, but there are a lot of things couples can do to set them up for success: having a deep foundation of friendship (whether discovered before the dating days or developed during them,) surrounding the marriage with godly couples who can not only be examples but also coach and encourage the marriage, and seeking premarital counseling and/or marriage counseling. There is no perfect formula, but two people committed to fighting for their marriage can be an unstoppable force for the Kingdom!

Larry July 31, 2014 - 2:13 pm

I don’t know what church you attended, but as a pastor I have been teaching these things for over 40 years.

Adrienne July 31, 2014 - 3:40 pm

I’m sad that you didn’t hear these things in church!!! We teach them because they are God’s word! 🙂 Thanks for writing.

Lisa July 31, 2014 - 4:02 pm

I’m a 36 year old single parent who has never married. Part of me longs for a partner. Men don’t notice me and I’m not going to be stupid twice and rush into a relationship. I’m focusing on Christ as I should have in the first place. But I’ll be quite honest with you, marriage scares the hell out of me. It just looks like another responsibility to weigh me down. I take care of my autistic daughter, aging mother and disabled brother. If any man actually wanted to marry me it would have to be love because who would voluntarily walk into that. And he’d have to be about the bravest man alive. But I do appreciate honesty. And I think what you wrote here today is a good dose of truth.

Andrea July 31, 2014 - 5:07 pm

and then there are just some times when it would be a shame to mess up two houses and they may as well be in the same house….

echap July 31, 2014 - 5:16 pm

I have to say, I disagree with #2 to some extent. Yes you can make a marriage work with more than one person in life as we are all imperfect, but I do believe that God has one specific imperfect person in mind for each of us. Call them a soulmate or whatever, but there is essentially only one. You have to seek God to find them! Good article though!

ConnorR July 31, 2014 - 6:13 pm

I wish they’d rename this article. Every church where I’ve been a member (4) had people who would gladly tell you all of these things, and be sincere about meaning them. I feel kind of sorry for the author as he’s obviously had some shallow church experiences. Sad. If you do cannot get plugged into a group of people at your church that will be real and tell you things like this, even when they think it might jeapordize the relationship, then change churches (after a lot of prayer hopefully).

Yikes! July 31, 2014 - 7:04 pm

#9. Your spouse is not born

Kathy July 31, 2014 - 8:28 pm

Love cannot sustain a marriage. Patience, tolerance and forgiveness will.

Cadence August 1, 2014 - 2:01 am

While I agree all of those are needed to sustain a marriage (or I would imagine they are needed as a single man of God), true love encompasses all of that.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 that:

“Love is patient. Love is kind…it keeps no record of wrongs…it always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. ”

Ultimately, he tells us that love never fails, yet 40-50% of marriages end in divorce. How can that be? Not to detract from your comment or anything, but I think a lot of people do not know what love truly is according to the word of God. Even Christians who can quote verses without thinking sometimes struggle when it comes to the application of love.
It’s definitely something that is easier said than done, and I guess that’s part of the reason why Paul advocated for remaining single. Better to fully dedicate yourself to God than to just go through the motions trying to love someone just as imperfect as you are.

shelby July 31, 2014 - 10:41 pm

I notice a lot of people say their reason for divorce is” We are just two different people”. Yes, you are he’s a man you are a woman. You are both different In natue. God made you different. You must communicate and work out your differences. There are going to be things you disagree on. If you are looking for someone that Is going to agree with you In everything there Is no such person.”

Gia July 31, 2014 - 11:40 pm

True. I would add: love is not always a feeling but a choice. You don’t always “feel” in love. The first few years are the hardest. Push through and never ever let the D word be an option.

Kevin Derrick Winemiller August 1, 2014 - 4:26 am

Point 4 I must contest the woman is the completer or helpmate according to Genesis. True no one person will meet your expectations but Biblically “completer” applies to the female “being the missing rib of the man reattached.” Chaplain Kevin Winemiller

Kevin Derrick Winemiller August 1, 2014 - 4:34 am

Point 2 a hearty AMEN! My ex said she met her soulmate and that was the only man on Earth for her…after 25 years being married. This is a great deception that there is one person for you. After you say “I do” before God that petson is now the “one” for you. Christians cop out to easily and do not submit to Biblical counseling chasing their “soulmate” fantasy. My former wife’s “soulmate” was married and still is married.

Marci August 1, 2014 - 6:40 am

That sticking with it when it is tough is a choice; sometimes to love is even a choice (that MUST be backed up by seeking The Lord in that choice). In other words, we have to choose to honor our commitments we made on our wedding day, when we realize how hard married life can be, instead of bailing out.

Christian August 1, 2014 - 9:13 am

Very interesting read.
I wanted to ask you about point 6. You used this scripture reference: “So then the person who marries his fiancee does well, and the person who doesn’t marry does even better. (I Cor. 7:38)”

I double checked the verse just because, the verse actually says:
“So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well and he who does not giver her in marriage will do better. (1 Corinthians 7:38 NASB)

Homemaker12 August 1, 2014 - 9:15 am

Anyone ever experience the “first year” after 4-5 years of marriage? For instance the first year was truly great. Only a few little disagreements but it seems the really hard times are now, at 4 1/2 years of marriage? Its not about money or even arguments. Its about loneliness and struggling with being content at home. Any advice?

from a 21 yrs old perspective August 1, 2014 - 9:26 am

I guess one does not hear these things from church but if some people who went to church just read the bible they will get the same answers as this person who had to write it all out. Not trying to bash on anyone or offend people and I go to church too but when I see people who just realize things that the bible already states from an outside source it makes me wonder if they even picked up the bible and read it. The church doesn’t necessarily have to be teaching when religion is an individual thing. If the church doesn’t say something but the bible did then listen to the bible. Marriage is stated in the bible too. Just read what it has to say. Don’t bend it to make oneself correct but do what is said. All in all though, when one begins to think of only himself/herself, that’s when people fall away from a relationship and/or sin.

Fun Finds | The Genesis Blog August 1, 2014 - 9:44 am

[…] person that will draw you closer to Him?” WOW Loved this guys honest blog about the 7 truths about Marriage he never learned from the church. […]

Dave Bucci August 1, 2014 - 10:16 am

Best comment from our wedding (almost 25 years ago) … “Always remember, there are two winners or two losers.” There’s no way for only one person to win in marriage. (from the inestimable Ricki Kraines, btw).

Janet Adeola Songonuga August 1, 2014 - 11:04 am

Frank,

God Bless you.I can truly tell you are Born Again and a child of God. I loved this blog and by Gods grace God has already revealed many of these truths to me. I would just like to encourage you to use language that’s more Christ like. I know we are all going through a work of Quantification, to stop speaking like the world we are born into. I am too. For example: “Shame on us” and other phrases. I would love for you to continue to be yourself, but we must learn from seasoned teachers like Paul,to always speak life in our writings and wordings and to word everything in a way that glories God.

God Bless you Mr. Powell. God Bless you wife and Children.

-Janet Songonuga
janetasongonuga.blogspot.com

Steve August 1, 2014 - 12:26 pm

Your wedding day is about YOUR GUESTS, you spend thousands of dollars to make sure YOUR GUESTS are entertained, fed, and hope they dont think your wedding as cheap or tacky.
It only takes you, your spouse the officiator and God for the marriage to happen, but in the end that day is pretty much a giant party for your guests to celebrate your moment you just pad 5-30K + for.

Tassielovers August 1, 2014 - 2:29 pm

married now 55 1/2 years – still content with each other. yes I think that is definitely the right word “contented” Sure romantic love was a passion, a very good starting point but unfortunately it did not pay the bills & with 5 kids along the way & some very serious health issues – who do you cling to _TO not run from_ but each other. Sharing all of life together, definitely like minded, differing skills but one heart together ( always? no! but never letting a bad day continue to hurt) Love forgives!!

La Dale J August 1, 2014 - 3:42 pm

I heard all of this in church. In fact my pastor stressed most of these points in our counseling sessions. And they are all very true. The only thing I have to say is that if you work hard at your marriage and trust God and his plan for you as a couple, it’s so worth it. 5 years strong and we aren’t looking back.

Violette August 2, 2014 - 7:09 am

Not sure what church you went to but my pastor has taught all of these things.

TLC August 2, 2014 - 8:36 am

Genesis 3)16: Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
Genesis 3) 23: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
A woman was destined to bear children and be a good wife and mother. Men to till the earth and provide. So often both loose there purpose….Man to provide and woman to take care of the home and family. Men tend to resent having to provide thinking that woman has it made to stay home. In the process, resentment builds. Women feel unappreciated as it is not a piece of cake to stay home taking care of everyone (in so many ways) and their belongings making sure all are fed, clothed w/ clean clothes, have a clean house…….endless responsibilities. And attitudes flare from there and spread like wild fire just like the garden of Eden when God put them (Adam and Eve) out of the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3) 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Angela August 2, 2014 - 10:11 am

This is beautiful. The information makes a lot of sense. God bless

ubong August 2, 2014 - 11:24 am

I cant believe it, but I’m so glad the bible does say that marriage is not a necessity; it is good, but not a do or die matter as the world has made it out to be, especially in Africa. Thank you for this information.

cpa52 August 2, 2014 - 2:22 pm

Point #3 is awfully subjective compared to all the others. I and many other couples I know have had a great first year (or 5 years) of marriage. I have seen that couples who spent limited time together, or were too reserved during dating/engagement often experience difficult early marriage years, but you should hardly apply that trait to marriages universally.

Frank Powell August 4, 2014 - 7:27 am

I agree it is subjective. Much of my blog is subjective.

that girl August 2, 2014 - 5:19 pm

Everyone should eventually get married I’m not saying consume your life with looking for a mate.. Have sex without being married is a major sin Know matter what religion you are and sex is a natural desire For all people and animals for that matter.

Frank Powell August 4, 2014 - 7:26 am

Sex is natural but Some people are able to prevent a desire for sex and lust from consuming them.

K August 2, 2014 - 6:04 pm

I’m wondering if you have any suggested resources for talking to small kids about sex? I was able to broach the topic on death, but can’t think of any way to talk about sex… She asks where babies come from, but…

Frank Powell August 4, 2014 - 7:25 am

I will do some research and get back to you!

Darling August 2, 2014 - 6:54 pm

You wouldn’t share the details of “make up sex” with your parents, friends or co-workers–the “fight” before you “made up” is just as personal and private. People who love you have long memories. Your parents will remember and resent your spouse for any and all
“hurts” you’ve shared with them. Marriage is more difficult when your support systems dislike your spouse, because you poisoned their good opinion.

Frank Powell August 4, 2014 - 7:24 am

The support system is really important!

Bubbles August 2, 2014 - 8:10 pm

As a person who has been married, had kids and then a divorce… I have since remarried to my love of 11 years, we were together for 8 years before we decided to marry again.. Two divorced people with his and hers children, no ours.. We bought a house first after 8 years renting.. After a year of buying house we decided to marry.. I would not change things in my life and how they played out. I know god was happy the day we both got married.. I just wish people weren’t so judge mental on how we lived our lives before we got married.. As my granny said sometimes it takes you twice to get it right, and I our case that’s what happened… I just gave you the brief version of our love story… I wish churches (all) would be open with divorce.. It’s not good, but at same time it’s not a crime to be married to wrong person.. This is life and in life things happen, god loves me no matter what has happened in my life…
Thank you for sharing this post to allow me to be ok with my choices….
Me and my ex are better friends than we were married.. He is taking care of his kids, and now they have two dad’s…
God is good and very much a part of my house.. My 12 year old just got baptized two Sundays ago. And my 15 year old has been baptized since she was 6… Both my girls accepted god on their own when they were ready for it ! ! I only dedicated them when they were babies… People need to stop judging how one lives, and help one another. There is so much hate in this world, and at some point we have to set aside what right and wrong way and just DO ! ! Lift one another up, instead of tearing one down.. What ever way works for you is great, just love god and he will love you ! !

Frank Powell August 4, 2014 - 7:22 am

Divorce is not something I endorse as a Christian. God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). There are reasons for divorce, but I do not believe divorce is something the church should endorse unless there is a legitimate reason to do so. I am thankful your marriage is bringing you joy. Blessings!

ReAnn Ring - Atlanta August 3, 2014 - 12:24 am

But also there is a thing called “natural” chemistry … there is a type of person you will feel attracted to and gel with far and away more readily than someone you don’t have that natural bonding with from the beginning … I don’t believe a marriage can work just between any two people that want it to work … God gave Adam a specific woman made from His rib, not just as a representative of any woman and man who got together … He brought one woman, Eve, to Adam … not a selection of women … I wholeheartedly believe there is one man and one woman our very sovereign God has for each person.

Frank Powell August 4, 2014 - 7:18 am

ReAnn, I agree chemistry plays a role. I can’t my life with anyone. My point is just that we need to stop looking for the perfect person.

LeeAnn Taylor August 3, 2014 - 1:19 am

Excellent post. My husband does pre-marital counseling and addresses all these issues head on in his sessions with engaged couples for the same reasons you describe. Thank you for sharing a powerful message that needs to be heard!

Frank Powell August 4, 2014 - 7:17 am

LeeAnn, thanks for the comment! Blessings!

Naa August 3, 2014 - 2:11 am

I have been only married for 2 years and its been horrible. I don’t know if its time to bail out. I was 3 months pregnant when I got married and its been one quarrel/ fight after the other. my hubby has even gotten physical with me more than once. I have a lovely daughter and have stayed for her sake, but am miserable. My hubby moved out of our bedroom when my daughter was about 3 months old and hasn’t moved back since. She is now 1.5. There is no intimacy whatsoever between us and there has not been for over a year now. He goes out and comes as he pleases and does not talk to me. Most times when I greet him he does not respond, and he constantly reminds me that he is simply ‘accommodating ‘ or giving me accommodation in his house. This has been going on for about a year. I am miserable. I have prayed and prayed for a solution or a change but nothing is happening. Please advise me, is this part of the normal trials I should expect. I am 32 years old

Frank Powell August 4, 2014 - 7:16 am

I strongly recommend you and your husband get so,e professional counseling! I have had counseling and recommend it to anyone. Your problems are larger than a comment online. Get professional help! I pray God changes the direction of your marriage!

Jen August 9, 2014 - 2:01 am

Physical abuse does not get better- if you are in danger find a safe place to live, you have your daughter to think about…. then think about counselling?

Denise August 3, 2014 - 6:22 am

I think of marriage as going through “seasons”. Been married 32 years to the love of my life. Whenever we have gone through a difficult patch, I pray for perspective so that I can look to where God is taking us. If I keep my eyes on the Lord and what He is trying to accomplish in our lives, it helps me get through those tough seasons. (Adjusting to marriage, waiting for kids, raising kids, teenage years, financial woes, empty nest, aging parents, failing health.) All these seasons pass and God uses them to shape us into a vessel He can use to poor into other people’s lives. And yes, you can always choose to find joy in the most difficult of seasons.

Frank Powell August 4, 2014 - 7:14 am

Great comment!

Sonny Huhtala August 3, 2014 - 9:38 am

My wife and I have been married for 19 years and one thing that has kept our marriage fresh is DATE NIGHT EVERY WEEK… Sonny and Leslee…
It’s not about the money spent it’s about the time we spend with each other specific each week no matter the business of life or our children she is my queen and I am her king…..

Frank Powell August 4, 2014 - 7:14 am

Sonny this is great advice. Everyone should heed this. We never stop dating our spouse!

Lady J August 3, 2014 - 10:46 am

Patience – don’t expect the perfect spouse after you say I do. My husband and I got married, divorced and recently got married because the first time around the patience, trust, understanding each other want there. The love was there but we didn’t have the patience to see the other true person. “I do” was expected to be the cure all to make everything perfect and when that didn’t happen, the gap became wider and wider until we completely split. I feel now we’re both mature enough to put God first and allow Him to lead us, not us leading each other.

Frank Powell August 4, 2014 - 7:13 am

Great comment? Patience is huge in a marriage!

BythegraceofGod August 3, 2014 - 11:00 am

I have heard this in church.

Frank Powell August 4, 2014 - 7:12 am

Awesome!

Jenny S. August 3, 2014 - 11:23 am

Wow! This article hit home in many ways. Most of the ideas I have actually heard of, considered or pondered.

“If you are empty, broken, or insecure, and you believe a spouse is the silver bullet to your problems…buckle up. It will be a bumpy ride. Only God can fill those voids. You will never be able to enjoy the beauty of marriage if your spouse’s job is to complete you.”

Also, number 6. The paragraph after the scripture. Including the bless your heart part!

Frank Powell August 4, 2014 - 7:12 am

Jenny, thanks for the comment! Blessings!

sdesocio August 3, 2014 - 2:05 pm

If you don’t learn this stuff at your church, its probably time to find another church.

Frank Powell August 4, 2014 - 7:11 am

I am not sure I agree. Churches are not perfect. Many do not teach some of these. We could be the ones who change this in the church where we are. Blessings!

Moa August 3, 2014 - 5:54 pm

Interesting points. I have been married for 3 yr and I do too struggle with sex. It was presented to me as something bad, something disgusting 🙁
Hope things will get better .
I reap what I saw in this marriage,
It’s hard but rewarding 🙂

Frank Powell August 4, 2014 - 7:10 am

Moa, a God will restore a proper understanding of marriage if you allow him. It has happened in my marriage. Blessings!

Jenny Daniel August 3, 2014 - 9:18 pm

What if you never loved your spouse ? you got married coz you found out you where pregnant and was confused, then went on with the marriage thinking you where going to fall inlove with time, after 8 years nothing happend your life became a living death! and came to understand you are deeply inlove with someone else, should you still go on with the wedding?

Jenny Daniel August 3, 2014 - 9:19 pm

someone please reply me! Thanks

gh August 5, 2014 - 2:50 pm

Jenny, i would first say that take a look at people from countries like India, they have many arranged marriages where the bride and groom barely knew each other before getting married, yet they make it last and make it work.

Looking at your situation, If you discovered you were inlove with someone else during your marriage, that is honestly not a good thing. This is because it muddies the waters and keeps you from seeing clearly. Frank is right, firstly seek professional help, secondly get rid of the person you “feel” inlove with.

You need the other person completely out of the picture in order to see what it is you truly need. Do not forget about your children, because whatever decision you make can change their lives FOREVER! So please be careful. Remember to pray ceaselessly and the Spirit will guide you.

Hope this helps.

Frank Powell August 4, 2014 - 7:05 am

Jenny, I cannot answer that question for you. I would recommend you and your spouse get professional counseling. A counselor will walk with you through these issues.

Autumn August 6, 2014 - 9:24 pm

First thing – there are only two conditions that the Bible says it’s okay to get a divorce. 1) the other was cheating. 2) if a nonbeliever leaves a believer. Many people also interpret point 2 to encompass domestic abuse, which makes sense to me. But everything Jesus and the apostles wrote/said about divorce based on feelings, is that well, that feelings are no grounds to get a divorce. True love is not a feeling but a choice you make to put the other person before you. Not that feelings aren’t valid but they aren’t something that you rely on to make a marriage work.
But really the only way to find the answers you’re looking for is to read the Bible and study the words of God.

7 Truths About Marriage You Will Not Hear In Church August 3, 2014 - 11:45 pm

[…] 7 Truths About Marriage You Will Not Hear In Church […]

Devian August 4, 2014 - 1:02 am

First let me preface this by saying I am not a Christian. I grew up in the Church, but found that that walk was not for me. However, though neither my spouse nor I are of the same religion as you, and your post is centralized around that ideology, I must wholeheartedly agree with this. I’m in my second year of marriage and have found that many of these have already happened. I was a serial dater before finding my spouse, constantly looking for “the one.” My spouse and I were friends in high school, though my spouse was deeply in love with me. It wasn’t until I stopped looking for perfection that I could see the perfect imperfection standing before me.

We also work daily on living up to our vows of being our imperfect selves, working on ourselves, our marriage, and helping each other work on themselves, and loving each other “until tomorrow.” I don’t know what the future holds, but I sincerely hope tomorrow never comes.

Frank Powell August 4, 2014 - 7:04 am

Debian, thanks for your comment. It is encouraging to hear those from other backgrounds can gain some from this post.

Brand new August 4, 2014 - 7:33 am

I am literally just made it to the first year mark and I’m to my wits end I know its too easy to give up but how do you fight when your the only one in the ring?

Wife seeking God August 5, 2014 - 10:51 am

You’re a team, not in opposition to one another, so you don’t need to be in the ring together at the same time. Whether you are a Christian or not, there is a devil who hates marriage because it demonstrates Christ’s selfless love for his bride, the Church, and the Church’s response of surrender to that love. The devil is the enemy you’re up against, along with a culture that is against real love, dangling tempting cheap imitations in front of people instead. The good news is that as you cast your cares on Jesus, he will fight for you! Whether you are husband or wife, go to God in prayer and seek him for help and wisdom. Make God your number one source of comfort and love, and fill up on his word instead of feeding on your marriage problems (rolling them over and over in your mind). Take your hurts disappointments to God. Surrender bit by bit, day by day. God has compassion for your pain. You can’t control what your spouse does, but you can humble yourself and allow God to shine through you. As a wife, I have learned so much from http://ninaroesner.com and http://peacefulwife.com. If you do not know Jesus, start here: http://www.claybe.com.

Waiting for Marriage Kills Sex- Or Does it? | Entertaining Christianity August 4, 2014 - 10:39 am

[…] And Christians are starting to fight back against the uber religious on this topic. Here’s another EXCELLENT article by Frank Matthew Powell called “7 Truths about Marriage You Never Learned in Church.” […]

Omar Perez August 4, 2014 - 11:46 am

I disagree with this article. My marriage preparation in the Catholic Church covered these 7 truths and my marriage is founded upon them based on the Catholic education that I’ve received in my life without attending a religious school.

John Paul II dedicated a big chunk of his time to explain the 1st point that you mention here. It’s called The Theology of the Body. The bottom is line that the church sees sex as something sacred and we must protect its sanctity. It goes to the extent of telling us that it is the closest we can get to understanding the Holy Trinity.

So, it’s not that the church does not teach you these things, is more like you are not paying attention in class.

ginny August 4, 2014 - 12:05 pm

Just had this forwarded to me. Wow! After 34 years of marriage, 3 kids and 7 grandkids, we are still in love…and still struggle from time to time. A comment made by our minister during our premarital counseling struck both of us (“When I marry people in God’s Church it is forever”). We thought about that. What a commitment! We DID marry. Friends thought we were “too different” for it to last. Those same friends have been married and divorced several times and, to this day, are surprised we “made it”. We have been prayerfully supported by friends and family during difficult as well as good times – there have been plenty of both. Neither of us is perfect, but we choose to to work through things together. When he is weak, I am strong. When I am weak, he is strong. I do not expect him to “complete” me, nor me him. We are individuals and we choose to be together. We are each others’ help-mate through this life God has given us. Thinking of it another way – we are coworkers in our daily lives. What a blessing this man has been in my life. Keep working together, praying together. The Good Lord will honor your union!

Mark L. August 4, 2014 - 2:31 pm

The pastor who did our pre-marital counseling asked us a great question: What are your expectations? I didn’t even understand the question until we were in our first year and some of my expectations (of my wife, of marriage) were not being met.

A Veronica Heard August 4, 2014 - 7:05 pm

These are GREAT points about marriage, and should be taken very seriously. The church should embrace and educate these truths AND put them into action!!

Sarah August 4, 2014 - 10:42 pm

Don’t you think it’s a bit too easy to use “satan” as a catch all for why people enjoy sex without being married (from truth #1)? I’m Christian and I don’t believe in satan in the slightest. Using “satan” takes away personal responsibility. And suggesting that teenagers and young adults can’t have meaningful sex outside of marriage is just silly. The truth is that the possibility for good and bad in everyone and knowing this is the root of compassion. When you see others struggling, instead of feeling righteous you sympathize and show them kindness because if it weren’t for a few good breaks you could be in the same position.

Daytona August 5, 2014 - 10:33 am

Respectfully asking, what Bible do you read and follow? As a disciple of Christ, how do you support your views from God’s Word?

Sarah August 5, 2014 - 1:10 pm

I follow the red letter. I support my views based on Jesus’ teachings of compassion.

Dario August 5, 2014 - 10:04 pm

So your Bible is 1only a few pages long.

7 Truths About Marriage You Won't Hear In Church - The Trent August 5, 2014 - 5:37 am

[…] (via Frank Powell) […]

Kate August 5, 2014 - 6:32 am

I’m sad that you haven’t heard these things in church. I’ve heard all of these in the church and I’m thankful for the honesty. I’ve been married for 2 1/2 years now and life with my husband keeps getting better and better.

AMEN: 7 Truths About Marriage You Will Not Hear In Church #ClashDaily August 5, 2014 - 10:27 am

[…] Here is a great blog post on some of the truths about marriage that you won’t typically hear in a marriage series at church. They are hard hitting realities that will sober you up before you make a decision for the rest of your life and/or help you understand what you are in for if you’ve already made that decision. Check it out from Frank Powell… […]

Suzanne August 5, 2014 - 11:16 am

i learned some of these in church and certainly from Pastors

Stephen Loftis August 5, 2014 - 11:26 am

May I add to conversation about marriage being work? I think it is a lie to say that marriage is a 50%-50% proposition. It has to be “ALL IN” from both parties. Anytime one only commits half-way (50%) to something, that something is destined to fail! Reciprocity is required.

Dario August 5, 2014 - 10:01 pm

Dont split words. 50-50 does not mean u give 50% of urself. It rather means your whole is 50% of what is needed. One side only giving all is not going to sustain the marriage. when both sides give all, that is 50-50.

The Magic Pumpkin August 5, 2014 - 5:45 pm

Regarding marriage not being for everyone, I have heard from single people that the church treats them like they have a problem, especially if they are over 30 and unmarried. Also, women seem to be fine with a lack of intimacy in my person experience and force that celibacy on their husband.

Kenneth Hymering August 5, 2014 - 7:35 pm

I would definitely like to add this one: Children are a wonderful gift, but they will NEVER solve marriage problems, they will only make the situation more complex! We have 3 wonderful children and we got them relatively late in our marriage, so we had time to get to know each other first. That had nothing to do with work or career, God just gave us time together first. Raising our children has up to now been relatively “easy” because we’re not stressed out by having to find out first what the spouse wants and expects. I know that in a lot of churches you are almost expected to have your first child within a year from your wedding day, but please (!) don’t be in such a hurry. There is nothing wrong with taking it a bit slower. Work out problems BEFORE you have (more) children, it’s a lot easier. I don’t ever want to hear someone say anymore: Yeah, we have some problems in our marriage, but when we get this (another) child things will get better.

Jomari Peterson August 6, 2014 - 7:48 am

My church told me all this. Bible Center – Pittsburgh Pa. The Divine Design!

Clare Emerson August 6, 2014 - 9:58 am

I totally agree with most of those. I so wish there had been someone around to reassure me that crying once a week for the first year of marriage, even though I was really happy, was totally normal! Anyway, I don’t think the church emphasises enough that the blessing of God is being drawn closer to him, and he might use signs and wonders to do that, or he might use hard times. Maybe we do talk about it, but we don’t understand it. I have come to see that marriage is more about making me holy, than making me happy! Not that I can’t be happy, but marriage will force us to rub off those corners we actually are quite comfortable with, thank you! The depth of intimacy and commitment in a marriage is the perfect medium for God to make us more Christ-like! Expect to be challenged!!!

Lou Holwerda August 6, 2014 - 10:08 am

Good article!! I am blessed to have heard these in church many times!! And as a result – so has my 17 year old daughter.

Marriedfast marriedlong August 6, 2014 - 9:45 pm

24-years, and purposefully “newlyweds for life!” Got married less than 9 months after I met him, but it was so clear it was meant to be! I would add the following:
1. Don’t think your spouse is a mind reader – don’t be afraid to ask for what you need, or how you want something phrased, etc. Make it almost fun. My cousin suggested that with a great example from her life, and it is true – my man has no idea that I want more compliment on how I look, or what I made if I don’t tell him. And it doesn’t do anyone any good for me to be upset (& gossip about it!) that he didn’t read my mind and say the ‘right thing’ if I didn’t clue him in on the (unwritten) rules or desires I might have.
2. It really is ok to have times when you aren’t liking that spouse so much. You can love someone (a choice) and not like them right then.
3. We knew it was “for real” when: We’d only gotten past the name/face match for 6 weeks? Got engaged 3 weeks after our first date, and my company moved me to CA from NJ. What have I DONE?!? We were on opposite coasts and had only the telephone (pre-texting, facebook, etc). I realized just HOW MUCH TIME is spent on logistics in a relationship – when is he picking me up, what to wear, laundry, groceries, cooking, getting a gift, what to wear, etc. But when you are separated … well, that’s when I realized that one friend and I couldn’t talk more than 3 minutes, b/c there was nothing there other than “doing stuff” (museums, dancing, sightseeing). But on the phone, I realized that we had way more in common – hopes, dreams, family upbringing, beliefs, hopes, dreams, … had both been in band, degree in engineering, … I knew that I loved him and would like to be with him, even when there was nothing going on, nothing to do. Still the best times are spent in his company. (I was 28 when we got married, so I knew he didn’t “complete me.” ha ha! kids took another 9 years)

Tim Bates August 7, 2014 - 10:14 am

What does #1 mean? I want to be charitable and assume you meant that pastors shouldn’t be afraid to talk about sex. I want to be cautious about the church becoming lecherous and sophomoric though. Pastors and leaders don’t need to talk any more about sex than the Bible does. If someone seeks you out for private counseling on the issue, that’s a lot different. But youth pastors must not usurp that authority from parents. Again, if students ask them and it’s clear the youth’s parents are not involved, that’s a different matter but also not something the youth pastor should be pursuing.

Oddly enough my wife and I were bombarded by people telling us how awful our first year of marriage would be. Our first year was great. We were dirt poor, both working and both in school but we still loved it. I’ve actually gone out of my way to encourage newlyweds and engaged couples because my wife and I were both so discouraged at how overwhelmingly negative people were about marriage. To be fair most of the nay-sayers were not believers but some of them were.

Corey August 7, 2014 - 10:26 am

I want to bring clarity to #5 a better way to say this is Marrry someone with similiar “Values” For instance my wife and i highly value restoring and healing people. Because of this we decisions are much easier to make. Will this thing help someone in need? Can we afford it (mentally, spiritually, fiscally)? if yes then we do it. She’s a medical professional and i help create and better businesses totally different goals and passions but we ALWAYS make sure we work together through our values. eh, thats my 2 cents

xquizit313 August 7, 2014 - 12:30 pm

I would add to #4 that though your spouse doesnt complete you (only Jesus can), that they are there to help you in your weaknesses, which are two different things. and #6 needs to emphasize that if you do not marry your marriage should be to Christ and in that marriage you dedicate your time and put in your all serving God and functioning in your ministry

xquizit313 August 7, 2014 - 12:30 pm

good read btw!

Jen August 8, 2014 - 12:30 am

Sorry, I think your article over simplifies marriage & relationships. Firstly, it’s called making love for a reason- rather animals engage in sex; we as humans have the ability to think more critically about these actions. Love is the key difference between just having sex (purely physical in nature).
Yes, in someways your spouse does complete u. For example, I am very introverted but my spouse takes me out of my comfort and has allowed me to grow as a person. No one is perfect but there are people that either make u grow as a person or quite the opposite… Ok, if you are saying that u are the only person that can fix u, I totally agree.
Yes & no on the similar goals- more importantly they need to support your goal and vis versa.
The whole marriage is not for everyone- totally disagree; rather marriage is a choice, but I believe that u do not have to stand in church to be loyal, committed, loving, and faithful. Actions speak louder than words.
Do agree with the last statement- completely.

Jen August 8, 2014 - 12:53 am

Furthermore, I don’t think that God will fix your relationship. Only u can do that! And obviously no one deserves to be controlled, abused, etc… that is not love.

Nelly August 8, 2014 - 9:16 am

the journey of marriage is worth it when you marry your best friend and not just the one you love

Jen August 8, 2014 - 3:14 pm

Are those separate?

Mrs. Spoon August 8, 2014 - 2:40 pm

Thank you so much. I needed number 3 today. We have been married for 9 months and it has felt like we did something wrong somewhere since we fight sometimes. No one said that the first year was going to be hard instead I was told it was going to be the honeymoon stage and that it should be one of the best years of marriage. This idea is so harmful We have fought and are both trying to figure out how to be an adult and a married couple. It is hard and it is not a honeymoon stage. Knowing that I’m not alone in this makes my marriage feel so much better. I actually cried sitting here because I felt for once like I’m not messing everything up and I’m normal instead of alone.

Halley August 8, 2014 - 3:31 pm

Couples fight, it’s normal and then u have to forgive and let go… but I guess u need to examine what u are fighting about (some problems are red flags)? I think a lot of religious people struggle their first year because they have not lived with the person before… & that is a game changer!!!!…. all the things that u are blind towards are totally there in your face… it is difficult.. it will be ok, u sound so overwhelmed.. U sound like you have married young and both of you will just have to be patient with one another, grow and learn together.. all the best 🙂 Please be nice to yourself, u have not messed up anything..

Mrs. Spoon August 9, 2014 - 2:12 am

Thank you. We have a really good relationship he was my high school sweetheart and my only sweetheart. I wouldn’t trade him for the world. It is just living with someone else that’s that close. And they aren’t huge fights just little bickers but when you’ve been told everything should be wonderful the first year those bickers seem huge.

Frank Powell August 8, 2014 - 11:55 pm

So thankful my words have been of some benefit to you. Praying God gives you and your spouse strength and perseverance!

Karen August 8, 2014 - 4:29 pm

Soul mates originate in Greek mythos (or is it philosophy?) that the gods created a whole soul and split it into two parts then put it in two people and they spent their lives looking for the one that completes them. I’m thankful I didn’t buy this idea as a single person bc I’d never have met my husband. Thankfully we do complement each other, and now I can’t imagine life without him.

Frank Powell August 8, 2014 - 11:52 pm

Thanks for the insight here!

Montoya August 9, 2014 - 7:41 pm

Hi Frank,

I am writing a spoken word piece for my friends wedding and I wanted to know if I may have your approval to use the questions below from your post at the conclusion of my piece.

“What if God does not want you to find a perfect person, but find an imperfect person that will draw you closer to Him? What if God desires you to marry a person with flaws to expose yours? What if God wants to teach you the value and life found in committing to one person forever, not the exhausting pursuit of searching your entire life to find the perfect person?”

The couple asked me to incorporate some thought provoking questions that will minister to family and friends in attendance. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Montoya

Frank Powell August 13, 2014 - 2:08 pm

Montoya, absolutely. I would love for you to use these questions. Thanks for reading!

Montoya August 19, 2014 - 3:33 pm

Great! Thank you!

Maine Man August 9, 2014 - 11:04 pm

It’s a Welding Not only a Wedding: (Spoken by my father (Pastor) at my Wedding)
Don’t look at Marriage as a dry run, if this one does not work I will try again. Divorce is like breaking two pieces of iron. That’s never a clean break and it will always leave a lot of rough and sharp edges.

Frank Powell October 8, 2014 - 10:04 am

Maine Man, I love your name. I also love your illustration here. God hates divorce, and there is a reason. It leaves behind a trail of brokenness that will never be restored. Thanks! Blessings!

Maine Man August 9, 2014 - 11:04 pm

It’s a Welding Not only a Wedding: (Spoken by my father (Pastor) at my Wedding)
Don’t look at Marriage as a dry run, if this one does not work I will try again. Divorce is like breaking two pieces of iron. That’s never a clean break and it will always leave a lot of rough and sharp edges.

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Mandi Faith August 21, 2014 - 6:36 pm

I agree with all of them but think some people might misunderstand #6 (Marriage is Not for Everybody) as permission to have premarital sex. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think #6 means abstinence until you’re ready to marry, or a celibate life dedicated to God.

Frank Powell September 29, 2014 - 4:45 pm

There is always the chance people will take what you say out of context. What you have is correct. This is what I intended #6 to mean. Thanks!

R.N. August 26, 2014 - 8:08 am

I enjoyed this post and was refreshed by it. Thank you. Without reading all four hundred some comments, I am going to share something that may be in here.. or may not be.

Something definitely not shared in the church culture and in Sunday morning sermons is this… Trust God with your spouse. More emphasis is placed on finding the “right” person and making sure they measure up to the list of absolutes you have. I was taught in a singles class in church to make a list of ten things that were absolutes for a mate… and I was to commit to not veer from that list.

Honestly… the list I made that day??? my husband didn’t fit most of them. Thankfully of me, I let go of the list before I got married and gave my life and my marriage in to the hands of my Father. God was my match maker.

What you said in your article… “What if God does not want you to find a perfect person, but find an imperfect person that will draw you closer to Him?” is absolutely the case. After five years of marriage, this is what God is doing. It was never about finding a soul mate… but God gave me one as I trusted him with the marriage and relationship.

Inspiration for me was the Hosea story. Not many would use that example to pick a spouse… but it is the most beautiful experience to let go of our choices and let God introduce us to a much better life… one of trusting him.

Frank Powell October 8, 2014 - 10:02 am

This is some great insight. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. I agree with you that a list is a good thing to have when looking for a spouse. I believe there should be non-negotiable qualities. For instance, I would not marry someone who is not a Christian. At the same time, making a list should not prevent us from seeing what God is trying to do around us. God’s list and our list do not always match (no pun intended). Good words here! Thanks! Blessings!

Ruth E. Brown August 27, 2014 - 7:51 am

Thank you for sharing these thoughts.

Tish August 28, 2014 - 3:37 am

God bless you sooo much for touching on these points. I can imagine apostle Paul saying all these if he had lived in our days! I totally agree with #1 and I hope that gradually, we the church will take back the power and overcome the awkwardness of discussing sex.

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Randy Bronson September 5, 2014 - 4:13 pm

I’ll offer this. It’s not always true but it’s been true often enough in my marriage: Men are good at math. Women are good at being wives. If the two of you disagree, she is probably right.

Frank Powell September 29, 2014 - 4:44 pm

Thanks Randy! More men should heed this!

Sunshine September 10, 2014 - 5:28 pm

I would agree with most of this. I have been to a couple truly beautiful weddings where the bride and groom really served their community — their wedding was not a fb selfie, but a real moment where they chose to show by actions their gratitude and thankfulness to those they loved. It was gorgeous. It is in loving – listening, sharing, forgiving, reaching out that we show God’s love. The ups and downs of marriage are a reality, as in any relationship, but our Father in heaven teaches us that it is in attempting to overcome where we learn what real love is. There are sad times where a marriage does not work out, that is also a reality of this life.

Fianne van Oeveren September 12, 2014 - 6:09 am

Not only is the 1st year hard, but also when the two get kids… For that time of life I’d like to get rid of the religious things like you should pray and read bible at least once a day… Believe me, when with kids, you pray for your kids and spouse, sometimes the ‘HELP’-prayers. Build the bible-read-thing in the year(s) before you get kids. It might take a while (especially for moms) to be able to read again…). And learn to pray together in your dating time and in your marriage time (when still without kids), so you know how to pray when the kids are there 🙂

Frank Powell September 29, 2014 - 4:43 pm

Great advice and insight. The second child was a very difficult transition for my wife and I as well!

6weeksandi'llbemarried September 15, 2014 - 10:28 am

After dating my fiancé for 4 years, and a lot of back and forth on my part, I realized that marriage and love has very little to do with how I feel. I went back and forth on being with this wonderful man because there were times where I literally did not like him, so I was convinced I could not love him. The Lord freed me from the chain of the emotional trip that Satan uses to steal my joy. When I realized (through the loving council of friends and family) that I didn’t have to like him all the time, it was so much easier to love him. The pressure was off! Now, I’m getting married in 6 weeks, and I can’t wait!

Rebekah September 21, 2014 - 5:16 pm

A couple things. First, I struggle with the idea that there is “more than one person out there” for everyone. I have prayed every day since I was a child for the man I would marry, and as I grew closer to an appropriate age for marriage, I prayed that I would have the wisdom to recognize him when I met him. I met my husband my senior year of high school, and he was nothing like what I had ever imagined – but I knew almost immediately he was meant for me. Neither of us have ever loved, or even held hands with, another person. He is who I prayed for, and I am who he prayed for. There simply isn’t another him. He does complete me – in many ways – and I do think that a spouse is meant to. He doesn’t fill the void in my soul that only God can – but he is my perfectly matched partner. Where we fail as individuals, the other is successful. We make each other better. We fill the gaps. Isn’t that what marriage is supposed to be?

The other idea I struggle with is that the first year of marriage is difficult. What if it isn’t? Why does it have to be? We were together for four years before we got married. We didn’t live together, and we waited to have sex. But we had all of the difficult conversations ahead of time; we talked about the expectations we had of each other as spouses. We prepared. And now, coming out of our first year of marriage with a baby due in a couple months, we are more in love than we have ever been and I can count on one hand the moments of conflict we have had. I’m sure we will have periods of difficulty, but we haven’t yet. Christians tend to offer one size fits all advice that does nothing but instill fear into newlyweds. It’s the same as the tropes on modesty that insist that “all men” have or will struggle with lust and a pornography addiction. Women are made insecure about their husbands’ mental faithfulness when there are plenty of men who possess the self-control not to look or simply lack the desire to look.

Anyways, I understand that anecdotal evidence does little in proving a fact. But I guess that’s my point. Just because marriage is difficult for you and most of the people you know, does not mean it is difficult for everyone. People are so vastly different – marriages and how people experience them are so different – let’s not forget that our individual experience is just that, our individual experience.

Frank Powell September 29, 2014 - 4:41 pm

Thanks for your comment. I agree the first year of marriage does not have to be difficult. I just know many people are never told about the difficulties of making such a huge transition. Praise God your first year of marriage went well. Marriage is certainly not a “one size fits all.” Thankful for that! Blessings!

melissahen September 26, 2014 - 1:53 pm

I have only been married for about 10 months but I want ro add a truth that marriage is fun!! sure not everyday is easy but we have so much fun together. I love being married. its great to do everything with ur best friend.

Frank Powell September 29, 2014 - 4:38 pm

Melissa, that is a great point! Very important to remember!

Divorcée dating again. September 28, 2014 - 6:58 pm

If you had to delete more for length purposes, will there be a part 2?

Frank Powell September 29, 2014 - 4:38 pm

Yes, there will be a follow up post in the future!

Wes September 29, 2014 - 2:16 pm

So if marriage isn’t for everyone then many of God’s people are expected to go their whole lives without experiencing God’s “gift” of sex? That’s a bad joke.

kristina October 27, 2014 - 1:28 pm

to have intimacy is kind of an added bonus to a marriage relationship, not a prerequisite. imagine if you were going on a flight for 24 hours and when you got on the plane you were given a bonus of a private cabin with a bed, an entertainment system, and room service with unlimited drinks and high end cuisine. now that would be a nice bonus,because you were going to fly anyways, but now this just made it better. Now, what if you had a private cabin from a plane in your home and all of the bonuses from the flight except in your everyday regular life and you’re not flying. Yeah I guess it would be nice to have, but you have your own bed and you have your own house that serve as a private cabin anyways…so it’s nice to enjoy but at the same time its in the completely wrong place and its extra stuff that you have to worry about. God’s gift of sex was created for marriage. Sex outside of marriage turns into: cheating, sexual abuse, porn, heart break and so on.

kristina October 27, 2014 - 1:30 pm

and if you are truly a Christian person, doing the will of God and called to be single, God will be enough to satisfy all of your desires.

Jacey Lynn Bibeau September 30, 2014 - 12:51 am

Honestly. I don’t feel like any of this was news to me when I got married. I can recall times in my life where every single one of these topics were brought up in my religion. I may have not have had full comprehension of it because I had not yet experienced it, but if you look for revelation from God before hand. He will guide you and prepare you for your marriage. All of these are very true though! Marriage is hard work,

Michelle October 11, 2014 - 2:34 am

I would very much like if you elaborated on point #2. It is true, it’s not taught and we need to know more about this so that we may take our blindfolds off.

Frank Powell October 11, 2014 - 6:22 am

Michelle, I agree with you. We do need to be educated on this reality. I wildly make a note to expound on this in the future. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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kristina October 27, 2014 - 1:19 pm

the idea of soulmates comes from Greek mythology. It was believed that in the beginning a human was perfect, having been made from a soul, two hearts and two of everything. Zeus became very jealous of how happy the human was, and he tore humans in half and placed each half in different parts of the world so that their life mission will be to find their “soulmate”, whom they have been separated from, to be a perfect human and to “complete each other.”

Frank Powell November 1, 2014 - 10:07 am

Kristina, thanks for the insight. I always appreciate someone adding something to the conversation. Blessings!

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wraiththirteen January 24, 2015 - 1:16 pm

I am 29 and single and as for #1 when you talk to you kids about sex, please shut the blank up. As a teenager I heard a lot of preaching on sex that only made me want to have sex, its over a decade later and God still hasnt opened the door for marriage for me. Gods word is obviously tounge in cheek in Song of Solomon, so if GOD ALMIGHTY is discreet with sex with young people who the blank are you to be explicit? Everything you said to singles was shallow, I strongly recommend you actually read your Bible. As for # 6 Read that verse in light of verse 26 of the same chapter. Pay particular attention to the phrase “present distress”. Marriage isnt for every season. Again read your Bible all of it.

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