The April 19, 2018, edition of GQ magazine had an article titled: 21 Books You Don’t Have to Read. The author included books like: The Old Man and the Sea; Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and even The Lord of the Rings.
We have come face-to-face with so many different life problems while involved in pre- and postmarital counseling with engaged couples. For example, a young woman’s sexual abuse as a child; a young man’s addiction to pornography; pregnancy; extreme debt; the recent loss of a parent and more. These couples found themselves facing huge life challenges before saying “I do.”
Every couple we have ever faced presented new issues, new challenges. Walking them through these life challenges was our privilege as premarital counselors. We were not serving them as professionals, but rather as a mentor couple, and spiritual parents. What an honor to walk with them, to pray with them and then to see answers to our prayers together. It was a learning experience for them and for my wife and me.
Life has its twists and turns, but when you are able to walk alongside someone else serving and supporting them through those times, you are actually helping them to make it, to be successful and to grow toward maturity. Our book, Called Together, is a resource to enable other couples to do exactly this.
If you and your spouse have a heart to enter this type of ministry, we have a suggestion for you. You can take our free four-part training found on YouTube or you can attend our live training scheduled for February 22 at Westgate Church in Ephrata, PA. I will leave the live links on the bottom of this blog.
We have been involved in this ministry for many years and find great satisfaction and challenge in it. Walking couples through their histories, their likes and dislikes, their hurts and their joys, all the while, moving toward marriage is simply a satisfying venture. Helping to build a firm foundation for their future in the areas of communication, finances, sex and so much more brings with it a certain satisfaction. As well, we schedule several postmarital check-ups with them after they say “I do.” Follow-up is, as they say, where the rubber meets the road.
Someone once said that money issues are ultimately heart issues. Perhaps that is most likely true as Jesus spoke it this way, “For where you treasure is there your heart will be also.”
Consumer debt, financial mistakes and overcharging can simply be exposing a heart that is not seeking first God’s resources, God’s answers and God’s kingdom. It might be trusting me more than trusting Him. The Apostle Paul shared that he knew how to live with much and he knew how to live with little. The key was walking in contentment.
It is well known that Mother Teresa’s earthly possessions could be carried about in a five-gallon bucket, but at the same time she believed God for millions of dollars to run her organizations that existed all over the world. One could easily identify her heart when it came to money.
I once counseled someone who was $30,000 in debt created by an addiction to internet pornography. One could easily identify that heart as well.
How about you? Where is your heart when it comes to money? Who owns your bank accounts, your IRA’s and your home? Making investments for a financial return vs. creating consumer debt is wise, but making eternal deposits into the lives of others is wiser still.
Are there times in marriage when we simply should not be communicating or using more words? I want to propose that there are those times and we should use them wisely. The book of Ecclesiastes reveals, “…A time to be quiet and a time to speak.”
Consider these five times that silence just might be described as golden.
- When your partner desires some quiet time or some alone time.
- When a disagreement is getting out of hand, it most likely is a good time for a communication time out.
- When one partner is feeling a bit snarky, it’s best not to respond.
- When an ongoing issue keeps surfacing we may need to back off and give it some time, or agree to disagree.
- When it’s time to close our day and go to sleep.
Use your quiet times wisely because sometimes, “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” Proverbs 17:28