To Equal or Not to Equal

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Be ye not unequally yoked ( not equal) together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
KJV 2 Corinthians 6:14

Being unequally yoked, or in an marriage that is not equal, used to carry a large weight in the Christian community, especially in the Seventh-day Adventist church. As a Sevenths-day Adventist growing up, the pastor would not even marry a couple in the church unless the non-Adventist party was willing to be baptized into the denomination. I never agreed with this concept but it showed how adamant the church was about this particular charge in the Bible. In reality though, is the charge really that deep? As Christians we are all people who believe in Christ… do the denominational values really cause couples to be unequally yoked? An even better question is, does being unequally yoked only refer to spiritual context? I do not believe so. I believe being unequally yoked could mean a plethora of things. It could mean do not marry someone with different morals than yourself. It could also mean do not marry anyone of the same sex as yourself as God created Eve for Adam. Or maybe it could possibly mean do not marry some one who is of the world. In reality though, is the charge really that deep. This is one of the main reasons why pre-marital counseling is so important. One always thinks they know someone, but what the really know is how the person looks “on paper”. Counseling brings out attributes and flaws, if the work is being done, that may not other wise have been seen until it was too late. Marriages are supposed to be life long commitments, and sometimes love is just not enough. When a couple is yoked equally they will be able to work through those hard times when love is not enough and the divorce rate possibly would decline.

Below are a few cross references that Christians sometimes use in their journey of finding a mate or deciding what is meant by being unequally yoked.

Genesis 24:3
I want you to swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living,

Deuteronomy 22:10
Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together.

Ezra 9:2
They have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, and have mingled the holy race with the peoples around them. And the leaders and officials have led the way in this unfaithfulness.”

1 Corinthians 5:9
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people–

1 Corinthians 6:6
But instead, one brother takes another to court–and this in front of unbelievers!

1 Corinthians 7:39
A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.

Ephesians 5:7
Therefore do not be partners with them.

Ephesians 5:11
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

1 John 1:6
If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.

Why Premarital Sex is Not Okay!!!

FFC image Premarital Sex

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any”  (I Cor. 6:12)  Just because I have the right to do anything, does not mean that it is good for me to do these things!

Have you ever been told? “boy you better be careful, don’t you get that girl pregnant, you better wrap it up, and get pregnant if you want to.”  Does any of this sound familiar to you?  Of course it does.  These are the things that you probably were told by your parents and you are possibly telling your children in reference to sex. The problem with these statements is that all of them are giving the child permission to engage in premarital sex.  These are statements with no explanations.  When advising a child about premarital sex, the main objective that you may want to instill in them is the reasons as to why they should not engage into premarital sex.  In other words, tell them; no sex before marriage BECAUSE…  Yes, explain to them why.  I believe that if children understood the whys, we would have less children becoming sexually active before they are married.  Listed below are some biblical and logical explanations and answers to your children when they ask you “why shouldn’t I have sex now:”

  1. Sex was designed by God for marriages between a man and woman only
  2. Premarital sex is a sin (all sex)
  3. Avoid STD’s
  4. Unwanted pregnancies
  5. Unwanted abortions
  6. Premature emotional bonding
  7. Heart break from failed relationship
  8. Sexual abuse from mate(s)
  9. Financial responsibility of children
  10. Single parenting

I’m pretty sure there are more reasons to include in this list, however, this is a good place to begin. Educate your children.  If you love them, you will be truthful to them.  Once you deliver the information into their hands, then they become empowered to make the right decision.  Always let them know; just because they can, does not mean they should.

Sources: the Bible; Genesis 1:28, Genesis 2:18-25, I Cor. 6:18-25, I Cor. 6:12

 

Is a Prenup a Good Idea?

Is a Prenup a Good Idea?Yours, mine, ours, the words take on new meaning when you’re getting married — and entirely different new meanings if you’re splitting up. While a lot of couples have gotten engaged and no one can predict their future, many people find that a prenuptial agreement helps increase their security during the marriage, and ease the transition should it end. To others, starting out with a request for a prenuptial it feels like stacking the deck against a happy union. It seems that prenuptial offer predictability and marriage is unpredictable; you are essentially trying to figure out what’s going to happen, and where you will be financially, when you get divorce. A prenuptial agreement can clarify the financial rights and responsibilities of each party during the marriage and the distribution of property in the case of divorce or death. Prenuptial can protect spouses from each other’s debts. They can also spell out how one spouse’s property can be passed on to children from a previous marriage. In addition, a prenuptial agreement can indicate whether one of the parties is to receive alimony.

The conversation about whether or not to have a Prenuptial  can be a good entry into a conversation about finances that every couple should have before tying the knot: Who will pay for what? Who will stay home with children? What if someone wants to go back to school? How much of our paychecks will we save for retirement? Money is emotional. How we make it, how much we have, whether we’re spenders or savers, how much debt we have taken on — all of these subjects can be sensitive, which can easily lead people to avoid talking about them at all? Some believe that Prenuptial  will secure you financially but will also put strain in your marriage even before you started.

Top 5 Questions to Ask BEFORE You Say I Do

After what was hopefully at least a 2-year courtship, you now find yourself engaged. You’re excited and nervous as the big day approaches. You think you’ve got all the important questions asked and answered. Are the guests seated properly? Did we give the florist a deposit? Are all the relatives travel and lodging arrangements finalized? Has everything been done that needs to be done? While these are all important questions, many people fail to take the time to ask themselves key questions about how their life will change after they say “I do.”

Here are five key questions to ask yourself before you say those two life-altering words.

1) How do I expect my life to change once I’m married? (Think it won’t?).
Everyone enters into a marriage with expectations about how the marriage will satisfy his or her needs. Problems arise when these expectations go unmet and feelings of disappointment start to seep into the emotional connection between the couple. At lot of times, this is due to one partner expecting the emotional connection to intensify and the other expecting things to stay as they have been. Therefore, it is very important that you openly talk with your partner about what you expect from the relationship, emotionally, financially, physically, and how you view your future together playing out. Failure to do so may lead the two of you down a bitter path culminating in divorce.

2) How happy am I with our dealings with the good, the bad and the ugly?

Well functioning relationships are able to survive difficult times and grow as the environment around them changes. Just as one needs to prepare for a harsh winter, a couple needs to devise a blueprint for how they are going to get through tough times. All couples experience situations that test their commitment to each other and their compatibility. This is why I wrote “at least a 2-year courtship” in the opening paragraph. When you first are dating, it’s like summer—peaceful, calm, exciting, and warm. Then winter comes and things often get harder. No longer is one focusing on being on his or her best behavior and ones “baggage” surfaces. If you haven’t experienced all four seasons of your partner to be, maybe you should push back the wedding date. If you have, what did you learn about yourself and your partner? Is your relationship going to be like living in Los Angeles where the change of seasons are hardly noticeable, or is it going to be like living in the Colorado Rockies? If the two of you are having wild emotional swings getting married isn’t the answer.

3) Why am I getting married?
Most of us know the fairy tale where the prince rescues the damsel in distress and they ride off into the sunset to a place called “Happily Ever After.” Many of us think, in some way, that there is truth to this insipid tale. It has been my experience that rescue missions usually end up with the rescuer getting his or her butt kicked as the damsel is in distress, due to her own choices, which can’t be fixed by the rescuer. In our modern world, both men and women attempt to rescue, just as both men and women can be a “damsel” in distress. Happily Ever After has a little known subtitle, “Just as long as you work your butt off and are not trying to save anybody or hope to be rescued from yourself.” Thus, make sure to answer this question as honestly as possible. And, ask your partner this question as well. If getting married has anything to do with living out a fairy tale, you may want to reevaluate the situation.

4) Have you fallen in love?

When asked why one is getting married, a common answer is “because I’ve fallen in love.” To me, the word “falling” is associated with painful things. I fell down, I fell off the chair, or I fell off a cliff, to name a few. Whoever first coined the phrase “falling in love” knew what s/he was talking about. This wise person knew that with love comes pain. Within every successful relationship there exists a healthy level of emotional pain that a couple uses to further grow their relationship. Part of making a relationship stand the test of time is to agree to work together to solve problems. Learning how to avoid hurting each other will lessen the chances that someone will tumble and fall, causing both to suffer. Never put ANYONE before them.  Don’t fall in love. Rather, build it together and leave all others behind.

5) Who do I want to model my marriage after? (Why Did I Get Married or Why Did I Get Married Too?).

Are your parents still married (if they ever married)? The relationship that our parents had affects us more than most of us want to admit. It is from their teachings and behaviors that we learned about how, or how not, partners are supposed to treat each other. If they were, and still are, great role models, ask them to tell you everything that they have learned about marriage. If they weren’t, still ask, but also seek out advice from someone whose marriage appears to be running smoothly (I say appear, as people are great on putting a positive face on what is really a relationship in trouble). Try attending some premarital counseling. Working with a therapist prior to getting married may prevent you from having to go to therapy to try and save the relationship in the future.

Do you have a goal for your pending marriage?  A vision of where you want to be in the future?  If you don’t, start on one today.

What We Want vs. What We Need

What We Want versus What We Need?

In an ideal world we would satisfy our search for a significant other, with someone who fulfills all of our wants and needs. This would be our Mr. or Ms. Right.  Does such a person exist? Are our standards set to high that no one will ever be able to fill these shoes? Does this longing cause a sense of desperation and we begin to settle more for wants over needs?  For example, you may want someone who is spontaneous and buys you nice things but what you need is a partner with job stability.

Are you willing to settle for the bungee jumper who changes jobs three times a year or, are you willing to work on spontaneity with a partner who has job security?

You’re a Witch (clean version) – Chapter 1 of “Why You’re Not Married Yet”

I recently read this book called  “Why You’re Not Married Yet – The Straight Talk You Need to Get the Relationship You Deserve” by Tracy McMillan.  I’m all about sharing information and improving marriage.  So if I can help some folks before they married, I can maybe help some future marriages down the road.  (The views in this book are not necessarily my views or those of Family First Counseling.) Read the previous post to learn more about the book and for a link to Amazon’s review.

You’re a Witch (Or, How Anger and Fear are Keeping You Single)

  1. Do people walk on eggshells around you–and you kind of like it?
  2. Does the idea that you should be nice to a man make you angry?
  3. Have past boyfriends felt that you were defensive or hard to get close to?

Bottom line of this chapter: Most men just want to marry someone who is nice to them.  That includes having sex enthusiastically with them, laughing and occasionally cooking a meal, folding the laundry or something else just because you love him.  If being asked makes you mad, then the answer is probably not.  It boils down to just having a funky attitude often with no reason.  Be conscious of how you express your anger.

Author’s Summary: Take a cold hard look at what no one has been willing to say straight to your face:

  • You’re a witch – You’re not nice, and men don’t want to marry you because of it.
  • Being a witch is really about anger and defensiveness  – The anger looks justified, which is why it seems so righteous.
  • Be nice.
  • Learn to forgive – being nice won’t happen until you forgive.
  • Get a new story – Be creative, live ya life.

Next Post: Chapter 2 – You’re Shallow