Pre-Marriage Counseling (Part 4)

Pre-Marriage Counseling (Part 1)

Pre-Marriage Counseling (Part 2)

Pre-Marriage Counseling (Part 3)

Summer came and went, but circling back to this series on pre-marriage counseling.

In the final pre-marriage counseling section I discuss with the couple practical household duties, e.g., principles for household budgeting and financial wrangling, duties and balance of family life and employment, the labyrinth of all things insurance (car, renter/home, health, life, disability), etc. The number one goal is to highlight biblical wisdom and the couple’s deep need to seek and apply God’s wisdom to the milieu and circumstances of their (married) life.

If the couple is starting off their marriage with debt, I recommend Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover or Gary North’s website Deliverance from Debt. If the couple is debt-free, then I recommend something akin to Brady and Woodward’s Financial Fitness: The Offense, Defense, and Playing Field of Personal FinanceOne of the things I emphasize during this session is that the couple needs to plan accordingly for death, i.e., eliminate personal debt asap, take out life insurance policies on one another, discuss all things future and financial like retirement planning and financial investing . . . the point is to plan and prepare beforehand, so you can bless your spouse with being emotionally and financially prepared for an unexpected and untimely death.

We conclude this session with preliminary discussion on sexual fulfillment and the joys of the marriage bed, and I assign reading from Wheat & Wheat’s Intended for Pleasure. As my marriage counselor said over 12 years ago, you hold this off until the end because it is like throwing gasoline on a fire. There is typically a 5th and final meeting, during which I circle back and give advice and offer instructions regarding sexual fulfillment and the marriage bed, but typically we are down to the wire and finalizing and ironing out details and logistics for the wedding ceremony and reception. My advice is for the ceremony to be sober and short (which typically means traditional service), and the reception to be long and joyous.

 

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Means of Grace — Not Superfluous

A couple quotes about the sacraments.

“In His sovereignty God has bound Himself to impart His grace not on account of our use of the means, but along the route of the means that He has prescribed for us” (Herman Bavinck, Saved By Grace, 102).

“Nature and grace are distinct, yet they do not stand detached from one another. The same God who regenerates His elect in Christ through the Holy Spirit is the one who, as Creator and Sustainer, cares for them and leads them also to the moment when He visits them with His grace. Therefore the means of grace are not superfluous; and how we make use of them is not an insignificant matter. . . . For grace is imparted by means of warnings; and to the degree that we perform our obligation readily, to that degree will the benefit of God who works in us be the more excellent” (154).

God has freely and sovereignly bound Himself to work in us and impart grace through the means that He has prescribed. Believers partake of God’s grace by the means of grace, indeed.

Missions

Check out this excellent article at Desiring God by friend Joost Nixon. An “altar call” of sorts to participate in training leaders of the global church.

Today one of the biggest obstacles to theological education abroad is a reluctance to humble oneself and step out into discomfort — and yes, sometimes even into danger — for the health of the global church. If every generation is invited to share in Christ’s sufferings, are we missing our moment? Leaving one’s comfort zone is positively inconvenient at times, but what a privilege, to be inconvenienced and discomfited for one another!