Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pre-Wedding Jitters?

Hi Tony,

Fighting, in your situation, is not always a bad thing. If you are fighting because you are treating your fiance like you are already her head, but you are not, it makes sense that fighting might occur. I've seen it before, and in these cases, the wedding vows to submit make all the difference. Before the wedding you fight because you think you'res the head (but you aren't, yet) she doesn't submit because she doesn't need to (which she doesn't). But after the wedding they get along fine because the proper covenantal relationship is in place and both people are living according to the Bible.

Another option is that you are on different theological pages. She is a modern egalitarian woman who thinks she knows her mind and isn't about to submit herself to your or anyone else's authority. You are living in the Biblical world where God has placed you in a relationship that mirrors Christ and his church. You are the head of your family and you love your wife and want to do everything for her.

If this is the case, you need to do some serious thinking in a big hurry. If this latter situation is the case, you will never have peace in your home unless you become the milquetoast submissive one in your family. And if you do, neither of you will ever be happy. You will be frustrated because God made you to be the man in your home and she will be frustrated because you won't lead.

There might be a third option. It might be that if you wined her and dined her to win her and have stopped doing those kinds of things because of the other things going on she is feeling abandoned. This is not necessarily an intellectual thing, but emotional. And this is something that you need to remember for the rest of you life. Continue to date your wife. Don't stop dating and flirting with and buying flowers for, and holding her hand, and kissing her, and hugging her. Never stop treating her like you did in the first place, not for a day, an hour, or a minute. Continue to make love to your wife and pour yourself out to her. You need to fulfill your wedding vows and make her the most beautiful woman in the world. Chase her around, love her, nurture her, encourage her, tell her she's the most beautiful woman around. Complement her at every turn. Enjoy her presence, cherish her ideas, listen to her expressions of how she is feeling. And commit yourself to doing this forever.

When you have children, never let them come between you and your wife. You are married to her, not to them. Always make her the number one priority in your life.

I am working on a DMin at Westminster Theological Seminary. I have finished all the coursework and tests and have only the final project to complete the degree. It is in Biblical Counseling. I don't know if you need to take a whole course on counseling to learn how to live with God and others. I would suggest reading books by Powlison, Welch, and Tripp. These guys are really good at caring for the people they minister to. In Powlison's book Seeing With New Eyes, for example, David has a chapter called X-Ray Questions. In this chapter he lists a gazillion kinds of questions a person might ask in order to find out what really makes another person tick. In Depression: A Stubborn Darkness, Ed Welch feels like he is inside the demon of depression as he writes about how to help people who are living with malady. The book is really good for how to deal with depression, but I thought it was even better for how to be empathic with people who hurt and how to care for people in a way that brings God honor. Everything I've read by Welch and Powlison have been really good. Paul Tripp's book Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands is very helpful for a basic starting point in counseling others and for thinking about what you can do to examine yourself.

Above it all, however, you need to maintain a constant walk with God. This means reading your Bible every day and doing it in such a way that the things you read come out to you over and over all day long. You'll be saying things like, "Oh, that reminds me of something I read this morning." Or things that happen that will constantly remind you that you need to be praying for whatever you are involved in. God will be next to you, with you, you will be constantly aware of his presence with you in all that you do. This is how a person is transformed from the inside out.

I hope this helps,

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