A Guy’s Guide to Marrying Well

MarryWellThanks to the folks at Boundless and Focus on the Family for providing A Guy’s Guide To Marrying Well. The 32-page booklet (a free download at the link) is a collection from several really good books and sources. This is what the folks at Focus on the Family  hope the guide will do for young men:

The simple purpose of this booklet is to present a path that is as Biblical as possible in order to help you marry well. But not just so that you can experience all the happiness, health and wealth that guys who marry well enjoy, but so that your marriage can point to God’s glory and His greater purposes.

This guide is based on a few timeless concepts — intentionality, purity, Christian compatibility and community — that we rarely encounter in popular culture but are a proven path to marrying well.

In a world where we get garbage like The Bachelor, it’s good to know that young men can have something more trustworthy when it comes to giving clear, sound advice.

God, marriage and family

A recommendation from Mark Driscoll:

About the book, from Crossway Books:

We live in a time of crisis regarding marriage and the family, and only by a return to the biblical foundation can these institutions be rebuilt. To provide an integrated, biblical treatment of the full range of marriage and family issues, the authors of God, Marriage, and Family examine what Scripture says about God’s purposes for humans in their marriage and family interactions. Their examination covers the special issues stemming from marriage, childrearing, singleness, homosexuality, and divorce and remarriage. With study questions and points for further discussion, this book is a comprehensive yet concise resource for anyone seeking a Scriptural response to our culture’s complex challenges to God’s intentions for marriage and family.

To get Andreas Kostenberger’s “God, Marriage and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation,” go here.

What does physical attraction have to do with marriage?

Well, if you’re trying to think biblically about your marriage, it shouldn’t be a focus. That is how John Piper explained it recently:

The word “biblical” in this question is perhaps intended to take me to a text. And of course the text that comes to mind is, when it speaks to beauty, 1 Peter 3:3: “Don’t let your beauty be the outward beauty of the wearing of gold, and the braiding of hair, and the wearing of clothes.”

It doesn’t say “fine clothes.” It’s just “clothes,” so you know it’s not an absolute, as though not wearing clothes is good thing. It means the jewelry, the hair, and the clothes are not the focus. And our culture needs to hear that unbelievably. Marriages need to hear it, men need to hear it. That’s not the main focus of beauty. The focus should be the inner spirit.

So women should ask, “What kind of spirit should I cultivate for my man?” as well as, “How should I eat and dress and exercise for my man?” And the man should do the same: “What kind of inner spirit makes her flourish?” because there is a kind of spirit in a man that kills a woman or frightens or bores her.

And a man shouldn’t mainly be pumping iron. Because, frankly, most women could care very little about what their husbands look like, unless they’re just making fools of themselves. They want a spirit, a strength, a humility, a nobility. They want someone to pick them up and sweep them away.

In their worst moments women don’t look at pornography, usually. Mostly they read novels about exciting romances, because their husbands are so boring!

And so it cuts both ways. I think we husbands should labor not so much with the outward man, and the women shouldn’t labor so much with the outward woman. Rather, we should all cultivate the kind of beauty that we all deeply long for in relationships.

A marriage is a relationship. When you’re old, gray, wrinkled, overweight (or underweight), squinty, bent over, and hobbling along, maybe you’ll be holding hands at 85 because of the inner beauty.

Momentary Marriage

A Parable of Permanence
This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence

In the first half of 2007, John Piper preached a series of messages at Bethlehem Baptist Church on marriage. They were powerful and inspiring and now have been summarized in a new book called “This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence.”

As usual, Piper does an outstanding job, this time explaining that marriage is much more than what we think is about. From the Desiring God Web site:

Romance, sex, and childbearing are temporary gifts of God. So is marriage. It will not be part of the next life. And it is not guaranteed even for this life. It is one possible path along the narrow way to Paradise. It passes through breathtaking heights and through swamps with choking vapors. With marriage comes bitter providences, and it makes many things sweeter.

There never has been a generation whose view of marriage is high enough. The chasm between the biblical vision of marriage and the common human vision is now, and has always been, gargantuan. Some cultures in history respect the importance and the permanence of marriage more than others. Some, like our own, have such low, casual, take-it-or-leave-it attitudes toward marriage as to make the biblical vision seem ludicrous to most people.

Reflecting on his forty years of matrimony, Piper explains:

Most foundationally, marriage is the doing of God. And ultimately, marriage is the display of God. It displays the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his people to the world in a way that no other event or institution does. Marriage, therefore, is not mainly about being in love. It’s mainly about telling the truth with our lives. And staying married is not about staying in love. It is about keeping covenant and putting the glory of Christ’s covenant-keeping love on display.

“If you are married, this is why,” says Piper. “If you hope to be, this should be your dream.”

Staying married is not about staying in love

John Piper has an upcoming book on marriage that is based on a sermon series he did last year at Bethlehem Baptist Church. Based on what I’ve heard of those messages, it should be excellent. In one of his messages, Piper talks of the wonder of marriage:

Marriage is more wonderful than anyone on earth knows. And the reasons it is wonderful can only be learned from God’s special revelation and can only be cherished by the work of the Holy Spirit to enable us to behold and embrace the wonder. The reason we need the Spirit’s help is that the wonder of marriage is woven into the wonder of the gospel of the cross of Christ, and the message of the cross is foolishness to the natural man, and so the meaning of marriage is foolishness to the natural man (1 Corinthians 2:14).

And because of that thinking, we are confused about what is intended by marriage. He explains in the following excerpt from that message:

Playing by the rules

petitionTo go a little different route, here’s an article I came across today from the National Review Online detailing the lengths groups which claim to be civil rights advocates will go to curtail views that are different from theirs.

The subject of the article is the battle to redefine marriage in California. While the state has already passed legislation defining marriage as between one man and one woman, opponents have enlisted the courts to overturn the law. A new measure is now being placed on the ballots by way of petition. This has led to vigorous opposition:

This, in turn, led to an increasingly desperate and hostile attempt to block the efforts of petition-gatherers. Brian Brown, the director of NOM who has moved back to California (where he was raised) to help the campaign, explains that a group called Equality for All reports more than 1,000 volunteers (some from out of state) for their “Decline to Sign” campaign, while there are only about 200 petition-gatherers working in the state.

The anti-amendment group solicits reports of petition-gatherers’ whereabouts, and then sends volunteers to where the gatherers are working. These volunteers are ostensibly persuading voters that the amendment is a bad idea. Brown notes, however, that they are beginning to document reports of petition-gatherers being physically blocked, yelled at, and intimidated. These complaints have become frequent. Brown admits that the day and night efforts to keep voters from getting an amendment on the ballot have made the process more difficult.

Interference with signature-gathering is illegal in California. As Gallagher points out, there is a sad irony in “civil-rights” organizations trying to prevent Californians from exercising one of their most basic rights.

To read the entire article, go here.