Anonymous said: Is it important for a Christian couple to have a family wedding? I am recently engaged and I would prefer for it to be just my partner, God, and I, but family disagrees. Suggestions?

There are so many variables in this, so I’m not really sure if I can give you a useful or proper answer simply because I do not know the context of your situation. However, I will speak on the normative perspective of things: 

I think it’s important for any couple to have a family wedding. I don’t know your story, but chances are your family has been waiting for the day that you would find your partner and leave home. It is a joyful and sad day, and I think it should be shared with family together. From their family, you will start your own family. 

On to the Christian side of things:
I think that it is very important to have witnesses at your wedding. A wedding is a ceremony similar to baptism in this sense: You stand before men and God and profess your love and commitment. Obviously, baptism is more important because it is a love and commitment to God. However, a wedding is a ceremony, not a past-time. It is the day that God will ordain you to your spouse, and you will vow to image Christ and the Church in your marriage. How can one make such a heavy-laden vow if no one has witnessed? Even then, how can there be a ceremony without a gathering? Who would be able to hold you accountable to the vows you made before God and men? It makes sense to gather the people who know you together before you commit the rest of your life to another person and vow to God before men that you will honor this person as a symbol of Christ and the Church. (Please see Ephesians 5 for context)

I think to continue this conversation, I would need to hear more of your story. Why wouldn’t you want to have family and friends present at the wedding? What about the minister who would officiate the wedding? Why does your family disagree? All of the answers to these questions would be very helpful! 

Give your life, love your wife like He loved the church
Without seeing how many hearts you can break first 

Men and Provision

My blog:
http://amartyrschallenge.tumblr.com/

Previous conversation:

http://amartyrschallenge.tumblr.com/post/31694569381/dating-courtship-marriage-what-why-is-this-so

Current question:

Hey Sam, I’m the anonymous just before about the Joshua Harris book. Don’t worry…I’m not burning your blog - that would require printing it! ;) In all seriousness though, I loved your answer. Detailed thorough and honest. I have heard some differing opinions on the Wild at Heart book, however I haven’t read it, so I can’t judge. I have read quite a few Gary Chapman books, that one included too. Just to clear something up though - I didn’t let a book tell me whether I should be dating.

It was a combination of praying, talking to my parents, talking to our mutual friends and just man’ing it up! Thanks for your words on lust - it does confirm what I know, and my own personal convictions of scripture. I have another question though - leading on from the previous, and just ‘cos you’re so thorough at your replies! How important an aspect do you put on being a provider? If a couple feels like they’re ready for marriage, but it is just not feasible financially,

- or they don’t have a house organised to live in - how do you view that as impacting their ‘readiness’ for marriage? Especially in Australia at the moment, it is near-nigh impossible to move out of home - even with a full time job. Not asking you fo v r the ‘Gospel’ on it - just curious to see your take on the issue. Thanks! As an aside - I can definitely see you as a Godly Pastor. God Bless.

Dating? Courtship? Marriage? What? Why is this so complicated?

Anonymous said:

Hey Sam, have you read the popular dating book “Boy Meets Girl” by Joshua Harris? What are your thoughts? My girlfriend and I have both read the book and think overall that it is quite good. We both agree that the purpose of dating is getting to know the other person more deeply to see if they would be a Godly husband/wife. We also agree that we should be standing together towards Christ and not only focusing on each other other, and what we ‘have’.


However there are some elements in the book which we slightly disagree with. It is incredibly puritan, and we feel that what some think is a suitable boundary is different for others. (eg, kissing, cuddling). We keep the principle: “Would I feel ashamed if I was doing this with someone else’s future wife/husband”. What are your thoughts? God Bless.

 

I said:

Thank you for an awesome question! I loved your detailed and clear opinion.


To be honest, I haven’t read a single dating book. I don’t plan on it either. This might sound harsh and if you’re a Joshua Harris fan, then you’re going to take offense. But I hope you’ll love me anyway! Here we go:

I think dating books are stupid. I don’t mean that in an insulting way, I just think that they lack any intellectual grounds. Here is why: Why waste your time learning how to be a good boyfriend when you can learn how to be a good husband? Isn’t that what matters? If you know what areas you need to develop to be a good husband, and what kind of wife you need, doesn’t that already sort out the dating aspect of it? If you’re striving to be a good future husband, you’ll be a good boyfriend. Make sense?

Here’s my other reason: Dating books are completely philosophical. They cannot include Scripture, because God didn’t care to discuss dating or courting or “seeing someone.” Instead, He talked a great deal about marriage. So I would rather read a book that is founded upon the eternal wisdom of God, than someone who took college and has a lot of life experiences. I’m not saying that Joshua Harris is a waste of a human life, please don’t get me wrong! I’m just saying that he cannot offer me what the Bible can. God’s word teaches me to be noble, trustworthy, honorable, strong, brave, pure, righteous, courageous, humble, and wise. Among many other characteristics.

My brother, think of this: Did you really need to read a whole book to tell you that the purpose of dating is to find a spouse? And to stop your girlfriend from becoming a distraction from your pursuit of God?

When I first started dating my girlfriend, I read one book (Wild at Heart by John Eldredge), and then I watched a good 12-14 sermons on marriage. I learned all that I need to know. I learned what a man as a husband and wife look like, what a father and mother look like, and simply what a man and a woman look like. The rest is just learning to grow with Christ and weed out my imperfections and not becoming distracted. I don’t need to read some dating book. I just need to know what I’m supposed to be in marriage.

Now, when it comes to marriage books, that’s what peaks my interest. Real Marriage by Mark Driscoll or Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married by Gary Chapman, and others out there are probably going to be much more helpful to you than these dating books. I looked up the summary of the book, and it’s pretty much about courting, says Joshua Harris. I don’t need to know about courting/dating/seeking a woman. I can ask my pastor or parents about that. What I need to know is marriage. If I understand marriage, I will understand pursuing a woman.

Well, that pretty much concludes what I had to say. Please don’t hate me and print out my blog just so you can burn it in your fireplace. That would make me sad. :(

Now, when it comes to what Joshua Harris said about his opinion on physical boundaries, I will say this: that’s his opinion. It’s in his book, and you are welcomed to disagree with his book. That’s his conviction, and so I won’t call him silly for holding it. I do agree with you, however, that everyone does appear to have different convictions when it comes to setting physical boundaries. I think that a better reflective question than the one you said you ask yourself is this: “What is the point where you risk lusting in your mind?” If you ask that reflective question, then you’re sure to stay out of trouble (for the most part).  If you lust, you’ve already sinned. So stay away from lust, and you’ll be good. For this is what James says:

13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.James 1:13-15

So, if you have sexual desire for your partner (which is natural), you will become very tempted to exceed your physical boundaries with her. When you dwell on that temptation, you will give birth to sin (meaning you’ll sin), and then you’ll just waste away in your sin. That’s just how it works, as I’m sure you’ve seen with any struggle you’ve ever had with a temptation of any sort.

So that’s all I had to say, and I’d like to conclude with Matt Chandler. Check out this short video, he talks about dating and how silly it’s become. He even alludes to Joshua Harris’ book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Watch it, it’s only 2 minutes!

Enjoy:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BiiKx3Lr_o

Well I hope you enjoyed this lengthy answer! I really enjoyed talking about this. Let me know if you have a reply. Just remember that we can disagree on this and still live completely for Christ!

God bless and much love!

Samuel Assaf

A little long-distance relationship advice

I answered:

Well, I would say that there are ups and downs to long distance relationships, but before I get into that, I should first lay out what dating is actually for. For the sake of smooth grammar, I am going to assume that you are a man, so if you are a woman, please still apply what I say to you.

Dating only ends in either marriage or breaking up. So you should probably aim for marriage instead of breaking your heart or someone else’s. 

 Having said that, you shouldn’t be looking for a girlfriend, you should be looking for a wife. You should find someone with the qualities of a Biblical, Godly woman and then date them to find out if they would make a good wife or not. If you don’t know what a Biblical, Godly husband/wife looks like, message me again and I will provide you with material that will help you understand which qualities you need to develop, and which qualities you will need to find in your spouse.

Now that we have gotten the general statement of a dating relationship out of the way, we can now discuss long distance relationships.

Here are some pros and cons when it comes to long distance relationships:

Pros:

  • Getting to know the person at an increased rate because of communication without much fun dates.
  • Learning to sort through fights and problems without the ability to “Hug it out.”
  • Discovering how much you are willing to be with the person over time.
  • Being able to observe character traits that the person develops while you are away.

Cons:

  • Stress of distance.
  • Trust issues may develop
  • Person may find someone else
  • Jealousy may be quickly aroused
  • Lack of “fun” events
  • Communication barriers, as personal conversations must be done on skype or on the phone

So these are just a few that I can name from the top of my head. It really depends on who you are, who the other person is, and if the relationship is worth it or not. Don’t trick yourself into thinking that you’re stuck in the relationship and you have no choice but to marry the person. Get to know the person, understand why you are struggling so much, and for goodness’ sakes, talk about it with your long-distance partner.

Communication is the most important key in marriage, or in any sort of relationship for that matter. So this is a great time and experience to learn how to communicate with your girlfriend, and also to learn how to communicate with your friends, family, and God-willing, your wife. 

Perhaps you’re not even in the season for looking for a spouse. You should take time to reflect and pray, and look into what is required of you as a spouse, before you look for one. I can provide you with material, if you find yourself lacking knowledge in this area.

I hope I was of help! Always remember that there is more to life than finding a spouse, and you have your whole life to figure that out. Focus on Christ, and grow with Him as you continue to sort these things out, or strive to fight the struggles of your long-distance relationship. Remember that you don’t need to decide who you will marry today or tomorrow. Just take your time, get to know the person, see what you need, and maybe one day you will find out that this person would be beneficial as a wife, or just simply not for you. Always pray, and be teachable and open minded.

God bless and much love!

Samuel Assaf 

John Piper- Why is Marriage Important?

 

Give your life, love your wife like He loved the church.

Without seeing how many hearts you can break first.

My position on housewives and stay-at-home dads. 

Disagree and want to tell me your opinion? Please message me! 

What do you ladies think about being a house wife?

Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. - Titus 2:4-5

"You are free to abandon your wife when Christ abandons His."

— John Piper

MEN, WHERE ARE YOU?