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Plan for Your Marriage: Becoming a Christ-centered home is part 3 of 5 from the How to Get Married Right! series helping couples build their marriage as the Architect of marriage has designed.
We all know couples are couple-oriented. They are caught up in the exciting potential of being and living together. We don't want to dampen these hopes but put them in the right perspective.
A couple must not think of themselves as being autonomous. They should not think of their home to be a place for them alone, but for Christ and His purposes. These dreams need to be interlocked early on before marriage so that everything is placed on a firm foundation.
We must reject the popular notions that a couple lives for itself. If the Lord is calling a couple together, then He is calling them together to serve Him. The couple must think before marriage on how God has gifted them and then anticipate how God will use them together as one unit.
We need to get practical. We see many couples spending so much money on a wedding. They need to be careful for even this can be idolatrous. They spend so much effort and money on a wedding and honeymoon that they go into debt! Surely this is not God's will. Simple is better.
Getting a clearer focus on how God wants them to live out their lives for Him is more important. Have a wonderful time planning for your marriage but be simple. Only focus more time on being better prepared. The wedding only establishes your oneness before God. It will not make you one of heart.
We were happy only to have snacks rather than a meal. We went to a humble honeymoon place and had a wonderful time. We didn't have much money. We had things we wanted to do after marriage. So we went simple. A couple must talk early on about their expectations of the wedding. Many of them are conjured up from bridal magazines rather than the scriptures. Christ is to be the center of our weddings.
Christ is also to be the center of one's new home. This means that the couple will regularly pray together. This does not allow for the man to only pray quietly. He must pray aloud and lead the family close to Christ. Each partner will have their own quiet times. How does it work out practically? Let me share what we have and still do almost 25 years into our marriage. It is wonderful how it enables us to share and live out our lives together.
• Dad and Mom are up first early in the morning having their own private devotional times.
• Now that we have children, we also have a devotional time together with the children on most mornings around the breakfast table. We pray, sing, read a passage of scripture (usually Proverbs or Psalm). We added this later on but have found it very important to putting the day before the Lord.
We pray at meal times.
• After dinner, we have evening devotions (family altar). This is longer then the morning time. We sing together a hymn or sing a song or two, memorize scripture together, or read scripture. We used to memorize a child's catechism (question and answer), but later found it more effective to ask questions around the scripture that we are going over. And we pray. We pray for family needs, but also for missionaries and people in need. If I have a meeting, my wife leads.
• Later in the night, my wife and I meet together. We usually end up talking 1/2 hour to an hour (and sometimes more!) and then pray about what we just discussed. This has developed from our early premarital Bible study and prayer times.
In order to be Christ-centered, we need to love Christ and His Word more than all. We are not legalistic about these things, but do it because we know it is best. We are not law-centered but Christ-centered. He is the reason we live, and so we must carefully live our lives around what He wants.
If He wants us to give 10% and more of our income, then we do it, even though we might have other special needs. Christ first. A Christ-centered marriage is one that sets communication with God and each other as a priority. We carefully govern what we think, say and do according to His purposes. Each decision needs to be based on scriptural principles.
We must love His people and regularly be involved in a local church. If there is a small group, we should be there. It is best not to date when a young man and woman are together alone. That increases wrong expectations and creates special temptations. We recommend for those looking for a possible marriage partner to court under the guidance of their parents.