How Do I Love Thee is a mini-premarital guide to be used by couples, counselors, and clergy to prepare for marriage. It addresses many of the major subject areas couples should discuss prior to marriage and includes interactive exercises designed to (1) Motivate serious thought about the marriage relationship (2) Test their readiness for marriage (3) Identify areas of compatibility (4) Encourage financial accountability and responsibility (5) help better understand intimacy (6) Prepare for interacting with in-laws(7) Understand the importance of worshiping together and (8) Enable them to share their level of commitment to one another
How Do I Love Thee was written to be read in 1/2 hour. You can read it ONLINE!. Begin by reading Lesson 1 below, then click on the additional LESSONS to get Food For Thought "Before" You Say I DO.
Lesson 1 - MARRIAGE DEFINED
In Webster’s new encyclopedia dictionary marriage is defined as; “The state of being married, the mutual relation of husband and wife: wedlock, the institution whereby a man and a woman are joined in a healthy special relationship for the purpose of making a home and raising a family, an act of marrying, an intimate or close union.”
The Scriptures tells us marriage is defined by God. When God created Adam He realized that Adam needed a helpmeet. Therefore He created Eve so Adam would have a companion. Eve was created while Adam was in a deep sleep. Eve was a God given gift to Adam for companionship.
Marriage is part of one of the first institutions God ordained; which is the family. The New King James Open Bible states; “The family was the first human institution God created. Through the family God illustrates visibly the relationships that exist between Christ and His Church.
Through the family God sought to bring into proper relationship the world with Himself. He created all of the heavens and the earth and the things in them that they might prepare the way for and sustain the crown of HIS creation-humanity.” (1990, pg.29) The husband and wife relationship is an intricate part of the family.” The Lord God said, “ It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all of the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air.
He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the live stock, the birds of the air, and all the beasts of the field. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping He took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place of flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called “woman” for she was taken out of man. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh.” Genesis 2. (NIV)
When a man is mature enough to leave his parents and establish a relationship with a woman he should seek God’s guidance.
God created man in His own image. Eve was “bone of his bone.” Ephesians 5. (NIV) states: “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church: for we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.” Ideally speaking marriage should be a one time, for a lifetime, monogamous and God centered relationship. Why God centered? Because with God in the center He’ll will make up for the differences.The differences are our imperfections.
Marriage a lifetime commitment two imperfect people make to one another. God is totally aware of our imperfections. God is a perfect God and “We can do all things through Him” Philippians 4. (NIV) If we remain faithful to His principles located in the Scriptures and apply those principles within the marriage relationship , God will reveal Himself. It is through the marriage relationship we are given the opportunity to experience true love amd commitment to another human being. It is through this relationship we can learn to fully express ourselves spiritually, emotionally and physically.
The marriage bed is undefiled. According to the Scriptures “ the marriage bed is honorable among all.” Hebrews 13. (NIV) The marriage bed is a sanctioned place for a pure physical, sexual relationship. If at this time you are engaging in a sexual relationship I recommend you cease, it clouds the issues and hinders your ability to be objective, moreover you are outside the will of God. Just be patient and exercise some discipline, reserve the sexual relationship for the “undefiled marrige bed".
LESSON HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT
This lesson defines marriage. The idea is to motivate the couple to think seriously about the marriage relationship from a biblical peerspective. Write a paragraph explaining what marriage means to you. Be prepared to discuss the contents of this lesson at your next counseling session.
LESSON 2 - Are we Ready for Marriage