We want to help people experience the individual growth necessary for a healthy marriage by creating relevant environments designed to:
- Prepare dating and engaged couples to get off to a great start
- Empower couples with fun yet powerful teaching
- Encourage people to be a part of a small group to experience friendship and support
- Help people when they need hope and direction
We have a number of tools available on this page to help strengthen your marriage including several resources and recommended readings.
Before We Say "I Do"
Should a Christian marry a non-Christian?
Under no circumstances should a Christian marry a non-Christian. It violates Scripture that clearly instructs that we are not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever (I Corinthians 6:14). It violates the very call of marriage to reflect God's glory. It violates common sense to enter into a relationship with someone who does not share with us the most important aspect of your life.
"Fit To Be Tied" (Bill & Lynne Hybels)
"Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married" (Dr. Gary Chapman)
"Finding the Love of Your Life" (Dr. Neil Clark Warren)
"Going All The Way: Preparing for a Marriage that goes the Distance" (Craig Groeschel)
"Boundaries in Dating" (Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend)
Is it ok to re-marry after you have been divorced?
If the divorce was the result of the biblical grounds stated in a previous question, then the answer is yes. When a divorce was obtained either before they became a Christian or on grounds that are not scriptural, the key question is whether or not restoration is possible. If it is, then that should be explored. If it is not because the former partner has remarried or is unwilling to attempt reconciliation, then by God's grace he or she is free to remarry. God has called us to live in peace.
How long should you wait after being divorced before you begin considering the idea of getting married again?
There is no biblical principle governing this, however, wisdom should be considered by asking the following questions: Have you fully walked through the grieving process? Have you fully evaluated where you failed in the marriage? In addition, consideration should be given to your specific circumstances - such as the ages of children and how they will react.
"When "I Do" Becomes "I Don't"" (Laura Petherbridge)
"Saving Your Second Marriage Before It Starts" (Dr. Les and Leslie Parrott)
"The Smart Step Family" (Ron L. Deal)
What does the Bible say about over-bearing in-laws?
Genesis 2:24 makes it clear that a man is to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and they are to become one flesh. All steps are to be taken to lead a couple into establishing their own direction under God's leading, and all steps are to be taken to establish proper boundaries to establish the right kind of relationship with both sets of parents.
"Boundaries" (Townsend and Cloud)
I recently accepted Christ but my spouse has a different expression of faith and insists I join their religious practices on a Sunday. What does the Bible say I should do?
Romans 14:19 and Romans 14:23b - "and everything that does not come from faith is sin," applies here. Together they state that I should do everything I can to maintain peace and to build each other up provided it does not violate my conscience. When something violates our conscience, we ought to obey God rather than man (Acts 4:19, 20). If, by a different faith, you mean a different religion - then we are to respectfully decline because there can be no fellowship between light and darkness. However, if you mean that they claim to be Christian but have practices you do not agree with, then be supportive of your spouse (if he or she is an unbeliever, this may give you opportunity to speak into their life) and abstain from those parts that violate your conscience.
What does the Bible say about wives submitting to their husbands?
Read Ephesians 5:22 - 23
- Whenever we examine the writings of Paul, we should always keep in mind that he is building on a previous thought before we assume full understanding of a particular verse. In chapter 5:1, he reminds us that we should all be imitators of God; in verse 2, we are to live a life a love; verses 3-20 speaks of the kind of life we are to live before God and each other and, finally, in verse 21, he states that we are to have attitudes of mutual submission.
- It is in this context that he instructs women to submit to their husbands as to the Lord - when the two are congruent. When a wife sees her husband seeking to be an imitator of God, to love her and others, and is maintaining the lifestyle mentioned - and she is doing the same - then they are both in a position to come alongside each other; the wife in loving support (submission) and he in loving leadership.
- The word "head" means wise manager - a man who recognizes his wife's strengths and weaknesses and allows her to operate in her strengths and protects, rather than exploits, her weaknesses.
- The comparison to Christ and His church is helpful here. Christ is always directing His church and yet he allows us to utilize our gifts for the furtherance of His kingdom.
"Strengthening Your Marriage" (Wayne Mack)
My spouse and I keep having the same fight about every two to three weeks... we blow up and then things calm down, but we never really seem to come to any type of resolve or solution. How can we stop this cycle?
Genesis 2:24 reminds us that there are three stages to marriage: leaving, commitment and then becoming one. Cycles of repeated conflict are almost always an indicator that they are battling over things brought into the marriage, and therefore the recommendation would be that you seek counsel to help with getting to the core issues that are causing the conflicts.
"The DNA of Relationships" (Dr. Gary Smalley)
"When Sinners Say "I Do": Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage" (David Harvey)
What does the Bible say about divorce? Are there biblical grounds for divorce?
Jesus addresses this in Matthew 19:3...
From this we can conclude several things regarding God's view of divorce:
- Divorce was never God's plan for man - "...but it was not this way from the beginning" (Malachi 2:16) supports this when God says, "I hate divorce ..."
- Therefore divorce is always the result of sin, although Jesus makes it clear that someone might not be sinning by obtaining divorce if the following applies:
- Unrepentant sexual immorality
- Paul writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit adds abandonment as part of marital unfaithfulness in 1 Corinthians 7:15 - "But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances: God has called us to live in peace."
- Even though God's Word states that there are two grounds for divorce, Jesus makes it clear that hardness of heart is always the reason why any marriage ends up in divorce.
Though I am willing to do anything to fix my marriage, my spouse refuses to go to counseling or take any steps to improve our marriage. If my spouse is unwilling to work on it, how long do I have to stay in an unfulfilling marriage?
If your spouse is unwilling to fix the marriage relationship and neither sexual immorality nor abandonment are involved, then the following biblical principles apply. Begin with Matthew 18:15-18.
- Have you really addressed the issues directly with your spouse?
- If he or she refuses to listen to you, then ask a trusted couple to join you in talking to your spouse.
- If he or she still refuses, then go to one of the pastors and address the matter.
- If he or she still refuses to listen, they are to be regarded as a pagan. This does not mean we judge their salvation, but regard them as one unwilling to listen and obey the Word. If this is the case, read 1 Corinthians 7:12-14.
God is stating that He is glorified and the relationship blessed by a believer who stays with an unbelieving spouse. Read also 1 Peter 3:1-2. The believer is to cease from looking for ways to escape and concentrate on winning the spouse to Christ by their spirit and conduct.
What does the Bible say about staying in a marriage where there is ongoing physical, verbal or emotional abuse?
Begin with 1 Corinthians 7:10, 11...
This passage gives clear instruction to the wife who must separate from her husband; she is to remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. We must understand that God takes very seriously the abuse of women. In addition, read Malachi 2:13, 14, The KJV says treacherously (abusively). The instruction would be that a wife that is being abused should remove herself from the situation, and instruct her husband that he needs to get help before she returns. She is not to divorce him, but if she takes this stand he will either get the help or he will divorce her.
What should I do if I find my spouse is viewing pornography?
Jesus stated, "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5:27,2 8) Pornography is to be taken as seriously as adultery and the steps of Matthew 18 should be applied (Matthew 18:15-20). One of the biggest problems in our culture (and the church is no exception) is that pornography is minimized and problems of physically acting out in adultery might have been averted if more attention is paid to this serious issue. It should not be tolerated.
"Every Man's Battle" (Arterburn, Stoeker & Yorkey)
"Every Woman's Battle" (Shannon Ethridge)
Is it wrong for a couple to use pornography to enhance their sex life?
Again, Jesus' words regarding lust being adultery apply here. You are at least mentally inviting others into your bedroom. Hebrews reminds us that Marriage is honorable in all and the bed undefiled. Therefore all care should be taken to preserve its purity.
"Love, Sex and Lasting Relationships" (Chip Ingram)
"Celebration of Sex: A Guide to Enjoying God's Gift of Sexual Intimacy" (Douglas Rosenau)
"Sheet Music Uncovering the Secret of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage" (Dr. Kevin Leman)
I just became a Christian and my spouse not only won't come to church with me, but they are now acting as if they want to leave me...what does the Bible say I should do?
Again, 1 Corinthians 7:12-17 applies here. Based on these verses, God is saying that you are to focus on today (retain the place in life the Lord has assigned), pray for their salvation and, if they insist on leaving, allow them to go.
My spouse just told me that they are no longer in love with me and want to get a divorce... what should I do?
The first response is to begin to pray in earnest as well as calling others to join in prayer. Above all circumstances, we must maintain the conviction and operate on the basis that God wants to write a grace story and that should be our final aim. If your spouse professes to be a believer, then you are to take the steps in Matthew 18 - you need to confront them in love and tell him or her that they are planning a step that is not in line with God's Word. If they won't listen, bring one or two with you to confront them and if they still won't listen, then go to the leadership of the church by contacting one of the pastors. If this fails, then Jesus said they are to be regarded as an unbeliever (again, not judging whether they are saved but as one who will not obey the truth). Then the principles of 1 Corinthians 7 apply. If they depart (divorce), let them go - you are not in bondage to them.
Does the Bible say who is supposed to handle what (finances, household, etc.) in marriage?
Again, when Ephesians 5:23 speaks of the husband being the head, the literal meaning is wise manager and uses the comparison of the church. Proverbs 31 describes the gift sets a wife can bring to the marriage. Just as God has given different gifts to believers and utilizes those gifts, so the wise husband recognizes the gifts sets. If the wife is more gifted in finances, then a wise manager would gladly utilize those gifts. At the same time, it is important to remember that God wants the husband to be a protective umbrella to his family and so he keeps the outside pressures out.
www.crown.com (Crown Financial Ministries)
What does the Bible say about monogamous homosexual relationships?
Believing God to be the creator of all things and believing that He has provided us with an owner's manual (Bible), we look to Him to address what not only brings glory to Him but also will lead to fulfilled living (meeting the purpose for which we were created). Believing these two principles, we take seriously and loving His admonition in Romans 1 that this relationship is against nature (against God's design) and therefore we lovingly extend the call to leave that lifestyle and allow us to work with you in renewing your mind (Romans 12:2) so that you can experience what God has created you to have.
Recently I found out my spouse is having an affair - what should I do?Our immediate answer is to encourage you with four things: don't minimize, don't rush into action, don't keep it to yourself and don't attempt to resolve it on your own. We acknowledge that the teaching of Christ in Matthew 19:9 states that sexual unfaithfulness is grounds for divorce. However, we believe that the Bible challenges us to consider the following before taking such a step. The cross is a reminder that extended grace is the preferred step. Healing and restoration is always a possibility if both are willing to walk this difficult path. Therefore we recommend taking the following immediate steps: First, insist that the relationship be severed before any discussion takes place as to the future of the relationship. Second, establish a physical boundary of separation (separate bedroom, or even separate residence) that communicates you are serious that this will not be tolerated. The third step is to insist that the two of you receive sound biblical counseling. Sexual sins are rarely, if ever, resolved in secrecy. If your spouse is unwilling to have their sin uncovered and allow the uncovering of the issues leading to the affair, they will not forsake their choices. Whenever these steps are taken, we have seen God write a new grace story time and time again. Let God and your church do the same for you.
What are some healthy steps I can take to maintain purity in marriage?
- Establish a definition of marriage that connects with God's definition rather than that of the world. John Piper writes, "Most foundationally - marriage is the doing of God. Most ultimately - marriage is the display of God. It is designed by God to display his glory in a way that no other event or institution does." When we look at marriage as an acceptable way of meeting our needs, we have opened the door for temptations that challenge purity. In contrast, when I look at marriage as an opportunity to display God's glory, purity becomes the focus.
- When God says in Hebrews 13:4, "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure..." He is not saying, as some have interpreted, that anything goes in the bedroom. He is saying that the sexual relationship should maintain the purity of expression that God designed it for.
- We can look at the sexual relationship as being to marriage what communion and baptism is to the church. Outward expressions of our inward commitment. Certainly there are those who partake of communion and baptism who do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ, but that is not God's intention. God intends it to be a pure expression of our love and commitment to Him. Likewise, there are those who express themselves sexually who do not do so in the way God intended but those who seek to honor God by making it the outward expression of their inward desire of intimacy experience tremendous rewards.
- Men - make the decision to regard your wife as the most beautiful woman you have ever seen. Read Job 31:1
- Avoid anything that creates an atmosphere of comparison. In the Garden, Satan used three vehicles of temptation that led not only to separation from God but also a breakdown of the marriage relationship. He used lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life. 1 John 2:16 reminds us that he is still using the same three things to destroy purity. When we allow the world to define what beauty is through pornography, commercials, etc., we allow a definition that God says is not His definition. In 1 Peter 3:3, 4 God reminds us that His definition of beauty is not outward but of the heart. Therefore, each man is called to consider his wife the most beautiful woman he has ever seen.
- Establish accountability mentors who challenge us to maintain purity.
"Every Man's Battle" (Arterburn, Stoeker & Yorkey)
"Every Woman's Battle" (Shannon Ethridge)
What are some ways we can improve communication in our marriage?
- Establish a priority of time. If a couple does not make their marriage a priority by setting aside intentional time to devote to the nurturing of their relationship, they will never improve communication.
- Establish a Family Conference Table. When we attempt to discuss serious matters on the fly, we do not connect and the confusion, lack of interest by one of the parties, and other issues lead to poor communication.
- Utilize the communication guidelines listed on our web site to improve your communication.
- Learn to pray together. Prayer is the most intimate expression of dependence on God and when we learn to do that together, it becomes easier to become more intimate in our communication.
"The Five Love Languages" (Dr. Gary Chapman)
"Love & Respect" (Dr. Emerson Eggerichs)
"For Men Only" (Shaunti & Jeff Feldhahn)
"Capture Her Heart: Becoming the Godly Husband Your Wife Desires" (Lysa TerKeurst)
"For Women Only" (Shaunti Feldhahn)
"The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective" (Martha Peace)
"Capture His Heart: Becoming the Godly Wife Your Husband Desires" (Lysa TerKeurst)
Is it okay for a spouse to have close friends of the opposite sex once they are married?
Within God's Word, He provides for us both precepts (commands, thou shall or shall not) and principles that govern our lives. Although there are no precepts concerning this question, we would refer to principles that would address this matter. The first is found in Proverbs where it instructs us to guard our heart with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23). We are to protect ourselves by establishing outer parameters that can't be penetrated. Another verse instructs us to avoid the appearance of evil (I Thessalonians 5:22). And a third principle is that we are never to give any relationship even a part of what belongs in the marriage relationship. This would include the verbal intimacy and emotional safety needs that belong in marriage.
My employer has asked me to share a hotel room with a co-worker of the opposite sex to save money on travel expenses... what should I do?
Again, the principles that we should avoid the appearance of evil and guard our heart with all diligence apply. In addition, if you are married, you do not want to plant any seeds of doubt that would lead to trust issues. So the best response would be to tell your employer that you cannot do this on the basis of principle and, if need be, offer to pay for a second room. Your testimony is of utmost importance.
The Marriage Ministry will be a hosting Focus on the Family's study on Essentials of Parenting: Be Prepared: Equipping Kids to Face Today's World - featuring 7 sessions that explore ways to help your children stand firm in a world full of dangers. When God sees your family, he sees victory waiting to happen. You will learn exercises to help you better understand yourself and your child, Scripture to keep you on track, down-to-earth advice from experienced mentors, and "Next Step" activities for practicing what you've learned.
Our next session will be in 2017. More information to come.
We live in an age of the ”throw-away". It started with lighters, razors and tableware and now pervades almost all of the material side of what we buy. It is now easier, and many times less expensive, to purchase a new piece of yard equipment, electronic gear, or article of clothing rather than attempt to repair it. And maybe that’s OK. But is it OK that we have allowed this mentality to extend into the relationship aspect of our lives? Too many have “thrown away” marriages when difficult times hit. Rather than attempt the repair, we quickly discard and look for a replacement.
God never intended for marriage to be part of the throw-away culture, so He published a comprehensive service manual that shows explicitly how to repair out-of-tune marriages. He created marriage to be a bedrock of society and He wants each one to be successful and blessed.
Marriage Mechanics is designed to give you the tools to have a successful and blessed marriage. Whether you are thinking about marriage, engaged, newly married, married and happy, or married and in trouble, Marriage Mechanics is indispensable. It can provide you with insight, truth, and a box full of useful tools that you can use to do a major overhaul or just make minor adjustments to keep things running smoothly in your marriage.
More information to come on our next session of Marriage Mechanics.
The marriage ministry presents a new interactive study for married couples: Marriage Matters. This study will be facilitated by Pastor and Counselor, David Drake - it will offer a simple, yet powerful prescription for changing marriages one ordinary moment at a time. Change begins with understanding how and why small disagreements evolve into major problems, taking practical steps to love one another more effectively, and learning how to take those same steps over and over again.
More information to come for our next session of Marriage Matters in 2016.