Question

Posted July 16, 2012

I am trying to make a list of things that I need to learn about before (someday/hypothetically) getting married.

If someone said, “A girl HAS to know/have an opinion about ____ before getting married.” What would you fill in the blank with?

I am especially looking for doctrinal/biblical topics that you think are especially important (i.e. predestination, free will, etc.) but open to practical (plumbing, cars, etc.) too!

The doctrinal/biblical list is also a sort of list of biblical topics that are especially important to discuss with potential future husbands.

I am mainly trying to do this a) to be preparing! b) because I am the oldest of my siblings (and therefore sort of the guinea pig when it comes to this stuff)

I am open and excited for any and all responses!

Answers

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  1. CJ

    Birth control is the first thing that comes to mind. For a very extensive list, I suggest reading “Of knights and fair maidens” by Jeff and Danielle Myers. 🙂 It is a quick read, and they have a great list in there of some things a girl should learn before getting married, as well as a list for the guy! If you can’t find the book at your library and don’t want to buy it, I could probably type up the list here, just let me know! 🙂

    # July 16, 2012

    • Evelyn

      Thanks for the recommendation, I found it on amazon for $4 and free shipping, can’t really beat that! I have 4 sisters younger than me, so might as well buy it 🙂

      # July 19, 2012

      • CJ

        That’s great!! 😀 You’ll like it. 😉 Let me know, ‘k? 🙂

        # July 20, 2012

        • Evelyn

          I did really enjoy the book! I liked that it was such a quick read, they really didn’t beat around the bush but just got straight to their points! Thanks again CJ!

          # August 6, 2012

  2. Miriam

    God for sure! Your husband should lead spiritually in marriage, but that doesn’t mean he has to bottle feed you your dose of Jesus– know Him well along with His word. Be fluent in prayer *if you will*;) And it’s always safe to know how to cook/clean!

    Figure out how to make practical foods that are something you could see yourself making on a budget in a short time span, so when the day comes that you have to make a meal in 30 minutes or less that won’t make you sick later due to the junk-food high falling to the ground, you’ll be ready! Laundry, vacuuming, dusting, polishing, wiping, sorting, organizing– you can practice this at home, by organizing the pantry, or cleaning out the fridge– AKA, tossing what is too old/bad and bringing the oldest stuff that’s STILL GOOD to the front so it will be seen and used up before the new things are opened! You can also work on cleaning tricks, for example: filling soap dispensers if you’re a liquid soap user, is important, because buying them is $$$! Buy a nice scent you like at Bath and Body works [or a store like it] enjoy it cause you’re not going to be that frivolous again anytime soon, and get a big jug of body wash for a couple dollars– and use it to refill– here’s a tip, only fill it with 1/4 soap, the rest water if it’s a foaming pump — which are the best! Kids love ’em!– that way you won’t have goo-y soap, and it will go further!] Learn to iron clothes because your husband will need to be wearing something to work [if he has a job like that anyway, if it’s plumbing or building, then maybe not-lol!]. Also, learn to de-clutter. Get rid of old sticky notes and pencils without erasers and things that you KNOW you’ll never use like those cute hand towels that don’t soak up anything but the contents of your wallet! Be practical and pinch those pennies! Be thrifty– buy 5 clothing items at a thrift store instead of 1 thing at a regular clothing store. Goodwill has a discount card you can buy to get 10 percent off your purchase! Also, a good thing to do is to learn to pick up after yourself right when you make a mess– this could mean leaving clothes on your bed to dishes in the sink– because that mess will double once you marry, and your husband will appreciate you knowing how to handle it! If you like gardening, you could try your hand at growing some sort of vegetable! This might sound a little weird, but our relatives have planted tomato plants this year and they are AMAZING! Big, juicy, and not at ALL like the grocery store ones– much cheaper, they don’t go bad as quickly, and they grow like crabgrass– you’ll have enough to share if you plant a few of them in a small flower bed:D TIP– the hanging upside down ones haven’t proved themselves to work as well as the growing UP from the ground method God provided for us;)

    Also, be ready to make some phone calls and schedule appointments. Learn to take notes and to “upfront” ask your questions. Watching my own mother, I’ve seen that much of her time is spent on the phone scheduling doctors appointments, ordering medicine, and solving other problems that may arise [trust me, they will!], and she’s become rather phone-savvy. She knows what she’s doing, and is ready to do it for the sake of her family, her husband, and her God!:D You can also learn how to patch up minor tears and holes in jeans/shirts. Also sewing buttons on things, and how to hand-wash clothes. Don’t forget mopping the floors—this is best done on your keens with one rag to wipe down and one to dry—so that the floor won’t have streaks or water spots.

    As far as doctrinal topics, I would say, AS MANY AS YOU CAN. Of course, there are some that may seem more important at cretin points of your life– we’ll never stop learning, and there’s no way to know ‘everything you’d need to know for marriage’, because after marriage you’ll still be saying “oh I wish I had known that before I got married!” lol! But it’s good to aspire to be as ready as you can be! Talk to old long-term married couples you know who are strong in the Lord and ask them “at the end of the day, what was most important in this marriage? What truly mattered most?” and ask them what they had originally thought and what they’d realized over time. Also ask about their personal story and how the Lord used their marriage to grow them– basically any skill or story you learn now will play some part in your future marriage, so choose your resources wisely! Hope this was of *some* help! God bless!

    # July 17, 2012

    • Evelyn

      Not to boast at all, but as the oldest kid, I have been blessed with a mother that has taught me most of these things and has had the time and will to do that! She likes to say sometimes that between me, my 3 other teenage sisters, and some of the boys, she has almost trained herself out of a job! Gardening is one thing I would love to do, but the ground around our house is mostly red clay so its pretty difficult to grow stuff. Any ideas what kind of things might grow well in a pot?

      I still need to work on learning more desserts, but I am more of a “real food” person so those recipes aren’t quite as fun. But my sister is a good baker so it kinda balances out. But I can’t call her every time my future husband wants a pie haha!!

      Asking other older couples is also something I need to do, do you have any ideas of how to get to know such kinds of people? My parents are both still pretty young (around 40, married and had kids young) and their friends are mostly young in marriage years because of this. My family goes to a large church, where often people that have been going there for years don’t recognize each other, and has an extremely wide variance in spiritual maturity so its harder to sift through to the people that you want to get advice from, not give advice to if you know what I mean.

      Thanks for your response!

      # July 20, 2012

  3. Bethany the Dreamer

    Hi Evelyn! That’s a great question- just thought I’d give my two cents.

    I think the most important thing to learn is your Bible. Circumstances and other people change- and they will change YOU- but God’s Word will never change, which makes it the wisest thing to invest your time in. I learned a lot of “doctrinal” or “theological” stuff in my teens that got put to the test (and in many cases thrown out) once I graduated high school. Even “no brainer” issues like drinking, modest dress, and homeschooling had to be weighed out as I met people who had practical arguments “from the other side”. This is why I believe it is so important to stay open regarding peripheral issues. You WILL marry somebody who has different opinions on at least a few things and it’s your job as the wife to fit him. However, when it comes to Biblical truth- not somebody’s interpretation, but the actual words that are written down- don’t compromise. It’s not so important that you know what you think, as it is that you know what God thinks.

    About free will and predestination. In my small church we are heavily divided and nobody has all the answers. One dad calls himself a “Carminian” :). Sometimes we young people (usually with a parent or two thrown in) will sit and hash things over, each giving our opinions and looking up different verses. Most of us are open to other opinions, because as I mentioned before, nobody has all the answers.

    I think that’s the way it is with most issues that divide Christians. Ultimately it’s your choice on which disagreements between you and the guy are deal-breakers, and which ones you can live with. You will have to accept him however he comes!

    I would say the most important thing to agree on is salvation- what it is and how one ‘gets’ it. Also that you both believe that the Bible is the Word of God and every bit of it is truth. Personally I want a man who loves children and thinks they are a blessing, and someone who is a strong leader-type, but that is just my preference.

    # July 18, 2012

    • Evelyn

      As I get older, I am finding more and more that what you said about in your first paragraph is true about many things. Drinking for example– always thought that it was absolutely horrible until about 15 yrs old, when I noticed that it wasn’t drinking itself that was usually bad but the drunkeness that can result of that. I went to a different church than usual a few times with a friend, and they served real wine with their communion which I was quite surprised by (had no idea some churches even did that ha!) and expecting grape juice as I was, I probably made a face at the taste! But I don’t mind too much as long as the person drinking doesn’t drink enough to alter their state of mind. Personally though, its just not my thing.

      I am of the bias that the more practical a particular topic and applicable to everyday life (ie. modesty homeschooling, female/male roles character traits salvation, etc.) the more study time I should spend on those things. What’s your take on that sort of thing?

      Salvation is definitely the most important thing, that and inerrancy of scripture and the whole of scripture! Should I even worry about having an opinion on or studying things like free will and such? My parents don’t really have views on things like that so I can’t really just follow their example. They both are of the sort that value the basics much more and don’t really care for complicated debates and theological discussions about things not always explicitly clear in the Bible. It might it a bit easier to follow my future husband if I didn’t even have a strong opinion on the peripheral issues I guess. Since the Bible is at least not clear enough for the majority of real strong believing Christians to agree, is it safe to say that that is ones of the things I will completely leave up to future husband/when we get to heaven? Obviously should i read a verse that applies I would take it to heart and use that to guide me, but I can’t say that I always recognize when the particularities of a verse point to the different sides of the debates, unless it is pointed out to me.

      # July 25, 2012

      • Evelyn

        Oops, submitted that too early. What I mean is are these issues in your opinions vital enough that they merit my own extended study to form my own view? I just wonder if it wouldn’t be more valuable to know other things and leave that up to my future husband or to heaven, you know? Although I would hate to have someone ask and not be able to “give an answer” as the Bible says. As you can see, I am quite conflicted. Really should I have felt that I had studied everything else that will be important, I would not think twice about this, but I want to make sure that I get the most important things done.

        # July 25, 2012

        • Bethany the Dreamer

          I think the Bible is always worth your extended study. It’s the theologians and church history that people spend too much time studying, in my opinion. It’s fine to study history and such if you’re into that kind of thing. I would definitely look into the different Bible translations and how they came about.

          Honestly, it’s not a lot of work to be familiar with Scripture. Buy an audio version and listen to it while you’re learning some practical skill. Boom- two birds with one stone. What bugs me is girls that have modesty down to a science (yes, I was one of them) but don’t know their Bible as well as a “less modest” person. Or a girl who thinks that the definition of “courtship” is more important than the meaning of “repentanace”. I brought this up with a 16 y/o at our church, and she said, “Well, I don’t need to know that stuff to raise children and run a household. My husband will teach us all of that.” I didn’t really know how to answer that. Biblically it would work that way, and she is right. But she has a Mr. Visionary daddy who has family devotions (he’s also the pastor) and I have a Mr. Steady for a dad who doesn’t teach us. I’m 21 going on 30 with no marriage prospects in sight, and she’s 16 with someone already interested and looking into courtship. So where she’s coming from, studying Scripture isn’t that important.

          From my standpoint, being a good witness is the most important as far as ‘what to take a stand on’ goes. A non-believer should look at you and see success, joyfulness, and contentment. If you are a lukewarm testimony, all theological points are moot. Unbelievers don’t care if you are predestinated or free-willed. Nor do they care if you wear a 32″ or 33″ skirt or if you are “all natural” and don’t wear deodorant (they might find that offensive… sorry, that was random). Naturally if you have a family, things like organic vs. non-organic and homeschool vs. partial homeschool or whatever are going to matter more. There was a point when I cared about those things and wanted everyone to agree with me, but since I’m an ‘old’ maid, it doesn’t really matter now. I graduated homeschool years ago, and can’t afford to buy organic. Plus I have to use that “bad” store-bought butter… eew, so white. Sorry, that was random as well. All that really matters to me now is the Gospel.

          I don’t have all the answers, really. Actually, I had a lot more answers when I was 16. :/

          # August 3, 2012

    • Kat

      This is a great post, Bethany! I agree that the most important thing is to know the Bible – not what other people have to say about the Bible, but the actual Bible itself. I’ve also encountered a lot of questions on “no brainer” issues that have challenged me to make sure that my opinions and standards come from the Word of God and not human opinions.

      I would love to visit your church where people actually discuss free will and predestination. I have attended both staunchly Armenian churches and staunchly Calvinist churches, but the common theme is that they don’t ever question anything. They just do it because “that’s what the southern baptist convention decided” or “that’s what Calvin said.” It’s so frustrating when I ask, “Yeah, but what does the Bible say?” and I get blank stares and mutterings about the Westminster Confession or about how Reverend So-and-so does it at 1st Baptist. I would love it if the people in my church would be willing to even hear the other side and compare it with the Bible to see how accurate it is.

      # July 27, 2012

      • Bethany the Dreamer

        Haha! It can get quite animated. There are some who don’t really discuss, they just spit out pre-digested sermon tidbits and the word “sovereign”. You ask a question and they’re like, “Well, I’m not sure about that verse you’re referring to, but [insert famous theologian- probably Sproul] says this.” But others admit that they don’t know, and look it up. Some do have answers and are nice about explaining them, and you come away with a better understanding of Scripture.

        Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like most ‘Armenians’ are actually just anti-Calvinist and can’t agree with the ‘fact’ that God chooses to send people to hell. Calvinists like to bring up church history a lot. Can you imagine if Augustine had never been born? They would be up quite a tree.

        Point being, the Armenian leans on logic and emotion, and the Calvinist leans on big fancy words and church documents. If both camps had only the Bible to lean on (no church documents, more faith and less logic) there wouldn’t BE two camps. The Bible says what it says, and sometimes it seems to contradict. Sometimes I think the arguing is pointless, but it has brought me to know my Bible better. It also sparks discussion on other topics. Last Sunday we were talking about something and one of the guys pulled out his Bible and said, “Here! See what it says.” Then we started reading and discussing Romans. To me, that is awesome. That is what church should be- living and growing and learning with other believers. Not some boxed-up curriculum with homework and teachers. What’s even more awesome is that we young people don’t need our parents or anyone else pushing us to study, because we are Christians in our own right. It’s awesome to have each other to stand on… er, stand with. 😉

        Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

        # August 3, 2012

  4. swifttohear

    A girl HAS to have an opinion on:
    #1-the authenticity and reliability of the Word of God. If you don’t believe that the WHOLE Bible is inspired by God, and is WHOLLY true, as it’s written, then any subsequent consideration will be misguided and futile.

    #2-reverencing your husband. Are you ready to submit to a man? Are you humble enough to take instruction? Are you able to keep silent in the church and learn from your man at home?

    #3-child raising. Is being a stay-at-home, husband-serving, home-schooling, kitchen-dwelling mom a no-brainer for you, or does the pull of the world have you considering other options? (circumstances beyond your control notwithstanding)

    As far as Bible doctrine goes, #1 is where it’s at. If you come across something that isn’t clearly stated in scripture, leave it well enough alone. The “traditions of men” can be contentious and vain, and arguing them will get you nothing but strife and vain-glory. What you NEED to know is the doctrine of salvation. Make sure you can lead someone to Christ. Make sure you know the Word well enough to withstand the false doctrines of Mormonism, Catholicism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and especially Islam, among others. There’s a lot of garbage out there, and Christians tend to be too busy debating each another and resisting the Will of God to take notice and take action. Safeguard your family against cults by knowing the Word inside and out. Know how to overcome the typical objections you get to Christianity. Watch “23 Minutes in Hell” with Bill Wiese and know what it is that Christ has saved us from. Then, don’t be afraid to talk about it. It’s far better to offend people in the here and now, and to be hated, than to see them burn in hell later, knowing that your fear of their opinions exceeded your fear of God’s.

    I’ve been reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, and I noticed that by the age of 14, Laura knew ALL her Psalms. That is impressive! I challenge you to do the same! (Just don’t challenge me back; I’m in the middle of something else!!)

    If you have all this handled, and are reproached for it, then the Spirit and glory of God rests upon you, and you are “meet for the Master’s use”. Wait for it, prepare for it, and in the meantime, rise above the worldly mire that surrounds you. Always be ready to give an answer, and to lay down your life for Christ.. That’s all that matters. 🙂

    # July 18, 2012

  5. Brenna

    Wow, it said in the little house books that Laura knew (meaning had memorized, right?) all the Psalms, all 150? I never caught that. Which book and page is that on? Just curious. 🙂

    # July 22, 2012

  6. Evelyn

    Definitely with you all the way on #1. I was confused in my younger years about how there could be so many different translations saying so many different things, man was I shocked when I studied up on it. Not gonna go into long detail, but I really enjoyed learning about the history of translations and especially KJV. I read Which Version is the Bible and loved it! So surprising that so many Christians don’t know/care about this, its so important!

    #2 Is a work in progress. I am certainly committed to honoring and reverencing and submitting to my future husband, working on practicing it with my parents. Strangely (actually not so strangely) I find it much easier to submit directly to my Dad when he asks me to do something, etc. than when my mom does. I have to often remind myself that I am submitting to my Dad when obeying etc. my mom because it is what he wants me to do. Hmm kinda reminds me of how we are submitting to Christ when we submit to husband.
    I think I take instruction ok, but I need to work on my immediate words in the correction scenario… sometimes what happens is that I respond back too quickly but then think more about the admonishment later, see the merit, and then apply and try to change. I guess I need to learn to bite my tongue a little better.
    I have no problem with being silent in church… (in fact one of my greatest “major pluses” is that future husband be a really really strong spiritual leader because that isn’t exactly the case in my house, my Dad is a strong believer but isn’t quite as vocal as my mom per say, I think that might be because she grew up a missionary kid)… except one thing. The church my family goes to is quite large, in a college town with lots of variance in spiritual maturity. My parents both like it a lot mainly based on the preaching, but I have found that a large portion of the women there just dress super immodestly. I know it can be difficult for pastors to address this because they are guys and they don’t necessarily want to talk about how the women are causing the men to stumble, especially to a large congregation. I pray that someone would address this, and can see the advantages of this person maybe being a woman. Not first choice though.

    #3 Yes yes yes! This is really my heart’s desire. Right now I am going to college (locally, commuting from home) to get my Bachelors in Nursing for many different reasons, and God has certainly led me to do this. But when I have kids I would love to stay home with them!

    Oh! your fourth paragraph definitely stings a little, but only because I know you are right! I can’t say that i know the doctrines of the different religions very well, I would need someone to explain it to me at this point before I could explain why they would be wrong from scripture. That’s certainly something I can add to my list! I am reading a book called Share Jesus Without Fear, and its really good. Haven’t had a good opportunity to use what I have learned yet this summer but am anticipating it for the fall semester at school. I have a good friend who claims to be an atheist (but from what she has described to me, seems to be more agnostic than atheist). And she certainly has got plenty of arguments. I have never had to really actively defend my faith to anyone before this year, but our friendship has been good for me in the sense that I have been learning on a non-hostile person how to respond to her arguments. Have you ever found one particular thing that really makes atheists think? I am so afraid that she will die unsaved, because her heart seems so hard sometimes.

    Laura Ingalls knowing all her Psalms really is impressive. I know some of them, but certainly not all! Any particular techniques you use to memorize? Mostly my problem is keeping them memorized, remembering to practice the old and the new verses.

    Thank you so much for your response swifttohear, it really was both an encouragement and challenging reminder. I sincerely appreciate it.

    # July 26, 2012

  7. Kat

    As far as Bible doctrine goes, if something would be a deal-breaker for you in a relationship with a guy, then it’s something you need to study and be absolutely sure of your opinion on. These topics will change from one girl to the next, but some examples are: salvation, Biblical roles of men and women/husbands and wives, child-training philosophy, etc. If it wouldn’t be a deal-breaker for you, don’t get all uptight about it. I like what swifttohear said: “If you come across something that isn’t clearly stated in scripture, leave it well enough alone.” If God didn’t think an issue was important enough to give us clear direction or an example, then it’s probably not something we need to debate and discuss at length. But if the holy, sovereign God of the universe deemed something important enough to talk about it a lot in His Word to His people, then it would be a good idea to make sure we know what God says about that topic and that we are obeying His word in that area of our lives.

    # July 27, 2012

  8. Mary

    Your question was a good one and I’ve enjoyed reading this conversation. I’m also preparing to be a help meet, and am looking for all the ways I can learn about anything helpful. Home and financial management, child training, growing in your Christian walk, and things like that.

    If you haven’t already, read the suggested books listed in “Preparing to be a help meet.” I have read a few of them and am working on the others. “Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey is a must. If you are not in debt, it fires you up to never get there, and if you are, it has practical advise on getting out of debt. The things you read in that book will also be helpful after you get married and are working on a budget with your husband.

    Another good book is “Large Family Logistics” by Kim Brenneman. Even if you don’t think you will have a large family, the practical advise for ordering your day, household, and life will be valuable when running your own home. It’s a very practical book with what should be common sense on running your home efficiently.

    I’ve been reading lots of Christian child training books (emphasis on Christian because the world’s philosophy for child training DOESN’T WORK). A few being, “Do You Mind if Your Kids Don’t” by Bill Rice, “Teaching Your Child About God” by Wes Haystead, and “Training Your Children to Turn Out Right” by David Sorenson. “To Train Up a Child” by the Pearls is also a good one. That is on my list.

    Hope that’s at least a little helpful!

    # August 7, 2012

    • Evelyn

      I actually just read Total Money Makeover!! I have been listening to his radio show for years (its quite good and definitely a learning session every time) and in fact some of his kids go to/graduated from the college I attend! Although I haven’t ever met any of them!

      I am trying to read more of the suggested books but just haven’t got around to them yet. Being in school and all… I do enough reading right now as it is!!

      Funny that you mention the logistics of a large family– I am the oldest of 14, so I have learned a lot about that ha! But I will certainly check out that book!

      I have read a little bit on the subject of training children, but have found that when I do I tend to get a bit judgmental of my parents current training practices. They do/have done a wonderful job raising us kids– its just their way doesn’t always line up with whatever I am reading. So that’s really the one subject I am saving for later just to avoid that especially while I still live with them.

      Thanks for jumping into the conversation Mary, your response was appreciated!!

      # August 8, 2012