By Terri Haley, M.F.T.
Cohabitating data on marital success outcomes presented at American Socio- logical Association, found that the rates of couples “living together” is extremely high compared to ten years ago. Some Christians even succumb to the allure- ments of contemporary culture. Many have allowed society to dictate that the only way to find intimacy is through living together to try things out first and then deciding if they want to get mar- ried. Instead of facing conflicts, develop- ing character and allowing pain and God to transform their heart and mind when difference arise, they leave. Relation- ships isn’t just about making us happy, but also about making us holy. As God says, “For this reason a man
shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife.” Proverbs says “He who finds a wife finds what is good and
receives favor from the Lord.” David, in Psalms, shares the joys of having chil- dren who are the product of love in the marital relationship. God is the creator and designer of
marriage and has given us principles for our relationships to follow that bring harmony and oneness. In Hebrews it says “The marriage bed should be honored.” Intercourse and sexual union outside of marriage is not Gods plan because he knows this can harm us. It does not bring Him glory. Consequences of the sexual revolu-
tion are now clear. The evidence from research shows that people who marry after cohabiting tend to have a higher chance of breakup. And sadly, one recent study found that “children born to parents who are living together versus married have over five times the risk of experiencing their parent’s separation.”
The primary way in which “living
together” differs from marriage is that there is lower level of interpersonal commitment. Tim Stafford, writer for Christianity Today states “only a fully committed marriage relationship is really suited to working out the best possible relationship. There is a need in most of us for security and trust as a foundation to build upon for our love to deepen. The absence of a formal promise to stay together before family, friends and God seems to lend itself to less com- mitment when difficulties arise in the relationship. Cohabiting partners tend to have a
weaker sense of couple identity, less willingness to sacrifice for the other, and a lower desire to long term commitment. In the United States couples who live together have a rate of breaking up five
September 2011 · 7
Couples in Long Term Marriages Did Not Live Together First
times higher compared to parents who are married. Marriage represents Christ’s love and
relationship with the church. A husband is to love his wife as much as Christ loved the church. This means sacrifice, long-suffering, grace and forgiveness. The enemy’s greatest weapon against Christians today is confusing them around love, sex and marriage. The world is falling apart in this area and searching for answers we can provide by our testimony of our marriages and families. Our traditional wedding vows clearly make a statement that there will be seasons in our marriages and that feelings are going to come and go. We are to forsake all others, stay committed when rich and poor, in sickness and in health, when satisfied and dissatisfied and until death do us part.
Epidemic Infiltrates Christian Marriages By Terri Haley, M.F.T.
Kathy discovered that her husband had been on multiple websites looking at pornography, including some of young teen girls. She was devastated. Susan, mother of three, has been having an
affair with the senior pastor who is a close friend of her husband’s. Mary discovered receipts and massage lotion in her husband’s briefcase and now he is leaving her for his secretary. Nancy got involved in an emotional relation-
Single But Not Alone By Terri Haley, MFT
“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
God cared about Adams loneliness and if you are single right now, He cares about your loneliness also. If you don’t have a suitable partner yet, do not give up hope. Adam had to go through all the animals before God provided the one suitable for him. God sees you, knows you, loves you and will provide for you. However, you have to be patient.
Sometimes it is hard to meet the right person; dating can be very discouraging. It’s easy to get pan- icked and fearful about growing older and the thought of never finding the right person. When this happens, you might be tempted to take matters into your own hands, trying to control the situation and move out on your own without God.
If we jump ahead of God’s timing, we can easily end up in a wrong rela- tionship that is not healthy for us. It is not easy waiting and we sometimes lose sight of how much God cares about us and wants us to be in a close relationship. He created marriage and
family and knows that two are better than one. This is His will and desire for most of us.
In the meantime prepare your heart and mind for your
future spouse. Continue growing in your connection and relationship with the Lord so he is the first love of your heart. He will speak to you, guide you, and give you wisdom regarding the opposite sex. Enjoy this time to pursue your purpose and use your spiritual gifts to minister to others. Grow spiri- tually and emotionally.
Develop your hobbies and passions, join groups, go to new places, make new friends, read books and change up your path as you go about your day to day life. Be open to learning new things, building friendships with the opposite sex, hanging out in mixed groups and learning and practicing connecting and communication skills. Draw close to God and allow Him to mold and shape you. As you seek His wisdom to make good decisions about dating and mate selection pray for your future spouse and marriage. Ask Him to renew your heart and mind so that you will be mature in character and ready to be a Godly spouse when the time arrives
ship in cyberspace. Frank only becomes aroused when making love with his wife if she is wearing a certain type of clothing appeal. Betty, a children’s ministry director, admits that her close friendship with a women has crossed physical boundaries. These are all true stories
Those struggling with sex-
MATTERS OF THE HEART Christian Marriage Workshop & Marriage Intensives MattersoftheHeartResources.com firstname.lastname@example.org
of Christian Marriages in Sonoma County that appear as model Chris- tian marriages. Serving or attending church weekly they hide their shame and guilt about their secret compartmentalized lives.
Mt. Gilead Conference Center, Sebastopol November 11th-12th & February 10th-11th Fri.evening & Sat.
Marriage Intensives Available on Weekends Allen Haley, M.Div & Terri Haley, M.F.T.
ual sin have a divided heart. They desire to do what is right but are in conflict with the lust of the flesh. “They do the things they hate to do” stated in Romans. Underly- ing depression and empti- ness are relieved through substitute sources, idols. There is a need for more, and increased frequency to get the same satisfaction. These substitutes instead of God turn into compulsions and addictions where they
become trapped and in bondage. Continued on page 9
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