Today my wife and I got to enjoy a great day with friends at Dave Mast and Jessica Rilke’s wedding. I work with both of them and am so happy for them. It was a beautiful day for an outdoor wedding. We ate hot dogs and hamburgers and Danny even caught a fish at the pond. Arden & Sue Kaufman hosted this great wedding at their home near Berlin. We got to enjoy this one as guests as Kevin West officiated. He did a great job, short and meaningful with a little humor.
This has been a busy year for weddings at NewPointe Community Church(12 so far this year). I have the fun job of officiating at most of these weddings. In July I had 5 weddings, busy but fun. My wife is becoming an expert on weddings. She loves to go with me and help as needed. The fun part is meeting all the families and seeing how different everyone is. Some are very laid back and calm and others are a bit more stressed and excitable. I love to meet with them and of course we get to eat at the rehearsal dinners and the receptions. The opportunity to talk about spiritual things at a wedding is big. People are usually in a good mood and are open to hearing truth.
Doing all these weddings has made me even more aware of how important it is to work at our relationships. Good marriages don’t just happen. All these couples that got married this year are expecting their marriages to last a lifetime and to be happy ever after. I believe most of them will do well, because they put the work in on the front end. All the couples we marry at Newpointe must go through a mentoring process. They take an online inventory and then meet with a mentor couple 6 to 8 times to go over the results and to work through exercises. They get to know the mentors and build a relationship with them. It is almost like buying marriage insurance, because the statistics show that couples that go through a mentoring program before marriage have a much lower divorce rate.I believe it is less than 10 percent.
The work of talking through issues they disagree on is very valuable. If they can talk and resolve some of these issues before the wedding date they will have fewer problems early in the marriage.
When you are in love you sometimes overlook some glaring differences. Each person brings expectations to the marriage that can be unrealistic. Talking about things like, family, parenting, careers, sex, money and friends are very important. It helps to identify expectations and helps each of them understand their differences. There are also fewer surprises when you work through things before you get married.
Getting married is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life. I will never understand why someone would not want to put in some hard work before to “learn” how to do it right. You don’t jump into a car and just start driving without first getting some instruction and guidance. You don’t start a job without going through an orientation and training. Why would you not want to get some training before starting a lifelong relationship?
When I meet with these couples looking to get married, I stress the importance of continual learning. I tell them to read books together and go to seminars and conferences together. I encourage them to grow spiritually together as well.
It is never too late to start working on it. I counsel many couples that are having difficulties, and a lot of time it is because of not knowing each other and how to communicate love to each other. Unresolved conflict, inner fears and bad communication can keep us from healthy marriages. It is so easy to just live together and not grow in intimacy and not work on ourselves or our relationship. Life gets in the way of our intimacy and keeps us from having great marriages. You must be intentional to avoid the trap of a mediocre marriage.
I am still working on my marriage after 19 years together. I currently am reading a book about sexual intimacy in Marriage. Wow, I wish I would of had this book when I first got married. More on that later.