“Living together” before marriage…. Yes or No?

separation

 When Christian couples decide to move in together.

Living together before marriage is becoming more and more popular. Many good-willed people with great intentions are feeling more  and more “comfortable” living together before marriage. Why? Because everybody is doing it. Maybe it isn’t you, but rather a child or grandchild who is planning on living together prior to marriage. What do you say or do when the world around them is shouting, do it? Marriage mentors across the country are faced with this as they try to help couples prepare for marriage, God’s way. In an effort to give couples biblical guidelines to assess their risk of divorce (prior to marriage) we encourage them to use a tool called, Before You Say, “I Do” Marriage Plan.  So if you are in a position of influence with a pre-marital couple who are trying to prepare for a Godly marriage, follow these three steps.

One: Educate them on Plan A B C   Click Here to download Use the ABC plan to show them Plan A, Plan B or Plan C for their marriage. Show them Plan A by listing the factors that increase the odds of a long lasting marriage. (see below) The bible explains to us that a marriage is sacred. Hebrews 13:4 “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”A marriage begins with a covenant between God and each other with a commitment that you will stay together no matter what happens. It is an attitude of “What can I do for you?” (Covenant) as opposed to a non-committing attitude of “What can you do for me?” (Contract).

Say to the pre-marital couple: “If ‘HE’ wants to spend the rest of his life with you, he will take all 8 of these items serious as you prepare for your future. If “SHE” is the one for you, she will also take these items serious. Couples who choose Plan A tend to have lasting marriages with many blessings. They are not without trouble or issues but many/most of them endure with amazing stories to tell their grandchildren. Not so much the case with Plan B or Plan C. So as you prepare for marriage, What’s your plan?”

Plan A is when both parties are able to say YES to the following 8 questions:        (Low risk of divorce)
Plan B is when you can only say YES to 6-7 of the 8 questions.                                     (Medium risk of divorce)
Plan C is when you can only say YES to 5 or less of the 8 questions.                           (High risk of divorce)
 
Are both of you Christians?
Are you living separate from each other?
Are you sexually abstinent?
Are you attending church regularly?
Are you financially honoring God by giving to your local church?
Do you have strong Christian friends/influences in your life?
Do you pray together?
Do you have a financial plan for your future?

Two: Challenge them.  Click Here   Once they see their score when answering the questions, challenge them to make a decision to navigate to an upgraded plan from where they are. If they are interested, get them to articulate the changes they need to make to get there, for example: If they decide to get financial counseling so they can have a stable plan financially prior to marriage have them determine WHO they will see and WHEN will they have it completed by. Success lies in the details.  Encourage them to have a forever view of marriage and how they can achieve that by doing marriage God’s way. Let them hear of your successes or their grandparents’ successes in marriage. It is just as important to share with them any of your mistakes and what you wish you had done differently. Let them know how valuable they are to you and to God. Express to them that they are worth waiting for. Give them hope of a future marriage full of happiness. Remind them, this is “their plan”, it is “their future”. No one else can shape their marriage for them.

Three: Pray with them. Let them know we all make mistakes in life, but God makes a way for us to get back on Plan A. All we have to do is acknowledge our mistakes, repent to God, ask for forgiveness and begin to change our ways. Give them hope that God will give them strength to do it His way then they can reap all of HIS rewards.

Wrap It Up When your kids/grandchildren are making these personal dating decisions, be ready with your answers by using these three strategic steps. EDUCATE them with God’s Plan A for their marriage; CHALLENGE them to make changes in their lives and PRAY with for them to know God, love him and follow his ways. Do these three things for your kids and dare to be different for Jesus Christ!

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