Taking a marriage covenant seriously begins long before vows are exchanged. In his new book “What He Must Be,” author Voddie Baucham observes: “Little thought is given to preparing our sons to be husbands. Thus, they meander through life without the skills or mind-set necessary to play this most important role until one day, having met ‘the one,’ they pop the question, set a date, and?in the rarest of cases?go to the pastor to learn everything they need to know about being the priest, prophet, provider, and protector of a household in four one-hour sessions. In the words of that great theologian Dr. Phil, ‘How’s that workin’ for ya?'”
Never one to mince words, Baucham challenges parents to plant seeds in the lives of their children that will grow and bear much fruit in generations to come, coming to grips with sinful patterns and tendencies. “We must stop preparing them for lives of selfishness, immediate gratification, and perpetual adolescence if we ever expect to turn the tide.”
Baucham recognizes his responsibility to protect his daughter from men who view marriage as a temporary arrangement as opposed to a lifelong covenant. “I must also see to it that I do not allow such thinking in my sons,” he adds. “A young man who is worthy of a wife will have a clear understanding of the covenantal nature of marriage. He will also have a healthy apprehension when he thinks about the magnitude of his responsibility should he assume the role of a husband and father. He must know the weight he is taking on his shoulders and be willing to accept it. He must be a man who is wiling to endure hardship for the sake of his family should he be called upon to do so.”
While this Texas pastor has no intention of picking his daughter’s husband, both he and she know he intends to play an active role in the process of finding and evaluating potential suitors. Unfortunately, he writes, the more common practice is for casual dating to turn into a long-term relationship; a long-term relationship turns into a foregone conclusion; and eventually the foregone conclusion turns into a marriage.
“We must help our daughters turn their affections away from cultural conditioning and toward biblical truth.”
Other resources for parents, engaged couples and married couples seeking to renew their commitment, include:
?God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation by Andreas Kostenberger, Crossway.
?From Boy to Man: The Marks of Manhood, Part II by R. Albert Mohler, available on blog dated April 22, 2005 at www.albertmohler.com
?Five Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter by Vicki Courtney, B&H.
?Covenant Marriage: Building Communication and Intimacy by Gary Chapman, B&H.
?Siete pilares para una familia del reino (Unbreakable: The Seven Pillars of a Kingdom Family) by Tom Elliff, B&H.
?Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome, How to Grow Affair-Proof Hedges Around Your Marriage by Nancy C. Anderson, Kregel.
?Contact Family Life ministry at 1-800-358-6329 for information on marriage covenant certificates for use in a wedding ceremony or visit www.store.famillylife.com
?Visit Lifeway.com to order Certificate of Marriage Covenant Renewal.