Posts in Pre-marital
Learn Love and Respect Now . . . Not Later

Over the years, God has used the Love and Respect message to minister to countless couples who had picked up the book or attended a conference, perhaps even as a last-ditch effort, to try and save their marriage. By God’s grace, I have heard story after story from many whose marriages began taking a drastic turn in a positive direction after they learned to submit to God’s message of Love and Respect in Ephesians 5:33.

In the same way, thousands of healthier couples have been introduced to the Love and Respect message and shared with me the multitude of ways that their relationship with their spouse began flourishing even more than they thought possible after being exposed to the joys of Ephesians 5.

But is the Love and Respect message only for the struggling couple or the veteran or newlywed couple looking for some “continuing education”?

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Does Premarital Sex Undermine Communication After Marriage?

When we surveyed a 1,000 people who had had premarital sex with the partner they eventually married, we found that the degree of sexual involvement directly correlated with dissatisfaction in communication.
The more sexually involved the couple was prior to marriage, the more they now feel:

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She Applies Respect to Her Fiancé After Reading Love and Respect

I always love hearing from others after they have begun putting into practice the principles of love and respect. It is especially encouraging when I hear from young couples who decided to be proactive about implementing love and respect, rather than waiting to see if the need arises for marital help. [featured-image]

Love and respect, as explained to us in Ephesians 5:33, is not just about conflict resolution; it is the foundation for a successful God-honoring marriage, intended to be practiced from day one, just as this young lady learned:

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Continue to Learn Through The Ups and Downs of Marriage

During the premarital stage for young couples, as well as the “honeymoon” stage at the beginning of their new life together, most couples receive a boatload of marital advice, from counseling, to books, to studies, to everyone and their mother giving them their best tips. It is not uncommon for many of these young couples swept up by love to believe that they “get it,” that they are fully prepared, and that they completely understand all they need to know to have the most successful marriage.

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God Joined You Together: What Does This Mean? Part 2

In part 1, we discussed the soul-mate idea and nixed the misguided view that God has one and only one person for each of us. The idea of a soul mate distracts people from where they need to focus. [featured-image] First, the focus needs to be on being the right, mature person yourself. This is huge. Some look for the perfect person while they themselves have glaring imperfections but refuse to do an honest assessment of themselves.

They never ask, “Why would a perfect person marry someone as imperfect as me?” But the soul-mate idea makes it easy. “This is about God gifting me with a wonderful person regardless of who I am.”

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God Joined You Together: What Does This Mean? Part 1

So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.—Jesus, in Matthew 19:6. I love the attitude of so many Christ followers. Regardless of the marital bumps they say things like:"God brought us together and that is all that matters." "We know that God brought us together." "Jerry and I were married just seven months ago. He is in America and I am in India. We met over the Internet and God brought us together in the most wonderful way."

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3 Goals in Dating That Lead to a Successful Marriage, Part 3 -- Love and Respect Podcast Ep. 087

In Part 3 of this series on dating Emerson looks back briefly at becoming a mature person and looking for a mature person but that for Christians a third component is needed, Doing God's Will As a Couple. When we do not have a purpose beyond ourselves, we end up focusing only on ourselves. When we do not think of something bigger than ourselves, we will only think of ourselves. When nothing is more important than ourselves, than we alone are important. However, when we fight for something bigger than ourselves, we fight with each other less! That may not be the most noble of reasons to follow Christ but it certainly leads to marital satisfaction!

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Three Goals in Dating That Lead to a Successful Marriage, Part Three: Together Motivated by Christ’s Mission

In parts one and two we discussed the importance of your own maturity, as well as the maturity of your spouse, in leading to a successful marriage. But maturity alone is not enough. What matters most is jointly using your maturity in Christ’s mission for the two of you together. At Joy and Matt’s wedding I said, “What makes the relationship you have all the more special is your commitment to a third component. You are committed to something bigger than your relationship and marriage."

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Three Goals in Dating That Lead to a Successful Marriage, Part Two: Finding a Mature Person

In part one, we discussed the importance of your own maturity, if you are to have a successful marriage. But now that you are committed to being a mature person yourself, what does it mean to find a mature person?

The Mythical Perfect Person

There is a difference between finding a mature person and finding a perfect person. The latter does not exist and perchance they did, they’d not give us the time of day. Besides, none of us would want to live with a perfect person. We’d feel judged each and every day. Perfect people have a problem with imperfect people!

So why do some still hunt for the perfect person?

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Three Goals in Dating That Lead to a Successful Marriage, Part 1: Being a Mature Person

On February 20, 2016, I had the unique experience of officiating the marriage of Matt Reed and my daughter, Joy. As part of the ceremony, I gave voice to what I believed about both of them.

One, each sought to be a mature person prior to meeting the other.

Two, each sought to find a mature person.

And, three, each planned on being committed to Christ beyond their relationship, doing marriage motivated by a sense of mission.

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3 Goals in Dating That Lead to a Successful Marriage, Part 2 -- Love and Respect Podcast Ep. 086

Emerson and Jonathan continue this three part series on what leads to a successful marriage. In Part 1 they looked at being a mature person.  In Part 2 they look at finding a mature person. This three part series is perfect for anyone who is dating or unmarried, but also for anyone who knows someone that is. Additionally, do you have children or plan on having children? This can help you in your conversations with them about marriage.

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3 Goals in Dating That Lead to a Successful Marriage -- Love and Respect Podcast Ep. 085

This three part series is perfect for anyone who is dating or unmarried, but also for anyone who knows someone that is. Additionally, do you have children or plan on having children? This can help you in your conversations with them about marriage. In thinking about his own daughter's upcoming marriage Emerson composed his thoughts on preparing for marriage, which includes being a mature person, looking for a mature person, and being motivated by Christ's mission as a couple.

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God Joined You Together - What Does This Mean? -- Love and Respect Podcast Ep. 084

Does God intend to direct our steps to one and only one person that He designed from eternity past to be our soul-mate? Join Emerson and Jonathan this week as they discuss the topic of a soul-mate. Whether you are a person looking to get married or have been married for many years but think you married the wrong person, this episode will provide insight.

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Three Reasons Some Counselors Are Bad at Marriage Counseling -- Part 1

Pam and Bob, a fictitious couple but very representative of the many couples I have heard from, turned to a counselor for help in their marriage, but after five unproductive sessions the therapist recommended divorce. In shock Pam said on behalf of both of them: The reason we went to the counselor was to help our marriage. Just because we got really mad at each other during the sessions and totally blamed the other and totally justified ourselves didn’t mean we wanted to end the marriage. That’s why we went for counsel! And, yes, I played the victim and sought sympathy more than Bob, who didn’t go to the third session because he was so ticked at me and the counselor, but we didn’t expect the counselor to throw in the towel for us.

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To the Newly Married: It Is Too Early to Quit!

Not infrequently I hear from a newly married person, “We have been married for less than a year but it isn’t working. I am ready to call it quits." But that’s an unwise conclusion. In a marriage so young, there are no habitual, chronic marital problems. If there is nothing immoral or illegal, then the reason for the problems is rooted in honest misunderstandings.

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This One Exercise Could Radically Change Your Marriage, Part 2

Yesterday, I shared this powerful testimony from a wife. If you missed it, make sure you go back and read it before reading my response.

Hi Elizabeth,

Your testimony is powerful.  Brilliant. Moving. Discerning. Persuasive.

Over the years, I have coached countless wives to make a positive list of qualities about their husbands. I gave this assignment to counter the overwhelming negativity toward their husbands. This exercise has radically changed their view of their husbands.    

As men, this is difficult for us to grasp.

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And They Lived Happily Ever After...Not Necessarily

One of our chief concerns at Love and Respect is not that people hear the message, important as that is, but that couples who attend a conference or read the book will go on to effectively practice love and respect in their daily lives. I realize each couple has this very same concern, of course. My heart goes out to those who tell me they “get it,” but aren’t able to consistently “stay with it.” They have learned that Love and Respect sounds simple, but it’s not so easy to do (maybe “unnatural” is a better phrase).

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How To Learn Love and Respect: Illumination Beyond Marriage

For over a decade Fritz Ridenour edited my books and workbooks on Love and Respect, including one that made it to the New York Times bestseller list. Beyond the professional relationship, Fritz (who I call "the king") and I have also grown together over that decade as friends. We talk on the phone regularly, since he lives in Santa Barbara (Camelot) and I in Grand Rapids (Camel's Lot).

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