The Expository Files

 Course: Pre-marital Education

Course: Pre-marital Education
Instructors: Parents
Time: Now

{Personal - Jon called me on the 20th of March to remind me, this issue of Expository Files is the 100th issue. We share great pleasure over the distribution of Bible teaching in this format. When we started this venture, we had no idea what it would become. Let me express my appreciation to Jon for his cooperative spirit and good work; to Alan LaRue for the award-winning site he has produced; to our writers and readers. We have every intention to continue publishing, and ask your prayers in the endeavor. - web.}

One of the debates going on in Washington today is the proposed use of federal money for pre-marital education. Promoting marriage was part of the 1996 law that was designed to lessen dependence on welfare as an entitlement. In that statute money was offered to states for pre-marital counseling, but only five states used that money.

Today, Congress is preparing to re-authorize that law and involved is this debate over the use of federal money for pre-marital counseling.

The President said, a few days ago: "...strong marriages and stable families are incredibly good for children, and stable families should be the central goal of American welfare policy."

There is no evidence anyone can use to argue against that. When you consider the impact of shattered marriages on children, any good work that can reduce the rate of divorce, reasonable people support.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau about half of all first marriages end in divorce.

But here's what I want to say: Pre-marital education must begin long before people are eligible for welfare! And it must begin, not with the government or "the village," but with the people who brought the children into the world! You cannot wait until a child is a teenager - then give them a crash course on marriage.

They need to see good marriages. They need to be around stable families and older couples who have lived together for many years (grandparents). They need to see their parents, in a warm, strong relationship, with God at the center of everything.

Children need to begin their education about marriage - at about the same time they hear about Adam and Eve.

Often and sadly - more time is spent on planning the wedding than planning the marriage. Think about it: All the expense, all the anxiety, all the money and food and celebration -- and then within two years or less, two angry people sit in an attorney's office or court room divide up everything and walk away, often into relationships they have no right to enter. In every single case, what God has joined together, man has put asunder.

Parents, talk to your children about marriage. Talk to them about drugs, terrorism and strangers. But talk to them about marriage.

Before they begin dating and serious relationships - be certain they understand that "marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled, but fornicators and adulterers, God will judge" (Heb. 13:4).

By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 9-4; April 2002