Preparing For Marriage: Help For Christian Couples
Getting to know that special someone naturally includes learning about family and friends, education and athletics, favor-ite pastimes, and your hopes and dreams. Ideally, you'll ask each other all kinds of questions, some vital and some trivial, and you'll talk...
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Getting to know that special someone naturally includes learning about family and friends, education and athletics, favor-ite pastimes, and your hopes and dreams. Ideally, you'll ask each other all kinds of questions, some vital and some trivial, and you'll talk about life's best moments and worst, the brightest places in your background and the darkest.
But what about God? What is his role in your relationship? What do each of you believe about him, and how do you understand his dream for marriage--for your marriage?
At Desiring God, one of our most accessed pages online is a set of questions John Piper put together for couples preparing for marriage (an updated version appears in Appendix I). You'll find many of the typical questions here--about friends and entertainment and lifestyle and children, and many people have found that John's way of putting these questions helps get right at some pretty deep stuff.
But you'll find other questions here, too--about theology, worship and devotion, and the roles of husband and wife--ques-tions that far too many couples don't think to ask. When preparing for marriage, or even in just beginning to con-sider it, it can be immensely helpful to have the perspective of someone like John Piper, not only a seasoned husband of nearly 50 years, but also a sea-soned pastor, careful thinker, and faithful theologian.
Our hope is that a few couples--whether dating and considering marriage, or engaged and preparing for marriage--would find some benefit here, getting to know each other better in some of life's most significant matters, and becoming more fit to discern God's leading for their lives.
But John has more to offer than just the pre-marriage questions. Chapter 1 includes John's counsel about engagement, chapter 2 about wedding planning (and finances). Chapter 3 provides invaluable instruction about the beautiful, complementary dynamic the Bible teaches between husband and wife.
Sexual relations in marriage is the topic of chapter 4. (We know some of you may be flipping straight to that one, now that you know it's there. That's okay. Do read the rest of the book when you can!) Here there is so much potential for pleasure, and so much potential for pain. Don't shy away from giving the topic of sex good consideration and honest discussion during your engagement.
Then, in chapter 5, John helps us ponder how we can guard our marriages in a day in which they are under assault from every side. Finally, chapter 6 is based on perhaps John Piper's single most important message on marriage. There he goes more macro than many of us have ever dared to go in thinking about what marriage is, and what God designed it for. This is a glorious, true, life-changing vision.
After John's long list of pre-marriage questions to discuss, the second appendix is about mission together. Marriage is for mission, too. In particular, the focus here is on hospital-ity. It's a lightly edited sermon from the series that became the book This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence, which is where we'd send you to learn more about marriage fol-lowing this book. (We'd also want to point you to a 30-day devotional for young married couples called Happily Ever After: Finding Grace in the Messes of Marriage, by John Piper and other contributors to desiringGod.org.) For Christians, talking about ministry together, including hospitality (literally, in the New Tes-tament, "love for strangers") is essential preparation.
Reevaluate your commitments, check your priorities, rethink your normal. It will be well worth your time to ask difficult questions and think hard about the answers. For your joy, the good of others, and the glory of the church's Groom.
John Stephen Piper was born 11 January 1946 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Bill and Ruth Piper. The Pipers soon moved to Greenville, South Carolina, where John spent his growing-up years. His father was an itinerant evangelist who also ministered through international radio and Bible courses. John has written a tribute to his mother, who died in 1974, in the booklet, What's the Difference (Crossway Books, 1990) which is also chapter one of the book, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Crossway Books, 1991).
At Wheaton College (1964-68), John majored in Literature and minored in Philosophy. Studying Romantic Literature with Clyde Kilby stimulated the poetic side of his nature and today he regularly writes poems to celebrate special family occasions and rich, biblical truths. At Wheaton John also met Noel Henry whom he married in 1968.
Following college, John completed a Bachelor of Divinity degree at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California (1968-71). While at Fuller, John discovered the writings of Jonathan Edwards.
John did his doctoral work in New Testament Studies at the University of Munich, Munich, West Germany (1971-74). His dissertation, Love Your Enemies, was published by Cambridge University Press and Baker Book House (and is now available through Crossway). Upon completion of his doctorate, he went on to teach Biblical Studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota for six years (1974-80).
In 1980, sensing an irresistible call to preach, John became the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he ministered for 33 years, until 2013. Together with his people, John was dedicated to spreading a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ - a mission he continues now for the wider church through the ministry of desiringGod.org. John says of his ministry:
"The ministry of preaching is the central labor of my life. My prayer is that through that ministry and everything else I do the great glory of our God and Savior Jesus Christ would be magnified as more and more people come to live out the obedience of faith more and more deeply."
John is the author of over 50 books and now frequently travels to speak, and writes regularly, through Desiring God.
John and Noel have four sons, a daughter, and twelve grandchildren.