All right, welcome back. My name, again is Steve Elzinga. And you are in the pre marriage coaching class. It's, it's, it's one of the most important badges that you can earn in terms of coaching. And we're going to be looking at the seven connections, the seven connections that that, that, you know, that that a couple should have, as they walk towards this thing called marriage. All right, just a little comment about the pre marital life coach book, this is just hot off, the presses don't even have a bound yet. It can be used as a coaching guide, with a couple, the coach has a copy, you know, each each of the individuals that want to get married, they have a copy, and you can you just go through it, page by page. It can be used as a Bible study you can do, let's say you had three or four couples that are, you know, wanting to get married, you could do it together as a Bible study. Or you could do it as a retreat. It's set up to do it anywhere, any, any of these three different ways. All right. So as you go through this book, first, there's some ground rules to go over with the couple or couples that you're going through this material with. Just a lot of times, we just launch into things, and we have assumptions about how things go. And maybe the couple has assumptions and expectations. And sometimes we miss each other. And that causes frustration. So why not just start out with some rules. Here's some things that we want to be aware of as we go through this material. Number one, this is not a gripe session, okay. Anytime you get a couple together, and you start talking about their lives and communication and all the issues that that happened with a couple sometimes it turns into a gripe session, or a complaining session. And the reason is, you know, every relationship has its areas of frustration. And you go over this frustration with each other and you don't get anywhere. And now when you meet someone new, you sort of want to unload. You want to make them the judge, see, can you believe that? You know what, what this person does, and you're trying to make that third person a judge. This is not a gripe session, but instead an encouragement time Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs. That it may benefit those who listen, okay. Number two, see the negatives in your fiance as an opportunity to love him or her Romans 50:1-2, we who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves, each of us should please our neighbors for their good and to build them up. Number three, build on your relationship and take your love for each other to the next level. Romans 15 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had. So that with one mind one voice, you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another then just as Christ accepted you in order to bring praise to God. So you're not perfect. The person that you want to marry is not perfect. So let's treat each other with some grace. Number four, when necessary, forgive each other. That That, by the way, is the secret to a Christian marriage. Without forgiveness, no partnership
can last. No friendship can last. And no, certainly no marriage can last. So learn how to forgive one another Colossians 3:13. Bear with each other and forgive one another. If any of you has a grievance against someone else, forgive as the Lord forgave you. Number five, be gracious, be cautious about a critical attitude. We want the best for people. And when we see them, you know making mistakes. To help them we often want to bring up those mistakes. And this is especially true in the marriage relationship. Now in the dating relationship, maybe you have more grace because you're dating and the person could back out of this relationship. So you're more tactful, you're more gracious. But often couples when they get married They stop being gracious to to one another. And they can be very critical, we marry someone, and often we do it with the intention of changing them. Okay, I'm gonna marry you. And there's some things I like about you. But there's some things I don't like about you. But we'll work on that I'll change you don't go into a relationship thinking you're going to change the other person. Number six, go all in to make your marriage better. Get out of your comfort zone. So we'll be going through different areas of life, communication issues, certain things that, that that you know, might be a struggle, or there might be an issue or there might be some background things. You know, how one was raised, and the other was raised differently. There might be some mom issues, some father issues, there's all kinds of things that you might get into. And and what you want to do is tell the couple that you're trying to help as they move towards their wedding. You want them to engage, you want them to take chances, don't hold back, don't, don't, don't guard yourself, don't try to protect your, you know, your connection to it, you know, you know, we're engaged now. So we have to look like we're perfect. No, if you go into it, thinking that you have to look perfect to the coach that's trying to help you, then you're going to miss out on a lot of things that you could learn. So take a few chances, be vulnerable, share a Song of Songs 7, come my love. Let us go out to the fields and spend the night among the wildflowers. Let us get up early and go to the vineyards to see if the grape vines have budded. If the blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranate grants have bloomed, there, I will give you my love. This is it's time to step out of your comfort zone. Number seven, resist, resist giving advice to others at this Bible study. So if you're doing it with a group of couples, then you really need to let all the couples know that this is not the time for you to solve another couples problems. Okay, when you have a Bible study, or if you have retreat, and there's several couples there, some couples will share some of their issues and some of their problems and put it on the table. And now what happens is other couples want to rescue and come in and solve their problems. And you start getting people being the answer, man, you know, and what happens is, it's a subtle thing. But what happens is you're shutting down communication. Because if I share my heart , if I share something that's a little vulnerable to me, and then all of a sudden, another couple or
another guy or gal starts giving me advice. I'm not, I'm less likely to share again. Because, you know, number one, the couples in this study are not the teachers. So resist giving advice to other people, especially if they've not asked for it. I mean, if they asked for advice, that's one thing. But if they haven't asked for advice, do not give advice. James 1:19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters, you must be quick to listen and slow to speak. Number eight, resist teaching others about marriage. This read this retreat is about your potential marriage, Ecclesiastes 5:3, too much activity gives you restless dreams too many words make you a fool. They keep making the same point. Alright. So let's get into the seven connections of of marriage. This part one, the seven connections of marriage in session. One is we are connected permanently. So that's sort of the goal of this first session with a couple how they how marriage itself connects them permanently. So when you want to do is this is this is going to be your first session with a young couple that wants to get married. So you want to just get them talking, you don't know each other very well. You don't want to get into the real deep things yet. Because you don't have the couple doesn't know you, they don't trust you. And so there has to be a little discussion. And so why not learn as much as you can about this couple as you can. And in. So they'll be doing a lot of talking which helps them connect to you. But as they're talking, you'll learn a lot of things about them, which will be helpful down the road. So a good opening question is Well, how did you how did you meet? You tell me the story of how you met Well, you know, we went to school together or we were at there to party or when I was at a friend's house, so this, this is the sister of one of my best friends. And you know, they'll tell you the story of how they met. Number two, What initially attracted you to this person? Ah, they were funny. They were cute, or they seem like they had their life together. There'll be some reasons. And you want to hear from both of them. What attracted you to this person? What attracted you? Number three, when and why did the relationship become more serious I get there's a lot of people that we get to know and meet. And so you're telling me the story of how you met? And how you started dating some of the things that you were doing what what attracted you, but But now, when did this thing become more serious? And why did it become more serious? What led to that? So you see, you're sort of getting in to a deeper and deeper level with them. Number four, what were the highlights of your courtship time? So as each of them is, and what you might do, because it's in a book, what I like about this is if they each have their own book, then there's that question, and there's a space for them to answer it. So they write it down first, see if they say it verbally, first than the first one goes and start saying things and the other one can't think of anything. So this way, you allow each person to think of their own thing, when you get them to write it down first. So what are the highlights of your courtship time? You're trying to figure out what's important to them? You're trying to figure out what this connection is really all about? Number
five, what were some of the struggles that needed to be overcome? You know, we dated for a while, I wasn't sure he was the right one. So we stopped and they'll have some struggles. Those are very insightful, because you'll get a sense of who this couple is, and, and some of the issues that you may have to deal with down the road. Number six, what in your courtship finally led the both of you to get to the point of being engaged to be married? Okay, so something happened, something led you to finally go, Okay, we've been dating, we've been seeing each other, we've been doing this thing we've been courting. Together. Now, why are we ready to get married? So you want to hear some of their reasons? All right. All of these questions are really leading up to the seventh question. This is the whole reason for this first meeting. Okay. All this talk is sort of leading up to this question. This is what it's all about. Statistics say that some 45% of all marriages end in divorce. What makes you certain that your marriage will be part of the successful 55%? Now, well, you know, I've asked this question, every couple that I've met with, and every couple says, Well, it's because we love each other. And then I'll say, Well, every, every couple that's getting married, will say we love each other. Well, but we really do. I know. And every couple I ever meet with, they always say that, too. We really do. We're different from other couples, every couple is different. Or they'll say, you know, we've been through some tough things. And we figured out a way through those things. I say, you know, people say that all the time, every couple had some tough thing that they went through, and they successfully made it through. Or they'll say, you know, we just enjoy talking together while every couple enjoys talking together. And this is where they want to get married. See, no matter what they say. And every couple of things that are so unique in this, but after, you know, 30 some years of doing this, every couple says the same thing. This is they all get along they are this, but we are uniquely together. And we we love doing some of the same things and on and on. And I just keep knocking them down. I keep saying Yeah, well, every couple of thinks that and yet 45% of every couple that thinks exactly like how you think they're wrong. Their marriage ends in divorce. So what makes you think that you you know, you're the same as all these other couples. So what makes you think you will be in the top 55%? A lot of times the couple will at some point, just give up and say I guess you can't know that some of them will say that, and some of them will figure it out. Okay, the answer that I'm looking for as a coach is well, because our marriage is not going to be based on how well we love each other how well we get along or the fact that you know we solved a few problems in the past, or that we like doing these things together because those things could change. Our marriage is going to last because when we get married, and we say I do, we are going to rest that promise on our prior promise, our commitment to God, we are going to rest our commitment to each other on the most significant relationship that we both have. And that's our relationship to God. We're putting our hand on the Bible.
You know what, when someone goes to court, they have to lift they raise their right hand, I promised to tell the whole truth, nothing but the truth. So help me God. And they got the left hand on the Bible. And we do that in the court system. Because we want people we want to know, are you really going to tell the truth? And we don't know if you're telling the truth until you put that truth on some other commitments, a stronger commitment. So a marriage commitment, if it's going to be permanent, has to be established, you know, resting on something that is permanent, the God connection. So what kind of commitment do each of you have to God? So ultimately, that's what you're telling them? Now? You know, some couples figure out what the answer is, and some couples don't. And if a couple doesn't figure out what the answer is, I don't try to shame them or make them feel bad. What I do is I just share my own experience. I see, you know, when I got married, you know, we liked each other, we go along, you know, that's why we wanted all those compatible issues are the reasons why we want to get married, but they're not the reasons why we stay married. Because those things can change. And if our marriage is built on those things. And those things change, then that's why people opt out of their marriage, but it's not built on it. So when I, when I finally stood in front of my wife, in a church in front of my family and friends, and God, the Holy Spirit, everything is there, I, I vow to be committed to her. And I based that vow and my commitment to Jesus Christ, I have to give up my faith to give up my commitment to my wife. So I didn't know that my relationship with her would last until that moment, when I made the commitment based on my commitment to God, that's when I knew because I'm not gonna let my relationship to Christ fail. Number two, how might you base your commitment to each other on your prior commitment to God? So now you're getting the couple to think about their commitment? What kind of commitment Do you have to God, because if you don't have much of a commitment to God, then your commitment to each other based on your commitment to God isn't going to do much. So this is the most important thing. And I like to start out with that most important thing, that your vows are the number one thing in this whole process of getting married. So you know, I'm asking the couple now to think about that. What is your commitment commitment to God? Because that's what your marriage is built on. It's not built on how compatible we are. Those things change. You can go on the honeymoon, and you can get into a car accident and now your spouse is paralyzed from the neck down and all the fun things that you used to do, you can't do anymore, everything is changed. Are you still gonna be committed? Is it based on those things? Or is it based on your relationship to God? Well, that's session number one.