Just about every day for the last 14 years I’ve given my life to helping premarried and newly married couples prepare for and start their marriages off right. I love working with these young couples.
I’m grateful for what I’ve learned from them and I’m blessed by the opportunity to pour into them. I hold great hopes for the future when I spend time with young couples. I know so many solid men and women are starting their married lives together on the solid rock foundation of Jesus Christ.
In Luke 6:46-49, Jesus tells us that our homes will remain strong if we build our lives on the solid rock foundation of Jesus Christ. If we dig a deep foundation and build upon that foundation, our homes will stand strong for the good of others and the glory of God. Even when trials come, homes built on the right foundation will remain strong.
Four Concerning Trends I Consistently See
At the same time, over the last few years I’ve observed several trends in newly married couples that are very discouraging. In this post I share four different concerns I’ve seen in newly married couples. While I’ve observed them in newlyweds, every couple (whether premarried or married 50 years) should pay close attention.
1. Not knowing how to drink responsibly.
This is not an anti-alcohol rant. I believe there is freedom for the follower of Jesus Christ to drink responsibly. We see Jesus turn water into wine and nowhere are we told we can’t drink.
We are, however, told to not get drunk on wine and we’re told we should be controlled by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). The follower of Christ has freedom to enjoy a drink but should not be mastered by it.
1 Corinthians 6:12 says, “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.”
While it might be permissible to drink, it might not be beneficial.
A trend I’ve seen in newlyweds is an inability to drink responsibly. That might show itself in a a few ways:
- A need to have a drink in their hand to socialize with others.
- Having 1-2 too many drinks and getting in a car and driving.
- I’ve seen couples get into physical fights with each other because they drank too much.
- On a handful of occasions recently, I’ve met with men and women who cheated on their spouse when they had too much to drink.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1). Be free with alcohol as long as you are not mastered by it or given to drunkenness.
Question: Do you have a healthy view on drinking? Are you and your spouse making wise decisions with alcohol?
2. Couples report instead of process.
One of the reasons why we have the gift of community is to help us make decisions. Our community has played a huge role in helping us process financial decisions, parenting questions, and job frustrations. They’ve asked questions, prayed, wounded, and admonished. They help us become more like Christ and help us make wise decisions.
One of the biggest problems I see in married couples and especially in newlyweds is when couples report a decision they’ve made instead of processing with others. In the process they miss out on one of Gods greatest gifts – community. Married couples make many decisions—most are small, mundane decisions. But they also make decisions about jobs, houses, cars, children, and so much more.
We all can benefit from the wisdom and counsel of others. Take advantage of this wisdom by processing and not just reporting.
I wrote about this a few years on the Watermark marriage blog if you’d like to dive in further. Click here to read One Way to Help You Avoid Life’s Biggest Regrets and Mistakes.
Question: When’s the last time you processed a decision with your community? When’s the last time you simply reported a big decision?
3. They’re not aligned spiritually.
The best time to deal with a spiritual mismatch is before you say “I do.” In 2 Corinthians 6:14, Paul writes, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
This verse plays out in a few different ways.
First, a follower of Jesus Christ should not marry a non-believer. This is very clear.
Second, it plays out with two believers who are in very different places spiritually. Maybe one of them is fully devoted in their love for the Lord while the other is lukewarm in their faith. While they might spend eternity together, they’re worlds apart in their marriage.
Our views on Jesus and what it means to follow Him affect everything in our lives: how we spend our money and time, how we parent, how we do our jobs, and just about everything else.
One of the problems I consistently see in newlyweds is a spiritual mismatch. If this is you on the premarried side, break up now. If this is you in marriage, get some help from the church and/or from a mentor couple. Check out re|engage.
Newly married couples who do well are aligned in their views of what it means for Jesus to be not just their Savior, but also the Lord of their lives.
Question: How can you and your significant other pursue Jesus together?
4. They have trouble keeping commitments.
We are a fickle bunch. We make plans and break them when a better option comes along. Sometimes we say “yes” to a commitment but decide to stay home instead. We change jobs whenever we’re unhappy. We don’t let our “yes” be “yes” and our “no” be “no” (Matthew 5:37).
I get it. I like having options and don’t like being locked in. There are times when we’ve made a commitment and I’ve wanted to “call in sick.” But as followers of Christ, we have the opportunity to be different than the pattern of the world (Romans 12:2).
I see this play out often in community when couples leave a community group because they think the grass is greener on the other side. They like to keep their options open and go from small group to small group to small group.
Question: Do you keep commitments and do what you say you’re going to do?
I’m Not Just Picking on Newlyweds
While I wrote this post because of concerning trends I’ve observed in newlyweds, the same observations apply to my life and to any married couple. We all need to be responsible with alcohol, process not report decisions, pursue Jesus as a couple, and keep our commitments.
Imagine how much better your marriage would be if you drank responsibly (if at all), leaned into the wisdom of others to make decisions, pursued Jesus together as a couple, and lived as people of your word?
I’m not just picking on millennials. We all have work to do.
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