Ask the Friesens
Through their years of counseling and getting to know many families and couples, Paul and Virginia have helped people with many different aspects of marriages, Christian living and family issues. We invite you to “Ask the Friesens”a question about your situation. Monthly we will select one question and response to be included on this page (anonymously, of course).
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Use the link above to go to our Contact Form. Choose “Ask the Friesens” and type your question in the additional comments field.
Previously Submitted Questions and Responses
My fiance and I are currently living together to save money for our wedding. Should we be doing this?
Saving money is always a good thing, living together before marriage is not. From a mere statistical standpoint, couples who live together before marriage have a higher degree of divorce than those who do not.
There are a number of reasons we would suggest not living together before you are married:
God gives us His sequence for marriage in Genesis 2:24. A man is to "leave" (become independent), "cleave" (legally become married), and "become one" (sexually consummate the marriage). Since God thought up this arrangement He probably knows how it works best.
Once a couple becomes sexually involved it is much more difficult to be objective about the relationship because it "feels" so much like intimacy.
The myth is that living together insures that a couple will get to know each other so well, that if they choose to marry, they will live happily ever after. Unfortunately, the "let's play married" scenario does not necessarily help a couple to really know each other because of the lack of commitment. Often a person in this situation acts in a way he perceives the "partner" wants him to act so as to not upset her and thus give her reason to leave.
If you are willing to follow your hormones instead of scripture before marriage, there is no reason to believe your partner will follow scripture and be true to you when their hormones rage for another after marriage.
If saving money is truly the driving motivation, we'd suggest several options. Perhaps one of you move in with your folks for a period of time, or rent a room inexpensively in a house, stop going to Starbucks, and be creative about ways that you are able to save money. Godly character and Biblical convictions are keys to a successful marriage and premarital decisions will indicate one's level of commitment to those standards.
My family currently attends a church that my wife and I really enjoy; however, our teenagers don't like the church or its youth programs. What should we do?
Having a vital relationship with a church is very important for every believer. Hebrews 10:25 calls us to not neglect the meeting together with God's people. An issue that challenges all parents of teens is how to help our children eagerly embrace fellowshipping with God's people. Our belief is that it is critical to be in a place where your children are drawn in a positive way to God and His people.
If your teens are not connecting within the church you’re a part of, we feel it is most important for you to let them know you do want to be in a place where they feel they are being encouraged toward the Lord. We’re not suggesting that you hastily leave your home church, but if after trying all the angles, your kids still feel disconnected, we'd advise you to begin checking out other houses of worship. If you find one where your teens are being fed spiritually, even if you like your home church better, it may be wise to make the switch for the sake of your kids. You can listen to a CD, watch a DVD or read a book to supplement your spiritual growth. If, however, you stay in a church in which your teen does not connect on a Sunday, he/she is unlikely to listen to a CD, watch a DVD or read a book.
80-90% of teens leave the church after high school and do not return. Because this is true, it is essential that we as parents do everything we are able to do to help make attending church and youth group a positive experience for our teens. Let us also say, we do feel that as long as the teen is at home, he/she needs to have some input from church every week. If they are not finding it with you and have another church they wish to attend with friends that is vital, let them go, BUT more importantly, consider all going. Families attending worship together is still a high and valid goal for each family.