Does church address marriage issues adequately? - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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Does church address marriage issues adequately?

I'm curious to get the views of other Christians on this.

Have you gotten much out of Christian books on marriage? Eg, Holly Wagner's "him" and "her", Caprktivating/Wild at Heart, Affair Proof Your Marriage, or recent resources from XXX Church? How have you seen issues like infidelity, sexual intimacy, emotional difficulties or needs etc addressed from the pulpit? Do you have a marriage issue that you have tried to talk through with pastor and been met with unhelpful responses?

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 09:31 AM
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Re: Does church address marriage issues adequately?

Real Marriage by Mark Driscoll is fairly good. But no. I have not received very good help from the church on marital issues.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 09:37 AM
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Re: Does church address marriage issues adequately?

Christian (Catholic) here.

No, I do not believe the Church, regardless of denomination, addresses the issues of (modern) marriage adequately.

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 09:38 AM
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Re: Does church address marriage issues adequately?

I've been acquainted and involved with many churches, protestant, fundamental, and Catholic over the years.

I'm afraid I have never heard of any good treatise's out there that address intimacy, sexuality, or infidelity.
That doesn't mean they aren't out there, only that I personally have not run into them.
On the other hand, I have not looked extensively for them.

My personal experience (again, not necessarily representative) is that 'The Church' kind of lets couples learn on their own.
'Throw 'em into the swimming pool and let 'em swim' type of approach.

The church is a bit of afraid of and overwhelmed by the sexual revolution and our free wheeling sexually oriented culture.
That's been my experience.

Is your question a general one addressed to christian couples, or are you looking for specific resources?
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 10:03 AM
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Re: Does church address marriage issues adequately?

I, personally, have not read any books on the subject, nor have u spoken with the pastor. When my husband and I were going through our problems, I spoke with my parents as well as a couple of ladies I knew from my home church. These were women whose opinions I value and trust, one of whom is married to a pastor. They all helped me/us through it.

My sister, however, has spoken with the current pastor (he was not the pastor here, at the time my husband and I were having problems). She and her husband have had sessions with the pastor and his wife. So far, their meetings seem to be helping. So, I would say their issues are being adequately addressed.

That said, I think the church often drops the ball on certain subjects. I think there could definitely be improvements in some areas. One of which, I think, would be frank and open discussions about relations between husband and wife, BEFORE those vows are exchanged.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 10:43 AM
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Re: Does church address marriage issues adequately?

Check out the Mark Gungor Show, its a radio show from Pastor Mark Gungor in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Yes they address Marriage accurately.

http://www.markgungormedia.com

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 11:04 AM
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Re: Does church address marriage issues adequately?

No. Frankly, some of the very worst advice you will ever find for married men is written by and for Christian men. Wild at Heart wasn't bad but anything by Dobson, Smalley Rainey, etc. is all about making you a bigger doormat than you already are. Which for most Christian men is redundant. Its like a patented formula for failure or at least to cause your wife to lose respect and attraction for you. Cost me years of grief and guilt trying to do what they say and almost drove my wife batty. Stay away. Much better resources elsewhere, some are located for free in the sticky in the men's clubhouse under being a Better Man.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 12:13 PM
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Re: Does church address marriage issues adequately?

In defense of my congregation and of my pastoral and administrative staff, they have been superlative in dealing with my particular plight when I joined them! The senior pastor(both the former and present one)both conveyed the love of Christ to me as applied to my particular situation and took the needed time to share witness with me.

We also fortunate enough to have an onsite church counselor/psychologist whose services are there for any of our congregants greatly ranging on an ability to pay basis for those who cannot afford it!

Although we are a moderately large church with more than decent financial contributions from our congregation, I also feel that the we get more than adequate support from our Church Conference as well!

From a personal standpoint, these people were there for me on a 24/7 basis and always followed up with me, all the while giving me the Christian and United Methodist counsel that I so needed! And it must have worked because I am now involved in various leadership groups that help offer Christian counsel to others in need!

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 12:29 PM
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Re: Does church address marriage issues adequately?

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Originally Posted by EVG39 View Post
No. Frankly, some of the very worst advice you will ever find for married men is written by and for Christian men. Wild at Heart wasn't bad but anything by Dobson, Smalley Rainey, etc. is all about making you a bigger doormat than you already are.
I thought James Dobson's Love Must be Tough was very good at explaining the importance of saying NO to bad behavior from both unfaithful spouses and errant children. No doormat stuff from him. His advice really helped me understand how to set boundaries with our rebellious daughter.

But yes, I would agree that churches in general do not have any good advice about how to handle the difficulties that arise in marriage.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 02:43 PM
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Re: Does church address marriage issues adequately?

I think some churches do this better than others. Our particular congregation does not hear much from the pulpit about marriage, but our pastor is great at counseling couples and families on a personal level. I think there are some great Christian resources on marriage, but support and accountability are really important, too.

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 07:33 PM
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I do believe the resources are there however many people won't use them out of fear of others knowing their business. The Retrouvaille program is offered through the Catholic Church and is the reason I am married today. There is also marriage intensive weekends through Focus on the Family. I could not afford that and didn't try for the scholarship. Also the Retrouvaille program welcomes all denominations and no they don't try to convert you.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 08:02 PM
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Re: Does church address marriage issues adequately?

From a catholic perspective.

Picture a very large cycle with-in it a small cycle. With-in the small circle is a tiny cycle.

The tiny cycle is doctrine (the creed sums a lot of catholic doctrine.). The small cycle are laws (sorry forget exact term) and the large cycle is pastor care. This model allows a great deal of flexibity. For example we are command to love god. To do so we need to live our faith daily. So we set up daily rituals (like muslims praying 7 times daily. ). Hence the meat no meat on Friday. But what difference does this make to a fishing village that rarely eats meat? The bishop has the authority to change the "what" to something eles.

So their is no one way in many situations. It actually a dialogue between all people (regardless of faith) and the church.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 12:37 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your responses so far.

Someone asked me if I was asking out if general interest or if I was looking for resources myself.

Mainly the first one. I have recently been following XXX Church and whilst they seem to approach hard topics from a well meaning place, it seems they also can fall into some of the traps I have seen in the wider church.

I have been on these forums for 3-4 years and you don't have to read too much to get an idea of what kind of struggles couples are having. Couples with differing sex drives or needs, affairs, problematic porn/lust issues, lies and breaking down of trust, in-law dilemmas, growing to disliking each other, differing styles with finance or home management, children etc.

I have seen some of this addressed through sermons, courses, DVDs, books, articles, social media, pastoral care and marriage counselling.

I have generally found meeting with our pastor or marriage counsellor (who is also Christian) has been the most effective thing for us, but the rest can be "hit and miss" in my experience.

There are some mindsets and stereotypes I find in Christian circles that i don't find particularly helpful or biblical. Eg...

1. Stereotypes about men and women traits or what we want. Eg, " men are visual", "women want to be pursued"

2. Women need to cover up to help men not lust, except when it's our own husband,which means we have to put more effort into looking sexy for him and be willing to put out more.

3. Honour your parents (or in-laws) whilst remembering to "leave and cleave" to your spouse. I was struggling with this one recently when my dying father in law was living with us and his severe gambling issue and constant lying was impacting on us. It's hard to do both of these things where then situation is more complex...

These are just a few themes I come across in a lot of the resources.

I also think some mindsets try to make some issues more simple than they are. Eg, if you follow 3 simple steps, your children will blossom into amazing Christians, or ensuring the man is the head of the home will achieve order.

Marriage and family can be really messy. I feel some pastors are wise to this when counselling couples. I have also found the Boundaries book more useful than a lot of marriage resources, although I have not read the Boundaries For Marriage book yet.

Them there is the culture of some churches where families rock up smiling and dressed and behaving nicely but the culture of that particular church has a "don't talk" message of people are experiencing serious family problems.

I hope i am not bringing anyone down with this. My post and this comment came from some frustration with some of the mindsets and messages I encounter and have been most recently bothered by XXX Church's assertions. Things are ok-ish for us at the moment but if we hit a real rough patch again I know we have a few Christian things to draw from but I personally would stick to professional counselling and pastoral support
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your responses so far.

Someone asked me if I was asking out if general interest or if I was looking for resources myself.

Mainly the first one. I have recently been following XXX Church and whilst they seem to approach hard topics from a well meaning place, it seems they also can fall into some of the traps I have seen in the wider church.

I have been on these forums for 3-4 years and you don't have to read too much to get an idea of what kind of struggles couples are having. Couples with differing sex drives or needs, affairs, problematic porn/lust issues, lies and breaking down of trust, in-law dilemmas, growing to disliking each other, differing styles with finance or home management, children etc.

I have seen some of this addressed through sermons, courses, DVDs, books, articles, social media, pastoral care and marriage counselling.

I have generally found meeting with our pastor or marriage counsellor (who is also Christian) has been the most effective thing for us, but the rest can be "hit and miss" in my experience.

There are some mindsets and stereotypes I find in Christian circles that i don't find particularly helpful or biblical. Eg...

1. Stereotypes about men and women traits or what we want. Eg, " men are visual", "women want to be pursued"

2. Women need to cover up to help men not lust, except when it's our own husband,which means we have to put more effort into looking sexy for him and be willing to put out more.

3. Honour your parents (or in-laws) whilst remembering to "leave and cleave" to your spouse. I was struggling with this one recently when my dying father in law was living with us and his severe gambling issue and constant lying was impacting on us. It's hard to do both of these things where then situation is more complex...

These are just a few themes I come across in a lot of the resources.

I also think some mindsets try to make some issues more simple than they are. Eg, if you follow 3 simple steps, your children will blossom into amazing Christians, or ensuring the man is the head of the home will achieve order.

Marriage and family can be really messy. I feel some pastors are wise to this when counselling couples. I have also found the Boundaries book more useful than a lot of marriage resources, although I have not read the Boundaries For Marriage book yet.

Them there is the culture of some churches where families rock up smiling and dressed and behaving nicely but the culture of that particular church has a "don't talk" message of people are experiencing serious family problems.

I hope i am not bringing anyone down with this. My post and this comment came from some frustration with some of the mindsets and messages I encounter and have been most recently bothered by XXX Church's assertions. Things are ok-ish for us at the moment but if we hit a real rough patch again I know we have a few Christian things to draw from but I personally would stick to professional counselling and pastoral support
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-11-2015, 02:27 AM
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Re: Does church address marriage issues adequately?

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Originally Posted by happy as a clam View Post
Christian (Catholic) here.

No, I do not believe the Church, regardless of denomination, addresses the issues of (modern) marriage adequately.
Another Catholic here.

I will speak up for the marriage preparation in the Catholic Church, which apparently does have an effect (even allowing for many Catholics taking it). Trying to ensure that unsuitable couples split up before marriage rather than after is wise. In this respect, the Catholic Church does better than many of the Protestant Churches.

However, post-ceremony, you have a point. I spoke to a Priest recently about my marriage and he agrees with you, he says there is a realization that not enough is being done to preserve the marriage. There are some Protestant Churches that offer active guidance post-ceremony (that said, it would have made no difference in my own case).
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