Before We Wed. . .

Becky: Do you think you could make up two lists for me? One: I would like a list of "doctrine" or theology issues that you think pre-engaged/married couples should talk about before they get engaged/married. Two: a list of any other issues you think it's important to talk through. I kind of have these kinds of lists already myself but mostly curious what you think, and want to make sure I don't miss anything.

Dad: First of all, every couple will have a degree of differences in theology. For some it means that one person has strong convictions and the other doesn't, so they will tend to follow the one with the convictions. Others have a desire for unity in all areas, and really struggle to get there, and may never fully agree, but can still get married. Mom and I are somewhere between the two. I tend to have the stronger convictions, but Mom cares about stuff too, so we worked most everything out, or decided that the areas of disagreement weren't that important. It is amazing to me that people get married sometimes and they even attend different churches -- Baptist/Catholic, Lutheran/AC, Catholic/Jewish (that's the biggest stretch I've heard of). I suppose it can be done, but I don't recommend it. I suggest you fully discuss the important issues, and come to a level of agreement/disagreement that you can live with, and still love and respect each other. Of course 100% agreement would be nice, but unrealistic. It doesn't mean that one is wrong and the other right, because we are all right and wrong in some ways. It just helps you understand where your struggles may be, or what areas to leave alone. As far as a list is concerned, I'll try to give you the topics I think are important to discuss so that you can see where you each stand and see where agreement/compromise needs to be worked out.

-The absolutes of the Christian Faith should be absolute, and for that list, I can attach a document if you want, but I suspect you already agree on those things, or one of you wouldn't be a Christian.
-Lord's Supper
-Worship preferences
-Family devotions/worship
-Church involvement - denomination, worship style, size, family/children/youth approach, etc.
-End-times beliefs (very low on my list)
-Free will vs. Reformed views
-Bible Study
-Biblical standards for living
-Roles of husband/wife, Dad/Mom

Other Issues (since theology affects everything, there will be some overlap here):

-understanding personalities
-vacation preferences
-boundaries/standards - other friends, physical involvement before marriage, TV, movies, music, books, etc.
-spending time with extended family
-house size/type (this may change as needs change)
-where to live - country, city, overseas, etc.
-car types
-entertainment preferences
-sleep needs
-personal gifting/dreams/life-goals
-living in American culture

I'm sure there is more, some of which would come up naturally if you attempt to tackle a list like this. If I think of anything else to add, I'll let you know. Keep in mind that most couples don't discuss much of this. They just get married because they feel like it. Your advantage is that the feelings will get stronger after you get married, instead of fading after you get married, which is common for those who get too physically involved before the wedding. Of course the whole area of sex will need to be discussed, but most of that discussion will happen after the wedding.

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