Christian Marriage & Family Counseling Diana Carpenter Course: CC-540 August 29, 2008 Vision Int’l University “Liberty” Doctorate Program Book: THE HAPPY FAMILY Restoring the Moral Structure of the Family By: Guillermo Maldonado Introduction: As I read this book, my heart was pounding stronger than normal. I believe everything it says. This book covers every area of marriage and family possible and it covers it thoroughly.
It is amazing that within the pages of this book there are such profound truths and with that in mind, I believe every family should have a copy of this book in their personal libraries. Chapter 1: Marriage is a Covenant The foundations for building strong families are defined in this chapter. The explanation of a covenant is defined as a written agreement between two or more people who make a commitment to do something within the agreed specified stipulations and does involve signed documents to be complete.
On the other hand, the definition of a pact is inclusive of but not limited to a contract with legal and formal documents that must include a relationship between two parties to be complete. In the Word of God there are three pact institutions that were created by God and they are specified as (1) the family, (2) the church, and (3) the government. Marriage is a legal relationship established by God and for this reason it is also considered a marriage pact, (because it involves the relationship between two people). It is a union that according to the Bible is sealed not only by legally binding documents but also by God Himself.
Because of God’s seal on this pact or union, He is the supreme authority of this relationship and no man can divide it. The marriage union is not to be taken lightly because it involves the union between two parties and God and many times it also involves children. For this reason God has stated in His Word that He hates the division of this union, that He has designed, which the world calls the “D” word, DIVORCE. God hates divorce and that is very clear and is not to be argued. The fear of the Lord is to hate what He hates and love what He loves.
Because God hates divorce, it is our duty, as the Church, to discourage divorce and teach the body of Christ what pleases our Lord and how best to take care of what He has given us, our families. Chapter 2: Marriage Breakers There are many threats that become marriage breakers. One of which is having too many commitments and personal fatigue. In order to avoid this type of threat it is important to prioritize. I have always heard it taught, God first, family second, ministry or career third. This practice will help families avoid troubles not only in their marriages but also in the child rearing areas.
Another threat is the area of finances. People get themselves into trouble financially by spending too much money. Many people lean towards the idea of; the more you make, the more you spend. This is true of all nationalities but especially in America where credit is easy, resulting in unnecessary spending and bad investing. Other marriage breakers include selfishness, lack of communication, sexual frustration, failed business ventures, success in business, being married too young, not getting along with in-laws, and unfounded jealousy. Of course there are solutions to every area of difficulty in a marriage.
But if two parties are willing, they can overcome any and all threats; praying that the One who designed this marriage, God Himself, will rescue them from all their troubles. Chapter 3: The Differences between Men and Women Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. That is what has been always been taught. How true it is; different sexes, different components, we are definitely different than our counterparts. God created it this way so I’m sure He knows what makes us tick and how to restore us from our troubles and He also nurtures our differences.
Men and women were created different to complement each other. From intuition to sexual fulfillment, from communication to temperament, men and women were created uniquely exceptional. Physically and emotionally, we are incomparable but by divine intervention, we are intentionally compatible. It is imperative to carefully discover these differences so married couples can become a strong union in the process of building a sanctuary in a godly home. Remember, this is a union that “no man can put asunder” in other words, “no man can divide or separate”, (see Matthew 19:6 & Mark 10:9).
Chapter 4: Responsibilities, Roles, and Functions of Men and Women A woman wants love, security and protection. The husbands’ greatest need is to receive respect from his family, but at the same time his greatest fear is to lose respect from his wife and children. The only other need the man has, after respect is to be admired by his wife and family. Along with the needs of the husband and wife are the responsibilities of both individuals. Because of the fact that the man holds the family together by being the head of the household, his responsibilities far surpass the woman’s role in spirituality, significance and leadership.
The husband’s duty in the home and towards the wife is clearly defined in the Word of God. Any deviation from this is disobedience and will result in the lack of spiritual blessing for the entire household. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25). It also clearly specifies in the Bible that the head of every man is Christ, the head of the woman is man and the head of Christ is God (See 1 Cor. 11:3). Therefore, the head and priest of the household is undoubtedly the husband.
He should also be more spiritual than the wife; loving the Lord with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. The man should also be the emotional provider in the home, providing emotional security and helping to build the characters of the children with words of affirmation and encouragement. The man of the house provides unconditional emotional support and prayer support during moments of crisis, sickness and sadness for every household member. Especially during the development years, children need to be encouraged, nurtured and affirmed until maturity is reached. This is the duty of the father.
The husband must be the financial provider the protector of the family, the progenitor of the home and the developer and cultivator of everything that happens to him and belongs to both of them, husband and wife. The responsibilities of the wife are directly related to the husband in the areas of helping him, respecting him, submitting to him, in reproduction and fulfilling his sexual desires. There are scriptures that are also irrefutable of the woman’s duties to her husband. As with every area in our lives we can always find the correct instruction in our life’s manual, “The Bible”.
The reasons why we do what we do, the consequences of what will happen if we deviate, the explanations and details of how to do something, are all written in the Word of God. Be a learner of the Word of God and you will have good success in every area of your live, if not, you will have varying degrees of failure, at home, at work and abroad. (See Joshua 1:8). Chapter 5: Communication in the Home There are three levels of communication. First, there is conversation, this involves a quick exchange of words and doesn’t require a personal relationship. The second level is to communicate and convey small details.
At this level there in no need for personal relationships either. This area of communication involves small talk such as informal information, daily events, and the latest news, anything that does not involve deep thoughts or emotions. The third level involves the communication of intimate and personal things. At this level people share deep personal intimacies of feelings and emotions. Because this level always involves a personal relationship many times detailed emotions can be freely expressed to each other that include spiritual visions and personal encounters with God.
This is the highest level of communicating shared between two people. The book doesn’t say this but I believe that at this level of communication, spouses should share with one another their sexual needs and passions in order to adequately fulfill one another’s sexual desires. The absence of this intimate confession to one another could result in unsatisfied partners, and the outcome can be disastrous. It is also important to learn to listen to each family member, to understand and to minister council to people.
Always speak the truth in love and study each other in order to meet the need of each members love language. Each member of the house has a different love language. These love languages are defined as (1) words of affirmation, (2) physical touch, (3) acts of service, (4) quality time and (5) gifts. Each member of the family functions in a special way and are attuned to different approaches. It is important to meet the communication needs of each family member. It can only be possible through establishing strong relationships and a solid foundation of trust for one another.
Chapter 6: Sex in Marriage The purpose of sex in a marriage is not only to procreate but also to enjoy sexual pleasure within the marriage unit. Some people have a hard time enjoying sexual pleasure because of their past history regarding an abusive sexual experience. Others struggle with sex because they feel it is a taboo, a no-no. This is the Devil’s lie. Furthermore there exist those that are the selfish partner which think only of themselves during the sexual encounter with no regard for their partner’s satisfaction.
Women need the following ingredients to experience sexual satisfaction: security, love, the ability to express emotions, the ability to express herself, communication, she needs to feel beautiful, she needs words of affirmation and finally, she needs to feel needed. God instituted sanitary, sexual health laws for His children. Leviticus chapters 18 & 19 talk about specific sexual practices that should never be practiced during marriage. These are called aberrations and are strictly prohibited in a marriage. Some of these aberrations and include incest, masochism, pornography, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, among several others.
If any of these aberrations are practiced, curse and destruction will come into the marriage. Chapter 7: Separation and Divorce The word divorce in the Greek means to abandon, meaning to relinquish without permission because in God’s eyes, marriage is an irrevocable covenant or pact so the severance of this holy union becomes a sin. Divorce started way back during the times of Moses. Because there was not significant enough reason for divorce in Moses’ day, the men who wanted a divorce were considered to have had a hard heart.
If anyone had committed adultery while being married, this sin was already punishable by the act of stoning the person to death. Therefore adultery was not reason enough for divorce in those days. The Pharisees were leaving their wives empty-handed, in poverty and misery, without hope of ever finding anyone else to marry. Jesus came to show mercy, even to the victim at the stoning ceremony, (the woman caught in adultery). Instead of stoning her to death, Jesus suggested she be divorced, that is when adultery became the only acceptable grounds for divorce. God hates divorce but he loves and forgives the divorcee.
There are consequences that accompany (divorce) the breaking of the marriage covenant. Whether there is rightful reason or grounds that justify a divorce, there is absolutely NO reason that is too impossible to overcome. Overcoming an adulterous affair in a marriage is still less painful than the divorce itself. A divorce can be classified as a very painful experience and anyone who enters this decision should be warned of the long lasting pain involved before following through with the divorce. These painful experiences are not limited to the marriage partners but extend to the children as well.
As with an inheritance, divorce passes along to the children extremely traumatic and painful emotions such as broken spirits, shattered and crushed spirits and hurting souls and possibly others that may be very difficult for young children to get over. Because of the pain involved as a consequence of a divorce, careful guidance should be considered before this difficult decision is made. Pastoral Counseling and the guidance of the Holy Spirit should be carefully considered during this critical time in anyone’s life. Chapter 8: Single and Satisfied The gift of singleness can be a beautiful and useful time in a person’s life.
Although there should be no hurry to get married, some people do get in a hurry and they resent staying single for reasons of loneliness, unrestrained sexual desires and because they want to get away from their parents so they do not have to live at home any longer. These reasons are excuses and can possibly become a big mistake instead turning out to be what they had imagined. A single person must trust in God to find their mate. It is important to trust and wait on God before entering this sacred time in one’s life; because once the marriage takes place, there’s no backing out of it.
Finding comfort in the Lord and a love relationship with Jesus is the answer to staying single and therefore the wait for a mate will not be so dreadful. Being in a hurry is a sign of anxiety not trust. Once a single person is busy going about God’s business, “doing the will of the Father”, everything will fall into perfect alignment; this includes ministry, marriage and family. Chapter 9: Children CChildren are a gift from God but they are susceptible to all the baggage parents bring into their lives. They inherit bad habits as well as good habits, blessings as well as curses.
It is extremely important to take the child rearing years very seriously and never forget that without the Lord they can be doomed to the bondage of slavery and calamity, even so at a very young age. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Warning: “begin while they are young! ” Parents must be sensitive to a child’s needs, their feelings and their emotional health. Just because they are children doesn’t mean they have no say so in a matter. They are extremely perceptive and many of them can discern security from malevolence.
The attitude of the parent determines the response of the child. Whenever there is a strong negative behavior manifested in the child, it is highly likely that there is pain or suffering buried somewhere deep inside the spirit of that child. This can be evident during the developmental years but especially during the adolescent years. Children need to be heard and understood but that does not negate the fact that they still need instruction and correction but most importantly godly discipline and sound advice. Children need to be taught respect at a very young age.
They also need to be taught obedience; because of the “Adamic nature” there is always an innate tendency to go against the flow of instruction causing them to disobey beginning at very young ages. Many parents wait to give their children responsibilities but the fact is that the younger responsibilities are introduced, the easier it will be when they get older for them to carry them out. There are several forms of discipline that can be used very effectively if introduced during the very beginning stages of development. On the other hand punishment is sometimes necessary also.
Children respond beautifully to love and understanding. It is easy to discipline a child in love and have great success in the process. If instruction and correction as well as punishment and discipline is executed from the very beginning of a child’s live, the difficulty and burdens that child will give parents will be minimal. The secret is “tough love”. It is not a sin to be stern, as long as it is done with love. This guarantees that the child grow up to be a healthy, responsible adult. “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Proverbs 13:24).
Parents can find instruction on how to raise their children in the Holy Scriptures. Even reading the Bible to them teaches the child principles that they need to know as they are growing up. This is one of my favorite passages and it is one that I faithfully follow: “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children.
Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorpost of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). It is never too late to ask for forgiveness; if you have blown it with your spouse or if you have failed at raising your children properly. The Lord is a God of the second chance. He will restore and rebuild you and your house, all you have to do is ask. After all, He is the Master at building families and He favors all of His children.