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Marriage and Family: The Missing Dimension

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"Didn't the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union" (Malachi 2:15, New Living Translation).

To understand the spiritual significance of marriage and family, we must turn to God, our Creator, to learn what He had in mind in making the human race.

Marriage is one of God's most wonderful gifts to mankind. It is a treasure worth working on, cherishing and sustaining. His instructions are as valid today as ever.

Everyone knows that in most cultures dating is a prelude to marriage. But what many don't know is that how we date greatly influences the kind of marriage we will have. The way we conduct ourselves while dating is an excellent indicator of the commitment we will have to a future relationship and an indicator of the level of happiness we will enjoy.

God's beautiful picture of sexuality is for us to refrain from having sex until we are married and then to only enjoy sex with the person to whom we are married (1 Corinthians 6:18; Exodus 20:14).

To help you establish godly standards, consider the following advice given by a panel of young Christians between the ages of 20 and 30.

Here's some examples of things to say when your relationship is going to far.

Given all the confusion that exists today regarding sex, it's important for us to understand some of the most common but mistaken ideas about this subject.

The Bible does not indicate that there is a specific age at which it suddenly becomes appropriate for us to marry.

The acceptance of homosexuality as an equally valid lifestyle is rapidly growing in Western culture. Yet God tells us that sex was designed for only one relationship—within marriage, exclusively between a man and a woman.

When it comes to temptations to have sex, men and women, in general, face different challenges.

When it comes to sex, people make mistakes—both premarital and extramarital. The biblical way to cleanse one's conscience is to repent—that is, stop breaking God's law.

Many people today consider abortion to be a woman's right to control her body—specifically her reproductive rights. What does the Bible say?

Because so many marriages—particularly in modern Western countries—end in failure, couples trying to live godly lives and make their relationships last will look for ways to protect and preserve their marriages.

The Greek language in which the New Testament was written uses several words translated "love." The first two listed below are found in the New Testament. Understanding their meanings helps us better comprehend God's expectations of us.

Does the Bible prohibit sexual relations within marriage purely for pleasure?

The Bible tells us that children are a blessing from God, and most couples readily welcome them into their families. Human reproduction is one of life's most treasured and memorable experiences. Consider how God intended for this beautiful event to transpire.

Dr. Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, addressed the connections between fatherlessness and criminal behavior in a 2002 speech.

Many parents, including single parents, are raising well-adjusted, moral children who successfully enter adulthood. Why are these families successful when so many others are not?

While parents have the opportunity to be the greatest influence on their children's lives, this doesn't always happen.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Discipline with encouragement may seem like an oxymoron. How could discipline possibly be encouraging? Isn't it always painful and depressing?

How can sibling rivalry be minimized?

Is it possible to successfully raise godly children even as a single parent?

Should chilldren be held responsible for bad choices or decisions?

It's important to set aside quality time to spend with your children.

There are three seasons in raising children, and one final season that is our goal. Each season is a phase where a child needs a certain type of parenting.

Because each child is a unique human being in terms of the way he or she thinks and acts, parents often wonder whether these differences should affect their parenting.

Resources to encourage you as a parent.

The desire for a happy, lasting marriage blessed with children who grow up to be successful, morally responsible adults is truly the universal dream.