September 2014 Posts

25 Questions to Ask Before You Say “I Do”

25 Questions-Rick

These are some questions every couple should ask each other and discuss before getting married. Be sure to listen carefully and thoughtfully to the other person’s answers. Knowing these things about each other ahead of time could save a lot of heartache later.

1. Why do you want to get married?

2. Why not just live together?

3. Of all the people in the world, why do you want to marry me?

4. What would it take for you to throw in the towel after we are married?

5. What are the strengths you see in me?

6. What are the challenges you see that I still need to grow through?

7. What do you think our biggest wins will be as a married couple?

8. What do you think our biggest challenges will be as a couple?

9. What are the top 5 most important things in life to you?

10. If you could change anything about your life, what would it be?

11. What was your relationship with your father, and how did that impact you?

12. What was your relationship with your mother, and how did that impact you?

13. What was life like in your family between you and your siblings (if you have any)?

14. What do you assume it will be like on Christmas? Birthdays? Thanksgiving? Other holidays?

15. Where are you at spiritually? (See your spiritual growth self-assessment.)

16. What are the similarities and differences in our spiritual beliefs?

17. What place do you believe “faith” should play in our relationship/family?

18. What communicates love to you?

19. What makes you feel disrespected?

20. What about children? How many should we have? When?

21. What is your dream day and/or night like?

22. What is your dream vacation?

23. What is any unfinished business from the past that you need to take care of?

24. Are there any issues in our relationship right now that we need to deal with?

25. When was the last time you laughed uncontrollably? What was it about?

A Biblical Understanding of Womanhood

Understanding Biblical womanhood

What does God have to say about man and woman? Who did He create them to be?

I decided to study the words used in the Old Testament for man (see Part 1) and for woman,[1] specifically using the Old Testament Hebrew because the Old Testament is where we find the roots, beginnings and original design of things.

So, here are six of the most common words for woman used in the Old Testament Hebrew. This study was enlightening to me, and I hope it is to you as well. You will not only see different aspects of womanhood, but also some of the progression of a woman’s development.

1. The Creation Woman: Adam (pronounced ah-dahm). This word refers to both male and female at times; but can also refer to mankind in general. It’s talking about a person from a creation or design point of view. God created this person in two primary ways: in the image of God, with value and dignity, and also finite (with limitations). It’s very important for a woman to realize she is created in the image of God but that she also has limits, by design.

2. The Sexual Woman: Neqebah (pronounced nek-ay-baw). The word, translated “female,” technically means “to be pierced.” This word is also used to mean “scrutinized” (pierced through with the eyes.) She is made to attract a man. God designed her to desire, pursue and consummate a sexual relationship with a man. She is that kind of person and she needs to be authenticated in this design. But she also needs to remember that in being a Sexual Woman she can abuse this and use her body in inappropriate ways.

3. The Feminine Woman: Ishshah (pronounced ish-shaw). This word for woman is a noun, but it comes from the root word idea for “soft or delicate.” This soft and delicate side of a woman is something that is very attractive, even magnetic to men. But part of what makes her attractive, her delicateness, like fine china, also makes her vulnerable to being broken or deeply hurt. Trying to make a woman tough when she is designed to be soft and delicate usually creates problems. Just because a woman is strong and capable does not mean that she doesn’t have this soft and delicate side that needs to be nurtured.

4. The Nurturing Woman: Rechem (pronounced rekh-em). One of the words used for woman in the Old Testament is the word “womb.” It is translated as the technical “womb” of a woman but also the woman herself, referring to that place or person of nurture. A baby is taken care of and given all that it needs to survive, grow and develop into a birthed baby. She will naturally invest herself in helping others get through difficulties and develop them. She will often be attracted to the wounded puppies of life, literal puppies sometimes, but also men who are like wounded puppies. While the nurturing part of her is God-given, she needs to be careful to not let nurture turn into enablement.

5. The Capable Woman: Chayil Ishshah (pronounced chah-yil + Ish-shah). This is the same word used for the soft, delicate woman, but is combined with a word that means strong and capable, and this word is used very selectively. It’s not used just in terms of what she can do; it’s also used regarding her character. It means someone who has a lifestyle or reputation for displaying both soft and delicate, and strong and capable. She is the Proverbs 31 woman who oversees the household, creatively helps with supporting the family, engages with others in the community and brings honor to her whole family. A mature, developed woman will have a good balance of being both soft and delicate, and strong and capable, without sacrificing one for the other.

6. The Praised Woman: Ishshah Halal (pronounced Ish-shaw + haw-lal). This too is a combination of words for “soft and delicate” and “praised.” This picture, combined with other New Testament commands, makes it clear that women were designed for praise and honor. Praise can be private but honor is always public. A woman is made to need praise and honor from the leading man in her life, whether that be a father or a husband. She is made to achieve this praise and honor by her actions. Without being given this from a father or husband, she will find herself unfulfilled, and often look for praise and honor from other, less significant men.

Three of these words for woman contain the idea of “soft and delicate,” and this is important for both men and women to remember. Our culture tends to not value this in a woman as much as they exploit it. Consequently, even Christian men and women tend to not value this part of women in a healthy and balanced way. Without embracing this part of God’s design, women will not be able to attain the full maturity God has for them.

Men and women have similarities in design as well as significant differences, yet both are uniquely designed by God. The more we understand these differences the better we will be at working together to achieve God’s mission.

 

[1] This idea was fascinating to me after reading a book by Bob Hicks titled, The Masculine Journey, where Mr. Hicks did a biblical study of the most common words for man in the Old Testament.

Understanding Biblical Manhood

What does God have to say about man and woman? Who did He create them to be?

I decided to study the words used in the Old Testament for man and for woman [1], specifically using the Old Testament Hebrew because the Old Testament is where we find the roots, beginnings and original design of things.

So here are six of the most common words for man used in the Old Testament Hebrew. I think you will find this as enlightening as I have. You will not only see different aspects of manhood, but also some of the progression of a man’s development.

 1. The Creation Man: Adam (pronounced ah-dahm). This word refers to both male and female at times; but can also refer to mankind in general. It’s talking about man from a creation or design point of view. God created this person in two primary ways: in the image of God, with value and dignity, and also finite (with limitations). It’s very important for a man to realize he is created in the image of God but that he also has limits, by design.

2. The Sexual Man: Zakar (pronounced zah-car). This is the second most common word in the Old Testament for man. It refers to the phallic man – the sexual man. The word technically means, “to bore through.” It is part of who God designed him to be. Not asexual, but of a particular sex with particular desires and drives. But those desires and drives need to be controlled. He is created as a sexual male, but needs to realize the need for limitations to be enforced on those desires and drives – by himself – so he doesn’t abuse his sexuality.

3. The Warrior Man: Gabor (pronounced guh-bore). The word means “warrior.” It speaks of the aspect of man that is the achiever. The warrior goes out and attacks goals and all kinds of tasks to achieve those goals. It’s used of David and his “mighty men.” They were the ones who were there to protect, to defend, or do whatever it took to conquer for him, if need be. It’s used of wise men and it’s used of spiritual men who conquer the forces of evil. It is the warrior man that provides for and protects his family and those he loves. But if the warrior does not limit his power as a warrior he can become destructive and harmful to others.

4. The Wounded Warrior: Enosh (pronounced ee-nahsh). The person who most often describes himself this way is Job. It’s the picture of the warrior who has been wounded, as if he’s been in battle long enough to become wounded. This depicts a man who is facing all kinds of difficulties, who is paying a price for his going out to accomplish and achieve. This is a concept of man that our culture has little value for. In our culture we often say this man is in a mid-life crisis. This man usually feels past his prime, like life is passing him by for younger warriors. But the reality, in God design, is that this man must face his wounds and grow through them so he can move on and become another form of man.

5. The Mature Man: Ish (pronounced ish). This word is always used in contrast to a young man. It’s an older man, a mature man. It’s a man who, through his wounds, has come to grips with who he is and who he is not. He has accomplished a degree of self-discipline and self-acceptance. He is no longer feeling the need to compete as much as he used to. He has a settled contentment with who God made him to be. This is the man who has learned and grown from his mistakes, his wounds and his failures. He has refused to be defeated by this process of life that is necessary for any man who wants to continue to grow and mature.

6. The Wise Man: Hakam (pronounced ha-kom). This word depicts the sage or the wise man. This is the man who has continued to move along in life to become a mature man, but he has also become a wise person who can help other people understand life and begin to grow. He is a mentor. He is a form of a patriarch to those around him. He is a person who is sought out by others to sit at his feet, so to speak, so they can listen, learn, grow and benefit from his wisdom.

Both men and women need to see through the empty concepts of our culture that say a man is only worth something until he turns 40-45. That is and never was God’s idea.

There is value in all these portrayals of man. Though the warriors of our culture may be particularly prized, without wounded warriors who have learned and grown into mature men from their wounds, we will not have wise men, or sages, who can help some of the warriors understand what is ahead and not have to be wounded quite so deeply in order to learn and grow toward the maturity that God desires.

Next is Part 2: Womanhood

 

 

[1] This idea was fascinating to me after reading a book by Bob Hicks titled, The Masculine Journey, where Mr. Hicks did a biblical study of the most common words for man in the Old Testament.