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I'd really like to see the introduction of effective Christian marriage preparation (long before couples start getting together) and family communication on the wisdom involved in best value marriage partner selection.
One of the worst problems about marriage is that there is little teaching on how to choose a marriage partner. Culturally, in the west, it is assumed we will fall in love and either parents will approve our choice or we will marry in spite of them! STOP RIGHT THERE! Young people, did you know that arranged marriages have an equal or better chance of longevity and success compared with “love matches”?
The fear of arranged marriage, of course, is that parents will force an unattractive marriage on an unwilling bride or groom. This doesn’t have to be the case at all. The best matches are made when all parties plan the marriage long before it becomes a possibility. Good parents will comprehend their son or daughter deeply after twenty years of sharing their lives. They will know their abilities, their passions, their likes and dislikes. They will begin talking seriously about the kind of marriage partner that will be right for the son or daughter long before they are of marriageable age, inviting discussion with the growing child, about the qualities they will need to see etc.
The old fashioned action of the potential groom asking the lady’s father for her hand, or even permission to court her, had many benefits. It basically declared that
• He appreciated the precious nature of a daughter and the value of the effort that has been invested in her learning years.
• he was prepared to be accountable to the father for creating a viable and pleasant environment for his daughter, and understood his responsibilities in that direction. Persons who wished to remain unaccountable would tend to stay away!
• He was interested long term – not interested in a fly-by-night, short-term, drop it if or when I find something better operation.
• Defined the nature of his intentions toward the daughter.
• The broader range of family life interested him and he expected to develop cordial and positive relationships with her family.
From the father’s point of view he
• became aware as soon as anything serious was happening to his beloved daughter. (There should be no romantic meddling before this)
• had the opportunity to assess the young man’s potential as a husband and son-in-law,
• Could then discuss this ‘proposal’ with his daughter and the family, and together their prayers would bring them wisdom,
• Could protect her if the relationship were against her wishes or her best interests, (the protective role of fathers ought to be acknowledged and valued highly).
The interests of the daughter are served by
• Her remaining under his protection until serious marriage is proposed.
• She can communicate with her father (and family) their perceptions of the candidate and consider whether indeed this is the one opportunity of a life-time that she has dreamed of.
• The whole emotional energy of romance is saved for the right occasion and person, and hearts are not broken through poor choice and indefinite arrangements.
• The focus is on the long-term success, and not the instant pleasure of flirting etc.
• removing the pressure and serious emotional abuse of illicit sexual advances, fornication and the fear of unwanted pregnancy.
• Removing the dangers of unwanted pregnancy and abortion, and the serious mental deterioration that can accompany those events (eg clinical depression, sexually transmitted diseases, the loneliness and accompanying miseries and poverty of bringing up a child (however beautiful) as a single mother.
• Reducing to zero the over-bearing disturbance of sexual involvement followed by rejection.
From the young man’s perspective the benefits are
• Reduction of the temptations of sexual sin.
• Reduction of the chances of fathering a child to a woman with whom you do not wish to have a life=-long relationship (even if marriage doesn’t happen, the child has to be brought up for twenty years or so)
• Reduction of the likelihood that you might call for the murder of your unborn children in an abortionist’s clinic.
• A proper focus on the reality of the marriage relationship to the exclusion of casual relationships.
• A better focus on the kind of partner that will really suit him.
• A VIRGIN BRIDE!
Well, of course, it may be that young people nowadays throw up their hands and say “Don’t be so old-fashioned and out of touch with modern realities!”
Modern realities are that
• marriages are breaking down at an incredible rate,
• children’s lives are being ruined as they are made to cope with the inadequacies of their elders
• single motherhood is the loneliest of miseries and a huge struggle, to say the least.
• A huge proportion of children today are growing up un-fathered or un-mothered, and suffering very much anguish over it.
• Many of those children are finding their comfort in drugs, violence and other destructive life patterns.
• One of the worst of modern day deficiencies is lack of communication, partly through the pressures placed upon people to perform, keep up a trendy image. A very major part of this is because sex is introduced into relationships long before they are properly thought through. Once this has happened it is impossible to think straight about the nature of the relationship because the body has already undergone physical change and entered into a state of mutual dependency. This means the new substances (hormones etc) are affecting everything including the ability to be logical or rational. Instead one wants to defend one’s present position, which is probably not the ideal one.
Therefore we need to address such realities by designing a new approach to the whole marriage process, identifying its stages “line by line and precept upon precept.”
One of the major elements in this new process has to be that of communication. A wise young person will involve his or her whole family in seeking the wisdom about marriage that is available, and then following it through.
Great communication in the family of origin is probably about the best preparation for great communication in marriage. Therefore plenty of time has to be given for this to happen.
Education systems could spend more energy on communication skills and the skills of kindness! This should include – for example -
• the identification of manipulative patterns of speech,
• identifying truth (functional wisdom) from lies
• indicators of violence,
• features of long-term, intimate friendships (essential to good marriages!) - selection of marriage partners would benefit immensely!
A great slow-down in the pace of formation of relationships so that good communication can create the best possible outcomes is Number One Priority!
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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