In response to the question of a recently engaged man who sought counsel on how to be a good husband 100 days before his wedding day, Tennessee-based theologian John Piper advised that couples should be as open as possible, and on the same theological page.
In a podcast Tuesday on DesiringGod.org, a website devoted to glorifying God, Piper outlined four major areas that couples can address to bolster their plans for a happy marriage.
1. The more issues you can discuss before marriage, the better
Piper says that couples can become frustrated when unaddressed issues surface during the marriage which could have been handled before they jumped the broom.
2. Now is the time to have every conflict possible
Don't shy away from issues in order to avoid conflict. Piper says that this is what the engagement period is for. He says that dodging conflicts for a more convenient time is the wrong approach. A couple should know about the others' habits, secrets, and thoughts.
"You don't want marriage to be based on ignorance, but on trust in the face of all truth," he says.
3. Spiritual accord
Couples can use their engagement period to ensure that they are on the same theological page. "These are golden months in which to set patterns of spiritual leadership," says Piper.
Both individuals need to be pulling in the same direction, including seeing God, Christ, love, salvation, heaven, and hell in the same way. Otherwise, Piper says, the marriage can suffer from spiritual discord. In this case, a couple can stop "talking" spiritually. He adds that fellowship and obedience to Christ on an individual level is foundational for the survival and flourishing of the marriage, and is of utmost importance.
"The marriages that I watch unravel, unravel in tandem with the unraveling of spiritual reality," he notes. "One or both of the [individuals] falls away from Jesus."
4. Always express love for your bride
Piper says that men should not only do things that show love for their brides-to-be, but they should frequently profess their love. "Don't assume that your affection for your bride-to-be is known and felt by her. Instead, put it on your lips over and over again every day. Find fresh ways to say it, not just show it." The same is true for women, Piper says.
"In your wedding vows, I hope you're going to promise to cherish her above all others, and forsake everyone else, cleaving to her alone. Put that cherishing and that cleaving into words every day."
The pastor says that doing so will reap great dividends for the couple.