Preparing For Marriage Part 1 – Going Back To The Old Stump

Preparing For Marriage Part 1 – Going Back To The Old Stump

Preparing for marriage is crucial, especially if you desire a Godly marriage.

My husband and I met with, Dr. John Thomas, a Christian Psychologist with decades of marriage counseling experience. I thank God that we had the opportunity to speak with someone so incredibly wise and knowledgeable about the adversities Christian couples face.

A lot of his advice is what I will be sharing with you over the next few weeks.

going back to the old stumpAfter our first session he gave us a CD to listen to. It was a recording of a seminar he conducted some years earlier. On the CD he taught about the importance of going back to the old stump. He used a tree stump as a metaphor to represent the roots of our family behavior.

When you meet someone, the main focus is on who they are today. Although significant, he advises couples preparing for marriage to investigate “the stump” of your future spouse.

When you go back to the stump of a man, it is not always to factor if you will or will not marry him. Although that decision should not be taken lightly, the fact is that no one has perfect roots.

Whoever it is that you fall in love with will have idiosyncrasies and quirks that you may not see right now. Then when they show up, you may find yourself scratching your head and wondering, “Where did that come from!” 😉

Going back to the old stump can help two people who love each other find ways to make the love last.

Going back to the stump will help you understand your future husband. Did he come from a divorced home? Did he grow up poor or wealthy? Is there a history of illness, or substance abuse, or neglect in the family? Was he pampered by his parents or pushed to be independent and loaded down with responsibilities?

Ron and I have had many conversations about our childhood, family relationships, and key events that affected our lives. There are some things about us all (good and bad) that have grown from our stump.

We found it very helpful to spend a significant amount of quality time with each other’s families. I watched how he interacted with his family and he watched how I interacted with mine.

As you prepare for marriage, meet the parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. It will shed some light on things like; what he expects from you as a wife, how he feels about money, and his approach to resolving disagreements.

Understanding the whys of our actions helps with communication. Husbands and wives often misinterpret each other’s actions and the smallest things lead to huge arguments. Have you ever been in a relationship where you just could not figure out where he was coming from and it caused a breakdown in communication? Poor communication leads to a poor relationship.

If you are committed to marriage you must be patient and resilient when it comes to the quirks and not so perfect traits that have grown from the stump. Until we get to Heaven, this is the nature of our humanity.

The key is for both the wife and the husband to grow in the Spirit of God and not settle to walk after the manner of the flesh. By the power of God we do not have to be victims of imperfect stumps. We decrease that God may increase.

I pray this piece of advice is helpful to you and yours.

Your Sister in Christ,

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4 thoughts on “Preparing For Marriage Part 1 – Going Back To The Old Stump

  1. Thank you Candra! I spoke to a counselor a couple of years ago and I recall her mentioning how one’s family relationship (or lack thereof) and upbringing has an influence (positive and/or negative) on many of our current behaviors and mindsets. Once I learned this, a lot of things I did in friendships and relationships (both right and wrong) suddenly made sense.

    On the hanging out with your significant other’s family – great point. I had dinner with a guy once whom I briefly dated. It was clear from the interaction that he was much closer to his mom than his father. During the family dinner, it made sense to me why he still struggled with validation from his father, and I understood why he chose to deal with this (at a young age) in destructive ways. I’ve also learned to observe more of my own actions when certain situations arise, as well as those of men that I meet and not necessarily dating. That’s been very helpful in (re)confirming what I need to stay away from in a potential relationship, and what elements of myself I still need to work on.

    This was a meaningful post filled with additional insight that I lacked (I really liked the tree stump example!), and I’m loving the Preparing for Marriage series! 🙂 🙂

    1. Thank you Yasmine!

      You’ve made some good points in your comment. Observing family relationships early on in a relationship (before our hearts are given and committed) can prevent a lot of heartache later on. It is important not to ignore obvious factors that may inhibit the relationship later on. When you commit to marry someone, you are accepting the whole person as they are.

      Thank you and God bless ya Sis!

  2. Candra, may the Lord bless you for sharing this message! How marvelous are the ways of the Lord, I was just talking to my sister yesterday and she mentioned the very same thing about the importance of knowing your husband-to-be in a family setting where you get to see him in all his colors. So, I definitely believe this is the Lord impressing that on me. Thanks again!

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