by John and Debby Maniatty
Have you ever noticed how distracting attractions can become? Of course
you have-we all know about distractions regardless of our age. School,
sports, television, the Mall, entertainment, books, over indulgence
of any sort. However, when you are young and single there is an additional
distraction that older, married believers do not have: the desire to
find a mate! This desire is a good thing; how we handle it determines
whether it becomes the blessing it is intended to be or a distraction.
The foundations for a godly marriage should be laid in your heart long
before you actually marry. They should be in place before the desire
for a mate even begins. Most people, however, seem to begin laying these
only after the attraction begins to consume them and, therefore, suffer
much emotional heartache. Jesus has a different Way; one that brings
blessing instead of distraction; joy instead of heartache; liberty instead
bondage; freedom in place of jealousy.
If you want to have a wonderful marriage, the time to prepare for that
is NOW! There are some foundational areas of human development that
need to be cultivated in order to be a Godly husband or wife. The following
are three areas that you should be cultivating in your lives now and
that will bless your future mate in ways that are almost unimaginable.
1. Brothers & Sisters: Your Relationship with Jesus!
Same song-He is the foundation of all Life. He is the Anointing in any
relationship. I spend much more time with Jesus than with Debby. When
I rise up in the morning I spend the first part of my day with Him.
When I go to work I am constantly asking Him for wisdom. Throughout
my day I am praying in the spirit while I am laboring on many different
projects (He created the first multi-tasking system). During lunch I
am with Him, often just reflectingon the creative thoughts that He floods
my mind with. As I look forward to dinner with my family, I am ever
grateful for His provision. While eating I am looking for His wisdom
in the care of my family. When I lay down at night my thoughts are on
Him. As my body sleeps my soul waits on the Lord, looking forward to
rising and spending time with Him again. Throughout the course of my
relationship with Him, my life with Debby is woven in. He is the fabric
of my life; Debby is one of the threads that He is weaving in. A most
beautiful, delightful, desirous one: a treasured one-but only one of
many. And, she is first betrothed to Him!
Scriptures for reflection: 1 Corinthians 7:29; 2 Corinthians 11:2-3
2. Brothers: Your Relationship with your Dad
My dad was a Marine through and through; his son was a drug infested
hippie. Needless to say, we had our conflicts. Dad developed a faith
in God late in life, even having a personal visitation from Jesus on
his deathbed. I was never trained in the things of the Lord by my dad,
however, there are many aspects to my character now that I first saw
exhibited in him. His steadfastness and faithfulness were beacons in
my life. He never panicked and, believe me, I gave him plenty of reasons
to panic! He treated my mother with complete love and respect. In addition,
he cared for the needs of both his own mother and my mom's mother until
the day he went to be with Jesus. He was a friend to everyone, never
seeming to play favorites. It did not matter whether they were rich
or poor, French or English-he treated everyone with friendly respect.
To my dad, all people had worth.
I realize now that the Lord was manifesting Himself through my dad even
before he knew Him. He was anointed to be my dad. Was he perfect? Absolutely
not! Do any of you have a perfect dad! Absolutely not! If dads are imperfect
and prone to make mistakes why are they anointed? Could it be we all
have a perfect Father who brought forth a perfect Son and because of
their perfection His grace is sufficient?
If your dad is a follower of Jesus, hallelujah! If he is not yet a follower
of Jesus, hallelujah! In either case, your dad has a very important
part in establishing your life. Be sensitive to Jesus-build an honorable
relationship with your dad-your future wife will be blessed.
Scriptures for reflection: Deuteronomy 6:1-9; Exodus 20:12
2. Sisters: Your Relationship with your Mom
I was born second in a family of eight children and was the first born
girl. (Yes, this is Debby writing to you now, not John) Because of that
position in my family, I was able to learn much about the responsibility
of being a wife and mother. I know that God Himself placed me there
for His intended purpose and the skills I acquired from my mom I have
been able to pass on to my own children. I didnt know then that
I would one day be the mother of five daughters and the diligence that
was imparted to me by my own mother was an important part of raising
I can recall so well that summer my mom was laid up in bed with a bad
back for at least two months. My older brother and I were solely responsible
for running the house all day while my father worked. Being trained
in the womanly skills more that he, the tasks mainly fell
to me. I remember doing all the laundry, diaper changing (there were
no pampers then), baths, and meal preparation (I did have to go in and
ask several questions each day). The youngest three needed the most
attention and I would line them up each night by the kitchen sink and
wash them up assembly line style! It was no fun to stay at home for
the summer while my friends played and went here and there, but now
Im so thankful for having learned to handle so much at a young
age-God knew I needed that. He knew that I would one day have a houseful
of people to care for. Even then He was teaching me to lay down my life.
Although Im sure I didnt do it all joyfully, the seeds were
planted in my heart.
I remember hours of standing by my moms radio, doing the ironing
while the Saturday afternoon opera program aired. Im sure that
was one of the ways a love of music was imparted to me, although I must
confess I would have preferred to listen to something else. My mother
also played the piano and I remember she and my dad singing together.
I can even recall their favorite song. It was a fun time for me as we
gathered around them and I believe that it stirred a longing in my heart
for worship without my realizing it.
My mom taught me to sew when I was twelve. Oh! The frustrations of making
that first garment-it was a nightgown, something no one else would see.
But my mothers patience and insistence on doing the job right
became a true blessing to me. Learning to persevere and work heartily
unto the Lord was another seed planted. This particular skill I was
able to pass on to Anathea especially and she is now blessing her family
with the fruit of her labors. Tune in to His heart and glean all that
you can wherever He has you and it will become a blessing you also will
be able to pass on. The Lord says that these things are not just for
us, but for the benefit of others.
Im sure I could go on and enumerate many other areas that I now
see as divinely inspired, but it probably isnt necessary. I believe
it all to be God's plan and He does have one for each of your lives.
As you have been reading this I believe the Lord Jesus has pricked your
heart. Respond to Him. Be satisfied where He has placed you. Ask Him
to prepare you for your mate and pay attention to His voice. Ask Him
for heart eyes to see Him in all things and devote yourself
to His purpose for you. Although I did not grow up in a house of believers,
I know I learned to respect God. I did wander away from Him for a long
time, but at just the right time He called me back and I became His,
a servant to be used for His good pleasure.
Scriptures for reflection: Philippians 2:13; Colossians 3:17, 23; 1
Timothy 2:14-15; Colossians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 5:9
3. Brothers: Your Relationship with older Men
Building an honorable relationship with your dad will help you to establish
integritable relationships with the other older men in your fellowship.
These men are very important to your growing relationship with Jesus
and ultimately to your marriage. Your dad does not have everything you
need to grow in Jesus. He is still very much in the growing process
and will be until Jesus Himself appears, either to take him home, or
at His return. You are too!
The Lord desires us to have everything pertaining to life and godliness
that our dads have learned and he wants us also to glean from those
men who have gone before us in the Lord. Your fellowships have men who
have different attributes of Jesus at work in their lives. Im
sure you have noticed these and have even admired them. Talk to them.
Tell them the manifestation of Jesus that you see in them and desire
for your own life. Ask them how they obtained that type of faith. Pray
with them. I am sure they would be more than willing to spend as much
time with you as you need.
The men in your life also act as a check and balance system for all
the great ideas you have. Debby finds her security in Jesus,
knowing that Jesus is able to make His will known to me and that He
has enabled me to live honestly and openly with the men that God has
placed in my life. One of the most important things that we provide
for our wives is this type of security. True security comes from knowing
that you are in the will of God!
Scriptures for reflection: 1 Peter 5:5; 2 Timothy 2:2
3. Sisters: Your Relationship with older Women
It's me again! I so wish I had some firsthand experience in this area
to pass on to you, but I dont. I never had a relationship with
any of my aunts, and one grandmother died when I was very young and
the other did not care for children much. I can only say that I do recognize
the value of the treasure these women in our fellowships have. Here,
I happen to be one of the older women and only recently is God adding
someone older for me. I have had to learn much through trial
and error, joy and heartache.
- I would like to say that I have certainly enjoyed and appreciated
the part of the older women in Hosanna! Those of you who were present
when Jessie prayed that wonderful prayer on a recent Sunday morning
were truly blessed. My spirit soared as the words tumbled out of her
heart and through her mouth. Yes! I want to be able to pray like that
someday, or be able to flow as easily in any gift the Lord sees fit
for me. For me, as I grew up in the Lord (and am still growing) that
piece was missing. You sisters in Hosanna! and Jubilee! have a super
opportunity and a great blessing to have available to you-just for the
seeking-the wisdom, counsel, encouragement, experience, love, and friendship
of mature saints of God. Do not let that resource go untapped! It is
God's provision for you. The older women in your fellowship have been
placed there by Gods divine plan and arrangement. Why not begin
to ask the Lord to establish a lasting relationship with a few mature
sisters? As John pointed out to the brothers, our parents are not perfect
and cannot hold everything that each of us needs. Because He has a perfect
plan for you, He has placed everything that you need to fulfill it right
in your midst. Go for it! You may be surprised at what you find.
Scriptures for reflection: Titus 2:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8; Philippians
3:17; Hebrews 13:7
Now, if you really want to be distracted, be distracted by your attraction
to Jesus! When we let our attraction to Jesus rule our hearts we are
distracted away from school, sports, television, the Mall, entertainment,
books, and over indulgence of any sort. He is the primetime attraction.
Let your attraction to Jesus consume all the distractions in your life.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever
is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good
repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise,
let your mind dwell on these things. The things you have learned and
received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God
of peace shall be with you.
As one betrothed love,
John and Debby