Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Christian philosopher William Lane Craig offers marriage advice

This post is a 3 in one: one lecture, one question and answer, and another lecture – all on different topics. My friend Neil S. requested this so I’m posting it.

I got this lecture from the Reasonable Faith web site.

Dr. William Lane Craig is the top living Christian apologist and debater in the world today, and has 2 Masters degrees and 2 Ph.Ds. He also has scores of academic publications including books from Oxford University Press, etc.

The MP3 file is here. (14.5 Mb, about 41 minutes)

Topics:

  • the stresses of ministry on marriages
  • the Christian position on divorce
  • balancing marriage with academic pursuits
  • the importance of marrying the right person
  • Dr. Craig’s politically incorrect advice for choosing a spouse
  • Advice for men: Marry someone who believes in you and who supports you in your calling
  • Advice for women: Be the kind of person who can commit to being a helper and supporter
  • Advice for men: Beware of the career woman who will put their career over supporting you in your calling
  • Advice for women: Be careful about marrying if you think that your goals are more important than your husband’s goals
  • Advice: Don’t try to find the right person for you but instead focus on learning about marriage and preparing for marriage
  • Advice: Flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, love and peace
  • Advice: God intends for sex to be within the bounds of marriage, so you need to guard yourself against unchastity
  • Advice for men: be careful what images and movies you see with the goal of keeping your chastity
  • Advice: your highest responsibility after your relationship with God is your spouse, and your studies are third
  • Advice: it’s better to drop classes or give up your graduate studies entirely rather than destroy your marriage
  • Advice for women: understand that you have to work at the marriage in order to help your man finish his studies
  • Advice: set aside a period of the day for communicating and bonding with your spouse
  • Advice: cultivate the ability to talk with your spouse on a personal level, and maintain eye contact
  • Advice for men: do not break eye contact with your wife, and also hold her hand when communicating
  • Advice: do not be embarrassed to seek out a marriage counselor, but make it a good counselor
  • Advice:  don’t just be doing stuff for your mate, but also be vulnerable and transparent with your mate
  • How your relationship with your wife helps you with your relationship with God
  • How do you handle the rebellion of children without being overbearing and authoritarian?

There is a period of Q&A at the end. There is another piece of advice that comes out in the Q&A for women: take an interest in your spouse’s work even if you don’t care about it, and ask him about it every day and try to understand it. Go to the man’s workplace and see what he does. Go to his presentations. Get involved in the man’s ministry and help him in practical ways. Another piece of advice is to not paper over the differences – it’s good to argue, because it means that problems are being confronted and worked through. Husbands should have a good male friend to talk to, and wives should have a good female friend to talk to.

I like how Dr. Craig has thought about how to have a successful marriage, how to choose the right woman, and how to love his wife. I like how he calls out men on the chastity thing. I think that chastity is more important for men than for women, because it’s the men who take the lead in choosing and pursuing the right woman for their plan.

Secondly, here is my previous post on Dr. Craig’s advice for married couples, where he gives 5 points of advice for married couples.

Here are the main pieces of advice Dr. Craig gives:

  1. Resolve that there will be no divorce
  2. Delay having children
  3. Confront problems honestly
  4. Seek marital counseling
  5. Take steps to build intimacy in your relationship

And here’s the controversial one (#2):

2. Delay having children. The first years of marriage are difficult enough on their own without introducing the complication of children. Once children come, the wife’s attention is necessarily diverted, and huge stresses come upon you both. Spend the first several years of marriage getting to know each other, working through your issues, having fun together, and enjoying that intimate love relationship between just the two of you. Jan and I waited ten years before having our first child Charity, which allowed me the finish graduate school, get our feet on the ground financially, establish some roots, and enjoy and build our love relationship until we were really ready to take on the responsibilities of parenthood. The qualifier here is that if the wife desperately wants children now, then the husband should accede to her wish to become a mother, rather than withhold that from her. Her verdict should be decisive. But if you both can agree to wait, things will probably be much easier.

Third and finally, here is a previous post on Dr. Craig’s advice for choosing a good spouse, with illustrations from his own marriage.

For example, Bill’s first story about Jan occurs early after their marriage while he is working on his first Masters degree at Trinity:

And it was also at that time that I began to see what an invaluable asset the Lord had given me in Jan. I remember I came home from classes one day, and found her at the kitchen table with all the catalogs and schedules and papers spread out in front of her and she said, “look! I’ve figured out how you can get two Masters degrees at the same time that it would normally take to get one! All you have to do is take overloads every semester, go to all full-time summer school and do all these other things, and you can do two MAs in the time it takes to do one!”

And I thought, whoa! Are you sure you really want to make the commitment it takes to do this kind of thing? And she said, “Yeah! Go for it!” And it was then I began to see that God had given me a very special woman who was my supporter – my cheerleader – and who really believed in me. And as long as she believed in me, that gave me the confidence to dream bigger dreams, and to take on challenges that I had never thought of before.

If you want to hear another Christian husband talk about how his wife supports him, listen to this lecture called “Giants in the Land” with Dr. Walter Bradley. It’s actually my favorite lecture. I also really like his testimony lecture. If you’re looking for guidance, these are some of the people I would recommend.

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2 Responses

  1. Craig has some good advice, but I would disagree with a couple of his points. First of all, arguing is not good. Confronting problems and disagreements directly is good, but that can be done without arguing. How do I know? My husband and I discuss things rationally and calmly. We have never had an argument and don’t intend to have one. Nor do we ignore problems. We simply don’t resort to arguing in order to work things out. Arguing is discussion done incorrectly. When two people argue, they dig in to their own position and concentrate on defending it rather than listening to the other person. It is much better for a couple to see themselves as being on the same team and work things through together (with a goal of coming to a good solution jointly) rather than wasting time and energy on an argument that will only generate heat, not light.

    Secondly, I don’t think that delaying children is good advice across the board. There may be some couples who should wait a little while after marrying before they have children, but I think that all married couples should be open to having children if God should so bless them. After all, even when you use contraception, pregnancies can happen.

    Unfortunately, this culture sees children as a burden and a risk to be avoided until everything is ready for such a huge interuption in one’s life. Craig’s advice seems to mirror that view. However, that is not a Biblical perspective. God says that children are a blessing and we should strive to see them in that light. Craig is right that children can (and usually do) introduce complications to a marriage and often divert the wife’s attention. However, the thing to do, in my opinion, is to realize this and work to avoid the pitfalls of diverting too much energy from the marriage toward the children. Women, especially, should be told that they will likely be tempted to invest most of their energy in their children and put their husbands on the back burner and thus should strive to always place their relationship with their husbands first, before their relationships with their children.

    The other thing to consider on the issue of delaying children is that people are marrying later and later in life. We already tell our young people to wait until they are out of college, settled in a job, out of debt, etc before they marry. Now we tell them to also be married several years, have a house in a good neighborhood, and a whole list of other things before they have children. The problem is that fertility can’t always wait until all those items have been checked off the list. A woman is most fertile in her 20’s. She is at greater risk of fertility issues and birth defects after 35 and may not be able to have children at all in her 40’s. Part of the reason we have so many couples struggling with infertility in today’s culture is that many people delaying having children until their fertility is too low. And during the waiting period before they want to have children, many of them take hormonal contraceptives, which can cause permanent fertility issues, lowered libido, and a host of other health problems (not to mention that contraceptive pills can sometimes be abortifacient). I don’t think this was God’s design for human fertility or marriages.

    • Jack Dublin says:

      Agree with you on delaying kids. Especially with the notion these days that women are somehow, ‘letting their side down’ if they don’t go to college and hold a steady job for a decade or so.
      My other problem is with this:
      …”if the wife desperately wants children now, then the husband should accede to her wish to become a mother, rather than withhold that from her. Her verdict should be decisive.”
      The husband has Biblically ordained responsibility for his family and it would be gross negligence to accede to her desire for children in highly unfavorable circumstances.

      I agree with the marriage counselor part only because of his caveat. No counselor is far better than anything but a very good one.
      I also would have liked to see a point made on the difference between romance and attraction.(e.g. For guys holding your woman in your arms is romantic. The fact that she has long hair and a 7/10 waist hip ratio is attractive. For women princess carry is romantic while the man bench pressing 300lbs. and brimming with confidence is attractive.

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