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Sharon and I were in three different seminars on marriage and the family while we were engaged. We read a lot of books on marriage and family relationships.

We talked with couples, and we asked them, "What have you done that has made your marriage successful, or what do you wish you had done that would have made it better?"

When you seek for wisdom, God will give it to you. Some men will spend hours working on their golf putt or on their back swing to drive that little white ball down the middle of the fairway or make it roll straight onto the green.

They'll watch the pros play on Saturday and Sunday afternoon and they'll read Golf Digest, but they won't take 15 minutes to read a good book that would make their marriage more successful.

In a sense, you can treat going into marriage in the same way you would treat going into a profession. You get out of anything what you put into it.

If you put something into marriage and into the preparation for a family, then you can have the greatest family and the greatest marriage in the whole would! It can be an example to other people.

I began to question, "What's going to yield the greatest degree of happiness in my life?" Many times we'll spend four years or more and several thousand dollars to get a degree to enter a career that we may change after a year or two.

When you enter into a marriage relationship, it's seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. You should have a greater degree of commitment to make your marriage, home, and family successful than any other thing, whether business, recreation, or study.

Sometimes people have the attitude, "I've lived in a family all of my life. I know all there is to know about a family." You can go to a grocery store and spend a lot of time there, but you may not know all there is to know about all of its products.

We can use that analogy in many things. Just because a person is married or has lived in a family doesn't mean they know beans about a family or about a marriage, because many of the things we've learned from others and from the world are erroneous.

We need to go to God's Word and to those who have studied God's Word and have become teachers in the area of marriage, family, and the home to seek their counsel.

Sharon can always tells when I've read a good book on marriage. I really get motivated! I'm in there plugging away and washing dishes after I've read one of those books. She would like for me to read all of the time, because it has a definite effect upon me!

We still go to marriage seminars. We don't feel that we've arrived just because we've had training. There are still areas in which we can improve.

We're talking about getting the most out of your relationship, about having the maximum joy and peace and love that there can be in your marriage, your home, and your family.

Too many young people settle for mediocrity in marriage, and a lot of people haven't even hit mediocre yet. They say, "This may not be too good, but t least we're still married."

That doesn't go for me. Whatever I do, I want it to be productive, and I want it to be a blessing and be fruit-bearing. That's the attitude that you should have toward your relationship (or toward your prospective marriage relationship).

It's never too early to start learning about how to have a godly marriage, because you're being shaped, even as a teenager. The attitudes and character traits that are being developed in teen years will come out in marriage down the road.

I think young people ought to start planning for marriage when they're thirteen - thinking about being the kind of person someone else would want to live with, developing the right personality and the good character and learning how to have a good family, a better home, and a happy marriage.

Source: Building Stronger Marriages by Billy Joe Daugherty
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Billy Joe Daugherty
Web site: Victory Christian Center
Billy Joe Daugherty was founder and pastor of Victory Christian Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was also the founder of Victory Christian School, Victory Bible Institute and Victory World Missions Training Center.

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