KEYWORDS: system, marriage, lord, people, time, lot

Marriage Book, The

Karen Zerby

Maria #95DO 25042/89

—What It's All About!—By Maria

[Re: Marvelous Marriage]

1. When you get the new Marriage Book (which is a compilation of summaries of some of the best marriage books in existence today), you need to realise that we're not supposed to take things only by the "letter of the law." It's always a problem when people go too strictly by the "letter" instead of the spirit of things. With this book we're simply trying to say, "Here's a way to make your relationships better." But you don't have to do all these things.

2. "The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life!"—2Cor.3:6. Just take out of it what you think will benefit you, whatever will bear good fruit in your life. In a way‚ you have to "choose the good & eschew the evil."—1Pet.3:11; Isa.7:15. Of course‚ I say that comparatively speaking because hopefully there's not any "evil" in this pub!

3. Inevitably, some advice is better, more worthwhile or more valuable than others. Some counsel applies to you & other counsel doesn't. You just have to take what you think will help your situation, what you think is the Lord's Will for you, & you leave the other. And if it doesn't apply to your situation & you're not mated, you certainly don't have to immediately jump into a relationship with somebody & start one, two, three going full speed ahead & working on it!

4. Just don't worry about it! In this case, this whole book is mainly to help people who have relationships, like mommies & daddies who are already together & have children. It's to help them improve their relationship, but it doesn't mean that they have to start making love every day for an hour & spending hours & hours every day oohing & aahing over each other & having long involved personal conversations all about how they're going to get better acquainted or whatever!

5. You have to look at it overall & you have to see, "Well‚ what in general is it trying to say? How can this Marriage Book be helpful for me?", without getting in bondage to it. We need to use it instead of allowing it to demand & dictate to us what we're supposed to do or be. We use it in whatever way would be best for us. It's a tool. It's not supposed to be a dictator & a molder of our lives that tells us everything to do!

6. Someone brought out that instead of starting with Jesus, others & you, most of its authors start with you & others or others & you. In other words, it largely leaves the Lord out except in the case of some of the chapters by religious writers. But it is their purpose to emphasise marriage, that's what they're writing about. Even the Christian writers aren't writing about the Lord & our spiritual life so much as about marriage. They're emphasising it & it looms large, & if you don't put it in the context of all of the rest of life, of course, it becomes the only thing you can see when you're reading it, because that's what they're talking about.

7. It's sort of like when Dad gives a talk about something, like door-to-door witnessing for example. A new Letter comes out about that, & some of our people suddenly think that that's the only kind of witnessing there is because that's what Dad's currently talking about. So a lot of people go off the deep end & only go door-to-door witnessing because Dad's put this big new emphasis on it.—And they get so completely involved & taken up with door–to–door witnessing, they forget there's any other kind!

8. Well, if we put out this book on marriage & everybody goes gung-ho into relationships & marriage & starts thinking that's the only thing that matters, then they're missing the point! The point for our Family is that if they already have relationships, then why not try to improve them a little bit? But they've got to remember that the Lord & His Work still come first in our lives, & should take the major amount of our time! If there're things that we can do along the way to make our relationships with each other better, well then, let's try to do that too.

9. But that doesn't mean that everybody who isn't married all of a sudden has to try to get it together with someone & make this Marriage Book their constant companion & spend hours poring over it to the exclusion of everything else! This book is not a command or even a suggestion for everybody to look for a mate & get into an ooey gooey romance where they'll forget the Lord's Work, forget other people & think only of themselves & working on their personal relationship, making it perfect, trying to totally fulfil all of each other's needs!

10. If they do that, it's probably going to be to the hurt of the Lord's Work & to the hurt of others, because you simply don't have enough time for everything, something always has to suffer.—And in our Family, it's mostly been our marriages that have suffered. But we must continue to put the Lord's Work first, & if something's going to suffer a little neglect, it shouldn't be the Lord's Work, it may have to be our relationships with our mates‚ & even our children sometimes, sad to say. But we should always remember, that whatever we spend, He will repay (Lk.10:35), & the sacrifices will prove worth it in the end, PTL!

11. However, recently we've had more emphasis on our children because they are the Lord's Work‚ & now is a time of special emphasis on them.—And emphasising our marriages can also strengthen our sample to our children, & even our relationships with others besides our mates. So there are a lot of advantages to having strong relationships as long as they're kept in the proper place & don't get out of proportion to all the other things we need to do.

12. But I want to emphasise that it's not like we're promoting something new. We're just trying to strengthen the already existing relationships that are pretty much permanent, our mommies & daddies together with children that are supposed to stay together. We're just trying to give them some suggestions & things to help them to stay together a little better & in a little greater harmony & a little more happily.

13. But we're not by any means saying everybody should go out & get married & spend all your nights reading this book together just concentrating on your relationship! We're not trying to promote anything new, we're just trying to strengthen the already existing structures, those that need to remain. Besides, this book has some very good pointers in it on communication & loving relations in general.

14. Certainly this book should be helpful for our teens if they're planning to go into any kind of serious relationship, which they will eventually do, & which Dad has given them the approval to. So it's good for them to know how to do it so they'll be able to live harmoniously & in unity together. But I certainly don't want the teens to feel that it's some kind of big new push. I don't really think relationships should have any more place now than they've always had, except that we should perhaps try to have better ones.


15. All the energy expended by a lot of couples in fighting with each other, all that conflict & the resultant tensions it brings, the pain & suffering of not being able to get along together, not being able to live harmoniously together, that sort of thing already takes a lot of their time & their emotions!—Just worrying about their fights & their conflicts & their inability to get along with each other!

16. In other words‚ they're not going to be spending any more time if they start putting their time into getting along a little better. If they're going to spend time fighting, why not spend time learning to get along instead? It's better that they spend happy time than fighting time with all the pain & emotional stress & problems that such conflict brings.

17. You know, it takes a little time to construct a good marriage‚ a happy marriage, but it's going to have its rewards in a lot more peace‚ a lot more harmony, a lot less worry, a lot less emotional stress‚ a lot less problems—even a lot less health problems! So people who spend a bit of time improving their marriages aren't really going to be taking any more time.—In the long run they'll probably spend much less time on their marriage! I think they're just going to be doing so on the positive side instead of the negative.

18. In the case of mates who know they need to be together for their kids' sake, even though maybe they don't even want to be, marital strife & conflict can take an awful lot out of them. It's a lot of pain & it's a lot of worry & a terrible sample to others as well. It's been scientifically proven that fights & contention take a terrible amount out of you, they're a terrible drain on your entire body & nervous system. I once read that you need extra vitamin C in your diet not only when your resistance is down because you've gotten chilled or you feel a little sick or you've been exposed to chemicals in the air or whatever, but also when you've been under a lot of emotional stress or been in an argument or fight.

19. Fighting, arguing & contention take a lot out of you, it's a very big emotional stress & strain. Even if it's not an all-out, knockdown drag-out fight, still, that tension & opposition can really worry you & take its toll.

20. So why not take a little time learning to get along together & to be agreeable together & love each other a little bit more instead? Then you're not going to be expending all that energy negatively. All that to say, I don't think that it would take any more time for our couples to put some of this counsel into practice to help their marriages than it would for them to ignore it & keep having serious marital problems.


21. Another major reason that we decided to put this book together was for Systemites, those whom you'll meet who need help along these lines. And most of it is written from a System point of view because most of the rest of the World is the System, & most of these writers of marriage books, Christian & non–Christian, are in the System. So, of course, they're writing from a System viewpoint.

22. Our people should know by now that just because they read a System book summary‚ that doesn't mean they have to do exactly what the System says to do! My goodness, if our folks don't have any more wisdom than that, & are unable to take the good & eschew the evil, & take what applies to them & the Family & discard the rest, then I'd say we're in a pretty bad way!

23. If we can't read an instructional System textbook & just take what we can use & what the Lord could use in our lives & leave the other, we're certainly immature. By this time most of our people should have a little wisdom in being able to take what's going to bear good fruit in their lives & forget the other. So just because the book may emphasise some things that the System emphasises to a much greater degree than we would normally emphasise it, we don't have to go hog-wild & overboard & do the same thing as the System does!

24. Let's use what can be helpful to us but not make marriage a god like the System does! We can't rewrite their books, but we want to use them because much of their material is very good in many respects. So why not use it? Just don't abuse it, & don't let it use you!—Amen?

25. And for those in the Family who are working with the System, they need to know how the System looks at things in their marriages. It really helps in dealing with the System to know a little about what they go through. Because if we are going to be witnessing to the System & helping them in their personal lives, we certainly can't make our starting point our marriages & think that we can relate to Systemites just because we're married & they're married‚ so we know what they're going through! We don't, because their marriages are completely different than our marriages!

26. So this book is going to be good in showing the System point of view & what System marriages are like, & what they need & what they don't need. At the same time‚ a lot of the principles & points apply to us too, but there are a lot of differences as well. So we can't really compare, we can't say, "Well, all marriages are the same, all good marriages should be the same."

27. The basis of a good marriage for us is when we definitely put the Lord first in our relationship, & then with His Love we have the resources to solve our problems. Of course, truly good marriages for them would be the same. Obviously, a marriage can't really be good unless it has the Lord in first place. But we really try to put the Lord first, not just in words but in deed too.

28. The same basic principles of love apply to making a good marriage, whether you're in the System or in the Family. But the fact that it's written from a System viewpoint is going to be very helpful to us in helping counsel our friends, converts, contacts, etc., who are part of the System.


29. Of course, we don't want to get too into counselling others, that could be dangerous. When you start doing actual serious marriage counselling, there are a lot of dangers. I think that it would be far better to just witness where you can‚ & then when the subject of marriage comes up with those you're reaching or teaching, then you can offer a little bit of helpful advice here & there without getting into formal marriage counselling sessions.

30. An exception to that might be if you wanted to give classes or lectures or something like some of our people have done who have given seminars to groups at formal meetings of some kind. That's going in & having a set little lecture time or discussion time. But to actually get individual couples in front of you, to seek out couples who have serious marriage problems & to try to sort out their problems, that's like hospital work, they're hospital cases! When it's that serious‚ you'd better let the experts take care of it, the people whose main job is to deal in System marriage problems.

31. Our main job is witnessing, which includes everything; first of all getting people saved, filled with the Holy Spirit‚ & then to help them with whatever their problem is, the whole range of human problems, because the Lord & His Word have the answers to everything. But as far as you delving into the real nitty-gritty & the real serious problems of System marriages that are on the rocks & are about to break up, & trying to counsel them how to stay together, I think that's going a little too far! We're not really trained in that. That's not our profession or calling, & I don't even think the Lord would bless it if we got too involved in something like that.

32. But giving nice little classes on marriage in general, classes on the basic principles of good marriage‚ that's different.—"Here are some nice things you could do to help improve your marriage, & here are some things you shouldn't do in your marriage," that's something we can handle. But I'd certainly avoid getting into people's nitty-gritty past & even the gory details of their present lives & all the reasons why they've gotten in such a mess & all the reasons they don't like each other! You also risk their displeasure if you counsel & advise them & things still don't work out.—Especially if you haven't led them to the Lord first!


33. If you lead them to the Lord first & really get them hooked on the Lord & grounded in His Word, then you can show them, "Okay, this is the Word on it! Here are the spiritual principles & here are the things you should do!" That's an entirely different story because then they've entered your camp, so to speak, & you're on more of an equal footing. You've started out on the right foot & they have the right foundation from which to work, so that's a big difference.

34. When they're your personal friends & you've really won them & you're getting them into the Word, then they can take a little more counsel because you know it's the Lord that's going to be doing it, feeding His Own sheep! He's got to do it. You're just sort of helping the Lord out a little bit & giving them a little bit of extra added counsel that they can work with now that they know Him & He's with them to help solve their problems.

35. But when you take the whole situation into your own hands, & they don't even hardly know the Lord, if you then attempt to deal with all these things, it's almost like dealing with it in the flesh & trying to do it yourself.—And I think you might run into some real problems! Of course, there may be a few exceptions where we may have a few people who are extremely gifted at counselling & really Spirit-led.

36. If the Lord has obviously opened a door for them to engage in actual marriage counselling, & they can't deny or dispute it because it's clearly the Lord's leading & something really supernatural, then that's different. If that's the case, then it's possible they could do some of this on an almost professional basis, in areas where they don't require licenses or legalisation.

37. I can see that there could be a very few people who might possibly make it a good portion of their ministry, but that would be a very rare thing as far as I'm concerned. I don't think most of our people would even be qualified to do it, nor do I think that's even their main calling nor do I think the Lord would even bless it except perhaps in a few very rare instances.


38. Maybe some of our people could use it. … [They could] say, "You know, we are marriage counsellors, we've taken this course," etc. …

39. So I'm not against having some kind of little diploma or certificate [for those who studied the book] & saying, "I am a member of the Family Counselling Association." Fine, if you want to impress somebody that you have something like that, that you do have some training, great.—As long as you don't have to actually get into a full-scale counselling operation. I don't think we necessarily want to go so far as that. It'd take too much time & it would be too dangerous. It could get us in trouble not only with the people we do it with, but possibly with the authorities as well, not to mention the System counsellors who might feel competition from us if we try to infringe on their territory.—They wouldn't like that at all!


40. We have very good counsel‚ very valuable counsel, I don't think anybody would dispute the general counsel. We have just as good counsel, even better than the so-called experts can give. However, it isn't "professional," & in the eyes of the System professionalism is everything!

41. The System has the most valuable counsel of all available to them, the Bible‚ but what do they think about the Bible? Instead, they pick their professionals. So I'm not saying our counsel isn't better than any counsel they could give. It's just that we can't present it in a professional way, & to the System, that's very, very important. And if anyone's going to go full scale into anything like that, it would have to be done professionally on an almost equal basis with the System.

42. I think we probably do have a few people in the Family who could, if it was the Lord's Will, make a success of it. And as we go along, more of our people might have to get System jobs, at least briefly. But the System jobs that most of our Family would probably do better at are nonprofessional jobs. Most haven't been trained in professional jobs, so they couldn't very well compete with the trained professionals. And once you get into professional jobs you usually have to have a much higher profile & you have to prove that you have the training, & you'll run into a lot of jealous, skeptical, critical people trying to destroy you, there's so much competition.

43. So I think if any of our people have to get System jobs, it's better in most cases if they get jobs that are not so high profile.—Jobs that‚ even though they're System jobs, you can still stay sort of in the System but not of it, off the main track, doing things that hardly anybody is going to worry too much about your doing. You can still get a little support for it but you're not competing with other top people's jobs & you're doing things that aren't that high profile so people don't really worry about it. PTL!

44. God bless you in all your relationships! —Especially your relationship with Him!—And may He continue to make you a blessing & help to others!—In Jesus' name!