"Do not give that which is holy (the sacred thing) to the dogs, and do not throw your pearls before hogs, lest they trample upon them with their feet and turn and tear you in pieces. Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened. "---Matthew 7:6-8(AMPC)
There was a time when I once struggled with this Scripture. Not the New King James Version, but this one: the Classic Amplified one. Only because it says to *keep* asking, seeking and knocking. I mean, since the Word tells us that God knows what we need, even before we ask him just a few verses down from all of this (verse 11, to be exact), why do we need to *keep* doing something?
Then it hit me. Asking, seeking and knocking often involves questioning, and as a wise man once said, wisdom lies in the questions more than the answers.
We're not to question God in the sense of questioning his authority....
We're to question God in the sense of seeking his wisdom and will on matters.
(James 1:5, I John 5:14-15).
And since his thoughts and ways are not our own...
That requires surrendering to a state of always seeking what he desires for us to know--as he reveals it to us based on his discernment of when we're ready to hear it.
(Isaiah 55:8-11, Proverbs 3:4-6)
And so, as I was thinking about this, I thought about two articles I've bookmarked...
And one that the Lord helped me to put together, just this morning.
If you are in a relationship and BOTH OF YOU are contemplating marriage, check out:
276 Questions to Ask Before You Marry
50 Conversations To Have Before You Get Married
I appreciate both of these pieces because trust me, I've sat in sessions with couples who found out stuff they knew *nothing about* prior to those questions. For instance, one couple had been together almost *15 years* before the husband knew his wife had been engaged before. Deceptive on her part? Kinda. Bigger than that, not asking the right questions can hinder you from not receiving the right answers. Things you most certainly need to know!
For instance, here are some questions from the first article that tend to go overlooked:
Are you working on your chosen field?
How many hours a week do you work?
Which (if any holidays do you believe are the most important to celebrate?
Do you enjoy traveling, or are you a homebody?
Have you ever felt deeply insecure in a relationship? Were you able to name your fear?
When was the first time you felt that you were in love with another person? What happened in that relationship, and how have you come to terms with it?
What is the longest relationship you have ever had prior to this one? Why did it end, and what lesson did you learn?
What sexual activities do you enjoy the most? Are there specific sexual acts that make you uncomfortable? Be specific! This is no time to hedge.
Do you feel comfortable initiating sex? If yes, why? If no, why?
What do you need in order to be in the mood for sex?
Have you ever been sexually abused or assaulted?
Do you believe it is a sacred responsibility to take care of yourself? Do you believe that taking care of your physical and mental health is a part of honoring your marriage vows?
Are there genetic diseases in your family or a history of cancer, heart disease, or chronic illness?
Do you have health insurance? Dental insurance?
Have you ever had a sexually transmitted disease?
Have you ever been treated for a mental disorder?
How important is it that you always look your best?
How important is your spouse's appearance? Do you have strong preferences about being with a particular physical type?
Would you feel unfulfilled if you were unable to have children?
Who is responsible for birth control? What would you do if there were an accidental pregnancy before you planned to have children?
What is your view of fertility treatments? Adoption? Would you adopt if you were unable to have a child naturally?
What is your view of abortion? Should a husband have an equal say in whether his wife has an abortion? Have you ever had an abortion?
Have you ever given birth to a child or fathered a child who was put up for adoption?
Do you have a difficult time setting limits with family?
Do you have a best friend?
Do you see a close friend or friends at least once a week? Do you speak to any of your friends on the phone every day?
Do you belong to a political party? Are you actively involved?
Is it important for you to be involved in your local community?
Which kind of charities do you like to support? How much of your annual income do you donate to charity?
Have you ever committed a crime? If yes, what was it?
Do you seek out media with diverse perspectives on the news?
Does your religion impose any behavioral restrictions (dietary, social, familial, sexual) that would affect your partner?
Does popular culture have an important impact on your life?
Whew! And I think that's only 35 of 'em.
The other piece? These kinds of questions are also *super important*:
How do you tend to try to hurt others when you feel hurt?
[When we feel cornered, we tend to aim to hurt others in the way that we would be most hurt by. Those who are most hurt by harsh criticism will be highly critical of others. Those who are most hurt by abandonment will try to make others feel abandoned. Those who are most threatened by being controlled will become very controlling. It's helpful to know what your partner's tendency is in this area so that you can recognize it when it arises, thus giving you more understanding into their mindset and giving you the opportunity to address their hurt. This is a habit your partner may not recognize in themselves offhand; you might find this out by observation, later.]
How do you deal with boundaries?
Do you have trouble saying “no” to certain (or all) people? Are you passive aggressive instead of direct? How do you react when people try to control you? Do you try to control others? Do you manipulate others? Do you let others say “no” to you without guilt or intimidation?
[Whether your partner lets others cross his or her boundaries, or he or she crosses others' boundaries, you should be aware of how they relate to boundaries in general. The boundaries they set for others and accept from others will give you a look at how they will set and accept them in your relationship. Again, this may something your partner is unaware of, unless they have already reflected on it.]
What can you not tolerate in other people?
What bothers you about people? What puts you past your limit? What do you think are bad traits to have?
[Just as it's important to know what your partner admires, it's also important to know what traits he or she disapproves of, so that you can again see where their values lie.]
How do you respond to stress?
Do you become angry? Perfectionistic? Withdrawn? Impulsive? Critical? Irresponsible? What kinds of things do you do or say?
[It's important to be able to recognize when your partner is acting under stress, so that you can be helpful and not hurtful to them.]
What makes you feel loved by others?
What things do people do that make you feel most appreciated or loved? What is the most loving thing someone has ever done for you? How do you know someone cares about you?
[Understanding your partner's "love language" will not only help you to keep your connection strong and help them feel loved, but it will also help you solve problems down the road when you may not be "speaking their language."]
What emotionally recharges you?
When you are mentally exhausted, what gives you energy again? Brainstorming new ideas? Making lists? Going to coffee with a friend? Doing something physical? What makes you feel like “yourself” again?
[It's so helpful to know how to help your partner recharge- especially if their way of recharging does not match up with yours.]
What emotionally drains you?
What wears you out fastest? Social events? Too many plans? Dealing with someone else’s emotions? Being alone for too long?
[If you know what will drain your partner, you can be sensitive to those situations and anticipate them needing some time to recharge afterwards.]
While people are out here trying to plan dates that mimic The Bachelor, what really needs to be happening is meeting in quiet spots where conversations featuring these questions can be taking place. NO JOKE.
And if you're not in a relationship, there are some questions that are well worth your time to ask God and yourself. Take yourself on a date, or at least go shopping to pick up a fresh journal:
25 Questions to Ask Yourself
Why do I want to get married?
What is God’s purpose for marriage?
Am I called to marriage?
What would make me a good wife?
What has my past relationships taught me?
How long have I been abstinent?
What did my parents’ marriage (or non-marriage) teach me?
Have I forgiven the men of my past?
Do I have healthy marriage mentors?
How often do I sow seeds into the marriages around me?
What part of the Love Chapter (I Corinthians 13:4-8) do I need to work on?
What parts of me are whole?
What parts of me are broken?
What can a husband do for me that I can’t do for myself?
How much time each week, in prayer, do I devote to my future marriage?
What do I know about submission?
Do I have healthy platonic male friendships?
What are my greatest attributes?
What are my greatest flaws?
Does my church have healthy marriages and a strong marriage ministry?
Am I spiritually mature?
Do I understand how spirituality and sexuality go hand-in-hand?
Do I have a wife mentor in my life?
Have I done everything that I can’t compromise in my marriage?
Am I at peace with God and myself?
The cool thing about asking questions is it's a *preventative measure*:
Question: a problem for discussion or under discussion; a matter for investigation; a matter of some uncertainty or difficulty; problem
Where you feel uncertain or you're struggling, don't worry (Matthew 6:25-34)...
ASK GOD QUESTIONS..
The more answers you have on the front end...
The healthier you and your marriage will be on the back end.
His Purpose, His Presence, His Peace...