I hope that you are thankful, as I am, for our nation’s military. Anne and I are proud to say that our fathers served in WWII, her dad in the Navy and mine in the Marines, both traveling to the Pacific theater during the war. Prior to deployment however, is a time of preparation, training to be a soldier. I can recall my dad telling me a few stories about his time in basic training.


Let me say up front that I am not likening marriage to a combat zone! However, just as a soldier is made ready for his assignment in the field, a couple seeking to get married needs premarital counseling prior to embarking on the lifelong mission called marriage.

Fear not, if you ever do premarital counseling with us, we will not be like the drill instructor pictured here! Nor will you be required to pass a series of physical endurance tests. We strongly believe however, and know from experience, that the stronger the preparation, the smoother the deployment.


As our new book “Vertical Marriage” is about to go public on December twenty-eight, I remember back to the premarital preparation we went through, circa 1980. We didn’t have a mentor couple to assist us so I bought a premarital workbook and we worked through it on our own. I still glance at it every now and then and am reminded of how valuable that season was. If I may, let me share with you what I wrote out in my workbook under the “goals” section. This is the top four goals I wrote down, unedited.

One: that together we might be harnessed together for the kingdom of God. For the Lord to use us in ministry and also that our marriage would be a testimony to other couples. Two: Communication – that we would always pursue an open and honest dialogue; that we would never let the sun go down on our anger. Three: to be wise financial stewards. Four: to have a nice home; not too fancy, but comfortable. To have a peaceful home, one that I can look forward to coming home to.

Not too bad huh? And I must say, by the grace of God we have done pretty well on average, in achieving those goals. Our desire is that every couple who is considering marriage, will take the time for a thorough premarital process.

Check out the chapter titles for Vertical Marriage:

1: Covenant or Contract

2: Let’s Build a Marriage

3: Evaluating the Relationship

4: Marital Vision

5: God’s Amazing Design

6: Husband and Wife Roles and Needs

7: Resolving Conflict

8: The Healing Journey

9: Loving God with Our Money

10: Sexuality in Marriage

11: Marriage within the Bridal Paradigm

12: A Fruitful Investment

13: Married in Exile


So, are you ready to deploy?

Next post, we will summarize the content of each chapter.