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How to Be Engaged–and Do It Right: Sean Perron & Spencer Harmon

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
September 28, 2023 5:15 am

How to Be Engaged–and Do It Right: Sean Perron & Spencer Harmon

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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September 28, 2023 5:15 am

Wondering how to be engaged and do it right? Sean Perron and Spencer Harmon offer biblical, practical wisdom on for a beautiful now and a forever future.

Show Notes and Resources

Check out more from Sean Perron and Spencer Harmon at unspokenblog.com

Learn how to share of your sexual history with a new romantic interest.

Learn more about Sean Perron and Spencer Harmon's church First Baptist Jacksonville ..and discover their writings

If you're interested in hearing more from Sean and Spencer, listen to their Unspoken Blogs podcast

Purchase Sean and Spencer's books: Letters to a Romantic: On Dating,

Letters to a Romantic: On Engagement, and Letters to a Romantic: First Years of Marriage

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Men, regardless of how women are dressed, are called to cultivate purity in their hearts and in their minds. That is their responsibility before God to honor Him in the way that they're thinking, regardless of how people are dressed around them.

That's always their call. You can find it on today.com or on the Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. Do you remember your wedding dress? I do. I just got it out not too long ago. What do you mean you just got it out? Yeah, because I have an eight-year-old granddaughter. I took it out of the box because I thought, why is it in this box?

I'm going to take, you know, it's the box that it won't turn it yellow. And now I'm so old, like, who cares if it's yellow, if she wants to wear it, you know? So anyway, I put it on, she put it on, we all put it on. You did?

I didn't even know this. Yeah, it was so sweet. All I remember is standing at the front of that church, and when I saw you at the back in that dress, I could still see you. That's nice. Of course, I had hair back then, but it was... You're pretty handsome yourself there.

Oh, man, you walking down with your dad, who's now with the Lord. I mean, that's just, gee whiz, I didn't think I'd feel what I'm feeling right now, but it was such a tender moment. It was sweet, wasn't it? The last couple of days, we've been with Spencer Harmon and Sean Perrone, and they've written three books, The Letters to a Romantic. And you guys have written about dating. We talked about that day one, a little bit yesterday about engagement, and yesterday was also about marriage. Your dads of kids, you've been married for a while, your pastors, you work in the same church at different campuses, but this is an area that you guys are really passionate about.

And if you had to say, we're passionate because of, like, so for you, Sean, why are you so passionate about this? I think the Bible pops with relevance in every area of life and every season of life. And the seasons of dating and engagement and marriage, but particularly dating and engagement or preparing for your wedding day, preparing for marriage, they get neglected. And people think that God doesn't have anything to say.

They think that it's all about them. And the Bible comes in with a really incredible and better and more appealing vision of how to do life in those seasons. That's awesome. What would you say, Spencer? Yeah, I think that we were made to glorify God, and not just to glorify Him, but to enjoy the process of glorifying Him with our whole life. And when a person and when a couple takes these seasons of their life that sometimes feel like throwaways, they feel like the Bible doesn't have anything to say about them. It's just like, oh, I'm just engaged. Just got to wait till I get married, you know, or whatever.

Just dredged through it. No, no, no. I want people to see these as this is a really unique season we have to glorify Christ. And we are going to seek to do that with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. And I want to help people do that. So, you know, we mentioned the wedding dress.

And in your Letters to a Romantic on Engagement, you have an interesting perspective on the wedding dress. And I don't think I've ever read something like this. And so let's hear a little bit.

Well, when we read it, I remember Dave going, ooh, this is going to be controversial. Yeah, I did say that, didn't I? I'm like, what?

And so then I had to pull it out. Yep. Okay. Yeah, so give us a little bit of your perspective.

Yeah. So I'm a pastor. I do weddings all the time. One of the things that I care about is the ceremony and how it's done. And, you know, we wrote a chapter in this book to me and my wife co-authored this chapter together because I wanted her voice involved in this as well. Of, hey, one area that we want to encourage our sisters to think about is modesty on their wedding day. And the way we approach this topic is, so if you're a woman and you're about to get married and you're thinking about, maybe you're about to go get your dress and you're thinking about what kind of dress I want. So I want you to think about this.

First off, let me say this. It's wonderful that you want to wear a beautiful wedding dress. I know a little girl's dream. I have a little girl right now that's obsessed about getting married.

It's really concerning to me. She's cute. She is. But she wants to get married. And little girls dream about this day and I want to have this beautiful wedding dress. Here's what I want. I want you to think about. I want you to actually think about the very end of your ceremony. And I want you to imagine everybody walking out of your ceremony. What do you want them to be thinking about when you leave?

Think about that for a second. What types of things do you want them saying to each other as they're walking out of your ceremony? Do you want them to be saying, that dress was amazing?

Is that the primary thing you want them to be saying? And a lot of the times we think about these issues of the stuff of our wedding. This applies to other things outside of dresses. This applies to the whole ceremony itself.

What are you trying to highlight? Are you trying to draw attention to yourself or are you trying to draw attention to Christ? We were made to draw attention to Christ and that applies to our bodies. So this is 1 Corinthians 10 31, that we were bought with a price so we should glorify God with our bodies.

So the question is, how do we do that? How do we glorify God with our bodies? So you're saying God cares about it.

God cares about your body and he cares about what you put on your body and whether it is drawing attention to you or drawing attention to him. And I believe that we should apply that principle to every aspect of the wedding ceremony, including the dress. And so what I'm caring about is actually I'm not going to give you like a neckline like standard or, you know, I'm not going to do that. What I want to say is I want you to think about your wedding day. Think about what you wear.

And I want to encourage you that the motive of your heart be, I want people to see how great Jesus Christ is in every area of my wedding. And I don't want to distract. I actually don't want to draw the eyes of people to my body. Now, let me anticipate an objection.

That's a real one. Many of my sisters, I'm a pastor, I talk about modesty because the Bible talks about modesty. They're like, well, look, it's not just a woman thing.

Like, don't put all the blame on women. There's like a pornified culture that's trained the eyes of men to look at specific parts of a woman's body. And I say to my sisters, yes and amen.

Like, that's exactly right. Like men, regardless of how women are dressed, are called to cultivate purity in their hearts and in their minds. That is their responsibility before God to honor him in the way that they're thinking, regardless of how people are dressed around them.

That's always their call. What I'm asking the women, though, with the wedding dress, is I'm asking you just to examine your motivation. Why? Why that dress? Is it the primary motive, I want to draw attention to myself, or is the motive of your heart, I love this dress.

It's beautiful. I can't wait to wear it on my wedding day. And my heart, overarchingly in this, that's governing the type of dress that I get, is the glory of Christ.

Well, I mean, I was 19 when I got married and I was young. And so just to give you a perspective, I have no church background. I'm a new follower of Christ.

And I was being discipled in college through crew at the University of Kentucky. I've shared this story before, but my discipler came up to me and she said, I want to talk to you about what you're wearing. I'm like, oh, okay. She said, what you're wearing is not modest and it's causing guys to stumble. I'm like, I don't even know what you're talking about right now.

What's stumbling? What do you mean? And she said, you're drawing people's eye to yourself. And I said, I know that's the whole idea. And so for me, this whole concept of modesty, like that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

Of course. And some women are hearing, but I do want people to say, she's the most beautiful bride. You know, you want to say, oh, look at her.

Like she looks amazing. It's the most beautiful thing that I've seen. And so now you're saying, no, take your eyes off of yourself, which is like, wait, what?

It's my wedding day. This is the only time I do get attention on myself. But you're giving a bigger picture of what's going on.

Yeah. And so I would say modesty and beauty are not at odds. And it's actually a pornified culture that convinces women that those are in competition with one another. Rather, modesty actually can be incredibly attractive, incredibly beautiful. And I think because as Spencer was talking about, the whole ceremony is designed to point to God. Why you wear a white dress represents purity. Ephesians 5, without spot or wrinkle or any such blemish. There's this beautiful bride adorned for her husband. Psalm 19 says the son is like a bridegroom coming out of his chambers.

This radiant, amazing, beautiful picture that's represented in the gospel. And I think a sister in Christ who's getting married, they should look amazing. They should look beautiful because that is how God has made us for the great marriage feast that we're going to be a part of.

We are going to look completely conformed to God's image and radiant. But that is very different than being modest. Modesty is about covering parts that are only meant to be seen by the one who you are in a covenant relationship with. And dressing in such a way that does not amplify or accentuate those parts to draw attention to them. And so Jenny and I, we counsel a lot of couples, and a lie that they think is they think, OK, I have to dress provocatively or I have to wear a wedding dress that looks provocative so my husband will be attracted to me sexually on our wedding night.

And that is just a lie from Satan. And it doesn't make sense because we've had couples who have been so pure in their entire relationship. But on their wedding day, they look more modest than I've ever seen them, than anyone in the church has ever seen them. But they've bought into the lie that that's what they need to do to be appealing to their husband and to look good and to look beautiful.

When actually the opposite is true. Just a few hours later, they're going to be completely unclothed in a great way as God intended to. But when people leave the ceremony thinking, oh wow, that was really uncomfortable. They're not thinking about Jesus Christ and his gospel. They're thinking, that was awkward. Did you see that? That was awkward. And everyone is talking about it.

Everyone always talks about it. The difference is, are we being beautiful and radiant that's modest and humble and honoring God? Or are we being self-centered? Can I say one thing? That this is a provocative statement, but I think it's really important. When we talk about the wedding day, we often say, hey, this is your day. This is your day. This is your big day. It's all about you. And what I want to say is like for the Christian, no day is your day. Every day is his. I die every day.

Yeah, like it's crazy. But this is what it means to be a Christian. What it means to be a Christian is I find my deepest joy and my deepest satisfaction in living for the one who redeemed me and bought me by the blood of Jesus Christ.

I've been transformed so that I love living for him. And so I get when people are, people said that to me on my wedding day and I didn't say, no, it's not. It's not here. I know it's God's day.

No, I'm not talking about that. That's being a church curmudgeon. But in our hearts, are we saying, and I know that this is an intense thing to say to grooms and brides who've been planning this big day.

It's not your day. It really isn't. It's a day in which we celebrate this gift that's being given to you by God and we're honoring you, but we're honoring you because of what marriage is and what it points to. It should be celebrated because of what it is. It's this magnificent display of the gospel, which is why I believe in big party wedding receptions. And the reason I do is because it's a reflection of the wedding feast of the lamb. Like, Christians should be the biggest celebrators of marriage. I mean, Jesus started his ministry at a wedding.

It's amazing. We should celebrate marriage because of what it is. And I think brides and grooms, we have to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

Romans 12, one and two. You should have so much joy on your wedding day. I want my sisters to enjoy picking out their wedding dress. I want them to delight in doing the decor and the food and all the things.

I love it. I celebrate it with them. But at our heart level, my motive, my why for my dress and my decor and my everything is this is God's day.

Not my day. I love all of this, but I also think when I see a woman, because I was that woman dressed provocatively or immodestly, I tend now to have grace toward her. I think there was a time I was judgmental. Like, what is she thinking?

Does she need all the attention to be on her? But I always now realize there's a story behind this story. And I think the thing for me, it's like what we're trained as little girls of what's beautiful. And because I'm from a family that there was pornography around, so I was exposed to that.

So I thought, oh, men think this is beautiful. And there was a time my dad was a baseball coach and he had the whole baseball team at our house in the living room. And I was nine years old and I walked through the middle because I had to, I was so embarrassed.

This whole baseball team of high school boys. And he said, oh, this is my daughter, Ann. And she's all dressed up today. And when she fills out that that sweater, then she'll really be a looker.

Now, think about that. As a nine year old, what I think is, oh, when I look a certain way and I'm shaped a certain way, then I'll be beautiful. And so I think if I was discipling, and this is why we need to disciple our daughters, our women, our men. Like, honey, like this is what beauty is. You know, this is the, oh, you're so beautiful. It's not that you're going to attract a certain kind of look or you're being a temptress or you're showing off all these amazing parts of you.

It's having another woman say, even ask this question. Tell me why you think that's so beautiful. Because there's a story behind the story.

So I'm just thinking about my sisters that are coming from a rough past like me. I didn't know what beauty was. I didn't know what God thought beauty and modesty was.

And so we need to teach our daughters and teach our friends these things. And God's the author of beauty. He's the one that made it. He wants everyone to be beautiful. It just, we distort beauty and we make it about us. And it's not, it's about being made into his image.

The adorning of the heart, as Peter talks about. Charm is deceitful. Beauty is fleeting. But a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

That is true beauty. Yeah. I mean, God created romantic and erotic love. Song of Solomon.

Yeah, he created. A whole book. It talks about everything.

Yes, it does. We've got little girls and we live in a world that focuses on external beauty. All the dolls they play with, everything.

You can't escape it. It's just the water we swim in. And so we're constantly talking with our girls and they love dressing up. And I love it when they dress up. It's sweet and cute, but they'll talk about being beauty. And we ask that question, Anne. Tell me about that. Like, why do you think that's so pretty?

What is it? And, you know, they're young, but those are the kinds of conversations we want to have. And to say, hey, God's definition of beauty is far more freeing and far more liberating and not enslaving because he says that you are incredibly beautiful because you're created in his image and he loves you and he loves the way he made you. And you don't have anything to prove right now. You don't have to prove anything by the way you dress.

Just because God made you is what makes you beautiful. Let me ask you this. As I was thinking about what you guys are saying. I know Anne's dad. You know, again, he's passed. Great man.

In many ways. Became sort of my dad. I didn't have a dad. He became my dad.

He was my high school coach. And those words that he said to Anne, I know him. He didn't mean harm.

That's just the way. He thought the way men of the world think. He didn't have any of the teaching you just did.

He had never heard that. And he matured over the years. But he just said what he thought every guy would say. So here's my question to you guys. I was thinking what you just said about your daughters. How have you guys made your wife feel beautiful? Because I know there were days that I made Anne feel the same thing her dad made her feel by a harmful comment or even maybe a flippant comment about her body or about her beauty being connected to her body. Or even a struggle with pornography that men can have. It can make a woman feel less than. Oh yeah. And so I was wondering what you guys do because I know there's men out there like, I want my wife to feel beautiful by how I speak and treat her.

How have you done that? So many thoughts. Let me give you a homework assignment that I always give guys, whether you struggle with pornography or not, I would encourage you to do this. Men, saturate your mind with biblical definitions of beauty, okay? So you spend time in Proverbs 31. Spend time in 1 Peter 3 verses 1 through 6 and saturate your mind on what the Bible calls beautiful. Meditate on it. Read it every day. Memorize it.

Put it in the mirror. Just soak up your mind and then let that be the language of your compliments and affirmations of your wife. Because what you'll start saying to your wife is, honey, you look beautiful today. But I want you to know that the thing that was most amazing about you is the way you serve our family. I want you to know that I know you've had a really stressful day today, but the fact that you were so kind to our children, even when it was a really long day, that's just amazing to me. I find that incredibly attractive. I sent my wife a text message the other day.

It was the most vanilla thing ever. I can't even remember what it was, but I said, hey, babe, I just want you to know. I just hung up the phone and I was thinking about the fact that you said this thing to me and I just want you to know I appreciate that so much and I love you so much for that. Do I compliment her physical beauty? Yeah, I think she's absolutely beautiful. But is my mind soaking in scriptural definitions of beauty? Guys, if you only compliment your wife's physical appearance, you are training her and what you believe beauty is and you will train your daughters and every woman in your life on what beautiful is. But if you spend more time complimenting the hidden person of her heart, you're training her what biblical beauty is.

Yeah. We have this chapter in there, I think it's called Love Her Invisible Pearls. So there's all these invisible gems, all these beautiful treasures that you might overlook that are invisible, but they're not, they're obvious.

They're character traits of God and who He is displayed through her that you can highlight and praise. And I would say this as far as having the perfect body. So if you think about Genesis, you think about Adam and Eve, they're in the garden and they have probably the most beautiful bodies that have ever happened in the human race.

They're incredible. Not a flaw, not a blemish, absolutely amazing in the Garden of Eden Paradise. They eat the fruit and they're ashamed and they go and they try to get fig leaves to cover them and they feel this overwhelming sense of shame and they try to cover their bodies. The funny thing is nothing changed physically about their appearance. They looked the same, but they felt shame and for wives, even if they had the perfect body, whatever they think that is, that is not going to solve their problems. That is not going to bring them satisfaction. It's not going to bring happiness to their marriage. It's not going to bring happiness to them because the perfect body is not the solution.

What is the solution? The solution is the perfect body of Jesus Christ, which was broken on their behalf. He hung naked and ashamed. He bore our shame on the cross so that we could then be forgiven of our sin and have confidence to approach the throne of grace and have confidence to approach one another as husband and wife, knowing that we are accepted by the other person because of what Christ has done in our lives and we're accepted by God. That gives us confidence not in having the perfect body or perfect appearance.

Reinforcing that truth can change an entire marriage and change a relationship for the better. Yeah. That was the gospel. Amen. Yeah. That is the gospel.

That's true. It's the wisdom of God. That's what I call it.

The gospel is the wisdom of God. But it seems foolish to me. It's funny. Our granddaughter, one of our granddaughters is two, and she had fallen and she was trying to calm herself down and I was walking down the stairs with her, holding her hand. And she's saying this to herself is like this mantra. She's like, she said, I'm kind and I'm beautiful and I'm joyful. She remembers that her parents have said like, Autumn, you're super. Her name's Autumn Joy. That's why they said she's joyful.

But I thought, man, I love that. And the reason the parents are speaking that over to her, and it's not just what she's gifted in doing. It's who she is.

That's what you're saying. It's the character qualities. It's the image bearer that we carry as daughters and sons that's so beautiful. We're chosen holy and beloved, Colossians tells us.

And when we know that, that doesn't change. We're chosen holy and beloved in Christ. Even when we sin, we're still chosen holy and beloved.

It's amazing. I just have to ask this question because after three days, I'm thinking listeners are like, who are these guys? They're like 32 years old and they're like, Jesus is in the studio.

I feel like your maturity, your devotion to Jesus, like your friends, like you're kind of rare in many cases for a 32 year old man who's like sold out for Jesus, living this life with us to be a godly man, to raise godly children, and to be the husbands and the men God's called you to be. How'd this happen? The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Bible. No, we wrote these books. We've made tons of mistakes. We're deeply flawed. We sin every day against our spouse, against our God. We have been loved by God and the Lord has changed us and made us different.

Like any wisdom that we have is actually not the result of age or experience. It's the sufficient word of God. One of the convictions that we have as authors and as pastors is that the Bible is sufficient to address the problems and the pain and the suffering, even the really complex stuff that people face, because we genuinely don't believe that we have the wisdom in and of ourselves. I actually start most of my counseling sessions with people and I say, I just want to remind you that I can't help you. I say that to people often.

I can't. I'm an expert, but I believe that the Bible really does provide hope and help for you. We have been so loved by God and so covered in grace and we should be a total wreck right now, but the Lord has been so gracious and kind to us and He's giving us opportunities to influence the way people think. We just want to be really careful to give Him glory and not just to give Him glory verbally, but to give Him glory in the way that we work through stuff. We want it to be explicit that we're leaning on scripture and we're leaning on the Bible so that way people can pick it up and do the same thing themselves.

It is explicit. Amen. Praise God.

No, really, it does. Yeah. Your friendship is really cool to watch, too. Yeah. It's a joy.

It's fun to see you guys have so much fun. Thanks for your wisdom. Beyond your years. So do you have any thoughts, any reflections on—just finished our interview with Shawn and Spencer and we got a lot into the modesty of the wedding dress. Never thought we'd ever have a conversation about that in my life, let alone they wrote about it and then we got to talk about it. You know, what do you think?

Yeah. There's a part of me that's always careful. I'm always thinking about maybe the new follower of Jesus or somebody that has a really rough background and so they're hearing that like, oh, I've never heard this before. And so I give grace to people like that because I had no idea, as I said earlier, like I had no idea about being modest or I had never even thought of that, you know, because I grew up in a culture of saying flaunt it. But I like talking about it.

I like thinking about it. And maybe what I should say is I hope that we don't get stuck just on the wedding dress because the entire day is this beautiful covenant commitment between two people that are following Jesus and we're making these vows before God and before friends. And so the wedding dress is not the highlight of the day.

It's what God is doing between a man and a woman and making them one. Yeah. And I know that for our wedding, 42 years ago, that was our only hope.

Yes. That Jesus would be glorified, that Jesus would be made known. We even said that to the pastor. And now as a pastor who's done hundreds of weddings, I always say to the couple, the goal of this day, I want to sort of mentor them to remind them.

And most of the time they get this, but sometimes they don't. It's like, this is a day to glorify Jesus. Not me, not you, not the bride, not the groom. But when you think in those terms, just like any other part of your life, you think every aspect of my life has the potential to lift him up. And so the dress matters, the tuxedo for the guy matters, the music matters, the everything. It's a display to the world of the glory of Christ and that's what a wedding is. That's good.

I like that. And I think it's good to remind couples that it's not about them. It's not just about love. It's about this commitment that God has made to us and now we make to one another to love him and to serve him together for those of us who are in Christ.

Really great thoughts there from Dave and Ann as they reflect on their conversation with Sean Perrone and Spencer Harman. Everything about the wedding is supposed to be about Jesus because all of life is supposed to be about Jesus. You might be thinking, yikes, that's a bit extreme, to which I'd say, yeah, who else is worthy to focus on in life? Myself? My spouse? No way.

Jesus is the only one worthy. I love that. I'm Shelby Abbott. You've been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Sean Perrone and Spencer Harman on Family Life Today. You know, Sean and Spencer have written a three book bundle called Letters to a Romantic and they separate each book to talk about specific areas of life.

One is on dating, one is on engagement, and one is on the first years of marriage. This three book bundle is an excellent resource to have or excellent gift to give for someone you might know in your family or in your church to be able to give it to. Now this three book bundle is our gift to you when you partner with us financially. So you can go online to familylifetoday.com or give us a call with your donation at 800-358-6329. Again that number is 800F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. So you can feel free also to drop us something in the mail if you'd like.

Our address is Family Life 100 Lakehart Drive, Orlando, Florida 32832. And if you know anyone who needs to hear conversations like the one you heard today, would you share this program from wherever you get your podcasts? And while you're there, it could really help others learn more about family life today if you'd leave us a review. So tomorrow David and Wilson are going to be with Julie Slattery. They're going to get together and talk about how we should emphasize that sexuality should be approached from a perspective of honoring God's design and purpose rather than seeking self-gratification. That's tomorrow. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of David and Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a donor-supported production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-28 07:17:49 / 2023-09-28 07:30:37 / 13

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