I have been enjoying a webinar entitled “Marrying Well”. The speakers are Geoffrey Botkin, his wife, Victoria and their two sons David and Benjamin, and their wives Nadia and Audrey. The Botkins speak of how they each met and how they got to the marriage alter. They wisely began with telling the listeners not to take all they say without consulting God’s word and mentioned that they are not experts on this topic. Mr Botkin gave an excellent introduction explaining they are not championing their own methodology or selling anything. They go on to say they simply want to take their own experiences and give guidelines to the listeners, but that each family will have to decide for themselves the best way to go about courtship, or whatever each family chooses to call it. I really appreciated how thy spoke about how each situation, with each couple, will be totally different.Mr Botkin spoke at length of how our hearts are not free agents or a separate entity. We must keep our hearts with all diligence!
All the Botkins speak very candidly from their hearts and I appreciate their genuine way of sharing their own weaknesses and failings. They definitely don’t come off as prideful or as having “all the answers”
What a blessing to hear each one speak. So far I have heard David and his wife Nadia speak about how they met and what they did to ensure they were the right one for the other. I also heard some from Benjamin Botkin. So far I have heard two sessions on this topic. What they have covered thus far is the reasons for marriage, which is very important in choosing the right potential life partner. Marriage is explained as being for the purpose of working together to bring reconciliation of the world to Christ, secondly, to give a picture to the world of Christ and the church. Basically, in summary, the gospel work and gospel image, ar the primary reason and picture of a Godly marriage.
The Botkins said how important it is to find someone who shares a common vision and love for Christ. A question each man can ask himself also is this: “Am I willing to give myself up for her?” The young man needs to find a young woman who needs him; not just someone he needs. In praying for his/her potential spouse, can each pray for the others potential spouse in selflessness? That is a true mark of humility. maturity and desiring God’s will, rather than their own. It was interesting how they spoke of how important it is when in a friendship with the opposite sex, and trying to discern whether or not they are the one, that each be able to love the other. Interesting! Loving unconditionally, rather than selfishly is the key! They each need to love the other enough, to protect them from wrong feelings too soon and treat them with respect and honor. They must treat each other as a brother or sister in Christ.
Another point the Botkins made, was that if the young man doesn’t have vision now, he won’t necessarily, later. What he is now, he will be later. How mature is he?
As parents, we should be teaching our children at a young age how to treat those of the opposite sex, how to think about them and what the proper roles are, before the world or media does! We can be discussing people we have met and what good, or bad, character traits they possessed and why we, or they, thought so.
Another good point made was they each need to have a vision much larger than to simply have a partner! Instead they should be desiring someone in which to serve God with. Looks shouldn’t be primary reason for marrying. Looks fade and the inner person is what should draw them to each other. Love for God and His word should be primary. Samson was sited as an example of someone who was lead by his senses and how it destroyed him! Mr Botkin and Nadia also mentioned how a young lady will appreciate being admired or esteemed for who she is in Christ and her Godly attributes more than for her looks!
Another way to tell whether one is responsible and mature is are they willing to confess their faults to their parents. Humility should be in place and a desire to do what is right before God. Some of these things seem obvious, and yet, it was so good to hear each one of the Botkins share their own personal experiences and paths and to hear the often needed reminders.
They talked also about how each potential mate does not have to be 100% the same in thinking. So often in the Homeschool movement we can set up standard so high and it often isn’t realistic. We are all fallen sinners!
Course jesting and joking are out of the question in friendships with the opposite sex. Serious talk about spiritual matters are every important, helpful and needful if you want to know whether someone is right or not for marriage. Conversations should be substantial, serious and personal. All activities done should be in family settings so as to watch interactions with siblings, parents and to guard purity.
Another really interesting question they said a man can ask himself when examining whether a certain young lady is a right match is this: He must ask himself if there isn’t someone else who could better take care of the young lady in mind, or is he the best one? Can he love her more than himself and be willing to give up the idea of marrying her if someone else might be the better one? Difficult yes, but a truly mature and selfless attitude. They can ask each other what struggle and weaknesses they have, ask theological questions ,parenting issues and desires, and methods of home education desired. Can the young lady follow and support the young man’s vision? Can he love her and honor her? Can he lead her? There are many potential questions in finding proper compatibility. It is interesting to note that David Botkin prayed for his spouse for twelve years before he met her! He is the oldest in the family, and he married after Benjamin. Benjamin had only been praying for his spouse for three years. Benjamin is the fifth child in the Botkin family, he was 22 when he married and when David married he was 28. God works differently and we all need to be wiling to wait upon God’s perfect timing!
There was so much covered and so many things I could go on about. They spoke of potential hard questions to ask the other in the “talking/courtship phase”. What comes most naturally though, the Botkins said, is asking real life questions. Ask questions to do with what each is doing right now, for the Kingdom of God, political thoughts, spiritual goals, scriptures being memorized etc. Are the two better able to serve God together was another important question to ask. Can each find their fulfillment , joy, and hope in Christ, because they will each be marrying fallen human beings!
Overall, each must be wiling to do the hard things to make sure this is a match made in heaven and not coming the flesh alone. God leads and directs, as the two in consideration honor Him.
I thoroughly enjoyed hearing and learning from the Botkin‘s! God Bless and I hope you find this helpful!
Mrs Lydia Hoppman