Rick Warren seminar: 'Finding the Love of Your Life'
By ERIKA I. RITCHIE / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
LAKE FOREST On Sunday mega church pastor Rick Warren will kick off a seminar to help singles find the "love of their lives."
After 37 years of marriage to Kay Warren, Rick Warren said he understands what it takes to make a lasting marriage.
For more than 35 years, Warren has counseled thousands of married couples and those planning to marry about any imaginable problem. He's seen it all, he said.
I took a survey of people in their 20s and 30s when we began our new Sunday evening service. I asked them what areas they needed the most help in. Improving relationships and finding the right life partner was right at the top. The No.1 question was How do I know who to marry?
The seminar is aimed at people under 35 and will include pointers on how to weed out winners from losers in just a couple of dates. It starts at 6 p.m. and will be held at the Lake Forest main Saddleback Campus.
Warren said he came up with the seminar as part of a Sunday night worship service after he recognized the needs among more than 15,000 members in their 20s and 30s.
In an interview with the Register, Warren talks about the seminar and finding a soul mate.
Q. What made you decide to teach "Finding the Love of Your Life" this Sunday?
A. I took a survey of people in their 20s and 30s when we began our new Sunday evening service. I asked them what areas they needed the most help in. Improving relationships and finding the right life partner was right at the top. The No.1 question was "How do I know who to marry? Can you give me a checklist that will increase the likelihood of my marriage being successful?" Well, I know a lot about that one.
Q. What personal experiences as a marriage counselor do you draw from in preparing this message?
A. This past Thursday, Kay and I celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary. We've been very honest about the fact that our marriage has not been easy and that we had to learn a lot of wisdom the hard way. We want to save people from the pain we went through, especially in our early years.
Second, over 35 years, I've now counseled thousands of married couples or couples preparing to get married, about every imaginable problem you can have in a relationship. I've seen it all and nothing shocks me anymore. There are predictable patterns you can avoid.
Third, I've helped train over 350 counselors at Saddleback church who offer over 350,000 hours of free counseling every year to the community. We help people with grief, marriage, family, career, relationships, financial, emotional, and all sorts of personal problems. We also offer all kinds of ongoing programs and groups to help people who are hurting and assisting them to build stronger marriages and families.
Q. What are the most common marriage problems that Saddleback counselors deal with?
A. Money, sex, communication, kids, in-laws, addictions, and grief.
Q. What makes someone your soul mate? How can you weed out the wannabe's?"
A. I'm going to answer that in detail this Sunday night. Over the past 30 years I've developed a list of emotional, personal, spiritual, and life purpose factors that determine your happiness and whether or not your marriage succeeds.
It's really quite logical, but people mess up their lives with unnecessary pain by not paying attention to these factors.
Q. How valid is the slogan: "The family that prays together, stays together?"
A. Research shows it's statistically provable. Establishing spiritual habits in your marriage dramatically increases your success rate.
One large nationwide study discovered that when a couple develops three spiritual habits:
1) attending church weekly together 2) praying together and 3) reading the Bible together, the divorce rate drops to only one out of 1,105 marriages. That's quantifiable proof.
Q. What about the study that showed the number of divorces among Christians is higher than other faith groups?
A. About 90 percent of Americans identify themselves as "Christian", and have a so-called "Christian" wedding, so, of course, this group could have more divorces. But most of these self-identified Christians don't really practice what Jesus taught us to do.
What matters is not your label but what you actually practice, believe, and trust. Marriage is like a triangle with God at the top point. When both a husband and a wife make an intentional effort to grow closer to God it automatically draws them closer together also at the same time.
Q. How important is it for couples to be married rather than live in long-term common law relationships?
A. I've asked hundreds of couples who lived together then got married what difference marriage made.
The answers are always the same: A stronger sense of interpersonal security, more stability in the relationship, greater motivation to work out conflict, greater satisfaction,
a clearer conscience, increased pride in their commitment to each other, less awkwardness in social situations, and, of course, studies show a long list of benefits to children. By the way, every single study that has researched this has shown that living together before marriage is not a good idea. It actually increases the likelihood of divorce for a number of reasons.
Q. Can you find your soul mate with someone who doesn't share your religious beliefs?
A. If you are not spiritually unified with your spouse, you'll never achieve the depth of true emotional and sexual unity that God wired you to have. Your faith is your world view. It is a part of your life and should be the biggest part of your life.
When you can't share that, you're operating on different wavelengths. Disharmony in any personal area always hinders and prevents deep soul-satisfying intimacy, both sexual and emotional. Your relationship will never be as deep as it could be.
People have no idea how important God is to relationships. We need to remember that he's the one who thought up the whole idea of marriage and then wired us for intimacy. Growing in God together radically improves every relationship.
Marriage is like a stool with three legs a wife, a husband, and God. A marriage without God is a two-legged stool. Of course, it will be unstable.
Q. What advice do you have for online dating?
A. Come Sunday and find out. The same guidelines apply to online dating, but even more so there, because people find it easier to lie about themselves online.
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