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I recently finished a series on the Song of Solomon, and after talking to a number of pastors about it, many of them expressed a desire to not preach on marriage and relationships and sex. Let’s not forget the fear pastors have of talking about sex.

I think there are two things pastors must do if they are going to preach on marriage and relationships:

1. Get your marriage in order. I can’t overemphasize this. I realize if you are a regular reader of this blog you have heard this before, but this is so important. The longer you are a pastor at a church, the marriages of the church will resemble yours. If you want to preach on something, you must have something to share.

I know that working on your marriage is hard work; it is hard to make sure you are pouring time into your marriage. It is easy for a pastor to let his marriage fall apart because most people in your church have no idea if your marriage is going well. If your marriage is not what it should be, do some work on it so you have something to share when you preach on marriage.

2. Give your church the principles of marriage, not your marriage. Many times when a pastor preaches on marriage, he gives what he does based off the Bible and can give the impression that how the pastor does marriage is the only way to do it.

I get it. It is easy to say, “Based on Ephesians 5 or Titus 2 or 1 Peter 3, my wife and I do this,” and make it sound like the way you do it is the only way to do it. Is your way right? Yes. Is it the only way to do it? The only biblical way to do it? No. Take what the Bible says, the principles that it gives, and help your church apply those principles, not apply your marriage.

This is hard to do but incredibly helpful to your church. Your marriage is unique because of who you are and who your wife is. Keep that truth in mind when you preach on marriage.

Share the story of how you got to where you are, how you have applied the things in the Bible on marriage. Make sure you make those the hard gospel truths you preach, not what you do based on those.

Josh Reich is the lead pastor of Revolution Church in Tucson, AZ, which is trying to live out the rhythms of Jesus. The church's dream is to "help people find their way back to God."

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