Your children and grandchildren will make few decisions more important than their decision to marry. But they must make other choices before then–decisions about purity, dating, and their roles as men and women. Are they prepared? In this highly practical guide, Dr. Mulvihill lays out a biblically grounded plan for preparing young children for later challenges. Our culture is zealous in reaching children with its own take on sex and marriage, but shouldn’t we be able to talk about these things and their place in God’s larger narrative? Parents, grandparents, and others in the church will learn how to bring the truth home by starting the conversation with their children early and returning to it often.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Getting Started
- Don’t Be a Conversation Short
Raising Your Child in a Sex-Saturated Culture
- When and How Do You Begin?
Starting Early with Scripture
- How to Communicate with Your Child
The ABCs of Talking about Marriage, Dating, and Sex
Part 2: Marriage
- An Overview of Marriage
Five Truths Every Child Must Know
- What Is Marriage? (Part 1)
Marriage Is for One Man and One Woman
- What Is Marriage? (Part 2)
Marriage Is a Lifelong Covenant
- Why Did God Create Marriage?
Three of God’s Good Purposes for Marriage
- Preparing Your Son for Marriage
Embracing His Role as Husband
- Preparing Your Daughter for Marriage
Embracing Her Role as Wife
- Preparing Your Child for Singleness
Finding Satisfaction in God Rather Than Marriage
Part 3: Sex and Purity
- What Biblical Truths Does Your Child Need to Know about Sex?
Remembering God’s Good Plan and Purpose
- How to Have “the Talk”
Using Proverbs 5
- Preparing Your Child for Purity
Three Biblical Methods to Implement
- Talking to Your Child about Pornography and Lust
Three Ways to Help Your Child Strive for Holiness
- Are Crushes OK?
Responding to Attraction in a Way That Honors God
Part 4: Dating
- What Is the Purpose of Dating?
Dating Is a Method—with a Goal
- Dating and Parents
Being a Wise Ally to Your Child
- Whom Should Your Child Date?
Following Biblical Guidelines
Conclusion: Final Thoughts
Appendix A: A Word to Grandparents
Appendix B: The Wisdom of Faithfulness (Proverbs 5:1–25)
What Others are Saying
“With Preparing Children for Marriage, Josh Mulvihill has given parents an invaluable resource to help them present a biblical worldview of sexuality, marriage, and dating to their children. This book is practical, biblical, and chock full of great discussion-starting questions. Someone is going to shape your children’s views on these topics. Take my advice, get this book and allow Josh to help you be the one to disciple your children in these critical areas.”
Marty Machowski | Pastor and author of Long Story Short, Old Story New, The Ology, and The Gospel Story Bible
“Preparing Children for Marriage will equip you to sharpen your thinking, increase your impact, and influence young people to apply the truth of God’s word to their lives. This book is biblical and practical and is a valuable tool for parents and grandparents.”
Dr. Kevin Leman | New York Times Bestselling author
“Josh Mulvihill has written a thought-provoking book to help parents prepare their children for marriage. As a pastor, Josh delivers insight and experience, in addition to unpacking God’s truth in creative ways. His “courageous conversations” or talks parents should have with their children are worth the price of the book alone. For parents and those working with children Josh’s book will be an excellent resource as we prepare the next generation for life long marriage.”
Ken Canfield, PhD | Founder, National Center for Fathering and GrandsMatter
“By default our kids get plenty of sex education these days and most of it is not only wrong but very harmful. Josh Mulvihill has given us the antidote–a beautifully written and very practical guide for parents who want to make sure their children have a strong biblical foundation not only for making wise choices but building healthy marriages. I urge all Christian parents to not only read this book but to put it into practice right away!”
Wayne Rice | Co-founder, Youth Specialties, Director of Conferencing for The Legacy Coalition and author of Generation to Generation.
“Parenting is serious business. We live in a crazy, messed up world – especially when it comes to marriage, dating, sex, and family. Satan and the demons have kicked their attacks against God’s institution of the family into high gear. Is there anything we can do to help our children reject the lies of the world and prepare themselves to follow God’s plan for manhood, womanhood, marriage, and the family? That is what Preparing Children For Marriage is all about. Let me warn you. This book is not for the faint at heart. It is real, honest, candid, and courageous. It will make you think, rattle your cage, drive you to have needed conversations with your kids, and most importantly it will cause you to dig into the Bible for a practical plan to help your children love and follow Jesus.”
Dr. Rob Rienow | Visionary Family Ministries
“Wow! What a great book that will empower parents to have early and often discussions with their children about love, sex, and marriage. Josh Mulvihill has created a biblical tool that parents can use to help their kids challenge the worldly normal that they are exposed to regularly. I will regularly commend this book to all parents and encourage them to use the Courageous Conversation sections at the end of each chapter to engage their kids in specific conversations to embed convictions in their hearts.”
Dr. Scott Turansky | National Center for Biblical Parenting
“Parents, if you’re wondering about how to talk to your kids about sex, you’ll not find a better resource than this book. Josh Mulvihill’s approach is straight from the Bible, full of great insight and advice, and incredibly helpful. If you think “it’s not time for ‘the talk’ yet,” better think again; Josh’s argument for a childhood-long approach to teaching your child about sex and marriage will change your mind and at the same time equip you for many talks. You will want to read this book, then put it somewhere handy so you can refer to it again and again.”
Larry Fowler | Founder of The Legacy Coalition
“Preparing Children for Marriage is a lifeline in a sea of sexual and marital confusion. Every parent, pastor, and educator who is serious about helping the children in their care develop a biblical worldview should read and use this book.”
Jeff Keaton | Founder and President of Renewanation
“In a day when couples invest more hours in the wedding event, more time is needed to prepare for marriage. Parents can powerfully engage the needed topics setting their kids up for success, the way God intended marriages. Waiting until marital counseling is too late, get this book into the hands of every parent with children.”
Dr. Ron Hunter Jr. | D6 Conference Director and author of The DNA of D6: Building Blocks of Generational Discipleship