January 7, 2016

The Bachelor Grilling Party

by Jordan Standridge

Marriage is a huge responsibility. It is the opportunity to display a picture of the Gospel to the entire world. In Ephesians chapter 5, after speaking about the sacrificial love a husband should have for his wife, Paul concludes by telling the reader that marriage is an opportunity to display a picture of the Gospel to the entire world. A husband is called to love his wife as Christ loves the Church. Now, most husbands fail miserably within seconds of saying “I do”, and that’s why most healthy churches surround each young man with godly accountability.

Over the past few years of being involved in weddings, we have regularly had a “Bachelor Grilling hot seatParty”. While there is certainly meat involved, the grilling has less to do with animals and more to do with the bachelor. The idea is that you bring in as many godly people in the room as possible, and after a time of fellowship, you sit the guy front and center in the hot seat and allow everyone to give him advice and challenge him to think rightly about his marriage. Of course this doesn’t replace pre-marital counseling, but I believe this can be a very encouraging and challenging time for everyone involved. Here are 7 benefits of having a “Bachelor Grilling Party”.

  • It promotes discipleship

Each time I was a part of something like this, everyone in the room walked away excited about discipleship. We all love having godly, wiser men in the room with many years of marriage under their belt to encourage and challenge all of us to think rightly about marriage. In addition to receiving helpful advice, it also gives young men the thirst to become like these men. At the same time, it reminds older men of the importance of investing in the younger.

  • It encourages singles to pursue marriage the right way

All the singles in the room get to hear about what a commitment marriage is. They get to watch a young man take marriage seriously, and be told about the huge responsibility he has. Many singles will be in the room and will leave with a greater desire of pursuing people of the opposite sex with good intentions, and with the right motives.

  • It gives a weight of responsibility to the groom

The groom sits there hearing about the blessings as well as the difficulties of marriage. He is given tips and suggestions that he may or may not remember, but what he will remember is the importance of what he is about to do. He is reminded about the importance of personal purity. He is reminded about the importance of growing in knowledge of the Word. He is reminded about his selfish nature and the need to die to self. Ultimately, he is reminded about the fact that he is the leader of the home and needs to develop leadership skills.

  • It reminds the married about their own commitment

Couple holding handsEach time I am reminded of my own struggle to abide by everything that is brought up.  Each time is a reminder of my failure and my need to grow in so many areas. Each time is also a reminder of how thankful I am to God for providing me with a godly wife who complements me so well. I can’t help but leave that meeting with a desire to grow and to love my wife better.

  • It is God glorifying

The whole event is predicated on a desire to display marriage the way God intended it. God is exalted by believers biblical encouragement of each other. He is the focus of the entire evening, and pleasing and glorifying him better is the goal.

  • It is encouraging to the dads

The dads are usually there and get to see their sons take marriage seriously. The father-in-law gets to watch as a young man is showered with encouragement and challenged to take care of his daughter. Fathers in the room are reminded about the fact that one day they will be walking their daughters down the aisle and so they are encouraged to be better fathers.

  • It is evangelistic

Sometimes there are people in the room who do not know Christ. It could be an unsaved father, groomsmen, or friend. They will hear about marriage, about purity, about knowing God, and ultimately they will get to hear the Gospel. This is a great opportunity to tell the unsaved about God’s desire for every marriage and what it displays.

All it takes is one person in the church to start this practice. Wherever you are, you can come together for a night and encourage the young men to have a right view of marriage.

Jordan Standridge

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Jordan is a pastoral associate at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, VA, where he leads the college ministry. He is also the founder of The Foundry Bible Immersion. You can find his personal blog at surrender.us.
  • Alex

    Great post, Jordan! Like you, I have had the opportunity to be a part of some bachelor grilling events like the ones you describe, and I have likewise been encouraged by them. Replacing the worldly patterns of debauchery with Christ-exalting discipleship is an excellent way to begin a marriage celebration.

  • 4Commencefiring4

    All those points are fine, but how about asking the prospective groom if he’s completely confident that he’s really marrying the right person, someone he could be married to 50 years from now? I don’t mean is he in love (sure he is), or if they “get along” (sure they do), or if their parents like the prospective mate (they’d better.)

    No, I mean: Is their intended responsible with money? Are they are flexible when things don’t work out as expected? Can they put off having “stuff” until they can afford it? Are they jealous if others with less ability seem to succeed and they’re struggling to make it? Do their personal habits clash? Does one keep secrets from the other? Is one a Type A and the other a Type Z? Does one take forever to get ready while the other is at the door tapping their feet and waiting? Is one always forgetful, or inconsiderate, or quick to insult? Can they each defer to the other, even when they’d rather not?

    There’s a million reasons couples eventually divorce, and they don’t discover what will tear them apart until they’re already well into it. More often than not, it’s because they just plain married too soon and didn’t get to see each other in enough circumstances to smoke out the weaknesses of the other. “I didn’t know he was such a jealous type. I can’t even talk to a male neighbor without him grilling me.” Or, “She’s always putting my things where she wants them, not where I want them. I wish she’d let me take care of my own stuff.”

    Sometimes, it’s not how much Scripture they’ve committed to memory or how many they’ve evangelized. It’s just a bad match.

    • Lynn B.

      4Commencefiring4: I mostly disagree with you. Some of the things you mention will likely be discussed in premarital counseling but other things you list to my mind are really beyond the pale. This is the fact for each of us, we are going to marry another sinner, and a huge part of marriage is about being God’s instrument of sanctification in one another’s lives. There is going to be friction and you are correct that we do not know the details of that until we are well beyond the marriage altar. Dying to self and becoming more like Jesus is the end game and the primary reason for divorce is one or both decide in this one thing, in this one more thing, for today, for the rest of my life, I am finished dying to myself.

      One of my favorite contemporary love stories is a young farmer whose family worked 364.5 days per year (they took off Christmas morning) marrying a young woman who was accustomed to household help and extended and expensive vacations and more. What they had in common was their love for and commitment to Jesus Christ and being conformed to His image. They married in 1957, fifty-eight years ago, and today they are in their late seventies and serving on the mission field together in South Africa.

      • 4Commencefiring4

        There’s plenty of success stories like that, I’m sure. No one’s doubting that. My own marriage has worked just fine for over three decades. My wife’s folks fought like junkyard dogs, and my folks never had a cross word with each other in 40 years of marriage. So we came from very different worlds.

        But you must admit that there’s plenty of people you know who are Godly people, committed to the things of the Lord, etc, and who you would have no doubt are honest believers. You get along with them at church and in a ministry context. But they are also people with whom you would never wish to be locked into a marriage. That’s all I’m saying.

        There are believers whose personal habits and quirks would never work with yours or mine, and all the spiritual talk in the world isn’t going to overcome it. Two people could think they’re in love at 22, but by the time they’re 32 or 42, they have found that the other is just not what they thought at first. Christian marriages break up at about the same rate as others, too. That’s just a fact.

        Premarital counseling is fine, but it only covers what makes for a strong marriage. It can’t make anyone be what they just aren’t. A man who wants to be protective of his wife (which is fine) can also become suspicious of her for no reason and become a kind of stalker and constant inquisitor who demands to know where she’s been every hour of the day (not fine). And he justifies it by saying he’s just being the “head of the wife”, as the Bible tells him to be.

        So my question to that wife would be, Did you not see any hint of this tendency before you married him because you ran to the altar so quickly (like six weeks, as below) and it didn’t have time for his obsessions to be displayed?

        We all did things in our 20s we’d be hesitant to do in our 40s, even as believers; but for some reason we’ll jump into a lifelong relationship at that age and trust we’re being led of God. Many times we are. But often, it’s hormones and not the Holy Spirit doing the talking.

    • flyslinger2

      I disagree also. My wife and I married super young-me right out of college and she didn’t finish. After dating her 6 weeks I knew she was the one. We were both following God and were deeply committed to Him. We didn’t have a BBQ to set us off on the right course. Neither set of parents were icons of marital bliss and harmony either. They weren’t useful for counseling or guidance. Even our married college friends from a christian school were not resources we could draw on. We had the bible and the sound teaching of a conservative church to guide us with the HS whispering in our ear. Grilling us with hundreds of questions about finances 50 years from now or what career path we should take or what ministry we should invest our lives into would have diverted us from what we knew to be the best course and that is seeking Gods face and staying in His Word. Why make things so hard? I think that is the beauty of marrying young. We aren’t jaded by life and its woes. We had the gospel and the simple plan of always putting God first. Our blessings of family, friends, amazing church and ministry that thrills us to no end is our reward.

    • Jordan Standridge

      I don’t think that these question would be appropriate for the week of the wedding. If you haven’t asked yourself these things by then, then I don’t think that you’ll be able to change your mind. I do think that you bring a great point and highlight the importance of being known by godly men, and choosing a girl who is known by godly women and her church. That’s why the local church and their involvement in the entire process is so important.

  • Lynn B.

    What a great idea! I believe that we set our kids up for failure in marriage simply because we do not tell them how truly difficult it is and how very much it is about dying to self. It occurs to me that this pre-wedding “gift” also helps the young groom to feel free to reach out to some of his “grillers” in the days and years ahead instead of feeling he and his bride are alone in their struggles.

  • robertetozier

    1. Are there no risks? No unintended consequences? Is there no downside to this process?
    2. Do you recommend a similar grilling by and for women? Why or why not?

    • Jordan Standridge

      1. No downside has come up yet. I could see people thinking that this is discipleship when it most certainly is not.
      2. I thought about including women in this, but they probably already do things like this, it’s us men who struggle. (smiley face right here)

  • flyslinger2

    Great article. Maybe an annual “party” to refresh all participants would be good also!

    • Jordan Standridge

      That’s why we should regularly attend weddings, they are always convicting for me! thanks for commenting.

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  • Daniel

    Love the idea!!! My kids are really young right now, but I’m praying for a godly mate for all of them now. As a pastor, I might have to suggest this to the next young man that I have the opportunity to council before marriage. Thanks for sharing!