Fit For Marriage
Step 1 of getting “Fit For Marriage”

Introduction to the Fit For Marriage Program

The Strategy

Marriage That Works

In third world countries people don't really expect things to work. But America is different. For example, we sent men to the moon, and then actually brought them back safely. But for some strange reason Americans—even Christians—are willing to tolerate marriages and families that don't work. That is totally unacceptable to me.

If we're going to build marriages that work we have to do it God's way, and that is diametrically opposed to human nature.

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;2 Corinthians 1:27

Self-assertion is man's way, while submission and surrender is the way of the Lord.

And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:8

In Jesus' day there was no more humiliating experience than death on a cross. In our day the cross is largely ornamental—used for jewelry or to decorate churches. The Cross remains that place of Redemption, but it no longer carries the stigma it once did.

Perhaps the greatest disgrace today is to actually practice biblical marriage as taught in Ephesians 5:22-25. Wives are told to submit to their husbands as the church obeys its Lord. Husbands are told to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. Both of these commands rule out the idea of self-assertion.

Then said Jesus to his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Matthew 16:24

A man is head of the marital relationship, but he sets aside his own comfort and desires to meet the needs of his wife and children. His wife has lots of good ideas and suggestions, but where there is a genuine disagreement she leaves the final choice to her husband.

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The Challenge

Most Christians have adopted the marital norms of our modern humanistic society. They are determined to make the unworkable work, and refuse what the Bible says about marriage. The quickest way to split a church is to preach Ephesians 5:22-25. Preachers won't touch the subject with a ten-foot pole. Of necessity, the Fit For Marriage program must begin outside the formal church setting.

It's time for another reformation—like that led by Martin Luther. But someone has to first declare the truth about marriage. The answer, I believe, lies with an obedient remnant—faithful witnesses who will humbly suffer reproach and shame for the sake of Christ.

To each individual reading my words I ask, “Are you troubled by the marital and family carnage you see around you? Would you like to do something about it—even if you are misunderstood or belittled? Do you desire the praises of God more than the praises of men?” If so, you are thinking just like Jesus. Read on!

The Call for Participation

We invite your participation in the Fit For Marriage program. The lessons are ready for distribution and available on CD and cassette tape. But the fellowship infrastructure I envision has yet to be built. Finances are limited. Also we need logistical help—people with organizational and distribution skills.

To rebuild Christian families will be a monumental task. As devout believers join the effort, the program will grow. One by one, marriages will be healed and families restored. We really need your friendship, your prayers, and your encouragement. Please review the website. If my words and the program ring true, here are some things you can do:

  1. Each time someone close to you divorces, think of Fit For Marriage. Remember we are faithfully bringing couples back to the Bible. Pray for us regularly.
  2. Please comment on this website. What portion has blessed you most? Write an encouraging letter to my wife and me.
  3. Please sign in at one of two levels (in either case, your privacy will be strictly guarded and your personal information will never be shared with anyone without your written permission):
    1. If you have some interest, click here and check the box indicating you would like to receive occasional emails.
    2. If you want to follow the ministry more closely, click here and check the box indicating you would like to receive our newsletter.
  4. If you have a website, please consider providing a link to our site. There are creative possibilities that might enhance your site. For example the Self Test is a popular item. Let's talk.
  5. Sign up for the course, and then complete each lesson. We'll grade your test and then send a certificate of completion. Join now and be a charter member!
  6. Look for ways you can fit into the program, and then volunteer your services.
  7. If you are happily and biblically married, as an act of love, you should pass your blessing to others. You might choose to serve as an FFM mentor in a local fellowship group.
  8. If you are a pastor, we especially welcome your encouragement. Your participation can be as public or private as you wish.
  9. If you have promotional skills and a desire to see this program flourish, I'd like to hear from you.
  10. Share this website with others. Just remember: Many believers have been traumatized by their marital experiences, and can't even listen—so be careful (see James 3:17).
  11. Your pastor is primarily a shepherd. He is not the prophet who can lay the ax to the root. So don't ask him why he's not preaching this stuff. I've learned from experience, don't argue this message. Our goal is to show the Church, that the Ephesians 5 model for marriage really works. No one can argue with a testimony. Ours is given below.

This website is the initial expression of my vision. By faith I see things that have yet to happen—e.g. the fellowship groups and the directory are not yet in place. As participation increases, we will incorporate the ideas of others. At the beginning the association will be small, and the learning curve, steep.

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A Battleground, not a Playground

In 1 Samuel 17, a giant named Goliath challenged God's people. Each morning and evening for forty days the giant confronted the armies of Israel. The entire nation was paralyzed. Finally a shepherd boy volunteered.

Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. 1 Samuel 17:45

Once the giant was dead, the Philistines fled, and the Israelites pursued them. Now let me make the application.

When it comes to life and godliness, nothing is more foundational than marriage. As I said earlier, most Christians have adopted the marital norms of our humanistic society. The Christian church has surrendered its moral authority, and is now paralyzed. A giant shadow darkens our land. The need for another David has never been greater.

One preacher said to me, “I agree with you, but I don't like the way you're going about it.” He felt I was being too disruptive. Well, no one liked the way David was going about killing the giant. But once the giant was dead, God's people pursued the enemy … and, as they say, history repeats itself.

Make no mistake about it: Until the marriage issue is dealt with, the Christian church will continue to be helpless. In the meantime, the giant forces of evil that brought radical feminism, the ACLU, abortion-on-demand, and now “gay marriage” will continue to prosper.

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Restoring the Nuclear Family

A Personal Testimony

For over thirty years I was unhappily married. As a committed Christian, I continued to believe the words of Jesus:

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Matthew 7:7

I sought by every means possible to bring my marriage into line with biblical principles. People act on what they believe, so it was imperative that my wife and I both believe the right things about marriage. The quest took place over a twelve year period.

As I learned more about marriage I passed on that understanding to others. I wrote a book entitled Restoring the Father to the Family, and then broadcast the message on the radio for four years. The time and energy spent were enormous, but my efforts were still not sufficient to convince my wife.

Theresa read a book by Laura Doyle entitled The Surrendered Wife. Doyle says a wife should “surrender” to her husband. It was the same message I had been trying to communicate, but it came from a woman, and it convinced my wife. The breakthrough for us came suddenly and dramatically. We have been happily and biblically married since May, 2002. In our family “the giant has been slain.” Hallelujah!

My Wife's Testimony

Hello! My name is Theresa Yates. I've been married to Russell Yates since 1970. Our marriage turned out to be an odyssey … that finally led to a joyous union. We are now reaping the fruits of our adventure, and we're eager to share what we have found with you.

Submission as stated in Ephesians 5 was a mystery to me. How was it to be worked out? I read every book I could get my hands on, and went to every women's event that came down the pike—conferences, retreats, etc. But I was always left with a host of fuzzy questions.

Then one day I was given a book written by Laura Doyle, The Surrendered Wife. You can imagine the red flag that went up in my spirit—Submission! Obedience! and now Surrender! What next? Because I was eager to understand the will of God in this area, I pressed on.

Laura's book was hard to put down—I read it several times. Laura explained in practical terms all the questions I ever had on the meaning of surrendering to a husband. I had many fears which turned out to be unfounded. Once those fears were dealt with, I was able to find an intimate relationship with my husband. Now he has all the responsibility and I have all the fun. Actually he's having fun too.

My husband and I really like being married to each other. If you are seeking intimacy with your husband I recommend you read The Surrendered Wife. If you are a Christian and want to tie surrendering in with your Faith, you're on the right website. I recommend the Fit For Marriage program. Click here to enroll.

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Our Daughter's Testimony

Hi! I'm Deborah, the daughter of Russell and Theresa Yates. I would like to share some insights and personal experiences. It has been quite an adventure growing up and watching my parents grow in their love for each other.

First, when I was a small child I noticed tension in my home. There seemed to be a power struggle. I felt insecure. I was shy as a child and did my best to pretend that things were fine and tried to do what I best could to not rock the boat. Things seemed tenuous and somewhat unstable. I reasoned that if I were the perfect child, somehow that would fix what seemed to be lacking. Years of good grades, model behavior, and awards solved nothing. Eventually I gave up trying to be perfect, and found that I had the same problems everyone else did—the need to be loved by someone else, have a close-knit family, and fit in with others.

I began reading The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle. I found it to be a wealth of information. It changed my mind that the biblical foundation for marriage and family could actually be positive and not negative.

When my parents started reading The Surrendered Wife, and going further with it by applying it to biblical principles, everything changed. Now, we laugh more than we ever have, and I do not have to try to be perfect anymore because we all love each other the way we are.

May this program be a blessing to you and your family, as it was to mine.

Preaching the Gospel

The calling for the Christian church is to bring men to salvation, and Christians have really tried. But as evidenced by Christian marital statistics, we have missed the mark on the more foundational issue which is marriage and family. This may surprise you, but biblical marriage is not only the way to personal happiness, but also the key to Salvation. It is the key to everything. For about a century the key has been lost.

For every 100 marriages:*

  • 50 end in divorce;
  • 15 separate; and
  • 35 remain intact.

Of the 35 marriages that remain intact,

  • 10 are good ones, and, shamefully,
  • 25 just “hang on to the end.”

*statistics published by Focus On The Family (tape CS741/8829)

In His divine foreknowledge, God gave marriage before there was even a need for Salvation. Let me explain further by using an illustration:

A pastor friend of mine had trouble accepting Laura Doyle's book. It did not have a biblical basis, and that bothered him. I reminded my friend of the Gospel we preach. The entire calling of the Christian church is to bring people to a personal relationship with Jesus. So I asked,

“What means has the Lord provided
for us to learn relationship?”

He replied without hesitation, “Marriage and family.”

“That's exactly what Laura Doyle is teaching,” I answered.

It is biblical that a wife should surrender to her husband … and Laura's ideas have been a major influence in the Fit For Marriage program.

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The Fit for Marriage Program

Most people think marriage comes naturally, but it doesn't. Just like reading, writing, and arithmetic, marriage must be learned. And it should be learned—even by those who are divorced, and are just glad to be free.

People who understand biblical marriage will help promote godly relationships at home and in society.

There are different ways to learn marriage, but the best way is to learn by example—from a mother and father who are happily married. Unfortunately we are not able to choose our parents, so most of us fail to learn marriage at home.

That's where Fit For Marriage comes in. We have put together twelve lessons as a starter. We plan to offer more material at a later date. The program is for anyone who wants to understand marriage.

The Mobile Classroom

The Fit for Marriage course is being offered through the internet, and the tests will be taken online, but most of the learning will take place from cassette tapes or CDs. You can hear while exercising, jogging, or driving. You might want to have a CD or tape player installed in your car, if you don't already have one. If your player is broken, have it fixed.

Listen to each lesson—again and again until it becomes familiar. You're probably wondering, “Why the need for repetition?” School is never easy, but:

Learning marriage is especially difficult because of the hostile culture in which we live. Learning right things about marriage requires that you “unlearn” the wrong stuff you've already absorbed.

And the culture will continually try to re-infect you.

Do Not Disturb

If you're trying to sort out a difficult marriage, you need privacy. Couples sometimes go to an out-of-town marriage counselor for that reason. Often they receive unbiblical counseling that is useless. The Fit For Marriage program offers remote marital help that actually works because it faithfully communicates truth found in the Bible.

Getting Acquainted

We will provide a database for those who choose to participate. Men and women can meet others who also appreciate biblical marriage. As participation increases we expect to have social events and an occasional conference—maybe a cruise. The database and local fellowship groups will be for singles, married couples, and their mature children.

We will have a bulletin board where you can post significant personal announcements such as engagements, weddings, testimonies, birth of a child, etc.

As soon as you complete the Fit For Marriage study course you can host a local fellowship group. Contact us, and we will post your information on the website.

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Cultural Correctness

We live in a crooked and perverse society. But God has called us to walk above the culture.

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.Philippians 2:15

Only a small percentage of men and women are willing to follow the biblical pattern, but a small percentage applied to millions of people can be rather sizable. Our goal is a world-wide fellowship of men and women who are eager to learn what the Bible says about marriage.

Click here to order your twelve-lesson study course. Sign up now and you will graduate as a charter member of Fit For Marriage. If you have questions or want to apply for a scholarship, contact us by e-mail or letter.

From the one He made two.
Then from the two He makes one. Fit for Marriage Lesson

If you are following the 4 four steps to enrollment, click on “The Most Destructive Act Ever”; which is Step 2A of getting “Fit For Marriage.”

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To participate in the Fit For Marriage program will take some time. But it will change your life—you'll never be the same again!