The Success Sequence

This contains excerpts from the new book “Real Romance: Sex in the Song of Songs”. To purchase the book, click here, and to access the sermon series that accompanies these devos and this book, click here

Song of Songs 8:10 – I am a wall…

Sociological research has come up with something called the “success sequence” (1), which has proven that people can avoid poverty with a 97% success rate, live better lives, and leave better legacies if they do 3 things in order:

  1. Graduate from high school
  2. Work a full-time job
  3. Marry before having children.

It seems that sociology, psychology, and science oftentimes finally catch up with God’s divine design for our lives, and this is another case. When we follow His ways, we generally succeed.  We see this same pattern in the first marriage between Adam and Eve. 

  1. Adam and Eve knew God and walked with God before they met.
  2. Adam was working a job that would enable him to provide for his family.
  3. Adam and Eve were brought together with God’s blessing.
  4. Adam and Eve did not live together until they were married.
  5. Adam and Eve did not consummate their covenant sexually until after they were married.
  6. Adam and Eve did not have a child until after they were married.

Putting a life together is like putting anything together – if you read and follow the directions, the odds are better that it will get built right the first time. When you ignore the directions and do what you want, it rarely works, it’s frustrating, and it requires you to go back, undo all your wrongs, read the directions, and do it right the second time.

If you look back on your life, any pain you may be experiencing likely started when you violated the directions of God’s success sequence. By going back to repent of your sin, learn from it, heal from it, forgive one another for it, and establish a new beginning, you can launch forward to a better future.

God would gladly give you a new beginning and firm foundation for your marriage if that’s what you need. For this to benefit your marriage, three things need to happen:

  1. Accept God’s grace for any sin you have commitment or has been committed against you in the past.
  2. Your spouse needs to accept God’s grace for any sin you have committed or has been committed against you in the past. 
  3. Share God’s grace with each other. The love, mercy, kindness, patience, and healing that the Holy Spirit brings to you must flow through you to your spouse. 

The greatest threat to the success sequence of God’s divine design has always been and will always be the lure of sexual sin in some form or fashion. If you were chaste going into marriage as Abbi was, then we commend you. You are a minority and a minor miracle in our day. For most of us, we have to go back and revisit our premarital years and see how our sexual sin brought shame and suffering that the Lord can ultimately heal.

Have you done things in the order of the Success Sequence? If so, we commend you. If not, it’s not too late for God to give you a new beginning.

  1. “What does the Success Sequence Mean?”, Institute for Family Studies, February 25, 2021,