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Marriage: A Wonderful But Serious Thing

by Robert Berendt
Photo by Drew Coffman on Unsplash
 

Our loving Creator made us male and female and stated that this was good (Genesis 1:27-31). God then showed us the wonderful potential of a marriage by inspiring the words of their union in Genesis 2:21-25. (By the way, when a rib is carefully removed from the human body, it regrows perfectly, so Adam was not “ribless” the rest of his life.)

In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus Christ referred to the potential for happiness within marriage that God gave. There are eternal lessons to be learned in this holy union. Not only are humans happier when they work toward a family relationship that is godly, but children (who take the better part of two decades to reach adulthood) need the stability of a home with mom and dad to have the best chance of becoming mature and responsible adults. The eternal lessons are derived from the parallels that marriage makes with the ultimate relationship of mankind and God (Ephesians 5:30-33).

Now that we can see the importance of this marvellous institution that holy matrimony is intended to be, let us take a look at some of the realities of life. We all know that we humans are imperfect and usually come into marriage with a lot (or a few) mistakes as well as gaps in our character. It seems to take a lifetime to “get it all together” and then when we seem to have made real progress, life is about to end. In fact, that is the essence of what life is all about – reaching that level of knowledge and building character.

God has made us all with hormones that kick in around the teenage years. He expects adults to teach the young self-control and, when maturity arrives, enter into marriage to reach the highest level of human interaction. Mankind is good at ruining and destroying the beauty of God’s creation and it is no different in marriage. For this reason, God has set some strong and clear guidelines for our lives.

Marriage is a holy union because it is an agreement a man and woman make with God to love, cherish, honour and be true to one another. In Mark 10:9 Jesus states this fact very strongly. “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” It is to our peril and great unhappiness that we all too often take these words too lightly. Though no one should have to live in an abusive situation, marriages are to be treasured and preserved through every effort we can exercise. Two of God’s Ten Commandments clearly address this important phase in our lives. God says: “You shall not commit adultery;” and, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.” He also stated in no uncertain terms that those who practice adultery, fornication (which includes sex without marriage), will not inherit the kingdom of God (I Corinthians 6:9-11). The commandments are written alongside “You shall not kill,” and are just as serious.

We will not go into those aspects, but it is important to realize that God takes our marriage vows seriously because the results of a broken marriage are long-lasting and devastating. He wants us to be as happy as possible in this life and therefore He tells us how to live. We have the right to choose whether we will be happy or miserable. We should note that at conversion, even a person who has come out of a miserable and sad state can have a fresh start in the sense that they are made clean and pure by Jesus’ blood. Of course, once made pure by this precious blood, God expects us to remain pure (Romans 6:1-3).

In Ecclesiastes 9:9, God tells us to live joyfully with the wife (or husband) whom you love. This is a two-way street.

Marriage allows us to express the deepest kind of love to one another – a love based on trust. Without trust, a marriage cannot survive – at least not a marriage that is godly and happy. Psalm 128 speaks of children like olive plants around the table of their parents. That is their real mom and dad having meals together and living like a family. That is what God wants for us, although we do not always reach that ideal. Both partners in a marriage have the responsibility of doing their part.

Marriage is based on trust. When two people fear God, they will try harder to live as He directs. God intends for a marriage to last a lifetime; therefore, before marriage people need to be sure they have many things in common. Religious beliefs rank very high on that list. We need to give more time in counseling and planning – not to fear this wonderful relationship, but to try and ensure that it is as happy as possible.

It is a strong beginning for a long and happy marriage when each partner comes to the other as a virgin and gives themselves only to one another. That is the foundation of trust. The “Proverbs 31” woman bears noble and highly-prized qualities. She is worth more than gold or diamonds and “the heart of her husband safely trusts her.” She will be discreet and will guard her honour and that of the family with great care. Needless to say, the husband will also exercise these qualities.

This is God’s intention, but in real life, we know there are mistakes that happen. Accidents can happen and other factors can create problems for us. We live in a society that has lost its sense of correctness and chastity. The heartache, depression, loneliness and misery we see all about us are a result of choosing to disobey God somewhere along the line. Recovery is possible to some degree, but never complete.

Malachi 2:11-15 expresses God’s anger with men who “deal treacherously” with their wives. He also refers to marriage as a holy institution and “wife by covenant” (or husband). God’s people are different from the rest of the world in that they strive to obey God and live according to His word. We want to be like Him, and in marriage we are able to learn and to express many of His attributes. Love, sharing, giving, forgiving, wisdom, kindness, trustworthiness, patience, nobleness and goodness are a few that come to mind. The marriage will reflect the degree to which husbands and wives are succeeding. Our marriages reflect our godliness. None of us are perfect and we are all walking this path together.

Understanding our frailties and our need for a close mate will go a long way towards making our lives as happy as they can be within the conditions we find ourselves.

Life does come to an end and all human marriages end with the death of either one of the partners. Often, it is at a sorrowful time such as this that a person fully realizes the blessing that a partner who is trustworthy, helpful and supportive has been. God created us to be social creatures.

We need relationships and we need one another. He says it is not good for a man (or woman) to live alone (Genesis 2:18) and thus marriage provides us with companionship into our old age. The accomplishments and adventures of life are shared by one another in such a close way, that we do come to grasp in time what was meant when Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23). We are to be as one in marriage and that reflects the ultimate goal that Jesus Christ so carefully recorded in John 17. Verse 21 states: “That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

Marriage is wonderful. God intended it for men and for women. This society has so twisted and distorted that godly intent and concept that we find ourselves at war with the society we live in. God’s way is worth dying for and it is worth living for.

Husbands and wives, and the young people who will one day be husbands and wives – you have choices to make.

We who have lived the biggest part of our lives hope and pray that the choices you make will allow God to bless you every day of your lives. Open your doors and let Him come in. Then there will be peace and contentment, excitement and adventure, that leave no regrets, no scars, no sorrows and no tears. Marriage is from God and intended for all people.

Use it wisely.

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