I have handed in all my marriage registers, so I can’t say how many people I have married over almost 40 years, but I would suggest it has been quite a few. Because marriage is of God and God provides guidelines for marriage, I would not marry a couple unless I could take them through a pre-marriage course. A few, after completing the course, realized they were not suited for each other or one refused to commit to Jesus as Lord, and withdrew from marrying. Some others realized further down the line, after marrying that they had made mistakes and divorced. Many had successful marriages, some pushed through and some have been widowed. I held before them the following foundational text:
Ge 2:24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. 25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
When real Christians marry, although there is much to learn, they become aware that God is the one who has brought them together and is joining them together as a husband and wife.
1) The words “leave, united and become” in verse 24 are meaningful when put together. Just as a handcrafted wooden chain has no joins, so God wants the husband and wife to have no relational joins. A gold or silver chain has joins. Each link is squashed close and even if it is spot welded it remains a chain with joins. Joins have the potential of breaking. What God joins together is permanent. His intention is that there are no joins so that the relationship cannot break.
2) The words “leave, united and become” suggest three ways to enter a marriage, with only one being the right one.
(a) At times people want to leave home and the only way is to exit the home by marriage. Another concept, although seemingly un-cultured for many, is an arranged marriage. The reason I say un-cultured is that at times it is not an arranged marriage where the bride has no say in the choice of husband. Friends may be so happy in their relationship that they “force” a friendship between one’s son and the other’s daughter that as they grow up it seems to the children that marriage is their destiny. On the other hand, two business owners want to merge their businesses but don’t trust each other totally and create a climate for one’s daughter and the other’s son, who would inherit, to marry, with the underlying, unspoken of reality being the protection of their interest.
(b) Ladies at times feel that should they permit the fellow they love to have sex with them, he will start to love them and this lead to marriage. On the other hand, a guy might feel that because he and his girlfriend had sex, he is obliged to marry her.
(c) The Biblical method is that as a couple find their relationship developing, love starting to grow followed by faithfulness, commitment and tenderness, they shall decide, after much prayer, to marrying and once the legal aspect of marriage is completed, they will proceed to sexual intimacy. Allow me to say that according to commentaries on marriage that I have read, almost all attribute marital problems to pre-marital sex.
3) Leaving the parents’ home has do’s and don’ts. As Christians, you don’t abandon your parents once you are married. They are always your parents and you have a responsibility towards them as they have towards you. You remain in contact, you visit, call, SMS and have them over to meals and fun if you don’t live too far away. What you do, do is develop an adult relationship with them. Although your parents, you now have your own home and marriage with all the responsibilities and accountabilities as they do. At the same time you do not permit an emotional support system to continue or develop between, say you as the wife and your mother, as before your marriage. Your emotional support must come from your husband. Your parents cannot control your home, décor or what you do and don’t do in your home. Don’t permit them to but in! Don’t rely upon them financially and do not allow them to do this to you. You have your home, marriage and family to care for as they did and still do.
4) Marriage is permanent. Before pushing on, allow me to say that I am deeply sorry for couples where marriages don’t work out. At times these ought not to have happened. I believe in love and I have found that too many have a Hollywood type of love. That is not love. That is infatuation or lust but not true love. I cannot see how a couple can love each other for 6 years and then fall out of love. My reason is this … love is a decision followed by a commitment. I decide to love and when I do as a Christian, the Holy Spirit does something amazing in my heart and that of my husband / wife. The term … be united … means inseparable … permanent. It means glued together that only death is able to break the bond. I do not imply that there will never be a harsh word, misunderstanding or argument. Having the Holy Spirit resident in the hearts of both the husband and wife means that any and every problem that arises will be able to be sorted out for each other’s good and the glory of God.
5) Biblical marriage is heterosexual. I am certain you realize this, but it is important in the day and age we live in, where so much of Christendom has changed their Protestant and Evangelical beliefs from what their founding fathers saw as teaching from God’s Word, that we need to state it. God created the male and the female for each other to marry and to pursue healthy sexual intimacy with each other. God did not, has not and will not change His Word because His Word is unchangeable. See:
Rev 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
6) Biblical marriage is monogamous. This means that one man is married to one woman in a lifelong, faithful commitment. Although some of the fathers of the faith permitted and did enter into polygamous marriages, this was never God’s intention. No man can provide adequately for one woman let only two or more. He is unable to give one hundred percent emotional, physical, mental, financial and sexual support to meet the need of more than one woman. He might think he can but he cannot. No man has. Look no further than the disaster of king David and king Solomon’s marriages and families. What has been said about polygamy is true of polyandry as well.
7) Sexual intimacy is one of the most lacking when it comes to knowledge, ability and satisfaction. Just because a woman falls pregnant and has children does not mean she is sexually satisfied. Studies show that only ten percent of married woman are sexually satisfied. This Daily Note is not the place to teach or explain the depths of sexual satisfaction in marriage, but it is worth saying that this matter requires …
(i) The art of patience.
(ii) Knowledge of both the female and male body and how successful coitus happens.
I recommend books like Dr. Ed and Gaye Wheats “Intended for pleasure”, JC Dillow’s “Solomon on sex” and Tim and Bev Lahaye’s books “The act of marriage” and “The act of marriage over 40”. There are many other books, though many border on the pornographic. These are straight down the line Biblical.
Father God, mercifully protect marriages and where young men and women desire marriage, help them to reach the right reasons for wanting to pursue a lifelong, faithful marriage. Amen.