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How Do I Love Thee "Food For Thought Before You Say "I DO" ~ Lesson Eight ~

Updated on March 17, 2014

How Do I Love Thee

Food For Thought BEFORE You Say “I DO”



Commitment must be a key ingredient in a successful marriage. You can’t go into a marriage with the attitude if it doesn’t work I’ll ……. Just get divorced. I suggest you not marry at all. Prenuptial agreements may sound logical, but they really represent a lack of trust. You should think long and hard before taking the final step.

Marriage is a covenant agreement! This agreement is made to one another and to God quite often in the presence of many witnesses. A covenant is a solemn binding agreement.

In the state of California alone the divorce rate is in excess of 55% of marriages resulting in divorce. Guess what? The divorce rate in secular society differs very little from that of the Christian community.

What a poor example this presents to the world. This extends not only among the lay people but to the clergy as well. We must learn to be “Covenant Keepers.” What does “death us do part” imply?

In the Marriage Builder Larry Crabb states; “Without a thorough confidence that God will never ask His children to do anything that does not have their well-being in view, we simply will not be able to arouse a desire to honor the commitment of marriage. And that is as it should be. It makes no sense to follow the direction of a guide whose motivation you do not trust. Our failure to readily follow His leading reflects a lack of deep confidence in His goodness. We wonder whether He is merely using us or wants to BLESS us.

The problem with unsteady commitment is not centrally a problem of the will; it is rather deficient belief. We simply do not believe that God who tells us to remain committed to our marriage partners is good. If we knew He was good, we would sense a deep desire to follow His leading.” (1982, pg 116) This view presents a very interesting perspective. God expects no less than commitment in the marital relationship. You should really think about the seriousness of commitment!

God commands us to submit to one another. We can submit to the boss, the preacher, the teacher, the doctor, but not to our spouses. Something is terribly wrong! We must get our priorities straight. If you can’t keep the commitment; “Don’t Make it.” Christ died that we might experience the abundant life! He has overcome and conquered sin’s reign in the life of God’s children. This means that we can “do all things through Christ that strengthens us.” Philippians 4 (KJ V). Yes, He will and does forgive? Although God is a loving, kind amd forgiving God we must not take advantage of His mercy. There are consequences we must experience when we sin.

If you are pondering marriage it cannot be till lust us do part. Nor can it be till feeling good about one another does depart. God never asks His children to do anything that is not in their best interest. Don’t bypass the prompting of the Holy Spirit. If there is an inkling of reserve hold off, postpone that date! Don’t allow pride to cause you to make a grave mistake that will impact you for a lifetime.

Marriage doesn’t mean that you have to give up personal happiness to provide happiness for your mate. The love each mate has for the other should encourage them to be all they can be with God at their side! Our personal needs can only truly be met by God. Marriage gives us the opportunity to minister to one another. To minister means to serve.

When you honor your marriage commitment you are honoring God. You are saying yes to His will and His way for the male and female marital relationship. Male to male or female to female is not HIS way! It only represents the world’s acceptance of sinful alternative lifestyles. The world continues to desensitize itself to sin. It continues to entice unbelievers as well as believers to resort to its sinful seductions.

Christians must study God’s Word and seek Godly counsel. The Bible provides us with a plethora of excellent examples when God’s instructions were not obeyed. It records the consequences as well. There are definite consequences for sin. We can’t avoid them. But as God’s children we can learn to sin less. The Bible teaches us that having sexual relations with someone other than your spouse is sin. Unfaithfulness is a growing cause where marriages result in divorce. Divorce is hurtful and destructive, not only to the couple but to family and friends as well.

It is only through and by the grace of God we can truly make a lifetime commitment to “Marriage God’s Way.” Marriage should not be entered into lightly. I cannot stress this point enough! (It is sad but true many have been deceived by spouses who have not been honest nor divulged pertinent information that would have altered their decision to marry) I recently spoke to a couple that I had counseled. Although they had discussed many subjects prior to marriage their response was you can never prepare too much!

The actual marriage relationship is quite different from courtship. Bear in mind God’s way is not “to drink the milk before you buy the cow.” A trial living arrangement is not acceptable nor should it be a Christian option. Marriage is for mature, responsible people. Under the optimum of conditions there is still and will be adverse situations to deal with. Marriage is about developing character. It is about LOVE and unending devotion and ongoing spiritual growth. Think of it as epoxy! When the two adhesive thermostatic components come together they form a permanent bond. Whatever you join yourself together with becomes a part of you. Think again, again and again!

God intends for marriage to be a lifetime monogamous commitment. Christians should never entertain divorce as an option as entering into marriage. This is what JESUS has to say in regards to divorce; “It has been said , anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce. But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery. Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, “Do not break your oath, but keep the oath you made to the LORD.” Matthew 5. This is why it is so very important that we think spiritually and not carnally when entering into the marriage covenant. Yes, God is forgiving. But if you are not without doubt why make a commitment you are not sure you will be able to keep? To be “Spiritual minded is Peace” But to be carnally minded will eventually lead to death of the relationship!

Divorce is not acceptable neither is unfaithfulness! A spouse who is unfaithful is a self-centered individual. Their selfishness inhibits their ability to minister to the needs of their spouse. When a marriage commitment is made each spouse should put the needs of the other first.

The man’s body belongs to the woman. The woman’s body belongs to the man. “Now for the matters you wrote about. It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but to the wife. Do NOT deprive each other except by MUTUAL consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourself to prayer. Then come together again so that satan will not tempt you for lack of self-control!

I say this as a concession, not a command. I wish that all were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one man has this gift, another that. Now to the unmarried and the widow I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried as I am. But I they cannot CONTROL themselves; they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. To the married I give this command (not I, but the LORD): a wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

To the rest I say this (I, not the LORD): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him; for the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified by her believing husband.

Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in Peace. How do you know wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband whether you will save your wife? Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in lie that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him. This is the rule I lay down in the churches.” I Corinthians 7 (NIV). This is what God has said in regards to the marital relationship.

When a marriage is marred by unfaithfulness and deceit, its by-product results in insecurity, mistrust and wounded hearts. It not only effects the couple , but their relatives as well as other close relationships the jointly share. Not confronting such a serious matter as unfaithfulness will ultimately destroy any relationship.

Unfaithfulness does not have to dissolve the marriage. If it does occur reconciliation should be considered? We should always encourage reconciliation if at all possible… The Lord’s direction must be frequently consulted through much prayer and meditation upon HIS Word. Undesirable relational patterns can be broken, but, only when one is truly repentant.

We should encourage the Fruit of the Spirit to abide and abound in the marriage relationship. A harmonious marriage is a precious gift from God. We must faithfully strive to sincerely keep our covenant that we have made to one another as well as to our Heavenly Father.

~ This Concludes LESSON EIGHT ~

We are living in some interesting times today! Many marriages are ending in divorce and the percentage continues to escalate... Each couple and situation is so very different. It is not possible to know everything about one another before marriage. But it is important to take the time to find out if you share core values! Many today marry for various reasons…. Some do not always divulge pertinent information to the other potential spouse that may alter one’s decision to marry.

Marriage is the oldest institution that God has created and ordained! There is much on the horizon in a diligent effort to redefine and change the institution of marriage. It is important to take the time and consider what God has to say about marriage.

To be a Christian means to desire to live a life that pleases God. Yet we have many Christians who have not developed personal relationships with Him. How can we know what God’s will is for us and not have a relationship with Him? It is really important to investing the time to get to know one another… After all you plan to spend the rest of your life together!

How can we consider making such a serious vow as marriage and not know what it entails? When our automobiles need repairing we go to a mechanic. When our roof leaks we look for a roofer. When you want a custom made suit, dress, gown or ensemble you go to a designer. When our soul desires a soulmate we need to consult our Creator and Soul maker!

Life is full of many valley and mountaintop experiences. Knowing God will greatly impact how we fair and weather each storm, as well as the outcome of our life quest experiences. Again, I must say it is very important to share core values and be willing to work together! One must put forth a serious effort to know our Creator and His Word. God LOVES us so much that He has given us accessible directions in His Word for a successful marriage. A successful marriage is contingent on our ability to TRUST and OBEY His instructions.

God has created marriage as the ultimate, spiritual, rewarding, satisfying and fulfilling relationship between a husband and wife! I Pray that you have a wonderfully Blessed, God centered, powerful, enjoyable ever improving, fulfilling and growing marriage! “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding in ALL your ways acknowledge Him and HE WILL direct your path.” PROVERBS 3. “What GOD has joined together let not man put asunder!”


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    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 7 years ago

      Nobody, Marriage is an organism that continues to grow… It really is important to be ever so conscious of improving and enhancing the relationship. You are so right! There are a lot of factors that weigh upon trying to impede upon creating division within the marriage.

      Many do not opt for premarital counseling… It really is important to give serious thought as to what each one expects in the marriage…

      Your input here is most appreciated. You have shed light on additional things to consider when embarking upon marriage. They also serve to help those who are already married. Rendering that it is important to know that it is much spiritual warfare that constantly tries to hinder the couple from growing closer and developing intimacy and transparency. Trust in marriage is very important!

      Each marriage is different but the principles remain the same. God has given each of us unique temperaments. As you said marriage can have its challenges, but it is will worth it when you make a conscious effort to work as a team. It is important that we pray for one another as well as together. It is important to always KEEP the relationship a priority and seek to discover healthy ways to enhance and bring excitement! Keep the embers of love burning… Balance is key.

      Bob, Thank you as always for being who you are. You bring such a warm open realness that is welcomed and appreciated! May the Lord continue to knit your hearts together in the bond of “Holy Matrimony” To GOD Be the GLORY! In HIS Love, Joy, Peace & Blessings

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 7 years ago from Rochester, New York

      I must say that marriage is never easy. It might be a bit easier if it was just our sin and God giving us the power to overcome it but it is our sin, our enemy the devil, the world pushing us, our baggage that we may have only rid ourselves of partially, kids, money, and on and on. Often when couples are in pre-marital counseling they don't think to cover everything they themselves need to acknowledge before this responsibility is in their lap. I had at least one issue that I thought was being controlled that should have been discussed and faced head on and wasn't. My beautiful wife had probably two that we should have had help with and didn't. So we went the hard way and hashed it out in three years of wedded un-bliss. Then we began to really weave and cleave to one another. I can see how others would just have said "nope, can't do it." Halloween and another anniversary, or I should say, Anni-ween is coming up. We have been through so much and I know the trials aren't over but I'm sure glad we are together for whatever comes. The LORD be glorified! Loveya DeB.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 7 years ago

      Lady E, You are so welcome and Thank You! The intentions here is really to encourage others to think about marriage before you say “I DO.” If you are already married to really consider spending some time in the Word together to learn ways to enhance your marriage. If you look around we can clearly see that the world at large is turning away from Godly principles for marriage. You are right the Philippines thus far has not legalized divorce.

      Your comments as usual are most helpful and I think that they will encourage those seeking to marry! A God centered marriage is possible! Thank you for sharing, In HIS Love, Joy, Peace & Blessings!

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 7 years ago

      A M Werner, Thank You! I believe that we are on one accord in wanting to allow the Lord’s principles for marriage to come to the forefront! We are living in some turbulent times… It is becoming increasingly difficult for this generation to embrace the benefits of marriage God’s WAY! There is so much going on to support the redefining of marriage… LORD HELP US!

      “To make that faithful commitment to another human being for love, trust, and friendship is a decision that should not be taken as lightly as it is” Amen! & AMEN!! There are truly wonderful benefits of marriage God’s way! There is a spiritual and character growth along with freedom that exists when you can live in harmony with someone who knows you in the truest sense… it is an ongoing process of growth that is inclusive of care, concern , truth and so much more…

      I told my husband years ago it is going to sound like a disease when we say “we are a committed heterosexual couple!” As you say; “Curiosity leads many to destruction, diseases and a host of unwanted skeletons in the closet.” You are Point on! You have brought out some great points that will benefit those who seek to marry to really consider? This is the point of these lessons. I have seen too many marriages go awry… God is Good and “Building Better MARRIAGES GOD’S WAY!” really does work! THANK YOU for sharing! It is always a pleasure! May the Lord continue to bless you and yours. In His Love, Peace, Joy & Blessings!

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 7 years ago from London, UK

      Thanks again - there is so much to glean here. These Hubs have to be read more than once.

      I think it's in the Philippines that they are not allowed to Divorce. So, people don't jump into marriage anyhow.

      I've learnt so much in this "How do I love thee" series and hope to abide by these wise words. May God continue to Bless your marriage.

      Best Wishes, Elena xx

    • A M Werner profile image

      Allen Werner 7 years ago from West Allis

      DeBorrah, this is perhaps the best of the series. It strikes biblically at the heart of the matter. To make that faithful commitment to another human being for love, trust, and friendship is a decision that should not be taken as lightly as it is. But we live in a society that takes sexual relations to a casual level, a testing time - as you stated, "A trial living arrangement is not acceptable." For far too many, it is acceptable. Curiosity leads many to destruction, diseases and a host of unwanted skeletons in the closet.


    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 7 years ago

      Fred Allen, THANK YOU! God designed MARRIAGE to be a beautiful, loving, fulfilling, spiritual union. Many do not take the time to see what He has to say... It is important that we share the TRUTH of God's Word! There is so much in His Word to help us make better life choices....

      When we allow God in the center of our Marriages it will continue to grow and flourish... There is always room for improvement!

      Your commments are welcomed and appreciated!

      Thank you for stopping by to share! In HIS, Love, Joy, Peace & Blessings!

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 7 years ago

      DR PastorCarlotta, Thank you and God Bless you! Much Love to you! In His Joy, Peace & Blessings!

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 7 years ago

      Cristina, It is important that each couple takes the time to discuss to a degree what they want or expect of one another in the marriage. This will help each spouse have realistic expectations from one another as they make plans for their future together.

      It is true that it is God who is able to meet our personal needs…. He is readily available to help the couple on their journey... Marriage is a wonderful partnership designed for spiritual growth, physical satisfaction, as well as the fulfillment of personal goals that the couple can work to achieve together.

      Your comments and insight are most appreciated. They will certainly help those who are considering marriage or already married… Thank you for your thoughtful comments you have grasped my sincere intentions here. Many simply do not know what God has to say about marriage. God really does know what is best! Although the world at large tends to lay them aside His principles for marriage remain the same. It really is possible to have a rewarding and fulfilling marriage!

      I am elated to hear that this has been helpful! CONGRATULATIONS! I wish you a wonderful, committed, happy, fulfilling, God centered marriage! Thank you for sharing, In HIS Love, Joy, Peace & Blessings!

    • fred allen profile image

      fred allen 7 years ago from Myrtle Beach SC

      Awesome and up! I like how you started with the covenant relationship to state the seriousness of the marriage commitment. For those wanting to live together first to see if they are compatable, God does in fact look upon this as sin. The marital relationship should not have any other foundation other than commitment for life to each other and God as the cornerstone of that commitment. Powerful lesson.

    • drpastorcarlotta profile image

      Pastor Dr. Carlotta Boles 7 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

      Wonderful! Wonderful! Hub! I voted-up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Bless YOU!

    • cristina327 profile image

      Maria Cristina Aquino Santander 7 years ago from Manila

      This is indeed another excellent hub which presents timely and precious truths about marriage in the light of God's Word. I love what you say,

      "Our personal needs can only truly be met by God. Marriage gives us the opportunity to minister to one another. To minister means to serve."

      Truly marriage is a great opportunity for husband and wife to build up each other's faith in the Lord. Truly marriage could be a great ministry.

      Truly this hub is a courageous exposition of timeless and precious truths from God's Word, without any single compromise. I admire your boldness in presenting this hub.Thank you for sharing this here at Hubpages. Blessings to you and your family. Best regards.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 7 years ago

      Rev Lady, Thank You! God’s original plan for mankind has not changed! When we encourage “Building Better MARRIAGES GOD’S WAY!” We actually enact HIS vision! Better marriages, build better families, better families produce better healthy children and stronger communities! Better communities yield better lives for everyone…

      I realize that many often think of God’s Word as a last resort! But by encouraging others to consult Him first even if only a few grab hold it makes a difference! There is always "HOPE" in the Lord! Marriages and families need GOD….. The world at large is not going to get better... What has happened cannot be changed. But anyone can start from where they are building better marriages and families…. We in turn must commit to His will and His way… God is adding to HIS kingdom each and everyday ... God alone is SOVEREIGN! He says the way is narrow and few find it…. Therefore we pray “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven… GOD alone is AWESOME and able!

      Thank you for sharing as always your wonderful spiritual insight, I pray that others are encouraged and inspired! In HIS, Love, Joy, Peace & Blessings!

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 7 years ago

      Stars, Thank You! I pray that you are encouraged and inspired! Thank you for sharing, In HIS Love, Joy, Peace & Blessings to you and yours!

    • RevLady profile image

      RevLady 7 years ago from Lantana, Florida


      EXCELLENT food for thought as one prepares for marriage life.

      Everything you touched upon here is vital to the success of Christian marriages. Particularly noted was: "Divorce is not acceptable neither is unfaithfulness! A spouse who is unfaithful is a self-centered individual. Their selfishness inhibits their ability to minister to the needs of their spouse. When a marriage commitment is made each spouse should put the needs of the other first." AMEN, AMEN!!

      Certainly, inherent in the commitment words, “I do” is the understanding that each are consciously and willingly giving up “me” to become “we.” “We” is not the same as, “you and me.” Abandoning “me” means that each must relinquish something cherished (certain privacies, preferences, getting needs met at all cost, etc.), to gain something more precious: relationship with the beloved. Neither persons are the sole center of life; each is sensitive to the needs of the relationship.

      Great hub that contains the spiritual ingredients necessary for marriages God's way, which is the only true way.

      Love, peace and joy!

      Forever His,

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 7 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Very nice hub. Very beautiful pictures. Commitment is so crucial in a marriage. God Bless you dear Heart.