How Do I Love Thee "Food For Thought Before You Say "I DO" ~ Lesson Eight ~
How Do I Love Thee
Food For Thought BEFORE You Say “I DO”
~ LESSON EIGHT ~
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.
Embracing your commitment
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 and 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.
Mutual respect for one another is important
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.
Studying God's Word together is important
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!”
How Do I Love Thee ~ LESSON ONE ~
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