JESUS IS THE ANSWER TO MARITAL HAPPINESS
It is reported that 2.3 million couples are married yearly. Likely, most of these people are excited and in love. Hopefully, they plan to live together for life. However, it is said that about fifty per cent of marriages end in divorce, with a divorce occurring every thirty-six seconds. A number of people are married two or three times. Some enter into more marriages. Couples who started out so radiant and hopeful become cross with one another, grow apart, and end their marriages. Is this inevitable? Is there no hope for life time marriages? This writer believes there is hope for happy marriages, but only in Christ.
Each party entering into marriage should prepare for this union of two distinct and different personalities. This preparation might come from talking with those who have been happily married for many years, especially Christian couples. Seeking information from a seasoned gospel preacher should be helpful. Reading good books by good and knowledgeable authors will enlighten one. Robert R. Taylor, Jr. has an excellent book, Christ in the Home, which this scribe has and has given to many couples stateside and abroad. Most couples prepare for physical things, such as, housing, transportation, bills, etc. Marriage is more serious and important. PREPARE!
Marry a Christian. A faithful child of God will treat you the way you expect and de-serve, properly. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). You will be loved “in deed and in truth” as well as “word” and “tongue.” (1 John 3:18). Read Ephesians 5:21-33; Proverbs 31:10-31. If you were told that a million dollars lay before you, and it could be yours if you walked a line to it. You would have the option of walking the line alone, seek one to help you remain on the line, or choose one who would hinder you and try to pull you off. What would you choose to do? Precious soul, heaven is before you. Walk alone, as did Paul (1 Corinthians 7:8; 9:5), or choose a true help meet, an aid (Genesis 2:18), who will help you and any children who may come to reach your goal, heaven. Read care-fully and prayerfully, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). Husbands and wives are to be “heirs together of the grace of life”, praying unhindered together. (1 Peter 3:7). This cannot be done when a Christian marries one who is not a child of the King. Many who married non-Christians have been pulled away from Christ. “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Few win their spouses today. Do not gamble with your soul.
“Be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” (James 2:19). Many marriages have ended in divorce when one or both had to have the last word, refusing to walk away. Tragically, some have died due to this attitude. You have two ears and one tongue.
Learn to say, “I am sorry”, when you have said or done wrong. Only Jesus was sinless. (1 Peter 2:22). Benjamin Franklin said,
“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” The idea of being sorry is included in repentance. “Godly sorrow worketh repentance”, which will be evident in one’s change of life. (2 Corinthians 7:8-11). Luke 17:1-4 speaks of weakness, which may happen often; however, one may be truly sorry for sinning, repent and be forgiven. There would be fewer divorces if each one who sins would repent and the other ready and willing to forgive.
Pray with and for each other. 1 Peter 3:7, “that your prayers be not hindered”, suggests a praying couple. Read Luke 18:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 18. It is difficult to imagine unhappy couples who are praying together.
Read and study the word of God together. Turn the TV, computer, cell phone, and any other hindrance OFF. Rightly divide the scripture. (2 Timothy 2:15). Help one another understand the word.
God said, “They shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24). Jesus added, “Wherefore they are no more twain,….” (Matthew 19:6). Function as one. Walk and work together, as did Aquila and Priscilla. (Acts 18:26; Romans 16:3-5a). Jesus said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.” (Matthew 12:25, 26).
“Be thou faithful unto death.” (Revelation 2:10). If both parties in a marriage are faithful to God, they will be faithful to one another. Pure love will exist, and happiness will be found, seen and enjoyed.
Deity said, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife:….” (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5). Do not allow in-laws on either side to interfere. Seek their wisdom and listen to them, weigh their words, and make your decisions with your spouse. Parents, Stay out of their business. Speak when asked, or if sin is evident. Otherwise, Let go!
Following are a few other suggestions for happy marriages. Matthew 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Do not lust or commit fornication. (Matthew 5:28, 32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Follow God’s order, “submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:21), with the husband being the head of the wife, and she submissive unto her own husband. (Verses 22-24). May the husband love his wife as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it. (Verses 23-33a). Let “the wife see that she reverence her husband.” (Verse 33b). Reverence means to be “in awe of” or respect, being in submission to, as unto the Lord. (Verse 22). Cf. 1 Peter 3:5, 6. Be careful about judging one another; judge righteously, rather than according to appearance. (John 7:24). Read the Songs of Solomon, and do not be afraid or ashamed to read these to one an-other.
Discuss things, making decisions together, never saying, “I told you so”, when things go wrong. Give and take joyfully. (Acts 20:35). Never go to bed or leave angry. Turn all electronic items OFF, and enjoy one another’s time and conversation. Retain the feelings you enjoyed that brought you to marry the wife (husband) of thy youth. (Malachi 2:15, 16). Fulfill one another’s physical needs, except by mutual consent, with the husband respecting the wife’s monthly physical needs. (1 Corinthians 7:3-5; Leviticus 15:19; 20:18; 12:2). Work together in the Church, community, neighborhood, home, and other areas. Realize that the young person you are marrying will one day be older, and maybe not as handsome/beautiful, possibly sick, handicapped, or incapacitated, and may have mind problems. Remember the vows you made, “To have and to hold, in sickness or health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, and to keep you and you only until death do us part.” May they be as alive as the day they were received and given.
Beloved, do not take marriage lightly or flippantly. Keep your eyes on God, loving Him with all your heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37-39), and your eyes will ever be on the love of your youth. One final challenge. Each morning when both of you are awake, and each evening before you retire for the night, face one another, hold hands, and say, “I LOVE YOU.” Maintain the “sweetheart” feelings you had when dating.