When considering the Word of God, I presume that we all understand that marriage is between a man and a woman (Genesis. 2:24). Divorce is prevalent in our society today because it seems more attention is given to a wedding ceremony than training young people for the marriage relationship. Therefore, the following guidelines I pray will be helpful for those contemplating marriage. They comprise a mixture of divine truth and sound advice.
First, marriage is for the mature. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” Gen. 2:24). Many young people, especially teens, who talk about getting married are not mature enough to do so. Therefore the responsibilities that go along with marriage are often overwhelming. Thus, one should ask, “Am I emotionally ready to get married?” When a young lady says, “If it does not work out, I can go home to Momma,” she is not ready to enter this relationship. If a young man gets upset because his fiancé desires to spend time with him, which time takes him away from his “buddies”, he is not ready. Or, if both are too controlling of the other, they are not ready to be married.
Another question to ask, “Are we ready financially to get married?” The idea that a couple can get by on love alone is a myth. Now, it is true that agape love for each other is essential for marriage to last. However, love does not pay the bills. The boy who quits school so he can get married because he has a job making $200 a week, is likely going to be making the same amount 10 years from now.
Yet, the most important question to ask, “Are we ready spiritually to get married?” If a young man cannot get up and get himself ready for worship, he will not be able to prepare his family. A young lady who marries a non–‐Christian must be prepared to remain strong despite the discouragement that will come from her mate. Someone says, “But Grandma got married when she was fifteen.” But Grandma lived in a different world. Grandma probably had already helped raise 6 or 7 siblings. She was not spoiled rotten like many today. She understood what commitment means. In addition, Grandpa was probably significantly older and was already working and prepared to care for a family.
Second, romance attraction does not guarantee happiness. When a teen boy is drawn or attracted to a teen girl that is a healthy, natural desire. Parents Who love their children must, with the Bible and common sense, guide their children to making not only responsible decisions, but also right decisions. While physical intimacy is wonderful, these feelings and desires can only be fully expressed in the beauty of sacred marriage (Heb. 13:4). Thus, marriage is likewise for the mature. Those who engage in sexual relations outside of holy matrimony are selfishly fulfilling the lust of the flesh and taking advantage of the other. In so doing, those who engage in such cannot fully appreciate the beauty of married love, for in marriage, joy comes more from the giving of one’s self to another. Paul wrote: “Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife” (1 Cor. 7:3-4).
Teenagers in the church should understand that the Lord, Paul, the preacher, and godly parents are not trying to keep physical intimacy away from them, but rather are trying to bring it to them in all of its beauty and sacredness in marriage. Only then can such really be enjoyed. While romance is essential to a great marriage, romance essentially is about feelings, and you cannot build a strong marriage on feelings alone.
Third, marriage is for life. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). This word “cleave” carries the idea of bonding together like glue. This means that marriage does not come with a 90 – day option, but is for life. Jesus said, “ . . . What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:6). The vows a couple makes to each other may be similar to the following:
I take you to be my wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better —‐ for worse, for richer – for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death us do part.
These vows are not only made to each other, but usually before witnesses, and for sure before God. Therefore, it is absolutely essential we honor the vows we make before Him (Eccl. 5:4).
Fourth, marriage requires work. One man said, “Marriage is like twirling a baton, turning handsprings, or eating with chopsticks. It looks easy until you try it.” The idea that a couple lives happily ever after, without working to make their marriage great, is a myth. Great marriages do not happen automatically or accidentally, couples work to make it so. This requires selflessness on the part of the husband and wife. And, selflessness requires agape love as described by Paul in First Corinthians 13.
Several years ago, a Christian couple won the Happy Marriage contest and was published in the June 1996 Good Housekeeping Magazine. The secret to the success of their marriage, according to this couple, is:
“We gave…when we WANTED to receive. We served…when we WANTED to feast. We shared…when we WANTED to keep. We listened…when we WANTED to talk. We submitted…when we WANTED to reign. We forgave…when we WANTED to remember. We stayed…when we WANTED to leave Not only is marriage going to take a lot of work, it is worth all of a couple’s efforts”
Fifth, make sure Christ is invited to your wedding and into your home. According to John 2, Jesus attended a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee. It Was here that he performed his first recorded miracle (v.11). Evidently, the Lord was invited to this special occasion. By His presence He sanctioned what was taking place. Oftentimes, Jesus found himself in the homes of others. So, have you made Him a permanent guest in your home? If He is first and your wife is second, she will be so happy! If He is first and your husband is second, he will be so happy! Notice these words:
“Marriage takes three to be complete; It’s not enough for two to meet. They must be united in love by love’s Creator, God above. A marriage that follows God’s plan Takes more than a woman and man. It needs a oneness that can be Only from Christ —‐ Marriage takes three.” (Beth Stuckwisch)
Christ is the great home builder (Psa. 127:1). Let us invite Him into our homes and build upon His solid and sure principles, which make our marriages great!