"Shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee?"
In these articles we would like to show to all who are unmarried that there is a better way than the world would teach to find a marriage partner. "God’s way" is the way of true blessing
Christian marriage, with families living in the enjoyment of the knowledge of our Lord Jesus and living in accordance with the pattern set out in the Scriptures, is a wonderful blessing, and a pillar in the gatherings of the Christian Church.
As I pen these words of guidance in choosing a partner for life, I do so in the conscious knowledge that marriage is a gift from God; a blessing that is characterised by the giver; and one for which we can continually thank Him. I pray that with the help of God's Holy Spirit, and under the Lordship of my Saviour, I may be kept from failure in this area in which I am seeking to help others.
I am stirred to write as I see the sad effects in young people's lives of going their own way in their relationship with the opposite sex. The question of choosing a partner affects our whole spiritual outlook; how many promising lives have been ruined by a wrong choice! We all have to own our weakness and how much the old nature has to be kept in the place of death; but we can also be thankful that the grace of God is available for our every need.
The guidelines which I seek to give, you will realise, are completely contrary to those promoted by the world around; indeed, not even respected by some Christians either. In reading on, I would ask that you do not view things from the world’s perspective, but prayerfully consider these things before the word of God. Young people, you probably think you know better (I did), but allow the Holy Spirit to open your mind to the teaching from God's word, and the reward God gives for obedience, faithfulness and patience, will be more than you could ever imagine.
Older believers, parents, and those who work with young people, I believe we owe it to the generation following to be clear and uncompromising in our advice and principles in matters of this kind. What I am pleading for is a united stand against the levity with which relationships with the opposite sex are often treated with gossip and joking. Our young people's spiritual welfare is at stake and we look to see the joining of Christian young people in marriage, as guided by our Lord, with the resultant joy and blessing as they serve Him together.
If anyone reading these pages has not yet yielded to Christ and accepted Him as Lord and Saviour this must be the first step before anything else. These words are written for those who love the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord and desire to live their lives for His pleasure.
GOD'S PATTERN FOR MARRIAGE
"Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife and they shall be one flesh" (Gen. 2:24).
All the way through the Scriptures, beginning in Gen. 2, we see that in marriage a man and woman leave their parents and are joined together by God to set up a distinct family unit.
This is a picture of the marriage of Christ and His church (His bride) which He loved and which He gave Himself for. In speaking of marriage in Eph. 5: 32, Paul says, "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church." The marvel of this great story of love; of the Love of Christ who gave all that He had that He might win that which He valued so highly. A marriage that will last for eternity, a picture of what we can experience now.
Our marriages should be full of this love of Christ; giving them a holiness and a powerful testimony in the world, which thing Satan hates. He hates all that is precious to Christ!
Marriage should provide a secure loving environment in which to raise children. We see the problem in society where children are raised without this security, and the instability it brings to children when this is broken.
In our verse, "a man" would indicate a mature person who is able to take the positive decision to "leave" his parents, and the responsibility that goes with that decision.
"Cleave" would indicate a bond of affection, which is enduring; literally to glue or cement; a permanent relationship of love.
Being "one flesh" would indicate oneness of activity and purpose and also the physical relationship.
Marriage is the God-given relationship for the display of our natural affections and desires.
Marriage is until the Lord shall come or death breaks the bond. Mat. 19:6 states, "What God hath joined together let not man put asunder."
In marriage, too, an individual loses his own identity and both become a new person: "And they twain shall be one flesh: so that they are no more twain but one flesh" (Mat. 10:8). If we take Christ as our pattern ("He loved us and gave Himself for us" Eph. 5:25), we should give our love to our partner, wanting only their love in return; and as this is displayed, love will grow.
The husband has a role of responsibility as head, and the wife a subject position. This is God's order to which we must be prepared to submit if we wish His blessing. "Wives submit yourselves unto your own husband, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife" (Eph. 5:22-23).
If you are considering marriage, are you prepared to share everything with your partner as one person: yourself, your time, your money, your interests, your friends so that all you do will be only that which you are both happily agreed upon before the Lord? "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of the Lord" (Eph. 5:21).