THE BIBLE AND YOUR MARRIAGE
The Bible begins its teaching on marriage with the first marriage of Adam and Eve:
“21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23The man said,
‘This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called woman,
for she was taken out of man.’
24That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:21-24)
“7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8 and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Mark 10:7-9)
So, the Bible explicitly says that a marriage is meant to be lasting and permanent.
But nothing is permanent, except in the presence of God.
So, live in the presence of the Shepherd, who oversees your marriage. Living in His presence means not just “hearing” but also “living out” His Word.
“As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like.” (Luke 6:47)
Getting married is going into unchartered waters, and it can be unsettling, causing fear of the unknown and the unpredictable.
“Do not fear. . . . When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.” (Isaiah 43: 1-2)
Even Jesus said to His disciples caught in a violent storm: “Why are you so afraid?” before He commanded the waters to be still. (Matthew 8: 23-27)
So, if you genuinely believe that the two of you truly love each other, then go ahead and get married. There’s nothing to fear, except the fear of getting married.
Marital life is sometimes full of difficulties and disappointments that become bitterness. The best course of action is to pause, reflect, and then bury them, while praying to God to replace your bitterness with a sweet, joyful, and peaceful spirit to enable you to make the right decision about the next step to take. Making decisions in the heat of mental and emotional distress is rarely a good idea, and it often breeds only more stress and hardship. So, forget and bury your bitterness.
Breaking the Cycles
Life is full of many cycles—such as the vicious cycles of addiction and rehabilitation, including alcohol, drugs, gambling, and sex. But God’s love and forgiveness can break the cycles of your past, giving you a new future with faith, hope and strength to break even future cycles that may come along your marriage journey.
Calling for Justice and Mercy
Living in the presence of God means you’re called to pursue both justice and mercy. But justice isn’t pursuing revenge, and mercy isn’t showing a lack of accountability. Instead, justice-and-mercy is moving forward with love that not only hates what is evil, but also longs for the transformation of self, as well as of the one you love, that is, your marriage partner.
Listening and Practicing
Living in the presence of God means you’ve the opportunity to listen to Him. However, that’s not enough: you’ve to put His Words “into practice.” Not putting “into practice” is like building a house “on sand” instead of “on rock.”
“But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:26-27)
So, if you build your marriage on any foundation other than the humble obedience to God’s Words, you’re only inviting troubles to your marriage.
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15:4)
Living in the presence of God is spiritual nourishment to help the spiritual renewal and fruitfulness in your marriage.
You may be struggling with patience, not just with your marriage partner, but also with the divine help from God. You’re not alone. Even the ancient prophet Habakkuk complained:
“How long, LORD, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’
but you do not save?” (Habakkuk 1:2)
But some of God’s help and blessings to your marriage may be long to come. So, just have faith, and manifest your patience with trust and obedience, and His help will come one day.
You’re living in a world in which injustice and vengeance are rampant. Living in the midst of this storm of unfairness may cause you unhappiness and even your own lack of faith in God.
But seeing the lack of accountability in others should, on the contrary, enhance your own accountability not only in your marriage but also in your everyday living.
God is forever just and will bring judgment and justice to all and sundry—at His own timeline.
In 1984, Archbishop Valerian Trifa was deported from the United States after his accusation and conviction of being a Nazi supporter, who not only had incited attacks on Jews, but also was responsible for executing many Jews in World War II.
After World War II, the former Nazi supporter came to the United States as a refugee immigrant. He assumed the name of Valerian Trifa, and he was ordained as a priest of the Rumanian church soon after his arrival in the United States. He rose quickly to the rank of bishop and then archbishop, who lived in comfort in a 25-room farmhouse on a 200-acre estate maintained by his church.
Then, a dentist, who was a Nazi survivor, recognized the Archbishop as the Nazi supporter. The case against the Archbishop was reported in the media, and then pursued for more than a decade long by some survivors of the Nazi, Jewish organizations, journalists, as well as by the Justice Department of the United States. Their joint efforts helped focus public attention on those Nazi war criminals who were living in the United States.
At first, the Archbishop vehemently denied his former identity, despite some handwriting experts had confirmed that his handwriting was identical with that in some of the execution orders he had carried out while he was a Nazi supporter. As luck would have it, with the advancement of forensic science, some experts could incredibly still retrieve some DNA from those execution orders with the Archbishop’s own saliva on them. That was the Archbishop’s undoing, and his final judgment.
In 1982, the Archbishop was ultimately ordered to leave the United States. But he had spent two years trying to find a country that would give him refuge. In 1984, Portugal admitted him, and he finally settled in Estoril, where he died at the age of 72 of a heart attack.
So, believe that God is merciful, but also a just God, who’ll judge injustice and any wrongdoing according to His own timeframe.
So, living in the presence of God is showing your accountability to every aspect of your married life.
Changing God’s mind for what He has already destined for you is disobedience. Obedience to God is graciously accepting and embracing any adversity and calamity in your life so that you may learn lessons from them, thereby enhancing your spiritual wisdom to continue your pathway of trust and obedience.
“Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
What is trusting in God? Trusting in God means believing in the veracity of His Words.
“so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
But will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
Letting God is letting go of your control of your destiny, including your marriage. God is in absolute control of everything in this world, including your marriage.
“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.’” (Psalm 46:10)
Throughout ages, miracles have happened around the world—a testament to the indisputable fact that God is always in control of anything and everything, despite humans’ resistance to letting go of their own futile efforts and endeavors to control their own destinies.
Control is basic human instinct. Humans are inherently controlling. But you must let go of your control in your marriage. You can’t control your marriage partner—how he or she thinks. You can’t control your children—how they grow up, and what they’d become. You can’t control your success and failure in your life endeavors.
So, do your best, and let God do the rest. Contrary to popular belief, control isn’t power, but obedience to God is.
The Darker Side
There is no deny that good and evil exist side by side.
Is the nature of man inherently good or bad?
This is one of the most controversial questions that does not have a definitive answer. There are those who believe that man is created in God's image to serve Him; if that is truly the case, man is inherently good. There are, on the other hand, those who believe that man is inherently bad because of the original sin of Adam.
Essentially, good and evil are only moral concepts that have co-existed since the beginning of time; humans have been categorizing different actions and feelings based on their own philosophical concepts. Good and evil are closely linked together, just like the concept of yin and yang; one cannot exist without the other, but they balance and complement each other.
Undeniably, we all have the bright as well as the dark side of life. The Bible calls the dark side of human nature "sin." None of us is exempt from sin. Life is always an inner struggle between what is perceived in an individual's own moral system as "right" and the dark opposing force inside to do just the opposite as "wrong." To make matters worse, most of us are quite good at our our self-deceptions: either we deceive ourselves into thinking that the dark opposing force does not exist in ourselves, or we simply inflate our own personal virtues to overshadow the dark force within us.
Darkness is dualism of human behavior--the shadow as opposed to its bright side. The voluntary of the conscious mind to do good may be held back by the involuntary action of the subconscious mind to do something quite the opposite.
The Word of God expressed in the Bible may help you overcome the darker side of your marriage.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
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