To begin: There is only ONE good reason for getting married and for having children, and it is: Because GOD wants you to do it. And if it is HE wanting you to do it; it is because He wants you to be a part of what HE is building. He wants you to be a part of illustrating HIS story to a watching world. God desires for you to be a part of LOVE as defined by Him.
Don’t allow yourself to enter these arenas, the building of marriage and family, at the persuasion of any other than God in Christ, or without reading His Word and getting whatever grasp upon this that your maturity and His patience allow to you. These are not institutions for the faint of heart and will never withstand the difficulties that come along with them unless built upon a proper foundation. Marriage and family belong to Him. They are His design and He has said that they must be structured upon Him, upon the principles set forth in His Word, to be successful. And the terms for success in marriage must be and are determined by its Creator.
Maybe you have entered into these things lightly and without a proper amount of forethought. It is not too late. You must pray for GOD to make your partner willing and as He does this, the two of you begin (together in Christ) to tear down the old relationship and to start anew on the correct foundation. Seek out an older married couple in whom you see Christ (in other words, you observe them living together according to the principles set forth in The Bible for the living out of their shared faith). Approach them and directly ask for their active guidance and participation in your lives. If resources allow, find a Biblical counselor to assist you in building this new platform for your marriage.
Another issue may be that your partner remains unwilling to consider Christ. In this case, you must continue in earnest prayer, gentleness, and good will toward your spouse until such time as God releases you from the relationship, and you are free to start again; and this must be done with the greatest caution for two primary reasons. The first is that you must try with all your will to NOT push your partner away from either yourself or God in the hope that the other will leave soon. This happens often in such a case and is regularly realized only when an experienced helper points out to the Christian in the marriage that this is indeed what that one is doing. The second reason is that you are quite liable to abandon the frying pan in favor of the fire, unless you have spent an adequate amount of time in the judicious study of Holy Scripture concerning the Way of Life of a Christian in order that you may more easily recognize a fraud should there be opportunity for a next time around.
Paul reminds us in a letter to the early church that it is better not to marry at all than to enter the covenant casually. It is a choice open to the Christian to remain single and serve GOD fully from that position, rather than serving Him from the position of marriage. However, for God’s saved child, there is no choice as to serve or not to serve, and if your heart is completely without reservation His own; you will be compelled to serve despite your finest efforts to the contrary. (The difficulties and delights specifically associated with the Christian’s choice to remain single are beyond the scope of this short essay.)
In the end, I don’t wish to leave the impression that there are no joys associated with marriage but only trials, as that would be wholly untrue. There are multiple blessings to be had within the marriage relationship- true friendship, God’s allowance to fully know and to be fully known by another human being- to completely relate to another person, children within God’s favor and under the protection of a legitimate bond. I count it a great privilege to enjoy many of the wonders of marriage.
Now, in this day of much confusion concerning marriage and family, I implore you to search God’s Word for yourself to find that these very things that I tell you are true. And may The Lord God of All bless your every effort!
Copyright 2016. L.L. Shelton
(An Addendum to, Brief Thoughts of Love)
My Young Friend,
Each of us is composed of both physicality- our body and the stuff therein, and of a soul or spirit- the eternal self; that was a thought in the mind of God before our physical existence and destined to continue long after our body has perished. We are each in possession of a mind- emotion and intellect (albeit there are varying degrees of functionality among them) and along life’s way we each develop a personality and a sexuality. These things are inextricably intertwined until the day of physical death. Until then, one can not function apart from the other and each is connected to and affected by the other. This is a terrifically complicated and marvelous design.
God has created our sexuality specifically to allow for and to encourage the most intimate level of communication in relationship that two people and their Heavenly Father can together experience. He designed this aspect of the system to lend us the ability to procreate and to grant us the capability of relating in a way that is illustrative of that way in which The Trinity relates, and of the way in which God in Christ relates to His people. Also, it is to be a reward unique to the covenant marriage of a man and a woman in the Presence of God. It may be startling to consider that God is a part of the expression of one’s sexuality, and yet it should be obvious. God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere at once. As Christians, we are promised that His Holy Spirit lives in us- all the time. Our God does not slumber or sleep, rather He carefully watches over us continually.
However, because we are living in the contaminated environments of the earth and of our own fleshly bodies, we are apt to the perversion of our sexualities. Though there are myriad natural consequences as a result of expressing one’s sexuality outside of the one relationship for which it was designed, and those consequences are always spiritually degrading, often emotionally detrimental, and many times physically debilitating; still we are highly likely to misuse this aspect of ourselves, and yet Christ insists that we are to strive for sexual purity.
Interestingly, Christ is apparently unconcerned with the technicalities of things surrounding human sexuality; things such as whether or not a person should date at this age or that, whether a kiss is sexual or not, or that a person refrain from intercourse until marriage. It is possible that I have, again, startled you. I mean to convey that Christ’s concern is for something infinitely greater- our sexual purity; and sexual purity has its roots in the imagination. It is in our imaginations that He desires to reign supreme. Pure sexuality begins in the thought life and can never be achieved apart from it.
Sexual purity is maintained through the constant effort to view God, ourselves, and others appropriately, as living beings valued beyond price, worthy of sacrificial love; as opposed to objects to be used and abused according to our whims or our erroneous desires.
In God’s economy, there is truly no need for such deliberations as whether or not to hold hands on the first date; as He has in Christ surely freed us from endless and rigorous contemplations of the nature of “angels on the head of a pin” rather, God has allowed for us to be (in Him) all that we can be!
In His Love,
An Old Friend
See Psalm 51, Matthew 19, Mark 7
Copyright, 2012. L.L. Shelton