Marriage? What is marriage?

So you put a ring on her finger, she squeals and immediately runs home and starts planning the wedding! Of course she does, even if she wants a tiny wedding, with hardly anyone there, she is secretly planning it out step by step. Chances are, you are too…. or at least planning out how awesome your life will be when you have a wife at home to “do all the things your mother did for you and dad”. Maybe you are even thinking out legalities, like prenuptial agreements, future children, and financial details that your fiancee cant even comprehend right now in the excitement of “her” big day! To the ladies: I feel ya! Weddings are supposed to be fun and beautiful, cant blame you for the crazy planning…. To both of you: How much time are you actually spending thinking about the MARRIAGE!?

I’m making some assumptions here (maybe based on personal experience, and some based on stereotype), but I know everyone is different so bear with me. I’ve only watched, like 100,000,000 ROM Coms!!!! I know that when my husband slipped a ring on my finger for the first time, I immediately called my parents and my friends, then proceeded to announce my engagement to the world via Facebook. Then next thing I knew, I was picking bridesmaids and dress shopping, picking dates, and save the date cards. I wasn’t even THINKING about actually being married, just about the wedding. Now, my husband was thinking about being married, about the things he wanted out of the marriage, and about a happy life with a happy wife. Neither of us were prepared for what actually was to come!

Now, all of my wedding “planning” was in vain when I realized that circumstance had us moving up the wedding to weeks rather than months. I was really excited, but I knew that we couldn’t have the massive, expensive wedding I had been hoping for. Next thing I knew, I was getting hitched on a dock with close family. No brides maids, no ring bearers and flower girls, no elaborate ceremony, and no “perfect dress”. At the time, I was happy. So was my husband. We had each other, and that was all that mattered. Sure, I wanted all the big stuff, and I still sometimes wish I had all of that, but really, I learned a big lesson from that: The wedding is the FIRST day of a long, difficult, and crazy road. It can either be a rewarding road, or it will end up being a lesson learned for your second, third, maybe fourth marriages.

Growing up and watching almost all the adults in my life divorce and remarry over, and over, and over again…. well, I had the idea that marriage was a temporary thing and that if you got married to the wrong person you could just file some papers and have a do-over.

Heres what I am getting at. DIVORCE IS ALL TOO EASY IN TODAY’S WORLD!!! Sure, it costs money and lawyers and what not, so its not like making a cake, but the divorce rate is unbelievable in this country. Dont believe me? here is some stats! http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0133.pdf

Scary right? Well you may look at that and think “Oh that will never be me!!!”. I said that same thing, and soon I was faced with my own marriage, and the divorce dilemma. It looks a lot easier than it is.

Think again! What are YOU willing to endure before you take the “‘easy’out”?

Well lets look first to the Bible. If you believe Gods truth in the new testament. (I know that the old testament was pretty full of things that are in no way acceptable now…. but im not talking about that.) With Christ came a new covenant, so lets see what that says:

Mark 10:6-9

“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’  ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,  and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
  • Matthew 19:4-6

    “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’  and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ ?  So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
  • 1 Corinthians 7:1-16

    Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.  But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.  The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.  The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.  Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.  I say this as a concession, not as a command.  I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.  Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.  But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.  To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband.  But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.  To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her.  And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.  For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.  But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.  How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

Hebrews 13:4-7

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.  Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”  Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

Malachi 2:16

16 “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,”[a] says the Lord Almighty.

Matthew 19:6-9

6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

These verses bring us to the first point: MARRIAGE SHOULD BE HONORED BY ALL!!!!! The bible gives us two instances in which divorce is an option. Abuse without repentance, and adultery without repentance. Now I’m not saying to stick around and be a door mat, I’m saying that WHAT GOD HAS BROUGHT TOGETHER, LET NO MAN SEPARATE.

Another thing, is that marriage takes THREE PEOPLE!!!! The husband, the wife, and GOD. Yes, I have the audacity to say that if God doesn’t come first, the marriage will never be truly fulfilling.

Every newlywed, or even those who have been married for years will hit a big FAT BUMP in the road. It happens. Whether that bump is financial, work related,  or something to do with another person or thing drawing away your affections, it is bound to happen. It is how you push through it that matters. Think of it this way: YOU MADE A PROMISE. As Christians, we are to keep promises because it is the right thing to do. God has never broken a promise, we are not to break promises. When we stood up on the altar (or dock, or whatever) we made a HUGE promise. Til death do us part. Not “til you stop making money” or “til you decide to leave and step out with another woman”. Til DEATH do us part. Marriage really means something.

Now I feel justified in writing this, because even after a huge bump in our marriage, called adultery, we are now together and happy and ready to get over the next bumps. It has been an extremely long and hard road, with lots of words thrown around, including divorce. I’m happy to say, that papers have never been filed. It was well worth the struggle. A happy marriage IS a happy life.

So how do you get to this “happy marriage”? First, throw aside your anger, your blame, your expectations, and even your desires and look really really good at yourself. What are you doing to show your wife or husband that you are IN? Are you focusing on God and what he wants? Or are you focusing on anger and what YOU want? Are you praying for your marriage? Are you forgiving? Loving? Patient? Kind?

No, I didn’t ask if that is what your SPOUSE is doing and acting like, I’m asking about YOU. Anything you want from your spouse, you have to be willing to give to them first. Chances are, that they may be feeling the same way you do!

Here is the first thing you need to know: You cannot change people, only God can. Until then, you have to work on yourself. Let me tell you a very very short story:

I cheated on my husband, came to know Christ as my savior. Christ forgave me, my husband wanted to, so we stayed together. I began to change and grow in Christ, and he stayed the same, and held on to a lot of unforgiveness and hurt. It began to wreck our marriage in and of itself because he could not let go. It became a real problem for me, so I felt close to wanting a divorce. Then something hit me (really, it was a friend that “hit” me). If my husband can still stay with me after that, then this CANT be the end. So one day I laid my cards on the table for him. A marriage cannot work without communication. I told him that he was controlling and distrustful, and after years of proving my faithfulness that he needed to start trusting me or this marriage just wouldn’t work. So I told him what I needed to, I prayed, and I gave the situation to God. I couldn’t take it anymore, but I knew i needed to stay in my marriage, so God took it for me. I felt so much more free after that. I began setting an example for my husband. I didn’t give him a chance to doubt me. He could see God working and soon enough, God changed his heart. All I had to have was patience and faith. Even when he would be the instigator, I would not give in. I would treat him with love, and honesty and eventually things became easier. After a while I thought my husband would never be saved and that he would continue to hold grudges and anger in his heart, but I continued to live my life according to Gods wishes and he did change. He really, truly, miraculously changed. Now I’m not saying i was perfect, because I wasn’t, and it took time to truly submit myself, but I really really tried, and I didn’t give up. It took almost a year and a half to get to the point we are at now, and we still aren’t perfect, but we are so happy!!!

We have learned that a husband and wife must submit to each other. Compromise, and love despite all faults and discrepancies. Also, there has to be communication. I have seen marriages that lasted ten years in what seemed to be complete and total bliss and then just one day out of the blue, divorce was announced because no one ever talked about it. There was misery and anguish that no one ever discussed and it hit boiling point ten years down the road. That was ten years wasted, when it could have been a couple years of fighting and discord, followed by 8 years of true bliss!!!!

So throw aside your expectations and love your spouse for who they are and for who they can and will become once God touches their heart. If there is real abuse happening and you do not see things changing, and God is the one speaking to your heart saying GET OUT OF THERE, as my mother did, and rightly so, with her first marriage, then GET OUT!!! However, if you are just unhappy and you blame your spouse for it all, take a good look at yourself, because chances are, they wont change until they see you change. Finally, remember that third person in the marriage. I am not the only one who needed God, so did my husband, and to this day, we are glad that we have God to turn to when the road gets bumpy. We have that assurance that he will always be there to guide and lead us in our marriage and family affairs. We will never have to see the “sign here” on a divorce paper, and we like it that way. Pray for yourself, and for your spouse. You wont regret it.

Here are those sermons if you are interested 🙂 this is part one!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-Z-WeQkYKk

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

New International Version (NIV)

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

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