MEANT FOR EACH OTHER
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
I want us to turn now from the sociologists, the marriage counselors, and the writers of the columns for the lovelorn. Let’s go to the Bible. Let’s see what the Bible has to say about marriage in particular, and see if there are not some rules and regulations and principles laid down in the Bible that could help you in your home and help us, as Americans, to preserve this institution that is the basic unit of our society.
The records of history point out the fact that when the home breaks, the nation is on the skids, is on the way down. Garder Murphy, writing on the topic of “Family Dynamics,” has said,
“A family is a barometer indicating not only what is going on in the world now, but what will be going on tomorrow and the day after tomorrow” (Pastoral Psychology, September, 1960).
It is certainly the objective of satanic powers to destroy the home, because if the home is destroyed, the nation is destroyed just as well as if an atomic bomb had been dropped on it. Many of you today are contributing to the destruction of America by your attitude in the home, just as much as if you took a gun and put it at America’s head. Many of you- because of your own lusts and desires, because you are not willing to work to make your marriage work – are helping to destroy this nation. You are betraying the heritage we have as Americans.
First, I want you to understand that marriage is a divine institution. Society never made marriage; it was founded by God. God made marriage. He performed the first marriage in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis, chapter two, the record says,
“It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him”.
This is the first description of the home. This dependence on each other that God’s first two created ones knew was to be the cement that would unite together those who would make the home. Then the Bible tells us that when Adam first looked upon his beloved, he cried with great satisfaction,
“This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”.
A more intimate relationship can never be conceived of in this world. When Jesus started His public ministry, His first miracle was performed at the marriage at Cana of Galilee. Jesus, His mother and His disciples had been invited. His presence there has forever been a benediction to every marriage and has sanctified the home as a God-ordained institution. This very personal relationship is emphasized when the Bible says,
“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
The contrast is shocking when we observe the promiscuity and unfaithfulness of our times. If we can find the cause of our growing problem anywhere, we will find it in a shallow conception of marriage and the home. No nation in history has had the power of survive when it has held a low conception of this relationship. Logically then, marriage is a lifelong relationship.
It is not right that a husband or wife should be changed for another according to the wishes of either. In the marriage vows it is always read, “What God has joined together, let no man separate.” But our culture no longer frowns upon the exchange of a mate. When you get married, you are saying “yes,” for a lifetime, from the Biblical point of view. This is not a temporary thing. There is no place in the Bible for a trial marriage, no place in the Bible for a temporary experiment, no place in the Bible for a marriage based on lust and sex. The Bible indicates that marriage is for a lifetime. It is permanent. God made it that way. He meant it to be that way. That is the reason your courtship is so important.
Some get married out of a feeling of insecurity, some because of inferiority, some out of loneliness, some out of a desire for escape from the realities of life, some out of sexual passion, some out of spite, some to gain social prestige. I hear about one boy that flipped a coin, saying, “Shall I get married”. No wonder his marriage broke up six weeks later! Some people misinterpret sex appeal as love. Sex is involved in love, but sex by itself is not love. It is easy for people who are strongly attracted to each other sexually to assume that they are meant for each other, and that this attraction is love.
Marriage is selfless
Marriage is selfless. True love is never selfish, and love will die if it is not fed by thoughtfulness, courtesy, kindness and work. If you use the other person for the gratification of your own desires and the fulfillment of your own demands, that is not love. The secret satisfaction in love is giving. We love another person for his or her own sake. You are committed to the enrichment and fulfillment of the other person’s life. Happiness comes through giving, not getting. How many people enter marriage because they want something, not because of what they can give to the other person! Put it this way – if you are not marrying in order to give, and give, and give, and give again, then it is not true love.
The most important reason why there is much a persistent problem in marriage and the home is that the human race has inherited as sinful tendency. This tendency to sin manifests itself in many ways, one of which is to disrupt and disturb God’s true purpose for marriage. I would not say that no non-Christian can experience happiness in marriage.
I have known many happily married couples who were completely secular. Neither would I guarantee that with becoming a Christian, the whole problem of marriage and the home is automatically solved. But I do say that complete fulfillment in marriage can never be realized outside of the life in Christ. It is written in the Scriptures that Christ came into the world to destroy the works of the devil. Christ’s power over the devil is available to the Christian, and the destroyer of the ideal home can only be routed through the power of Christ. Real marriage, which is the foundation of the home, means the commitment of husband and wife to each other. Nothing short of this commitment could make it possible for a wife to be in submission to her husband in all things, as the Scriptures direct. Nor could anything short of this commitment make it possible for a man to love his wife as Christ love the church. As a matter of fact, it is within the home and the intimate relationship that exists there that the deepest spiritual truths are experienced and illustrated.
The world can see as in a vivid drama the relationship of Christ and His church when it views the life of a Christian family. That is why, to begin with, the Bible cautions every person who intends to marry,
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14).
There is a good reason for this stern command. Marriage is the only permanent and abiding relationship in this life. A person may join almost any organization and resign with the full approval of God, but the marriage bond must not be broken. One time some Pharisees tried to trap Jesus by asking him a very technical question. They wanted to know if there was any reason why a man should put away his wife. They knew that divorce had been permitted by Moses. But Jesus answered,
“From the beginning it was not so”.
God intended that a separation should never come. I would advise every couple planning to establish a home to first come to a complete agreement on their religious faith. There is so much that a couple should share in their worship together that most of the life of each one would be a secret to the other unless they were agreed. And does not be Bible problems of the home are great enough by themselves. To be in disagreement in the matter of faith would cause every other problem to be magnified. A woman has tremendous influence on a man.
You young woman who are thinking about getting married, remember this – physical attraction is part of it, mental affinity is part of it, spiritual oneness is most of it. There can be physical attraction, but physical attraction can wear off in a very short time. There should be mental affinity. Many wives have not kept up with their husbands intellectually. Now they have nothing in common. There must above all be spiritual oneness. Husband and wife must be one in Christ. I would beg of you young people – under no circumstances marry a person outside of Christ. If you do, you are headed for trouble. Dr. Piper has well said,
“Marriages are truly made in heaven; this principle holds well without exception. That persons concerned sometimes make a hell out of their marriage is no disproof. They only show that they are not willing to use God’s gifts in the way that God himself intended.”
God has someone for you
I believe that the Scripture indicates that God has the right person for everyone, if He wants you to get married. Now some people He doesn’t want to get married. They have the ability to stay unmarried and serve Christ as unmarried people. If God has called you to that sacrifice, there will be a special reward in heaven for you. There are others for whom it would be far better to wait – until God’s choice comes along. Are you praying about it and saying, “Oh, God, bring the man across my path that is Thy choice”? – “Oh, God, bring the girl across my path that is Thy choice”? I remember that two or three times I though I was in love. They called it puppy love, but it was real to the puppy! I remember that one day I decided that I was going to wait on God. I didn’t know that, way out in China, God was preparing a lovely young woman just for me. She was the right one in temperament and in her experience. She had to leave her home when she was thirteen to go school in Korea. She said she never dreamed that God was preparing her for a lifetime of good-byes.
God specially prepared Ruth for me
God specially prepared Ruth to be my wife for this particular ministry that He called me to. God has someone chosen just for you. Wait on God. Get God’s man, God’s woman; and there will be little danger of a break up of your marriage. How can a Christian girl be in subjection to a non-Christian in everything? You say “I’m getting ready to be married to a man that doesn’t go to church. He doesn’t trust in God very much, but I know that once we are married I can get him to go to church.” No, you can’t. Instead, he will keep you from church. It usually works out that way. You won’t be able to get him to do better.
The most tragic letters that come to me are from young brides who had expected their young husbands to improve after marriage. The most certain evidence that God has not chosen that young man or young woman for you is his lack of commitment of Christ.
By Billy Graham
“Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it…..” Psalm 127:1.
More than four thousand times a day here in the United States, a man and woman stand before an authorized individual to be united in holy matrimony. It is the official beginning of a new family. They are at the door of heaven or at the gates of hell. They are beginning a life of either marital and family happiness, or confusion and chaos. We are all aware that the courts are grinding out an unprecedented number of divorces.
The breakdown of family life is producing one of the worst epidemics of social evil of all time. It has caused some unthinking people to irrationally conclude that marriage is outmoded. Marriage and the family cannot be secure simply because of a ceremony. Baptism, communion, church attendance, even reading the Bible and praying do not guarantee that a person is a Christian, or if he is, that he will continue to be a Christian.
We might say these things are the down payments; they are the acceptance of the contract, We all smile and blessing are not longer on the marriage, if the family is in difficulty, we cannot blame God. The problem is not with the organization which God has given for the blessing, usefulness, and security of the family. It is rather, with the persons involved.
Challenges are sure
Marriage and setting up a new family involve a much greater challenge than simply finding a partner with whom one lives happily ever after. Many things change; there is a new cook and a new man for whom to cook; utility bills, payments for the car and for the house. All these things now become a reality to the two people who have set up a new home. Feelings do not always remain the same. Physical responses vary from day to day; even the thrill of that one-thousandth kiss may seem a little different from the first one. Passions may seem somewhat less; if they didn’t, one couldn’t stand the pace.
A young lady, who was always well-groomed, now appears in a housecoat with her hair in curlers. The beautiful young athlete, who used to appear at the door trim and slender, may now be developing a “Kewpie” subdivision. Before the marriage ceremony, he was exceedingly courteous. At times his strength seemed to be multiplied by ten; now when that bride of a few years asks him to put up the screens or mow the lawn, all that strength has vanished. The real test has come- the two people who lived separately in homes with fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters, now are becoming adjusted not only to each other’s beauty and attractiveness, but false oddities and many times repulsive ways. I’ve often though that the greatest optimism one sees is quite often at the marriage alter. I think this is the way it should be. It is soon found out; however, that marriage does not conquer everything and solve all problems. It was true long ago, and still is today, that the best place to go for proper family foundations is the Bible. What does God expect of these people who live in this home? You will recall that people asked the Old Testament prophet “Is there any word from the Lord?” In this day of disintegration, permissiveness, and divorce, we have heard from Hollywood, from sophisticated educators, from the much-publicized psychologists and psychiatrists, but I am still convinced, both from experience and observation, that what we need is a return to the Bible.
One of the first things we need is a revaluation of love. In many of the songs that are written today in many of the books that are coming off our presses, in much of the dialoguing, there is a lot of emphasis and talk about love. One of the great tragedies of life is that love is being defined for us by those who have never experienced it. I have observed repeatedly that so many who are talking about marriage and the home are those who have had at least one or more failures. We have listened to the Pied Pipers of sex-obsessed movies, literature, and personalities; we are now reaping the consequences. True love is not going to be inspired and implanted by the concept of the degraded movie which advertises ADULTS ONLY; or the books that speak of love in the raw, or free love, or love for sale.
When advertising stoops to the kind of presentation that declares toothpaste, bath soap, hand-lotion, and many other things will produce domestic tranquility, we have come to a sad state of affairs. Genuine love is certainly far more than just physical. Of course it is love that binds two people together that makes the home happy, effective useful, and produces a relaxed atmosphere. The injunction of the Bible is that husband and wife should love each other. Remember, however that there must be a proper foundation. Jesus said:
…….Thou shalt love the lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all they mind. This is the first and great commandment,” Matt. 22:37, 38.
I can guarantee this if you will give undivided love to your mate. To love God, the way the Bible demands is not to shove your mate off to second place.
The Apostle Paul speaks beautifully when he says,
……..And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you, I Thessalonians 3:12
When we really love God with all our heart, we’re going to love our marriage partner and our family. Within the framework of loving God, life becomes beautiful and meaningful.
“Beloved, let us love one another for love is of God and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God, I John 4:7
Life is composed of many relationships fellow workers on the job in the office, our neighbors, the relationship with other Christians in the church and its operation. Marriage and the home however is the God instituted organization and place where one has the most scared and intimate of all relationships. A God directed love in the heart and in the members of the home will never get one into difficulties that have no solution. There will be differences of opinion there will be points of disagreement. This is to be expected with two people living under the same roof, giving birth to children, spending money, eating at the same table, and so on. But thank God with the under girding of love of God in the hearts of the members of that home, it can continue as a mighty bulwark both subjectively and objectively.
Many of us have read much on the subject of love but I fear that many people are reading the wrong books. We can find nothing better than what Paul has given in the 13th chapter of I Corinthians
….Love suffereth long, and is kind love envieth not love vaunteth not itself is not puffed up. Doth not behave itself unseemly seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth. Beareth all things, Love never faileth…1Cor. 13:4, 5,6,7,8.
Family life got into trouble when we stopped listening to Solomon, St Paul and to God and began listening to unregenerate men. That’s when we began confusing love with lust and when marriage started leading to the gates of hell instead of to the door of heaven. It is used to be a shameful thing to commit adultery or fornication for a man or a woman to be untrue to his or her mate. It used to be that we would not permit a school teacher, a university professor and people in such like positions to declare that all standard and moralities must be cast aside.
We have to experience every thing to see what kind of life we want to live and then to begin to build on that. Many who advocate such philosophies have written books. Hollywood takes them and makes them into a movie. We place them on the top spots on our radio and television programs we splash their pictures, sometimes in immoral poses, all over the front page of our magazines and make heroes of them. We end up calling it sophistication art and realism.
The fire in your furnace or fireplace can be a home warming thing but let it get in the roof or the walls and it’s destructive. God has placed within us certain desires which can purify the marriage and home relationships. They are a blessing to the human personality. It is the virus of sin which Satan has planted within man’s being that causes the destruction when man gives way to it. God has given man the power of choice; he can violate divine laws, but just remember, he cannot liberate himself from the effects of his transgressions. Many a person, home, and nations of the world today, is not only going to reap, but they are already reaping and will continue to reap disappointment, tragedy, and destruction because of the things that are being sown.
It is God who has made us and not we ourselves, and if we want to live life to its fullest, we must do things His way, which is clearly outlined in the Bible.
Another foundation of the home is maturity. Someone said we need to keep our eyes wide open before we’re married and half shut afterward. As I’ve already said, we will discover that our mate has some faults. You can live together for fifty or sixty years and yet continue to learn things about your mate. Sure, most of them are wonderful, beautiful, and commendable; but some of them may be a bit irritating.
Sometimes you think you can’t stand being together and then again you cannot stand being apart. Some of you fellows may be tried to show your wife that you are boss by giving her a piece of your mind- I trust not by the slap of your hand. Perhaps some of you ladies, if your mother is still living, tried to show your husband that he can’t treat you the way he does – so you run home to mama! Of course we know whose side mama is going to take. It’s the old, old story of trying to teach the other person a lesson.
People need to grow up and stop acting like little children every time they don’t get their own way. Physically some are adults, but it seems that it takes a long time for some people to grow up emotionally. It’s like Paul says in I Corinthians, chapter 3, speaking about people who had become Christians and lived the Christian life for sometime; yet he said,
“You are still babes in Christ.” Paraphrasing a bit, he was saying, “I still have to feed you with the bottle and on pabulum.”
He declared that when he was writing to them, by that time they should have been strong enough to eat good spiritual meat.
I often have been shocked at the immaturity of people who have been married for many years. The home is a place of constant jangling, disagreements, and anathemas. One attorney, who dealt with many people on the matter of divorce, said he was convinced that most people could be reasonably happy if they had enough maturity to really try. How wonderful it is when two people stand before God and solemnly vow that they will take each other for better or for worse. It must be remembered that what God has joined together, man by judicial decree cannot put asunder.
The nation may legalize divorce, but it’s time for us to get back to the Word and see what God has to say, for He is the ultimate judge. Jesus permitted divorce and remarriage for only one reason – unfaithfulness. Even in that it isn’t always advisable, and perhaps not always a sufficient ground, Irrespective of how the state may liberalize divorce, yet the Bible remains the same.
Marriage vows are sacred, binding, and irrevocable. This is the divine order and we cannot change it without serious consequences. As I suggested a moment ago, the success in the home is not going to be because an individual found the right person, but also because that one is or has become the right person. When two people rush into marriage and attempt to build a home because they feel it is the answer to all life’s problems, and especially perhaps because of their insecurity or unhappiness at home, too often they have a rude awakening.
The content that we have in most of our marriage ceremonies is not just to fill up time and space. Yes matrimony is holy and is not to be entered into inadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, and in the fear of God.
Finally, let me say that for a real foundation of the marriage and the home, you must come to know Jesus Christ a personal Lord and Savior. St. Augustine said,
“Love God, and then do whatever you wish.”
He recognized that the person who loves God will never do anything to hurt love. Human love has reached its peak when it says,
“I love you because God made you mine.”
The perfect marriage and the real foundation for a successful, happy home, is the uniting of three persons – a man, a woman, and the Lord Jesus Christ. When a home is built solidly on spiritual principles, there is the greatest assurance of success and happiness possible.
It’s interesting to observe that in ninety-five percent of all divorce cases either one or both parties did not attend church regularly. In families where there is regular church attendance, only one marriage in fifty-seven fails. One of the irrevocable principles of human nature is that we are always wrong when we’re not right with God. This brings me back to may text,
“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.” Jesus said, ”…. without me ye can do nothing,” John 15:5.
I ask you, my friend, have you taken Him to be the pilot of your life and your home? Remember, He knows what are ahead- the narrow channels, the rocks, and reefs. He knows where lives have been wrecked. He says, “If you’ll trust me, I will direct your life.” Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount that one house stood because it was founded on a rock. We need not only to hear His sayings, but to do them.
If your family life and your home life are not founded on the rock, Christ Jesus, I call upon you in the closing moment of this broadcast to open you heart and receive Christ as your personal Savior and Lord. You then have available to yourself, the greatest Book, and the greatest Person to help you live the greatest life.
By Quinton J. Everest