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Married Or Single?

God does not require us to get married. Nor does He require us to stay single. However, whichever path we choose, there will be sacrifices and compromises to make. Whether one path is easier or better than the other depends upon the individual. God created us as free creatures and this is one of the freedoms we have.

However, if we choose to get married, we do need to realize that there are sacrifices, compromises and choices we will be required to make. We cannot escape this.

 Do Not Compromise Your Faith

The first thing we need to realize is that there are some things that a Christian cannot compromise. The first and most important is that you must not marry an unbeliever. 2 Cor. 6:14 (NIV): “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”

You may think that you can convert the other person after you get married. After all, doesn’t “love conquer all?” If he/she really loves me, won’t he/she convert to my faith? If the person you want to marry doesn’t want to become a Christian before you are married, the chances of that happening after you are married are very slim. Don’t allow your love (infatuation) get in the way of reality.

God has someone especially for you. You may think that non-believer is the one, but remember II Cor. 6:14. God will never go against His written Word. It may be hard to let go of someone “so special,” but if you want God’s blessing for your marriage, you must.

 God’s Ground Rule For Marriage

If you want to have a solid Christian marriage, one that God can easily bless, you need to establish Eph. 5:22-33 as the foundation for your marriage. Yes, many Christians have married and have ignored the foundation found in the passage. But they either no not have a very close marriage or they are always having to compromise every time something new comes into their marriage.

Some people look at this passage and get stuck on Ephesians 5:21 where it says: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” This is a command to all Christians; it is how we are to relate to each other. Ephesians 5:22-33 simply tells us how we are to fulfill this command within a marriage. We are to submit to each other, but in special ways. It spells out how we are to submit to each other as a husband and wife. And as you will see, there is a very special reason for this.

If you both agree to establish a marriage that is not based on this foundation, then feel free to go ahead and do it. But beware of what might happen in the future. One of you may start walking closer with God and want the special blessings that God offers to those who live with this foundation. If the other does not agree, there can be no compromise. This is especially the case when the husband starts desiring this special relationship and the wife does not.

I have seen cases where the wife starts desiring this special relationship and by living as God directs her, wins over her husband and he becomes the husband he should be. I have heard of cases where the husband as won his wife over but I have never seen it myself. I would not recommend any couple taking this chance. Use God’s formula for marriage. It works.

 Develop a Close Relationship First

You need to develop close relationship with God and with your fiancé before you get married. You need to establish this before the wedding. God established this foundation for marriage because this is what works. It does not make the wife a second class citizen or make her inferior to her husband. The world has tried to teach this, but it simply is not true.

 Become a Servant

The world says that that the secret to success is power. God says that the secret is being a servant. Jesus, Himself, taught this with His life and He told us to do the same. . Matthew 20:26-28 (NIV): “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

 Our Marriage Becomes a Witness for Jesus

The Ephesians 5 passage tells us that marriage is to be an illustration of our relationship with Jesus. Ephesians 5:32 (Living Bible): “I know this is hard to understand, but it is an illustration of the way we are parts of the body of Christ.” This makes the wife’s role in this special relationship much more important than that of her husband. Through her submission to her husband, she is helping them to understand how they are to submit to Jesus. It is a concrete illustration that will help them in their relationship with Jesus.

At the same time, as the husband tries to live out his part of this special relationship, he brings God’s love into it. As he sacrifices his life for his wife and family, he illustrates what Jesus did for His creation. He illustrates for his family how Jesus reached out to enable us to have the best life possible. He gives a concrete illustration to his wife and family how much God loves us.

It also helps others who witness this marriage to understand how they need to submit to Jesus. So it becomes a witnessing tool to the outside world. It is part of fulfilling the commandment found in Mark 16:15 (NIV): “He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” The world begins at our doorstep.

Many people will not listen to you if you try to tell them about how Jesus can change their lives. However, if they see how wonderful your life and marriage is, they will become curious and start asking you questions. They will want to know how they can find the happiness that you have found. Now you have an opening to tell them about Jesus.

 A Foundation For Your Marriage

A foundation is what something is built upon. It establishes the strength of the object. For a house, the strength of the foundation determines how the house will withstand storms and other catastrophes. For a marriage, it determines how your relationship will withstand all the crises that bombard your marriage. And there will be many.

You need to decide on what the foundation for your marriage is before you get married. You do not build a house and then decide on the type of foundation that you want to put it on. Even if you buy a manufactured home (or a trailer house, as some are called), the manufacturer has already established the type of foundation that it must sit upon, if it is going to withstand the hard weather and storms.

It also must be a solid foundation. This is why trailer houses are so often destroyed, even in a mild storm. The foundation must be anchored in the earth. Then the house must be solidly anchored in the foundation. Of course, the house built on the foundation must also be well built. The same is true with a marriage.

There are many different foundations that couples use today for their marriages.

o     “We love each other.”

o     “We have the same interests.”

o     “We are best friends.”

o     “He is totally hot!” or “She is so sexy.”

These are all good reasons for being interested in marrying someone. But for a foundation for marriage, they are all sand. Love fades. Interests change. Friendships change. Our looks definitely change.

Remember what Jesus said about building your house on the sand? Matthew 7:26-27 (NIV): “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.”

Whenever we build anything on a foundation of sand, it will not last. Anything that is changing and changeable is sand. Even the concept of “god” is sand. What god are you going to follow or base your marriage on? There are a multitude of gods in this world. And they are all different.

There is only one thing in this universe that is unchanging and Hebrews 13:8 tells about it. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (NIV) I am not talking about the Jesus of the philosophers or the Jesus of the liberals. I am talking about the Jesus of the Holy Bible. This is the only source from which we can know the true Jesus.

When we accept the total and complete picture of Jesus as presented to us in the Holy Bible, we have a foundation upon which we can build a marriage that will last. First, each of you must have accepted Jesus as your own personal Lord and Savior. Then you must incorporate Jesus and His teachings into every aspect of your marriage.

Don’t pick and choose what you want or what you like. This is like mixing too much sand with cement to create the concrete for your foundation. Too much sand creates a crumbly foundation that will disintegrate with the storms hit.  The same is true with your marriage. Don’t water down or change the mixture of the foundation that Jesus has established for you. He knows that will stand against the crises that will comes your way.

 Framework and Walls

After you build your strong foundation, you need to build a strong framework and walls. For a house, this establishes the livability of the house. It constructs the sizes and shapes of the rooms of the house. It creates the character and function of the house. It dictates how we will live in that house. These are aspects of the house that can be changed, but not very easily. It would take great effort, time and expense. So these need to be planned out in advance very carefully.

The same is true with the framework and walls of your marriage. These are such things as:

o     What is the husband’s career going to be?

o     Will the wife have a career and if so, what will it be?

o     Where are you going to live?

o     How many children will you have?

These are elements in a marriage that dictate the way you will live out your marriage. When any of these things are changed, your relationship will change. This is why they need to be established before the wedding. The first few years of your marriage have enough adjustments without adding more stress.

Of course, just like your house, these elements in a marriage can and often are changed throughout a marriage. But remember, they are major changes in a marriage and must be thoroughly thought out and agreed upon.

 Wall Coverings and Fixtures

These are the elements of a house that give it its interest and excitement. Will you use wall paper or paint? If paint, what colors will you use? What door handles or drawer handles will you use. These elements also establish how we accomplish certain tasks in the house. For instance, what type of stove, oven, dishwasher, etc. will you have? None of these things change the function of the house, but they do change how you use it. Any of these things can be changed without much trouble.

Yes, anything changed in this area will change how you do things in the house. However, if a change does not work out, it does not take very much to change it again.

There are these same types of elements in a marriage. They establish how we function in the marriage. They also give it its interest and excitement. Whenever any of these elements are changed, they do not change your relationship with each other, they simply change how you do things in your marriage. These include such things as:

o     How will money be handled and who will do it?

o     What church are you going to attend?

o     Who is going to do what chores around the house?

Even though these elements in a marriage should not make or break of marriage, they often do. This happens because these minor elements become major elements that cannot be agreed upon. Remember, these elements (as well as many others) in your marriage can be easily changed. You just need to agree with each other.

 Furniture and Pictures

These are the elements in your house that are easily and quite often changed. You do this to add interest and variety to the house. Sometimes you just move the furniture around. Other times you buy new things.

There are many elements in your marriage that can also be changed quite easily. And you do so for the same reason, to add interest and variety to your marriage.