God's Exquisite Garden
GOD'S PLAN FOR MARRIAGE - PART 2
Our Lord's design has a Christian man and a Christian woman united together in marriage. They may be married at a ceremony before others, but in God's sight they are not married until the two have had marital relations.
" On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.
2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding."
Once in a fourth grade Bible class, the students were asked, "What does God say about marriage?"
Instantly, a young boy answered, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!" So many couples who marry do not know what they are doing. There are statisticians who say the most common thread for a good marriage is when both the husband/wife are "seeking God's kingdom first."
The good news for most married couples is very good indeed. There is a resurgence in faith about marital faithfulness, which researchers are calling faithful attraction. Andrew Greeley reports, on the basis of four surveys of couples, that 90 percent of American spouses have been faithful since they were married. Also, more than 60 percent say their marriage is very happy, 75 percent say their spouse is their best friend, and over 80 percent say they would marry the same person again if they had to do it over.
Faith Alive magazine (July 1994) asked their Canadian readers (mostly church attendees) to rate their marriages, and on average they rated their marriages with a B+. Over 95 percent of women and men had not had an extramarital relationship, though about 12 percent of men reported they had been tempted. Of those who rated their marriages with an A+, the most common thread was "seeking God’s kingdom first."
The Complete Book of Everyday Christianity
One of the most beautiful stories of a union made between a man and a woman is that of Adam and Eve. God created Adam as the first man. He made Him out of the dust of the earth. God breathed into Adam the breath of life. Adam was alone. So, God in His great wisdom created woman. The first woman was Eve. God created Eve from Adam's side so she could be close to him. Woman was planned by God to be part of man, and so she was created from man and not from the earth.
" And the Lord God said, 'It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.'
Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him."
Genesis 2:18-21 NKJV
(The NIV translates it, "I will make a helper suitable for him.")
" And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.
Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
And Adam said: 'This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.'"
Genesis 2: 21-23
How we need to remember that woman was made for man and not man for woman. They were both perfect, until sin came. This is explained by Paul in I Corinthians. Woman was made as a helpmate for man. We will look at the meaning of the word helpmate. Helpmate means a helpful companion or partner, especially a spouse. A good illustration is a story of a husband who could not do the finances. But, his wife had no trouble doing the finances. What he lacked, she was there to furnish. Whatever it may be - one spouse will be there to furnish assistance when the other needs help. Without a mate, an individual is just half a person.
You may have heard someone refer to their spouse as "my better half". Sunday morning at church services, I heard a woman say that about her husband in such an endearing manner, she smiled so sweetly as she said this. They complement each other throughout life. God in His infinite wisdom knew we would need mates. What an AWESOME God we have!!
During a marriage, we are to assist our partner in their spiritual growth. In marriage, the union of the wife and her husband blend these two in such a way that little is able to affect the other spouse. A oneness in any marriage does not by any means mean losing your individuality in the personality of the other spouse.
Instead, this means caring for your spouse as you care for yourself. We learn to anticipate the needs of our spouse, we will help the husband/wife as they develop into the complete person they can be. Jesus referred to this plan in Matthew.
" And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,'
and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?'
So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."
The meaning of the word cohabitation is two people living together and having intmate relations between the two.
This is not in God's divine plan for marriage. We should always want to follow His plan. Living together before marriage may be a common trend in many parts of the world, but it is not in accordance with the word of God. Why would someone have the audacity to perform something God has specifically forbidden? Some people think if it does not work out, they can go their separate ways and all is alright. This is NOT God's design. So many people go through life seeking merely a physical attractiveness in a spouse. We need to look past the physical and look at the inner person when we are considering a mate.
" But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am;
but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
1 Corinthians 7:8-9
Our blessed Lord gave us so much! Everything we have is from the Lord. Our purpose on earth is to glorify Him. If we are living in a sinful manner, we are NOT glorifying the Lord. We follow guidelines at school, work and in the community, how can we NOT follow God's plan and still follow all these other guidelines?
If we are trying to be like others, we need to be reminded
of the nations in the Bible who wanted a king. Their reasoning was so they could be like the nations around them. We read how their decision to follow other nations was to their disadvantage.
"Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, “No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.
1 Samuel 8:19-20
" Now the word of the LORD came to Samuel, saying, “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the LORD all night.
1 Samuel 15:10-11
Since broken homes are so prevalent in todays' society, this bears repeating: our gracious and merciful Lord told us His design, it was a man and a woman married for life.
We must seek ways to restore a marriage rather than leave it. Our blessed Lord Jesus Christ said that divorce is not permissible with the exception of unfaithfulness. The occurrence of adultery doesn't mean divorce needs to inevitably happen, When we translate the word UNFAITHFUL it implies a lifestyle which is sexually immoral. This does not involve a spouse who has confessed and repented of the commission of adultery. If a person discovers that their husband/wife has been unfaithful, they need to first make each and every effort to forgive, reconcile, and mend the relationship they once enjoyed. We should always look for ways to reconcile and renew our marriage relationship, and not to abandon it.
"Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.
Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.
The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does."
1 Corinthians 7:2-4.
We read the love story of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and see the depth of love two people can have for one another.
We will look at another illustration of a loving husband who helped his wife during a difficult time. When visiting his patient, the doctor stood by her bed and watched her lying there. She had recently had to undergo a surgical operation. Her mouth was twisted because of paralysis.
The surgeon had carefully removed the tumor in her cheek, but as he did so, a nerve was cut. Recently married, her young husband stood and watched his wife. Her husband bent down and turned his lips so they would meet her crooked lips. He did this to show her that their kiss still worked. Just think how that must have boosted her esteem! She was still loved for herself, no matter what her physical condition was.
This is the type of love God has for us and we should have for our spouses- an unconditional love! How very seriously any man and any woman must think about marriage!! They are planning to join themselves for the remainder of their lives!! Since this union is as close as the union between Christ and the Church, it makes it all the more serious. The Church is the bride of Christ. Husbands are told to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. Only two things can separate Christ from His Church- death and spiritual fornication. Similarly, only two things can separate a husband from his wife or a wife from her husband-death and physical fornication. A body without a head cannot live. That paints a grotesque picture.
" For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.
Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything."
" And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence."
It is so very vital that we realize what marriage in God's sight should be. May we see the significance God placed in marriage. He conceived this plan knowing what we would need. What an all knowing God we have!
DISCUSSION AND STUDY QUESTIONS:
1. What is the purpose woman was made for man?
2. What relationship is as close as the union in marriage?
3. Since as a helpmate-what is the most important area where we help our partner?
4. Was man created for woman or woman made for man? Discuss
Copyright 2008 Linda Lawrence
Lessons in this Series
||Preparing for Marriage God's Way 16 Lessons
By Dr. Wayne A. Mack / Hensley Publishing
What's the best wedding gift couples can give themselves? A solid foundation for a satisfying, God-honoring union. Designed to be used by individual couples or groups, Mack's marriage manual helps you discover your prospective spouse's unknown personality traits, cope with different backgrounds, resolve conflicts, deal with in-laws, understand God's role in a happy marriage.
||Now You're Speaking My Language: Honest Communication and Deeper Intimacy for a Stronger Marriage
By Gary Chapman / B & H Publishing Group
Now You're Speaking My Language encourages husbands and wives to offer steadfast loyalty, forgiveness, empathy, and commitment to resolving conflict, thus encouraging each other in spiritual growth. Chapman shows how communication and intimacy are key points in developing a successful marriage by focusing on these principles:
Now You're Speaking My Language is the paperback edition of Chapman's 2004 Gold Medallion award winner, Covenant Marriage.
- Lasting answers to marital growth are found in the Bible.
- Your relationship with God enhances your marriage relationship.
- Communication is the main way two become one in a marriage.
- Biblical oneness involves sex, but also intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and social oneness.