Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Marriage advice from the unmarried

So my best friend is finally tying the knot at the end of this month and last night he called and asked me for a recommendation for a good bible reading that pertains to marriage. It seems like more and more of my friends are getting married and as I have personally grown stronger in my faith I really started thinking about how little God is referenced or acknowledged in many weddings and marriages that I see. Now I am not saying that everyone I know does not love the Lord or that no one gets it right but I think we can all agree that more God in our lives is not a bad thing.

As I started reading last night and looking for the right verse, I began writing down some goods ones that I really liked and felt can be real tools for a successful marriage. Now keep in mind that I have never been married so my experience here is very limited. In fact, if you would have asked me two years ago if God mattered in marriage I would have said "no way". But as I come to know the Lord more and more, I now understand how wrong I was.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.~Mathew 22: 37-38

The most important factor is that both of you love the Lord, more than each other. We have seen time and time again that relationships between humans will always fail, but if each other has a real love for God you will keep it together and make it work for God.

In order to love one must know God:

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."~ 1 John 4: 7-8

Remember that you are now a team! God has called you to be together as one flesh. No longer can you make selfish decisions but rather your responsibility is now for yourself and your spouse. Every decision you make must be made in the best interest of both of you. Do not ever let anyone or anything separate you.

“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 flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”~Mathew 19:4-6

I also believe that it is very important to love as God loves us. God loves us unconditionally even though we turn from Him every moment of every day. He loved us so much that He gave his only son for us so that we may be saved. This is the example of true sacrifice and willingness to do anything, no matter the cost, for someone else. Your marriage will be the most successful when both give each other everything they have and do not hold anything back; both of you will be completely taken care of by the other. Be an example for your family as well!

"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant sacrifice to God."~Ephesians 5:1-2

There will be days when your spouse annoys you are drives you completely insane. There will be things they do that challenge your heart and love for them but remember that God calls you to fight through that:

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace" ~Ephesians 4:2-3

One of my favorites has to do with pleasing each other, and yes this means sexually! Now that you are married this is something you can enjoy sin free and as your unmarried friend I say "Take advantage!". Remember to work at this and keep it interesting and fun. This is one of the many gifts of God and He gave it to us so that we can enjoy it. Never forget that and always find ways to make it as enjoyable as possible. :) FYI- the parenthesis is really a modern day translation of this verse.

"The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife(should fulfill his wife's sexual needs), and likewise the wife to her husband." ~1 Corinthians 7:3

Remember to keep the marriage bed pure but also live a life for God and not for money or success. You two have been blessed with each other which is more than you need or deserve. The best things in life are the hardest to obtain so stay true to who you are and don't bend on these things. Give everything you have to the Lord and I promise you will be more than blessed forever.

"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." ~Hebrews 13: 4-5

He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.~Proverbs 18:22

Lastly I leave you with the most important of all. The Armor of God will protect you from the brutal world that exists around us. Make sure that you equip yourselves with God so that you can stay strong in faith; faithful to the Lord and each other. Do not just go to church but make God the priority because you need Him to survive! Challenge each other, encourage each other, pray together, give thanks together and make sure that God is #1 in your household.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all of this, take up the shield of faith, which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kind of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.~Ephesians 6: 10-18

The last part of that verse is the most important and that is to pray constantly. We cannot do it alone and we need to be in constant prayer with God in order to keep our focus and receive his blessings so that we may persevere.

Remember this:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Make the Lord the priority in your lives and you will have the best marriage you could have ever imagined. No one said it was going to be easy.

reconsidering this whole marriage thing : ), JK!

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