By Leslie Diestelkamp
Paul wrote, “The woman which hath a husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth” (Rom. 7:2). Of course the same obligation is bound upon the husband. This has always been God’s will for the human race in spite of exceptions granted by Moses and the one exception given by Jesus (Mt. 19:8, 9). It is one man for one woman and one woman for one man if we are to truly please God. And since this is true it certainly is wise for both men and women to enter into marriage advisedly. Long before the wedding each one must:
1. Be absolutely sure that both have a scriptural right to marry. The only real way to eliminate the curse of divorce and re-marriage that blights the nation and the church is to prevent it! Indeed, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” So, regardless of her failure as a housekeeper, her insolence and arrogance, her unlovable and unlovely characteristics, she cannot be “put away” scripturally except it be for fornication. And only for the same reason can the husband be put away, regardless of his laziness and unconcern, his hateful and mean ways, or his disappointing characteristics. That is, in each case neither party can scripturally qualify for re-marriage unless the companion is guilty of fornication.
2. Be fully determined to keep your companion. Trial marriage will not do. To enter the marriage bond with reservations is almost sure to produce failure. Each must realize that the relationship and companionship will not always be perfect. Trials may come in the form of poverty or even in the form of wealth. There may be problems with the children or with the in-laws; there may prove to be vital incompatibilities that must be rectified and overcome. But patience and perseverance will win out, not because they were perfectly mated or totally suited to each other at the beginning, but because they were both determined to have a good marriage.
3. Be prepared, each of you, to give your heart, your body and your life to your companion. Remember that Paul wrote, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife. . . ” (Eph. 5:31). This does not mean you should forget your parents or that you may neglect them, but it does mean that you now recognize a greater responsibility to your marriage companion than to any other person in the world. Too many marriages have failed because one partner failed to cut the apron strings of father and mother. Make your association with your companion the highlight of every day, the release from every tension, the healing for your hurts, and the joy of your heart and the source of true peace of mind. Reciprocate every tender caress, cherish every gentle word, extend every kindness and excuse every weakness.
If you are a Christian, you will need the companionship of one who is of like precious faith. Together you can supplement the strength of each other. If you live a life of love and peace together, Satan’s darts will be quite impotent against you. It cannot be very wrong to say that families that pray together stay together! If you are both Christians it will help you to live together happily and it will enable you to die without that terrifying horror of eternal separation.
But do not develop a false security. Success is not guaranteed just because you marry a Christian. Being Christians does not automatically make the two of you totally compatible. Each human will must bend a little, many personal traits must be modified and true love must battle courageously against envy, jealousy, selfishness, self -will and pride. Total Christ-likeness would certainly make for certain success, but none of us are perfectly Christ-like! Even the best of men and women, the most faithful to the Lord, may have personal characteristics that make them somewhat unlovable. Yes, our mutual faithfulness to God is essential, but that alone does not assure joyful togetherness. But when both are Christians and both are faithful to each other, then wise and dedicated devotion to each other will guarantee lasting success and continuing happiness.
Truth Magazine XXII: 5, p. 82
February 2, 1978