“Go through this study with prayer and read all the scriptures that have been quoted… If you have a partner, read this with them. I pray the Holy Spirit will be with you, as He leads you into truth.”
The Purpose of Marriage
¡°I want to be in a relationship, to feel loved by somebody.”
“As long as we love each other everything will be fine”
Sadly, many who had originally believed this, have gone on to have terrible experiences in relationships. You see, it is too naive to believe that ‘everything will naturally be alright’. Rather, relationships should be approached with much wisdom and prayer.
“A married person who does not know the purpose of their marriage, is like a traveler who does not know their destination”
So what is the purpose of marriage?
Firstly, marriage is not necessarily for everyone. Matthew 19:7-121 tells us that there are various reasons for not marrying. Even Paul, a celibate apostle, comments on Marriage and singleness in 1 Corinthians 7. In verses 7, 17, 20, & 24, he instructs each person to walk in the way the Lord has chosen for them. If they were meant to be single, but still chose to marry, they wouldn’t necessarily be viewed as sinners, but their marriage would be more difficult. It is therefore really important not to rush God’s will in your life. If you allow God to lead you in all your decisions, you will be happier whether single or married. Remember, God wants what is best for you.
When we compare our ‘relationships with other people’ to our ‘relationship with God’, we find that people are not as caring, not as loving, and much harder to please. This is why we should firstly learn to love God, before we try to delve into a relationship (1 Cor 7:32-35). God knows when we are fully prepared for a relationship, so we must not rush Him. In the book of Ruth, after her husband dies, Ruth remains patiently faithful to God. God then gave her a beautiful new marriage.
The movies teach people that relationships are all about feeling loved. Their philosophy is “if it feels good, go for it”, always pointing you to your feelings. The problem with basing your relationship on how you feel, is that your emotions can change so easily leaving your relationship vulnerable to destruction. Real lasting relationships are not based on “feeling in love” but rather they are founded in unconditional love. This is deliberately choosing to love, regardless of how you feel.
You see, the principle of love is putting the other person first. God has always put you first even when you didn’t deserve it see (Romans 5:6-8). As a Christian you can put into practice what you know GOD has previously done for you. Whilst repeating this unconditional love to your partner, you then realise how difficult it is at times, to love unconditionally, and thus appreciate better what Christ has done for you.
The Bible tells us that when we love like this, we know God and if we don’t love, then we don’t know God because God is love (1 John 4:7-8). God not only wants us to love each other but to know who He is, and appreciate what He has done for us. He sees that if we were to know Him more, we would find life so much easier and would be more satisfied. What He has done for us is amazing and He wants us to live with Him forever. Being in a relationship gives everyone a greater understanding and appreciation of God.
Satan wants us to focus on feeling loved, but when we do this, we may not be happy as we don’t always get what we want. God wants us to focus on the other person being loved, this allows you to always be happy and satisfied, as you naturally want to serve and please God (who is your first love). Despite the fact that your partner may not appreciate you, you will have peace and satisfaction as that is what God promises us (Isaiah 26:3-4). Always work together with God, asking Him what you should do, because only He can equip you with the power to love unconditionally. He is always happy and willing to help you (John 15:3-5). God not only wants you to love unconditionally, He also wants your partner to do the same for you.
You could be the one unloving and your partner decides to love you with Gods help. This will also allow you to appreciate Gods love as you know you didn’t deserve it.
With both of you having this mind set you are able to lead each other by example. Even if it seems you are the only one trying, the bible tells us that we should continue because we are leading by example and allowing your partner to see how God is (Ephesians 5:25-30 and 1 Peter 3:1-12).
Loving unconditionally in a variety ways, both in the good times and the bad, gives us true satisfaction and really does help towards a happy marriage as we grow to love each other and God.
1 A eunuch is someone who does not marry
Preparing for a Relationship
Before even considering another person, your heart needs to be first loyal to God. You may not be 100% perfect yet, but God will lead you to the right person when He sees you are ready.
You are automatically being prepared when you learn to love God.
God says, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
Your love for God (because He first loved you), is all the preparation you need for a relationship.
Ask God to purify your own character instead of focusing on the kind of person you want your partner to be. God can then shape you into His image, and will pair you with someone who matches you.
Building a relationship
We found that there is a correct way to build a relationship according to the scriptures and the spirit of prophecy. This is what we have found out.
|Close Friends & Courting||Training time.Spiritual and Social.||This time is time to be spiritual together and have care and concern for each other, without building romantic intimacy. The spiritual part of your relationship should be stronger than the social part of your relationship. Your partner should not take over your loyalty to God. Yours and your partners first love should be to God, as it is only He who will keep you both together. In your individual homes you should be supporting and showing Christ like behavior (unconditional love). maintaining the home, keeping it clean and providing financially where you can.|
|Engagement||Preparation – Spiritual – Social and Romantic Intimacy||Again, the Lord wants to remain the focus of your relationship. Adequate time should be taken to pray together, studying the bible together and to put into practice Christs unconditional love towards one another (especially when in an argument).This will be like a strong tree establishing its roots deep into the ground. Take part in marital studies together. In order to have a more independent and intimate married life, seek employment to be financially stable before you are married.|
|Marriage||As One – Spiritual – Social – Romantic and Physical Intimacy||Now that you are married, Satan will attempt even harder to split you up because he hates unity. In Ephesians 6 there are a list of the spiritual armour required to protect you both from the enemy. There are times when you will go through struggles in your marriage and it is important to remember that “… we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:10-18). You should be supportive and go into battle back to back, working effectively for the Lord as He has called us to do. You are both able to work for the Lord. By doing this, you can learn about God’s love in a very unique and excellent way.|
Taken from Ellen White – ‘The Mount of Blessing’
‘It is the love of self that destroys our peace. While self is all alive, we stand ready continually to guard it from mortification and insult; but when we are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God, we shall not take neglects or slights to heart. We shall be deaf to reproach and blind to scorn and insult.
“Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil; rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never faileth.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, R.V.
Happiness drawn from earthly sources is as changeable as varying circumstances can make it; but the peace of Christ is a constant and abiding peace. It does not depend upon any circumstances in life, on the amount of worldly goods or the number of earthly friends. Christ is the fountain of living water, and happiness drawn from Him can never fail.
The meekness of Christ, manifested in the home, will make the inmates happy; it provokes no quarrel, gives back no angry answer, but soothes the irritated temper and diffuses a gentleness that is felt by all within its charmed circle. Wherever cherished, it makes the families of earth a part of the one great family above.
Far better would it be for us to suffer under false accusation than to inflict upon ourselves the torture of retaliation upon our enemies. The spirit of hatred and revenge originated with Satan, and can bring only evil to him who cherishes it. Lowliness of heart, that meekness which is the fruit of abiding in Christ, is the true secret of blessing.
“He will beautify the meek with salvation.” Psalm 149:4.
The meek “shall inherit the earth.” It was through the desire for self-exaltation that sin entered into the world, and our first parents lost the dominion over this fair earth, their kingdom. It is through self-abnegation that Christ redeems what was lost. And He says we are to overcome as He did. Revelation 3:21. Through humility and self-surrender we may become heirs with Him when “the meek shall inherit the earth.” (Psalm 37:11). – Mount of Blessing – pages 16, 17.
The Roman official with his guard of soldiers hastened from point to point, he would seize upon the Jewish peasants who were laboring in the field and compel them to carry burdens up the mountainside or render any other service that might be needed. This was in accordance with the Roman law and custom, and resistance to such demands only called forth taunts and cruelty. Every day deepened in the hearts of the people the longing to cast off the Roman yoke. Especially among the bold, rough-handed Galileans the spirit of insurrection was rife. Capernaum, being a border town, was the seat of a Roman garrison, and even while Jesus was teaching, the sight of a company of soldiers recalled to His hearers the bitter thought of Israel’s humiliation. The people looked eagerly of Christ, hoping that He was the One who was to humble the pride of Rome.
With sadness Jesus looks into the upturned faces before Him. He notes the spirit of revenge that has stamped its evil imprint upon them, and knows how bitterly the people long for power to crush their oppressors. Mournfully He bids them, “Resist not him that is evil: but whosoever smiteth thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” – Mount of Blessing – pages 69, 70.
The Father’s presence encircled Christ, and nothing befell Him but that which infinite love permitted for the blessing of the world. Here was His source of comfort, and it is for us. He who is imbued with the Spirit of Christ abides in Christ. The blow that is aimed at him falls upon the Saviour, who surrounds him with His presence. Whatever comes to him comes from Christ. He has no need to resist evil, for Christ is his defense. Nothing can touch him except by our Lord’s permission, and “all things” that are permitted “work together for good to them that love God.” (Romans 8:28) – Mount of Blessing – page 71.
Dealing with Arguments
Since every battle is based on spiritual warfare, every situation should be looked on with a spiritual mindset. When you encounter arguments look at them with a spiritual mind set and bring God into the equation. This will enable you to sort out your problems in a much simpler and peaceful manner.
‘Fore as much then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh,
arm yourselves likewise with the same mind:’ – 1 Peter 4:1
It is best to approach your partner with an attitude of help, rather then thinking only of yourself.
‘…in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others
better than themselves.’ – Philippians 2:3
Jesus has done this, for you, looking past your offenses and sees your needs. Likewise, when you feel you are ‘in the right’, call on God straight away for help and strength to copy His attitude, praying that God will calm the storm, and recover your partner from the attack of the real enemy which is Satan. Here are two scenarios you may face, and how best to deal them;
‘You’re about to bring up a problem’
If you plan to bring up a topic that may lead to an argument, (i.e. something sensitive to yourself or your partner), you should first pray together. Ask God for understanding and direction on how to avoid the possible argument. You may feel you are strong enough without prayer, you may even feel embarrassed or fearful to ask your partner to pray with you. But this is because the devil will do anything to come in between you and God. But as you both press on, you will enjoy the fact that you had invited God into your conversation.
‘You find yourself in the middle of argument’
The majority of the time, you will fall an argument. As soon as you notice that you are in an argument, rather than continue, you need to stop and pray alone and then with your partner. It is easy to think that you need to be heard and so continuing, things will resolve themselves, but you must remember ‘...your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour‘. If you are already following God everyday, this will become much easier.
One who seeks God only when things are tough, is like a tree no deep roots. When a storm comes, it will fall quickly.
Prayer unites you both together with God (Psalms 133). Prayer gives you both time to reflect on your own words, attitude whether you are representing God.
‘In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths‘ Proverbs 3:6
What if my partner does not want to pray with me?
If your partner doesn’t want to pray with you, certainly do not force them. Instead, simply remind them of how praying to God has helped in the past, and suggest that they at least pray alone.
Here are some tips of what your prayer could include in resolving your conflict.
- Let God know what you want to achieve out of the argument. He is able. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
- Pray that God can give you both understanding of each others point; (1 Chronicles 22:12)
Pray that God will give you peace; and (Isaiah 26:3-4)
Ask God to help you both be willing to forgive one another quickly.
Now trust that God will hear your prayers because He loves and cares for you both. (Romans 8:34-39).
As you use this method during arguments, you will find God’s help all the time and your faith in Him will grow and will become easier to rely on Him (2 Chronicles 7:14-15).
Believing that He is helping you, continue to reflect on how God has treated you:
- Slow to anger (Nehemiah 9:17)
- Compassionate and merciful (Psalms 145:8)
Patient (Ecclesiastes 7:8-9) (1 Peter 2:17-25)
Forgiving (Matthew 18:21-22)
Things may not work out straight away, but stay persistent always trying hard to do what is right. Continue praying, and having faith in God, (which means to trust and rely on God fully);
‘Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day…Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.‘ – Ephesians 6:13, 16
God is helping and teaching you both unconditional love towards each other. So do not give in to the lies that Satan brings that “God is no longer here for you”.for God has loved you unconditionally and you both will grow to know God more.
Satan will also tempt you to feel walked all over, provoking you to “fight back”. Even if you are in the right, remember that Jesus was always in the right and taught us to turn the other cheek. Jesus knew that His Father would defend Him, therefore we too ought to learn to trust God more in patience and humility.
‘…resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Matthew 5:39
So we do not have to worry.
When putting this into practice your relationship will blossom even more.
What does it mean to be ‘unfaithful’?
Faithfulness and unfaithfulness is not limited to the topic of adultery. Faithfulness simply means ‘being loyal to your word’ which will come naturally in relationships when you truly love (Galatians 5:22-23).
Therefore, in every relationship, faithfulness is measured according to whether we keep to our word. This could include promises to do something, promises to go somewhere etc. If we keep our word, on time, we are faithful, but where we don’t, we ought to improve our faithfulness to them.
‘He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much; He that is unjust in the least is unjust in much’ Luke 16:10.
In Marriage, we vow to ‘have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness in health, to love and to cherish;’
The bible says ‘When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.’Ecclesiastes 5:4-5
Some relationships may never experience adultery, but when it comes to “making promises”, they let each other down regularly. We see in Christ the nature of God, who would never let us down and remains faithful to His words and promises. Hence why He is called the ‘faithful witness’ in Revelation 1:5, 3:14. We ought to review how we have been towards our partner in the past, and seek to love them just as faithfully as God has done for us.
In Matthew 5:40-48, Jesus makes a valid point that love isn’t exclusive to Christians, because even the non-Christians do love each other, however, He highlights that their love is based largely on the love they will receive. When fierce arguments rise, those who are not ‘compelled’ by the love of God (2 Corinthians 5:14) have very little strength to resist retaliation and anger. But connecting to God in prayer and thinking of His great faithfulness towards us, God gives us power to love our partners, even when we believe they do not love us back.
Hosea 2:20 ‘I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.’
Even if you are not in a relationship you still have a responsibility to be faithful to your commitments. Whether to family, friends or work, we are still expected by God to be a faithful steward (1 Corinthians 4:1-2), and on the last day, He will say, ‘well done my good and faithful servant…inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me’ (Matthew 25:21, 40).
Look forward, He can fix any marriage!
Many have given up on their partners not realising the Godly potential of their relationship with God fully at the helm. There is usually some bitterness at the remembrance of a failed relationship, but what you will find in this section, is advice intended to help you in the future, rather than in your past.
There is no relationship that is ‘too hard’ for God to mend, Jeremiah 32:27 says ‘Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?’
Telling your partner what to do will not change them. But changing the way you respond or react to them will certainly help. Pray that you can be more accepting of their faults, because this will indirectly influence them to change. (1 corinthians 7:12-17)
If you give your failing relationship fully to God, praying for your partner, you will find peace. Intercessory prayer (praying for your partner), is key to helping you and God work together to help your partner in the correct way. You will find that there will be times when you have pity on your partner, rather than taking things offensively.
There are exceptions where God deems it healthier for you to not be together. Notice though how God deals with this abusive, unbalanced relationship in 1 Samuel 25. The story is told of an evil man named Nabal whose wife, Abigail, remains faithfully patient and obedient to God. After her long, continual faithfulness, God took him away and she married Prince David instead. Notice how Abigail waited patiently and let God deal with her situation. Unlike Abigail we too often take God’s matters in to our own hands rather than “letting go and letting God.” ‘With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;’ – Ephesians 4:2. God will bring justice – eventually (Romans 12:19). Therefore pray for your partner that they can be helped of God!
Remember you cannot change your partner, but God can, and just as importantly, God can change the way you react towards your partner. (Luke 6:28)
A close friend of ours shared on our wedding day that, “marriage is much like a garden”. This has proved very true. They explained that if you leave a garden to itself, it will become messy, overrun, and difficult to maintain. And therefore it is important to regularly remove weeds and plant seeds of goodness and unconditional love. Yes, if you’re in a situation where you find you have left a part of your marriage untended, ask God to spring clean your relationship, get rid of all weeds as they pop up and keep sowing seeds of kindness. The scriptures say ‘…let not the sun go down on upon you wrath’. (Ephesians 4:26) but rather ‘submiting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. (Ephesians 5:21)
Relationship and Social life
This is a topic that many couples may tend to look past, but it is actually a very special indirect witness to what God has done in your marriage, which is pleasing to God and man. You and your partner socialising with others, allows you both to form and maintain Godly relationships. Allowing people to see a living testimony of a Godly relationship. Be aware that the enemy may try to push conflict on you both to prevent Gods work. Satan may try to use you against each other, which may result in neglect, so pray with partner together or alone and include them in all your plans during that time.
I pray that we will all strive to do what is right and pure in Gods eyes with Gods unconditional love.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.