Category Archives: Marriage

IS IT POSSIBLE TO MARRY A WRONG PERSON?

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There are a few different ways to look at this question. To say that we married the “wrong” person might imply that there is a sole “right” person we are meant to marry. If we marry the “wrong” person, then we may fear we have messed up God’s plan for our lives. We might also be tempted to “correct” our error in ways that do not honor God. We can certainly make wrong choices in marriage and disobey God’s guidance in whom we decide to marry. However, taking the sovereignty of God into account, we cannot marry the “wrong” person. God has a plan for our lives and is able to redeem our wrong choices and ultimately work them together for good (Romans 8:28). Once we are married, we are expected to do everything we can to make that marriage honoring to the Lord. Whether a particular marriage partner is the “wrong” choice or not, the marriage is a covenantal relationship. God is able to transform even the worst of marriages into a relationship that brings Him glory.

Biblically, a Christian should be looking to marry another believer who shares a similar commitment to following the Lord Jesus. Marriage to an unbeliever is not an option for the believer (2 Corinthians 6:14). So, if a Christian marries a non-Christian, he or she has indeed married the wrong person by violating God’s will.

There are other ways to marry the wrong person. For example, marrying someone who is abusive, immature, selfish, or codependent is going to result in problems. Marrying someone who has untreated addictions or is living in unrepentant sin is likewise an unwise choice.

What are some reasons that people marry the wrong person? Some step into toxic situations in the mistaken belief that the power of their love alone will change the other person into someone who is not abusive, immature, selfish, or codependent. Some are blinded by the initial attraction to a mate and don’t realize the problems in their relationship. Others are manipulated by someone who seems to be one thing prior to marriage and then suddenly changes course. Other cases involve couples who simply aren’t ready for marriage. They underestimate the sacrifice required to live with another person. No doubt the reasons in each case of marrying the wrong person vary and are unique to the couple.

Culture also plays a role in influencing people to marry the wrong person. Many societies have portrayed marriage as a temporary arrangement that can be adapted or forsaken at will. Since exiting a marriage is not a big deal in some cultures, neither is entering it. All too many people say their vows without a real commitment to their spouse or to God. In many places in the world, a fantasy is promoted that marriage should meet all our needs—the emphasis being on meeting one’s own needs, not the needs of one’s spouse. Conventional wisdom says that, when a couple’s marriage is tested or when one spouse feels unmet needs, they should just get a divorce—and laws in many places make divorce quite easy. Rather than work out their problems, many struggling couples conclude they don’t love each other anymore and end the marriage.

Once a person realizes that he or she has married the wrong person, what then? First, if a believer has willfully disobeyed God’s instructions in 2 Corinthians 6:14, confession of sin to God is necessary. Then the forgiven sinner should strive to make the best of the situation and bring healing to the relationship (see 1 Corinthians 7:12–14; Ephesians 5:21–33). If the situation presents a danger to either spouse or to the children involved, then separation is in order. Seeking godly counsel from a pastor or marriage counselor is important, too. While the Bible allows for divorce in specific circumstances, divorce should never be the first option. With God nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37), and He can bring beauty out of ashes (Isaiah 61:3). A Christian who made a wrong choice in choosing a marriage partner may find that God desires to turn a bad marriage into a good one (see 1 Peter 3:1–2). The power of God can transform the “wrong” person into the “right” one.

How can a person prevent getting married to the wrong person? Benjamin Franklin’s oft-quoted quip, “Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards,” is good advice (Poor Richard’s Almanac, June 1738), but even more helpful is to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Some people seek first a spouse, and righteousness falls by the wayside. The single person should concentrate on becoming the individual God wants him or her to be and commit to dating only those who are also strong, growing Christians. To avoid mistakes, it’s necessary to heed the Word (Luke 11:28), seek godly counsel, pray for wisdom (James 1:5), and be honest with God and others.

Prophet Nathan Emol

HEALING FROM THE HURT OF A BROKEN RELATIONSHIP:

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The world is full of people with broken hearts, broken spirits, and broken relationships. The pain of a broken relationship includes a very real sense of personal loss, not unlike bereavement. Sometimes the hurt is so great it prevents people from functioning properly and, in extreme cases, can result in mental breakdown or even a desire to commit suicide. The world puts forward various ways to assuage the pain: taking antidepressants, writing an angry letter and tearing it up, going on a shopping spree, getting a makeover, etc. Some advocate the power of positive thinking. The most common “cure” is time. While the intensity of a heartbreak may wane over time, only a child of God can experience complete recovery because only the Christian has access to the power of the Spirit of God, the One who “heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).

Jesus understands the pain of rejection. “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him” (John 1:11). Jesus was betrayed by one of His closest associates (John 6:71; cf. Psalm 41:9). As we deal with the pain of a broken relationship, we must take our burdens to the Lord (1 Peter 5:7). He weeps with those who weep (John 11:35; Romans 12:15), and He is able to “empathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15).

A broken relationship can be the source of many negative emotions. Christians understand the futility of allowing their emotions to guide them. Jesus Christ has blessed us with every spiritual blessing and has made us accepted in Him (Ephesians 1:3, 6). This acceptance transcends all feelings of rejection we may have because it is not based on “hope so” but on “know so.” We know that God has accepted us because God’s Word tells us so, and as we appropriate this truth by faith, it changes our hearts and lives.

Everyone experiences the hurt of a broken relationship at one time or another. We are bound to be hurt and disappointed, for we live in a fallen world. What we choose to do with that hurt and disappointment can make us stronger in our walk with the Lord. God promises to walk through the disappointments in life with us (Hebrews 13:5), and He wants us to know His provision for us is sure. His grace and comfort are ours as we rest in Him.

Every born-again child of God has blessings in Christ, but we have to choose to utilize them. Living in constant gloom and dejection over a broken relationship is like having a million dollars in the bank and living like a pauper because we never make a withdrawal. It is also true that we cannot use what we do not know. Therefore, every believer should seek to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord” (2 Peter 3:18) and to be “transformed by the renewing of [his] mind” (Romans 12:2). We must face life armed with a real understanding of what it means to walk by faith.

As believers we are not defined by past failures, disappointment, or the rejection of others. We are defined by our relationship with God. We are His children, born again to newness of life, endowed with every spiritual blessing, and accepted in Christ Jesus. We have the faith that overcomes the world (1 John 5:4).

God has prepared for each of us unique opportunities to walk through the “all things” of this life. We can either walk in our own strength and what the apostle Paul calls our “flesh,” or we can walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is our choice. God has provided us with armor, but it is up to us to wear it (Ephesians 6:11–18).

We may suffer disappointment in this life, but we are children of the King, and the rejection we experience is a momentary pain compared to eternal glory. We can allow it to keep us down, or we can claim the heritage of a child of God and move forward in His grace. Like Paul, we can be “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead” (Philippians 3:13).

Forgiveness of others is important to the healing process. Holding on to bitterness or nursing a grudge only poisons our own spirit. Yes, we may have been truly wronged, and, yes, the pain is real, but there is freedom in forgiveness. Forgiveness is a gift we can give because it was given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:32).

What a comfort to know the God who said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). God is always near to comfort the believer. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles” (2 Corinthians 1:3–4). God, who cannot lie, has promised to go through our trials with us: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isaiah 43:2).

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22). In reality, feelings come from thoughts, so, to change how we feel, we should change how we think. And this is what God wants us to do. In Philippians 2:5, Christians are told, “Have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” In Philippians 4:8, Christians are told to think on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy. Colossians 3:2 says to “set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” As we do this, our feelings of rejection diminish.

Overcoming the hurt of a broken relationship requires taking one day at a time, praying for God’s guidance, and reading and meditating on God’s Word. The healing can never come from our own efforts; it comes only from the Lord. It helps to take our eyes off ourselves and focus on God instead. He can make us whole. He can take our brokenness and make us into what He wants us to be. A broken relationship is painful, but the Lord is gracious. He can give our lives meaning, purpose, and joy. Jesus said, “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37). Our Lord’s relationship with His children is one that will never be broken.

Prophet Nathan Emol

HOW IMPORTANT IS PHYSICAL ATTRACTION WHEN LOOKING FOR A SPOUSE?

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There is no doubt that God created men and women to be physically attracted to one another. The sexual component in marriage is important for intimacy between husband and wife for procreation and the survival of the human race. At the same time, arranged marriages—including those in which the couple do not even see each other until the wedding—were the norm in centuries past and are still practiced today in parts of the world.

Solomon described the attraction of the bridegroom for his beloved in chapters 4 and 7 of Song of Songs. He describes her physical beauty and his desire for her. She reciprocates in chapter 8, describing her passion for him and her desire for his embrace. Song of Songs is a beautiful depiction of conjugal love in which physical attraction is a component.

This is not to say that physical attraction is the most important aspect to be considered when looking for a husband or wife. For one thing, beauty should not be defined by the world. That which the world finds beautiful falls well below the standard of beauty described in Scripture. Physical beauty fades with time, but true inner beauty shines forth from a woman who loves God (Proverbs 31:30). Peter encourages women to develop inner beauty that comes from “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful” (1 Peter 3:3-5). Outer beauty is fleeting; inner beauty is eternal.

The attractiveness of a man should also be that which comes from within. The most obvious example in Scripture is Jesus, who “had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2). Yet the beauty of His grace, as the incarnate Son of God, shone forth from within Him to all who truly knew Him. The strength of character displayed in the Son of Man should be modeled by every man on earth.

Outward beauty is fleeting, but men and women whose judgment is impaired by sin place undue importance on it. God’s perspective is different. “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). A prospective husband or wife should be a genuine, born-again Christian who is growing and maturing in the faith and who is obedient to Christ. Two people having the same purpose in life—to glorify God in all they do—will find that their physical attraction to one another increases daily and lasts for a lifetime.

Prophet Nathan Emol

PREPARING FOR MARRIAGE:

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Preparing oneself for marriage biblically is the same as preparing for any life endeavor. There is a principle that should govern all aspects of our lives as born-again believers: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). This is not a flippant command. It is the centerpiece of our lives as believers. It is choosing to focus upon God and upon His Word with our whole heart so that our soul and our mind are occupied with the things that will please Him.

The relationship we have with God through the Lord Jesus Christ is what puts all other relationships into perspective. The marriage relationship is based upon the model of Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:22-33). Every aspect of our lives is governed by our commitment as believers to live according to the commandments and precepts of the Lord. Our obedience to God and to His Word equips us to fulfill our God-given roles in marriage and in the world. And the role of every born-again believer is to glorify God in all things (1 Corinthians 10:31).

In order to prepare yourself for marriage, to walk worthy of your calling in Christ Jesus, and to become intimate with God through His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17), focus upon obedience in all things. There is no easy plan to learn to walk in obedience to God. It is a choice we must make every day to put aside worldly viewpoints and follow God instead. Walking worthy of Christ is to submit ourselves in humility to the only Way, the only Truth and the only Life on a day-by-day, moment-by-moment basis. That is the preparation every believer needs to be ready for the great gift we call marriage.

A person who is spiritually mature and walking with God is more prepared for marriage than anyone else. Marriage demands commitment, passion, humility, love, and respect. These traits are most evident in a person who has an intimate relationship with God. As you prepare yourself for marriage, focus on allowing God to shape you and mold you into the man or woman He wants you to be (Romans 12:1-2). If you submit yourself to Him, He will enable you to be ready for marriage when that wonderful day arrives.

Prophet Nathan Emol

AS CHRISTIANS, WHAT SHOULD BE OUR VIEW ON SAME SEX MARRIAGE?

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While the Bible does address homosexuality, it does not explicitly mention gay marriage/same-sex marriage. It is clear, however, that the Bible condemns homosexuality as an immoral and unnatural sin. Leviticus 18:22 identifies homosexual sex as an abomination, a detestable sin. Romans 1:26-27 declares homosexual desires and actions to be shameful, unnatural, lustful, and indecent. First Corinthians 6:9 states that homosexuals are unrighteous and will not inherit the kingdom of God. Since both homosexual desires and actions are condemned in the Bible, it is clear that homosexuals “marrying” is not God’s will, and would be, in fact, sinful.

Whenever the Bible mentions marriage, it is between a male and a female. The first mention of marriage, Genesis 2:24, describes it as a man leaving his parents and being united to his wife. In passages that contain instructions regarding marriage, such as 1 Corinthians 7:2-16 and Ephesians 5:23-33, the Bible clearly identifies marriage as being between a man and a woman. Biblically speaking, marriage is the lifetime union of a man and a woman, primarily for the purpose of building a family and providing a stable environment for that family.

The Bible alone, however, does not have to be used to demonstrate this understanding of marriage. The biblical viewpoint of marriage has been the universal understanding of marriage in every human civilization in world history. History argues against gay marriage. Modern secular psychology recognizes that men and women are psychologically and emotionally designed to complement one another. In regard to the family, psychologists contend that a union between a man and woman in which both spouses serve as good gender role models is the best environment in which to raise well-adjusted children. Psychology argues against gay marriage. In nature/physicality, clearly, men and women were designed to “fit” together sexually. With the “natural” purpose of sexual intercourse being procreation, clearly only a sexual relationship between a man and a woman can fulfill this purpose. Nature argues against gay marriage.

So, if the Bible, history, psychology, and nature all argue for marriage being between a man and a woman—why is there such a controversy today? Why are those who are opposed to gay marriage/same-sex marriage labeled as hateful, intolerant bigots, no matter how respectfully the opposition is presented? Why is the gay rights movement so aggressively pushing for gay marriage/same-sex marriage when most people, religious and non-religious, are supportive of—or at least far less opposed to—gay couples having all the same legal rights as married couples with some form of civil union?

The answer, according to the Bible, is that everyone inherently knows that homosexuality is immoral and unnatural, and the only way to suppress this inherent knowledge is by normalizing homosexuality and attacking any and all opposition to it. The best way to normalize homosexuality is by placing gay marriage/same-sex marriage on an equal plane with traditional opposite-gender marriage. Romans 1:18-32 illustrates this. The truth is known because God has made it plain. The truth is rejected and replaced with a lie. The lie is then promoted and the truth suppressed and attacked. The vehemence and anger expressed by many in the gay rights movement to any who oppose them is, in fact, an indication that they know their position is indefensible. Trying to overcome a weak position by raising your voice is the oldest trick in the debating book. There is perhaps no more accurate description of the modern gay rights agenda than Romans 1:31, “they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.”

To give sanction to gay marriage/same-sex marriage would be to give approval to the homosexual lifestyle, which the Bible clearly and consistently condemns as sinful. Christians should stand firmly against the idea of gay marriage/same-sex marriage. Further, there are strong and logical arguments against gay marriage/same-sex marriage from contexts completely separated from the Bible. One does not have to be an evangelical Christian to recognize that marriage is between a man and a woman.

According to the Bible, marriage is ordained by God to be between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:21-24; Matthew 19:4-6). Gay marriage/same-sex marriage is a perversion of the institution of marriage and an offense to the God who created marriage. As Christians, we are not to condone or ignore sin. Rather, we are to share the love of God and the forgiveness of sins that is available to all, including homosexuals, through Jesus Christ. We are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and contend for truth with “gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). As Christians, when we make a stand for truth and the result is personal attacks, insults, and persecution, we should remember the words of Jesus: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).

Prophet Nathan Emol