Category Archives: Marriage

UNHAPPY MARRIAGE:

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One thing we know for sure: being in an unhappy marriage is not biblical grounds for divorce. In Mark 10:11–12 Jesus said, “A man who divorces his wife so he can marry someone else commits adultery against her. And a woman who divorces her husband so she can marry someone else commits adultery.” Based on the Bible, we see that people don’t have the right to dissolve an unhappy marriage. God intended that marriage be for a lifetime.

Ephesians 5 presents marriage as a picture of the relationship God has with us. This is one reason why God has such an interest in keeping marriages intact. Failed marriages and broken homes are devastating to the husband and wife, not to mention the children involved. Financial ruin is only one of the unhappy results of divorce. The family unit is the basic building block of any society, and rampant divorce has a tragic impact on all of the culture.

This is not to say that God wants to force us to remain forever in an unhappy marriage. He doesn’t ask us to just grit our teeth and suffer through it. When God approaches marital problems, He does so from the perspective of how to fix them, not how to dissolve the marriage. For example, Paul writes of demonic impact in marriages (1 Corinthians 7:5). He states that the couple should be active in the sexual relationship so that Satan cannot tempt them. Peter encourages husbands to treat their wives with understanding so that their prayers will not be hindered (1 Peter 3:7). From these passages we can see that marriage is a spiritual battlefield. It takes work to fight for the relationship, not to fight in the relationship.

God encourages us toward reconciliation. Matthew 18:15–16 demands open, honest communication that deals with hurts and frustrations caused by sin. It even encourages us to get help to resolve problems. God also calls us to find our joy or happiness in Him (Philippians 4:4). The joy of the Lord is something you can have regardless of conditions. In all of God’s guidelines for experiencing joy, none of them require a spouse to cooperate. A spouse does not control our capacity to have joy or peace. James 1:3–4 tells us that deep, abiding joy comes as we persevere through trials, with God’s help, and as our faith matures and strengthens.

The book of Philippians is a great study in the difference between joy and happiness. Written by the apostle Paul while imprisoned in Rome, this book uses the words joy, rejoice, and joyful 16 times and teaches us how to have true contentment in Jesus Christ, despite our circumstances. In chains, Paul talks about his faith and trust in Christ and how it had changed his whole perspective on suffering.

God has given husbands clear-cut instructions in Ephesians 5:25–28: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. . . . So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself.” To wives, God’s instruction is to submit to their husbands’ leadership (verse 22) and to respect their husbands (verse 33). In a Christ-like spirit, both are to submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21). If both spouses are living up to their biblical responsibilities, there will be joy and happiness in the marriage. What woman wouldn’t respect and submit to a man who loves her the way Christ loves His church? And what man wouldn’t love a woman who respects and submits to him? The unhappiness that is present in too many marriages is often a result of one or both parties refusing to submit to God and obey His revealed will for marriage. Sometimes the unhappiness is exacerbated by unresolved issues of one party that have leaked into the marriage. In those cases, individual counseling may be helpful in addition to marriage counseling.

Even if an unhappy marriage results from a believer being married to an unbeliever, there is always the possibility the believing spouse can lead the unbelieving spouse to the Lord by his or her chaste conduct and kind demeanor. “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives when they see the purity and reverence of your lives” (1 Peter 3:1). The Bible specifically addresses those who are married to unbelievers in 1 Corinthians 7:12–14: “… If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband.”

In the end, we must remember that “the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (1 Peter 3:12). God knows the pain of an unhappy marriage, and He understands fleshly desires, but He has given His Word to us on this matter and He does ask for obedience. Obedience to God always brings joy (Romans 16:19).

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Prophet Nathan Emol

KEYS TO LONG LASTING MARRIAGE:

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What can a married couple do to ensure that their marriage will last? The first and most important issue is one of obedience to God and His Word. This is a principle that should be in force before the marriage begins. God says, “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” (Amos 3:3). For the born-again believer, this means not beginning a close relationship with anyone who is not also a believer. “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). If this one principle were followed, it would save a lot of heartache and suffering later in marriages.

Another principle that would protect the longevity of a marriage is that the husband should obey God and love, honor, and protect his wife as he would his own body (Ephesians 5:25–31). The corresponding principle is that the wife should obey God and submit to her own husband “as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). The marriage between a man and a woman is a picture of the relationship between Christ and the church. Christ gave Himself for the church, and He loves, honors, and protects her as His “bride” (Revelation 19:7–9).

Building on the foundation of a godly marriage, many couples find practical ways to help make their marriages last: spending quality time together; saying, “I love you” often; being kind; showing affection; offering compliments; going on dates; writing notes; giving gifts; and being ready to forgive, for example. All these actions are encompassed by the Bible’s instructions to husbands and wives.

When God brought Eve to Adam in the first marriage, she was made from his “flesh and bone” (Genesis 2:21) and they became “one flesh” (Genesis 2:23–24). Becoming one flesh means more than just a physical union. It means a meeting of the mind and soul to form one unit. This relationship goes far beyond sensual or emotional attraction and into the realm of spiritual “oneness” that can only be found as both partners surrender to God and each other. This relationship is not centered on “me and my” but on “us and our.” This is one of the secrets to a lasting marriage.

Making a marriage last for a lifetime is something both partners have to make a priority. Couples whose marriages last celebrate their commitment to each other. Many couples make it a point not to even speak of divorce, even in anger. Solidifying one’s vertical relationship with God goes a long way toward ensuring the horizontal relationship between a husband and wife is a lasting, God-honoring one.

A couple who desires their marriage to last must learn how to deal with problems. Prayer, Bible study, and mutual encouragement are good. And there is nothing wrong with seeking outside help; in fact, one of the purposes of the church is to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24). A struggling couple should seek advice from an older Christian couple, a pastor, or a biblical marriage counsellor.

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Prophet Nathan Emol

MARRIED PERSON HAVING CLOSE FRIENDSHIP WITH OPPOSITE SEX:

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The Bible does not forbid close friendships between men and women. As Christians, however, there are some principles that we would be wise to heed. Married people especially need to be wary of friendships with members of the opposite sex because temptations are more likely to arise when there are marital problems. If a man’s best friend is a woman who is not his wife, he is likely to share these problems with her, which can lead to an unhealthy emotional attachment. The same holds true for a woman who has as a best friend a man who is not her husband.

Most married people who have affairs don’t purposely go out to find a romantic interest outside of their marriage. Many people say, “I didn’t mean for it to happen; it just happened.” But these things “just happen” when we “play with fire” and put ourselves in situations that are difficult to control. When we feel a spouse is not attentive to our needs, we can easily feel that we have “fallen in love” with someone else who does give us the attention we crave. When we feel ignored or under-appreciated by a spouse, we should communicate our struggles with the spouse and avoid the danger of seeking comfort elsewhere.

Even a marriage that is built on a foundation of faith in Christ and has relatively few problems is not immune to extra-marital temptations. This is why the Bible does not tell us to stick around and try to fight temptation, but to flee from it like we do from all “youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:22). Trying to fight temptation seems to become especially difficult when it comes to matters of the heart or the lusts of the flesh. First Corinthians 6:18 tells us that we need to run away from sexual sin, because it is much easier to run away from temptation than to stay and fight it.

Married men and women should carefully avoid putting themselves in compromising situations when it comes to the opposite sex. If they are seen together in public, it might give the wrong impression. If they are alone on the phone or in person, they will subject themselves to the temptation of an emotional or physical affair. The Bible tells us that everything we do should be for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31), so the wise thing would be to stick to visiting as couples or “double dating” with other married couples, as opposed to risking the complications associated with close friendships with the opposite sex.

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Prophet Nathan Emol

MARRIAGE RESTORATION:

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Since the need to restore a marriage relationship can be for many different reasons, we will look at underlying principles that the Bible sets forth for relationships in general and then marriage in particular.

The place to start is with the individual one-on-one relationship between a man or woman and the Lord Jesus Christ. As born-again believers, the success of any relationship with others is in direct correlation with the quality of our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. When we are out of fellowship with the Lord due to sin or mental attitudes that are contrary to divine viewpoint, we find that we are out of sorts with ourselves, first, and that spills over to our relationships with others. Therefore, restoring our relationship and fellowship with the Lord through agreeing with His viewpoint and resting in the forgiveness that is ours in Christ Jesus (1 John 1:9) is the place we must begin.

The above presupposes that one has a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ through the new birth. That is being born again unto newness of life in accepting salvation through the gift of eternal life given to us in Christ. If that step has not been taken in an individual’s life, then biblical principles are not the first issue to be addressed; one’s eternal salvation or redemption is. This website has an excellent resource available to help to guide one to repentance and acceptance of the gift of life in Christ.

For the born-again believer, forgiveness is the position and privilege that we have in Christ, and because of that forgiveness we are commanded to forgive others. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). If we are believers, we are forgiven “in Christ,” and “in Christ” we also forgive others. No relationship can be restored without forgiveness. Forgiveness is a choice we make based upon the reality of our own forgiven state.

For the marriage relationship, the Bible has given us a very clear model that is opposite to the world’s viewpoint. To restore a marriage relationship once forgiveness has been given and received, applying God’s model will begin to bring the two separate parties into a God-honoring union. This requires a choice on the part of both parties. There is an old saying, “you cannot use what you do not know.” Therefore, to learn God’s model for marriage we must look into God’s Word.

God ordained the first marriage in the Garden of Eden between Adam and Eve. When sin entered because of their disobedience, that perfect union was destroyed. Subsequently, God told Eve that Adam would be her “head” to rule over her (Genesis 3:16). (Compare 1 Corinthians 11:3Ephesians 5:22Titus 2:51 Peter 3:5-6.) This “rule” has been overthrown by the modern liberal women’s movement and has brought untold unhappiness to those who believe the “lie.” There is also the human viewpoint that “all are equal.” In a way, that is true. We all have equal access to salvation in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). But to say that all in the world are equal in human opportunity, abilities or even power is naïve. God had a purpose for placing wives under the authority of their husbands. Because of sin, that rule has been both abused and chaffed under, and the result has brought chaos to the home and family. However, God does not let the husband off the hook. The husband is to “love his wife as he loves his own body” (Ephesians 5:28). In fact, the greater part of the responsibility of the marriage model is given to the husband. The woman is to obey her husband as unto the Lord; however, husbands are to love their wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25-29).

There is also a passage in 1 Corinthians 7 that lays down some principles and practical, personal, Spirit-led, advice about marriage from the Apostle Paul. This is all in accordance with the supposition that the individuals are born-again believers. This passage speaks about adultery, fornication, staying single and pure or—in order to avoid the pitfalls of passion and fornication—to marry.

God’s marriage model works, but it takes commitment on the part of both parties to create a relationship with a balance of each individual’s obedience to God and walking in fellowship with the Lord. It does not happen overnight. And, usually, if a marriage relationship has broken down, there are issues that need to be forgiven and put behind in order to move forward, and, again, that takes a choice and a commitment. Unwillingness on the part of either party will mean no restoration. The overriding issue is with each individual’s responsibility before the Lord and then coming together before the Lord. Walking in forgiveness and fellowship would be a wonderful place to start to put the pieces back together again.

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Prophet Nathan Emol

RIGHT TIME TO MARRY:

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The right time for marriage is different for each person and unique to each situation. Maturity levels and life experiences are varying factors; some people are ready for marriage at 18, and some are never prepared for it. As the world divorce rate exceeds 50 percent, it is obvious that much of our society does not view marriage as an everlasting commitment. However, this is the world’s view, which will usually contradict God’s (1 Corinthians 3:18).

A strong foundation is imperative for a successful marriage and should be settled before one even begins to date or court a potential life mate. Our Christian walk should include much more than just attending church on Sundays and being involved in Bible study. We must have a personal relationship with God that comes only through trusting in and obeying Jesus Christ. We must educate ourselves about marriage, seeking God’s view on it, before diving in. A person must know what the Bible says about love, commitment, sexual relations, the role of a husband and wife, and His expectations of us before committing to marriage. Having at least one Christian married couple as a role model is also important. An older couple can answer questions about what goes into a successful marriage, how to create intimacy (beyond the physical), how faith is invaluable, etc.

A prospective married couple also needs to make sure that they know each other well. They should know each other’s views on marriage, finances, in-laws, child-rearing, discipline, duties of a husband and wife, whether only one of them or both will be working outside the home, and the level of the other person’s spiritual maturity. Many people get married taking their partner’s word for it that they are a Christian, only to find out later that it was merely lip service. Every couple considering marriage should go through counseling with a Christian marriage counselor or pastor. In fact, many pastors will not perform weddings unless they have met several times with the couple in a counseling setting.

Marriage is not only a commitment, but a covenant with God. It is the promise to remain with that other person for the remainder of your life, no matter whether your spouse is rich, poor, healthy, sick, overweight, underweight, or boring. A Christian marriage should endure through every circumstance, including fighting, anger, devastation, disaster, depression, bitterness, addiction, and loneliness. Marriage should never be entered into with the idea that divorce is an option—not even as the last straw. The Bible tells us that through God all things are possible (Luke 18:27), and this certainly includes marriage. If a couple makes the decision at the beginning to stay committed and to put God first, divorce will not be the inevitable solution to a miserable situation.

It is important to remember that God wants to give us the desires of our heart, but that is only possible if our desires match His. People often get married because it just “feels right.” In the early stages of dating, and even of marriage, you see the other person coming, and you get butterflies in your stomach. Romance is at its peak, and you know the feeling of being “in love.” Many expect that this feeling will remain forever. The reality is that it does not. The result can be disappointment and even divorce as those feelings fade, but those in successful marriages know that the excitement of being with the other person does not have to end. Instead, the butterflies give way to a deeper love, a stronger commitment, a more solid foundation, and an unbreakable security.

The Bible is clear that love does not rely on feelings. This is evident when we are told to love our enemies (Luke 6:35). True love is possible only when we allow the Holy Spirit to work through us, cultivating the fruit of our salvation (Galatians 5:22-23). It is a decision we make on a daily basis to die to ourselves and our selfishness, and to let God shine through us. Paul tells us how to love others in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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.” When we are ready to love another person as 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 describes, that is the right time for marriage.

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Prophet Nathan Emol