In as much as I am excited to move on and explore what the Lord has for the man in marriage, the Spirit of God is laying it heavily on my heart to discuss the pre-marriage terms first. And so we will need to take one step back on this topic to find out what the word of God says about choosing a life partner.
One thing I discovered about choosing a spouse is that the first thing we always want to know is if this man or woman you want to marry is someone you love and loves you back. The love element is what we always look out for first in the equation before going further to conclude if that man is good enough for us to marry or not. What we will now search the word of God for, is to know if this method is correct or not. Is love suppose to be the main criteria to choose a life partner or should it be a secondary thing to look out for. In order to get things right, we will be going back to the Creator's Manual, the Bible to know what God is saying about this.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
The man said,
"This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman', for she was taken out of man"
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
"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. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
I believe we should be able to get answers to our question from these two Bible passages. The first thing that struck my mind when I got the revelation of the word of God in Genesis 2 is that Adam didn't by virtue of his need, pick a wife for himself. Adam's parent (though didn't exist) could not get a wife for Adam, and love as it were could not bring Adam a wife. But it was the Lord who saw the need in the life of Adam, that created a fitting helper for him and then brought her to him. In any marriage union, the first thing that a man needing a wife or a woman needing a husband should do is to approach the throne of God and lay their petition there with thanksgiving.
The Bible tells us that it was God who created the woman and brought her to the man. God didn't create the woman and then ask the man to go in search of her. But that He brought the woman to the man and presented her to him. Then the status of the woman changed from being just a woman to a wife. What I have learnt here is that as a man the Lord knows you need a wife even when you did not realize it. He made a woman from the bones of your ribs when you never asked Him to and He will bring that woman to you at the time He knows is right.
The Lord Jesus Christ said "what God has joined together, let man not separate," if we look at this words critically, it is God that is doing the joining and not any man nor is it love, but God. When it is God that has joined you to your wife, I tell you no force from the pit of hell can wage war against that union. There may be shakings here and there, but that union can never break.
I really do agree to and recognize the importance of love in marriage, even the Bible says that "can two come together except they agree?" But the important thing here is that the basis of a lasting union should be God and not love. Love I have come to understand is an emotion just like sadness, happiness, anger, laughter, anxiety, jealousy and so many other emotions that the Lord has built into our lives. Love as an emotion fades and re-appears, just like you have happy times and sad moments. When love which has been used as a basis of marriage gets to the point where it fades then we have cases of marriages crumbling.
The fact that a lot of marriages today have been based on love and not God has been responsible for the very high rate of divorce and domestic violence. Love is essential for marriages no doubt, but I have come to understand and appreciate love as a spice in marriage that God has put in the hearts of the man and woman He has joined together to firm up their union. It's like bringing two pieces of objects together and adding a form of adhesive or glue to hold the objects firmly together. After sometime, the adhesive or glue looses it strength and when nothing else but the adhesive is what is keeping the objects together, they naturally will fall apart. But when the eye of the one who has joined the two objects together is still watching over them, he notices when the glue looses strength or wears out, and once the objects are about to fall apart he quickly puts them back together and adds fresh glue.
This illustration fits well into the marriage situation. If what is keeping your marriage together is just the adhesive or glue of love and not God, then there are no guarantees. But when the basis of your marriage has been established on the foundation of God and it is the Lord that has brought you two wonderful people together then even in that raging storm your marriage will surely stand.
Genesis 24:1-4, 6-7, 12-14 (NIV)
Abraham was now old and well advanced in years, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. He said to the chief servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had. "Put your hand under my thigh. I want you to swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac."
"Make sure that you do not take my son back there," Abraham said. "The Lord the God of heaven who brought me out of my father's household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, 'To your offspring I will give this land - he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son there."
Then he prayed, "O Lord, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. May it be that when I say to a girl, 'Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,' and she says, 'Drink, and I'll water your camels too' - let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master."
What a way to choose a life partner! But the story of how a wife was got for Isaac best illustrates what the Lord has laid in my heart to share in the issue of choosing a life partner. Most definitely this marriage was not based on any other factor but on God. Abraham knowing that it is only God that can adequately get the best wife for his son told his servant that "The Lord God of heaven who brought me out of my father's household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, 'To your offspring I will give this land - he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son there."
Isaac's marriage to Rebekah was one that stood the test of time; even when Rebekah could not conceive the marriage was still standing. No doubt Isaac and Rebekah were very much in love each other, we read in Genesis 26:8 that they were both openly caressing. Yet these were two people who had never set eyes on each other until the Lord brought Rebekah to Isaac; the woman He had created for him from the beginning of time.
It is of the essence that love reigns in a marriage, but if a man who is yet unmarried sees a woman he loves and wish to marry, it is important that he prays first and seek the consent of God on the matter and ultimately get the approval of God before going ahead with the union. This is a very vital step that should never be overlooked or watered down as unimportant.
Jacob was one man who married for love, in fact he laboured twice to marry the one he loved, but one question that still keeps coming to my mind is that "was Rachel God's best for Jacob"? Genesis 31 tells us the story of how Jacob and his household fled from Laban his master and father-in-law, but the point to note is that Rachel the well loved wife of Jacob was a thief. She almost got Jacob into trouble and bring him so much embarrassment when she stole the gods of her father's household. If God and not love had picked a wife for Jacob, will God pick a thief? No wonder God favoured Leah above Rachel.
So I still wonder within me if love is a good basis for marriage. If you have married based on love you are still not condemned, the Lord still has your marriage within His reach when you hand it over to Him to watch over for you. He is still able to protect your marriage from every possible harm. And when the love fades, the hand of God that is more powerful than any love will still keep your union intact.
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