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Marriage: Intimates or Inmates?

Introduction

Apart from knowing God, marriage is the most significant relationship we can experience. But never has the institution of marriage been more threatened by external and internal problems than it is today. It is challenged from without by a culture which promotes an independent spirit, minimizes the responsibility of complete commitment, and offers divorce as an increasingly common and acceptable alternative. It is challenged from within by manipulation, un-forgiveness, and a lack of communication.

As children of God, we need not settle for lackluster relationships where marriage partners feel more like inmates than intimates. When we believe and obey God's precepts and principles, our marriages can become increasingly fulfilling and meaningful as the years go by. In this booklet, we will look at these scriptural principles to see how we can enrich our lives through marital relationships that are characterized by commitment and communion.

Purpose of Marriage

According to Scripture, marriage was not invented by man, but instituted by God. It was divinely designed not only to be the basic building block of society, but also to provide an earthly analogy of spiritual truth. Marriage is a lifetime covenant of mutual commitment between a man and a woman which leads to oneness on every level: spirit, soul, and body. This communion and intimacy between marriage partners is designed to reflect the image of God and provide the context for a lasting relationship of love and respect. This relationship in turn is the foundation for the privilege of reproduction and the God-given responsibility of physical, psychological, and spiritual nurturing of children.

This is a high calling, and it is unattainable apart from conscious dependence upon the grace and power of God. It may seem safer to settle for less, but in doing so, we will miss out on the fulfillment God intended for us and end up in mediocrity. People do not accomplish more than they set out to attempt. No one plans to have a humdrum marriage, but without the right objectives, a couple will gradually drift into one. It is always tempting to concentrate on things rather than relationships, places rather than people, and the material rather than the spiritual.
If we want the joy of a marriage that grows into an incarnation of God's design, we must set goals that are consistent with God's purpose for marriage and implement these goals by walking in the power of the Spirit and not in the flesh.

Write out the God-designed purpose for marriage.

Reflect for a few moments on your marriage … is it directed toward those purposes? Is there discernible, positive progress?

As you begin to study, write out a prayer of commitment to learn, grow, and change in your marriage relationship.

MARRIAGE PRINCIPLES

  1. Marriage is a reflection of a personal covenant relationship between two people. 

  2. The image of God is best expressed in the combination of male and female.

  3. The God-designed difference between male and female are to be accepted as complementary, not competitive.

  4. Marriage is a major part of God's plan to bring redemption to the human race. The seed of the marriage relationship provided the vehicle for the incarnation of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

  5. Marriage is a divine, not human institution.

  6. Marriage is to be a relationship of companionship, completion, and communion.

  7. Marriage was designed by God to be a permanent, mutual, covenant relationship.

  8. God's intent is for marriage to be an inestimable source of joy and fulfillment.

  9. Celibacy is commendable for those called to it. Singleness is not a second-class state.

  10. Marriage is a reciprocal relationship, designed to meet the needs of others.

Portrait of marriage

  1. Cleave

  2. One Flesh

Priority of love

Communication in Marriage

  1. Talking

  2. Listening

  3. Caring

Challenges to Marriage

  1. Communion in Marriage

  2. Spirit

  3. Soul

  4. Body

Role of the Husband

  1. The Ideal Husband

  2. Leader
  3. Lover

Role of the Wife

  1. The Excellent Wife
     

  2. The Ideal Wife

Relating to In-Laws

Practical Suggestions

Suggestions for Husbands

Suggestions for Wives

Suggestions for Couples