“Both husband and wife are to serve each other for the purer and better life that is to come, the heavenly life. Both parties in marriage must seek to influence each other, to improve each other, to be a sanctifying influence on each other. Together the Christian husband and wife, by the grace of God, must prepare each other for a better life to come. In heaven we will experience the blessed reality of the marriage of Christ and His church. Our earthly marriages can never be more than a very imperfect reflection of that blessed reality.” – Excerpt taken from the Standard Bearer (April 15th Issue)

What does the term “marriage” mean to you? Before you read on, do spend some moments contemplating on this word, and try to think about it based upon your own personal understanding of this interesting subject matter.

Yes, you are right. Marriage is an institution ordained by God. Marriage is a covenant between two persons in which an intimate and lifelong bond is created. God has commanded this from the very beginning that a man and a woman are to come together and become one flesh. Not only that, God also commanded that they remain as one for as long as they lived on this earth. Only death is able to break this bond and separate one from the other.

In God’s sovereign plan, marriage was a solemn gift from God to man. It is clearly stated in the bible that man was created to dwell on this earth not by himself, but to have someone to give him company. In Genesis 2:18, we read, “And the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”

Besides all the other wonderful creatures which God created, He created man. But just man was not enough. God then created the woman. In Genesis 2:22 we read, “And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.” God created woman and gave her a place in the man’s life, which saw the rst beginning of a marriage being constituted. Therein lies the answer for us to behold. How blessed in God’s sight is a marriage covenant.

Marriage is a lifelong commitment, and couples ought to know this important truth when they are dating one another. Most of us probably know about the exchanges which take place between a man and a woman during a wedding ceremony. It goes like this;

I, ____, take you, ____, to be my (husband/wife). I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life. I, ____, take you, ____, for my lawful (husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

The man is called to play the part of a God-fearing husband. He is called to lead his family as the bread-winner of the family and provide for them daily.

Ephesians 5:23 reveals more to us. The verse reads, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the Saviour of the body.” In this verse, a more wonderful picture of the relationship between a husband and a wife is depicted to us, as the covenant between Christ and His Church is revealed to us. It is indeed a wonderful picture.

The woman has the calling to know her place in the relationship as well. We read in Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” She is called to be involved as a homemaker, and with the Lord’s blessings, bear children and raise them in the fear of the Lord. A wife is also called to learn to live peaceably with her husband all the days of her life.

Marriage therefore should reveal to us a very beautiful picture. When two persons, very different in character, temperament, nature, and emotions come together, and are able to remain united in Christ, this unity is beyond comparison. Furthermore, no matter what their differences may be, if the husband and wife are also able to fully understand their respective roles in the marriage, that marriage covenant will be mightily blessed by the Lord.

But, marriages have become a matter of much concern these days. Marriages are being very severely tested and threatened. One only has to read the media reports to know how bad the situation is. Most relationships are strained as a result of the man or woman being tempted, falling into an adulterous relation or other forms of evils. A marriage relationship can become strained due to the following reasons:

Adulterous behavior, Family strains, Emotional/physical abuse, Mid- life crisis, Workaholism, Addictions (alcoholism, gambling, etc.) Business problems, Other (communication problems, growing apart) Decision linked to a personal choice, Problems of a sexual nature, loss in income.

Marriages will no doubt continue to face the constant assault from the devil, who preys amongst God’s people, and causes them to be lured away from their spouses. As fallen creatures, we are all prone to be tempted and to sin against God. Being

led by fleshly lusts, the natural man may have the tendency to become involved intimately with someone outside the marriage. God’s word clearly teaches us that it is good for a man to marry and receive the love and satisfaction of his wife. 1 Cor 7:2 reminds us, “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.”

Every single man or woman in our midst should prayerfully consider settling down with a Christian partner if God has given them the opportunity. It has been said that no two persons of the opposite sex will be able to live together merely as friends for a long period of time. If they do, the relationship may soon lead to a more intimate one. And before this happens, it would be good for the couple to consider getting married, lest they sin against God by any of their actions which they may regret later in life. Making a sincere commitment with someone when you have found the right partner would be pleasing in the sight of God.

Finally, to remain faithful in a marriage requires perseverance. By looking daily to God and seeking His will, both the husband and wife can pray for continuity and longevity in their relationship. Another area of importance would be that the husband and wife ought to learn to trust one another. Without the necessary trust, the marriage will not develop in the long run, and peace will not prevail.

May we continue to pray fervently for all the marriages in our church. May

the good Lord grant to every husband and wife the much required grace, strength, and wisdom to do that which is pleasing in His sight, and to learn to live in peace and harmony with their spouses, “till death do us part”. May we be able to look back after decades of our marriages and sing songs of praise to God with these words, “I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever; with my mouth will I make known they faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 89:1).

Written by: Ishu Mahtani | Issue 3