PART ONE: Mrs Believe Hamuli
The decision to embark on the journey of marriage is one of profound significance. It is a choice that will shape the course of one’s life, and as such, it demands careful consideration. Before taking the plunge, it is crucial to seek wise counsel at every step of the way.
In Proverbs 11:14, we find the wisdom that safety lies in the multitude of counselors. Discussions centered on godly principles pertaining to marriage serve as a supplement to any advice one may have received from parents or guardians. A humble and teachable spirit is essential, for it acknowledges that there is always more to learn. As we explore various situations, verses, and points, we must introspect and discern whether we are called to embrace the commitment of marriage or to pursue a life of singleness, always guided by the right motives and in accordance with godly principles.
Erroneous Reasons for Pursuing Marriage
When contemplating marriage, one must be wary of incorrect and misguided motivations.
- Fleeing from parental or authoritative guidance: Seeking marriage as a means of escaping responsibility and accountability is a flawed premise.
- Rebellion as a driving force: Marrying to make a point or prove oneself is a misguided motive that should be discarded.
- Influence from external factors: Family, friends, authorities, or circumstantial pressure can lead one astray, clouding their judgment and causing them to make ill-informed choices.
- Relying solely on physical attraction, lust, or sexual desires: These superficial elements cannot serve as a solid foundation for a lifelong commitment. A thorough and discerning choice is necessary.
- Succumbing to the implications of an unplanned pregnancy: Conceiving a child out of wedlock should not be a determining factor for marriage. The person with whom one share this experience may not be the one destined for a lifelong union, and they might hinder personal growth.
- Compassion born out of pity: Entering into a marital union due to a misplaced sense of sympathy is not a sound basis for a lasting relationship.
- Seeking marriage as a solution to problems: Whether financial or social, using marriage as a quick fix fails to address the underlying issues. True resolutions come from God, not merely from the act of matrimony.
- Attempting to alleviate loneliness: While being alone is a physical state, loneliness is an emotional distress that cannot be resolved through marriage alone. Ultimate solace lies in a connection with God.
- Envy-driven desires: Coveting the appearance of others’ marriages without considering the right motives is a fallacious pursuit.
- Thrill-seeking mentality: Focusing solely on the excitement of the wedding day disregards the lifelong commitment that follows. A wedding is but a fleeting moment compared to the enduring journey of marriage.
Reasons Not to Reject Marriage
Equally important is recognizing that certain reasons should not dissuade one from embracing marriage:
- Fear of commitment or divorce: Allowing fear to dictate one’s decisions hinders personal growth and the potential for a fulfilling partnership.
- Clinging to independence: The misconception that marriage necessitates sacrificing personal autonomy is erroneous. In a healthy marriage, personal growth is fostered, making the choice of partner paramount.
- Scarred by a broken home: Negative experiences surrounding the marriages of those around us should not tarnish our view of this beautiful covenant. Instead, let us look to the perfect example of marriage found in the word of God, exemplified by the relationship between Jesus and the church.
- Succumbing to societal pressure: Negative narratives surrounding marriage may instill fear, but relying on the wisdom and guidance of God’s word will serve as a guiding light, illuminating the path towards a fulfilling and harmonious union.
- Financial concerns: Worries about finances may signify a lack of trust or an excessively materialistic mindset. Instead of allowing monetary matters to overshadow your decision, place your faith in God’s provision and prioritize the cultivation of love and shared values.
- Feelings of unworthiness: Past experiences or hurtful words spoken over you should not diminish your self-worth or hinder your pursuit of a loving partnership. Remember that everyone is imperfect, including yourself. Entrust your choice and relationship to God, who will guide you on the path of righteousness.
- Unrealistic standards: It is essential to acknowledge that perfection is an unattainable ideal, both in ourselves and in others. Instead of imposing unrealistic expectations, allow God to steer your choice, leading you towards a relationship grounded in genuine love, forgiveness, and understanding.
Finally, the guidelines outlined in 1 Corinthians 7:27-38 offer valuable insights for discerning and navigating the path of marriage. These teachings, rooted in divine wisdom, serve as a compass to ensure that your decision aligns with God’s purpose for your life.
PART TWO: Shepherd Elie
Marriage, being an idea originated by God and not by man, embodies perfection just as He does. It is a flawless concept experienced and lived by imperfect human beings. Even after selecting a life partner, the act of choosing them continues as you learn and accept more about their true essence.
In contrast to God’s intention, which we will delve into later, human understanding of marriage often revolves around cohabitation and the pursuit of finding the perfect match. However, this notion is flawed because as time progresses, one may become either less or more convinced of their choice. The former is a perilous state to be in because it implies being trapped. Physically, you feel stuck, while mentally and spiritually, you become disconnected, resembling a state of spiritual divorce. Hence, marriage goes beyond mere cohabitation and being with the right person. Moreover, qualities such as living harmoniously with others, being kind, respectful, or sociable, do not necessarily make someone a good spouse. The foundation on which they stand is what truly determines their suitability (refer to the sermon titled “Promotion, Yes!, But On What Foundation”).
The genuine stability of a marriage is contingent upon the presence of a third person in the midst. It is a voice that can either be allowed or denied, ultimately impacting the marriage. In Ecclesiastes 4:12, the writer illustrates the strength of a triple-braided cord, affirming that while two individuals can withstand many challenges, a bond of three is even stronger and less likely to be broken. In the context of marriage, that third person should be none other than Jesus Christ, for He is the one who holds all things together (see Colossians 1:17).
Genesis 2:18-21 introduces the first instance of marriage. It is worth noting that whenever confusion arises, such as debates concerning homosexuality or polygamy, it is vital to return to the beginning, for that is where we find the truth of God’s original design for marriage. Furthermore, marriage has always been close to God’s heart, as it not only pertains to physical unions between human beings but also serves as an image of our salvation. Its inception occurred in Genesis, its fulfillment was accomplished in the teachings of Jesus, and its ultimate celebration awaits us in the book of Revelation.
As established, marriage is a divine institution. Therefore, there are divine reasons for entering into this union:
- It is not good for man to be alone. This implies that human beings should not live in isolation, devoid of communion, companionship, intimacy, and fellowship. While others may provide these aspects to a certain extent, a spouse can consistently offer them, and God, being aware of this, has created marriage as a safe space for such connections to flourish (Genesis 2:18).
- Marriage is for procreation and multiplication. Procreation extends beyond the mere act of bearing many children; it signifies the expansion of the kingdom of God. This is why the devil wages war against broken marriages, for they pose a threat to the advancement of God’s kingdom. Multiplication speaks of fruitfulness and working together to exercise dominion, thereby producing abundant results (Genesis 1:26 & 28).
- Marriage upholds sexual purity. Entering into marriage is not a means to fulfill one’s lusts but a means to maintain purity. It provides a solid foundation granted by God to prevent us from crossing boundaries (1 Corinthians 7:2). It is important to recognize that marriage is not the place to embark on a journey of self-discipline; that journey begins personally long before marriage.
Since marriage can be intricate at times, it is natural for questions to arise:
- Is marriage a calling for everyone? No, it is not. The Scriptures in 1 Corinthians 7:6-9 make it clear that remaining single can be a purposeful decision driven by a commitment to a greater calling, rather than being motivated by fear or negative experiences.
- What qualities should single women seek in a man? Proverbs 19:22 highlights the significance of grace and truth. Look for a man who embodies and extends the grace of God to others, as there will be moments in your relationship when you will need grace. Additionally, seek a man who upholds truthfulness.
- What qualities should single men seek in a woman? Proverbs 19:14 emphasizes the importance of prudence and wisdom. Find a woman who fears God, as reverence for the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Look for a woman who can provide wise counsel and support, serving as a helper who uplifts you.
To gain insights into the last two questions, we can turn to the story of Jacob’s servant in Genesis 24:13-14.
- Where should you look for a potential spouse/partner? Just like Jacob’s servant at the well, you should be where the living water flows. The house of God is where you’ll find this living water. Practically speaking, it means immersing yourself in places where there is spiritual life, such as being active in church and joining community groups.
- Did God create a specific person for you? Jacob’s servant did not pray for a particular individual to be revealed to him. Instead, he chose a person who demonstrated kindness by offering water to him and his camels. There is no predetermined partner exclusively designed for you. However, God guides you to a suitable choice. Therefore, it is wiser to place your trust in God’s leading rather than relying solely on superficial factors like physical appearance.
Lastly, seek divine wisdom and place your trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who resides within you. The Holy Spirit will direct you to the right place at the right time. When uncertainty arises, remember the wisdom found in Proverbs 11:14, which highlights the safety of seeking advice from multiple trusted counselors and leaders.
In conclusion, as we have discussed, God, as the originator of marriage, comprehends what it takes to cultivate a strong and enduring marital bond. Instead of seeking counsel from unreliable sources, exercise discernment in choosing whom and what you seek guidance from. It is important to recognize that what you witness on social media often portrays an idealized version of others’ lives, not the reality.
Comparing your everyday existence to others’ carefully curated highlights is unwise. Moreover, living to impress others only leads to unnecessary stress. It is far better to live for God, who intimately knows and has the best plan for your life, as your life is precious to Him.