AFFIRMATION / DIVINE LOVE / FATHER'S LOVE LETTER / HEALING / INTIMACY / GOD'S PERSPECTIVE / THE MIND OF CHRIST / UNCONDITIONAL LOVE / VALUES / SITE MAP

THE DOVE ALLIANCE
"Serving God's Word On Saving Your Marriage"

If you need assistance - please CLICK HERE to send an email.



Elite athletes recognize that a great deal of time, effort, and physical pain are required to accomplish the necessary level of training, if they are to perform at an optimal level. Sacrifice, in addition to being necessary to accomplish what must be done, comes to be equated with the goal. Carrying out the actions of commitment represents the same value of marriage, and becomes satisfying in itself. This is why people who value marriage can make sacrifices for their spouse, without feeling that they are towing a ball and chain.
MARRIAGE COMMITMENT

TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE VOWS

"I (Groom's name), take thee (Bride's Name), to my wedded Wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth."

"With this Ring I thee wed, with my Body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen"



Do remember those vows above on your Wedding Day?

Explanation of "plight" and "troth" "Plight" here used means to pledge. "Troth" means a promise of truthfulness, and is derived from the same word as "truth".

What Does the Bible Says About Marriage?

Obviously, we can't cover all 500-plus verses, so we'll just look at a few key passages. I hope you will read the selected verses with an open mind and heart and if so; you will see God's perspective.

Gen. 2:18, 21-24:

The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him...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."

What Does the Bible Say?

Marriage was designed for companionship and intimacy.

Eph. 5:23-32

"For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of his body, the church; he gave his life to be her Savior. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives must submit to your husbands in everything."

"And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God's word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man is actually loving himself when he loves his wife. No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it, just as Christ cares for his body, which is the church. And we are his body."

As the Scriptures say, "A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one." This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.

The picture of marriage expands into something much broader, with the husband and wife relationship illustrating the relationship between Christ and the church. Husbands are urged to lay down their lives in sacrificial love and protection. And in this safe and cherished embrace of a loving husband, what wife would not be willing to submit to his leadership?

What Does the Bible Say?

Husbands - love and sacrifice.
Wives - submit.

1 Peter 3:1-5, 7

"In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands, even those who refuse to accept the Good News. Your godly lives will speak to them better than any words. They will be won over by watching your pure, godly behavior."

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty ... You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God ... In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat her with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God's gift of new life. If you don't treat her as you should, your prayers will not be heard."

Some readers will quit right here. After all, "husbands taking the authoritative lead in marriage" and "wives submitting" are not popular messages in today's world!

But this illustration of marriage typifying the relationship between Christ and the church adds further encouragement for wives to submit to their husbands, even those who don't follow Christ. Although this is a difficult challenge, the verse promises that her godly character and inward beauty will win over her husband more effectively than words.

If we're not careful, we will miss that these verses highlight the equal partnership of husbands and wives in God's gift of new life. Though the husband exercises the role of authority and leadership, and the wife fulfills a role of submission, both are equal heirs in God's kingdom. The roles are different, but equally important.

What Does the Bible Say?

Wives - demonstrate godly character and quiet inner beauty.
Husbands - honor their wives and be kind andgentle.
Husbands and wives are equal partners.

1 Corinthians 7:1-2

"... It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband."

This verse suggests that it is better not to marry. Those in difficult marriages would quickly agree! Throughout history it has been believed that a deeper commitment to spirituality can be achieved through a devoted life of celibacy.

Clearly this verse refers to immorality in sexual relations. In other words, it is better to marry than to be sexually immoral. But if we elaborate the meaning to incorporate all forms of immorality, we could easily include self-centerness, greed, wanting to control, hatred, and all of the issues that surface when we enter into an intimate relationship.

Could one of the deeper purposes of marriage be to make us confront our own character flaws, the behaviors and attitudes we would never have seen nor faced otherwise? If we allow the challenges of marriage to force us to confront ourselves, we will be applying a spiritual discipline of tremendous value.

What Does the Bible Say?

Strive to overcome immoral living.

I believe God designed marriage as an instrument to make us more like Christ. What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy? Is it possible that there is something much more profound in the heart of God than simply to make us happy?

Can we lay down our own ambitions to love and serve our wife? Through marriage we can learn about unconditional love, respectful honor, how to forgive and be forgiven. We can see our shortcomings and grow from that insight. We can develop a servant's heart, and draw closer to God. As a result, true soul happiness can be discovered, and this, I believe is one of God's ultimate desires and purposes for designing the covenant of marriage.

In 1 Corinthians 7:10-24

The apostle Paul confronts a provocative issue in the life of the church and a major social problem in our world today: the growing challenge to commitment in marriage that is represented by divorce. In the United States, approximately every other marriage ends in divorce. In California the rate is even higher; there are nearly as many divorces each year as marriages. Love is praised and espoused everywhere you look in the media, and yet it's sadly lacking in terms of committed marriages. Unhappy marriages are much too common, even in Christian circles.

Difficult marriage relationships and the problematic solution of divorce are not unique to the twentieth century. We are repeating the conditions that existed in the Roman Empire in New Testament times. In the great cosmopolitan cities like Corinth, divorce was very common. It was simple to obtain for both men and women, just as it is today.

This entire seventh chapter of 1 Corinthians focuses on problems relating to marriage, singleness, and sexuality. In verses 10-24 Paul emphasizes the pressures behind the breakup of marriage. He is thoroughly familiar with the acceptance of divorce by the Greco-Roman world, and he understands the temptations this creates for Christian husbands and wives to take what looks like the easy way out of a difficult marriage relationship.

These verses speak to couples today who are unhappy and frustrated in their marriage relationships, who don't think they can live with the conflict and difficulty anymore. I would appeal to you, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ and you see little chance for the survival of your marriage, to ask God, as you interact with the word, to "enlighten the eyes of your heart," in Paul's words. And if you feel that you made a bad choice in getting married, then please listen to God's word with special attention. And if you somehow think that you could serve the Lord more effectively without the bondage of marriage, then ask the Lord to teach you through this inspired text what true freedom is. And if you feel hopeless about your marriage, then hear His Divine word of hope, because that is what it is: hope in hopelessness.

COUPLES ARE TO STAY MARRIED

Verses 10-11 give us guidelines for married couples:

"But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (but if she does leave, let her remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not send his wife away".

To husbands and wives, Paul says, "If you're married, stay married." There is no distinction made here as to the type of marriage involved, whether it was Jewish or Roman, formal or common-law, civil or religious. These new converts in the church in Corinth would have marriages representing every kind of arrangement practiced in that day, every type of marriage that we can imagine. It's clear that Paul is addressing his instructions to marriages in which both partners are believers in these two verses, because Paul never gave apostolic commands to non-believers. Unbelievers don't have the internal spiritual resources to obey the commands that God lays down in his word.

So that there is no doubt as to the source of this call to commitment in marriage, the apostle adds the phrase, "Not I, but the Lord." In Matthew 19:4-9 Jesus has already taught this truth during his earthly ministry. In verse 5 Jesus quoted the creation orders of marriage from Genesis 2:24: "For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh." Then in verse 6 Jesus made some inferences for us: "Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." In answer to a specific question that the Pharisee's had posed to him, he went on to explain that God directed Moses to permit divorce only because of his people's hardness of heart, or sinful stubbornness. Divorce was established to guard innocent people who were being taken advantage of in the rush to put spouses, usually women, away. Jesus added that divorce was allowed-not commanded-only in the case of adultery. Verse 9: "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."

Speaking through the Old Testament prophet Malachi, God thundered, "...I hate divorce...." (2:16). Divorce is contrary to his plan for us. It violates his good gift. It's a rejection of his grace. But God hates divorce mostly because he loves people and he loves relationships. He knows how foolish the idea of no-fault divorce is. Divorce is always violent and wrenching, and God hates to see people victimized by that. Jesus makes clear that when divorce is allowed in cases of adultery, it's only as a gracious concession to the innocent party in an irreconcilable case of unfaithfulness. When the sinning spouse repents before the Lord and before their husband or wife and comes back, God can bring healing and reconciliation.

Again, verse 10: "...The wife should not leave her husband." And verse 11: "...The husband should not send his wife away." The terms "leave" and "send away" are interchangeable in the original Greek for divorcing a husband or a wife. Paul is not discussing here the concession that Jesus made for adultery. He is only talking about divorce for other reasons, even supposedly spiritual ones.

The language is very strong here. These are Divine commands from our Lord Jesus, reinforced by Paul's apostolic authority. His instruction to married couples is to face into the difficulties and work out the differences. There are three imperatives of faithful commitment that are very strong in those two verses: "Do not leave," "Be reconciled," and "Do not send her away." The apostle is not the least bit sympathetic toward irreconcilable differences between man and his wife.

"BLOOMING WHERE YOU'RE PLANTED"

In the last section, verses 17-24, Paul explains the general principle on which he has built his argument in verses 10-16. He generalizes far beyond the specific issue of remaining faithful in marriage. He illustrates the principle with a couple of other relationships: that of Jew to Gentile, with the big, divisive issue of circumcision, and that of free men to slaves, who were trying to be unified and live together in the body of Christ. Paul makes the point three different times in verses 17, 20, and 24 what God's perspective is on how we should respond to difficult circumstances. Let's read each of the principles first:

"Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. ...Let each man remain in that condition in which he was called...Brethren, let each man remain with God in that condition in which he was called".

We could paraphrase these verses like this: "Do not be in a hurry to change the external circumstances of your life." We've seen the difficulties that these Corinthians were having with their marriages. Some of them believed that if they changed their marital status, they would be happier, more fulfilled, perhaps even more spiritual. The phrase in verse 17, "Let him walk," has the same meaning as the phrase in the New International Version (NIV), "Retain the place of life." It means the circumstances that you are in, the external setting your marital status, physical setting, or socioeconomic status. These three verses imply that whatever state we were in when we came to salvation in Jesus Christ, we should seek to function faithfully there without trying to change it.

All three of those verses talk about the call that we heard in Christ Jesus to salvation, to new life. That call in Jesus Christ transcends all physical circumstances. It makes them irrelevant. Being a new creature in Christ has so radically changed our relationship with God that we don't need to try to change the relationships around us. The life of Christ is so transforming, both to us and to all the people that we interact with, that whatever frustration or friction there is in the difficult relationships, God by his Spirit in us can ease and soften.

The challenge is to find contentment in Christ, whatever the difficult relationship. The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, who was struggling as a pastor in a difficult church in Ephesus: "...Godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment" (1 Timothy 6:6). It's hard to be contented in difficult circumstances, isn't it? And yet the call of the apostle is, in a sense, to bloom where we are planted. God knows what he is doing in the planting. We don't like to remain, do we? All of us envision how it could be better in some other setting, some other place, or some other marriage relationship. But the call in all three verses is to stay where you are and see what God will do in the circumstances.

GOD'S FAITHFULNESS

Paul has talked about this issue of God's faithfulness from the very beginning of this letter. First Corinthians 1:9: "God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord." His faithfulness was at work when he first got our attention and offered us salvation. That was a miracle. This verse tells us that he is also present; we have intimate fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. He is in the middle of our difficult marriage relationship. Proverbs 18:24 says he is "a friend who sticks closer than a brother." He understands the difficulties. The issue for us is learning to trust his presence and his promises.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (Jeremiah 29:11).

"This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The LORD'S loving kindnesses indeed never cease; For His compassion's never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness." (Jeremiah 3:21-23).

God promises that every morning in the difficult relationship he will be faithful to us, one day at a time. We can remain faithfully committed to our marriages no matter how difficult they are, because we can count on God's faithfulness. He will give us his loyal love, his compassion, his merciful heart toward our spouse, who is so desperately in need of the love, mercy, and grace of God.

A WORD TO THE HUSBANDS

You have vowed to love and care for your wife, whatever the situation, as long as you both shall live. Be true to your vow! Excuses, such as being unhappy in marriage, no longer feeling in love, not being loved by your wife, etc., don't cut it with God. Devote yourself to pleasing God in your role as a husband. Fulfill your responsibilities and with patience depend on God. Often this will transform your marriage in a way that brings glory to God. However, even if it does not, your obligation is the same. Your endurance and steadfast commitment to your vow will bring glory to God. Breaking your vow of marriage will bring dishonor on God's name, giving "occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme" (2 Samuel 12:14).

Are You Having Problems? Are you wavering in commitment? Are you thinking that your marriage may have been a big mistake? Are you becoming friendly with a member of the opposite sex? Perhaps even attracted and a little infatuated? Have you "had it" with the way your wife treats you? Or are you dying inside from loneliness, lack of love, affection, acceptance, respect, or understanding? Are you finding your wife to now be totally unattractive? Is your wife not meeting your basic needs and making no effort to do so?

God did not promise that your life would be easy and your circumstances always wonderful. Sometimes we must suffer for Christ, yet relying on Him, we can still give thanks in all things and rejoice always. Don't allow your commitment to your marriage to waiver. May you be found by God to be a faithful servant - one who will be more concerned about God's glory than your own happiness, and who will obey God and do your duty as a husband, however difficult it may become.

An Unshakable Commitment. We should all enter into marriage taking our vows very seriously and seeking to please God with our marriage. Divorce should not be seen as a possible means of escape. No matter what the problems may be, or how bad the relationship may become, or how strongly you may be attracted to another - purpose that you will keep your commitment to a life-long marriage. You will not give up and will continue to work at your marriage, weathering whatever storms may come. Click HERE for an affirmation that will help you to weather the storms.

Marriage is . . . Commitment

Marriage is an order of Creation. Our Creator made man and woman, displaying His full image only as both man and woman. Each made for each other, their essential natures being complementary, and brought into oneness in marriage.

Marriage is an intimate union to which a man and woman consent, consummated and continuously nourished by sexual intercourse, and perfected in a lifelong partnership of mutual love and commitment.

Marriage is the unity of husband and wife in God's creative will, for from Him come the love and grace which enable them to grow together in life comradeship.

Marriage is the sacrament of human society. Husband and wife both share and perpetuate their happiness in having and rearing a family within the sphere of their own love and mutual commitment. Thus marriage is more than an end in itself, it is the means to ends outside the married couple.

Marriage is consummated in intimate union by divine command from God -"Go forth and multiply." It is an outward sign of the inner commitment of love and oneness of being which is recognized as a gift from God.

Marriage is a holy covenant in which husband and wife together publicly witness their commitment, not only to each other but together with God, that to the end they shall in unity fulfill His purposes throughout their lives.

Marriage is "other-person-centered," with each giving and renouncing for the sake of the well-being of the beloved rather than in expectation of return. It is expressed through service, not exploitation.

Marriage is God's process of making two people one. It is the highest fulfillment of human friendship. It is a type of oneness with God in spirit.

The true Biblical basis for marriage is commitment. Not only to your partner, but to God. God says plainly "I hate divorce!"(Mal.2:16) Jesus said, - "What therefore God has joined together, let no man tear apart."

MARRIAGE IS... "till death do us part," not "until the going gets rough." It is a lifelong commitment based upon sacred vows uttered in the presence of the Creator of marriage. It is not two people simply living together, but two living as a team ordained by God for the advancement of His glory in commitment to His will.

For the sake of God's name, your testimony, your children, and to be a man of honor and integrity, determine that you WILL keep this commitment and do all you can to please God with your marriage.

What sort of commitment should you make to your marriage? I would suggest one that includes the following elements:

1) You will not seek to escape from your marriage;

2) You will not look for another and you will run from any temptation towards infidelity. You will be very careful about any interactions with the opposite sex that could possibly lead you into temptation or provoke the jealousy of your wife;

3) You will work at your marriage to make it as good as you can, for your children, for your wife and lastly for yourself.

4) You will not give up on your marriage, knowing God can change both you and your wife.

5) If you do not feel love, you nevertheless, by conscious decision, will decide to love, whatever you may feel. Your actions and words will be loving.

6) You will confess past wrongs and work to make amends and to restore any broken parts of your marriage relationship.

 
God's Love From Genesis Through The Revelation.

Masculine shortcomings.

Men, it is said, don't know how to relate to strong women; therefore, as women grow stronger, men withdraw. Centuries of mothering have prepared woman for this choice. The ego-protecting chauvinism of those who prefer the relationship were taught as boys to expect combines with the woman's theory like fire to dynamite.

Both the right and the left indulge in charges here. From the left comes a self-righteousness about the capability for intimacy. The right displays the stiff upper lip, the assumption that suffering builds character and that marriage involves a legitimate suffering. The issue, however, is not one's capacity to make a commitment but rather the question of whether one is committed to the self's agenda or should say; selfless agenda.

To those struggling with marital decision and to those living with the consequences of their decision -- whether commitment or separation, marriage or divorce -- the same words can be spoken. Human relationships are not carried out in a human vacuum. Persons unresponsive to issues of nature and God, the recourse when suffering comes, the purpose of their life and times, will find relationships difficult. Without commitments in these areas, the self is not formed concretely enough to include an other. Emptiness encounters emptiness, and confusion reigns.

If you live in a world of Myths such as "The key to long lasting marriages is romantic love". Then you are wrong - The Bible says it all: Romans 7:2-3 "The key is commitment to God, romantic love is irrelevant to a lasting marriage".


Copyright © 2008 The Dove Alliance. All rights reserved.