Marriage is one of the greatest relationship commitments that a man and a woman can have. It is an agreement to Love, Honor, Trust and Respect your spouse for life! Marriage is also a covenant agreement not only between a man and a woman but it is an agreement with God. You both together pledge and make vows that should always be honored within your marriage…
If you are already married reflect back for a moment on your Wedding Vows. What did you pledge to one another? Those vows are so much more than words. So if you have not married and are planning on getting married really think about what you are agreeing or pledging to do! If you have been married before really think things through because you have been here before! You are entering into a contract not only of the letter but of the heart as well as legally.
If you are not married get wise counsel before you enter into marriage. In this 21st century more than 55% of marriages are ending in divorce. This should not be. Many enter into marriage not really intending to keep their vows. There are also many who are ignorant of what it really is all about … Too often there are many emotional issues that have not been properly addressed and they eventually begin to weigh the marriage down. Marriage has its mountaintops as well as valley experiences. It is important to know no matter how much you know about your fiancé there is so much more to learn. Marriage is a place where both spouses can grow as individuals as well as together! You want to make sure that you are willing to go through the valley with your spouse as well as share in the Joys & Celebrations before you are married!
Your marriage is or will be as strong as the foundation that you build it upon. God is the Creator of marriage. “But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD GOD cause the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he as sleeping, He took one of the man’s rib and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord mad a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man.” Genesis 2. This is such a beautiful passage of Scripture. The man and woman was a precious gift from God to one another!
Adam no longer had to be alone without a companion. Listen closely to what he says: “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 his mother and be united with his wife, and they shall become one flesh. The man and the woman where naked, and they felt no shame.” Genesis 2. This is also why it is so important to keep God and His principles as the center of your marriage!
If you are already married make it a point to rekindle the passion and dedication that was apparent when you first came together. If you have allowed time, things and people to allow you to drift apart renew your commitment to one another. You can’t change what has happened but you can build a better future right now. What if we are not on the same page? Then it is time to have a serious discussion and make some plans for your path forward! Life is precious and you can’t get time back. So you really do not want to spend the majority of the time being uncertain and unhappy! You cannot change your spouse but you can have an intervention and confront what has or has not been happening! Remember speak the TRUTH in Love!
If you have kept your commitment and your marriage is flourishing then help, support and mentor other couples along the way. Those who are married or desire to marry encourage them to keep their marriage vows they have made or will make to one another! Life often takes on many twists and turns and will at times present some adversity! Let them know some of the joys and sometimes sorrows of marriage. How together they can celebrate the mountaintop experiences of life and build an ongoing loving, growing, principled, faithful, respectful and honorable marriage! Yes there still be some rain and there will be some tears. But there is nothing like a good rain to make you enjoy the sunshine! With the rain comes much growth! A good marriage brings much contentment and fulfillment! So get busy! Showers of Blessings from above awaits you! This is why it is so very important to know that marriage truly is a covenant agreement!
Food For Thought “Before” and “After” You Say I DO!
In a recent Christian Counseling quarterly publication I receive every single article discussed sexual problems. This really confirmed that the problems of this nature are definitely prevalent within the Christian Community. Many shy away from discussing issues that are of a sexual nature. It is quite evident that a plethora of the problems we are experiencing are rooted in improper sexual misconduct.
The Bible has a lot to say about sexual relationships. One of the main problems is that sex is more often than not practiced outside of the sanctity of marriage. God has said it is only within the marriage bed that sex is “undefiled.” Many have indulged in adultery and homosexuality and defiled the marriage bed.
It is of no secret that time after time we see many men and women who fall prey to the pitfalls of sexual misconduct. Not fully realizing that sex outside of marriage is like “fire outside of the fireplace.” It’s dangerous! It will burn your house down! You are setting your self up for disappointment. You see sex outside the confines of marriage simply means; I am not fully committed to you. I need to be with you to see if we are physically compatible. I’ve been hurt before so I don’t really want to get too serious. Or my spouse and I don’t have a satisfying relationship so I’m really glad you are there for me. Or “I need you baby” if you love me you will do this for me? There are so many more scenarios as well… Of course you have not uttered this in words. In the above cases your actions speak louder than words. Many simply do not really know what marriage is all about!
I receive many questions in regards to sexual problems. Many are trapped because they have no where to turn. Many women just don’t want to be alone so they offer themselves sexually, yet are physically unsatisfied. Many have been conditioned ignorantly to use sex as a tool to manipulate. Women who are used for sexual purposes are often thought of as mere objects. Many have been sexually abused causing them to feel low self worth. Many have been taught that sex is no big deal. Everybody has sex and it does not matter if you are married or not. Especially if you are past a certain age or you have already been married. Or if you are not having sex something is wrong with you. You are not normal. But that is not the Christian perspective! You see God gives specific directions. The Bible says “for this cause shall a man leave His Father and Mother and cleave to His wife and they shall become one flesh.”
Sex outside the confines of marriage is dangerous emotionally. Why? It sets you up for possible problems that may not be apparent until much later? This is regardless of how young or old you may be…There is a deeper meaning to sex than the physical exchange. A bonding takes place. There is a magnetic chemical exchange. Within the confines of marriage a miraculous spiritual transaction is taking place! Did you know that scripture tells us “whatever you join yourself to becomes a part of you?” Deep down you must know and feel that something is wrong, but you just can’t put your finger on it. It also shows a lack of discipline. Some people just don’t practice good moral boundaries. They will sleep with anybody! Married or not married! Others have been erroneously taught that it really does not matter. If it feels right we are not hurting anybody! From a Biblical standpoint just know you are outside the will of God! Anytime you choose to operate outside of God’s boundaries you can expect some trouble.
Think about this for a moment. Did you know that if no one practiced sex outside of marriage there would be no one to cheat with? Fewer broken homes! Fewer STD’s! Fewer Abortions! Fewer marriages ending in divorces where people are unable to reconcile their differences! It’s hard to imagine! God has given us His Word to protect us! He has even told us that there is “no temptation common to man that He has not prepared a way of escape.”
A committed married monogamous relationship is the only way that God honors a sexual relationship! He has provided and ordained marriage. You see God has designed marriage as the only proper way a man and woman can fulfill their natural sexual desires. He is not the designer of any other method. If you have been taught or thought otherwise you are fooled. I don’t care what Mommy, Daddy, Grandpa, Grandma, Aunt, Uncle, Friend, Doctor or Foe has said there are consequences! You see it is time out for living in the dark. Especially if you have confessed to be a Christian! It is time to stand up and speak out for what God has said is right.
Let’s HELP this next generation; these teenagers of this 21st century “where anything goes” and begin giving them better morale role models! Let’s open up the lines of communication so they can validate their feelings! Give them a phone and tell them “to call you anytime they NEED you” Let’s HELP them so they do not feel that they have to give parts of themselves away in order to be accepted! Give them more “hugs” less criticism and more compassion and understanding. Less bickering and fighting and more constructive ways to resolve conflict! Just think if it is hard for adults it is even harder for teenagers…
When I went to seminary I was somewhat disappointed, but not surprised that the same problems existed. I learned that sexual misconduct is practiced on many levels. It did not matter that my views were misconstrued as prudish because I know better! Good boundaries should be exercised when you know someone is weak in certain areas. Many Christians have been side tracked by indulging in sexual sin. The Spirit of God is quenched when you operate in a carnal mode. Many operate by using a spirit of seducement which is not of GOD! Remember this is a Spiritual battle. Many honestly don’t realize how they water down the effectiveness of their testimony.
I have seen that people are a lot more interested in talking about people who have a problem with material possessions. Usually the one who really has the problem is fixated on what someone else has. How big their house is or what kind of vehicle they drive? Or how often they travel here or there? It was not Solomon’s material possessions that got him in trouble. It was His sex life! How he ever managed 300 wives and 700 concubines is news to me. Well you see in actuality he didn’t; it is what really destroyed him. In Ecclesiastes 12:13 &14 Solomon says “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; Fear God, and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Sex is not something to play with, don’t be deceived by thinking other wise. The employment of improper sex in your life will ultimately lead to some type of dysfunction or some other problem.
I remember jokingly telling my husband years ago that we were going to be looked at, as “there goes that married heterosexual couple.” I am thankful to say God has blessed us with three decades of commitment. This is why I know that by His grace it is possible. We live in a time when 55- 60% of marriages are ending in divorce! This is why I understand that we live in difficult times. The spiritual warfare will do every thing it can to promote and construct distorted views of marriage as favorable. Many couples choose to live together. Many marry and don’t really know what they are getting into! Many marry and have mutual relationships outside of marriage.
Couples are pulled in many directions because of the pulls of sexual freedom. Just know it is a seducing spirit that wants to deceive you. Birth of illicit pleasure can often lead to death of a marriage. If you are married and you know something is not right, please take inventory. Don’t bury your head in the sand like an ostrich! The problem won’t just go away. Don’t front it. Be more concerned about what God thinks! Find out what God has to say about marriage. Begin to take whatever steps are necessary to take back control of your life. Proverbs tells us that you cannot “take fire into your bosom and not be burned.” Earnestly repent and stop indulging in sinful behavior. Run quickly from anyone who comforts you in sexual sin! They will love you to death (which is not love at all) if you have been playing with fire please stop! You will actually feel a lot better when you get things right with God. Remember His blood can cleanse you from all unrighteousness! Just know God is a forgiving God!
Men and women vary in their priorities in the area of sexual needs. Men in general have intercourse higher on their lists of priorities. For instance it may be the number one preference for a man. It may be the second or fourth for the woman. Her first need may be affection. His second may be financial security. You see many often confuse their needs. Affection does not have to always end up in a sexual encounter.
When you properly practice sex within the confines of marriage you can experience true spiritual and sexual fulfillment in harmony. A proper sexual relationship is like “epoxy!” When the two adhesive components come together they form a permanent bond that technically should be very difficult to break. I use this illustration because it visually represents “what God has joined together let not man put asunder.” It is a healthy bond that few really understand. Love always protects it does not suffocate! Begin developing a relationship where you can mutually get your needs met. When you are truly fulfilled you will have no need or desire to indulge in extra marital affairs. You will also have great security knowing that you are honoring God in your relationship!
Sex is a taboo discussion for many. Old wife fables have hindered more than a few marriages. Abuse and cruel punishment rather than discipline have left many scarred. Addicted and coeds with shame! It is often erroneously thought that people who talk about sex have some underlying problem. It is not the talking about sex that is the problem. It is when people misuse or abuse it outside the confines of marriage. It was serious enough that Jesus told the Pharisees that they committed adultery by their thoughts! God is not a God of darkness. Read this passage and allow His Light to illuminate your mind;
“My son. Keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way of life. Keeping you from the immoral woman. From the smooth tongue of the wayward wife. Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life. Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another’s man wife’ no one who touches her will go unpunished. Men do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving. Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold. Though it costs him all the wealth of his house. But a man who commits adultery lacks judgement; whoever does so destroys himself. Blows and disgrace are his lit, and his shame will never be wiped away…” Proverbs 6 NIV.
Sex is a dangerous thing to play with. Did you know you actually give up your power? “SEX outside of marriage is what kryptonite is to Superman; it weaknes you!!! You are also operating outside the will of God! It is harder to say “no” than to give in. If you ever give in you must take responsibility for your actions. Abstinence is the proper birth control method that God honors! Repentance actually means to be remorseful for your actions to the extent you don’t repeat them! Proverbs tells us to “TRUST in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not to thy own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge HIM and HE WILL direct thy path ” Proverbs 3 When He says all thy ways He means just that!
God’s Word is our guide for proper successful living. He knows what is best for us! Just know that you are not alone! You can choose to do things God’s way or you can do things the world’s way. Just be ready for the consequences. God’s way gives you PEACE in the midst of a troubled world. Just know living God’s way comes with much persecution an mistreatment. But it’s worth every bit of it! ”THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE!” Every time you choose God’s way you exercise and strengthen His Miraculous Spiritual Power in your life! We as Christians have an ethical and moral responsibility as His children. God says if you truly LOVE Him; YOU WILL KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS!
Marriages that do not include “Transparency & Intimacy” are susceptible to infidelity. An affair is a sexual relationship between two people outside of marriage! An affair can also be an emotional attachment. Be it physical or emotional there is a transference that occurs. The spouse has opted to seek someone outside of the marriage to meet their physical or emotional needs!
When either spouse does not learn how to become transparent they are usually deficient in the intimacy department. Although the relationship continues marital “Trust” is not established. There is a lingering element of insecurity that is indicative of the relationship! There is also an insatiable void! A pattern of ongoing dysfunction within the marriage can easily be established if not dealt with… Secrecy becomes a part of the marriage!
Marriage was designed so each spouse could grow together and openly share their wants, needs and insecurities and become sensitive, and vulnerable to one another! The desire is to build a loving environment of trust and enjoy life together with one another! This is what transparency is all about! This leads to building a stronger cohesive bond. Each partner is different yet equally important. Mutual respect cultivates a healthier environment where your personal needs can be met! Vigorously meeting one another’s marital needs are then a major priority in your marriage!
There are numerous reasons why someone is not able to establish “intimacy and transparency.” When one has been abused, mistreated, neglected, lack coping skills, is subject to peer pressure, or has an addiction they quite often lack self esteem as well. They may suffer from depression, rather than address their hurts they suppress them. It may also be that they simply lack moral and spiritual values. In either case they may unconsciously select a partner that does not subscribe to transparency or is abusive! The relationship tends to remain surface without depth and void of any fulfillment. This in itself can cause one to continue to look beyond marriage to have their needs met. Secrecy begins to dominate the marriage!
Each marriage is quite different! Each spouse has a different temperament. They each vary in the need or desire for Inclusion, Control and Affection. Some couples marry and establish a businesslike relationship. They then often seek to have their emotional and sometimes physical needs met outside of the marriage. Open marriages rarely work. They do not allow the couple to properly bond and establish trust and intimacy. Here again there is also usually an underlining insecurity. Some seek open marriages because they lack the ability to commit to a trusitng monogamous relationship.
Adults need healthy self esteem! When they do not have self confidence there is then a tendency to cover it up! Drugs or alcohol is another way of covering up low esteem and inner pain to compensate for their insecurities. The changing shift in morals increases and abets experimentation in the area of illicit sex and drugs as well. Countless individuals are currently addicted to pornography and other sexually related addictions. Unknowing they have been seduced not thoroughly considering the spiritual ramifications or consequences of walking in disobedience! This is why it is important to know that God sees everything!
Many enter into marriage without really getting to know the person they marry. Either spouse has quite often, not taken the time to examine one another’s values or priorities. They in fact are “unequally yoked.” Your spouse is supposed to be your life partner! Marriage is supposed to be a commitment to God’s design for marriage! This is why it is so important not to rush into marriage for whatever reason? After all, you are going to be together for a lifetime?
There is much on the horizon in this 21st century to change God’s design for marriage. It is within the context of this article I am attempting to make an exertion to address “Marriage God’s Way” and some of its surrounding issues. His original design for marriage has not changed.
When one hastily rushes heart first into marriage, the relationship often become compartmentalized and there are parts of one another that are not readily shared. It takes more time for each spouse to sort through the layers of personality. In order to grow together there must be the desire for ongoing transparency. When one does not become transparent emotional walls begin to erect. In the interim you may “walk on eggshells.” This becomes stressful as well as unhealthy! Nor does this let your spouse in and often one elects to supplement their needs outside of the marriage.
Pornography, sexual addictions of all sorts and affairs are on the rise in this 21st century. These are a few of the unhealthy ways of meeting your marital needs outside of marriage! Addictions are strong, uncontrollable compulsive behaviors that are damaging to the mind, body and soul! Sexual dysfunction is prevalent today and rising! It is a not only a physical disorder but psychological as well. STD’s and HIV become probable dire health issues? Since sex outside the sanctity of marriage is often supported this tends to make it much easier to go outside the marriage to seek ways to get your needs met.
Our teens need better healthy committed marriage role models! Sexual feelings are natural and should be openly discussed rather than ignored! Many teens participate in sex before marriage without fully considering the bonding that takes place when sex occurs. Promiscuity among teens often occurs when one seeks to fill their inner void through sexual relationships. Not realizing that they are actually giving away parts of themselves. There is an enormous amount of peer pressure for teens! This can result in unexpected pregnancies. This can also later result in further hindering future transparency in marriage!
Marriage is the first institution that God designed! “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and they shall become one flesh…” You void Trust when you dishonor your marriage vows… It is important to know what you join yourself together with becomes a part of you! This is another reason why one should take their time in selecting a spouse!
If you are a believer, you must consult our Creator and Maker instead of embracing the world’s many alternatives? If you have ignored Him, you can always change? God is able! Start right where you are! You must begin to diligently seek God for help with your marriage! Meditate on His Word, embrace and implement His principles in your life! Begin to be honest with your spouse! Or you can continue to “do your own thing?”
Getting your needs met outside of marriage is not His way. It is actually a weakness taking the helm of your life. This leads you on the broad road that leads to destruction. This will eventually devastate your spouse and further weaken your ability to build a strong healthy marriage and hinders your spiritual life as well. One must take some time and ponder what the impact of practicing infidelity or sex outside of marriage does to their spouse! It hurts them terribly!!!
* If you are in ministry one should really take time to address the consequences of indulging in a sexual relationship outside of marriage! You water down your effectiveness and invalidate the call on your life! The Word teaches us a seducing spirit is in operation here and causing you to “walk in the flesh” See Galatians 5.
If you are a believer it is important to know the WORD of God! The Word was never meant to be a set of rigid legalistic rules and regulations. It is our “Life Manual!” A powerful loving guide that is designed to point us to TRUTH! To keep us on the straight and narrow road! God is now your Father or is He? God does not force us; we have the right to choose! It is important to weigh the consequences? You do not want to be a stranger to His will and way! Or do you?
When you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord you are saying you want to develop an intimate transparent relationship with Him! Don’t let the world dull your conscience and spiritual ethics! As long as we all are on this side of heaven we are here to learn and grow spiritually! The Lord sees us individually and knows exactly where each of us are! We are supposed to reach out for the Lord, call on Jesus and apply His Word to our lives daily! His arms are always open …
“Can a man or woman take fire into his/her bosom and not be burned?” (Proverbs 6:27 KJV) “Playing with fire” is no laughing matter. Do we really take God’s Word seriously? Infidelity means unfaithfulness. God illustrates the seriousness of adultery by comparing it with fire.
There is definitely a price to be paid for sexual infidelity. God has given His children specific directions in regards to proper sexual relations. The undefiled marriage bed is the proper place for sexual intercourse. The marriage bed is biblically designed for one male and one female. When the two come together they become one. God’s design according to the bible does not authorize any sex outside of marriage nor sanction same sex relationships. “For this is the will of GOD, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and Honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 KJV) Concupiscence meaning; sexual desire.
Due to Adam’s fall we have inherited a sin based nature. Sin is anything that separates us from God. Sin causes one to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. But when we accept Jesus Christ as our personal SAVIOUR we are to imitate His principles in our lives. Yes there will always be a struggle between the spirit and the flesh. But as we learn to submit to the will of God the power of the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to overcome the desires of the flesh.
The scripture tells us that sexual infidelity is like playing with fire. When a Christian chooses to indulge in sexual sin you are definitely out of the will of God. Sexual sin is rampant within the Church. It doesn’t matter if you were once married, how old or young you are. Your position doesn’t matter; widow, minister, usher, mother, teacher, member, elder, bishop, evangelist, deacon, deaconess, pastor, missionary, this should not be. By ignoring God’s Word the body suffers. It tells the unsaved yes I am a hypocrite and no I don’t have self-control. Better yet, it waters down the effectiveness of your testimony.
Every time you choose to operate outside the spiritual moral boundaries God has designed you can expect some sort of consequence. God is totally aware of everything. Just listen to how patient he is with us; “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness: but is long suffering toward us, not willing that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:9 KJV) Repentance does not mean repeat or practice. We as Christians have commenced to embrace the world’s principles that encourages indulging in satisfying the flesh. “After all I’m human! We aren’t really hurting anyone! Nobody else knows but us.” Wrong! God knows! Remember that fire I warned you about.
Christ is the Head (by the way there is only one head) of the church. The church is symbolic of His body. Cancerous sin retards the church’s progression towards reaching maturity. When sin is prevalent it also hinders our worship services and reduces them to carnally dramatized emotional productions void of spiritual fruit. Don’t allow satan to deceive you. The only way to truly worship Him is in Spirit and in truth. If you are currently participating in sexual sin, if your spouse is indulging in sexual sin, repent then abstain!! Please let this be a wake up call. Stop now! Find someone who you can be accountable to. Better yet confess and ask God to send you someone. God knows your weaknesses. Paul tells us “I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.” (1 Corinthians 7:8-9 KJV) If you play with fire it will burn you! Yes infidelity is a problem! If you truly believe in His Word, He does have the power to deliver you.