God’s vision and our dreams for marriage
Weddings are traditionally among the most festive moments in every world culture. Hours, sometimes days, are spent in ceremonies and celebrations. Scenes of excitement and happiness abound. For many bridegrooms with their brides, it is a day of great expectations, the fulfilment of many dreams. And for the parents, it’s a day of anticipation of good things ahead, not the least, the joy of welcoming grandchildren into their wider family circle.
However, not infrequently masked behind happy faces lie burdens which weigh down the heart… burdens of uncertainty (“Will my husband or wife prove faithful or unfaithful?”), burdens of financial indebtedness that will bind the family for months if not years to come, burdens of guilt and shame because the wedding has been rushed and forced by an unwanted or unexpected pregnancy, or burdens caused by parental pressure to marry the person of their choice.
All of us wish for and long for a wedding to be joy-filled. That the bride and bridegroom will live happily ever after! But often this is little more than a short-lived fantasy quickly lost amid the realities of living together.
No one can deny the potential for facing hard times and struggles in marriage. Probably most couples contemplating marriage have a dream that somehow things will turn out happily for them.
Should we try to throw cold water over such dreams and hopes? Is there, in fact, a way to ensure that the dream of a happy and fulfilled marriage will be more than an empty dream? Who would today dare offer a guarantee that the longings of a bride and bridegroom can be fulfilled?
The future for any newlywed couple in any culture is one of uncertainty. How miserable and depressing you might respond! No, not necessarily. Pains and problems do not automatically spell misery. How we respond to and handle life’s uncertainties, vicissitudes and struggles – that is often the determining factor that sets the stage for harmony or disharmony in a home and marriage.
Of course, there are many variables in life that will affect the depth and strength of this marital harmony. For example, a person’s emotional maturity. A person may enter into marriage with very immature thoughts about marital obligations and responsibilities, to say nothing of being ill-prepared to face the challenge of raising children. They may also have distinctive character weaknesses. For example, can his or her word be trusted?
But if there is one factor that will set the stage for a truly blessed and enduring relationship, it is having one mind and one purpose concerning the core issues of life.
Think of two oxen, yoked together under a yoke for the purpose of ploughing a field. Consider then if they were placed under the yoke but facing in opposite directions? One doesn’t need much imagination to see the impossibility of such a team of oxen fulfilling their purpose to plough the field. But is this not also similar to two human beings, a man and a woman, who unite in the physical relationship of marriage but who are facing in opposite directions due to their contrasting and conflicting attitudes and beliefs on the core issues of life? Without doubt here is a sure recipe for a tug of war in their relationship.
The One who created us male and female, who blessed man and woman with the marriage union, has from the very beginning longed that we taste and delight in the joys of a harmonious and blessed married life. For this very reason, He calls us to choose a partner with whom we can be of one mind, one spirit and one purpose.
Of course, this may be easier said than done. Some people find themselves in a situation where there are few if any potential partners who share similar convictions, beliefs and goals in life. Some are in an even worse predicament – given in marriage to a person whose core beliefs are diametrically opposed to their Christian beliefs. Sadly some enter into marriage through the back door of premarital sex, and because of an unexpected pregnancy, they feel obligated to marry without a true heart-link or commitment.
For you, this advice may have come too late. Is there no hope for the future? My strong conviction is that when we put God into the centre of our lives, there will always be hope.
God who rules over all nations and peoples is a truly gracious and compassionate God. With Him there is always hope. Hope in the most hopeless situations imaginable. Why? Because He is the all-powerful and loving God. He is able to work wonders for all who put their trust in Him – for individuals, couples and families who call out to Him in the darkest night.
God has a plan – a good plan for those planning to get married, a good plan for those already married. And for parents who because of the traditions of their culture are responsible to plan their children’s life’s partner, God gives wisdom and grace to make wise choices and decisions. Even for those who feel trapped in a difficult marriage, working together with God can inject fresh hope into their marriage.
Far from being a kill-joy, the living God wants to fill our lives with hope and love and life rather than with despair and hate and death, including the slow death of a marriage on the rocks. He has the power to turn a marriage from a hell-on-earth to a heaven-on-earth experience.
It’s as simple, and also as difficult, as turning back from the way that we have chosen to follow in order to follow God’s path. Those who allow God to change and rearrange their lives according to His plan and truth will taste the goodness of God.
No, God’s way is not a path of instant or constant thrills, of marriage without tears. But by turning one’s life and one’s marriage choices over to God, He mixes hope and joy in with the heartaches, pains, sufferings and reverses.
This is the married life that God offers to anyone who accepts and trusts in God and His plans and purposes for their lives. This can be the dawning of a new day no matter how dark the circumstances may appear to you in your marriage.
And His plan and purpose for us and our children is a life-partner who also shares His mind and purpose.
Perhaps you already have a life-partner whose mind and direction in life is contrary to God’s way. But if you personally have God as your Lord and Guide, you need not despair.
Read this book to find out how God has worked with His awesome power to overturn fateful marriages and then to pour into the couples’ lives blessing upon blessing.
Join me as together we search to know God’s mind and purpose concerning intermarriage amid the multifaith world in which we presently live.
Join me as together we explore God’s gracious and powerful ways to heal and transform people and their marriages in such a way that we will have only one response: “How great is our God! Only He could perform such miracles.”