“The Pharisees came and asked Him, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’, testing Him. And He answered and said to them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ They said, ‘Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.’ And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation, God “made them male and female.”’” (Mark 10:2-6)
From what Jesus tells the Pharisees and His disciples, we can conclude the following three things about a godly marriage:
- A godly marriage is joined together by God.
- A godly marriage is blessed by God.
- A godly marriage is protected by God.
“What God has joined together,” Jesus states in verse 9, “let not man separate.” From this verse we can solidly conclude that a godly marriage is joined together by God. God has a plan for our life. In Ephesians 2:10 it says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” If God has made a plan for our life, which we simply must follow, then He must also have planned who our marriage partner for life will be. Besides the decision to be saved, the question of engagement and marriage is the most important one. This decision not only affects our whole life, but it also impacts the coming generations.
Many enter into marriage rather recklessly. They act as if they are merely going for a short walk lasting a few hours with each other. In reality, however, the marriage covenant is to be kept for a lifetime – a covenant that cannot be broken or severed. Whoever grasps the magnitude of this decision is happy to be able to lay responsibility of this decision in the hands of the Lord! This area of life has the greatest repercussions when individuals choose wrongly by going their own way. Many have experienced bitter self-blame because they found themselves in an unhappy marriage and had to tell themselves: “This did not have to be! If only I hadn’t!”
Even though it is important to consider the outward circumstances that are connected to this question, it is of far greater importance to consider what God’s will is.
When a godly marriage is established, then all previous relationships are abolished. God does not bring children together so they can flirt with one another. God also does not bring young people together who are not yet able to think about establishing a household and family. God leads them together when they are ready to start a family.
These premature relationships have become like a damaging cancer in our godly circles. They usually do not end without sin. Often these kinds of juvenile romances lead to secrets that are kept from parents. They meet in secret and communicate in secret. As a result, they sin against the first commandment with a promise: “Honor your father and your mother.” They do not honor their father and mother if they engage in a secret relationship behind their parents’ backs.
After several years, many of these relationships fail to remain pure and virginity is lost. Sadly, many have gone into marriage with scars branded on their conscience!
My dear young people, wait! Wait until God leads you together with the right person. Leave that decision up to Him. Do not rush into anything before it is time. Let God work! The familiar verse, “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him” (Psalm 37:5) ends with the words: “and He shall bring it to pass.” Yes, He will work if we don’t rush ahead of Him.
And if God does not lead young people together who are not ready to think about marriage, then He also will not lead couples together who are not unified in faith. Never is a union between a godly and ungodly individual pleasing to God. Does it not say clearly in God’s word that we should “not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers!” And where are people more closely yoked than in a marriage?
And even if a friend says: “If you do this, you will save my soul, but if you will not, I will take my life,” – that is no reason to say “I do.” God’s Word says “no” to such a covenant.
Blessed is the young man who surrenders this question of the future to the Lord! And blessed is the young woman who trustingly looks to the Lord with this question and says: “I trust you, Lord Jesus. I trust you alone!” When they wait until God reveals His plan, then they will not make a wrong decision. Then they will not go their own ways that end in misfortune and heartbreak.
For this reason, it is so important to heed this advice: Be faithful to your future spouse! That means – do not fragment your youth with all kinds of romances and affairs, but save all of your love for your future spouse! It is unpleasant to have to begin your time of engagement by confessing with whom you were together and who you had a relationship with in the past.
But how precious is it if we know: This marriage in which I stand, I did not seek out for myself, but God established it. He led us together. What a confidence it gives and what a strong foundation! Then you know: If God united us and this marriage is His doing, then He will give us the grace to make this marriage a beautiful expression of His love.
Young people, out of love and concern we want you to know this: a godly marriage is one joined together by God!