This lesson will be understood differently by those who are already married. For those of us who are married, the Lord expects us to learn to be happy with our present husband or wife. God commands the husband to love his wife. The wife is commanded to love her husband. You cannot force your spouse to change. We must love them the way they are. We must also love the person they will change into. We all change as we grow older.
The way we treat our spouses will influence the way they will change. Discover what pleases your mate. Make your husband happy as God intends and your husband will make you happy. Make your wife happy as God intends and she will make you happy.
Do not worry about how you think your spouse should be different. If you are married, consider how you can change so that your spouse will be happier.
Many women marry a man and think he will change in the way she desires after he is married. Remember we cannot force another person to change. Your spouse will change after he is married. If he is a Christian, he should be becoming more like Jesus Christ. If he is not following Christ, he will often disappoint you. If the wife is not trying to be more like Jesus, she will not be a good example to her children. She will not make a happy home for her husband.
Two lessons ago we looked at who has the right to marry. The Bible teaches that adults who have never been married and those who have lost their spouse by death have a right to marry. In our last lesson we saw that before getting married, people must be prepared physically, morally, spiritually, economically, and emotionally. These things need to be taught to our children as they grow up.
(Genesis 29) Jacob was attracted to Rachel because of her beauty.
Do not marry the first girl that looks pretty to you. Do not marry the first boy that is kind to you.
If a man who thinks he is ready to marry begins to look for a wife, he is generally first attracted to her because of how she looks to him. Everywhere in the world men are attracted to women and women are attracted to men. This is how God intended. However, after you are married, if you find yourself attracted to someone other than your spouse, you should ignore that attraction. For a married person, this attraction is a temptation to sin.
It is best if we marry someone that we find reasonably attractive. But remember there are other things that are more important than beauty.
When one is prepared for marriage, one is ready to search for someone to marry that has also prepared for marriage in the ways we discussed in the last lesson.
It is best to marry someone who acts responsibly. It is best to marry someone who shows good judgement. Search for someone physically and mentally mature.
Do not marry someone who is lazy. Look for someone who is a hard worker. To make a good marriage requires hard work for both partners. Laziness will destroy happiness in a marriage.
A man may want to find a woman who is a good cook. Remember she will provide meals for her husband and her children.
It is best to marry someone who is in good health. If a husband is in bad health, he will not be able to provide for his family. If a wife is in bad health, she may not be able to have children. We know that God expects that after someone is married that the marriage must be preserved even if one of the partners becomes sick.
Married couples who treat each other with kindness and respect are almost never unhappy in their marriage. This means that when we are looking for someone to marry we should look for someone who treats children with kindness. Look for someone who treats their parents with respect. If a man treats a woman without kindness or respect before he is married, he will certainly not treat her properly after marriage. Do not marry someone who is not gentle.
Look for a man who will love God more than he will love his wife. Look for a woman that will love God more than she will love her husband. If you find a mate who will love God more than he or she will love you, then you can trust that after marriage you should be treated the way God intended.
Love is something that we can give away and still not have any less love to give. It is okay to marry someone who can love everybody. There will still be plenty of love for you.
I am talking about love that places self last. Look for a man to marry who can love other people more than he loves himself. Look for a wife to marry who can love other people more than she loves herself. This kind of love is willing to sacrifice to make the one they love happy.
I know too many men who have gotten married to the woman that they were just certain would make them happy. When we are expecting someone else to make us happy, we find that our life becomes miserable. If you marry someone that you believe that YOU can make happy, then you can have a truly happy life.
We become truly happy when we are serving the Lord through serving other people. Marry someone who will keep busy serving others. If you make your wife happy, then she will almost always make you happy. If you love your husband and work to make him happy, then he will likely cause you to be happy.
Most Christian young people at some time will ask, "Is it okay to marry someone who is not a Christian?"
Regarding marrying someone of a different religion, God commanded through Moses, (Deuteronomy 7:3-4) "Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the Lord will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly."
Samson's wish to have Delilah as his wife is an example of the disaster that can come from marrying someone who does not love God the way you do.
We should learn from the example of the man and woman that God chose to be the earthly parents of Jesus Christ. We learn from the New Testament that Joseph and Mary were both very committed to serving God. They were very kind and gentle people. They treated each other with respect. Joseph worked to provide for his family. Mary was willing to follow her husband as he directed.
Though the Old Testament gives clear warnings to the Jews about marrying someone that does not love God, the New Testament does not forbid Christians from marrying non-Christians. Though God allows a Christian to marry a non-Christian, it often causes many problems. Most people believe that in I Corinthians 7:39 Paul is telling the Christian widows that they are not permitted to marry anyone other than a Christian.
What if you are already married to someone who is not a Christian? What does God want you to do?
Remember that many people have been won to Christ by a spouse.
No matter who your spouse is or who your spouse will be, the most important thing of all is that you make God more important than anything else. Serve God as best you can. Love God more than you love anyone else. Be the best example to your spouse that you can be. Encourage your spouse to trust God. Pray that God will help you both spend all eternity with Him and the saved in Heaven.
Who Has the Right to Marry?
Preparing for Marriage
What to Look for in a Spouse
How to Destroy or Strengthen a Marriage
What God Expects and Commands Husbands and Wives to Be
Marriage Should Glorify God
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