I never thought I would ever broach this subject in writing, because I feel that I am the least qualified candidate to do so. Firstly because by the time I had been baptized in Christ in our church, I had strongly decided that marriage was not for me. I felt that it was enough for me to live for the Lord and serve Him all the days of my life. At that time, I had just passed twenty and gone through a tough period in my life. But ever since I prayed that to God, He impressed upon me in prayer that I was to get married. I humbly yielded and told God that I would marry whom He arranges for me. And that was the beginning of my change of mind, and the gradual forming of my perception of marriage in the Lord which I am about to share here.
I think many of the younger youths in church today do not favor the idea of marriage introduction in the tradition that Abraham arranged the marriage of Isaac his son. They feel that they have no say in the choice of their spouse which seems predetermined for them. They believe that it is hard to attain to a suitable match because they cannot love someone they don’t really like or know very well beforehand. Fair enough. There is always the tradition of Jacob one can follow, in which he beheld Rachel and decided he wanted to marry her. With no extenuating circumstances withstanding, when one reaches a marriageable age one can start looking within the church for a suitable partner. It is the will of God as long as we marry within the Lord.
But I wanted to say that free love or choosing a spouse on your own has its burden because it is limited by the individual’s perception and maybe shortsightedness when you size up someone and decide that he or she is the perfect one for you. There are also the potential pitfalls of managing a relationship yourself without wise counsel. This may not be the view of many youngsters these days, but personally I find that dating leaves room for a huge risk of having a relationship without sufficient commitment which may end up not working out. And that is a big concern to me. Maybe I’m somewhat conservative, but just to err on the side of caution, I don’t think I can love someone without commitment and out of the bounds of marriage. How does one regulate your emotions in relation to your date? For how long can you sustain this level of feeling over a non-specific period? Thus when one dates it must be with marriage in mind. Or else, don’t date. It is also good to have a chaperone in church who approves of the relationship whom you can consult if you hit any roadblocks. Whether or not we get married through marriage introduction or through dating, I believe there is a prudent way to go about it as long as we follow God’s guidance and sufficient wise counsel.
It took me quite a while to see this, but now I see marriage introduction in this way: When Abraham asked his old servant to seek out Isaac’s other half (which turned out to be Rebekah), it was a trip and a choice in faith in Abraham and the old servant’s part. Abraham was concerned for the marriage of Isaac and that he wanted to preserve his faith by marrying him with someone from his own tribe. It was an act of obeying the will of God. It is also based on faith and good intentions by the two elder men. And Isaac trusted and listened to his father. Rather than thinking that marriage introduction obliterates personal choice, looking deeper, it is in fact an antiquated and time-honored practice. It manifests the blessings and arrangement of those older than you as well as their care and concern for you. Isn’t that beautiful? When Naomi told Ruth to glean in Boaz’s field, she was helping to arrange Ruth’s marriage with her kinsmen which by right she did not have to concern herself with. Yet she did and blessings followed in their family. When we follow after God, the story is beautiful. The marriage introducer needs to have faith in God and also good intentions when they arrange your marriage. It is not a marriage of convenience.
If you are not yet married and still waiting – entrust your marriage to the Lord and wait for His timing from a young age. We ought to build up ourselves in the knowledge and grace of the Lord and serve Him while we are waiting for our marriage. We should also pray for our future spouse and preserve ourselves for our marriage so that when the time comes for us to get married, we are ready. God is the great matchmaker, creator of the heavens and earth, and the one who ordains love and truth and puts a family together.
‘What He puts together, let no one tear asunder.’ The Lord is within a marriage He blesses and He is the mediator between a married couple. Believers who put God first in their lives are also normal human beings with differences from each other. Yet if they honor God in their marriage and meet with irreconcilable problems that they are unable to resolve, they will know how to kneel down in prayer to ask for the Lord’s guidance. Submission to the Lord and each other models Christ-like behavior and is what promotes harmony within a family. I think this is one of the blessings from God and what identifies a family as a Christian one.
A beautiful marriage is a promise from God for those who live according to His will. Song of Solomon tells us the beautiful picture of marital love which also depicts the intimate relationship Christ has with His church. According to what our church believes, it also mirrors and prefigures the marriage consummation true believers will have with Christ our Bridegroom when He comes again. When Christ gave up His life for us on the cross, He manifested His great sacrificial love for us. When husband and wife love each other as themselves, or in fact more than themselves in Christ according to the will of God, they truly live out the principles of the love of God on earth. I believe this is a great mystery except to the ones who manage to practice such kind of sacrificial love within their marriage, and God grants them the understanding of His great love. I believe couples who are able to love each other to such extent and yet put God first in their lives will be able to comprehend the Lord’s love better and the essence of His nature, which is love.
The best thing is that this wonderful blessing is available and intended for all of us who are in Christ today. As long as we live according to His truth, love one another with a fervent heart, be faithful stewards of His promise and rely on the Holy Spirit, I have no doubt that we will attain that perfect standard which is His intention for all of us. Amen.