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By Elder Khoo Peng Kiat

The blueprint or recipe for godly and successful marriage is found in the Bible. When its injunction is obeyed, God will bless the union. Always remember that God, our Heavenly Father, is the Architect of marriage. He is the One who has established this institution for the entire human race. The apostle Paul said that marriage is honourable in all; the bed undefiled (Heb 13:4). Our Lord Himself graced the occasion by His presence at the wedding in Cana of Galilee (Luke 2). 

Marriage is a permanent relationship as attested by the words of our Lord when He said, “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder” (Matt 19:6b). In other words, there is nothing tentative about marriage. It is not a belt, which one can buckle and unbuckle as one wishes. Marriage is a serious business, which must not be entered into “unadvisedly or lightly; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God, duly considering the union of two lives, the fusion of two hearts.” It is a union social; a union domestic; a union physical and a union spiritual.

My wife and I have been married for 40 years. And it is by God’s grace and His forgiveness that we are kept together. The path of true love never runs smoothly. Let us realise that there is no perfect marriage; none comes near being ideal because of sin. Let us also realised that two imperfect people, with personality defects, sinners saved by grace, are living under the same roof not just for a year or five years but until death separates them. Hence in marriage there is a lot of ‘give and take’ for after all, it is a daily process of accommodating each other. It is a daily process of keeping up and making up.

Marriage is a harmonious partnership. Even though two imperfect persons are living together, yet with Christ in the centre of their hearts and home, there can still be harmony when there is a spirit of forgiveness. A forgiving spirit is an important recipe in the marriage relationship because we are commanded to forgive; also because of the example of Jesus on the Cross, and our own experience of the forgiveness of God in our relationship with Him. It is one of grace upon grace, forgiveness upon forgiveness. There is no limit to God’s forgiveness and so in our dealings with each other, the seventy times seven ­principle and practice should be adopted.

Marriage is also a spiritual companionship for how can two walk together if they are not compatible spiritually (Amos 3:3; 2 Cor 6:14)? Many marriages have been dissolved because this important injunction has not been obeyed. It is in accordance with the Word of God and His will to marry in the Lord. This is the most important ingredient in the recipe for a godly and successful marriage. Never, never, date someone who is still outside Christ, no matter how much you love him or her. 

What is some of the important things in marriage which I have gleaned from my marriage experience, and which I would like to share with you so that you can avoid certain pitfalls? Here is the recipe for godly and successful marriage.

1. Establish your own home as soon as possible because marriage involves a “leaving and cleaving” (Gen 2:24). No matter how nice and understanding your in-laws may be, “familiarity breeds contempt” and unhappiness. Even with the best of intentions on both parties for their mutual welfare, they can sometimes be misconstrued as unnecessary interference.

2. Ensure your privacy, which may be defined as “the desirable state of being away from other people, so that they cannot see or hear what one is doing, interest themselves in one’s affairs.” Privacy is a precious ingredient and is wholesome for one’s mental and spiritual health and happiness.

You should also endeavour to keep certain family matters private and within the confines of your newly established home. The home is a “sacred citadel of exclusiveness where no prying eyes or gossiping tongues are permitted.”

3. Effect an early reconciliation in any misunderstanding or quarrel. In such case, always remember that because we are human, seldom is husband or wife completely right or wrong. It takes two to quarrel. The rightness and wrong is a matter of degree. A forgiving spirit is, therefore, necessary on both sides to resolve any conflict. It requires a spirit of humility, of loving submission to each other and together submitting to the Lord. The apostle Paul prescribes the best remedy: “... let not the sun go down upon your wrath” (Eph 4:25b). Be humble enough to say, “I was wrong” followed closely with “I am sorry”. A godly and successful marriage requires two sincere forgivers who can accept and forgive as God accepts and forgives them (Eph 4:32).

4. Encourage each other in your walk with the Lord for mutual edification, keeping in close communion with Him through the reading of His Word and through prayer and fellowship with others of the household of faith. By so doing, you will grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Pet 5: 18). Set your priorities right. Give God first place in your life; first place with your time; first place with your talents; and first place with your treasure.

When you seek God first in anything pertaining to His kingdom and righteousness, all that you need will be provided for (Matt 6:33). When you so honour Him, He will honour you!

5. Entrust your finance to the Lord for it is He who gives you the power to get wealth (Deut 8:18). Establish a mutual trust in money matters. From the outset, decide whether you wish to pool your resources in a joint bank account or keep a separate account so that you can use freely as you see fit. Keep in mind that whatever you possess comes from God, the Giver of every good and perfect gift (Jas 1: 17). O. W. Toe1ke has some wise counsel for our edification: “Most frequently, difficulties arise in the family finances when there is too great a disparity in the financial backgrounds of the marriage partners. Two persons, even husband and wife, with different sets of financial values, and different attitudes towards money, can very readily disagreed on how money is to be used. What one regards as a luxury, the other may consider a necessity.

6. Enforce the bond of marriage because it is the gracious design of God, the Architect of marriage, that the couple remain faithful to each other and to God whatever their circumstances or vicissitudes oflife. Always remember the solemn vows you have taken before God and before your witnesses: “for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance.

7. Edify each other by communicating and demonstrating God’s love at home and in public. The husband should love his wife with the same selfless and sacrificial love that Christ has so demonstrated on the Cross. The wife is to respond in the same manner. It is said that marriage is a two-way street of communication, consideration and co­operation; lack of which produces a great divisive factor in the marriage. It is always good to say something nice to each other everyday. “Nag people and they sag, believe in people and they bloom.”

The recipe for a godly and successful marriage is found in the Word of God which is a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path (Ps 119:105). But it will remain only a recipe if you do not act and work upon it to achieve what God, the Architect of marriage, has so designed for and desired of you, working out to His own glory and honour!

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

November 19 & 26 - The End of the World

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 2 Peter 3:10