The only things that happen more than marriage within our culture is birth and death. With how much marriage happens and the the very high likelihood that a person will some day be married, why do we spend so little time talking about it and preparing for it. Typically, we have a handful of pre-marital counseling sessions about six months before we tie the knot. This just isn't enough! We need to be proactively understanding what marriage is and what it takes to really have a healthy marriage till death do you part.
- At it's root, the Bible suggests that marriage is a complete change to your entire identity. In Scripture, people went from being called a "man," "woman", "lord," etc. to being then called a husband and a wife. When two people got married, they weren't a guy and a girl anymore, but instead were a spouse that came along with responsibilities and expectations of a life long commitment to one another. The key to any marriage is learning how to be completely selfless.
- Marriage is intended to be 100% commitment from the get go! In Bible times, when a couple would get engaged there was no turning back. The husband would go off to build an extension onto his family's home. There wasn't compatibility tests and pre-marital counseling and test runs. It's was point blank an all in commitment.
- The "trial run" misses the point. Today, many couples decide to cohabitate before taking the plunge into mariage. They want to give everything a try before really committing to one another. They want to make sure they are sexually compatible before they are stuck in a life long "commitment" to bad sex. The problem with this though is the fact that no matter what relationship you get into you WILL find tension, problems, fights, etc. Guaranteed! To "practice" marriage by living together first completely ignores the whole point of marriage and the attitude of doing whatever it takes to selflessly love and give to one another.
- In the Bible, sex = marriage! In his book called The Blue Parakeet, Scot McKnight observes, "There is no such thing as ‘premarital’ intercourse in the Bible. Intercourse… constitutes the sexual union that we call marriage." (see Exodus 22:16 & Deuteronomy 22:28-29) Sex is designed to bond us together, to make two become one flesh, and the more physical we are in a relationship the more we emotionally and neurological completely bond us to the other person. There is a reason why Paul in 1 Corinthians 7 says not to deny your spouse sex other than a time of prayer. He understands the amazing and powerful bond that sex has for a marriage and relationship.
- Marriage is the closest representation we have this side of heaven of what God wants with each one of us. This becomes very evident in the book of Hosea. It's a weird book for sure...it's not every day God tells a someone to go and marry a prostitute. But God does and uses it as a representation of how God treats all of us. That no matter how bad we are to Him, no matter how off course we are, no matter how adulterous we are; God will always love us!
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