While I may have seen countless people handle marriage carefully and others handle it poorly, I am no more the expert due to observing some successes and others’ failures. I can be given the gift of marriage and fail at benefiting from it because I never sought the wisdom of the one who put it together. God teaches me everything I need to start marriage well and to see it to completion within His carefully crafted manual.
Within the pages of the Bible, we find the wisdom we desperately need.
God made marriage good, and He is on your side so that you can experience all of its goodness, but there will be no shortage of enemies for something so glorious as marriage. You will encounter countless negative naysayers and obnoxious opponents. It might be shocking to hear, but the Bible also teaches that just as God is for your marriage, His enemy is vehemently against it.
The first time that the devil is even mentioned on the pages of Scripture is when marriage is introduced. Adam and Eve are the first married couple in history. It was a marriage indeed arranged by God. Sure, the beginning of their relationship was unique because there were no other prospects on any horizon; nonetheless, God made these two for a relationship with Himself and each other.
So, why would the devil show interest in a human connection? Didn’t he have anything better to do then (and doesn’t he have anything else better to do now)? Because this union was so groundbreaking in its difference from anything else in creation, I think the devil realized that it would be bad news for his business if marriage were done God’s way.
The devil went after the first marriage and maintained every subsequent one as his target.
How can your marriage survive such opposition? In reality, the health of a marital relationship is simple in theory, even if it is difficult in practice. Align yourself with what God says and not what the enemy says to experience the best of marriage. The enemy’s lies about singleness, dating, sex, purity, and marriage infiltrate every corner of our culture. He wants you to succumb to the ever-changing societal standards and operate from a worldview that will destroy you and your marriage. Contrastingly, God wants to provide you with directives that will help you experience a union that brings glory to Him and good for others.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.2 Timothy 3:16-17
God did not invite us to embark upon the journey of marriage unprepared without the instructions required to bring it safely onto the shore. Marriage is undoubtedly classified as one of those good works, and God has provided exactly what is necessary to handle it properly through the pages of Scripture. The Bible completes the knowledge we need to succeed in marriage.
Does the Bible give a checklist on how to resolve conflict? Will it guide you to know how to deal with baggage from your past? Is there guidance within those pages to navigate child-rearing, financial planning, and intentional intimacy? Yes and no. The eternal truths are present to give us the principles required to partake in such a pursuit.
God’s Word doesn’t read like a three-step plan for every marital problem; instead, it provides a guide for how our identity determines our activity.
The Bible teaches us who we are in Christ and how we ought to live in light of that identity. The reality is that what we become dictates how we behave. And from that foundation, God also provides us with practical applications.
Like a wedding gift, you can open up God’s gift of marriage, throw His instructions to the side, and see how you fare, but I would encourage you to consider a different and more helpful approach. If God designed marriage, we ought to consult Him regarding the best way to handle it. Our Maker wants you to enjoy something He intentionally made to its fullest.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
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