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Two Become One

In marriage, as in most of life, there are no certain blueprints for success. However, there are certain ideals, certain keys if you will, that will while not guaranteeing bliss will assure a firm foundation. So shall ensue eight keys to improving marriage.

* First, as in all things, dedication to God according to His will as revealed in the Christian Bible is vital. While the following ideals are important, and any may benefit from them, these things were given to he and she that dedicate themselves to walking in light. The womanís not always right, the manís not always right. God, however, is always right.

* Second, walk in love. A man is to love his wife as if she were literally part of himself. A woman is to be subject to her man as unto Christ. While he has responsibilities before God of using his passion and capacity for logic to take a spiritual stand, the man is actually under the same subjection to the woman. In Christ, there is neither Jew nor gentile, male nor female, bond nor free. There is an equality that many (chauvinist) scribes and translators have had difficulties with. Love is giving. Not taking, a spouse has no right to try to force or coerce the other into fulfilling their obligations. Itís all love, it's all free will.

* Third, commitment is necessary. A man is to cleave unto his wife, and a woman is to dedicate herself to her man. This disallows a "temporary" marriage or relationship. In Godís eyes there is no such thing as a "no-fault" divorce. What God has joined together let no man tear asunder.

* Fourth, a Christian spousal relationship is a partnership in Christ, with Christ as head of the household. A Christian spouse is above all a sister in Christ or a brother in Christ, a child of God regarding whom the actions of the other regarding him or her will be accountable to God. See the second item, walking in love.

* Fifth, give. Give, give, and give, and donít keep track, thatís Godís job, and marriage is a joining of life, not a sport. Listen to your spouse, take time for your spouse, give gifts, do things for one another, and donít keep score.

* Sixth, minister at home first. A man or a womanís first ministry responsibility before God is to spouse and children. One has no right to take time and resources belonging to their spouse or children and "give" them to God or Church. These things simply arenít theirs to give, its called stealing. Thus it is written, if a man know not how to rule at home, how shall he take care of the Church?

* Seventh, "this too shall pass." Whatever problems arise, they usually wonít seem as immediate sometime in the future. Speaking of the future, that is how we keep this mindset: we keep our vision on the grace of God that will occur when Christ comes back for the Church. Yes, we will be taken up with him, so "this too," whatever is assaulting us at the moment, "shall pass."

* Eighth, forgiveness is final. Once a matter is done it is done. Therefore one who has been forgiven is no longer accountable for the actions for which they are forgiven except to God (and perhaps the law of man.) However, if a partner reminds the other of past actions for which they have professed forgiveness for the sake of accusation, then the accusing spouse is committing perhaps as grave a sin. Why? It causes all the damage of the original sin and reopens old wounds as well as creating new ones.

These are eight important keys to helping the joining of man and woman into "one flesh."

Other helpful hints:

* Be supportive of spouse in disputes with children.

* Prefer the company of your spouse to the company of friends or family. This is a choice and a commitment, not an emotional response.

* Be patient with your spouse and children.

* Set an example to spouse and children. Even the man, who sets a high spiritual standard, and who "rules" over the household, is not to be a "lord over Godís heritage," and his wife and children ARE Godís heritage. If you have trouble with this one, get your head back in the scriptures and ask Father for understanding.

* Use Christ always as an example. What, indeed, would Jesus do?

* Never give up. God is not allowing you to be tempted above what you are able to withstand, this includes marriage.

* Look for your own ways of walking in love in your marriage.

Finally, there are reasons that a marriage involving a Christian should or can, with Godís "displeasure" at the believer, dissolve.

* Adultery. A believer can leave the marriage when the other is found cheating. But this is not a time release option. If the believer feels the other has repented, then forgives, they are not to simply renege on their forgiveness. Of course, if the adultery continues, that is a different story. They are free to seek dissolution. Indeed, a believer staying in an adulterous relationship can actually cause sin for the believer, in terms of evil thoughts and assaults on the believerís righteousness.

* Abuse. A situation involving physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of a spouse or children is not the joining of "the one flesh" that the scriptures demand we stay involved in. We are to serve one Lord, the Lord Christ, and we are not to sacrifice our all to an abusive spouse. This is difficult for some Christians, but I believe the scriptures allow this. We are to stay in a marriage situation whenever possible, not in an abusive state of slavery to man.

* When the unbelieving spouse leaves, we are clearly not under bondage.

*In homosexual unions. These are clearly contrary to scripture and no standard regarding their entrance into, or extraction from, exist.

Finally, Regarding, "what constitutes a marriage according to scriptures?" When a man leaves his mother and father (when he is on his own) and cleaves unto a woman. Call it "living together" or "tying the knot," the Bible does not differentiate. "Living in sin" is not a Biblical phrase; it is one created by religious heirarchists and tax collectors. Men and women "living without marriage" are as bound Biblically as those receiving the blessings of Church or State.

I pray these ideas help you in your marriage and in your walk with God, and service to our Lord Jesus Christ.

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