A colleague posted a little rant on his Instagram post. It seemed to him that as he shook hands after his Sabbath sermons, the dear church sisters would inevitably point out his need for a good wife. He seemed to think they were getting a bit sidetracked from more important matters like, say, that morning’s sermon. I came to their defense, pointing out that the Bible does say, “Two are better than one.”
“Going by the book, that’s [Old Testament] theology. The [New Testament] says, ‘It is good for a man not to touch a woman.’ 1 Cor. 7:1,” he shot back jokingly.
We bantered back and forth hurling out hand-picked Bible verses to support our respective views. Then, he posted a verse that got me thinking.
“I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:32-33
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I remember listening to a friend and fellow nursing student expressing his frustration on the very real struggle between balancing academics and keeping his wife happy.
“It seems if my wife is happy, my grades are suffering. And if school is going well my wife is unhappy,” he whined.
My friend wasn’t a Christian, neither is his wife, so God wasn’t even in the equation. However, as demanding as nursing school is, it often doesn’t even begin to compare to the surrender and sacrifice the Christian walk demands. Just imagine the struggle of being torn between serving God and pleasing a non-Christian spouse, or worse, a lukewarm Christian partner. The hands and feet of the Savior viciously hacked off your body by the person you love. The struggle is real.
I am pretty convinced that getting married is probably more of a hazard and a risk to my Christian walk. Perhaps, I should just stay single. Then, Mrs. White throws something out there to further confuse the situation.
“The greatest evidence of the power of Christianity that can be presented to the world is a well-ordered, well-disciplined family. This will recommend the truth as nothing else can for it is a living witness of its practical power upon the heart.” Adventist Home, p. 32
A great man, whom I regard as an uncle, tells the story of how he became an Adventist. Although the Godly faculty and staff at a great Adventist University had an influence, something else had a greater impact. A strange twist of events landed him in a close friend’s house during his first year at medical school. That friend happened to be a married man and an Adventist. My uncle saw how that friend treated his wife, how that friend and his wife solved their conflicts on their knees. It was the power of a Christian couple that converted my uncle to Adventism.
What a gamble! One little choice is the difference between you being the most powerful influence for Christ and destroying your influence altogether. There’s no question that getting married to the right person is a key decision in life. Here are four things you should think about when picking a life partner.
Can two walk together, except they be agreed? Amos 3.3
According to experts, compatibility surprisingly is not the key to a good relationship. Apparently, the thing that throws couples into fights is literally nothing at all – those fights we become completely embroiled in and suddenly start wondering what exactly we are fighting about in the first place. However, there are some key things a couple should agree on if they want to be a Christian power couple.
It important for both members of the party to want to “make Christ first and last and best in everything.” This enables a heavenly love to settle over their home, drawing them together with an other-worldly bond that only gets deeper and richer. It is also important for couples to have a mutual desire to make the relationship work because that’s actually the most important factor in staying together. Likewise, it’s imperative to have similar life goals or at the very least a mutual support of those goals.
Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional. –Max Lucado
Some people are convinced that if you are with the right person, there won’t be any conflict. Like other pieces of fake news out there, don’t believe it. It’s not about avoiding conflict it’s about how conflict is managed. There are many reasons why conflict may arise. A big part of melding into one will be figuring out how to not injure each other with our rough edges. Loving your partner means challenging them to be their best self, and it may be hard for them to hear.
While the biggest conflicts probably won’t arise until after the deal is sealed, you can start learning to be a better at dealing with little skirmishes that might come up. You’ll want to be able to identify the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” and how to flee from them. Sometimes, the best remedy will be silence or a little space. Learn to be curious so you can find the root of the argument or simply better understand your partner. It’s also important to remember that if we make a habit of showing our partner love through gentle actions, kind words, and loving glances, it will safeguard their hearts during times when conflict clouds the emotions and burdens the soul.
“Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.” –Benjamin Franklin
For some time now, society has adopted a more romantic attitude about marriage and relationships. Love is all about the explosion of emotions we feel about a person. It seems that highs and lows of dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins have more to do with decisions that affect the rest of our lives than rational thought processes. However, Millennials are being particularly choosy about their partners, even taking their deliberation to extremes.
Perhaps, the issue is that we don’t know what to be picky and choosy about. We probably ought to pay more attention to how our personal quirks and habits complement or clash. It might also be helpful to read through the insightful chapter in Adventist Home called the “Great Decision.” Yet, the most important questions are quite simple. Is this a relationship that encourages me to have a better relationship with Jesus? Does it make me want to love Him more? Will it make me a greater blessing to the world? If you can answer “yes” to those questions, it’s a green light. Prayerfully move forward.
Home and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a sensible wife comes from the LORD. Proverbs 19:14
Imagine if the two people Paul mentioned in Corinthians got married. Both seeking to serve God with all their hearts. What if, instead of looking for pleasure from each other, they let God be the one to please them? Amplifying each other’s influence and strengthening one another. Now that would be a power couple. If I get married, those would be my relationship goals. Two people encouraging each other to serve God to the best of their ability. If I can’t have that, well, I’ll stay single.
Like your average Millennial, I have read all the popular Christian books on relationships and listened to all the relationship seminars on Audioverse. I have also browsed good share of podcasts and articles. I have even branched out into the secular world soaking up the wisdom from popular relationship gurus. All this in hopes of finding the perfect relationship. However, I have learned through all my observations that only God can provide that special person and that I will only be able to discern this special man’s presence in my life through fervent prayer. So, as much as my Millennial self wants to worry and self-improve into that relationship, I must stop, wait and pray because it’s going to be a gift from Jesus.