Romance & Marriage

by David Cook

R&M 01

Maybe you’re in the midst of a college romance.  Perhaps you’re twenty-something or thirty-something, regardless of your age if you’re single and desirous to find a relationship where you can be fully known and fully loved this may be worth your time to read.  It may even spare you some heart ache if you take some of this to heart.

This article was not written for wimps. If you are afraid of the “C” word (commitment) you may just as well avoid this article just like you avoid commitment in a relationship.

Then the LORD God said,

“It is not good for the man to be alone;

I will make him a helper suitable for him.”

Genesis 2:18 NASB

The marriage relationship is a divine original, it was God’s idea for a man and a woman to be united in love in a covenant relationship.  Is it God’s will for you to be married?  If so, how do you know?  And how do you find your match made in heaven?

Maybe you’re in a relationship with someone you were introduced to by a friend.  Or you’re interested in someone you saw on an online dating site.  Maybe it’s someone you’ve gotten to know over time, on a mission trip or someone you sang on tour with.  Or it could be a friend who is singing as a featured artist on your new album and a spark ignites.  Maybe you started a summer romance that sent you to cloud nine and you’re wondering…is this someone I should get serious with?

Or perhaps you met a billionaire’s heir in a garage sale in answer to a prayer.  It may start out with a little crush, and to your surprise it’s reciprocated and before long your feeling a little rush.

It’s hard to say, regardless sparks begin to fly and you may think you’re about to die from a romantic heart attack.  You’re falling head over heals in love.  But are you falling in love with the right person?

What happens when a good girl, who loves her mama and Jesus meets a bad boy; who is a player?

Infatuation…

People begin romantic relationships for different reasons.  Some people are marriage minded and looking for “Mr. Right” (or “Mrs. Right”).  Sometimes people know from the get-go that you’re not the person they’ll marry but think they would like to have a relationship with you until the right person arrives on the scene.  Some people are looking for a romance that quickly leads to a sexual relationship without a marriage commitment. Sometimes this is referred to as FWB — “Friends With Benefits”, a casual, no-strings-attached relationship.  The Bible refers to this as fornication and is forbidden by God. Have you ever wondered why God forbids having sex with someone unless you are married to them?

It’s important to find out if what you are looking for in a relationship is the same thing the person you are attracted to is looking for.  Have you started out a romance and thought; “Baby you’re so good for me!!”  And the further down the road you traveled together you think; “Baby you’re no good for me!!!”  I have.

How can a relationship go from “Baby you’re so good for me!” to “Baby you’re no good for me!?!”  This is just one of the reasons why it is much wiser not to get too physically involved with someone you hardly know and are very infatuated with.  It is better to pray, wait a while, spend time together in different situations and get to know someone before you commit your heart, soul and body.  Some people the more you get to know them the more you like them.  Other people the more you get to know them the more you wished you didn’t know them.

Making wrong choices in relationships are full of pain and regret.  It can leave you in a pool of your own tears and in deep depression.  God desires to protect us from the consequences of wrong choices by helping us make good choices.  Living a holy life style.  Living a pure and righteous life as a child of the light…not so easy to do in a fallen world that is morally bankrupt and spiritually dark.

LL 2015

Lara Landon relates in her book Beloved, “I was in the middle of tying to rid myself of a destructive relationship…Every time I made up my mind to never look back, I fell right back into it, harboring those same old feelings again.  So I begged God to break my heart and burn all of the bridges back to the feelings I wanted to let go of.” [1]

The apostle Paul wrote to believers in Messiah Yeshua;

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.  12 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. 14 Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! 16 Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.” 17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.  1 Corinthians 6:9-20 NASB

Paul wrote to the church of Corinth and said that “the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God”.  People who practice fornication or adultery will not inherit the kingdom of God.  Fornication is sexual intercourse between two singles.  Adultery is sexual intercourse with a married person.  [2]

Paul wrote that some of the believers in the church at Corinth had been fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, or swindlers. “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” [3] These individuals had been living an unrighteous lifestyle but then they heard the gospel of Christ and turned away from their sins and put faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord and they found God’s love, forgiveness and eternal life!

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.  Galatians 5:16-26 NASB

Is the pleasure of having sex with a person you’re not married to worth giving up your virginity for?  Is it worth giving up your dignity for short term pleasure and the shame that eventually will follow? Is it worth giving up your eternal inheritance for?  Is sexual pleasure outside of the marriage relationship worth giving up eternal life in the kingdom of God?

Giving up your birthright for a bowl of beans is a bad trade. [4]  Don’t give up all that your Father in heaven has to offer you for the short term pleasures of sin that the Devil may try to entice you with.  I’m talking to myself here as well as anyone else who may read this.

14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; 16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.  Hebrews 12:16 NASB

I Do Not Condemn You, Go And Sin No More

We read of the grace and forgiveness of Christ in the gospels;

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees *brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they *said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court.10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”  John 8:1-11 NASB

Lara Landon sings of God’s love and forgiveness in her song, “There Is Grace”.

lara-landon in nature

Lara Landon at www.LaraLandon.org

Each person has their own list of what is important to them in a relationship.  Things like physical attraction, chemistry, a great personality, a good sense of humor, shared values, hardworking but obviously each person’s list is different and may change over time.  Not only may your list of what is important to you in a relationship change over time but people change over time.

As you continue on the search for the love of your life here are some questions to consider;

Is she (or he) single?

Is she (or he) saved?  (Is she a royal?  Is she a child of the King?)

Is she (or he) sanctified?

Is she (or he) selfless (other centered) or selfish (self-centered)?

Is she (or he) someone who has std’s, lot’s of baggage, who has left a trail of X’s with a broken heart?

In the list above, only is she (or he) single and is she (or he) saved are clearly mandated for a believer in Christ when considering someone to marry.  Is she (or he) sanctified and living an other-centered life is written of in the scriptures.  God asks His children to live a sanctified life and to live not just for yourself but for others.  The final question just makes sense; do you want to marry someone who has std’s, lot’s of baggage, and has left a trail of broken hearts?  Do you really want to marry Elvis?  (Granted Elvis was good looking and could sing.)  But do you really want to marry a player (or a playette)?  If you do, your heart may be the next broken heart he (or she) breaks.

Sometimes opposites attract

other times its two peas in pod

who are on the same page.

 

Is she (or he) single?

“You shall not commit adultery.” 
Exodus 20:14 ESV

It is not God’s will for you to begin a relationship with a married woman (or man), this is breaking God’s law.  We read in the Torah; You shall not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14 ESV  Sometimes a woman is separated from her husband and wants to begin new relationship with another man, even though she is married.  So guys be sure she is single! Girls be sure he is single before you begin a romance.  Sometimes men don’t wear their wedding ring and are looking for an extra marital affair.

Is she (or he) saved?  (is she or he a royal?)

It is not God’s will for a believer to marry an unbeliever.  It’s God’s will for a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ to marry a believer.  The apostle Paul wrote about this to believers in the city of Corinth;

Do not be bond together with unbelievers.
For what partnership is there between righteousness and unrighteousness?
Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? 

2 Corinthians 6:14 HSV

Is she (or he) a believer?  Is she living in the light of Christ Jesus?  Is she saved?

Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Romans 10:13 NASB

Anyone who calls on the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved!  If you have never called on Jesus to forgive you of your sins and save you, today is good day; now is a good time.  He can hear you when you pray!

Is she (or he) a royal?

But as many as received Him,
to them He gave the right to become children of God,
even to those who believe in His name,
John 1:12 NASB

The apostle John wrote that when a person receives Jesus Christ as their Lord and believes in His name then that person is given the right to become a child of God.  That person becomes a part of the forever family of the King of the Universe.  You become a member of the royal family by God’s grace and placing your faith in His Son Yeshua (Jesus).

The apostle Paul wrote to believers in the city of Corinth and gave this relationship advice;

A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.
1 Corinthians 7:39-40 ESV

In this scripture Paul is clear that if widow decides to marry after the death of her spouse to be sure the person she marries is “in the Lord”.  That is be sure she marries a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Rapunzel 02

Maybe you feel like Rapunzel, locked away in your tower…lonely and isolated.  You may think; “When will Mr. right ride in on his steed and rescue me?”

Is she (or he) sanctified?

For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

For this is the will of God, your sanctification:

that you abstain from sexual immorality;

that each one of you know how to control his own body

in holiness and honor,

1 Thessalonians 4:2-4 ESV

Paul wrote to believers in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) that it is the will of God for a believer to be sanctified.  An important aspect of sanctification is living a holy life, abstaining from sexual immorality.  So why does God ask His children to abstain from sexual immorality?

God desires to protect His children from;

Lost virginity and related shame.
Emotional scars.
Std’s (sexually transmitted diseases.)
Unwanted pregnancy and avoid temptation to have an abortion.
Guilt, remorse and depression.
A broken heart and a hardening of your heart.
Difficulty to Trust Again.
Difficult to bond after several bad relationships.

Brothers and sisters, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel [i.e. own body] in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.  1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 NASB

You may be in a relationship with someone who is saved, sanctified, selfless and you’re singing “Lucky One” along with Amy Gant!

Is she (or he) selfless or selfish?

The apostle Paul wrote a letter to Timothy a young leader of a church about some of the attributes of people prior to the return of Jesus Christ coming back on the clouds;

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.    2 Timothy 3:1-7 NASB

Is she (or he) narcissistic, a lover of pleasure rather than a lover of God?  Is she (or he) self-centered or other centered?  Does he exhibit living a selfish or selfless relationship.

The bar is set pretty high for a believer in Yeshua the Messiah;

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name…  Philippians 2:3-9 NASB

The apostle Paul wrote to believers to “Do nothing from selfishness…regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

Is she (or he) some someone who has std’s, a lot of baggage, and a long line of X’s?

Has this person left a trail of broken hearts behind them?  Are they a player?  Are they offering romance and love in exchange for sexual pleasures?  Does he (or she) have std’s as a result?

How much baggage does this person have (everyone has some) from their childhood, family, friends, work and past relationships?

What about the X factor?  If this person is single and never married do they have people they dated in the past who they were sexually involved with who may be like a revolving door?  They may want to come back after they get over the anger they had for unresolved issues when they broke-up.  Or after they break-up with the person they are currently with they may want to get back with the person you are currently dating.

After a romantic breakup it’s good to hang with your girl friends (or guys with guy friends) and family to recover.  Problem is a common thought is, “I need to go out and find someone I can hookup with to boost my ego from the pain of the breakup” (regardless of who broke up with who).  Normally you feel pain, loneliness, disconnected, rejection, and a good case of the blues.  But jumping out of the frying pan into the fire is never a good idea.  Will you go out and drink a little too much and do something crazy you will deeply regret tomorrow?  Two wrongs don’t make a right.  Does finding a shallow, self-absorbed person to have a quick fix sexual encounter with really fix your low self esteem?  Or will it just make matters worse?

If the person is single but divorced should they actually be trying to reconcile with their X-spouse?  Do you want to be in a relationship with someone and then find out it is God’s will for them to reconcile with their X-spouse?  If their divorce was for “irreconcilable differences” or was just “complicated” most likely they should be seeking counsel, working on their issues and attempting to reconcile with their former spouse. [5]  If their spouse committed adultery then they are free to divorce and remarry. [6]  Or if a believer in Christ (a Christian) is divorced by a non-believer (non-Christian) the scriptures said let them go. [7]  So in this case if there is a divorce allowed in the scriptures then the believer is free to marry someone new.

Finding real answers to these five questions and being honest with yourself should help you eliminate some potential pitfalls and a broken heart.  So we begin to see why it is a good idea to get to know more about someone before getting too romantically involved.

What if you fall in love with someone and are contemplating marriage and then find out they are bisexual and you are heterosexual and want to marry someone who is monogamous?  Or what if you find out the person you are married to is heterosexual but you find out they want an “open marriage” and you want a monogamous marriage?  Having conversations about important moral values is important to see if you are on the same page before you marry.  Also, making observations about a persons actions and attitudes on issues may give you insight to a persons moral values (or lack of moral values).  Where there is smoke, (normally) there is fire.

This is not to say that someone who was immoral in the past cannot have a change of heart, be forgiven by God and live in a new and different way.  Consider rap artist Lecrae and the transformation of his life.  If any man be in Christ he is a new creation, old things fade away and all things become new.

But sometimes people backslide and struggle walking a holy lifestyle.  When someone backslides and “cheats” it breaks trust and makes building a romance and marriage extremely difficult and many times ends the relationship.

Brooke Fraser Holy Jeans

Brooke Fraser at www.BrookeFraser.com

When you hear the phrase “living a holy lifestyle” you may think of living in style wearing holy jeans like Brooke Fraser.  Brooke sings about living a holy lifestyle in her song, “Love Is Waiting”.

It is God’s will for single men and women to save their bodies for their future spouse.  If you are a virgin you have a real gift to give away to your love on your wedding night.  If you’re not a virgin, receive the grace of God and begin to live today the way God desires. Today is a new day, leave yesterday behind you and move forward in faith and hope.

Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 English Standard Version (ESV)

Prince on his steed 04

Prince and Rapunzel 05

rapunzel-styled-21

Prince & Rapunzel 06

Rapunzel Photos [8]

Sometimes the vow to love one another until death do us part works out.  Two people continue to be for each other and for the marriage relationship through life’s ups and downs, both the good times and the bad.  This was God’s plan from the beginning that a man and a woman might be united, the two become one; in covenant love.  Marriage is a divine original…God knew it wasn’t good for a man to be alone, so he made a women.

Sometimes Harry & Sally meet, fall in love, marry and live happily ever after; until death due them part; this was God’s will for a married couple from the beginning.

 Sometimes Johnny & Donna fall in love but don’t know what love is. Sometimes they drift apart and their relationship falls apart and their marriage ends in divorce.  Divorce is painful for a husband and wife regardless of who was at fault.  It’s painful because at one point they were in love with one another and now the two that were one are split apart with broken hearts.  People bring both their good and bad into a marriage, their strengths and weakness, their assets and liabilities.  And if they were blessed with children it is painful for the children to go through a divorce as well.  It may take everyone involved years to sort out and question their value and are they still able to give and receive love.  Sometimes a spouse dies and passes from this life into the next from cancer or a heart attack.  Sometimes this happens early in a marriage from a car accident or tour of duty in war.  Sometimes a spouse loses a spouse after twenty-five or even fifty years of a good marriage and then are grief stricken, questioning why God allowed their husband to be taken away.  And children question why God allowed their Dad or Mom to be taken away.

So there are times when we look at both sides of love, past and present, what was for better and what was for worse.  Pleasant memories and difficult ones.  What was an illusion of love and what was real love, this is not always easy to do.

It seems as early as the first crush in grade school we attempt to define too much of our worth and sense of self on the thought, “since I’m loved by someone that I and my peers respect and value; therefore I’m loved and valuable.”  Problem is, people are fickle and flawed (since the fall of mankind). [9] Selfishness motivates so much of what most us do. It is better if our foundation of self-worth comes from the One who made us, we are created in His image. [10]  And if by His grace we were chosen by Him before the foundation of the world to be His beloved children then we can know we are valued and will be loved now and forevermore. [11][12]  Our Father in heaven gave what He valued most (the life of His dear Son) to bring us back into a relationship with Him and call us His beloved. [13]

“If your definition of ‘love’ stresses affectionate feelings more than unselfish actions,
you will cripple your ability to maintain and grow strong love relationships.
On the other hand, if you stress the action of love over the feeling, you enhance and establish the feeling. That is one of the secrets of living life.” ~ Tim Keller

Maybe we need to redefine the word love. [14]

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails…   1 Corinthians 14:4-8 NASB

[1] Beloved by Lara Landon, “Let It Go” page 111;

[2] Fornication: Sexual intercourse between a man and a woman who are not married to each other. http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/fornicator  “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NASB and “those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” Galatians 5:19-21

[3] Sanctified: Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.  1 Corinthians 6:11 NASB

[4] A bowl of beans for a birthright: Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.  Genesis 25:34 NIV

[5]  When a Christian couple divorce they should either remain single or reconcile and remarry (unless their spouse commits adultery, in such case they are free to forgive and rebuild trust and the marriage or free to forgive and divorce.);  10 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband 11 (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.  1 Corinthians 7:10-11 NASB

[6] When a spouse commits adultery; free to forgive and rebuild the marriage or free to forgive and divorce the spouse.  Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9.

[7]  A Christian is divorced by a non-Christian; Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.  1 Corinthians 7:15 NASB

[8] Rapunzel Photos, http://greenweddingshoes.com/the-story-of-rapunzel/

[9] The fall of mankind, Genesis 3:1-24 and the effects of sin continue from Adam to people on earth today, Romans 5:12-21.

[10] People are created in the image of God, Genesis 1:26.

[11] Chosen by God to be part of His beloved family before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 3

[12] To those who receive and believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God as their Lord God gives the right to become children of God.  John 1:12.

[13] Reconciled to God, justified by the blood of His Son: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved [f]by His life.Romans 5:6-11

[14] Redefine the word love, http://31kings.com/redefining-love-audio/

[15] Mali Music, Mali Music Video; www.malimusicofficial.com/videos/