THE IGLESIA NI CRISTO
On Marriage and Parenting:
“God’s Law should be the foundation of every Christian family”
SOME STEPS TOWARD SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGE
MARRIAGE IS THE inviolable union of a man and a woman who seek the blessings of God in a solemn religious ceremony officiated by a minister or pastor. The contracting parties exchange vows, and once the exchange of vows is completed, the minister proclaims the couple as man and wife. They become no longer two but one in the sight of God.
To be truly successful in marriage, the couple must have completely understood the requisites that constitute a good marriage. Following is an enumeration of these requirements.
Love and affection must be mutual.
The first requisite of good marriage is mutual love. The Bible requires both the husband and wife to truly love each other before, during, and after their wedding. This was the admonition of Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Ephesians. He wrote:
“Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it.
“Men ought to love their wives just as they love their own bodies. A man who loves his wife loves himself. (No one ever hates his own body. Instead, he feeds it and takes care of it, just as Christ does the church.” (Ephesians 5:25, 28-29 TEV)
Thus, the husband should love his own wife the way he loves his own body. That love must be sincere and faithful for it is patterned after the love of Christ for His Church. The Lord Jesus Christ nourished and cherished the Church to the point of giving His life for her. In the same manner, Christian husbands must shower their wives with care and affection. Christian wives are likewise exhorted to love their husbands:
“In order to train the younger women to love their husbands and children.” (Titus 2:4 TEV)
Hence, mutual love and affection between the marital partners are needed toward successful marriage. Always express your feeling with your spouse. Forever cherish and never stop loving your spouse.
Respect and understand each other’s person and character.
Another element that could strengthen the marital bond between a man and a woman is mutual respect and understanding for each other. Respect and understanding are biblical prescriptions for a happy marital relationship. Apostle Paul wrote that while every husband must love his wife, every wife must respect her husband:
“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (Ephesians 5:33 NIV)
In another letter it was Apostle Peter who emphasized the need for mutual respect and proper understanding between husband and wife. He prescribed in writing to the early Christians, thus:
“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” (I Peter 3:7 NIV)
Indeed both partners should consider each other’s weaknesses and human frailties. Character deficiencies and incompatibilities in various matters are but ordinary and normal in every marital union. But if any of the conjugal partners would not respect or understand the insufficiencies and frailties of his or her spouse, their marriage bond might easily break down in the face of internal and external pressures.
The married couple must learn to adjust to one another. They should open themselves up to each other. It is necessary for the married couple to be honest and transparent. This will create an atmosphere of peace and harmony in the home.
Conjugal obligations should be observed diligently.
The married couple must also recognize their various duties and responsibilities. Basically, the union of a man to his wife produces two kinds of responsibilities for either of them. The first category of responsibilities that they must acknowledge and strive to do is their conjugal obligations. Conjugal obligations are the duties and responsibilities that husband and wife should work out together.
The Bible requires the married couple to assist and help each other. In fact, this was one of the very reasons why God created the first woman and instituted marriage. Genesis 2:18 records this:
“Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to live alone. I will make a suitable companion to help him.” (Genesis 2:18 TEV)
Husband and wife are not only lifelong companions. They are bound to help each other as long as they live. This could be fulfilled if both husband and wife really love, respect, and understand each other. With love at hand, the two will certainly do everything in their power to provide comfort and convenience to each other. They will share in their joys and sorrows and try to lighten up each other’s burden.
The couple should also share responsibility in two main endeavors –the bearing of children and the rearing of the same to become God-fearing adults. The parents must bring their children up with Christian discipline and instruction. Apostle Paul gave the following advice to Christian parents:
“Parents, do not treat your children in such a way as to make them angry. Instead, raise them with Christian discipline and instruction.” (Ephesians 6:4 TEV)
The marriage of any married couple who fails to instruct and discipline their children and rear them up in the true religion can never be successful. Problem children due to the inefficiency or absence of education and training in the Christian values can cause great stress even to the strongest of the marital unions.
The Husband must earnestly provide for his family’s needs.
Individually, the husband and wife also have different but complementary tasks and functions in the household. The husband was tasked by God from the earliest times to be the provider of his family:
“You will have to work hard and sweat to make the soil produce anything, until you go back to the soil from which you were formed. You were made from soil, and you will become soil again.” (Genesis 3:19 TEV)
He should work hard to provide for the primary needs of his wife and children. He must supply his family with food, clothing, shelter, and the other amenities in life. Failure to do so, due to negligence, is a grave sin against God according to the Bible. The Bible warns against pater familias who fails to provide for his family’s needs:
“If any one does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (I Timothy 5:8 RSV)
Thus, anyone who is incapable of providing the needs of his would-be spouse and children is not fit to marry. Many irresponsible husbands or fathers who have abandoned their wives and children are themselves to be blamed for the failure of marriage. It is, therefore, the religious duty of a Christian husband or father to labor diligently for the welfare of his family. A lazy husband is both a sinner in the sight of God and an enemy of a strong and enduring marital relationship.
The Wife Must Submit To Her Husband.
The wife must also make herself fully aware of her duties to her husband and children. She should submit to her husband as to the Lord:
“Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:22 TEV)
Christian women are forbidden to dominate their husbands:
“Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” (I Timothy 2:11-12 NKJV)
Aside from loving and respecting her husband, the wife should also abide by the decisions of her husband unless they run contrary to the will of God. A good wife also provides the comfort and support that her husband needs in times of troubles and difficulties. She inspires him to overcome all forms of trials.
The wife should constantly watch over her household.
The woman is obligated by the Bible to watch over her children and the household. Proverbs 31:27 has this to say:
“She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.” (Proverbs 31:27 NKJV)
The woman must attend not only the needs of her husband, but also her children. Being in charge of the household, the wife should maintain cleanliness and orderliness in the home. This is in line with Apostle Paul’s exhortation that the woman must be a good homemaker:
“To be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” (Titus 2:5 NKJV)
Hence, even if a woman is allowed by her husband to work and help him to make both ends meet, this does not preclude here making their home a comfortable place to live in.
Husband and wife must be faithful with each other.
Both husband and wife must be faithful to each other. The Bible gave the following advice:
“Marriage is to be honored by all, and husbands and wives must be faithful to each other. God will judge those who are immoral and those who commit adultery.” (Hebrews 13:4 TEV)
God will judge those who are immoral and those who commit adultery, or those unfaithful to their spouse. Both must protect the dignity and integrity of their family and maintain harmonious and peaceful relationship among family members. Both husband and wife should refrain from doing anything that might endanger the instability of his household. All things that may jeopardize the trust of his spouse must be completely avoided. Both must desist from committing sinful acts. This will ensure the success of his marriage and of his family life.
Both should share in strengthening the marital ties.
Both the husband and wife should do their share in strengthening marital ties. The Bible also said:
“Marriage is to be honored by all…” (Hebrews 13:4 TEV)
At the wedding, the man and woman exchange vows. Thus, a husband is bound by the law to his wife, and the wife is bound to the law to her husband:
“A married woman, for example, is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives; but if he dies, then she is free from the law that bound her to him.” (Romans 7:2 TEV)
Hey are bound to each other as long as they live, and only death will separate them apart. About this sacred union of husband and wife, this what the Bible says:
“Jesus answered, "Haven't you read the scripture that says that in the beginning the Creator made people male and female? And God said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will become one.' So they are no longer two, but one. Man must not separate, then, what God has joined together.” (Matthew 19:4-6 TEV)
Thus, both the husband and wife must bear in mind that marriage is a life-long commitment. So, both of them should share in the strengthening of their marriage. They should at all times prevent any rift between their spouse.
The wife should not nag at her husband. She should refrain from gossiping and idleness. She should help the husband in making important decisions. She also should not be excessively jealous, a fault-finder or rabid critic of her spouse. She should not criticize her husband before other people. Instead, she should dignify him and maintain the honor of her family at all times and at all costs. To the husband, this is what the Bible said:
“Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.” (Colossians 3:19 NKJV)
In Today’s English Version, this is what the Bible said:
“Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” (Colossians 3:19 TEV)
Thus, to cause physical or emotional pain to the wife is also a sin against God. He should consult his wife in making important decisions. He also should not be excessively jealous, a fault-finder or rabid critic of his spouse. He should not criticize his wife before other people. His faithfulness and fidelity to his spouse is crucial in this regard. He must never compromise that faith and trust with anything.
Pray and worship together.
Praying and worshipping together will further strengthen the bond of husband and wife, and also their whole family. God commanded the parents to worship Him together with their whole households:
“The LORD will choose a single place where he is to be worshiped, and there you must bring to him everything that I have commanded: your sacrifices that are to be burned and your other sacrifices, your tithes and your offerings, and those special gifts that you have promised to the LORD. Be joyful there in his presence, together with your children, your servants, and the Levites who live in your towns; remember that the Levites will have no land of their own.” (Deuteronomy 12:11-12 TEV)
Seek God’s blessings.
The love and blessings of God is the final guarantee to a blissful marriage. To lose these is to ruin the foundation of one’s marriage.
“Seek your happiness in the LORD, and he will give you your heart's desire. Give yourself to the LORD; trust in him, and he will help you; he will make your righteousness shine like the noonday sun.” (Psalms 37:4-6 TEV)
In the end, if both husband and wife observe their obligations which God has set for them and abide by the vows they took during their nuptials, only then can the success of their marriage be guaranteed.
THE IGLESIA NI CRISTO
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