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Monday, January 6, 2014

Christian Married Love, Part III

Edward F. Lundwall Jr.

The Many Facets of Christian Married Love
Part III

God determined the need for a binary differentiation of mankind by creating both male and female in order to provide complementary (fulfilling) companionship (Gen. 2:18). In this relationship, the woman (as wife) was designed to be a suitable helper assisting the man (as husband) in his calling from God, and to be the physical vessel God would use for the procreation of humankind (Gen. 1:28). Based on this understanding and the exhortation to glorify God with our whole being in all endeavors (1 Cor. 6:20), the purpose of Christian marriages should be to glorify God. It can and will if the couple construct their relationship according to principles found in Ephesians 5:22–32.

Also, in 1 Corinthians 7:29, the Apostle Paul makes an amazing statement consistent with a spiritual life-style. He says that the married person should be as though they were unmarried! The natural married attitude is for married partners to orient their relationship to please each other (1 Cor. 7:32–35) which usually is a distraction from pleasing the Lord first (verse 35). However, when the marriage is dedicated to glorify God, it will glorify God better than single life (Eph. 5:22–32). Paul’s recommendations to remain single are but practical suggestions based upon the stressful times of persecution that Christians experienced during those days (verse 26).

While the initial attraction between a man and woman may be an undefined emotion of attraction and/or mutual interest or personal harmony, interest in marriage will be motivated by a desire for sexual fulfillment (a mutual physical complementation), a drive built naturally between a man and a woman. However, a Christian marriage must be first built on a unity of spirit from mutual faith in Christ, and then unity of soul (thinking in terms of we, instead of you and I), and then of physical union within the commitment and responsibilities of marriage. Sexual unity is only as Christian as the full commitment the husband and wife’s spirits and souls are to the person of Christ with the express desire to fulfill his purposes. Just as the body is dead without its spirit and soul, so will sex life die if it is not an expression of full and final commitment to each other and to the Lord (1 Cor. 6:15–20). The Lord is life and the fruitful blessings of life will only increase as couples abide in Him (John 15:6; 2 Cor. 9:6; Gal. 6:7–9).

From the engagement on to the marriage ceremony and to the honeymoon, marriages begin as an exciting new adventure. The experience of full acceptance by another person is intoxicating and like living in a dream world. Ideally, each puts the interests of the other first in order to receive back a feeling of full acceptance and appreciation from the other. This can continue for some time if the couple has agreed on important issues such as money, roles within the marriage, children and when to start the family, relationships with parents, the standards of lifestyle, and the difference between needs and preferences, and anything else of real priority to either one. However, the chief agreements must be on the purpose of living for Christ and fulfilling what calls He has given them to serve Him, and this assumes a life journey of obedience to the Scripture, submission to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and mutual commitment to each other. Maintaining this stance in marriage will solve the other conflicts and give unity and direction for their lives as man and wife.

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