Preparing for and Fostering Harmony in Marriage

Preparing for and Fostering Harmony in Marriage

by George Sukhdeo*
*Excerpts from Chapter 1 – God’s Purpose for Marriage

Everything that you’ve heard about marriage up until this point may be crowding your mind as you get ready for the awesomely momentous stage of life, or you may already be in a conflicted marriage and want to foster harmony in your relationship. You may be feeling inadequate from all the advice you’ve received about being the perfect mate. You may be feeling anxious and doubtful due to all the divorce horror stories or negative comments from those whose marriages and other relationships have failed. What may be more threatening is if your own parents’ marriage was painful, miserable or ended in divorce. You may be so focused on the wedding day that you haven’t really considered the normal challenges that will follow after you say “I do” and start living together. If any of these statements are true for you, take a moment to clear your mind of all your preconceived ideas and plans. There is one very important truth you need to focus on above all else.

God’s Purpose for Marriage
Marriage was not our idea. It did not come from the mind of mankind. No, marriage is a blood covenant, born in the heart of God, and it is a foundation established by Him. It is only in and through His grace and guidance that we can succeed at marriage. By pursuing God’s design for marriage, we will experience the joy, happiness, true success and fruitful life He envisions for us. However, if we fail to pursue God’s purpose and plan, marriage can be miserable and end in disaster. Thankfully, God provided us with a simple guide for this incredible relationship He envisions.

The relationship with God is the primary foundation of the personal relationship between husband and wife. Without that foundation, we cannot hope to have the intimate, healthy relationship with our mate that both God and we intend. Instead of the flow of joy and harmony, a husband and wife will experience difficult challenges until their relationships with God are as they should be. The marriage will only be as strong as the parties’ relationships are with God. When the relationship with God weakens, so does the relationship in the marriage. It grieves the heart of God to see His beloved creation, His very own people, hurt each other by not following His simple guide. God has three primary purposes for marriage. Marriage is meant to reflect His nature and character, to enable a male and female to complete one another, and to create a godly legacy by multiplying.

Men and women who display God’s likeness do not keep track of their partner’s mistakes or wrongdoing; they do not rejoice in their failures or in unrighteous behaviour, such as their own anger or their partner’s. Instead they rejoice in truth and believe that better is yet to come as God continues the good work he has started in their partner. They stay hopeful through challenges and endure “all things.”
As a note, while God’s forgiveness extends to all sins and ours should as well, the Bible does provide for those human circumstances that we can forgive but no longer endure. Do not mistake the call to stay hopeful and endure as a call to stay in an abusive relationship or to accept a spouse’s infidelity. In these situations, you should immediately seek help from your pastor and/or a professional counsellor. Biblical counselling can, in many cases, help your marriage to heal from the wounds and pain that these behaviours can cause. If there has been any physical abuse, law enforcement should be called upon for protection and help.

God has plans for humanity and marriages. Marriages are a central part of His plan—and that includes your marriage. We are to be His agents to fulfil His plans.

“The relationship with God is the primary foundation of the personal relationship between husband and wife. Without that foundation, we cannot hope to have the intimate, healthy relationship with our mate that both God and we intend.”

Harmony within marriage is attainable. Throughout the Bible, God gives us rules and expectations not only specific to marriage, but also regarding all our relationships with others. It is how our marriages should be practised. Couples who follow God’s plan for their marriage will experience oneness and harmony with each other. They will experience a taste of heaven on earth through the joys, happiness, fulfilment and fruitfulness of their marriage. On the other hand, when a couple runs into problems or painful experiences in marriage, it is a clear indication that the marriage is not functioning according to God’s plan and the guidelines He has laid out. In such situations, one or both parties are breaching the standards set by Him either knowingly, unknowingly, or through weakness or arrogance. The inevitable pain in these situations usually causes a couple to look for some solution to their troubles, and this is the time to seek out professional godly guidance, and not try to bring resolve through their own knowledge or worldly wisdom.

We were designed to be reliant on a party of the opposite sex, to be a helper to each other. Completing one another in marriage means considering our spouses first, trying to help them experience wholeness and happiness, and encouraging them to meet their purpose in life. Being self-centred and pursuing ambitions without considering your spouse’s feelings, desires, happiness and well-being will destroy a marriage rather than contribute to harmony. Harmony with your mate is part of the oneness God desires for all of us, and without it we will experience loneliness, isolation, abandonment, abuse, infidelity and the ruin of our relationships. That oneness we strive for leads to the completion of one another, and achieving it requires that each spouse contribute 100 per cent of their ability to make the marriage and the home a happy place. This means both parties must be transparent, faithful and accountable to the other in every area of their lives. They must spend quality time together on a daily basis and share their challenges, hopes, dreams faith, fears, successes and failures, all without fear of condemnation.

Couples who follow God’s guidelines will experience a greater measure of oneness and harmony with their mates and within their homes, and will be able to pass that on as an inheritance to their children. Before you get married, you must take the time to learn about God’s biblical plan and principles for marriage. You must understand how it affects you, what it means for your relationship, and most importantly, how to implement His plans in your life for ultimate harmony in your marriage. Throughout this book, I will present biblical truths about marriage that are absolutely necessary for you to get everything out of marriage that God intended, as well as for you to put into the world through your marriage everything that God desires to do through you. Don’t rush into your marriage. Instead, be patient, spend quality time, seek godly wisdom, have diligent deliberation with people who love and care for you, and seek the leading and confirmation of the Holy Spirit. He will help you make the right choice that will lead you into a happy, fulfilled and purposeful marriage that blesses humanity and pleases Him.

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George Sukhdeo is a PAOC credential holder who has a passion for serving individuals, couples and families in the complex challenges faced by this post-modern generation. With 34 years of experience in Christian ministries as a pastor, Christian Counsellor and life coach, he brings his knowledge, experience and training, along with a God-given talent for helping others, to both his work and writing. Order your copy of his book herePhoto © istockphoto.com

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