What Is Needed for a Successful Marriage?

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What Is Needed for a
SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGE?

Would you choose to dive into a river without first learning to swim? Such a foolish act could be harmful—even deadly. Think, though, of how many people jump into marriage with little awareness of how to take on the responsibilities involved. JESUS said: "Who of you that wants to build a tower does not first sit down and calculate the expense, to see if he has enough to complete it?" (Luke 14:28) What is true of building a tower is also true of building a marriage. Those who want to get married should carefully count the cost of marriage to make sure they can meet the demands.

A Look at Marriage

Having a mate with whom to share life's joys and sorrows is truly a blessing. Marriage can fill a void caused by loneliness or despair. It can satisfy our inborn craving for love, companionship, and intimacy. With good reason, God said after creating Adam: "It is not good for the man to continue by himself. I am going to make a helper for him, as a complement of him."—Genesis 2:18; 24:67; 1 Corinthians 7:9. Yes, being married can solve some problems. But it will introduce some new ones too. Why? Because marriage is the blending of two distinct personalities that are perhaps compatible but hardly identical. Hence, even well-matched couples will experience occasional conflict. The Christian apostle Paul wrote that those who marry will have "tribulation in their flesh"—or as The New English Bible renders it, "pain and grief in this bodily life."—1 Corinthians 7:28. Was Paul being pessimistic? Not at all! He was simply urging those considering marriage to be realists. The euphoric feeling of being attracted to someone is not an accurate gauge of what married life will be like in the months and years following the wedding day. Each marriage has its own unique challenges and problems. The question is not whether they will arise but how to face them when they do. Problems give a husband and wife opportunity to show the genuineness of their love for each other. To illustrate: A cruise ship may seem majestic as it sits idle, moored at a pier. Its true seaworthiness, however, is proved at sea—perhaps even amid the crashing waves of a storm. Similarly, the strength of a marriage bond is not solely defined during peaceful moments of romantic calm. At times, it is proved under trialsome circumstances in which a couple weathers storms of adversity.

|"The Best Description of Love I've Ever Read" | |"How do you know if you're really in love?" writes Dr. Kevin Leman. "There's an ancient | |book that contains a description of love. The book is nearly two thousand years old, but| |it is still the best description of love I've ever read." | |Dr. Leman was referring to the Christian apostle Paul's words found in the Bible at 1 | |Corinthians 13:4-8: | |"Love is long-suffering and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, does not get | |puffed up, does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, does not | |become provoked. It does not keep account of the injury. It does not rejoice over | |unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, | |hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." |

To do so, a married couple needs commitment, for God purposed that a man would "stick to his wife" and that the two would "become one flesh." (Genesis 2:24) The idea of commitment frightens many people today. Yet, it is only reasonable that two people who truly love each other will want to make a solemn promise to stay together. Commitment accords the marriage dignity. It provides a basis for confidence that, come what may, a husband and wife will support each other.* If you are not ready for such a commitment, you are not really ready for marriage. (Compare...
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