Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 26

CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE SEMINAR I

by Ven Dr I. U. Ibeme http://priscaquila.6te.net ; http://www.scribd.com/ifeogo ;


Click Here For PriscAquila Christian Resource Centre
Comment on The Chapel of Grace Blog: http://thechapelofgrace.wordpress.com

CONTENTS:
CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE SEMINAR 1: CONCEPT AND CUSTOMS
CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE SEMINAR 2: PRINCIPLES, PROCESS AND PRACTICE
CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE SEMINAR 3: PRECAUTIONS AND PREPARATIONS
CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE SEMINAR 4: PROBLEMS AND REPARATIONS

ON CHRISTIANITY AND CULTURE: Christianity is heavenly counter-culture against all godless


traditions, thoughts, trends and tendencies. “Your kingdom come. Your will be done in earth, as it is
in heaven.” (Mat 6:10), mean that every human heathenish or pagan culture, whether ancient, modern or
postmodern, must surrender to the Holy Scriptures, human rationalisation and innovation must submit to divine
revelation, private intuition and passion must succumb to prophetic inspiration. This requires persuasion about the
superiority of God’s Word and persevering obedience to the Holy Spirit.
Eph 4:17-20:-
(17) This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you no longer walk as other Gentiles walk,
in the vanity of their mind, (18) Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life
of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: (19) Who being
past feeling have given themselves over unto licentiousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
(20) But you have not so learned Christ;

Israel culture is in HARDNESS of heart (Eze 3:7),


Gentile cultures are in DARKNESS of heart (Eph 4:18),
but Church culture must be in NEWNESS of heart (Rom 12:2).

CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE SEMINAR 1:


CONCEPT AND CUSTOMS

THE CONCEPT OF CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE


Christian Marriage has multiple binding and validity implications:
 BIBLICAL in concept and doctrine,
 PERSONAL in decision and choice,
 PUBLIC in civility and legality, and
 ECCLESIASTICAL in witness and solemnization.
No true Christian couple should ever live as husband and wife or engage in sexual relations of
any form except AFTER their marriage covenant union has been examined according to God’s
ordinance as well as witnessed and solemnized by the Church. The Church’s solemnisation
service has nothing to do with dress fashion or delicious feasting. Legal marriage registration and
traditional marriage formalities only secure legal and parental supports but do not meet up to
Christian marriage covenant duties and dictums taught by Christ and His Apostles.

1. Christian Marriage is a lifelong unconditional union and partnership between one Christian
man and one Christian woman to the exclusion of all others. Only widow(er)s could remarry
(1Cor 7:8-9, 39; Rom 7:1-3; 1Tim 5:14). Marriage is not mandatory for all nor is it possible for
all (Mat 19:11-12; 1Cor 7:6-7).

1
The Church did not derive her Christian Marriage concept from the cultures and Traditions of
our forebears nor from the preferences and Trends of our peers. It is not meant to conform to
human errors, wishes and Tendencies. Christian Marriage is deduced from divine Truth found
in Christ’s teaching in Matt. 19:3-12; Mark 10:1-12; the Apostolic teachings in 1Cor. 7:8-17,39;
Rom. 7:1-3; Eph. 5:21-33; Heb. 13:4; 1Pet. 3:1-7 and God’s original institution/ordination of
marriage at creation in Gen. 1:27,28; 2:18,22-25.

2. Christian Marriage Solemnisation (or “Marriage in the Lord” 1Cor 7:10, 39, i.e. according
to God’s ordinance) is marriage in which a Christian man and a Christian woman entering into
lifelong, exclusive union, for better for worse, till death parts them, take their vows [according to
God’s Word] before God and the Church and seek God’s grace and the Church’s blessing to
fulfil such holy and honourable vows. (The Revised Catechism).

It is important to realise that while customary and civil marriages do not measure up as
equivalent to Christians Marriage Covenant, it is necessary to ensure that customary and civil
requirements are satisfied as betrothals before the seal of Church Wedding Solemnisation. This
makes it congenial for the family and the State to conveniently participate in Church
Solemnisation without raising objections or impediments that would rightly interrupt the Church
Wedding Service. Until a couple is duly joined according to Christian Marriage Covenant,
their marriage is not Christian. In the same way until a couple has fulfilled customary or civil
provisions for marriage, they are not deemed married customarily or legally as the case may be.

3. Purposes of Marriage are:


(a) for guaranteed, lifelong mutual help and comfort irrespective of circumstances Gen. 2:18;
Eccl. 4:9-12;
(b) for proper conjugal satisfaction in order to prevent sexual immorality Gen. 2:24; 1Cor. 7:1-5;
(c) for steady and appropriate family unit to raise godly heritage children (not disinherited
defiled offspring Deut. 23:2) for holy homely humanity Gen. 1:28; Mal 2:13-16; 1Tim. 3:4,12;
1Cor. 7:14.

NOTES:
NOTE that these marriage purposes do not come to us by mere relishing expectations
of desires, dreams and pleasures of love relationship. These require from us much
responsible commitment to duty, chastity, temperance, household competence and
godly compliance. Christian marriage union or partnership ought to be part of our
reverence to Christ (Eph 5:21) and therefore is tandem with Christ-Church mystery
type of Head-Body and Support-Submit relationship (Eph 5:23, 32). The current
rebellious selfish trend and hippie tradition of living one’s life the way one wants it,
regardless of whatever other demands or standards there may be, is evil and inimical to
godly marriage, family and society (Eph 2:1-3; 2Tim 3:1-5).

NOTE also that whereas it is our duty to gratify and be grateful to one another as well
as provide godly family environment for any offspring, it is only God Who gives us the
fruit of the womb (Psa 127:3). Therefore childlessness should never interfere with

2
Christian marriage relationship. Christians who cannot wait for God’s own time could
meanwhile adopt and raise children for God.

Successful Christian Marriage Requires Biblical Orientation And Commitment:


Christian Marriage is marriage between one Christian man and one Christian woman,
which is based on DIVINE DESIGN (instituted for duty, service and sacrificial love
OFFERED TO the other) without room for divorce; rather than based on HUMAN
DESIRE (innovated for demand, selfishness and gratifying lust EXERTED FROM the
other) with room for divorce.

“Marriage of demand will surely suffer the economics laws of scarcity; but marriage of
supply will experience surplus.” According to the Scriptures, God designed marriage for
duty not demand, for responsibility not requisition, for pledge not petition. God did not
institute marriage in response to human complaint or demand but in order to fulfil
divinely designed duty and purpose (Gen 2:18-25). That is why, during wedding services,
we do not make marriage petitions but only vow marriage pledges.

Cultural marriages are for meeting selfish desires and making selfish demands, NOT
AS GOD INSTITUTED IT IN THE BEGINNING (Mat 19:8); this is antithetical and
inimical to Christian marriage based on divine institution as God intended it IN THE
BEGINNING (Mat 19:4). Married Christians are gifts of good favour from the Lord to
their spouses (Gen 2:23-24; Prov 18:22; 19:14), for husbands to cleave unto their wives
(Gen 2:24) and for wives to be meet helps to their husbands (Gen 2:18) in ways that
worthily please and reverence the Lord (Eph 5:21; Col 1:10). Give God thanks for
whatever your spouse does or is, and seek to selflessly gratify and be grateful to each
other.

God was the sole “manufacturer” of the Marriage Institution in the beginning; therefore
only God’s MANUAL in the Scriptures offers the surest guide to successfully “operate”
Marriage WITH LIFELONG WARRANTEE. Both ancient and modern cultural
marriages and manuals are risky attempts that use human manoeuvres to mimic and
mismanage marriage, instead of following divine measures and guidelines revealed in
God’s Scriptural “operational manual” for His Marriage Institution. Since there are no
conditions and demands in Christian Marriage ceremony; there are only consent and
vow/pledge/troth, Christian spouses should be determined to fulfil their marriage vows by
offering:
 LIFELONG GUARANTEED help for companionship and comfort to your
spouse;
 EXCLUSIVE CONJUGAL intimacy to willingly satisfy your spouse against
fornication;
 SHARED RESOURCEFULNESS/RESOURCES for the care of your spouse and
upbringing of godly offspring.
“Seek not your selfish satisfaction in marriage as the pagan Gentiles of old and today
do; but rather seek you first to selflessly fulfil your avowed marriage responsibility to
your spouse as God pleases, and all other satisfaction shall be added unto you.”

3
4. Symbolism of Marriage: Christian Marriage Covenant symbolises the covenant union and
relationship between God and His people in the O.T. Isa. 54:5; Jer. 3:14; Ezek. 16:8; Hos.
2:19,20; or Christ and His Church in the N.T. Matt. 9:15; John. 3:29; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:22-33;
Rev. 19:7; 21:2,9. Therefore, Christian Marriage should be entered into as a mutual covenant
before God and in Christ's Name. Notice that marriage of innocent Adam and innocent Eve was
at the beginning of Genesis while the marriage of Christ and His redeemed Church is prophesied
at the end of Revelation.

NOTE the elements in the above four definitions which distinguish Christian Marriage concept
from other marriage concepts in the world today. These include:
(1) Man–Woman partnership (not Homosexual);
(2) Exclusive monogamous union (not Polygamy);
(3) Lifelong, indissoluble covenant relationship (no Divorce);
(4) Joined in God’s name – by God (not by man);
(5) Covenanted according to God’s Word – in the Lord (not worldly contract);
(6) As originally instituted by God (not as innovated by man);
(7) Couples leave parents to cleave together (not under their parents) Gen. 2:24; Psa.
45:10,16;
(8) Wife married to her husband in the Lord (not to the clan and their idolatry) 1Cor 7:39;
(9) Couples to confide first in Christ and each other (not first in outsiders/relatives);
(10) Good, holy and honourable (not a necessary evil). Prov. 18:22

HISTORY OF MARRIAGE CUSTOMS:


Marriage decayed from being joined by God in EDEN ALTAR to being joined by parents at
FAMILY ALTARS outside Eden. By “ALTAR” here I mean the place where people meet
together to commune with God in fellowship. But God through the Law, the Prophets and the
Gospel gradually restored marriage solemnisation authority from parental family altars to the
higher CITY GATE ALTARS by the city presbytery and the priestly presbytery, then to
NEIGHBOURHOOD ALTARS by the Synagogue presbytery and Church presbytery.

In the O.T. during the Patriarchal period, marriage was similar to our traditional marriages of
today. Then the responsibility for getting wives (Gen 21:21; 24:3; 38:6; Judg 14:2), authority for
marriage joining and dissolution was left in the hands of the Patriarchs as parents and clan
elders/priests (Gen. 24:51, 60) according to the laws and cultures of their time. This period
brought in polygamy, concubinage, divorce, etc. Today, court and customary weddings
together with modern pagan orthodoxy of amoral hippie culture have brought about
heathenish legitimization of promiscuous and perverse “relationships” such as single
motherhood, cohabitation, concubinage, illegitimate children, broken homes, and high
divorce rate and even homosexual “relationships”. Homosexual PARTNERSHIP may be
called “UNIONAGE” or whatever, but not MARRIAGE.

After the Exodus, Moses by divine revelation, introduced the City-Gate Court of Elders for
legal witness (Deut. 22:15; Ruth 4:11-13) and later came the witness of the Priests (Isa. 8:1-3),
which took solemnisation powers away from the traditional family to the biblical Presbytery and
Priesthood, leaving only the consent role to the family.

4
After the Exile the Synagogues and Rabbis introduced by Ezra replaced the city-gate presbytery
and the priests. The Synagogue Rabbis (Ezra’s disciples Ezr 9:4; Neh 8:4-8) assumed the
authority for legal witness and spiritual blessing that ensures the Scriptures are adhered to (Ezr
9:1-4; 10:2-4). This has remained so among the Jews through the time of Christ and His Apostles
till today.

In the N.T. After the Pentecost, the Apostles shifted such local Synagogue witness and blessing
functions to the local Church. The Priests and Ministers of the Church ensure commitment,
compliance and conformity with the Scriptural provision of Christian Truth about covenant
Marriage IN THE LORD (1Cor 7:39):
Equal yoke (2Cor 6:14),
Lifelong union (Rom 7:1-3),
Monogamy (1Tim 3:12), and
Indissoluble COVENANT that forbids divorce (Mal 2:13-16; Mat 19:7-9).

Marriage IN THE LORD (1Cor 7:39) is not only about the couples being Christians entering into
marriage according to the teachings of Christ (1Cor 7:10-11) but also the marriage covenanted
and solemnized among the Church playing the role of family, presbytery, synagogue and the
State for the couple to witness to and vouch for its validity. Clement of Rome wrote that he got
this directive from the Apostles:
“And with respect to the presbyters, take these instructions. Above all things, let them
join the young betimes in marriage, anticipating the entanglements of youthful lusts.”
(Epistle Of Clement To James Ch. vii, Early Church Fathers Vol. VIII).
Never forget that Practical Christianity is a heavenly counter-culture which ceases to do all
things NO LONGER AS GENTILES DO (Eph 4:17) but seeks to do all things AS IT IS
DONE IN HEAVEN (Mat 6:10) and as the Lord had instituted things IN THE BEGINNING
(Mat 19:8).

All through the ages and in every culture, Marriage Customs have always had the following
necessary stages/phases (Deut. 20:7; Matt. 1:18):
(1) First is the Convinced Choice/Consent/Agreement at which a Suitor and his Sought enter
into the process for Confirmation of marital intentions;
(2) Second is the Commitment/Engagement/Betrothal at which the Suitor-lover and his
Sought-beloved become Fiancé and Fiancée respectively, leading to the period of formal
Courtship for preparation to marry (Deut 22:25-28; Judg 14:7-8); PARENTAL consent
is necessary here.
(3) Third is the Covenant/Joining/Wedding when the Fiancé–bridegroom and his Fiancée–
bride become Husband and Wife respectively, leading to the period of Matrimony
(Married Life). The CHURCH’S certifying witness is necessary here.
(4) Fourth are the conjugal Consummation and then the unconditional Continuation
monogamously till death for Christians, but others include conditionality and permit
divorce, polygamy, etc. (NOTE: Conjugal intimacy is the seal of marriage covenant and
the consummation of marriage union).

These days due to lawlessness and immorality of postmodern paganism and rebellious New Age
individualism many a time, we see people starting pseudo-“courtship” of coital intimacy

5
(“relationship”) without betrothal. Some go as far as living together (cohabitation) in pseudo-
“matrimony” without wedding or even without betrothal! This is clearly the detestable sin of
fornication before God. Even misguided Christians are beginning to posit the subjective and
autonomous philosophy of modern paganism that private mutual consent of the couple is the
real marriage superseding the wedding solemnization by the Church and betrothal by the
family! We must remember that for Christians who belong to the New Covenant, sexual
relation is only honourable, undefiled and safe after the wedding (covenant joining) and
within solemnized matrimony (Heb 13:4). This standard distinguishes humans from animals,
believers from unbelievers, and Christianity from paganism.
<<BACK TO TOP>>

6
CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE SEMINAR II
by Ven Dr I. U. Ibeme http://priscaquila.6te.net ; http://www.scribd.com/ifeogo ;
Click Here For PriscAquila Christian Resource Centre
Comment on The Chapel of Grace Blog: http://thechapelofgrace.wordpress.com

CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE SEMINAR 2:


PRINCIPLES, PROCESS AND PRACTICE
TRUE MARRIAGE
Christ’s teaching on marriage was a denunciation of the marriage standards and patterns
accumulated by human cultures and traditions over the ages. For Christ these accumulations of
marriage standards are a departure from (and a negation to) the original purpose and pattern at
Eden. When Christ declared, “From the beginning it was not so!” (Matt. 19:4-8), He implied
that marriage could be TRUE/Holy (As ordained by God in the beginning) or FALSE/Sinful
(Not as ordained by God in the beginning). Any multiple “marriage” to any other spouse(s) while
the first partner lives is not marriage but adultery or fornication (Matt. 5:32; 19:9; Mark
10:11,12; Luke 16:18). This is the standard for True Marriage taught in the Gospel of Christ.

Traditional Marriages are dissoluble social contracts based on Customary Laws and
Civil Marriages are dissoluble social contracts based on State Laws. Though these
are legitimate within the scope of the laws establishing them, yet for several scriptural
reasons, such legitimacies do not suffice within the scope of Christian Holy
Matrimony. Christian Marriage is indissoluble spiritual covenant based on God’s
Holy Ordinance as it is specially taught by Christ and His Apostles (Mat 19; Mark
10; 1Cor 7; Eph 5).

Every marriage is not merely dependent on private choice and consent but is subject
to the Spirit/spirits, ordinance, law and doctrine on which it stands legitimate. There
are varieties of marriage legitimizing ordinances, but it is important to note that
marriage is not only about sexual relations because it goes further to other non-coital
matters like legitimacy of offspring, basis for succession and rights of property
heritage long after the death of the married partners. Without first a marriage
covenant joining or a form of marriage ordinance and rite, coital union alone cannot
suffice to constitute valid marriage.

1. Civil marriages originate from are based on various Civil ordinances that institute
them. For Civil Laws, only Court Marriage is Legal and could only be monogamous
though dissoluble, (outside this, any coital or cohabiting relationship by CITIZENS is
adultery or concubinage but not legally called marriage).

2. Cultural/Traditional marriages originate from and are based on various


Cultural/Traditional ordinances that legislate them. For Cultures, only Traditional
Marriage is Customary and could be polygamous and dissoluble, (outside this, any

7
coital or cohabiting relationship by NATIVES is adultery or concubinage but not
traditionally called marriage).

3. Islamic marriages originate from and are based on Islamic ordinances that
institute them. For Muslims, only Fatiha Marriage is Islamic and could be as far as
tetragamous and dissoluble, (outside this, any coital or cohabiting relationship by
MUSLIMS is adultery or concubinage but not Islamically called marriage).
Similar categories apply to instituting ordinances for people of other cross-cultural
old and new religions like Yehudi, Hindi, Passim, Shinto, Sikh, etc.

4. Christian marriage originate from and are based on the Christian ordinance that
institute it as taught by Christ and His Apostles. For the Church, only Solemnized
Matrimony is Christian and could only be monogamous though indissoluble, (outside
this, any coital or cohabiting relationship by CHRISTIANS is adultery or fornication
and not ecclesiastically called Christian marriage).

If you are Christian, you are not yet Christianly married until the Christian Church
and the Christian Truth/Ordinance are involved. You cannot claim or consent to be in
a faith and at the same time refuse to be guided or ruled by the same faith. That would
be HYPOCRISY or even APOSTASY.

What makes a marriage to be called CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE is when the couple has
covenanted or solemnized or blessed their UNION ACCORDING TO CHRIST’S
MARRIAGE ORDINANCE AS ESPECIALLY TAUGHT IN MATT 19 AND 1COR 7. It
is important to note that the Church’s officiation for the Solemnization of Holy
Matrimony is not about the garments and merriments, but about pastoral guidance
and ministration to assist the couple comprehend, commit to and comply with THE
DOCTRINE OF CHRIST ON MARRIAGE.

For Gospel believing Christians who uphold Christ’s Truth or doctrine, there are TWO
MARRIAGES – Mundane marriages (by Human contract ordinances) and Christian
marriage (by Divine Covenant Ordinance). These two are not on same platform. Notice that
while mundane marriages are contracted with exchange of payments and dowers by their
several ordinances and authorities, Christian marriage is covenanted with exchange of
pledges and vows by Christ’s authority and doctrine.

Mundane (Traditional, Cultural and/or Civil) marriages are NOT based on indissoluble
ONE FLESH divine JOINING instituted in Eden by God prior to the Fall, but are
dissoluble humanly devised betrothals, espousals and engagements outside Eden after the
Fall of Humanity from God’s glory into sin. Couples simply start living together
HARDHEARTEDLY without regard to divine ordinance and validation but bring into
marriage adulterous divorce and polygamy and other aberrations or perversions. Some
even have various gradations of marriages as found in ancient Roman Law which has three legal
gradations thus:

8
1. Usus Marriage with only simple common consent but no groom-access price by the
bride, bride price by the groom, or bride-ownership/adoption sacrifice by the priests –
dissoluble without requirements but allows polygamous concubinage;
2. Coemptio Marriage with only groom-access price and/or bride price but without bride-
ownership/adoption sacrifice – dissoluble with restitution (Mar 6:17; Luk 3:19-20; 1Cor
7:12-16) but allows polygamous concubinage;
3. Confarraetio Marriage with both bride price and bride-ownership/adoption sacrifice –
indissoluble till death (Rom 7:1-3) but allows polygamous concubinage.

Many miss the point of what HARDNESS of heart which Christ spoke in Mark 10:5 is all
about. It has to do with CULTURE that dishonours, disregards or disobeys God. Christ
was not making a new revelation about our human hardheartedness. God had told Israel
that they are a STIFF-NECKED people. So Christ was reminding the Apostles of an
obvious and old fact of human nature and culture and traditions of the Jews which also
applies to Gentiles and their cultures till today (Eph 4:17-20).

Therefore, mundane hardhearted Cultural or Civil and darkhearted Traditional marriages


belong to the people who desired such, contrary to that instituted at the beginning as Christ
pointed out and sought to restore in Mark 10:5-9. The world does with marriage whatever
seems rationally and emotionally convenient to them based on their hardhearted Cultures.
This marriage is powered by human passion and founded on DEMAND-oriented
relationship leading to relational scarcity.

Christian marriage is covenant joining belonging to God as He instituted it in the


beginning. The Church must do with marriage, only what is spiritually right with God as
He has commanded in the inspired Scripture. This marriage is powered by the Spirit of
Grace and wisely founded for a SUPPLY-oriented relationship leading to relational
surplus.

These two are not on same platform.

Christians married before conversion should endeavour to solemnize their marriage in the
Church according to God’s holy ordinance. This is called Marriage Blessing. When Christians
approach marriage issues, they must be diligent to distinguish true marriage solemnized in the
Lord (1Cor 7:10-11) from the false marriages not solemnized in the Lord (1Cor 7:12-15). For
instance marriage is:

OTHER MUNDANE MARRIAGES: CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE:


1).Between a couple who hold unto their 1).Between a couple who leave their parents
parents and so, remain separate as two. and so, become joined as one. (Mark 10:6-
9; Ps. 45:10,16)
2).Dissoluble by Man, Multipliable, 2).Indissoluble by Man, Exclusive,
Polygamous, Homosexual. Monogamous, Heterosexual.
3).Seeks to please people and subservient to 3).Seeks to please Christ and operates from
the world rather than to Christ. heaven above the powers of this world.

9
4).Symbolises human infidelity. 4).Symbolises Divine covenant fidelity.
5).Effected by payment of Dowry and Bride 5).Effected by Covenant Vows based on
Price set by the receiving party. standards set by Christ.
6).Validated by BETROTHAL from Parents, 6).Validated by JOINING from God
Community, or false gods. through the Church and its Ministers.
7).Non-binding, but valid as long as interest 7).Binding as long as life lasts and valid till
lasts (1Cor. 7:12-16). death (1Cor. 7:10,11,39; Rom. 7:1-3).
8).Based on demand and perquisites from 8).Based on duty and pledges from divine
human viewpoint. viewpoint (Gen 2:18-23; Eph 5:22-33).
9).Biblically described as THE REST who 9).Biblically described as THE truly
HAVE A WIFE/HUSBAND they live with MARRIED (1Cor. 7:10) IN THE LORD
(1Cor.7:12,13). (1Cor 7:39).
10). Entered into according to cultural 10). Entered into according to God’s Holy
ordinances for human ESPOUSAL or Ordinance for Divine JOINING or UNION
BETROTHAL to please people or self. to please God as its Author.

It goes without saying that the best of traditional, civil, or other marriages, cannot qualify as
true marriage to a Christian. At best, they serve as mere engagements and should not warrant a
Christian man to take/have a woman as his wife sexually. Those married before conversion are
permitted to stay-on in peace as long as the unbelieving partner is willing (1Cor. 7: 12-16).
TRUE CHRISTIANS NEVER SUE FOR DIVORCE. If both become converted, their marriage
must take a new form in accordance with holy ordinance of the Gospel of Christ (Mark 10: 6-12;
Rom. 7:1-3; 1Cor. 7:1-11), and then it could be described as being in the Lord (1Cor.
7:39). True Marriage is therefore a public marital union between one man and one woman
who are both in the Faith of Christ, and who resolve by solemn COVENANT to live
exclusively for each other as husband and wife for life in accordance with the Truth of
Christ’s Gospel.

THE PROCESS OF GETTING MARRIED.


From what we have already learned, in getting married we need to ensure that we be our best, get
God’s best for us, and give no room for the devil; in this way we get the desirable/ideal home.
This is only possible if we do the following properly:

(1) Praying for God’s guidance in choice of marriage partner as early as possible, even by the
parents from early age.
NOTE:
Decision and desire to marry someone “according to God’s holy ordinance” should be
decision and desire to sacrificially live and die for the good of such a one in order to
please God. Christians should not hope to marry someone who will obey their
commands or fulfil their demands, but someone they will pledge to dedicate their lives
to please unconditionally and selflessly (1Cor 7:2-5, 32-35). Readiness for marriage is
willingness to stop living for oneself and start living for someone else.

10
(2) Preparing to marry as well as to be married (develop good qualities: socially, spiritually,
materially, physically and mentally, that make you capable of and ready for marriage
according to God’s standards).
NOTE:
Marriage is neither mandatory nor guaranteed for all by God. Not everyone shall or
can marry either because of congenital and acquired limitations or because of spiritual
and circumstantial considerations (Matt 19:11-12; 1Cor 7:6-9, 32-38). Marriage love
requires careful consideration of all you could know now and faithful expectation for
what you cannot know now. Never be blind now nor ever lose hope in the future.
Prepare and agree with God to unconditionally seek to selflessly satisfy and
appreciate the spouse you will marry and be ready to gladly live/die WITH and
live/die FOR him/her.

(3) Proceeding to marry as you –


a. Find (desire and discover good qualities Prov 18:22; 19:14; 31:10) a partner you are
convinced is capable of and ready for marriage according to God’s standards; this requires
wise inquiry and keen observation.
NOTE: THE WORKINGS OF GOD’S WILL
God conceives and conceals His purpose and power as MYSTERIES of His Will to
be hidden and unknown;
but God reveals and declares His purpose and power as MESSAGES of His Word
to be heard and known,
and God fulfils and performs His purpose and power as MANIFESTATIONS of
His Works to be seen and known.
God’s WILL on the pattern of principles and persons to marry is invariable ideal
WITHOUT CHOICE, demanding comprehension and obedience.
God’s LEADING on a particular person to marry is variable deal WITH CHOICE,
depending on commitment and experience.
GOD’S WILL for marriage is conceptual or in PRINCIPLES (not in particular persons)
that we marry in order to do all things UNTO THE LORD (i.e. marry in order to fulfil
His purpose Col 3:23) and that we should be married IN THE LORD (i.e. married to
a believing spouse covenanted among believers 1Cor 7:10, 39).
GOD’S LEADING for our choice of the particular person we marry and particular time
we marry is circumstantial or by PROMPTINGS, depending on how we walk with
Him and live for Him.
REMEMBER THAT GOD’S WILL IN MARRIAGE IS NOT ONLY ABOUT WHO
YOU GET MARRIED TO BUT ALSO ABOUT HOW YOU RELATE WITH YOUR
SPOUSE.
b. Choose (discern and decide which person Prov 31:29; Song 6:8-9) the partner you are
convinced God has prepared you for and who you are ready to tolerate and appreciate,
gratify and be grateful to, die for and live with according to God’s will (see Seminar 3 on
Knowing God’s Will) and God’s leading (Ruth 1:16-17; Mat 1:18-25).
NOTE:
Precious things like marriage cost great price. No perfect partner (including your very
self) exists in this life. Marry the spouse you are sure is God’s will for you to
unconditionally appreciate and gladly live/die with and live/die for according to God’s

11
will. Hit-and-run mindset or “take-what-you-want” mentality are only fit for divorce not
for Christian Marriage. The right mindset and attitude is “give-all-your-best” unto
the end.
Christian Marriage is like a good ministry we are convinced we received from God by
His favour and mercy (2Cor 4:1). The right spouse is the one you are meant to make-
up for not just the one meant to make-up for you, the partner you are good for not the
one good for you. Christ did not choose the Church because the Church is good for him
because He is good for the Church and is ready to be so good to the Church unto the end,
except we back out by ourselves. Those who are in Christ will be rewarded when they
overcome unto the end (Rev 2:26).
Prophets have been lead into exceptionally dangerous dramatic marriages of painful
tragedy (Ezekiel 24:15-27) and shameful frustration (Hosea 1-3) to dramatise
prophetic signs and wonders (Isa 8:1-4 and 18). These are not standards for normal
marriages;
c. Secure consent/agreement to start confirmation of intentions – clearing doubts/impediments,
performing medical tests, confirming God’s will, securing parental consent, building
trust/love, praying and planning together for engagement/betrothal and eventual marriage;
d. Make commitment/engagement/betrothal to proceed to courtship – hastening to marriage.
NOTE: The devil and the world have devised pretentious traps under various guises called such
names as dating, boyfriend-girlfriend, relationships, which are all meant to permit sexual
immorality rather than exclude such sexual defilements. Christians should have nothing to
do with such carnal and deceptive terms and intents.

(4) Purity and sincerity in all courtship relationships – avoiding all appearance of evil (Eph
4:17-21; 1Thes. 5:22), and giving no place for the devil (Eph. 4:27) till after the wedding;

(5) Partaking in godly marriage covenant (wedding), to solemnise matrimony first before
consummation (sexual union) to seal matrimony (married life). Thereafter is the
continuation with faithful complementary roles that make for the desirable/ideal Christian
home.

COMPLEMENTARY ROLES FOR CHRISTIAN MATRIMONY.


Christian marriage union is the complementary union of a loving husband and a helping wife,
who have vowed to themselves under God to fulfil their covenant roles and responsibilities
according to godly precepts and divinely ordained marriage pattern and principles (Eph 5:21-
33). The Christian Marriage Covenant binds the couple socially, sexually and spiritually. The
husband should have concern about his wife’s needs in order to love her cherishingly, whereas
the wife should have commitment to her husband’s purposes in order to help him sufficiently.
Couples should know that complementing each other in marriage does NOT include compelling
each other.

Complementariness is based on the fact that spouses are two imperfect and inadequate
partners in their different respects, so that each spouse serves to complement and compensate
the inadequacies and deficiencies of the other. Marriage is not mandatory for all nor is it
possible for all (Mat 19:11-12; 1Cor 7:6-7). Those who are opportune or chose to go into
marriage must take the responsibility for the relentless determination to scale huddles of

12
human weaknesses and make their marriage work as God has intended it (1Cor 7:32-36).
Only then could such couple enjoy the blessings and blessedness of marriage. Good marriage
does not happen on its own; it is made through unyielding effort and unwavering faith. Good
marriage comes when each spouse enjoys making up for the other and making the other
happy, unconditionally as God’s Word has designed not as we desire, dream or demand. Our
desires must not clash with God’s design. Marriage is a mission to love and help someone for
life.

Christ taught that marriage should be as God meant it to be “in the beginning of creation” at
Eden before the hearts of Adam and Eve hardened to sin (Mar 10:5-6). Therefore God’s
garden pleasure (Eden=pleasure or delight in Hebrew) should be the portion of couples in
Christian Marriage. For any couple to enjoy God’s favours of Christian Matrimony (Prov. 5:18-
19; 18:22; Eccl. 9:9; Song 3:3-5) and please God who instituted it, the husband and wife must
understand that God designed marriage to work if both spouses married for the sake of making
sacrifices to unconditionally meet out sufficient and befitting help to each other. Marriage was
NOT designed by God for making selfish demands and seeking out excessive and undue ‘help’
from the other. Marriage relationship is for complementary covenant roles; Couples must fulfil
these roles lovingly, forgivingly and zealously in the fear of God. The closer Christian couples
walk with God (consecration), the closer they blend with each other (complementary
intimacy) and the healthier they express themselves to each other (communication).

Complementariness in marriage (which is not competitiveness in conflict) requires GOOD


COMMUNICATION. Communication is when we express ourselves with a combination of our
motive, mood, gesture (company, attention, touch, eye, face) and words (message, tone, pitch).
What is often forgotten in communication is CONTEXT of communication RELATIONSHIP.
When there is communication exchange, shared cognisance of the contextual milieu and
contextual standing of each communicating party is important for smooth flow of feelings,
information and opinions.

In the communication relationship, there is for instance, need to take cognisance of contextual
standing of instructor-learner, parent-children, husband-wife, elder-younger, leader-follower,
teacher-student, brother-sister, pally-pally, broadcaster-audience, proposer-opposer, upload-
download, suggestion-instruction, transmission-reception, inquiry-directive, etc, which should
determine the mind-set and the role of each communicating party. Also, contextual milieu
which affects its order and protocol whether to be amorous, palliative, eulogistic, interrogative,
competitive, suggestive, instructive, expressive, educative, correction, directive, rebuke, etc.
Dialogue easily turn into dispute and conversation into contention when each communicating
party has different perspectives of each other’s context and standing.

Most men desire that their wives would communicate many things to them especially for
compliance; while most women desire that their husbands would communicate many things to
them especially for comfort. Husbands desire being honoured as valiant and powerful champs,
while women desire being honoured as valuable and precious chicks! When couples learn how
to skilfully communicate with good understanding of this complementary context to meet these
felt needs, their relationship is more fulfilling and seamless.

13
“He needs her admiration as much as she needs his
appreciation. He needs to hear the words "I'm proud of you"
as much as she needs to hear the words "I love you."”
Skill and sensitivity, warmth and wisdom (not words only) are needed to effectively combine
these modes of expression to express ourselves the way we want our communication to be
perceived and to produce the response we want to elicit. However, our skill in utilising these
modes of expression effectively for appropriate perception depends on divine grace, our good
intensions and our positive attitudes. Flatterers, vain talkers and deceivers like Delilah (Judg
16:15-17), the generation of ungodly men (Psa 12) and the adulterous seductive women (Pro 5:3;
7:5, 21) know how to communicate to convince, agree, deceive and entice; but Christians do not
know how to communicate God’s mind in Bible-based speech (Col 3:16-20) seasoned with salty
words, graceful responses and meek disposition (Col 4:6; 1Pet 3:5). Instead we argue, resent, nag
and quarrel based on our personal purposes and selfish passions rather than the divine pleasure.

Complementary marriage responsibilities are unconditional – they are NOT responses to


reward the good behaviour of the other spouse, BUT responsibilities in-spite-of whatever
behaviour of the other spouse. Complementariness is neither competition nor casualness, but
cooperation and commitment, or agreement and encouragement, gratification and gratitude,
tolerating and appreciating one another. Each spouse should partner with the other to make-up
for what the other is naturally and reasonably unable to cope with. Complementariness is not
about giving commands to be obeyed or making demands to be fulfilled.

(1) Both husband and wife must have covenant concern, mutual respect and conjugal love
towards each other (Mal. 2:14-16; 1Cor. 7:3-5; 1Pet. 3:7). This is the basis for true
Christian marriage.

(2) The husband should lead and rule (i.e. watch or look after as one who is ultimately
accountable NOT boss over Heb 13:17) as the head for the wife’s comfort; while the wife
should submit and support (help adequately Gen 2:18-20) as the body for the husband’s
companionship (Gen 3:16,17; Eph. 5:22-25; 1Pet. 3:1,5,6). A woman not happy to be
overruled by her husband’s decision, as Godly order has established, is not ready for
marriage; also a man not happy to avail all his possession to his wife is not ready for
marriage. If husbands feel good for being the head that DIRECTS the body, Christian
wives who are spiritual should feel even better for being the body that SUPPORTS the
head. Does the Church not love Christ and rejoice with unspeakable joy (1Pet 1:8) for being
Christ's body? Or should the Church rather seek to ascend to become the head instead – as
Lucifer sought to do (Isa 14:12-15)? God forbid.

(3) The husband should cherish his wife, protecting her; while the wife should honour her
husband, helping him (Gen. 2:18; Eph. 5:28,29,33). This emotionally refreshes both
couple.

(4) As the father, the husband should provide (strategically plan and direct) for the home; while
the wife, as the mother, should keep (operationally care for and manage) the home (Prov.
31:13-22; 1Tim. 5:8; Tit. 2:5). This makes the burden light on either side.

14
As Father and Mother to the children in the home (biological, adopted or co-opted) should
be parented as are gift and heritage from the Lord. Parenting is about being careful to be
concerned and reachable for the children, eschewing conflict and harassment (Gen 37:3, 23;
25:28; 27:1-6), ensuring nurture in godliness and responsibility among the children (Prov
22:6; Luk 2:40; Eph 6:4).

(5) The husband cleaves to the wife, conjugally cheering/gladdening her up; while the wife
desires after the husband, conjugally captivating/ravishing him (Gen. 2:24,25; 3:16,17;
Deut. 24:5; Prov. 5:18,19; 1Cor. 7:3-5). This nurtures strong INTIMACY that bonds the
couple together.

(6) The husband does to the wife what Christ would do to His Church ensuring her safety while
the wife does to the husband what the true Church should do to Christ ensuring His glory
(1Cor 11:2; Eph 5:32; Rev 21:2). Such focus on Christ keeps the marriage godly and
holy.

(7) The husband being the stronger (rugged not superior) vessel should valiantly take up the
hazardous challenges and strenuous struggles, while the wife as the weaker (delicate not
inferior 1Pet 3:7) vessel should virtuously take up the safer chores and bearable tasks.
Muscular strength (Ruggedness) is meant for security not for superiority or supremacy.
Delicateness is meant for complementing not for complacency or competition. “Weaker
vessel” never means “inferior vessel” anyhow.

(8) Husband and wife should without rancour or rationalisation admit their inadequacies and
deficiencies when realised or observed. Each should be sensitive but sincere and
transparent in dealing with the other. Each should enthusiastically endeavour to improve
when urged to do so by the other (Pro 27:17). Each should appreciate the complementary
supplementation by the other spouse with grace and gratitude. Cooperation and
appreciation, sincerity, transparency and good communication would engender
confidence and encourage better relationship. Without good communication,
imagination would go wild, misconception and suspicion would thrive to destroy
marital relationship.

(9) The greatest key to complementariness is KNOWING WHAT SATISFIES THE


DESIRES AND ASPIRATIONS OF YOUR SPOUSE and finding ways and means to
meet those desires and aspirations in GODLINESS AND LOVE. You should know that
whatever you desire from your spouse is similar to what your spouse desires from you. You
also could know what satisfies your spouse’s desires and aspirations by noting those things
that make him/her happy or grateful (these should be done regularly and consistently) and
those things that make him/her angry or argumentative (these should be avoided or
apologised for). Most important of these usually have to do with matters relating to:
(a) Spiritual Standing: Christians want to be convinced that God is pleased in
whatever their spouses do with or ask of them. So as a Christian, ensure you relate to
your spouse with this in mind.
(b) Social Significance: Spouses want to be recognised as valuable by being respected
before you, before children and before other third parties and by being provided for

15
and protected. You should not demand but ensure such significance is provided for
your spouse.
(c) Sexual Satisfaction: Spouses wish to be satisfied sexually by their spouses and also
be seen as sexually satisfying to their spouses. Do your best to ensure both needs are
met for your spouse.
(d) Sympathetic Support: Everyone desires that loved ones would show them
understanding and sympathy when they fail to do things as expected. Why would
you hold grudges against your spouse and not rather freely release and readily
forgive the only love of your life?

(10) Complementariness demands that in conflict and hurts due to misdemeanour or


misunderstanding by either spouse, each should eschew resentment or retaliation,
grudge or rage but rather be large-hearted and meek enough to forebear and forgive.
Husband and wife should endeavour to tolerate each other and dowse each other’s taunt,
temper and tantrum by readily seeking to show:
(a) Compunction and admission of fault when they disappoint each other’s
expectations or behave contrary to the Faith. This requires sensitivity.
(b) Correction and apprehension when one relates in a way not appropriate to
situations. This requires humility.
(c) Consideration and appreciation of each other’s feelings and failings. This requires
sympathy.
(d) Compassion and affection when the other spouse is under pressure or burden of
passion or fatigue, sickness or sorrow, despair or depression, anger or anxiety. This
moves to charity and eulogy.
(e) Consecration and dedication of all dealings with the other spouse as service UNTO
THE LORD. This takes the whole complementariness to sublime spiritual levels.
This requires prayerful spirituality and devotion to Christ.

The biggest problem and ENEMY OF COMPLEMENTARINESS is forgetting to resist and


failing to overcome and reverse any innate tendency or reflex reaction which contradicts
complementariness as described above.

Husbands and wives should endeavour to avoid joining the MEN-WOMEN EPIC WAR into
their home, their thinking and their manners. This age-old epic war is prosecuted by both
men and women such that women seem to join hands (especially at beautification salons)
to counsel other women against their husbands while men join hands (especially at
recreation pubs) to counsel other men against their wives. Married couples should refuse
to carry this war over into their relationship and homes but dissociate from this epic war
by insisting that they are married to their own wife or husband not men and women.

<<BACK TO TOP>>

16
CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE SEMINAR III
by Ven Dr I. U. Ibeme http://priscaquila.6te.net ; http://www.scribd.com/ifeogo ;
Click Here For PriscAquila Christian Resource Centre
Comment on The Chapel of Grace Blog: http://thechapelofgrace.wordpress.com

CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE SEMINAR 3:


PRECAUTIONS AND PREPARATIONS

PRECAUTIONS IN THE COURSE OF GETTING MARRIED


Families, Pastors and Churches must endeavour to be involved in precautions to ensure robust
foundation for successful marriages. The Families must ensure inculcation of Christian
convictions during upbringing, but avoid meddlesome interference after marriage. The Pastors
must draw from their training and be devoted to their calling to ensure thorough biblical
Teaching, pre and post marriage Counselling, Solemnizing and Resolution of misunderstandings
(Lev 10:8-11; Deut 17:8-11; Mal 2:7; Act 20:20, 27; 2Tim 3:14-17). The Church should help to
discourage what is unbecoming of the saints and encourage what is approved of God. The
Couple on their part must ensure their Conversion to Christ, Knowledge about Christian
marriage, Choice based on irreversible convictions and unconditional commitment to
complementary intimacy according to divine ordinance.

We have already seen that to get married, apart from prayer for guidance and preparation for
marriageability, one has to go through the phases/stages of
- Finding and Choosing,
- Consent and Confirmation,
- Commitment (Engagement) and Courtship,
- Covenant (Wedding) and Consummation (Coition), then
- Continuation in Complementary union.
For each turn of these phases there are precautions that Christians must be well advised to take.

1. CONVINCED CHOICE (Finding)


(i). Believers should marry only fellow believers of similar commitment (Exo 34:14-16;
1Cor. 7:39; 9:5; 2Cor. 6:14-17) after they have prayed to God for help and guidance (Gen 24:12-
19).

(ii). Only believers are determined to base relationships and conflict resolution on the Word
of God and commitment to Christ. Unbelievers depend on ever shifting opinions, interests, and
philosophies – lacking any sure basis for agreement (Amos 3:3). Form of virtue not anchored on
God’s Word is unreliable. If you are a believer, save yourself the heartache of being in-law to the
devil and not being able to please God all through your married life!!!

(iii). Those getting married should have come of age (males from about 25years old and
females from about 20years old usually Exod 30:14; Lev 27:3-4; Num 8:24). They must first be
born again by the Holy Spirit through a lively faith in Christ.

(iv). Before choosing a marriage partner, believers must have prepared themselves to become:

17
(a) Mature in human relations and sense of respectability, morality and
responsibility.
(b) Knowledgeable in basic teachings on Christian Marriage.
(c) Worthy of being married as a favour from God to someone else (1Tim. 3:2-12; Pr.
31:10-31)
(d) Ready for marriage – Physically, Socially, Mentally, Financially, and Spiritually.
A woman who is not HAPPY to be often overruled by her husband’s decision is
not yet ready for Christian marriage; also a man who is not HAPPY to avail all
his possession for his wife is not yet ready for Christian marriage (Gen 3:16-17;
Num 30:1-9; Eccl 5:3-7; Col 3:18-19).
Marriage requires maturity for nuclear husband-wife bonding or spouse union
as well as for wider in-law relationship. Couples must give due responsibility to
their in-laws but this must never override their responsibility to their spouses.
Once married, the closest next of kin is your spouse. Especially, every wife must
take her husband’s people as her people (Ruth 1:16-17; Psa 45:10, 16).
(e) Experienced in RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD which requires maturity in
KNOWLEDGE OF GOD’S WILL and PRECEPTS (as we spiritually
meditate on what God has decreed, demonstrated and declared, commanded,
condemned and commended in His Word Josh 1:8; Rom 12:2; Eph 5:17) for
spiritual insight in God’s ways (See on “God’s Will” in Seminar 2). Such
spiritual maturity is conversant with SEEKING GOD’S GUIDANCE and
committed to FOLLOWING GOD’S LEADING and PROMPTINGS in order
to ensure right and true spiritual walk with God in life’s circumstances through a
combination of:
■ Meditation on GOD’S WORD (Psa 119:103-106),
■ Christian COUNSEL/Sharpening (Pro 15:22; 24:6; 27:17),
■ the HOLY SPIRIT’s Witness/Leading (Isa 30:21; Act 10:19-21; Rom 8:14;
Gal 5:18),
■ Faith in God (Rom 8:28, 35-39),
■ Righteous Walk (Psa 37:23-24; Pro 4:18-23; Gal 5:16),
■ all backed by PRAYER (Gen 24:12-15).
■ Often people gullibly depend entirely on:
– Trance/Visions/DREAMS (Act 10:9-18; 16:6-10; 22:17-18) and
– casting Lots/Fleeces (Judg 6:36-40; Act 1:16-26),
but these are not easy means or sure proofs of God’s will (Jer
23:16,22,32). Dreams could be a revelation from God (Act 16:6) or the product of
our minds arising from our multitudes of business (Ecc 5:3; Dan 2:29). Apart
from the Urim and Thummim (1Sam 28:6; Neh 7:65) which are no longer
existent, no other fleece-throwing type of lots-casting (Judg 6:35-40) is full proof.
Voting type of lots-casting used for getting people to office is democratically
valid (Act 1:16-26) but not always full proof.

(v). Your marriage partner should be someone you unconditionally love to marry for life at
every cost, a mature Christian like you, with compatible religious convictions, and agreeable
social background educational status, tastes, visions, goals, interests and age brackets. These are

18
to be inquired into before Engagement and discussed during Courtship. This is to avoid future
tensions and conflicts.

(vi). Our choice must be determined by our desire and decision to meet God’s standards for
marriage. Whom we find to marry is determined by how we depend on and follow after God’s
leading/guidance.

2. CONSENT and CONFIRMATION


(i). Usually it is the man who proposes (as the leading accountable partner) and the woman
who accepts marriage intentions. The man finds the wife as God leads him to choose. (Gen.
24:27; Pr. 18:22; 16:9; 19:14, 31; Ps. 37:23, 31). However, there was the unusual instance of
Ruth (Ruth 3:6-9).

(ii). After a brother who is ready for marriage has been peacefully assured of God’s
leading towards marrying a sister, the brother proposes marriage to the sister in simple and plain
language (Gen. 24:33). After prayerful and sincere consideration, the sister accepts the proposal
or rejects as the case may be.

(iii). Waiting for a brother to propose or for a sister to accept may take a long time. A brother
or sister should wait as long as he or she still has the conviction to do so (Gen. 24:49-58). The
theory of the “only particular missing rib” is mere imagination; otherwise celibacy would not be
a spiritual gift and widowers should not remarry another man’s rib! (1Cor 7:7-8). What matters
here is the concurrence of divine leading, personal conviction and mutual consent on whom to
readily offer your life to/for (Amos 3:3).

(iv). In rejecting proposals, sisters should be mature, polite, considerate but plain enough.
Brothers on the other hand should not take, “I won’t marry you” to mean, “We are enemies”.
Marital love is more important than our egotistic feelings.

(v). Christian believers do not think about nor condone sensual boyfriend and girlfriend
propositions or advances, unchaste going-out, dating and relationships as practiced in the
world today, without readiness for marriage. These postmodern heathenish ways must be
shunned together with their usual carnal inordinate affection and sexual intentions. The Church is
the household of God and we must relate amongst ourselves biblically as family members (1Tim.
5:1-3), with all purity and respect (1Pet. 1:22; 3:8-12).

(vi). After being sure that they have agreed to marry, the couple must inform their parents and
pastors or fellowship leaders immediately. This opens doors for counselling while shutting out
mistakes and regrets.

(vii). Before going further your consent must first be confirmed (i.e. clearing
doubts/impediments like HIV and SS tests, confirming God’s will, securing parental consent).
Then it must be nurtured by building trust/love and by praying and planning together for
betrothal and eventual marriage.

3. COMMITMENT (Engagement) and COURTSHIP

19
(i). Engagement is not wedding. When two mature Christians (a male and a female), having
agreed to marry each other enter into a betrothing commitment, they are said to be engaged.
This usually involves the consent of their parents and/or pastors with some basic obligations
usually expected of the man.

(ii). Courtship is not marriage. It is the period between the engagement/betrothal and
Church Wedding. Others may, but Christians cannot afford to indulge in sexual relations before
their wedding: no matter how far they have gone with traditional engagement ceremonies. Don’t
defile your relationship before solemnization. You can wait till you are TRULY MARRIED!!!
(1Cor. 6:18,19; Eph. 5:1-7; 1Thes. 4:2-8; Heb. 13:4). Marriage is worth waiting for.

(iii). Couples in courtship should appoint times to fast and pray. With the wisdom of God’s
Word, they should build each other up in the faith; discuss family plans, visions, views, and
ministries. They should learn how to adjust to and respect each other, love and be loved in all
purity. Privacy should be by staying together beyond eavesdropping distance not by closet
enclosure which gives impetus to salacious tendencies. They must avoid staying behind closed
doors, late nights, or in dark corners. Flee evil appearances to glorify God and be serious with
fellowship and Church activities.

(iv). Sexual relationship (or its appearance of fondling and petting) must be avoided at all cost
during courtship. Some who have tried to play with the fire of passion have gotten themselves
burnt to bear scars of fornication and guilt. (Prov 6:27; 1Thes. 5:22; 1Cor. 6:18; Jas. 4:7).

(v). There are safe, godly and honourable ways to show love, which are also inexpensive.
(Gen. 24:22; Phil. 4:8), e.g. letters, notes, text messages, emails, phone calls, helps, smiles,
advice, empathy and easily affordable gifts (books, cards, flowers, edibles, etc). True Love is
shown by giving some godly help or favour and paying some godly price or sacrifice for the
godly good of another. God is love and love is of God (1John 4:7-8). Any feigned show of
love that has no divine source or purpose is ultimately evil.

(vi). Christian couples in courtship must mean to marry (not to try themselves out). Apart
from fornication, other dangers to avoid during courtship include: deceit, exploitation, suspicion,
betrayal of confidence, neglect, discouragement, loss of interest, disengagement, etc.

(vii). Some laws, customs, and traditions are usually encountered during courtship. The Church
agrees that some of these that concur with our faith should not be despised but be utilised to
serve for betrothals, but never as marriage union or joining. For instance involvement of the
extended family, payment of bride price to the bride’s parents by the groom, or dowry to the
bride by her parents or by the groom and legal registration of marriage.

(viii). In following these practices Christians should refuse to be dragged into (or ensure they
drag no one into) idolatry and practices that are against the Word of God. Inconsiderate
demands (tasking the bride and demanding high bride price) should be shunned by the
Church. Nevertheless, gentleness, steadfastness, wisdom and patience are needed in handling
such issues. Sound counselling is important here.

20
(ix). Courtship is a time to ensure that the parent and relative agree to willingly release the
couples so they could effectively leave their parents to be joined as one flesh. It is also the time
to approach marriage councillors, pastors, and elders, Christian books and seminars on marriage
are important at this time. (Pr. 11:14; 15:22).

4. COVENANT (Wedding), CONSUMMATION and


COMPLEMENTING
(i) Christina Wedding is the public COVENANTING of engaged couples with
Marriage Ordinance vows derived from the teachings of Christ. For Christian believers, the
Wedding Day marks the true beginning of Christian Marriage or Holy Matrimony. It is the
day that true marriage is publicly contracted, enacted and celebrated.

(ii). The wedding service is a public examination of the basis of marriage, demonstration of
consent, declaration of marriage covenant vows, joining and blessing in the name of Christ, with
the Church as witness. The marriage Covenant Union was devised by God and so is not the
same as Friendship, Contract or Partnership devised by human minds.

(iii). In choosing the wedding date, all concerned must be considered; not only the couple, but
also their parents, the Church and the officiating ministers.

(iv). Normally when wedding a Christian maiden that has kept herself pure, she wears a
decent White wedding gown (Rev 19:8) with veiled face (Gen. 24:65; Song 4:1), bridal
adornment (Jer 2:32; Ezek 16:11-12; Rev 21:2) and the order for full wedding service is used.
This portrays and promotes chastity before marriage. For remarrying widows (Rom 7:1-4; 1Cor
7:8-9; 1Cor 7:39; 1Tim 5:11-14) the face is not veiled.

Unlike the Engagement Ring (Gen 24:22) given before marriage as a gift or token of love, the
Church Wedding Ring is not a gift but duty. The Wedding Ring is an enduring legal seal of
guarantee or certifying token of co-heritage that secures the Bride’s right of co-possession and
heritage of her husband’s estate, similar to Christ’s seal of the Holy Spirit for the Church (Eph
1:13-14). This is clearly evident from the ancient Church’s words for giving the ring, contrary to
erroneous thinking often seen today. The giving of the Bride by her family removes her from her
father’s heritage, except for her dower. The transfer of heritage security (somewhat similar to
Germanic mund or Romanic manus) through the Wedding Ring bond (Anglo-Saxon wed=bond)
ensures that no one has multiple heritage lineages. This demands the prior settlement and
fulfilment of basic communal, civil, and legal requirements. This is why Church Wedding has to
come last.

(v). Appoint and ascertain officials, Ministers, and venues well ahead of time. Give adequate
publicity. Procure appropriate wedding gown and ring (Ezek 16:8-13). Plan a brief ceremony
according to your pocket and to God’s glory. Rejoice because marriage is God’s favour towards
you for your own good (Ps. 118:23, 24). It is your day of royalty (Ps. 45).

(vi). Arrange adequate privacy and secure your own home for the honeymoon consummation
(Gen. 2:22-25; Deut. 24:5; Song 4:6), and for the continuation of the married life.

21
(vii). For the continuation of matrimony to be enjoyable, it must have a relational intimacy
nurtured by both couple playing their complementary roles well (as outlined in Seminar 2).

<<BACK TO TOP>>

22
CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE SEMINAR IV
by Ven Dr I. U. Ibeme http://priscaquila.6te.net ; http://www.scribd.com/ifeogo ;
Click Here For PriscAquila Christian Resource Centre
Comment on The Chapel of Grace Blog: http://thechapelofgrace.wordpress.com

CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE SEMINAR 4:


PROBLEMS AND REPARATIONS

REPARATIONS FOR PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH MARRIAGE.


Christian Marriage is unique. No one should enter into Christian Marriage
union with any spouse that one is not ready to happily live with for life,
unconditionally. IT IS BEST NOT TO MARRY A SPOUSE YOU ARE NOT READY TO
FORGIVE ANYTHING. YOU DON'T LOVE SOMEONE ENOUGH FOR CHRISTIAN
MARRIAGE IF THERE IS SOMETHING YOU CAN'T FORGIVE THAT PERSON FOR. Those
already married without this consideration should re-examine themselves and purpose such unto
the Lord.

ON DIVORCE:
God hates divorce, we can never get Him to like it. Evil can never become good before God (Mal
2:14-17). Divorce is the product of human culture born out of human hardness of heart. It can
never become part of God's marriage institution in the Scripture (Mar 10:1-12).
Many may rationalise or hypothesize many scenarios that may seem intolerable and intractable
to justify divorce, forgetting that the real reason for marriage is not to enjoy tractable and
tolerable situations but to help their life-partners in their intractable and intolerable situations.
Mundane and Christian marriages are on two divergent platforms. MUNDANE (Traditional
and/or Legal) marriage belongs to people who instituted it for demanding satisfaction
contrary to the beginning. The world does with their marriage whatever seems rationally
good to them based on their hard-hearted selfish Cultures. This marriage is powered by
human passion and founded on relational demand leading to relational scarcity. On the other
hand, CHRISTIAN marriage covenant belongs to God Who instituted it for selfless service
as in the beginning. The Church must do with God’s marriage only what is spiritually right
with God as He has commanded in the inspired Scripture. This marriage is powered by the
Spirit of Grace and wisely founded for relational supply leading to relational surplus.
Christian marriage has NO ROOM FOR DIVORCE WHATSOEVER (Mal 2:16; 1Co 7:10-11;
Mark 10:11-12; Luk 16:18). To divorce your spouse is to despair and prematurely
adjudge him or her as being irredeemably and eternally damned, but none has that
knowledge (1Cor 7:16) or authority (1Cor 4:5), To divorce is to be irreconcilably
judgmental against your spouse and divorce requires due judicial process. Believers cannot
dare to be that judgmentally unforgiving except the non-Christian divorces the Christian and
remarries (1Cor 7:15). The provision for adultery (Mat 5:32; 19:9) should be noted with the
fact that the adulterer had to have been judicially sued and stoned for adultery (Lev 20:10;
Deut 22:21-24; John 8:5) not merely suspected and sacked. Again the aggrieved suing
spouse must be guiltless of sin, especially of fornication (John 8:7) including mental
fornication according to Christ’s standards in Matt 5:28. Olden day’s partiality used to spare
adulterers, but today’s fairness also spares adulteresses. As much as possible Christians

23
should rather forbear and retain their erring spouses (Hosea 3; John 8:3-11), but do their
best to pray for and seek counsel and help for them. Believers should never initiate nor
provoke a divorce suit, but rather make peace (1Cor 7:15).
In event of non-Christian “marriages” done before conversion, the Christian convert spouse must
never provoke nor sue the non-converted spouse for divorce (1Co 7:12-17; 1Pet 3:1-2). Since
the Church has no platform to subject unbelievers to the doctrine of Christ and Church
discipline except to make peace, we can do nothing if the unbelieving spouse insists on
divorce despite our peace efforts (1Cor 7:15). This is one reasons why those converted before
marriage should not be unequally yoked with unbelievers (2Cor 6:14-15). Do not knowingly
get enticed to make the Devil your father-in-law!
Christian marriage when mishandled may get tense enough to cause one to depart due to fury or
abscond due to fear without divorce. Such separation must not mean divorce or lead to
remarriage, but requires chastity, prayer, arbitration and patience till reconciliation and
reunion (1Cor 7:10-11). Remarriage in the Church is only for widows/widowers (1Cor 7:39).
There is a cross to bear for every venture in this life.
Someone observed that every human is mad or nearly mad or prone to madness; and
marriage is the milieu for the easiest prevention or easiest precipitation of the symptoms.
Prayerfully comport yourself with temperance and diligently relate with your spouse in
such a delicate way that none of you cracks (1Pet 3:6-8); but if you fail, seek help. If help
fails and you are endangered and frightened, find refuge meanwhile, but never seek
divorce nor shun reconciliation. Never fail to remain hopeful because for sure, every
human is either sane or nearly sane or prone to sanity.

ON REPARATIONS
The Church’s Canon Laws and pastoral experience over the years have a wealth of wisdom on
dealing with problems that arise in marriages. Some of these are listed below:

1. UNSOLEMNIZED ESPOUSAL AND COHABITATION: couples who began to


live together as spouses on any spiritually faulty basis (e.g. premarital child bearing, unchristian
ordinances – whether trivial or traditional, idolatrous or Islamic, legal or illegal) other than
Church Solemnization are not properly MARRIED and should rectify this spiritual and
ecclesiastical anomaly by Christian solemnization of their marriage through a service of
BLESSING OF MARRIAGE. This would ensure that they go through proper pastoral
counselling and enter into proper Christian marriage covenant based on New Testament doctrine
and concept of marriage, In 1Cor. 7:10-14, unsolemnized spouses were not called THE
MARRIED by the New Testament Scriptures, but were rather called THE REST

2. SEPARATION/REUNION: couples who are separated should pray fervently for


speedy reconciliation and reunion to escape Satan’s snares (1Cor 7:5, 10, 11). They must never
contemplate wantonness or remarriage as long as they both shall live. EVEN FULL LEGAL
DIVORCE CAN AND SHOULD BE REVERSED AND ANNULLED BY CHRISTIANS.

3. DIVORCE/DESERTION by unbelieving spouse gives Privilegium Paulinum (1Cor


7:15) to the faithful spouse but advisably delayed till after Sabbatical Refractory Desertion or

24
after Remarriage of Refractory Deserter. Before taking this privilege every effort, prayer,
patience must be put in to make way for peace as pointed out in the same verse of the Scripture.

4. REMARRIAGE.
The Church has provided what they called Ecclesiastical “Excommunication” for discipline in
extreme misdemeanour (Matt 18:17-18; 1Co 5; 2Cor 2:6-11; 2Thes 3:6,14,15; 1Tim 1:20) and
Ecclesiastical “Dispensation” through the Bishops for remarriage under the following extreme
circumstances. However, no Christian should hope/aim to scheme up these circumstances in
order to obtain a “dispensation” from the Church. Approval from the Church through deception
is not the same as approval from God (John 5:30-34; 1Cor 4:3-4; Gal 6:7).
a. Death of Spouse gives freedom for remarriage to the widow/widower (Rom 7:1-3),
except that the remarriage must be in the Lord (1Cor 7:39-40). This requires a certain period of
widowhood to prayerfully consider and enquire into all matters relating to possible remarriage.
For instance: Must one remarry (1Cor 7:6-9)? And at what time (1Tim 5:9-15)? What about the
children if already born? etc.
The remarrying widow is faced with matters of forfeiting all legal rights in her late husband’s
estate and abandoning her former children with him as well as issues of possible younger
children from the new husband.
The remarrying widower is faced with the problems of joining his new wife with the children
of his late wife as well as issues of possible younger children from the new wife.
b. Privilegium Paulinum (1Cor 7:15) applicable to pre-conversion customary union with
yet unbelieving spouse who departs or divorces). However it is necessary to give reasonable time
for prayers and possible restoration or even conversion.
c. Privilegium Christum (Matt 19:9) applicable to Christian union with an apostate
spouse who becomes wayward, deserts, divorces or remarries. This privilege should be
understood to be originally meant for a situation where the adulterer or adulteress is sued and
stoned to death according to the Law (Lev 20:10). But Christians should follow Christ’s
judgment (John 8:3-11) and the Prophet Hosea’s example (Hos 3). It is necessary to give
reasonable time for prayers and possible restoration to the faith and to reunion.
d. Sabbatical Refractory Desertion by the apostate or unbelieving spouse should be
advisably ensured before remarriage by the faithful. The Church in the past has advised a
minimum of seven years of patient prayer in all purity to sue for peace and persuade for
repentance of the recalcitrant spouse before considering any privilege or dispensation for
remarriage.
e. Remarriage of Refractory Deserter makes sabbatical period unnecessary.
f. Concealment of bigamy or unbearable sexual
undifferentiation/malformation/malfunction (Mat 19:12) which to some extent may invalidate a
marriage vow to be the only living and opposite sex spouse.
g. Childlessness despite prayers of faith and long waiting on God, should never be a
reason for polygamy, remarriage or divorce. Childlessness in Christian marriage union is either
ignored or solved with legal CHILD ADOPTION (Gen 15:1-3), after all our son-ship and heir-
ship in God's Kingdom are by adoption (Rom 8:14-17; Eph 1:5; 1John 3:1-3). In-vitro
fertilisation or test-tube baby (preferred to artificial insemination) when done with the gametes of
the married couple themselves is most appropriate rather than with donor gametes or with foster
mothers which are actually complicated forms of indirect adoption.

25
5. “STATUS QUO ANTE” AT CONVERSION (1Cor 7:17, 20, 24).
a. Polygamy is unchristian, though if entered into before conversion is condoned or
tolerated by the Church on condition of no further marriage and no leadership prominence in the
Church; but may be dissolved by personal convictions, giving due consideration for the
children’s welfare and on condition of no further remarriage (John 8:11).
b. Remarried before conversion should stay remarried except for peace and restitution
but on condition of no further remarriage. Christians who remarry as a result of defiance,
backsliding or apostasy should be sanctioned with ecclesiastical excommunication and similar
discipline.
c. Broken Marriage (Divorced/Separated) before conversion should not remarry without
thoroughly resolving the pre-Christian union through pastoral counselling, prayer, peace and
patience. One should seek to reunite if the other party had not yet remarried and has also become
converted.
d. Single Parent with Extramarital Children before conversion. Such biological
children usually have no legitimate claim to their parents’ estate under most customary and
statutory marriage laws, except when properly adopted or in some other special circumstances.
The fate of such illegitimate children should be negotiated before proper marriage of former
single parents.
e. Monogamy before conversion should be upgraded to Christian Marriage with
“Marriage Blessing” service where the couple plight troth according to God’s holy ordinance.

ON INHERITANCE (See http://www.scribd.com/doc/65032801/Christian-


Family-Inheritance-and-Seccession)
There are four types of inheritance that apply in Nigeria: Testamentary, Statutory (Intestate),
Customary and Concessionary. Inheritance devolutions depend on the type of marriage
contracted (Customary Marriage or Statutory Marriage).
a. Testamentary as the Testator has the authority before death, to bequeath his non-
communal estate as he wills to any heir or child, whether biological, non-biological, adopted,
non-adopted, legitimate, illegitimate, near or far as he/she wills. The death of a testator activates
his/her Will (Heb 9:16-17).
b. Statutory (Intestate) according to probate devolution laws, usually for their widows,
legitimate (biological and adopted) descendants and kindred. This applies fully to private estate
and has limited application to customary estate inherited as native customary trust.
c. Customary for both legitimate (biological or adoptive) and even illegitimate children
according to local custom.
d. Concessionary by legitimate heirs with kind consideration for any non-adopted and
extramarital children who are testamentarily or statutorily unfavoured because they are not
legally entitled to heritage.

<<BACK TO TOP>>

Updated March 20, 2015


by Ven. Dr. I. U. Ibeme
Copyright © PriscAquila Publishing, Maiduguri, Nigeria.
PriscAquila Christian Resource Centre
http://priscaquila.6te.net ; http://www.scribd.com/ifeogo

26