As noted in previous articles, Religion appearing as Reason 5 in this list of 6 Reasons Marriage Fail, does not pre-conclude it is the next to last reason marriages fail.
If there are any constant themes in Scripture, one of them is to marry someone of the same belief. This does not mean, however, that a Baptist should only marry a Baptist or a Methodist a Methodist. The culmination of this teaching is found in 2nd Corinthians 6:14 which simply says:
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?”
The Greek word yoked means literally to yoke up differently, that is, figuratively to associate discordantly.
It has been said evangelistic dating is the worst kind of evangelism and the worst kind of dating. There are better ways of winning the lost.
It is disappointing to find out after marriage that, while you and your beloved were dating, attending church for him (or her) was just an occasion to be together, and now you learn your spouse has no real Spiritual interests.
This opens one’s thinking to such a thoughts as, What else has been disguised in our dating relationship? Do I really know them? Who is this person I have married?
The following true story is not a spiritual illustration, but it does well to communicate this point.
A pretty young teen-ager, age 15, was swept off her feet by a tall, handsome young man of eighteen.
Other than being interested in girls, his favorite pastime was fishing. On any given Saturday morning, weather permitting, you would find him at a favorite stream, lake or river – wetting a line.
So during their dating relationship she developed a real interest in going fishing on Saturday mornings. Or so he thought.
She especially liked it when they went out in his boat. She had the best of two worlds: She could get a good tan. She had him all to herself.
This went on for years. The budding romance grew into steady dating, engagement, and finally a proposal for marriage which she eagerly accepted.
After marriage the tide turned.
Shortly after marriage, on a bright and beautiful Saturday morning, the new husband woke his wife and said, “Hey, the fish ought to be biting. How would you like to go fishing?”
She answered sleepily, “No, I’d rather sleep.”
Bewildered, he asked, “Why?”
She mumbled sleepily, “Because I don’t like to fish.”
Numb, shocked, and not understanding at all, he got his gear together and went fishing – for the first time in a long time - alone.
Sadly, he spent many hours that Saturday going through the motions of fishing; but he was really asking himself, Do I really know my wife? What else is it she might have been doing just to be with me?
It took many years for him to work through her hidden agendas.
This illustration can be applied to many different areas of a developing relationship – not just religion. Doing so might reveal and thus eliminate some surprises on the other side of the altar.
A primary reason for an extended dating period is to get to know one another better before creating a “…one flesh relationship…” as noted in Genesis 2:24.
The book Too Close Too Soon by Jim Talley and Bobbie Reed gives a lot of good information on certain time requirements for developing relationships and getting to know one another better. The title alone speaks volumes.
Genesis 24 can be titled: What To Look for If You Are Looking or more precisely Have Predetermined Biblical Prerequisites For Marriage.
So the above story will have a happy ending, my wife and I were pleased to help this couple celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary - several years ago.
Let their story be an illustration that problems in marriage are fixable.
Next time: Six Reasons Marriage Fail: Reason 6: Life Dominating Sins
Rev. Thomas (Tom) C. Lacy, Advisory Board Member of the Virginia Christian Alliance and Founder and Director, of New Hope Counseling Service.