From my reader – “Thank you for this opportunity. I hope your site can help to educate many in the area of marriage, so that we can have a community of very happy people – to the glory of God. The following are the common burning questions: – For believers, they want to know if the person they are about to marry is God’s will for them – Wives have a biblical obligation to respect their husbands; what should happen if marrying a man would cause a lady to lose her (sic) carrier (career) desire; is this ok for the sake of love, and biblical respect? – When couples have a problem, who is the best person to consult for advice (pastor, family, friend, nobody etc) – Can an unbeliever be the will of God for marriage to a believer? – Can you marry, and hope to change someone in the course of marriage life? Other questions may follow later. My little contribution to your site for the moment. May the Holy Spirit inspire and grant you wisdom. Thank you and God bless you”
I’ll preface the answer to this question by saying that I’m agnostic. I’m simply not sure that God exists and therefore believe in the idea that we are free to make whatever decisions we wish to in our lives, for good or for bad. I further believe that our experience of our lives comes from the beliefs that we create as a consequence of our previous life experiences.
Consequently I believe that the bible is a book of stories written by ordinary people of the time, based on their understanding of life, and reflecting their experiences. The purpose was to get a message across to their fellow-men in the only way they knew how and with whatever tools they had at their disposal at the time; stories.
So here are my thoughts on the questions asked:
For anyone going into a relationship, Christian or not, they want to know if the person they are about to marry is the best for them. I think that the best relationships come from your will to be the best you can be for that person and to go into relationship with an absolute commitment to being that. So if you believe that you can’t give your best to the person you are considering marriage to then you should not go there at all.
I want to repeat what I just said – I didn’t say that they, your future partner, has to do or be anything. I want it to be really clear here that the success of your relationship is entirely about you and your commitment and your good will to the other person. If that is good enough and it may, or may not depending on who they are, be reciprocated. All you have to decide is whether you have it within you to be and give entirely of your love to another. And this by the way may need to be a daily decision.
The writer also mentions the obligation of a woman to respect her husband. For relationship to be successful respect needs to be both ways. And, given the times we now live in, this should also be a respect for his wife’s career choices and right to pursue a career as she wants, just as he should have respect from his wife to choose his career as he wants.
And what of the question whether a non-believer can be a God willing partner to a believer. If there were such a thing, then I’m sure God would bless this union as well as any other as a means of bringing out the best in both people.
This is also what I believe a good relationship is about: me learning from you and you learning from me. This might even lead to some changes in both of us in the process. Let my put a qualifier on this though which is; don’t ever expect that you can change someone else either by marriage or otherwise. Change may happen but it will be by their choice not yours just as this article may change you but not because of anything that I’ve said but by your consideration and decision as a consequence to what I’ve said.
And the last question raised in this question was about where you go when you need advice. Any of the people you mentioned may be a good choice. You may even find an answer in discussion with the person who probably knows you best of all and that is your partner. Here the critical component is that they are supportive of you and are willing to take the time to really hear what you have to say before responding.
And finally let me applaud the writer for their want for a community of happy people. I want for that too and while you might want it for the glory of God, I will seek for it to happen for the glory of your children and the children of your children.
Thank you to the author of this question for your blessings. They are humbly accepted and sincerely appreciated.
So until next time – Relate with Love