God never told you to marry your spouse, so take re­spon­si­bil­ity

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - OPINION -

“IT’S been mis­er­able, guys,” one lady writes to us. “We’ve only been mar­ried for three years but it has been the worst three years of my life. What frus­trates me so much is that God con­firmed that I was sup­posed to marry him, so many times over.”

This is one of the most com­monly raised is­sues in this col­umn.

In an­other cor­re­spon­dence, an­other woman, mar­ried for 16 years to a man who proved to be patho­log­i­cal, slipped in the same sigh and words, “But God con­firmed that we be­longed to­gether in mar­riage.”

To these and many oth­ers who say, “God told me to marry him or her” we want to scream, “No, He didn’t.” How can we say that? Well, how can you say the op­po­site? We fre­quently find that the idea of God hav­ing “some­one spe­cial for just me” has an ad­verse ef­fect on those who be­lieve in it.

Some who are mar­ried feel an un­healthy sense of su­pe­ri­or­ity over sin­gle friends, for hav­ing been hand­picked by God for the es­tate of mar­riage.

Oth­ers are too quick to blame God for prob­lems that come up in their re­la­tion­ships. While oth­ers will even en­dure abu­sive and de­struc­tive be­hav­iour from their part­ners as they be­lieve it’s the “will of God” that they be to­gether.

Quite un­for­tu­nate though, is the paralysing ef­fect this no­tion some­times has on un­mar­ried peo­ple who want to be mar­ried.

Some con­clude that any per­sonal ef­fort to find a part­ner is out­side the bounds of their choice as “faith”, in their view, de­mands that they sit and wait for God to bring the right per­son to their doorstep.

The be­lief that God has one ideal choice also leads some to be too ide­al­is­tic about whom they con­sider mar­ry­ing. Since God is per­fect, it is felt that you must not set­tle for any­one who less than fully mea­sures up to your im­age of the ideal mate.

Such per­sons are quick to bail out of a re­la­tion­ship at the first sign of an­other’s im­per­fec­tions, while oth­ers wait end­lessly for that per­fect re­la­tion­ship that never comes along. But think with us for a mo­ment. If God told you to marry so-and-so, then God has vi­o­lated both your free will and the other per­son’s. By telling you that you are to marry so-and-so, God has not only vi­o­lated your will to choose, He has vi­o­lated the other per­son’s right to refuse.

But let’s hy­po­thet­i­cally sup­pose this myth is true, then God will have to be held re­spon­si­ble and there­fore take full blame for the fail­ure of that re­la­tion­ship should things col­lapse, isn’t it?

Wait­ing for God to smack you on the head and tell you whom to date and even­tu­ally marry isn’t faith.

It’s fear and the in­abil­ity to make sound choices that will com­pel you to take the full re­spon­si­bil­i­ties that come with those vol­un­tary choices.

Just as He made sal­va­tion pos­si­ble for you, but still gave you the free­dom to ei­ther choose or re­ject it, we be­lieve God of­ten presents peo­ple in your life, and it is your choice whether or not to com­mit.

There is noth­ing in scrip­ture that tells us it is our sworn duty to marry one par­tic­u­lar per­son.

Whether we marry, and who we marry, are spo­ken of in scrip­ture as part of God’s “per­mis­sive will,” some­thing He al­lows us to choose.

Is it pos­si­ble God has told a cou­ple to get mar­ried?

Look, we’re not go­ing to put God in a box. We can’t say “He can do this, but can’t ever do that”.

All we can say is that the clear­est scrip­tural teach­ing makes mar­riage our choice.

Pre­sum­ing that some mys­ti­cal lean­ing you’ve re­ceived over­rides a clear bib­li­cal teach­ing is al­ways risky and of­ten fool­ish. We have to own up to our choices, both in why we made them and how to be re­spon­si­ble in the face of them.

Here’s what we’re go­ing to in­sist on, just be­cause you be­lieve God wants you to marry one par­tic­u­lar per­son, doesn’t mean He does.

And just be­cause God doesn’t stop you from mar­ry­ing some­one doesn’t mean He agrees with you.

God didn’t “stop” a lot of peo­ple from rob­bing banks who are even now serv­ing time in prison.

The virtues of kind­ness, faith­ful­ness and good­ness de­mand that if I agreed to marry some­one, know­ing it was a life­time com­mit­ment, know­ing it would be be­yond com­pli­cated to dis­solve the union, I need to step up to face the life­time con­se­quences.

That means not just stay­ing mar­ried but stay­ing en­gaged in the mar­riage, work­ing to make it the best for this per­son that I can.

Own your de­ci­sion. Of course, seek God’s bless­ing, but just as much, seek His wis­dom in scrip­ture.

While the Bible is silent on how you can defini­tively know whom you’re “sup­posed” to marry, it does talk about the process of mak­ing wise de­ci­sions, seek­ing wise coun­sel, be­ing de­lib­er­ate and wise in your choice, con­sid­er­ing the fu­ture, and bas­ing your de­ci­sion on the right pri­or­i­ties. Face­book: Mo & Phindi In­sta­gram: Mo & Phindi Email: info@moand­phindi.com

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