Welcome to the concluding article of this series. I am sure you have learnt quite a lot that will help you establish a Godly successful Christian home. As we conclude, I will be teaching today on The Next Important Step Towards Marriage.
A Formal Engagement
It is wrong for a man and a woman to start living together without fulfilling the marriage rite. That is, don’t just grab a woman and start living together as man and wife. That is very wrong, especially for a Christian. Wisdom demands that you give honour to the family of your wife/husband-to-be by participating in a formal engagement. In order to fulfill all righteousness, there is need to formally and publicly introduce yourselves to parents, relations, and friends. In some cultures, it is also a time for the payment of dowry. Pay the stipulated dowry, but ensure that whatsoever you do does not violate your Christian principle. Whatever you give as dowry must be things that will glorify God and not condemn your conscience.
I took a closer look at Isaac and Rebekah’s wedding. Although it is not a typical wedding, since Isaac did not go in search of Rebekah himself, but we can learn a few lessons from it. In Genesis 24:53 the Bible says: And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiments, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things. Rebekah’s people were only given precious and honourable things, not things for rituals! Let me state very clearly here that it is very scriptural to pay dowry! This is a good process to follow.
A U-Turn is Permitted
Some are in such a hurry to tie the nuptial knot that they do not take time to get to know each other or refuse to be true to each other. The courtship period is a time to prove all things about your mate (1 Thessalonians 5:21). It’s true you have decided to spend the rest of your lives together, but you must not take things for granted either. My husband often says humorously that assumption is the mother of frustration! You shall not end your journey in frustration!
If during courtship you discover that two of you cannot “walk” together, that is, you are not compatible and, therefore, cannot make it together, a U-turn is permitted. A U-turn in this sense is putting an end to the courtship. If you feel you have made a wrong choice, call the relationship off! A broken courtship is permitted, if necessary. It is better to break a courtship than to end a marriage in divorce. After all, a broken courtship is not the same as a divorce!
A Public Christian Wedding
Very successful courtship should culminate in marriage. Marriage is a covenant relationship between a man and a woman on the horizontal level, then between God and both of them on a vertical level. For this reason, it is important to have a public Christian wedding ceremony in a Bible-believing church. When you have your wedding in church, you have formally invited God to be the third party in your union. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says: And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
It is true that marriage is a covenant relationship between two people, but a public wedding affords members of your family, community, friends and well-wishers from far and near the opportunity to share the joy of the day with you. A public Christian wedding also makes it impossible for people to claim not to know that you are married. Although, in this “fast” age, some young ladies and even men don’t mind going out with married men/women, a public wedding helps keep them off! It sanitizes your environment. What’s more? It has been discovered that marriages conducted in church stand a greater chance of being successful than those that are not.
MAKING WRONGS RIGHT
Some people get troubled when they read materials like this, probably because they have been living together with their partners without paying the dowry, having a formal engagement or a public Christian wedding. Rather than feel or live in condemnation, why not make things right? Take steps right away, go and pay the dowry! If you are not legally married and you fall under this category, go and “legalize” your union. This you can do, for instance, by going to the court for a court wedding. Then look for a minister of the gospel to bless your union.
Time never corrects an error! An error yesterday remains an error today, except it is corrected. You can make wrongs right! Many people suffer unduly because they despise this winning path. I have seen women cruelly driven out of their homes at the death of their husbands, because their union was “illegal”. The woman has no voice, because she has no legal standing. Wisdom is profitable to direct!
I remember a woman I counselled sometime ago. She had been going through a rough time in her home and was ready to call it quits. To make matters worse, she had no child. When I interviewed her closely, I discovered a lot of loopholes. Nothing has been given as dowry, and there was nothing legally binding the man and the woman. That is, there was no court wedding or church wedding, yet both parties started living together as husband and wife. I counselled her to ensure that the dowry is paid, legal papers signed in the court of law, and their union blessed by a minister of the gospel. The next time I saw her, she was over-joyed and full of testimonies. To the glory of God, today all is well with that family. To crown it all, she now has a baby!
Christ is the foundation of any successful home. To accept Him now as your Lord and personal Saviour please pray this prayer: “Dear Lord Jesus, I come to You today acknowledging that I am a sinner who needs Your forgiveness. I believe You died for me and rose again on the third day. Forgive me my sins, wash me with Your Blood and write my name in the Lamb’s Book of life. Thank You Lord for saving me.”
Congratulations! That’s it! Till I come your way next time, please call or write, and share your testimonies with me through: E-mail: email@example.com; Tel. No: 07026385437, 08141320204.
For more insight, these books authored by me are available at the Dominion Bookstores in all Living Faith Churches and other leading Christian Bookstores: Singles With A Difference, A Living Witness and Marriage Covenant.