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How To Prepare For A Happy Marriage

It is nice, but also hard to be young. Youth is a preparation for adult life. It is also in many ways a preparation for a happy marriage. With happiness I do not mean idleness - a life of doing nothing. Happiness is to fulfil your purpose in life, or, rather, God's purpose with your life. You need three things to live such a full life:

1. You need a God. There are many gods we may serve in the world. It is possible to make a god of good things, or at least things not wrong in themselves, such as money, pleasure, politics, "luck", etc. It is also possible that bad things like alcohol and drugs may become your god.

But there is only one God who is worthy of our love and trust: the living God who revealed himself in Jesus Christ. Wonderful promises are given to those who accept God as their Father and who follow Jesus (Matthew 6:33; John 6:35; Philippians 4:6, 19-20; Hebrews 13:5-8; Psalm 37:3-6; Proverbs 3:5-12).

2. You need a work. Your life should be spent to the glory of God. If you seek God's glory, it will be for your own good and also for the benefit of other people. Each Christian must therefore prepare himself for a "job". And that work - and the studies you may be doing at present to prepare you for it - must be done to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:23-25).

3. You need a partner. Pray that God will lead you to the right person (Genesis 24). Decide only to marry one who has given his or her life to Christ (2 Corinthians 6:14). Go to the places where Christians come together, so that you may meet the right kind of young people (Hebrews 10:25).

You will know by now that only real love will make a happy marriage possible. If, therefore, you want a happy marriage, you must learn to give love and to receive love. In this way you will prepare yourself to be the right partner for your future husband or wife.

1. Prepare for marriage by learning to give love:

- Show your love to God in gratitude, prayer, thanksgiving and by dedicating yourself to him.

- Show your love to those in need - destitute children; the poor; the jobless; the hungry; the elderly; the lonely; those without the true gospel; your parents and grandparents. Do something practical, like teaching Sunday School to neglected children, or showing God's love to those mentioned in Matthew 25:31-46.

- Give loving attention to your work and study, sport and cultural activities.

- Discipline yourself to really consider and respect that person who may become your future husband or wife. It is possible that your present girl friend might not become your wife. Therefore respect her and her body as God's gift to her husband-to-be. It is possible that your present boy friend may not become your husband. Therefore do not tempt him to disrespect your wonderful body, the temple of God's Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).

2. Prepare for marriage by learning to receive love:

- Learn to accept the undeserved love of God for you (Ephesians 2:8-10; Romans 5:6-9). Learn to rejoice in your new life, and to be thankful in all things (Ephesians 3:14-19; 5:18-20).

- Learn to accept the love of fellow Christians. Join in church fellowship, Bible study and cultural activities such as listening to good music. Study an interesting subject and learn in this way to accept God's wonderful gifts in creation.

If we learn to receive love and to give love, we are prepared for a happy marriage. Love grows in marriage and one becomes more able to receive more love from God and from one's partner. And this enables us and obliges us to give more love to God, to our family and those around us.

Is a public marriage ceremony necessary?

Many marriages are indeed too expensive. If people do not believe in the permanency of marriage or if they practise sex outside marriage, then marriage is indeed hypocritical.

Although marriage is a mutual promise or covenant between two people, it should not be a secret but a public ceremony. The family on both sides should normally approve of it. In times of trouble they will help the couple. Love is a precious thing and all must work together to allow its growth. A secret marriage should not remain a secret.

Must one marry in church?

A marriage should be contracted in faith in God and with prayer. People must be joyful at marriage, thanking God for his love given in Christ and for the couple's love for each other. A civil marriage (at the magistrate's office) is also a valid marriage, but faith, prayer and thanksgiving are a must for any Christian marriage. The church is the normal place to do that.

Prayer: O Lord, help me to meet that special person you have planned  for me, with whom I can enjoy the rest of my life. And help us to glorify  you in everything we do and say. Teach me to give and receive real love.  Amen.

Questions to Discuss in the Group

1. Why are some Chistians not happily married?

2. Why should we pray God for the right husband or wife?

3. Why is it not always easy to give or to receive love? What should you  do when it happens to you?

4. How can you avoid temptations when you are with your boy friend or girl  friend?

Now see for yourself whether you understood God's word about love and sex.  Print out the Course Test, complete it and send it to Biblecor. You may  also ask your personal questions. A counsellor is ready to answer you with  a confidential personal letter.