Marriage, Love & Sex

[Note: The following is an excellent paper written by my Captain Mike. My husband wrote that paper for our children – we have seven children between us – and he wanted to make sure that after our own personal past failures that the kids (even the grown and married ones) realized that we had both found God’s way for marriage; he wanted to not only model that for them, but to instruct them on how to achieve it. He is one of the wisest men I know, and it is a privilege to be able to put his paper out here. I hope that you will take the time to read it, and take to heart the wisdom that my dear husband has distilled in written form.  Pastora Covert]

In The Beginning

Adam and Eve were the first man and wife – the first to become one flesh.

Gen 2:20-25

(20)  And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

(21)  And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

(22)  And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

(23)  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

(24)  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

(25)  And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

God created us to love and get married and to have sex. There is no shame in being one flesh, and God doesn’t look the other way when you are of one flesh.

God also had Moses write down the unlawful sexual practices that we are commanded not to do. Most of these Levitical laws are echoed in the laws of our nation. However there are now special interest groups in our country that want these laws repealed so that they can freely do these things that God detests. They believe that if these practices are not illegal, then it is okay to do them.

God’s laws, however, are higher than the laws of man. These laws should be read because our society has recently been embracing the concept of “inclusiveness”, which means that if you don’t accept and esteem everyone else’s moral values as highly as your own, then you are a “hatemonger” and “prejudiced”.

Although we don’t need to dwell on the details, we need to read and comprehend God’s standard for human sexuality. The following passage from Leviticus is the stuff that the Jerry Springer show is made of.

Unlawful Sexual Relations

Leviticus 18

1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Say to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord your God. 3 Do not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived. And do not do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you. Do not follow their laws. 4 You are to do what I say and keep My Laws and live by them. I am the Lord your God. 5 So keep My Laws and do what I say. If a man obeys them, My Laws will be life for him. I am the Lord.

6 ‘You should not go near a person of your own family to have sex. I am the Lord. 7 Do not put your father to shame by taking the clothes off your mother. She is your mother. Do not take her clothes off. 8 Do not take the clothes off your father’s wife. Her body is for your father. 9 Do not take the clothes off your sister, the daughter of your father or of your mother, if she is born at home or away from home. 10 Do not take the clothes off your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter. For they are of your own family. 11 Do not take the clothes off your father’s wife’s daughter, born to your father. She is your sister. 12 Do not take the clothes off your father’s sister. She is of your father’s own family. 13 Do not take the clothes off your mother’s sister. She is of your mother’s own family. 14 Do not put your father’s brother to shame. Do not go near to take the clothes off his wife. She is of your family. 15 Do not take the clothes off your daughter-inlaw. She is your son’s wife. Do not take her clothes off. 16 Do not take the clothes off your brother’s wife. Her body is for your brother. 17 Do not take the clothes off a woman and her daughter. And do not take the clothes off her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter. They are of her own family. It is sin. 18 While your wife is still living do not marry her sister making her as important to you. Do not take off her sister’s clothes.

19 ‘And you are not to go near a woman to take off her clothes during the time when she has a flow of blood. 20 Do not have sex with your neighbor’s wife. You would be unclean. 21 Do not give any of your children as a gift on an altar to the false god Molech. Do not put the name of your God to shame. I am the Lord. 22 Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman. It is a sinful thing. 23 Do not have sex with any animal, or you will be unclean. And no woman should give herself to an animal to lie with it. It is a sin.

24 ‘Do not allow yourself to sin in any of these ways. For by doing all these things the nations that I am driving out in front of you became unclean. 25 For the land is unclean. So I have punished its sin. The land has spit out its people. 26 But as for you, you are to keep My Laws and do what I have decided. Do not do any of these sinful things, not you or the man who lives among you from another land. 27 For the men who have lived in the land before you have done all of these sinful things. The land is unclean. 28 Do none of these things or the land will spit you out when you make it sinful, as it has spit out the nation that was before you. 29 Whoever does any of these sinful things will be cut off from his people. 30 So do what I say. Do not do any of these sinful things that were done before you. Do not make yourselves sin by doing them. I am the Lord your God.’ ”

Proper Sexual Relations

The following is the story of how a man prayed to God to find a “good wife” for his son to marry.

Genesis 24: 1-67

1 Abraham was now a very old man. The LORD had made him rich, and he was successful in everything he did.

2 One day, Abraham called in his most trusted servant and said to him, “Solemnly promise me

3 in the name of the LORD, who rules heaven and earth, that you won’t choose a wife for my son Isaac from the people here in the land of Canaan.

4 Instead, go back to the land where I was born and find a wife for him from among my relatives.”

5 But the servant asked, “What if the young woman I choose refuses to leave home and come here with me? Should I send Isaac there to look for a wife?”

6 “No!” Abraham answered. “Don’t ever do that, no matter what.

7 The LORD who rules heaven brought me here from the land where I was born and promised that he would give this land to my descendants forever. When you go back there, the LORD will send his angel ahead of you to help you find a wife for my son.

8 If the woman refuses to come along, you don’t have to keep this promise. But don’t ever take my son back there.”

9 So the servant gave Abraham his word that he would do everything he had been told to do.

10 Soon after that, the servant loaded ten of Abraham’s camels with valuable gifts. Then he set out for the city in northern Syria, where Abraham’s brother Nahor lived.

11 When he got there, he let the camels rest near the well outside the city. It was late afternoon, the time when the women came out for water.

12 The servant prayed: You, LORD, are the God my master Abraham worships. Please keep your promise to him and let me find a wife for Isaac today.

13 The young women of the city will soon come to this well for water,

14 and I’ll ask one of them for a drink. If she gives me a drink and then offers to get some water for my camels, I’ll know she is the one you have chosen and that you have kept your promise to my master.

15-16 While he was still praying, a beautiful unmarried young woman came by with a water jar on her shoulder. She was Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Abraham’s brother Nahor and his wife Milcah. Rebekah walked past Abraham’s servant, then went over to the well, and filled her water jar. When she started back,

17 Abraham’s servant ran to her and said, “Please let me have a drink of water.”

18 “I’ll be glad to,” she answered. Then she quickly took the jar from her shoulder and held it while he drank.

19-20 After he had finished, she said, “Now I’ll give your camels all the water they want.” She quickly poured out water for them, and she kept going back for more, until his camels had drunk all they wanted.

21 Abraham’s servant did not say a word, but he watched everything Rebekah did, because he wanted to know for certain if this was the woman the LORD had chosen.

22 The servant had brought along an expensive gold ring and two large gold bracelets. When Rebekah had finished bringing the water, he gave her the ring for her nose and the bracelets for her arms.

23 Then he said, “Please tell me who your father is. Does he have room in his house for me and my men to spend the night?” 24  She answered, “My father is Bethuel, the son of Nahor and Milcah.

25 We have a place where you and your men can stay, and we also have enough straw and feed for your camels.”

26 Then the servant bowed his head and prayed,

27 “I thank you, LORD God of my master Abraham! You have led me to his relatives and kept your promise to him.”

28 Rebekah ran straight home and told her family everything.

29-30 Her brother Laban heard her tell what the servant had said, and he saw the ring and the bracelets she was wearing. So Laban ran out to Abraham’s servant, who was standing by his camels at the well.

31 Then Laban said, “The LORD has brought you safely here. Come home with me. There’s no need for you to keep on standing outside. I have a room ready for you in our house, and there’s also a place for your camels.”

32 Abraham’s servant went home with Laban, where Laban’s servants unloaded his camels and gave them straw and feed. Then they brought water into the house, so Abraham’s servant and his men could wash their feet.

33 After that, they brought in food. But the servant said, “Before I eat, I must tell you why I have come.”  “Go ahead and tell us,” Laban answered.

34 The servant explained: I am Abraham’s servant.

35 The LORD has been good to my master and has made him very rich. He has given him many sheep, goats, cattle, camels, and donkeys, as well as a lot of silver and gold, and many slaves.

36 Sarah, my master’s wife, didn’t have any children until she was very old. Then she had a son, and my master has given him everything.

37 I solemnly promised my master that I would do what he said. And he told me, “Don’t choose a wife for my son from the women in this land of Canaan.

38 Instead, go back to the land where I was born and find a wife for my son from among my relatives.”

39 I asked my master, “What if the young woman refuses to come with me?”

40 My master answered, “I have always obeyed the LORD, and he will send his angel to help you find my son a wife from among my own relatives.

41 But if they refuse to let her come back with you, then you are freed from your promise.”

42 When I came to the well today, I silently prayed, “You, LORD, are the God my master Abraham worships, so please lead me to a wife for his son

43 while I am here at the well. When a young woman comes out to get water, I’ll ask her to give me a drink.

44 If she gives me a drink and offers to get some water for my camels, I’ll know she is the one you have chosen.”

45 Even before I had finished praying, Rebekah came by with a water jar on her shoulder. When she had filled the jar, I asked her for a drink.

46 She quickly lowered the jar from her shoulder and said, “Have a drink. Then I’ll get water for your camels.” So I drank, and after that she got some water for my camels.

47 I asked her who her father was, and she answered, “My father is Bethuel the son of Nahor and Milcah.” Right away I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her arms.

48 Then I bowed my head and gave thanks to the God my master Abraham worships. The LORD had led me straight to my master’s relatives, and I had found a wife for his son.

49 Now please tell me if you are willing to do the right thing for my master. Will you treat him fairly, or do I have to look for another young woman?

50 Laban and Bethuel answered, “The LORD has done this. We have no choice in the matter.

51 Take Rebekah with you; she can marry your master’s son, just as the LORD has said.”

52 Abraham’s servant bowed down and thanked the LORD.

53 Then he gave clothing, as well as silver and gold jewelry, to Rebekah. He also gave expensive gifts to her brother and her mother.

54 Abraham’s servant and the men with him ate and drank, then spent the night there. The next morning they got up, and the servant told Rebekah’s mother and brother, “I would like to go back to my master now.”

55 “Let Rebekah stay with us for a week or ten days,” they answered. “Then she may go.”

56 But he said, “Don’t make me stay any longer. The LORD has already helped me find a wife for my master’s son. Now let us return.”

57 They answered, “Let’s ask Rebekah what she wants to do.”

58 They called her and asked, “Are you willing to leave with this man right now?” “Yes,” she answered.

59 So they agreed to let Rebekah and an old family servant woman leave immediately with Abraham’s servant and his men. 60 They gave Rebekah their blessing and said, “We pray that God will give you many children and grandchildren and that he will help them defeat their enemies.”

61 Afterwards, Rebekah and the young women who were to travel with her prepared to leave. Then they got on camels and left with Abraham’s servant and his men.

62 At that time Isaac was living in the southern part of Canaan near a place called “The Well of the Living One Who Sees Me.”  63-65 One evening he was walking out in the fields, when suddenly he saw a group of people approaching on camels. So he started toward them. Rebekah saw him coming; she got down from her camel, and asked, “Who is that man?” “He is my master Isaac,” the servant answered. Then Rebekah covered her face with her veil.

66 The servant told Isaac everything that had happened.

67 Isaac took Rebekah into the tent[1]where his mother had lived before she died, and Rebekah became his wife. He loved her and was comforted over the loss of his mother.

It doesn’t sound like a very fancy ceremony. Isaac took Rebekah into the tent, and Rebekah became his wife, and he loved her. They consummated their marriage right then and there. It seems that the act of sexual intercourse was the marriage ceremony.

This actually makes sense, as God said: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

It is interesting that Isaac didn’t even know that his father’s servant had gone to look for a wife for him. Isaac was out walking though a field in the evening when Rebekah showed up on her ride. When they met, they decided right there, and knew that they were entering into a lifelong commitment by going into the tent.

Protecting young adults through customs

Later in the time when Christ walked the earth there was a more formal Betrothal period. Parents usually betrothed their children to their future mates while they were boys and girls. This wasn’t a time for dating but I’m sure that they were allowed to see each other at times under close supervision. After they became adults, the man would formally ask the girl’s father for permission to marry his daughter. If the father agreed, the man would go back to his father’s land and start building a house for himself and his future bride. The parable of the ten virgins talked about the wedding guests waiting for the bridegroom to come; he wouldn’t come to take his bride until his house was finished and ready for his bride to move into.

This custom worked well and fit scripture where God said:  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The new husband and wife had their own place that was most likely next door to his father’s house. I imagine that the father helped the son build the house and the mother helped decorate it. In these times the different generations of families lived in community and helped each other in their family’s trade of work. Since the daughter-in-law was expected to join into the son’s greater extended family, she would also be subject to the leadership and moral values of the patriarch and matriarch of that family.

In our modern society, we tend to live far from other family members, with little or no interaction. If you want to live together with someone, you just get an apartment somewhere and live in anonymity. In today’s society, it is perfectly acceptable to live sexually immoral lives, and there are few if any consequences. Still, God has set a standard for mankind and it is found in the bible.

Heb 13:4

(4)  Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

1 Corinthians 10: 8-1

8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.

9 We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes.

10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. 11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.

12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!

13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Galatians 5:19-21

19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;

20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions

21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Revelation 21:6-8  – The words of Jesus on the subject (note that this was written to Christians)

6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

The new Definition of the word “Sex”

Many young people today have a very narrow definition of what the word “sex” means. Former president, Bill Clinton, gives us a good example of the way that people hedge on the subject of pre-marital or extra-marital sex ; his famous words were, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”. The woman, Monica Lewinsky after receiving immunity, provided the trial defense with a blue semen-stained dress. Although Clinton escaped being impeached, even though he perjured himself and obstructed justice, the Supreme Court later ordered former President Clinton disbarred from practicing law before the high court. After that, Clinton’s Arkansas law license was suspended for five years and he had to pay a $25,000 fine.

Even though Clinton didn’t have what he considered “sex” or, more accurately, “sexual intercourse”, he still did acts that were “sexually immoral.”

Here is what the Bible says about sexual immorality.

1 Corinthians 6:9, 18-20

9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders

18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.

19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;

20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Young Christians who are not familiar with God’s word often use the same line of reasoning as Bill Clinton, arriving at the concept that they can remain “technical virgins”, thus avoiding any sin. The thought is that they can do anything with their partners as long as they don’t have intercourse. So these Christians think that they can take different partners, be naked in bed together; physically bring each other to a climax and total sexual satisfaction, all without sinning as long as they don’t technically have intercourse. Later when they get married to someone else, on their wedding night they can present themselves to their new spouses as virgins who saved themselves only for their future husband or wife.

I can tell you that while engaging in these practices, mental and emotional attachments are made. The bible says he who sins sexually, sin against his own body. If you have been emotionally attached to various partners, having experienced intense pleasure together, you no doubt have mental pictures of these experiences. The sad fact is that you will have a harder time being intimate with your chosen life partner, because you have memories of performing sexually with other partners. What you are in your mind, affects who you are in your flesh of your body. That is how you sin against your own body.

One day a woman who worked where I work started a strange conversation with me. She said that it was sad that she was over 50 years old because when she was younger she could have experienced many different sexual experiences, but didn’t take the opportunity to do so. She asked me what I thought. I said, if I had to do life all over again with the understanding that I now have, I would marry one woman and never entertain the thought of being unfaithful. I would cleave to that woman and reveal to her the depth of my soul and mind. She would be my closest friend and find me trustworthy and of goodwill toward her, and I would remain faithful to her all of my life. After my reply, the woman changed the subject. Go figure?

Interacting with the opposite sex

The simple rule for married people talking to people of the opposite sex is this:

Do not act in any way, or say anything, that you wouldn’t want your spouse to watch you doing if he/she was standing next to you.

Since the people that you interacting with don’t necessarily have that same standard, you may need to assert your boundaries. When talking with people of the opposite sex, I make it a point to talk kindly of my wife. This makes it clear that I am not interested pursuing in them. When this is clear, it is easier to have a working relationship with them.

Do not be fooled by the norms of our culture and believe that you can have a deep and meaningful friendship with a person of the opposite sex along with your marriage. This is a trap. While you can be friendly, there is a line of familiarity that will hurt your marriage if you cross it. Your closest friend and confidante must be your own spouse.

What to look for in a mate

I once had a marriage in which all we had in common was sex. It was a marriage built on a foundation of sand. There was little emotional intimacy, common goals, or even much respect of one for the other.

When you are young, you are told to try and find the best partner that you can marry. You look for physical attractiveness, health, brains, and their ability to make money, and you try to get the one with the most of all of these. That way, when you are married, you think that your life will be better.

This is the basis for a faulty foundation. To find your mate, first you should be praying for him or her as you are growing up; you don’t know him or her yet, but God does. Pray that God will protect your future mate and mold both of you so that you will be suited for each other. Ask God to lead you both to meet each other.

The basis of your relationship needs to start with a common faith in the Lord. You then have to discern if this person is “the one”. The best way to see what the nature of another person is really like is to work together on a project. Going out on a date or to a party will only show you how someone acts when they are spending money and having fun. Many confuse the fun time that they are having as the happiness of finding the right mate.

In getting to know a potential mate, it is imperative that you and s/he are comfortable to pray with each other. If you don’t have this, you don’t, and won’t, have a spiritual bond with each other.

The next thing is to discern if the person is trustworthy. There can be no mental or spiritual bond between two people unless there is trust. Here is where the problem of being actively sexually immoral can trip you up: it traps you in the area of trustworthiness. You want to pray together for God to bless your relationship, all the while knowing in your heart that you are not being trustworthy toward your mate in front of God. You end up having to choose either sexual intimacy or spiritual intimacy. Again I will tell you that sexual intimacy is a poor foundation for a marriage.

My advice is that if you are sexually intimate with someone then you need to repent. Having done that, you need to come to a decision. Your choices are:

  1. This person really is not your intended mate for life, so you end the relationship now.
  2. This person really is your intended mate for life so you go and get a marriage license now, so that you can avoid sin and live in God’s blessing. (“But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with lust.” 1 Corinthians 7:9)
  3. You are not sure whether or not this person is going to be your mate for life, so you end the sexual relationship and see if a Godly spiritual relationship builds. The person will show you in actions if they are trustworthy, and worthy of having a spiritual relation with you. The Bible has advice on this subject.

Consider the big picture. Some couples will choose to be sexually active and plan to get married as soon as they have enough money, finish school, get a better job, or whatever. It would be better to be married, even in secret, with God blessing you, than to be living in sin for any earthy gain. If you gain the whole world, can you exchange it for your soul?

Joint financial decisions

Before you ever consider marriage you need to talk extensively about how you will handle money decisions. If you are not in harmony with each other about whom will be the primary manager of it, and if you cannot agree about how your money will be spent, then you are in for trouble.

The money manager in a marriage should be the one who best qualified to do so. If you become the money manager, you will be responsible for the welfare of your whole family.

Money is a good thing. I use it all of the time. I have had times in my life where I have had a lack of it and times where I have had abundance, and of course I prefer the abundance. I have seen the Lord’s blessing in the abundant times; but even more important is the fact that I have seen the Lord’s care and provision for me in the times of lack.

How you use money directly reflects on who you are as a person. How your money is spent reveals where your heart is. The person who manages the money has the burden of always being fair with the other person. If the money manager errs in spending, the error needs to be in under-spending. The biggest truth in money managing is that you will encounter unforeseen financial need situations. It will be a crisis if you don’t have any money in reserve. A money crisis is not good for a marriage. It is emotionally draining.

For instance, if you are waiting for a paycheck to get your car running again, then you have the additional problem of finding a way to get to and from work, which will cause you to have additional costs. If you could have fixed the car yourself with parts, you have lost days of opportunity in working on it while having to wait for your paycheck. I’ve been there and done that. It is frustrating.

The old folks used to say “Put some money aside for a rainy day” There are some situations in life that only money can fix.

In America, we live in a consumer society. We are told through the media that we should have more, newer and better of everything. At work I have been told that my old van is not befitting that which a pilot should be driving. I got it 7 years ago for $500 and it has 350,000 miles on it. I have kept it going by doing proper routine maintenance. Through the years, because I did not have a vehicle payment, this has freed up money so that I could use it for other things.

In getting a loan for a vehicle, consider the added cost of comprehensive insurance, interest on the loan, and not being able to negotiate on a lower price with cash in hand. By owning an inexpensive car I have been able to loan it out to friends without worry. If they wrecked it, I could afford get another similar one. In that I have blessed my friends.

I told my youngest son that I was going to have to replace my old beater van soon. I was surprised at what he said: “Dad, don’t sell your van. Some of my best memories of camping and going places with you were spent in that van.”  It is not what you have that is important. It is how you use what you have in interacting with others that counts.

There is a saying “Some people love things and use people, and some people use things and love people.”  May you be known in life for your love of people.

I have also learned in the financially lean times of my life that even though I was poor, that didn’t make me trash. We can be gracious, dignified and caring regardless of our financial situation.

When I started flying helicopters again, I had a financial decision to make. I could afford to live in an apartment near to my work in Louisiana and stay there full time, or I could go back to Washington State each month to be by my kids, but I would have to live in my van during my time off from work. I chose the less comfortable decision of living in my van and spending most of my monthly paycheck doing things while I was with my kids. It is a good thing that we all liked camping because I couldn’t have afforded a hotel. It is a good thing that my kids liked my cooking with the Coleman stove because I couldn’t afford to take them out to restaurants. This was my lot in life, and I made the best of it. I really enjoyed our time together in the great outdoors.

Financial Tithing and Offering

Even during these hard times, I chose to tithe. For a couple, this may be the hardest thing to agree on. When giving money outside of the church, I have found that it is best to give it directly to the person who needs it. Tithing and offering is where you show proof that you have put your trust in the Lord to take care of you.

Blessed or Cursed?

The passage below is interesting. You have heard the saying, “the rain falls on the good and the bad”. Well, that is true in the every day sense of things.

Mathew 5: 43-45

43 You have heard people say, “Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.”

44 But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you.

45 Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong.

There also are times when God is dealing with sin in his people. Sometimes God has held back rain because of his people sinning.

1 Kings 8:35

35 When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; God has also opened up the heavens and sent rain as a blessing to the faithful who obey his commandments.

Deuteronomy 11:13-15

13 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul-

14 then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil.

15 I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.

Also God can send rain, which is normally seen as a blessing, and have it become a curse.

Genesis 7:12

12And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

There have been times in my life where I believe that the Lord was dealing with my sins and attitudes. I felt cursed in everything that I tried to do. I had to rely on the kindness of other just to get by. These were hard times, and yet they were precious times because the situations molded me into who I am now. If the Lord had sent me rain (blessings) during that time, it would have been a curse.

The Lord has also restored some blessings in my life. I see his hand in these things and give him the glory.

It isn’t always easy to discern the things that happen to you in life, whether they are personal blessings, curses, or God blessing everyone regardless of their situation. For instance, I worked at an aluminum smelting plant for a year, but got so sick breathing the fumes that I was medically discharged. I was sick and out of work. I had to have medical treatment. Because of my sickness, I qualified for job retraining and was given $6,500 to pay for me to become recurrent in my military ratings for flying helicopters. With that, I was able to get a much better job as a pilot.

This is where living a life worthy of being a follower of Christ brings you such peace of mind regardless of what situation you find yourself in. If you are sick, injured, or loose your job and you are right with the Lord, you can sincerely go to him and say “Lord, I am your faithful servant. Bring me through this hard time and turn what looks like a curse, into a blessing”

If you are not living right with the Lord, then you will be trapped in self-condemnation. Even if the Lord was going to bless you anyway, you won’t be in a positive mindset and the opportunity of the blessing may pass you by.

Sexual immorality puts you in a situation where you are trapped in the sin as long as you are still in the relationship with the other person. This can create a falling away from the Lord as there is no quick repentance and forgiveness, as in other sins that you may commit.

With all this said, our sovereign Lord individually created us with certain skills and attributes, in our physical body and in our minds. He has a plan and reason for how he chooses to bless us: He knows what trials me must face, and what burdens we must bear.

If it was my lot in life to be created with a poor or sickly physical body or less than normal mental abilities, I could still do well when I stand before the Lord in judgment for what I did in my life. As in the parable of the talents, we are not judged on how well we did as compared with other people; we are judged on how we to do with the talents that God gave us. Some people that seem to be the greatest here on earth will be the least in Heaven.

Again, if we are free from sin and doing the best that we can to the most of our abilities, then we will have done well in living our lives.

Alcohol

The Bible says that drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of heaven, so if the choices that you make are causing you to be a drunkard then you had better change your ways. On the other hand though, Jesus turned water into wine for a wedding celebration and drank wine with his meals. There is a difference between having a glass of wine and being a drunkard. The way to determine where you stand is to ask yourself if you can have a drink and then walk away from it. Do you drink to self medicate?

The question is this. Are you a person that is controlled by the desires of your flesh, or are you able, with your intellect and reason, to dominate your flesh and bring it into the submission of your will? If your flesh is making the choices contrary to your intellectual reasoning, then you have no place in ever touching alcohol, as each drink will just empower your flesh to have more control over your intellect.

Being drunk emotionally separates you from your sober partner. There is no intimacy with, or trust in, a drunken person. The sober person will realize that you prefer your relationship with the bottle more that your relationship with them. Drunkenness will hurt and even kill your marriage.

Finding your marriage partner

Do you want a marriage like Fred and Wilma Flintstone? This probably was some of our society’s first cultural programming, which you likely received as a child. The two couples were Fred and Wilma and Barney and Betty. Fred and Barney were best friends. Wilma and Betty were best friends. The friends confided in each other and preferred spending time with each other to the exclusion of their spouses. Each group seems to spend a lot of time and effort plotting on how to get over on their mate. They deliberately misled their spouses for their own benefit. We learned from The Flintstones and the Rubbles that there was competition, envy and a lack of cohesion in marriage.

Contrary to much of our cultural programming, here is how the bible wants you to treat your spouse.

Eph 5:25-33

(25)  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

(26)  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

(27)  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

(28)  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

(29)  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

(30)  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

(31)  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

(32)  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

(33)  Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

This mindset of putting each other first, and of loving your spouse as you love and care for your own body, is the key to a successful relationship and a blessed relationship before God. If you enter marriage with a Flintstone mindset, you are destined for a shallow, unfulfilling relationship that is performance-based and void of any real intimacy.

One person putting his “Self” first causes many problems in marriage. I was telling a guy at work how I cashed in all of my yearly vacation pay to buy my wife a really expensive guitar. She had loved to play her old guitar but it had become physically too hard to play due to her physical condition. I got her a special guitar that played with a very light touch so that she could play guitar again. It gave me pleasure to see my wife so happy. The guy at work told me that I should have used the money to get myself a Bass Boat.

In searching for a mate, you seriously need to look into how s/he was programmed. Spending time watching how his/her parents interact will give you a lot of insight. Also watch how your intended mate treats his/her parents – especially the one of the opposite sex. That is probably how you and he/she will interact if you marry. If after observation you see that this person is self-centered, egotistical, or mean-tempered, you need to get out of the relationship. It is better to be unattached and ready to start looking for another relationship, than to be stuck in one that you know isn’t right. It will only get worse with time.

One trap young Christians get into is known as “Missionary Dating”: they find someone that they like, and start a relationship. Their hope is to win them to the Lord and then marry them. This rarely works, though sometimes the prospective mate will talk about acceptance of the Lord for the sake of keeping the relationship. You do not want a relationship where you have not won his/her heart but only gained his/her compliance. In marriage you need to be equally yoked.

When I proposed marriage to my wife, before I held out a diamond ring, I gave her a wooden goat yoke. It had my name on top of one neck-hole and her name on top of the other neck-hole. By this gesture I was saying, this is truth in advertising – it’s not just the glitter and the glamor of romantic love that I am proposing, but it is the fact of being yoked together in life.

You will either suffer from or be blessed by whomever you are married to.

Marriage relationships mature with time but they can start out with little understanding of how to care for each other. There will be times when you offend each other. In these times if you lament to your friends on how you were wronged, it is a sad fact that they will most likely tell you to get a divorce. Even licensed counselors in our society buy into this and sometimes give poor and damaging advice. Counselors are trained to assist in current situations: they can’t see into the future like the Lord can. You may be married to an ugly duckling (metaphorically) and not realize that he/she will turn into a swan in the future. Faith and constancy will help you both to get through the time of metamorphosis with grace.

In your marriage you will most likely experience a time where your partner is not doing his or her part. The spouse may become sick, unemployed, going through a time of depression, or just being self-centered. Your mate may become chemically dependent, trying to medicate his or her pain. I have found in living life that the only thing constant is change. In time, the person will realize that what he/she is doing is not right. You may need to set up boundaries with firmness but love. If you don’t react in spite, in time your love will make them face the fact that he or she is acting like a jerk. That realization is where the decision to do things differently is made.

Normally there is only one reason that you need to separate yourself from your mate. That is if he/she becomes physically abusive. A lot is said about leaving someone who is mentally abusive. Mental abuse has such a large spectrum. It can go from a spouse saying “If I had a gun right now, I would kill you” to saying “this food that you made tastes funny”.

I can’t tell you how much abuse you should take, but I can say that in marriage you will need to be able to tolerate some injustices and not take up offense if you intend for your marriage to last long enough to be healed. In calmness and love you will need to confront your spouse.

I have found that instead of just pointing out your spouse’s transgressions, it is better to say something along these lines:

“I feel (angry, sad, uncomfortable, etc) because of the situation where you did (name the offensive act) I don’t want this to cause a rift in our trust, or harm our closeness to each other. What can we do to help us get past this?

These are the time when you need to trust in the Lord, and also pray for your spouse.

Unfaithfulness

The other bad situation in marriage is if your spouse is sexually unfaithful. In this situation you need to set a boundary of no sexual contact. This is to protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. At this point your marriage needs professional counseling because there has been a breach of trust and a rift in your “oneness”. Even so, this situation can be healed if the offending spouse has a complete change of heart and the offended spouse finds forgiveness in his or her heart.

During hard times in your marriage, you may be separated. This can put you both at risk of wanting to have another partner while you don’t have your spouse with you. To succumb to temptation would bring destruction on your family and shame on you. You must not open the door to sexual sin. To do so is to create problems that will plague you and your family for the rest of your lives.

Proverbs has wisdom on this.

Proverbs 6:27-35

27 Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?

28 Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared?

29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; whoever touches her shall not be innocent.

30 People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving.       31 Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold; He may have to give up all the substance of his house.

32 Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks under-standing; He who does so destroys his own soul.

33 Wounds and dishonor he will get, and his reproach will not be wiped away.

34 For jealousy is a husband’s fury; therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.

35 He will accept no recompense, nor will he be appeased though you give many gifts.

Life after divorce

If you get divorced, the last thing that you should do is rush to get into another relationship. First you need to figure out what went wrong in your previous relationship and fix that. Even so, if you are a man and you had children together with your former wife, you might not be able to afford having a second wife unless she makes a lot of money and she doesn’t mind if a lot of your pay check goes to your support your children in another household. She also will have to share you, to allow you to have time with your children from a previous relationship. She will have to deal with another woman who doesn’t like you, and she may not like your children.

If you are a woman and had children together with your former husband, you might not have much to pick from when trying to find a man that is willing to take on the burden of you and your children. You might be putting your children at risk in marrying a second man. You really need to pray for direction and guidance before you go into a second relationship. Again, you need to figure out what went wrong in your first relationship and fix that first.

It takes two people to get married but only one person to get a divorce. If you choose this route you need to know that you will go down a road of pain, regret and sorrow. If you have children, they will go down their own roads of pain, regret and sorrow.

Back when I was a child, people would stay together for the children. While that was not as good as trying to make your marriage right, staying together can be a personal sacrifice to keep the innocent children from suffering as much. Some times as Christians, it is right to endure suffering as Christ endured suffering for us. Remember, when God is dealing with a spouse, it does take time before he or she begins to change.

With all of this said, it comes down to a choice that only you can make. This is a time when you really need to seek the Lord for wisdom and guidance as to whether you can stay and live in a situation where your mate has been unfaithful or is being abusive.

Whenever I’m at work and some guy is talking badly about his wife I say: “have you considered that the faults that your wife has, are the very things that prevented her from marrying someone better than you?” That always causes the guy to pause and think. I then encourage him to love his wife, even with her faults, and to stay married.

What Goes Into Your Mind Affects Who You Are

What you see with your eyes, hear with your ears, and interact with physically in your environment, affects your present attitude and emotional state. I remember the kids church song; “O be careful little eyes what you see, O be careful little eyes what you see, for the Lord is up above and he is looking down in Love, so be careful little eyes, what you see. “The other verses used the words ears, mouth, hands and feet.

Psalm 119:37

37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.

Consider what you see during the day. Are you watching the trashy channels on TV? Are you reading questionable novels? Your eyes can be a pathway for sin to enter into your life.

Consider what you hear during the day. Do you listen to music that you know would be offensive to God? Do you listen to crude conversations at work? Your ears can be a pathway for sin to enter into your life.

What you see and hear affects what your mouth says, where your feet take you and what your hands do.

Colossians 3:1-17

1 You have been raised to life with Christ. Now set your heart on what is in heaven, where Christ rules at God’s right side.

2 Think about what is up there, not about what is here on earth.

3 You died, which means that your life is hidden with Christ, who sits beside God.

4 Christ gives meaning to your life, and when he appears, you will also appear with him in glory.

5 Don’t be controlled by your body. Kill every desire for the wrong kind of sex. Don’t be immoral or indecent or have evil thoughts. Don’t be greedy, which is the same as worshiping idols.

6 God is angry with people who disobey him by doing these things.

7 And that is exactly what you did, when you lived among people who behaved in this way.

8 But now you must stop doing such things. You must quit being angry, hateful, and evil. You must no longer say insulting or cruel things about others.

9 And stop lying to each other. You have given up your old way of life with its habits.

10 Each of you is now a new person. You are becoming more and more like your Creator, and you will understand him better.

11 It doesn’t matter if you are a Greek or a Jew, or if you are circumcised or not. You may even be a barbarian or a Scythian, and you may be a slave or a free person. Yet Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

12 God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people. So be gentle, kind, humble, meek, and patient.

13 Put up with each other, and forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you.

14 Love is more important than anything else. It is what ties everything completely together.

15 Each one of you is part of the body of Christ, and you were chosen to live together in peace. So let the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts. And be grateful.

16 Let the message about Christ completely fill your lives, while you use all your wisdom to teach and instruct each other. With thankful hearts, sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.

17 Whatever you say or do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks to God the Father because of him.

Forsake all others

If you are not to the point in your life where you are willing to forsake all others forever, then you need to stay away from marriage. To marry someone with this in your heart would be a great sin against them and God. I see married men and women at work who openly flirt with each other. In their hearts they are considering the possibility of committing adultery. In their minds they are visually conceptualizing the act. Below is the standard that Jesus told us in the Bible:

Mathew 5:27-28

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You must not be guilty of adultery. 28  But I tell you that if anyone looks at a woman and wants to sin sexually with her, in his mind he has already done that sin with the woman.

Pornography

This is a strict standard. Some people may not flirt with others so they never commit adultery with another person but they look at pornography. Understand that looking at pornography is visually conceptualizing adultery in your mind. This is sin.

You need to guard yourself from looking at pornography. It shows up unexpectedly. I have the three-second rule: if I see pornography, I need to look away before three seconds. It takes the mind a little time build a scenario as you look at it.

Don’t kid yourself that it just art and beauty. These are lies. When I am living in quarters at work I have to go through my new room and get rid of any porn that is left from the previous tenant. You can tell that it is porn without having to check every page to make sure. Just pick it up, put it in a bag and take it to the trash.

Looking at porn will destroy your marriage, as you will view people of the opposite sex as just tools for your pleasure. Your spouse will be reduced to this status also.

Why my wife and I married each other

The reason that we married each other was to help each other through the hardships of this journey of life, and to help each other to reach our eternal goal of being in heaven with our Lord. This is the foundation of our marriage.

We both depend on each other not only in this life, but also for our eternal destiny. We are yoked together, and what one does affects the other. It may seem that it is most important to be married when you are young. Actually it is easier to get by as a single person when you are young. When you are old and not in good health, having a faithful mate can mean the difference between living your last years at home, with your best friend to keep you company and help you, or being strapped to a bed in a nursing home where minimum wage employees who loath old people do the minimum that is required to keep you alive. Solomon has wisdom about this.

Ecclesiastes 4: 7 – 12

7 Again I saw something meaningless under the sun:

8 There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked,       “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless – a miserable business!

9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:

10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?

12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Proverbs also talks about getting old and the best way to deal with it.

Proverbs 5:11-18

11 At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent.

12 You will say, “How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction!

13 I would not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors.

14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin in the midst of the whole assembly.”

15 Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well.

16 Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares?

17 Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers.

18 May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.

So, in your last years, the most important relationship that you will have is with your spouse. Hopefully through all of your years of marriage, you have been building goodwill and commitment, for this is the time in which you will need it.

The Bible Talks About Your Lot or “Portion” in Life

Ecclesiastes 9:9-10

9 Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun.

10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.

For Better or Worse

It is a large leap of faith to be willing to take on the responsibility of another person. In being single, you know your own strengths and weaknesses and if you screw up your own life, you only hurt yourself. But when you are married, your actions will greatly affect the other person.

What could happen in the life of this person with whom you are being emotionally, spiritually, and financially yoked together? What if this person becomes seriously injured or develops lifelong illnesses or disabilities. Will there be enough love and commitment that you will be willing to forgo a higher standard of living in order to care for and handle the needs of your mate? Most households today have the two-person income. What if your mate couldn’t work anymore? This is reality. This may be your destiny if you get married. There are no guarantees.

On the other hand, there are no guarantees of what will happen to you.

I know one girl who is a waitress in a restaurant in Louisiana. One side of her face is permanently marred from a car accident. If you look at the other side of her face you can see that she was and still would be a beautiful woman.

I knew a man who contracted Multiple Sclerosis and needed a scooter just to get around on. Could you be the mate to someone like this?

I know couples that, because of the illness or injury to one of them, have lost everything that they have worked together to build. If this happened to you, would your relationship have a depth to where it could withstand this? It all depends on your foundation.

The real question is not what things happen to your spouse, but who are you as that person’s mate? Since your mate is the person in life that you interact with the most, when you stand in judgment of your life, how you treated your mate will be of major consequence to you. Hopeful-ly the Lord will say to you “Well done, good and faithful servant. I have seen your love and fidelity in what I gave you to care for. Enter in and I will love and care for you.”

Plan what life style that you will lead

My wife and I plan to have a self-sufficient farm with our extended family where we own it as “tenants in common”. Regardless of what the future brings, this lifestyle is also our preparation for our later years in life. Our first priority is to be together.

By having our possessions as tenants in common, our children will not just be waiting for their inheritance but can possess it now. That will help them in the present. By having a long-term “living together in community” relationship with our children, we will have them close when we are old. We are not inventing something new. Except for the last 100 years, this is how mankind has normally lived.

There used to be a series on TV called “The Walton’s.”  It was about the daily life of a three generational family that lived together on a mountain. Each generation had something to offer in helping the other generations, and each generation also benefited from the help of the other generations. They were together and yet gave each other their own space. All of their lives were enriched by each other, and when hard times came, they all stuck together. The older ones mentored the younger ones and everyone benefited. I believe that this is the best way for a person to live life. There is cooperation, accountability, and reliability in extended family units.

Helping out your spouse

God gave you and your spouse skills and abilities. In your life together you combine these. You do things at work and you help each other at home. My wife has lots of honey-do projects for me to do which make our home better. My thought is “I’m glad to be needed”. Sometimes my wife has to do things that our society considers man’s work and sometimes I need to do things that our society considers woman’s work. Whatever it is, we need to remember that we are here to help each other. I have a situation where my wife gets bad back pain when standing and doing the dishes. We made a deal where I do the dishes but she sits down and plays for me on her piano. She even wrote a song that is dedicated to me. I wouldn’t do the dished for just anyone, but I would do them for my best friend.

Our desire

When God created us, he put in us a desire for a mate. The desire for physical, mental and spiritual intimacy with your mate is a wonderful thing ordained and sanctified by God.

I think that most people never experience a combined high level of physical, mental and spiritual intimacy with their mate. These three areas are separate and yet indivisible in that they affect each other.

These things that I talk about are not abstract thoughts, but things that I have walked through in my life. I can talk about being young and self-centered because I was. I can also talk about the great joy of physical, mental, and spiritual intimacy with my soul mate that I trust with my very life, because I have matured into this. It was not an easy road and there were few mentors.

May the Lord lead you in wisdom, keep you from sin and grow you into the blessings of physical, mental and spiritual intimacy with your mate.

Captain Mike

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