Marriage (1)

One of the most important phases of our Christian living as covenant young people is that which comprehends the period of courtship consummating a marriage. If ever there is a time of life when the immutable truth.—“An one soweth, so he reapeth”—is consciously known, it is then. If ever there is a time of life that leaves its indelible im­print upon all of our future days, it is then. It is during this pre-marital period that the seeds of happiness and distress are sown in the lives of the individuals concerned but more important in the acquaintances made and relationships established the very foundation of happi­ness or distress for future generations is laid. The courtship of the covenant youth today as it leads to marriage ef­fects the church, the state, society of tomorrow and years to come.

It is no doubt because of the practical and vital significance of this subject that volumes in the past have been written; unnumbered words have been spoken on the subject unendingly prolonged. It is not our desire to reiterate what has been said but only to stimulate the thinking of our covenant youth that before God they may sincerely and most seriously consider these vital things so that in their decisions and actions they may be thoroughly prepared to give a good ac­count. It is with this in mind that we warn you so that you may be insured against the tragedy of an unhappy mar­riage, and also in light of God’s Word encourage you to follow what is right that you may be assured of the blessing of the Lord which is the principle and only prerequisite to a happy home.

A first guiding thought for covenant youth is that also in matters of court­ship they are constantly aware of their specific calling to be separate from the world. The premarital relationships of a covenant young man and covenant young woman must never be patterned after the example and practices of the world. The latter consider this the play­time of life and via dancing, drinking and playing, the young man leads her whom he audaciously claims to love down the road of sin. Relying upon science and the wisdom of men, they ignore the law of morality, for to youth is given the liberty to sin without the fear of consequences. “Yet, for all this GOD, Who seeth in secret, shall bring them to judgment.” Be not like them!

Covenant youth must look upon court­ship as a means to an end. Even as the end is the entering into a sacred and holy state, so the means is pure and spiritual. By means of a sanctified friendship two are brought to the con­sciousness that more than flesh binds them but operative is the uniting power of true love rooted in Christ. That love leads them by way of prayer, spiritual communion, wholesome recreation on the upward road to marital joy. Follow it all the days of your courtship!

From this we deduce a second guiding thought, that in courtship there must be spiritual comparability. This is not just a ‘desirability’ or ‘ideal’; it is a requisite —a must! Mixed marriages are out­lawed in the Word of God with all em­phasis; listen to Nehemiah: “I contended with them (Israel), and cursed them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves” (13:25). Where the possi­bility of marriage is outlawed by God Himself there can be no good purpose in a courtship. It is positively contrary to the Word of God to enter friendship with the world and in doing so we may reasonably expect only Divine enmity.

But there is more to this, for also intercourse and intermarriage between those of different faiths is a very dan­gerous practice and as is so often the case consummates in a relation of ‘toler­ance’ instead of ‘unity and love’. Oh, you hear them say as they agree to toler­ate one another that he may go to his church and she to hers but this is only a fanciful and. hopeless compromise that practically results in griefs untold. We are, of course, not ignorant of the fact that the possibility of procuring a mate of the same faith is for many, especially in smaller churches, apparently rather remote, but that ‘providential’ situation’ may never be our excuse to violate the will of God. Covenant youth, may we remember that the principles of our faith are more important than our mar­riage for our Lord taught us that “who­soever loveth father, mother, husband, wife, etc., more than Me is not worthy of Me.” It is better to have Christ with­out a husband than to have a man and be Christ-less. Don’t forget this in your anxiety!

But this brings us to a third thought. In seeking a life companion we must be willing to be submissive to the Lord’s choice. In our marriage form we read how God brought to Adam his wife and in this connection it is stated that “He doth yet as with His hand bring to every man his wife.” The Lord, perhaps, does not do this in the same physical manner in which He did to Adam, Isaac, Jacob and others, but in His providence and grace He brings His own children to their proper partners. This means that we must avoid two things. First, we must guard lest we try to run ahead of Him and seek one that meets our own fancies and perhaps fits our description but who, in the light of the Lord’s de­mands, is a horrible misfit. Secondly, we should not assume a wholly indiffer­ent attitude, expecting that the Lord will drop a mate out of the clouds. Rather, the Lord provides means even in His church and in the sphere of His kingdom through which He brings the children of His covenant together. Our societies may be instrumental in this and it seems to me that there are more than a few marriages within our churches that are the fruit of our annual Young People’s Conventions. Now, we may never neglect our calling as young people of God’s church to be active in the things He gives us to do in our local church and in inter-denominational activities and then complain to Him that He does not provide what we may desire. And above all, the fact that to us there appears to be no one for us in our church never justifies our going into worldly places to catch the eye of a man or to find a woman. It is a woeful disgrace when this or that young couple explains how they first met in the bowling alley or the roller rink and like places. God’s house is the place where God’s people meet and there God, by His Spirit, unites them in real love. When God unites a man and a woman by His Spirit and grace in true love, nothing can separate!

There is much more to be said about this subject but our space for this issue is about taken. We will, therefore, take up the thought in the next issue and un­til then, do some real spiritual pondering about your courtship or the one you pro­pose to begin. Courtship and marriage are like all other things in this life: “If you leave God out of them they will posi­tively fail. They may succeed according to worldly standards but as far as at­taining the real purpose of marriage is concerned, a marriage without God is like a ship without a rudder.” We shall have more to say about that, D.V., next time.