All relationships are tied together by threads of friendship, spending time together, love, and commitment to each other. Without these basic things there would be nothing to bind people together. When falling in love these relationship traits are perfected in deeper layers. It begins in God’s heart to use the marriage of a man and a woman as his pattern for projecting his love into creation. Marriage is love perfected through God as a man and woman share in life while growing into a family. God is the originator of love and he is the binder that keeps love going between a man and woman. It takes God in every relationship to maintain pure love, even in romance.
When I was a teenager, my step-father shared with me a simple concept of having a good marriage that keeps God in the center of the relationship. He used the following diagram to illustrate his point.
The triangle is a pure means to present a marriage relationship because a triangle is created by linking up three lines together. Three is the number for holy perfection. Holy matrimony is a joining of three: God, man, and woman. God never intended for people to be married without connecting in him. If one of the connections is left out the anatomy of a triangle is off balance. The same off balance is a marriage without God.
There are two ways people enter into a relationship of marriage: in holy matrimony where God is part of the marriage connection; or being married in the flesh where God is left out. In holy matrimony you become one flesh together in Christ thus you are connected by going through God. Matrimony in the flesh does away with God and eliminates two lines, leaving the relationship with only one connection, which is not a triangle nor is it pure or perfect.
God means for us to use his precepts and his wisdom for living together in matrimony. There are times you disagree as a couple, and you need help to work things out. God uses the Holy Spirit for that help. Leaving it up to human concepts is risking you may never agree or solve the trouble. With God in your marriage you have love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control to rely on for stability and strength. Without God in your marriage you do not have these gifts of the Spirit between yourselves and all manner of fleshly problems arise like adultery, fornication, hatred uncleanness, lewdness, contentions, jealousy, outburst of wrath, self-ambitions, dissensions, envy, drunkenness, and even murder. The dangers are too high that you can lose keeping your marriage by not having God in the center of your relationship.
Holy matrimony is the balanced way to sustain a marriage. This means everything with your wife or husband is executed in a godly attitude or with holy wisdom and knowledge. You do this by learning godly wisdom and knowledge together. The closer you get to God the closer you get to your spouse in holiness. Using the triangle, as the husband gets closer to God, he is actually nearer to his wife in holy wedlock. The distance becomes smaller as you draw closer to God. If one becomes nearer to God and the other does not, the holy matrimony line shrinks and the flesh line moves up to arrive at an unbalanced triangle.
If the wife gets closer to God as the hubby is drawing closer to God notice how much closer they both are to each other. Since you are not going through the flesh (the bottom line), this line is shrinking.
Holy matrimony is getting nearer to God as you become closer to one another. The closer you become, the more you are grounded in your union with the matters of God. Things like love, peace, joy, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. These things grow as you go to church together, read in the Bible and pray together, study and search for wisdom and understanding together.
If you opt to live without God in your marriage you get further out from God and risk bringing on all the works of the flesh as listed on the top of page 12. Infidelity, adultery, contentions, abuses and all manner of affairs that causes divorce, living in hateful conditions, or even death to one or more of your family, tend to result from being without God in union. One out of four women today are abused by their husbands or the man they are living with. Very few couples today choose to get married before living together. Most prefer to have sex before marriage and forty-five percent of all couples nationwide are getting married because they are pregnant. These alarming statistics represent living in the flesh. When couples choose to live this way the entire marriage becomes unbalanced and ill at ease, and there is no link with God.
Instead of growing closer together, you usually go further apart as the bottom line grows and the others fade away because neither one is sticking closer to God. The only thing growing in the above diagram is the flesh, thus an out of shape, unrecognizable mess that cannot be labeled as a shape.
There is a way to turn the flesh line into holiness. You can get to a place in marriage where you are no longer living the in the flesh, but you are both living completely by the Spirit of God. If both husband and wife will choose to crucify their flesh and live sacrificed lives for each other, in Jesus Christ, they can reject the flesh line from their spirits. The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20,
“I have been crucified with Christ: it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
If the hubby and wife were to actually live daily crucified with Christ it would be possible to alter the bottom line to be the perfection that God intends marriage to be, holy and acceptable unto God.
The Marriage Bed
Approaching marriage in a spiritual concept tends to embarrass people when talking about the physical idea of going to bed together or having sex. This does not have to be an uncomfortable subject among people of faith in Christ Jesus. Religious orders and misguided people have caused the stigma that talking about sexual activity in marriage is filthy or improper. Admittedly, there are wrong places to present this information, but the tragedy behind this subject is that people just avoid the discussions entirely to keep from being uncomfortable. As a pastor and Bible educator, I wish there were more who would approach the subject of sex in marriage as God intended it to be. This would help the husband and wife see how they can be self-controlled toward others while keeping a sound and respectful love life with each other.
It has been taught through the centuries that the adult male has his needs and the woman is to be subservient to him as her responsibility. This idea might be alright if we were cavemen living in some half-ape, half-human world where people do not think above being animals in the wilderness. God never meant that human beings would live as sub humans nor has any humans ever existed that way. From the onset of mankind’s creation God intended to use the marriage of a man and woman to project love into creation. The misuse of love has been the greatest contributor to misunderstanding the intention behind the wedding bed. Too frequently it is applied as a bargaining table or given as the superlative of all sacrifices if given into. When husbands realize the genuine intention of lovemaking, they will stop treating their wife as a love machine and discover that the marriage bed is a lieu of peace that carries out the passion binding their hearts as one.
Passion for sex should never be used to just satisfy your desires. Your desire to “have each other” should come from being in love. Having sex is constantly referred to as “making love” because the sex act is intended to be the making of love. This is “holy” matrimony: being in love first, as you are drawn together by God and your love causes you to desire each other. It is not wrong to love someone and desire to be with them in passionate caresses and love making. What makes it wrong is to use your passion in love making before being in holy matrimony. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” This lets us know that God intended sex to be a marriage bed act only; between those who are married. Adultery and fornication is one of the greatest things disciples of Christ are admonished to abstain from. Adultery is a married person having sex with someone other than their spouse. Fornication is unmarried people having sex together. These are both acts of the flesh where people are not using self-control.
When the husband and wife are living in holy matrimony, love is perfected in lovemaking, drawing them together. Some young man is seeking God for his wife and he starts receiving impressions through the Holy Spirit of physical traits that are attractive to him. He starts enjoying certain personalities that he sees in young women. At the same time God is acting upon these things in a young woman who has chosen to have a godly husband. God works in both people to have them in the right place so they meet. They start dating and for some reason it feels as though they have always known each other. As they continue dating and fall in love, their desire to love on each other intensifies. It becomes natural to desire making love together at this stage. Couples can decide to grow in love with God and wait until marriage or they step out in the flesh, in fornication, and try to satisfy their desire through sex. Deciding to grow in love with God is very frustrating to your physical structure and the brain. Walking in the Spirit of God together will help to control your body, allowing you both the ability to wait for matrimony. When you come together, in God, on the night of your wedding, you are truly “making love” as it was intended, and you have attained “holy” matrimony together.
Those who prefer to have sex before marriage are opening themselves up to many pitfalls that hurt their relationship instead of drawing them together. Sex before marriage is lovemaking in the flesh. Things of the flesh never produce perfection or long lasting happiness. This type of sex only satisfies flesh and is meaningless, whereas sex in marriage is holy matrimony and draws the husband and wife together in their hearts. People who have sex before marriage can be in love the same as those who wait, but the premarital act leaves them with notions of shame even if they are expert at ignoring it. Sex without matrimony is dishonest, unfaithful, demanding, degrading, out of control, and leads to jealousy, contention, hatred, lying, and outbursts of anger. There is no reason to keep from doing the same with other people because neither one is depending upon self-control. Instead of drawing them together, most likely sex will be a thing that pulls them apart and destroys them. Married couples that start without holy matrimony weakens the institution of marriage. Making love in God provides a place to go for peace and happiness when there are problems.
The wedding bed is meant to be the basis of security and felicity in marriage as it pulls the husband’s and wives' hearts together as one. When you wait for holy matrimony you are “making love happen”. Nothing can be more peaceful or bring more happiness to those in love. As you caress and hold each other your hearts merge in fullness and the sex act purifies your love. There is no guilt or shame, only pure happiness as God intended. The moments you are lying together in motion and intensity your beings bind together and you are now one in holiness.
A sense of serenity and joy overcomes both of you every time you come to this place. You can be having a disagreement and come to this place for peace and calmness. You can be lonely or sad and come to this place for comfort and joy in your soul. This is what the marriage bed is for, not some filthy abuse of your body, but a fresh, peaceful situation that conveys delight, ease, and contentment to both the husband and wife. This particular place should be protected from anything that would assay to withdraw from its sanctity. You should restrain from allowing kids to sleep with you overnight, or have pets that stay in the seam. This is a place where the husband and wife can seclude themselves from everyone and everything. Intimacy should be enjoyed with conversation as you lay arm-in-arm. As we grow older these times become so special because life will try to get in the room. Coming to the marriage bed can break away the difficulties of life, bringing balance to everything in marriage.
My wife and I have always worked toward the things being discussed in these chapters. For the most part we have refined many of them. Things in life have tried to get in the way, but we eventually arrive back to the marriage bed for balance.