A Christian Counselor

The Secret of a Solid Marriage

from the book, "Marriage on the Rock" by Jimmy Evans
The condition of most marriages today is turbulent and storm-tossed. While many people desperately want a marriage that works, fewer and fewer of them really believe they can have that. The reports of true marital success are few and far between, while the stories of tragedies are everyday occurrences. Over a period of time, fear and uncertainty have increased as the casualties of marriage have mounted in this country. The consequence in society in which more people stay single, more couples try alternatives to marriage, and those who do get married often do so with greater caution. Of all the societal groups and individuals negatively affected by the failing institution of marriage, none are more traumatized than those people who try it and fail. Regardless of how permissive our culture has become or how common divorce is, the results of a couple splitting up are devastating. The emotional agony, the social stigma, the pain for any children involved, and serious financial loss for both parties are only some of the reasons why millions of people flinch when the subject of marriage arises. What makes this situation even sadder is the fact that it is completely unnecessary. Yes, you read that sentence right: The disastrous conditions of marriage today are not necessary. Every bad marriage and subsequent divorce could be eliminated, replaced by a solid, satisfying relationship, if only each couple would follow God's plan for marriage. From the beginning of creation, when God made the first couple, Adam and Eve, He had a perfect design for marriage. unfortunately, many people have not realized this. As a result, they have turned elsewhere for answers. Since Godis the Creator of man and the Inventor and Designer of marriage, only He is qualified to write the "instruction manual"- an so He did. Genesis, the first book of the Bible, is a record of the events of creation. Once God had created everything relating to the heavens and the earth, He formed man out of the dust of the ground. Once Adam was created, and "no helper suitable for him was found" (Gen. 2:18,20), the bible relates that God caused a deep sleep fell upon him (Gen. 2:21). Out of Adam's side, God took a rib and formed Eve, Adam's wife. When you think about it carefully, you realize that God's creation of woman was perfect. A loving God in the beautiful Garden of Eden performed divine surgery on man. Out of Adam's rib, God formed His most beautiful work- woman. It is interesting and meaningful that God created Eve from the place closest to Adam's heart, his rib. From the very beginning, God had a beautiful and perfect plan for marriage. That plan has never changed. Regardless of how much or how often the world around us changes, we can take comfort in the fact that God never changes. Hebrews 13:8 (NIV) says: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. If Jesus never changes, then God and the Holy Spirit never change, because all three are One. God is changeless throughout all eternity. How different this is from the world around us! What people think or believe can change overnight when a news story breaks, or a new scientific finding is announced, or a major movie is released. It's hard to build a solid marriage on a world system as unstable as ours. That is why we should not be building our marriages on the world system in the first place. We must build our marriages on God's Word. Jesus told us clearly what we could expect if we choose to build our lives upon the foundation of His Word. "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. "The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock." Matthew 7:24-27 The sound of "crashing" marriages around us does not shout that marriage does not work but demonstrates the lack of solid foundations to those marriages. It's no coincidence that today's society, which has rejected the Word of God, has such difficulty with marriage. If we reject God's Word and His plan, we cannot make marriages work, for marriages only work when we do them God's way. If we dedicate ourselves to learning and following God's plan for marriage, we will begin to experience the security and fulfillment we have desired. As Jesus said, the rain is going to come and the wind is going to blow on everyone. However, the promise for those whose lives are built upon the truth of God's Word is stability through life's challenges and changes. His Word is a solid foundation upon which we can build successfully. That is good news! "The Secret of a Solid Marriage" is the first chapter in the section, "The Four Foundational Laws of Marriage," from the book, "Marriage on the Rock" by Jimmy Evans. The remaining four chapters of the section deal with one small portion of Scripture from Genesis 2. Although the text is short, its content is monumental. So important are these words concerning marriage that Jesus quoted Genesis 2:24 to the Pharisees who were confronting Him concerning His views on divorce (Matt. 19:4-6). Also, the Apostle Paul quoted Gen. 2:24 in his instructions to the church at Ephesus about marriage (Eph. 5:31). God's Foundational Laws for Marriage. Two important things about this passage in Genesis need to be understood. Firstly, Genesis 2:21,25 is the initial record in the Bible revealing God's will for marriage. Secondly, four foundational laws for marriage are found within those two verses. There is no way to overemphasize the importance of these laws because each of them is essential to the success of the marriage relationship. To break only one of them can mean serious damage to the marriage relationship even if it does not lead to divorce. To violate two or more of these laws means certain doom to your hopes for happiness. Read these verses very carefully: For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and not ashamed. Genesis 2:24,25 (NAS) In spite of my stressing the importance of these two verses, at first glance, I am sure they do not appear as "power-packed" as I have said. However, they are! When I first read them, I thought they were veiled, poetic reference to the spiritual significance of marriage. While that may be partially true, I have found these two short verses to be life-changing and marriage-saving for my wife and myself and for thousands of others. Unfortunately, misunderstanding and underestimation of these scriptures have left couples throughout the ages needlessly groping for solid truth about marriage, when that truth has been right under their noses. One hindrance to recognizing Genesis 2:24,25 as God's consummate foundation for marriage is the brevity of this passage. Perhaps, if it were longer and more detailed, one would be inclined to take the message more seriously. However, God said everything He needed to say in a few words, and each word is eternal and an essential truth for marriage. Remember the narrative of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead? (John 11:1-44 NIV) He said only three words: "Lazarus, come forth! " But those few words had the power to resurrect a dead man. Likewise, God's few, well-chosen words for marriage in Genesis 2:24 have the power to transform ruined relationships. I know because I once was a casualty of ignorance of those words and consequent disobedience to them. In 1979, I had not only lost hope in my marriage, but also in marriage as an institution. Today, I realize the problem was not with God. From the beginning, He has desired and designed for us to live in fulfilling, pleasurable relationships. To help us do that, He gave us in His Word all of the instructions and wisdom we need for success. I believe as you read the next four chapters [in this section of "Marriage on the Rock"] with an open heart, God is going to do something in your life by the power of His Word. Our ignorance and rejection of God's Word has caused the problem. Appropriately, only God's Word can provide a real solution. He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Psalm 107:20 NAS In the Book "Marriage on the Rock," Jimmy Evans describes the Four Foundational Laws of Marriage; 1. The Law of Priority, which says that when God designed the marriage covenant, He did so with the intent that this special commitment between a man and a woman would be more important than any other human relationship. The only relationship more important is a couple's relationship with Jesus Christ. 2. The Law of Pursuit. From the very beginning, God has known the secret of staying in love- work! Marriage only works when you work at it. The push that causes a marriage to begin a downward slide is not work, but the lack of it. Taking one another for granted and trying to "coast" through life on the sled of past memories and events creates an inertia that causes a slide backward. 3. The Law of Possession. Beyond the obvious meaning of becoming "one flesh" through sexual intercourse, Genesis 2:24 states a law of marriage that permeates every area of life. This law, which Jimmy Evans calls the law of possession, is the key to establishing trust and intimacy in a relationship. Once we understand and submit to this law, we will experience a significant depth of unity and bonding in marriage. 4. The Law of Purity. In marriage, we start out instinctively desiring to share ourselves with one another. However, for this to take place, there must be a prepared and protected atmosphere providing an environment where we can egularly "get naked." God designed the nakedness of marriage to include every area of our lives: body, soul and spirit. When we are able to "undress" ourselves in every area beforeour spouses without shame or fear, we are in a healthy place for strong, intimate relationships to develop. Therefore, impurity within intimately exposed areas of a marriage relationship is destructive.
from Marriage & Family

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