God’s Plan of Covenant Marriage

For you who are looking for Mr. or Ms. Right, keep in mind that dating a nonbeliever is nothing less than disobedience to God. He has made His will clear in both the Old and New Testaments. If you insist on dating a nonbeliever, you expose yourself to that person’s gods, the things they hold dear, and that can range anywhere from lust to false religion.

In God’s plan of covenant marriage, the first issue to be settled in our minds is that Christian marriage is between two believers. “Missionary dating” has no place in God’s family. Dating is not the place for personal evangelism. Human nature being what it is, it is always easier to be pulled down to another’s level than to pull someone else up to your level. The wise person knows this and refuses to compromise his or her faith by entering into dating relationships with nonbelievers.

Now, back to Malachi 2. Let’s read verses 13–16 in the New American Standard Bible:

This is another thing you do: you cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the LORD of hosts. So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.

Once we are married—and hopefully to a fellow believer—the Lord’s plan is that we remain together. Look carefully at verse 14 above: “She is your companion and your wife by covenant” (emphasis added). God makes it clear that marriage is a covenant relationship. In a contract, the parties involved establish the conditions by which the contract remains in effect. Together they mutually agree to these terms. In God’s covenant of marriage, however, the conditions are not established by the man and the woman, but by a third party—God Almighty. The man and the woman willingly enter into agreement with God’s covenant conditions. When this concept is embraced, the power of Ecclesiastes 4:12 is unleashed: “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triplebraided cord is not easily broken.” In God’s plan of marriage, man, woman, and God form a threefold cord that can withstand even the most difficult trial that might come their way.

Excerpt from “Happily… Even After” now available on Amazon.

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BARRY STAGNER

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