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Courtship and Marriage | Ostis B. Wilson, Jr.

Understanding Marriage

Marriage is a lifetime thing, and is a sacred and divinely consecrated institution, ordained in the hands of a loving and all-wise God for the good, happiness, and general welfare of mankind. It should never be entered into thoughtlessly, recklessly, or hastily; but thoughtfully, prayerfully, reverently, discreetly, and in full consideration of the purposes for which God ordained it. Remember as you approach the time when you will be casting about for the person who is to be your life’s companion, that your whole life lies ahead of you and the course of your life is being charted. The most important decision of your life is being made right at that time.

A solid marriage that will continue to produce peace and contentment on through the uneven journey of life and the changing fortunes of war, so to speak (for life is a warfare, according to the Scriptures), must be established on something more than just physical beauty, physical attraction and attractiveness. All of that may change and fade as age comes on, work its changes in the physical features and form of a person, and take its toll.

There must be deep mutual love, respect, trust, and confidence between the two parties to bind them together and undergird them for the struggles of life that lie ahead. This may exist entirely separate from, and independent of, physical charm, beauty, and physical attraction. Let me say right here that you should never enter into a marriage with a person you cannot trust implicitly. That would be a great big mistake. Your life would be filled with misery and woe because of your perpetual suspicion and wonderment about your mate.

The great danger for youth is, that so many times they mistake infatuation and physical attraction for love, and later on, when that begins to fade, they find their foundation crumbling from underneath them.

A sister told me, not long ago, that there was not a single thing in common between her and her husband—nothing. She named his three major interests in life—things in which she had no interest at all—and then said, “After these three things I come first.” These people are nearing retirement age, coming down to the time in life when they will need the comfort, sympathy, and strength of each other more than they have ever needed each other in their lives, and now, the foundation is crumbling from under them and they are actually just two people living in the same house—nothing more. There are no common bonds to bind them together in their closing years of life.

Another sister in her middle years of life, who has raised a family, has married children, told my wife a while back that she did not know why she and her husband had ever married, as they had so little in common.

Another couple that I knew quite well and I have been in their home on various occasions were just two people living in the same house—nothing more. They were married for quite a few years but the charm and attraction of those earlier years had faded away. They had separate bank accounts and separate bedrooms. When she took her vacation, she took two or three of her lady friends in her car and struck out wherever they wanted to go, leaving him at home. When he took his vacation he just took off alone and left her at home. They each contributed a certain amount for food and the other expenses of operating the home. Everything that makes a marriage a real marriage was gone and their foundation had crumbled from under them. Do any of you want to face the advanced years of your marriage and of your life in situations like this? Certainly not. Then you had better think now and project your thinking on ahead into those years and how things may be then.

But at this point, let us not mistake the value of physical attraction. This is a part of it, a very important part of it and if you do not feel a physical attraction to the member of the opposite sex whom you are considering for marriage, you had better just back off and proceed no further. To marry a person, ruin his or her life by refusing to cooperate in the intimacies of marriage, is a crime to be punished by the Judge because He commanded in His Word in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5, that we defraud not one another in this capacity.

Jesus Himself also said in Matthew 5:32, that if a man put away his wife except for fornication he causeth her to commit adultery. One does not have to put his or her spouse out of the house to put them away in this sense, but just withhold one’s self from one’s spouse and force him or her out into illicit affairs. In the sight of God that one becomes equally responsible and guilty for the adultery in such a case.

We see that physical attraction is important. The important point is to hold it in proper balance with the other essentials of marriage and not allow it to get out of control or predominate over the other essentials—love, respect, trust, and confidence.

When you are considering marriage with a person, study him or her real well. Note the different points of character and disposition. See if you can love and respect him or her for what he or she is in character and disposition. Decide if you will be satisfied to have that person for the father or mother of your children, bearing in mind the old saying, “Like father, like son; and, like mother, like daughter,” etc. This saying proves to be quite true, works out quite generally and fairly sure. The strong points of character and disposition are more than likely to be transmitted to the children. If the man is surly, cantankerous, inconsiderate of the rights and feelings of others, and discourteous, you will more than likely have some children like that to deal with in your home. If he is rebellious against the authority of his parents, talks sassy and disrespectful to them, you will likely have some children treating you that way later on. The law of reaping what we sow works out quite accurately and without error. If he talks sassy and disrespectful to his mother, and is inconsiderate of her, he is more than likely going to be the same way toward you. If the girl is sassy, independent, disrespectful to her parents, unsubmissive and disobedient, she will likely be the same way toward you and will help in bringing problem children into the home. If she is the dominant, domineering, bossy type, she will be the same toward you. Brother Chandler taught us in his lifetime that people would usually behave like they had been conditioned, and this is generally true.

Marriage is no place for pettish, peevish, selfish, self-centered folks to enter; but it is good soil for self-sacrifice, self-denial, and selflessness to grow and develop. True love will cause one to think more of what he can give than what he can get. Infatuation and physical attraction will work just the opposite, causing one to think more of what he can get than what he can give.

Weigh out your prospective spouse real well and see if you will be satisfied to spend the rest of your life with him or her, just as he or she is now. Don’t ever make the mistake, and it is a very serious mistake that many do make, to marry a person with the idea of making him or her over to suit you after you are married. That never has worked out well, and it never will. Decide if you want him or her just as he or she is.