Actions That Lead to A Successful Marriage

Consider the kinds of actions you need to practice in daily living if you are to find and follow the path that leads to the marriage you desire. These 4 guidelines are not intended as a set of hard-and-fast rules. Success in the Christian life is not achieved merely by making and keeping rules. In fact, people who live that way usually encounter frustration. The reason is that they have not grasped the difference between law and grace.

Law operates through a set of external rules, engraved on tablets of stone. Grace operates through laws written by the Holy Spirit within the human heart. Only the Holy Spirit, who is called “the finger of God,” can reach into the recesses of the human heart and write there the laws of life. Apart from the Holy Spirit, grace cannot operate and Christianity becomes merely a system of morality, one too high for any human being to achieve by his own efforts.

 Guideline number one: Obeying God’s Word

 Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path”

David describes here how we may find God’s pathway for us through life. The light we need is provided by God’s Word. As long as we practice obedience to that Word in every situation, we will never stray from the path God has appointed for us. We may not be able to see where that path is taking us, but we can rest assured that in God’s time it will bring us out to the fulfillment of His plan for our lives.

There will be times when the world around us will be in total darkness. We will not be able to see more than a few feet in any direction. There may be unsolved problems ahead. There may be dangers around the corner. But in the midst of it all we have this guarantee: If we are sincerely obeying the Word of God as it is revealed to us in any given situation, we will never walk in the dark. We will never put our foot in some treacherous place that will cause us to stumble and fall into injury or disaster.  All that God requires of us is to take the next step of simple obedience to His Word.

 What has made it hard for you, at times, to obey God’s Word?

Our greatest danger is that we will seek to peer too far ahead into the darkness. In so doing we may miss the place for our next step, which is the only area illuminated for us at that moment. Rest assured, then: Obedience to God’s Word will keep you in the path that leads to the marriage He has planned for you.

Guideline number two: Walking in Fellowship

 1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another”

This guideline follows naturally after the previous one, which dealt with walking in the light of God’s Word. This one deals with the consequence of walking in that light: “We have fellowship with one another.” Obedience to God’s Word automatically brings Christians together and enables them to relate to one another.

The opposite is also true. Christians who do not enjoy fellowship with other Christians are not walking in the light. There is some area in their lives in which they are not obeying God’s Word. The only exceptions would be Christians who, through circumstances outside their control, are cut off from fellowship with other Christians.

If we do not cultivate fellowship with other believers, with whom are we to have fellowship?

There really is only one alternative: with unbelievers. The Bible strongly warns us against this: 2 Corinthians 6:14–15 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?

 Paul is not telling us to be cold or hostile toward our non-Christian neighbors. He is simply warning us that we cannot afford to establish with unbelievers the close relationships that are appropriate with believers. Obviously, he has in mind various kinds of relationships. But the first word he uses, yoke, is used regularly for the marriage relationship. First and foremost, Paul is warning that it is always wrong for a Christian to marry a non-Christian.

To every unmarried Christian who reads this: You are not free to marry a non-Christian. You are not even free to entertain the thought. Make up your mind from this moment on, if you have not already done so, that marriage with an unbeliever is outside of God’s plan for your life.

 Do you have worldly friendships or family members? What makes it difficult to put distance or sever these relationships?

The best protection against wrong relationships is right relationships. Be diligent, then, to cultivate fellowship and friendship with fellow believers. In most cases, marriage develops out of existing relationships. If you have built strong relationships with other Christians, you are not likely even to contemplate marriage with a non-Christian.

Your safest course is to decide right now about the kinds of relationships you are going to cultivate. Then affirm your decision to the Lord in the words of the psalmist:

Psalm 119:63 “I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts”

Guideline number three: Being Led by the Spirit

 Romans 8:14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

 The New Testament indicates two different ways the Holy Spirit works to make us members of God’s family. First, in order to become God’s children, we must be born again of His Spirit. Then, in order to become mature sons of God, we must be led by His Spirit. Many Christians who have been born again of the Holy Spirit have never learned to be led by Him. Consequently, they never grow to true spiritual maturity or find God’s fullest plan for their lives.

Among all these millions of people in the world, God is preparing (or has already prepared) one specific person to be your mate. How are you to find that person? God’s Word indicates the answer: Be led by the Holy Spirit. He alone knows who and where the person is whom God has appointed as your mate and how to be a good husband in your current marriage. You must learn, therefore, how to allow the Holy Spirit to lead you.

For this, there are two key words: dependence and sensitivity. First, acknowledge your total dependence on the Holy Spirit. If He does not guide you, you will miss God’s purpose. Cultivate the habit of seeking His direction in every situation and every decision, small or great. Sometimes the decisions you think unimportant are the most important of all, and vice versa. Seeking the Holy Spirit’s direction does not necessarily involve using a lot of religious language in prayer. It may often mean just turning momentarily to Him with an inward thought.

Second, cultivate sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. He is not a drill sergeant. He does not shout orders at you. His prompting is usually gentle. He speaks with “a still, small voice.” If your ears are not tuned to it, you will not hear Him.

Let me recommend a specific prayer: “Lord, help us to be always in the right place at the right time.” We pray this with the knowledge that only the Holy Spirit can make it happen.

Have you ever had a situation when the Holy Spirit spoke to you and you obeyed?

 Sometimes the Holy Spirit guides us in ways that are dramatic and supernatural. At other times He works through a nudge or a whisper. We must be open to both. If we are not open to the supernatural, we set arbitrary limits to God’s plan for our lives. He may have planned something so far beyond our natural expectations that it can only be revealed to us supernaturally—by a vision, for example, or a prophecy. If we look only for the dramatic and the supernatural, on the other hand, we may miss the gentle nudge or the whisper. It is not for us to decide in advance how the Holy Spirit will work. We must be sensitive to Him no matter how He guides us.

What is a fail safe ways the Holy Spirit speaks to us?

Guideline number four:  Guarding Your Heart

Proverbs 4:23Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.

 There is an area central to human personality and decisive to human destiny, which the Bible calls the heart. Whatever rules your heart will determine the course of your life. You need to guard your heart, therefore, more carefully than any other area of your being. This applies particularly to those impulses and emotions related to sex.

Be continually watchful, first of all, concerning what you allow into your heart. In our contemporary culture, young people in particular are being bombarded continually with influences that undermine biblical standards for sex and marriage. These are at work through teaching in schools and colleges, through the media, through peer pressure and through other ways that are hard to detect. If you are to find God’s plan for marriage in your life, you must set a guard over your heart that refuses admission to all unbiblical and anti-Christian standards.

Another influence to guard against is that of fantasy. At a certain period in adolescence it is common to indulge in a good deal of daydreaming. But do not allow this to develop into a habit of fantasizing. If you are prone to this, resist it firmly and force yourself to face up to reality. When it comes to marriage, you will have formed an unreal, subjective image of the person who is to be your mate.

Be no less careful concerning what you release out of your heart. Don’t indulge in flirtations or superficial relationships with the opposite sex. It may seem exciting to stir someone’s emotions and allow your own to be stirred, but one day you may discover that your emotions have gotten out of your control. Like the sorcerer’s apprentice, who discovered the formula to release the water in a flood but did not know the formula to recall it, you may discover you have released emotions you are not able to recall. The result is an emotional entanglement with a person who is in no way suited to be your mate.

How are some practical ways to guard our hearts regarding the opposite sex?

Here is a safe rule to follow. First, discover the mate God has chosen for you. Then, release your emotions toward that person (or your wife). In this way, you will not need to recall the flood.


Credit: Derek Prince, God is a Matchmaker