Sound view on marriage 3
by Ivan Ho 14 Oct 2019
But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’ ; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
The above words of Jesus were similar to what Adam said when he first saw his wife Eve, as recorded in the book of Genesis:
Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
What Adam said was God’s revelation of the divine pattern of marriage between a man and a woman, the unchanging principle that is still applicable for mankind today . Being the first man created by God, Adam was without father and mother, and hence when he said “a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined with his wife”, it was a revelation he received directly from God concerning marriage rather than something he learnt through his own experience.
- A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined with his wife.
The above word from God brings out some very important principles on marriage.
Firstly, God gives us father and mother who form the nucleus of a healthy family. Everyone of us needs love, nurture and training from our father and mother, or for some, their foster parents. The important role of bringing up our children is primarily given to our father and mother rather than a responsibility being passed on to the government, schools, nannies or Sunday school teachers.
Nowadays, however, due to human weaknesses, demonic attacks, or sometimes owing to circumstances, some children are unfortunately deprived of parental care, education and love when they are growing up.
Recently, I came across a documentary in which an eleven year old Hong Kong girl told her interviewer how her father from Hong Kong left her and her mom when she was little. Her mom, who lives in mainland China, has to apply for temporary entry pass in order to visit her daughter occasionally, and frequently leaving the young girl all by herself in her flat in Hong Kong, having no one by her side to look after her. Similar stories are not uncommon in our world today, mainly due to man failing to follow God’s commands :
- husband and wife should not separate
- children need the love and care from both their father and mother together.
The above real life stories we see in our broken world are the consequences of man departing from God and his original pattern and plan for families.
Right from the beginning of man’s creation, it is God’s intention for children to be under the guardians of both their father and mother until such time when they become mature and be ready to leave their parents and be joined with their spouses.
To leave our parents does not mean we are to forsake them. I believe what it means is that the parents are supposed to train up their children in the ways of God, teaching them how to trust totally in Him, leading them to become born again children of God. As their children learn how to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they would no longer need to rely on guidance of their parents. When they become mature sons and daughters of God having sufficiency in Christ in every area of their lives, they are now ready to leave their parents and be joined with their spouses.
Every person needs to grow into maturity in the sense that he grows from putting faith and trust in his parents to having faith and total trust in God. Ideally, a person growing up as a child should be taught by his or her own parents to know God. However, since not all parents know God themselves, other people who are followers of Christ are often used by God to teach children about God and his ways, a process called discipleship. When Jesus went out to select his apostles, He too needed to spend time with them closely in order to teach and train them and make them become mature sons.
When man are brought up to become mature sons of God, they are then ready to leave their parents for marriage. Unfortunately, in the world where people have little regards for God, parents are usually only keen on teaching their children grow physically and mentally, and to make sure they become independent financially, but neglecting their most important spiritual needs. The parents often send their children to receive secular education with emphasis on teaching intellectual knowledge, survival skills and means to make a living in order to prepare them to join the workforce in the future. A lot of parents tend to pass the responsibility of training their children to other people or institutions. More often than not, some parents hope to eventually transfer their responsibility of financially supporting their children to their future spouses. Such practices, though with good intentions, would come short of parent’s God given responsibility to raise up children in the ways of God.
The most important need of a person growing up is not to be joined with his or her spouse, but to be joined with our heavenly Father through Jesus Christ. When a person becomes a mature son of God, not lacking anything in the Lord, he is in the best position to be joined with his partner who ideally is also a mature follower of Christ, although marital partners have the role to disciple each other during the course of their life together.
Having said that, I am not saying that only believers should be getting married, nor am I saying that only Christian parents are fit to raise up their children. All I am trying to say is when would be the best time for a man to leave his parents and be joined with his wife, especially if the man is a believer. Marriage is God’s gift for all mankind and the most suitable candidates to raise up children are their own parents regardless of their faiths, except for those who have personal or psychological problems, or are incapable of doing so due to circumstances. Parental love and care for children is written in our DNA by God, the innate behaviours that even animals have.
For those parents who know the Lord, I believe their primary responsibility towards their children, apart from love, care and provision, is to raise them up in the ways of the Lord. For parents who don’t yet know Jesus, God would also use other disciples of Christ to teach His people about God and His ways. Regardless of how much or little they know God, parents can always choose to follow God’s perfect ways.