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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work This may be the first time in the history of books, but here goes: Dedicated to. versions of old 2 States The. one of the wisest and most comprehensive books on marriage I've ever read.” Karen Swallow Prior, PhD (married 31 years), author of Booked and Fierce. Preparing for Marriage: Help for Christian Couples. Revised and Print/PDF . that became the book This Momentary Marriage: A Parable.


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we can get (and give) more in this vital area of our marriages. I highly recommend this book for any couple interested in making their marriage extraordinary!”. If the past is any indication, Sex, God, and Marriage will continue to prompt many more responses and spark new discussion. Granted, it is a book whose. Great books on Christian Marriage. books on marriage from a Christian worldview how do i get christian free marital e-books (pdf format) online. reply | flag *.

When an evil thought presents itself to us, if we cherish it even for a moment in our minds, we allow it to "make a nest" there and so sin. Lustful thinking, once indulged in, will make a person more and more its slave. Deliverance becomes increasingly difficult with the passage of time. The sooner we seek for deliverance the easier it will be.

Victory over evil thoughts like victory over all other sin comes through an honest confession of failure, a real longing for deliverance, an acceptance of the fact of our death with Christ, and an utter yieldedness of our bodies and minds to the Lord Romans We must also "walk in the Spirit" and cooperate with Him in disciplining our lives, if we are to enjoy continuous victory Galatians If we fail to discipline our eyes and ears cutting off all reading and seeing and hearing that is lustful , we shall not be able to discipline our thoughts either this is the real implication of Matthew Discipline of the body is essential for deliverance from lustful thoughts.

The greatest of saints have confessed that they had to battle constantly with sexual temptations in their minds. They had to discipline their bodies severely in order to get victory. Job, though a married man with ten children, recognized that if he was to be delivered from lustful thinking, he had to control his eyes.

For men, the greatest temptations come through the eyes. If care is not exercised here and an unclean thought or picture is once allowed to enter our minds through the eye-gate, it becomes almost impossible to remove it from there. Disciplining our lives includes our having a daily devotional time with God each morning as soon as we awake and every night before we go to bed. If on awaking in the morning, we continue to loll in bed instead, we shall be leaving the door wide open for evil thoughts to flood our minds.

We must fill our minds daily with the Word of God - for saturating our minds thus with God's Word is one of the surest safeguards against evil thinking. David said, I have thought much about Your words, and stored them in my heart so that they would hold me back from sin Psalm - TLB.

The Bible also says, If you value the approval of God, fix your minds on the things which are holy and right and pure and beautiful and good" Philippians - JBP. Henry Martyn, the great missionary to India, has said in his journal, that he found great help by obeying this Scriptural injunction when battling with unclean thoughts. Whenever a lustful thought connected with some girl presented itself to his mind, he would immediately pray for her that she might be pure in her heart and mind and that she might be a temple of the Holy Spirit consecrated to the service and glory of God.

He dared not harbour an unclean thought about her after having prayed for her in this manner. This is indeed an excellent method for maintaining purity of thought.

Some may say that the prevailing standard of morals in the world around us is so low that it is difficult to be totally free from unclean thoughts. But this state of affairs is not peculiar to the twentieth century.

Corinth in the first century was a centre of licentiousness and immorality, yet the Spirit of God urged the Christians there to lead their every thought captive into the obedience of Christ 2 Corinthians He tells us to do the same today. The way to life may be narrow and difficult, but the Holy Spirit can strengthen us to walk that way.

To discipline our lives thus, does not mean that we should develop a repugnance for the opposite sex. Far from it! The fact that we find the opposite sex attractive is, in itself, not sinful. It is quite natural. It is not wrong for us to admire a pretty face as a part of God's beautiful creation.

But being fallen creatures, if we are not careful, we shall soon begin to notice the beautiful form and then to lust. Thus the attractiveness of the opposite sex, though clean in itself, can become for us, an occasion for unclean thinking. Keith Miller, in 'A Second Touch' says, "I have found that becoming a deeply committed Christian does not keep one from being fully aware of beauty in the opposite sex.

And I do not think this recognition is in any sense sin or is an indication that one needs a spiritual check-up. In fact, if you do not recognize physical beauty in the opposite sex, and if you are my age, you may need a physical check-up.

And I am very serious. As a matter of fact, recognition of specific possibility for sinning is a prerequisite for the development of Christian character. For instance, a blind man would not be considered honest for not stealing gold on a table before him - only a man who saw the gold, and recognized fully his drive for it, but chose not to steal it It is what one does with that which is recognized, that causes the problems.

We should also frequently pray, Lord, do not let me face temptation in this realm that I cannot overcome. Masturbation Looseness in thinking can lead to indisciplined indulgence of the body's sexual desires. A Christian can never afford to do this. The apostle Paul said, Every competitor in athletic events goes into serious training.

Athletes will take tremendous pains - for a fading crown of leaves. But our contest is for an eternal crown that will never fade. I run the race, then, with determination. I am no shadow-boxer, I really fight! I am my body's sternest master, for fear that when I have preached to others I should myself be disqualified" 1 Corinthians - JBP.

Again he said, Everyone of you should learn to control his body, keeping it pure and treating it with respect, and never regarding it as an instrument for self-gratification, as do pagans with no knowledge of God 1 Thessalonians , 5 - JBP. Scorer in his book, 'The Bible and Sex Ethics Today', says, "It is from these words of the Apostle Paul that advice may be found on another matter to which the Bible apparently makes no reference - that of secret and solitary indulgence, or masturbation.

The New Testament does not attempt to analyse the secret aspect of a man's life. Modern psychology may try to do so; Christ and His apostles do not. But it is difficult to escape the conclusion that such self-gratification carries with it the wish to rebel against God's authority over our bodies. It consists in making sexual experience an end to be desired and sought after for its own sake. A man or woman becomes a servant to his or her own desires instead of master of them.

It is a general principle that sexual thinking counteracts spiritual insight and power; if the impulses of the body rule our lives, the Spirit cannot. Psychologically, such sins often represent an immaturity of character or a self-consciousness and self-preoccupation which need to be overcome. Of course, it cannot be considered serious in the sense that fornication is, for it does not involve anyone else It humiliates him and hence it may well nullify his witness as a Christian, simply because of this confusion of his own self-esteem.

The solution lies with the will and the adoption of the common sense attitude that sexual stimulation can always be successfully resisted if it is avoided at the outset". Masturbation may not lead to any disease but it does lead to depression, a sense of guilt and a weakening of will-power - all of which finally rob a person of his fellowship with God and his spiritual effectiveness.

If indulged in excessively, it can also cause problems in the sexual relationship after marriage. Masturbation is a sin because it is an abuse of God's gift of sex. It must be repented of and forsaken.

It is often because young people learn the facts of sex in perverted form from their worldly friends that they easily fall into the grip of this evil habit. Once this habit is indulged in, it grips the person so strongly that he is compelled to yield to it again and again.

But Christ can set him free. Many young people are taught by their friends that they must indulge in masturbation, lest their sexual organs be rendered useless through non-use, just as a muscle is rendered useless if unused for many years. This is however a totally wrong idea. Medical authorities are agreed on the fact that the non-use of sexual organs can never lead to a withering-up or an impairment of function. Control of the cravings of sex does not do any psychological harm either.

In fact there is no danger whatsoever in keeping sexual desires under control. On the contrary, when a person does discipline himself thus, his will-power becomes stronger and his mind more alert.

A man can live all his life without once using his sexual organs and yet be perfectly strong and healthy in mind and body. Some young men may be concerned about seminal emissions that they have when asleep.

These are only part of the normal functioning of their bodies in the expulsion of excess matter. They are neither abnormal nor cause for concern. Every man must learn to control his sexual passions before he gets married, for self-control will be greatly needed thereafter. There is a place for self-discipline in sexual relations even after marriage, for marriage does not grant license for unrestrained sexual intercourse.

One who has not learnt self-control prior to marriage is unlikely to learn it afterwards. Those who are already in the grip of this evil habit may perhaps be wondering how to find deliverance. The way of deliverance is by recognizing that through our union with Christ in His death and resurrection, sin's hold on us is broken. Victory can be a reality in our lives now as we present ourselves to the Lord to be filled with His Holy Spirit Romans We must also plan a busy daily schedule for our lives.

Our minds and especially our bodies should be kept occupied throughout the day in some activity or the other. It is the idle, unexercised body that falls an easy prey to sexual desire. The person who lives a hard life will find very little difficulty in this realm.

God intends that man should work hard. Adam was to obtain his bread by the sweat of his brow Genesis Science however has now discovered so many time-saving devices for us, that the modern young man finds plenty of time hanging idly on his hands - which the devil is quick to use. I do not mean that we should therefore not use any time-saving devices. Use them by all means. But we should try and spend our spare moments profitably in some form of creative activity.

The energy of the body can be expended in four ways - in physical work, mental activity, emotional experiences or in sexual indulgence. If our bodily energy is not expended in the first three ways, the pressure will be very great to expend in the fourth way. But such sexual indulgence drains the body of its nervous and physical energy and vitality more than any of the other ways do.

Some men are under-sexed and do not feel the pressure within for sexual release as much as others do. Those who feel this pressure greatly because of excessive sexual desire need not feel that they are abnormal. It is an indication of surplus creative energy within them that can be sublimated or expended in very profitable ways. God does not want us to be perpetually fighting lust.

He wants us to redirect our bodily energies which are pressing for sexual indulgence in thought or deed into paths that would glorify Him and help our fellowmen.

Let every Christian young man therefore keep his body exercised through daily physical activity. Let him also spend his spare moments in serious Bible Study and prayer this will exercise his mind , instead of an idle talk. He will then find at the end of the day, not only that he has accomplished much, but also that he is so tired that he falls asleep almost as soon as he gets into bed.

Instead of being plagued on his bed at night by lustful thoughts and the temptation to masturbate, he will find himself sinking into a blessed slumber. The task of controlling our sexual passions can be made easier if we discipline ourselves in the simpler matters of eating and sleeping. Many are defeated in the realm of sex because they have never disciplined themselves in these latter realms.

There is a very real connection between over-eating and the stimulation of sexual desire. Sexual sins abounded in ancient Sodom because of over-abundance of food, prosperous ease and idleness Ezekiel Let those who are mastered by their sexual passions discipline their eating habits and seek the Lord's face earnestly in prayer with fasting, and they will very soon find deliverance.

Above all, we should seek to practice the presence of the Lord at all times - i.

We would obviously not indulge in masturbation if another believer were observing us. How much more should we fear God! If, in spite of your best efforts, you are unable to shake off this temptation at any particular time, then the best thing to do is to seek the company of another person immediately - preferably a believer. This will strengthen you for victory. Adultery The first sexual union between a man and a woman brings a mystical union between the two, and marriage is consummated right there.

The Bible says, Do you not know and realize that when a man joins himself to a prostitute he becomes one body with her? The two, it is written, shall become one flesh" 1 Corinthians In the Old Testament, sexual union between a man and a woman is spoken of as "knowing".

Sexual intercourse is not an act that has merely physical effects. Neither can it be easily forgotten. It fuses the two involved into one in a mysterious way. This is why God has placed so many deterrents along the pathway of sexual irregularity - deadly diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea to name just two.

Young men usually look for privilege and enjoyment without attendant responsibilities. This is why they are tempted to seek for the pleasure of sexual indulgence without the responsibilities of married life.

Men who degrade sex like that can expect nothing but the curse and judgment of God upon their lives. Young men are sometimes challenged by their perverted worldly friends to prove their manhood by sexual intercourse. They are derided if they don't date a girl or if they cannot recount any sexual adventures. True manhood however is proved not by sexual license but by self-control.

The Bible gives us the example of David who "lost out" partially because of unbridled lust. Notice the circumstances that led to his fall. He had neglected his duty and given way to sloth and ease.

Then he saw Bathsheba. Instead of disciplining his eyes he continued to gaze at her and thus fell into sin. When he saw a beautiful women, he forgot all about his calling as a servant of God - and thereby lost his ministry. Many others since, have fallen in exactly the same manner and lost their ministry too.

On the other hand, we read of Joseph who had neither the luxury and ease and position that David had, nor the high calling to the service of God that Samson had, and yet who triumphed completely over lust.

Genesis 39 should be read and studied by every young man. We see there in verse 7, how the temptation came to Joseph suddenly one day, without any warning whatsoever. So will it come to us.

If we are not prepared for it beforehand, we shall assuredly fall. If Joseph had been indulging in lustful thinking in his private life, he would have fallen easily. But Joseph had been practicing the presence of God and so when the temptation came, the presence of God was more real to him that the presence of anyone else. If Joseph's spirituality had been only something put on to impress others and not something deep and real, then he would undoubtedly have succumbed to such a strong temptation.

Notice too that it was the fear of God that held Joseph back from falling into sin and not the fear of being discovered or the fear of punishment verse 9. Alas, it is only these latter fears that hold back many people from sins these days. But Joseph's relationship with God was far deeper than the superficial relationship that most folks have in our day.

We read that Joseph resisted repeated attempts made by Potiphar's wife to lead him into sin verse He said, "No" the first time and so it was easier for him to say "No" the second time and easier still the third time. As the hymn says, "Yield not to temptation for yielding is sin; Each victory will help you some other to win". Verse 10 tells us that Joseph avoided the presence of Potiphar's wife altogether. This is always the safest course to follow - to avoid the scene of temptation totally when ever possible.

Marriage Books

Joseph's example warns us that we will have to be careful in our relationships with the opposite sex. And if it is not only in the presence of attractive girls that caution has be to be exercised, for temptation can come from unattractive girls too. Some of the latter, aware of their lack of beauty, may at times try to make up for it, by offering greater freedom to men to touch their bodies. The Bible warns us, Avoid sexual looseness like the plague!

Every other sin that a man commits is done outside his own body, but this is an offense against his own body.

Have you forgotten that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who lives in you and is God's gift to you, and that you are not the owner of your own body? You have been bought, and at what a price! And again, Run from anything that gives you the evil thoughts that young men often have" 2 Timothy - TLB. That was what Joseph did. He did not mind being slandered or even imprisoned, but he refused to yield to lust. No wonder God honoured him. Perhaps failure in this realm may be the reason why God cannot honour many young men today!

Homosexuality Homosexuality refers to sexual attraction between individuals of the same sex. It was one of the sins for which God judged Sodom and Gomorrah in Lot's time. It is condemned in no uncertain terms in Leviticus and in 1 Corinthians , The Bible warns those who indulge in homosexual practices that they will "receive in their own personalities the consequences of sexual perversity" Romans - JBP.

The Old Testament law specified death without mercy for those who practiced sodomy Leviticus A believer should not only have nothing whatsoever to do with homosexuality, he should also avoid having any unnatural affection towards someone of his own sex. He should likewise resist the subtle approaches of homosexual-minded people. If you are already in the grip of this evil habit, seek the Lord's face earnestly for deliverance and endeavour to have healthy, normal contact with the opposite sex.

It may help too, if you seek the counsel and prayer-help of an older believer. Overcoming the Enemy Many are the temptations in the realm of sex that we face in our day. Satan is described in the Bible as a roaring lion seeking to devour, and as a subtle serpent seeking to deceive. He knows that sex is one of the easiest realms in which to trap young people and ruin their lives. Our safety lies in being self-controlled and vigilant always for even in this realm, it is true that "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty".

The injunctions of God's Word are meant to save us from the snares of the Enemy. God has given us many warnings in His Word - especially in the book of Proverbs. Every young person should read that book frequently. Some believers have the excellent habit of reading through Proverbs once every month - a chapter a day.

It warns us in advance of the enemy's lines of approach. If we are determined to get victory, we shall undoubtedly face a battle. But we should not give in.

If we have already fallen, then let us confess our sins to God.

He is faithful to forgive us and to cleanse us of all our past misdeeds and unclean thoughts. Some who have fallen deeply may have to live with the consequences of their sin, although forgiven. But if we have not fallen so far as that, then let us be watchful, for the Bible says that the one who thinks he will never fall, is the one most likely to do so 1 Corinthians God desires to lead us in triumph at all times 2 Corinthians May we trust Him to do so in our lives.

Chapter 3 Opposite Poles Attract There is something within all of us that makes us long for the company, friendship and admiration of the opposite sex. We would rather impress one of them than one of our own sex. We feel more disappointed when ignored by the opposite sex than when slighted by our own.

A person who denies the existence of such feelings must be either a homosexual or a liar! In all normal human beings, a change of attitude towards the opposite sex begins with puberty between the ages of 14 and 16 for a boy and between 12 and 14 for a girl. Before that age, boys usually prefer boys, girl,s prefer girls.

But with puberty, there develops in each sex, an attraction for the opposite - although each will be slow to admit this. This attraction may express itself at times in nothing more than perhaps an increased attention to one's dress and general appearance or an automatic change to a more graceful attitude in the presence of the opposite sex.

Such attraction is natural and unavoidable, and is in itself not sinful at all. Since God Himself has made us thus, He must surely expect us to be friendly in a natural way with members of the opposite sex. God does not expect us to repress in any unnatural way such desires for friendship. But He does tell us to discipline those desires so that they do not get out of hand and go to excess.

There are, no doubt, dangers in becoming too friendly with members of the opposite sex - especially when that friendship is restricted to one individual alone. But there are equally great dangers in going to the other extreme and avoiding contact with them altogether.

There are those who consider themselves super-spiritual and avoid even conversation with the opposite sex. This, however, is no indication of their being spiritual, but rather of their being unnatural. The idea that friendliness with the opposite sex is an unspiritual thing is really part of the same philosophy that teaches that the single state is more blessed than the married one. Unscriptural teaching like that can only lead to hidden sin - as is amply evidenced by the immorality into which many religious celibates have sunk.

In just the same way, the minds and private habits of those who mingle only with their own sex are invariably more evil than of those who mingle naturally with both sexes. What has been said above is not meant to encourage any undisciplined liberty with the opposite sex, for that can lead a person to the other extreme of licentiousness. All we are pleading for, is a healthy balance. Herbert Gray in 'Men, Women and God', says, "The mutual relations of men and women in the realm of comradeship, and quite apart from marriage, may be so happy and enriching - so exhilarating and so bracing - that one may reverently say the whole arrangement of having divided mankind into two such groups is one of the most splendid of the Divine thoughts.

In all life's departments, with a few obvious exceptions, men and women supplement and stimulate one another, and by comradeship make a bigger and better thing of life than would be possible otherwise". Friendships The Bible teaches that young men should treat girls as sisters, in all purity 1 Timothy In other words, you should treat a girl just as you would want other men to treat your own sister.

Unclean Thoughts

This is indeed the safest rule to follow at all times. Both sexes should treat each other with honour and respect, as well as with reserve and restraint. We should never be too personal or inquisitive or even flippant with members of the opposite sex.

It is always wisest to maintain some degree of reserve or at least of sobriety - although this does not rule out a sense of humour.

But we must bear in mind that we will be tempted to indulge in excesses of flippancy much more when in the presence of the opposite sex than at other times, and this can be dangerous. Friendships between the sexes develop very quickly and almost without warning, because the boy is constantly desiring to show off his abilities, and the girl her attractiveness.

There are many who seek to be friendly with ulterior motives so one must be careful. A Christian young man should never exploit the weakness of the opposite sex and give a girl the idea that he is interested in her when he is not. Girls are sometimes quick to read a meaning where none was intended. All young men must remember this. They should therefore avoid writing letters or even giving casual invitations or presents to any girl, lest the motive behind such acts be misconstrued.

Even letters on spiritual topics should be avoided. It is also unwise to approach an unmarried person of the opposite sex, for advice or help in personal or even spiritual matters. This does not mean that we should not consider a person of the opposite sex as a possible life-partner.

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Milan Yerkovich. But remember that Christ has set us free only in order that we might obey the Word of God - and the Bible does not encourage anyone to date.

It is totally silent on the subject. Where the Word of God and man's traditions clash, we must certainly obey the former. But in all other cases, we should ensure that our freedom "does not become mere opportunity for our lower nature" Galatians - JBP. We are to be governed in such cases by the rule given us in Romans Here are two translations of that verse: You mustn't let something that is all right for you to look like an evil practice to somebody else" JBP.

Don't do that which will cause criticism against yourself even though you know that what you do is right TLB. It is easy to think that we alone know the right answer. But remember that knowledge only makes a man proud, whereas love makes him more like God. The man who thinks he knows everything is only showing his ignorance, but the man who really loves God - he alone is God's friend.

So what should we do? Should we date or not? We know that there is nothing really sinful about going for a walk or going to eat at a restaurant along with some person of the opposite sex - provided our motives are totally pure. But not all people in India feel the same way about this. Most of them have all their lives been used to considering dating wrong. Remember that our acceptance with God does not depend on whether we date or not.

If we date, that won't make us better men, and if we don't date that won't make us worse either. But be careful lest your freedom to date causes another Christian or even a non-Christian who is seeking after the truth to stumble and fall.

Suppose someone who considers dating to be wrong sees you going out with a girl or a boy, as the case may be , he may lose his respect for your Christian testimony. Furthermore he may also begin to date; and he may fall into sin because he may not be as spiritually strong as you are. You will thereby be responsible for causing the spiritual downfall of your brother.

When another person falls into sin thus because of your indirectly encouraging him, you are actually sinning against Christ. So I have decided that if there is any possibility of my brother being injured or of others being stumbled through my going out on a date, I shall not ever go out on a date, lest I cause others to fall". Those who continue dating will find it extremely difficult to refrain from physical contact - beginning with holding hands and going on to kissing and caressing.

The urge for physical contact will be stronger in the boy than in the girl, for sexual passion is always greater in the male. Men are easily aroused sexually, and once passions are thus stimulated it will be extremely difficult to get them under control.

Once a couple start petting, it will be virtually impossible to stop. One step will lead to another, and each time you are together, you will desire more excitement than on the previous occasion. Each time too, you will get less and less satisfaction out of it. Sexual experiences like petting penetrate to the depths of a person's being. They cannot be indulged in without serious consequences. Petting is the natural prelude to the intimacies of married life, and so it is sinful as well as unwise to indulge in it prior to marriage.

Petting cheapens and degrades sex and can lead to emotional conflicts, frustrations and nervous tensions which may ultimately cause resentment and hatred where love existed once. It can very easily lead to sexual intercourse - which is its only logical end; and when a couple constantly stop short of such total union, it can lead to masturbation to relieve the tension created and later on to difficulties in the sexual relationship after marriage.

Feelings of guilt and regret can also remain in the mind even after, as a result of petting. Many friendships between boys and girls break up after a while, and if petting has been indulged in, the girl becomes not much better than a prostitute.

The girl must therefore apply the breaks when she finds her boyfriend inclined towards physical contact. From what has been said above, it will be obvious that dating invariably leads to petting and that petting can in turn cause manifold problems.

And so dating itself is totally out of the question for anyone who is seeking to glorify God in his life. Others around us may be indulging in this, but we should not be governed by their example. There is no need to envy them either, for their latter end is always regret and frustration. If you honour God and obey the principles laid down in His Word, you can be assured of a life and an eternity that are free from all regret.

Yet because many have failed to understand its real meaning, they have never enjoyed its many-sided splendour. Being more influenced in their concept of love by the 20th century entertainment world and by romantic literature than by the teaching of God's Word, many couples have missed the wholesome and exhilarating experience of true love.

Many a marriage has been wrecked because of a failure to understand the real meaning of love. The emotional thrill caused by the presence of some member of the opposite sex has often been mistaken for true love. Proceeding on that basis, many have married only to discover in a short while that what they considered to be love was not love at all - it was just romantic infatuation.

How often a young man "falls in love" with some girl and then, projecting himself into the place of the hero of the last film he saw or book he read , begins to feel that if only he could marry her, they could together "live happily ever after".

But marriage has a way of shattering the dream-world that an infatuated couple lived in during days of courtship and engagement. It awakens them and plants them firmly in the world of reality. If infatuation is blind, marriage is certainly an eye-opener!

True Love We must understand what the Bible means when it speaks of "love", or else we too shall tread the pathway of failure that millions of young people and married couples are treading today. The New Testament was originally written in Greek and that language has four words for "love" - agape, philia, storge and eros. Of these, storge is used almost exclusively to refer to the love of parents for their children and of children for their parents.

Since we are dealing here with love between the sexes, we shall ignore storge and consider only the other three words. Agape, philia and eros refer to three levels of love - which could correspond to man's spirit, soul and body. Beginning at the lowest level, eros refers to the love of physical passion. It has been defined as "the hot and unendurable desire" and has primary reference to the union of the body of one with that of the other. It is a love based on something physical in one person that can satisfy the craving of another.

It is a love that always seeks to receive. The next word is philia. This is the commonest word for "love" in Greek, and refers to affectionate regard and the love of friendship. The idea is of cherishing. It has primary reference in marriage to the union of the soul of one with that of the other.

It is a love based usually on similarity of intellectual and emotional outlook. It means more than physical love but it can still be self-centered, for its satisfaction often comes from the feeling that one is wanted, or that one is a benefactor or a protector of that other needy person. The third word - which speaks of the highest level of love - is agape. This is the love of God imparted to us by the Holy Spirit Romans This word has primary reference in marriage to the union of the spirit of one with that of the other.

It is a self-giving love - the love of Calvary's cross. It is not simply a wave of emotion; it is a deliberate conviction of the mind issuing in a deliberate policy of the life; it is a deliberate achievement and conquest and victory of the will.

It takes all of man to achieve this love; it takes not only his heart; it takes his mind and his will as well. It is impossible for a man to have this love unless the Spirit takes possession of him and sheds abroad the love of God in his heart. This is love in its fullest and highest form. It has its source in God. The verb-form stands for kindliness towards its object and has reference to the tendency of the will.

In reference to the love that should exist between a husband and wife, this would mean that each partner should value the other as of infinite worth; they should have a concern for each other; they should delight and rejoice in each other; and they should be faithful to one another.

The Bible defines agape thus: It is slow to lose patience - it looks for a way of being constructive. It is not possessive; it is neither anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance.

It has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. It is not touchy. It does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails. It knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen 1 Corinthians - JBP.

Another definition of agape is: "It is slow to suspect but quick to trust; slow to condemn but quick to justify; slow to offend but quick to defend; slow to expose but quick to shield; slow to reprimand but quick to forbear; slow to belittle but quick to appreciate; slow to demand but quick to give; slow to provoke but quick to conciliate; slow to hinder but quick to help; and slow to resent but quick to forgive".

In the married life of a believer, all these loves should exist - but in the proper order - agape first, philia next and eros third. This is in accordance with the teaching of 1 Thessalonians , which puts spirit first, soul next and body third.

This was the order that God intended should exist in man when He created him. In fallen man however this order is reversed, and therefore even his concept of love is perverted. An attraction of the carnal mind and body of one to the carnal mind and body of another is what this world calls "love". It is just philia and eros - and alas, sometimes eros alone. Yet in God's eyes, nothing is worthy of being called "love" unless it has the agape constituent in it. Falling in Love Is it right for a believer to fall in love?

This depends on what is meant by the term - "falling in love". The world considers love to be an irresistible power that suddenly grips a man and begins to rule him. If, by some chance, the person who has thus "fallen in love" cannot marry his beloved, he has no alternative but to pine away in sorrow all his days - or at least until he "falls in love" again.

A large number of pop songs and films are based on this theme of the disappointed lover. All this is due to the fact that the world can conceive of love only on the philia and eros level. Such a "falling in love" is obviously wrong for a believer. For the child of God, love should commence on the agape level and should be based primarily on spiritual attraction.

Thus alone should he "fall in love". He should live so totally under the control of the Holy Spirit that he is able to rule his emotions, and not allow them to run away with him. The Christian must be directed by the Spirit of God in his love as much as in any other area of his life. The Holy Spirit alone can lead you to the person God has chosen to be your life-partner - and that is the only person you should ever fall in love with.

How careful we should be then! We cannot afford to be like the unbeliever who falls in love with a person and then after some months or years changes his mind and falls in love with someone else. A believer should never be the plaything of his emotions.

His love should originate in his will and not in his emotions - for emotions can be very deceptive. Feelings of love need not be absent but should follow the willing of love. But this is possible only when we allow the Cross to operate constantly in our lives, putting to death the desires of our own self and making us accept only the will of God. Thus alone will you be in a fit state to ascertain the will of God.

You must hold back the emotional involvement until after you find God's will in the matter. Otherwise you will find that your emotions dull your rational thinking and you will eventually be misguided. You must be careful that your emotions don't lead you into situations which you may afterward regret.

It is tragic to discover after you have given your love to someone albeit secretly that that person is not God's choice for you. An experience of this kind causes many problems and is not easily removed from the mind.

Fiqh Of Love - Marriage In Islam

Memory has a way of bringing it up again and again even after you are married to someone else. Guilt and regret can then plague your mind thereby injuring your personality and ruining your marriage.

Young men especially have to be careful that they do not get carried away by physical beauty or charm alone. Where there is no true love, physical attraction must be kept down severely. Where true love does exist, physical attraction will not be the main thing anyway. In this matter of love, as in other matters, the Scriptural command is, Do not be conformed to this world Infatuation and Love There is a considerable difference between romantic infatuation and agape-love.

The contrast between infatuation and agape love will become clearer if we consider the experiences of two Christian young men - Prakash who was only romantically infatuated with a girl, and Suresh who truly loved a girl with agape-love.

The illustrations given below would be equally applicable in the case of girls. Many of the points of contrast between infatuation and love mentioned below have been obtained from Dwight Hervey Small's 'Design for Christian Marriage', to which I am indebted. A Case of Romantic Infatuation Prakash met this girl at college. She was the first girl who looked attractive to him and who seemed to respond to him.

He did not know her too well, but suddenly discovered that he had as he termed it "fallen in love with her". It was a case of love at first sight. Of course, the girl's physical beauty and charm and a few interests that she had in common with him were the only factors that led to his falling for her. Physical beauty was undoubtedly the prime factor. He knew very little about the girl but thought he saw a few points in her that he admired.

He greatly exaggerated these points and formed an idealized picture of her in his mind. He imagined her to be perfect as no other girl in the world could possibly be and refused to see any faults in her even though her faults were very obvious to others.

He lived in a dream-world of his own making and often felt as though he were walking on air. He felt on top of the world for he had found the perfect girl - infatuation, you see, is blind! He felt irresistibly drawn to her and he was always making some excuse or other to be near her or with her.

He could not think of life without her. He avoided any discussion that might have revealed the differences and incompatibility that existed between her and himself. Since she was the perfect girl, Prakash felt that he should show her that he was the perfect man.

This made him highly artificial, for he exhibited only that part of him which he considered most attractive. He tried to show that he was unselfish and humble. But deep down, his motives were selfish for he was basically a self-centred person. This girl met a deep longing in his own heart and he really desired her only in order that he might be happy.

The girl was only a means to this end. He sometimes thought about how he could make her happy, but never thought about making anyone else happy. He felt very jealous and suspicious whenever he saw her talking to any other boy in the college.

He was unreasonable and expected her to talk only with him and not even with other girls. All this was because Prakash had a feeling of insecurity, caused by childhood experiences which had left him with a feeling of being unacceptable and unlovable. As a result, he lacked confidence in his ability to win and hold a girl's love. This made him expect from her a loyalty that he feared he had not won and did not deserve.

He was also in a great hurry to marry her, and as this hurry was only to haste to mate, any delay was intolerable. Problems due to lack of finance, parental objections and even sharp cultural differences stood in the way of their marriage; but Prakash, confident that love could overcome everything, shut his eyes to all these difficulties "A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead When others tried to advise him he refused to listen, for he was under the spell of romantic infatuation it is almost impossible to make a person listen to the voice of reason when once he is under such a spell.

Then suddenly a small disagreement, caused by a misunderstanding, arose between Prakash and the girl. This angered him so much that he suddenly began to see all sorts of weaknesses in her which he had never seen before - and he told her so.

His pride had been hurt and this had jolted him suddenly into the world of reality. He became disgusted with the girl and soon began to hate her too, just as Amnon hated Tamar 2 Samuel But Prakash was not too upset by this, because he did not care much for the girl's feelings.

Besides, he had secretly been having his eye on another girl who now seemed far more attractive and "perfect".

A Case of Agape-Love In Suresh's case, he had known the girl casually for quite some time before he felt that she was indeed God's choice for him. She loved the Lord as he did and their outlook and interests seemed to be identical. For some time he had unobtrusively observed her under a variety of circumstances and had found out all that he could about her. Love for her had grown gradually in Suresh's heart. There was no sudden, impulsive, headlong fall.

There had been a calm and steady progression from casual acquaintance to agape-love. His attraction for her was based on her spirituality and her character primarily. Physical attraction had also played a part - although a minor one - for she was not one who would have won a prize in any beauty-contest. But Suresh considered her beautiful even though others may not have done so.

He had tried to form a realistic picture of her, without looking at certain good points only. There was some degree of idealization; that was only to be expected.

But reality was looked at squarely without fear or self-deception agape-love, you see, is not blind like romantic infatuation. Suresh's motives were unselfish.

His desire for her was pure. He was considerate and was genuinely concerned for her and sought her welfare before his own.

He did not want her for his own personal happiness. His desire was firstly that they might jointly please the Lord and secondly that she might be happy the pathway of blessing is in giving and not in receiving - Acts He was prepared to sacrifice anything of his own for her good.

He was dedicated to her and wished to develop the potential that lay within her. He had no desire to exploit her in any way for his own gain. There was a spontaneity and a naturalness about Suresh even when he was in her presence. There was no artificiality. He was transparently honest and sincere.

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He did not think about her alone all the time. He often though of how he and later on, they together could help those around who were in spiritual and physical need. At all times Suresh kept the Lord Jesus supreme in his affections; the girl was only second. The Lord's work also took first priority in his life.

He never neglected that, in order to meet her. He wanted her also similarly to put the Lord first in her life. Suresh had complete confidence in her and there was no feeling of insecurity. He never demanded anything nor was he possessive or unreasonable.

There was no jealousy or suspicion at all. The greatest proof of his love was that he did not rob her of her freewill. He gave her the freedom to say "No". When circumstances kept them apart for a long time his love for her did not wane. It only deepened. They had financial difficulties and other problems too. They had to delay their marriage for quite some time because of these factors. Even though he was disappointed for a while because of this, yet he accepted it as from God and as ordered by Him with a good end in view.

He patiently waited and prepared himself for marriage during this waiting time. He counted the cost and made every preparation for their life together. This waiting time also served to assure himself of his deep love for her and also for the fact that God had indeed chosen her for him.

He did not always agree with her on everything. But the unquenchable flame of his love enabled him to accept disagreements on matters that were not of vital importance, for he felt that these enabled them each to express their individuality. Suresh's love for the girl was permanent.

He could never think of loving anyone else. The Contrast In these two examples, we see the sharp contrast between romantic infatuation often mistaken for love and real love in the Biblical sense.

Those who are infatuated may manifest only some of the characteristics that Prakash manifested - nevertheless it will still be infatuation.

The case of Suresh is the picture of a perfect lover. No one may be exactly like him, yet perfection should be our goal. We should never aim at anything less. It is possible for romantic infatuation to develop into true love in course of time, but it cannot be called agape-love until it begins to manifest at least some of the main characteristics of the latter.

Young people, in order to avoid being misled, should be able to distinguish between infatuation and love. Infatuation will wear off in a short time. Agape-love will last all through married life and will transform every duty into a delight and every obligation into a joy. A Need for Caution We must take to heart the warning repeated thrice in the Song of Solomon Chapters ; ; , "Do not awaken nor stir up love until love itself shall please" Berkeley Version.

In other words, wait for God's time to love instead of rushing ahead into a wild infatuation. Above all else, guard your affections. For they influence everything else in your life" Proverbs - TLB. Chapter 5 Two Shall Become One One wonders whether there is anything more beautiful this side of Heaven, than the sight of a Christian husband and wife, different from each other in so many ways yet blending together to form one harmonious unit. One finds in such couples the true unity in diversity that God intended to be manifested through marriage.

What is the secret of their oneness? On the other hand, look at the thousand of couples who don't understand each other and who lack oneness even after years of married life. Many of these would, given the chance, gladly repent to a single life. Marriage which God ordained for man's happiness has turned out to be misery for them - a veritable hell on earth. They live together under the same roof, but as lonely individuals with nothing in common. They stick together only for the sake of their children, or perhaps because society would frown upon a breakdown of their marriage.

Their life has become a hollow pretence. And yet almost all these couples commenced married life with apparent unity and love.Far from it! When a couple is having trouble, it can sometimes help to dig deeper into the good stuff rather than on the problems they are experiencing.

To build a home that glorifies God and testifies to His faithfulness and His care is the calling of every Christian married couple. There was some degree of idealization; that was only to be expected. To build a home that glorifies God and testifies to His faithfulness and His care is the calling of every Christian married couple. Patricia Hartman Goodreads Author.

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