Ask Your Preacher
What does the Bible have to say about arranged marriages? Are they scripturally sound if the people have not chosen each other and are not in love?
Rearranging The Arrangement
Dear Rearranging The Arrangement,
The Bible neither condemns nor commends arranged marriages. In the Old Testament, it was very common for marriages to be arranged by the parents, and God made specific laws addressing the parents’ right to refuse or endorse a marriage (one example of this is Ex. 22:17). However, the Song of Solomon deals with romantic love and tells young couples to “not awake love” prematurely (Songs 3:5), which implies that it is appropriate for young men and women to have a say in who they marry.
There is nothing unscriptural about an arranged marriage. A husband can behave in a loving and selfless way to his wife even if they haven’t had the opportunity to become romantically attached (Eph 5:25). Likewise, a wife can respect and honor her husband that she hasn’t had the time to become close to (Eph 5:24). Of course, it becomes easier to fulfill these commands as time goes on, but it is not unscriptural to be married to someone through an arranged marriage. Biblical love and respect are choices, not merely feelings.
Can a pastor who is married to a divorced woman still lead the church of God?
Protecting The Office
Dear Protecting The Office,
It depends. For the sake of clarity, we will assume that the man is biblically and appropriately married to this woman (there are many details involved with marriage after a divorce that go far beyond the scope of this question) and that the man has always been a faithful husband. The Scriptures require the elder to be a “one-woman-man” (1 Tim 3:2). A congregation would have to make a decision whether or not the man was properly fulfilling that requirement.
Secondly, an elder’s wife must be “grave, not a slanderer, temperate, and faithful in all things” (1 Tim 3:11). Depending on the circumstances surrounding the woman’s divorce and her current behavior and conduct, this divorced woman may or may not disqualify her husband from serving as a pastor.
When Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden, Adam was cursed with thorns and thistles in the ground while Eve was cursed with pain in childbirth. Does that mean that my husband has to do all the yard work?
Wishing I Wasn’t Weeding
Dear Wishing I Wasn’t Weeding,
Thankfully for us guys, that isn’t what that verse is talking about. Adam was cursed with thorns and thistles as he grew and harvested food from the earth (Gen 3:17-18). Adam was cursed with having to work hard and sweat to provide for his family (Gen 3:19). It wasn’t about yard work, but about hard work. Adam was cursed with having his work be difficult. It had nothing to do with mowing the lawn and pruning the roses… you’ll have to find some other reason to get your hubby to do that!
I live with my boyfriend whom I have known for five years; I moved in with him eight months ago. Everything was good and happy the first few months. Now he stops taking me out and goes places alone. He sits on his computer and IMs a girl he is planning to go see… but told me at first it was a guy. He is paying for weekend airfare to Texas from Florida, but can’t take me to dinner. I love him but don’t know what I should do. Can you help me get him off the computer and away from a weekend fling and back to our happiness? It's really all I'm asking for.
The Way It Was
Dear The Way It Was,
You aren’t happy because you aren’t feeding the needs of your soul. Human beings are physical creatures as well as spiritual creatures. The physical part of us wants to fulfill whatever desires we have at the moment – the need for companionship, sexual desires, hunger, anger release, etc. The problem is that if we live like we are only physical creatures, we destroy our lives. We aren’t only flesh and blood – humans are made in the image of God (Gen 1:27). We have souls, and when we make choices that are sinful, we harm ourselves. It is only when we depart from evil that we preserve our souls (Pr 16:17).
God intends for a man and a woman to live together only when they are married (Heb 13:4). Living with your boyfriend erodes the relationship instead of bolstering it. Living with your boyfriend is sinful, and it is no surprise that you are having problems because of it. Living with your boyfriend was a fleshly decision, not a spiritual one. Only in marriage will God bless you with happiness. Since your boyfriend hasn’t committed to be your husband, it stands to reason that he isn’t committed to you.
You need to move out. You are sinning (1 Cor 6:18). Only when you begin to live your life by God’s standard will you feed the needs of your soul and be truly happy. Jesus said that He is life (Jhn 14:6). Only by following Jesus’ teachings found in the Bible will you find true happiness and eternal life. Flee from immorality and begin to live by God’s standards. Feel free to write us back at askyourpreacher@mvchurchofchrist, and we will be happy to teach you how to start a new and happy life in Christ.
As a Christian, I refrain from using sinful language. I ask you, what should I do when the person I love does this? I do not want to be a “Bible Thumper”, but I do find it very disrespectful not only to me, but to my Savior. I try to set a Christian example before him, but at times, I feel as though it doesn't help. Any advice would be very helpful.
Biting My Tongue
Dear Biting My Tongue,
Wives have a unique ability to win their husbands without a word. 1 Pet 3:1-2 says that a wife can often gain her husband and turn him to righteousness as he sees her chaste behavior. Men are often convinced and converted by the kindness and patience of women. When a man’s wife/girlfriend/mother behaves morally, even when he isn’t behaving morally, it is as painful as pouring coals of fire upon his head (Rom 12:20-21). A man’s conscience is burned by a woman’s faithful example. Feel free to tell him when you are offended by his language, but do it with meekness instead of anger (1 Pet 3:3-4). Don’t force him to behave as you do… force begets more force, and the average man will fight fire with fire. Instead, respectfully continue to do the right thing yourself, and you may just find that you will win him over (1 Cor 7:13-16).