BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
This message is not to discourage anyone from marriage. It is neither an invitation to quit your marriage if you’re going through some challenges. My objective is to help everyone with some truths from God’s Word, which could facilitate making wise decisions about marriage or making everyone’s marriage better. Marriage is good, but it can also be the opposite when we apply the wrong principles outside the Word of God.
God, who instituted marriage, said it was not good for man to be alone. Therefore, He made Eve out of Adam for both to live together as husband and wife (Genesis 2:18). The Word of God contains principles that will help us to live a successful married life. By direct instructions and inferences, we can learn what will not allow a marriage to work.
Can anybody get married? Yes. Should everybody get married? No, unless one is prepared to obey what the Word of God says about marriage. Some people will be better without marriage than getting married! Why should someone cause himself needless sorrow by getting married, when he is not prepared to condition or adjust himself to the demands of marriage. This is why I said it’s not everybody that should get married although everybody can get married.
Based on the Word of God, I want to discuss those I believe should not go into marriage. The things I want to share are at the root of most marital problems. If you get them right before you go into marriage or you correct yourself if you’re already married, you’ll be able to spare yourself a great deal of marital problems. Who then are those who should not go into marriage?
1. Those who don’t want to seek and/or accept God’s choice for them in marriage. Such people want to choose for themselves. They’re most likely going to make a wrong choice, which can lead to regret later.
In Genesis 2:21-23, God made a choice for Adam. God brought Eve to Adam after making her out of him, and Adam accepted God’s choice. Of course, later when God asked him if he had eaten from the tree He commanded him not to eat, he said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12 New King James Version). Eve was God’s will for Adam, yet Satan came against their marriage. Imagine if she wasn’t God’s will.
The first thing in marriage is not love! It is the discovery of God’s will. There are many couples who claimed to love each other before they got married but, unfortunately, are now divorced. Love is important in marriage, but I don’t believe it should be the first thing. People say they love today, and tomorrow they don’t love again! Therefore, they end the marriage. Emotions change, but the will of God stands!
Pray for God’s guidance. Don’t depend on your own understanding. Seek God’s help and He will guide you (Proverbs 3:5-6). Discover the will of God, and love him or her. Are you prepared to do that? If you’re not, then have a rethink. The will of God is the best thing for you; it’s already blessed. Don’t promote beauty, handsomeness, profession, affluence, etc. above the will of God. Those things that are attractive to you today may not be there tomorrow.
2. Those who enjoy being alone. Marriage is for companionship, not for a man or a woman who wants to be alone. He does not want any disturbance; she likes to keep to herself. This contradicts the essence of marriage. Genesis 2:18 says it is not good for man to be alone and God made a helpmeet for him – a helper that was right for him, one with whom to share fellowship. You can’t go into marriage and say that you want to keep to yourself; you want to be doing your things alone; your spouse should leave you; you don’t want your spouse to disturb you. If you don’t want to be disturbed, don’t go into marriage, because marriage will disturb you! Your husband or your wife will disturb you. That is a positive disturbance!
Moreover, when you have children, they must disturb you. It will only reduce as they grow up. How can you want to be a mother or father and say you don’t want disturbance in your house? Children must disturb – that is why they’re children! Please, let children be children. I’m not talking about being unruly or undisciplined.
You can’t be living your life alone when you’re married. You don’t want to pray together or study the Bible together with your spouse or even with the children any time. You just want to stay alone. You can’t complain of disturbance when it’s not that you’re being assaulted physically, sexually or psychologically, but just the normal demand of marriage. That mindset is faulty. Love, in marriage, means inconveniencing yourself to satisfy your spouse! It means making sacrifices. If you don’t want your present life to be disturbed, don’t go into marriage – marriage will bring some disturbance, positive or negative, into your life.
You’ll become one flesh with your spouse. The person will bring his or her assets and liabilities into your life. He or she will affect your life, which is why you should be divinely led to the right person in marriage.
3. Boys and girls who are not yet men and women. Marriage is for mature people. Genesis 2:24 says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (New King James Version). The Bible did not say, “Shall a boy.” Marriage is not for boys! Neither is it for girls! God expects every girl going into marriage to already be a wife material by virtue of training and mentoring she has received. The Bible says he that finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from the LORD (Proverbs 18:22). The Bible does not say, “He that finds a girl or a fiancée.”
This is beyond the issue of age; it is more about maturity, all-round maturity. Immature couples will not be able to cope with the challenges of marriage; they won’t be able to handle the serious pressure of marriage. They need to be patient and inculcate the fundamental principles that make a marriage work. You cannot know everything before marriage. You keep learning and growing. But you should equip yourself with some essential things before marriage. There are many immature people in marriage today.
One mark of immaturity is that the man still wants to stay with his father and mother or is still attached to them emotionally, physically or financially contrary to what Genesis 2:24 says. He is still the parents’ pet. He is tied to their apron strings even after marriage. Therefore, this man cannot join or cleave to his wife. The same thing the wife – her heart is more with her parents than with her husband. The priest joined them before the congregation, but their hearts are not knitted to each other. Each is still living his or her life, independent of the other, long after marriage. There must first be a leaving before there can be a cleaving.
4. Those who don’t want to be ‘naked’ in their relationship with their spouses. The Bible says that Adam and Eve were both naked and they were not ashamed (Genesis 2:25). Being naked in marriage must go beyond physical nakedness. By nakedness, I mean being open, not hiding anything. If you’re not ready to be ‘naked’ physically, emotionally, financially – don’t go into marriage. Don’t marry if you don’t want to be open with your spouse.
There should be no shame in being ‘naked’ in your relationship with your spouse. If you have secrets you don’t want your spouse to know about you, don’t bother to marry. Your spouse is supposed to be your closest confidant. You’re not supposed to have no-go areas for him or her with regard to what he or she should know and not know about your life, including the skeletons in your cupboard!
If you want to keep your secrets secret, don’t get married. Marriage is built on trust, and it must be reciprocal. If one finds out the other person is becoming habitually untruthful, it erodes confidence and destroys the bedrock of the relationship.
In dysfunctional marriages, couples hide things from each other. The spouse, betrayed by his or her partner, finds it difficult to trust such a partner with his or her secrets or plans any more. Once bitten, twice shy!
5. Men who are not ready to love their wives. Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (New King James Version). The Bible commands that husbands love their wives. Ephesians 5:33 also says, “Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (New King James Version).
If you’re going to live for yourself and care for yourself alone, don’t go into marriage. This is not the right spirit in marriage. Your wife does not exist just to serve you; God demands that you love her. That involves making sacrifices, inconveniencing yourself to satisfy her.
There are many selfish husbands who have become selfish fathers! They don’t care about their wives or their children. They eat well, dress well and have good time, all alone, neglecting their families. They’re self-centred. This is not how to be a responsible husband and father. There are selfish wives and mothers also. They have neglected their husbands and children, although they live under the same roof!
Love means that you become spouse-centered and family-centred rather than self-centred. Loving your wife means that you put the interest of your wife first. Wife first! If you’re not ready for this, don’t go into marriage.
6. Men who are idle. These men are lazy; they’re doing nothing. They’re jobless. A wife is a helper and since these men are doing nothing for which they need a helper, they should not go into marriage. Marriage is not for somebody without a vision that he is pursuing or work that he is doing. Any woman who marries such a man may suffer and bear the burden of the family alone!
God gave Adam a job before He gave him a wife; he was taking care of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15-18). It is not appropriate for a man to be without a job, and yet goes into marriage. Even if the woman is a millionaire, the husband should be gainfully employed – self-employed or an employee. A responsible man won’t depend on the wife’s purse to be running the home and his own life. I’m not talking about a man, already married, who lost his job or whose finances are low because of some challenges. Such people don’t sit down idle, satisfied with their wives being the bread winner. No. They go out to find something legitimate to do to support their families, except in the case of illness that makes them unable to work.
1 Timothy 5:8 says, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (New King James Version). This scripture is not talking to men alone, as many erroneously believe. Anyone, in this scripture, refers to a man or a woman, with regard to support for poor widows in addition to providing for one’s family and relatives.
Good wives support their husbands financially and in all ways. However, a man should not allow himself to be pressured into marriage when he has no means of taking care of his wife and the home. That doesn’t mean he must be a millionaire before he marries! There is always a beginning for everyone. He must have a legitimate means of income, and by applying the right principles, the man and his wife can grow their finances.
Your father, your mother, or your family members may finance your wedding, but will they continue to finance your home? They will soon be tired of giving you handouts.
7. Women who want to face their lives and are not ready to support their husbands. The woman is created to help the man in marriage, not to simply pursue her own independent vision. Any marriage contrary to this command will fail. There can’t be two visions in the home; two visions will cause division! The wife’s vision is to be realized within the vision of God for the husband. Both visions (which are actually one) will not suffer if they’re from the LORD, not mere human ambition. Many homes have been torn apart because of the conflicting visions of the couples.
In Genesis 2:18, God calls the wife a helper, a companion. That’s God’s will for the woman. The woman is created for the man, and the man is incomplete without the woman. Any woman who is not ready to play this role should not go into marriage; she will only create unwarranted problem for herself and her husband plus the children. It is better that he continues as a single lady. Without a conversion to embrace God’s Word, such a woman will only cause avoidable pain. This independent spirit is the reason some homes are falling apart. The husband is insisting that the right thing must be done, but the wife is a law to herself. Such a thing should not be heard among believers, but it is happening, and their children are negatively affected. 1 Corinthians 11:11 says, “But in the Lord women are not independent of men, and men are not independent of women” (New Century Version).
God expects the wife to support her husband for the success of the family, not to face her own life. “Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ” (Ephesians 5:22 The Message). This doesn’t mean the wife will not be fulfilled in life. It doesn’t mean that she will abandon her own vision or dream. No. Rather, that vision or dream becomes compatible with or becomes an extension of her husband’s. It is not independent of, not conflicting with, and not destroying the marriage.
8. Women who don’t want to submit and adapt to their own husbands. If you can’t subordinate and submit yourself to the man you want to marry, don’t go into marriage. There is no need for competition or rivalry between the husband and the wife. Ephesians 5: 22 says, “Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands, as [a service] to the Lord” (Amplified Bible). Pay close attention to that word “adapt.”
The Contemporary English Version renders Ephesians 5:22 thus, “A wife should put her husband first, as she does the Lord.” The same translation adds in verse 24, “Wives should always put their husbands first, as the church puts Christ first.” Husband first! Put the interest of your husband first. That is love. Don’t forget I had said before that the husband must put the interest of his wife first. Therefore, its a win-win situation for both of them. Selfishness on the part of a husband or a wife will destroy a marriage.
The New King James Version puts Ephesians 5:24 this way: “Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything” (New King James Version). Subjection to your own husband (not another person’s husband or all men) should be in everything, provided it does not amount to disobedience to the Word of God.
1 Peter 3:1 and 5 also emphasize the need for wives to be submissive to their husbands. The Amplified Bible renders verse 1 thus: “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate, not as inferior, but out of respect for the responsibilities entrusted to husbands and their accountability to God, and so partnering with them] so that even if some do not obey the word [of God], they may be won over [to Christ] without discussion by godly lives of their wives.”
If your mindset is that no man can give you any instruction or you can’t submit yourself to any husband, you don’t need to go into marriage. God demands that you submit yourself to your husband. It is not because you’re inferior, but because your husband is assigned leadership by God. That role is not based on the man’s intelligence. Women are as intelligent as men – that is the truth. Be submissive and adapt yourself to your husband. However, if you won’t, don’t go into marriage.
9. Women who are not prepared to respect their husbands. Never get married if you won’t respect your husband. Ephesians 5:33 says wives should see that they reverence their husbands. If you don’t, you’re disobeying God. As a wife, when you disrespect your husband, you have no moral right to expect others to respect him! When a wife respects the husband, she is in effect respecting herself. A wife, who respects her husband, attracts honour to herself. People will treat her with honour.
Sarah called Abraham, her husband, lord, demonstrating her respect for him (1 Peter 3:6). There are wives who respect other men – other people’s husbands – but dishonour their own husbands! That is not what the Bible teaches. They’re misguided. If you won’t respect your husband, remain single.
10. Men who are not ready to be the head of their families. Headship means providing leadership. Any home where the man is not the head is out of divine order. God did not create the woman to be the head of the home, not because men are better. Neither the man nor the woman is better; they are only different physically, biologically, mentally and emotionally. Therefore, they exist to complement each other.
Except because of death, divorce, separation, etc, a woman should not head the home. I’m not condemning women who, because of factors beyond their control, rose up to the challenge to lead their homes and have been able to successfully raise their children and train them in the way of the LORD. They need to be commended for not making excuses and for not failing their children and God.
However, God’s order is for a wife to come under her husband’s leadership. Ephesians 5: 23 says the husband is the head of the wife. “The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands” (Ephesians 5:23-24 The Message). Leadership, of the husband, is not to lord it over the wife or to be domineering. It is not being coercive or arbitrary. Headship is a huge responsibility, not a badge to wear about!
Every husband should lead, and every wife should allow her husband to lead, support him and pray for him to lead right. Don’t hijack your husband’s God-given authority. If you do so, you’re out of divine order.
11. Men who cannot listen to their wives. Being the head does not make the man superior to the woman in any way. A man should listen to his wife and be humble to concede to her when she is right. If a man is secure, he won’t see listening to his wife when she is right as losing his position.
In Genesis 21:10-14, God told Abraham to listen to Sarah because God considered her position right. If you, a man, believe that being the head means you are always right and a man should not defer to a woman, even when she is right, don’t go into marriage. That you are the head does not make you infallible! A wise man will take advantage of what God has blessed him with, in his wife, by listening to her.
The same God who blamed Adam for listening to his wife, and ate the fruit He had told you not to eat (Genesis 3:17), also told Abraham to listen to Sarah to get rid of Hagar, her servant, and her son, Ishmael (Genesis 21:12). In other words, Eve was wrong, and Sarah was right! The woman is not always wrong. Neither is the man always right.
12. Men who will not honor their wives as weaker vessels. 1 Peter 3:7 says, “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (New King James Version). Take note that the word “weaker” is talking of comparative degree of weakness. It means that the man is a weak vessel also! The New Century Version says, “They are weaker than you.” The Message says, “As women they lack some of your advantages.”
God tells the husband to live with his wife with understanding, giving honour to her as to the weaker vessel. In other words, respect your wife.
In addition, the husband must consider that he and his wife are heirs together of the grace of life. In other words, she is his equal partner in God’s gift of new life. According to that scripture, 1Peter 3:7, lack of honor to one’s wife will hinder one’s prayers. Why allow marriage to hinder your prayers when you can stay unmarried and receive answers to your prayers!
When you dishonour your wife, God does not take kindly to it, just as He does not tolerate a woman not respecting her husband. The Bible calls the wife a weaker vessel to illustrate the kind of attention and care that He expects the husband to give to the wife as a fragile vessel. We always handle carefully, and with respect, objects that are fragile lest they should break. This is how God expects husbands to handle their wives. “If you are a husband, you should be thoughtful of your wife. Treat her with honor, because she isn’t as strong as you are, and she shares with you in the gift of life. Then nothing will stand in the way of your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7 Contemporary English Version).
13. Women whose priority is to change their husbands. Such women assume the position of a teacher or counselor in their husbands’ lives. That is missing the purpose of God for the wife. God didn’t make a wife to be his husband’s counselor or teacher! He has not given the wife the assignment to change her husband!
Your duty, as a wife, is to help him, respect him, submit to him and reverence him. If you do this, you’ll succeed, indirectly and unobtrusively, in changing him, and your husband will be the one to ask for your counsel. You’ll not need to generate unnecessary tension in the home by the constant correction and teaching of your husband or by appointing yourself as his advisor!
If you do what God says, you’ll effortlessly change him without any desire to do so – I‘m not talking about manipulation and control. If your priority is to teach, counsel or change your husband, you’ll only make yourself miserable by the tension you create in your marriage. You’ll find it a Herculean task changing your husband that way. Men don’t like that approach; though they’re not impervious to change. No wonder the Bible says the wife should adapt to the husband. Some issues are better taken to the LORD in prayer instead of trying to change your husband. Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD; he guides it wherever he pleases” (New Living Translation).
14. Those who don’t want their husbands or wives to have access to their bodies. If you want to be a celibate, don’t go into marriage! In marriage, the body of the husband belongs to the wife, and vice versa. You can’t go into marriage and keep away your body from your spouse. If you’re married, you shouldn’t deny your spouse sex. Sex is at the centre of most troubled marriages today. The woman should not deny her husband her sexual obligation, and vice versa.
The man is different from the woman. The make-up of the man is that he may desire having sex with his wife everyday! But the woman wants to be in the mood before she allows the husband. Lack of understanding has made many women lose their homes. You shouldn’t allow your husband to have sex with you only when you want it. Be wise. That does not mean that the husband should be insensitive to the health condition and the emotional state of his wife. He should be a caring husband.
The husband should not promote sex to the level of his daily food! There should be self-control. As important as food is to the human body, human beings still do without it for some days. Man shall not live by sex alone! However, the wife should satisfy the sexual need of the husband. She should not always make excuses or use sex to control or negotiate with the husband. Don’t let your husband be begging you for sex!
While couples should not deny each other sex, they, however, must be considerate. With discipline, couples can abstain from sex for a period when there is need for it. There is need for balance.
1Corinthians 7:4-5 says, “The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (New Living Translation). Did you see the condition given there for abstinence from sex for married people? The husband and the wife must first agree to it.
If you want to be a celibate, don’t go into marriage. If you’re married, be faithful to your spouse – abstain from sex with everyone else. If you’re not married, remain a celibate until you marry. Sex is for married people. It’s not for engaged people, and not for friends. That is sin.
15. Those who cannot forgive their spouses. Marriage will offer you opportunities for your spouse to offend you, but you must not take it to heart! Are you somebody who does not forgive or can’t forgive? It will be safe for you not to marry at all. Keeping offences will destroy your marriage. The Bible says it is impossible that offences will come (Matthew 18:7 King James Version). By offences, the Bible means opportunities to sin. It is your responsibility, therefore, not to take offences that must come. The New Living Translation says temptations are inevitable (Matthew 18:7).
Couples must learn to forgive each other as many times as offences occur. There is no end to forgiveness. Once you stop forgiveness, your marriage starts dying! In Luke 17:3-4, the Bible says, “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother [husband or wife] sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him’” (New King James Version). Has your spouse offended you up to seven times in a day? It’s most unlikely. Forgive.
In Matthew 18:21-22, the Bible says, “Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven’” (New King James Version). That means the end of forgiveness is not seven times but infinity!
In marriage, you must learn to forgive your spouse as many times as he or she offends you. That does not mean that couples should offend each other deliberately, just because the Bible says forgive! If you cannot forgive, don’t go into marriage.
Conclusion: I believe God has spoken to you through this message. My prayer is that if you’re married, your marriage shall become better in Jesus’ name. If you’re facing marital challenges, the LORD shall give you victory. I pray that the LORD will heal and give peace and joy to anyone who may have experienced divorce or separation. For those who desire to get married, I pray that you won’t experience marital failure in Jesus’ name.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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