An Insight into Courtship, Marriage and Divorce (1) (A Biblical Perspective) by Cardinal Prof. Genesis A. Dawuda
Marriage, is a very wonderful thing. Actually, I mean it is a very wonderful institution. But this institution can either make or mar you. Relationships that climax in marriage is a very wonderful progression. Virtually all societies around the world has a place for marriage. But there are different norms surrounding it. This article is not intended to delve in-depth into all that marriage entails. I wanted to merge the Secular requirements and the spiritual but later decided to split it into two the secular and Biblical perspectives. The issues of Dating, courtship, engagement, betrothal, Courtly love, Dance, The wedding ceremony itself, divorce, and other issues will only be brushed on the surface here; but I trust that this material will be helpful to somebody out there.
But first and foremost; I repeat, first and foremost seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you. When we set the Kingdom of God first your home is expected to fit into the Christian standard of the home. As you might know some marriage didn’t irrespective of the amount of monies that went into the ceremony. You might have known of the divorce issue between Juanita Bynum and Bishop Thomas Weeks, a very wonderful and globally celebrated wedding which didn’t last them anywhere. The popular TV evangelist Pastor John Hagee had divorced his wife, so also Bishop Noel Jones of the City of Refuge a great mentor of Bishop T.D. Jakes. The divorce between Archbishop Duncan Williams of Ghana and Rev. Chris Okotie here in Nigeria are challenges confronting the life of the Church. All these ministers have all their explanations but one thing is still sure, that is, the word of God and His Church. This painful experience both by those involved one hand and the local/Universal church on the other hand. Says a lot about the testimony of her presence on earth.
Children from such homes are more traumatized than even the parents. They cry a lot. They wish they had homes and parents like their friends. All these puts our young people in serious jeopardy. Just in case you don’t know, the highest rate of divorce is recorded among blacks.
According to an American research, 15.3% of age between 35-44 years, 20.1% of age between 45-54 years and 19.5% of age between 55-64 recorded these divorce rates among them more than any other race in America.
So I leave you to analyze the article that will be of more remarkable importance to you. Be blessed as you read.
Courtship in marriage cannot be under-estimated but rather it should be complemented by all the other factors that make-up for a successful marriage and home. It is known as the behavior for choosing mates among animals, human beings inclusive.
• human courtship behaviors, see Marriage: Dating, Courtship, and Engagement; Betrothal; Courtly Love; Dance
• animal courtship, see Animal Courtship and Mating
• preening and mutual feeding as a courtship ritual, see Cockatoo
• spectacular courtship displays of sound, color, and motion, see picture, Ruffed Grouse, in Grouse; Woodcock
These are Dating, Engagement, betrothal, payment of dowry etc. Listed below are words synonymous with Courtship, Dating and Engagement;
Courtship (n): Wooing, dating, engagement
Woo (v): persuade, encourage, court, entice, pursue, and flatter. Antonym: Dissuade
Persuade (v): Encourage, coax, influence, convince, sway, plead with, induce, prevail upon, motivate. Antonym: Dissuade
Convince (v): Win over, sway, convert, and bring around.
Microsoft ® Encarta® 2009, © 1993-2008 Microsoft corporation. All rights reserved.
The union of a man and a woman as husband and wife, which becomes the foundation for a home and family.
Origin of Marriage. Marriage was instituted by God when He declared, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him" (Gen 2:18). So God fashioned woman and brought her to man. On seeing the woman, Adam exclaimed, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man" (Gen 2:23). This passage also emphasizes the truth that "a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Gen 2:24). This suggests that God's ideal is for a man to be the husband of one wife and for the marriage to be permanent.
Legislation. God's desire for His people was that they marry within the body of believers. The Mosaic Law clearly stated that an Israelite was never to marry a Canaanite. The Israelite would be constantly tempted to embrace the spouse's god as well (Ex 34:10-17; Deut 7:3-4). Likewise, the apostle Paul commanded the members of the church at Corinth, "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers" (2 Cor 6:14).
Marriages between Israelites were directed by law, and all incestuous relationships were outlawed (Lev 18:6-8; 20:19-21). In addition, priests were forbidden to marry prostitutes and divorced women (Lev 21:7,13-14). Daughters who inherited their father's possessions had to marry within their tribe or lose their inheritance (Num 27:8; 36:2-4).
Choosing the Bride. In Old Testament times, the parents chose the mate for their son. The primary reason for this was that the bride became part of the clan. Although they were married and became "one flesh," the couple remained under the authority of the bridegroom's father. The parents chose someone who would best fit into their clan and work harmoniously with her mother-in-law and sisters-in-law.
Sometimes the parents consulted with their children to see if they approved of the choice of mates being made for them. For example, Rebekah was asked if she wanted to marry Isaac (Gen 24:58). Samson demanded that a certain girl be acquired for him. Although his parents protested, they completed the marriage contract for Samson (Judg 14:1-4).
Frequently people married at a young age, a fact which made the parents' choice a practical matter. By New Testament times, the Jewish leaders had decided to establish minimum ages for which a marriage contract could be drawn up. The age was set at 13 for boys and 12 for girls.
Even if the young wife lost her husband in war or accident, she remained within the clan and was wed to her brother-in-law or next of kin. This arrangement is known as LEVIRATE MARRIAGE. It is the basis for the story of Ruth and Boaz (Deut 25:5-10; Ruth 3:13; 4:1-12).
Concept of Love. Although romance before marriage was not unknown in Old Testament times, it played a minor role in the life of teenagers of that era. They did not marry the person they loved; they loved the mate they married. Love began at marriage. When Isaac married Rebekah, the Bible records that "she became his wife, and he loved her" (Gen 24:67).
Marriage Customs. A number of customs and steps were involved in finalizing a marriage in Old Testament times. The first was agreeing on a price to be given to the father of the girl. The payment was compensation for the loss of a worker. The sum was mutually agreed upon (Gen 34:12; Ex 22:16-17). It could consist of services instead of money. For example, Jacob agreed to work for seven years for Rachel (Gen 29:18-20). The giving and receiving of money was probably accompanied by a written agreement. After this agreement was made, the couple was considered engaged.
In biblical times, a betrothal for marriage was a binding agreement that set the young woman apart for the young man. The agreement was voided only by death or divorce; one could not get out of the betrothal in any other way. When Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant, he did not want to make a "public example" of her; instead, he decided to divorce her secretly. However, he did not carry out the divorce, because an angel of the Lord convinced him that the baby to be born to Mary would be the Son of God (Matt 1:18-25).
During the engagement period, the bridegroom had certain privileges. If war was declared, he was exempt from military duty (Deut 20:7). He also knew that his bride-to-be was protected by Mosaic Law. If another man raped her, the act was treated as adultery; and the offender was punished accordingly (Deut 22:23-27). This was considered a more serious crime than the rape of a girl not yet betrothed (Deut 22:28-29).
The length of engagement varied. Sometimes the couple was married the same day they were engaged. Usually, however, a period of time elapsed between the betrothal and the marriage ceremony. During this time the young man prepared a place in his father's house for his bride, while the bride prepared herself for married life.
On the day of the wedding, the groom and his friends dressed in their finest clothes and went to the home of the bride. Together the couple went back to the groom's house. Their friends sang and danced their way back to his house.
Once at the groom's house, the couple was ushered into a bridal chamber. The marriage was consummated through sexual union as the guests waited outside. Once that fact was announced, the wedding festivities continued, with guests dropping by for the wedding feast. Usually the wedding party lasted for a week.
New Testament Teaching about Marriage. The New Testament does not contradict the teachings about marriage in the Old Testament. Most marriage teaching in the New Testament comes from Jesus and the apostle Paul.
Jesus' first miracle occurred in Cana in Galilee when He and His disciples were attending a wedding (John 2:1-11). Our Lord gave His blessing and sanction to the institution of marriage.
On another occasion, when Jesus was asked about marriage and divorce, He quoted two passages from Genesis. "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' and said, '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" (Gen 1:27; 2:24; 5:2; Matt 19:4-6). He taught that marriage was the joining together of two people so they become "one flesh." Not only did God acknowledge the marriage; He also joined the couple.
The church at Corinth struggled over a number of issues, including the proper view of marriage. In response to their questions, Paul gave an answer about marriage. From His answer, it seems that three faulty ideas about marriage were prominent among some believers in the church. The first was that marriage was absolutely necessary in order to be a Christian; another was that celibacy was superior to marriage; the third was that when a person became a Christian, all existing relationships such as marriage were dissolved. When chapter 7 of 1 Corinthians is read with that as background, the following teaching emerges.
First, Paul stated that celibacy is an acceptable lifestyle for a Christian, not all people need to marry. In fact, Paul declared that he himself preferred not to marry. However, the single life can be lived for God's glory only if God has given the gift of singlehood. If one does not have that gift, he should marry. And Paul expected most people to marry.
Next, Paul spoke to the problem faced by a Christian believer whose spouse does not believe. He reasoned that if the unbelieving partner is willing to live with the Christian, then the Christian should not dissolve the marriage. Remaining with the unbelieving partner could result in his or her salvation (1 Cor 7:14).
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul showed how a marriage relationship can best function. First, he said, "Wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord" (Eph 5:22). The model for the wife's submission is the church, which is subject to Christ (Eph 5:24). Second, husbands are to love their wives. The role that the husband plays is outlined by Jesus Christ, who loved His bride, the church, so much that He died for her (Eph 5:25).
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
The legal dissolution of a marriage. The divine ideal for marriage is clearly a lifelong bond that unites husband and wife in a "one flesh" relationship (Matt 19:5). The marriage union is a holy condition founded by God and is not to be dissolved at the will of man (Matt 19:6). Separations of this bond displease God and pose a serious threat to the social order: "And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one's garments with violence" (Mal 2:15-16).
The Law of Moses allowed a man to divorce his wife when she found "no favor in his eyes, because he has found some uncleanness in her" (Deut 24:1). The primary purpose of this legislation was to prevent him from taking her again after she had married another man-"an abomination before the Lord" (Deut 24:4).
This law was intended to discourage, rather than encourage, divorce. A public document known as a "certificate of divorce" was granted the woman. This permitted her the right to remarry without civil or religious sanction. Divorce could not be done privately.
The Mosaic Law called for severe penalties for certain types of "uncleanness." Adultery carried the death penalty by stoning for the woman. If a man believed that his wife was not a virgin when he married her, he could have her judged by the elders of the city. If they found her guilty, she could be put to death (Deut 2:13-21). Although a man was allowed to divorce his wife, the wife was not allowed to divorce her husband for any reason. Legally the wife was bound to her husband as long as they both lived or until he divorced her (1 Cor 7:39).
In Jesus' day, confusion prevailed about the grounds for divorce. Even the rabbis could not agree on what constituted the "uncleanness" of Deut 24:1. Followers of Rabbi Shammai felt adultery was the only grounds for divorce. Those who followed Rabbi Hillel accepted many reasons, including such things as poor cooking.
The gospels record four statements by Jesus concerning divorce. In two of these He allowed divorce in the case of adultery. In Matt 5:32 Jesus commented on the situation of both the woman and her new husband: "Whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery."
In another statement, Jesus described the position of the man who divorced his wife: "Whoever divorces his wife except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery" (Matt 19:9). While these two statements seem to allow divorce because of unfaithfulness, two other statements of Jesus appear to make no provision for divorce (Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18).
Are Jesus' statements allowing divorce for infidelity in conflict with biblical statements that seem to forbid it entirely? Jesus' statements in Mark and Luke were made in conversations with Pharisees about the Mosaic Law, which they believed allowed divorce on grounds other than adultery (Deut 24:1-4). Jesus' main point in these statements was that divorce is contrary to God's plan for marriage and should never be taken lightly. Even though Moses allowed divorce, this was an exception granted under the law because of their "hardness" of heart (Mark 10:5). Jesus desired to put "teeth" into the Law by declaring that, even if the divorced couple had not been sexually unfaithful to each other, they would commit adultery in God's sight if they now married other partners.
In allowing divorce for the single reason of "immorality," or illicit sexual intercourse, Jesus' thought is clearly that a person dissolves his marriage by creating a sexual union with someone other than the marriage partner. Such union violates the sacred "oneness" intended by God when he united Adam and Eve in the first marriage relationship (Gen 2:18-25).
In the case of sexual unfaithfulness, the decree of divorce simply reflects the fact that the marriage has already been broken. A man divorcing his wife for this cause does not "make her an adulteress," for she already is one. Thus, divorce on the grounds of unchastity usually frees the innocent partner to remarry without incurring the guilt of adultery (Matt 19:9). However, this is sometimes questioned. Although Jesus allowed divorce for adultery, He did not require it. On the contrary, He insisted that divorce disrupts God's plan for marriage and left the way open for repentance and forgiveness.
Paul was essentially in agreement with Jesus' teachings on marriage and divorce. However, the apostle dealt with new situations involving the marital conflict between believers and between a believer and a non-believer.
In the case of two Christians Paul admonished them to follow the Lord's teachings and be reconciled. In any event, neither is to marry another (1 Cor 7:10-11). In 1 Cor 7:15, Paul says that a Christian whose mate has abandoned the marriage should be free to formalize the divorce: "If the unbeliever departs, let him depart, a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases." Many authorities hold that the phrase "not under bondage" means that a deserted Christian spouse may lawfully go from divorce to remarriage. But other scholars disagree with this interpretation. In any event, Paul encourages the believer to keep the marriage together in hopes that the unbelieving partner might be saved (1 Cor 7:16).
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Please Enjoy my piece of poetry;
Love is like Wine
Love is like wine
As you keep sipping
Your sane mind?
Yes, your sane mind
Will give way to insanity
You’ll be so intoxicated
Yes, intoxicated with it.
You’ll lose your sense of good judgment.
This wine will make you utter
Yes, utter abominable words
‘cause you were under its influence
You’ll move topsy turvy
The only difference is that
You won’t smell of any wine
But your life will surely
Diffuse the smell of love:
To anyone who has
The olfactory to smell.
You’ll cry like a drunk
You’ll laugh like a drunk
You’ll fight like a drunk
You’ll surely be influence;
By this wine.
And your life never will be the same,
Did I drink this wine?
Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers
Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation.
The New Living Translation Bible
Apostle Dr. Genesis A. Dawuda is was Ordained by the United Fellowship of Christ Ministries Int’l USA and Yeshua Embassy Network of Churches and Ministries Inc. USA. He is the Administrator of Centre For World Rebirth Nigeria (A Chartered Organization from USA) which also shares Intercommunion Agreement with Yeshua International and the Old Roman Catholic Church in England UK.
For Counseling and Preaching Engagement;
Apostle Dr. Genesis A. Dawuda can be contacted through the information below:
Centre For World Rebirth
7th Floor J.D. Gomwalk House Jos, Plateau State. Nigeria