Rajkumar Richard spent his growing up years between India and Bahrain. He was addicted to drugs, smoking and drinking, but by the sheer grace of God he gave up those addictions between 1991 and 2000. He embraced Christ as his personal Savior and decided to pursue the Lord seriously. He completed a post-graduate degree in Biology at the Madurai Kamaraj University (1990) and also earned a second post-graduate degree in Religion at the Southern Evangelical Seminary, USA (2012). His fervent passion is to strengthen the faith of Christians, especially young Christians, by challenging their thought paradigm in themes that concern them. He is blessed with two lovely children: John and Joanna. More information can be found on his blog https://rajkumarrichard.blogspot.in.
The question “Are marriages made in heaven?” is akin to asking “Does God bring the right person for marriage into the life of a Christian?” or “Does God create two people (man and woman) specifically for each other?”
The Bible suggests that God brings the right person into the lives of Christians for the purpose of marriage. The first marriage between Adam and Eve and Isaac’s marriage to Rebecca was ordained by God (Genesis 24). Proverbs 19:14 indicates God’s activity in bringing the right person into the life of a Christian for marriage, “…a congenial spouse comes straight from God.” (MSG). Matthew 19: 6 also suggests that God ordains a Christian marriage from the perspective that HE brings the right person to the Christian for marriage.
Although God may choose the right person for us to marry, is it not possible for imperfect humans to disregard God’s choice for our own? Young Christian men and women seeking God’s will for their marriage (that God would show the person HE has chosen for them) is a common sight in the God-fearing stratum of Christendom. But how many Christians marry the person God has chosen for them?
Building selfish preconditions into our marriage invariably purges God from our marriage equation. God, who commanded prophet Hosea to marry the adulterous Gomer, cannot be limited to our convenient whims and fancies.
A mere glance into the selfish thoughts and plans driving the Christian marriages in the Indian subcontinent is an adequate proof of our whimsical convenience that eliminates God from the marriage preparations. Christians, in India, seek to marry people from their own caste or clan (e.g. same language groups). Casteism is man-made and is abhorrent in God’s sight. So God would not sternly command a man to marry a woman from within his own caste.
There are those Christians, within and outside the Indian subcontinent, who seek to marry the affluent or the well educated. Other Christians seek educational harmony for marriage - a software engineer seeking to marry another software engineer or a doctor seeking to marry another doctor. Few Christians seek to marry only the beautiful / handsome member of the opposite sex. This list could go on and on.
When our cozy and convenient preconditions determine our choice of spouse, God disappears from our marriage equation.
Consider this theme from another vantage point. Do long-lasting and joyous Christian marriages imply a rigorous obedience to God’s choice of the marriage partners? If you think so, then I beg to differ. Why?
Reflect on the non-Christian marriages that are happy and long-lasting. Obviously they neither sought nor obeyed the God of the Bible while choosing their spouse. Hence I conclude that the presence of happy and long-lasting non-Christian marriages provides adequate proof that all happy and long-lasting Christian marriages need NOT necessarily be a consequence of a righteous and a rigorous obedience to God.
Then there is the tragic element of “drama or performance” in Christian marriages. There are Christian marriages that falsely portray an image of a godly or a loving union to their audience.
Some Christian couples constantly quarrel for all things big and small. There are those who have not shared a same bedroom for years or decades! A few Christian couples do not love their spouse truly, but robotically live out their marriage for the sake of their children or for the sake of their reputation in the church / workplace / society. Without an iota of doubt, fraudulent Christian marriages exist in Christendom.
The question we should ask is, “would God have architected such a fraudulent Christian marriage?” No!
God desires that the husband love his wife and the wife submits to her husband. This is the Christian paradigm for marriage. Hence, God would not have architected a Christian marriage where love and submission are entirely missing.
So to recap:
- God brings the right person for marriage into the life of a Christian.
- Sinful man’s imperfection could disregard God’s choice of spouse for his/her marriage.
2.1. Existence of happy and long-lasting Christian marriages need not necessarily indicate obedience to God’s choice of spouse.
2.2. Existence of fraudulent Christian marriages reveal man’s disregard of God’s choice of spouse for his marriage.
The possibility of Christians disregarding God’s choice of spouse is overwhelming. Yet if a Christian married a person of God’s choice, it is still uncertain that their marriage would be innately joyous and without any trace of squabbles.
Imperfection of man and the possibility of devil’s attack on a Christian marriage could lead to instability. The [imperfect] husband and the wife, despite obeying God, need not be immune to Satan’s lure and temptations.
The date and time of devil’s assault upon a Christian marriage will not be stated. Hence, Christian marriages cannot be so smug about its apparent stability.
Presence of one spiritually weak partner in the Christian marriage is the perfect recipe for the devil to feast on the Christian marriage. The devil will manipulate and devour the weak link to ruin a Christian marriage.
Yet if God’s protective hedge is upon a Christian marriage so to prevent the devil looting the Christian sanity from it, the possibility of man’s freewill usurping the stability of the marriage is plausible.
Consider our present context that demands the employment of both the husband and the wife in a majority of urban Christian households. In such as situation, a Christian marriage would crumble if one partner transmits the anger and disappointment from their respective workplace into their marriage.
Notwithstanding the devil and man’s freewill, it is normatively sufficient for a marriage to crumble because of an imperfect upbringing of either of the partners in the marriage. Consider the case of “anxious attachment” that causes jealousy and unduly worry in a partner that potentially leads to the demise of a marriage, “Anxious attachment is a way of describing the way some people connect with others — especially emotionally significant others — in their lives,” said Leslie Becker-Phelps, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and speaker. Individuals with an anxious attachment believe they’re flawed, inadequate and unworthy of love, she said.
Our attachment styles develop in infancy. Some infants perceive their parents as inconsistently available, which distressed them (understandably so, “children need their caregivers for their very survival”).
When kids become distressed, their parents may give them extra attention. These kids also may receive attention when they meet others’ needs.
Over time, “they develop a characteristic sense of feeling needy for attention and needing others to help soothe them,” said Becker-Phelps, author of Insecure in Love: How Anxious Attachment Can Make You Feel Jealous, Needy, and Worried and What You Can Do About It.
Kids with an anxious attachment grow up to believe they need to earn others’ support and attention because they’re essentially flawed, she said. They believe they aren’t loved for themselves, but for what they do for others or how they respond to their needs.
Naturally, such beliefs negatively affect their relationships. Anxiously attached individuals are often self-critical and regularly question themselves, which “can be tiring to friends and loved ones who try to be supportive.”
They also cling to their relationships and get jealous easily. They expect others to leave them because, inevitably, they believe they’re going to disappoint others, said Becker-Phelps.”1
The writing on the wall is this; the Lord Jesus said, “Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6: 34c, NASB). So disagreements and troubles will be an inherent part of a Christian marriage whether the couple obeyed God or not.
This is not an imperative to not seek God’s will in your marriage. But God’s will should be sought while choosing the spouse and married couples should constantly seek God to keep their marriages safe and alive.
If you doubt whether you married the person of God’s choice, do not fret or fear. You can still make your marriage a success, if you both seek the Lord fervently. If your marriage is treading stormy waters, do not worry, but remain prayerfully steadfast in the Lord, who alone has the power to calm the storm.
1https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/08/02/when-you-regularly-feel-insecure-in-your-relationship/, last accessed on 2nd March 2017.