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Preparing for Marriage 6 | Part 2

This week, we will conclude our study entitled “Pleasing God”, as it relates to the subject of courtship and marriage. If you have not already done so, we encourage you to go through our past studies on this topic (–click here–). We hope that it will be a blessing to all, as you prayerfully go through each one!

 

                                                        –Make Haste, Slowly–

Turn in your Adventist Home to page 75 and I want you to read one of the most amazing statements in the book. This is taken from Volume 5, and it is a personal testimony to the same young man to whom this testimony was written [from part 1 of this study]. In what we read, the Lord’s messenger was dealing with the question of this young man’s relationship to the rules of the college. But in this statement she is dealing with this same young man’s relationship to his parents:

‘Should parents,’ you ask, ‘select a companion without regard to the mind or feelings of son or daughter?’ – Adventist Home,
pg. 75

This was his question. “Why,” this young man says, “do you think a father or mother ought to pick out a companion for me without regard to my mind or feelings?” Now notice how the prophet answers it:

I put the question to you as it should be: Should a son or daughter select a companion without first consulting the parents? – Adventist Home, pg. 75

What a wonderful sentence. By the way, what number is the first? How many numbers are there before first? [None.] Then, before either a son or a daughter chooses a companion, according to this, they are to do what? They are to consult who? Parents. And when does this say they are to do this? First. Notice it doesn’t say they are to do it before the wedding.

They are to do it before what? The selecting of the companion. What is another word for “select?” Choose. That is right. Pick out.

I put the question to you as it should be: Should a son or daughter select a companion without first consulting the parents, when such a step must materially affect the happiness of parents if they have any affection for their children? And should that child, notwithstanding the counsel and entreaties of his parents, persist in following his own course? I answer decidedly. – Adventist Home, pg. 75

What?

No; not if he never marries. – Adventist Home, pg. 75

Quite an emphatic statement, isn’t it?

A young person came to me for advise [years ago]. This young person was quite certain (she was a young woman) that the young man she was planning to marry was just the one the Lord wanted her to have. But her mother just couldn’t see it. Well, I referred her to this, and I said, “Would you expect me as a minister to change what this says? To tell you, never mind, it is all right if you are sure that it is the Lord’s will?”

What authority do I have to change this? There is a man over on the Tiber that thinks he can change things that have been written by divine Inspiration. He has gotten nearly the whole Christian world accepting his change every Sunday. Hasn’t he? Do you agree with him? But tell me, if he doesn’t have the authority to change the fourth commandment, do either you or I have the authority to change the fifth commandment? And you notice how the prophet puts the finger on the fifth commandment in the very next sentence?

The fifth commandment forbids such a course. ‘Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.’ Here is a commandment with a promise which the Lord will surely fulfill to those who obey. Wise parents will never select companions for their children without respect to their wishes.” – Adventist Home, pg. 75

But I will just let you in on a secret, in case you don’t know it already. There is something about the natural human heart that just detests the slightest semblance of anybody choosing for them, in this matter. I want to tell you because it is just an example of what is going on all the time.

A young man and a young woman were engaged. They were planning to be married before many months went by. They were both members of the remnant church. The young man was spending a few days at the home of the parents of the young woman to whom he was engaged. Presently, as they were visiting, he said to her, “Now, look here. I have made up my mind.” He said, “I have had all of this parents’ stuff that I can take. I am going to give you three days to make up your mind. If you want to marry me, fine, we will run off to a neighboring state and be married where we don’t have to wait for a license.” (They were not going to wait for the parents’ approval.) “And if you don’t want that, after three days you let me know, and it is all off.”

And to the honor of God and to the honor of that young woman, do you know what she said? She said, “Well, I don’t need three days. I can tell you right now. It is off right now.” When I heard that I said, “Praise the Lord!

I don’t know them very well, but I can just tell you this, friends. It just could be that if either one of them had followed fully all the counsel that we have been studying in these classes, that they never would have even gotten that far. What do you think? Because, according to what we have studied, the time for that bridge to be crossed, the bridge of parental counsel, and parental consent and active participation in the selection is not up here in the final steps, it is down here in the preliminary steps. Do you see what a world of trouble that saves?

This is one of the biggest things I can teach you in this class. The time to get counsel is before your mind is set in a certain direction. Of course, the counsel should continue all the way up. Now, it sometimes happens – for we are dealing with real life in this class; we are not just dealing with a lot of theory. – that a parent, either a father or a mother, or both, may agree for young people to court, but later, as things open up, their attitude may turn decidedly negative. In that case, what should a young person do?

I was talking with a young person who found himself in that situation… And he was perplexed. He said, “Well, after all, I think my mother approved this once, but she doesn’t now.” “Well,” I said, “After all, are you going to blame your mother because, in closer acquaintance, she has gotten her eyes opened a bit? Are you? After all, what is she for? Just a rubber stamp, and the earlier that you can get her to put her okay on it, and then leave her out of it, is that what it is for?” Why, no. As we need the counsel of God at every step, so we need, at every step, the counsel of God-fearing parents, and God-appointed advisors.

In fact, the nearer we get to the final step of marriage itself, the more important it is to check every point and get every bit of counsel we can. And just as it is possible for young people to enter sincerely into courtship, thinking that this may be the Lord’s leading, and may later find that it isn’t God’s will, so with the attitude of the parents. The parents may be clear enough in it to say, “Well, go ahead and go together, and see what the Lord leads, as you visit together and as you go together for a time.” But that doesn’t mean that the parent at that point is giving away either the son or the daughter in marriage. They are merely entering in intelligently and sympathetically into a study of the thing.

                      –Christian Courtship–

That leads me to this fifth point of courtship itself. What is Christian courtship? Well, my dear friends, Christian courtship is the sincere endeavor of two young people to find out whether it is God’s will that they be married.

Courtship is not for fun. Oh, no. It is too serious for that. Somebody may say, “Is there no joy to it?” Oh, yes. There can be a great deal of joy to it. The Lord desires that every experience we enter into with Him, will be one of joy. Baptism is a most beautiful and joyous experience. Isn’t it? But wouldn’t you be horrified to hear somebody say, “I was baptized last week and oh, what fun it was!”? Wouldn’t you be horrified? I hope you would. I warn you about that word “fun” – the word itself, and a lot of things it stands for. Whatever it means, my friends, fun is not the word to associate with courtship. It is a downright serious business. It can be a happy experience, but it is serious.

I wish you would turn to page 44 of your Adventist Home. We read a few words from the opening page of this chapter, page 43, earlier in our study. This is “The Great Decision.” This chapter has some very precious instruction on the matter of courtship. What is the heading of that first paragraph? “Make Haste Slowly.”

Few have correct views of the marriage relation. Many seem to think that it is the attainment of perfect bliss; but if they could know one quarter of the heartaches of men and women that are bound by the marriage vow in chains that they cannot and dare not break, they would not be surprised that I trace these lines. Marriage, in a majority of cases, is a most galling yoke. There are thousands that are mated but not matched. – Adventist Home, pg. 44

What does that mean “they are mated but not matched”? They are married, but they do not fit. They are not compatible. That is grounds for divorce, isn’t it? Well, it may be in the courts of the world, but not in the court of heaven. Once the vows have been said and the marriage consummated, those vows must stand. And then follows a most difficult adjustment.

Marriage, in a majority of cases, is a most galling yoke. There are thousands that are mated but not matched. The books of heaven are burdened with the woes, the wickedness, and the abuse that lie hidden under the marriage mantle. This is why I would warn the young who are of a marriageable age to make haste slowly in the choice of a companion. – Adventist Home, pg. 44

Would you say then, that courtship should be thought of as a whirlwind affair? No. Is it something in which the gallant lover comes in and sweeps the girl off her feet with candy and flowers and all the rest? That is not the picture, is it? No. Well, somebody says, “Don’t you think there is any place for love and affection?”

Yes. But not in the beginning of courtship, friends. That isn’t the time for it. That isn’t the time for it. I want to say to every earnest young person, never give your heart away, never yield your affections until all the questions that need to be settled have been settled. Love is a most precious thing. And in God’s ideal plan it is to be held in your heart to be given to one and one only. And this relates not merely to the physical union, which of course, if one is following the Bible, is not to be entered into until after the marriage, but it relates also to those earlier expressions of affection – the caress, the kiss, and even the words of love and affection. They belong better to the period of engagement than to the period of courtship.

You see, dear friends, the only girl that a young man has the right to love in a meaningful way is the one whom God has given him. When he stands at the marriage altar, he is going to promise before God and angels that he will forsake all others and keep himself only unto her as long as they both shall live. Unless he has learned to do that before marriage, he will find it difficult to do after marriage.

So, courtship, Christian courtship, is not a matter of showing how much you love somebody hoping that they will be won by your efforts. Christian courtship is a serious period of earnest attempt to find out what best pleases the Lord. You see, if we followed these steps, here is a young man and a young woman; and their counselors – the young man’s counselors and the young woman’s counselors – are all
agreed that these two young people should court. But what are they going to do? Those young people are going to study together. They are going to go together. This is the time for going together. One of the best places to go together is in each other’s homes or in the work of God, in connection with missionary endeavor, in connection with practical life, seeing each other in a variety of circumstances. And neither one should make any attempt to fool the other. Oh, no. Notice this, page 45, the top of the page:

Weigh every sentiment, and watch every development of character in the one with whom you think to link your life destiny. – Adventist Home, pg. 45

The young man who is courting a young woman should watch her under all circumstances: in her own home, in the homes of other people, at Sabbath school, at church, in missionary work.

Weigh every sentiment, and watch every development of character in the one with whom you think to link your life destiny. – Adventist Home, pg. 45

The same with a young woman. She should watch how that young man reacts under this circumstance, and that circumstance, and the other. Notice the next paragraph… It lists some questions that should be asked.:

Examine carefully Adventist Home

Here are things which should be considered: Will the one you marry bring happiness to your home? – Adventist Home, pgs. 45, 46

Then it lists some more questions. Next paragraph:

In your choice of a wife study her character. – Adventist Home, pg. 46

This is one of the things courtship is for, to get acquainted with the one who possibly may be the one of God’s choice. And it lists question after question here, page after page. These paragraphs need to be studied carefully by all young people who are moving toward courtship.
All right.

Heavenly Father, we thank Thee so much for the simplicity of choosing to please Theealways to be trying to find out what best pleases the Lord. This is our choice today and we thank Thee that when this is settled, everything else fits into place. We rejoice in the reality of Thy leading and the assurance that no good thing wilt Thou withhold from those who let Thee make the choice. We thank Thee in Christ’s name, Amen.

-Continue on to the next study-

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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.