MARRIAGE is a covenant relationship between three parties – husband, wife and God. A contract made between two parties can be broken by mutual agreement, but the marriage covenant cannot be broken. If the husband or wife chooses to break the covenant, then in addition to breaking their covenant with the spouse, he/she also breaks the covenant made with God.

The marriage covenant is important because it is through the marriage that the home is set. The Church first begins at home and the five-fold ministry - PASTORING, TEACHING, PROPHESYSING, EVENGELISING & the APOSTOLIC – begins at home.

Heavenly Family & Earthly Family: The concept of family had its origin from the Godhead. The Triune God demonstrates the ideal family. God the Father is the pattern father, Jesus is the pattern Son and the Holy Spirit is likened to the attributes of motherhood. The qualities and characteristics found in the heavenly family must be manifested in the earthly family too.

The earthly family can be likened to a kingdom. The husband is the head and king of this kingdom & wife is the queen. Man and woman are co-equal. Just as a kingdom can have only one king, the family must have one king – the husband. So it’s important for the husband to leave his earlier kingdom (his father), cleave to his wife and establish his own kingdom when he is the king. Without leaving, it’s not possible to cleave.

The children need only to follow instructions from their parents and not from any other kings and queens of other kingdoms.

3 Ds to a fulfilling marriage:

Decision, Determination and Dedication are three critical ingredients for a fulfilling marriage.

The absence of these three Ds will give birth to the other 3 Ds: Discouragement leading to Division will end up in Divorce.

Three important factors:

a) Sex: Sex should be an action of giving and not of taking. Giving is love and taking is lust. God ordained sex is bringing pleasure to your partner rather than gaining pleasure for yourself.

b) Communication: Communication is vital to a marriage. Conflicts are healthy and stopping communication to avoid conflict could be dangerous. A healthy three-way communication must be maintained between husband, wife and God.

c) Finances: Just as budgeting is crucial to run any government, it is critical to run the family, too. Maintaining a record of income and expenses is necessary to manage money effectively. Never compromise on tithing; never get into a debt trap.

The workshop made the seminar lively and practical. They included:

* Writing a love letter to the spouse

* Identifying areas in our marriage relationship with our spouse, where we lack

* Discussion between husband and wife to find out what causes constant arguments and what must be done to solve such arguments.

* Demonstration of  “Christ in between” principle

* Preparing a budget of a family of four with an income of Rs.20,000/-

The seminar ended with the husband and wife washing one another’s feet as act of humility, surrender & reconciliation and finally by renewing the marriage vows.

(Key points of 'Workshop on Marriage' conducted by Pastoral couple Vincent and Victoria on Jan 15, 16, 2004 at New Life Assembly of God Church, Little Mount, Chennai.)

This article was first published in the Feb 2004 issue of The Christian Messenger.