Marriage As God Intended
On August 20, 2021, Gwen and Ed will celebrate 50 years of marriage. They got married when they were both students at the University of Pennsylvania. While he was attending the Dallas Theological Seminary, she was an elementary school nurse at the West Dallas Housing Projects. They have lived in Dallas, Portland, Oregon, Atlanta, Georgia and finally in Lakeland, Florida. They have four children and many grandchildren. And they have led Christian tour groups through Israel, Greece, England, and Italy.

Here is their view on “Marriage As God Intended”.

Marriage was the institution through which a man and a woman could enjoy deep intimacy not only with each other, but also with God. Marriage was God’s invention. So, it is little wonder that the focus of the marriage union should be on God if it is to succeed.

Unfortunately, too many people nowadays have come to view marriage as something that human beings invented. And the focus of many married couples is no longer on God, or even on each other.

Marriage has been re-purposed to suit human needs and to fulfill human desires. It has become a feeble attempt to guarantee that we will have a companion whose love and focus will always be on ourselves. Over time, we have become uncomfortable to accept marriage the way God create it, and we’ve made some drastic changes to his design:

  • We no longer recognize God’s sovereign choices regarding maleness and femaleness nor His right to use those designations as parameters in the institution He created.
  • Our wedding vows are no longer made to God—they are made to each other.
  • Instead of God being our advisor and arbiter of our differences, we have turned to therapists, counselors, or spiritual advisors.
  • We have defined love as a feeling, and we have disregarded it as commitment.
  • We have encouraged young people to “follow their hearts”, despite the prophet’s warning that “the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked.”

We need to return to the basics. We need to recognize the sanctity of the institution that God created.

What should a Christian marriage look like? First, our struggles should bring us closer together as we learn to work things out. We should grow closer to God as we look to him for solutions and answers. We need to spend time together praying and reading the Bible.

A Christian marriage should be marked by forgiveness. As a marriage struggles through bad days (or weeks or even longer), a married couple must learn to forgive and accept one another. The couple must also accept God’s forgiveness and mercy in their own lives.

Communication with each other is a vital element in a Christian marriage. Our speech should be filled with encouragement rather than criticism; respect rather than ridicule; and honesty rather than hidden agendas. A couple should focus on each other’s strengths rather than weaknesses.

Married partners do not gossip about their spouse. They bring their concerns to God. They may seek out the wisdom of godly counselors when they need it, but they never “dish out dirt” about their partner.

A good Christian marriage should be filled with laughter, joy, and camaraderie. However, “happiness” should never be the ultimate goal of a Christian marriage; “holiness” should be the goal. A holy life is one automatically filled with satisfaction and joy!

These are just a few of the core principles and ideas we need to pass on the next generation before it is too late!

Gwen and Ed Diaz
71:17 Ministry

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“Do we live in a way that shows Christ in us?”

I was in a small group for a while with a very talented, spirit-filled guy who was very active in another denomination. When we talked about how we relate to other people, he explained, “I want to see the Christ in them, and I want them to see the Christ in me.”

I am sure there are many times people see or hear me react to something, and to their ears and eyes, nothing is Christlike. And I know wonderful friends who have a secure faith in Christ who, at times, may not seem very Christlike.

But, what a goal to see Christ in every situation––in joyful celebration––before an important meeting––in a painful circumstance––listening to friend in need of hope––or connecting with a friend from years ago.

I can picture in my mind situations where I should have told the person joining me in laughter or coming to my aid, “I see Christ in you.”

Whether in joy or pain, each was a friend who showed me Christ––words were optional. What can we do today to reveal the Christ in us to all we meet?

Gil Hanke, Chief Executive Officer
General Commission on UM Men