So when I heard this thing (that some in Israel had intermarried with pagans), I tore my garment and my robe, and plucked out some of the hair of my head and beard, and sat down astonished. Ezra 9:3
Is it possible to marry the wrong person? Absolutely. In the book of Ezra there were lots of people who did. And Ezra, as you could see from the above passage, was pretty upset about it.
God had specifically commanded through Moses that no one was to marry anyone from the pagan nations around them. And God explained why:
“Nor shall you make marriages with [the pagan nations]. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the LORD will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly.” Deut 7:3-4
God told them not to marry these people because He knew that they would turn the hearts from serving the Lord. A perfect example of this is the famous King Solomon. Even though Solomon started out really well, his downfall was all the pagan wives he married. The bible says that it was his wives that turned him way from the Lord. (1 Kings 11:4)
So where does that put us as Christians when it comes to marriage? Paul says we can marry who we want, but ‘only in the Lord.’ (1 Co 9:39) He also says that we should not be ‘unequally yoked together with unbelievers.’ (2 Co 6:14) So, clearly we can see that a Christian should only marry a Christian.
Personally, I cannot see why a Christian would want to marry an unbeliever. Why would you want to spend your life with someone who completely disagrees with you on the most important things in life? It would be like Barak Obama getting married to Sarah Palin. Their differences in beliefs would cause constant friction in their relationship. Not only that, but their deep down convictions on how to make the world a better place are completely opposed! How could that work?
Now a Christian who is a Christian by name only and not by heart will not understand this. They will say that true love will work through their differences and so on. They will say their religion is personal and each one of them can have their own personal beliefs. Some will even think that they can convert their husband or wife after they are married. To believe such a thing is not biblical. On the contrary, the bible says that the sinner is more likely to persuade the believer. The bible also says, “For how do you know whether you will save your spouse?” (1 Co 7:14-5) And if you believe that true love can work through deep personal differences of conviction, then you don’t know what true love is. This shows me that your ‘love’ is based off of things like looks and personality only and not off of who the person really is on the inside.
Feelings of love can be deceptive. This is why you need to balance your feelings with the Word of God. Feelings can lead you down a dangerous road, but the Word will always lead you to abundant life. Remember that God’s ultimate goal is to give you a happy, joy-filled marriage. He gives us these commandments to bless us and not to curse us. If we do it His way and continue in His way, we will be blessed.
How do you know who the right person to marry is? #1 is to make sure they are a believer. #2 is to pray and ask God if this believer is the right one for you. It’s really as simple as that. If you learn to be sensitive to God’s leading, He will lead you to the right person.
I remember when I was single and looking for my wife. I would pray and ask the Lord if this girl was the one or that one. I got a ‘no’ in my spirit each time and was tired of getting a ‘no’ answer. Then one day I met Katrina. It seemed like a very unlikely relationship. She lived 1000 miles away. I met her at a wedding. We didn’t really know each other. Sure, I liked what I saw for the week that I was in Florida, but how practical would it be to try to start a relationship with someone 1000 miles away and that I barely knew? So I prayed about it. The only way that I can explain it was that there was a warm glow in my spirit. It was a sense that this was right and I need to pursue the relationship. I remember thinking, “Ok, Lord, if you say so!”
5 years and a baby later…I think the Almighty Match-Maker has done a good job!
But what if your marriage is in a mess? What if you think you’ve married the wrong person? Or what if you have been saved since marriage and are currently married to unbeliever? The bible has an answer for all of this. Here is a short run down of what you should do:
1 – Do not seek a divorce! The bible says that divorce is only acceptable in a few circumstances: #1 – your spouse is unfaithful to you. #2 – your spouse is an unbeliever and decides to leave you. Separation may be in option in some circumstances, but if a divorce is sought outside of biblical reasons, the bible says that you should remain unmarried after that.
2 – PRAY! Ask God for help. He has restored many, many marriages. He will help you. Genuinely seek Him with all your heart.
3 – Seek help from a godly source. (i.e. your pastor, etc)