God has ordained that there should be perfect love and perfect harmony between those who enter into the marriage relation.
Let bride and bridegroom in the presence of the heavenly universe pledge themselves to love one another as God has ordained they should.-- In Heavenly Places, p. 202.
Man was not made to dwell in solitude; he was to be a social being. Without companionship the beautiful scenes and delightful employments of Eden would have failed to yield perfect happiness. Even communion with angels could not have satisfied his desire for sympathy and companionship. There was none of the same nature to love and to be loved.
God Himself gave Adam a companion. He provided "an help meet for him"--a helper corresponding to him--one who was fitted to be his companion, and who could be one with him in love and sympathy. Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him. A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self, showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation. "For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it." Ephesians 5:29. "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one."
God celebrated the first marriage. Thus the institution has for its originator the Creator of the universe. "Marriage is honourable"
(Hebrews 13:4); it was one of the first gifts of God to man, and it is one of the two institutions that, after the Fall, Adam brought with him beyond the gates of Paradise. When the divine principles are recognised and obeyed in this relation, marriage is a blessing; it guards the purity and happiness of the race, it provides for man's social needs, it elevates the physical, the intellectual, and the moral nature.
As the Creator joined the hands of the holy pair [Adam and Eve] in wedlock, saying, A man shall "leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one" (Genesis 2:24), He enunciated for all the children of Adam.
That which the Eternal Father Himself had pronounced good was the law of highest blessing and development for man."
Make your Courtship Last Throughout your Marriage
Not one word should be spoken, not one action performed, that you would not be willing the holy angels should look upon and register in the books above. You should have an eye single to the glory of God. The heart should have only pure, sanctified affection, worthy of the followers of Jesus Christ, exalted in its nature, and more heavenly than earthly. Anything different from this is debasing, degrading in courtship; and marriage cannot be holy and honourable in the sight of a pure and holy God, unless it is after the exalted Scriptural principle.
Let some of the hours of courtship before marriage run through the married life.
"Except the Lord Build the House" Psalm 127:1
Those who are contemplating marriage should consider what will be the character and influence of the home they are founding. As they become parents, a sacred trust is committed to them. Upon them depends in a great measure the well-being of their children in this world, and their happiness in the world to come. To a great extent they determine both the physical and moral stamp
that the little ones receive. And upon the character of the home depends the condition of society; the weight of each family's influence will tell in the upward or the downward scale.
The choice of a life companion should be such as best to secure physical, mental, and spiritual well-being for parents and for their children--such as will enable both parents and children to bless their fellow men and to honour their Creator.
Jesus did not begin His ministry by some great work before the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem. At a household gathering in a little Galilean village His power was put forth to add to the joy of a wedding feast. Thus He showed His sympathy with men, and His desire to minister to their happiness.
He who gave Eve to Adam as a helpmeet, performed His first miracle at a marriage festival. In the festal hall where friends and kindred rejoiced together, Christ began His public ministry. Thus He sanctioned marriage, recognising it as an institution that He Himself had established.
The presence of Christ alone can make men and women happy. All the common waters of life Christ can turn into the wine of heaven. The home then becomes as an Eden of bliss; the family, a beautiful symbol of the family in heaven.
EDSON WAS THE SECOND OF ELLEN WHITE'S FOUR SONS. BECAUSE OF HER EXTENSIVE TRAVEL AND OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES THROUGHOUT HER BUSY LIFE, SHE HAD TO BE AWAY FROM HER CHILDREN. A LARGE COLLECTION OF HER LETTERS TO THEM HAS BEEN PRESERVED. THE FOLLOWING LETTER WAS WRITTEN TO EDSON AND EMMA IN 1870 SHORTLY AFTER THEIR MARRIAGE, AND REPRESENTS A MOTHER'S HOPES AND PRAYERS FOR THE HOME THAT HAS JUST BEEN ESTABLISHED. THE COUNSEL SHOWS A LOVING MOTHER'S CARE FOR HER SON, BUT CARRIES THE ADDED DIMENSION OF HER OWN EXPERIENCE IN RECEIVING DIVINE MESSAGES FROM THE LORD IN VISIONS.
Campmeeting Grounds Clyde, Ohio
Dear Edson and Emma:
You, my children, have given your hearts to one another; unitedly give them wholly, unreservedly to God. In your married life seek to elevate one another. Show the high and elevating principles of your holy faith in your everyday conversations and in the most private walks of life. Be ever careful and tender of the feelings of one another. Do not allow a playful, bantering, joking censuring of one another. These things are dangerous. They wound. The wound may be concealed, nevertheless the wound exists and peace is being sacrificed and happiness endangered.
My son, guard yourself and in no case manifest the least disposition savouring of a dictatorial, overbearing spirit. It will pay to watch your words before speaking. This is easier than to take them back or efface their impression afterward. Ever speak kindly. Modulate even the tones of your voice. Let only love, gentleness, mildness be expressed in your countenance and in your voice. Make it a business to shed rays of sunlight, but never leave a cloud. Emma will be all to you you can desire if you are watchful and give her no occasion to feel distressed and troubled and to doubt the genuineness of your love. You yourselves can make your happiness or lose it. You can by seeking to conform your life to the Word of God be true, noble, elevated, and smooth the pathway of life for each other.
Yield to each other. Edson, yield your judgement sometimes. Do not be persistent, even if your course appears just right to yourself. You must be yielding, forbearing, kind, tender-hearted, pitiful, courteous, ever keeping fresh the little courtesies of life, the tender acts, the tender, cheerful, encouraging words. And may the best of heaven's blessings rest upon you both, my dear children, is the prayer of your mother. Mother -- Letter 24, 1870
Marriage Is Like Christ's Love for His Chosen People
In both the Old and the New Testament the marriage relation is employed to represent the tender and sacred union that exists between Christ and His people, the redeemed ones whom He has purchased at the cost of Calvary.
"Fear not, "He says; "thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is His name, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel." "Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you." Isaiah 54:4, 5; Jeremiah 3:14. In the "Song of Songs" we hear the bride's voice saying, "My Beloved is mine, and I am His." And He who is to her "the chiefest among ten thousand," speaks to His chosen one. "Thou art all fair, My love; there is no spot in thee." Song of Solomon 2:16; 5:10; 4:7.
Married Life Gets Better and Better
Men and women can reach God's ideal for them if they will take Christ as their helper. What human wisdom cannot do, His grace will accomplish for those who give themselves to Him in loving trust. His providences can unite hearts in bonds that are of heavenly origin. Love will not be a mere exchange of soft and flattering words. The loom of heaven weaves with warp and woof finer, yet more firm, that can be woven by the looms of earth. The result is not a tissue fabric, but a texture that will bear wear and test and trial. Heart will be bound to heart in the golden bonds of a love that is enduring.
To love as Christ loved means to manifest unselfishness at all times and in all places, by kind words and pleasant looks. These cost those who give them nothing, but they leave behind a fragrance that surrounds the soul. The effect can
never be estimated. Not only are they a blessing to the receiver, but to the giver; for they react upon him. Genuine love is a precious attribute of heavenly origin, which increases in fragrance in proportion as it is dispensed to others.
Christ's love is deep and earnest, flowing like an irrepressible stream to all who will accept it. There is no selfishness in His love. In this heaven-born love is an abiding principle in the heart, it will make itself known, not only to those we hold most dear in sacred relationship, but to all with whom we come in contact. It will lead us to bestow little acts of attention, to make concessions, to perform deeds of kindness, to speak tender, true, encouraging words. It will lead us to sympathise with those whose hearts hunger for sympathy.