Fit For Marriage

The Fit For Marriage Community

Overview

In many parts of the world, like China and India, the family unit is paramount. North America, in contrast, is a highly individualistic society. This is true for both personal and legal matters. It is a most significant factor in the obscene divorce statistics that hang like a cloud over our “Christian” nation.

Ancient civilizations, though far from perfect, had a sense of community which resulted in a family cohesiveness rather than the fragmentation that plagues our families today. I contend, for example, that polygamy, though distasteful, was far less destructive than modern-day divorce. Malachi 2:16 says God hates divorce, but show me where it says He hates polygamy.

While visiting a New York university I met a student from India—a most helpful young lady who estimated that in India 90% of marriages are arranged by the families. Here's a true story: An Indian student at SUNYIT (State University of New York, Institute of Technology) married an Indian woman who lived near Niagara Falls. First there was the introduction by a friend; then a visit—but there was no dating. The young man liked the young lady, and wanted to marry her. He then traveled to Buffalo where he was interviewed by the woman's family. She, in turn, was interviewed by his brother. The families agreed, and a marriage date was set. Three months later, the couple traveled to India for a five-day wedding ceremony. There was a public event, followed by a private one.

A man married a woman, but more than that, one family married another family. I don't recall the source, but the words are worth repeating. An Indian man said the following: “In America, you marry the woman you love. In India, we love the woman we marry.” Someday when I get the time I will research divorce statistics for different cultures. I expect to find the Western World to be in the top divorce percentile. Marital poverty in the Western world could be prevented if men and women would connect to a caring Christian association such as the Fit For Marriage community.

It is not uncommon for a man who is lost, and unwilling to ask for directions, to drive for miles before finding his way. The same is true for marriage. Let me illustrate as follows:

Each spring I visit the CPA who does my taxes. It was a really hectic day, and the receptionist asked my name. “I'm not sure,” I said.

“I have the same problem,” she replied.

“How many times have you been married?” I asked.

She tucked her head and quietly said, “Three times.”

She had been married and divorced three times. About two years later we talked again. By then, she had been married and divorced four times. “They seem to find me,” she said.

I have yet another illustration: I'm an air conditioning contractor and I was called to solve a problem. Another man had been there twice, and had failed. My name was given as someone who is persistent. I made eleven trips, but still didn't find the answer. I farmed the job out to a friend who quickly brought the mess to an end.

Three men made a total of 15 trips. That's pretty bad for what should have been a routine air conditioning call. But we'll get over it. Experimental marriage is not okay. We need to do the job right the first time. If necessary, we should pick up the pieces, but the idea of stumbling from one marriage to another is entirely unacceptable. Unfortunately that's exactly what's happening. The Fit For Marriage Community addresses the problem.

Our Program Makes People Uncomfortable

It's true, people often react negatively to the Fit For Marriage initiative. That should come as no surprise when two-thirds of Christians either divorce or separate. Wholesale marital failure reflects pervasive error on the part of Christians. I want to give three reasons for the negativity. Before I do that I need to explain from the Bible the truth about submission.

Only those who Submit can be Saved

The book of Ephesians lays out submission clearly as it applies to the church, to husbands and wives, to parents and children, and to employers and employees. Multitudes of Christians do not understand these principles, but that is no reflection on the Lord who gave them. God did not make a mistake when He inspired the last two chapters of Ephesians.

Ephesians 5:18-20 gives the context. Submission is to take place in a setting of joy and thanksgiving to God. Verse 21 says we should submit ourselves one to another … in the fear of God. Here's an application of Ephesians 5:21: It's been years since our baby was born, but I changed her diapers because my wife's hands reacted to urine. If the one under authority has a problem, the one in authority should joyfully take up the slack.

Ephesians 5:22 says a wife is to submit to her husband … as unto the Lord. That is a tall order. She can't do that until she has first submitted to the Lord.

Ephesians 5:25 says a husband is to love his wife … as Christ loved the church. That, too, is a tough assignment. He can't do that until he has first submitted to Christ.

Ephesians 6:1 says children are to obey their parents … in the Lord. They learn to do that by watching their mother submit to the authority of their father, and by watching their father submit to the needs of his family.

Ephesians 6:5 says employees are to submit to their employers … as unto Christ.

Whatever form submission takes, it is intended to bring us to that place of submission (unto the Lord) that is just the opposite from Satan's rebellion. We submit …  in the fear of God … as unto the Lord … in the Lord … as unto Christ.

Human relationships teach us how to enter into relationship with the Lord. When a man surrenders his will to that of his Maker, he is born again into the family of God. He is then related to Jesus. That's how an enemy of Christ becomes His friend. Every friend of Jesus will go the heaven because that's where the Lord is.

Three reasons why people react negatively to our program are given as follows:

Reason #1: Abuse and Misuse

Many women and some men are opposed to the idea of submission. In many cases, it is due to abuse and misuse. Submission has been used as an excuse for dominance, even tyranny. Submission is portrayed by the culture as only for mousy, doormat-type women. People who misunderstand the concept reject the genuine article.

Reason #2: Refusal of God's Authority

Many men and women call themselves Christians, but refuse to make Jesus, Lord of their lives. To submit to a parent, a husband, an employer, or to the needs of one's family is impossible for someone who has refused the authority of God. It's that simple, folks! In my opinion, that is why most professing Christians refuse submission. … Have they even been born again? God knows!

Reason #3: Romantic Ideas about Marriage

Some people—perhaps more than you realize—think marriage is just for weak people. Forty years ago there was a saying, “Remember when the air was clean and sex was dirty?” The romanticists I refer to, want to be married, but are unwilling to admit it. Instead they just hang around hoping someone of the opposite sex will appear to marry them and solve their problem.

Abraham arranged the marriage of his son because it was the right thing to do. Genesis 2:18 says “It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make a help meet for him.” Genesis 2:24 defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and says the two shall become one. Even in the ark the animals went in by twos.

There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah. Genesis 7:9

A once-for-life, permanent, heterosexual marriage is the normative lifestyle. Any other living arrangement is either God's special calling or a perversion. Unless you are called to singleness and celibacy, you should learn how to be married and then make yourself available to the spouse of God's choosing. (And P.S. whether one marries or not is between him and the Lord—it is no one else's business.)

Marriage is too important to be left to chance. Marital planning should be the rule, not the exception. There is no excuse for negligence. Schooling is required before one can even read or write. Yet so many think they can just marry, and expect it to succeed. Getting married without training is like jumping into deep water without first having learned to swim.

If your parents were happily and biblically married, you have probably learned, by example, all you need to know to have a good marriage. But what about your potential spouse? It takes two to have a good marriage, but it only takes one to wreck it. Unless you've "learned" marriage from your parents, you need some training. Fit For Marriage can provide that. But there is also the fellowship aspect.

A Local, World-Wide Fellowship

The Fit For Marriage membership is to be world-wide, but our goal is local fellowship groups that will meet in homes and churches. The groups will be semi-autonomous. Activities will be arranged by the host and the members. So what would a typical event look like? It could be a Bible study, a lecture, a debate, a picnic, couples mentoring, or one-on-one sharing that could lead to marriage.

You can be single or married, young or old—there will be no racial or social discrimination. It's your fellowship group, under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The administration will be there to oversee the fellowship and to provide assistance.

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To participate in the Fit For Marriage program will take some time. But it will change your life—you'll never be the same again!