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Marriage Ordained by God
| GOOD MARRIAGE: As apostle, over the years I had my fair share of people approach me to find out if we were a “courtship” church or a, “dating” church. The people invariably would tell me that their approach was “the biblical way. “I eventually become leery of such claims given that the Bible does not say much about how to find a wife, or does it? Perhaps you’ve seen this list floating around the world-wide-web, but it’s worth reviewing because it makes a very important point So here it is 16 ways to find a wife according to the Bible:
- Find an attractive prisoner of war, bring her home, shave her head, trim her nails, and give her new clothes, Then she’s your. (Deut. 21:11-13)
- “Lay hold” a virgin who is not betrothed to another man, and “Know” her, but afterwards pay her father a sum of money. Then she’s yours. (Deut. 22:28-29)
- Find a prostitute and marry her. (Hosea:1-3)
- Find a man with seven daughters, and impress him by watering his flock. Moses (Ex. 2:16-21)
- Purchase a piece of property, and get a woman as part of the deal. Boaz (Ruth 4:5-10)
- Go to a party and hide. When the women come out to dance, grab one and carry her off to be your wife. Benjaminites ( Judges 21:19-25)
- Have God create a wife for you while you sleep. Note: this will cost you a rib. Adam (Gen. 2:19-24)
- Agree to work seven years in exchange for a woman’s hand in marriage. Get tricked into marrying the wrong woman. Then work another seven years for the woman you wanted to marry in the first place. That’s Fourteen years of toil for a wife. Jacob (Gen. 29:15-30)
- Cut 200 foreskins off of your future father-in-law’s enemies and get his daughter for a wife, David (1 Sam. 18:27)
- Even if no one is out there, just wander around a bit and you’II definitely find someone. Cain (Gen. 4:16-17)
- Become the emperor of a huge nation and hold a beauty contest. Xerxes or Ahasuerus (Esther 2:3)
- When you see someone you like, go home and tell your parents, “I have seen a woman; now get her for me.” If your parents question your decision, simply say, “Get her for me. She’s the one for me.” Samson (Judges 14:1-3)
- Kill any husband and take HIS wife. (Prepare to lose four sons though.) David (2 Sam. 1)
- Wait for your brother to die. Take his widow. ( it’s not just a good idea, it’s the law!) On and Don’t be so picky. Make up for quality with quantity. Solomon (1 Kings 11:1-3)
- A wife? Paul 1st Corinthians, chapter 7) Obviously, this list was written with humor in mind, and some of these “ways,” prescriptive of the sinful ways that God’s people have conducted themselves in the past they are in no way exemplary. But this does demonstrate an important point people often want the Bible to say certain things, such as how to find a spouse and marry, but they ignore portions of Scripture that don’t fit their paradigm. The Bible has more to say about arranged marriages, for example, than it does “courtship” or dating. So then, how do we proceed?
We have to realize that the Bible does not speak to every issue we will face in life. Just ask Solomon, who had to use wisdom when the two prostitutes came to him claiming to both be the mother of one child. We must follow those things that God has given us. In all of our relationships we have the obligation to exercise the fruit of the Spirit and not mistreat anyone that is especially true for a prospective spouse. We also have the prospective mate “In the Lord” (1 Cor. 7:39). But in the end, choosing a spouse calls for wisdom.
The Bible does not give us a specific means by which we can find spouses. Some might be introduced by family or friends. Some might cultivate a letter-writing relationship (or as we might more commonly find it, e-mail, or some form of social media). In some cultures the thought of dating or courting is out of the question. I once walked in on one of my office mates in grad school-he was a Christian training for the ministry in Japan. He was intently reading a file; it looked like a personnel file. Out of curiousity I asked him what he was reading. He told me it was a file on a young woman that his father had sent him. His family, sight unseen (except for a few photos in the file) was arranging his marriage. I was stunned, but nevertheless made aware that godly Christians don’t all do things the same way. I.e., just because it’s American and Christians do it doesn’t mean it’s biblical or the only way.
The greater doctrinal point here is that in the pursuit of finding a spouse, we must be mindful two things:
- That we are mindful of God’s revealed Will in the moral law- we should not violate it in word, thought, or deed; and
- Christian liberty-where God has spoken, we are bound, but where he has not spoken we are free. We are not bound by the commandments of men. This means that Godly Christians may differ in how they live their lives, but it doesn’t mean that one is holier than another because she dates and doesn’t court.
We should also note that in its collective history, the church has never addressed the issue in its creeds or confessions about how to find a spouse. Perhaps this should tell us that it is a matter of Christian liberty and that in the end, we should rely on God’ grace, wisdom, prayer, and godly counsel rather than make claim than the Bible has never made.
For women, the possibility of pregnancy begins in the ovaries. Conception is the moment when egg and sperm meet. It can take anything from 45 minutes to 12 hours for a sperm to reach your fallopian tubes, which is where conception usually happens. However, sperm can survive inside your body for up to seven days, so conception can happen at any point in the week after sex, if you’re ovulating.
Learn more about this fascinating journey, and how life begins!
Inside the woman’s body: how an egg is hatched
For women, the possibility of pregnancy begins in the ovaries. These are the two small, oval organs attached to either side of your uterus (womb). The ovaries are packed with eggs, which are made before you are even born. Every baby girl is born with 1 to 2 million eggs in her ovaries. Many eggs begin dying off almost immediately and the rest steadily decrease in number as you get older. You’II probably release about 400 eggs during your fertile years, between your first period and the menopause. In countries such as the UK, the average age of menopause is about 52.
During each menstrual cycle, sometime after your period, one to three eggs start to reach maturity in one of your ovaries. The ripest egg is then released, a process known as ovulation. The egg is quickly sucked up by the tulip- shaped opening of the nearest fallopian tube. There are two fallopian tubes, each about 10cm in length, which lead from the ovaries to the uterus.
Ovulation is usually about 12 to 14 days before your next period. The exact time of ovulation depends on the length of your cycle. Several different hormones work together to control the length of your cycle, when your eggs ripen and the timing of ovulation. You can read more about these hormones in our article on the menstrual cycle.
The average egg lives for up 24 hours after release. It needs to be fertilized within this time by a sperm for a baby to be conceived. If your egg meets up with a healthy sperm on its way to the uterus, the process of creating a new life begins. If not, the egg ends its journey at the uterus and disintegrates.
If you have not conceived, the ovary stops making estrogens and progesterone. These are the two hormones that would help maintain a pregnancy. When the levels of these hormones drop, the thickened lining of your uterus is shed during your period. The remains of the unfertilized egg are shed at the same time.
Inside the man’s body: how sperm are made
Women’s bodies mature a single egg each month. Men’s bodies, however, are almost constantly at work, producing millions of microscopic sperm. The sole purpose of each sperm is to swim towards and penetrate an egg.
From start to finish it takes two to three months to create a new sperm Cell. The average sperm lives only a few weeks in a man’s body and at least 40 million are set free with each ejaculation. It means that men have to make sperm on a regular basis throughout their adult lives.
The same hormones that control ovulation in women stimulate the release of testosterone in men. Testosterone is the hormone responsible for producing sperm. Sperm production starts in the testicles, the two glands contained in the scrotal sac beneath the penis. The testicles hang outside the body because they are sensitive to temperature. To produce healthy sperm efficiently they have to stay at a balmy 34o C. This is about four degrees cooler than normal body temperature. Once the sperm is created, it’s stored in each testicle in the epididymis, a 6-metre long coiled tube. Just before ejaculation the sperm is scooped up and mixed with semen.
Despite the millions of sperm that are produced and released in each ejaculation, only one can fertilize each egg. The gender of your baby depends on which type of sperm burrows into the egg first. Sperm with a Y chromosome will make a boy baby, and sperm with an X chromosome will make a girl. There are plenty of myths about how to conceive a boy or girl. Some are backed by a bit of scientific evidence but on the whole a child’s sex is determined randomly.
What happens while you’re having sex?
In addition to all the fun, your bodies are building up tension that you hope will end in orgasm. Having an orgasm also has an important biological function. In men, orgasm propels sperm-rich semen into the vagina and up towards the cervix at roughly 10 miles per hour. The force of ejaculation gives the sperm a good head start on their way to the egg. A woman doesn’t need to orgasm for conception to happen. Gentle uterine contractions can help the sperm along, but these happen without you having an orgasm.
Many couples wonder if a particular sex position is best for conceiving. No one knows for sure. The most important thing about sex is that you’re both having a good time and you’re doing it often enough. For you to conceive, live sperm needs to be in your reproductive tract during ovulation.
Not all women ovulate during the middle of their cycle or at same in their cycle every month. To improve your chances of conception, aim to have sex every other day or so throughout your cycle.
While you relax, the sperm’s job is just beginning
At this point you can’t do much except cross your fingers and hope that you conceive. While you and your partner enjoy a relaxing post-sex cuddle, a lot is going on inside your body. Those millions of sperm have begun their quest to find your egg, and it’s not an easy journey. The first obstacle may be your cervical mucus, which can seem like an impenetrable net on your non- fertile days. When you’re most fertile, however, it miraculously loosens up so the strongest swimmers can get through.
The sperm that survive still have a long road ahead. In all they need to travel about 18cm from the cervix through the uterus to the fallopian tubes. When you consider that they travel at a rate of roughly 2.5cm every 15minutes, that’s quite a trip. The fastest swimmers may find the egg in as little as 45 minutes. It can take the slowest up to 12 hours. If the sperm don’t find an egg in the fallopian tubes at the time of intercourse, they can survive inside you for up to seven days. This means that if you ovulate within this time window you could still conceive.
The mortality rate for sperm is very high and only a few dozen ever make it to the egg. The rest get trapped, lost (perhaps heading up the wrong fallopian tube) or die along the way. For the lucky few that get near the egg, the race isn’t over. Each one has to work frantically to penetrate the egg’s outer shell and get inside before the others. The egg needs to be fertilized within 24hours of its release. When the hardiest sperm of the bunch makes it through, the egg changes instantaneously to prevent any others getting in. It’s like a protective shield that clamps over the egg at the exact moments the first sperm is safely inside.
Now a new life is born: During fertilization, the genetic material in the sperm and egg combine to create a new cell that will rapidly start dividing. This bundle of new cells is known as the blast cyst. It continues travelling down the fallopian tube towards the uterus, a journey which can take another three days or so.
You are not actually pregnant until the blast cyst has attached itself to the wall of your uterus, where it will develop into an embryo and placenta. Occasionally, the blast cyst will implant somewhere other than the uterus (usually in the fallopian tube). This is called an ectopic pregnancy, which is a medical emergency. The pregnancy will not survive outside the uterus and needs to be completely removed to avoid damage to the fallopian tube.
It will be a couple of weeks until you miss a period and suspect that you’re going to have a baby. Once you have missed your period or noticed one of the other signs of pregnancy, a home pregnancy test will confirm it. If you’ve got a little one on the way, congratulations, and welcome to the start of another incredible journey.
Think you might be pregnant? You may also like:
Discover the top 10 signs of pregnancy to look out for.
Learn more about Taking Care of your Baby.