How to Pursue the Truth (11) Part One

Where did we get to in our fellowship at the last gathering? We fellowshipped on the topic of “letting go” with regard to marriage as part of “How to Pursue the Truth.” We’ve fellowshipped on the topic of marriage several times—what did we fellowship on mainly last time? (We fellowshipped on letting go of various fantasies about marriage and rectifying some distorted ideas and understandings married people have about marriage, as well as correctly approaching sexual desire. At the end, we fellowshipped that pursuing the happiness of marriage is not our mission.) We fellowshipped on the topic of “letting go of various fantasies about marriage,” so how much did you understand, and how much can you remember? Did we not primarily fellowship on the various unrealistic, impractical, childish and irrational opinions and desires people have toward marriage? (Yes.) Correctly comprehending and understanding marriage and taking the correct approach to marriage—this is the attitude people should have toward marriage. Marriage should not be taken as a game, nor should it be taken as something to satisfy all one’s fantasies and unrealistic pursuits. What do the various fantasies about marriage involve? There is a certain relationship between these fantasies and the various attitudes people have toward life and, most importantly, they are related to the various sayings, interpretations, and attitudes about marriage people receive from the world and society. These sayings, interpretations, and attitudes are a myriad of unrealistic and false sayings and views derived from society and all the peoples of mankind. Why do people need to let these things go? Because these things come from corrupt mankind, because they are all kinds of views and attitudes on marriage that have arisen from the wicked world, and these views and attitudes completely deviate from the correct definition and concept of marriage that God has ordained for mankind. The concept and definition of marriage God has ordained for mankind are more focused on human responsibilities and obligations, as well as on the humanity, conscience, and reason that people should embody in life. God’s definition of marriage mainly exhorts people on how to take on their responsibilities correctly within the framework of marriage. If you are unmarried and are not engaged in fulfilling the responsibilities of marriage, then you should still have the correct understanding of God’s definition of marriage—this is one aspect. Another aspect is that God exhorts people to prepare to shoulder the responsibilities they should take on within the framework of marriage. Marriage is not a game to be played, or like children playing house. The first thing to know in one’s mind, and to have a concept of, is that marriage is a sign of responsibility. Even more important is to prepare or ready oneself for the responsibilities that should be fulfilled in one’s normal humanity. And what do the concepts, understanding, and sayings about marriage from Satan and from the wicked world focus more on? They focus more on playing with emotions and sexual desires, satisfying physical desires, and satisfying fleshly curiosity toward the opposite sex, as well as, of course, satisfying human vanity. They never mention responsibility or humanity, much less how the two parties involved in the marriage ordained by God, that is, the male and the female, should shoulder their responsibilities, fulfill their obligations, and do everything well that a male and a female should do, within the framework of marriage. The various interpretations, sayings, and attitudes on marriage the world indoctrinates people with focus more on the satisfaction of human emotion and desire, the exploration of emotion and desire, and the seeking after emotion and desire. Therefore, if you accept these various sayings, understandings, or attitudes on marriage that come from society, then you will be unable to avoid being affected by these wicked ideas. To be more precise, you will be unable to avoid being corrupted by these views on marriage that come from the world. Once you have been corrupted and affected by these ideas and views, you are then unable to avoid being controlled by these ideas, and at the same time, you will also accept being fooled and manipulated by these views just like unbelievers do. Once unbelievers accept these ideas and views on marriage, they talk of love and of satisfying their sexual desires. Similarly, once you have unreservedly accepted these ideas and views, you will also talk of love and of satisfying your sexual desires. This is unavoidable and you cannot escape it. While you are without the correct definition of marriage, and without the correct comprehension and attitude toward marriage, you will naturally accept all the various views and sayings on marriage that come from the world, from society, and from mankind. So long as you hear them, so long as you see them, so long as you know them, and so long as you have no immunity to fight off these ideas, then you will unknowingly be affected by this kind of social climate, and you will unknowingly accept these views and sayings on marriage. When you accept these things within you, you then cannot avoid these ideas and views affecting your attitude toward marriage. Because you don’t live inside a vacuum, you are very prone to being affected and even controlled by the various sayings on marriage that come from the world, from society, and from mankind. Once they have control over you, you will find it very difficult to pull free of them, and you won’t be able to help but fantasize about what your own marriage should be like.

Last time, we fellowshipped on the various fantasies about marriage, and these fantasies hail from the manifold wrong understandings and views on marriage of wicked mankind. These understandings and views, whether specific or general, are all things which a pursuer of the truth should let go of. Firstly, they should let go of all the various wrong definitions and understandings of marriage; secondly, they should correctly choose their partner; and thirdly those who are already married should take the correct approach to their marriage. The word “correct” here refers to the attitude and responsibility people should have toward marriage which God enjoins and instructs them to have. People should understand that marriage is not a symbol of love and that entering marriage is not entering a palace of marriage, nor is it entering a tomb, much less is it a wedding dress, a diamond ring, a church, speaking vows of eternal love, candlelit dinners, romance, or a world of two people—none of these things signify marriage. So, when we talk about marriage, the first thing you should do is remove the fantasies about marriage that have been planted in your heart along with the symbolic things that arise from your fantasies about marriage. By fellowshipping on the correct interpretation of marriage and dissecting the various distorted ideas about marriage that come from Satan’s wicked world, do you not come to have a more accurate understanding of the definition of marriage? (We do.) As for those who aren’t married, does saying these things not make you feel somewhat steadier about the matter of marriage? And does it not help you to grow in insight? (Yes.) In what aspect do you grow in insight? (My previous fantasies about marriage involved just vague things like flowers, diamond rings, wedding dresses, and saying vows of eternal love. Now, after listening to God give fellowship, I understand that marriage is actually ordained by God, and that it is two people together being able to show consideration for each other, look after each other, and take responsibility for each other. It’s a sense of responsibility, and this view on marriage is more practical and doesn’t involve those vague things.) You’ve grown in insight, right? In general terms, you’ve grown in insight. In terms of the minute specifics, has there been a slight change in standards for the objects you previously admired and were fascinated by? (There has, yes.) You always used to talk about wanting to find a tall, rich, handsome man, or a pale, rich, beautiful woman; what is it you focus on now? At the very least, you focus on someone’s humanity, and on whether someone is dependable and has a sense of responsibility. Tell Me, if someone chooses a partner in accordance with this direction, this objective, and this method, is it more probable that they will have a happy marriage or that they will be unhappy and get divorced? (It’s more probable that they’ll be happy.) It’s somewhat more probable that they’ll be happy. Why don’t we say that this kind of marriage will be one hundred percent guaranteed to be a happy one? How many reasons are there for this? At the very least, one reason is that people can make mistakes and not see someone clearly before marrying them. Another reason is that, before they get married, someone may have wonderful imaginings about marriage, thinking, “We have compatible personalities and share the same aspirations. He also made a promise to me that he’s willing to take responsibility and fulfill his obligations to me after we get married, and that he will never let me down.” After they get married, however, not everything in married life goes as they might wish, not everything goes smoothly. Also, some people love the truth and love positive things, whereas some people may appear to have a humanity that isn’t bad or evil, but they have no love for positive things and don’t pursue the truth. When they’re married and living together, that little sense of responsibility or obligation he has in his humanity is gradually worn away, he changes over time, and he shows his true colors. Tell Me, if one person in a married couple pursues the truth and one doesn’t, if you unilaterally pursue the truth and he doesn’t accept the truth at all, how long will you be able to put up with him? (Not long.) You can grudgingly tolerate and put up with some life habits or some minor defects or failings in his humanity, but as time goes on, the two of you will not share a common language or pursuit. He doesn’t pursue the truth, nor does he love positive things, and he always likes the things of the wicked trends of the world. Gradually, the two of you speak less and less, your aspirations drift apart, and his desire to fulfill his responsibilities is soon worn away. Is this kind of marriage a happy one? (No.) What should you do if you’re not happy? (If two people cannot go on together then they should separate at the earliest opportunity.) Correct. How long is it from having this idea in the beginning to when they separate? At first, the two people rub along well together, and after rubbing along well together for a while, they begin to clash. After they clash, they become reconciled, and once they’re reconciled, the woman sees that the man has not changed, so she endures, and after some time enduring this, they again begin to argue. After this conflict reaches its peak, things cool down again, and she thinks, “We’re not well-suited and this isn’t how I imagined it would be in the beginning. Living together is painful. Should we divorce? But it’s been so hard for us to get to this point and we’ve broken up and gotten back together so many times. I mustn’t divorce him so easily. I should just endure it. Living alone is never as good as two living together.” So she endures for a year or two; the more she looks at him the more dissatisfied she feels, and the longer it goes on the more frustrated she becomes. Living together doesn’t make her happy, and they speak less and less on the same wavelength. She sees his faults growing more and more in number and she feels less and less like she wants to put up with and tolerate him. After five or six years, she can’t take it anymore, blows her top, and wants to make a complete break with him. Before she decides to make this complete break, she must think this whole thing through from start to finish and must think clearly and thoroughly about how she will live after they divorce. After thinking it all through, she cannot muster up her resolve, but after thinking it through several more times, she reluctantly decides to leave her husband, thinking, “I’ll divorce him. Living a peaceful life alone is better than this.” The two of them are always arguing and can’t get along. What she used to be able to tolerate is now unbearable. Seeing him makes her feel upset, hearing him speak makes her angry, and even hearing his voice, seeing his appearance, his clothes, and the things he has used all turns her stomach and makes her feel sick. It has reached an unbearable point where the two of them have become strangers to each other and she has to divorce him. What was the premise to her having to divorce him? The two of them living together was too painful, and her living on her own is better. When things get to this point, she’ll no longer stay connected to him. There’s no feeling there anymore, she’s thought it through and got it figured out: It’s better to live alone, just like the unbelievers often say, “When you live alone, you don’t need to worry about anyone else.” Otherwise, she’d always have to be thinking about him, wondering, “Has he eaten? Is he dressing well? Is he sleeping okay? Is it exhausting for him working away from home? Is he getting pushed around? How is he feeling?” She’d always have to be worrying about him. But now, she sees that it’s more peaceful to live alone, with no one else to think about or be concerned about. Such a man is not worth living like that for. He’s not worth her concern, not worth her love, not worth her taking on any responsibility for him, and there’s nothing lovable about him at all. In the end, she files for divorce, their marriage comes to an end, and she never looks back and never regrets her decision. There are marriages like this, aren’t there? (Yes.) There are also marriages that come about due to various reasons such as past kindnesses and grudges from one’s previous life. As we discussed before, some people get together because one owes the other a debt. Between the couple, either the woman owes the man, or the man owes the woman. In the previous life, one may have taken advantage too much, owed too much, and so in this life they are put together so that person can repay their debt. Many marriages like this are unhappy ones, but they can’t divorce. Whether they’re forced to stay together because they have a family, or because of their children, or for some other reason, in any case, the couple can’t get along with each other, they’re always fighting, always arguing, and their personalities, interests, pursuits, and hobbies don’t match at all. They don’t like each other and living together doesn’t bring any happiness to either of them, but they can’t divorce each other, so they stay together until death. When death approaches, they still have to taunt their partner and say, “I don’t want to see you in the next life!” They hate each other so much, right? But in this life they can’t divorce each other, and this is ordained by God. All these different kinds of marriage, regardless of what their structure or origins are like, whether you’re married or not, in any case you should always let go of the various unrealistic and naive fantasies you have about marriage; you should correctly face marriage and not toy with people’s emotions and desires, much less become caught in the snare of wrong views on marriage which society indoctrinates you with, always ruminating over how you feel about marriage: Does your partner love you? Can you feel that your partner loves you? Do you still love your partner? How much love do you still have for your partner? Does your partner still feel anything for you? Do you still feel anything for your partner? There’s no need to feel these things or ruminate over these things—they are all absurd and meaningless ideas. The more you ruminate over these things, the more you feel that your marriage is in crisis, and the more you slip down into these thoughts, the more it proves that you have been caught in the snare of marriage, and you will certainly not be happy or have any sense of security. This is because when you slide down into these ideas, views, and thoughts, your marriage becomes malformed, your humanity becomes distorted, and you also become completely controlled and kidnapped by various ideas and views on marriage from society. Therefore, with regard to the various views and sayings on marriage that come from society and from wicked mankind, you must be able to accurately discern them, and you must also reject these views and sayings. No matter what other people say or how their sayings on marriage change, ultimately people should not relinquish God’s definition of marriage, nor should people be affected or have their eyes clouded by the wicked world’s views on marriage. To put it bluntly, marriage is the beginning of a different stage of a person’s life from adolescence to adulthood. That is, after you become an adult you enter a different stage of life, and in this stage of life you enter into matrimony and live with someone who bears no blood relationship to yourself. From the day you start living with that person, it means that as a wife or a husband you have to shoulder the responsibilities and obligations of all the things of married life and, what’s more, the two of you must face all the things of married life together. That is to say, marriage signifies that a person has left their parents, said farewell to the single life, and has entered into the life of two people with someone else. This is the stage wherein two people face life together. This stage signifies that you will enter a different stage in life as well as, of course, that you will face all manner of life’s tests. How you will handle life within the framework of marriage and how you and your partner together will face all the things encountered within the framework of marriage may be tests to you, or these things could be perfection to you, or they could be disasters. They could, of course, also be sources of more experience in life; they could be sources that provide you with a deeper understanding and appreciation of life, right? (Right.) We’ll finish our recap here on the topic of having the correct understanding of marriage and the various fantasies about marriage.

We fellowshipped on another topic last time, which was that pursuing marital happiness is not your mission. What did we emphasize when fellowshipping this topic? (It was that we mustn’t entrust our life’s happiness to our partner, and we mustn’t do things which please our partner just to attract them or protect our so-called love. We mustn’t forget that we’re created beings and that the responsibilities and obligations that we should fulfill in marriage do not conflict with the duties and responsibilities we should fulfill as created beings.) Many people make their life’s happiness dependent upon their marriage, and their goal in pursuing happiness is the pursuit of the happiness and perfection of marriage. They believe that if their marriage is a happy one and they’re happy with their partner, then they will have a happy life, and so they regard the happiness of their marriage as a lifelong mission to be achieved through unremitting efforts. For this reason, when they enter into marriage, many people rack their brains thinking of many things they can do to keep their marriage “fresh.” What does “fresh” mean? It means, as they say, that no matter how long they’ve been married, the two people always feel like they’re joined at the hip and can never leave each other, just like they did when they started dating, and they always want to be stuck together and never part. Furthermore, wherever they are and at all times, they’re always thinking of and missing their partner, and their hearts are filled with the other person’s voice, smile, speech, and behavior. If they don’t hear their partner’s voice for one single day, their heart feels desolate, and if they don’t see their partner for one single day, they feel as though they’ve lost their soul. They think these are the symbols and the signs of marital happiness. So, some so-called full-time housewives stay at home and feel that waiting for their husbands to come home is the happiest thing. If their husbands don’t come home on time, they call them, and what is the first question out of their mouths? (What time will you be home?) Looks like you hear this often—this question is rooted deeply in the hearts of many. The first question is “What time will you be home?” Once they’ve asked this, regardless of whether or not they receive an accurate answer, in any case the lovesickness of a woman in a happy marriage is revealed. This is a normal state in the lives of those who pursue the happiness of marriage. They quietly wait at home for their other half to come home from work. If they go out, they dare not go far or be out for long, afraid that their partner will come home to find an empty house and will feel so hurt, disappointed, and upset. These people are filled with hope and faith in their pursuit of marital happiness, and they don’t hold back on paying any price or making any change. There are even some who continue to pursue marital happiness after they come to believe in God just as they did before, seeking to love their partner and always asking their partner whether they love them. Therefore, during gatherings, a woman may think, “Has my husband got home yet? If so, has he eaten anything? Is he tired? I’m still here at this gathering and I feel a little uneasy. I feel a little like I’ve let him down.” When she goes to attend the next gathering, she asks her husband, “What time do you think you’ll be back? If you get back when I’m out at a gathering, won’t you feel lonely?” Her husband replies, “How could I not feel lonely? The place is empty and I’m on my own. Normally, we’re always here together, and now suddenly I’m here on my own. Why do you always have to attend gatherings? You can attend them, but it would be great if you could get home before I do!” She knows in her heart, “Oh, he doesn’t ask much of me, I just need to be home before he gets back.” At the next gathering, she keeps looking at the clock, and when she sees that it’s almost time for her husband to finish work, she can’t sit still any longer and says, “You guys carry on, I’ve got something at home I need to take care of so I have to get going.” She rushes home and thinks, “Great, my husband isn’t back yet! I’ll hurry and make a meal and tidy up the house so he can see when he gets back that the place is clean, he can smell the food, and know that someone’s here. It’s wonderful that we can be together when it comes time to eat! Although I lost some time at the gathering and listened to less and gained less, to be able to get back home before my husband does and give him a hot meal is pretty good, and this is fundamental to maintaining a happy marriage.” She often does this at gatherings thereafter and occasionally a gathering overruns, and when she rushes home she finds that her husband is already there. He’s a little displeased and unhappy with her, and he grumbles, “Can’t you miss just one gathering? Don’t you know how I feel when you’re not at home and I come home and don’t see you here? I get upset!” She feels so moved hearing this and thinks, “What he means by this is that he really loves me and can’t live without me. He gets upset when he sees that I’m not here. I’m so happy! Although he sounds a little angry, I can still feel his love for me. I must take notice next time and no matter how many hours the gathering runs on for, I must come home early. I can’t disappoint his love for me. It’s not important if I gain a little less and listen a little less to God’s words at gatherings.” When she attends gatherings from then on, all she can think about is getting home to be worthy of her husband’s love as well as to maintain the happiness she pursues in her marriage. She has a faint feeling that if she doesn’t get home early, then she will disappoint her husband’s love for her, and if she keeps disappointing him in that way, she wonders whether he will go off and find someone else and not love her like he used to. She believes that loving and being loved is always a happiness, and sustaining this relationship of loving and being loved is her pursuit in life, something she’s determined to pursue, and so that is what she does without reservation or hesitation. There are even some people who, when they go and perform their duty away from home, often tell their leader, “I can’t stay overnight away from home. I’m married, so if I don’t go home my husband will be lonely. I won’t be there when he wakes up at night and he’ll be upset. I won’t be there when he opens his eyes in the morning and he’ll feel hurt. If I don’t often return home, won’t my husband doubt my faithfulness and innocence? When we got married, we made an agreement that we would be faithful to each other. No matter what happens, I must keep my promise. I want to be worthy of him, as there’s no one else in this world who loves me like he does. So, in order to prove my innocence and that I’m completely faithful to him, I absolutely cannot stay overnight away from home. No matter how busy church work is or how urgent my duty is, I must go home at night no matter how late it is.” She says that this is to maintain her innocence and faithfulness, but this is just a formality, just words, when actually she’s afraid that her marriage will become unhappy and break up. She’d rather lose her duty and abandon the duty she’s supposed to perform in order to maintain her marital happiness, as though marital happiness is her motivation for and the source of everything she does. Without a happy marriage, she cannot perform the duty of a created being; without a happy marriage, she cannot be a good created being. She regards not disappointing her husband’s love for her and staying loved as the signs of marital happiness as well as her life’s goals to pursue. If one day she feels that she isn’t so loved anymore, or she does something wrong and disappoints her husband’s love for her, making him disappointed in her and displeased with her, she’ll feel like she’s going out of her mind, she’ll no longer attend gatherings or read God’s words, and even when the church needs her to perform some duty, she’ll come up with all kinds of excuses to refuse. For example, she says she’s not feeling well or that there’s some urgent issue at home, and she even makes up some nonsensical and whimsical excuses to get out of having to perform the duty. These people regard marital happiness as supremely important in life. Some people even give everything they can to maintain the happiness of their marriage, and do not hesitate to pay any price to tether and hold their spouse’s heart so that their spouse always loves them, they never lose that sense of the love they had when they first got married, and they never lose that feeling they had about marriage in the beginning. There are even some women who make even greater sacrifices: Some have the bridges of their noses raised, some have their chins reshaped, and some have breast augmentation surgery and liposuction, enduring any pain. Some women even think their calves are too thick, so they go for surgery to make their legs slimmer, and in the end they suffer nerve damage and can’t stand up anymore. When the husband of a woman like this sees this, he says, “You had thick legs before, but you were still a normal person. Now you can’t stand up, and you’re no good for anything. I want a divorce!” You see, she paid such a large price and this is what she got in the end. There are also some women who dress beautifully every day, who wear perfume and powder their faces. They apply all kinds of cosmetics such as lipstick, blusher, and eye shadow to their faces to keep themselves looking young and beautiful in order to be attractive to their partner and make their partner love them like they did in the beginning. Similarly, men also make many sacrifices for the sake of marital happiness. Someone gets told, “You’re a well-known believer in God. Too many people around here know you and this makes you vulnerable to being reported and arrested, so you have to leave here and go perform your duty somewhere else.” He then feels distressed and thinks, “But if I leave, does that mean my marriage is over? Will it all start to fall apart now? If I leave home, will my wife get with someone else? Will we just go our separate ways from now on? Will we never be together again?” He gets upset thinking these things, and so he begins to bargain, saying, “Could I stay? It would be okay even if I only went home once a week—I have to look after my family!” In fact, he’s not really thinking about looking after his family. He’s afraid his wife will run off with someone else and that he will never again have any marital happiness. His heart is filled with worry and fear, he doesn’t want the happiness of his marriage to vanish and disappear like this. In such people’s hearts, marital happiness is more important than anything else, and without it, they feel as though they’re totally soulless. They believe, “Love is the most important thing for a happy marriage. Only because I love my wife and she loves me do we have a happy marriage and have been able to make it this long. If I were to lose this love and this love were to end because of my belief in God and because I perform my duty, then wouldn’t that mean that my marital happiness is over and gone, and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy this marital happiness again? Without marital happiness, what will happen to us? What would my wife’s life be like without my love? What will happen to me if I lose my wife’s love? Can performing the duty of a created being and accomplishing man’s mission before God make up for this loss?” They don’t know, they have no answer, and they don’t understand this aspect of the truth. Therefore, when God’s house requires those who pursue the happiness of marriage above all else to leave their homes and go to a distant place to spread the gospel and perform their duty, they often feel frustrated, helpless, and even uneasy about the fact that they may soon lose their marital happiness. Some people abandon or refuse to perform their duties in order to sustain their marital happiness, and some even refuse the important arrangements of God’s house. There are also some who, to sustain their marital happiness, often try to get to know their spouse’s feelings. If their spouse feels slightly displeased or shows even a hint of displeasure or dissatisfaction with their faith, with the path of faith in God they have taken, and with their performing their duty, they instantly change course and make concessions. To sustain their marital happiness, they often make concessions to their spouse, even if it means giving up chances to perform their duty, and giving up time for gatherings, reading God’s words and carrying out spiritual devotions in order to show their spouse that they’re there, to keep their spouse from feeling alone and lonely, and to make their spouse feel their love; they would rather do this than lose or be without their spouse’s love. This is because they feel that, if they give up their spouse’s love for the sake of their faith or the path of faith in God they’ve taken, then this means that they’ve abandoned their marital happiness and they won’t be able to feel that marital happiness anymore, and they will then be someone lonely, pitiful, and lamentable. What does it mean to be someone lamentable and pitiful? It means someone without the love or adoration of another. Even though these people understand some doctrine and the significance of God performing His work of salvation and, of course, they understand that as a created being they should perform the duty of a created being, because they entrust their spouse with their own happiness and they also, of course, make their own happiness dependent upon their marital happiness, even though they understand and know what they should do, they still can’t let go of their pursuit of marital happiness. They mistakenly view the pursuit of marital happiness as the mission they should pursue in this lifetime, and mistakenly view the pursuit of marital happiness as the mission that a created being should pursue and accomplish. Isn’t this a mistake? (Yes, it is.)

Where does the fault lie with pursuing marital happiness? Is it in conformity with God’s definition of marriage and what He entrusts married couples with? (No, it isn’t.) What is wrong with it? Some people say, “God said it’s not good for a man to live alone, so He created a spouse for him, and this spouse keeps him company. Isn’t that God’s definition of marriage? Is this not part of pursuing marital happiness? Two people accompanying each other and performing their mutual responsibilities—what’s wrong with that?” Is there a difference between performing one’s responsibilities within the framework of marriage and uncompromisingly regarding pursuing marital happiness as one’s mission? (Yes, there is.) What is the problem here? (They regard pursuing marital happiness as their most important mission, when in fact for living man performing the duty of a created being before the Creator is their greatest responsibility. They’ve misunderstood the goal to pursue in life.) Anyone else want to pick up on this? (When someone can’t take the correct approach to the responsibilities and obligations they should fulfill in marriage, they will spend their time and energy on sustaining their marriage. However, the correct approach to the responsibilities of marriage is first of all to not forget that one is a created being and that one should spend most of one’s time performing one’s duty and accomplishing that which God entrusts them with and the mission God gives them. They should then fulfill their responsibilities and obligations within the framework of marriage. These two things are different.) Is the pursuit of marital happiness the goal people should pursue in life once they’re married? Does this have anything to do with the marriage that God has ordained? (No.) God has given marriage to man, and He has given an environment to you in which you can fulfill the responsibilities and obligations of a man or a woman within the framework of marriage. God has given you marriage, which means He has given you a partner. This partner will accompany you until the end of this life and will accompany you through every stage of life. What do I mean by “accompany”? I mean your partner will help and look after you, share with you all the things you encounter in life. That is, no matter how many things you encounter, you will no longer face them alone, but rather the two of you will face them together. Living in this way makes life somewhat easier and more relaxed, with both people doing what they’re supposed to do, each bringing their skills and strengths into play, and getting their life started. It is just that simple. However, God never made a demand of people, saying, “I have given you marriage. You are married now so you absolutely must love your partner until the end and constantly flatter them—this is your mission.” God has given you marriage, given you a partner, and given you a different living environment. Within this kind of living environment and situation, He makes your partner share and face everything together with you, so that you can live more freely and easily, while at the same time allowing you to appreciate a different stage of life. However, God hasn’t sold you out to marriage. What do I mean by this? I mean that God hasn’t taken your life, your fate, your mission, the path you follow in life, the direction you choose in life, and the kind of faith you have and given it all to your partner to determine for you. He hasn’t said that the kind of fate, pursuits, life path, and outlook on life a woman has must be decided by her husband, or that the kind of fate, pursuits, outlook on life, and life a man has must be decided by his wife. God has never said such things and has not ordained things in this way. You see, did God say any such thing when He established marriage for mankind? (No.) God has never said that the pursuit of marital happiness is a woman’s or a man’s mission in life, and that you must maintain the happiness of your marriage well in order for your life’s mission to be accomplished and for you to successfully conduct yourself as a created being—God has never said any such thing. Neither has God said, “You must choose your life path within the framework of marriage. Whether you will attain salvation or not will be decided by your marriage and by your spouse. Your outlook on life and fate will be decided by your spouse.” Has God ever said such a thing? (No.) God has ordained marriage for you and given you a partner. You enter into marriage but your identity and status before God do not change—you’re still you. If you’re a woman then you’re still a woman before God; if you’re a man then you’re still a man before God. But there is one thing which you both share, and that is, regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman, you are all created beings before the Creator. Within the framework of marriage, you tolerate and love each other, you help and support each other, and this is fulfilling your responsibilities. Before God, however, the responsibilities you should fulfill and the mission you should accomplish cannot be replaced by the responsibilities you fulfill to your partner. Therefore, when there is conflict between your responsibilities to your partner and the duty a created being should perform before God, what you should choose is to perform the duty of a created being and not to fulfill your responsibilities to your partner. This is the direction and the aim you should choose and, of course, it is also the mission you should accomplish. Some people, however, mistakenly make the pursuit of marital happiness, or the fulfilling of their responsibilities to their partner, and their caring for, looking after, and loving their partner, into their mission in life, and they regard their partner as their sky, their destiny—this is wrong. Your destiny is under God’s sovereignty and is not governed by your partner. Marriage cannot change your destiny, nor can it change the fact that God governs your destiny. Concerning the kind of outlook on life you ought to have and the path you ought to follow, you should seek these in the words of God’s teachings and requirements. These things are not dependent upon your partner and are not for them to decide. Besides fulfilling their responsibilities to you, they shouldn’t have control over your destiny, nor should they demand that you change your direction in life, nor decide what path you follow, nor decide what outlook on life you should have, much less should they constrain you or obstruct you from pursuing salvation. As far as marriage goes, all people can do is accept it from God and adhere to the definition of marriage God has ordained for man, with both husband and wife fulfilling their responsibilities and obligations to each other. What they cannot do is decide their partner’s destiny, previous life, present life, or the next life, let alone eternity. Your destination, your destiny, and the path you follow can only be decided by the Creator. Therefore, as a created being, whether your role is that of wife or husband, the happiness you should pursue in this life comes from you performing the duty of a created being and accomplishing the mission of a created being. It does not come from marriage itself, much less from you fulfilling the responsibilities of a wife or husband within the framework of marriage. Of course, the path you choose to follow and the outlook on life you adopt shouldn’t be built upon marital happiness, much less should they be determined by one or the other of the spousal couple—this is something you ought to understand. So, people entering marriage who only pursue marital happiness and regard this pursuit as their mission should let go of such thoughts and views, change the way they practice, and change the direction they’re headed in life. You are entering marriage and living together with your partner under the ordination of God, that’s all, and it’s enough to fulfill the responsibilities of a wife or husband while you share your life together. As for what path you follow and what outlook on life you adopt, your partner is under no obligation and has no right to decide these things. Even though you are already married and have a spouse, your so-called spouse can only carry the meaning of being a spouse that has been ordained by God. They can only fulfill the responsibilities of a spouse, and you can choose and decide everything else that is unrelated to your spouse. Of course, what is even more important is that your choices and decisions should not be based upon your own preferences and understanding, but rather on the words of God. Do you understand the fellowship on this matter? (Yes.) Therefore, the actions of any partner within the framework of marriage who pursues marital happiness at all costs or makes any sacrifice shall not be remembered by God. No matter how well or how perfectly you fulfill your obligations and responsibilities to your partner, or how much you live up to your partner’s expectations—in other words, no matter how well or how perfectly you maintain your marital happiness, or how enviable it is—it does not mean that you have fulfilled the mission of a created being, nor does it prove that you are a created being who is up to standard. Perhaps you’re a perfect wife or a perfect husband, but that remains confined to the framework of marriage. The Creator takes the measure of what kind of person you are based on how you perform the duty of a created being before Him, what kind of path you follow, what your outlook on life is, what you pursue in life, and how you accomplish the mission of a created being. With these things, God measures the path you follow as a created being and your future destination. He does not measure these things based on how you fulfill your responsibilities and obligations as a wife or a husband, nor on whether your love for your partner pleases Him. As for the pursuit of marital happiness not being your mission, I’ve today provided these details to round this topic off. You see, if I didn’t fellowship on these issues, people might think they understand and know a little about them, but when something actually happens to them, they’d still get stuck and obstructed by many specious issues, wanting to fulfill the obligations of a wife or a husband while also wanting to do well the things a human being, a created being, should do. However, when these two things conflict with or contradict and obstruct each other, how one should handle it has not been entirely clear. Is it now clear after fellowshipping on it in this way? (Yes.) There’s a difference between the things which people believe to be good and right in their notions on the one hand and the things which are positive, right, and good according to the truth on the other. When this is clarified, it becomes clear. The things people believe to be positive and good are often filled with the notions, imaginings, and feelings of man, and they are unrelated to the truth. What do I mean by “unrelated”? I mean they are not the truth. If you regard fallacious things and things which are not the truth as positive things and as the truth, and you follow them and cling rigidly to them, believing that they are the truth, then you will be unable to walk the path in pursuit of the truth, and you will end up very far from the truth. And whose responsibility is that?

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