How to Pursue the Truth (10)
Today we will continue to fellowship on the content of our last meeting. What was our last meeting’s fellowship about? (Last time, God mainly fellowshiped on two subjects. First, God fellowshiped about the question people raise: “If mankind had not pursued their ideals and desires, then would the world have developed as it has to the present?” Next, God fellowshiped on some of people’s mistaken perspectives and viewpoints about marriage, and then fellowshiped about the correct concept and definition of marriage.) Last time I fellowshiped on a very broad topic—marriage. Marriage is a broad topic which touches on all mankind and permeates the history of human development. This topic touches on people’s everyday life, and it is important for everyone. Last time we fellowshiped on some content touching on this topic, mainly about the origin and formation of marriage, as well as God’s instructions and ordination for both parties in marriage, and the responsibilities and obligations both parties in marriage ought to take upon themselves. What was this content primarily based on? (The biblical record.) This fellowship was based on the words and verses recorded in the Bible, in which after God created mankind, He ordained marriage for them, right? (Right.) Through our last fellowship, and through reading about some of the sayings and doings of God regarding human marriage as recorded in the Bible, do you have an accurate definition of marriage now? Some people say: “We are young, we have no concept of marriage, nor do we have any experience. Defining marriage is awkward for us.” Is it awkward? (No.) It is not awkward. So how should we define marriage? Based on God’s sayings and doings regarding human marriage, should you not have an accurate definition of marriage? (We should.) With regard to marriage, whether or not you are married yourself, you need to have an accurate knowledge of the words of my fellowship now. This is an aspect of the truth you ought to understand. Speaking from this perspective, whether or not you have any experience with marriage, and whether or not you feel any interest in marriage, and whatever calculations and plans you may have had in the past regarding marriage, as long as this matter touches on your pursuit of the truth, you ought to know about it. This is also a matter you ought to see clearly, because it touches on the truth, on human ideas and viewpoints, on people’s pursuit of the truth, and on your principles and path of practice on your road of pursuing the truth. So, whether or not you have experienced marriage before, whether or not you are interested in marriage, or what your marriage situation is, if you want to pursue the truth and attain salvation, then you need to have an accurate knowledge and correct ideas and viewpoints regarding marriage, just as you would with any matters that touch on the truth; you should not resist it in your heart, or wear colored glasses and have notions about it, or deal with it based on your own background and circumstances, or make any choices regarding it. These are all incorrect viewpoints. Marriage, like any other matter, touches on people’s viewpoints, standpoints, and perspectives. If you want to have correct, truth-aligned ideas, viewpoints, perspectives and standpoints on the matter of marriage, then you must have an accurate knowledge and definition of the matter, which all touches on the truth. So, when it comes to marriage, you should have a correct knowledge and understand the truth that God wants people to in this matter. Only by understanding the truth here can you have the correct ideas and viewpoints to face marriage when you get married, or when things arise in your life that touch on the matter of marriage; only then can you have correct standpoints and perspectives on it, and of course, have an accurate path for resolving problems involving marriage. Some people say: “I will never set foot in marriage.” And maybe you never will set foot in it, but you will unavoidably have some ideas and viewpoints about marriage, big or small, right or wrong. Additionally, in your life you will unavoidably encounter some people or things that present problems that involve the matter of marriage, so how will you view and resolve these problems? When these problems that touch on marriage appear, what do you need to do to have accurate ideas, viewpoints, standpoints, and principles of practice? How do you need to act to be in line with God’s will? This is something you ought to understand, something you ought to pursue moving forward. What do I mean when I say that? I mean that there are some people who might think that marriage has nothing to do with them, so they listen inattentively. Is this the right viewpoint? (No.) No. No matter the topic I fellowship about, as long as it touches on the truth, touches on pursuing the truth, and touches on the basis and criteria for viewing people and things, and for comporting oneself and acting, then you should accept it and earnestly, carefully listen. Because this is not common sense, nor is it knowledge, much less is it professional understanding—it is the truth.
Let us return and continue fellowshiping on the subject of marriage. What should the definition of marriage be? Based on the ordination and arrangements of God in regard to marriage, as well as His exhortations and instructions to both married parties that I fellowshiped on last time, your concept and definition of marriage should not be muddled; rather, it should be clear and unequivocal. Marriage should be the uniting of one man and one woman under the ordination and arrangements of God. This is the composition of marriage, which has preconditions. Under the ordination and arrangements of God, one man and one woman united constitutes a marriage. Is that not the case? (It is.) Is such a definition of marriage not theoretically accurate? (It is.) Why say it is accurate? How can you be sure it is accurate? Because it is based on the biblical record, and it has indications that can be followed. The biblical record clearly explains the origins of marriage. This is the definition of marriage. On the foundation of this clear definition of marriage, let us look at what are the duties that each party in marriage takes on themselves. Did the Bible passages we read at the last meeting not clearly record this? (They did.) The simplest of all the duties each party in marriage takes on is to accompany and help one another. Then, what was God’s instruction to the woman? (God said to the woman: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in sorrow you shall bring forth children; and your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you” (Genesis 3:16).) This is the original way of speaking in the Bible. Using our modern words, God’s instruction to the woman was her duty. What was that duty? To bear children, to raise them, and to take care of her husband and adore him. This was God’s instruction to the woman. So what duty did God instruct the man to do? As the head of the house, the man must bear the burden of family life and provide for the family by the sweat of his brow. He must also bear the burden of managing the family members, his woman, and his own life. This is God’s division of duties between women and men. You should be clear and definite on the duties of men and women. This is the definition and formation of marriage, as well as the responsibilities both parties should take upon themselves and the obligations they should fulfill. This is marriage itself and the real content thereof. Are there any negative things in the content we have discussed regarding marriage? (No.) There are no negative things in it. It is all maximally pure, in line with the truth, and in line with the facts, and it is in line with the basis of God’s words. With biblical records as the foundation, the matter of marriage becomes very definite and clear to modern people; we do not need to lay down too many preconditions or use too many words to speak of the origin of marriage. It is not necessary. The definition of marriage is clear, and the duties that both parties in marriage should take on themselves, and the obligations they should fulfill, are clear and definite. Once one is clear and definite on these things, what effect does that have on one’s pursuit of the truth? What is the meaning behind understanding the definition and composition of marriage and the duties of both parties? That is to say, what are the results that fellowshiping on this content has on people, and what are the effects that it causes? To speak colloquially, what good does it do you to listen to this content? (It allows us to have a correct and truth-aligned viewpoint for looking at things when we face marriage, or when we look at marriage; we will not be influenced or misled by wicked trends or the ideas inculcated by Satan.) This is one positive effect. Does fellowshiping on the definition and formation of marriage and the duties of both parties allow people to have correct ideas and viewpoints regarding marriage? (Yes.) When a person has correct ideas and viewpoints, do the benefits and positive effects of this allow them to establish a correct view of marriage in their consciousness? Once someone has a correct view of marriage and correct ideas and viewpoints, do they have a certain resistance and immunity to opposing, negative ideas and viewpoints, which belong to wicked trends? (Yes they do.) What does this resistance and immunity refer to? It means that, at the very least, you have discernment when it comes to some wicked ideas and viewpoints regarding marriage that come from the world and society. Once you have discernment, you will no longer look at marriage based on the ideas and viewpoints that come from the wicked trends of the world, nor will you accept those ideas and viewpoints. So what is the benefit to you in not accepting those ideas and viewpoints? It is that those ideas and viewpoints will not control your perspectives and actions regarding marriage, and will no longer corrupt you, nor will they seed in you those wicked ideas and viewpoints; therefore, you will not look at marriage by following the wicked trends of the world, nor will you be carried off by those wicked trends, so you will be able to stand firm in your testimony on the matter of marriage. So in a certain sense, will you have already given up some of those satanic, worldly ideas, viewpoints, and perspectives regarding marriage? (Yes.) After people have an accurate definition of marriage, they are able to let go of some of their pursuits, ideals, and desires regarding marriage, but is it enough to stop there? Are they able to completely let go of their pursuits, ideals, and desires regarding marriage? It is not nearly enough. They have nothing more than an accurate definition and concept of marriage, merely an initial, basic concept and knowledge of marriage in their thoughts. But the various ideas, viewpoints, and topics that the world and society disseminate regarding marriage will still influence your ideas and viewpoints, and affect your perspectives—and even actions—regarding marriage. So up to the present, after having an accurate definition of marriage, people are still unable to totally and completely let go of their pursuits, ideals, and desires regarding marriage. So next, should we not fellowship about the various pursuits, ideals, and desires that arise in people regarding marriage? (Yes we should.)
I’ll bring this fellowship about the definition of marriage to a close. Next, we’ll fellowship about how to let go of the various pursuits, ideals, and desires that arise because of marriage. First off, let us fellowship about people’s various fantasies regarding marriage. When I mention fantasies, I mean the pictures that people imagine in their heads. These pictures have not yet become factual; they are just imaginings triggered by people’s daily lives or the circumstances they encounter. These imaginings form images and illusions in people’s heads, even becoming their pursuits, ideals, and desires regarding marriage. So, in order to let go of your pursuits, ideals, and desires regarding marriage, you should first let go of the various fantasies that were once or have been seeded in your mind and in the depths of your heart. This is the first thing you need to do to let go of your pursuits, ideals, and desires regarding marriage—that is, let go of your various fantasies of marriage. So let us first talk about what fantasies people have about marriage. The various opinions about marriage from ancient people hundreds or thousands of years ago are too far removed from the present, so we will not go into those. We will speak instead about what modern people’s fresh, popular, fashionable, and mainstream opinions and actions are regarding marriage; these things influence you, causing you to continually have all kinds of fantasies arise in the depths of your hearts or in your minds regarding marriage. First, some opinions regarding marriage become popular in society, and then various works of literature carry the ideas and opinions of the authors regarding marriage; as these works of literature are turned into television programs and films for the screen, they even more vividly expound upon people’s various opinions about marriage, their various pursuits, ideals, and desires about it. Whether more or less, visibly or invisibly, these things are continually instilled into you. Before you have any accurate concept of marriage, these societal opinions and messages about marriage create preconceptions in you and are accepted by you; then you start to fantasize about how your own marriage will be, and what your other half will be like. Whether you accept these messages through television programs, films, and novels, or through your social circles and the people in your life—regardless of the source, these messages all come from humans, society, and the world, or to speak accurately, they evolve and develop from wicked trends. Of course, to speak even more accurately, they come from Satan. Is this not the case? (It is.) In this process, regardless of what kind of ideas and viewpoints about marriage you have accepted, the fact is, while accepting various ideas and viewpoints about marriage, you are continually fantasizing about marriage in your thoughts. These fantasies all revolve around one thing. Do you know what it is? (Romantic love.) In society right now, the more popular or mainstream message revolves around speaking about marriage in terms of romantic love; the happiness of a marriage depends on the existence of romantic love, and whether or not husband and wife are in love with one another. These opinions of society concerning marriage—these things which permeate people’s thoughts and the depths of their souls—are primarily about romantic love. These opinions are instilled into people, causing them to develop all kinds of fantasies about marriage. For example, they fantasize about who the person they love will be, what kind of person they will be, and what their requirements of a marriage partner are. In particular, there are multifaceted messages that come from society, which say they certainly need to love that person and that that person needs to love them back, that only this is true romantic love, that only true romantic love can lead to marriage, that only marriage based on romantic love is good and happy, and that a marriage without romantic love is immoral. So, before they have found the person they will love, everyone prepares to find romantic love, making advance arrangements for marriage, preparing for the day in which they encounter the person they love so they can recklessly pursue their love, and realize their love. Right? (Right.) In the past, people did not speak of romantic love, nor did they speak of so-called freedom of marriage, or that love is guiltless, that love is supreme. At that time, people felt shy talking about marriage, love, and romance. Especially when it involved the opposite sex, people would feel embarrassed, they would blush and their hearts would race, or they would have a hard time speaking. Today, people’s attitudes have changed. When they see others discussing romance and marriage so calmly and confidently, they also want to be such a person, discussing romance and marriage freely and openly, without a red face or a racing heart. Moreover, they want to be able to openly confess their feelings when they come upon the person they want to pursue, to pour out their heart; they even fantasize about all kinds of scenes for courting or being courted, and even more, they fantasize about what kind of person the one they will love and pursue will be. Women fantasize that the person they pursue will be a Prince Charming, at least 1.8 meters tall, a witty conversationalist, refined, well-educated, with a good family background, and even better, that he will have a car and a house, social standing, a certain amount of wealth, and so on. As for men, they fantasize that their other half will be a fair-skinned beauty, a superwoman who can shine at social gatherings as well as in the kitchen. They even fantasize that their other half will be a beautiful and wealthy woman, and so much the better if she has a solid family background. Then people will say that the two of them joining together are like Romeo and Juliet, like a perfect couple or a match made in heaven, a couple that bystanders envy, that never argues or gets angry at each other, that would never quibble for any reason, that love one another deeply—like couples in the movies who swear to love each other until the seas run dry and the rocks turn to dust, to grow old together, to never dislike or avoid one another, to never give up on one another, and to never leave one another. Women fantasize that one day they will enter into the hall of matrimony with the one they love, and then with the blessing of the minister, they will exchange rings, exchange vows, swearing solemn pledges of love, committing to live this life with one another and to not leave or forsake each other regardless of sickness or poverty. Men also fantasize that one day they will enter the hall of matrimony with the woman they love, and with the blessing of the minister exchange rings and make their promises, swearing that no matter how old or ugly their new bride gets, they will not leave or forsake her, and that they will give her the most wonderful, happy marriage, and make her the happiest woman on earth. Men and women all fantasize like this, pursue like this, and in their real lives, they continually learn all kinds of pursuits, ideals, and desires about marriage. At the same time, they also endlessly repeat these fantasies in the depths of their hearts, hoping that one day their fantasies will play out in their real lives, making them no longer a kind of ideal or desire, but rather something real. Under the influence of modern life and the conditioning of all kinds of societal messages and information, each woman hopes to wear a white wedding dress and become the world’s most beautiful bride, the world’s happiest woman; she also hopes to wear her very own diamond ring, which must certainly exceed one carat, and must be of the finest purity. It can have no flaws, and her most beloved man must place it on her finger. This is a woman’s marriage fantasy. For one thing, she has some fantasies regarding the form of getting married; for another, she also has all kinds of fantasies about married life, hoping that the man she loves will not fail to live up to her expectations, that he will love her just as deeply in marriage as when they first fell in love, that he will not love another woman, that he will give her a happy life, make good on his commitment, and that until the seas dry up and the rocks turn to dust, they will stay together in this life and the next. For yet another thing, she also has all kinds of fantasies and requirements regarding the person she falls in love with. At the very least, he must be a Prince Charming, if not on a white horse, then on a black one. It is certainly this level of prince-like quality that a woman has in mind for her ideal man—how romantic and grand that would be, how happy her life would become. The basis of these fantasies that people develop regarding marriage is from society, their social groups, or all kinds of messages, all kinds of books, works of literature, and films; add to that some of those slightly bourgeois elements in their hearts which align with their own preferences, and so they fantasize about all kinds of people to fall in love with, all kinds of lovers, all kinds of marital forms and lives. In short, people’s various fantasies are all based on society’s understanding of marriage, interpretation of marriage, and various opinions on marriage. Women are like this, and men are the same. Men’s various pursuits of marriage are no less than those of women. A man also hopes to find a girl he likes, who is virtuous, gentle, good, and considerate, who treats him with care and affection, and who is dependent on him like a little bird, who is unerringly devoted to him, who does not disdain any of his flaws or shortcomings, who would even accept all his shortcomings and flaws, who, when he feels disheartened or frustrated, and when he fails, would reach out a hand to help and support him, and then say to him: “Darling, it doesn’t matter, I’m here. There’s nothing we can’t get through together. Don’t be afraid. No matter when, I will always be by your side.” Women have all kinds of requirements of men, and just the same, men have all kinds of requirements of women, so whether men or women, they are looking for their own other half among the crowd, and the basis for searching out their other half is their various fantasies regarding marriage. Of course, a man will more often fantasize about having a firm foothold in society, establishing a career, accruing a certain amount of wealth, and accumulating a certain level of capital, after which he can seek out a better half who is his equal in status, identity, taste, and preferences. As long as he likes her and she is in line with his requirements, he will be willing to do anything for her, even walk over burning coals for her. Of course, speaking a little more realistically, he will buy some nice things for her, satisfy her material needs, buy her a car, a house, a diamond ring, a brand name handbag and clothes. If he has the means, he will also buy a private yacht and a private plane, and will take his beloved woman out to sea just the two of them, or take her to see the world, to travel to the world’s most famous mountains, lands, and scenic places. How wonderful such a life would be. Women pay all kinds of prices for their various marriage fantasies, and in the same way, men strive and work for their various marriage fantasies. Regardless of what kind of fantasy you have regarding marriage, as long as it comes from the world, from the understanding and opinions that corrupt mankind has about marriage, or from the information about marriage that the world and corrupt mankind instill in you, these ideas and viewpoints will to some extent and to some degree influence your life and faith, and will influence your outlook on life and the path you walk through life. This is because marriage is something that no adult can avoid, and it is also an unavoidable topic. Even if you choose to remain single all your life, never getting married, your fantasies about marriage will still exist. You may choose to stay single, but beginning from the moment you had your most rudimentary concept and thoughts regarding marriage, you had all kinds of fantasies about it. These fantasies not only occupy your thoughts, they also flood your daily life and influence your ideas, viewpoints, and choices as you deal with all kinds of things. Put simply, if a woman has a standard for who she falls in love with, then regardless of the maturity or soundness of the standard, she will use it to weigh the goodness and badness of the humanity and character of members of the opposite sex, as well as whether or not those members are the sort she would like to spend time with. This standard is inseparable from the standard by which she chooses a marriage partner. For example, let’s say the kind of man she likes has bold features, a large, square face, and clear skin; he speaks elegantly, with a slight bookish air, and he is fairly polite. In her view of love, she feels good about this kind of man, and she leans more toward this kind of man. So in her life, whether or not such a person is the one she falls in love with, she will certainly feel good about him. I mean that when she comes into contact with such a person, whether his humanity is good or bad, whatever his character is like, whether he is a treacherous person or an evil person, these things are all secondary; these are not the standard she uses to view members of the opposite sex. What is her standard? It is the standard by which she chooses a husband. If her counterpart is in line with the standard she has for choosing a husband, then even if he is not the person she actually chooses as a husband, he is still someone she would like to spend time with. What does this issue illustrate? A person’s view of love—more specifically, a person’s standard regarding a partner in love or marriage—to a large degree influences her view on all members of the opposite sex. When she encounters a man who meets her standard for choosing a husband, she finds everything about him pleasing to the eye, his voice pleasant to hear, and his words and actions comfortable to observe. Even if he is not the one she intends to fall in love with and pursue, she still finds him pleasing to the eye. This pleasantness is where the trouble comes in. Whatever he says, you do not discern whether it is right or wrong; you find everything about him good and right, and think he does everything well. From these good feelings you have about him, you gradually start to admire and worship him. Where does this admiration and worship come from? The source is the standard you use for choosing a partner for love and marriage. On a certain level, this standard misleads how you view other people; more accurately, it blurs the criteria and the grounds you use to view members of the opposite sex. His outward appearance matches your aesthetic standards, so no matter what kind of character he has, whether or not his actions are in line with principles, whether or not he has the truth principles, whether or not he pursues the truth, whether or not he has genuine faith and submission to God—these things become very blurred to you, and you’re likely to be emotionally swayed in how you view this person. Because you have good feelings toward this person, and because on an emotional level he satisfies your standard, you see everything he does as good and quite fine; you safeguard him and worship him, to the point that when he does something evil, you do not discern it, nor do you reveal or forsake him. What is the reason for this? It is that your feelings are at play, capturing your heart. As soon as your feelings act up, is it easy for you to do things according to principles? Your feelings have the advantage, so you have no principles. So, the consequences this matter brings about are very serious. Even though he is not the person you are in love with, or is not the person you want to marry, he is still in line with your aesthetics and your emotional needs; under this precondition, you are unavoidably influenced and controlled by your feelings, and it is very hard for you to view this person, deal with the problems that come about in this person, and deal with your own problems based on God’s words. As soon as feelings control you and become the dominating force in you, it is very difficult to break free from the emotional shackles that bind you, to enter into the reality of practicing the truth. So what do I mean by all of this? I mean that everyone has all kinds of fantasies about marriage. This is because you do not live in a vacuum or on another planet, and of course you are not a minor, much less mentally deficient or an idiot; you are an adult, and you have an adult’s ideas. At the same time, you have also involuntarily accepted society’s various opinions about marriage, having accepted the information about marriage that comes from society and from wicked mankind. After accepting these things, you involuntarily fantasize about who your romantic partner will be. What does fantasizing refer to? It means entertaining unrealistic, empty thoughts. Based on what we have now fellowshiped and revealed, it is mainly directed at the various opinions about marriage that come from society and from wicked mankind. Because you do not have a correct, truth-aligned view of marriage, you are unavoidably influenced, corroded, and corrupted by the various opinions about marriage that come from society and from wicked mankind, but you do not know and are not aware. You cannot feel that this is a corrosion, a corruption. Unwittingly, you receive this influence, and unwittingly, you start to think that this is all quite fair and reasonable, and you take it as a matter of course, thinking that these are all ideas that adults ought to have. You will quite naturally turn all this into your own appropriate requirements and appropriate needs—the proper ideas that an adult ought to have. So, from the time that you start receiving these messages, your fantasies about marriage will escalate more and more and become ever deeper. At the same time, your sense of shame about marriage will continually diminish, or one might say, you will feel more and more disinclined to proactively reject these fantasies about marriage. To put it another way, your fantasies regarding your partner in love or the various scenes and things related to marriage will grow more and more involuntary and audacious. Is this not the case? (It is.) The more people accept opinions and information about marriage from society and from wicked mankind, the more bold and unbridled they become in imagining their own marriage, in looking for a partner in love, and pursuing that partner. At the same time, they hope that their lover could be just like a character described in a romance novel, TV drama, or romantic film—that they will love them unconditionally, until the seas dry up and the rocks turn into dust, remaining faithful until death. As for themselves, they also deeply love their partner just like TV dramas and romance novels portray, until the seas dry up and the rocks turn into dust, remaining faithful until death. In short, these fantasies are divorced from the real-world needs of humanity and life. Of course, they are also divorced from the essence of humanity; they are completely incompatible with real life. Just like with anything that people think is good, they are just pleasant thoughts produced by people’s imaginations. Seeing as these thoughts are not in line with God’s definition of marriage and His arrangements for it, people should let go of these ideas and viewpoints which are totally misaligned with the facts, which they ought not to pursue in the first place.
How should people let go of these unrealistic fantasies about marriage? They should rectify their thoughts and views on romance and marriage. First, people should let go of their so-called view on love, let go of the illusory things and sayings such as loving someone until the seas dry up and the rocks turn to dust, the unwavering love until death, and the love that lasts from life to life. People don’t know if they will have that love for all their life, let alone into future lives or until the seas dry up and the rocks turn to dust. How many years will it take for the seas to dry up and the rocks to turn to dust? Wouldn’t people be monsters if they could live that long? It’s good enough just to live this life well, and to live it with awareness and clarity. It’s good enough just to play your role well in marriage, to do what a man or woman should do, to perform the obligations and responsibilities that a man or woman should perform, to fulfill your mutual responsibilities, support each other, help each other, and be with each other for life. This is a perfect and proper marriage, and all that other stuff, that so-called love, those so-called solemn pledges of love, that love that lasts from life to life—these things are all useless, they have nothing to do with the marriage God has ordained, and nothing to do with God’s instructions and exhortations to men and women. This is because no matter what the premise to any marriage is, or what the individual conditions of the husband or wife are, whether poor or rich, or what talents, social status, and social background they might have, or whether they’re a perfect match or the perfect couple; no matter whether the marriage came together because of love at first sight or whether it was arranged by parents, whether it happened accidentally or was formed through the love of long association—no matter what kind of marriage it is, as long as the two people get married and enter into marriage, then this marriage must necessarily come back down to earth, back to the real life of the daily necessities. No one can escape real life, and every marriage, whether it has love or not, must eventually return to daily life. For example, the utility bills need paying and the wife complains, “Oh my, the bills have gone up again. Everything is going up, everything except wages. How can people live when the prices of things are going up like this?” But despite her complaints, she still has to use water and electricity, she has no choice. So she pays the bills, and once they’re paid she has to save money on food and expenses, trying to save back the money that she’s had to pay extra for the higher bills. Seeing that there are discounted vegetables in the market, the husband says, “Beans are on sale today. Buy more, buy enough for two weeks.” The wife says, “How much should we buy? If we buy too much and can’t eat it all, it’ll spoil. And if we buy that much, we won’t even be able to fit it all in the freezer!” The husband replies, “If we can’t fit it all in, couldn’t we just eat more? We can eat beans twice a day. Don’t always be so concerned about buying expensive things to eat!” The husband receives his wages and says, “I’ve received a bonus again this month. If I get a big end-of-year bonus, we can go on holiday. Everyone’s going on holiday to the Maldives or Bali. I’ll take you there on vacation too, so you can have a good time.” The fruit trees around their home bear an abundance of fruit, and the husband and wife have a discussion: “We didn’t get a good crop last year. The fruits this year are huge, so we can sell some and make some money. Once we’ve made some money, perhaps we could renovate our house? We could install larger aluminum alloy windows and have a large new iron door.” When the cold winter weather comes, the wife says, “I’ve been wearing this cotton jacket for seven or eight years, and it’s getting thinner and thinner. When you get your wages, you can spend a bit less and set aside money for me to buy a winter jacket. A down jacket costs at least three to four hundred, or maybe five to six hundred yuan.” “Fine,” says the husband. “I’ll set some money aside and buy you a good, warm duck down jacket.” The wife says, “You want to buy me one, but you don’t have one either. Buy one for yourself as well.” The husband replies, “If I have enough money, I’ll buy it. If I don’t, I’ll make do with my jacket for another year.” Another husband says to his wife, “I hear there’s a big restaurant opened nearby serving all kinds of seafood. Shall we go?” The wife says, “Let’s go. We have enough money, we can afford it.” They go eat seafood and come home delighted and feeling very happy. The wife thinks, “Look at how cozy my life is now. I married the right guy. I can eat fresh seafood. Our neighbors can’t afford to eat fresh seafood. I have a great life!” Isn’t this married life? (Yes.) Their lives are spent calculating and arguing. They work every day from dawn till dusk, going to work at eight so having to wake up at five in the morning. When the alarm clock sounds, they think, “Oh, I really don’t want to get up, but I’ve got no choice. I have to get up to put food on the table and to live,” and so they struggle to get out of bed. “Luckily I wasn’t late today, so they won’t reduce my bonus.” They finish work and return home, and say, “What a hard day it’s been, so difficult! When will I not have to work?” They have to keep so busy to earn a wage and put food on the table; they have to live like this in order to live well, to maintain the life of two people within the framework of marriage, or so that they can have a stable life. They spend their lives in this way until they get old and reach their advanced years, and the old wife says, “Oh my, look husband, my hair is gone grey! I’ve got crow’s feet around my eyes and jowl lines are appearing. Am I now old? Will you dislike how old I look and go looking for another woman?” Her husband replies, “No way, you silly old dear. I’ve spent my whole life with you and you still don’t know me. Do you really think I’m that kind of man?” His wife is constantly worrying that he won’t like her getting old and she’s afraid that he won’t want her anymore. She nags more and more, her husband speaks less and less, they talk less and less with each other, and they watch their own shows on TV, paying no mind to each other. One day, the wife says, “Husband, we’ve argued a lot in our lives. It’s been so hard living with you all these years. I won’t spend my next life with a man like you. After meals, you never offer to help me tidy up, you just sit there and do nothing. You’ve never remedied this fault of yours all your life. When you change clothes, you never wash your clothes yourself, I always have to wash them and put them away for you. If I died, who would help you then?” Her husband says, “Well, would I be unable to live without you? There are so many young women after me that I can’t get rid of them.” His wife replies, “Such big talk! Look at how slovenly you look. You couldn’t be with anyone but me.” Her husband says, “Be angry if you want, but there are lots of people out there who like me. It’s only you who looks down on me and doesn’t take me seriously.” What kind of marriage do they have? The wife says, “Oh, even though I’ve got nothing to be happy about and no pleasant memories after a lifetime with you, now that I’m old I’ve been thinking: If I don’t have you, I’ll feel like I’m missing something. If you go before me, I’ll be sorrowful and I won’t even have anyone to nag. I don’t want to be alone. I have to go before you so that you have to live life alone with no one to wash your clothes or cook your meals, no one to take care of your daily life, and so that you remember my kindness. Didn’t you say you had a lot of young women after you? When I die you can go and get one straight away.” Her husband says, “Relax, I’ll make sure you go before I do. When you’re gone, I’ll definitely find someone better than you for a partner.” But what does he really think in his heart? “You go first, and when you’re gone, I’ll endure the loneliness. I’d rather I endure this hardship and suffer like this than have you suffer.” The old wife, however, is always complaining about her husband, that he does this wrong and that wrong, has this failing or that failing, and even though her husband doesn’t rectify his failings, they keep on living in this way, and as time goes by she gets used to it. In the end, the woman resigns herself to it, the man endures it, and in this way they live together all their lives. This is married life.
Although there are a lot of things not to one’s liking in marriage, and there is a lot of arguing, and the couple experiences sickness, poverty, financial difficulties in life, and even encounter extremely joyful and sorrowful events, as well as other such events, yet they come through all manner of obstacles together, and their partner is someone they could never leave, someone they could never let go before they close their eyes for the last time. What is a partner? It is a spouse. The man fulfills a lifetime of responsibilities toward the woman, and likewise the woman fulfills a lifetime of responsibilities toward the man; the woman keeps the man company through life, and the man keeps the woman company through life. Neither of them can say clearly which of them accompanies the other more; neither can say clearly who has made more of a contribution, who has made more mistakes, or who has more faults; neither can say clearly which of them is the primary mainstay or the main breadwinner of their life together; neither can say clearly who is the head of the household or who is in charge and who is auxiliary; neither can say clearly which of them is unable to leave the other, whether it is the man who cannot leave the woman, or the woman who cannot leave the man; and neither can say clearly who is right and who is wrong when they argue: This is life, this is the normal life of a man and a woman within the framework of marriage, and it is the most normal and common living situation for human beings. This is how life is, inseparable from all manner of humanity’s faults and biases, and even more so, all manner of humanity’s needs, as well as of course all humanity’s correct or incorrect, rational or irrational choices made under the dominion of one’s conscience and reason. This is life, this is the most normal life. Right and wrong don’t come into it, it is just a comparatively proper and conventional living situation and the actuality of life. Now, what fact does this actuality of life and living situation within the framework of marriage tell people? It is that people should let go of all their various unrealistic fantasies about marriage, let go of all ideas that have nothing to do with the correct definition of marriage and God’s ordination and arrangements. These are all things which people should let go of, as they have nothing to do with the life of normal humanity or the obligations and responsibilities a normal person fulfills in life. Therefore, people should let go of those various definitions of and sayings on marriage which come from society and from evil mankind, especially that so-called love that has absolutely nothing to do with real married life. Marriage is not a lifelong commitment, nor is it a lifelong solemn pledge of love, much less is it a lifelong fulfillment of vows. Rather, it is the real life of a man and woman in marriage, it is what they need in real life and their expression in real life. Some people say, “If You’re fellowshiping on the topic of marriage and You don’t talk about love, You don’t talk about solemn pledges of love, or love that lasts until the seas dry up and rocks turn to dust, or the vows married couples make to one another, then what are You talking about?” I’m talking about humanity, about responsibility, about doing what a man and woman should do in accordance with the exhortations and instructions of God, about fulfilling the obligations and responsibilities a man and woman should fulfill, about shouldering the obligations and responsibilities a man and woman should shoulder—in this way, your obligations, your responsibilities, or your mission, will be fulfilled. In any case, what is the correct way to practice concerning letting go of the various fantasies about marriage that we need to fellowship on? It is that you must not base your thoughts or actions on the various ideas that come from evil mankind and evil trends, but rather you must base them on God’s words. However God talks about the issue of marriage, you must base your thoughts and actions on His words. This principle is correct, yes? (Yes.) Have we now pretty much finished fellowshiping on the topic of letting go of various fantasies about marriage? Is it now basically clear to you? (Yes, it’s clear now.)
We just fellowshiped on letting go of various fantasies about marriage, and some people said, “If I don’t want to be single and plan to date someone and find someone to marry, how then should I practice God’s words so that I can let go of my various fantasies about marriage? How should I practice this principle?” Is this not related to the principles regarding choosing a spouse, the principles regarding choosing a partner to marry? What are the principles regarding choosing a spouse instilled in you by the world? A Prince Charming, a fair-skinned beauty, a handsome and wealthy man, a beautiful and wealthy woman, best if they’re the second generation of a wealthy family. By marrying someone like that, you cut 20 years of struggle out of your life. The man must be someone who can afford a diamond ring, a wedding dress, and a glamorous wedding for you. He must be someone who has career ambition, who can make a fortune, or who already has a certain amount of wealth. Are these not the thoughts and views instilled in you by the world? (They are.) Then there are those who say, “My partner has to be someone I love.” Someone else says, “That’s not right. The one you love won’t necessarily love you. Love must be mutual; the one you love must also love you. If he loves you then he’ll never choose to abandon you or give you up. If the one you love doesn’t love you, then one day he’ll just up and abandon you.” Are these views correct? (No.) So then tell Me, what principle should you follow when choosing a spouse that is based on God’s words and that takes the truth as its criterion? Talk about this topic according to the correct thoughts and views you now possess. (If I wanted to find a partner, he must at the very least be someone who believes in God, someone who can pursue the truth, who has the same life pursuits as I do and follows the same path as I follow.) Someone who shares the same aspirations and follows the same path as you do and who believes in God—you mention some specific criteria for choosing a spouse. Who else would like to speak? (We also have to look at whether they’re someone with humanity, and whether they can fulfill their responsibilities and obligations in a marital family. There is something else as well: It’s not the case that someone will definitely find a partner for marriage just because they now want to find one. It is down to God to arrange this, and one must submit and wait.) There is a specific practice and there is also a specific basis of thought and theory. You have to submit and wait, entrust this matter to God and let Him arrange it for you, while at the same time you must also approach this matter with principles. Who else would like to speak? (God, my view is the same as theirs, that is, one has to find someone who shares the same aspirations and follows the same path, someone with humanity and who can take responsibility. One should let go of the wrong views on marriage that Satan instills in them, put their heart into their duty, submit to God’s sovereignty and await God’s arrangements.) If he couldn’t afford a diamond ring for you, would you still marry him? (If he was a man with humanity, then I would accept him even if he couldn’t afford to buy me a diamond ring.) Say he has some money and could afford to buy you a one carat diamond ring, but instead he buys you a 0.3 carat diamond ring—would you be willing to marry him then? (I wouldn’t demand such a thing from him.) It’s okay not to demand such a thing. By saving money, you can then spend it over time, and this is taking a long-term view. Before even finding a partner, you’ve already got a mindset for living well—that’s quite down-to-earth! Who else? (God, I think that first of all, I have to let go of those worldly criteria for choosing a spouse. That is, I mustn’t always be fantasizing about finding a Prince Charming, or a handsome and wealthy man, or someone romantic. Once I’ve let go of these things, I should approach marriage with the correct view, and then submit to and await the time of God. Even though someone like this may appear, they must be someone who shares the same aspirations and follows the same path as myself. I mustn’t rely on my worldly views to demand that the man be considerate to me. What’s most important is that he can pursue the truth and be considerate to God’s will.) If he pursues the truth, is considerate to God’s will, goes out to perform his duty so that he’s never at home and you have to bear the burden of family life alone, and the gas tank runs out of gas so you have to carry it upstairs by yourself—then what will you do? (I’ll just carry it myself.) And if you can’t carry it, you can hire someone to help. (Or I could find a brother or sister to help.) Yes, these are all ways of dealing with this situation. So, would you be angry if he was away for a year or two, or for three years or five years? “Isn’t this like living as a widow? What was the point in marrying him? Isn’t it just like before I was married, just living on my own? I have to handle everything on my own. How unfortunate it is that I married him!” Wouldn’t you think like this? (No, I shouldn’t think like this, because he would be performing his duty and working for a just cause. I shouldn’t get in a mood about that.) Those are excellent thoughts, but would you be able to overcome all this in real life? If this man you found was exceptionally upright, usually reserved in speech and manner, not romantic, and he never bought you decent clothes, never gave you flowers, and especially never said “I love you” or any such thing, so that in your heart you had no idea whether he loved you or not, yet he was a really good man who was very considerate to you and looked after you in life, who just didn’t say such things and didn’t do anything romantic, and who wouldn’t even try to coax you or placate you when you got into a mood—wouldn’t you harbor any resentment toward him in your heart? (I would probably feel resentment when I didn’t believe in God and didn’t understand the truth, but after listening to God’s fellowship, I know that it wouldn’t matter whether he said those things and did those romantic things or not. These are the views of worldly people and are not what should be pursued by people with normal humanity. I should let go of these things and then I wouldn’t complain.) You shouldn’t complain, right? (Right.) Right now, you are not in that situation, and you don’t know what you would feel in that circumstance, or how your moods would surge and change. However, right now, in theory, you all know that since you believe in God, you shouldn’t make such unreasonable demands on your partner, nor should you complain against your partner when those things happen, because these are not the things you want. You have these ideas now, but are you able to achieve them? Are they easy to achieve? (We must forsake our preferences and our worldly views; then it should be relatively easy to let these things go.) I’ll tell you how to handle this matter. Men and women will all face these problems and have these thoughts and moods in married life and will all have these needs. However, the most fundamental point you must understand is that, if the partner you choose is your heart’s desire—setting aside the fact that this was arranged by God—you chose them yourself and are satisfied with everything about them, and in particular, they share the same aspirations and follow the same path as you, they can perform their duty in God’s house, and everything they do is just, then you should take a rational approach and allow them to do that, allow them to ignore your feelings, allow them even to ignore your existence—in theory, this is something you should achieve. Moreover, if such a need or mood arises in you induced by a special situation or a particular event, then you must come before God to pray. Will you be able to let these things go entirely after you pray? No way. People live within their normal humanity after all, they have minds, and their minds will cause all manner of moods to arise in them. We won’t discuss now whether these moods are right or wrong. For now, the most practical problem is that you find these moods difficult to let go. Even if you let them go this one time, they may appear again in some kind of objective situation. So, what should you do? You don’t need to bother with them, because in theory, and in terms of form and rationality, you’ve already given up this pursuit or need. It’s just that, because of their humanity, people of different ages will have these needs and experience these moods to varying degrees and to a greater or lesser extent. You are clear on these real situations and have prayed to God, you let the mood go this time, or else the mood you’re experiencing is not so severe and you don’t take it too seriously. However, you will definitely experience this mood again next time. So what then is your specific practice? It is that you don’t need to pay it any mind or take it seriously, saying, “Oh, this aspect of my disposition still hasn’t changed.” This isn’t any kind of disposition; it is just a temporary mood that has nothing to do with your dispositions. Nor do you need to make a mountain out of a molehill, saying, “Oh, why am I still like this? Don’t I pursue the truth? How come I’m behaving this way? This is terrible!” There’s no need to make a mountain out of a molehill; it is just the expression of a mood belonging to the various emotions of your normal humanity. Pay it no mind. This is an attitude regarding handling moods. Furthermore, as long as it doesn’t affect the order and regularity of your normal life, your spiritual life, or the performance of your duty, then that’s okay. For example, because your husband (or wife) is busy performing their duty, it’s been a long time since you’ve seen each other, and you have no time to talk together. One day you suddenly see a sister with her husband talking together, and a mood arises in your heart, and you think, “See, she can perform her duty together with her husband. They’re so happy and joyful. Why is my husband so unfeeling? Why doesn’t he ask me, ‘How’ve you been lately? Are you well?’ Why isn’t he concerned about me? Why doesn’t he cherish me or love me?” You experience this kind of mood, and after a while you think, “Oh, it’s not good to feel sulky.” You know it’s not good to feel that way but you still feel a little angry and you argue with yourself, saying, “I won’t bother with him, I’ll just wait for him to take the initiative to pay attention to me. If he doesn’t, then I’ll be angry at him. We’ve been married all these years, we haven’t seen each other in all this time and he still doesn’t say he misses me. Does he miss me or not? He doesn’t bother with me, so I won’t bother with him!” You argue with yourself and you live within this mood. Just for a moment, a surge of anger and a mood arise. As long as you can sleep and eat normally, read God’s words, attend gatherings, perform your duty normally, and get along with your brothers and sisters normally, you don’t have to worry about such moods, and you can think whatever you want in your heart. Whatever you think, so long as your sense of reason is normal and you’re performing your duty normally then that’s fine. You don’t need to forcefully suppress it, nor do you need to forcefully pray to God and ask Him to discipline or chasten you or feel like you’re a sinner. There’s no need to make a mountain out of a molehill, as this mood will soon be gone. If you really miss your husband that much, then you can call him and ask how he is, the two of you can open your hearts to each other and talk, and won’t those temporary moods and misunderstandings then be gone? Actually, you don’t need him to do anything. Sometimes you will just have a momentary feeling and will want to hear his voice, or you might feel a temporary loneliness, or feel disgruntled for a short while, or you may feel unhappy, and then you call him and hear him talk. You then see that he’s fine, that he dearly loves you just as he did before and that you’re in his thoughts. It’s just that he’s busy working, or it’s because men can be somewhat neglectful of the finer details and he’s been busy with his duty and doesn’t think that it’s been that long, and that’s why he hasn’t contacted you. Isn’t it a good thing that he’s busy and performing his duty normally? Isn’t this just what you wanted? If he did something wicked, causing disturbances and disruption, and was cleared out, wouldn’t you worry about him? Everything is normal with him now, and everything is just as it was before—isn’t your mind then at ease? What more do you want? Isn’t this how it is? (Yes, it is.) Calling in this way and saying a few words to each other relieves the loneliness in the heart and the feelings of longing, just as the unbelievers say, and isn’t this issue then resolved? Is there any difficulty? Calling your husband and showing concern for each other—tell Me, does God condemn such a thing? (No.) You are husband and wife by law, and calling him, talking, and confiding your longing for each other is all proper, it is normal human feeling, and it is something you should do within the scope of humanity. What’s more, this is included in God’s ordination of marriage for mankind—accompanying each other, comforting each other, and supporting each other. If he doesn’t fulfill these responsibilities, can’t you just help him fulfill them? This is a very simple matter that is very easy to handle. Isn’t this problem solved by practicing in this way? Is it necessary for all manner of moods to sprout up in your heart? No, it isn’t. It’s simple to put this into practice.
Let’s go back to the question I posed just now: “How should people let go of their various fantasies about marriage?” You’ve all said some ideas in response to this question. If people want to let go of their various fantasies about marriage, then they must first have faith and submit to God’s arrangements and ordination. You shouldn’t have any subjective or unrealistic fantasies about marriage, about who your partner is or what kind of person your partner is; you should have an attitude of obedience to God, you should submit to God’s arrangements and ordination, and trust that God will prepare someone most suitable for you. Isn’t it necessary to have an obedient attitude? (Yes.) Second, you must let go of those criteria for choosing a partner instilled in you by the evil trends of society and then establish the correct criteria for choosing a partner, that is, at the very least your partner should be someone who believes in God as you do and who walks the same path as you do—this is from a general perspective. Furthermore, your partner must be able to fulfill the responsibilities of a man or a woman in marriage; they must be able to fulfill the responsibilities of a partner. How can you judge this aspect? You must look at the quality of their humanity, whether they have a sense of responsibility, and whether they have conscience. And how do you judge whether someone has conscience and humanity? If you don’t associate with them then you have no way of knowing what their humanity is like, and even if you do associate with them, if it is only for a short time, you may still be unable to discover what they’re like. So then, how do you judge whether someone has humanity? You look at whether they take responsibility for their duty, for God’s commission, and for the work of God’s house, and you look at whether they can safeguard the interests of God’s house and whether they are faithful to their duty—this is the best way to judge the quality of someone’s humanity. Suppose this person’s character is very upright and, when it comes to the work God’s house delegates to them, they are extremely dedicated, responsible, serious and earnest, very meticulous, not at all careless, and never neglectful, and they pursue the truth, and they listen carefully and conscientiously to everything God says. Once it is clear to them and they understand it, they immediately put it into practice; although such a person may not have high caliber, they are at the very least someone who is not slipshod toward their duty and the work of the church, and who can earnestly take responsibility. If they are conscientious and responsible toward their duty, then they will certainly wholeheartedly live their life with you and will take responsibility for you until the very end—the character of such a person can withstand tests. Even if you get sick, grow old, grow ugly, or you have faults and deficiencies, this person will always treat you correctly and tolerate you, and they will always do their best to safeguard you and your family and protect you, give you a stable life, so that you live with peace of mind. This is the happiest thing for a man or woman in married life. They won’t necessarily be able to give you a wealthy, luxurious, or romantic life, and they won’t necessarily be able to offer you anything different in terms of affection or any other aspect, but at the very least, they will make you feel at ease and that, with them, your life will be settled, and there will be no danger or feeling of unease. When you look at that person, you’ll be able to see what their life will be like 20 or 30 years from now and even into old age. This kind of person should be your criterion for choosing a partner. Of course, this criterion for choosing a partner is a little high and someone like this is not easy to find amongst modern mankind, right? To judge what someone’s character is like and whether they’ll be able to fulfill their responsibilities in marriage, you must look at their attitude toward their duty—this is one aspect. Another aspect is that you must look at whether they have a God-fearing heart. If they do, then at the very least they will not do anything inhumane or that is immoral or unethical, and so they will certainly treat you well. If they don’t have a God-fearing heart, and they are brazen, willful, or their humanity is vicious, deceitful, and arrogant; if they don’t have God in their heart and consider themselves superior to others; if they handle work, duties, and even God’s commission and any major matter of God’s house recklessly according to their own will, acting wantonly, never being cautious, not seeking principles, and especially when dealing with offerings they recklessly take and misappropriate them, fearing nothing, then you must absolutely not look for someone like that. Without a God-fearing heart, they are capable of anything. Right now, a man like that may be sweet-talking you and pledging his undying love, but when the day comes when he’s not happy, when you aren’t able to satisfy his needs and are no longer his beloved, then he’ll say he doesn’t love you and that he has no feelings for you anymore, and he’ll just up and leave you whenever he wants. Even if you’re not divorced yet, he’ll still go looking for someone else—all this is possible. He can abandon you anytime, anyplace, and he’s capable of anything. Such men are very dangerous and aren’t worth you entrusting your whole life to. If you find a man like this to be your lover, your darling, your chosen partner, then you’ll be in trouble. Even if he’s tall, rich, and handsome, incredibly talented, and he takes good care of you and is considerate of you, and superficially speaking, he particularly makes the grade whether he is your boyfriend or your husband, yet he doesn’t have a God-fearing heart, then this person cannot be your chosen partner. If you are infatuated with him and start dating him and then you get married, then he will be a nightmare and a disaster for you all your life. You say, “I’m not afraid, I pursue the truth.” You’ve fallen into the hands of a devil, and he hates God, defies God, and employs all manner of ways to disturb your belief in God—are you able to overcome this? Your little bit of stature and faith cannot stand his torment, and after a few days you’re so tormented that you beg for mercy and are unable to carry on believing in God. You lose your faith and your mind is filled with this feuding back and forth. It’s like being thrown into a meat grinder and torn to pieces, with no human likeness, entirely mired in it, until finally you are doomed to the same fate as that devil you’re married to, and your life will be over.
We’ve just fellowshiped on two criteria concerning how to judge whether someone is able to fulfill their responsibilities in marriage. Can you remember what they are? (Yes.) These two criteria relate to the quality of people’s humanity. One criterion is to look at whether they perform their duty conscientiously and responsibly, and whether they can safeguard church work and the interests of God’s house. You may not be able to judge some people clearly just by looking at them; they may be able to perform their duty and safeguard church work in order to pursue status or when they have status, but what they’ll be like when they no longer have status is something you haven’t yet seen clearly. At this time, there is no way you can make an accurate judgment of them. However, when you see them making a scene, cursing God and blaspheming against God when they lose their status, saying that God is not righteous, that is when you’ll have discernment of them, and will think, “This guy doesn’t have a God-fearing heart at all. Luckily he’s shown his true colors in time. If he hadn’t, then I would’ve chosen him to be my partner in marriage.” You see, the other criterion for choosing a partner—whether they have a God-fearing heart—is also key. If you judge and measure people using this criterion then it will save you from that nightmare of a marriage. Are these two criteria for choosing a partner important? (Yes.) Do you understand them? (Yes.) See, some women are very much in love with money. When they start dating a man, they come across as very gentle and sensible, and the man thinks, “This woman’s adorable! She’s like a little bird, snuggling up against me all day and stuck to me like glue. She is exactly the kind of woman a man dreams of and pursues. A man needs a woman like this, someone who speaks gently, who depends on her man, and who really makes her man feel needed. With a woman like this attached to me and by my side, life will be so happy.” So, they get married, but then he sees that she believes in God but doesn’t try hard to pursue the truth. Whenever he mentions performing her duty, she says she has no time, she’s always finding excuses and saying she’s tired, and is unwilling to suffer anything. At home, she doesn’t cook or clean but just watches TV all the time; when she sees that someone’s bought a designer bag, or that someone’s family is living in a luxurious mansion and they’ve bought an expensive car, she remarks on how capable the man in that family must be; she usually spends extravagantly, and whenever she goes to a gold store, jewelry store, or luxury goods store, she always wants to spend money and buy nice things. You don’t understand it and think, “She used to be so adorable. How can she have become this kind of woman?” You see? She’s changed, right? When you were dating before, she was able to perform her duty and suffer a tiny bit, but that was all on the surface. Now that you’re married, she’s not like that anymore. She sees that you’re unable to meet her material demands and starts blaming you, saying, “Why aren’t you out making money? What’s the use of believing in God and performing your duty? Can believing in God put food on the table? Can believing in God make you rich?” She even says things an unbeliever would say—does this woman truly believe in God? (No.) She never wants to perform her duty, she thinks nothing of faith in God, pursuing the truth, or seeking to attain salvation, until finally she says even extremely rebellious things and has no God-fearing heart whatsoever. So, what is it that this woman thinks about all the time? (Food, clothing, and fun.) All she thinks about is money and physical pleasures, that’s all. She is a money-loving thing of the world. If you marry her and she obstructs your faith in God and encourages you to give up your duty and pursue worldly things, what will you do? You still want to pursue the truth and attain salvation, but if you follow her then you won’t be able to attain salvation. If you don’t follow her, she’ll argue with you and divorce you. And after you’re divorced, you’ll live alone with no partner—will you be able to overcome this? If you’d never had a partner, then that would be fine, but you’ve now been with your partner for many years and are used to living with her. Suddenly you find yourself divorced with no partner anymore—can you overcome this? It’s not easy to overcome, right? Regardless of whether it is in terms of your life needs, emotional needs, or your inner spiritual world, you can’t overcome it. The way you live your life has changed from how it was before to another way, and the pattern, rhythm and way of life you had before have been totally thrown into chaos. What kind of marriage did you have? What has this marriage brought you? Happiness or disaster? (Disaster.) It brought disaster. Therefore, if you don’t know how to judge people and you take people’s measure without basing it on correct principles and God’s words, then you must do your best to not engage in casual dating or entertain any ideas or have any plans to date, marry, or enter into marriage. That’s because, nowadays, the enticement of the evil trends of this world for people is too great, and every single person faces many temptations and faces all kinds of them in life; no one is able to overcome them, and even if you pursue the truth, you will still find them difficult to overcome. If you pursue the truth and attain understanding of the truth and gain the truth, then you’ll be able to overcome them. However, before you have understood and gained the truth, temptation will always be tempting to you, and it will always be a danger to you. Moreover, there is a critical issue for you, and that is that you don’t know how to judge people and you aren’t able to see people’s essence clearly—this is the most critical issue. What do you know how to judge only? Men only know how to judge whether the woman is pretty, whether she’s been to college, whether her family’s rich, whether she can dress up nicely, whether she knows how to be romantic, and whether she can be affectionate. In more detail, men can get to know whether the woman will be a good wife and mother, whether she can teach their children well in the future, and whether she can run the home. These are the things men know how to judge at most. And what can women judge about men? They can judge whether the man knows how to be romantic, whether he is capable, whether he fills the family coffers, whether he’s destined to be rich or poor, and whether he has any tricks for getting along in the world. On a better level, women can judge whether the man is able to suffer, whether he can manage the family well, whether she will be able to eat and dress well if she gets with him, what his family background’s like, whether his family’s well-off, whether they own a house, a car, and a business, whether they’re in business or are farmers or laborers, what his family’s current economic circumstances are, and whether his parents have put money aside for him to get married. These are the things women get to know at most. As to what the potential suitor’s humanity essence is like, or what choice they’ll make regarding the path of belief in God, are you able to see these things clearly? (No.) To be more precise, is this person capable of following an antichrist’s path? Are they wicked? Judging by the summary of the outpourings and expressions of their humanity’s quality, are they someone who pursues the truth or are they someone who’s sick of the truth? Are they capable of following the path in pursuit of the truth? Are they capable of attaining salvation? And if you marry them, will you both be able to enter the kingdom as husband and wife? You can’t see these things clearly, can you? Some people say, “Why do we need to see these things clearly? There are so many married people in the world. They can’t see these things clearly, either, but they still get on with their lives, don’t they?” Many people do not see marriage clearly. If you encounter a good person who lives decently and with whom you can spend your life with no great upsets or highs and lows, and with whom there is no great suffering, then this can be considered a good life and a good marriage. Some people, however, don’t see others clearly and focus only on how the other person looks and what status they have. They get sweet-talked, and it’s only after they’re married that they discover their partner is a wicked person, a devil, and that every day spent living with that kind of person is like a year. Women often shed tears, while men are also greatly deceived and victimized, resulting in divorce after a few years. Some married couples get divorced when their children are three or four years old or in their teens, and some even have grandchildren when they find they can’t stand to live together anymore, and so they get divorced. What do these people say in the end? “Marriage is a grave,” and “Marriage is a crematorium.” So, was the mistake on the part of the women or the men that brought about this result? Both made mistakes, and neither were any good. They don’t know what the nature of marriage or married life is. The nature of marriage is to take responsibility for each other, to enter into real life and support each other. This depends on the normal[a] humanity of both partners so that they can make it happily and stably to old age and stay together till the end. And what is the nature of married life? It also depends on the normal[b] humanity of both partners, and only in this way can they live peacefully, settled and happy. Both partners must take responsibility for each other, and only then can they finally live hand-in-hand through old age till the end. That’s not entering the kingdom, however; it’s not easy for a married couple to enter the kingdom together. Even if they can’t enter the kingdom, for a married couple to finally live hand-in-hand until old age at the very least requires them to have conscience and reason, with humanity that is up to standard. Isn’t this so? (It is.) Does fellowshiping in this way cause you to have more faith in marriage or less, or does it cause you to have the correct attitude and view? (It causes us to have the correct attitude and view.) Fellowshiping in this way has nothing to do with having more or less faith, right? I’m talking about letting go of the various fantasies about marriage not to make you give up on or reject marriage, but rather so that you take the correct and rational approach to this matter. More precisely, it’s so that you can consider, approach, and resolve this matter according to God’s words. It’s not so that you completely stop thinking about marriage—not thinking is not the same as letting go. True letting go means having the correct and accurate thoughts and views. Now, by fellowshiping in this way, haven’t you already let go of some of your various fantasies about marriage? (Yes.) Do you fear marriage more now, or do you yearn for it more? None of these are the case, actually. There’s no need to fear it or yearn for it that much. If you’re now single and you say, “I want to pursue the truth and expend myself for God. I’m not thinking about marriage right now and I have no plans to get married, so I’ll let marriage be a blank space in my heart, I’ll let it be a blank page,” is this view correct? (No, God is fellowshiping this truth to us because we need to equip ourselves with it, understand it, and put it into practice. We should also act according to what God says, view people and things, and comport ourselves and act, wholly according to God’s words, with the truth as our criterion. Whether we’re considering marriage right now or not, we still have to understand this truth, and only then will we avoid making a mistake.) Is this understanding correct? (Yes.)
Is there now anyone who says, “We’re single and the world of the unbelievers says that it’s noble to be single, so can we not say that in God’s house single people are holy and married people are unclean?” Is there anyone who says things like this? There are some married people who always have a misconception in their understanding of marriage. They believe that their thoughts after they get married are not as pure or simple or clean as they were before, that their thoughts get complicated after they marry, and in particular that married people have relations with the opposite sex and are no longer holy. And so, after accepting God’s work, they resolutely tell their partner, “I have accepted God’s work, and from this day on, I must pursue holiness. I can’t sleep with you anymore. You must sleep on your own, and I must go sleep in another room.” From then on, they sleep apart and their partner sleeps alone, but they still live together. What are people like this pursuing? They’re pursuing a kind of holiness of the flesh. Isn’t this a misunderstanding of marriage? (Yes.) Is this misunderstanding easy to resolve? There are some married people who believe that they’re no longer holy after having relations with the opposite sex. The underlying meaning here is that if they do not have relations with the opposite sex, if they leave their marriage and get divorced, then they will become holy. If that is how someone becomes holy, wouldn’t that mean that unmarried people are even more holy? With such deviant and mistaken understandings, the choices or actions people make cause their partners to feel baffled and angry. Some unbelieving husbands or wives misunderstand and develop an aversion to faith, and there are some who even speak blasphemously about God. Tell Me, is it right, what these people in pursuit of “holiness” do? (No, it isn’t.) Why not? First of all, there is a problem with their thinking. What problem is that? (They misunderstand God’s words.) First, their views on marriage are deviant and mistaken; second, their definitions and understandings of holiness and uncleanness are deviant and mistaken. They believe that not having relations with the opposite sex makes one holy, so then what is uncleanness? What is holiness? Does holiness mean being without corrupt dispositions? When someone gains the truth and their disposition changes, they then have no corrupt dispositions anymore. Does someone who has not had relations with the opposite sex have no corrupt dispositions? Do people’s corrupt dispositions only arise when they have relations with the opposite sex? (No.) Clearly, this understanding is wrong. Once you are married and have relations with the opposite sex, your corrupt dispositions don’t get any worse, but remain just as they were before. If you aren’t married and haven’t had relations with by the opposite sex, do you have any corrupt dispositions? You have many. Therefore, whether man or woman, whether such a person has corrupt dispositions is not measured based on their marital status, on whether they’re married or whether they’ve had relations with the opposite sex. Why do people who think and act this way have this kind of misconception about marriage? Why do they act this way? Isn’t this a problem that should be solved? (It is.) Can you solve it? Someone only needs to come into contact with the opposite sex and have relations with them and then they’re unclean and utterly corrupted—is that so? (No.) If it were so, then God’s ordaining the union of man and woman would be a mistake. So, how can we solve this problem? What is the source of this problem? This problem can be solved by dissecting and understanding its source. Don’t you also have this view? Doesn’t everyone, whether married or unmarried, have this view on marriage? (Yes.) I know you can’t get away from this problem. So, what is the source of this view? (People aren’t clear on what holiness is and what uncleanness is.) And what is the source of people’s not knowing what holiness is and what uncleanness is? (People aren’t able to purely comprehend God’s words or understand the truth.) What aspect of God’s words are they not able to purely comprehend? (Marriage is something people should normally experience in their lives and it is also ordained by God, yet people link getting married and having relations with the opposite sex with whether they are holy or not, when really being holy means that someone is without corrupt dispositions, and it has nothing to do with whether they’re married or not. Take the nuns in the Catholic church for example. If they don’t accept God’s work of the last days and they don’t understand the truth, then even though they spend their whole lives unmarried, they still cannot be said to be holy, because their corrupt dispositions have not been resolved.) Does this explain the matter clearly? Does the distinction between holiness and uncleanness lie in whether someone is married or not? (No.) No, it doesn’t, and there is substantial evidence to prove it. For example, the mentally disabled, the cretinous, the mentally ill, Catholic nuns, Buddhist nuns, and Buddhist monks are all unmarried, but are they holy? (No.) People who are mentally disabled, idiots, and the mentally ill don’t possess normal sense; they can’t get married, no man among them finds a wife, and no woman among them finds a husband, and they’re not holy. Catholic nuns, Buddhist nuns, and Buddhist monks, along with some other special groups don’t get married, and they’re not holy either. What does “not holy” mean? I mean they are unclean. What does “unclean” mean? (They have corrupt dispositions.) Correct, it means they have corrupt dispositions. All these unmarried people have corrupt dispositions and none of them are holy. So, what about married people? Is there any difference in essence between those who are married and these unmarried people? (No.) In terms of essence, there is no difference between them. What do I mean by saying there is no difference between them? (They have all been corrupted by Satan and they all have corrupt dispositions.) That’s right, they’ve all been corrupted by Satan and they all have corrupt dispositions. They’re not able to obey God or submit to the truth, and they can’t follow the path of fearing God and shunning evil. They’re not commended by God, they are not saved, and they’re all unclean. So, whether someone is holy or unclean cannot be measured by whether they’re married or not. Why then do people have this kind of misconception about marriage, believing that people who get married are not holy, that they are unclean? What is the focus of this misconception? (Their views on marriage are deviant and mistaken.) Is it that their views on marriage and married life are deviant and mistaken, or that their views on something else are deviant and mistaken? Can anyone explain this clearly? As we said before, any marriage will eventually return to real life. So, is this married life the source of what people believe to be unclean? (No.) It’s not the source of what people believe to be unclean. The source in people’s thoughts of what they believe to be unclean is actually known to them in their minds and innermost hearts: It is their sexual desire, and this is where the misconception lies. The definition and distinction of a person as holy or unclean based on whether they’re married or unmarried is a misunderstanding and a misconception, and the source of this is the absurdly mistaken and incorrect understanding people have toward their sexual desire of the flesh. Why do I say this understanding is absurdly mistaken? People believe that once they feel sexual desire and get married then they have relations with the opposite sex and that, once they have relations with the opposite sex, they then start living the so-called life of sexual desire of the flesh, and they are then unclean. Isn’t this what they believe? (Yes, it is.)
So, let’s discuss exactly what kind of thing sexual desire is. As long as you comprehend it correctly and have an accurate, correct, and objective comprehension and understanding of it, then you will unravel this problem and this misconception of uncleanness and holiness. Isn’t that so? Once people get married, they have their sexual desire satisfied and they give expression to their sexual and physical desires, and so they think, “We married people are not holy, we’re unclean. Those young single men and women are holy.” This is clearly a deviant and mistaken understanding, which comes from not knowing exactly what sexual desire is. Now let’s look at the very first human being: Did Adam have sexual desire? The mankind God has created is possessed of thought, language, sense perception, as well as free will and emotional needs. What does “emotional needs” mean? It means that people need a partner to keep them company and to support them, to have a partner to talk to, someone to care for, look after, and cherish them—these are emotional needs. Another aspect is that people also have sexual desire. What is the basis for saying this? It is that, after God created Adam, God said he needed a partner, a partner only for his life needs and emotional needs. But there was another need as well that God spoke of. What did God say? Genesis, chapter 2, verse 24: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall join to his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” The meaning of these words is very clear; we don’t need to be so blunt about it. You understand these words, right? Obviously, when God created Adam, the ancestor of mankind, Adam had this need. Of course, this is an objective interpretation. More importantly, when God created him, he had this sensory organ, and he had these physiological conditions and characteristics—this was the actual situation of Adam, the first ancestor of mankind created by God, who was the first human being of the flesh. He was possessed of language, he could hear, he could see, he could taste, and he had sensory organs, emotional needs, sexual desire, physiological needs, and of course he had free will, as we said just now. These things together constitute a human being created by God. Is this not the actual situation? (It is.) This is the physiological structure of men. What about women? God created a physiological structure for women different to that for men, and of course created the same sexual desire as that of men. What is the basis for saying this? Genesis, chapter 3, verse 16: “God said: ‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in sorrow you shall bring forth children.’” Where do the children mentioned in this “bring forth children” come from? Say there is a woman who doesn’t possess this kind of physiological need, or more precisely, she does not possess the needs of female sexual desire—would she be able to conceive? No, and this is very clear. So now, looking at these two lines from God, the men and women God created have different physiological structures, yet they both share the common physiological characteristic of sexual desire. This is confirmed by these deeds done by God and the message between the lines of the instructions given to human beings. The human beings created by God possess physiological structures and also possess the needs of their physiological structures. So, how should we regard this matter now? This thing called sexual desire is a part of the flesh, like a human organ. For example, you eat breakfast at six in the morning, and by midday all that food has more or less been digested and your stomach is empty. The stomach transmits this information to the brain, and the brain tells you, “Your stomach is empty; time to eat.” What is this feeling in the stomach? It feels a little empty and uncomfortable, and you want to eat something. And how does this feeling of wanting to eat something come about? It’s the result of the operation and metabolism of your entire nervous system and your organs—it’s that simple. Sexual desire has the same nature as any other bodily organ; every organ is associated with the nervous system, which sends commands to your various organs. For example, your nose smells odors, and when it smells a foul odor this odor enters your nervous system, and the nervous system tells your brain, “This odor is foul, it is not a nice smell.” It passes this information on to you, and then you immediately cover your nose or wave your hand before your nose—there is this series of movements. You see, this series of movements and actions, and this kind of feeling and awareness are all commanded by certain organs and the nervous system in your body. For example, you hear an incredibly loud, ear-piercing sound, and after your ears have received this information, you feel upset or repulsed, and you cover your ears. Actually, all that has been received by your ears is a sound, a piece of information, but the brain distinguishes whether this sound is beneficial to you or not. If it has no major effect on you, you just hear it and discern it, and then it goes without you paying it much notice; if it has a negative effect on your heart or body, your brain will distinguish this and will then tell you to cover your ears or open your mouth wide—a series of actions and thoughts such as these will take place. Human sexual desire is just the same, with corresponding organs that have different judgments and interpretations under the control of corresponding nerves. Human sexual desire is just such a simple thing as this. This thing is at the same level and equivalent to any other organ in the human body, but it has its own particularity, and that’s why people will always have various different ideas, views, or thoughts about it. So, by fellowshiping in this way, shouldn’t you now have the correct understanding? (Yes.) Human sexual desire is nothing mysterious; it was created by God and it has existed ever since humans came to be. Because it was ordained by God and created by God, it cannot become a negative thing or an unclean thing just because people have all manner of misunderstandings and notions about it. It’s just the same as any other human sensory organ; it exists within the human body and, if it is within a proper marriage arranged and ordained by God, then it is a reasonable thing. If, however, people indulge in it or misuse it, then it becomes a negative thing. Of course, sexual desire itself is not negative, but the people who use it or those thoughts are negative. For example, love triangles, promiscuity, incest, as well as rape and sexual assault and so on—these things that are related to sexual desire become negative things and have nothing to do with the original sexual desire of human flesh. Sexual desire of the flesh is the same as a physical organ: It was created by God. However, because of the evil and corruption of mankind, all manner of evil things related to sexual desire occur, and then it has nothing to do with proper and normal sexual desire—these are matters of two different natures. Isn’t that so? (Yes.) Love triangles, extra-marital affairs, as well as incest and sexual assault—these are all evil things related to sexual desire that occur amongst corrupt mankind. These things have nothing to do with proper sexual desire and marriage; they are unclean, improper, and they are not positive things. Do you now see this clearly? (Yes.)
Through fellowshiping in this way, can you now clearly comprehend those deviant and mistaken understandings and actions of married people, and discern the rights and wrongs of them? (Yes.) When you encounter someone new to the faith who says, “We’ve accepted God’s work, so do we as a married couple have to live separately?” what will you say? (We will say no.) You may ask them, “Why do you need to live separately? Have you had an argument? Is one of you snoring so loudly that the other is losing sleep? If so, then that’s your problem and you can live separately. If it’s for some other reason, then no, there’s no need.” Someone else says, “Oh, we’ve lived together as a married couple for almost forty years. We’ve grown old, our children are all grown up, so should we sleep in separate beds? We shouldn’t sleep together anymore, our children will laugh at us. We should keep our integrity in old age.” Is this a tenable thing to say? (No.) No, it isn’t. They want to keep their integrity in old age; what kind of thing is this integrity? What were they doing when they were young? Aren’t they just pretending? Aren’t people like this disgusting? (Yes.) When you encounter such people, say to them, “We don’t say such things in our belief in God, nor does God’s house have such requirements or rules. You’ll learn this in time. You can live however you want to live; that’s your business, and it has nothing to do with faith in God or pursuing the truth, nor anything to do with attaining salvation. You don’t need to ask about these things, nor do you need to sacrifice anything for them.” Isn’t the matter then resolved? (Yes.) The issue of human sexual desire in marriage is then resolved—the greatest difficulty is overcome. Are you all clear on this by fellowshiping in this way? Do you still think that sexual desire is mysterious? (No.) Do you still think sexual desire is unclean or dirty? (No.) With regard to sexual desire, it is not unclean and it is not dirty; it is something proper. However, if people play with it, then it is no longer proper, and it becomes a different thing altogether. In any case, after fellowshiping in this way, aren’t people’s various realistic and unrealistic fantasies about marriage resolved? (Yes.) After fellowshiping on the definitions and concepts of marriage, your warped, deviant and mistaken pursuits, ideals, and desires concerning marriage have basically been let go of to some extent in your minds. Those that are left will require you to gradually identify them in yourselves and go on to gradually experience and learn through your personal practice in real life. Of course, the most important thing is that people should have the correct understanding and perspective on marriage itself—this is very important. Whether you’re planning on getting married in the future or not, your attitude toward and perspective on marriage will influence your pursuit of the truth, and that’s why you must read God’s words on the subject in detail, and finally achieve the correct perspective and understanding of marriage, which at the very least should accord with the truth. Once we’ve finished fellowshiping on this matter, won’t your knowledge be broadened? (Yes.) You won’t be so childish and narrow-minded anymore, right? When you discuss this matter with people in the future, they’ll see that you look young yet you have understanding of it, and they’ll ask, “How long have you been married?” You’ll reply, “I’m not married yet.” They’ll say, “Then how come you have such an adult understanding of marriage, like your understanding is more mature even than that of adults?” You’ll reply, “I understand truth, and there is a basis for these truths I understand. If you don’t believe me, I’ll get my Bible and show you the situation when God created Adam, and you’ll see whether what I say is accurate or not.” In the end, you convince them in heart, and that’s because everything you say stems from your pure understanding and comprehension, without any adulteration by human imaginings or notions or any deviant and mistaken human views—everything you say accords with the truth and with God’s words.
Now that we’ve finished fellowshiping on the problem of married people’s deviant and mistaken understandings and practices, let’s fellowship on the topic of “pursuing marital happiness is not your mission.” People letting go of various fantasies about marriage just means that they come to have some correct understandings and ideas that are comparatively in accordance with the truth in terms of the concept and definition of marriage; it does not mean, however, that they can completely let go of their pursuits, ideals, and desires concerning marriage. As for those who have entered marriage, how do they maintain their marital happiness? It can be said that many people are unable to correctly approach marital happiness, or unable to correctly approach the relationship between marital happiness and man’s mission. Isn’t this a problem too? (It is, yes.) Married people always regard marriage as a major event in life and place great emphasis on marriage. They therefore entrust all their life’s happiness to their married lives and to their partners, believing that the pursuit of marital happiness is the only goal to be pursued in this life. That’s why many people expend great effort, pay a great price, and make great sacrifices for the sake of marital happiness. For example, someone gets married and, to attract their partner and keep their marriage and their love “fresh,” they will do many things. Some woman says, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” and so she learns from her mother or elders how to cook, how to make fine cuisine and pastries, making all sorts of things her husband likes to eat and striving to provide delicious and agreeable food for him. When her husband is hungry, he thinks of her fine cuisine, then he thinks of home, then he thinks of her, and then he hurries home. In this way, she’s not often left alone in the house but instead often has her husband beside her, and so she feels that learning to make some delicious dishes to get to her man through his stomach is very important. Because this is one way to maintain marital happiness and because it is the price a woman should pay and responsibility she should fulfill for the sake of her marital happiness, she works hard to sustain her marriage in this way. There are also some women who feel insecure about their marriage, and they often use various ways to please, attract, and prompt their husbands. For example, a woman like this will often ask her husband if he remembers when their first date was, when they first met, when their wedding anniversary is, and other dates. If her husband remembers, then she feels that he loves her, that she’s in his heart. If he doesn’t remember, then she gets upset and complains, “You can’t even remember such an important date as this. Don’t you love me anymore?” You see, in a continuous attempt to attract their partner, draw their attention, and maintain their marital happiness, both men and women use worldly ways to prompt their partner, and they all do meaningless and childish things. There are also some women who will pay any price to do things harmful to their own health. For example, some women over the age of thirty, seeing that their skin is no longer so lovely and fair, and their faces are not so bright and beautiful anymore, go for a facelift or hyaluronic acid injection. There are some women who, in order to look more beautiful, have double eyelid surgery and they have their eyebrows tattooed, often dressing themselves up in especially beautiful and sexy ways to attract their husbands, and they even learn to do the romantic things that others do for the sake of their own marital happiness. For example, on a special day, a woman like this may lay on a sumptuous dinner with candles and red wine. Then she turns out the lights and, when her husband comes home, she makes him close his eyes and asks, “What day is it today?” Her husband tries to guess for a long time but can’t think what day it is. She lights the candles and when her husband opens his eyes and looks, it turns out to be his own birthday and he says, “Oh, how wonderful! I love you so much! I didn’t even remember my own birthday. You remembered my birthday, you’re so adorable!” The woman then feels happy and pleased. With just these few words from her husband, she feels satisfied and at ease. Men and women both rack their brains thinking of ways to maintain their marital happiness. The wife makes great changes and sacrifices, expending much time and effort, and the husband does just the same, strenuously working hard and earning money in the world, filling his wallet, bringing more and more money home, making a better and better life for his wife to enjoy. In order to maintain his marital happiness, he also has to learn from what others do and buys roses, birthday presents, Christmas presents, chocolates on Valentine’s Day, and so on, racking his brains thinking of ways to try to make his wife happy, doing all he can to do these pointless things. And then one day he loses his job and doesn’t dare tell his wife, afraid that she’ll divorce him or that their marriage won’t be as happy as it used to be. So he keeps up the pretense of going to work and finishing work on time every day, while at the same time he goes everywhere applying for jobs, looking for work. What does he do when pay day comes and he doesn’t get any money? He borrows from all and sundry to make his wife happy, and says, “Look, I received a 2,000 yuan bonus this month. Buy yourself something nice.” His wife has no idea what’s really going on, and really goes and buys some luxury items. His mind is fraught with worry and he feels there’s nowhere to turn, and his anxiety grows. Whether man or woman, they all take many actions and spend much time and effort to sustain their marital happiness, even going so far as to do things against their own better judgment. Despite wasting so much time and effort, the people involved still have no idea how to correctly face or handle these things, even racking their brains to learn from, study, and consult others in order to maintain their marital happiness. There are even some people who, after they’ve come to believe in God, accept their duty and the commission given to them by God’s house, but in order to maintain the happiness and satisfaction of their marriage, they fall far short when it comes to performing their duty. They were originally supposed to go to a distant place to preach the gospel, returning home once a week or once in a long while, or they could leave home and perform their duty full time according to their various calibers and conditions, but they’re afraid their partner will be displeased with them, that their marriage won’t be happy, or that they’ll lose their marriage altogether, and for the sake of maintaining their marital happiness they give up a lot of time that should be spent performing their duty. Especially when they hear their partner complain or sound displeased or have a moan, they become even more cautious with maintaining their marriage. They do all they can to satisfy their partner and work hard to make their marriage a happy one so that it doesn’t break apart. Of course, even more serious than this is that some people refuse the call of God’s house and refuse to perform their duty in order to maintain their marital happiness. When they should be leaving home to perform their duty, because they can’t bear to part with their spouse or because their spouse’s parents oppose their belief in God and oppose them abandoning their job and leaving home to perform their duty, they make compromises and abandon their duty, instead choosing to maintain their marital happiness and the integrity of their marriage. In order to maintain their marital happiness and the integrity of their marriage, and to prevent their marriage from breaking up and ending, they choose only to fulfill their responsibilities and obligations in married life and abandon the mission of a created being. You don’t realize that, regardless of your role in the family or in society—whether it be as wife, husband, child, parent, employee, or anything else—and regardless of whether or not your role in married life is an important one, you have only one identity before God and that is as a created being. You have no second identity before God. Therefore, when God’s house calls upon you, that is the time when you should fulfill your mission. That is to say, as a created being, it is not that you should fulfill your mission only when the condition of maintaining your marital happiness and the integrity of your marriage is fulfilled, but rather it is that, as long as you are a created being, then the mission God bestows upon you and entrusts to you should be fulfilled unconditionally; regardless of the circumstances, it is always incumbent upon you to prioritize the mission entrusted to you by God, while the mission and responsibilities bestowed upon you by marriage are secondary. The mission you should fulfill as a created being which God has bestowed upon you should always be your top priority under any conditions and in any circumstances. Therefore, no matter how much you wish to maintain the happiness of your marriage, or what your marital situation is like, or how great a price your partner pays for your marriage, none of these are reasons to refuse the mission God has entrusted to you. That is to say, no matter how happy your marriage is or how strong its integrity, your identity as a created being does not change and, as such, the mission God entrusts to you is what you are duty-bound to fulfill first and foremost, and this is not conditional. So, when God entrusts you with your mission, when you come to have the duty and mission of a created being, you should let go of your pursuit of a happy marriage, abandon your pursuit of sustaining an intact marriage, make God and the mission God’s house entrusts you with your number one priority, and not act foolishly. Maintaining marital happiness is just a responsibility you bear as a husband or wife within the framework of marriage; it is not the responsibility or mission of a created being before the Creator, therefore you should not abandon the mission entrusted to you by the Creator in order to maintain your marital happiness, nor should you do so many foolish, puerile, and childish things that have nothing to do with the responsibilities of being a wife or husband. All you need to do is fulfill your responsibilities and obligations as a wife or husband in accordance with God’s words and God’s requirements—that is, in accordance with God’s earliest instructions. At the very least, you should fulfill the responsibilities of a wife or husband with the conscience and reason of normal humanity, and that is enough. As for that so-called “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” or romance, or constantly celebrating all manner of anniversaries, or the world of two, or the pursuit of “holding hands and growing old together,” or “I’ll love you forever like I love you today,” and other such meaningless things, these are not the responsibilities of a normal man and woman. Of course, to be more precise, these things are not the responsibilities and obligations within the framework of marriage of someone who pursues the truth. These ways of living and life pursuits are not what someone who pursues the truth should engage in, and so you should first of all let go of these insipid, foolish, childish, superficial, nauseating and disgusting sayings, viewpoints, and practices from the depths of your minds. Don’t let your marriage deteriorate, and don’t let your pursuit of marital happiness bind your hands, feet, thoughts, and steps, making you childish, foolish, vulgar, and even wicked. These worldly pursuits of a happy marriage are not the obligations and responsibilities someone with normal reason should fulfill, but instead they have evolved purely from this evil world and corrupt mankind and have a corrosive effect on all people’s humanity and thoughts. They will cause your mind to degenerate, they will twist your humanity, and they will cause your thoughts to become evil, complex, chaotic, and even extreme. For example, some women see other men being romantic, giving roses to their wives on their wedding anniversary, or taking their wives out shopping or embracing them or giving them special gifts when they’re angry or unhappy, or even surprising them to try to make them happy, and so on. Once you accept these sayings and practices within you, you will also want your partner to do those things, you will also want that kind of life and those kinds of treatments, and so your sense of reason will become abnormal and will be disturbed and corroded by such sayings, ideas, and practices. If your partner doesn’t buy you roses, doesn’t try to make you happy, or doesn’t do anything romantic for you, then you feel angry, resentful, and dissatisfied—you feel all kinds of different things. When your life is filled with these things, then the obligations you should fulfill as a woman and the duty and responsibilities you should fulfill in God’s house as a created being are all thrown into disorder. You will live in a state of dissatisfaction, and your normal life and routine will be disrupted by these feelings and thoughts of dissatisfaction. Therefore, your pursuits will influence the logical thinking of your normal humanity, your normal judgment and, of course, the responsibilities and obligations you should fulfill as a normal person. If you pursue worldly things and marital happiness, then you will unavoidably become “secularized.” If you pursue only marital happiness, then you will certainly always be needing your spouse to say such things as “I love you,” and if your spouse has never said “I love you,” you’ll think, “Oh, my marriage is so unhappy. My husband is as numb as a plank, like a moron. At most, he brings a bit of money home, exerts some effort, and does some manual work. At mealtimes he says, ‘Let’s eat,’ and when it’s time for bed he says, ‘Time for bed, sweet dream, night night,’ and that’s it. Why can’t he ever say, ‘I love you’? Can’t he even say this one romantic thing?” Can you be a normal person when your heart is filled with such things? Aren’t you always in an abnormal and emotional state? (Yes.) Some people have no discernment of these evil trends of the world; they have no resistance, no immunity. A woman like this regards this matter, this phenomenon of saying romantic things as a sign of marital happiness, and she then wants to pursue it, imitate it, attain it, and when she can’t attain it she gets angry, and will often ask her husband, “Tell me, do you love me or not?” Being asked so many times, her husband then gets angry and, blushing red, he blurts out, “I love you, baby.” And she says, “Oh, say it again.” Her husband restrains himself so much that his face and neck both flush red and, thinking, he says, “Baby, I love you.” See, this decent man says this sickening thing, but it doesn’t come from his heart, and so he feels uncomfortable. When his wife hears him say this, she’s overjoyed, and says, “That’ll have to do!” And what does her husband say? “Now look at you. Are you happy now? You’re just looking for trouble.” Tell Me, when a woman and a man live this kind of married life, is this happiness? (No.) Are you happy when you hear the words “I love you”? Does this explain marital happiness? Is it this simple? (No.) Some woman is always asking her husband, “Hey, do you think I look old?” Her husband is honest, and so he says honestly, “Yes, a little. Who doesn’t after they reach forty?” She replies, “Oh, don’t you love me? Why don’t you say I look young? Do you dislike me getting old? Do you want to find a mistress?” Her husband says, “What a nuisance! I can’t even say anything honestly to you. What’s the matter with you? I was just being honest. Who doesn’t grow old? Do you want to be some kind of monster?” Women like this are irrational. What do we call people who pursue this kind of so-called marital happiness? To be vulgar, they’re bitches. And what can we call them if we’re not being vulgar? They’re mentally ill. What do I mean by “mentally ill”? I mean that they are without the thinking of normal humanity. At the age of forty or fifty, they’re approaching old age and they still cannot see clearly what life is, what marriage is, and they always love doing pointless and nauseating things. They believe that this is marital happiness, that it is their freedom and their right, and that they are supposed to pursue in this way, live in this way, and approach marriage in this way. Isn’t this them not acting properly? (It is.) Are there many people who don’t act properly? (Yes.) There are many in the world of the unbelievers, but are there any in God’s house? Are there many? Romance, presents, embraces, surprises, and those words “I love you,” and so on are all signs of the marital happiness they pursue and they are the goals of their pursuit of marital happiness. People who don’t believe in God are like this, and there are inevitably many who do believe in God who now engage in such a pursuit and who have such views. So, there are many who have believed in God for ten years or more, who have listened to some sermons and understood some truths, but who, for the sake of maintaining their marital happiness, accompanying their spouse, and keeping the promises made regarding their marriage and the goal of marital happiness they vowed to pursue, have never fulfilled their responsibilities and duties before the Creator. Instead, they won’t set foot outside their home, they won’t leave home no matter how busy the work of God’s house gets, and they won’t relinquish their spouse in order to perform their duty, but rather they regard the pursuit and maintenance of marital happiness as a lifelong goal for which they struggle and exert unremitting efforts. By engaging in such a pursuit, are they in pursuit of the truth? Clearly not. Because in their minds, in their innermost hearts, and even in their actions, they have not let go of the pursuit of marital happiness nor the idea, view, and outlook on life of “the pursuit of marital happiness is one’s mission in life,” they are therefore absolutely unable to gain the truth. You are not married yet and have not yet entered into marriage. If you still retain this view when you do enter into marriage, then you won’t be able to gain the truth, either. Once you’ve gained marital happiness, you then won’t be able to gain the truth. Because you regard the pursuit of marital happiness as your mission in life, you will inevitably relinquish and give up the opportunity to fulfill your mission before the Creator. If you give up the opportunity and right to fulfill the mission of a created being before the Creator, then you give up the pursuit of truth, and of course, you also give up on attaining salvation—this is your choice.
We’re fellowshiping on letting go of the pursuit of marital happiness not so that you give up on marriage as a formality, nor is it to encourage you to get divorced, but rather it is so that you give up on those pursuits regarding marital happiness. First of all, you should let go of those views which dominate you in your pursuit of marital happiness, and then you should let go of the practice of pursuing marital happiness and devote the majority of your time and energy to performing the duty of a created being and pursuing truth. As for marriage, as long as it doesn’t clash or conflict with your pursuit of truth, then the obligations you should fulfill, the mission you should accomplish, and the role you should play within the framework of marriage will not change. Therefore, asking that you let go of the pursuit of marital happiness doesn’t mean asking you to abandon marriage or to divorce as a formality, but rather it means asking you to fulfill your mission as a created being and properly perform the duty you should perform with the premise of fulfilling the responsibilities you should perform in marriage. Of course, if your pursuit of marital happiness impacts, obstructs, or even ruins your performance of the duty of a created being, then you should abandon not only your pursuit of marital happiness, but also your entire marriage. What is the final purpose and meaning of fellowshiping on these issues? It is so that marital happiness doesn’t impede your steps, tie your hands, blind your eyes, distort your vision, disturb and occupy your mind; it is so that the pursuit of marital happiness doesn’t fill your life path and fill your life, and so that you correctly approach the responsibilities and obligations you should fulfill in marriage and make the correct choices concerning the responsibilities and obligations you should fulfill. A better way to practice is to devote more time and energy to fulfilling your duty, perform the duty you should perform, and accomplish the mission God has entrusted to you. You must never forget that you are a created being, that it is God who has led you through life to this moment, that it is God who has given you marriage, who has given you a family, and that it is God who has bestowed upon you the responsibilities you should fulfill within the framework of marriage, and that it is not you who chose marriage, it is not that you came to be married out of thin air, or that you can maintain your marital happiness by relying on your own abilities and strength. Have I now explained this clearly? (Yes.) Do you understand what you’re supposed to do? Is the path now clear to you? (Yes.) If there is no conflict or contradiction between the responsibilities and obligations you should fulfill in marriage and your duty and mission as a created being, then under such circumstances, you should fulfill your responsibilities within the framework of marriage however they are to be fulfilled, and you should fulfill your responsibilities well, shoulder the responsibilities you should shoulder, and not try to shirk them. You must take responsibility for your partner, and you should take responsibility for your partner’s life, their feelings, and everything about them. However, when there is a clash between the responsibilities and obligations you shoulder within the framework of marriage and your mission and duty as a created being, then what you must let go of is not your duty or mission but are rather your responsibilities within the framework of marriage. This is what God expects of you, it is God’s commission for you and, of course, it is what God requires of any man or woman. Only when you are capable of this will you be pursuing the truth and following God. If you are not capable of this and cannot practice in this way, then you are just a nominal believer, you do not follow God with a true heart, and you are not a pursuer of truth. You now have the opportunity and conditions to leave China to perform your duty, and some people say, “If I leave China to perform my duty, then I’ll have to leave my spouse at home. Are we never to see each other again? Won’t we have to live separately? Won’t we have no marriage anymore?” Some people think, “Oh, how will my partner live without me? Won’t our marriage fall apart if I’m not there? Will our marriage be over? What will I do in the future?” Should you be thinking about the future? What should you be thinking about most? If you want to be someone who pursues the truth, then what you should be thinking about most is how to let go of that which God asks you to let go of and how to accomplish that which God asks you to accomplish. If you are to be without a marriage and without your partner beside you in the future, in the days to come, you can still live until old age and live well just the same. If you abandon this opportunity, however, then that is tantamount to you abandoning your duty and the mission God has entrusted to you. To God, you would then not be someone who pursues the truth, someone who truly wants God, or someone who is in pursuit of salvation. If you actively wish to abandon your opportunity and right to attain salvation and your mission and you instead choose marriage, you choose to stay united as husband and wife, you choose to be with and satisfy your spouse, and you choose to keep your marriage intact, then in the end you will gain some things and lose some things. You understand what it is you will lose, right? Marriage is not your everything, nor is marital happiness—it cannot decide your fate, it cannot decide your future, and even less so can it decide your destination. So, what choices people should make, and whether or not they should let go of the pursuit of marital happiness and perform the duty of a created being is up to them to decide. Have we now fellowshiped clearly on the topic of “pursuing marital happiness is not your mission”? (Yes.) Is there any issue you find difficult and concerning which, after listening to Me fellowship, you don’t know how to practice? (No.) After listening to this fellowship, do you now feel clearer, that you have an accurate path of practice, and that you have a correct goal to practice toward? Do you now know how you should practice from now on? (Yes.) Then let’s end this fellowship here. Goodbye!
January 14, 2023
a. The original text does not contain the word “normal.”
b. The original text does not contain the word “normal.”