How to Pursue the Truth (11)

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

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

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

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

The topic we just fellowshipped on was that people should let go of pursuing marital happiness, and that it’s enough to just fulfill their responsibilities within the framework of marriage. We’ve finished fellowshipping on letting go of pursuing marital happiness, so now we’ll fellowship on another issue: You are not the slaves of marriage. This is an issue we should fellowship on. After they get married, what do some people believe? “My life is set like this now. I’m destined to live with this person for the rest of my life. My parents and family elders are not my lifelong reliance, nor are my friends. So who is my lifelong reliance? The person I enter into marriage with is the one I will rely on for all my life.” Under the prompting of these kinds of thoughts, many people see marriage as very important, believing that once they get married they will have a stable life, a sheltered haven, and someone to confide in. Women say, “With marriage, I have strong arms to rely on.” Men say, “With marriage, I have a peaceful home and I’m no longer adrift; just thinking about it makes me happy. Look at those single people around me. The women wander around all day with no one to rely on, without a stable home, without a shoulder to cry on, and the men don’t have a warm home. How pitiful they are!” So, when they consider their own marital happiness, they think it’s quite fulfilling and satisfying. Besides feeling satisfied, they feel they should do something for their marriage and for their home. Therefore, once they’re married, some people are prepared to devote all they can do to their married life, and they prepare to strive, struggle, and work hard for their marriage. Some desperately earn money and suffer and, of course, even more entrust their life’s happiness to their partner. They believe that whether they will be happy and joyful in life depends on what their partner is like, whether they’re a good person; whether their personality and interests match their own; whether they are someone who can bring home the bacon and run a family; whether they are someone who can ensure the basic necessities for them in the future, and provide them with a happy, stable, wonderful family; and whether they are someone who can comfort them when they encounter any pain, tribulation, failure or setback. To verify these things, they pay special attention to their partner while they’re living together. With great care and attention, they observe and record their partner’s thoughts, views, speech and behavior, every move they make, as well as any of their strengths and weaknesses. They remember in detail all the thoughts, views, words, and behaviors revealed by their partner in life, so that they can better understand their partner. At the same time, they also hope to be better understood by their partner, they let their partner into their heart, and they let themselves into their partner’s heart so that they can better restrain each other, or so that they can be the first person to appear before their partner whenever something happens, the first person to help them, the first person to stand up and support them, encourage them, and be their solid support. In such living conditions as these, the husband and wife seldom try to discern what kind of person their partner is, living entirely in their feelings for their partner, and using their feelings to care for their partner, tolerate them, handle all their faults, flaws, and pursuits, even to the point of responding to their every beck and call. For example, a woman’s husband says, “Your gatherings go on for too long. Just go for half an hour and then come home.” She replies, “I’ll do my best.” Sure enough, next time she goes to a gathering for half an hour and then returns home, and her husband now says, “That’s more like it. Next time, just go and show your face and then come back.” She says, “Oh, so that’s how much you miss me! Okay then, I’ll do my best.” Sure enough, she doesn’t disappoint him the next time she goes to a gathering, and comes home after ten minutes or so. Her husband is very pleased and happy, and says, “That’s better!” If he wants her to go east, she doesn’t dare go west; if he wants her to laugh, she doesn’t dare cry. He sees her reading God’s words and listening to hymns and he hates it and feels disgusted, and says, “What’s the use in reading those words and singing those songs all the time? Can’t you just not read those words or sing those songs while I’m at home?” She replies, “Okay, okay, I won’t read them anymore.” She doesn’t dare to read God’s words or listen to hymns anymore. With her husband’s demands, she finally understands that he doesn’t like her believing in God or reading God’s words, so she keeps him company when he’s at home, watching TV together, eating their meals, chatting, and even listening to him vent his grievances. She will do anything for him, so long as it makes him happy. She believes that these are the responsibilities a spouse ought to fulfill. So, when does she read God’s words? She waits for her husband to go out, then locks the door behind him and hurriedly begins to read. When she hears someone at the door, she quickly puts the book away and is so frightened she dares not read it anymore. And when she opens the door she sees that it isn’t her husband returning—it was a false alarm, so she keeps reading. As she continues to read, she feels on tenterhooks, she’s nervous and fearful, thinking, “What if he really does come home? I’d better not read anymore for now. I’ll give him a call and ask where he is and when he’ll be back.” So she rings him up and he says, “Work is a bit busy today, so I might not be home until three or four o’clock.” This calms her down, but can her mind still settle down so she can read God’s words? It can’t; her mind has been disturbed. She hurries before God to pray, and what does she say? Does she say her belief in God lacks faith, that she’s afraid of her husband, and cannot quiet her mind to read God’s words? She feels she can’t say these things, so she has nothing to say to God. But then she closes her eyes and clasps her hands together. She calms down and doesn’t feel so flustered, so she goes to read God’s words, but the words don’t sink in. She thinks, “Where was I reading just now? Where did I get to in my contemplations? I’ve totally lost my train of thought.” The more she thinks about it, the more annoyed and uneasy she feels: “I just won’t read today. It’s no big deal if I miss my spiritual devotions this once.” What do you think? Is life going well for her? (No.) Is this marital distress or marital happiness? (Distress.) At this point, some single people might say, “So, you’ve jumped into the fire, haven’t you? There’s nothing great about marriage, is there? See how great my life is, I don’t have to worry about anyone else, and there’s no one to stop me from attending gatherings and doing my duty whenever I want.” To get your partner to feel pleased with you and agree to your occasional reading of God’s words or attending a gathering, you get up very early every day to make breakfast, tidy the house, clean up, feed the chickens, feed the dog, and do all sorts of exhausting tasks—even those normally done by men. In order to satisfy your husband, you work tirelessly like an old maidservant. Before he comes home, you shine his leather shoes and arrange his slippers, and after he gets home, you hurry to brush the dust off him and help him remove his coat and hang it up, asking, “It’s so hot today. Are you hot? Are you thirsty? What would you like to eat today? Something sour or something spicy? Do you need to change clothes? Take those clothes off and I’ll wash them for you.” You’re like an old maidservant or a slave, already having exceeded the scope of responsibilities you should fulfill within the framework of marriage. You are at your husband’s beck and call, and you regard him as your lord. In such a family as this, there is an obvious difference in status among the two spouses: One is a slave, the other is the master; one is servile and humble, the other looks fierce and commanding; one bows and scrapes, the other is swollen by arrogance. Clearly, the status of the two people within the framework of marriage is unequal. Why is this? Isn’t this slave demeaning herself? (Yes.) The slave is demeaning herself. You’ve failed to uphold the responsibility toward marriage that God has ordained for humankind, and you’ve gone too far. Your husband fulfills no responsibility and does nothing, and yet you would still wait at the beck and call of a spouse like this and submit to his authority, willingly becoming his slave and his old maidservant to serve him and do everything for him—what kind of person are you? Just who exactly is your Lord? Why don’t you practice in this way for God? God has ordained that your partner provides for your life; this is something he should do, you don’t owe him anything. You do what you ought to do and fulfill the responsibilities and obligations you ought to fulfill—does he? Does he do what he ought to do? In a marriage, it’s not that whoever is the formidable one is the lord, and whoever can work hard and do the most should be the slave. In a marriage, both people should fulfill their responsibilities to each other and accompany each other. Both people have a responsibility toward each other, and both people have obligations to fulfill and things to do within the framework of marriage. You should act according to your role; whichever one your role is, you should do what you ought to do in that role. If you don’t, then you are without normal humanity. In colloquial terms, you’re not worth a dime. Then if someone’s not worth a dime and yet you can still be at their beck and call and willingly be their slave, that is utterly foolish and makes you worthless. What’s wrong with believing in God? Is your belief in God an act of evil? Is there a problem with reading God’s words? These are all upright and honorable things to do. What does it demonstrate when the government persecutes people who believe in God? It demonstrates that humankind is so evil, and it represents evil forces and Satan. It does not represent the truth or God. Therefore, believing in God doesn’t mean that you’re below others or inferior to others. On the contrary, your belief in God makes you nobler than worldly people, your pursuit of the truth makes you honorable in the eyes of God, and He regards you as the apple of His eye. And yet you demean yourself and unstintingly become your spouse’s slave just to fawn on the other person in your marriage. Why don’t you act like this when performing the duty of a created being? Why can’t you manage that? Isn’t this an expression of human lowliness? (Yes.)

God has ordained marriage for you only so that you may learn to fulfill your responsibilities, learn to live peacefully together with another person and share life together, and experience what life shared with your partner is like and how to handle all the things you encounter together, making your life richer and more different. However, He does not sell you out to marriage and, of course, He does not sell you to your partner to be their slave. You are not their slave, and they are not your slave master, either. You are equals. You only have the responsibilities of a wife or a husband to your partner, and when you fulfill these responsibilities, God considers you to be a satisfactory wife or husband. There is nothing your partner has that you do not, and you are not worse than your partner. If you believe in God and pursue the truth, can perform your duty, often attend gatherings, pray-read God’s words, and come before God, then these are things God accepts and they are what a created being should do and the normal life a created being should live. There is nothing shameful about this, nor must you feel like you owe your partner anything because you live this kind of life—you owe them nothing. If you wish, you have the obligation to bear testimony to your partner of God’s work. If they don’t believe in God, however, and they don’t follow the same path as you, then you do not need and are under no obligation to tell them or explain to them anything or any information about your faith or the path you follow, nor do they have any right to know about it. It is their responsibility and obligation to support, encourage, and defend you. If they can’t do this, then they are without humanity. Why? Because you follow the right path, and it’s because you follow the right path that your family and your partner are blessed and enjoy the grace of God along with you. It’s only right for your partner to be grateful for this, rather than discriminating against you or bullying you because of your faith or because you’re being persecuted, or else believing that you should do more household chores and other things, or that you owe them something. You don’t owe them emotionally, spiritually, or in any other way—they owe you. Because of your faith in God, they enjoy extra grace and blessings from God, and they gain these things exceptionally. What do I mean by “they gain these things exceptionally”? I mean that someone like that doesn’t deserve to gain those things and shouldn’t gain those things. Why shouldn’t they gain them? Because they don’t follow God or acknowledge God, therefore the grace they enjoy comes because of your faith in God. They benefit along with you and enjoy blessings with you, and it’s only right for them to be grateful to you. In other words, because they enjoy these extra blessings and this grace, they should fulfill their responsibilities more and support your belief in God more. Because one person in the home believes in God, some people have their family business go well and become greatly successful. They make a lot of money, their family lives a good life, they become rich in material things, and their quality of life increases—how did all these things come about? Would your family be able to obtain all these things if one of you didn’t believe in God? Some people say, “God ordained them to have a rich fate.” It’s correct that God ordained this, but if their family didn’t have that one person who believes in God, their business wouldn’t be so graced and blessed. Because they have that one person who believes in God, because that one who believes in God has true faith, sincerely pursues, and is willing to devote themselves and expend themselves for God, their non-believing spouse receives the grace and blessings exceptionally. It’s so easy for God to do this small thing. Those who don’t believe are still not satisfied, and they even suppress and bully those who believe in God. The persecution the country and society subject believers to is already a disaster for them, and yet their family members go to even greater lengths and pile on the pressure. If, in such circumstances, you still believe you are letting them down and are willing to become a slave to your marriage, then that really is something you shouldn’t do. So they don’t support your belief in God, fine; so they don’t defend your belief in God, also fine. They are free to not do those things. However, they shouldn’t treat you as a slave because you believe in God. You’re not a slave, you’re a human being, a dignified and upright person. At the very least, you’re a created being before God, and not anyone’s slave. If you must be a slave, then you can only be a slave to the truth, a slave to God, and not a slave to any person, much less have your spouse as your slave master. In terms of fleshly relationships, apart from your parents, the one who is closest to you in this world is your spouse. Yet because you believe in God, they treat you like an enemy and attack and persecute you. They object to you attending gatherings, if they hear any gossip, they come home to scold and mistreat you. Even when you’re praying or reading God’s words at home and not affecting the normality of their life at all, they will still scold and oppose you, and even beat you. Tell Me, what kind of thing is this? Are they not a demon? Is this the person who’s closest to you? Does someone like this deserve to have you fulfill any responsibility toward them? (No.) No, they don’t! And so, some people who are in this kind of marriage are still at their partner’s beck and call, willing to sacrifice everything, sacrifice the time they should spend performing their duty, the opportunity to perform their duty, and even their opportunity to attain salvation. They shouldn’t do these things, and at the very least they should relinquish such ideas. Besides owing God, people don’t owe anyone anything. You don’t owe your parents, your husband, your wife, your children, much less your friends—you don’t owe anything to anyone. Everything people have has its source in God, including their marriages. If we must talk about owing, people only owe God. Of course, God doesn’t demand that you pay Him back, He just asks that you follow the correct path in life. God’s greatest intention with regard to marriage is for you not to lose your dignity and integrity because of your marriage, not to become someone with no correct path to pursue, without their own outlook on life or their own direction for pursuit, and not to become someone who even gives up pursuing the truth, gives up their chance to attain salvation, and gives up any commission or mission God has given to them, to instead become a willing slave to your marriage. If you handle your marriage in this way, then it would have been better if you hadn’t gotten married at all, and the single life would suit you better. If you cannot rid yourself of this kind of marital situation or structure no matter what you do, then it would be best if you extricated yourself from the marriage completely, and it would be better for you to live as a free person. As I have said, God’s purpose in ordaining marriage is so that you can have a partner, to go through the ups and downs of life and pass through every stage of life in the company of your partner, so that you’re not alone or lonely in every stage of life, to have someone beside you, someone to confide your innermost thoughts to, and someone to comfort and take care of you. However, God doesn’t use marriage to bind you, or to bind your hands and feet, so that you have no right to choose your own path and become a slave to marriage. God has ordained marriage for you and arranged a partner for you; He hasn’t found you a slave master, nor does He want you to be confined within your marriage without your own pursuits, your own life goals, without the correct direction for your pursuits, and without the right to seek salvation. On the contrary, whether you’re married or not, the greatest right God has bestowed on you is the right to pursue your own life goals, to establish the correct outlook on life, and to seek salvation. No one can take this right away from you, and no one can interfere with it, including your spouse. So, those of you who play the role of slaves in your marriages should relinquish this way of living, relinquish your ideas or practices concerning wanting to be a slave to your marriage, and leave that situation behind. Don’t be constrained by your partner, and don’t be affected, limited, restricted or bound by your partner’s emotions, views, words, attitudes, or even their actions. Leave it all behind and bravely and boldly rely on God. When you want to read God’s words then read God’s words, attend gatherings when you’re supposed to attend gatherings, for you are a human being, not a dog, and you need no one to regulate your behavior or restrict or control your life. You have the right to choose your own goals and direction in life—God has bestowed this right upon you, and in particular, you are walking the right path. The most important thing is that, when God’s house needs you to do a certain job, when God’s house gives you a duty, you should dutifully relinquish everything without choice or reservation and perform the duty you should do and complete the mission God has given you. If this job requires you to leave home for ten days or a month, then you should choose to perform your duty well, complete the commission God has entrusted you with, and satisfy God’s heart—this is the attitude, determination, and desire those who pursue the truth should possess. If this job requires you to be away for six months, a year, or for an unknown period of time, then you should dutifully relinquish your family and your marital spouse and go complete the mission God has given you. That’s because this is the time when the work of God’s house and your duty need you the most, and not the time when your marriage and your partner need you the most. Therefore, you mustn’t think that if you’re married then you must be a slave to your marriage, or that it’s a disgrace if your marriage ends or breaks up. Actually, it’s not a disgrace, and you must see the circumstances in which the marriage ended and what God’s arrangement was. If it was ordained and governed by God, and not caused by man, then that is glorious, it is an honor, for you have given up and ended your marriage for a just cause, seeking to satisfy God and accomplish your mission as a created being. This is something that will be remembered and accepted by God, and that’s why I say it is a glorious thing, not a disgrace! Even though some people’s marriages end because their partner abandons and betrays them—in colloquial terms, they get dumped and given the boot—this isn’t anything shameful. Instead, you should say, “This is my honor. Why? That my marriage has gotten to this point and has ended in this way is ordained and governed by God. It was God’s guidance that led me to take this step. If God hadn’t done this and made him boot me out onto the street, I really wouldn’t have had the faith and the courage to take this step. Thanks be to the sovereignty and guidance of God! All glory be to God!” This is an honor. In all kinds of marriages, you can have this kind of experience, you can choose to follow the right path under God’s guidance, accomplish the mission God has given you, leave your spouse under this kind of premise and with this kind of motivation, and end your marriage, and this is something to be congratulated on. There is at least one thing that is worth rejoicing about, and that is that you are no longer a slave to your marriage. You have escaped the slavery of your marriage, and you no longer have to worry, feel pained, and struggle because you are a slave to your marriage and want to get free but are unable to. From that moment on, you have escaped, you’re free, and that is a good thing. Having said this, I hope that those whose marriages have previously ended in pain and who are still shrouded in the shadows of this matter can truly let go of their marriage, let go of the shadows that it has left you with, let go of the hatred, anger, and even anguish that it has left you with, and no longer feel pain and anger because all the sacrifices and efforts you made for your partner were repaid with their infidelity, betrayal, and ridicule. I hope you leave all that behind you, rejoice that you are no longer a slave to your marriage, rejoice that you no longer have to do anything or make unnecessary sacrifices for the slave master in your marriage, and instead, under God’s guidance and sovereignty, follow the right path in life, perform your duty as a created being, and are no longer upset and have nothing else to worry about. Of course, there’s no longer any need to be concerned, worried, or anxious about your marital spouse or to have your mind occupied with thoughts of him, everything will be good from now on, you don’t need to discuss your personal matters with your spouse anymore, you don’t need to be constrained by them anymore. You only need to seek the truth, and just look for the principles and basis in God’s words. You are already free and are no longer a slave to your marriage. It’s fortunate that you have left that nightmare of marriage behind you, that you have genuinely come before God, are no longer restricted by your marriage, and you have more time to read God’s words, attend gatherings, and perform spiritual devotions. You’re completely free, you don’t have to act a certain way depending on anyone else’s moods anymore, you don’t have to listen to anyone’s jeering taunts anymore, you don’t have to consider anyone’s moods or feelings anymore—you’re living the single life, great! You’re no longer a slave, you can get out of that environment where you had various responsibilities to fulfill toward people, you can be a true created being, be a created being under the dominion of the Creator, and perform the duty of a created being—how wonderful it is to do this purely! You never have to argue, worry, bother with, tolerate, endure, suffer, or be angry about your marriage again, you never have to live in that odious environment and complicated situation again. This is great, all these are good things, and everything is going well. When someone comes before the Creator, they act and speak according to God’s words and in accordance with the truth principles. Everything goes smoothly, there are no more of those messy disputes, and your heart can become quiet. These are all good things, but it’s a shame that some people are still willing to be slaves in such an odious marital environment, and they do not escape or leave it behind them. In any case, I still hope that, even if these people don’t end their marriages and don’t live with broken marriages behind them, they should at least not be slaves to their marriages. No matter who your spouse is, no matter what talents or humanity they possess, how high their status is, how skilled and capable they are, they are still not your master. They’re your spouse, your equal. They’re no nobler than you, nor are you lowlier than them. If they aren’t able to fulfill their marital responsibilities, then you are within your rights to rebuke them, and it is your obligation to manage them and lecture them. Don’t degrade yourself and allow yourself to be exploited because you think they’re too formidable or you’re afraid that they’ll tire of you, reject you or abandon you, or because you want to maintain the continuity of your marital relationship, willingly compromising yourself to be their slave and a slave to your marriage—this is not appropriate. This is not how someone should behave, nor is it the responsibilities someone should fulfill, within the framework of marriage. God does not ask you to be a slave, nor does He ask you to be a master. He asks only that you fulfill your responsibilities, and that’s why you must correctly understand the responsibilities you ought to perform in marriage, and you should also correctly understand and see clearly the role you play in marriage. If the role you play is distorted and does not accord with humanity or with what God has ordained, then you should check yourself and reflect on how to get out of this state. If your spouse can be rebuked, then rebuke them; if by rebuking your spouse you will suffer unwelcome consequences, then you should make a wiser, more appropriate choice. In any case, if you wish to pursue the truth and attain salvation, then you must relinquish your ideas or practices concerning being a slave to your marriage. You must not be a slave to your marriage, but rather you should leave that role behind, be a genuine human being, be a genuine created being, and at the same time perform your duty. Do you understand? (Yes.)

We’ve just fellowshipped on the issue of “people shouldn’t be the slaves of marriage,” telling people to relinquish their fallacious views on marriage. That is, some people think that they must keep their marriage going and do all they can to keep their marriage from breaking up and ending. In order to achieve this goal, they make compromises. They’d rather sacrifice many of their own positive pursuits to keep their marriage going, and they become willing slaves to their marriage. These people mistakenly interpret the existence and definition of marriage, and their attitude toward marriage is wrong, therefore they should relinquish such wrong thoughts and views, get away from this kind of distorted marital state, take the correct approach to marriage, and correctly handle these issues that crop up in marriage—this is the third issue people should relinquish regarding marriage. Next, we’ll fellowship on the fourth issue concerning marriage: Marriage is not your destination. This is also an issue. Since it is a topic we fellowship about, this is a demonstrative issue within the current situations in people’s marriages. It exists in all kinds of marital circumstances. It’s also a kind of attitude people have toward marriage or a kind of state of living, so we should fellowship on this issue and make it clear. After they get married, some women think they’ve found Mr. Right. They believe they can rely on and trust this man, that he can be a solid support for them on their life path, and that he will be solid and reliable when they need to rely on him. Some men think they’ve found the right woman. She is beautiful and generous, gentle and considerate, virtuous and understanding. With this woman, they believe they will have a stable life and a peaceful and warm home. When people get married, they all think themselves lucky and happy. Most people believe that when they get married, their partner is a symbol of their chosen future life and that, of course, their marriage is the destination they seek in this life. What does this mean? It means that everyone who gets married believes that marriage is their destination, and that once they have such a marriage, that marriage is their destination. What does “destination” mean? It means a foothold. They entrust their prospects, their future, and their happiness to their marriage as well as to the partner they entered marriage with, and so after they get married, they think that they will never again want for anything or have any more worries. This is because they feel they’ve already found their destination, and this destination is both their partner and also the home they build together with that person. Since they’ve found their destination, they no longer need to pursue anything or hope for anything. Of course, from people’s attitudes and views toward marriage, it’s beneficial for the stability of the marriage structure. At the very least, if a man or woman has a fixed partner of the opposite sex as their marital spouse, they’ll no longer have affairs or have more sexual relationships with the opposite sex. This is beneficial for most marital partners. At the very least, their hearts will settle down concerning relationships, they will be attracted to one regular partner of the opposite sex and will be stabilized in a basic living environment by a regular spouse of the opposite sex—this is a good thing. However, when someone enters into marriage, if they regard their marriage as their destination, while they regard all their pursuits, their outlook on life, the path they follow in life, and what God requires of them as superfluous things for their spare time, then imperceptibly having their marriage as their destination is not a good thing, but conversely it becomes an obstacle, a stumbling block, and a hindrance for their pursuit of the correct goals in life, their establishment of the correct outlook on life, and even for their pursuit of salvation. This is because when someone who gets married considers their partner to be their destination and their destiny in this life, they believe that their partner’s various emotions, their happiness and unhappiness, are related to themselves, and that their own happiness and unhappiness and various emotions are related to their partner, and so their partner’s life, death, happiness and joy are linked together with their own life, death, happiness and joy. Therefore, these people’s idea that their marriage is their life destination makes their pursuit of their life path, positive things, and salvation very sluggish and passive. If the partner of someone who follows God in their marriage chooses not to follow God and instead chooses to pursue worldly things, then the one who does follow God will be severely impacted by their partner. For example, the wife believes she should believe in God and pursue the truth, and that she should give up her job and perform her duty, expend herself, and dedicate herself in God’s house, whereas her husband thinks, “Belief in God is a good thing, but we still have to live. If we both perform our duty, who’s going to earn money? Who will support the home? Who will sustain the life of our family?” With this view he chooses to keep working and to keep pursuing worldly things; he doesn’t say he doesn’t believe in God, and he doesn’t say he opposes it either. The wife who believes in God is always thinking, “My husband is my destination. I’m fine only when he’s fine. If he’s not fine, then I can’t be fine either. We’re like grasshoppers tied to the same rope. We share the same joys and sorrows, and we live and die together. I go wherever he goes. Now we have disagreements in choosing our path and cracks have begun to appear, so how can we be reconciled? I want to follow God, but he’s not interested in faith in God. If he doesn’t believe in God, then I won’t be able to progress in my own faith and won’t feel like following God anymore. This is because from the very beginning, I thought of him as my sky, my destiny. I can’t leave him. If he doesn’t believe in God then neither of us will, and if he does believe in God then we both will. If he doesn’t believe in God, I’ll feel like I’m lacking something, as though my soul has been taken away.” She feels anxious and worried about this matter all the time. She often prays, hoping that her husband can believe in God. But no matter how she prays, her husband is unmoved and he doesn’t believe in God. She is distressed—whatever is she to do? There’s nothing she can do, so she makes the utmost effort, and so long as her husband is at home, she takes him to go read God’s words. Her husband reads God’s words and listens while she reads them without aversion, but he doesn’t actively participate in fellowship. Because they are husband and wife, he just doesn’t argue with her. When asked to learn to sing hymns, he goes along with it and learns to sing them, and after he’s learned them he doesn’t say whether he has learned them completely or whether he likes them. When asked to attend gatherings, on occasion when he has some spare time he’ll go with his wife to the gathering, but normally he’s busy working and earning money. He never mentions anything to do with faith in God, he never takes the initiative to ask to attend a gathering or perform a duty. In short, he’s lukewarm toward it all. He doesn’t oppose belief in God, but neither does he support it, and he doesn’t show what his attitude toward it is. The wife who believes in God takes all this to heart and remembers it, and says, “Since we’re a married couple and we two are a family, if I enter the kingdom then so must he. If he doesn’t follow me in my faith then he won’t be able to enter the kingdom or attain salvation, and then I won’t want to live either and will want to die.” Even though she isn’t dead yet, in her heart she is always feeling worried, pained, and tormented by this matter, thinking, “If one day the disasters come and he dies in the disasters, what will I do? There is now such a big plague. If he gets this plague, then I won’t live anymore. He isn’t saying he opposes my belief in God, but what will I do if one day he really says he doesn’t want me to believe in God anymore?” She worries that, when that time comes, she’ll follow her husband and will choose not to believe in God and betray God. This is because in her heart, her husband is her soul, he is her life, and even more so he is her sky, her everything. The husband in her heart loves her the most, and she is the one who loves her husband the most. But now she’s run up against a problem: If her husband opposes her belief in God and her prayers are to no avail, what then? She frets about this a lot. When she is required to go perform her duty away from home, although she also wishes to perform her duty in God’s house, when she hears that to perform her duty she must leave home and travel far away, and that she must be away from home for a long time, she feels incredible anguish. Why is that? She worries that by leaving home her husband will have no one to look after him, she will miss her husband and won’t be able to stop worrying about him. She will be concerned about him and will long for him and will even feel that she can’t live without him at her side, that she will lose hope and direction in life, and that she won’t be able to wholeheartedly perform her duty either. Now, she just has to think about it and her heart is pained, never mind if this really were to happen. So, in the church, she never dares to ask to go perform her duty in another place, or if there is some job that requires someone to stay away for a long period of time and sleep overnight away from home, she never dares to put herself forward for the job or dares to agree to such a request. She just does everything within her power delivering letters for her brothers and sisters, or sometimes hosting them for gatherings at her home, but she never dares to part from her husband for a whole day. If there really is some special circumstance and her husband must go on a business trip or is away for a few days, then she will cry at home for two or three days before her husband leaves, crying until her eyes have swollen up like tomatoes. Why does she cry? She worries that her husband will die in a plane crash and not even his body will be found, and what will she do then? How will she live and get through the days? Her sky will be gone, it will feel as though her heart has been stolen. Just thinking about it terrifies her, and that’s why she cries when she thinks of it. Her husband hasn’t even left yet and she’s been crying for two or three days, and she keeps crying until he comes back, crying so much that her husband gets annoyed and says, “What on earth’s the matter with her? I’m not even dead and she’s crying. Is she cursing me to die?” There’s nothing he can do, she just keeps on crying, saying, “I just don’t want you to go away, I don’t want you out of my sight.” She stakes her fate and destination on her husband whom she entered into marriage with, and regardless of whether this way of doing things is foolish or childish, there are people like this in any case. Are there more men like this or more women? (Women.) There seems to be more women like this, women can be a little feeble. No matter who leaves whom between men and women, can they still go on living? (Yes.) No matter who leaves whom, is that something you’re able to choose? Is that something you can control? (No.) No, that’s not something you can control, and so you’re lost in foolish fancies, and you cry, and feel vexed, and worried, and pained—is there any point to all this? (No.) These people feel that being able to look at their partner, hold their hand, and live with them means that they have a lifetime of support, like being soothed and comforted. They think they will have no worries about food or clothing, no concerns, and that their partner is their destination. Unbelievers have a saying that goes, “If I have you in this life, then I need nothing else.” This is how these people feel toward their marriage and their partner in their innermost hearts; they feel happy when their partner’s happy, anxious when their partner’s anxious, and they suffer when their partner suffers. If their partner dies, they don’t want to live anymore either. And if their partner goes off and falls in love with someone else, what do they do? (They don’t want to live.) Some don’t want to live anymore and so they commit suicide, and some people lose their minds. Tell Me, what’s this all about? What kind of person loses their mind? To lose one’s mind shows that they’re possessed. Some women believe their husband to be their destination in life, and that once they’ve found such a man, they will never again love any other man—it is a case of “If I have him in this life then I need nothing else.” But her husband disappoints her, goes off to love someone else, and doesn’t want her anymore. So what happens in the end? She then hates absolutely all members of the opposite sex. When she sees another man, she wants to spit at him, curse him, and hit him. She develops violent tendencies, and her sense of reason gets warped. There are some who really do lose their minds. These are the consequences when people don’t correctly understand marriage.

These people view marriage as a symbol of their successful pursuit of happiness, as well as a life destination and goal they have long dreamed of and now achieved. Marriage to them is the last of their life objectives, and their pursuits regarding marriage are to share this life with their partner, to grow old together, and to live and die together. In order to verify the thought and idea that their marriage is their destination, they do many things in married life that go beyond rationality and the range of a person’s responsibilities. These things that go beyond the range of a person’s responsibilities include the extreme things whereby they lose their integrity, their dignity, and the goals they pursue. For example, they often keep tabs on who their partner is with every day, what they do when they go out, whether they have had any contact with other members of the opposite sex, and whether they have had any interactions or friendly relations with other members of the opposite sex that go beyond the scope of friendship. There are also some people who spend a lot of time observing and probing their partner’s attitude toward themselves to see whether they are on their partner’s mind and whether their partner still loves them. There are also some women who smell their husbands’ clothes when they get home, checking them for any women’s hairs, checking their shirts for signs of other women’s lipstick. They also check their husbands’ phones to see if there are any women’s numbers they don’t recognize, even checking to see how many phones their husbands have, who they’ve associated with, and whether what they say when they call every day is true. For example, a woman calls her husband and asks, “Where are you? What are you doing?” Her husband replies, “I’m at work, reviewing documents.” She says, “Take a photo of the documents you’re reviewing and send it to me.” Her husband does as she says, and then she asks, “Who’s in the office with you?” He replies, “It’s just me.” She says, “Can you video call me so I can see who else is in the office?” He video calls her and she sees that there seems to be the figure of a woman walking away, so she says, “That’s not true, who is that woman?” He says, “That’s just the cleaner.” She says, “Ah, okay.” Only then does she relax. People like this check their husbands’ phones, their whereabouts, what they’re doing at all hours of the day. They have such great expectations for their marriage and even greater feelings of insecurity. Of course, they have a tremendous desire to possess and control their spouse. Because they’re certain that their spouse is their destination and that their spouse is the one they must and should be with all their life, they therefore cannot possibly allow any cracks to appear in the marriage, or even any flaws or minor problems—all this they cannot allow. And so they put most of their energy into monitoring their spouse, sounding out their spouse, inquiring about their movements and whereabouts, and into controlling them. Especially when their spouse has an affair, this is something they cannot abide. They make a scene, roll around, cry, cause trouble, and threaten suicide. Some even take their troubles with them to gatherings and discuss strategies with their brothers and sisters, saying, “He’s my first love, the man I love the most. In my whole life I’ve never even held another man’s hand or touched another man’s skin. He’s the only man for me, he’s my sky, and he’s the one for me in this life. He’s gone off with someone else and I just can’t swallow what he’s done to me.” Someone says to her, “What’s the use in not being able to swallow this? Can you change what’s happened? Other people could see your husband had this predilection long ago.” She replies, “Whether he has this predilection or not, I just can’t accept what’s happened. Who is going to help me come up with an idea to punish him and try to stop his mistress from taking my place?” You see, she is so upset that she brings her troubles to a gathering to fellowship on it. Is this fellowship? This is venting inappropriate remarks, venting negative messages, and spreading negative information. It’s your own business, and whether you go home, close the door and beat him and argue, that’s your business, but you mustn’t bring your troubles and talk about them at gatherings. If you wish to seek the truth at a gathering, you may say, “This has happened to me, so how can I extricate myself from this situation and not be constrained by him? How can I not let this matter affect my faith in God and the performance of my duty?” It’s fine for you to seek the truth, but if you go to a gathering and talk about your disputes, then that is something you shouldn’t do. Why shouldn’t you do that? You have encountered this issue and now find yourself in your current life circumstances because of your incorrect understanding of marriage. You then want to bring these disputes and consequences to your brothers and sisters for fellowship, and not only does this have an impact on other people, but it doesn’t benefit you either. You talk about your disputes, but most people don’t understand the truth and have no stature, and all they can do is help you come up with ideas and go over your disputes. Not only can they not help you to attain positive entry, but on the contrary, they make things worse and make the problem more serious and complicated. Most people are muddleheaded and they don’t understand the truth or God’s will—can such people provide you with beneficial and valuable assistance? Someone says, “You will always be his legal wife. Evil can never overcome justice.” Is this the truth? (No.) Someone else says, “Don’t make way for his mistress, and then we’ll see whether she can replace you!” Is this the truth? (No.) Does it make you happy when you hear people say these things, or does it make you angry? Do they say these things to make you hotheaded or so that you understand the truth and have a path of practice? Someone else says, “I totally get it. There are no good men nowadays. Any man with money turns bad.” Is this the truth? (No.) And then someone says, “You mustn’t put up with this. You have to let that mistress know you won’t be pushed around so easily. Show her who’s boss. Go to where she works and tell everyone, cause a scene, and say she’s your husband’s mistress. You’re his legal wife and everyone will surely be on your side and not on hers. Get her to make way and back off.” Is this the truth? (No.) Are these sayings not the fallacious understandings of the majority of people? (They are.) Someone else speaks in a somewhat reserved way, saying, “He’s been with you for a lifetime, aren’t you fed up with him yet? If he wants to be with someone else, then let him. So long as he brings money home and you have things to eat and drink, isn’t that enough? You should be happy, and then you won’t always have him bothering you. So long as he keeps coming home and acknowledges this as his home, isn’t that enough? What are you angry about? You are actually taking advantage of this.” This sounds comforting, but is it the truth? (No.) Would a decent person say any of these things? (No.) If it’s not intended to stir up discord or provoke confrontation, it’s intended to calm things down and make an unprincipled compromise. Is there a word here that reflects the perspective the wife should have on the matter, a perspective that is both correct and in accord with the truth? (No.) Don’t most people say things like this? (Yes.) What does this prove? (Most people are quite muddleheaded and the ideas they come up with don’t help.) Most people are muddleheaded, they don’t pursue the truth, nor do they understand the truth. In any case, they don’t understand what the truth is, nor do they understand what God’s requirements of man are. To be more specific, concerning marriage, people simply don’t understand how, in terms of God’s words on and definition of marriage, they should tackle the problems that arise in marriage in a way that conforms with God’s will, and not get hotheaded.

No matter what issue you encounter, whether it be great or small, you must always approach it with God’s words as your basis and with the truth as your criterion. So then, what is the basis in God’s words concerning these issues that appear in marriage? What is the truth’s criterion? Your spouse is not faithful to your marriage, and that is his problem. But you cannot allow his problem to affect your having the correct attitude and sense of responsibility toward marriage. He is the transgressor, but you cannot allow his transgressions to affect the attitude you should have toward marriage. You believe him to be your destination, but that is just what you think, and in fact it is not like this. God never required or ordained this to be the case, either. It’s just that you insist on believing that he is your destination, your soul mate, out of affection, out of human desire, and more precisely, out of human hotheadedness. It is wrong for you to insist on believing this. No matter what you believed before, in any case you should now change course and see what the correct thoughts and attitudes are that God requires people to have. How should you handle it when your spouse is unfaithful? You shouldn’t quarrel and make trouble, nor should you make a scene and roll around on the ground. You should understand that when this happens, the sky does not cave in, nor is your dream of your destination destroyed, nor of course does it mean that your marriage must end and break up, much less does it mean that your marriage has failed or that it has come to the end of the road. It’s just that, because everyone has corrupt dispositions, and because people are influenced by the wicked trends and common practices of the world and they have no immunity to defend themselves against wicked trends, people cannot avoid making mistakes, being unfaithful, straying in their marriages, and letting their partner down. If you look at this problem from this perspective, then it’s not such a big deal. All marital families are influenced by the general environment of the world and by the wicked trends and common practices of society. Also, from an individual’s perspective, people have sexual desires, and in addition are influenced by such phenomena as the love affairs between men and women in movies and TV dramas and the trend of pornography in society. It’s difficult for people to adhere to the principles they should uphold. In other words, it’s difficult for people to maintain a moral baseline. The boundaries of sexual desire are easily broken; sexual desire itself is not corrupt, but because people have corrupt dispositions, plus the fact that people live in this kind of general environment, they easily make mistakes when it comes to relations between males and females, and this is something you should clearly understand. No one with a corrupt disposition can withstand temptation or enticement in this kind of general environment. Human sexual desire can overflow anytime and anywhere, and people will engage in infidelity anytime and anywhere. This is not because there is a problem with sexual desire itself, but because there is something wrong with people themselves. People will use their sexual desires to do things that cause them to lose their morality, ethics, and integrity, such as engaging in infidelity, having affairs, having mistresses, and so on. So, as someone who believes in God, if you can regard these things correctly, then you should handle them rationally. You are a corrupted human being, and he is a corrupted human being too, and so you mustn’t demand that he be like you and stay faithful just because you are able to stay faithful to your marriage, demanding that he mustn’t ever be unfaithful. When something like that happens, you should face it in the correct way. Why is that? Everyone has the opportunity to encounter such an environment or temptation. You can watch your spouse like a hawk but it won’t matter, and the more closely you watch him, the faster and sooner it happens. That’s because everyone has corrupt dispositions, everyone lives in this general environment of a wicked society, and very few are not promiscuous. They are kept from being so only by their situation or conditions. There are not many things in which humans are superior to beasts. At the very least, a beast naturally reacts to its sexual instincts, but that’s not the case with humans. Humans can consciously engage in promiscuity and incest—only people can engage in promiscuity. Therefore, in the general environment of this wicked society, not just those who don’t believe in God but almost all people are capable of doing such things. This is an indisputable fact, and one cannot escape from this problem. So, since this kind of thing can happen to anyone, why don’t you permit it to happen with your husband? This is actually a very normal thing to happen. It’s only because you are emotionally entangled with him that when he abandons you and dumps you, you aren’t able to overcome it and you can’t bear it. If something like this happened to someone else, you would just wear a wry smile and think, “That’s just normal. Isn’t everyone like this in society?” How does that saying go? Something about a cake? (They want to have their cake and eat it too.) These are all popular words and things of the world’s wicked trends. This is something commendable for a man. If a man has no cakes and isn’t able to eat any, it shows that the man has no ability and people will laugh at him. So when this kind of thing happens to a woman, she can make a scene, roll around, and vent her hotheadedness, crying, making trouble, and not eating because this has happened, and wanting to seek death, hang herself, and commit suicide. Some women get so angry that they lose their minds. This is imperceptibly related to her attitude toward marriage, and of course it is also directly related to her idea that “her spouse is her destination.” The woman believes that by breaking up their marriage, her husband has destroyed the entrustment and wonderful aspiration of her life’s destination. Because her husband was the first to destroy the balance of their marriage, the first to break the rules, because he dumped her, violated the vows of marriage, and turned her beautiful dream into a nightmare, this causes her to express herself in these ways and engage in these extreme behaviors. If people accept the correct understanding of marriage from God, then they will behave somewhat more rationally. When this kind of thing happens to them, normal people will feel hurt, they will cry, and they will suffer. But when they calm down and think about God’s words, think about the general environment in society, and then think about the actual situation, that everyone has corrupt dispositions, they will handle the matter rationally and correctly, and they will let it go rather than cling onto it like a dog with a bone. What do I mean by “let it go”? I mean that since your husband has done this thing and has been unfaithful to your marriage, you should accept this fact, sit down with him and talk, asking, “What’re your plans? What will we do now? Shall we continue to keep our marriage going or end the marriage and choose to live separately?” Just sit and talk; there’s no need to fight or cause trouble. If your husband insists on ending the marriage, then that’s not a big deal. Unbelievers often say, “There are plenty of fish in the sea,” “Men are like buses—there will always be another along soon,” and what is that other saying? “Don’t give up the whole forest for the sake of one single tree.” And not only is this tree ugly, but it’s also rotten inside. Are these sayings right? These are things unbelievers use to comfort themselves, but do they have anything to do with the truth? (No.) So what should the correct thinking and view be? When you encounter such an event, first of all you shouldn’t get hotheaded, and you must contain your anger and say, “Let’s calm down and talk. What do you plan to do?” He says, “I plan to keep trying with you.” And then you say, “If so, then let’s keep trying. Don’t have any more affairs, perform your responsibilities as a husband, and we can draw a line under this matter. If you can’t do that, then we’ll break up and go our separate ways. God may have ordained that our marriage should end here. If so, then I am willing to submit to His arrangement. You can follow the way that is broad, I’ll follow the path of faith in God, and we won’t affect each other. I won’t interfere with you, and you shouldn’t constrain me. My fate is not up to you and you are not my destination. God decides my fate and my destination. Which stop I reach in this life will be my last stop, and will be the arrival of my destination—I must ask God, He knows, He holds sovereignty, and I wish to submit to His orchestrations and arrangements. In any case, if you don’t want to keep this marriage going with me, then we will part in peace. Although I have no particular skill and this family depends on you financially, I can still go on living without you, and I will live well. God won’t let a sparrow starve, so how much more will He do for me, a living human being. I have hands and feet, I can look after myself. You don’t need to worry. If God has ordained that I will be lonely for the rest of my life without you by my side, then I’m willing to submit, and I’m willing to accept this fact without complaint.” Isn’t this a good thing to do? (Yes, it is.) It’s great, right? There’s no need to argue and quarrel, much less make endless trouble about it so that everyone ends up knowing about it—there’s no need for any of that. A marriage is no one’s business but yours and your husband’s. If a conflict arises in the marriage, then the two of you must resolve it and bear the consequences. As someone who believes in God, you should submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements regardless of the outcome. Of course, when it comes to marriage, no matter what cracks appear or what consequences arise, whether the marriage continues or not, whether you embark on a new life within your marriage, or whether your marriage ends right then and there, your marriage is not your destination, and neither is your spouse. He was just ordained by God to appear in your life and your existence to play a role accompanying you on your path through life. If he can accompany you all the way to the end of the road and get to the very end with you, then there’s nothing better than that, and you should thank God for His grace. If there’s a problem during the marriage, whether cracks appear or something happens that’s not to your liking, and ultimately your marriage comes to an end, that doesn’t mean you have no destination anymore, that your life is now thrown into darkness, or that there is no light, and you have no future. It could be that your marriage ending is the beginning of a more wonderful life. All of this is in God’s hands, and it is for God to orchestrate and arrange. It could be that your marriage ending gives you a deeper comprehension and appreciation of marriage, and a deeper understanding. Of course, it could be to you that your marriage ending is an important turning point in your life goals and direction and in the path you walk. What it brings you will not be gloomy memories, much less painful memories, nor will it be all negative experiences and results, but rather it will bring you positive and active experiences which you could not have had if you were still married. If your marriage carried on, you would perhaps always live this plain, mediocre, and dull life until the end of your days. If, however, your marriage ends and breaks up, then that is not necessarily a bad thing. You were previously constrained by the happiness and responsibilities of your marriage, as well as by the emotions or way of living of your concern for your spouse, your looking after him, consideration for him, caring for him, and worrying about him. Beginning from the day your marriage ends, however, all the circumstances of your life, your goals for living and your life pursuits undergo a thorough and complete change, and it must be said that this change is brought to you by your marriage ending. It could be that this result, change, and transition is what God intends you to gain from the marriage that He has ordained for you, and is what God intends you to gain by leading you to end your marriage. Although you have been hurt and have taken a tortuous path, and although you have made some unnecessary sacrifices and compromises within the framework of marriage, what you receive in the end cannot be obtained within married life. Therefore, whatever the case, it is correct to let go of the thought and view that “marriage is your destination.” Whether your marriage keeps going or is facing a crisis, or your marriage is facing a breakup or has already ended, whatever the situation, marriage itself is not your destination. This is something people should understand.

People shouldn’t harbor the thought and view that “marriage is a person’s destination.” This thought and view pose a great threat to your freedom and your right to choose your path in life. What do I mean by “threat”? Why do I use this word? I mean that, whenever you make any choice, or whenever you say anything or accept any view, if it relates to your marital happiness or the integrity of your marriage, or it relates even to the idea of your partner being your destination and your ultimate support, then you will be bound hand and foot, and will even be super cautious and careful. Imperceptibly, in this way your free will, your right to choose your path in life, as well as your right to pursue positive things and pursue the truth, will all be bound and even stripped away by this thought and view, and so the frequency with which you come before God will gradually diminish. What does it signify when the frequency with which you come before God diminishes? Your hopes for attaining salvation will gradually shrink and your life circumstances will become wretched, pitiful, dark, and sordid. Why is that? It’s because you have fixed all your hopes, expectations, and life goals and direction on the partner you entered into marriage with, and you regard them as your all. It’s precisely because you consider your partner to be your all that they strip you of all your rights, they confound and obstruct your vision, they strip you of your integrity and dignity, of your normal thinking and rationality, and they deprive you of the right to believe in God and follow the right path through life, the right to establish the correct outlook, and the right to pursue salvation. At the same time, these rights of yours are all governed and controlled by your spouse, and that’s why I say such people live pitifully, sordidly, and basely. The moment the spouse of someone like this feels a little unhappy about something or uncomfortable in some way, even saying their heart doesn’t feel right, they get so scared they can’t eat or sleep for days and they even come before God to pray in floods of tears—never have they felt so upset and anxious about anything in their life before, they’re truly worried—the moment something like this happens, it’s as though they’re about to die. Why so? They believe the sky is about to cave in, that their main support will be knocked out from under them, and that this means they’ll be finished, too. They don’t believe that a person’s life and death are in the hands of the Creator, and they’re terribly afraid that God will take their spouse from them, cause them to lose their partner, lose their support, lose their sky, and lose their soul—this is such a rebellious way to be. God gave you a marriage, and once you have your support and your partner, you forget all about God, you don’t want Him anymore. Your partner has become your God, your lord, as well as your support. This is treasonous and it is the most rebellious act one can do against God. There are even some who, when their spouse gets a little angry or gets sick, get so scared that they don’t attend gatherings for many days. They don’t tell anyone, nor do they hand their duty over to someone else to do, they just disappear as though they’ve just evaporated. Their spouse’s life and death are what they are most concerned with and what they care about most in life, and nothing could be more important than this—it is more important to them than God, God’s commission, and their duty. People like this lose the identity, worth and meaning they should have as created beings before God, and God detests them. God has given you a settled life and a partner only so that you can live better and have someone to look after you, have someone beside you, not so that you can forget God and forget His words or abandon your obligation to perform your duty and your life goal of pursuing salvation once you have a spouse, and then live for your spouse. If you really act this way, if you really do live this way, then I hope you will change course as soon as possible. No matter how important someone is to you, or how important they are to your life, your living, or your life path, they are not your destination because they are only a corrupted human being. God has arranged your current spouse for you, and you can live together with them. If God changed His mood and arranged someone else for you, you could still live just as well, and so your current spouse is not your one and only, nor are they your destination. Only God is the One to whom your destination is entrusted, and only God is the One to whom the destination of mankind is entrusted. You can still survive and live if you leave your parents, and of course you can still live just as well if you leave your partner. Your parents aren’t your destination, nor is your partner. Just because you have a partner, someone to entrust your spirit, your soul, and your flesh to, don’t forget the most important things in life. If you forget God, forget what He has entrusted you with, forget the duty a created being should perform, and forget what your identity is, then you will have lost all conscience and reason. Regardless of what your life is like now, whether you’re married or not, your identity before the Creator will never change. No one can be your destination, and you cannot entrust yourself to anyone. Only God can give you a suitable destination, only God is the One to whom the survival of mankind is entrusted, and this will always be so. Is that clear? (Yes.)

We will finish our fellowship on marriage here. If you wish to express your own ideas, views, or give voice to your feelings, please do so now. (I used to have those views and thoughts that marriage was a person’s destination. If my spouse had an affair, then I’d feel desperate and that I couldn’t carry on living. I heard from some brothers and sisters that they’d also had experiences like this, and going through something like this was very painful. But today, after listening to God’s fellowship, I can take the correct approach to this matter. First, God mentioned that in this wicked society, people can be seduced by the people, events, and things of the outside world and it is very easy for them to make mistakes, so I can now understand this kind of thing. Second, we must also take the correct approach to our spouses. Our marital partner is not our destination in life. Only God is our destination, and only by relying on God can we truly carry on living. I feel like I have a little new understanding of this now.) Excellent. All the views and attitudes concerning the truth that we fellowship on are intended to enable people to shuck off all manner of distorted, incorrect, and negative thoughts and views; then, they are fellowshipped on so that, when people encounter such a matter, they can be fortified with the correct thoughts and views, they can have the correct path of practice, so that they will not go astray, and not be misled and controlled by Satan any longer; they are fellowshipped on so that people don’t do extreme things, so that they can accept all things from God, submit to God’s arrangements in all things, and be true created beings. This is the right way to be. Okay, let’s leave our fellowship here for today. Goodbye!

February 4, 2023

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