19. How to approach marriage

Words From the Bible

“And Jehovah God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18).

“And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which Jehovah God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her to the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall join to his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:21–24).

“To the woman He said, I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in sorrow you shall bring forth children; and your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you. And to Adam He said, Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it: cursed is the ground for your sake; in sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of your life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you; and you shall eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return to the ground; for out of it were you taken: for dust you are, and to dust shall you return” (Genesis 3:16–19).

Words of Almighty God of the Last Days

Marriage has its origin and source in God’s creation. God created the first man, who needed a partner to help and accompany him, to live with him, and so God created a partner for him, and then human marriage came into being. That is all. It is that simple. This is the rudimentary understanding of marriage you should have. Marriage comes from God; it is arranged and ordained by Him. At the very least, you can say that it is not a negative thing, rather, it is a positive thing. It could also accurately be said that marriage is proper, that it is a proper segment in the course of human life and within the process of people’s existence. It is not wicked, nor is it a tool or means by which to corrupt mankind; it is proper and positive, because it was created and ordained by God, and of course, He arranged it. Human marriage originates in God’s creation, and it is something He personally arranged and ordained, so looking at it from this angle, the only perspective that one ought to have regarding marriage is that it comes from God, that it is a proper and positive thing, that it is not negative, wicked, selfish, or dark. It does not come from man, nor from Satan, much less did it organically develop within nature; rather, God created, arranged, and ordained it with His own hands. This is absolutely certain. This is the most original, accurate definition and concept of marriage.

—The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (9)

The true meaning of marriage is not just for the multiplication of the human race, but more importantly, it is for God to arrange a partner for each man and woman, who will accompany them through each time of their life, whether difficult and painful, or easy, joyful, and happy—in it all, they have someone to confide in, to be one with them in heart and mind, and to share in their sorrow, pain, happiness, and joy. This is the meaning behind God arranging marriage for people, and it is the subjective need of each individual person. When God created mankind, He did not want them to be lonely, so He arranged marriage for them. In marriage, men and women each take on different roles, and the most important thing is that they accompany and support one another, living each day well, moving well along the road of life. For one, they can accompany each other, and for another, they can support each other—this is the meaning of marriage and the necessity for its existence. Of course, it is also the understanding and attitude people ought to have toward marriage, and it is the responsibility and obligation they ought to fulfill toward marriage.

—The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (9)

Marriage is a key event in any person’s life; it is the time when one starts truly to assume various kinds of responsibilities, and gradually to complete various kinds of missions. People harbor many illusions about marriage before they experience it themselves, and all these illusions are quite beautiful. Women imagine that their other halves will be Prince Charming, and men imagine that they will marry Snow White. These fantasies go to show that every person has certain requirements for marriage, their own set of demands and standards. Though in this evil age people are constantly bombarded with distorted messages about marriage, which create even more additional requirements and give people all sorts of baggage and strange attitudes, any person who has experienced marriage knows that no matter how one understands it, no matter what one’s attitude toward it is, marriage is not a matter of individual choice.

One encounters many people in one’s life, but no one knows who will become one’s partner in marriage. Though everyone has their own ideas and personal stances on the subject of marriage, no one can foresee who will truly, finally become their other half, and one’s own ideas on the matter count for little. After meeting someone you like, you can pursue that person; but whether they are interested in you, whether they are able to become your partner—that is not yours to decide. The object of your affections is not necessarily the person with whom you will be able to share your life; and meanwhile, someone you never expected may quietly enter your life and become your partner, the most important element in your fate, your other half, to whom your fate is inextricably bound. And so, though there are millions of marriages in the world, each and every one is different: So many marriages are unsatisfactory, so many are happy; so many span East and West, so many North and South; so many are perfect matches, so many are of equal social rank; so many are happy and harmonious, so many painful and sorrowful; so many arouse the envy of others, so many are misunderstood and frowned upon; so many are full of joy, so many are awash with tears and bring despair…. In these myriad types of marriage, humans reveal loyalty and lifelong commitment toward marriage; they reveal love, attachment, and inseparability, or resignation and incomprehension. Some betray their marriage, or even feel hatred toward it. Whether marriage itself brings happiness or pain, everyone’s mission in marriage is predestined by the Creator and will not change; this mission is something that everyone must complete. The fate of each person that lies behind every marriage is unchanging, determined long in advance by the Creator.

—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique III

Marriage is an important juncture in a person’s life. It is the product of a person’s fate and a crucial link in one’s fate; it is not founded on any person’s individual volition or preferences, and is not influenced by any external factors, but completely determined by the fates of the two parties, by the Creator’s arrangements and predeterminations for the fates of both members of the couple. On the surface, the purpose of marriage is to continue the human race, but in truth, marriage is nothing but a ritual that one undergoes in the process of completing one’s mission. In marriage, people do not merely play the role of rearing the next generation; they adopt all the various roles involved in maintaining a marriage and the missions those roles require one to complete. Since one’s birth influences the changes undergone by the people, events, and things that surround it, one’s marriage will also inevitably affect these people, events, and things, and furthermore, will transform them all in various ways.

When one becomes independent, one begins one’s own journey in life, which leads one, step by step, toward the people, events, and things that have a connection to one’s marriage. At the same time, the other person who will be in that marriage is approaching, step by step, toward those same people, events, and things. Under the Creator’s sovereignty, two unrelated people with related fates gradually enter into a single marriage and become, miraculously, a family: “two locusts clinging to the same rope.” So, when one enters into a marriage, one’s journey in life will influence and touch upon one’s other half, and likewise one’s partner’s journey in life will influence and touch upon one’s own fate in life. In other words, human fates are interconnected, and no one can complete one’s mission in life or perform one’s role in complete independence from others. One’s birth has a bearing on a huge chain of relationships; growing up also involves a complex chain of relationships; and similarly, a marriage inevitably exists and is maintained within a vast and complex web of human connections, involving every member of that web and influencing the fate of everyone who is a part of it. A marriage is not the product of both members’ families, the circumstances in which they grew up, their appearances, their ages, their qualities, their talents, or any other factors; rather, it arises from a shared mission and a related fate. This is the origin of marriage, a product of human fate orchestrated and arranged by the Creator.

—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique III

You shouldn’t have any subjective or unrealistic fantasies about marriage, about who your partner is or what kind of person your partner is; you should have an attitude of obedience to God, you should submit to God’s arrangements and ordination, and trust that God will prepare someone most suitable for you. Isn’t it necessary to have an obedient attitude? (Yes.) Second, you must let go of those criteria for choosing a partner instilled in you by the evil trends of society and then establish the correct criteria for choosing a partner, that is, at the very least your partner should be someone who believes in God as you do and who walks the same path as you do—this is from a general perspective. Furthermore, your partner must be able to fulfill the responsibilities of a man or a woman in marriage; they must be able to fulfill the responsibilities of a partner. How can you judge this aspect? You must look at the quality of their humanity, whether they have a sense of responsibility, and whether they have conscience. And how do you judge whether someone has conscience and humanity? If you don’t associate with them then you have no way of knowing what their humanity is like, and even if you do associate with them, if it is only for a short time, you may still be unable to discover what they’re like. So then, how do you judge whether someone has humanity? You look at whether they take responsibility for their duty, for God’s commission, and for the work of God’s house, and you look at whether they can safeguard the interests of God’s house and whether they are faithful to their duty—this is the best way to judge the quality of someone’s humanity. Suppose this person’s character is very upright and, when it comes to the work God’s house delegates to them, they are extremely dedicated, responsible, serious and earnest, very meticulous, not at all careless, and never neglectful, and they pursue the truth, and they listen carefully and conscientiously to everything God says. Once it is clear to them and they understand it, they immediately put it into practice; although such a person may not have high caliber, they are at the very least someone who is not slipshod toward their duty and the work of the church, and who can earnestly take responsibility. If they are conscientious and responsible toward their duty, then they will certainly wholeheartedly live their life with you and will take responsibility for you until the very end—the character of such a person can withstand tests. Even if you get sick, grow old, grow ugly, or you have faults and deficiencies, this person will always treat you correctly and tolerate you, and they will always do their best to safeguard you and your family and protect you, give you a stable life, so that you live with peace of mind. This is the happiest thing for a man or woman in married life. They won’t necessarily be able to give you a wealthy, luxurious, or romantic life, and they won’t necessarily be able to offer you anything different in terms of affection or any other aspect, but at the very least, they will make you feel at ease and that, with them, your life will be settled, and there will be no danger or feeling of unease. When you look at that person, you’ll be able to see what their life will be like 20 or 30 years from now and even into old age. This kind of person should be your criterion for choosing a partner. Of course, this criterion for choosing a partner is a little high and someone like this is not easy to find amongst modern mankind, right? To judge what someone’s character is like and whether they’ll be able to fulfill their responsibilities in marriage, you must look at their attitude toward their duty—this is one aspect. Another aspect is that you must look at whether they have a God-fearing heart. If they do, then at the very least they will not do anything inhumane or that is immoral or unethical, and so they will certainly treat you well. If they don’t have a God-fearing heart, and they are brazen, willful, or their humanity is vicious, deceitful, and arrogant; if they don’t have God in their heart and consider themselves superior to others; if they handle work, duties, and even God’s commission and any major matter of God’s house recklessly according to their own will, acting wantonly, never being cautious, not seeking principles, and especially when dealing with offerings they recklessly take and misappropriate them, fearing nothing, then you must absolutely not look for someone like that. Without a God-fearing heart, they are capable of anything. Right now, a man like that may be sweet-talking you and pledging his undying love, but when the day comes when he’s not happy, when you aren’t able to satisfy his needs and are no longer his beloved, then he’ll say he doesn’t love you and that he has no feelings for you anymore, and he’ll just up and leave you whenever he wants. Even if you’re not divorced yet, he’ll still go looking for someone else—all this is possible. He can abandon you anytime, anyplace, and he’s capable of anything. Such men are very dangerous and aren’t worth you entrusting your whole life to. If you find a man like this to be your lover, your darling, your chosen partner, then you’ll be in trouble. Even if he’s tall, rich, and handsome, incredibly talented, and he takes good care of you and is considerate of you, and superficially speaking, he particularly makes the grade whether he is your boyfriend or your husband, yet he doesn’t have a God-fearing heart, then this person cannot be your chosen partner. If you are infatuated with him and start dating him and then you get married, then he will be a nightmare and a disaster for you all your life. You say, “I’m not afraid, I pursue the truth.” You’ve fallen into the hands of a devil, and he hates God, defies God, and employs all manner of ways to disturb your belief in God—are you able to overcome this? Your little bit of stature and faith cannot stand his torment, and after a few days you’re so tormented that you beg for mercy and are unable to carry on believing in God. You lose your faith and your mind is filled with this feuding back and forth. It’s like being thrown into a meat grinder and torn to pieces, with no human likeness, entirely mired in it, until finally you are doomed to the same fate as that devil you’re married to, and your life will be over.

—The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (10)

Is the pursuit of marital happiness not 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.

—The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (11)

We’re fellowshiping on letting go of the pursuit of marital happiness not so that you give up on marriage as a formality, nor is it to encourage you to get divorced, but rather it is so that you give up on those pursuits regarding marital happiness. First of all, you should let go of those views which dominate you in your pursuit of marital happiness, and then you should let go of the practice of pursuing marital happiness and devote the majority of your time and energy to performing the duty of a created being and pursuing truth. As for marriage, as long as it doesn’t clash or conflict with your pursuit of truth, then the obligations you should fulfill, the mission you should accomplish, and the role you should play within the framework of marriage will not change. Therefore, asking that you let go of the pursuit of marital happiness doesn’t mean asking you to abandon marriage or to divorce as a formality, but rather it means asking you to fulfill your mission as a created being and properly perform the duty you should perform with the premise of fulfilling the responsibilities you should perform in marriage. Of course, if your pursuit of marital happiness impacts, obstructs, or even ruins your performance of the duty of a created being, then you should abandon not only your pursuit of marital happiness, but also your entire marriage. What is the final purpose and meaning of fellowshiping on these issues? It is so that marital happiness doesn’t impede your steps, tie your hands, blind your eyes, distort your vision, disturb and occupy your mind; it is so that the pursuit of marital happiness doesn’t fill your life path and fill your life, and so that you correctly approach the responsibilities and obligations you should fulfill in marriage and make the correct choices concerning the responsibilities and obligations you should fulfill. A better way to practice is to devote more time and energy to fulfilling your duty, perform the duty you should perform, and accomplish the mission God has entrusted to you. You must never forget that you are a created being, that it is God who has led you through life to this moment, that it is God who has given you marriage, who has given you a family, and that it is God who has bestowed upon you the responsibilities you should fulfill within the framework of marriage, and that it is not you who chose marriage, it is not that you came to be married out of thin air, or that you can maintain your marital happiness by relying on your own abilities and strength. Have I now explained this clearly? (Yes.) Do you understand what you’re supposed to do? Is the path now clear to you? (Yes.) If there is no conflict or contradiction between the responsibilities and obligations you should fulfill in marriage and your duty and mission as a created being, then under such circumstances, you should fulfill your responsibilities within the framework of marriage however they are to be fulfilled, and you should fulfill your responsibilities well, shoulder the responsibilities you should shoulder, and not try to shirk them. You must take responsibility for your partner, and you should take responsibility for your partner’s life, their feelings, and everything about them. However, when there is a clash between the responsibilities and obligations you shoulder within the framework of marriage and your mission and duty as a created being, then what you must let go of is not your duty or mission but are rather your responsibilities within the framework of marriage. This is what God expects of you, it is God’s commission for you and, of course, it is what God requires of any man or woman. Only when you are capable of this will you be pursuing the truth and following God. If you are not capable of this and cannot practice in this way, then you are just a nominal believer, you do not follow God with a true heart, and you are not a pursuer of truth. You now have the opportunity and conditions to leave China to perform your duty, and some people say, “If I leave China to perform my duty, then I’ll have to leave my spouse at home. Are we never to see each other again? Won’t we have to live separately? Won’t we have no marriage anymore?” Some people think, “Oh, how will my partner live without me? Won’t our marriage fall apart if I’m not there? Will our marriage be over? What will I do in the future?” Should you be thinking about the future? What should you be thinking about most? If you want to be someone who pursues the truth, then what you should be thinking about most is how to let go of that which God asks you to let go of and how to accomplish that which God asks you to accomplish. If you are to be without a marriage and without your partner beside you in the future, in the days to come, you can still live until old age and live well just the same. If you abandon this opportunity, however, then that is tantamount to you abandoning your duty and the mission God has entrusted to you. To God, you would then not be someone who pursues the truth, someone who truly wants God, or someone who is in pursuit of salvation. If you actively wish to abandon your opportunity and right to attain salvation and your mission and you instead choose marriage, you choose to stay united as husband and wife, you choose to be with and satisfy your spouse, and you choose to keep your marriage intact, then in the end you will gain some things and lose some things. You understand what it is you will lose, right? Marriage is not your everything, nor is marital happiness—it cannot decide your fate, it cannot decide your future, and even less so can it decide your destination. So, what choices people should make, and whether or not they should let go of the pursuit of marital happiness and perform the duty of a created being is up to them to decide.

—The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (10)

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 feelings, 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 and detest 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.

—The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (11)

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. … 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. … 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. … 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.

—The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (11)

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 evil trends and common practices of the world and they have no immunity to defend themselves against evil 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 evil 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 an evil 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 evil 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 evil 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.

—The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (11)

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.

—The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (11)

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