What is the meaning of the apostle Paul’s words “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)? This article will tell you the answer and how to pray without ceasing.
Christian Views on Marriage: No Longer Comparing With Others, She Has a Happy Marriage
By Zhang Jun
One morning, a ray of sunshine shined into the house and painted the floor a golden color. Qianhui opened her eyes and stretched, but just as she was about to get out of bed, the phone rang. She picked up and heard her friend Lili on the other end of the line. “Qianhui, I’m getting married next Sunday, you have to come! …”
When she heard the good news of her friend’s marriage, Qianhui was happy for her. She thought, “So many people tried to introduce a boyfriend for Lili, and all the men’s families had good backgrounds, but she was never satisfied. Now she’s getting married, so her husband’s family must be very well off.”
On the day of Lili’s wedding, Qianhui woke up early to get dressed and do her makeup. She arrived at Lili’s house around 10, and when she walked in the door, she was shocked at the new house she saw, its wide living room, beautiful decoration, and fashionable, luxurious furniture…. The house could only be described as “magnificent.” The seed of admiration was planted in her heart: No wonder Lili got married! Her husband must be incredibly rich!
Then, when Qianhui arrived at the wedding, she was even more shocked by the luxury on display: The wedding was held at a star-ranked hotel, the MC was the most famous host in the area, and all the cars in the procession were each brand’s most high-end models. As she took in what was before her, Qianhui was both envious and jealous. She couldn’t help but sigh and think, “In school, in both grades and looks, I was superior to Lili, but now, I’m lagging in every respect. Never mind the grandeur of the wedding, even the house I’ve lived in for years is still just a common bungalow. I could work all my life and still never live a life as luxurious as Lili’s.” Qianhui felt very lost, and she began to regret having simple standards when she first started looking for a boyfriend. She had only asked that her future partner be honest and that they be able to live a happy life together in the future, resulting in a careless search which produced a husband without the ability to earn money. If she could do it all over again, she thought, she would find a rich man with a house and a car. Well, it’s too late for that now. Qianhui shook her head helplessly. To keep herself from being immersed in sense of loss, she chatted with a few friends she hadn’t seen for a long time. But her friends were also showing off about their husbands’ work, income, family houses, cars…. Compared to her friends, Qianhui felt that she had nothing worth showing off. Qianhui’s self-esteem was seriously frustrated, and her mood fell. She couldn’t sit still anymore, so she simply ate and left in a hurry.
When she got home, scenes of what she saw at the wedding floated through Qianhui’s mind. All her friends seemed to be doing better than she was. She didn’t have much money, didn’t have a car, and didn’t even have a condo unit in an apartment building, never mind the trappings of a luxurious life. The more she thought, the more aggrieved she felt. She thought she felt so lost now because her husband was incompetent. If her husband came from a family that was better off, or if he could make a lot of money, then wouldn’t she also have a house and a car, and a petty bourgeoisie lifestyle, and show off in front of her friends? The thought made everything she saw at home ugly to her, especially her husband’s clumsy honesty, weakness, and incompetence, which became infuriating to her. Whenever her husband did something that was the slightest bit displeasing, she found an excuse to lose her temper with him as a way to vent her dissatisfaction. Every time her husband saw Qianhui unhappy, he would try to comfort her. Although Qianhui knew her husband treated her well and let her have her way in everything, she always felt humiliated. She didn’t want to live such an ordinary life, where an escape from poverty seemed impossible. And so, her originally harmonious and comfortable family life was now spent quarreling. Gradually, Qianhui felt that her husband had changed. In the past, he came back from work and helped her with housework as he talked to her, but now he was cold to her. He started playing games on his phone whenever he had nothing to do, and he barely talked to her. His strange behavior made Qianhui even more frustrated. She thought, “It was humiliating enough to marry you, and now you treat me like this. I really can’t live like this!” The more she thought about it, the more aggrieved and miserable she felt. She didn’t know how to go on.
Later, Qianhui accepted God’s last days’. She often went to meetings with her brothers and sisters to read the words of God. As she interacted with her brothers and sisters, she saw that everyone was very honest and kind. If anyone had difficulties or was confused, they could discuss things openly together and seek truth in God’s words. There was no superiority or inferiority between them, no one looked down on anyone else, and everyone helped, supported, and supplied each other. Everyone pursued the truth according to God’s words and thereby lived out a human likeness. Qianhui was taken in by this atmosphere, and began to feel an ease and happiness she had never felt before.
Later, Qianhui read these words of God, “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 finally become their true other half, and one’s own notions count for little. After meeting a person you like, you can pursue that person; but whether he or she is interested in you, whether he or she is able to become your partner, 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 quietly enters your life and becomes your partner, becomes 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, every one is different: How many marriages are unsatisfactory, how many are happy; how many span East and West, how many North and South; how many are perfect matches, how many are of equal rank; how many are happy and harmonious, how many painful and sorrowful; how many are the envy of others, how many are misunderstood and frowned upon; how many are full of joy, how many are awash of tears and cause despair…. In these myriad marriages, humans reveal loyalty and lifelong commitment toward marriage, or love, attachment, and inseparability, or resignation and incomprehension, or betrayal of it, even hatred. Whether marriage itself brings happiness or pain, everyone’s mission in marriage is predestined by the Creator and will not change; everyone must fulfill it. And the individual fate that lies behind every marriage is unchanging; it was determined long in advance by the Creator” (“God Himself, the Unique III”). After seeing God’s words, Qianhui had a sudden realization. She understood that people’s marriages are predestined by God. There are many people who want to be with someone they love, but somehow or another, they end up marrying someone else, and this is a matter in which they have no choice. Now, Qianhui realized that she met, got to know, and lived with her husband because this was God’s arrangement for her fate. But, when people don’t understand God’s mastery and don’t obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements, they have their own requirements for marriage, as well as their own preferences and pursuits. Some people like handsome, elegant, or beautiful looks, some like partners who have a way with words and who can care for them, others still like competent, powerful, financially successful partners, and so on. When their partners don’t meet their requirements, they live amidst grievances, give them the cold shoulder, or get angry, fight, and even divorce them, causing themselves and their families to live in pain. Qianhui realized that because she didn’t understand or obey God’s mastery, she always felt that her husband was incompetent, disliked and degraded him, causing her to live in misery, and showed him nothing but a depressed expression every day, pushing their relationship farther and farther apart. Qianhui didn’t want to live so painfully, so she prayed to God to express her desire to accept and obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements, to be no longer dissatisfied with her own life, to no longer complain about her husband’s incompetence, to get along peacefully with her husband, and to live happily.
After that, Qianhui’s attitude toward her husband improved. When something was unsatisfactory in her life, she was not as unreasonable as she used to be, and she no longer nagged and complained to her husband. Instead, she believed that this was God’s arrangement, and she was willing to obey, let God lead and guide her, and learn to live in harmony with her husband. Her husband saw the change in Qianhui, and his attitude toward her also improved.
One day, as Qianhui returned to her parents’ house, her neighbor asked her, “I haven’t seen you for a few years. Do you still live in the same bungalow as when you got married? Have you bought a condominium unit yet?” Qianhui’s heart lurched. She felt embarrassed, and said with a reluctant laugh, “Not yet.” The neighbor said, “These days young people all want to live in condominiums. They’re clean, comfortable, and pleasant.” Qianhui avoided her neighbor’s eyes and made up an excuse, “My father-in-law’s feet aren’t well, so it’s hard for him to go upstairs. I think bungalows are just fine. Maybe I’ll buy a condominium unit in the future.” After her neighbor left, Qianhui couldn’t help but think regretfully, “Where would I ever get the money for a condominium?” Unconsciously, Qianhui began to blame her husband for his embarrassing incompetence. In her suffering, Qianhui went before God and prayed, “God, although I know my marriage was predestined by You, when I see others doing better than me, I still have complaints in my heart, and I feel that my husband can’t give me the happy life I want. I don’t know how to escape this pain, so please lead and guide me.”
One day, Qianhui read these words from “God Himself, the Unique VI”: “One after another, all these trends carry an evil influence that continually degenerates man, causing them to continually lose conscience, humanity and reason, and that lowers their morals and their quality of character more and more, to the extent that we can even say the majority of people now have no integrity, no humanity, neither do they have any conscience, much less any reason. So what are these trends? You cannot see these trends with the naked eye. When the wind of a trend blows through, perhaps only a small number of people will become the trendsetters. They start off doing this kind of thing, accepting this kind of idea or this kind of perspective. The majority of people, however, in the midst of their unawareness, will still be continually infected, assimilated and attracted by this kind of trend, until they all unknowingly and involuntarily accept it, and are all submerged in and controlled by it. For man who is not of sound body and mind, who never knows what is truth, who cannot tell the difference between positive and negative things, these kinds of trends one after another make them all willingly accept these trends, the life view and values that come from Satan. They accept what Satan tells them on how to approach life and the way to live that Satan ‘bestows’ on them. They have not the strength, neither do they have the ability, much less the awareness to resist.” “In this way, man becomes more and more evil, arrogant, condescending, selfish, and malicious. There is no longer any affection between people, no longer any love between family members, no longer any understanding between relatives and friends; human relations have become full of violence.”
From God’s words, Qianhui understood that all the misery occurs because mankind is corrupted by Satan and pursues evil worldly trends. In this evil society, people are inundated and influenced by evil ideas such as “Money is first,” “Money isn’t everything, but without it, you can do nothing,” “People struggle to go upward, but water flows downward,” and “As a tree lives for its bark, a man lives for his face,” everyone worships money and material enjoyment, pursues wearing name brands, eating expensive delicacies, living in foreign-style villas, driving luxury cars, and living a life of quality to gain the capital to climb the social ladder and show off. Whoever has money and enjoys the most pleasures is a cut above other people, his words carry weight, and everyone admires and tries to associate with him, while those without talent or skills are seen as inferior to others. Inundated with these mistaken and absurd views, people become more and more superficial, vain, selfish, and greedy, they entirely lose their humanity, reason, and conscience, to the point where when choosing their marriage partner, some people demand partners that come from a good family background or have the ability to make large amounts of money so that they can live a wealthy lifestyle that makes others look up to them, as well as promote such absurd theories as “Wealthy husbands make honorable wives” and “It’s better to marry well than study well,” completely twisting the idea of marriage. The truth is that marriage is meant to be two people who sincerely love each other and share one will establishing a family. It requires both partners to take up burdens and responsibility, respect, help, and love one another, and maintain a happy life. But thanks to the influence of these evil trends, people add too many conditions to marriage, and the relationship between husband and wife becomes impure and full of exchange and dealing. People marry whoever has money or power, and if one party can satisfy the demands of the other’s material desires or vanity, then the marriage can be grudgingly maintained, otherwise the two partners will despise and harm each other, and even separate. The divorce and remarriage rates in society are rising, and it’s already common to hear about men with mistresses and women with rich sponsors. Isn’t all this due to people living by such mistaken thoughts and notions? When she realized this, Qianhui saw that she had also been tempted and harmed by these evil trends. Before she went to her old classmate’s wedding, her life with her husband was stable and calm, but when she saw that her friends all had cars and condominiums, that they were all more wealthy than her, she felt that she was inferior, and that she couldn’t raise her head among them. When her husband couldn’t satisfy her desires, she regarded him as vulgar and incompetent and harbored grievances against him every day, not only making herself miserable, but also causing her husband endless pain. Their relationship had become more and more distant, and their home had lost the harmony and comfort of the past.
Qianhui thought of how she had treated her husband and felt deeply sorry, and at the same time felt that the lifestyle she pursued to satisfy her vanity was mistaken, a means used by Satan to cause her to suffer. If not for the guidance she found in God’s word, Qianhui would always compare herself to her friends and blame her husband when she didn’t surpass them, and thereby live in pain as she was tormented by Satan, or even suffer a breakdown of her marriage. Qianhui realized that many of her friends, although married to rich people and able to enjoy a luxurious life, only had the appearance of a bright and beautiful life, and in reality weren’t happy at all. Some of their husbands had affairs, mistresses, and played around while ignoring their wives, not caring about them at all. Others had no status and dignity at home, and were as low as servants, not respected by their husbands and their families. Some had husbands with incompatible tempers and personalities, there were no true feelings between them, and they often argued, and fought. There were still other examples. Their vanity was satisfied, but behind it was endless bitterness and helplessness. Could such a life be called happiness? Qianhui shook her head. This isn’t what she wanted. Once she understood this, she was willing to let go of these vain things in her heart and be reconciled with her husband.
Later, Qianhui read another passage of God’s words, “There is a simplest way to free oneself from this state: to bid farewell to one’s former way of living, to say goodbye to one’s previous goals in life, to summarize and analyze one’s previous lifestyle, philosophy, pursuits, desires, and ideals, and then to compare them with God’s will and demands for man, and see whether any of them is consistent with God’s will and demands, whether any of them delivers the right values of life, leads one to a greater understanding of the truth, and allows one to live with humanity and human likeness. When you repeatedly investigate and carefully dissect the various goals of life that people pursue and their various different ways of living, you will find that not one of them fits the Creator’s original intention when He created humanity. All of them draw people away from the Creator’s sovereignty and care; they are all pits into which humanity falls, and which lead them to hell. After you recognize this, your task is to lay aside your old view of life, stay far from various traps, let God take charge of your life and make arrangements for you, try only to submit to God’s orchestrations and guidance, to have no choice, and to become a person who worships God” (“God Himself, the Unique III”).
After she read God’s words, Qianhui couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with complex emotions, “In the past I pursued a lifestyle based on goals I desired that were inspired by Satan, and it was so painful. When I lacked the truth, I could only be toyed with by Satan, and I wasted my life on pointless pursuits.” Only then did she wake up, decide to let go of her mistaken views on life and values, and no longer follow evil trends and pursue a high quality material life. Instead, she wanted to obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements, treat her husband correctly, and be content with having sufficient food and clothing. As she weighed these things, Qianhui thought that although her husband didn’t have much money, couldn’t give her a luxurious material life, and couldn’t satisfy her vanity, he was practical, reliable, and predictable, considered things thoroughly, and had genuine feelings for her. Even when she behaved unreasonably, her husband tolerated her and let her have her way, and most importantly, her husband didn’t object to her belief in God. Compared to a superior material life, she was happiest to find a man who could care for her, so Qianhui felt that the marriage God had arranged for her was the best. If she had found a rich husband and lived a wealthy life, her life would probably have been filled with food, drink, and play, and she might not have had the opportunity to come to God, hear the Creator’s voice, and understand so many mysteries of truth, nor would she have discernment of how Satan corrupts mankind or evil trends. Qianhui finally understood that no matter how rich or poor, having a suitable environment to believe in God, worship God, pursue the truth, and fulfill the duties of a created being to repay God’s love is the only way to gain true happiness.
Once she understood these things, there was a major change in her attitude toward her husband. She no longer complained about her husband’s incompetence, and she had much more care and understanding for him. Gradually, she began to communicate more and more with him. Her husband was delighted by the change in her. He always greeted her with a smile, and their home became much more harmonious and comfortable. Qianhui was very grateful to God for His salvation and guidance. Her only desire now was to practice according to God’s words in her life, strive with all her strength to pursue the truth, and fulfill her duties, because this is the most correct path in life. Thanks be to God!
You may be interested in reading more:
Our website offers you gospel resources such as articles and gospel videos related to’ , the , and more. If you have any questions in your belief, feel free to contact us.