Based on the writing of Veit Dietrich and John JewelThe origins of marriage, the state of matrimony, are declared to us by the word of Almighty God; who also shows us the purpose of marriage. Marriage was instituted by God so that man and woman might live together lawfully in a life-long friendly fellowship, to bring children into the world, and to avoid fornication.
By marriage, both partners are given a clear conscience, because by it they are able to restrain their own lusts by keeping themselves within the boundaries of honest marriage. God has strictly forbidden all whoredom and uncleanness, all unfaithfulness in marriage and adultery. At many times in the past, God has brought very grievous punishments to bear on those who are guilty of these lustful sins, as is well seen from the history of all past ages and generations.
Further, in marriage, God ordains the growth of the true church; for not only does God himself give children as a blessing, a gift of God, but also parents are instructed by God to then bring up their children to be godly and to have a good knowledge of the Bible. So, by marriage, the knowledge of God and true religion is passed from one generation to another, so that many might be saved and enjoy eternal life.
Thus, because marriage both avoids sin and increases the kingdom of God, all those who are married and who are to become married, must acknowledge these great benefits from God with pure an thankful minds. God has so ruled your hearts that you have not followed the example of the wicked world, those who delight in filthy sin, but rather you both stand in the fear of God, hating all filthiness. Just see the state of the world, in which so many run into terrible abominations and wicked sins without any pang of conscience. This sort of person lives so desperately and filthily, that hell itself waits for them, as St. Paul writes saying:
Neither whoremongers nor adulterers shall inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Cor 6:9-10
You have escaped this horrible judgment of God, by his mercy, if you remain faithfully together as man and wife in accordance with God’s law.
However, I don’t want you to be careless. The devil will try all kinds of things to interrupt and obstruct your hearts from a faithful course, if you give him any way to enter. The devil either try to break your marriage apart, or at the least he will try to make it difficult with many griefs, displeasures and sorrows. This is the main way he does it: by encouraging the heart of one to turn away from the other; so, where there was once pleasant and sweet love between you both, there grows bitter and unpleasant disagreement.
This same enemy of ours also attacks by means of pride. There is a foolish pride, a wicked vice, which we have grown up with, and has been with us since our youth. We have a desire to rule, to think highly of ourselves, and so we never think we should give in to another person. This wicked vice of a stubborn will and self-love is a cruel knife that attacks and cuts away the love of the heart, and will not allow for a peaceful marriage. So, married people must try very hard to agree, and must constantly pray that God will by the help of his Holy Spirit rule their hearts and tie their minds together so that they are not split apart by disagreement and argument.
Prayer is very necessary and important for married persons, and often it must be that one must pray for the other. One must pray for the other, to ask God that hate and argument might not rise between them. Yet because, so few think of such prayer, and still fewer actually do it, we see how much the devil discourages and scorns at this state. See how few marriages there are without scoldings, fighting, taunting, regrets, bitter curses, and arguments! Those who commit these things do not realise that they are obeying the instruction of the devil, who takes great delight in their behaviour. If they realised it, they would, with all their power and will, fight against these things, not only with prayer, but with all possible care to avoid them. They would not allow themselves to become angry, which stirs them up to this kind of action and the company of the devil. Once the devil has started his terrible work, if he is followed then it is the beginning of a web of all kinds of miseries and sorrows. It is a certain fact that from small beginnings in anger and temptation come divisions and hatred, by which all love will soon be destroyed.
What a terrible and sorrowful thing it is to see two people who are forced to live together by their oath before God and his joining together of them, but who are divided by bitter hatred and cannot live quietly with one another. And this, can be commonly seen everywhere.
What is the cause of such unhappy marriages? First, that they are unaware of the evil work of the devil, and so they do not pray to God for help and protection from him. Second, they do not realise how much they are helping the devil in his work, by becoming angry, and acting angrily – they shout at and threaten one another, and never give way but insist on their claimed right – time and time again, they will not give way or make peace.
So, if you want to be without this kind of misery, if you want to have a comfortable and happy marriage, learn how to pray to God that he will govern both your heart and that of your spouse by his Holy Spirit, to restrain the devil’s power, by which you may remain happy together the rest of your lives.
And if it should be that you have already fallen into the trap of the devil, if you have become engaged in unfaithfulness, hatred, argument or adultery; then do not despair. It is not too late. Although what you have done is sinful and wicked, yet God is merciful and kind to all those who turn away from their sin. God forgives those who repent and honestly try to live according to his word. If you humbly repent of your sins, then you will be forgiven, because the great punishment you deserve has already been paid for by Jesus Christ in his death on the cross.
I plead with you: do not continue in prideful or stubborn rebellion, do not give place to the devil and his foul temptations; but rather put your faith in Christ, who died for you, and as He said to the woman caught in adultery:
Go, and from now on, sin no more.
Based on the writing of Veit Dietrich and John Jewel