Just this week I was approached with the question: "Can a Baptist and an Adventist have a successful marriage relationship?" That question has been around for as long as I can remember. I thought it was dead, but now it shows it's ugly head again. So here's my answer.
Beware of the automatic assumption that if you are an Adventist and don’t marry an Adventist, you’ll be miserable. That’s a bit of a myth. If you marry the person that’s WRONG for you whether Adventist or not, then It’s true, you’ll be miserable. Does a Seventh Day Adventist(SDA) married to a SDA, divorce? The answer is yes, some do. Does a Christian married to a Christian, divorce? Same answer, some do!
What that tells us is, we don't marry because of like religious affiliations, we marry when both parties understand that the most important questions to answer are these:
Both Baptist and Adventist believe in God. The big question is, are you living under the law or are you living under the Blood--The work Jesus did on the cross? Ask yourself what does it take to make you happy? What it boils down to is this, where do you plan to be in eternity and how do you plan to get there? Whether you are Seventh Day Adventist (SDA), Baptist, Catholic, Hindu, whatever, you need to address the questions above for starters and determine your answer.
I believe the biggest mistake any person can make in choosing a partner for marriage is making two statement: He or she is not " one of us" and He or she is "of the world". How prejudice is that? All of us need to put aside our religious prejudices and just live like God intended us to live: loving, respecting, being kind to each other. Love and respect go together. No relationship can thrive without mutual respect for each other. Where there is no respect, there is no love. Respect includes being receptive and honoring your partner's emotions, opinions, life goals, and autonomy (the right or condition of self-government). These are fundamental elements for a lasting, healthy relationship. Respect is the very foundation for creating honesty, trust, friendship, intimacy, and love for your partner.
Another vital aspects of a successful relationship is to have faith in each other and to remain faithful and loyal no matter the circumstance. It doesn't matter if you eat meat or if you don't. Nor does it matter whether you go to a church building on Saturday or Sunday. What does matter is having faith in your partner, believing your partner will always be there for you through the good and challenging times. That's what God does. He's there without regards to color, size, church affiliation, or the amount of your bank account. He loves in spite of our sinful nature, which is why He sent his only Son to pay the price for our sins.
Marriage is a commitment to another without imposing "if" expectations... "if you do this and that, than I will do this, and that!" Marriage partners should want to complement each other. Even singles planning to marry, should be striving to complement each other. When you complement each other, you fill in and undergird what the other person lacks. You build each other up, not tear each other down.
There is no "boss" in a successful, lasting marriage. Just two people doing everything they can to bring joy to each other in a godly manner. That's what it mean when "two become one". Your common religious affiliation will not make your marriage last. Two married SDA's and two married Baptists, have divorced. Yet, I heard of a SDA and a Hindu that were happily married for 50 years.
God's Word tells us repeatedly about four words: CHARITY, LOVE, HOPE, AND FAITH. Let me define the four in relationship to marriage:
CHARITY means walking in when your spouse seems to be walking out.
LOVE is giving to your spouse the very best you have at times when (s)he gives you the worst (s)he has.
HOPE is hanging on to God's principles in the midst of tragedy and disappointment.
FAITH is rising above all that seems against you, when you would rather just hide beneath.
The greatest of these is LOVE!
As I close, let's think about the real meaning of being equally yoked. Beware of using your religion to control another person. I believe God completes our counterpoints. Counterpoint is the combination of two or more independent melodies into a single harmonic texture, in which each retains its distinctiveness. That's what marriage should be like. Can we just love one another with all our imperfections and differences while still retaining individual distinctiveness? God does. Are we better than He is? Think about it!
"To God Be All The Gory!"
Elaine J. Jones