Question:

Hi,

I am extremely thankful for your guidance in my spiritual life. But until we die, we have to keep fighting Satan.

Things could have been gone easily, but they are not. I was brought up in very reserved family. I am not comfortable talking freely to my parents. My parents are planning to get me married, and they have met my boyfriend's parents and are happy with us getting married. But they fear to tell friends, relatives and neighbors that I was the one who found him and they met and have agreed. They fear society and what they would talk about me and all. So they are pretending to get some mediator and portray that they got this marriage arranged through them.

I and my boyfriend never told about our relationship to any of our common Christian friends as I also feared the society talking unwanted things about me and putting my parents down. But still somehow through some people who are no way connected to us knew about our relationship, so they started spreading things that we are involved in an affair. To add spice they added we are living in same city and country, so we are staying in same apartment, which is not true. My brother came to know about such talks and he believed them and not me. He is insisting that I come back to my country as soon as possible. I have no problem going back home now, but I fear them. I have work here and we are planning to settle in this country, so I can't go back until next January 2014.

How do I get out of this situation? Is a love marriage not accepted in Christianity? Why do my parents have to pretend in front of society? Does the Bible allow finding your life partner on your own and not through your parents like Abraham found for Isaac? Just for the society, do we have to change our plans? I don't get what to do that. My boyfriend has financial issues. He still needs at least a year and a half before we get married, but because of all these issues he is trying hard to save as much as he can for our wedding. I am away from my family, and I have to spend a year more. But this issue has given me lots of stress and tension. I keep worrying about what is happening back home. I do talk to them on phone, but it does not stop me from worrying. I just want to know: did I do something wrong by finding my life partner on my own?

Thank you


Answer:

Do not mistake your culture for the teachings of the Bible. The vast majority of the world does not do arranged marriages, so different cultures have different expectations.

In the Bible, finding a mate was done in a variety of ways. Yes, Abraham sent a servant to find a wife for his son. He did this for two reasons: he did not trust the women of Canaan (Genesis 24:2-4) and since God promised Canaan to Abraham's descendants, he did not want to send Isaac away from his inheritance (Genesis 24:6-8). Jacob, Isaac's son, found his own wife and married for love (Genesis 29:30). Ruth had to tell Boaz that she was interested in him (Ruth 3:9-13). There is no one set way to find a mate.

If you and your boyfriend are behaving yourselves, not living together and not involved in sex, then the rumors don't matter. Live your life doing what is right in the eyes of God. "And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. "And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled." But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed" (I Peter 3:13-16).

I've mentioned numerous times to people that a marriage actually isn't hard to accomplish and doesn't cost that much. It is the people involved who make it seemingly impossible by their extra demands on what has to be a part of their wedding. Having a big wedding is nice, but if you can't afford it, then it is foolish to make life difficult for yourself with all the extras that are not required. You and your boyfriend can get married anytime you two decide you want to get married. Some choices will make your family happy and others annoyed. You just do the best you can within the limits of what you have to work with.