(Photo by Stevi Phipps)
Purity in Marriage
By Michelle Ochen
How many times have you heard the word purity? Probably not. It’s definition has somehow become connected to refraining from inappropriate behavior with another outside of marriage, with an emphasis on sexual encounters. Yet, with such an outward interpretation the real meaning of purity is lost. If it had to do with sexual purity then how could one remain pure after marriage? Purity is not a calling for the single lady alone, but for all women. Purity is not a boundary for “do’s” and “dont’s” in conduct, but an outflow of a heart seeking to be unspotted or blemished by anything unworthy. A pure heart will naturally choose proper conduct not because of force but from outflow. A pure heart is unwilling to compromise.
Look around and you will see a world with no understanding of purity. Lurking around every corner, reaching out to allure and pull you in—impurities surround us. How then is one to remain pure when so much impurity comes across our path? Let’s take a look at purity in the area of marriage.
Certainly it is beautiful and pleasing to the Lord when two people keep themselves for one another and make it to the marriage alter “pure” as the term goes; however, that alone does not make the couple immune from the impurities that will invade their marriage. When two people marry, we get distracted by the pretty dress and snazzy tuxedo and forget that upon the alter are two sinners in love. I’ll say it again, two sinners, vowing to one another. Sin will inevitably find itself in our marriage because of the fallen world we live in and our fleshly natures, the difference between a pure life and an impure life lies in our heart’s posture and handling of the impurities that surround us.
David pens in Psalm 119:37, “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way. ” Aware of the way his eyes could stray, his request expresses that his heart was set on purity. Secondly, he understood that he had to train his eyes to follow the desires of his heart.
Purity is a choice. It does not flow naturally. It is a daily discernment of better and best. When you choose an outfit, you discern if it defines purity, when you make a joke, discern if it defines purity of lips undefiled by the world. In conduct, in speech, in wardrobe, in appearances, choosing the best option over the better.
Understanding that impurities will plague a marriage, what can one do to prepare? We must choose to pursue purity despite the attempts of spots and blemishes to turn to stains. Many of the impurities this world offers can cause much harm to a marriage, these hurts can turn into stains and scars if our hearts are not pursuing to restore purity. Scripture says that we are not to be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good. In the same way, we are not to be overcome by impurities but to overcome them with purity (Romans 12:21). We are told that there is a blessing in store for the pure in heart. Matthew 5 tells us that they will see God. Take notice to the wording, “the pure in heart.” It is inevitable that impurities will find their way into our lives, you may even willingly welcome them in times of weakness and sin, but God is looking for those whose hearts are set on purity, those who quickly repent when they go down wrong paths, those who understand their weaknesses and His great strength.
So, how does one pursue purity in marriage? I believe it is by having a heart that pursues purity at all expenses. A heart that conquers impurities by showing grace and covering the wrongs of another. A heart that seeks the pure thoughts over condemning and negative. A heart that seeks to define purity in responses and actions. Two sinners in love means two people in need of giving out and receiving grace. Two people who will fall short and need to exchange forgiveness. Two people open and transparent about their struggles. Two people striving after purity in heart, to see God in their lives upon this impure world and then to see Him in perfection face to face.