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We have been talking about three potential sources of conflict in any marriage(Finance, Sex and Faith). Today we are on the issue of faith or spirituality in marriage. Let me reiterate that these sources of conflict are also potential sources of joy and peace in the marriage if they are managed well.

By faith here I simply mean spirituality and belief systems. The reason why this can be a source of conflict in marriage is that faith issues are matters of the heart. People will be prepared to die even for what they believe

In the first place Christians are not supposed to marry unbelievers. The Bible says we should not be unequally yoked with them. That one is because there is a world of difference between a believer and an unbeliever.

2 Corinthians 6:14
“Be all of you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness?”(NKJV).

The above scripture is talking about unbelievers and believers. But my point really is about two believers. In Christianity there are many doctrinal biases and emphasis. These doctrinal differences are very serious. In Church history they have even led to wars and fights among Christians sometimes leading even to death.

Even though we are all following Christ, we can have doctrinal persuasions that are almost like irreconcilable. Take the case of an Adventist and a charismatic Christian. If each really wants to carry out the tenets of their Churches, it can easily be a source of tension in the marriage.

There are other milder scenarios that we can look at. For instance a Pentecostal or Charismatic Christian marrying an orthodox believer. These days bridges have been built by God Himself between denominations. Yet there are still issues arising out of differences.

If you are a lady, it is likely you will follow your husband to his church as the custom has been. But there is no hard and fast rule. The husband can also join the lady in her church if he is so led. I believe the couple should be under one spiritual covering. It will do well for your marriage if you and your spouse have one church, one spiritual leader or counselor. Therefore it is advisable that you marry somebody who has the same doctrinal persuasion as you. That will help your marriage. And your children too will have a smooth journey in their faith walk.

But when we are mature in the faith we will realize that what brings us together as Christians are more than what divides us. Therefore we must accept people as our Christian brothers and sisters on the basis of their belief in the essential doctrines of the faith. The essential doctrines are the doctrines that lead one into salvation. They are the belief in the virgin birth of Christ, the fact that he came in the flesh, that he died, was buried and rose from the dead on the third day, the fact that he is coming again literally. These are the essential doctrines. All other doctrines are not essential to our eternal salvation.

My general admonition in these matters is this. As to the essential doctrines there must be unity. To the non essential doctrines there must be liberty and in all things there must be charity.

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