STUDY ARTICLE 46
Newly Married Couples—Build Your Life Around Serving Jehovah
“Jehovah is my strength . . . In him my heart trusts.”—PS. 28:7.
SONG 131 “What God Has Yoked Together”
1-2. (a) Why should newly married couples trust in Jehovah? (Psalm 37:3, 4) (b) What will we consider in this article?
ARE you about to get married, or are you newly married? If so, no doubt you look forward to enjoying life with the person you love so deeply. Of course, marriage has its challenges, and there are important decisions to make. The way you approach those challenges and decisions will affect your happiness as a couple for years to come. If you rely on Jehovah, you will make wise decisions, your marriage will grow stronger, and you will be happier. If you fail to take into account God’s thinking, you will likely encounter problems that will put a strain on your marriage, leading to unhappiness.—Read Psalm 37:3, 4.
2 Although this article is directed to newly married couples, it will discuss challenges that all married couples might face. It will highlight what we can learn from the examples set by some faithful men and women of the Bible. These Bible examples teach us lessons that we can apply in various areas of life, including marriage. We will also see what we can learn from the experiences of some modern-day couples.
WHAT CHALLENGES MIGHT NEWLY MARRIED COUPLES FACE?
3-4. What challenges might newly married couples face?
3 Some people may encourage a newly married couple to live a so-called normal life. For example, parents and other relatives might pressure a couple to start having children as soon as possible. Or well-meaning friends and family members might urge newlyweds to buy a house and fill it with nice things.
4 If not careful, a couple might make decisions that cause them to incur burdensome debts. Then, both husband and wife will likely have to work long hours in order to pay off those debts. Secular work could begin to cut into the time that should be spent in personal Bible study, family worship, and the ministry. The couple may even miss meetings to work overtime in order to earn extra money or to ensure that they can keep their jobs. As a result, they miss out on exciting opportunities to expand their service to Jehovah.
5. What do you learn from the example of Klaus and Marisa?
5 Experience shows that focusing our life on gaining material things does not lead to happiness. Consider what a couple named Klaus and Marisa learned in this regard.b At the start of their married life, they both worked full-time so that they could live comfortably. Deep down, however, they did not feel satisfied. Klaus admits: “We had more than we needed materially, but spiritually we had no goals. To be honest, life was complicated and stressful.” Perhaps you too have noticed that focusing on gaining material things has not brought you satisfaction. If so, do not be discouraged. Considering the good examples of others can help you in this regard. First, let us consider what husbands can learn from the example set by King Jehoshaphat.
LIKE KING JEHOSHAPHAT, TRUST IN JEHOVAH
6. In harmony with the counsel recorded at Proverbs 3:5, 6, how did King Jehoshaphat meet a serious challenge?
6 Husbands, do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities? If so, you can benefit from King Jehoshaphat’s example. As king, Jehoshaphat was responsible for the welfare of the entire nation! How did he handle that extraordinary responsibility? Jehoshaphat did what he could to protect those under his care. He fortified the cities of Judah and assembled a mighty force of more than 1,160,000 soldiers. (2 Chron. 17:12-19) Later, Jehoshaphat was confronted with a serious challenge. A large army of Ammonites, Moabites, and men of the mountainous region of Seir threatened him, his family, and his people. (2 Chron. 20:1, 2) What did Jehoshaphat do? He looked to Jehovah for help and strength. This was in harmony with the wise counsel found at Proverbs 3:5, 6. (Read.) Jehoshaphat’s humble prayer, recorded at 2 Chronicles 20:5-12, reveals just how much he trusted in his loving heavenly Father. How did Jehovah respond to Jehoshaphat’s prayer?
7. How did Jehovah respond to Jehoshaphat’s prayer?
7 Jehovah spoke to Jehoshaphat by means of a Levite named Jahaziel. Jehovah said: “Take your position, stand still, and see the salvation of Jehovah in your behalf.” (2 Chron. 20:13-17) That certainly is not the usual way to fight a battle! However, those instructions were not from a human source; they came from Jehovah. With full trust in his God, Jehoshaphat did as he was told. When he and the people went out to meet the enemy, he placed at the front of his troops, not the most skilled soldiers, but the unarmed singers. Jehovah did not let Jehoshaphat down; He defeated the enemy army.—2 Chron. 20:18-23.
8. What can husbands learn from Jehoshaphat’s example?
8 Husbands, you can learn from Jehoshaphat’s example. You are responsible for the welfare of your family, so you work hard to protect and support your family. When you face challenges, you may feel that you have the resources to handle the problem on your own. However, resist the inclination to rely on your own strength. Instead, pray privately for Jehovah’s help. In addition, pray fervently with your wife. Seek direction from Jehovah by studying the Bible and publications provided by God’s organization, and apply the counsel you find. Others might not agree with the Bible-based decisions you make, and they might even tell you that you are being foolish. They might say that money and the things it can buy will provide the best protection for your family. But remember the example of Jehoshaphat. He trusted in Jehovah and proved it by his actions. Jehovah did not abandon that loyal man, and he will not abandon you. (Ps. 37:28; Heb. 13:5) What can couples do to ensure that they have a rewarding life together?
LIKE THE PROPHET ISAIAH AND HIS WIFE, BUILD YOUR LIFE AROUND SERVING JEHOVAH
9. What can be said about the prophet Isaiah and his wife?
9 The prophet Isaiah and his wife centered their life on serving Jehovah. Isaiah was a prophet, and it may well be that his wife had her own prophetic assignments, since she is called “the prophetess.” (Isa. 8:1-4) As a couple, Isaiah and his wife were evidently focused on their worship of Jehovah. What an excellent example they set for married couples today!
10. How can studying Bible prophecy help married couples be determined to do as much as possible for Jehovah?
10 Married couples today can build their life around serving Jehovah by doing all they can in his service. They can reinforce their trust in Jehovah by studying Bible prophecy together and seeing how it always comes true.c (Titus 1:2) They can reflect on the share they can have in the fulfillment of certain Bible prophecies. For example, they can have a part in fulfilling Jesus’ prophecy that the good news will be preached in all the earth before the end comes. (Matt. 24:14) The more a couple are certain that Bible prophecy is coming true, the greater will be their determination to do as much as possible for Jehovah.
LIKE PRISCILLA AND AQUILA, PUT KINGDOM INTERESTS FIRST
11. What were Priscilla and Aquila able to do, and why?
11 Young married couples can learn from Priscilla and Aquila, a Jewish couple who lived in the city of Rome. They had heard the good news about Jesus and had become Christians. No doubt, they were satisfied with their circumstances. However, life took an unexpected turn for them when Emperor Claudius ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Consider what that meant for Aquila and Priscilla. They would have to leave familiar surroundings, set up a new home, and establish their tentmaking business in a new location. Would this disruption to their life cause them to push Kingdom interests into the background? You likely know the answer to that question. In their new home in Corinth, Aquila and Priscilla got involved with the local congregation and worked along with the apostle Paul to strengthen the brothers there. Later, they moved to other towns where there was a greater need for preachers. (Acts 18:18-21; Rom. 16:3-5) What a rich and rewarding life they must have enjoyed together!
12. Why should a married couple set spiritual goals?
12 Modern-day couples can imitate Priscilla and Aquila by putting Kingdom interests first. The best time for a couple to talk about their goals in life is while they are courting. When a couple make decisions together and strive to reach common spiritual goals, they have more opportunities to see Jehovah’s spirit at work in their life. (Eccl. 4:9, 12) Consider the experience of Russell and Elizabeth. Russell says, “During courtship, we specifically discussed our spiritual goals.” Elizabeth says, “We had that discussion so that later when faced with various decisions, we would make sure that our choices would not prevent us from reaching those goals.” The circumstances of Russell and Elizabeth allowed them to move to Micronesia to serve where the need for publishers was greater.
13. According to Psalm 28:7, what will be the outcome when we trust in Jehovah?
13 Like Russell and Elizabeth, many couples have made the decision to devote as much time as possible to the preaching and teaching work by keeping free from other commitments. When a couple set worthwhile goals in Jehovah’s service and then work together to achieve them, much good will result. They will see how Jehovah cares for them, their trust in him will grow, and they will become genuinely happy.—Read Psalm 28:7.
LIKE THE APOSTLE PETER AND HIS WIFE, TRUST JEHOVAH’S PROMISES
14. How did the apostle Peter and his wife show that they trusted the promise found at Matthew 6:25, 31-34?
14 Married couples can also learn from the example set by the apostle Peter and his wife. About six months to a year after his first encounter with Jesus, the apostle Peter had to make an important decision. Peter made his living in the fishing business. So when Jesus invited Peter to follow him full-time, Peter had to take into account his family situation. (Luke 5:1-11) Peter chose to accompany Jesus in his preaching activity. He chose wisely! And we have good reason to conclude that Peter’s wife supported his decision. The Bible indicates that after Jesus’ resurrection, she traveled with Peter for at least some of the time. (1 Cor. 9:5) Undoubtedly, her example as a Christian wife gave Peter freeness of speech to record inspired counsel for Christian husbands and wives. (1 Pet. 3:1-7) Obviously, both Peter and his wife trusted Jehovah’s promise that He would provide for them if they put the Kingdom first in their life.—Read Matthew 6:25, 31-34.
15. What do you learn from the experience of Tiago and Esther?
15 If you have been married for a few years now, how can you continue to cultivate the desire to expand your ministry? One way is by taking note of the experiences of other couples. For instance, you could read the series “They Offered Themselves Willingly.” Such articles helped Tiago and Esther, a married couple from Brazil, to develop a strong desire to serve where the need is greater. Tiago explains: “As we read experiences of how Jehovah helped his servants in modern times, we too wanted to feel Jehovah’s hand guiding us and caring for us.” They eventually moved to Paraguay, where they have been serving in the Portuguese field since 2014. Esther says: “One text that we both love very much is Ephesians 3:20. Time and again, we have seen those words come true in our service to Jehovah.” In that letter to the Ephesians, Paul promised that Jehovah would provide much more than what we ask for. How true that promise is!
16. Whose advice can young couples seek when assessing their goals in life?
16 Young couples today can benefit from the experience of others who have learned to rely on Jehovah. Some couples may have spent decades serving in the full-time ministry. Why not seek their advice if you feel the need to assess your goals? This is another way to show that you are trusting in Jehovah. (Prov. 22:17, 19) Elders too can help young married couples set and reach spiritual goals.
17. What happened to Klaus and Marisa, and what do we learn from their experience?
17 At times, though, our decision to expand our service may not turn out as we expected. Take the example of Klaus and Marisa, mentioned at the outset. After being married for three years, they moved away from their home and volunteered to do construction work at the Finland branch. However, they learned that they would not be allowed to stay there for more than six months. At first, they felt disappointed. But as things turned out, they were soon invited to attend an Arabic language course, and they are now happily serving in the Arabic-speaking field in another country. In retrospect, Marisa admits: “It is scary to step out of your comfort zone and trust in Jehovah completely. But I have seen how Jehovah has always helped us in unexpected ways. After experiencing this, my trust in Jehovah has grown stronger.” As this example shows, you can be certain that Jehovah will always reward you if you trust in him completely.
18. What can married couples do to keep trusting in Jehovah?
18 Marriage is a gift from Jehovah. (Matt. 19:5, 6) He wants married couples to enjoy that gift. (Prov. 5:18) Young couples, why not examine how you are spending your life? Are you doing all you can to show Jehovah how much you appreciate the gifts he has given you? Talk to Jehovah in prayer. Search his Word for principles that apply to your situation. Then heed the advice that Jehovah gives you. You can be certain that you will have a happy and rewarding life if you build your marriage around serving Jehovah!
SONG 132 Now We Are One
a Some decisions we make can affect the amount of time and energy we have available to serve Jehovah. Newly married couples in particular face decisions that can have a long-term impact on their life. This article will help them make wise decisions that lead to a happy, meaningful life.
b Some names have been changed.
c As an example, consider the lessons found in chapters 6, 7, and 19 of the book Pure Worship of Jehovah—Restored At Last!