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  • Drs. Ollie & Toni Barnes

Marriage According to God

Before I was married to my best friend and life-long partner, (Dr. Ollie Barnes, III) I was excited about all the planning for our wedding. Looking for the perfect dress, deciding the venue, the menu and the cake for the reception, invitations, the honeymoon and on and on and on. However, other than the few marriage counseling meetings with the Pastor who married us, like many pre-married couples, I was focused on the pre-marital activities, not as much on what the marriage would or could be.

If I could go back to 1991 and have a conversation with the not-yet married Ollie and Toni, I would spend more time learning, discussing, and understanding marriage from God’s perspective. Let me be clear, I believe I had and still have a wonderful marriage for almost 32 years but would love to have walked this walk from the beginning with a more Godly - intellectual perspective. The information below is not new, but simply a reminder that we are blessed to be in marriages, and that in Christ we can anticipate His blessings and favor.

Marriage by God’s terms is:

Mutually beneficial, in Ephesians 4:2 it says that because of our love for each other we are to be patient, allowing for each other’s faults and that we are to be humble and patient with one another.

Assuredly blessed, God says “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” This means God has plans for our marriages to be successful. Jeremiah 29:11

Reverent - in our marriages we should always show deep feelings and respect toward our spouse. Romans 12:10 says be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Real - God tells us that He “will never leave or forsake us” (Hebrews 13:5) regardless of life situations. When we reflect on our marriage vows, we are reminded that for better or for worse; for richer or poorer; and in good times and bad times (in Christ) our love and marriages are sustained.

Intentional - God expects us to be intentional in our relationships. He charges us to love each other as he has loved us with intentionality. John 15:12

Activating our faith. With God our marriages can be strong. In Christ we are chosen and we are blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing. Ephesians 1:3

God created, and no one (family or friends) should be allowed to “desecrate his art by cutting them apart.” Mark 10:9

Everlasting - By God’s authority, and whatsoever God does, it shall be forever. Ecclesiastes 3:14 If we treat our marriages as sacred gifts given by God, we can anticipate that our love and marriages will endure until death do us part.

Many have heard the saying, “when you know better, you do better.” As we have matured, we have been conscientious in seeking God through reading his word and prayer. Thankfully, Ollie and I are aligned in our marriage, and we are tremendously blessed and grateful to God for his grace, mercy, and favor. We subscribe to God’s terms for our marriage, sometimes we miss the mark, but we continue to stand on God’s promises, because we are in for the long haul and know that this is one marriage that is everlasting.

"Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate." Mark 10:9

Drs. Ollie & Toni Barnes

Kalamazoo, Michigan



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