UB David + I'll B Jonathan, Inc.

under a special agreement with

this lesson is written by The Mailbox Club International

Understanding True Love series





Life-saving information about 10 carefully concealed traps which can keep you from ever having a beautiful marriage and a happy home.

UB David + I'll B Jonathan, Inc.

under a special agreement with

The Mailbox Club presents

Understanding True Love

Lesson 12: 10 Pitfalls and how to avoid them

10 Pitfalls and how to avoid them

Most young people spend considerable time daydreaming about getting married some day and having a happy home. But the road that leads to a happy, successful marriage has many “pitfalls” along the way.

A “pitfall” is a carefully concealed trap. On the surface, it looks harmless, but when you walk on it, you fall into a deep pit.

Satan is an expert at building “pitfalls.” His carefully concealed traps look innocent enough, but they are deadly. Some of these “pitfalls” can keep you from ever having a beautiful marriage and a happy home. Let us consider ten of them.

Pitfall #1: Living for the moment

Pitfall #1: Living for the moment

The “live for the moment” philosophy is everywhere! We are bombarded with the idea: “You only go through life once, so grab all the pleasure you can!”

Satan has always tried to promote the idea of living for the moment because it causes people to do things they would never do if they considered the future. A nineteen-year-old girl with two illegitimate children said, “When you are young, all you think about is the weekend.”

But life is more than a weekend. It is the rest of your life here, and forever in the next world. If you reject Christ and end up in hell, you are not there for the weekend. It is forever!

Avoid this pitfall:

Recognize the seriousness and sacredness of life. What you do now affects both this life and your life hereafter.

Pitfall #2: living for good feelings

Pitfall #2: Living for good feelings

The slogan, “If it feels good, do it,” expresses another philosophy which has permeated our society. The whole drug scene is based on the idea: “Get a good feeling now, no matter what happens later.”

Some people who should know better think that almost anything is all right if it gives them a good feeling. There is even a song which promotes this idea with the line: “It can’t be wrong when it feels so right.”

Do not believe this lie! Just because something gives you a good feeling does not mean that it is right. You might get a good feeling out of stealing a new car and riding around in it, but that would not make it right.

Avoid this pitfall:

Do not let your feelings control your actions.

Pitfall #3: Sexual immorality

Pitfall #3: Sexual immorality

It is easy for young people to fall into the pitfall of sexual immorality. Many are involved in sexual sin, and they seem to be getting away with it. But no one can violate God’s moral laws without sooner or later paying a terrible price. A single act of immorality can have tragic consequences.

A young man, the son of Christian parents, had sexual relations with an immoral girl. From this one-time sexual relationship, he contracted a sexually transmitted disease. He received medical attention, but the disease was not brought under control. In less than a year, he was dead.

Avoid this pitfall:

Keep yourself pure. Immorality is not worth what it costs you.

Pitfall #4: Teen marriage

Pitfall #4: Teen marriage

Those who marry in their teens are asking for trouble. Teen marriages are twice as likely to end in divorce as those of couples who were in their twenties when they married. The odds are even worse when the bride is under eighteen.

marry in their teens

There are at least two major disadvantages to teen marriages. First of all, if you try to choose your marriage partner while you are still in your teens, you will probably make a wrong choice.

Secondly, most teens are not mature enough to handle marriage. It requires large amounts of unselfish, caring love to make a marriage work, and it takes a lot of “growing up” before a person has that kind of love.

Avoid this pitfall:

Take your time about getting married—lots of time. Do not marry too young!

Pitfall #5: Marrying to escape the problems of being single

Pitfall #5: Marrying to escape the problems of being single

fear of missing the last chance for marriage

Girls need to get over the idea that the chief end of life is marriage. The fear of missing the last chance for marriage causes many girls to ignore their better judgment and jump into a disastrous marriage. A girl may see a number of warning flags, but she thinks, “It probably will not be the best marriage in the world, but what could be worse than living alone?”

The answer to this is: A bad marriage is much worse than living alone. Many women could tell you that a bad marriage is one of the most miserable experiences that anyone can have on this earth. It is filled with hatred, rejection, resentment and hurt feelings. Children are the innocent victims of such a marriage.

Avoid this pitfall:

Learn to be happy and satisfied while you are single, and you will not feel pressured to rush into an unwise marriage.

Pitfall #6: Marrying with the expectation of changing the other person

Pitfall #6: Marrying with the expectation of changing the other person

Sky-diver accident

Marrying someone with the expectation of changing him or her is about like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. The chances of a safe landing are about the same in both cases.

As risky as it is, many girls are still willing to gamble on their future happiness by marrying a fellow in the hope of changing him. A girl may argue with herself, “I know he drinks too much and chases other girls, but I think he will change after we are married.”

This is wishful thinking and it is 100% wrong. You do not change a person’s basic nature by marrying him. If there are problems before marriage, they will likely be much worse after marriage.

Avoid this pitfall:

Do not expect to change someone after marriage. What you see is what you get!

Pitfall #7: Trying out sex before marriage

Pitfall #7: Trying out sex before marriage

Trying out sex before marriage is often presented as a very reasonable course of action. A guy will say, “You wouldn’t buy a used car without driving it around first, so why marry without trying out sex!”

Marrying someone cannot be compared to buying a used car. A woman is not to be thought of as a piece of merchandise to be “tried out,” but a life partner to be loved and cherished. She is precious and priceless in God’s sight, and she should be the same in your sight. Remember, you are looking for a life partner, not just a sex partner.

Furthermore, a before-marriage test of sex is NOT a valid sample of what sex will be like within the marriage.

Avoid this pitfall:

Do not accept the foolish “try out sex before marriage” idea. If you have real love going for you, you do not need to worry about your sex life being good. It will be!

Pitfall #8: Living together

Pitfall #8: Living together

Living together without being married has become popular among many people, but it is a sinful lifestyle which God can never bless.

Men usually like the “living together” arrangement, but women say, “Sometimes I get the feeling that I am being used.” They put up with it because they are looking forward to getting married, but their hopes are often disappointed. The men usually reason, “Why should I marry her when I am getting all the benefits of marriage without the responsibilities? Besides, I may want a change some day and it will be much easier this way.”

That is pure selfishness! Even if a woman manages to get such a man to marry her, she will not have much of a marriage.

The false idea that marriage thrives best when it is on a “come and go as you please” basis is expressed by the popular song entitled, “Gentle on My Mind.” In this song, the man says that it was not the “ink-stained signatures on some old marriage certificate” that kept him coming to his lover’s home. It was knowing that he could leave anytime he wanted to. It was his freedom to come and go as he pleased that kept her “gentle on his mind.”

How foolish! And how selfish! He does not say anything about the woman and how she feels watching him come and go “as he pleases.” And the song says nothing about who pays the bills in such a home, nor does it take into account the little children who may be born to such relationship—children who would always be wondering, “Where is Daddy? When is he coming home?”

A successful marriage and a happy home are based on unselfish love and commitment between husband and wife. You will never have such a home with the “come and go as you please” arrangement of living together.

Avoid this pitfall:

Do not accept a cheap, sinful “play-marriage” which God will never bless.

Pitfall #9: Christians marrying non-Christians

Pitfall #9: Christians marrying non-Christians

In His Word, God commands believers not to marry unbelievers. The Bible says, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers…” (2 Corinthians 6:14). Many Christians are bound in miserable, unhappy marriages because they disobeyed this plain command of the Lord.

Christians who are contemplating marriage to unbelievers usually feel that somehow their particular situation is different and that this command does not apply to them. But God’s Word plainly says that Christians are not to be yoked together with unbelievers.

oxen yoked together

A yoke is a device used to join together two work animals for a common purpose, such as pulling a plow. Thus, to be “yoked together” with another person means to be united or joined with that person for a common purpose.

When a Christian marries a non-Christian, he or she is “unequally yoked together” with an unbeliever. This is never God’s will. You should settle this in your mind, once for all: It is never God’s will for a Christian to marry an unsaved person.

God has good reasons for telling His children that they must not marry unbelievers. God’s ultimate goal for two people in marriage is to achieve oneness. Jesus said, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they two shall be one flesh.” Complete oneness in body, soul, and spirit can never be achieved when one marriage partner is a believer and the other a nonbeliever.

God does not say, “Do not marry an unbeliever because you cannot fall in love with an unbeliever.” You can fall in love with an unbeliever.

God does not say, “Do not marry an unbeliever because you cannot enjoy sex with an unbeliever.” You can enjoy sex with an unbeliever.

God says, “Do not marry an unbeliever because you can never achieve complete oneness with an unbeliever.”

Marriage is the most intimate of all human relationships and there is no way a believer can have the perfect and complete oneness with an unbeliever. In His Word, God gives five reasons why a believer should never marry an unbeliever (2 Corinthians 6:14-16):

1. "What fellowship [oneness] has righteousness with unrighteousness?”

The answer is: None. The believer is righteous in God’s sight because he has taken Christ as his Savior and he is clothed in Christ’s righteousness. The unbeliever is unrighteous in God’s sight because he is rejecting Christ. Therefore, there can be no oneness between them.

2. “What communion [oneness] has light with darkness?”

he has come into God’s marvelous light

The answer is: None at all! There can never be any “oneness” between light and darkness.

The believer was once in spiritual darkness, but he has come into God’s marvelous light. The unbeliever is still in spiritual darkness and, unless he comes to Christ, his future is eternal darkness. Just as there can be no oneness between light and darkness, so there can be no real oneness between a believer and an unbeliever.

3. “What concord [oneness] has Christ with Belial [Satan]?”

Again the answer is: None whatsoever. There can never be oneness between Christ and Satan. And there can never be real oneness between a believer whose spiritual father is God and an unbeliever whose spiritual father is Satan.

4. “What part [oneness] has he that believes with an infidel [unbeliever]?”

The answer is: None. The Christian’s interest is God, in His work, and in the glorious future that awaits him in Heaven. The unbeliever’s interest is in this world and the things of this world. There can be no real oneness between them.

5. “What agreement [oneness] has the temple of God with idols?”

Again, the answer is: None. The Christian’s body is called “the temple of God” because God dwells in him and he worships God. The unbeliever’s body is called “a temple of idols” because he puts other things ahead of God in his life. Just as there can be no oneness between God and idols, so there can be no true oneness between a believer and an unbeliever.

When you come right down to it, someone who loves Jesus just does not have enough in common with someone who does not love Him. You may enjoy doing some things together, but when it comes to the things that really matter, you will be far, far apart.

Sometimes, in order to get a Christian girl to marry him, a fellow may make a “commitment” to Christ. He starts going to church with his girl because he sees that it makes her happy. He may even be baptized and join the church. But unless he is genuinely born again, his “commitment” will not last. Once they are married, she will discover that he has not really changed at all.

Jesus said that we can distinguish between real Christians and false Christians by observing the fruit of their lives. He said, “By their fruit you shall know them.” This means if a person is truly born again, there will be evidence of this in his life, in the things he says and the things he does.

Before considering marrying a fellow, a girl should ask: Is he a sincere lover of God? Can I clearly see the evidence of genuine faith in his life? Does he have the kind of fruit in his life that a real Christian should have? Is he a committed Christian?

The tragedy is that most young people do not take time to ask such questions. They do not have the patience to carefully examine the fruit.

If you make the mistake of marrying an unbeliever, you cannot say, “I made a mistake so I’ll get a divorce.” It does not work that way. Marriage is for life. If your unbelieving mate is willing to remain with you, you must stay with him or her no matter how difficult it may be. (See 1 Corinthians 7:10-15.)

Avoid this pitfall:

Determine that you will never, under any circumstances, marry an unbeliever. Deliberately disobeying God will bring serious consequences.

Pitfall #10: Believers dating unbelievers

Pitfall #10: Believers dating unbelievers

Christian young people should not date unbelievers because dating often leads to engagement and marriage. If you do not date unbelievers, you will not marry one.

You may not realize it but Satan is quite a matchmaker. He loves to mess up the lives of Christian young people by getting them married to the wrong persons. He does this by encouraging them to date non-Christians.

Most Christian young people do not see anything wrong with dating non-Christians. But remember, a pitfall is a concealed trap. You do not see the danger of it until you fall into it, and then it is too late.

An older man of God heard that a Christian girl was going with an unbeliever and considering marrying him. He asked her if what he had heard was true. When she admitted that it was, he replied, “Remember this, if you marry that man you will be joined together for life with one who is a child of the devil, and for the rest of your days you will have Satan for your father-in-law.”

Pastors by the thousands spend much of their time counseling Christian young people who have become emotionally involved with unbelievers through dating them. Invariably these young people lament, “I didn’t intend getting so involved. Now I can’t give him (or her) up!”

they make the tragic mistake of marrying an unbeliever

Many do not give them up. Instead, they make the tragic mistake of marrying an unbeliever. There is virtually no sadder situation than that of one who loves the Lord and wants to serve Him being married to someone who cares nothing about spiritual things.

The Christian who says “I have no intention of marrying an unbeliever, but I think it’s all right to date one” is overlooking the fact that every such date has the potential of a disastrous lifelong relationship. Someone has well said, “Any Christian foolish enough to date an unbeliever is foolish enough to marry one.”

Even if the dating does not lead to marriage, it causes problems. Spending time with the wrong person is opening yourself up to an emotional involvement that will not be easy to get out of. Once you have given your heart and emotions to someone, it is difficult to take them back, even when you know you should.

Avoid this pitfall:

Do not date non-Christians. If you do not date unbelievers, you will not marry one.

Break Wrong Relationships...NOW!

If God has shown you that you are now involved in a wrong relationship, do not go around asking your friends what you should do. You do not need to go to your pastor to ask him. You do not even need to pray and ask God to give you “wisdom” to know what you should do. You just need to obey what God has shown you. Break that relationship…NOW! One day you will be glad you did!

9 Known Facts...concerning premarital sex and marriage

FACT No. 1

Couples who engage in premarital sex are more likely to break up before marriage than those who do not.

The young woman who is considering giving in to her boyfriend to keep him would be more likely to keep him if she did not give in.

FACT No. 2

Many men do not want to marry a woman who has had sex with someone else.

Since this is true, being a virgin will greatly enhance your chances of being chosen for a mate.

FACT No. 3

Virgins tend to have happier marriages than non-virgins.

Your chances of being happily married are definitely better if you wait until you are married to have sex.

FACT No. 4

Those who have sex before marriage are more likely to split up or be divorced after marriage.

The more premarital sex the individuals have had, the greater the chance of divorce.

FACT No. 5

Non-virgins are more likely to commit adultery after they are married than virgins.

Again, the more premarital sex the individual has had, the more likely he or she is to commit adultery.

FACT No. 6

Non-virgins are more likely to be fooled into marrying the wrong person than virgins.

Sex can blind you. You may think that you have found real love, when in fact it is only sex which has held you together.

FACT No. 7

Persons with premarital sex experience are less likely to be satisfied with their total sex life after marriage.

FACT No. 8

Having sex before marriage can push you into a poor marriage.

Often a couple becomes serious and think that they will marry, so they have sex. Later, they have misgivings about marriage but may feel duty–bound to marry anyway because they have had sex. Their guilt pushes them into a poor marriage.

FACT No. 9

Having sex before marriage tends to spoil sex after marriage.

The guilt, fear and loss of self–esteem associated with sex before marriage will carry over and tend to spoil the sex life of the couple after marriage.

From Sex, Love, or Infatuation: How can I really know? by Dr. Ray Short. © Augsburg Publishing House, pages 83-93.


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