by Ellen G. White

Courtship as carried on in this age is a scheme of deception and hypocrisy. It has a bewitching influence upon the minds. I have been shown that had the purposes of many young persons been carried out, there would have been disappointments, estrangements, separation. The enemy of souls has far more to do with match-making than has the Lord, whose property they are. Many youth seem to think that marriage is the attainment of perfect bliss; but if these could see one quarter of the heart-aching letters that I have received from men and women who are bound by the marriage vow in chains that they cannot and dare not break, they would not be surprised that I trace these lines. 18MR 310

God gave only one cause why a wife should leave her husband, or the husband leave his wife, which was adultery. Let this ground be prayerfully considered. Marriage was from the creation, constituted by God, a divine ordinance. The marriage institution was made in Eden. The Sabbath of the fourth commandment was instituted in Eden, when the foundations of the world were laid, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy. Then let this, God's institution of marriage, stand before you as firm as the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. { Letter 8, 1888 }, pp. 1, 2. 1MR 160

He [Satan] is busily engaged in influencing those who are wholly unsuited in each other, to unite their interests. He exults in this work, for by it he can produce more misery and hopeless woe to human family than by exercising his skill in any other direction. 2T 248

In your letter-writing, leave match-making and guessing about the marriages of your friends. The marriage relation is holy, but in this degenerate age it covers vileness of every description. It is abused, and has become a crime which now constitutes one of the signs of the last days, even as marriages, managed as they were previous to the flood, were then a crime. Satan is constantly busy to hurry inexperienced youth into a marriage alliance. But the less we glory in the marriages which are now taking place, the better. When the sacred nature and claims of marriage are understood, it will even now be approved of Heaven, and the result will be happiness to both parties, and God will be glorified. 2T 252

In the battle with inward corruptions and outward temptations, even the wise and powerful Solomon was vanquished. It is not safe to permit the least departure from the strictest integrity. "Abstain from all appearance of evil." When a woman relates her family troubles, or complains of her husband, to another man, she violates her marriage vows; she dishonors her husband and breaks down the wall erected to preserve the sanctity of the marriage relation; she throws wide open the door and invites Satan to enter with his insidious temptations. This is just as Satan would have it. If a woman comes to a Christian brother with a tale of her woes, her disappointments and trials, he should ever advise her, if she must confide her troubles to someone, to select sisters for her confidants, and then there will be no appearance of evil whereby the cause of God may suffer reproach. 2T 306

Those professing to be Christians should not enter the marriage relation until the matter has been carefully and prayerfully considered from an elevated standpoint, to see if God can be glorified by the union. Then they should duly consider the result of every privilege of the marriage relation, and sanctified principle should be the basis of every action. 2T 380

If you, my brother, are allured to unite your life interest with a young, inexperienced girl, who is really deficient in education in the common, practical, daily duties of life, you make a mistake; but this deficiency is small compared with her ignorance in regard to her duty to God. She has not been destitute of light; she has had religious privileges, and yet she has not felt her wretched sinfulness without Christ. If, in your infatuation, you can repeatedly turn from the prayer meeting, where God meets with His people, in order to enjoy the society of one who has no love for God and who sees no attractions in the religious life, how can you expect God to prosper such a union? Be not in haste. Early marriages should not be encouraged. If either young women or young men have no respect for the claims of God, if they fail to heed the claims which bind them to religion, there will be danger that they will not properly regard the claims of the husband or of the wife. The habit of frequently being in the society of the one of your choice, and that, too, at the sacrifice of religious privileges and of your hours of prayer, is dangerous; you sustain a loss that you cannot afford. The habit of sitting up late at night is customary; but it is not pleasing to God, even if you are both Christians. These untimely hours injure health, unfit the mind for the next day's duties, and have an appearance of evil. My brother, I hope you will have self-respect enough to shun this form of courtship. If you have an eye single to the glory of God you will move with deliberate caution. You will not suffer lovesick sentimentalism to so blind your vision that you cannot discern the high claims that God has upon you as a Christian. 3T 44

There is not one marriage in one hundred that results happily, that bears the sanction of God, and places the parties in a position better to glorify him. The evil consequences of poor marriages are numberless. They are contracted from impulse. 4T 504

If you are led by truth rather than error you will be willing to obey your parents and sacredly regard the voice of the church. Your prayers have been made with a determination to carry out what you regarded as right, irrespective of the wishes of your parents or of the church. 5T 108

Many marriages can only be productive of misery, and yet the minds of the youth run in this channel because Satan leads them there, making them believe that they must be married in order to be happy. 5T 122

In this age of the world, as the scenes of earth's history are soon to close and we are about to enter upon the time of trouble such as never was, the fewer the marriages contracted, the better for all, both men and women. Above all, when Satan is working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, let Christians beware of connecting themselves with unbelievers. God has spoken. All who fear Him will submit to His wise injunctions. Our feelings, impulses, and affections must flow heavenward, not earthward, not in the low, base channel of sensual thought and indulgence. It is time now that every soul should stand as in the sight of the heart-searching God. 5T 366

France presented also the characteristics which especially distinguished Sodom. During the Revolution there was manifest a state of moral debasement and corruption similar to that which brought destruction upon the cities of the plain. And the historian presents together the atheism and the licentiousness of France, as given in the prophecy: "Intimately connected with these laws affecting religion, was that which reduced the union of marriage--the most sacred engagement which human beings can form, and the permanence of which leads most strongly to the consolidation of society--to the state of a mere civil contract of a transitory character, which any two persons might engage in and cast loose at pleasure. . . . If fiends had set themselves to work to discover a mode of most effectually destroying whatever is venerable, graceful, or permanent in domestic life, and of obtaining at the same time an assurance that the mischief which it was their object to create should be perpetuated from one generation to another, they could not have invented a more effectual plan that the degradation of marriage. . . . Sophie Arnoult, an actress famous for the witty things she said, described the republican marriage as 'the sacrament of adultery.'"--Scott, vol. 1, ch. 17. GC11 270

He who gave Eve to Adam as a helpmeet performed His first miracle at a marriage festival. In the festal hall where friends and kindred rejoiced together, Christ began His public ministry. Thus He sanctioned marriage, recognizing it as an institution that He Himself had established. . . .

Christ honored the marriage relation by making it also a symbol of the union between Him and His redeemed ones. He Himself is the Bridegroom; the bride is the church, of which, as His chosen one, He says, "Thou art all fair, My love; there is no spot in thee." MH 356

The family tie is the closest, the most tender and sacred, of any on earth. It was designed to be a blessing to mankind. And it is a blessing wherever the marriage covenant is entered into intelligently, in the fear of God, and with due consideration for its responsibilities.

MH 356

In these exciting gatherings, carried away by the glamour and passion of human influence, youth that have been carefully instructed to obey the law of God are led to form attachments for those whose education has been a mistake, and whose religious experience has been a fraud. They sell themselves to life-long bondage. As long as they live, they must be hampered by their union with a cheap, superficial character, one who lives for display, but who has not the precious inward adorning, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price. PH048 15

Examine carefully to see if your married life would be happy, or inharmonious and wretched. Let the questions be raised, Will this union help me heavenward? will it increase my love for God? and will it enlarge my sphere of usefulness in this life? If these reflections present no drawback, then in the fear of God move forward. But even if an engagement has been entered into without a full understanding of the character of the one with whom you intend to unite, do not think that the engagement makes it a positive necessity for you to take upon yourself the marriage vow, and link yourself for life to one whom you cannot love and respect. Be very careful how you enter into conditional engagements; but better, far better, break the engagement before marriage than separate afterward, as many do. PH048 24

The Lord requires a loyalty so supreme and undivided that the most sacred relationship is to be subordinate to it. PH048 26

When a conference selects young men and women, and aids them in obtaining an education for the canvassing field or any other branch of the work, there should be an understanding as to what they propose to do,--whether they design to engage in courtship and marriage, or to labor for the advancement of the cause of truth. It is no use to spend time and money in the education of workers who will fall in love before they complete this education, and who cannot resist the first temptation in the form of an invitation to marriage. In most cases the labor spent on such persons is wholly lost. When they enter the marriage relation, their usefulness in the work of God is at an end. They increase their family, they are dwarfed and crippled in every way, and cannot use the knowledge they have obtained. PH048 27

Before persons are admitted to our mission training-schools, let there be a written agreement that after receiving their education they will give themselves to the work for a specified time. This is the only way our missions can be made what they should be. Let those who connect themselves with the missions be straightforward, and take hold of the work in a business-like manner. Those who are controlled by a sense of duty, who daily seek wisdom and help from God, will act intelligently, not from selfish motives, but from the love of Christ and the truth. Such will not hesitate to give themselves unreservedly, soul, body, and spirit, to the work. They will study, work, and pray for its advancement. I repeat, Do not enter into a marriage engagement unless there are good and sufficient reasons for this step,--unless the work of God can be better advanced thereby. For Christ's sake deny inclination, lift the cross, and do the work for which you are educating yourselves. PH048 28

Many of the marriages contracted in these last days prove to be a mistake. The parties make no advancement in spiritual things; their growth and usefulness ended with their marriage. There are men and women throughout the country who would have been accepted as laborers together with God if Satan had not laid his snares to entangle their minds and hearts in courtship and marriage. Did the Lord urge them to obtain the advantages of our schools and missions that they might sink everything in courtship and marriage, binding themselves by a human band for a lifetime? PH048 28

By accepting the work of rearing children in these last days of uncertainty and peril, many place themselves in a position where they cannot labor either in the canvassing field or in any other branch of the cause of God, and some lose all interest to do this. They are content with a common, low level, and assimilate to the position they have chosen. The bewitching power of Satan's deceptions wrought within the human heart its evil work. Instead of candidly considering the time in which we live, and the work they might do in leading others to the truth, they reason from a selfish standpoint, and follow the impulse of their own unconsecrated hearts. "The flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh." The natural appetites and passions become a controlling power, and the result is that spiritual growth ceases; the soul is, as it were, paralyzed. PH048 29

God Himself gave Adam a companion. He provided "an help meet for him"--a helper corresponding to him--one who was fitted to be his companion, and who could be one with him in love and sympathy. Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self; showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation. "For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it." "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one."

God celebrated the first marriage. Thus the institution has for its originator the Creator of the universe. "Marriage is honourable"; it was one of the first gifts of God to man, and it is one of the two institutions that, after the fall, Adam brought with him beyond the gates of Paradise. When the divine principles are recognized and obeyed in this relation, marriage is a blessing; it guards the purity and happiness of the race, it provides for man's social needs, it elevates the physical, the intellectual, and the moral nature. PP 46

Few have correct views of the marriage relation. Many seem to think that it is the attainment of perfect bliss; but if they could know one quarter of the heart-aches of men and women that are bound by the marriage vow in chains that they cannot and dare not break, they would not be surprised that I trace these lines. marriage, in a majority of cases, is a most galling yoke. There are thousands that are mated but not matched. The books of heaven are burdened with the woes, the wickedness, and the abuse, that lie hidden under the marriage mantle. This is why I would warn the young who are of a marriageable age, to make haste slowly in the choice of a companion. The path of married life may appear beautiful and full of happiness; but why may not you be disappointed as thousands of others have been? RH FEB.02,1886

Examine carefully to see if your married life would be happy, or inharmonious and wretched. Let the questions be raised, Will this union help me heavenward? will it increase my love for God? and will it enlarge my sphere of usefulness in this life? If these reflections present no drawback, then in the fear of God move forward. But even if an engagement has been entered into without a full understanding of the character of the one with whom you intend to unite, do not think that the engagement makes it a positive necessity for you to take upon yourself the marriage vow, and link yourself for life to one whom you cannot love and respect. Be very careful how you enter into conditional engagements; but better, far better, break the engagement before marriage than separate afterward, as many do. RH JAN.26,1886

True love is a plant that needs culture. Let the woman who desires a peaceful, happy union, who would escape future misery and sorrow, inquire before she yields her affections, Has my lover a mother? What is the stamp of her character? Does he recognize his obligations to her? Is he mindful of her wishes and happiness? If he does not respect and honor his mother, will he manifest respect and love, kindness and attention, toward his wife? When the novelty of marriage is over, will he love me still? Will he be patient with my mistakes, or will he be critical, overbearing, and dictatorial? True affection will overlook many mistakes; love will not discern them. The youth trust altogether too much to impulse. RH JAN.26,1886

If there is any subject that should be considered with calm reason and unimpassioned judgment, it is the subject of marriage. If ever the Bible is needed as a counselor, it is before taking a step that binds persons together for life. But the prevailing sentiment is that in this matter the feelings are to be the guide; and in too many cases love-sick sentimentalism takes the helm, and guides to certain ruin. It is here that the youth show less intelligence than on any other subject: it is here that they refuse to be reasoned with. The question of marriage seems to have a bewitching power over them. They do not submit themselves to God. Their senses are enchained, and they move forward in secretiveness, as if fearful that their plans would be interfered with by some one. RH JAN.26,1886

This is an age of profession and pretension. On all sides we see beautiful houses erected, splendidly furnished, adorned with pictures and equipped with everything to delight the eye and gratify the taste. Looking upon outside appearances we might say, Surely here are happy homes. Yet within these mansions lust and evil passions hold sway. Husbands are killing their wives that they may gratify their unholy lust, killing them with neglect, with harshness, with overbearing and self-importance. Those who were once made in the image of God, by indulgence in evil are blotting out every semblance of the divine nature. Not only is evil prevalent in the world, in both the lower and the higher classes, but wickedness is practiced even in the church by those who profess to be worshippers. The names of men are registered on the church records who indulge in card-playing, who visit questionable places of amusement, and frequent gambling hells. Under the semblance of prosperity and peace among the higher classes, there is a state of degradation which is hid from all eyes but God's. In beautiful homes, in elegant mansions, cruelty is practiced such as pen can feebly picture. Yet men and women who are written down as cruel in the books of heaven among this class, presume to sing the praises of God in beautiful hymns and songs. Many preserve the appearance of innocence, while they are planning how to commit theft and practice robbery in their positions of trust. By men and women who appear to delight in religious exercises, who profess to be followers of Christ, whose names are on the church record, there are embezzlements, fraud, licentiousness, adultery, and all kinds of wickedness. At such a time as this the Lord has commanded, "Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand. . . . For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. . . . Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach." RH JUN.05,1894

A sincere Christian will not advance his plans in this direction without the knowledge that God approves his course. He will not want to choose for himself, but will feel that God must choose for him. We are not to please ourselves, for Christ pleased not himself. I would not be understood to mean that any one is to marry one whom he does not love. This would be sin. But fancy and the emotional nature must not be allowed to lead on to ruin. God requires the whole heart, the supreme affections. RH SEP.25,1888

If men and women are in the habit of praying twice a day before they contemplate marriage, they should pray four times a day when such a step is anticipated. Marriage is something that will influence and affect your life, both in this world and in the world to come. RH SEP.25,1888

Love is a plant of heavenly origin. It is not unreasonable; it is not blind. It is pure and holy. But the passion of the natural heart is another thing altogether. While pure love will take God into all its plans, and will be in perfect harmony with the Spirit of God, passion will be headstrong, rash, unreasonable, defiant of all restraint, and will make the object of its choice an idol. In all the deportment of one who possesses true love, the grace of God will be shown. Modesty, simplicity, sincerity, morality, and religion will characterize every step toward an alliance in marriage. Those who are thus controlled will not be absorbed in each other's society, at a loss of interest in the prayer-meeting and the religious service. RH SEP.25,1888

There is in itself no sin in eating and drinking, or in marrying and giving in marriage. It was lawful to marry in the time of Noah, and it is lawful to marry now, if that which is lawful is properly treated, and not carried to sinful excess. But in the days of Noah, men married without consulting God, or seeking his guidance and counsel. So it is at the present day; marriage ceremonies are made matters of display, extravagance, and self-indulgence. But if the contracting parties are agreed in religious belief and practise, and everything is consistent, and the ceremony be conducted without display and extravagance, marriage at this time need not be displeasing to God. "But this I say, brethren, the time is short; it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it; for the fashion of this world passeth away." RH SEP.25,1888

Attachments formed in childhood have often resulted in a very wretched union, or in a disgraceful separation. Early connections, if formed without the consent of parents, have seldom proved happy. The young affections should be restrained until the period arrives when sufficient age and experience will make it honorable and safe to unfetter them. Those who will not be restrained, will be in danger of dragging out an unhappy existence. A youth not out of his teens is a poor judge of the fitness of a person, as young as himself, to be his companion for life. After their judgment has become more matured, they view themselves bound for life to each other, and perhaps not at all calculated to make each other happy. Then, instead of making the best of their lot, recriminations take place, the breach widens, until there is settled indifference and neglect of each other. To them there is nothing sacred in the word home. The very atmosphere is poisoned by unloving words and bitter reproaches. The offspring of such are placed in a much more unfavorable condition than were their parents. With such surroundings, such examples, what could be expected of them if time should continue? Mothers, the great cause of these physical, mental, and moral evils, is secret vice, which inflames the passions, fevers the imagination, and leads to fornication and adultery. This vice is laying waste the constitution of very many, and preparing them for diseases of almost every description. And shall we permit our children to pursue a course of self-destruction? SA 52

The Eden home of our first parents was prepared for them by God Himself. When He had furnished it with everything that man could desire, He said: "Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness." . . .

The Lord was pleased with this last and noblest of all His creatures, and designed that he should be the perfect inhabitant of a perfect world. But it was not His purpose that man should live in solitude. He said: "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." YI AUG.10,1899