Education and Marriage Part 2
Education is just knowledge you acquire to be able to practice a certain profession–it is nothing more and nothing less. It does not make you godlier, it does not make you love the Lord or others more, it does not make you more understanding or forgiving—it simply does not change your character to be more like Christ. The Holy Spirit is the only person who can change your character to the likeness of Christ’s character. He may use your education experience as a tool to change you, but education itself had not changed you—the Holy Spirit did.
Education does not even have an eternal value unless you use it to glorify God. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Of course, you cannot choose a career that is by definition dishonouring the Lord by breaking His laws, and then dedicate it to glorify Him—it just does not work this way. And you could have a position that the whole world admires, and you acquired it though many years of difficult studies and hard work, but if it is dishonouring to the Lord then everything you have done is vain.
That is why education is not even on the list of things I am looking for in my future wife. The education that interests me is her knowledge of the Word of God, her relationship with the Lord, and her obedience to Him. Do you know what I learned in the last 13 years or so of being a Christian? Christianity is not so much about godly knowledge as much as godly attitude. You could know all the laws of the Bible and have a spiritual understanding of all Biblical teachings, but if your attitude is wrong then you are useless to God. But if you know no more than say three Biblical principles and you have the right submissive attitude towards God’s lordship then He can do so much through you.
I used to think that having comparable education level between the husband and wife is important for them to be compatible in thinking, but as I matured in my faith I realized the only thinking that matters is our views of God’s Word and our obedience to it. We were warned not to be unequally yoked spiritually by marrying an unbeliever, and spiritual education has nothing to do with secular education. As Christians we should not look down on our spouse because we have more education, or look down on ourselves because we have less education, because our identity is in Christ alone. We should really start to view ourselves and others in the light of who we are in Christ.
I cannot tell you how many times I was made to feel little by being compared to dentists, engineers, pharmacist and doctors, but now I have put childish feelings and thoughts behind me because my identity in Christ does not change just as God never changes. I used to think, “No Middle Eastern woman will ever marry me because I am a general labourer,” but few years ago I realize that I do not want to marry a woman who values me by what type of work I do or how much money I make anyway.
I am not saying secular education and scientific knowledge are not important; otherwise I would not have studied engineering. What I am saying is that secular education and scientific knowledge do not make you or your spouse godly, and therefore they do not help you in building a godly marriage. Of course, some would argue that secular knowledge can help you build a “successful” marriage and family, but whatever that does not honour the Lord is not success. Others would argue that an educated husband and wife who both have high earning careers can have a more comfortable life, and it is true to a certain degree. But financial “comfort” is no comfort at all without the joy and peace that comes from obeying the Lord’s will in regard to your vocation.
My sister never had the chance to continue her higher education after finishing high school because she got married and had children and settled down. But her husband is very happy with her because she respects him since she is a godly woman who believes that her husband is the head of the house, and she is to love him and respect him in the Lord as the church is supposed to love Christ and be submissive to His authority. What good is it to me if my wife has many diplomas hanging on the wall, but she does not respect me or appreciate me for who I am? What good is her educational knowledge if she does not care to discern God’s voice or obey His laws?
In Iraq some of the most successful families (close knitted, had good reputation as being hard working, honourable, and trustworthy) I knew were founded by illiterate fathers and mothers, because they had wisdom and knew how to bring up respectful children who appreciated the important things in life. Our ancestors, may be until 100 years ago, earned their living by working with their hands. They did not have our education or knowledge, but they were in many aspects of life way more successful than we are today. I know that I will never forget those four years (and two summers) I spent as a general labourer. To be honest, I even think I was a much godlier man than I am now. We should never look down on people because of how little schooling they have.
Just last year I heard about a Christian Iraqi man who wanted to get married and they told him about a Christian Iraqi woman, but she is illiterate so he did not warm up to the idea of marrying her. I was surprised that a young lady in our time cannot read and write so I asked about the reason, and I was told: when she was 8 years old her mother died of cancer and being the eldest of 5 children she had to take care of them as a mother and so she never got the chance to finish school. How can anybody look down at a person like this? No amount of education, definitely not those 4 years of university, can prepare one’s character as much as taking the responsibility of a family at such a young age! If anything, she should be praised for sacrificing her own future to care for her siblings, and doing it without grumbling or growing up to be bitter!