Relationship Principles from Jane Austinís Sense and Sensibility 

Copyright 2011 Heaven Ministries ~ Marriage Preparation and Godly Courtship


Jane Austin's Sense and Sensibility is the classic tale of what happens when you allow yourself to become emotionally attached without commitment; there will be heartache. Marriage readiness is truly knowing the person you are going to marry.

Marianne falls head over heels for dashing Willoughby, whom seems to love Marianne but knows that he cannot marry her because he is engaged to another woman of wealth. Willoughby loves money more than Marrianne.  Too bad he keeps this character flaw from Marianne. Had she known that he was already engaged to a woman, perhaps she would not have given away her heart to this man who was only using her. Marianne allows every part of her being to be lead into this whirlwind romance with a man who knew all along he would never marry her. 

Marianneís first mistake was not knowing this man's true character before she allowed her emotions to get the best of her. His deceptive charm literally swept Marianne off her feet. And because of his charm and flirtatious gestures Marianne took this to mean that he truly loved her. Boy was she deceived! One day, Willoughby just up and left. This very same thing happens today with people in their relationships. Many people only pretend to love one another so they can receive something from the other, whether it is praise and recognition or sex, money, and or status. Once that something is achieved and there is nothing left to "get" from the relationship one of the parties dumps the other, and heartache and suffering follows. 

This is precisely why we must be prepared for marriage by knowing the man or woman we are thinking about marrying before we allow ourselves to become too emotionally attached. And remember, "Charm can be deceptive"! The bible even tells us so over and over again. "Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord. she shall be praised. (Proverbs 31:30)

People can seem so nice and wonderful and everything they say about themselves and everything they do seems perfect and this is because we allow our emotions to lead over sense and sensibility. Without discernment and wisdom taking the lead we go into new relationships without being cautious about the person.

I can't tell you how many women and men write in to our ministry in pain and suffering because they did not truly know the person they dated before they rushed into marriage. Now they suffer in an unhappy marriage because they married someone who said they were a Christian, or they married someone who had lots of past baggage and issues affecting them, or they married people who were addicted to alcohol or drugs. But many of these people were simply caught up in the lust and desire of the new relationship, and then after the marriage, they realized they made a mistake in rushing into marriage with this person based on their emotions of lust and desire. 

When someone charms us with great words we must step back and ask "why" would they be doing this when they barely know me? People can say lots of things to impress others, but does all of this talk turn into fruits or is this person just trying to sweet talk you for their own benefit? "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. (Ephesians 5:6)

There was another man who loved Marianne very much but she did not know it because he kept to himself about it. Colonel Brandon was a gentleman and he kept his emotions to himself because he saw that Marianne was attracted to Willoughby, not him. Had Colonel Brandon showed his affection it would have been for the wrong reasons because he knew that Marianne thought she loved Willoughby. You see the difference? Real love would not do any harm to another emotionally or physically, which is what deceptive charm and favour is. (Let love be without dissimulation. Romans 12:1) whenever love is dissimulated it becomes fake love--itís not real!

Definition of Dissimulation:
To disguise (one's intentions, for example) under a feigned appearance. 

To conceal one's true feelings or intentions.

When a man and a woman begins to feel affection for one another through the courting process they do not have to get under the sheets together! They don't have to give false flattery and they certainly do not have to try and be somebody they are not!! "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts." (Ephesians 4:22)

One day Marianne saw Willoughby with the other woman. Marianne, heartbroken and feeling like it was the end of the world, ran out into the cold of the night and subsequently almost died from pneumonia. When she awoke, Colonel Brandon, the man who truly loved her was standing over her bedside. It was then she realized his love for her. It took her almost dying to came to her senses and realize that Willoughby was only using her and that she had been deceived by him. He charmed and flattered her to the extent of her thinking she was in love, but actually she was not "in love" at all, but enjoyed the flattery and affections Willoughby gave her!

And this is just how men and woman behave today in their relationships because they want something; they deceive one another. (Let love be without dissimulation. Romans 12:1). They are not true with their intentions.

Marianne began to notice Brandon's affection for her and she ended up marrying him and he treated her well all the years of their life. You know how I know that. Well, because throughout the movie he showed just how much he cared about her and did not want her hurt emotionally. He became heartbroken when she became heartbroken. He was so upset when she almost died. But he did not deceive Marianne in any way--he was always a gentleman, thinking about her needs before his own!

For the single woman reading this: the moral of this story is to marry the man who truly loves you and will take care of you, who puts you first over his own feelings. Wait for this man to come to you. Don't rush into having a relationship just because someone charms you. Wait for the man who is willing to sacrifice something of himself for you. This is what Jesus Christ did for us and is the example for single men to follow even BEFORE they marry.

As soon as the man commits himself in a relationship for marriage he should take on the headship role.  The husband is to love his wife in the same way Christ loved the church-"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. He that loveth his wife loveth himself." (Ephesians 5:25-28)

For single men reading this: there are many single and married women who will charm and flatter you with their beauty. Don't be like Samson and allow "a Delilah" to deceive you. Samson was deceived over and over again by a woman who truly cared nothing about him. He allowed himself to be charmed and lured by a beautiful woman and all she cared about was herself and what she could get from Samson. Look for the fruits. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)  

The woman who loves you and is in a committed relationship with you for marriage should already begin to submit to your loving and Godly guidance even before the wedding day, which shows many of the submissive qualities of goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. "Wives submit yourselves unto your husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything."  (Ephesians 5:22-24)

Being truly prepared for marriage is in knowing your role for marriage and when the commitment for marriage is made to begin living those roles for marriage with each other. Scripture shows us how God wants our marriage to be. Many of the principles and teachings of Christ show us how we should treat one another before getting married and what to look for in a person (fruits) for a potential marriage spouse. These are the things we should base our relationships on.


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