Christian Marriage Essay Essay, Research Paper
Genesis 1:26 says, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”Mark 10:9 says, “Therefore what God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” Genesis 2:24 says, “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”To marry means to leave father and mother, to be faithful to husband or wife, and to become one flesh through sexual union. The marriage must be honored till death of one of the partners. Also, the laws of the government must be followed for a marriage to be legal and acceptable. (Romans 13:1-2 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.)God designed both husbands and wives for equality and submission. (Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.) The moral, intellectual, and spiritual capabilities of men and women are equal. We are of equal value in God’s sight. Jesus died for both the husband and his wife. We are equal in our ability to develop a relationship with God.Men and women who marry in Christ share a mutual trust. They can be sure of their relationship because it rests on God’s faithfulness. They also know that through His Word of marriage, God brought them together and keeps them together. When the promise in marriage is grounded with the commitment to Jesus Christ, The quality of life is enhanced beyond measure, as the relationship with God grows deeper and stronger. We need to see marriage as the institution that God created and not something man invented for the sake of convenience. Godly marriage is created by allowing God’s perfect love and acceptance to flow through one imperfect person. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he compared love in marriage to that of love that Jesus had for the church! (Ephesians 5:25) He loved the church so much He gave Himself to it unselfishly and completely to make it holy and beautiful. When people serve one another in marriage, they effectively mirror God’s love. If you want to build a home that stands strong, exemplifying God’s character and qualities including; goodness, faithfulness, love and forgiveness, this you will learn only through a commitment to follow God’s Word and by the Holy Spirit that dwells inside a faithful follower. It cannot be done on your own. Every marriage is going to experience some serious challenges and difficulty. What you must do to make sure that you are doing your part in the marriage? One of the primary reasons for the break-up of so many marriages today is the failure of men and women to understand and apply the specific roles and responsibilities God has given to the husband and the wife. God intended that men lead in the home. The wife is to follow his leadership. God is not pleased with the house where the husband does not have or does not develop the ability to lead. God is not pleased where the wife is rebellious to her husband’s role of authority. The wife should place her husband in the position of leadership and by her words and actions keep him in that function. The most of the responsibility rests on the shoulders of the man. When a man is out of the will of God, he is a menace to himself and everyone else. Jonah, the Old Testament prophet, just about brought a whole ship down because of his disobedience. Many husbands do the same to their marriages. Their marriages are in trouble because they are unwilling to obey God’s commandments to them. Here are some of those specific commands to a husband: 1. The Husband Must Love His Wife (Ephesians 5:22-33)Verses 25 sums up the main responsibility of the man in three words: “Husbands love your wives….” Husbands holds the key to a flourishing marriage. Men are to be initiators. The wife comes into full fruition and submission in response to the husband loving her as he should. A. Love as Jesus Loves. How to love your wives? The passage says, “just as Christ… loved the church and gave himself for her”. How did Christ demonstrate his love? Primarily by example and death: ” But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). As a result of Jesus’ selfless love, the church loves Jesus and submits to Him: “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). In the same way, when the wife sees the love of her husband, she will love him and submit to him. Goal as husbands must be to fulfill God’s command to men and leave wife’s reaction up to Him. B. Be Willing to “Lay Down Your Life.” Philippians 2:3-9 To “love as Christ loved” and “lay down” your life means that you must focus on your partner’s needs and not your own. Verse three tells us to do nothing through “selfish ambition.” Remember, Jesus said,” The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20: 28). ” He made Himself of no reputation.”[v.7] The literal translation of this verse is ” He emptied Himself.” Jesus had a complete attitude of unselfishness. “He humbled Himself.” [v.8] True authority comes from humility. Authority does not mean to manipulate and lord over. A man who is constantly lecturing his wife on his authority probably has very little. A husband must be firm and decisive, but also humble and unselfish. Moses, one of the greatest leaders of all time, was called ” the meekest man on the face of the earth.” Meekness is not weakness; it is power under constraint. True authority is given by God: ” The head of every man is Christ, the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God” (Corinthians 11:3). Spiritual authority is rooted in a paradox: “if anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35). Jesus demonstrated this principle when He washed His disciples feet: “Jesus, knowing that the father had given all things into His hand … rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself … and began to wash the disciples feet …” (John 13:3-5). C. Love Unconditionally. The fact of the matter is that many wives are not sure if their husbands love them. There are three different words in the original Greek language for love. Each one of these “loves” has an important part to play in the marriage, but one of them should always prevail. 1) Eros (love on the physical plain) Eros is initial love that attracts a man and woman together. This sexual love plays an important role in marriage, building intimacy and closeness. It is a way of expressing your “oneness” as a couple. And it is a source of sexual fulfillment– a God given desire to be fulfilled only in marriage. Scripture says, “drink water from your own cistern and running water from your own well. Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth” (Proverbs 5:15, 17-18). Paul speaks of the importance of this love in marriage in Corinthians 7:3-5: “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by natural consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self–control.” The problem with eros is that it is essentially selfish. It takes, wanting to give nothing in return. 2) Philio (love on an emotional plain) In contrast to eros, philio takes but it also desires to give. It is a “friendship” type of love. It has been defined as ” a love that comes as a result of a pleasure or delight one draws from the object loved.” 3) Agape (love on a spiritual plain) In contrast to philio, agape springs from a sense of the preciousness of the object. It is not feeling emotion. It is unconditional. And this is the kind of love God commands as husbands to love wives with. The world’s love is always object-oriented. A person is loved because of physical attractiveness, personality, wit, prestige, or some feature or trait that we find appealing. This type of love is fickle however. For once that trait found “lovable” is diminished by age, or someone more talented or gifted comes along, this fickle love ceases.
A Sacrificial Love Our love for our mate is to be an “agape” form of love, since that is the kind of love Christ displays toward the church. Pastor John MacArthur says, “loving as Christ loves does not depend in the least in what others are in themselves, but entirely on what we are in Christ .” The husband who loves his wife for what she can give him loves as the world loves, not as Christ loves. The husband that loves his wife as Christ loves His church gives everything he has for his wife, including his life, if necessary. If a loving husband is willing to sacrifice his life for his wife, he is certainly willing to make lesser sacrifices for her. He puts his own likes, desires, opinions, preferences and welfare aside if that is required to please her and meet her needs. He dies to self in order to live for his wife, because that is what Christ’s kind of love demands. A Patient love (Corinthians 13:4-7) This passage in Corinthians gives the definitive illustration of agape love. Verse four says that “love suffers long.” In other words, this type of love allows your spouse to change in God’s timing. A Kind Love Verse four also states that “love is kind .” You display this type of love to your wife through such things as tenderness, gifts, and telling her that you love her (Proverbs 31:28; Colossians 3:19). II. The Husband Must Spiritually Lead Returning to Ephesians 5, notice what Paul writes after likening the love Christ has for the church to the love the husband should have for his wife: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loves the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her …”(vv.25-26). Too many men in Christian marriages are not the spiritual leaders they should be. At best, many are passive. At worst, they are actually hindering the spiritual growth of the family. Yet, no one can be a greater hindrance to the wife’s spiritual growth than the husband. On the other hand, no one can be a greater encouragement. Looking after your wife’s spiritual well-being The husband’s first priority must be to make sure that his wife is properly aligned with God! He should recognize that her personal happiness as a woman, wife and mother all hinge upon her relationship with the Lord. You can’t say, “that’s her problem!” Remember , you are now one. And the husband needs to be the spiritual leader in the home. Peter writes, “Husbands, likewise dwell with them with understanding, give honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:17). The phrase “dwell with” literally means “to dwell down with; to be aligned to.” In other words, you are allowing God to work in your lives. You are “settling down,” and not looking for any excuse to “get out of the house.” It comes as no surprise that one of the major causes of unfaithfulness on the part of the wife is the continued absence of the husband. A failure to lead will spiritually hinder you. Husbands, notice that a failure to “dwell” with your wife will result in your prayers being hindered. This happiness is hindered because “your relationship is out of order.” Jesus speaks of this same principal in Matthew 5:23, where He says that if a person brings a gift to the alter and remembers that someone holds something against him , he must “leave his gift at the alter” and seek reconciliation with the individual he has offended (Matthew 5:23). One of the key ways this can be done in marriage is through communication. Paul refers back to Genesis in his description of the role of husbands in Ephesians chapter five: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife …”. The key to a healthy marriage and open communication goes back to the principal of “leaving and cleaving.” You must cherish and honor that oneness, that friendship. Husbands may feel like loving wife “as Christ loved the church” is an impossible task. Remember, the “love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the holy spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:5).” God has given you the ability to do this through the power of His Holy Spirit. The biblical definition of the roles of husband and wife has been rejected as outdated and archaic in today’s “liberated” and “enlightened” society. In the name of equality, we have blurred the lines and removed the wonderful distinction between man and woman. We have offered substitutes for the family, from couples living together to homosexuals trying to adopt children. We have “dissolved” our marriages and broken apart our families at a record rate. After all, our society tells use, all that matters is your personal happiness and fulfillment. It does not matter how your actions affect others–as long as you are “true to yourself.” But we haven’t found that elusive happiness we have been seeking outside of God’s order. This new view of marriage has not been successful. Our children have not “bounced back” as we hoped. The question we must answer is this: Are we going to let secular culture dictate how we view marriage- or will we follow God’s design? Far too many-even in the church “bought into” today’s selfish mind set. Such thinking will only bring personal and marital misery. We need to return to God’s plan for the family. It is time that we start thinking and acting biblically, even if it means “going against the grain” of much of today’s popular thinking. In understanding God’s design for the wife in the Christian marriage, it is important that we understand the internal struggle that makes following God’s principals so difficult, a struggle that dates back to the Garden of Eve. A Woman’s Desire for Headship: After the fall of Adam and Eve, God told Eve, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” (Genesis 3:16). In essence, God was saying, Things will be different now, Eve. You are going to have a bend in yournature, as will Adam, that is a direct result of the curse of sin. That bend in a word is selfishness. As mentioned in previous messages, the word for “desire” in this verse means ” to compel, impel, urge, or seek control over,” God was telling Eve she would have a sinful and selfish desire to seek control over Adam, to take the place of man’s headship. When God told Eve that Adam would “rule over” her, He meant that man would seek to dominate and control the woman. With the fall and it’s curse came the distortion of woman’s proper submissiveness and man’s proper authority. As a result, women have a sinful inclination to usurp man’s authority, and men have a sinful inclination put women under their feet. This was not part of God’s original design for man and woman. In Proverbs 31:11-31 King Lemuel, the author of this Proverb, gives us the model of the woman “after God’s own heart.” This writing is based upon the advice his mother gave him, “When you look for a woman, look for a balanced one, one who does take thought of her physical appearance, but one who recognized that her spiritual life is the most important of all.” This passage describes a woman who is growing mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. She is maturing, becoming a deeper woman of God each and every day. Yet she is also extremely practical. She is virtuous. “Who can find a virtuous wife?” (v.10) The word “virtuous” in this text means “a woman of force, strength.” This is a woman of influence and strength, yet she is very feminine. She is a spiritually, morally, mentally and physically strong. She is trustworthy. “The heart of her husband safely trusts in her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.” (vv.11-12). Truth is such an important virtue in the successful marriage. This is one of the reasons why adultery can be so devastating. The trust factor is dramatically damaged because a pattern of lying has usually proceeded it. Yet this woman has her husband’s complete trust. The husband knows that she will always be supportive of him, no matter what. He also knows his money , resources and possessions are safe in her care.