Marriage is HARD.
Really – I would even say it is impossible – in human strength and effort alone.
Men and women are SO different. We think and feel entirely differently. We have different priorities and needs many times. We approach things from completely opposite perspectives. We have very different strengths and weaknesses. Marriage is practically a recipe for torture – apart from Christ.
That is the key. If we look to our husbands or to ourselves – we will destroy our marriage. I must keep my eyes on Christ! He is the only source of power that will enable our marriage to be what He designed it to be. I must daily live for Him and abide in Him!
THE PURPOSE OF MARRIAGE
God designed people. And God designed marriage. He designed marriage for several purposes:
- to be a living parable of the intimate spiritual relationship and the oneness of Christ and His church
- to provide a stable, loving, nurturing, secure, safe, healthy place for children to be born and raised to know God and love Him and to learn how to love others and be prepared to be responsible, faithful, fruitful servants of Christ.
- to form us more and more into the image of Christ – to make us holy (NOT primarily to make us happy!)
- to teach children how to have a healthy, vibrant and flourishing marriage and how to be godly parents themselves
- to provide a solid foundation and building block for healthy, secure, productive and godly societies.
- to provide companionship and unity in the most intimate human relationship.
- to provide a safe, loving, perfect place for sex and procreation
- as a classroom to learn to love and forgive
- because it is not good for man to be alone – God designed a helpmeet suitable for him
This list is not exhaustive – but it provides a good glimpse into some of the biggest reasons why God chose to design and institute marriage.
WHEN MY HUSBAND SINS AGAINST ME
The problem with two sinners being married is – they WILL sin against each other and they WILL hurt each other. There is no perfect marriage partner (except Jesus). So it is our job to learn to be great forgivers and to tap into God’s power to be able to do this. When I am putting Christ first and setting my heart on Him, His will, His Word and His glory, He will empower me to deal with anything my husband might do – and I can trust that He will use even my husband’s sin and mistakes ultimately for my good and His glory.
What would Jesus tell me to do when my husband is unkind, verbally abusive, arrogant, demeaning, mean, belittling, disrespectful, unloving, selfish, hateful, prideful, refusing to be intimate with me, trying to force me to be intimate with him, flirting with other women, lying, being irresponsible with money, not taking the best care of our children (in my view), not praying with me, not abiding in Christ, not reading his Bible, being materialistic, putting other things ahead of Christ or ahead of our marriage that are inappropriate…?
LET’S APPLY LUKE 6:20-49 TO OUR MARRIAGES
(I am going to alter the words a bit to fit to our marriages)
Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when your husband/extended family members/coworkers/neighbors/others hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil because of the Son of Man.
Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how (people) treated the prophets.
But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.
Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.
Woe to you when (everyone in your life) speaks well of you, for that is how (people) treated the false prophets. (People pleasing does not please God!)
But I tell you who hear Me:
- Love your husband when he acts like he is your enemy
- do good to him if he hates you
- bless him if he curses you
- pray for him when he mistreats you.
- If your husband strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. (I would add, get some godly, wise, experienced help ASAP!)
- If he takes your (coat), do not stop him from taking your (shirt/dress).
- Give to him when he asks you
- if your husband takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.
- Do to your husband as you would have him do to you (meet his needs and be a godly wife, just like you want him to meet your needs and be a godly husband)
- if you love him only when he loves you, what credit is that to you? Even (unbelievers) love those who love them.
- If you do good to him only when he is good to you, what credit is that to you? Even (unbelievers) do that.
- If you lend to him (give something to him or do something for him) and expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even (unbelievers) lend to (unbelievers), expecting to be repaid in full.
- love your husband when it feels like he is your enemy, do good to him, and lend to him (do kind, respectful things for him) without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be (daughters) of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
- Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
- Do not judge your husband, and you will not be judged.
- Do not condemn your husband, and you will not be condemned.
- Forgive your husband, and you will be forgiven.
- Give to your husband, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Can a blind wife lead a blind husband? Will they not both fall into a pit? A student is not above his Teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his Teacher.
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your husband’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you tell your husband, “Husband, let me take the speck out of your eye,” when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your husband’s eye.
No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit… The good wife brings good things out of the good stored up in her heart (her husband doesn’t MAKE her act good, the Spirit of God inside of her causes her to act good!), and the evil wife brings evil things out of the evil stored up in her heart (her husband doesn’t MAKE her act bad, her own sin and fleshly nature cause her to react in sin). For out of the overflow of her heart, her mouth speaks.
Why do you call me, “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say to do for your husband?
I will show you what she is like who who comes to Me and hears My words and puts them into practice. She is like a man building a house (a life, a marriage, a family), who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, for it was well built.
But the wife who hears My words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house (a life, a marriage, a family) on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete
Give us ears to hear and hearts that are willing to obey. Tear down any strongholds of the enemy in our souls. Give us Your power to humble ourselves and submit to You and honor You in our marriages!
In the Name and power of Christ,
Ephesians 5 – God’s design for marriage
I Corinthians 11:2-13 - God’s authority structure for marriage
I Corinthians 13:4-7 - God’s definition of love in marriage
Galatians 5:19-22 – a comparison of a life powered by self vs. a life powered by God’s Spirit