Reminder – I have a conference in Eaton, Ohio February 25th and a conference in Columbia, South Carolina March 24th-25th. You are most welcome to come!
Marriage meets many needs and fulfills a number of purposes in our lives, in our families, the church, and in society. A healthy marriage:
- Brings stability to society.
- Teaches the next generation how to have healthy relationships.
- Is to be a safe place to raise children and for them to learn what love is.
- Can meet both spouse’s needs for companionship.
- Can be a place of wonderful friendship.
- Is the only place where God condones and celebrates sex.
- Can be a place of romance and fun.
- Can provide financial stability and resources.
But there is an even greater purpose for marriage that I can’t ever forget.
God’s greatest purpose in marriage is that marriage is supposed to display the gospel of Christ and it is to bring great glory and honor to Him.
My marriage is about so much more than just me. It is about much more than just my husband or just our children. It is ultimately about something infinitely higher.
- Marriage is to be a living parable demonstrating the relationship between Christ and the church where the husband is to portray the love, humility, selflessness, and sacrificial leadership of Christ. The wife is to portray the honor, respect, and submission of the church for Christ. (Eph. 5:22-33)
- When we as wives focus on our role and what God calls us to do – the gospel is exalted – and the same is true when husbands focus on the role God gives to them and walking in submission to Christ as Lord.
- If we choose to disrespect our husbands and dishonor God’s design for us as wives and for marriage, we malign the gospel of Christ. (Titus 2:3-5)
This is a very lofty goal, my precious sisters. Marriage is no longer about me being happy, me having my way all the time, or me having control. It is not about my husband being the most important thing or about me seeking to please him at any cost. It is about me completely yielding my heart, my mind, my life, all that I am, all that I desire, all of my fears, all of my purposes, my marriage, and my family to God to accomplish His purposes. Whatever He sees fit. My eyes have to be on eternity and God’s kingdom now – not just today or this lifetime.
Now my heart’s cry is:
Not my will, but Yours be done! Luke 22:42
As an individual believer in Christ, my purpose in life is similar.
- I am to bring glory to God far above anything else. (1 Cor. 10:31)
- I am to seek His will far above my own. (Luke 22:42)
- I am to count myself dead to sin and this world and alive to God through Christ. (Romans 6:11)
- I am to take up my cross daily. (Luke 9:23)
- I am to be completely at God’s disposal, His trusted, faithful servant, willing to do anything He may ask of me. (John 14:22-24)
- I am to view suffering as God’s tool to refine me and to grow my faith. (Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-8, 1 Peter 4:12-19)
This changes everything about how I relate to my husband (and everyone else, but we will focus on marriage in this post).
Now I don’t need to ask questions like:
- What’s in it for me?
- What about my rights?
- What about what I want?
- What about my happiness?
- What about fairness?
- Why aren’t we doing everything my way?
- Why isn’t my husband changing first?
- But don’t I know best? Shouldn’t I be in charge?
- What if I don’t feel loved?
- What if God is just wasting my time?
The funny thing is, when I asked questions like this and my heart was not wholeheartedly yielded to God’s, I actually sabotaged my marriage. I kept God out because I didn’t trust Him. Then I was upset because my marriage was a mess. What a confused girl I was!
The scariest place in the world to me now is to trust self and to not trust God. When I yield everything to God and I am in fellowship with Him and His Spirit fills me, He also pours His healing and the spiritual treasures of heaven into my life and through me into my family and those around me. He withholds no good thing from those who belong to Him.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Psalm 84:11
Note – the only way my walk can be blameless is when I allow God’s Spirit to live in and through me to empower me to obey Him.
Now I ask questions like:
- How does God want to use me to bring glory to Himself no matter what it may cost me?
- I yield my rights to God and only desire what will honor Him.
- I can be content without getting what I want as long as I have Jesus and He is pleased, there is no greater reward in this world!
- How can I bring joy to God’s heart? That is my greatest joy.
- How can I bless my husband?
- How can I better understand my husband and love him with God’s love?
- What is godly femininity and how can I live it?
- What does God want me to change?
- What sin do I need to get rid of?
- What does my disrespectful spirit toward my husband and my desire to control him say about my heart?
- How can I obey God in everything?
- How can I have more of God?
- How can I better hear His voice?
- How can I show genuine respect and honor to my husband and to God in this situation?
- How can I cooperate with my husband’s God-given leadership?
- How can I extend the same grace to my husband that God has given to me?
- How does God want me to impact my husband for His kingdom?
- What am I doing that is hurting God’s purposes in my husband’s life?
- What might God want to do in me to prune and refine me?
- How can I just sit at God’s feet and rest in His love for me and allow Him to restore my soul?
- How might God be leading me through my husband even when I don’t understand it?
- How might God want to use my husband’s weaknesses and even sin against me to make me more like Christ?
- How might God turn this awful situation into something beautiful?
- How does God want me to cooperate with Him? How can I be a willing instrument in His hands to accomplish His purposes?
- How can I best reach my husband for Christ – if he is an unbeliever or far from God – in God’s way? (1 Peter 3:1-6)
Real peace comes as I know and love Christ wholeheartedly and as I trust Him completely with everything.
God’s Spirit can give us the power to stay when we may not feel like staying because we can look with an eternal perspective rather than an earthly one when we are abiding in Christ. He can give us the ability to love when maybe our husbands don’t deserve it. He can give us the power to treat our men with honor, dignity, and genuine respect – not because our husbands deserve it – but because Jesus deserves our utmost reverence and we want to submit to His Lordship completely.
When I am willing to obey God and I am filled to overflowing with His Spirit, His wisdom, and His power – there is no stopping God! He loves to do miracles and move mountains for those who fully trust Him. But I don’t love Him so that He will do what I want Him to do. I love Him and trust Him to do what He knows is best. I can ask Him to change my desires to match His.
His wisdom is infinitely greater than mine. I can rest in Him and His love and sovereignty no matter what my situation. I can trust His promises to me and anticipate how He is going to bring great good from even the most awful situations because He promised to do just that for those who love Him in Romans 8:28-29.
What about wives who truly are in danger?
For those who are in very dangerous situations, the goal is still God’s greatest glory. His Word still applies. You still have His love. You are not beyond God’s reach! I pray that you will seek godly counsel and wisdom one-on-one from a trusted Christian counselor or pastor. Pray, seek to hear and obey God’s prompting for you.
I don’t know exactly what God desires every wife to do in every situation. But God has the wisdom each one needs. I don’t want to see anyone hurt or killed. I hate abuse and God sure hates abuse. There should not be hatred, rage, or violence in our relationships as believers.
God’s Word does provide for separation when something very serious is going on that can’t be resolved – in 1 Cor. 7:10-16 – but it is not to be entered into flippantly or without significant reason. This is not God’s primary plan and design for marriage. If we take such a step, as believing wives, we want to be SURE that we are doing so because it is necessary not just that we are unhappy, feeling unloved, or that things are just really hard. Marriage is a covenant between God, my husband, and myself. I want to keep my end of it until death do us part – may God help me to do so!