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Let’s talk about Marriage 101.
1) God Created Marriage.
Genesis 2:18-24 “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man. “At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’” This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”
So what is God’s original design for marriage?
God created Eve because He knew that it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone. The way God uniquely created Eve from one of Adam’s ribs illustrates God’s design for marriage: that the husband and wife become one. Achieving oneness in marriage requires couples to do two things:
Genesis 2:24a: This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife
As verse 24 states, marriage begins when a “man leaves his father and mother.” By specifying the parent-child relationship, it is implied that if it is necessary to leave your father and mother, then all lesser ties must be broken, changed, or left behind. You will still love and honor your parents. You will still have other friends. But your best friend should be your spouse. And no one or thing- including hobbies, business, or even church activities- should get in the way of that relationship.
Genesis 2:24b: and the two are united into one.
To cleave means “to adhere firmly and closely or loyally and unwaveringly.” As the text says, “the two are united into one” when this happens. In the original Hebrew, the word used for cleaving meant an aggressive action, implying that you are holding tightly to your relationship with your spouse. The Greek translation of this same word means “to cement together, to stick like glue, or to be welded together so the two cannot be separated without serious damage to both.
2) Husbands and Wives Have Distinct Roles in Marriage.
Ephesians 5:21-33: “ And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body. As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
- God’s Plan for the Husband:
He is to be the head of his wife.
Ephesians 5:23a: For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church.
He is to be the head of his wife as Christ is the head off the church. True authority in the marriage relationship has been given by God to the husband. From the beginning, God designated the man as the leader in the marriage relationship. Like Christ, a husband should be firm and decisive but also humble and unselfish. Before a husband can expect his wife to submit to him, he has to submit to Christ.
- He must love his wife as Christ loved the church.
Jesus said in Matthew 20:28: “ For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
To love as Jesus loved means that a husband focuses primarily on his wife’s needs, not his own.
Ephesians 5:25: For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her
The wife’s submission hinges upon the husband’s fulfillment of this role. Just as the church loves Jesus because of His incredible display of love for it, so the wife will love and submit to her husband as she sees his demonstration of love toward her. One heart burning with love sets another on fire.
- He must encourage his wife’s spiritual growth.
Ephesians 5:26: to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.
One of the husband’s first priorities is to make sure his wife has a good relationship with God. He is to encourage his wife’s spiritual growth, recognizing that it affects her personal happiness as a woman, wife, and mother.
- He must love his wife as he loves himself.
Ephesians 5:31: As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”
A husband must recognize that he and his wife are actually “One.” Therefore, he must do for his wife what he would do for himself. He should give her needs as much attention as he would his own.
Ephesians 5:28-29: In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church
2.) God’s Plan for the wife.
- She must submit to her husband’s leadership.
Ephesians 5:21, 24: And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.
She must submit to her husband’s leadership Just as a wife submits to God, seeking his will above her own, so she must submit to her husband and his decisions.
These guidelines for the husband and the wife become much easier to follow if they respect the first code of conduct listed: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” The word used for submit is a term that means to arrange or rank under. “In other words, we need to put the needs of our spouse before our own-in the fear of God. As we do that, our marriages will flourish as God intended, and you will be a living illustration of Christ’s love for the church to an unbelieving world. For marriage is not so much finding the right person as it is being the right person.
3) The Boundaries of Marriage Are To Be Honored and Enjoyed.
Proverbs 5:15-21: Drink water from your own well— share your love only with your wife. Why spill the water of your springs in the streets, having sex with just anyone? You should reserve it for yourselves. Never share it with strangers. Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love. Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman, or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman? For the Lord sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes.
Proverbs 5:15-21 (NLT)
4) Remain Faithful to your Spouse.
Hebrews 13:4: Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.
5) Divorce is not Part of God’s Plan.
Mark 10:2-12: Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife?” Jesus answered them with a question: “What did Moses say in the law about divorce?” “Well, he permitted it,” they replied. “He said a man can give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away.” But Jesus responded, “He wrote this commandment only as a concession to your hard hearts. But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation. ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” Later, when he was alone with his disciples in the house, they brought up the subject again. He told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries someone else, she commits adultery.”
God allowed divorce as a concession to people’s sinfulness. Divorce was not approved, but it was instituted to protect the injured party in a bad situation. Unfortunately, the Pharisees used Deuteronomy 24:1 as a proof text for divorce. Jesus explained that this was not God’s intent; instead, God wants married people to consider their marriage permanent. Don’t enter marriage with the option of getting out. Your marriage is more likely to be happy if from the outset you are committed to permanence. Don’t be hardhearted like these Pharisees, but be hardheaded in your determination, with God’s help, to stay together. —Life Application Bible Notes
6) A Christian should not leave a Non-Christian Spouse.
1 Corinthians 7:12-16: Now, I will speak to the rest of you, though I do not have a direct command from the Lord. If a Christian man has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to continue living with him, he must not leave her. And if a Christian woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to continue living with her, she must not leave him. For the Christian wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the Christian husband brings holiness to his marriage. Otherwise, your children would not be holy, but now they are holy. (But if the husband or wife who isn’t a believer insists on leaving, let them go. In such cases the Christian husband or wife is no longer bound to the other, for God has called you to live in peace.) Don’t you wives realize that your husbands might be saved because of you? And don’t you husbands realize that your wives might be saved because of you?
You could very well influence your spouse to Christ. My mom was not a Christian when her and dad got married, but through the faithful devotion to God that she saw in my dad, she got saved. Now please don’t take this as it’s ok to just get married to anyone expecting this same result.
7) Marriage is not for everyone.
1 Corinthians 7:7-9: But I wish everyone were single, just as I am. But God gives to some the gift of marriage, and to others the gift of singleness. So I say to those who aren’t married and to widows—it’s better to stay unmarried, just as I am. But if they can’t control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It’s better to marry than to burn with lust.
1 Corinthians 7:32-35: I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.
8) Marriage is for Companionship.
Proverbs 18:22: The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord.
Marriage was created for companionship. Look back at Genesis 2:18–“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”
9) There is an Intimacy in Marriage that can’t be found anywhere else.
Song Of Songs 4:7: You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way.
Song Of Songs 4:9-10: You have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride. You hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes, with a single jewel of your necklace. Your love delights me, my treasure, my bride. Your love is better than wine, your perfume more fragrant than spices.
When you find time this afternoon, I challenge you to read this chapter in God’s Word. You will see just what I’m talking about when I say “Intimacy in Marriage.”
10) A Strong Marriage is an Ideal Environment for Raising Godly Children.
Malachi 2:15: Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.
Scripture tells us that “a triple-braided cord is not easily broken”(Ecclesiastes 4:12). A strong marriage is not simply built upon emotions or dreams, but upon a solid relationship with Jesus Christ. Such a couple recognizes that God is the one who has placed them together and that He is the one who will keep them together for the long haul.
Children who see their parents united by their love for God and one another have a distinct advantage over those who don’t – they have a chance to see the love of God in action. They witness the power of Prayer when they witness prayers answered, they observe the value of unconditional love when they witness forgiveness, they understand the concept of trust when they witness wedding vows being honored, and they learn respect for God’s Word when they witness their parents obeying its principles. In essence, they see firsthand what it means to be a Christian. Our homers should be places where our children are encouraged to follow God and His Word because of how we live, not just what we say. They need our example – as a couple committed to God and to each other – to give them hope and stability in this uncertain world. As the Bible says, “Those who fear the Lord are secure; He will be a refuge for their children” (Proverbs 14:26).