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A Word on Marriage

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1. Marriage is not easy.
I heard about a little boy who asked his SS teacher where Adam got his wife. She told him the Lord took a rib from Adam and that’s how he got his wife. Late that evening the mother found the little boy lying on the floor with his shirt off holding his side and moaning. The mother asked him what was wrong. He said, “I think I’m having a wife.”
I’ve heard it said, “If love is a dream, then marriage is the alarm clock.”
There is some truth in that. When two sinners combine all, they have and commit to live together as one it is not easy. It can be painful.
Adrian Rogers said marriages need two funerals and one wedding. It takes two people who die to themselves to have the type of marriage God desires of us.
A. Satan wants you to have an awful marriage.
He would love for your marriage to end in divorce. But he will also settle with you having a terrible marriage. Satan simply wants to give a distorted view of the family to the next generation. He uses awful marriages to do that.
An ungodly marriage is an awful place to raise children.
It may keep them from wanting to get married at all.
It may keep them from being a godly spouse. Children are learning how to be husbands and wives my watching mom and dad.
It may keep them from respecting you. Awful marriages normally encourage children to pick a side.
The family is the building block of society and Satan wants to destroy it. The easiest place for him to do that is in a marriage.
My mother was married to five different men by the time I was in the ninth grade. I had no idea what marriage was supposed to look like. If it were not for the grace of God I would have followed in her footsteps. Sometimes we look down on the divorced. But there are plenty of bad marriages in the church as well.
B. Some marriages in the church are barely hanging on. Some are hanging on because of:
Finances- some couples would divorce if they could afford to.
Family- Some will divorce when the kids finish school. They are counting down the days. Or they will divorce in a particular family member dies so they can be sure to get the inheritance.
Faith- Some won’t get divorced because they believe it’s wrong. I commend you for that but remember a loveless marriage is also wrong.
C. A marriage that is not given the attention it needs will suffer. Marriage isn’t easy. A plant won’t even stay alive in your home without sunlight and water. Your marriage won’t stay alive without the attention it needs.
Let’s be honest with ourselves this morning. How is your marriage? Could it be better?
I want to encourage you not to simply endure your marriage. I don’t want you just putting up with each other. I want you to have a joyful thriving marriage. Let’s consider what we need if that is to happen.
2. There must be a mutual submission (21-24).
A. Our submission is ultimately to Christ. Notice “in the fear of God” in verse 21.
When you were married you made a vow to God.
To love and cherish
To have and hold
For better for worse
For richer for poorer
To obey
Til death do you part
This is what makes protecting your marriage so important. You made a vow to God. Not to just stay married. You made a vow :
To love and cherish
To have and hold
For better for worse
For richer for poorer
To obey
Til death do you part
If you fear God, you will take that vow seriously.
B. Our submission is to one another.
I say this because we sometimes only speak to the women when it comes to submission. But submission is for all Christians. Let me speak to our men for a moment.
You are to be the model of submission in the home. People should learn about submission by watching you live your life.
If you never bend
If you never listen
If you never let go of your own will
Others in the home will not learn what masculine submission looks like. If you are domineering. If you run your home like a tyrant, you’re not modeling Biblical submission.
C. The wife is to submit to her husband (22-23).
The first thing I want you to see is when you submit to your husband you are honoring Christ. That’s Paul’s point in verses 23-24. You are respecting an office that represents Jesus. We’ll get into the symbolism of marriage later.
The husband is not better than the wife.
The husband is not smarter than the wife.
The husband is not more holy than the wife.
The husband represents Christ in the marriage. That is why she is to submit to him. What does it mean to submit? It means to place yourself in the proper position.
Let’s be honest wives. Most of the time you all make most of the decisions. You’re the manager of the home. You get on to dad more than anyone else does. Ladies normally determine:
How the house is decorated
Where and what we eat
If the kids get to spend the night off or have company over
What people in the house wear
I could go on. But you should be willing to submit to the leadership of your husband. If you two disagree on a matter he should the tie breaking vote. When you submit to him you are not trusting him. You are trusting Christ. Christ told you to do this. 1 Peter 3:5 says that the holy women of God in the Old Testament were trusting in God when they submitted to their husbands.
Someone has to lead in a marriage. Ladies, let the husband lead. It’s the only way he can. He can’t lead if you don’t let him. Marriage is easier when we mutually submit to one another. But ultimately the husband should be the leader.
3. There must be a Christlike love (25-29).
A. Love is the dominant theme of this section.
We see it in verse 25, 28, 33.
Love is defined in 1 Corinthians 13.
Love is patient. Remember God has been patient with you longer than you have been patient with your spouse.
While you are being patient work on yourself. There is plenty of work to do.
Love is not jealous. Don’t be jealous of their:
Physical appearance. They may look better than you!
Spiritual accomplishments. God may use them in a great way.
Personal relationships. They may have more friends or have a better job.
Love is humble.
When we are proud, we become rude. Don’t just tell them what you think!
When we are proud, we want our own way.
When we are proud, we get angry easily. Seek to be the partner your spouse wants!
Love forgives.
Never question the sincerity of a spouse’s apology. It’s presumptuous & hypocritical.
Never bring up an incident that a spouse has already apologized for.
Never look at your spouse through the eyes of unforgiveness. See the cross. We are all ugly through the eyes of unforgiveness.
B. Christlike love is sacrificial (25, 28-29).
It is impossible for the husband to love the wife with the same measure of Christ Jesus loves the church. Jesus’ love will always be greater. We can’t be punished for the sins of our wife. So Paul gives us an understanding of what this sacrificial love looks like in verses 28-29.
Love your wife like you love yourself. What do we do for ourselves?
We eat what we want
We go where we want
We spend time doing what we want
We watch what we want.
To love our wife like we love ourselves is to do things that please her.
Eat where she wants to eat.
Go where she wants to go.
Spend time doing what she wants to do.
Watch what she wants to watch.
There is no way I would have ever watched The Sound of Music or Gone with the Wind if I were not married to Jennifer.
Some of you are not hearing this correctly. I didn’t say let her do what she wants to do and you do what you want to do. That isn’t sacrifice. Do with her what makes her happy. That’s what it means to love her like you love your own body.
This isn’t limited to men. This is very similar to the Golden rule. Do unto others…
The largest part of the burden lays on the husband but the truth is there for the wife as well.
C. Christlike love is sanctifying (26-27).
Marriage is a tool God uses to sanctify believers. Just as Christ is actively sanctifying the believer from the inside out, the husband is to be a part of his wife’s spiritual growth.
As a married couple we should be encouraging our spouse in holiness.
Never putting stumbling blocks in their way.
Never living in sin because they will likely join us if we are.
Is your spouse more holy because of you?
4. There must be an inseparable love (31).
A. The husband is told to leave his father and mother.
Doesn’t mean he never sees them again. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t love them. It means his relationship with them drastically changes.
Wives should not have to live in the shadow of the mother-in-law. Husbands shouldn’t have to live in the shadow of their father-in-law. Nothing kills a marriage like nosey in-laws. If you’re not ready to leave don’t get married.
Illustration: My wife and my mother had one argument. We had to live with her for about a week as we transitioned to a new job early in our marriage. That single wide trailer wasn’t big enough for my two favorite women. They got into it. I had to pick a side. Guess which side I picked. I’m still married, right?
In the Bible you are never told to leave your spouse and cleave to your father and mother. You are told to leave your father and mother.
The best thing some folks could do for their marriage is to accept the reality that they treat their mom more like their wife. Listen mom, is he’s married he’s not your little boy anymore. Leave him alone. It’s unnatural and it’s unhealthy. God made him to leave and cleave. When he does don’t go after him.
B. The husband is joined to his wife.
The word “join” means to be glued together. The idea is the new bond is greater than the old one. The old one was meant to be temporary. The new one is permanent.
Who joins them? God does. The language “the two shall be one flesh” is used of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:24. God took Eve from Adam, so they were one flesh. God, in marriage, makes a couple one flesh.
I can’t explain that fully. I think it involves a wholeness.
It includes intimacy.
It includes accountability.
It includes ability to do and see things in a way one could not without the other sex.
The main point is this: You are not made one with anyone else on earth. The only person you are made one with is your spouse.
You are not one with your mother, father, or children. You are one with your husband or wife. Don’t try to be two!
God says let no man tear asunder what He has put together (Matt. 19:6).
C. Do not build your lives around your kids.
They’re going to leave. When they do life is going to be hard if you have a bad marriage.
Cleave to Christ and to one another. Your kids are going to cleave to someone else.
It is a sad reality that the only thing some couples have in common is their kids. When the kids are gone, they have no idea what to do.
There’s a couple of different types of marriages.
Some have kids and it is going to destroy them when the kids leave. It’s where they get their joy.
Some have kids and its going to hurt when the kids leave but it is also exciting. The couple have plans for their next chapter. Those plans include a lot of time with and attention on one another. That’s a good thing.
Where are you?
Do you recognize your marriage as the only inseparable love? Do you realize that God has ordained that certain people in your life move on and start a family of their own?
Do you recognize that your relationship with your kids will change one day but your relationship with your spouse is a permanent one on this earth?
5. There must be an understanding of the significance of marriage (32).
A. Marriage is symbolic of the relationship Christ has with His people.
Paul talks about the great mystery in verse 32. The mystery is the truth that God would reconcile Jew and Gentile into one body through the death and resurrection of Christ (2:13). This truth was not seen clearly in the OT but was made clear in the new.
The union of a husband and wife is a picture of the union of Christ and His church. The oneness husband and wife experience points to the oneness that Christ and His people experience.
Why does God use marriage to point to our salvation in Christ?
Why not use mother and child?
He uses marriage because marriage is designed to be the most intimate of earthly relationships.
B. Your marriage is preaching a sermon.
That sermon should be presenting a husband who sacrificially loves a bride and a bride who submits and respects to a husband. It should be pointing to Christ as the Bridegroom and the Church as the Bride.
Does your marriage point people to Christ? Do they see Christ in your marriage?
Illustration: Woman in a nursing home who wanted to ask me a question. Concerned about her soul. Very old woman. She and her husband had been in church their whole life. Her husband had passed years earlier. She had some guilt. She told me of how ungodly her husband was. Even though he went to church he was horrible. This was her dilemma. She was a godly woman. She said that when he died, she couldn’t even make herself cry for him. She wondered if God would forgive her for that.
She told me she would not have dreamed of getting a divorce in those days, but their marriage was loveless. I am afraid that there are many people who only don’t get divorced because they feel they are too old to. What a shame to live your earthly life in a loveless marriage.
A loveless marriage is not preaching the gospel. The solution is to love. Love your spouse. Christ loved us when we were unlovable. He loved us when we were ugly. He beautified us with His love.
C. A simple life makes marriage easier.
What does God require of a couple?
Work.
Raise your kids.
Serve God.
That is what God will hold you accountable for. Marriage is easier when life is simple.
Did you know that heaven is described as a perfect marriage? It is. In Revelation 19:7-8 eternity is described as a perfect marriage between God and His people. The closest thing to heaven on earth should be your marriage. Do you have that? If not call on Christ for help.
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