Friday, April 07, 2006

A Beautiful Marriage

All this talk about marriage, being single, having children and the idea behind commitment (please re-read previous entries for reference) have made me re-think what God intended for marriage. So, I read through some scriptures, and gave it some thought (and prayer) as I tried to re-focus on His intended will.

And, once again, I am reminded of the beauty of marriage as God intended it to be - a mutually satisfying, mutually loving, respectful and mutually desired state. No hint of a baby's daddy or baby's mama, sperm banks, two or three women (or men) 'on the side', fooling around or trophy wives. A whole lot of love, a whole lot of respect, and a whole lot of God is more like He intended for us.

Oh, how wonderful it would be to go back to God's original plan!

Following are some points that I gleaned from my recent study of God's word:

1. THE MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP COMES FIRST (AFTER GOD)
Genesis 2:23 - Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife and they shall be one flesh

Notice a man leaves both mother and father to be with his wife. And also notice this is before there is any mention of children, friends or other family members. In other words, the marriage relationship comes first. The only One you should love more is God. Period.

2. DIVORCE IS THE LAST OPTION
Matthew 5:31 - ....But I say to you that whoever shall put away his wife, except for cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery. And whoever shall marry her who is put away commits adultery

We divorce for so many reasons nowadays, but, most often I hear the phrase 'we grew apart'. As you can see, the Bible does not make provision for 'growing apart'. Except for adultery (and if an unbelieving husband/wife leaves his or her spouse), the Bible says you should stay married. So, again, unless you have a very good reason, if you are married, you should stay married.

3. HUSBAND AND WIVES ARE TO BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER
1 Corinthians 7:3 - Let the husband give to the wife proper kindness, and likewise the wife also to the husband.

This should be basic, but so often it is not. A lot of people consider their husbands or wives their favorite 'target', the object of their misery, the causer of all their pain. The Bible says that, instead, we should be kind to our spouses. Kindness - wouldn't it be nicer if there were a whole lot more of that going around?

4. SEX SHOULD BE A MUTUAL PLEASURE (one of my favorites:)
1. Corinthians 7:4-5 - The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband. And likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife. Do not deprive one another, unless it is with consent for a time, so that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer.....

This verse is basically saying that neither the husband or wife has the 'right' to continually say no. That means no 'holding out', playing games or depriving him or her of yourself. And, if you need to pray or fast for an extended period of time, to get your spouse's consent - let him or her know what is going on. Sex was meant to be a pleasurable coming together of a husband and wife. Is it that way for you?

5. HUSBANDS SHOULD LOVE THEIR WIVES AS CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH
Ephesians 5:25 - Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it,

I love this verse as well. This scripture admonishes husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church - in other words, be willing to sacrifice himself for her. To nurture and care for her. To love her and to cherish her. (I could go on and on....) It even goes on to say that the husband should love the wife as much as he loves himself - and no man ever hated himself.

6. WIVES SHOULD RESPECT THEIR HUSBANDS AND SUBMIT TO THEM AS UNTO GOD
Ephesians 5:22 - Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

I'd love to be able to stop at the last scripture, but, ladies there are instructions for us as well. (And, yes, I have just as much of a problem with the word 'submit' as you do!) The best explanation I've seen of this passage is where John Gill says 'This is an instance, explaining the above general rule; which subjection lies in honour and reverence, and in obedience; they should think well of their husbands, speak becomingly to them, and respectfully of them; the wife should take care of the family, and family affairs'. In other words, that submission comes through love, not subjugation, humiliation or a master-servant relationship. But through love.

And, we are reminded that we are to submit ourselves to our husbands as unto the Lord. Now that's deep. For the Lord I will give my all. And what the Lord is saying to me is that that commitment must be the same as what I will give to my future husband. And that we (women) are to serve our husbands as if serving God. So, our husbands must love us without condition, and we must obey as if we are obeying the Lord. (Hey - don't get mad at me - I'm just interpreting!).

Let me know what you think. There are, I'm sure, numerous other scriptures in the Bible about marriage. The above scriptures simply represent my favorites. And though I struggle sometimes with the idea of a Godly marriage (especially this whole 'submission' thing), I would truly love to understand what God's original plan was for a husband and wife. All opposing views welcome!

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17 comments:

confederateson said...

Awesome!

Anonymous said...

I wrote this for your black marriage post but I think it works here as well.

Marriage is what you make it. I’ve been married going on seven years now and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I believe the reason more of us aren’t getting married is because so many of us have grown up in single-family or dysfunctional homes. We have no idea what it really takes to be married and we have unrealistic expectations. We don’t really know what qualities make for a good mate.

I’m sure you’ve heard the cliché that it’s what’s on the inside that counts. I believe this is the golden rule for marriage. Companionship is king! Do they make you laugh? Do you enjoy talking to them about anything and nothing? Are they easy to be with for days and weeks at a time? When I started dating my wife I knew she was special because being with her felt as natural as breathing.

Don’t marry work! When I say this I don’t mean wait for someone whose perfect, I mean marry someone who is unusually easy and pleasant to be with. When you’re sharing your life with someone you’re going to have a lot of ups and downs. If your partner is work in the good times they will be unbearable in the bad times.

At its baseline your relationship should be pleasant and enjoyable. That is the point from which you should experience your ups and downs.

Looks come and go. Money can’t keep you happy. Sex is wrapping paper not the gift. You’re looking for a faithful companion not a car. You have to take off your consumer’s glasses and look at yourself in the mirror. You’re not perfect. You have a lot of flaws and so will your partner. You’re going to let each other down; you’re going to make each other angry; you’re not always going to like each other.

I think marriage is more about a mutual commitment to an idea than reliance on the waxing and waning of emotions. To me a good marriage = Love (selflessness) + commitment (self discipline) + Good Communication + Humor (If you’re not laughing, you’re not lasting!).

T.H.

ms mimi the mocha soulchild said...

I am one of those women who has a problem with submission.

I don't have a problem with the concept, which I believe is from God and for our good. I have a problem with the construct, made by man for man's good.

As I see it submission, as illistrared in the Bible is 1.) really about respect. I could substitute respect for submission in any of those verses and get it much better and 2.) is reciprocal.

I think the problem I have is I have seen submission abused by those "in authority" which is probably why husbands are given a greater charge than wives; husbands must love their wives, wives are commanded to submit.

Christ gave up his life for the chruch.

I think if we see it through the eyes of Christ, it is a beautiful insitution.

However, I've seen people including my own father use this as a reason to treat women as objects, beat them, and control them. Man is imperfect as woman. So I guess my issue with submission is that it really requires both parties to be in tune with Christ to override our natural imperfections.

sonya said...

T.H. -

Thank you for your comments! I was beginning to wonder if anyone was happy anymore (in a marriage). I've seen so many bad examples - lying, cheating, nit-picking, mental/verbal abuse, cold wars of hostility - that I was starting to think that was all there could be. Why do people let their marriages degenerate so often into armed warfare?

Thank you for giving me some insight into a marriage that actually works!

sonya said...

Ms Mimi:

Yes, we both struggle with that whole submission thing. I do believe God meant marriage to be a beautiful institution and we have so misconstrued it to be something else. Will we ever recover from the 'Fall'? Maybe not this side of heaven.

I too have seen that whole 'head of the family' concept used and abused. Men who wanted respect yelled, screamed and abused their mates all in an effort to prove that they were the 'man'. It's so discouraging - but I hold on to the belief that God meant so much more for us.

I like that whole concept of respect - I can really relate to that. Because (men correct me if I'm wrong) - isn't the number one thing men want from women 'respect'? We want love - they want respect. You keep me in your thoughts and prayers, Mimi, as we work our way through our dilemmas.

Anonymous said...

I think selfishness is the killer of marriages. Selfishness at some level lies behind most of the foul things we do. I’m sure you’ve heard the analogy that says relationships are like bank accounts. They require deposits in order to make withdrawals. If one party almost always takes and the other almost always gives the relationship won’t last. If it’s all about “me”, “we” have no future.

If I am to love you like Christ loved the Church then I want your life to be fulfilling, purposeful, and meaningful. I’m willing to sacrifice my own life for your fulfillment and abundant life. As my partner in life you are willing to do the same for me. As a result of our mutual selflessness we build into each other and have a more positive, meaningful and satisfying life experience.

Communication is another big issue. If you and your partner can’t talk freely, you need to get a counselor to help you learn how.

The reality is that you both have to want to be committed to the idea of marriage more than your temporary feelings. My wife and I have a good marriage but if both of us didn’t want it to work, or if we were just waiting for a reason for it to fail, we have had a few opportunities over the years. Sometimes you just have to weather the storm and wait for it to pass. I don’t think there is anyway around this issue. Humans are broken vessels, but our weakness allows us to have empathy. If you fully and honestly embrace your own weakness you can better love your partner.

Good luck and God Bless

T.H.

Gina Burgess said...

Excellent post! I love your study here. I really like your thought process!

Sonya, actually the submitting yourself to your husband unto the Lord means to filter everything through the Lord first. Never submit to anything that is unbiblical.

Also, the husband is the leader of the family. Husband and wife are one flesh, but two heads make a monster.

Tucike said...

Hey there! I just blogsearched for "christian" and found you. I read some of your posts, amd especially this one, since I'm a "fresh" wife (well, not so fresh, 1 year almoust).
Really need to read about God's will, and I think this blog will help me in this search.
So please keep on writing :)

sonya said...

T.H. -

I am so looking forward to being married with God right smack in the middle of our relationship. Hearing stories like yours truly encourages me in my search and quest for a Godly marriage. I like the whole idea of sacrificing for the other person and putting them first. And - you are right - commitment is the key.

sonya said...

Gina -

I'm definitely going to give more thought to submitting to my husband as unto the Lord. I know there is a whole other realm of spirituality that I need to get to in order to make my (future) marriage work out right. I try to filter pretty much everything through the Lord (except for those two scoops of ice cream I just had!). I trust God implicitly and have learned after much trial and error to let Him work things out and, at the very least, just do what He tells me to do.

Thanks for the added insight on submission!

sonya said...

Tucike:

I'm so glad to have met you. I visited your website and it made me wish I spoke your language :( Is it Romanian? Nevertheless, the pictures were very nice and I can see that you've been blogging for a couple of years now.

I so hope that you find your way to knowing God better. He is definitely open and available to whatever it is you need - advice, comfort, love and affection, an Ear to listen or a Shoulder to cry on. I pray that you find God's will for your life in your journey towards Him.

Tucike said...

Actually it's hungarian, but I live in Romania. :)

kelrab said...

Hi, the marriage post.

It reads women submit to your husband, men love your wife like Christ loved the Church.
Christ laid down His life for it.
Men have the harder job, but it would be nice if more men were doing it!

Anonymous said...

My husband and I will soon celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. I think that I need to think more about what
The Bible instructs me to do as a wife.

Ashley DeMazza

Ashley DeMazza said...

I wonder if anyone knows of any good books dealing with the subject of Christian marriage? I would love to buy it and share it with my husband.

Ashley DeMazza

Anonymous said...

I've been married for 10 years but as years pass by, i feel like our marriage is dying. We have a cold relationship. I've been praying for intimacy with my husband but his heart is just opposite from what i desire, to honor God. I find it hard to stay married because,we're not mutual at all! My husband works everyday and when he comes home just went straight to be with his beloved computer until dinner and until i finish washing dishes. we only see each other when we lie down on the bed with our 5 year old daughter in the middle all the time. once in a blue moon we did our part to have another baby but he has a problem and he wanted me to buy a sex pill for him which i found awkward or shall we say, rediculous!I'm just kind of tired of our relationship like this but he seemed to be content. He goes to church every Sunday and claim to be a Christian but he denied to death that he smokes, which i said is the cause of erectile dysfunction, sorry for my boldness. I really need your comments on this. I tried to hide this for 10 years but i think it's alright to be open with some christian women. sometimes, i'm just thinking of just leaving him and have nothing to do with men but i know that's not pleasing to God. Please comment. Thanks! Yancy

Anonymous said...

I've been married for 10 years but as years pass by, i feel like our marriage is dying. We have a cold relationship. I've been praying for intimacy with my husband but his heart is just opposite from what i desire, to honor God. I find it hard to stay married because,we're not mutual at all! My husband works everyday and when he comes home just went straight to be with his beloved computer until dinner and until i finish washing dishes. we only see each other when we lie down on the bed with our 5 year old daughter in the middle all the time. once in a blue moon we did our part to have another baby but he has a problem and he wanted me to buy a sex pill for him which i found awkward or shall we say, rediculous!I'm just kind of tired of our relationship like this but he seemed to be content. He goes to church every Sunday and claim to be a Christian but he denied to death that he smokes, which i said is the cause of erectile dysfunction, sorry for my boldness. I really need your comments on this. I tried to hide this for 10 years but i think it's alright to be open with some christian women. sometimes, i'm just thinking of just leaving him and have nothing to do with men but i know that's not pleasing to God. Please comment. Thanks! Yancy