“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.”
I’ve recently been asked to officiate a wedding, something which I consider an honor and privilege to do. Weddings are always special times to me, because they signal the start of a union and partnership between two people who love each other and are committed to each other for life. Unfortunately, it seems that more and more marriages are ending in divorce or separation. It seems that many husbands and wives fail to understand how to live with each other and be patient and considerate of one another.
I believe it is for this reason that more and more books dealing with relationships have been popping up in bookstores during recent years. There are books on how to better treat one’s wife or husband, what the husband or wife is truly thinking or truly wanting, how to have a better sex life, how to have a more romantic relationship, etc. While the information in these books may or may not be valuable and helpful to your marriage, never forget that God has revealed the secrets of a happy, godly marriage in his book, the Bible. It would be prudent – both for your marriage and your eternal destiny – to study up on what it says about marriage and apply those commandments to your life.
So I have a suggestion for you and your spouse tonight. After you’ve tucked the kids into bed, grab your Bibles and take about 30 minutes to read this column together, go to each of the Bible passages I’ve cited below, and talk about how to apply each of them to your relationship. I think you’ll be happy you did.
God’s rules for marriage are very simple and straightforward. Husbands are the head of the wife (Ephesians 5:23) and must love their wives (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) like they love themselves (Ephesians 5:28-33). He must love her in the same way that Christ loves the church, by being willing to give himself up for her, setting her apart from everyone and everything else, and looking at her as someone who is without blemish (Ephesians 5:25-28). He must not be bitter or harsh with her (Colossians 3:19), knowing that in her he has found a good thing and has obtained favor from God (Proverbs 18:22). He must live with her in an understanding way, showing honor to her since she is physically weaker and also benefits from the grace God gives through the gift of life, so that his prayers will not be hindered (1 Peter 3:7). He must do his best to provide for his family, knowing that not being willing to do so makes him worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8).
Wives must learn to love their husbands (Titus 2:4; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7), respect them (Ephesians 5:33), and submit to them in everything (1 Peter 3:1-6; Colossians 3:18; Ephesians 5:22-24; Titus 2:5). She must not be nagging or contentious (Proverbs 21:9, 19; 25:23-24), but must rather be self-controlled, pure, kind, chaste, gentle, and quiet (Titus 2:4-5; 1 Peter 3:1-4). While godly women in the Bible worked outside the home when needed (Proverbs 31:10-31; Acts 16:14-15), she must also not forget that God expects her to be the manager of her home also (Titus 2:5; Proverbs 31:10-31).
Both must follow “the Golden Rule” by treating the other like they themselves would want to be treated in all aspects of life (Matthew 7:12). Both must also allow the other their conjugal rights, considering their spouse as having authority over their body, and must not deprive each other sexually except by mutual consent for a limited time (1 Corinthians 7:3-5), knowing that the marriage bed is not defiled and both must never commit adultery (Hebrews 13:4). Whenever angry with each other, both must never allow their anger to open the door for Satan and cause them to sin, but instead must resolve their anger by day’s end (Ephesians 4:26-27).
Imagine how better marriages would be, and how worse the divorce rate would be, if only all of us would do these things! Truly, God knows best!