When we shop, we try to make life easy for the person at the checkout because most people are rude and unfriendly. Another reason is that one never knows when an opportunity might open to speak about the Lord Jesus.
We needed to go to the store today as we need bananas, eggs and a few other things. Jenny started speaking to the lady at checkout. This particular lady, when she serves me and I am alone, will always ask where my wife is. I’ll say something humorous, such as, “She is mowing the lawn and after that she needs to wash the outside of the windows.” To this, she will laugh. By now, she knows we love Jesus. Today, in talking to Jenny, the lady asked how it is that we have been married so long. She thought that laughing, having fun and being happy makes the marriage last. She now knows its living under Jesus’ reign. Well, what makes a marriage last?
Firstly, the members of the couple needs to acknowledge that neither of them are perfect and as sinners are in constant need of God’s help day by day.
Rom 3:23 … for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God …
This is excepting that we both make mistakes and are never always right in judgement, speech or decision making. Once the couple grasp this, their actions, reactions and general behaviour will be shaped with caution, love and consideration, knowing that as sinners we could easily treat each other in sinful ways.
Secondly, the couple need to have Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour.
2 Pet 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Once Jesus is Saviour, both members of the couple know they belong to another kingdom … one in another land called heaven. Their citizenship is granted through the blood sacrifice of Jesus. Once this is firmly established, they understand they live under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. They cannot have Jesus as Saviour without Him being Lord. If “Lordship” is missing, salvation is missing! The two are inseparable twins. You cannot have one without the other because Lordship means living under the authority of another … and that is Jesus Christ. Him as Lord means He dictates life and behaviour!
Thirdly, the husband needs to love the wife very differently to the way the world knows and explains love.
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her …
As we have said before, this love is a sacrificial love. It is a love that gives up anything and everything that stands in between or in the way of that which could cause any form of relational derailment. This type of love is so sacrificing that the importance of the wife is such that no friend, no employment, no alcohol, no gambling, no ‘other woman’, no hobby, no possession, etc. will be permitted to take the heart away from the wife. This love includes being the earthly lord of the wife … that is, caring, providing, protecting and guiding her for her very best. He needs to prepare herto present her to Jesus on that day in glory!
Fourthly, the wife needs to willingly live under the authority of the husband.
Eph 5:22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church …
This authority requiring submission is a God-appointed authority that includes the requirements of point three above. It does not mean she is inferior to her husband. It does not mean she can’t voice an opinion or an idea. It means that as a believer submits to the governing authorities as they look after and protect the citizens for their good, so the wife loves her husband through coming under God’s appointed leadership in the home. Allow me to add that when the husband loves sacrificially, the wife will offer her willing love through submission.
Fifthly, this couple need to spend time together in the Word of God and in prayer. You have heard the saying, “The family that prays together stays together.” That does not come from the Bible, but when the husband and wife read Scriptures together they find the same teaching about love, care, forgiveness, caution, kindness, evangelism, sacrifice, worship … the list is endless. Then, together they are able to pray through these issues, binding themselves together under God’s Word, will and control.
Sixthly, the husband needs to bring the children under his godly leadership. This is not easy, because like the parents, the children are sinners and might not be Christian. Once the husband (father), under God’s empowerment, gets to bring the children under godly influence, teaching them God’s Word, praying for their salvation and general health, life and behaviour, the children will submit and make life easier for the wife (mother), the husband (father) and the family itself.
Just a reminder … the Christian husband and wife are both sinners–saved by grace, but still sinners. Marriage is hard work all the time … everyday … but with God’s help, a marriage flourishes for God’s glory and the benefit of both husband and wife.
Dear God, thank You that marriage is Your idea. Thank You for every good, healthy Christian marriage. Graciously heal and restore marriages of those close to us who find themselves in a relational mess. Help us to show those who intend marrying just how wonderful and blessed a marriage under God can be. Amen.