Falling in love is easy, keeping a marriage strong year after year takes work and commitment. The key to making a marriage work is more about being the right mate, rather than finding the right mate. Equally as important is keeping the right perspective on marriage, faith, and life.
The Bible tells us that in order to have a strong and successful marriage, we need to keep the right perspective on what is most important in our lives. That means making sure that God is always the most important thing in our lives, followed by our spouse, followed by our children, and then, our careers and everything else comes after that. When you read a statement like that in print, and think about it, it only makes sense that that is the order that we should keep things. However living out that philosophy in our everyday lives can be a much more difficult thing.
The Correct Role of Women in Marriage
Ephesians the fifth chapter gives us a snapshot of what a healthy family relationship should look like. Chapter 22 tells us, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church; and He is the savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”
Women often cringe when they hear the Bible’s command for wives to “submit” to their husbands. But the Bible is not suggesting that women are supposed to act as slaves to their husbands, by mindlessly doing everything that he says all the time like mindless robots. I prefer the way the Message Bible states it… It says “Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ.” This much more clearly conveys the idea that the Bible is trying to get across. It is important for wives to understand the role and position, and even more than that, the heavy responsibility that the Bible has placed on husbands as head of the household. The weight and responsibility of every decision that affects that family has been placed on the shoulders of the husband, and every choice and decision that affects the health and happiness of that family, the husband will be held accountable for.
That’s a lot of weight to carry as a husband and head of the household. That is why it is so important for husbands to have the support and understanding of their wives, and for wives to recognize the kind of stress and responsibility that their husbands are under, and to graciously support them and submit to them when it comes to making those tough decisions.
The Correct Roll For Men in Marriage
Now obviously God does not want wives to submit to their husbands if the decisions and choices that the husband is making are choices and decisions that would lead their wives and children away from a closer relationship with God. So in order for God’s ultimate plan for success in marriage to work, we read the next couple verses in Ephesians, which instructs the husbands how to live and conduct themselves in marriage. Verse 25 states, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”
What this verse is telling us first and foremost, is that husbands are to love their wives. That little word love means a lot of things in this passage of scripture. It means that we as husbands are to give of ourselves, everything we have to ensure that our wives are comfortable and happy, having everything that they need and require to live satisfying lives. It means that we are supposed to have compassion towards our wives and deal tenderly with them, their emotions and their needs. It means that if it comes down to it, we are even to give our lives for their safety and protection, even as Christ gave his life as a ransom for us. If husbands are living their lives according to that commandment, it make it easy for wives to willingly submit to their husbands as the authority and head of the household.
Ephesians goes on to say, “Husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.”
If men and women in marriage read these verses in Ephesians, understood them, and live their lives according to the instructions given herein, there would be no marital problems in this world, there’d be no divorce or separation or broken homes. Sadly, the world has skewed what these passages of Scripture are trying to say, and most men and women do not take the time to research what the Bible is truly telling us about how we should live our lives and conduct ourselves in marriage.
Marriage is supposed to be a reflection of God’s relationship with the church. God came down to earth in the form of Jesus Christ, and gave everything he had for the life and liberty of the church. He gave of himself endlessly and selflessly, and loved so much that he gave his own life to save the church from sin and condemnation. We as the church must recognize that, and in turn give everything we have back to Christ, and live our lives in respect and support and love of him. If we do that our life will be long and our way will be prosperous. And if men and women take this example as how their marriage is supposed to look, Jesus being the example for the husband, and the church being the example for the wife, then their marriages will be long and prosperous as well.
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