Thursday, October 20, 2011

How Can You Have a Truly Fulfilling Marriage?

The fullest statement of Divine Love in any earthly relationship, is that which should be found in a Christian marriage. The husband is given the glorious privilege of representing Jesus Christ in the relationship and the wife has bestowed upon her the great privilege of representing the Church.

It is indeed a mystery. The implications of such a correlation of the eternal, Divine relationship between the Lord Jesus Christ and the Body of Believers with that of the temporal, human relationship between a husband and wife is, to say the least, an astounding wonderment!

Matthew 19:5-6: And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Eph 5:31-32: For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

What do we really understand about all this?
The husband and wife actually become one in spirit and flesh! This unregenerate, perverse world only knows and centers on the, "flesh" part.
(Also, please note how many problems come in the picture when parents become involved in, "running the marriage!") Once the man has left his parents, there is now a whole new family of which the husband is the, new authority in the home and he is directly under the authority of Christ.

Now, God does not expect us to have an absolute, perfect understanding of this marvelous mystery. However, He does expect us, indeed commands us, to obey those clear instructions, which He has spelled out in His Holy Word, the Bible.

Question: Does your marriage reflect the Divine Love of the Savior?

Here is a checklist for the Husband and Wife:

Things to do:
Husband, do you?

1. Love your wife (love her as Christ loves the church, love her like you love yourself; like you love your own body; [assist her(sacrificially)even in menial duties(love expressed)])? Eph. 5:25, 28
2. Honor your wife (treat her as the most special person in the whole world; cherish her)? 1 Pet 3:7
3. Live with your wife with understanding (are you considerate of her needs, being aware her emotional/psychological makeup etc.)? 1 Pet 3:7

Wife, do you?

Read Proverbs : 10-31
1. Love your husband (are you concerned about his every need and are generally supportive of him)? Titus 2:4, 1 Pet 3:6
2. Obey your husband (as the church submits herself to Christ, quick to do what he says [as long it is not contradictory to Lord's Will] without giving a debate, without challenging him or expressing bitter sarcasm)? Eph 5:22, 24, Col 3:18, Titus 2:5, 1 Pet 3:1
3. Respect your husband (privately and publicly) that is in thought as well as in words, tone, facial expressions, gestures, in speaking to others about him etc.) Eph 5:33a
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; Eph 5:22-25

Any major problem in marriage is usually due to a lack of proper love (which really covers the other qualities mentioned above as well) on the part of one or both of the individuals.
Note: God does not say to modify or regard as non-applicable any of His commands because the other partner does not measure up to our expectations spiritually, mentally, emotionally or physically. Nor does he ever mention that these commands are culture-specific. This is Love Divine.

As far as the physical (sexual) relationship in marriage is concerned, Scriptures declare that the spouse is to give his/her body over to the other spouse and not regard it (selfishly)as his/her own. Again, the self-sacrificing statement of true love is expected once again in everything, including in the sexual relationship between a husband and his wife.

You can be happy in every way, (including experiencing sexual fulfillment) when you are obedient to Jesus.

Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Proverbs 5:18

Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 1 Cor 7:3-5
Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Hebrews 13:4

Things not to do:
Husband, do you?

1. Behave unfaithfully to your wife (are you adulterous? do you flirt with anyone in gesture, speech or thought?)Ex. 20:14, Malachi 2:14, Matt 5:28
2. Get bitter with your wife (do you despise her, refuse to forgive or forget any past difficulties or communicate with her?) Colossians 3:19

Wife, do you?
1. Behave unfaithfully to your husband (are you adulterous? do you flirt with anyone in gesture, speech or thought?) Ex. 20:14, Prov. 12:4
2. Try to lord it over your husband? (are you bossy in speech or gesture, privately or publicly?) 1 Tim 2:12

If any of these above mentioned things are present respectively in either partner, then it is no wonder that there is so many troubled marriages today, especially in the Church!
The whole trouble with people begins when any of God’s commands is treated as optional instead of instantly giving, implicit obedience once the knowledge of God’s Law of Love is made known to the understanding.

What to do when you are right and he/she is wrong?
Here is perhaps the most famous initial complaint heard in marriage counseling sessions all around the world.

First, we must be sincere before God because He will call us into judgment one day if we are not truthful in our speech or motives (Prov 21:2). Is it really true that you are right with regard to the above-listed commands that apply to you particularly? Is the other person truly the only one to blame for your marital problems/difficulties?
If not, then you do your part; obey the commands of God which apply to you; whether you are the wife or whether you are the husband) and the problem may well, solve itself all of a sudden.
1 Pet 3:1

If it is true that you are the completely, “innocent” party, then here is a wonderful solution for your situation, the “only” (workable) solution. Do your part faithfully and continually anyway, regardless of whether that person is obeying the Lord and doing, his/her part or not. This is not optional! It is the command of God!
Then God can also use us to be His instrument in, winning over our spouse back to God and ourselves. 1 Pet 3:1

If you are provoked or simply lose it, then ask God for forgiveness right away and forgive one another as Christ forgave you.
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
Ephesians 4:26 - Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. {quarrel: or, complaint}

Colossians 3:13 - We refuse to obey to our own peril and will be held responsible (before the Lord) with the other disobedient partner for the ruin of our marriage.

Of course, the Good News is that with God all things are possible. That is even a failing marriage, a marriage that is about to "die" can be, "resurrected". This can and will happen, if we, in faith, simply obey God, putting all our feelings aside. God never says, you may obey some of my commands when you choose to do so or you may obey my commands when you really feel like it. No! We must follow His marriage preserving, peace producing, love-fulfilling commandments and then we will not grieve the Holy Spirit but rather enjoy Life and Divine Love with our spouse! (Psalm 128)

All couples would do well to read, the Love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13 in the Bible in order to remember/understand what Divine Love really is.

Pay particular attention to verses 4-7:
(Charity is used here for love)
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, {vaunt meaning to speak boastfully} Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; {in the truth: or, with the truth} Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

The Lord does not want an immature, self-pleasing, lustful, carnal, material-oriented, superficial, worldly love that is so prominent in this age. As Christ is the head, so the husband is given the authority in the marriage relationship. As the Church is the body of Christ, so the wife is given the duty of submitting to the Head, which in the marriage context is the husband. The husband must lead the family and the only way he can do this properly is to seek God daily himself and then give of the wisdom and Christlikeness he receives daily to the family. The husband is the priest of the house; he must read the Bible and pray daily for guidance from God and in turn, lead and guide the family, ensuring a spiritual atmosphere in the home. The wife must also seek God daily in reading the Bible and praying sincerely, in order to support her husband in maintaining that spiritual atmosphere. Both the husband and wife must obey the Word implicitly and their goal should be to become more and more Christlike in attitude and action. This point cannot be emphasized enough. There are many spouses who read and pray daily, like a mechanical chore and never grow up spiritually because they don't apply the Word to themselves and obey God immediately.

Also, in passing it must be pointed out that the children will only grow up right in the presence of God and before the husband and wife when they(the children) don't see hypocrisy. Instead, in a godly family, the children will see love and faith in action, daily. Many a conflict between a husband and wife result from playing the blame game for the disobedience of rebellious children when actually the spouses have been hypocritical before the children, who have been subsequently "driven" away from God. If you have sinned, husband and/or wife, then repent and God will mend that which is broken. He is a God of miracles and He is able!

If ever you are tempted to think, "How can I ever forgive my spouse for doing such and such a thing to me; to irritate me, to embarrass me, etc., just remember that God in Christ has forgiven you a much greater debt of sin on your part than you'll ever have to forgive your spouse for. If you are sincere, then you will readily forgive him/her and show self-sacrificing love.

As simple and straightforward as the checklist may appear, it is actually the measuring stick by which we can know how we are doing in making our marriage, "heaven on earth" for ourselves and for our spouse. So, please, please just do it.

God does not beg for obedience but commands us.
However, we in the Spirit of Christ, like Paul the apostle, are constrained by love to plead with you, so as to help you foil the devil's plan of creating unnecessary tensions and quarrelings amongst yourselves and showing you that the battle, first of all, is spiritual in nature.
We must not deal with anyone after the flesh(carnally/worldly) anymore, especially our spouse.
We beseech you, because most probably you don't know what joy, what happiness you are missing when you are not doing what the Word says about walking in the Spirit in married life. This article is intended to lead you to be truly fulfilled in what God has for you in marriage. That is please, just obey what God tells you to do (husband and/or wife), turning your back on all other negative things the devil tries to make you feel or think.

Please obey your Heavenly Father without questioning and without delay and He will strengthen you and pour out His Love upon you in an even greater measure and will make you and your spouse a most powerful, united weapon against the devil and his demons!

Just remember that a man and his wife united in prayer is the thing the devil hates most in a marriage! Why? This seeking of God together in prayer will lead to their effectiveness as a couple in the kingdom of God. It is like Christ and His Church united forever; NO MORE DEVIL IN THE PICTURE! HE (THE DEVIL) CAN'T COME IN BETWEEN THEM ANYMORE AND SO THEY WILL BE IN LOVE ALWAYS; WITH GOD AND WITH EACH OTHER!

In the midst of a decadent, hopeless world in which actually, the love of many will wax cold because of the all pervasive nature of sin in society (Matt 24:12), we are commanded to be the expression of the Divine Love between our Blessed Savior and His Body, the Church, as everyone witnesses our Christian marriage to the praise of His Glory.

Written By: Bro. Pradeep Stephen
New York, USA

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