CONTENTS
What Some People
Are Saying . . . . . . . . . . . 2
It All Began
With God . . . . . . . . . . . 4        BUILDING...
WHAT SOME                            doesn’t mean what it used
PEOPLE ARE                           to. A lot of people ar...
it will put the spice back        Divorce. Extramarital
  into our marriage.”            affairs. Counselors. Alcohol.
   ...
IT ALL BEGAN                         Then the rib which the
WITH GOD                             Lord God had taken
      ...
showing that Eve was               The Genesis account of the
brought to the man to              beginning of marriage
com...
TEN BIBLICAL                                      10
BUILDING
BLOCKS                                        8        9

  ...
BUILDING BLOCK 1:                    So then, they are no
Lifelong Commitment                  longer two but one flesh.
 ...
true story: A man and            BUILDING BLOCK 2:
woman had been married           Shared Identity
only a year when she w...
But it’s not always easy         In marriage, a man and
to live out that oneness in      woman are brought into
everyday l...
BUILDING BLOCK 3:                     whoever touches her
Absolute Faithfulness                 shall not be innocent
    ...
the fulfillment of the vow            promise of loyalty.
made before God and man             • We will not seek comfort
d...
marriage. And one of its         one of the most misquoted
attacks is on the traditional    and misused principles in
role...
understood and expressed         head (1 Cor. 11:3; Eph.
in the spirit of Christ, it      5:23). Adam was to use his
provi...
said, “I and My Father are           wife are to love each other
one” (Jn. 10:30).                    with the kind of unr...
worked at! True, many                 work or the praise she
wonderful and deep feelings           gets for her kindness.
...
reality and changing           love aren’t given just to
   accordingly.                   make marriage work. They
 • lov...
BUILDING BLOCK 6:                  almost 2,000 years ago by
Mutual Submission                  the apostle Paul who went
...
• Marriage is often very         home—that’s what followers
    difficult.                    of Christ are to be. Mutual
...
The husband and wife are      about prostitution, the wise
to find sexual fulfillment in     author of Proverbs wrote
each...
The sexual aspect of          other. Furthermore, the time
marriage is not a necessary       of abstinence is to be brief....
BUILDING BLOCK 8:                  wives do not communicate
Open Communication                 effectively:
              ...
(Jn. 1:1-4). He came to              Christ Is The Head.
make God known by word            Colossians 1:18 says that
and b...
husband and wife] do           it’s worth the pain and
    talk about everything,         effort. Open communication
    b...
Let all bitterness, wrath,     He was saying, “Know your
   anger, clamor, and evil        wife well so that you can
   sp...
They are given by God               husband and a dedicated
equally to both, and they           wife! No one can measure
s...
is made pure because of          that will be present in a
Jesus Christ, so the wife        marriage where husband
should ...
FIVE FACTS                           other can be stubborn,
ABOUT                                easily hurt, depressed,
 ...
He should be taking the              fault we’re having
lead, especially in spiritual        financial trouble.”
matters. ...
While it’s true that he       • “She insists that the
may need an honest                  kitchen cupboards need
reminder ...
CHECKLIST FOR                     • I often sacrifice my
HUSBANDS                            interests for my wife’s
     ...
CHECKLIST FOR                       to get my own way.
WIVES                               1 2 3 4 5
                     ...
TAKING THE                        broken in spirit to start anew.
FIRST STEP                            If you’re not a ch...
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Building Blocks To A Strong Marriage

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Transcript of "Building Blocks To A Strong Marriage"

  1. 1. CONTENTS What Some People Are Saying . . . . . . . . . . . 2 It All Began With God . . . . . . . . . . . 4 BUILDING BLOCKS Ten Biblical TO A STRONG Building Blocks. . . . . . . . 6 1. Lifelong MARRIAGE Commitment . . . . . . . 7 S 2. Shared Identity . . . . . . 8 ociety offers few answers 3. Absolute to reverse the trends of Faithfulness . . . . . . . 10 marital unhappiness. But 4.Well-Defined there are answers—in the most Roles . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 published book in history. With 5. Unreserved Love. . . . 14 that confidence, RBC staff writer 6. Mutual Submission . . 17 David Egner has written this 7. Sexual Fulfillment . . . 18 booklet to summarize what the 8. Open Bible says about marriage. Communication . . . . 21 It is our prayer that through 9.Tender Respect . . . . . 23 the answers found in these 10. Spiritual pages, the love of many will Companionship . . . . 25 be renewed and sustained. Five Facts Martin R. De Haan II About Marriage . . . . . . 27 Checklists For Husbands And Wives . . 30 Taking The First Step . . 32 Managing Editor: David Sper Cover Photo: Jon Feingersh/Corbis Stock Market Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version, ©1979, 1980, 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Publishers Copyright ©1986, 2001 RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, Michigan Printed in USA © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. WHAT SOME doesn’t mean what it used PEOPLE ARE to. A lot of people aren’t even bothering with a SAYING ceremony anymore. You try it; and if it doesn’t work, you leave it. It’s nothing to W hen the get moralistic about.” honeymoon is over, many • “Look at how high husbands and wives find the divorce rate is. themselves thinking and Everybody’s getting a saying words they never divorce—even prominent expected to say. For church leaders. So why example: should I suffer through a bad marriage? There’s no • “I’m getting out. This isn’t need for me to be the the person I thought I exception.” was marrying. Life is too short for all of this pain. “Marriage isn’t We’re no longer good for one another.” so much finding the right person • “We’ve tried everything. as being the Nothing seems to work. He just insists on having right person.” everything his own way. —Charlie Shedd It’s hopeless. The only thing to do is bail out.” • “Our marriage needs a little excitement. We’re • “This is the third too used to each other. millennium. Marriage Maybe if I have an affair, 2 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. it will put the spice back Divorce. Extramarital into our marriage.” affairs. Counselors. Alcohol. Drugs. Resignation. These • “We’ve been going from are just some of the ways counselor to counselor. people are trying to deal I don’t know how much with troubled marriages. money we’ve spent. We But most of the time, efforts even went to a preacher. to kill the pain make a bad Somebody must have the situation worse. right formula for us. I guess we’ll just have to “God’s the One keep searching.” who can make you • “I know our marriage will into the right kind eventually work. Once of husband or I’ve had a few drinks, I can tolerate just about wife—the kind that anything. It will help me pleases Him.” make it until things get better.” There is another way—a better way. Even if you are • “I guess I’m destined ready to call a lawyer. Even to a life of unhappiness. if reconciliation seems There’s nothing I can do hopeless. You can go to about my marriage. Someone who understands Maybe when the children your heart and your all leave home I’ll have trouble. He made marriage the courage to get out. in the first place. He alone Until then, I’ll just have can offer you the inner to pretend everything’s strength you need so that okay.” you can take the first step. 3 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  4. 4. IT ALL BEGAN Then the rib which the WITH GOD Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He M arriage was made brought her to the man in heaven. It all (Gen. 2:18,21-22). began in Paradise. Eve was made to God saw that man’s be Adam’s “helper aloneness was not good, comparable.” She is so He made him a “helper described with the English comparable to him.” And word helper, which doesn’t when God brought the express all that is poured woman to him, the first into the Hebrew term. marital relationship began. Sometimes it refers to Adam and Eve shared the someone who helps another wonderful garden paradise find fulfillment. In one God had created for them instance, it was used to tell as husband and wife. Here of someone who came to is how the Bible says it all the rescue of another. began: The Lord God said, “It is not good that man “The woman was should be alone; I will brought to the man make him a helper to fulfill him—to comparable to him.” . . . And the Lord God rescue him from caused a deep sleep to his aloneness.” fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one On another occasion it was of his ribs, and closed up used of God Himself. It’s the flesh in its place. an expression of honor 4 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  5. 5. showing that Eve was The Genesis account of the brought to the man to beginning of marriage complete him and to rescue concludes with a statement him from his aloneness. that expresses four elements that should be part of every marriage (see Gen. 2:24- “The Lord God 25). They are as follows: said, ‘It is not good • A Cutting Off. “Therefore a man shall that man should leave his father and be alone; I will mother.” The marital partners leave their make him a parents. helper comparable • A Bonding. “And be joined to his wife.” The to him.’ ” picture of the first marriage –Genesis 2:18 includes the idea of a gluing, a permanent As a comparable helper, bonding. Eve was Adam’s qualified, • A Unity. “And they corresponding partner. God shall become one flesh.” made her to be a suitable The two are to see friend and companion to themselves as one. The old family units are broken; a the man. She was, as new one begins. Charles Swindoll described • An Intimacy. “And it, the “missing piece in the they were both naked . . . puzzle of his life.” and were not ashamed.” In that first relationship, Their absence of self- our Creator gave us a consciousness enabled realistic pattern that set them to enjoy one another a course for both the and to meet each other’s needs without any sense of challenges and essentials embarrassment or rejection. of a healthy marriage. 5 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  6. 6. TEN BIBLICAL 10 BUILDING BLOCKS 8 9 5 6 7 W hen God made marriage, He formed a lifelong 1 2 3 4 relationship that was to find its strength and endurance remember that they are not in Him. Over time, He man-made. They are given used the wisdom of His to us by God Himself. Word to teach husbands Because they are, you can and wives how to be know with certainty that friends to their mates. In when you and your mate the process, He gave all of follow them, you will have us an understanding of the a marriage that is strong. essential building blocks to But perhaps your marital a strong marriage. They are: partner is at a different 1. Lifelong Commitment place than you are 2. Shared Identity spiritually or refuses to 3. Absolute Faithfulness accept the authority of the 4. Well-Defined Roles Bible. If your partner is 5. Unreserved Love willing to remain with you, 6. Mutual Submission this is your opportunity to 7. Sexual Fulfillment show your mate the kind of 8. Open Communication husband or wife God can 9. Tender Respect help you to be (1 Cor. 7:12- 10. Spiritual Companionship 16). So don’t put the As we think through booklet down. We sincerely these 10 building blocks, believe it will help. 6 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  7. 7. BUILDING BLOCK 1: So then, they are no Lifelong Commitment longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate (Mt. 19:4-6). Then, in response to a question about divorce, Jesus continued: 1 Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, The first biblical building permitted you to divorce block for a strong marriage your wives, but from the is for the man and woman beginning it was not so. to make a lifelong And I say to you, whoever commitment. The Scriptures divorces his wife, except make it clear that God’s for sexual immorality, ideal for marriage is one and marries another, man and one woman for a commits adultery; and lifetime. With this kind of whoever marries her who commitment in view, the is divorced commits Lord Jesus said: adultery (vv.8-9). Have you not read that Except for the serious He who made them at the exception of marital beginning made them unfaithfulness, the male and female, and marriage vow is a lifelong said, “For this reason a commitment—a vow to God man shall leave his father and to each other that is and mother and be joined not to be broken (see Eccl. to his wife, and the two 5:4-5). Marriage is for life. shall become one flesh?” Consider the following 7 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  8. 8. true story: A man and BUILDING BLOCK 2: woman had been married Shared Identity only a year when she was diagnosed as a victim of multiple sclerosis. After thinking seriously about it, she told her husband she was “setting him free.” But he did not leave her. The tender care and love he 1 2 showered on her made her remaining years happy and The second building block special. Why did he do it? for a strong marriage is for “Because,” he said, “when I husband and wife to see themselves as one. No “The marriage vow longer is it a man living his life for himself and a woman is the expression living hers for herself. There of a lifelong is now a new union, a new commitment.‘From family, a new unit. Adam expressed this shared this day forward’ identity when God brought extends throughout him the woman. He said: one’s lifetime.” This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; vowed before God ‘for she shall be called Woman, better or for worse’ and ‘in because she was taken out sickness and in health,’ I of Man (Gen. 2:23). meant it. And God made The next verse concludes both of us unbelievably with the words, ”they shall happy as a result.” become one flesh” (v.24). 8 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  9. 9. But it’s not always easy In marriage, a man and to live out that oneness in woman are brought into everyday life. This is union. They become one, because the husband and blending into each other’s wife have different habits, lives. It’s once-for-all, yet it’s different backgrounds, a process. Time, love, different parents, different patience, and forgiveness education, different are needed to bring the personalities, and different shared identity of marriage emotional scars. into maturity. And it has wonderful results. The man “The foundation and woman are no longer of [oneness] is a alone. They are one, even at a time when: mutual commitment • he’s in a motel room a to minister to one thousand miles away. another’s personal • she’s in the pains of childbirth. needs.” • he has just lost his job. —Lawrence Crabb, Jr. • she has discovered a Besides, Eve was not a mysterious lump. clone of Adam. She was • he has received a good unique, as every human promotion. being is unique. She did not • she has been offered come off some assembly a new job. line. She was different, both The two are one. physically and emotionally. Although they are distinct She had different needs— persons with vast differences, needs Adam alone could they have agreed to walk the satisfy. And she alone could path of life as one. They have satisfy Adam’s needs. a shared identity. 9 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  10. 10. BUILDING BLOCK 3: whoever touches her Absolute Faithfulness shall not be innocent (6:27-29). The Bible is uncompromising in its demand for sexual faithfulness. Paul told Titus to have the older women instruct the younger women 1 2 3 in the church “to love their husbands, to love their Not only is marriage a children, to be discreet, lifelong commitment of two chaste” (2:4-5). As a people who have a shared woman enters a marriage identity, it also calls for relationship, she is to be total fidelity on the part of committed to giving herself the husband and the wife. only to her husband. They are to be true to each For our good and God’s other. The Bible gives no honor, adultery is strictly ground on this issue. The forbidden in the Bible. The man is to be faithful to his seventh commandment wife; she to him. given on Sinai was, “You The writer of Proverbs shall not commit adultery” cautioned: (Ex. 20:14). Jesus mentioned Can a man take fire this commandment in His to his bosom, and his conversation with the rich clothes not be burned? young ruler (Mt. 19:18). And Can one walk on hot Paul named adultery first in coals, and his feet not be his list of the sins of the seared? So is he who goes flesh (Gal. 5:19). in to his neighbor’s wife; Marital faithfulness is 10 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  11. 11. the fulfillment of the vow promise of loyalty. made before God and man • We will not seek comfort during the wedding from a competitor. ceremony: “And to you I • We will let no one come pledge my faithfulness.” between us. One writer said: • We will realize we are This is how we must love not our own. one another, with a By today’s standards, vowed love that is not absolute faithfulness “isn’t dependent on happiness natural.” Of course not— nor any of the external not in a fallen world. But hallmarks of success. for our first parents in Where is such love to Paradise, it was as natural begin if it does not begin as could be. And today with the one closest to it will be part of every us, the life’s partner marriage that is strong and whom we have chosen successful. out of all the other people in the world as BUILDING BLOCK 4: the apple of our eye? Well-Defined Roles (Mike Mason, The Mystery Of Marriage, p.106). Here are some implications of absolute faithfulness—the third biblical building block of marriage: 1 2 3 4 • We will save our hearts for each other. Today’s society has made • We will keep our an all-out assault on 11 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  12. 12. marriage. And one of its one of the most misquoted attacks is on the traditional and misused principles in roles within the family. The Scripture, it doesn’t need to wife is being told that since be. Biblical leadership is she has the same rights as not dictatorial or blindly her husband, she doesn’t self-serving. Before God, have to submit to anybody. this headship is: Pressure is being put on the • to be provided in love husband to take care of (Eph. 5:25; Col. 3:19). himself and not to worry • to follow the example about her. As a result, of Christ’s love for the husbands and wives need church (Eph. 5:25). direction. They need • to be done with answers to basic questions understanding about their specific roles. (1 Pet. 3:7). Those answers are found • to be done without in the Bible. And when they bitterness (Col. 3:19). are expressed in love, they • to equal his love for his reflect the wisdom of God. own body (Eph. 5:28). The Husband’s Role. Marital headship does The Bible says that the not mean that the husband husband is the head of the is superior. The same verse wife. Paul wrote: that says the man is head I want you to know that of the woman also says that the head of every . . . God is the head of Christ woman is man, and the (1 Cor. 11:3). And we know head of Christ is God They are equal in nature. (1 Cor. 11:3). Both are fully God. The husband is head of The husband’s headship the wife (Eph. 5:23). is functional. It helps the While this principle is marriage work. When 12 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  13. 13. understood and expressed head (1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. in the spirit of Christ, it 5:23). Adam was to use his provides a servant role. physical strength and his Headship carries with it spiritual responsibilities for great responsibility. The the good of Eve; Eve was to husband is to provide be ready to help Adam loving, understanding, self- fulfill his God-given role sacrificing, patient, God- and responsibilities (Gen. honoring leadership. 2:18; 1 Cor. 11:8-9). The Wife’s Role. The A woman who does not woman is instructed in the find joy in helping a man Bible to submit thoughtfully provide loving, thoughtful and wisely to the leadership leadership in the home is of her husband: doing so to her own harm. Wives, submit to your Even though she might find own husbands, as to the it difficult to accept even Lord (Eph. 5:22; cp. good initiatives from her Col. 3:18). husband, she needs to Likewise you wives, be show that her ultimate submissive to your own confidence and trust is in husbands (1 Pet. 3:1). God Himself. Admonish the young Marriage has its best women . . . to be . . . opportunity when both obedient to their husband and wife accept own husbands (Ti. 2:4-5). their roles. It’s a functional God made man and necessity—a necessity woman to come together exemplified within the in a fulfilling, satisfying Godhead itself. Consider relationship. He made these words of Christ: “My Adam first (1 Tim. 2:13), Father is greater than I” and He made him to be (Jn. 14:28). Yet He also 13 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  14. 14. said, “I and My Father are wife are to love each other one” (Jn. 10:30). with the kind of unreserved Jesus came to earth to love that leads them to carry out in exact detail the honor each other, to esteem will and plan of the Father. each other, to consider each Although He was equal to other’s welfare above their the Father, He submitted own, and to stay by each Himself to the Father’s other’s side through the leading. highs and lows and the ups This relationship within and downs that come in the Godhead is the pattern every married life. that provides a background The husband was told for understanding heaven’s specifically in the Bible to pattern for marriage. love his wife. Paul said it succinctly in Colossians BUILDING BLOCK 5: 3:19, “Husbands, love your Unreserved Love wives” (see also Eph. 5:25). The wife also is expected to love her husband. You will remember, for example, that the older women of Crete were told to instruct 5 the younger women to “love their husbands” (Ti. 2:4). 1 2 3 4 The love between a husband and wife that The fifth building block for a grows through the years of strong marriage is love— marriage does not happen genuine, heartfelt, through- automatically with the thick-and-thin, till-death-us- saying of the vows or the do-part love. A husband and giving of a ring. It must be 14 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  15. 15. worked at! True, many work or the praise she wonderful and deep feelings gets for her kindness. are experienced by a couple • love does not boast who court, fall in love, and about getting the bigger marry. As time goes on, paycheck or making however, they learn that fewer mistakes. love has a deeper and more • love is not proud but practical dimension than admits that she may be the romantic aspect. They right about what’s wrong discover that they have to with the car. work at loving each other. • love is not rude, for The biblical pattern for it speaks to her Christian love is spelled respectfully in private out in 1 Corinthians 13. as well as in public. Although the love defined • love is not self-seeking, in these familiar verses is but it looks for an true of all relationships, it opportunity to be of may be especially applied help to the other. to marriage. Think about • love is not easily angered the practical ways the and doesn’t even raise elements of love seen in its voice when she does. verses 4-8 apply to a • love keeps no record of husband/wife relationship: wrongs and doesn’t raise • love is patient, enduring issues when it’s time to his absentmindedness move on. over and over again. • love does not delight in • love is kind, helping with evil and does not the housework when pressure the partner into she’s had a hard day. wrong behavior. • love does not envy his • love rejoices with important position at the truth by facing 15 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  16. 16. reality and changing love aren’t given just to accordingly. make marriage work. They • love always protects, are given to us by a wise without resorting to heavenly Father who, above bitter, sarcastic criticism. all, wants us to be in right • love always trusts, relationship to Him. believing that our real Yes, it’s hard to love security is in the Lord. when all the love seems to • love always hopes, be flowing one way. It’s holding to the shared hard when you’re the only dreams when his job is one doing the giving, the phased out. sacrificing, the holding on. • love always perseveres, It’s hard when your growing even stronger in partner’s ego or pride or adversity and stress. selfishness keeps your love • love never fails, though from being returned. youth, health, and vigor You’ve tried talking about fade away. it but nothing happens. “But wait a minute,” you You’re ready to throw in say. “I’m doing my part, the towel. but my partner is not doing If you’re thinking like his. Do you expect me to that, it might help you to keep loving him when he think about the Lord Jesus doesn’t love me in return?” suffering for us. If anyone Disillusioned husband or ever had a reason to stop wife, this love can change loving, He did. But He your life. It may not change loved us without your mate, but it will give reservation, even to the him every reason to realize point of dying on the cross that you are still there for in our behalf. That is the him. These principles of kind of love we are to have. 16 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  17. 17. BUILDING BLOCK 6: almost 2,000 years ago by Mutual Submission the apostle Paul who went on to apply the principle of mutual submission to several relationships. Not surprisingly, he saw that the first relationship needing 5 6 this kind of mutual spirit was marriage. 1 2 3 4 Submission and love go together. We know that Some Bible interpreters have God is love, but how do made much of the fact that we know He loves us? wives are told in the Bible to Because with great humility submit to their husbands. and submission, Christ went In stressing the woman’s to the cross (Phil. 2:5-8). responsibility, however, they In a Christian marriage, fail to see that the passage husband and wife, because in Ephesians 5 is prefaced they love God, are submitted by the following important to what the will of God is for words: them. They are in a process Do not be drunk with of letting go of themselves wine, in which is and submitting to God and dissipation; but be filled to each other. Having the with the Spirit, . . . “mind of Christ” produces submitting to one another mutual submission. While in the fear of God there are countless ways of (Eph. 5:18,21). expressing this attitude it at These verses were written least means: to the entire community of • Marriage is give and Christ. They were penned take—not just take. 17 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  18. 18. • Marriage is often very home—that’s what followers difficult. of Christ are to be. Mutual • Marriage is rising above submission is an important self-absorption. building block that will • Marriage is being a make a marriage work! servant. • Marriage is seeing when BUILDING BLOCK 7: it is loving to give in. Sexual Fulfillment • Marriage is helping when she’s tired. • Marriage is caring about each others hurts. So, what does this mean? It may mean that a 5 6 7 wife needs to see routine chores as something that 1 2 3 4 is not “beneath her.” In heaven’s eyes, she is far In the garden paradise more than the family maid. where it all began, Adam But it also means that a and Eve shared a wonderful husband is not to view his intimacy: “They were both house as his castle, and all naked, the man and his of its inhabitants, including wife, and were not his wife, as his subjects. ashamed” (Gen. 2:25). Rather, having the mind of Furthermore, the command Christ, he is to see it as the to replenish the earth came place where he has the best before the fall. Intimacy and opportunity of all to humble mutual physical fulfillment, himself—to be a servant. therefore, have always been After all, in every life part of the husband-wife situation—including the relationship. 18 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  19. 19. The husband and wife are about prostitution, the wise to find sexual fulfillment in author of Proverbs wrote each other. The Bible gives these words to young the following perspectives: husbands: It Is Protective. The husband and wife are to reserve this special intimacy “Thinking correctly for each other, and they are about marital to give it freely. Paul wrote, intimacy lays the “Because of sexual immorality, let each man groundwork for have his own wife, and let enjoying it fully.” each woman have her own —Charles Swindoll husband” (1 Cor. 7:2). No one needs to tell Drink water from your us that we are living in a own cistern, and sexually promiscuous age. running water from your There are few restraints. own well. Should your From billboards to fountains be dispersed television to magazines, abroad, streams of water relationships are being in the streets? Let them be sexualized. only your own, and not A husband and wife for strangers with you. Let who maintain intimacy are your fountain be blessed, helping to protect each and rejoice with the wife other from a sexually of your youth. As a loving obsessed society. They deer and a graceful doe, protect their own let her breasts satisfy you faithfulness. at all times; and always It Is Enjoyable. After be enraptured with her delivering a stern warning love (5:15-19). 19 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  20. 20. The sexual aspect of other. Furthermore, the time marriage is not a necessary of abstinence is to be brief. evil to be endured for the Do not deprive one purpose of procreation. It another except with was designed by God to consent for a time, that bring continuing pleasure— you may give yourselves an intimate, exhilarating, to fasting and prayer; renewing part of the and come together again husband-wife relationship. so that Satan does not It Is Expected. When a tempt you because of man and woman come your lack of self-control together in marriage, each (1 Cor. 7:5). has a right to expect sexual Mutual sexual fulfillment from the other. enjoyment is an important Paul wrote: part of marriage. Marital Let the husband render sexual experience that is to his wife the affection motivated by love is not due her, and likewise also evil. It must not be made the wife to her husband. more important than it is; The wife does not have nor should it be minimized. authority over her own It is part of the overall body, but the husband picture—an intimate part does. And likewise the of the shared identity of the husband does not have man and woman who come authority over his own together as husband and body, but the wife does wife. (1 Cor. 7:3-4). Paul went on to say that if one marital partner decides to abstain, it is first to be agreed upon with the 20 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  21. 21. BUILDING BLOCK 8: wives do not communicate Open Communication effectively: • They take each other for granted. • They want to avoid a 8 confrontation. • They are obsessed with 5 6 7 their own interests. • They feel that they are 1 2 3 4 being manipulated. • They are too hurried to In a survey taken a few take the time. years ago, the Family • They don’t want to hurt Services Association the other person. discovered that 87 percent For a marriage to be of husbands and wives strong, however, the interviewed said that the barriers to communication main problem in their must be broken down. And marriages was one way to accomplish that communication. The is to follow the example of percentage would probably Christ. You will remember be the same in Christian that husbands were marriages. The wife is instructed to love their frustrated because she can’t wives as Christ loved the get her husband to talk. The church. Two aspects of the husband doesn’t feel it does Savior’s relationship to the any good because his wife church could be applied to has already made up her marriage. mind anyway. Christ Is The Great Here are some of the Communicator. He is reasons husbands and the living Word of God 21 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  22. 22. (Jn. 1:1-4). He came to Christ Is The Head. make God known by word Colossians 1:18 says that and by example. He Christ is “the head of the revealed the will and body, the church.” A head character of God to man. must be in touch with all Christ is also involved parts of the body for it to in a continuing process of function smoothly. Through communicating with the the nervous system, it church. He is seated in sends and receives heaven, inviting us to “come information. It tells the boldly to the throne of grace” finger when to move; it is (Heb. 4:16) to tell God what told when the finger feels is on our hearts and to let pain. If communication is Him know our needs. missing, the body cannot How can Christ’s example function as one. of communication with His The same is true of a church apply to a marriage? marriage. The man, as • Husbands need to talk head of the home, needs to to their wives. communicate with his wife. • Wives need to talk to And she in turn needs to be their husbands. free to communicate with • Both should feel free to him. Unless there is two- respond honestly. way communication, as • Every problem should be between Christ and His talked through. own, the marriage will • Opportunities for talking experience difficulty. should be valued. Psychologist Paul Without open and Tournier made this healthy communication, it observation about marital will be hard for a marriage communication: to be successful. No doubt they [a 22 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  23. 23. husband and wife] do it’s worth the pain and talk about everything, effort. Open communication but it is all objective, all is an essential building about facts and ideas, block of marriage! which is what a man is interested in. For a BUILDING BLOCK 9: woman, real dialogue Tender Respect means talking about her feelings—her own feelings. But even more importantly, about her 8 9 husband’s feelings, which she wants to 5 6 7 understand, but which he does not know how to 1 2 3 4 explain (“Listening To Her,” Family Life Today, Sometimes marital partners Nov. 1982, p.26). are like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. What can you do if you Hyde. In public they are feel your mate is not considerate, forgiving, listening? Here are four patient, and sweet- suggestions: tempered. But once they • Tell of your need to are behind the closed doors communicate. of their own home, they • Don’t rehash old turn ill-tempered, surly, and conversations. unforgiving. Their mates • Start on the fact level. only wish they could be • Move on to the feeling treated the way their and conviction levels. partner treats others. It’s hard to converse In Ephesians 4:31-32 honestly on all levels, but the apostle Paul wrote: 23 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  24. 24. Let all bitterness, wrath, He was saying, “Know your anger, clamor, and evil wife well so that you can speaking be put away respect her feelings.” A from you, with all malice. husband needs to make this And be kind to one his goal. He should know another, tenderhearted, what pleases and comforts forgiving one another, just her, and also what hurts as God in Christ also and angers her. This special forgave you. understanding can then be This passage certainly used in building her up applies to husbands and rather than tearing her wives in a marriage down. relationship. Speaking to 2. “Giving honor . . . as wives, Paul said, “Let the to the weaker vessel.” If a wife see that she respects man is going to move five her husband” (Eph. 5:33). containers and he knows Peter told wives to be one of them is more fragile submissive to their than the others, he will husbands and even to handle that one more pattern their behavior after carefully. This is how a Sarah, who “obeyed husband should treat his Abraham, calling him lord” wife. He should give her (1 Pet. 3:1,5-6)—a picture special honor and respect. of her respect for him. Husband, buy your wife Peter then spoke to gifts, send her flowers, husbands in verse 7 and remember her birthday, advocated that they respect take her special places. their wives as well. He gave 3. “As being heirs three instructions: together of the grace of life.” 1. “Dwell with [your The gifts of life are not only wife] with understanding.” the husband’s to enjoy. 24 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  25. 25. They are given by God husband and a dedicated equally to both, and they wife! No one can measure should be shared together. how much they help each A man must respect his wife other spiritually as they and not rob the joy of life travel life’s road together. God created her to have. The spiritual dimension was included in the BUILDING BLOCK 10: passages about marriage Spiritual Companionship we’ve been discussing. Speaking to husbands about 10 their wives, Paul said: Husbands, love your 8 9 wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave 5 6 7 Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse 1 2 3 4 it with the washing of water by the word, that Finally, and perhaps most He might present it to important, a Christian Himself a glorious church, husband and wife should not having spot or wrinkle see themselves as spiritual or any such thing, but companions. They are that it should be holy making a spiritual journey and without blemish. through life together, So husbands ought to walking hand in hand as love their own wives as children of God toward the their own bodies wonderful eternity with God (Eph. 5:25-28). that awaits them. What a There is to be a purifying, difference it makes when a cleansing dimension to the marriage has a godly marriage. Just as the church 25 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  26. 26. is made pure because of that will be present in a Jesus Christ, so the wife marriage where husband should be made better by and wife are spiritual her relationship to her companions: husband. • They both worship the And how is that same God. accomplished? The same • They both seek to do way Christ helped the the will of God. church: He loved it and • They are both gave Himself for it. Love accountable to Christ. and sacrifice—these set a • They raise their children marriage apart and make together. possible a true spiritual • They pray for each other. companionship. • They encourage each Peter also mentioned the other’s faith. spiritual dimension in his As a husband and wife passage on marriage. He draw closer to the Lord closed it by saying, “that through prayer, Bible your prayers may not be reading, fellowship, and hindered” (1 Pet. 3:7). As submission to Christ, the husband understands they will also draw his wife, giving her honor closer to each other. and seeing her as a joint- This relationship may be heir of the grace of life, he visualized as a triangle. will be able to pray with As the husband and wife power. If he does not, Peter draw closer to God, they says, his prayers will be will also grow closer to each “hindered.” He will lose the other in a relationship that easy freedom of unhindered pleases God. prayer. Here are some qualities 26 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  27. 27. FIVE FACTS other can be stubborn, ABOUT easily hurt, depressed, or angry. MARRIAGE • You have different views about finances. P astors and marriage So you begin to tell counselors repeatedly yourself that you married the hear husbands and wrong person. But that’s no wives make statements that longer an issue. You made a are not true. Here are five lifelong commitment. Now facts about marriage that are your responsibility before often disputed by marital God, except in extreme cases partners under stress. of unfaithfulness, is to stay 1. You aren’t married with the one you have to the wrong person. married (Mt. 19:4-9; Sometimes it doesn’t take 1 Cor. 7:10-14). very long before the wife 2. His failure to lead begins to wonder if she isn’t your excuse. married the right guy, or the “Well,” the young woman husband begins to think he said emphatically, “if he made a mistake. This often would only lead the way happens in that period of he’s supposed to, we could adjustment while idealistic work things out. But he expectations for marriage won’t, so I have to make are being brought into line the decisions. Then he with reality. criticizes them. I can’t • You find out she hates stand it any longer.” to cook. She’s right about one • You find out he has no thing. Her husband should mechanical ability. be taking more loving, • You each learn that the thoughtful initiative. 27 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  28. 28. He should be taking the fault we’re having lead, especially in spiritual financial trouble.” matters. When a man starts Even so, his failure to talking like this, he’s lead is no excuse for her refusing to accept his own disobedience. Her responsibility in the family responsibility before the decision-making process. Lord still calls for her to be True, she did provide input. a loving, spiritual woman of Perhaps she was insistent. growing inner beauty (1 Pet. But that’s not your excuse. 3:1-6). If she uses what she You have to stop blaming sees as his failure to lead as her and begin to do what’s an excuse for her own poor right before God. behavior, she is failing every 4. Sex isn’t all he bit as much as he is. thinks about. 3. Her failure to Sometimes a hard-working, submit isn’t your excuse. busy wife begins to think Some husbands have a that all her husband is built-in excuse for every interested in is having his shortcoming or failure— sexual desires met. This they blame their wives. perception may become • “She’s always so pious. especially pronounced if She corrects me every any of the following time I try to lead family circumstances are true: devotions. It’s her fault • He spends too much we don’t have them time in his work. anymore.” • She doesn’t have his • “She had to have this help around the house. house. I went ahead • He ignores the needs of with it because I knew it the children. would please her. It’s her • Their schedule is full. 28 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  29. 29. While it’s true that he • “She insists that the may need an honest kitchen cupboards need reminder that his wife restaining. They look barely has the energy to fine to me!” keep up with her work, • “It takes her forever to it also may be true that she get ready to go sometimes doesn’t bother anywhere. And then with her husband’s sexual we’re always late!” interest. In many cases, • “She loves to shop and both need to do some spend my hard-earned adjusting. She needs to give money on little him the benefit of the doubt knickknacks and and also talk to him about doodads.” her needs. Some couples It’s true that many need to plan a regular women are more interested evening together or, if in appearances than their finances allow, a few days husbands. And Peter did away without the children. speak bluntly to women 5. Appearance isn’t all about the danger of putting she thinks about. too much emphasis on A fifth fact about marriage looking good on the outside is that many women do when they should be paying think about more than attention to the “hidden aesthetics. But some person of the heart” husbands don’t believe it. (1 Pet. 3:4). They argue: But let’s face it, men. We • “She always wants to do need our wives to help buy something new for us. Some of us are slobs. If the house.” we’re honest, we’ll admit • “It takes her too long to we’re glad for their attention pick out a dress.” to detail. 29 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  30. 30. CHECKLIST FOR • I often sacrifice my HUSBANDS interests for my wife’s well-being. 1 2 3 4 5 H usbands, now that • I often tell her that I love you’ve read what her and do little things to the Bible teaches show it. about your role and 1 2 3 4 5 responsibilities in marriage, • I’m concerned about her take a moment to evaluate feelings, and I listen yourself. Rate yourself by when she talks about circling the appropriate them. number: 5–excellent; 4–very 1 2 3 4 5 good; 3–good; 2–poor; • I try to say something 1–failing. nice to my wife every day and don’t go to sleep • I see myself as having angry. left father and mother 1 2 3 4 5 and as bonded to my • I do not use my wife’s wife. 1 2 3 4 5 shortcomings as excuses • I see my wife as one with for my own failures. me in every phase of my 1 2 3 4 5 life. 1 2 3 4 5 • I talk about spiritual • I do my best to be matters with her, and I faithful to her in thought often pray for her and as well as in deed. with her. 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 • I provide my wife the Now have your wife kind of loving leadership evaluate you. Be open Christ gives the church. to areas that need 1 2 3 4 5 improvement. 30 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  31. 31. CHECKLIST FOR to get my own way. WIVES 1 2 3 4 5 • I am willing to submit to my husband’s W ives, now that responsibility of headship. you’ve read 1 2 3 4 5 what the Bible • I feel that inner beauty is teaches about your role and more important than responsibilities in marriage, physical attractiveness. you might want to stop 1 2 3 4 5 and evaluate how you are • I show respect for my doing. Rate yourself by husband in my attitudes circling the appropriate and my actions. number: 5–excellent; 4–very 1 2 3 4 5 good; 3–good; 2–poor; • I do little things for him 1–failing. that I know will please him. 1 2 3 4 5 • I do not let myself think • I don’t use my husband’s that I have married the short-comings as an wrong person. excuse for my failures. 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 • I have left my father and • I see myself as my mother and share husband’s spiritual identity with my companion, and I pray husband. 1 2 3 4 5 for him and with him. • I am committed to 1 2 3 4 5 making our marriage last Now ask your husband until one of us dies. to rate you in these areas 1 2 3 4 5 and compare notes. Be • I do not use sexual honest, and be open to fulfillment as a weapon improvement. 31 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  32. 32. TAKING THE broken in spirit to start anew. FIRST STEP If you’re not a child of God, the first step is to know what Christ did for you. F or a marriage to be as The starting place for a God designed it, both healthy marriage experience partners need to be begins with your own right with Him. He created personal relationship to marriage in part because Him. To know His He saw that it wasn’t good forgiveness, you need to for man to be alone. agree with Him about your Is your marriage a good sin, admit that you can’t one? If there are serious, save yourself, and then unresolved problems, is it believe that Christ died in because you have been your place to take the trying to make it on your penalty for your sin and then own? If so, let me urge you rose from the dead to prove to turn back to your Creator it. Read the wonderful and Savior. Admit that promise of John 3:16 and you’ve made a mess of claim it for yourself: things and that you can’t live For God so loved the without Him. Turn from your world that He gave His pride and stubborn only begotten Son, that independence. Confess your whoever believes in Him wrongs to God. Ask Him to should not perish but help you build into your have everlasting life. marriage the 10 biblical When you believe in building blocks we’ve named Him, you’ll have taken the in this booklet. And let your first step in finding the kind spouse know what you have of relationship you’ve been done—even if you have to be looking for. 32 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  33. 33. Get your free Bible Resources catalog! Discovery Series booklets can be valuable guides to help you learn what the Bible says about a broad range of topics. Each 32-page booklet can be used in your personal Bible study or in a small-group setting. Your free Bible Resources catalog includes a brief description of each Discovery Series booklet. To get your copy, write to us at the address below and ask for a catalog. Or follow the link below to request your copy today. www.discoveryseries.org/catalog USA: PO Box 2222, Grand Rapids, MI 49501-2222 Canada: Box 1622, Windsor, ON N9A 6Z7

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