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Scott Bayles, pastor
Blooming Grove Christian Church: 6/3/2012
Before becoming the host of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Ty Pennington was just a humble carpenter on another makeover show called Trading Spaces, which ran from 2000-2008 and was generally credited with sparking the nationwide interest in home decorating and improvement television shows.
The basic premise is that in each episode, two couples, usually next-door neighbors, trade places and redecorated one room in the other couple’s home with the help of one carpenter and designer. The catch is—you don’t have any say in how your home gets redecorated; rather, you have to trust that your neighbors know your likes and dislikes well enough remodel a room that will meet your expectations.
Marriage can be a lot like that.
When two people get married, they not only trade spaces, they share spaces. And each one trusts the other to meet their expectations—to meet their physical and emotional needs, to be their companion and best friend, to put the toilet seat down, to remember anniversaries and birthdays, to help out around the house, to provide finical and domestic support. Unfortunately, our expectations aren’t always met.
Someone once said, “Women get married expecting to change their husband. Men get married expecting their wives never to change. Both of them are usually wrong.”
Listen, the key to Trading Spaces is understanding the wants and needs of the other person. If I were to redecorate a room in your house, for instance, and I painted a giant mural of the Justice League and filled the room with Superman memorabilia, it doesn’t matter how much love and care I put into it, you’re not going to hate it any less. And if you filled a room in my house with deer mounts and camouflage, I wouldn’t be very happy. It works the same way in marriage.
Fortunately, God wants to help us with that. The Bible says, “Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted” (Psalm 127:1 NLT).
Last week we talked about the four cornerstones that establish a framework for remodeling your marriage—the purpose of marriage, the priority of marriage, the permanence of marriage, and the passion of marriage. Building within that framework, Ephesians 5:21-33 gives us the tools we need to understand our spouse’s most important needs and expectations. Since I’m a husband, I want to talk primarily to other husbands so let’s start by looking at what the Bible says to husbands:
“Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it… He died so that he could give the church to himself like a bride in all her beauty. He died so that the church could be pure and without fault, with no evil or sin or any other wrong thing in it. In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they love their own bodies. The man who loves his wife loves himself.” (Ephesians 5:25-28 NCV).
This passage reveals the first thing a wife cannot do without—romance.
She needs affection. When I say romance, I don’t just mean candle-lit dinners and moon-lit walks on the beach (though that’s not a bad idea). Rather, I’m talking about genuine love and affection. To most women, loving affection is the essential cement of her relationship with a man. It symbolizes security, protection, comfort, acceptance, and affirmation.
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