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Summary: Biblical view of marriage, and practical actions on part of husband, and on part of wife, to strengthening their marriage.

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Intro> This Thursday is Valentine’s Day (that’s a hint, guys...you might want to be making some plans).

<>So today I want us to look at the Biblical instructions, the Biblical model, and gain a Biblical understanding of marriage, how we can succeed in our marriages, and how we can be the husbands and wives God wants us to be...right now if we’re married, and some day if we’re presently single.

There are lots of illustrations and quotes on this topic, of course, but my favorites are these:

--Quote: My favorite philosopher, Anonymous, once said, “Many girls marry men just like their fathers, which may explain why many mothers cry at weddings.”

--Quote: Agatha Christie, famous mystery novel writer, when explaining why she married an architect, said: “An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have; the older I get, the more interested in me he becomes.

--ILL>Then I’m reminded of the story of two men who were talking together one morning. The first, holding up a puppy, said, “I got this poodle for my wife.” “Wow!,” the other man said, “I sure wish I could trade mine in for something like that!”

--ILL>Then there was the subway commuter who told his seat-mate: “Actually, my mother-in-law and I have a lot in common. We both wish my wife had married someone else.”

--ILL>And Valerie Runyan tells the story... “After our last child left home for college, my husband was resting next to me on the couch, with his head in my lap. I carefully removed his glasses. Then I told him, sweetly, ‘You know, honey, without your glasses you look like the handsome man I married.’ He replied with a grin: ‘Honey, without my glasses you still look pretty good too!”

--POEM: Finally, Ogden Nash advises us in his special way: “To keep your marriage brimming, with love in the loving cup, whenever you’re wrong admit it, whenever you’re right shut up!”

I invite you to open a Bible and turn again to Ephesians, chapter five.

While you’re turning, let me offer this advice to the guys as to what to buy for your special honey this week....

ILL>Herb Forst suggests what NOT to buy your wife. He explains, “Recognizing that the only person a man usually shops for is his wife, the whole experience is stressful. As a veteran of these wars, I’m still not sure what to buy my wife, but I do pass along these suggestions of what NOT to buy her:"

--He then offers this advice:

--1) Don’t buy anything that plugs in. -- Anything that requires electricity is seen as utilitarian.

--2) Don’t buy clothing that involves sizes. -- The chances are one in seven thousand that you will get her size right, and your wife will be offended the other 6,999 times. “Do I look like a size 16?,” she’ll say. Too small a size doesn’t cut it either. “I haven’t worn a size 8 in twenty years!”

--3) Avoid all things useful. -- The new silver polish advertised to save hundreds of hours is not going to win you any brownie points.

--4) Don’t buy anything involving weight loss or self-improvement. -- She’ll perceive a six month membership to a diet center as a suggestion that she’s overweight.

--5) Don’t buy jewelry. -- The jewelry your wife wants, you can’t afford. And the jewelry you can’t afford, she doesn’t want.

--6) Don’t buy her frilly underwear. -- Your idea of the kind your wife should wear and what she actually wears are light years apart.

--7) Don’t spend too much. -- “How do you think we’re going to afford that?,” she’ll ask.

--8) But don’t spend too little. -- “Is that all I’m worth to you?”

I wish you well, guys....happy shopping!

WELL, BEFORE WE EXAMINE THE BIBLICAL MODEL OF MARRIAGE, THERE ARE TWO TRUTHS WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND FIRST...

a) Marriage is a journey.

--When God created Eve, He used the world “help-mate” or “helper.” And the same idea could be said about Adam toward Eve also.

--The fact that a spouse is termed a “helper” declares to us that marriage is never and end in itself, but a preparation.

--It’s an on-going journey, a developing organism...and it was God’s idea, God’s plan.

b) Marriage is a partnership.

--QUOTE: Joe Murray said it well, “Marriage should be a duet...when one sings, the other claps.”

MOVING TO THE BIBLICAL MODEL, THERE ARE THREE PRIMARY CONCEPTS, FORMATIVE CHARACTERISTICS WE NEED TO KNOW:

1) THE PURPOSE(S) OF MARRIAGE -- God’s Design...

->Purpose #1: MATURATION and GROWTH.

--Eph.5:31 -- “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife.”

--1 Cor.13:11 -- “When I was a child I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.”

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Don Jones

commented on Feb 4, 2008

Mike, Very good. Right on target. Thank you and God bless.

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