Summary: Just how important is Dad for "the home" anyway?
I agree with the tailor who waited on the young couple who were picking out the wedding tuxedos. They had widely different ideas about color, style and prices. Naturally, they were in the store a long time. Finally the young lady said apologetically, that she was sorry they were taking such a long time. The tailor smiled and said, "Not at all, my dear; I believe that every bride has the right to be well groomed."
That may be more or less like Sunday School, when the 3rd grade teacher asked her class what Jesus had to say about marriage in the Bible. One little fella offered, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
"To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part." The words are simple. But sometime after the wedding ceremony ends, and the music from the reception dies down, there comes a time (and times) in every marriage when the words are no longer simple.
Any relationship will be tested at some point. Salmon return to their spawning grounds, and must swim upstream. Birds fly high, but run into gusting winds that threaten. Governments have their inaugurations, but someday the bills come due. And human relationships, marriage in particular, have their own brand of testing.
And it is no secret that many marriages today do not stand the testing. Even though many marriages end in divorce, perhaps even more stay together as only "enduring" life under the same roof. They’re called "married singles". They live in tension, hostility and strife. He goes his way, she does her thing. When decisions must be made there is civil survival at best, and sometimes just survival, in the shouting and anger. Not a pretty picture!
It is not much wonder that current generations have tried to "do-away" with the pain of marriage by living together. But most couples that try that find it totally unsatisfying, and seldom leading to a more permanent arrangement.
What kind of marriage works? IS there a marriage that works? For the answer we turn to the Bible. We find that marriage was instituted by God in Genesis. The Lord made the woman from man, brought her to him, and told Adam, "This is the answer to your problems, boy! You were incomplete alone. Now you have someone to correspond to your own soul." And the scriptures say that they were naked and unashamed. There’s more to that than meets the "eye". They were more than just unclothed; they were totally unguarded in their RELATIONSHIP! There was nothing hidden from each other. Complete openness.
Keith Miller in "The Taste of New Wine", calls it the "soul of a marriage". It is that place of understood silent glances and subtle angry looks that exist between husband and wife. It is the sharing of lives that Genesis calls "leave" and "cleave". Miller says, "The soul of a marriage can be a trysting place where two people can come together quietly from the struggles of the world and feel safe, accepted and loved...or it can be a battle ground where two egos are locked in a lifelong struggle for supremacy..."
If you are looking for a principle to build a marriage on, I want to submit to you this morning a BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE, and then from a passage in Ephesians the application of that principle for the husband. (Next week we will consider Mom).
The Biblical principle is based on Romans 12:1a, 2a "I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer yourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God...Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..." The principle is as follows:
NEXT TO MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD,
MY MARRIAGE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING,
AND I WILL ACT ACCORDINGLY.
Now, if you do not believe that principle, you might as well go to a secular counselor, or a palm reader for advice, because you do not believe the Bible.
Consider the evidence. God made Adam and the world with all of its wonderful things. It was very good. Yet, with all the earth for Adam to enjoy he was unhappy. Then God gave him his wife, Eve. This relationship made all the rest meaningful, and the most perfect couple walked in daily fellowship with a perfect God. I submit that if Eve had been taken away, the rest of the creation would’ve lost its sparkle for Adam; just as so many have learned when they’ve gone after the greener grass on the other side of the fence, losing what was really important to begin with.