Summary: Learning lessons from Aquila & Priscilla that help couples today build a closer marriage
Building A Closer Marriage
How would you describe your marriage: good, just O.K., struggling, rebuilding, separated?
Would you like to make a good marriage great? Or rebuild a struggling marriage?
In Acts 18, Paul arrives in the town of Corinth exhausted and dishearten. God gives Paul two special friends who help him recover from his deep discouragement. These two friends are a married couple referred to in the Bible simply as Aquila and Priscilla (cf. Acts 18:2, 18-19, 26; Rom. 16:3-5; 1 Cor. 16:19; 2 Tim. 4:19).
Aquila & Priscilla were a special couple with a special marriage relationship. They are never mentioned separately in the Bible. In marriage and ministry they were together. They were a team that capitalized on each others strengths. They completed each other. They were soul mates. Together and through their home they opened the door of salvation to many. Jesus Christ was the center of their marriage and family life. Their marriage demonstrates several lessons that can help couples today grow a closer marriage relationship. No matter if you are presently experiencing a good marriage, together but struggling, separated or single anticipating marriage—the Bible can help you take the next steps toward a great marriage.
What can we learn about marriage from Aquila & Priscilla? Why were they so close?
1. They followed GOD’S DESIGN for marriage—a life-long union of one man & woman functioning in Biblical roles.
In today’s society the traditional definition of marriage is being challenged. However, God instituted marriage (cf. Gen. 2:18-24). It is to be a life-long union between one man & one woman. Any attempt to define marriage otherwise is rebellion against God & His original design. Same-sex relationships (homosexuality) are forbidden & condemned by God (cf. Rom. 1:18, 26-27. Note that same-sex relationships are called “unnatural,” “indecent acts,” and “perversion.” [NIV]; [Read the two Life Application Bible footnotes for Rom. 1:26, 27] Also cf. 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Lev. 18:22-23). The good news is, anyone involved in immoral behavior can be forgiven, cleansed & set free if they genuinely repent of their behavior, turn from it and receive God’s forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ (1 John 1:9; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Eph. 1:7).
In addition to being a life-long union between a man & woman, marriage is to be kept pure by limiting sexual relations within marriage only (cf. Heb. 13:4). Sexual relationships outside of marriage is sin and “God will judge” it as adultery & immorality. Also, God’s design for the roles of husbands, wives, children & parents are given throughout the Bible: Eph. 5:22-6:4; 1 Pet. 3:1-7; Col. 3:18-21; Titus 2:1-8; 1 Tim. 5:8, 1-16; also sprinkled throughout Proverbs. Are you committed to building your marriage after God’s design?
2. TOGETHERNESS—they worked together as a team.
Aquila & Priscilla are always mentioned together in the New Testament. We see them together in their family tent making business, (18:2-3), they traveled together with Paul on his second missionary journey (18:18), they worshipped together (18:26), they were together in ministry (18:19, 26), they were together in starting a church out of their home (1 Cor. 16:19; Rom. 16:3-5). Doing life together is a key to building a close marriage. Do you spend time together with your spouse or are you always going separate ways?
3. Mutual HONOR & RESPECT.
Not only were Aquila & Priscilla together, but they were together in harmony, cooperation & unity. There is no indication of strife, friction or conflict in their relationship. They honored & respected each other as the Bible teaches in Eph. 5:33 & 1 Pet. 3:7. Apparently they knew how to lovingly work through disagreements & to overcome selfishness—a major cause of conflict. Furthermore, it is interesting that five out of seven times that they are mentioned in the Bible, the wife, Priscilla, is mentioned first (cf. Acts 18:18, 19, 26; Rom. 16:3; 2 Tim 4:19). Normally, the husband would be mentioned first, especially in ancient culture. Apparently Priscilla was stronger in giftedness & abilities, more out-going in personality, etc. Yet, Aquila, her husband, seemed not to be jealous or threatened by his wife. He supported her, honored her, valued her abilities & celebrated her giftedness. In your marriage, are you able to work together in harmony & unity? Do you support each other with honor & respect?
4. They were HUMBLE and HOSPITABLE in attitude and disposition.
Humility & hospitality characterized their hearts. This affected the way they treated each other & people in general. This contributed to the closeness in their marriage & in their friendships with others. There was always a feeling of welcome & acceptance with them. We see this in the way they opened their hearts & home to Paul (Acts 18:1-3), Apollos (18:24-26) and to people in their home Bible studies as they started new churches (Rom. 16:3-5; 1 Cor. 16:19). How is your attitude towards members of your family & people you meet in society? Does it reflect humility & hospitality? Do people easily feel welcomed & accepted by you?