Summary: Marriage can make us healthy, and marriage can make us wealthy... but it can only make us wise if we do it God’s way. Find out how.
OPEN: At the banquet of Tom and Susan’s 25th wedding anniversary, Tom was asked to give his friends a brief account of the benefits of a marriage of such long duration. "Tell us, Tom, just what is it you have learned from all those wonderful years with your wife?"
Tom responded, "Well, I’ve learned that marriage is the best teacher of all. It teaches you loyalty, forbearance, meekness, self-restraint, forgiveness (pause) and a great many other qualities you wouldn’t need to know if you’d stayed single.”
APPLY: God loves marriage.
He performed the first marriage in the garden between Adam and Eve.
In fact, the main reason God created Eve from the rib of Adam was because (as He said) “it is not good that the man should be alone.” Genesis 2:18
One of the reasons God didn’t want man to be alone was because marriage changes us. It improves our lives and transforms us into something we could never have become alone.
One of the ways it changes us is by making us live longer.
Repeated studies have found (as one study did) that compared to married people:
Those who had been divorced or separated were 27 percent more likely to have shorter lives. Those who had never been married were 58 percent more likely to die than married folks.
And the "penalty" for not getting married was greater for men than women.
(Rob Stein The Washington Post 8/20/06)
Another study found that being married makes one better off financially.
Back in 1985, researchers began a 15 year study of 9000 individuals
And they found respondents who remained single had a slow but steady growth of wealth.
But those who married and stayed married showed a sharp increase in wealth.
The author of the study Jay Zagorsy summed up his findings saying,
“If you really want to increase your wealth, get married and stay married. On the other hand, divorce can devastate your wealth.”
(Reuters, "Marriage Builds Wealth More Than Being Single?" January 20, 2006)
So, in other words:
Marriage can make you HEALTHY.
And marriage can make you WEALTHY
BUT (pause) can marriage make you WISE???
Well – it can - if we do it God’s way.
We can learn all kinds of things like loyalty, forbearance, meekness, self-restraint, forgiveness.
Things we wouldn’t have learned if we were single.
Several years before John wrote the book of Revelation, the Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church at Ephesus (which we call Ephesians) and in that letter, Paul told the Christians at Ephesus about marriage.
Turn with me to Ephesians 5:21-33
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, (this is your act of submission) love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body.
‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’
This is a profound mystery— but I am talking about Christ and the church.
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
In other words: husbands should love and protect wives just as Jesus loves and protects His church. And wives should respect, honor, and submit to their husbands just the church does these things for Jesus.
In Ephesians 5, God is telling us how highly he regards marriage. In fact, God regards marriage so highly -that He compares a healthy marriage to a healthy church. Husbands and wives should do the same things to have healthy marriage as you would if you wanted a healthy congregation.
So now - what do you do when you have an unhealthy marriage?
How would you heal a relationship between a husband and wife that’s gone to the breaking point?
Well, apparently you’d do the same thing you’d do if you had an unhealthy church.
Here in Revelation 2, Jesus is telling Ephesus that their relationship with Him had become unhealthy, uncomfortable, and strained. Something needed to be “fixed”.