Summary: Explaining from Genesis and Ephesians how God has planned for a marriage to be.
Have you ever watched the television series, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition? It’s the show where a team of designers go to the home of a family who has fallen on hard times, perhaps they are financially drained by a health problem, family member has died, . In every case there is a definite need, and it breaks your heart to see these good people in the condition they find themselves. So every week the designers arrive and send the family away to some nice resort area like Disney World, and in one week, 7 days, they either completely remodel the family’s home, or they knock it down and begin from scratch. It’s amazing to see the difference it makes in a family when someone cared to come and help them, by making over their home.
Unfortunately, the biggest problem in we face in the US has less to do with the state of our house as it does the state of our families and marriages. I know this because the divorce rate is still hanging just below 50 percent. And this is true not only among non-Christians, but among Christian as well. They are almost equal. Shouldn’t our faith affect our marriages? Shouldn’t our homes and marriages be a place of love, nurture, and fulfillment rather than anger, abuse, and dysfunction? I believe God wants us to have great fulfilling marriages. And so I was inspired to begin this series of sermons I’m calling Home Makeover – Marriage Edition. Over the next couple of weeks we are going to look at making over our marriages the way God designed them to be, because no one to my knowledge has the perfect marriage, and I believe God desires to see strong marriages and families.
I realize some of you are not married, perhaps you are divorced, widowed, or just single. You may be asking, what is there in this for me? 1) If you are planning on being married at some point, or you are dating you will want these principles to help you have a more satisfying relationship. 2) If you don’t think you will ever be married again (which the Bible says is not only normal but actually preferred because it allows you to be more devoted to Christ and serving him), the Biblical principles are still helpful in relating to other people particularly with persons of the opposite sex.
On the show Extreme Makeover when the designers come in the first thing they do after greeting the family is what? Survey the house, find out what each member of the family likes, and after they send the family off, they begin to put a plan together for what the house will look like when it is done. In other words they look at what condition the house is in, and they come up with a plan for what the house should look like, taking into consideration the preferences of the people.
Any remodeling or construction project begins with a plan. [Show architectural plans]. If you don’t have a plan it becomes difficult to get where you want to go. Imagine a construction site without any plans, no one knows the dimensions of the house, “Oh, just put a wall up somewhere over there.”
When we talk about marriage and relationships the same is true, we need a set of plans because otherwise how are we going to have a great marriage. In marriage, if we don’t have a clear picture of what a successful marriage is supposed to look like, one of three things happens. Either we make the plan up as we go along according to the best way we see fit, or we fall back on the plan which was modeled to us by our parents (in other words we do exactly the same as our parents did whether it was healthy or unhealthy, for example what if your parents got divorced and you do what they did, guess what), or (worst case scenario) we let the culture determine what our marriage should look like (we borrow from television, movies, friends). These models may help (or not) but they aren’t going to give us the perfect picture of the healthy and lasting marriage that God desires we should have. In other words they don’t give us a perfect plan they give us flawed models. So we need a model or a plan for what marriage is meant to look like. Who better to create a plan than the one who created marriage in the first place, God. Since God created marriage, it seems to make sense that he would know a thing or two about how we can have be healthy and fulfilling marriages.
The first passage we read this morning in Genesis goes back to the beginning after God created man. As Adam cared for the perfection of the Garden of Eden, God noticed Adam was lonely. Sure, he had the animals to keep him company, but he was still lonely. So the Bible tells us God put the man to sleep took out a rib and made another being similar to man but still very different. God made the improved model, woman (just kidding). And as a result we see the first marriage, God joining the two together to become one flesh.