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Summary: Trends in American families during the past several years reveal that families all across America need healing in the home.

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Healing in the Home

Ephesians 5:22-28

The trends in American families during the past several years reveal that families all across America need healing in the home.

This past year 2.4 million couples exchanged the words or similar words in their wedding vows: “I take you to be my lawfully wedded spouse, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish until we’re separated by death. As God is my witness, I give you my promise.”

These couples were congratulated by well wishers with people clapping and blessing their new commitment to each other in marriage.

Yet this past year 1.2 million couples, for many different reasons, separated or divorced.

Families today look different than they did just 30 years ago. Thirty years ago the traditional family had a working father and a mother who stayed at home to care for their two children. The traditional family made up 60 percent of all households in America. Today the so called traditional family reflects only 7% of our households.

Today the average American family has one child and both parents work outside the home.

Today parents are having fewer children and having them later.

More and more households are blended families with children coming from two or more marriages.

Cohabitation before marriage is more common today than ever. One half of adults under 30 will live with someone before they get married. The census bureau statistics show that couples who cohabitate before marriage are even more likely than others to get divorced.

Among couples who have been divorced and remarried, 60% of all second marriages end in divorce.

In Ephesians 5:21-28, the Apostle Paul gives foundational teaching on marriage and family. We find in these verses guidelines and safeguards for the family.

From Ephesians 5:21-28 I want to share three basic teachings concerning relationships in the family. These teachings are helpful whether you are single, married or divorced.

I. Equal submission is God’s plan for lasting relationships.

Ephesians 5:21 - “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

Marriage is a partnership…it is a relationship of mutual submission. In a partnership neither partner tries to dominate the other. The marriage relationship is based on unconditional love.

Someone has written: “Woman was not made out of man’s head to be dominated by him, nor out of his feet, to be trampled upon; but out of his side that she might be equal with him; from under his arm, to be protected by him, and from near his heart to be loved by him.”

When you see the outcomes of shattered and broken relationships you realize that lasting relationships require mutual submission. The Apostle Paul adds, “Out of reverence for Christ.”

When Jesus is left out of relationships the relationship can become very self centered. “I’ll do what you want if you will do what I want first. If you fail to live up to my expectations then I will have to look for new relationships.”

To make mutual submission work requires equal responsibility. A relationship is in trouble when one or both in the relationship have the view that there are no absolutes in life.

When there is mutual submission in marriage both husband and wife willingly make decisions that are best for the family and not for themselves. That kind of submission calls for servant leadership. Jesus said, “Let him who would be greatest among you be as a servant.” Several years ago, singer Garth Brooks skipped the ceremony in which he was to receive the “Entertainer of the Year” award. Why? Because it was too close to the scheduled date his wife was to give birth to their second child. Garth Brooks understood his priorities and responsibilities as husband and father.

I remember when Carollyn went to the hospital to have our fourth child. We had three children at home and our youngest was only 18 months old. I visited Carollyn at the hospital after spending the night at home with our three children. I told Carollyn that taking care of three children was an awesome task. “How were we ever going to manage with four children?” We did! It took both of us working together to do it.

The drama team today presented the skit titled “The Personal Trainer.” The theme of the skit showed the importance of taking time to make relationships work. Meaningful relationships don’t just happen, they take time.

It is possible to get so wrapped up in your own world that you lose touch with those closest to you.

I’ve noticed that people living in the Bay area are high tech and low touch. Instead of playing with their friends out on the ball diamond, children are much more likely to be in front of a TV playing their 360 X Box or Sony Play station or PSP. Relationships with people are being replaced by television, computers, fax machines and ATM machines.

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Leonard Atkins

commented on Oct 3, 2006

Right on! A powerful finely tuned message. God Bless.

John Smith

commented on Jul 4, 2007

What a nice message!

Phil Muthersbaugh

commented on Nov 27, 2007

I concur. Both must submit and both must love unconditionally in a biblical marriage. Thanks for the excellent resource!

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