Summary: This is the second sermon in a series of messages entitled, "How to Have a Happy and Healthy Home."
Series: How to Have a Happy and Healthy Home
Scripture: Ephesians 5:21-33
Sermon: How to Make Your Marriage Work
(ILL: Sleepy Beauty and the Prince were married and lived happily every after)
The sad reality is that most marriages aren’t happily ever after. Roughly one-half of the marriages in our country end in divorce. Many marriages are intact, but they’re not very healthy. Unfortunately, marriage problems are not just statistics. They involve real people. Our friends, family members, maybe even we, ourselves, struggle to make marriage work.
So how do we make marriage work? The old saying is "When all else fails, read the directions."
That’s good advice. In this case, we need to pick up the Bible and see what God says. Ephesians 5:21-33 gives two principles that can marriage work. The first principle involves the wife, and the second principle involves the husband.
I. The Wife Should Submit to Her Husband’s AUTHORITY.
A. What is Submission?
The word translated submit means "to yield to someone else." (ILL: take a Speed limit sign as an example. Every time we see a speed limit sign we should submit to it and slow down to the speed posted on it. Why? Because it has authority over us. If we don’t yield to it’s authority, then the local law enforcment officals have the right to give us a ticket. So the smart thing to do is to yield to that sign’s authority. In the same way Ladies, God wants you to yield to your husband’s authority.)
A wife asks . . .
B. "Why should I submit to my husband’s authority?"
(vs. 21-22) In other words, you should submit to your husband simply because God wants you to. This is part of your obedience to God. God wants you to submit to your husband because he is the head of the home (v. 23) -- IE. God’s appointed leader of the family.
This does not mean that your husband can treat you like a slave (ILL: remember the song, "Put another log on the fire"). God doesn’t want your husband to treat you that way. It doesn’t say he is the dictator of the home, or the Hitler of the home. He is the head of the home.
Nor does this mean that your husband is superior. The Bible teaches that men and women are equal (Gal. 3:28). The two of you are equal, but you have different responsibilities: he has the responsibility to love you and take care of you, while you have the responsibility to follow his leadership as he follows the Lord.
So ladies, there is nothing demeaning about verses 21-23. The submission that is required from you is not a blind obedience to his every whim, but rather a grateful acceptance of his care. God doesn’t ask you to submit to a man who views you as a slave. He asks you to submit to a man who views you as a queen.
A wife asks . . .
C. "How can I submit to my husband?"
Look at verse 24. The Lord Jesus cares for the church, and in turn the church submits to His authority.
That’s the way it should be with you and your husband. He should care for you, and in turn you should submit to his authority as head of the home.
You will have no problem putting these verses into practice if you will submit, first and foremost, to Jesus, and if your husband will be the husband God intends him to be.
II. The Husband Should Submit to His Wife’s NEEDS.
Husbands, Paul has more to say to you than he does to your wife.
WHY? Because you are the head of the home - and as head of the home you are the one who will give an account to God for how your marriage and your children turn out.
AND HOW CAN YOU HELP MAKE YOUR MARRIAGE WORK? Your wife can help by submitting to your authority, while you can help by submitting to her NEEDS. Remember, your main responsibility as head of the home is to take good care of your wife. How?
HOW CAN I SUBMIT TO HER NEEDS AND TAKE GOOD CARE OF HER? Paul gives two examples.
A. First, you should love your wife as CHRIST loves the CHURCH (vs. 25-27).
How does Jesus love the church? He loves her with . . .
1. . . . a sacrificial love (v. 25). That is, He died in order to meet her spiritual needs (John 15:13-14). You need to love your wife with the same kind of love.
Somebody says, "Rick, I’d take a bullet for my wife!" Your wife will have a hard time believing that you’d sacrifice your life for her if you’re not sacrificing anything else for her (ILL: golf course, fishing with the buddies, a night of watching TV ). Sacrificial love means putting her needs and her wants above yours.