Summary: "Living a Life of Love" - Part 1. This message helps husbands and wives learn how to effectively communicate love in a language their spouse can understand.
LEARNING YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE
Living a Life of Love – 1
March 5, 2006
“The State of Our Unions 2005,” an annual report put out by the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University, highlighted the dismal state of the family in the United States. Among the findings:
Only 63 percent of American children grow up with both biological parents, the lowest percentage among Western nations.
The U.S. divorce rate has declined over the past 25 years, but that is offset by the even greater decline in marriages.
Instead of marriage, couples are living together. Yet cohabiting couples have twice the breakup rate of married couples.
Co-author of the study, David Popenoe, said, “Cohabitation is here to stay. I don’t think it’s good news, especially for children. As society shifts from marriage to cohabitation, which is what’s happening, you have an increase in family instability.” According to Popenoe, the result of that instability is that “the United States has the weakest families in the Western world.”
Not knowing what else to do with such a sad state of affairs some just choose to make a joke about the state of marriage. George Burns said, “I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.” And Rodney Dangerfield quipped, “My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.”
Noted author Larry Crabb, in his book The Marriage Builder, starts off by asking a series of questions: “Why are marriages so often filled with tension… and short-lived moments of romance? Why do I sometimes face a problem within my own marriage and, after earnest prayer and brutal self-examination, remain unsure how to respond to my wife in a way that deepens our oneness? Are there real solutions that will develop true intimacy?”’
That’s a great question. Are there any real solutions to this pervasive problem? Henry Youngman has said, “The secret of a happy marriage remains a secret.” But is that really true? Isn’t there a way that we can learn to make our marriages work? The good news is that nearly two thousand years ago the apostle Paul, who ironically was never married, wrote the best counsel on marriage ever written. For all of our modern day counselors, books and seminars have not surpassed it.
So this morning we will be looking at Ephesians 5:22-33 – a passage of scripture that has long been feared by women and misused by men – but nonetheless a passage of scripture that contains the key to living a life of love in your marriage relationship. The key is to understand that men and women are different and, therefore, have different sets of needs. When we learn how our spouse is different from us and how they receive and perceive love then we will be equipped to effectively communicate our true love to them and they to us.
I’m talking about learning your love language. I’m not referring to Gary Chapman’s book “The Five Love Languages” that some of you may be familiar with although that would be some great follow up reading for you to do. I want to talk to you this morning about what wives must do in order to effectively communicate love to their husbands and then about what husbands must do in order to effectively communicate love to their wives. We need to understand this because when both are speaking the other’s love language a healthy marriage relationship can blossom.
I was raised with the slogan: “Ladies first.” So ladies we are starting with you this morning not only because of that, but because Paul started with the ladies first. And ladies, please don’t get to upset. You can be sure that I will get to your husbands in a few minutes.
I. WIVES MUST SHOW AFFECTION THROUGH SUBMISSIVE LOVE.
A Kentucky mountaineer fighting overseas in World War I kept getting nagging letters from his wife back home. He was too busy fighting to write letters, even to his wife. At last, angered by his wife’s scolding letters, he sat down and wrote her: “Dear Nancy: I been a-gittin your naggin letters all along. Now I want to tell ye, I’m tired of them. For the first time in my life I’m a-fightin in a big war, and I want to enjoy it in peace as long as it lasts.”
No offense intended, but some wives can nag their husbands to the point where all their husbands want to do is to get away from them. So how about that? Is it better to fight a war over in the desert of Iraq than to stay at home with a nagging wife? Actually there is biblical support for this. In Proverbs 21:19 the Bible says, “Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.” Sorry ladies, but it is in the Bible after all. So don’t shoot the messenger. Blame God – it’s his book!