Summary: Today, too many couples scarcely relate to each other, after years of marriage. Many other activities, responsibilities and interests seem to crowd out the importance of a happy marital relationship for millions in America.
Let the Joy of the Lord Overflow in Your Marriage (Eph. 5:20-25)
Quote: Let the wife make the husband glad to come home; and let him make her sorry to see him leave.
Today, too many couples scarcely relate to each other, after years of marriage. Many other activities, responsibilities and interests seem to crowd out the importance of a happy marital relationship for millions in America. Men want to be respected and women want to be loved, neither seems to be the case in most modern marriages.
Paul the apostle gives us some practical advice in Eph. 5 that is worth considering today:
1. Men most love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Wives must submit (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to their husbands
as a service to the Lord. The best marriage where there is the greatest fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control is where love and submission are maximized in the marriage. The basic reason, Paul states, is that God created the husband to be the head of the wife as Christ is the Head of the church. Therefore, as the church is to be subject to Chrtist, so let the wives be subject in everything to their husbands, but the husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself, continually for her with agape love that goes beyond eros, phileo or stergo (family affectionate and obligatory concerns).
2. The worst type of marriage is the hate and resist marriage. This marriage shows the opposite of love and submission. Patrick Morley in his book, The Man in the Mirror writes about this kind of relationship:
Illustration: The hate and resist marriage is seen in the TV show Dallas in the relationship between Sue Ellen who has locked J.R. out of the bedroom. Meanwhile, the wealthy Texas oil tycoon keeps several girlfriends around town. In the Hate and Resist marriage the wife nags her man, she idles the day away, and she contends with her husband’s authority. Her disresepct for him displays itself in social functions, at which she makes sarcastic remarks about him that he hears for the first time. He treats his wife harshly and doesn’t consider her feelings when making family decisions. Animosity and disrespect characterize his demeanor towad his wife in private, though he pretends to like her when they attend church or other gatherings." (P. 135, 136)
3. The Hate and Submit Marriage. This is the type of marriage where the wife does her part to submit the husband takes advantage of his wife and abusively refuses to love her as Christ loved the church. Patrick Morely again insightly writes about this marriage:
"Edith and Archie Bunker provide a caricature of the Hate and Submit marriage. Archie, the opinionated, domineering emperor of his house, and Edith, the submissive attendant to Archie’s belligerent demands."
Husbands need to remember what Paul wrote, " IN the 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 as it was his own." (Eph. 5:28,29)
4. The fourth type of marriage is the love and resist marriage. Unfortunately, more and more households are seeing this type of model on TV so there is an increasing number of marriages that are suffering under this syndrome of an abusive wife with a loving husband. Patrick Morley writes,
"The feminist movement has fueld the Love and Resist marriage syndrome. In times past, we might have pictured this marriage as a wimply little guy dominated by a screechy-voiced battle ax, a couple like the Lockhorns comic strip. But today a professional woman overly devoted to her career might be a better example of the resistant wife. The two-income family puts extra tension on a marriage. The husband owes his wife some additional consideration around the house, even if her attitude about it may be wrong." (p. 137)
Only when there is a balance between talking and listening can a marriage enjoy harmony. Ask the Lord to help you strive for mutuality in your goals, discussions, interests and problem-solving. Concentrate more on what you have in Christ, in His word and in His empowering-fellowshipping Spirit, instead of what you do not have.
W. A. Criswell gives several suggestions for making a great and happy marriage in a sermon preached in 1988 from the pulpit of 1st Baptist Church in Dallas, TX. All credit goes to Dr. W.A. Criswell for the following points:
1. Above all, make God your friend and your confidant. God is for you. He’s on your side. Always remember, He is for you. And He will work for you if you will let Him. Proverbs 18:24: “There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother,” and that friend is God, who is always with you. His intention for you is that you have a beautiful and happy home forever.