Summary: What makes a godly marriage godly? Why do some marriages stay together and some don't? If I want to be a better husband or wife, what should my role model be?
Love and Respect
A. It is often quoted that 50 percent of all US marriages end in divorce. The problem is, that is not a correct statistic. In fact, it is reported that the divorce rate has been in decline since 1980. No matter what the number is, the marriage that matters is your marriage.
B. Many “surveys” of marriages that last longer than 30 years list things like “trust,” “communication,’ “Laughter,” and “intimacy” are aspects that help a marriage last. But on almost every list you find, two words often find their way to the top of why marriages last, “Love” and “Respect.”
C. I would add a third. The word I would add is Faith. I don’t mean faith in the other person, while that is also true, I mean a faith that both people have in God. When two people are joined in desiring to live a life that honors God, the likelihood of that marriage lasting increases higher than most other attributes. In part, because when two people honor God and desire to live according to God’s will, and not their own, that decision brings most of the other attributes mentioned into the marriage.
D. Last week we saw that love endures longer than faith and hope, that of the three, it is the greatest. Love is seen in many ways, but love in a marriage is the closest example we have of divine love. This morning, we want to bless the marriages in this room and look at love that godly married couples have.
I. Role Models
A. When you let your mind run through all the marriages we find in the Bible, looking for examples of great marriages and what made them great is more difficult than you may expect. I think of Noah and…his wife. I can only guess it was a marriage that was based upon God because outside of them and their married children, the rest of the world died in flood. But what made that marriage great?
B. My mind goes to earthly parents of Jesus. Joseph is a righteous man, Mary is favored by God above all other women, but when it comes to their marriage, we know very little. They raised Jesus going to the synagogue and attending the temple worship when they were supposed to, but their marriage, their relationship is no given to us.
C. One of the best that comes to my mind is Abraham and Sarah. We do know they loved each other deeply, but Abraham was willing to let her be taken by another man to save his own skin. Not exactly the role model I want to set before my boys.
D. I come to two conclusions: First, there is no perfect marriage to set yours up against. Let me just say, I am thankful I don’t have to compete with someone in the Bible for the title “Most Godly Marriage.” God helps me to understand that every marriage, even ones where both people love him, have their ups and downs, failures and achievements.
E. The second conclusion I come to is that the best role model for marriage is not a husband and wife. It is Christ and the church. The relationship between Jesus and the church is the mirror for having the best human marriage a man and woman can have. It’s that role model that shows us love and respect. In fact, our reading this morning speaks of a “great mystery” and at least part of that great mystery is the relationship between a husband and wife.
II. Husbands, Love
A. I want to center this lesson with two words found in verse 33 (Read the verse). Love and respect.
B. This month, as we reflect upon how love is taught in God’s word, we know that love in a marriage is the calling for a husband’s actions. I am no Elkanah who had a great love his wife Hannah, but put him up there high on my list of role models. I am not going to say Elkanah was clueless or that he didn’t appreciate all the hurt Hannah faced, but God specifically says the reason he gave a double portion of the sacrifice for Hannah was, “he loved Hannah.” (1 Sam. 1:5)
C. I get that he may have asked her the wrong questions or even said it in a bad way that made him look good instead of see her pain, but fact is, he loved her. When Hannah did have Samuel, Elkanah allowed her to stay home at the time of the sacrifice and simply said, “do what seems best to you.”
D. When God speaks through Paul in the book of Ephesians, we are taught that love by husband towards his wife should be like Jesus has towards the church. Love, in this example for husbands, is seen by giving up yourself so that your wife is blessed. I see text leading us see how the husband should be spiritual guide for the family, but how he wants so much for his wife to safe in the hands of Christ.