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Summary: In marriage, if i look to you to make me happy, i’ll never be happy. If i look to myself and work to become everything i should be, i’ll be happy-maybe never satisfied with my performance, but happy.

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21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Marriage is a Very Bad Idea.

More people are putting off marriage till later in life, or forgoing marriage altogether than any time in the past. The divorce rate is going down in the U.S., but that may be simply because far fewer people are getting married (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/marriage-divorce.htm). In the U.S. more than 40% of children now are born to unwed women (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/unmarried-childbearing.htm ), and more than 47% of women aged 15-44 have never had children (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/unmarried-childbearing.htm). The numbers women not having children in Japan is higher-about ½ of all women in Japan today will never have children (https://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/61-of-single-men-aged-18-34-have-no-girlfriend-49-of-women-unattached-survey). There may be good reasons for these trends. I have a friend, we’ll call her Betty, who had an arranged marriage to an ideal mate-well educated, from a highly respected family. A short time into the marriage the man’s behavior seemed odd. He spent times away inexplicably. Over the course of time he confessed he had a boyfriend, or a few. Betty tried all she could to save the marrage, but there was no possibility of changing the choices he had made. She was devastated. I have another friend, Martin (also a made-up name) who fell in love with a beautiful lady. A short time after marraige she had an affair, then another, then another, then another. Martin and she divorced. He is a good man, intelligent, a competitive weight lifter, good career-together they had all the ingredients of an ideal marriage. As far as i know he still has not remarried. I could go on. I know several stories like this. Maybe you do too. I also know hundreds of people who have married and raised children and loved each other best they new how and loved the Lord through their lives. Marriage is only a bad idea when one or both partners disregard what the Bible teaches about how to live our lives. Please use your imagination for a bit and think about what might be if a woman loves her man by respecting him, and bringing herself under his authority and a man loves his wife like Christ loves the church. Let’s consider some of the potential benefits of such a marriage.

A More Excellent Way

Paul describes a kind of lifelong committment that should be appealing to anyone with healhty functioning hormones. An old pastor i knew suggested that the Bible sees the fundamental needs of the man and the woman. A man needs to feel respected, like he is needed, and in charge (‘submit’ means that-place yourself under the authority-it’s a term usually used in military contexts in Greek). A woman needs to know that she is loved above all. I don’t know of any research that backs this up, but it makes sense to me. Let’s focus on Paul’s exhortations to the man first, they’re much longer than what he sais to the wife (nine verses versus two).

Husbands, Love Your Wives

How did Christ love the Church, His Bride?

He left heaven, which, from the descriptions in the book of Revelation, seems to be a pretty nice place to hang out for an eternity.

He lived in simplicity, not lavishness.

He humbled Himself and served.

He taught, by words and by example, how to live a truly good and gratifying life (washing by the water of the word).

He told the truth to those who would listen, even when He had to pay terrible consequences for it.

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