Summary: Helping husbands and wives to see the light of Christ design for their marriage
In a survey done last year by the Barna Group they found the likelihood of born again Christians getting divorced equal to those who are not born again. In their interviews, they found 35% of born again believers have been divorced along with 35% of non born again Christians. George Barna commented, ““Among born again adults, 80% have been married, compared to just 69% among the non-born again segment. If the non-born again population were to marry at the same rate as the born again group, it is likely that their divorce statistic would be roughly 38% - marginally higher than that among the born again group, but still surprisingly similar in magnitude.”
Some of you have been married and divorced and married again. Some of the divorces reported came before people became Christians. Today I want to deal with the marriage relationship of believers as defined in Ephesians 5:22-33 so we can move beyond the past and insure our future stability. Three points Paul makes concerning marriage.
1. Wives are to be Submissive. Ephesians 5:22-24, “22 You wives will submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of his body, the church; he gave his life to be her Savior. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives must submit to your husbands in everything.”
Ladies, how many of you cringe when you hear the word submissive? Unfortunately there are some men who think the letters in the word wife stand for washing, ironing, food and entertainment.
Submitting is a choice. It is not something which the husband can or should demand, but the wife willingly give. Not in the response of being lorded over but in the act of being lovingly cared for. In Christ, there is no male nor female, both are one and on equal footing. In marriage there are different roles.
Understand, if there is violence and abuse in the relationship, get out, seek professional help but do not continue to be abused. Submission is willingly giving and no one should be asked to do or participate in anything which goes against their moral and spiritual convictions.
Submit, as you would to Christ, fully giving yourself to your husband. Submission is a hard thing, isn’t it? We also want to be in control. A Christian marriage acknowledges the need for leadership just as Christianity acknowledges the leadership of Jesus Christ. They say two many cooks spoil the broth and two heads is a deformity, unnatural so in marriage we wives are called to submit to the leadership of the husband.
One example we can draw of submission is found in Philippians 2:4-8: “Don’t think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing. Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross.”
Ladies, you are not doormats. In fact, these words from Paul were revolutionary in his day since that is how women were treated, as property not having the ability to make a choice, lorded over and help not in submission but in slavery. While Women’s lib groups may chafe at the word submission and call out against the church for using it, it was in fact Jesus Christ who lead the first women’s liberation movement so you would not be subjected to barbaric behavior which is not submission at all.
So what about men, what is their position in the Christian marriage if it is not as dominating lord? Paul teaches
2. Husbands are to love their wives.
A couple had been married for 45 years and had raised 11 children and were blessed with 22 grandchildren. When asked the secret for staying together all that time, the wife replies, ’Many years ago we made a promise to each other: the first one to pack up and leave has to take all the kids.’
I think there is something more than just the kids that keeps people together and in a healthy relationship. Paul said husbands are to love their wives. Interesting to note, Wives are not told to love their husbands, but husbands are told to love their wives. Women have a problem with submission it seems, and men, with love. I read the best way to get a man to remember his wedding anniversary is to get married on his birthday. There might be something to that. Could that be why I married Laura? Our birthdays and anniversary all fall in September. I’m kidding. I married her because I love her.