As promised we are going to spend time discussing the roles we have in marriage according to scripture, in an effort to hopefully dispel any myths we might have about what marriage is. Based on statistics, fewer and fewer people are making their marriages last forever, which is quite sad. My goal is to help us get to the bottom of why this might be, and hopefully begin to steer those marriages that might be going the road of this statistic back on the right path.
Lets start at the beginning by defining love which is used by so many but understood by only a few. In marriage, love is used to describe a feeling a man has towards his wife or vice-versa. However, herein lies the the core issue of this institution. We love tossing the word back and forth with each other based on how we feel, but the reverse is the case when we don’t feel as if we love our spouse (especially after they just got on our last nerve). The bottom line is that love is not a feeling, it is a verb which is an action word. Therefore, love requires action and is displayed through action. The word cannot be used alone without actually showing it. Here is the core of the matter…how can either of us show our spouses love if we ourselves don’t even know what love is? Without this knowledge marriage is simply not going to work…period! In a marriage, its the husbands job to love and the wife’s job to submit. We learned in school that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Well, knowing that love is an action, when that action is displayed, the equal and opposite reaction should be submission. This is not saying that the wife cannot love, neither is this saying that the husband can’t be submissive, especially in a situation where your wife needs you to agree with her about the color of the drapes in the bedroom. Men, you know you don’t want to go toe to toe with your wife on this matter, and quite frankly, neither do you care to, so you gracefully put your hands up and submit. The roles are interchangeable depending on the situation. In Ephesians 5:22 wives are implored to submit themselves to their husbands as unto the Lord. And, verse 25 implores the husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. So husbands are to love their wives as Christ did the church, and give themselves for her.
Lets start with the husbands first, since that is the order of The Most High. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 discusses charity. Charity pronounced ‘agape’ is the greek word G26 in the Strong’s concordance (a very highly recommended resource if you truly want to study and understand the bible). It means love, goodwill, benevolence, esteem, to properly love which centers in moral preference, it typically refers to devine love. This means charity and love are synonymous. If you substitute charity with love in the above passage, it makes it more personal. So when husbands are loving their wife according to what the scriptures say, they must be patient and kind to them. Husbands cannot be envious of their wife neither can they boast about how much they have done for them. You cannot act in a dishonorable or selfish way towards her. You should not provoke her in a way where you are deliberately trying to press her buttons. You cannot think any evil thoughts about her (you know those self thoughts you have towards her), neither should you rejoice in her faults or shortcomings. Rather we should rejoice in the truth of what marriage is according to scripture, bear all things, believe and hope in all things for the sake of the marriage. Husbands should endure all things because…love never fails! These are the actions that must take place when you love your wife. Its this love that The Most High showed to us when He sent His son to die on the cross for us. Therefore, its this same divine love that a husband is to show to his wife.
The terms and conditions in this deed called love is non-negotiable and is unconditional. You are to love your wife…period! Again, divorce rates are high, and the main reason is because of the lack of knowledge about what the scriptures say about marriage. To further bring it home, husbands are not loving their wife according to what the scriptures say that love is. This is a huge responsibility. How can a wife know that her husband loves her if he is not properly showing her what love is? She has issues, and guess what…so do you. The only way to conquer all is to love, which is an ongoing situation that we have to continually work on.
In marriage, there is a strong possibility that you may rub each other the wrong way from time to time. Husbands, the only way to begin to negate this is to have knowledge of your wife. 1 Peter 3:7 – Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered, shows that a husbands, prayer life depends on this. As you give praise and honor to the father, and He sees that all is not right with the other side of you, how is He supposed to bless that prayer? Dwelling with your wife according to the knowledge means the knowledge of the word as well as the knowledge of her. How well do you know your wife? What things make her laugh, what makes her cry? It takes time to understand these things, but it’s important to know because she is a part of you. How can you love your wife if you don’t know her? How can you exercise patience if you don’t know her weakness? You are to give you wife honor as the weaker vessel. Husbands, while examining yourselves, consider what Eccelesiasticus 26:23 (in the apocrypha) says… “A wicked woman is given as a portion to a wicked man: but a godly woman is given to him that feareth the Lord.” It starts with you, if you are wicked, you will attract a wicked woman. On the other hand, if you have a righteous woman, know that at some point the father will consider you to be righteous, even if you are not so presently…this is a gift. If your wife is not acting according to the expectations the scriptures set for us, you have no choice but to love your wife through it, remember…love never fails.
The other position of the husband comes from Ephesians 5:26-27 26 “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” which is saying that the husband may make his wife holy, treat her as holy, set her apart as holy by continuously cleansing her with the word of The Most High. That means you have to take the word and read it to your wife and bring understanding to her. This is a need your wife has and is absolutely necessary in a marriage because as you wash her with the word, which is Christ, Christ too is washing her, and she becomes an object of beauty to you. You the husband begin to see your wife differently and the word removes all faults from her character. She begins to speak like you and represent you, and the whole order of one flesh truly begins to come alive. Verse 28 says your wife is a physical attachment of you, you are one flesh, so when you hurt her you are hurting yourself and vice versa, Genesis 2:24. Along those same lines, Mark 10:9 “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” warns us that even husbands that are included in the ‘no man’ is not allowed to break up his marriage. Love lasts forever because love never fails, and this can only be achieved by the continuos renewal of our mind
The truth is The Most High hates divorce as Malachi 2:10-16 shows that through our actions as a nation, being stiff-necked and disobedient He still did not put us away. Also, Matthew 19:3-9 shows how Moses was hit with the but if’s and he was forced to put certain things in the law due to our hardened hearts, which was not so from the beginning. According to scriptures, formication is the only reason why divorce is permitted. However, when Israel committed spiritual fornication back in the old testament, the father took us back every single time. Jeremiah 3:6-10 shows that the father was upset with us time and time again for playing the harlot, but He showed mercy on us and did not divorce us and put us away permanently. Therefore, the same degree of mercy that the father has given to us as a nation is the same mercy husbands should show to their wife’s.
In summary, the scripture clearly shows us how to deal in marriage. Husbands need to be patient with their wife, know them, wash them with the word and show her mercy. Love her like Christ loved the church, which he has never stopped loving. To wash her with the word means the husband has to constantly be in the word studying to show himself approved 2 Timothy 2:15, so his mind can stay renewed as he leads his family. Also, husbands might need to find accountability partners in another seasoned brother or couples that have been walking this road for a long time, to help see them through whatever struggles will come. We are not to walk this road alone.
We will bring some understanding to the wife the next time. Till then, shalom and stay blessed!