Understanding Your Marital Role
Marriage has been around for a while now. According to the Holy Bible, It was the first form of government God put in place, predating the fall of man in the Garden. Yet despite its age, and divine origin, humanity is still trying to get it right.
I am a Christian. My wife and I subscribe to the Judeo-Christian model of marriage. Because of our faith and the conviction it has birthed, divorce is not an option. We are committed to each other till death do we part. That's why every April 30th I hold my breath as she decides if I will get to live another year. So far so good.
God knows I do not have a perfect marriage. Like all couples, we fall short of the Godly principles that guard our marriage. Never the less, we aspire toward the goal that Christ has set before us. Confident that in the end, He will enable us to be successful if we don't give up.
We married young, I was 19 she was 18. She was and is, my High School sweet heart. 22 years and 5 children later, we still love each other. The bond we share is not a matter of chemistry or luck. For chemistry fades with time and I have never been a lucky person. I have to work hard for everything I have and that includes my relationship with my wife. For me, love is not a feeling, It is an action. I believe a loving successful marriage is the result of hard work, self sacrifice, and proper understanding.
With this in mind, I wish to share with you a few of the things I have come to understand about the role of the husband and wife. To express what our roles communicate to our spouses, our children, and ultimately the world at large. When I look at the Christian Family model, I marvel at its genius. For in it, God has shown himself to the world.
As a foundation for my thought, I would direct you to Ephesians 5: 22-32
Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord, for the husband is head of the wife as also Christ is head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. Now as the church submits to Christ, so wives should [submit] to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as also Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, to make her holy, cleansing her in the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own flesh, but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, since we are members of His body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband. Ephesians 5: 22-32(HCSB)
In the Christian Family, I believe the Husband/Wife relationship is representative of the God/Man relationship. In the role of the wife we see the role of the church and ultimately all saved humans regardless of their gender. I believe that the Christian Home and the Christian Church are visible representations of the kingdom of God. Through both the Church and the Home, humanity, is shown how we are to relate to Him. As you examine the Biblical picture of the family you see Kingdom principles woven into its DNA. On the day of judgment, humanity will be without excuse. For God has given them everything they need to understand His Kingdom and to return their will, in submission, to Him.
Now before I move on, I need to acknowledge that there are few words in the English language that can cause a wife to dismember her husband faster than the word "Submit". Trust me, I tried it once, I haven't walked right sense. Just kidding, I am not that stupid. Unfortunately, I have known men who were. Making it necessary for me to issue this warning. Husbands do not use this word at home! The use of the word " Submit ", by husbands, have been known to cause death or severe personal injury!
OK Moving on. Clearly the bible teaches the headship of the man. However, the problem arises when the man does not understand submission himself. It becomes "Do as I say" as apposed to, "Do as I do" As a Christian, Jesus is my God and Master, He is my Lord. I submit to him because I love him. He has not demanded my obedience, he asked for it. I willingly and deliberately give it to him. This is my free will to do so. This is exactly what supposed to happen in the husband wife relationship. The wife willingly and deliberately gives her self to her husband. Her obedience is a gift of love. In light of this I say to the husband, lead by example not by decree. Just as Christ exampled.
In Ephesians 5:22 Paul wrote
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord."
He said this because he understood that the role of the wife is a tangible representation of the submitted Christian to Christ Jesus. God understands the difficulties that surround this. Husbands are not gods. Often wrong, Sometimes just plain jerks! This is why Paul further instructed Husbands to Love their wives as Christ loved the Church Ephesians 5:25
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,"
When I fail in my relationship with God he is faithful and just to forgive me. He goes further then that, He extends his hand of grace toward me to help me move past that failure. He remains loving and kind. He does not hold my sin in my face reminding me how I blew it and what a terrible Christian I am. As a Christian husband, how can I do any less? As God's love has no conditions, I too, must love my wife unconditionally. I must be quick to forgive, extend grace by not holding a grudge and aiding her in any way I can. Men we are to make her Job as our helpmate as easy as possible. Listen to her. Consider her feelings. Show her that her views matter to you. Cherish her. Show her you love her. Show her by your actions and words. She needs to know that she is secure in her relationship with you. That nothing she does can make you stop loving her. That she is special. That you love her more than anyone else.That you are willing to sacrifice for her, give your life if need be.
A young Man asked his grandfather how much he is to love his wife. His Grandfather answered with out hesitation "just as much as Christ loved His Church. Until it kills you"
As a Christian I look to God for my provision. For my welfare and for my protection. I strive to show Him I love him by walking according to His precepts or wishes. Because I love him, I obey his commands. I walk in respect and reverence. Mindful that my actions reflect on His reputation. I purpose to accept what he provides with out complaining. I allow his provision to be enough. I submit to His Word even when it requires something from me. Even when I disagree. I know that he Loves me and wants what is best for me. I am secure in Him.
Ladies respect your husbands. Guard his reputation. Accept his provision. Allow it to be enough. Submit to his authority with out complaining. Trust God to deal with him when he blows it. Pray for him. Forgive him when he is wrong. Pat him on the back when he is right. Show him you have confidence in him as a husband. Understand that when you offer submission to your Husband. God accepts that as submission to Him.
Now your probably thinking "Ya right! Maybe in a perfect world!"
In Ephesians 5:22-32, Paul is bringing the Goal into focus. This is what we are to shoot for. Obviously we will fall short. In a perfect world we would not have to be told how to treat our spouses But in reality, both men and women have to be told. We all have to be reminded of, and shown our God ordained roles.
I use the word "role" because you are being watched. Your Children, your friends and neighbors. Everyone who knows you is paying attention. When you treat your spouse the way God intended, the world takes notice. The stability of a healthy Christian family brings joy and love to the Church and your community.
There are those who would love to see you fail. Those who resent the Christian family model because it makes them aware of their Sin. Those who would "Redefine the family". Groups like gay marriage advocates, feminists, and atheists. They are all watching. Looking for opportunities to discredit the cross of Christ. To bring shame to the Christian Family, the Church, and ultimately God's reputation.
Those who love God, those who hate God, and those who are wondering about God, are all watching. Mark my words, everyone is watching.
All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players:
But even in our failure we are proving the Bible is true.
When one or the other refuses to walk in obedience to their God given roles in the marriage, amazingly, they are acting out the Garden all over again.
When a husband refuses to take his God given role as head of the home. He is taking up Adam's script and playing a passive role, leaving his wife naked, vulnerable, and alone to face and reason with our enemy. Lacking the moral support and the God given authority to overcome.
Ladies who resent their husbands leadership have taken up Eve's script and is acting out her part. For the conflict that arise in the marriage over the husband's authority is a picture of original sin. Humanity says to God "I know just as well as you do!" "I will be my own God, I will decide for myself what is right and wrong" Just as the wife says to her Husband, "I am your equal, who do you think you are to tell me what to do. "We are partners, I am not your slave."
While these statements have an element of truth, they reveal a rebellious heart. Just as Eve first, then Adam, rebelled against God. They are reminding the world why and how humanity lost the Garden. That place where we knew the sweetness and the richness of a right relationship with God at home in His presence. That place we all long to return.
In closing, I would like to encourage you to embrace your God ordained role in your marriage. For your spouse sake, For your sake and the sake of your Children, Serve God by serving your family. Be a witness to all those around you. The Christian family model declares to the world God's divine order for His Kingdom. In the role of the husband we see Christ's love for His church. In role of the wife we see our own relationship with Christ. Together they tell a story that points all humanity back to God.
Your Brother in Christ
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