On the heels of celebrating Mother’s Day as a family, my thoughts and emotions are drawn to a very hot topic: marriage. What is it really all about? What is the purpose of marriage? Why does there seem to be an epidemic of failing marriages today? Why do so many men cheat on their wives? Why are so many people unhappy in their marriages? Lots of questions…some difficult or maybe even impossible to answer. For some help, let’s look first at what God has to say about it…
Marriage was designed by God himself. Genesis 2:22 “Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.” Then God explains further in verse 24, “That is why a man leaves his father and unites with his wife, and they become a new family.” God made the husband and wife together for His glory.
Now let me take a step back and recognize a few things. What about people who are single? What about people who desperately long and pray for marriage but never seem to find the right person? What about people who have been widowed? Again, important questions that are sometimes hard or impossible to explain. Simply because God designed marriage, doesn’t mean He designed it for every person. Even the apostle Paul led a single life, and was one of the most influential witnesses for Christ. Essentially a point here is that God doesn’t have to call you into marriage to lead a meaningful and godly life, BUT when he does call you into a life of marriage, it is one of great importance and that is what I want to talk about here. So any of you who are married or planning to marry, listen up!!
My wife and I have been studying a series entitled “Marriage on the Rock” by Jimmy Evans. It is a very poignant and direct introspective into what a God-centered marriage is all about and how to make your marriage a solid union based on biblical principles and foundations. It helps you learn about how to effectively communicate with your spouse, recognize each others strengths and weaknesses, and work together as one unit to live out your lives in honor to God. For sake of space and time, let me just point out a few highlights that have caught our attention and that may be able to help shed light on the curse that is affecting our families today.
Perhaps the most impactful issue is what is important to men and women. God wired us all differently with different personalities and desires, but there is a common bond among all men and among all women. Men need honor and women need security. Sounds odd to boil it down to one word for each sex, but it is very true. Men function at their very best when they are validated and have a feeling of honor. It is oxygen to them and allows them to be the best that they can be. When men are marginalized or demeaned in any way, it very quickly destroys their self-confidence which then leads to a flurry of destructive behavior. Women, on the other hand, crave and need security. When a woman feels secure, they are able to flourish and function in a very powerful way, and be strong in their daily walk. Take that security away, and you destroy a woman’s self-confidence and they will want to find security on their own, which can lead to a feeling of loneliness and abandonment from their husband. However you may “feel” about this, we need to know that God set up these dynamics for His glory and if we recognize this, we will be able to better understand the divine order of marriage. God designed the husband to lead the home with love and wisdom, while he designed the wife to be the anchor of emotional support and edification for the home. When a wife helps to validate and support the husband, he is able to lead as God designed him to. When a wife is protected and loved, as Christ loved the church, she is secure and able to be a rock for the family. If we violate these dynamics, it sets the stage for failure.
Think about it. What is the common denominator in a marriage struck by infidelity? Too often, the man doesn’t communicate properly, becomes very passive in his leadership, leading to the wife feeling insecure, then the wife tries to pick up the pieces and take charge, and very easily becomes critical of the husband, leading to a dynamic of dishonor. Then guess what, the instinct of the man is to seek honor, so he finds it in the attention of another woman. Boom. An affair happens. This then leads to the woman feeling even more insecure, leading to more destruction of the husband/wife godly dynamic. It goes nowhere but down…the marriage is essentially destroyed and both are at fault.
Also think about this. We live in a society of selfishness. The world teaches us to look out for “number 1”. Folks, there is nothing good about that. It drives our sinful nature and selfishness, which leads to our inability to relate and communicate with those around us, especially our spouses. We become so obsessed with things that will “make us happy”. Its interesting to see that the pursuit of this leads to more “unhappiness” though. This is unhealthy for both men and women. We easily fall into a cycle of struggling for power both in our work and our family. Men in this situation bring home a poor attitude, which leads to poor leadership and poor love and respect for his wife, and then the cycle described above can easily happen again. I haven’t even brought up what this does to our children. They are modeled a destructive behavior and the cycle easily continues into the next generation. It is a dead end road. Ever experience any of this?
All of this to say, we need to work harder. Men, step up! Take leadership of your life and your family. Encourage and lift up your wife. Women, honor your husband and encourage him. Work together and approach life as one body. Remember, God made it to work that way! Obviously, this is not an overnight fix. Especially if you have struggled in this area, it takes a constant effort. The husband and wife both need to be on board. If your spouse is not on board, pray that the Holy Spirit can change their heart. Be encouraged, if you stay vigilant and focused on your marriage, God can save it! There is NO marriage that is beyond repair. You have to desire it though…
Friends, may God bless your efforts, and in all of it, let us give Him the praise! He has and always will have our best interest in mind. He wants you to live an abundant life that is lived in humility and honor to Him. Let’s get to it!!!