1. FACTORS OF SUCCESS
a. How can husband and wife help each other grow in love, grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord? Galatians 6:2.
“What can be more pleasing to God than to see those who enter into the marriage relation seek together to learn of Jesus and to become more and more imbued with His Spirit?”—The Adventist Home, p. 114.
b. What other factors will add to the success of the marriage relationship? Colossians 3:12–15.
“No one can so effectually ruin a woman's happiness and usefulness, and make life a heartsickening burden, as her own husband; and no one can do one hundredth part as much to chill the hopes and aspirations of a man, to paralyze his energies and ruin his influence and prospects, as his own wife.”—Ibid., p.43.
“You now have duties to perform that before your marriage you did not have. ‘Put on therefore, . . . kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.’ ‘Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us’ (Colossians 3:12; Ephesians 5:2).”—Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 46.
2. THE HUSBAND AND WIFE RELATIONSHIP
a. What instructions should assist the family members in their interpersonal relations inside and outside the home? 1 Peter 3:1–4. What is God’s plan for the Christian home?
“God would have our families symbols of the family in heaven.”—The Adventist Home, p. 17.
“All should cultivate patience by practicing patience. By being kind and forbearing, true love may be kept warm in the heart, and qualities will be developed that Heaven will approve.”—Ibid., p.106.
b. Under what condition will harmony in the marriage relationship endure? Galatians 5:13–16.
“Let the husband and wife talk things all over together. Renew the early attentions to each other, acknowledge your faults to each other, but in this work be very careful that the husband does not take it upon himself to confess his wife's faults or the wife her husband's. Be determined that you will be all that it is possible for you to be to each other, and the bonds of wedlock will be the most desirable of ties.”—Heavenly Places, p. 203.
c. How should husbands and wives treat each other? Ephesians 5:22, 23, 25; Matthew 7:12.
“We must have the Spirit of God, or we can never have harmony in the home. The wife, if she has the spirit of Christ, will be careful of her words; she will control her spirit, she will be submissive and yet will not feel that she is a bondslave but a companion to her husband. If the husband is a servant of God, he will not lord it over his wife; he will not be arbitrary and exacting. We cannot cherish home affection with too much care; for the home, if the Spirit of the Lord dwells there, is a type of heaven. . . . If one errs, the other will exercise Christlike forbearance and not draw coldly away.”—The Adventist Home, p. 118.
“Around every family there is a sacred circle that should be kept unbroken. Within this circle no other person has a right to come. Let not the husband or the wife permit another to share the confidences that belong solely to themselves.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 361.
3. MUTUAL LOVE, RESPECT, HONOR IN MARRIAGE
a. What attitude should the husband have toward his wife? Colossians 3:19.
“It was not the design of God that the husband should have control, as head of the house, when he himself does not submit to Christ. He must be under the rule of Christ that he may represent the relation of Christ to the church. If he is a coarse, rough, boisterous, egotistical, harsh, and overbearing man, let him never utter the word that the husband is the head of the wife, and that she must submit to him. . . .
“Husbands should study the pattern and seek to know what is meant by the symbol presented in Ephesians, the relation Christ sustains to the church. The husband is to be as a Saviour in his family.”—The Adventist Home, p. 117.
“My brother, be kind, patient, forbearing. Remember that your wife accepted you as her husband, not that you might rule over her, but that you might be her helper. Never be overbearing and dictatorial. Do not exert your strong will power to compel your wife to do as you wish. Remember that she has a will and that she may wish to have her way as much as you wish to have yours. . . . Be considerate and courteous. ‘The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits’ (James 3:17).”—Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 48.
b. What does the Scripture teach about submission of wives to husbands? Colossians 3:18; 1 Peter 3:4–6. What words of admonition was the Lord’s messenger constrained to give to a wife?
“I have often noticed before others a manner you have in speaking to John in rather a dictating manner, the tone of your voice sounding impatient. Mary, others notice this and have spoken of it to me. It hurts your influence.
“We women must remember that God has placed us subject to the husband. He is the head, and our judgment and views and reasonings must agree with his, if possible. If not, the preference in God’s Word is given to the husband where it is not a matter of conscience. We must yield to the head.”—Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, p. 28.
4. A SENSE OF SELF-WORTH
a. How deep is to be a man’s love for his wife? Ephesians 5:28.
“The wife is to respect her husband. The husband is to love and cherish his wife; and as their marriage vow unites them as one, so their belief in Christ should make them one in Him.”—The Adventist Home, p. 114.
“Let every husband and father study to understand the words of Christ, not in a one-sided manner, merely dwelling upon the subjection of the wife to her husband, but in the light of the cross of Calvary, study as to his own position in the family circle. ‘Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word’ (Ephesians 5:25, 26). Jesus gave Himself up to die upon the cross in order that He might cleanse and keep us from all sin and pollution by the influence of the Holy Spirit.”—Ibid., pp.117, 118.
b. How may each spouse complement and encourage the marriage unit properly, warmly, and honestly? Ephesians 5:33; 1 Peter 3:1, 7.
c. How can we be the happiest of families? Colossians 3:16, 17; Psalm 128.
“Let each give love rather than exact it. Cultivate that which is noblest in yourselves, and be quick to recognize the good qualities in each other. The consciousness of being appreciated is a wonderful stimulus and satisfaction. . . .
“Neither the husband nor the wife should attempt to exercise over the other an arbitrary control. Do not try to compel each other to yield to your wishes. You cannot do this and retain each other’s love. Be kind, patient, and forbearing, considerate, and courteous. By the grace of God you can succeed in making each other happy, as in your marriage vow you promised to do.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 361.
“Jesus wants to see happy marriages, happy firesides.”—The Adventist Home, p. 99.
5. MARRIAGE, AN INSTRUMENT OF SALVATION
a. What principle is to have a special place in the Christian home? Matthew 5:14–16; Titus 2:1–4.
“Every home should be a place of love, a place where the angels of God abide, working with softening, subduing influence upon the hearts of parents and children.
“Our homes must be made a Bethel, our hearts a shrine. Wherever the love of God is cherished in the soul, there will be peace, there will be light and joy. Spread out the word of God before your families in love, and ask, ‘What hath God spoken?’”—The Adventist Home, pp. 18, 19.
b. In what ways can marriage become an instrument of salvation to unbelievers? Titus 2:4–6; 1 John 3:18; 1 Corinthians 7:16.
“From every Christian home a holy light should shine forth. Love should be revealed in action. It should flow out in all home intercourse, showing itself in thoughtful kindness, in gentle, unselfish courtesy.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 144.
“The best test of the Christianity of a home is the type of character begotten by its influence. Actions speak louder than the most positive profession of godliness.”—Ibid., p.579.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Summarize the mutual duties of husbands and wives.
2. What is God’s instruction concerning interpersonal relations within and without the home? How will harmony be maintained in the marriage relationship?
3. What attitudes, if exemplified by husband and wife, will bring the atmosphere of heaven into the home?
4. Mention some of the ways in which each person in the marriage commitment may contribute to each other’s sense of self-worth.
5. In what ways is marriage an instrument of salvation?