In the garden of Eden, God established the first FAMILY. After creating Adam, “The Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” ().
Starting with a rib from Adam, God formed Eve. Then He told the two of them: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it” ().
Throughout history, families have formed the basic unit of society. The pen of Inspiration explains: “The family tie is the closest, the most tender and sacred, of any on earth.”—The Adventist Home, p. 18.
“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waked but in vain’’ (). This verse teaches us the truth that every endeavor in life must be based on a relationship with God.
“The family relationship should be sanctifying in its influence. Christian homes, established and conducted in accordance with God’s plan, are a wonderful help in forming Christian character. . . . Parents and children should unite in offering loving service to Him who alone can keep human love pure and noble.”—Ibid., p. 19.
As the love of Christ operates in the heart of a husband and a wife, the married couple is better able to love one another. I’m able to love my wife better today than I could before I knew the Lord. My love is deeper, stronger and purer because I’m able to love her with His love. People in love with Jesus are able to be channels through which His love can flow to those around us.
Being in right relation to the Lord Jesus brings a divine dimension to marriage. When both the husband and the wife are in a vital, growing relationship with the Lord, they can pray together. They can worship together. They can discuss the things of God together. Their mutual relationship with God moves their own relationship beyond the physical into the spiritual. Thus, their love is stronger, purer and more enduring than it could ever be otherwise.
There are several non-negotiable essentials that stand as pillars in every strong, spiritual marriage.
When we speak about love, we are not talking about the kind of love portrayed in Hollywood. Paul describes the kind of love we are talking about in:
To suffer long. This means patient endurance even when provoked; not losing one’s temper. Love does not retaliate!
To be kind. Love is kind in words and actions
Not to envy. True love values gifts in another.
Not to be puffed up. Love is not arrogant or proud; it does not demand to be “number one.”
Not to behave unseemly. Love is never rude, but it always treats others with compassion, consideration and respect!
Not to seek for ourselves. True love is never selfish and self-centered.
To rejoice in the truth. This kind of love is to be mutual. The husband is commanded to love his wife with every fibre of his being., .
The wife is commanded to love her husband.. A home filled with love is a home filled with the essence of Heaven!
“In every family where Christ abides, a tender interest and love will be manifested for one another; not a spasmodic love expressed only in fond caresses, but a love that is deep and abiding.”—Ibid., p. 94.
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”(NKJV) speaks of the law of “leaving and cleaving.” This was what God expected of the first married couple ( ), and it is what He expects of every other married couple. When a man and a woman are married, there is a fundamental shift in their relationships to others.
Their relationship with the parents is altered forever. It can still be strong, but the marriage relationship must have pre-eminence over the parental relationship. Children need to let go and so do parents. Few things are more devastating to a marriage than a failure to “leave and cleave.”
The word “joined” means “to be glued.” It is the idea of two things being bonded together in such a way that they cannot be torn apart. It is a bond so strong and so deep that you cannot tell where one begins and the other ends.
This kind of loyalty is spelled out in. Look at the characteristics of true loyalty:
Bearing all things. – Loyal even when things are tough. It doesn’t walk out in the day of trouble.
Believing all things. – Loyalty believes in one’s mate. They trust each other.
Hoping all things. – Loyalty never looks for the worst in each other, but only believes the best.
Enduring all things. – Loyalty sticks it out. Loyalty does not abandon the fort.
“Christians have a sacred, holy work to do in carrying forward the work that Christ came in human flesh to accomplish. Here is an open field for every family to manifest the breadth of their love and loyalty.”—Letter 37, 1898.
Mutual respect is fundamental for any marriage to have long-term success. Let’s consider some scriptures:
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing” (). These verses have been among the most loved and hated of the New Testament. Some men love to hang these verses over the heads of their wives and demand that they fall down before them in obedience. (They forget which shows submission/respect as a two-way street.) Some women read these verses and feel that they make the wife inferior to the husband. Neither interpretation is correct.
God is not establishing the husband as some kind of dictator in the home. Nor is God relegating the wife to a place of servitude. The word “submit” means “to arrange under.” The truly spiritual wife recognizes God’s order in the home. She understands that it is a reflection of God’s order in the church. Jesus is the head of the church and we are to submit to His headship. The husband has been given the responsibility of leading the home and the godly wife follows the husband’s leadership willingly and humbly.
The husband is not to demand submission from the wife. She is to offer it freely and lovingly. This submission is to her “own husband” only (not everyone else’s). Women are not required to be subservient to men in general. They are equals, even in the home. But, God has invested leadership in the husband, who will be held responsible for the home. He will give an account for his actions as the head of the home when he stands before Jesus.
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. . . . So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church” (, , ).
I willingly submit to the Lordship of Jesus in my life because I know He loves me. I understand that He gave Himself to save me sacrificially, willingly, lovingly, and unconditionally. I respond to His love by submitting to Him. The same is true in the home. When the husband loves His wife sacrificially, willingly, lovingly, and unconditionally, she will respond by respecting him.
Men, your wife will be more likely to follow your lead if she knows you love her with every fibre of your being. We saw in the passage inabove that the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church—and to love her as he loves his own flesh. Husbands are to “nourish” their wives, and they are to “cherish” their wives. Let’s consider these two words for a moment.
To nourish = To bring to maturity. A godly husband helps his wife to reach her fullest potential in God. He helps her to grow by meeting her needs and by being an encouragement to her life. To cherish = To soften with heat. The husband is to give tender love to his spouse. This is the primary “want and need” of most women. They need to feel loved and they crave special attention. They need time, attention, and a sense of security. A loving husband can easily provide all these things to his wife.
The reason some wives have a hard time submitting to their mates is because the man is anything but Christlike in his love for her! Nonetheless, ladies, this is no excuse for rebellion in the home! You are told to “submit” regardless of how he behaves toward you. Even if your husband is not a believer, you have the duty of submission: “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement” ().
Yet let us notice also the next verse: “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” ().
“The weaker vessel” does not mean something inferior. This phrase refers to a vessel that is delicate and of immense value. It is to be handled with love and tender care!
Marriage is one of the greatest gifts God ever gave to humanity. But it is truly beautiful when it operates as God intended.
Has the Lord spoken to you about your marriage—or, if you are not married—how you plan to conduct your married life? Husbands and wives may want to come and pray together today. You may want to ask the Lord to strengthen your bonds. You may want to iron out some troubled places. You might need to apologize to your spouse for acting like a jerk. You might want to come and thank God for what He has done in your home. This would be a great time to make your marriage stronger.
If you are out of God’s will in this regard, come home. If you are lost, come to Jesus. Amen.