What steps can you take to ensure that your marriage will be successful? What is the Bible’s advice on the roles of husband and wife in a marriage?
Why God’s Guidance in Marriage is Important
Brother Joe Velasquez: Living happily ever after is what many are hoping for when they begin making their wedding plans, and even after their wedding when they embark on their shared life together with their spouse. But even the best intentions and plans can be derailed by the absence of proper guidance. So from whom should people seek guidance so as to ensure for themselves a blessed and fruitful marriage? That is what we will be learning today on The Message.
Brother Joe: Hello, I am Brother Joe Velasquez, and with me here in our studios in Anaheim, California, is Brother Andrew Taaca. Hi, Brother Andrew.
Brother Andrew Taaca: Hello, Brother Joe. Entering into marriage may be a daunting proposition for many who are considering it, especially in light of the fact that many marriages, unfortunately, end in divorce. A report from the US National Center for Health Statistics, for example, found that there were more than 700,000 divorces or annulments in the US in 2019 alone.
Brother Joe: Well, that’s an alarming number, Brother Andrew, especially since one would expect that those entering marriage would want to do everything to make sure that their marriage would go the distance, even getting guidance from knowledgeable and reliable sources, so as to avoid unhappy breakups. So from whom should people seek guidance? How can people be certain that they’re entering into marriage properly?
Brother Andrew: Let us read here in I Corinthians 7:39:
A wife is married to her husband as long as he lives. If her husband dies, she is free to marry whomever she wishes, but this must be a marriage acceptable to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 7:39 New Living Translation
Brother Andrew: The decision to enter into marriage is not one that should be taken lightly. And the proof of this is that it must be a marriage that is acceptable to the Lord God. Others may not accept that the subject of God and marriage is one that needs to be addressed before marrying, but it is clear from the teaching of the Bible that we should [seek] God’s guidance in marriage even before entering into marriage.
How to have a strong Christian marriage
Brother Joe: But maybe others would say that they’re adults; that’s why they’re getting married. They may reason out that they’re already old enough to know what’s right and wrong. They are educated and [they] don’t need anyone’s guidance on what to do. However, why should we seek God’s guidance when it comes to everything we do, including getting married? Does the Bible teach us how to have a strong Christian marriage?
Brother Andrew: We can read the answer here in Proverbs 3:5-7:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
Proverbs 3:5-7 New King James Version
Brother Andrew: The Bible teaches us that in all our ways, we should acknowledge God. How can we show that we acknowledge our Almighty God by following His commands? And of course, these include His commands regarding married life. So even if a person is an adult, educated and with many life experiences, the Bible teaches that one should not lean on their own understanding or knowledge; rather, we should trust in God’s guidance with all our heart by means of following His commands. If we will do so, He will direct our paths, or guide us in the decisions that we make in our life.
Letting God guide your relationship
Brother Joe: Well, the biggest decision, of course, Brother Andrew, isn’t about who will be on the guest list or where the wedding will be held or what wedding registry to choose, but rather, who will you marry? With billions of people in this world, how can a person be confident that the one that they are planning to marry will really be the perfect match for them? Will obeying God’s commands lead us to a married life that is blessed by God? Can God guide us in finding and marrying the right person?
Brother Andrew: Let us read here in Proverbs 19:14:
House and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.
Proverbs 19:14 New Revised Standard Version
Brother Andrew: With the advent of social media and dating apps, people have expanded their social circles, often with the hope of finding Mr. or Mrs. Right—their perfect match. Unfortunately, many have been left disappointed by their experiences, even when they thought that they were doing everything they should be doing. But, if a person truly wants to find and marry the right person, the Bible teaches that a prudent wife or good spouse is from God.
Brother Joe: Thus, dear viewers, since entering into marriage is a lifelong commitment, one must make sure that their decisions, even before entering marriage, are guided by God. And we receive God’s guidance by means of His commands and the Holy Bible. Through obedience to God’s teachings, a person who is planning on entering into marriage can be confident that they will be able to find the good spouse that they can happily spend the rest of their life with.
Biblical marriage advice
Brother Joe: But marriage isn’t just about the wedding day or the honeymoon. What follows is a life that will be shared together by husband and wife. We learned that in order to be sure that one is entering marriage properly, one must seek God’s guidance and not rely on their own understanding or knowledge. The benefit of doing so is that one will be able to find [a good] spouse who is from God. But following God’s guidance through His teachings shouldn’t and after the wedding vows are exchanged. Do husbands and wives have responsibilities that they must fulfill in accordance with God’s teachings? What are some examples of biblical marriage advice which married couples should follow? Brother Andrew, what is one of the duties of the husband to his wife?
Brother Andrew: The Bible gives us the answer here in Ephesians 5:25, 28-29:
Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it. Men ought to love their wives just as they love their own bodies. A man who loves his wife loves himself. (None of us ever hate our own bodies. Instead, we feed them and take care of them, just as Christ does the church;
Ephesians 5:25, 28-29 Good News Translation
Brother Andrew: The husband has the God-given duty to love and care for his wife. Just as he loves and cares for his own body, he has the responsibility to provide for his wife’s needs. So he must not be lazy and is expected to work to earn an honest and decent living. And a husband who truly loves his wife should make sure that she can feel his sincerity through regular gestures of love and affection. And of course, by telling her that he loves her.
Brother Joe: That’s right, Brother Andrew. And the Bible illustrates just how much a husband should love his wife, by comparing it to how great is the love that Christ has for His Church, such that He even gave His life for it. So, a husband should be prepared to make sacrifices for the sake of his love for his wife. Aside from this, what is another duty of the husband to his wife?
Brother Andrew: This is what the Bible teaches in 1 Peter 3:7:
In the same way you husbands must live with your wives, with the proper understanding that they are more delicate than you. Treat them with respect, because they also will receive, together with you, God’s gift of life. Do this so that nothing will interfere with your prayers.
1 Peter 3:7 Good News Translation
Brother Andrew: A husband has the Christian duty to treat his wife with respect. There are many ways that he can do so, for example, not doing or saying anything that will hurt his wife, whether it be physically or emotionally, consulting with his wife before making decisions that affect both spouses and their household. Acknowledging and recognizing what she contributes to the marriage and not being unreasonable in his expectations of his wife.
Brother Joe: Of course, a marriage is a partnership, a joining together of husband and wife, and both spouses in a Christian marriage are obligated to follow the commands of God given to them respectively. So what is one of the duties of the wife to her husband as commanded by God?
Brother Andrew: This is the command of God recorded in Titus 2:4:
that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
Titus 2:4 New King James Version
Brother Andrew: Just as we learned earlier that it is the Christian duty of husbands to love their wives, it is likewise the duty of wives to love their husbands. And just as wives are so happy to hear their husbands say “I love you,” husbands feel the same way when they hear their wives say those three little words that mean so much. But love should also be proven through actions, and a wife can prove that she loves her husband by being attentive to his needs, making sure that the household is in order, especially if the husband is the primary breadwinner and by showing her love and affection for her husband through even simple, heartfelt acts that show how much she appreciates him.
Brother Joe: Now, since a Christian marriage is a partnership [that] is directed and guided by God, a marriage that is acceptable to God is one in which each spouse fulfills their role in accordance with His teachings. What is another responsibility that the wife has in relation to her husband’s role as head of the household?
Brother Andrew: Here, the Bible answers us in Ephesians 5:22 and 33:
Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Ephesians 5:22-23 New King James Version
Brother Andrew: The Bible teaches that a wife should respect her husband’s authority as head of the household. If a decision must be made that will affect the family, and a husband has fulfilled his duty to respectfully consult with his wife, then the wife should support the decision that is agreed upon. A wife should not constantly oppose or criticize the decisions of her husband, because doing so would only undermine the authority and responsibility that he has as head of the household, which is given to him by God.
Brother Joe: So dear viewers, although it’s true that those who are planning on getting married or who are newlyweds often have expectations of their partner when it comes to beginning and sustaining a happy marriage, well, getting off to a good start begins with learning what are God’s expectations for husbands and wives that should be fulfilled. We learned that husbands and wives have duties given by God that they must fulfill so that their marriage will be successful. What, on the other hand, are prohibited by God to married couples so that they’ll be able to maintain a harmonious relationship with one another and most importantly, with God?
Brother Andrew: We can read one of those prohibitions here in Ephesians 4:29:
Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you.
Ephesians 4:29 New King James Version
Brother Andrew: Both husbands and wives should not use harmful words to each other. So spouses should avoid insulting or speaking badly of one another, especially in front of others. Disagreements may arise, and since we are only human beings, we are prone to mistakes, but husbands and wives must discipline themselves to not cross the line and say things that would only create disharmony and ill feelings. Helpful words can build up, but harmful words will destroy the hope that married couples have of having a happy and blessed union.
Brother Joe: Now, in spite of the efforts of married couples to have as close to a perfect married life as they possibly can, while misunderstandings are sometimes difficult to avoid. But if this happens, what should not be done by married couples so that it won’t escalate and become an even bigger problem?
Brother Andrew: This is what the Bible teaches in Ephesians 4:26-27:
If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day. Don’t give the Devil a chance.
Ephesians 4:26-27 Good News Translation
Brother Andrew: It’s normal to get angry sometimes, but we should not become so accustomed to it that it becomes habitual or that the anger does not go away. The Bible says, “Do not stay angry all day.” What would be the danger of remaining angry at your spouse? We would be giving the Devil a chance to ruin our relationship.
So, if a misunderstanding arises that leads to anger, husbands and wives shouldn’t avoid each other or give each other the silent treatment. They should talk it out calmly and with the aim of quickly removing any sorts of ill feelings between one another. Married couples should reconcile immediately before the day ends so that they can preserve the peace and harmony in their relationship.
God as the foundation of a relationship
Brother Joe: With so many marriages today, ending in failure, having God as the foundation of our relationship is what is needed in order for a Christian marriage to stand the test of time. But how can a married couple be certain of not only maintaining a harmonious relationship with one another, but most importantly with God? In Psalm 128:1, 2 and 4; this is what it is recorded here in the Holy Bible:
Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, Who walks in his ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, You shall be happy and it shall be well with you. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed Who fears the Lord.
Psalm 128:1-2, 4 New King James Version
Brother Joe: The Bible teaches, dear viewers, that those who fear God are blessed. But how can we identify those who have a holy or reverent fear of God? Well, they walk in His ways or obey His teachings and His commands. Thus, married couples who fulfill their duties as husband and wife, as commanded by God, have the promise of receiving God’s blessings in their life. They can hope to receive blessings in their means of livelihood and the true happiness that comes from God, because all will be well with them, while other couples may struggle and drift further and further apart from one another.
Letting God guide your relationship
Brother Joe: The married couple, which obeys God’s commands, will be strengthened all the more in their relationship with one another and with God. But, dear viewers, letting God guide your relationship doesn’t mean that we no longer have to do anything. A successful marriage requires effort and sacrifice on the part of both the husband and the wife. For our fellow brethren in the Church of Christ who are married, we should all the more dedicate ourselves in upholding the sanctity of marriage and in obeying the commandments given by God to the married couples among His people.
And for our dear friends who are still learning about this Church and want to know more about what God commands so that we can be successful in every aspect of living, like getting married, we invite you to continue your studies with us in this program and through our diverse, life-changing content that you can find on incmedia.org and on streaming platforms. On behalf of all of us here at The Message, we would like to thank you for joining us today in our study of God’s words. We hope that you will continue to watch this and other programs of the Iglesia Ni Cristo or Church Of Christ.
But before we go, please join us for a short prayer.
Brother Andrew: Our dear God and loving Father in heaven, we thank You from the bottom of our hearts that we are once again guided by Your holy words. May you continue to bless each and every one of us that we may receive all the blessings that come from You, that we would be able to continue on in worshiping Your holy name.
May You please give us all the good health, the life and strength that we need, but all the more may You please continue to guide us with Your words that this will always serve as our guiding light as we journey inside this world.
Our dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we thank you so much for Your love and your mercy. May You kindly remain with all of us and bring our prayers to our dear Father that we will receive all the guidance and blessings that we need.
Dear God, please bless the Church Administration. May you empower them always with the Holy Spirit as they continue to lead us all onwards to our salvation. We do believe, dear God, you have accepted our prayer. We ask for all these things in the name of our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus.