Brother Bob Pellien: Every marriage will go through problems. No marriage is perfect, but you can still have an amazing relationship with your spouse. The Bible has advice on how to have a successful marriage.
You’re listening to the podcast version of God’s Message Magazine, and today’s topic is: Some Steps Toward a Successful Marriage.
Marriage is the invaluable union of a man and a woman who, due to their mutual feeling of love and affection, have decided to seek the blessings of God in a solemn religious ceremony officiated by a minister or pastor. The contracting parties, motivated by their love for each other, exchange vows. And once the exchange of vows is completed, the minister proclaims the couple as man and wife. They become no longer two but one in the sight of God.
The marriage bond ends at the death of either partner, because the Almighty designed it to be a lifelong commitment between man and woman. This was clearly stressed in Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans, thus, I quote:
A married woman, for example, is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives; but if he dies, then she is free from the law that bound her to him.
[Romans 7:2 GNT]
Brother Bob: Therefore, the married couple must be bound by the divinely instituted marital laws until their partner dies. Only when the partner dies is one loosed from the marriage vows and is at liberty to remarry, if he so decides. While both still live, neither the husband nor the wife has any right to divorce a partner. Such union, indeed, is intended to last a lifetime. Christian couples must respect and honor their marital union throughout their lifetime, because marriage is holy. The recognition of this fact is crucial for Christians to strengthen their marital ties.
In these times of excessive liberalism there are people who tend to consider marriage as mere formalities; they enter into a new phase in life. It is, to them, a simple ceremony in observance of existing social practices which may be done away with. Others consider the marriage contract as a mere piece of paper that may be disregarded as they desire. Others contract marriage for financial gain and for convenience, such as for acquiring citizenship, for the more affluent countries. This is sacrilege against the institution of marriage.
Christians ought to refrain from committing such a sacrilegious act against what God has made holy. The holiness of marriage is established by the fact that it is God Himself who instituted it. The book of Genesis narrates, thus, I quote:
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
[Genesis 1:27 & 28 VERSION?? ESV is close]
Brother Bob: The first marriage was done when God blessed Adam and Eve to live as husband and wife, thus the creation of the institution called marriage. As a holy institution, Apostle Paul emphasised that, I quote:
Marriage is to be honored by all, and husbands and wives must be faithful to each other
[Hebrews 13:4 GNT]
Brother Bob: Honoring a couple’s marriage, by remaining faithful to each other, could be achieved if both husband and wife would readily abide by the marital laws set by God. Foremost among these laws was that cited by our Lord Jesus Christ in Mark 10, verses 7 through 9. I quote:
‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”
[Matthew 10:7-9 RSV]
Brother Bob: When a union in marriage of a man and a woman overcomes anything that could have torn it asunder, or when it has endured to the end, then and only then could it be considered as truly successful. To be truly successful in marriage, a couple must have completely understood the requisites that constitute a good marriage. The following is an enumeration of these requirements:
(Number) 1: Love and affection must be mutual. The first requisite is mutual love. The Bible requires both husband and wife to truly love each other before, during and after their wedding. This was the admonition of Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Ephesians. He wrote, I quote:
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church,
[Ephesians 5:25, 28, 29 RSVCE]
Brother Bob: Thus, the husband should love his own wife the way he loves his own body. That love must be sincere and faithful, for it is patterned after the love of Christ for His Church. The Lord Jesus Christ nourished and cherished the Church to the point of giving His life for her. In the same manner, Christian husbands must shower their wives with care and affection. To cause physical or emotional pain to the wife is inconsistent to Christian love and marriage. Christian wives are, likewise, exhorted to love their husbands, Titus 2:4, hence the need for mutual love and affection between the marital partners.
Number 2: Respect and understand each other’s person and character. Another element that could strengthen the marital bond between a man and a woman is mutual respect and understanding for each other. Respect and understanding are biblical prescriptions for a happy marital relationship. Apostle Paul wrote that, while every husband must love his wife, every wife must respect her husband, Ephesians 5:33.
In another letter, it was Apostle Peter who emphasized the need for mutual respect and proper understanding between husband and wife. He prescribed, in writing, to the early Christians, thus, I quote:
In the same way you husbands must live with your wives, with the proper understanding that they are the weaker sex, 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.
[I Peter 3:7 VERSION? GNB or GNT are the closest]
Brother Bob: Indeed, both partners should consider each other’s weaknesses and human frailties. Character deficiencies and incompatibilities, in various matters, are but ordinary and normal in every marital union. But if any of the conjugal partners would not respect or understand the insufficiencies and frailties of his or her spouse, their marriage bond might easily break down in the face of internal and external pressures. The married couple must learn to adjust to one another. They should open themselves up to each other. It is necessary for the married couple to be honest and transparent. This will create an atmosphere of peace and harmony in the home.
Number 3: Conjugal obligations should be observed diligently. The married couple must also recognize their various duties and responsibilities. Basically, the union of a man to his wife produces two kinds of responsibilities for either of them. The first category of responsibilities, that they must acknowledge and strive to do, is their conjugal obligations. Conjugal obligations are the duties and responsibilities that husband and wife should work out together. The Bible requires the married couple to assist and to help each other.
In fact, this was one of the very reasons why God created the first woman and instituted marriage. Genesis 2:18 recorded this, I quote:
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to live alone. I will make a suitable companion to help him.”
[Genesis 2:18 GNB]
Brother Bob: Husband and wife are not only to become lifelong companions, they are bound to help each other as long as they live. This could be fulfilled if both husband and wife really love, respect and understand each other. With love at hand, the two will certainly do everything in their power to provide comfort and convenience to each other. They will share in their joys and sorrows and try to lighten up each other’s burden. The couple should also share responsibility in two main endeavours, the bearing of children and the rearing of the same to become God-fearing adults. The parents must bring their children up with Christian discipline and instruction. Apostle Paul gave the following advice to Christian parents, I quote:
Parents, do not treat your children in such a way as to make them angry. Instead, bring them up with Christian discipline and instruction.
[Ephesians 6:4 GNB]
Brother Bob: The marriage of any married couple who fails to instruct and discipline their children, and to rear them up in the true religion, can never be successful. Problem children, due to the inefficiency or absence of education and training in the true Christian values, can cause great stress even to the strongest of marital unions.
Number 4: The husband must earnestly provide for his family’s needs. Individually, the husband and wife also have different, but complementary, tasks and functions in the household. The husband was tasked by God, from the earliest times, to be the provider, in Genesis 3:19, of his family. He should work hard to provide for the primary needs of his wife and children. He must supply his family with food, clothing, shelter and the other amenities in life. Failure to do so, due to negligence, is a grave sin against God according to the Bible. The Bible warns against pater familias who fails to provide for his family’s needs. I quote:
If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever
[I Timothy 5:8 RSV]
Brother Bob: Thus, anyone who is incapable of providing the needs of his would-be spouse and children is not fit to marry. Many irresponsible husbands or fathers, who have abandoned their wives and children, are themselves to be blamed for the failure of marriage. It is, therefore, the religious duty of a Christian husband or father to labor diligently for the welfare of his family. A lazy husband is both a sinner, in the sight of God, and an enemy of a strong and enduring marital relationship.
Number 5: The husband must lead his family in worshiping the true God. It is also the husband who must lead his family in conducting the true worship of the true God. He must also lead his family in prayer and in doing other religious tasks.
To protect the dignity and to maintain harmonious and peaceful relationships among family members, the husband should refrain from doing anything that might endanger the stability of his household. All things that may jeopardize the trust of his spouse and the respect of his offspring and relatives must be completely avoided by the father. He should faithfully observe his duties as the head of the family and desist from committing sinful acts. This will ensure the success of his marriage and of his family life.
Number 6: The wife must submit to her husband. The wife must also make herself fully aware of her duties to her husband and children. She should submit to her husband as to the Lord, Ephesians 5:22. Christian women are forbidden to dominate their husbands, I Timothy 2, 11 and 12, I quote:
Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.
[I Timothy 2:11 and 12 NKJV]
Brother Bob: Aside from loving and respecting her husband, the wife should also abide by the decisions of her husband, unless they run contrary to the will of God. A good wife also provides the comfort and support that her husband needs in times of troubles and difficulties. She inspires him to overcome all forms of trials and persecutions.
Number 7: The wife should constantly watch over her children and home. The woman is obligated by the bible to watch over her children and the household. Proverbs 31:27 attests to this point. I quote:
She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.
[Proverbs 31:27 NKJV]
Brother Bob: Not only should the wife take care of what her husband needs, she must also take care of her children. She should feed and nurse them from the cradle until they become independent. She should be the first teacher and the closest friend to her offspring. She must imbibe in them the proper Christian values, the recognition and worship of the true God. Being in charge of the household, the wife should maintain cleanliness and orderliness in the home. This is in line with Apostle Paul’s exhortation that the woman must be a good homemaker, Titus, chapter 2, verse 5, hence, even if a woman is allowed by her husband to work, this does not preclude her from making their home a comfortable place to live in.
Number 8: The wife should share in strengthening the family ties. She should also do her share in strengthening family ties. She should at all times prevent any rift between her husband and herself. She should not nag at him. She should refrain from gossiping and idleness. She should help the husband in making important decisions. She should not be excessively jealous of her spouse nor must she be a fault finder or become a rabid critic. She should not criticize her husband before other people. Instead, she should dignify him and maintain the honor of her family at all times and at all costs. Her faithfulness and fidelity to her spouse is crucial in this regard. She must never compromise that faith and trust with anything.
In the end, if both husband and wife observe these obligations, which God has set for them, and abide by the vows they took during their nuptials, only then can the success of their marriage be guaranteed. The love and blessing of God is the final guarantee to a blissful marriage. To lose these is to ruin the foundations of one’s marriage.
To find more articles like these, get your copy of God’s Message magazine from a member of the Church Of Christ. You can also find the podcast version on incmedia.org/podcasts or on iTunes or GooglePlay under INC podcasts.
Thank you for listening. I’m Brother Bob Pellien. God bless.
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