In part 1 of this study on marriage, it was set forth that marriage, ordained by God, was established for the REASONS of consummation and communication. Everything God created in six days was said by the Creator Himself to be good; but “…the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.’” (Gen.2:18) And God put Adam to sleep and from a rib of our first father God made a woman and brought her unto the man, and Adam said “Wow!” Well, that’s my interpretation of Gen.2:23 which says that when God brought the woman to the man Adam said, “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
So, there are specific reasons for marriage as revealed in Genesis 1 and 2. In this installment I want to convey what I would call the “R0LES” of each person in marriage and the “RULES” for a happy marriage.
What are the roles? Without being too wordy, let me just say the God appointed role for the man is that of a Husband, a provider and protector, leading the home as its spiritual leader and assuring the family by God’s grace and His divine enablement that he will be the physical, material and, under God, spiritual headship of the home. The role of the wife is to be the guider and the giver, assuring that the atmosphere of the household is one of loving and orderly peace and also providing through her God-given grace an atmosphere of love, joy and peace. (I Tim.5:14; Titus 2) As you no doubt have heard it said, “Marriage is not a 50/50 proposition but a 100/100 arrangement between a man and a woman, husband and wife, who are “heirs together of the grace of life.” (I Pet.3:7)
Lady Astor, it was once reported, quite frankly said to Winston Churchill, “Sir, if you were my husband, I would poison your coffee.” Churchill responded, “Mam, if you were my wife, I’d drink it!” Not the way one would want to think of any marriage!
Dr. Monroe Parker’s first wife died in an automobile collision and his second wife died due to physical problems. Many of us watched as he was functioning solo having buried two of the most precious women as he would say, “east of the Mississippi.” Life became a struggle for the great evangelist, educator, missions’ statesman; and then, his dear friend, Dr. Bob Jones, Jr., introduced to Dr. Parker a beautiful widow named Ruby. They were married and lived and loved each other devotedly until the preacher was first called home to heaven and later his beloved Ruby to her heavenly home. While contemplating marriage, Dr. Parker once made a list of “Qualifications for My Wife.” Here is what he wrote in nine points: “1. Born again. 2. Have the same philosophy of life. 3. Have the same ideals/goals. 4. Have affinity or that mystic which is sometimes mistaken as love. 5. Must have a good sense of humor. 6. Must have loyalty. 7. Must have common sense. 8. Must be committed to Christ and 9. Must be committed to me.”
So, having set forth the reasons and the roles in marriage, here are some RULES for a God-ordained marriage:
- Never marry for anything other than love (exist to live with her, don’t live with her to exist)
- Do not expect to live on “romantic” love but do not try to live without it
- Do not take marriage lightly (it is not “incidental,” it is “monumental!)”
- Do not marry someone that does not exist (some ideal image you have created in your mind; say “I love you for who you are.” (Not for what she could be)
- Do not expect more from your mate than you allow him to expect from you
- When you are ready to marry, wait for God to bring to you the one He has for you
- When you marry, decide that it will be for good!
- Do not practice, consciously or unconsciously, “role-reversing” in marriage and expect to find happiness
- Do not expect to have a happy marriage if your marriage consists of two people; there must be a third party, Jesus Christ
- Do not expect that marriage will destroy individual dignity
And remember, “Marriage is like a violin, when the music stops, the strings are still attached.” (unknown)
John Aker, a pastor, author, friend of mine, outlined seven stages of marriage: Delight, Disappointment, Detachment/Disaffection (feelings not all that they once were as separate interests and paths merge), Disillusionment (marriage more like a mirage, great from a distance but up close, what happened?), Despair (there has to be more! That’s it? Where’s the door?), Divorce (if this route is taken, the marriage is dead) OR, DETERMINATION, By God and His Grace!
Selah. Ponder these Biblical and practical truths about marriage. Outside of your relationship with God, your marriage is the most crucial aspect of your life before God under heaven. Don’t short change it!
Be inspired anew by those beautiful words from the heart of a woman in love, Elizabeth Barrett Browning:
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach, when feeling out of sight for the ends of being and ideal grace. I love thee to the level of every day’s most quiet need, by sun and candlelight. I love thee freely, as men might strive for right. I love thee purely, as they turn from praise. I love with the passion put to use in my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose with my lost saints. I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears of all my life! And, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.” (Sonnet 43 written by Ms. Browning when she was being courted by Robert Browning) The kind of love lasting marriages are made of.
“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands….” (I Pet. 3:1) “Likewise ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge…and as being heirs together of the grace of life….” (I Pet.3:7)