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Marriage: The Best Part of Life

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(Section 2 of 2)

Author: Apostle Kelvin Franklin

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e. Husband's Duty

[FROM VOWS] Living in Holy matrimony Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honor, and keep her, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall live?

to my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth.

Ephesians 5:
     25. Husbands, LOVE YOUR WIVES, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it;
     26. That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
     27. That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
     28. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
     29. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church;
     30. For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones

     Husbands are the spiritual heads of their homes. Their duties are: supreme authority in the home, rule, teach, training, love their wives, children, sacrifice for his own marriage by looking at Christ's sacrifice for the church, and providing spiritual and physical nourishment for his wife's body.

     Here are some principle that I believe should be followed as a minimum:

     1. He should NEVER SPEAK EVIL OR DISGRACE HIS WIFE BEFORE ANYONE. A study of JAMES 3:1-18 will show you just how destructive words can be.

     2. He should GIVE her the LOVE and ATTENTION that she NEEDS.

     3. He should learn to SACRIFICE, even as Christ, when it works to the increase and growth of his marriage.

     4. He must INSIST on ONENESS and provide LEADERSHIP in the marriage relationship.

     5. He must ensure the lines of communication remain open with his wife.

     6. Remember: Sexual relations is the most critical part of a marriage.

     Marriage is the natural equivalent of Christianity. If we cannot accomplish the natural, we will not be able to accomplish the spiritual. God places great emphasis on this fact throughout the new testament. (see also EPHESIANS 5:31-33)

1 TIMOTHY 3:
     4. One [A Bishop] that RULETH WELL HIS OWN HOUSE, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
     5. (For if a man know not how to RULE HIS OWN HOUSE, how shall he TAKE CARE OF THE CHURCH OF GOD?)
     12. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, RULING THEIR CHILDREN AND THEIR OWN HOUSES WELL.

     NOTE: LOVE IS NOT A FEELING OR DESIRE, IT IS A COMMITMENT (SEE 1 CORINTHIANS 13).

f. Wives Duty

[FROM VOWS] Man to thy wedded husband, to live together after God's ordinance, in the holy estate of matrimony? Wilt thou obey him and serve him, love, honor, and keep him, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, keep thee only unto him, so long as ye both shall live?

To my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance, and thereto I give thee my troth.

    

EPHESIANS 5
     22. Wives, SUBMIT yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
     23. 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.
     24. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, SO LET THE WIVES BE TO THEIR OWN HUSBANDS IN EVERY THING.
TITUS 2:
     3. The aged women likewise, that they be in BEHAVIOUR AS BECOMETH HOLINESS, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
     4. That they may TEACH the young women to be sober, to LOVE their husbands, to LOVE their children,
     5. To be DISCREET, CHASTE, KEEPERS AT HOME, GOOD, OBEDIENT TO THEIR OWN HUSBANDS, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

     Wives are suppose to submit to their OWN HUSBAND: Genesis 3:16, Amos 3:3, I Corinthians 14:33. They are also responsible for running the household: see also Proverbs 31:1O-31, I Timothy 3:11, 1 Peter 3:1, Proverbs 31:10-31. God makes a big statement for the wife to submit to the leadership of her husbands. Both, however, are suppose to submit themselves one to another.

EPHESIANS 5:
     21. SUBMITTING yourselves ONE TO ANOTHER in the fear of God.

     The husband is ordered to love his wife and provide for her spiritual covering. When both members are doing their part, the relationship will reach a state of oneness.

g. Making a Vow

[FROM VOW] As a pledge and in token of the vows between us made, with this ring. [(In the Prayer) may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant between them made]

 

ECCLESIASTES 5:
     4. When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.
     5. BETTER IS IT THAT THOU SHOULDEST NOT VOW, THAN THAT THOU SHOULDEST VOW AND NOT PAY.

     Your marriage vows are stated before God, as well as before each other. The Lord tells us that by our words we are either justified or condemned: St Matthew 12:37. Divorce was never intended to be a part of God's plans. It was only given because of the hardness of man's heart. I encourage you not to harden your heart toward God and His word.

h. Marriage is a life long commitment

[FROM VOW] Those whom God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.

 

ROMANS 7:
     1. Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that THE LAW HATH DOMINION OVER A MAN AS LONG AS HE LIVETH?
     2. FOR THE WOMAN WHICH HATH AN HUSBAND IS BOUND BY THE LAW TO HER HUSBAND SO LONG AS HE LIVETH; BUT IF THE HUSBAND BE DEAD, SHE IS LOOSED FROM THE LAW OF HER HUSBAND.
     3. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
1 CORINTHIANS 7:
     39. THE WIFE IS BOUND BY THE LAW AS LONG AS HER HUSBAND LIVETH; BUT IF HER HUSBAND BE DEAD, SHE IS AT LIBERTY TO BE MARRIED TO WHOM SHE WILL; ONLY IN THE LORD.

     In these scriptures you can see that we are bound to our spouse under the law so long as they are alive. If they die, we are free to marry another.

     Notice that when we get married, we are BOUND BY THE LAW (BONDAGE) to our spouse. Remember this principle concerning BONDAGE: BEING BOUND BY THE LAW. It will play an important part of the rest of this discussion. GOD'S PLAN WAS TO BIND US TO US MATE IN MARRIAGE UNTIL ONE OF THE SPOUSES DIED.

     Also, from the scriptures above, we can see that if we are freed from our spouse, we are free to marry again. However, we must consult the Lord on this. As a christian, we are suppose to live for God. We are to be under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He will lead and direct us into the right path way. If we desire to get married, we should pray and ask the Lord to guide us. The Holy Spirit will bring us a mate as God see fit.

     PLEASE NOTE THAT THE ORIGINAL PLAN FOR THE MARRIAGE WAS FOR IT TO BE A LIFE LONG AFFAIR. This is set up in God's laws. This was God original plan for the marriage. This is still his plan for the marriage as seen in the following set of scriptures.

1 CORINTHIANS 7:
     10. And unto the married I command, yet NOT I, BUT THE LORD, LET NOT THE WIFE DEPART FROM HER HUSBAND:
     11. BUT AND IF SHE DEPART, LET HER REMAIN UNMARRIED, OR BE RECONCILED TO HER HUSBAND: AND LET NOT THE HUSBAND PUT AWAY HIS WIFE.
     12. But to the rest SPEAK I, NOT THE LORD: If any brother hath a wife that BELIEVETH NOT, and SHE BE PLEASED TO DWELL with him, LET HIM NOT PUT HER AWAY.

     Paul is speaking to a christian couple (both the husband and wife have committed themselves to following Jesus Christ) in verse 10 through 11 of 1 CORINTHIANS, chapter 7.

     God only makes commandments to christians. To people that are not saved, the only direction that God gives them is to turn from their wicked ways and accept him as Lord and saviour of their lives. Once they are saved, he then gives them commandments and principles to live by. Notice that God spoke to both the wife and the husband. See, the word of God was written for believers and those who wanted to follow God. It was not written for unbelievers to live by. Since both parties in a christian marriage are under his control, he has the authority to dictate to them how to live their lives.

     For a married christian couple, god gives these COMMANDMENTS:

     1. LET NOT THE WIFE DEPART FROM HER HUSBAND.

     2. LET NOT THE HUSBAND PUT AWAY HIS WIFE.

     Paul let's us know that these words come directly from the Lord. They are his commandment to a christian couple. If two christians can not live married, God does allow them to separate. However, they can never marry anyone else as long as their spouse is alive. If, while their spouse is alive, they decide they want to get married again, they must remarry (be reconciled) their former spouse.

     Note also that in the bible days, the husband was the only in the marriage that was authorized to initiate a divorce (put away.) Although the wife could not initiate a divorce, she could leave a marriage situation if she was not satisfied. She was to remain unmarried and alone. Remember how Joseph was going to have Mary put away privately when he found out the Jesus had been conceived in her womb.

1 CORINTHIANS 7:
     12. But to the rest SPEAK I, NOT THE LORD: If any brother hath a wife that BELIEVETH NOT, and SHE BE PLEASED TO DWELL with him, LET HIM NOT PUT HER AWAY.
     13. And the woman which hath an husband that BELIEVETH NOT, and if HE BE PLEASED TO DWELL with her, LET HER NOT LEAVE HIM.
     14. For the UNBELIEVING HUSBAND is sanctified by the WIFE, and the UNBELIEVING WIFE is sanctified by the HUSBAND: else were your children unclean; but now are thy holy.
     15. But if the UNBELIEVING DEPART, LET HIM DEPART. A BROTHER or SISTER is NOT UNDER BONDAGE in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
     16. For what knowest thou, O WIFE, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O MAN, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

     In this selection of scriptures, God is speaking to BELIEVERS. Notice, he DOES NOT try to control the unbeliever. He gives specific guidance to christians through Paul.

     1. If the UNBELIEVING spouse WANTS TO STAY in the marriage, WE MUST LET THEM STAY.

     2. If the UNBELIEVING spouse WANTS TO DEPART from a marriage relationship (get a divorce or separated), WE SHOULD LET THEM GO.

     3. In a situation where an unbelieving spouse wants to leave a christian spouse, THE CHRISTIAN SPOUSE IS NO LONGER IN BONDAGE BY THE LAW OR GOD TO THE MARRIAGE.

     NOTE: A PERSON WHO PROFESS TO BE CHRISTIAN BUT REFUSES TO BE GOVERNED BY THE WORD OF GOD IS AN UNBELIEVER, REGARDLESS OF THE PROFESSION THAT HE MAKES.

ST MATTHEW 7:
     21. Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER IN HEAVEN.
ST MATTHEW 5:
     8. This people draweth nigh unto me with their MOUTH, and honoureth me with their LIPS; BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR FROM ME.

     A PERSON WHO DOES NOT FOLLOW GOD IN THEIR HEART IS NOT A BELIEVER, REGARDLESS OF WHAT THEY SAY WITH THEIR MOUTH. IN SIMPLER WORDS, IF YOUR CHRISTIAN SPOUSE HAS AN AFFAIR AND THEN DECIDES THAT THEY WANT TO DIVORCE, YOU ARE FREE TO LET THEM GO SINCE THEY HAVE NOT REMAINED FAITHFUL TO YOU OR THE LORD. REMEMBER THAT JESUS HIMSELF SAID IN ST MATTHEW 19:9 THAT ADULTERY IS THE ONLY AUTHORIZATION FOR DIVORCE. LOOKING AT IT FROM THIS ANGLE, HIS THOUGHT FITS IN WITH WHAT PAUL IS SAYING IN THIS SCRIPTURE IF YOU WOULD JUST STOP AND THINK ABOUT IT.

     God does not want to bind us to a situation that we cannot control. Also, God is not going to impose his will on an unbeliever. Neither should we impose our will on our unbelieving spouse. He releases us from the bondage imposed by the Law. Notice his exact words in this passage: A BROTHER or SISTER is NOT UNDER BONDAGE in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. See, God wants to give us a new lease on life. He frees us to remarry. However, he must be in control of this new marriage: 1 CORINTHIANS 7:39.

     THIS SCRIPTURE ALSO SHOWS THAT WE SHOULD STEER AWAY FROM MARRYING AN UNBELIEVER. The tense of the verbs and words in this scripture is written to imply that one of the unbelievers in an unbelieving relationship had gotten saved. This is understandable since Paul was preaching to people who had never heard of Jesus Christ. I am sure the fact that many former unbeliever were getting saved in this culture that did not know of God created a lot of confusion in many marriage. People that had been totally given to idols were now turning to Jesus. God says that there are no other gods besides me. If one person turned to God while their spouse remained loyal to idols, this would create turmoil in their marriage. I am sure many spouses where disowned by their spouse and their family when they accepted Christ as saviour in their lives.

     Even today, many marriage start off with both individuals being unbelievers. When one spouse gets saved, we end up with the situation that is described in this passage of scriptures. Paul even commands later on in the scriptures that we should not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.

2 CORINTHIANS 6:
     14. BE YE NOT UNEQUALLY YOKED TOGETHER WITH UNBELIEVERS: For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness.

     Looking at this scripture in light of what we've read in 1 CORINTHIANS, we can see why God would not want a christian to marry an unbeliever in most situations. However, there are rare situations (see the story of Hosea and the Whore in the book of Hosea) that must be considered also. ALL I CAN SAY IS THAT IT IS EVERY CHRISTIAN'S RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE THAT THEY ARE MARRYING THE PERSON THAT GOD WANTS THEM TO MARRY.

I will leave you with these scriptures on divorce.

MATTHEW 5:
     31. It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
     32. But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. (St Mark 10:7-9, Romans 7:2, St Matthew 19:3-9)

     Anytime we consider divorce for any other reason than fornication, we are going against God's will. To consider God's will, he never intended for there to be a law of divorcement (Malachi 2:16).

i. Establishing the Covenant

[FROM VOW] I pronounce that they are Man and Wife, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

ONCE WE ARE PRONOUNCED MARRIED, THE COVENANT IS SET INTO EFFECT

4. How to Overcome Problems in the Marriage

     CNN FACTOID (CNN News, 30 Aug 1990, 1200 hrs): An esquire survey reports that the leading causes of marital fights are in order: Money, Household chores and relatives

     This survey supports God's word. The Love of Money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10). Money problems generally stem from the fact that either the wife will not submit herself to her husband or the husband will not submit his marriage unto the Lord.

     If we can understand the way God meant for a marriage to operate, then we will begin to truly understand the operation of the church. The pastor is not autonomous, he must answer to God. His role is to speak to God and then lead the people: not as he wishes but as God wishes. Numerous times, we want to override the pastor and do things our own way. What we fail to realize is that he sees farther into the future than we do. He's not special. God needs him to know things so that he won't lead God's people astray. We should learn to submit ourselves and follow his wishes as long as they don't conflict with the word of God. What we want to do may seem perfectly innocent and harmless but the potential problems down the road could be devastating. God and the pastor guides us out of their love and concern for us. In the same manner, the wife should learn to submit themselves to their own husband.

    I recommend each husband and wife discuss and review these areas:

     a. A Basic need of the man is respect and honor.

     b. A basic need of the woman is love and support.

     c. Both members must do their part in order for the marriage to be effective.

     d. The aspect of forgiveness in a marriage.

     e. The aspect of money in a marriage.

     f. The aspect of conflict with relatives and friends in a marriage.

     g. The concept of friendship in a marriage with one's mate.

     h. The concept of applying God's words without feeling and biases in your marriage.

     God's word is quite simple. It tells us what we must do in order to be successful and also what we can't do. We must act on the word of God once it is understood. We don't have to agree with it or feel motivated to do it in order to apply it to our lives.

5. The Principle of Forgiveness in Marriage

     If our marriage is ever to succeed, we must learn and adhere to God's principle of forgiveness. I recommend a study of the entire 18th chapter of St Matthew. This chapter deals with offenses and forgiveness. Jesus points this out in the 7th verse:

ST. MATTHEW 18:
     7. Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

     Even in our marriages, offenses will come. We must learn to overcome them by pulling together (Verse 18-20.)

     Most professionals will agree that a child's outlook on life is shaped by events and experiences that transpire during the first 5 to 7 years of life. If these events were destructive, they can lead to a life of destruction unless those individuals can be redirected through counseling and rehabilitation (Studies show that the majority of child abusers were abused themselves when they were children.)

     The purpose of God's word in our life is to renew our minds and correct the misconceptions that satan has filled us with through life experiences.

EPHESIANS 4:
     23. And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
     24. And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
ROMANS 12:
     1. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
     2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye TRANSFORMED by the RENEWING OF YOUR MIND, that ye prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.

      I feel that the same situation exists in a marriage. During the first three years, events can happen that can set a marriage on a course with divorce. We also bring experiences from previous marriages and ideas shaped during childhood. The only way to correct these situation is to use God's word as a guide to help put our marriage back on a solid foundation.

     Forgiveness is one of the greatest tools at our disposal.

     As shown in verse 17-19, unrepentance and forgiveness can bind any situation. See how the servant was bound and cast into prison because he would not forgive a debt (verses 31-35.) Not only did he bind himself, he also bound his wife, children and all that he had (verse 25). If we don't forgive our spouse for those hurts in the past, we bind our marriage to certain failure (1 Peter 3:7.)

ST. MARK 11:
     25. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
     26. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive you your trespasses.

     When we came to Jesus, our lives were filthy. Jesus looked beyond all that and still loved us enough to die for us (St John 3:16). He cleansed us and cast our sins into the sea of forgiveness. God no longer remembers our sins. He declared that we are new creatures and that old things were past away (II Corinthians 5:17). He now commands us to go and sin no more (Romans 6:1, 1 John 1:1-3.)

     If we truly love our spouse, we must learn to do the same thing.

     Let this be the first night of the rest of your lives together. You must be willing to commit to each other as we must be willing to commit our ways to Christ. You both must be willing to change and give your best effort even as you must be willing to keep Christ's commandments (St John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments). Christ never brings up our past so we should not bring up our spouse's past once we have forgiven them.

     Learn to see each other for what they can be and not for what they used to be. Your spouse will never be able to change as long as you continually hold their past in front of them. The way to live holy is to learn to focus on Jesus and what you can do and not on the sin and temptation that you are fighting to overcome. Learn to confess what you want your spouse to be instead of what they are not.

6. Treat Your Marriage/Family Like it is Terminally Ill

     As you begin to apply the truth's of God word to you marriage and your family, you will find that your life will be fuller. However, the tendency will be to say, everything is fine now so let me return to business as usual. If you follow this attitude, you will find that things will get worse as they return to normal.

     If someone you loved was terminally ill, you would want to spend every possible moment with them. If they were no longer able to get about, you would regret all the things that you've dreamed about doing with them that you never got around to because you were so busy or to lazy.

     If you think of your marriage and family in the same light, it will prompt us to say and act because we know that we will not always be able to be there.

    Remember that no relationship just happens, it is built. We must continue to work on making what we have better through the guidance of the Holy Ghost.

7. In Conclusion

     In order for a marriage to be true, we must adhere to these principles. The man must do his part and become the spiritual head of his home. He must step to the front and lead. He must never neglect to love his wife and sacrifice for her sake. Being the head does not mean being a dictator. Christ lets us make our own decisions. He asks us to follow him but the choice is still ours. We should lead our wives, but the choice is still theirs. But, if we show true love and if Christ is the center of our marriage, they will follow.

     The wife should love her husband enough to submit to him, even as we must love Christ enough to submit to him. We have trouble in christianity when we refuse to submit to Christ's Lordship of our lives. A marriage will always have trouble and never be full and complete until we follow these God given principles.

     We can either follow God's principles and succeed or our own principles and fail: there is no middle ground!!!!

a. Simple Steps To Success In Marriage

     (1) Individually commit your own life to the Lord.

     (2) Reaffirm your commitment to marriage and to each other.

     (3) Forgive each other totally of wrongs that have occurred in the past.

     (4) Communicate openly and regularly with your spouse

           (a) Express your needs and desires to your spouse

           (b) Listen attentively to their needs and desires

           (c) Strive to fulfill their needs and desires

     (5) Never discuss divorce or separation as an option.

     (6) Walk daily with the Lord and ask him to Guide you in the building of a fruitful relationship with your spouse.

b. Role of a Servant

     Since a husband is suppose to be to his wife, what Jesus is to the church, I think it is important that we examine the role of servant. If Jesus can humble himself to wash his disciples feet (St John 13:4-20), surely men must denounce the macho attitude of the world and relieve some of the household burdens from their wives (washing dishes, taking care of children, general help, etc...). Jesus says that he who would become great among you must be servant of all (St Matthew 20:27, 23:11.)

     He even humbled himself to death on the cross. He loved us even when he knew we didn't deserve it. This is what true love, God's love, is all about. We must love our spouse and fulfill our part of God's requirement regardless of whether we think our mate deserves it or not. Their non-compliance does not relieve us of our responsibility towards God.

     In the old days, everyone worked from sun-up to sun-down. Everyone pulled their share of the Load. Now-a-days, most men work 8 to 10 hours a day while their wives continue to work from sun-up to sun-down. Their work is never done. Even if they work 8 hours a day outside of the home, they are still expected to maintain the house and provide for the children (if there are any: satan has convinced many of us that we don't need them but that's another study within itself. Do remember that God wants to use you to raise a Godly seed, Malachi 2:14-16). It is no wonder that they are always tired and frustrated. If men love their wives, they must accept the task of relieving some of their wife's burden.

     True love and fulfilling the role of a servant will enhance your happiness in your current relationship. There is great joy to be found in giving and serving from the heart.

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