Tag Archive | husbands

Marriage according to the Master

Looking for God’s direction concerning your marriage? Here is some clear instruction from 1 Corinthians 7—along with some encouragement and challenge, too:summer-fun-on-the-lake-1-834491-m

Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other….

[I]f you are married, stay married. This is the Master’s command…. If a wife should leave her husband, she must either remain single or else come back and make things right with him. And a husband has no right to get rid of his wife.

… If you are a man with a wife who is not a believer but who still wants to live with you, hold on to her. If you are a woman with a husband who is not a believer but he wants to live with you, hold on to him. The unbelieving husband shares to an extent in the holiness of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is likewise touched by the holiness of her husband. …

bike-friends-1008533-m[I]f the unbelieving spouse walks out, [God calls us to handle this] as peacefully as we can. You never know, wife: The way you handle this might bring your husband not only back to you but to God. You never know, husband: The way you handle this might bring your wife not only back to you but to God.

And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life.

“Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.”

Encouraging Your Husband Spiritually

How can you encourage spiritual growth in your husband?

You could try leaving tracts on your husband’s pillow, ID-10081339reading Scripture loudly when he walks by, or keeping yourself busy by attending lots of church events. You could, … but please don’t! It won’t work, and both of you will be miserable! Fortunately, God has given some trustworthy directives that won’t backfire. We can use the acronym RAPID to list several ways in which you can bless your husband, whether he is a believer or not.

Respect your husband. You may not respect everything that he does, but you can always respect the man God created him to be because he is an immortal spirit made in the image of God Almighty. Be continually aware that your husband is created for greatness and honor. He is designed for strength and success. Stay in awe of that.

Maintain a “zero-tolerance policy” against critical or demeaning thoughts of your husband in your own mind and spirit. Rehearse to yourself the truth of his great value. See his failings as brokenness and spiritual captivity, not as personal attacks that threaten your spiritual well-being.

Accept him. Accept him for who he is at his core.  Keep a warm “welcome” in your spirit to your man. When you communicate to him, “I accept you, and I desire you,” then your holiness becomes beautiful to him and can attract him to God.

Pray. Pray for yourself, and pray for your husband. Pray for insight into your husband’s needs and for wisdom on how best to minister to those needs. Pray for God to show you how to respect your husband in ways that are meaningful to him. Pray for God’s work in your husband’s heart—not that your life will be more pleasant, but that his life will be more blessed.

Invite your husband. God has designed wives to be like fragrance, inviting their husbands into holiness. We are called by God to be magnets that draw our husbands to God; we are not called to be whips that drive our husbands to God.

Your faith will be inviting to your husband when it makes you inviting—that is, joyful, pleasant, and cooperative. A woman who is critical and unhappy does not make her God appealing.

ID-10034285Determine to enjoy him. Make it a matter of your will, not your feelings. Insist upon enjoying him. “Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day …” (Eccl. 9:9, MSG). Focus on strengthening your friendship with him.

Become a 1 Peter 3 woman. God will give you a resting, calm spirit as you trust Him. Draw your strength and encouragement from Scripture, from prayer, and from godly girlfriends who will encourage your marriage commitment.

Be assured that God wants you right where you are to serve Him in a very powerful and significant way. God will be faithful to meet your needs so that you are then able to minister to your husband.

May God bless you in special ways as you serve Him in your marriage.

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Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mighty Men in Marriage

Big boys are everywhere, but where are the men?

Where are the men who stand taller than passivity? Where are the men who are mighty in marriage?

There are such men. There are real men who have the strength to shoulder responsibility, the nobility to keep promises, and the character to carry leadership. Husbands of such greatness are men who “cleave” to their wives. With a commitment to “stick like glue,” these men CLEAVE:

1380345_rural_country_cottageCover.  The Scriptures teach that a man is to “cover” his wife. He covers her like a roof when he shelters her, and he covers her like an umbrella in the rain when he protects her. He covers her like a blanket on a cold night when he warms her with tenderness and comforts her with care. With his strength and his devotion, a husband “covers” his wife’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

We see this imagery in the Old Testament when Ruth says to Boaz, “Spread the corner of your covering over me” (Ruth 3:9, NLT). In this reference to Boaz’s cloak, Ruth is actually asking for the protective covering that a husband provides through marriage.

(God tells husbands specifically not to “cover” their wives with violence. “For the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I hate divorce  . . .  and him who covers his garment [his wife] with violence” (Malachi 2:16, Amplified).

Lay down. Following the example of Christ Himself, a husband lays down his life for his covenant partner (Ephesians 5:25; 1 John 3:16). He lays down his singleness, his selfishness, and his self-focus.

Encourage radiance. The goal of a husband’s ministry to his wife is to encourage her radiance.  Just as Christ works for the radiance of His Bride, so a godly man nurtures the emotional health and spiritual thriving of his wife.

Eugene Peterson paraphrases it this way: When Christ speaks to His bride, His words “evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already ‘one’ in marriage.” (Ephesians 5:25-28, MSG)

Her radiance becomes his joy–it’s a win/win situation!

Always love. Husbands are called to love their wives with agape love, which is an unconditional commitment to give to another. The apostle Paul wrote, “Husbands, love your wives [be affectionate and sympathetic with them] and do not be harsh or bitter or resentful toward them” (Colossians 3:19, Amplified).

Value.  The Scriptures direct men to respect their wives as equals before God: “[Y]ou husbands must give honor to your wives. … [Your wife] is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7, NLT)370020_walking

A successful man values the God-designed strengths and abilities of his wife, as well as her innate worth as an immortal spirit created in the image of God. “The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord”      (Proverbs 18:22, NLT).

Enjoy!  “Relish life with the spouse you love,” said wise King Solomon (Ecclesiastes 9:9, MSG).  Any husband is wise, too, who determines to enjoy the unique gifting and beauty of his covenant partner.

The man who CLEAVEs is a mighty man, indeed! To CLEAVE is to move toward unusual greatness and remarkable success, for the calling of a godly husband is nothing less than to reveal the character of God Himself.

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24, KJV).

How to Change Your Marriage … Right Now

How do you see your marriage–as a power struggle? a fight for your rights? a duty? a trap? Let me suggest a radically different perspective. What if you saw your participation in your marriage as an act of worship? If you will see your “wife-ing” or your “husband-ing” as an act of worship, your marriage will become a whole new thing to you.

Romans 12 tells us to present our bodies to God as acts of worship; we can do this with our marriages, too! We can offer to God our involvement in our marriages as acts of worship. With each action and each thought toward our spouses, we can say to God, “I present this as an offering to You.”

Worship involves choosing and valuing. Husbands can worship God by saying to Him, “I will love this woman by sacrificing myself for her because I choose You as my God and because I value You above all else.” Wives worship when they say to God, “I will respect this man and prioritize his needs because I choose You as my God and because I value You above all else.”

When we “do marriage” as an act of worship, nothing is ever wasted; nothing is ever lost; nothing is ever in vain. Even bitter circumstances are fully redeemed in the sweetness of worship. Ugly hurts are transcended by the beauty of holiness. Acts of love which cost us deeply become the expensive perfume which we are pleased to pour on the feet of Jesus. Every act of genuine worship enriches us; every time we love our spouses as an act of worship to God, we are enriched.

In our marriages, we want “love as worship” to be a consistent lifestyle, not sporadic incidents. We are committed to this worship whether or not our spouses join us in this perspective. Yielded to the Spirit, we embrace our marriages as sacred places of deeply profound worship.

Forget Your Marriage!

Forget your marriage. 

Why would someone who is committed to encouraging marriages tell you to forget your marriage? What I mean is this: focus on your spouse, not on your marriage.

Trying to achieve a certain kind of marriage can make us crazy! This is misplaced energy; we are actually off-target when we are focused on the marriage itself. We do not take our marriages with us to heaven; we take people with us to heaven. We have been called to love someone, not to create a particular kind of marriage.

Focus on loving your spouse, serving his or her needs as God directs. This will have the effect of blessing your marriage, of course; but you will have a much healthier focus. You can thrive when you let go of trying to manipulate your marriage and instead focus on valuing your spouse. Your spouse is the real treasure, not the marriage itself.

When I say, “forget your marriage,” what I mean is this: focus on what your loving looks like, not on what your marriage looks like. As we stand before God, we are not responsible for the condition of our marriages; we are responsible for the way we serve in our marriages.

We can torment ourselves by continually measuring our marriages against our version of the ideal marriage. We can live free from that! Instead of evaluating our marriages, we want to evaluate ourselves as husbands and wives. As we ask God for insight into the needs of our spouses, we also ask God to enable us to minister to those needs according to His wisdom and purposes.

(adapted from Radiance: Secrets to Thriving in Marriage)

My New Favorite Book on Marriage

“Yes! Yes! That’s right! That’s it!” That was my ongoing mental refrain as I read This Momentary Marriage by John Piper last week. It is an excellent primer on marriage, dealing with the most basic, most essential, and most profound aspects of marriage, such as the purpose of marriage, the key strengths of marriage, and the roles of headship and submission. I highly recommend this book! You can purchase the book, or you may download the free PDF of the entire book by going to the Desiring God website:   http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/online-books/this-momentary-marriage.

Piper does a great job of emphasizing the foundational truth of marriage, which is that marriage is a picture of the love relationship between Christ and His bride. On that topic, here are several excerpts from This Momentary Marriage:

Staying married, therefore, is not mainly about staying in love. It is about keeping covenant. “Till death do us part” or “As long as we both shall live” is a sacred covenant promise—the same kind Jesus made with his bride when he died for her. Therefore, what makes divorce and remarriage so horrific in God’s eyes is not merely that it involves covenant-breaking to the spouse, but that it involves misrepresenting Christ and his covenant. Christ will never leave his wife. Ever. There may be times of painful distance and tragic backsliding on our part. But Christ keeps his covenant forever. Marriage is a display of that! That is the ultimate thing we can say about it. It puts the glory of Christ’s covenant-keeping love on display.  (p. 25)

Marriage is not mainly about being or staying in love. It’s mainly about telling the truth with our lives. It’s about portraying something true about Jesus Christ and the way he relates to his people. It is about showing in real life the glory of the gospel. (p. 26)

Marriage is more wonderful than anyone on earth knows. … The reason we need the Spirit’s help [to understand the glory of marriage] is that the wonder of marriage is woven into the wonder of the gospel of the cross of Christ, and the message of the cross is foolishness to the natu­ral man, and so the meaning of marriage is foolishness to the natural man (1 Cor. 2:14).  ( p. 29)

 

A “word for your marriage”

“Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God” (Romans 15:7, RSV).

The apostle Paul gave this instruction to all believers in Christ. But Dietrich Bonhoeffer pointed out that these words also provide an excellent guideline for husbands and wives to apply specifically in their marriages.  While imprisoned by the Nazis during World War II, Bonhoeffer wrote a letter to his niece, who was engaged to be married. In “A Wedding Sermon from a Prison Cell,” Bonhoeffer gives this counsel:

Don’t insist on your rights, don’t blame each other, don’t judge or condemn each other, don’t fault with each other, but accept each other as you are, and forgive each other every day from the bottom of your heart. … From the first day of your wedding till the last, the rule must be: ‘Welcome one another… for the glory of God’ ….That is God’s word for your marriage.

What a great application! The Greek word used in Romans 15:7 is proslambano, translated as “welcome” in the RSV, and as “accept” in the NIV. Proslambano means “to take to one’s self; to take as one’s companion; to take or receive into one’s home, with the collateral idea of kindness; to receive, i.e. grant one access to one’s heart.”  [www.blueletterbible.org]

Certainly, proslambano is something to offer to our spouses–especially to them! Continually, we can be welcoming to our spouses as we receive their presence with warmth and with gladness. We can receive them with kindness and grant them access to our hearts. Instead of sensing rejection or mere tolerance, our spouses can live “welcomed” by our spirits.

As our spouses interact with us, what do they encounter?

Padlock.

Padlock. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)