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Marriage

Flowers all round

The Christian Disciple and Marriage

Photo courtesy of Georgy

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After the Creation, and mankind had rebelled against God, Genesis 3v17-18 “God told the Woman: "I'll multiply your pains in childbirth; you'll give birth to your babies in pain. You'll want to please your husband, but he'll lord it over you." He told the Man: "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from, 'Don't eat from this tree,' the very ground is cursed because of you; getting food from the ground will be as painful as having babies is for your wife;"

Perhaps no relationship epitomises the entrance of sin into the world, as that of marriage, as we have just seen in the short bible passage I have just read! I realise of course that is a very sensitive area for some people and it is my aim to be as sensitive towards you as I can be whilst remaining faithful to Scripture. What does the rest of the Bible have to say about marital relationships?

The Song of Solomon is a book which tells of a love story between a woman (the Beloved) and a man, the man probably being Solomon. It proceeds through a courtship and culminates in the union between the man and woman!

Wives, you are to submit and respect your husbands (Col.3:18ff; 1Pet.3ff)! However, submit in this context means how authority is given and received. It does not mean slavery, as has been used by males, to their shame, down through the centuries and today!! Just as the word authority does not mean authoritarian, but rather headship. Why is this so? It is so, because of the overwhelming lordship of Christ over all and His headship over the man (Ephesians 5:22-3).

I know that some men out there will be rubbing their hands with glee, goading their wife about “Submit to me!” However, Husbands, you are to love and respect your wives (Colossians 3:18ff; 1 Peter 3ff). So that does not mean bossing and domineering. Rather, the love of the husband must contain three aspects according to Ephesians 5: Love is sacrificial - a giving unselfish love as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25); Love is sanctifying love - a love set apart from all others (Ephesians 5:26-27); Love is satisfying love - a love that satisfies both people (Ephesians 5:28-30). If the husband’s love is sacrificial, sanctifying and satisfying, then submission by the wife will be natural!

Love is in the Air....

Photo courtesy of Jan

So wives and husbands have mutual roles to play in a marriage. But why did God institute marriage? Well, He established it for at least 4 reasons. Firstly for emotional needs (Genesis 2:18). Then for mutual fulfilment of physical & sexual needs (1Corinthians 7:1-3). Thirdly, for the reason of procreation, whereby the birth of children populates and spreads humanity across the earth (Genesis 1:28). Fourth and finally, to fulfil spiritual needs. Just as the husband and wife experience intimacy and life together, they also share in the submission to, and love of, Jesus Christ.

As Paul wrote to the Ephesians, husbands are to love their wives as Jesus loves His church. How did and does Jesus love the church? We have seen already that this love involves sacrifice, sanctification and satisfaction. But what other symbols of Jesus' relationship with His church do we have in the New Testament?

Jesus Himself began the wonderful relationship that exists between Himself and the church. The tremendous intimacies of this relationship are described 7 times in the New Testament.

· The shepherd and his sheep, emphasizes both the warm leadership and protection given by Jesus to a helpless and dependent church. (John 10:1-18)

· The vine and the branches, points out the necessity of all Christians to depend on Jesus' for strength to grow. (John 15:1-8)

· Jesus as high priest and the church as a kingdom of priests, stresses the joyful worship, fellowship and service which the church gives to God through Jesus (Hebrews 5:1-10; 1 Peter 2:5-8; Revelation 1:6)

· The cornerstone and the building stones, accentuates Jesus as the foundation of the church (1 Corinthians 3:9, 13:1-13; Ephesians 2:19-22; 1Peter 2:5)

· The head and many member body, is often used in the Bible to show the Church as a living thing, drawing its life from Jesus the head, and each believer is unique and necessary to the growth of the whole church (1Corinthians 12:12,13,27; Ephesians 4:4)

· The last Adam and the new creation presents Jesus Christ as the beginning of a new creation of believers as Adam was of the old creation (1Corinthians 15:22; 2 Corinthians 5:17)

· The bridegroom and the bride showing the intimate fellowship and co-ownership between Jesus and the church (Ephesians 5:25-33; Revelation 19:7-8, 21:9)

For more to think about please do read 1 Peter 3v1-7. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

hands

Photo courtesy of Janeice

Q1 – What areas of my marriage in can I improve upon, particularly in relation to the needs of my wife or husband?

Q2 – If Jesus loves the church so much, how much more should I love my partner?

Q3 – How can I help and support others to improve their marriages?

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