“The meaning of marriage is the display of the covenant-keeping love between Christ & His people.” John Piper
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. Colossians 3:18-19
The two verses above have been a landmine for many. That is NOT what God intends. Really they are a specific application of the overarching instruction in verse 17 about living a Jesus centered life. Last week I read this statement, “It would be a bold person who would claim that the modern secular world offers a better model for marriage and family life than what God calls for in the Bible.”
Many marriages are in sad shape in our world. People still dream of happily ever after marriages. But most fall short and many are afraid. More settle for “trial run” relationships without the kind of commitment that define true marriage from God’s perspective. We have either given up, or changed God’s standard. As a result, we miss the deeper joy and core intimacies through embracing Satan’s cleverly seductive lies.
We treat marriage as temporary and conditional. It becomes a cycle of ups and down in which we continually decide whether to withdraw, engage, give up or endure. We focus more on what we get out of it than what we put into it. As long as we are happy we are glad to stay engaged, if we are hurt, embarrassed or disappointed we withdraw. What if there was a better way? What if the original intent is the best way?
What does it look like to center your marriage on Jesus? Last week we looked at the practical foundation of a Jesus centered marriage. If you build on this, Jesus will lead you to something deeper than you imagine.
EVERYONE: Determine to Give Jesus First Place in Your Marriage.
Col 3:17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
There are several things a couple may center the marriage on. Most of them are unstable & unpredictable. When the foundation shifts, the marriage falters. A core faith in Jesus provides an unshakable foundation with ongoing strength to live out our vows.
Jesus expects to have priority impact in the marriages of his followers. Make the general commitment to put Jesus first. Then move from general commitment to specific follow through in your marriage. Any significant change or growth in our lives begins with a core commitment: a priority decision to act, work, learn, change, follow through.
The single most important thing you can do to improve your marriage is to GIVE JESUS FIRST PLACE IN YOUR LIFE.
WIVES: Follow Your Husband’s Lead Out of Your Walk with Jesus.
Putting Jesus first means honoring your husband’s leadership. The expression “be subject” mean to voluntarily submit to the direction of another. It is not the same term for obedience. It is a self-offering to another, in this case out of a committed, love & trust based relationship. It is the wife’s ‘to offer; it is NOT the husband’s to demand.
This command should not be weakened. Neither should it be exaggerated. A wife should relate to her husband as God’s appointed leader in the marriage relationship because of her faith in Jesus.
Studies show that most husbands would rather feel unloved than disrespected. Your willingness to follow him meet one of his core need. I often tell engaged women, that if you cannot fully respect your fiancé, then you should not marry him.
GUT CHECK: Does your husband feel Jesus centered respect from you?
HUSBANDS: Love Your Wife without Any Resentment through Jesus’ Love in You.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
1John 4:19 We love, because He first loved us.
Love your wife without nursing any regret, frustration, disappointment or hurt!!
Putting Jesus first means unconditional, sacrificial, priority love for your wife. This kind of love is committed to caring for her heart and interests even above your own. The husband is to have active, unending & unconditional care for her well-being. He is to put her interests and needs over his own.
GUT CHECK: Does your wife feel Jesus centered love from you?
“The scandal of marriage is that it is doomed to fail and in its failure we are called to be redeemed.” (Dan Allender & Tremper Longman) That is why it must be Jesus centered to reach its full potential much less even last at all!
Commit to centering your marriage on Jesus as least for your part. To hear the full message along with an interview of pastor’s wives discussion what they have learned about a Jesus centered marriage, go to www.parkiewfamily.com