The God of the Universe, the Creator of all things has a plan for marriage. Too often, we think that He had a plan and that sin marred the plan. The plan for marriage, the consistent with our God, does not change. No matter how much mankind tarnishes or culture disfigures God’s plan for marriage, we must remember that God’s plan is the same yesterday, today and forever. God’s plan is that man and woman would, in the marriage relationship, would: 1) reflect God’s nature to all they come in contact with, 2) work together in unity and singleness of purpose, 3) be a testimony of God’s incredible love for mankind, and 4) raise children to love and serve God. The plan is simple; carrying out the plan, proved to be impossible.
The Lord laid out the plan in Genesis, Chapter 2, but in Chapter 3, the man and woman strayed from the plan and there has been trouble ever since. The “fall” brought sin into the world and the self-centeredness of mankind has wrought tremendous havoc in relationships, families, society and even world-wide problems. Ten minutes of watching the news reveals the truth of the fact that we live in a sin-filled, broken world, but instead of looking at the world, we must examine our place in God’s plan today. I cannot fix the problems in the Middle East, Africa or the inner cities of the United States, but I can strive to live God’s plan in my marriage and there-by affect those I come in contact with. I am to encourage and challenge others to live for God and, reminiscent of the early church, perhaps change the world one person, one family at a time.
At the fall, sin brought a curse to mankind and we see the effects of the curse in relationships today. God’s Word repeatedly addresses relationship issues in a variety of ways, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly, but the whole of God’s word is about relationship; relationship with God and relationship with others. It seeks to bring us back to God’s plan; living in unity, being a testimony and leaving a Godly legacy. The curse brought pain; for the woman, pain in childbearing and pain in her relationship with her husband. The first man and woman did not stand together against their first test and in falling brought division into the marriage relationship. The man’s pain would be in providing for his family; provision would no longer come easily, but it would be through painful toil. Is it any wonder that women tend to find their identities in relationship while men tend to find their identities in their work or career? Too often there is division in marriage where there should be unity. There is emotionally painful interaction, where there should be peace. There is brokenness where there should be wholeness. This should not be so!
Solomon had a lot to say about the marriage relationship. A man with 700 wives would certainly have a great amount of experience with the problems of fallen relationships. He wrote that a man who finds a wife finds a good thing (Proverbs 18:22), but also wrote five Proverbs about the negative effect of a quarrelsome wife. A direct effect of the fall, wives tend to be “quarrelsome.” Seeking connection with their husbands, they attempt to get their husband’s connection through negative means; i.e. being argumentative, difficult, irritable, or confrontational. Where is the husband? The husband is too often building a career, chasing after his dreams, pursuing hobbies and not usually building relationship with his wife or growing in oneness with her. Too many husbands pursue many things in life other than their wives and the divorce rate and number of dysfunctional marriages in the church today reflects this problem. Solomon wrote that a man should enjoy life with his wife all the days of his meaningless life (Eccl. 9:9). Life does not have to be meaningless; a strong, growing marriage is a blessing to husband, wife, their children, and will positively affect many other people. That is not meaningless!
Paul addressed this issue in his first letter to the Corinthians; writing that a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world – how he can please his wife and a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world – how she can please her husband (1Cor. 7:33-34). It brings us back to God’s plan for marriage; unity and oneness. Growing in relationship requires investment in that relationship. How can you enjoy life with your spouse if you are not doing anything with him or her? How can you be a testimony for God’s love if you are not living in unity with your spouse? How can you raise God loving children if you are not working together?
Husbands and wives must begin connecting and working together and stop living separate lives of quiet desperation until one or the other gives up.Tweet this!
Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church. Give up yourself for her, connect with her, make time for her and seek to meet her needs. Wives, respect your husbands, treat him with dignity rather than as another child who needs to be whipped into shape. Help your husband and encourage him rather than hounding him to do the right thing. Cut those things out of your lives that detract from your marriage relationship and start working together! Enjoy life together; we only get to do this once, why not do it right – living according to God’s plan, not our own?