Importance of Marriage to Society
Marriage does not only affect married people. Strong, stable marriages are the foundation of stable families, stable communities and a stable country. Without stable marriages, the breakdown of society is inevitable. Policymakers in the US, and elsewhere, are now coming to recognize the connection between the breakdown of families and the social problems of crime, violence, poverty, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy and the spread of sexual diseases.
What is Marriage?
Marriage is a divine institution created and owned by God for procreation and for pleasure. It is God who invites man and woman to enter His holy institution. When you marry, your marriage belongs to God. It’s like being invited to enter someone else’s home. You do not have the right to decide what you want to do with it; you must comply with the rules of the homeowner. To violate the rules of marriage is to violate its owner (i.e., God).
The Key to a Successful Marriage
The key to a successful marriage is making God the primary partner in your marriage – NOT YOUR SPOUSE. There is a fundamental difference between a secular and a Christian marriage.
A secular marriage is a “fifty-fifty” proposition in which each partner meets only “half’ of the marital obligations, and then, demands the partner to measure up to the other half. When one party fails to perform, the other party reciprocates by failing to perform. This often leads to a breakdown in the marriage, which likely ends up in divorce.
A Christian marriage, on the other hand, embraces God as the primary partner in the marriage – not each other. The priority in a Christian marriage is to please God 100%. This approach changes the focus of the marriage from self to God, thereby helping each partner work joyfully and wholeheartedly toward resolving conflicts. Eph 5:21 says to we are to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. We find pleasure as a result of pleasing God. We are motivated to give 100% even when the other spouse fails to do his/her part, because more than pleasing our spouse, er are seeking to please God. By applying God’s laws of marriage, one hundred percent, without waiting for the other partner to “measure up” in any way, there is a great deal of room for overlap!
How do you make God the primary partner in your marriage? God becomes the primary partner in your marriage when you faithfully follow His instructions irrespective of how your spouse treats you. Your unilateral obedience to God will save your marriage. The primary role of a husband is to model the love of Christ to his family. It is the husband who must take the initiative to first love his wife as much as it was Christ’s initiative to first love the Church. In response, wives must honor and submit to their husband’s authority as the Church honors and submits to Christ’s authority.
God hates divorce, because divorce maligns Christ’s love for the Church. Christ has never abandoned his Church even in its state of imperfection. A wife’s primary role is to model to her family the submissiveness of the Church to Christ. When the Church encounters problems, the Church seeks God’s guidance and direction. In the same way, wives should seek the direction and guidance of their husbands when issues and problems arise in the family. When you move your marriage to this higher plane, your marriage takes on greater meaning and purpose. You are not simply a husband or a wife, you are Christ’s representative to your family. Christ becomes your role model; and with Christ in your marriage, you will “smile at the storms”.
If Only One Person Obeys God
Serious marriage problems almost always involve sin. Hatred, bitter quarreling, and alienation in a marriage mean that someone is disobeying God. Recognizing that sin is the root of the problem gives hope, because a Christian knows that God has the solution to sin. A problem between two people can only be completely removed if both parties are willing to work at it. However, if only one person obeys God, the other person can keep the problem alive. However, if your partner will not work to improve the marriage, this does not remove your responsibility to do what you can. To please God, you must follow His will regardless of what your partner does. You must believe that you can please God regardless of how others act. 1 John 5:4 – If we are born of God, we overcome the world through faith. If both parties commit to practice God’s plan, any couple can eliminate sin from their marriage. And regardless of whether or not your partner obeys God, you can still please God if you will follow the biblical rules of marriage. Please see 1 Cor. 10:13, 2 Cor. 9:8, Josh 1:5-9 and Eph 3:20,21.
Do not give up on your marriage. Pray for God’s strength. Your marriage is a test of your endurance to enter the kingdom of God. When you encounter the most difficult, painful, cruel experiences in your marriage, remember, it is an opportunity to test and prove God. God can perform miracles in your marriage. A troubled or broken marriage is an opportunity to prove your faith in God. Philippians 4:6,7 – Don’t be anxious, but by prayer and supplication make your requests known to God. 1 John 5:14 – Be confident that, if we ask according to His will, He hears us. [Matt. 6:13; 1 Pet. 5:7]