Another article in our continuing series, showing the Scriptural roles of husband and wife.
Scriptural Roles for Spouses
Gods plan for marriage is seen in Genesis 2:18: “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a help meet,” a suitable helper completing him, a companion for him. This is a difficult subject to address in our present society where marriage and family values are scorned, brought into disrepute, and into confusion. However, if we turn to the Word of God, we can discern abiding principles for those anticipating marriage and for those already married. The redeemed of the Lord are all in full agreement on the sanctity of marriage as first implemented by God in the perfect state in garden of Eden. No believer would dispute this. “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” (Heb 13. 4). Marriage typifies Christ and His church (Eph 5: 23). It is vital that young believers have a clear understanding of the Divine Standard, Gods ideal. This would have its effect when contemplating marriage and upon premarital values, especially when such standards are flouted in our society. It is incumbent upon us to instruct discreetly those anticipating marriages as to the solemn vows, coupled with the joys of two bonded together for life. (The word bonded is the same as Genesis 2:24, “cleave” to his wife).
Godly brethren and godly mothers in Israel should be approachable if necessary, for those in courtship days. to ask advice on these very important matters. While there has been much written on the subject, and some excellent material set forth by godly brethren, yet the book of the Proverbs cannot be improved upon if appreciated and practiced. That the wise king who failed in this very ministry with its Spirit-given admonitions was also its author, adds a solemn note to the subject.
Gods Principles in Marriage
It is important that two who are attracted to each other are of like precious faith. Consider the Zacharias and Elizabeth qualities. Their commendation is beautiful: “walking in all the commandments of the Lord blameless.” This oneness of heart is an admirable quality, and needs constant nourishing and developing.
Some delightful features are prominent in every God-directed marriage. There is firstly an acceptance of the scriptural role of submission on the part of the wife. It should be with a willing heart that wives submit and obey their husbands. Husbands should be graced with the features of the greatest husband, Jehovah.
Submitting to Headship (1 Cor 11: 1-16) is a vital feature, for in every home there is the establishing of headship. It is never stated that Christ is the Head of the Home. The husband is the head of the home! Christ should be supreme Lord in the home. There is also the corresponding love on the part of the husband, a growing love, which increases toward his life partner. “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them” (Col 3:19). The husband should be marked by giving honor as unto the weaker vessel as being heirs (equally) together of the grace of life (1 Pet 3:7) that their prayers be not hindered.
These abiding precepts produce harmony in the home. Finally, there is a forgiving spirit that permeates every happy marriage. The first seed of breakdown in family life usually is a broken link in communication. Bitterness follows, and then the unforgiving spirit takes precedence. This needs immediate addressing with honest confession. The spirit of forgiveness is an ongoing process, and necessary to develop a strong, loving and enjoyable relationship. The marriage bond is sacred, yet sweet; it is holy, yet happy. The joy on the wedding day should continue and grow throughout life, with a progressive confidence in each other (Prov 31:11). While these are biblical principles, we do not overlook differences in personality and feelings, but the life-long partnership cements and brings an understanding in all matters. The book of Proverbs is a most enlightening and instructive book in matters pertaining to family life. The building blocks that promote happy relationships are worthy of our observation.
Gods Pattern for Marriage
Marriage is a joyous event and this is indicated in John chapter two, where Jesus was present. While each culture may have different forms as to the vows, yet vows exchanged are carried with dignity. Many a Christian marriage ceremony has left impressions upon the saved and the unsaved present. Our Lords first miracle was performed at a wedding! Would it not be of great joy if the miracle of salvation took place on such an occasion today? This would be a miracle! Having said this, we should never take advantage of the many witnesses present. In this, wisdom should prevail. It is a marriage, not a gospel meeting! While the gospel can be interwoven particularly in reference to the conversions of the couple being married, it is better to leave impressions of the joy of a Christian marriage. As to marriage itself, we tread on delicate ground, and would need all the wisdom of a Solomon and more in these matters. The reason that some marriages fail could be the result of a lack of teaching in these priority issues in our world.
Gods Purpose for Marriage
When two are brought together in the bonds of marriage, we recall the words of Genesis 2:24, “and shall cleave unto his wife.” This word has the idea of bonded together, glued, cemented together. It is a strong word and of great import. It is a bond which lasts until death. We have the oneness involved in marriage, involving compatibility, communication, companionship, contract, commitment, and a progressive confidence in each other. It has ever been the will of God that family life should be enjoyed and that children are a heritage from the Lord. Adam and Eve were to replenish the earth. Family life was Gods great purpose. When children are born, the husband and wife enter upon a new dimension and greater responsibility together.
Gods Preservation of the Marriage
We trace the difficulties that ensue in marriage throughout the Scriptures, placed on record as beacon lights of warning, that we might be preserved from the same pitfalls. We think of men of faith, Abraham, Jacob, David the man after Gods own heart, the wise king Solomon. All made grave mistakes, though God forgave them and overruled in His mercy What solemn lessons are taught from these of the past, and with what humility should be our attitude when the family circle is reached in the mighty, matchless grace of God. We have heard the comment, “They have a perfect family.” This sounds good, and should be an objective for every Christian family, but the best has failure. Indeed God who is the perfect Father acknowledged, “I have nourished and brought up children and they have rebelled.” Let us, beloved, be careful in ridicule or in attitude to those dear parents who have raised families who have turned out “prodigal” in their ways. Marriage is preserved when we walk humbly and prayerfully before God, attributing all to our blessed God when he saves our children. When Christ is supreme in our affections, and we nurture a love one for the other, giving the Word of God priority in our lives, we find preservation in the marriage bond. Where the family unit is united, there will be the happiness of children, and LOVE will reign, which answers many problems. In closing, we recommend a careful reading of Proverbs 31 where we have the wife whose price is far above rubies, linked to a husband who safely trusts in her and whose children rise up and call her “blessed.” This is truly a home of harmony and happiness.
Happy is the Home where Jesus reigns supreme,
Where the precious word of God is oft the theme,
When prayer ascends from hearts knit firm in love,
And each receives Gods blessing from above.