We are living in tough times with turmoil and turbulence all around us. The world is full of natural disasters. When we look closer to home, closer to the heart, we see marriages and families falling apart and people ending up disillusioned and hurt.
Difficult experiences and broken marriages are part of life and all too often mere survival becomes the main focus of our daily lives. There is however a different, and might I add, a more Godly approach to matrimony, namely - embracing your marriage - instead of ‘surviving’ your marriage.
How does God view marriage?
In Genesis 1 we read that God created the earth and the waters, the birds and the animals. And He saw that it was good.
Then God created mankind, male and female, He created them. And this time, God saw that it was very good! With man in the picture, Creation was complete and it was very good.
God made man and wife and He blessed them. Marriage, from God’s perspective, is meant to be a blessing, a promised land, a kingdom. God instituted marriage to provide companionship, joy, harmony, and Godly offspring for man. In Deuteronomy 11:11-12, God says about the Promised Land: “For the land you are entering to possess (you need to possess it to make it your own) is a land of mountains and valleys, watered by rain from the sky. It is a land the Lord your God cares for.”
So we see that we need to possess this blessing, this land, this marriage we are entering or have entered. We need to take ownership of our marriage, meaning we need to take responsibility and accountability. When we look at a marriage relationship, there are three primary areas of responsibility and accountability:
- Interpersonal interaction/communication/relationship.
Are you being critical?
When you are the husband, you need to look at yourself first: your role, your responsibilities, your issues. When you are the wife, you need to look at yourself first: your role, your responsibilities, your issues, and your attitude. Do not look at your spouse through the long list of flaws he or she has, or through your opinions as to how he or she should change to be a better spouse. Firstly, you must be the person God has intended you to be!
The world’s view or God’s view?
When we go back to the beginning, we see that God has said: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper (help meet) who is like him.” Then God created woman. In the Hebrew translation, the word used for helper, literally means ‘completer’. A man and a woman, united in marriage, become one complete, whole entity, ultimate oneness, and perfect (completed) union. When God looks at marriage, this is what He sees. What the world has made marriage to be today was never the idea.
What does it mean to be a completer or helper to your spouse?
Let’s look at what it does not mean: it does not mean corrector, criticiser, or converter. To complete your husband means that there where he lacks, the wife fills in – with a gentle spirit and in an attitude of love. The Word speaks of “the hidden heart with the imperishable spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes.” 1 Peter 3:4.
By implication, the word completer also means that the completer is not whole in itself, but needs to be attached to something in order to form a whole. Woman, you are made to be attached and connected to your husband in order to be whole. Those areas where you are lacking, are the areas your husband fits in perfectly. You were not meant to be independent.
Ephesians 5:22-24 reads as follows: “Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife as also Christ is the head of the Church. He is the Saviour of the Body. Now as the Church submits to Christ, so wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”
What does it mean to submit?
The word ‘submit’ refers to a voluntary choice on the part of an equal. God made man a helper who is is of equal value - different, but not less. Submission refers to an attitude of the heart. Submission however has to be qualified:
Submit to your own husbands. A married woman no longer submits to her father. She will always honour her father, but she now submits to her husband, since he is now the head of the household
Submission is proper. Colossians 3:18: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.“ This is a principle that God instituted. It is binding
You need to submit to:
• Your husband’s provision
• His preservation
• His protection.
In other words, you are to show honour and respect to his calling as your husband. Why is it a calling? Because God has called him to be the husband and ultimately he is the one accountable to God for the way he treats his wife and family.
There is another commandment God gives concerning marriage: He commands the men to love their wives, to treat them well, honour them and respect them. The man will be held accountable for his provision for, and protection and preservation of his wife and children.
What about an unbelieving spouse?
Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:1: “Wives, in the same way, submit to your own husbands so that, even if some disobey the Christian message, they may be won over without a message by the way their wives live.”
Your behaviour should glorify your husband. Your attitude should lure him towards you and your home, to your faith and to Jesus Christ.
Listen to what Solomon said in Proverbs 31:11: “Who can find a capable wife? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her...”
Those who are in a difficult marriage can take comfort in Isaiah 40:28-29: “Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding. He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless.”
Choose marriage - God’s way! Trust in His ability to turn things around
Take courage in the Lord! In Revelation 21, an angel refers to the New Jerusalem as the Bride of Christ. Listen to what he testifies about this Bride: “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because God’s glory illuminates it, and its lamp is the Lamb.”
When God illuminates your heart and innermost being, external circumstances cannot extinguish the light. There is an alternative to divorce and that is embracing your marriage!
By: Lize Froneman, a Counsellor for the SA Board of Counsellors as well as the Dean for CLT Bible School Tuition Centre in Kroonstad. You can contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org