How To Build A Loving And Lasting Marriage
We are living in difficult times, when the world seems morally to be on a collision course, and marital relationships are drifting from biblical principles. The enemy, Satan, continues his vicious attack on marriages as evidenced by the increased episodes of distancing, detachment, depression, divorce, and direct group pressure to redefine marriage, and even to legalize same-sex union.
God’s intention in creation
Today, marriage is considered by some to be merely a temporary union or social contract to be endured – like so many businesses and organizations today. But remember that of the many institutions in the world today, the first one provided by God was marriage. He established it in Genesis 2:24 with these words: “A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
God called many things into existence, but He actually made man with His own hands, “male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:27 nkjv). Then this is recorded: “The Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man” (Gen. 2:21-22).
Note that God did not make another man from the rib of Adam, but He made, fashioned and sculptured a woman. God did not make Eve from Adam’s head to be over him, nor from his feet to be under him, but from his side to be next to him; from under his arm to be protected by him, and near to his heart to be loved by him. God wants husband and wife to have a loving and lasting marriage in the Lord.
Symptoms of hurt and suggestions for healing
Some of the underlying causes for a breakdown in marriage relationships include: the denial of the problems, the dethronement of the Lord of our lives, and the disobedience to His commands concerning marriage. This results in: confusion of roles of husband and wife, lack of respect, breakdown in communication, lack of compliments, failure to pray together, failure of expressing love and leadership, feelings of brokenness, loneliness and emptiness.
However, through Jesus Christ the Wonderful Counselor (Isa. 9:6), there can be healing, help, and hope for every hurting heart. In the world, time has a way of turning the minds of marriage partners into concrete – all mixed up and firmly set. But marriage partners need the mind of Christ. Therefore, some suggestions include: taking responsibility for the negative behaviors, refocusing on Christ and His forgiveness, repenting of the hurt that results from the negative behaviors, and returning to the first love with the Lord and each other.
There is nothing too hard for the Lord – no problem too difficult for Him to solve, no wound too deep for Him to heal, and no person too hard for Him to change. Marriages improve when we start trusting and obeying God.
Maintaining a loving, lasting relationship
The Bible is still the only manual for successful marriages. When the Word guides us it guards us; when we treasure it in our hearts it leads us into triumphs in our home and marriage. It is better to have a fence at the top of the hill, than an ambulance at the bottom. Here are some significant steps the husband should take to maintain a loving marriage that lasts:
- He should love his wife. The Holy Spirit does not suggest, but commands us to love our wives: “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her” (Eph. 5:25). The husband is exhorted to love his wife sacrificially, selflessly, and above all other women (Eph. 5: 25-31).
- He should lead his wife. It is vital for the husband to display a leadership role in the relationship. Neither the family, society, nor any institution made the husband the head of the wife. It was God Himself who declared: “The husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the Church” (Eph. 5:23). This is headship not dictatorship. Eve was not Adam’s slave, but a helpmate or one suitable for him. It is from Christ as head that the body derives its health and grows into maturity. His headship expresses care rather than control, responsibility rather than rule, even as Jesus Christ is Savior, not Lord of the body.
- He should lift his wife up emotionally and spiritually. “Husbands … dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Pet. 3:7). The husband needs to take time to: understand his wife’s moods and methods of doing things, listen to her verbal and non-verbal messages, observe her changes, validate her strengths, encourage her, pray with her, and give her pleasant surprises.
- He should reinforce the security of their marriage. The husband and wife must perceive their relationship as lasting until Jesus comes or they are separated by death. It is vital to remember that neither the assembly, nor the court, nor the marriage officer, nor the husband and wife joined themselves together, but God joined them. “They are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mt.19:6). God who has joined a husband and wife together is able to keep them bound together by His love, even in the storms of life.
It is important that the husband and wife fully surrender their bodies, minds, and wills to the Lord, and be filled with the Holy Spirit. The result will be speaking, singing, giving thanks, and submitting to one another in the fear of God (Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 5:18-21). The wife needs to respect her husband at all times, and be willing to submit to him, as to the Lord (Eph. 5:22,33).
Let’s begin today to work on improving our marriages so that they reflect the sweet relationship of Christ and His Church. A loving, lasting marital relationship is worth the effort.
By Emanual V. John
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org