Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Hard Truth

After 15 years of marriage it doesn’t seem like we have scratched the surface in learning about marriage. During most of those years, our education on the subject came mostly from experience, trial and error, and watching others. During the last year Sonya and I have been reading a lot on the subject and discussing the subject together. It’s amazing how much one does not know even after 14 years.

I have learned more in the last year than the first 14 combined. It’s kind of sad really. The church is lacking so much in the area of discipleship and many Christians are suffering for it. What’s even more startling is that we were not on the lower end of the scale.
Most other Christian couples, and even those in ministry, are worse off than we were. This is by no means to say that we have arrived. It’s a humbling experience when a little knowledge only shows how ignorant you are.

Yet, in our self-assessment, we dishonestly tell everyone how great our marriages are. This is not the present reality in most Christian marriages. We have settled for “staying together” as the definition of a great marriage. I believe God had more than this in mind when He instituted marriage.

In studying marriage, I have been struck with the high standards we men are called to in the Word of God. Just think about what Paul commanded husbands to be when he wrote:

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” Ephesians 5:25-31 (KJV)

We men like to emphasize and linger on verse 24 in this same chapter, along with similar verses, but I think we would do our marriage greater good if we would jump into Ephesians 5:25-31 and discover what it truly means to be a loving leader of the helpers God has given us for our completion. If we had more men fulfilling this passage written to husbands we wouldn’t have to reiterate verse 24 like a broken record.

I am by no means saying that the relationship depends all on the man. Many people like to focus on one extreme or the other. Some put all the emphasis, or blame, on the man or the woman. Truth is, it takes both the man and the woman desiring to glorify God to make a successful marriage.

However, many times, especially in fundamentalist circles, the man gets a free ride to fail in what God has called us to be while the woman receives all the condemnation for being married to a Satian (Satan-like) husband rather than a Christian (Christ-like) husband.

Men, think about it. Are we attempting to lovingly lead our wives as Christ would lead the church? Or, are we burdening our wives like Satan does the world?

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