Marriage

Marriage: Biblical Foundations

  • Marriage is a one-flesh, covenant relationship (Genesis 2:23-24; 37:27; Malachi 2:14; Proverbs 2:17; Matthew 19:8-9).
  • Marriage is a partnership, of equal but complementary persons.
    • Genesis 2:20, a “helper suitable for him” (NASB), a “helper fit for him” (ESV), a “Helper as his partner” (NRSV), a “suitable companion” (The Message).
    • “… no longer two but one …” (Matthew 19:6). Married persons are brought into a unity or persons (not unlike the nature of God who exists as one-in-three persons).
    • “… since they [wives] are heirs with you of the grace of life,” (1 Peter 1:7).
    • Submission and headship relate to spheres of responsibility, redefined by Christ who “makes all things new.” (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:21-33; Colossians 3:18-19; 1 Peter 3:1-2).
    • Husbands are responsible for laying their lives down in self-sacrificial, servant-leadership to their wives.
      • Ephesians 5:25, 28-30
        • Husbands are given the responsibility of a “point-man” (A great book for Christian husbands and fathers is Steve Farrar’s book by this title).
        • Husbands are called to practice the golden rule (Ephesians 5:28) in marriage, loving their wives as they loved themselves.
        • This is just smart. Paul says, “He who loves his wife loves himself” (v. 28).
  • “Happy wife, Happy life!” “Happy spouse, Happy house!”
  • Specifically, husband love their wives in the same way they love their own “bodies,” “Cherishing” and “Nourishing” their wives.
  • This speaks to the responsibility to meet the wife’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
  • The ultimate responsibility for providing to the needs is a family matter. “And whoever does not provide for relatives, and especially for family members, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever”( 1 Timothy 5:8, NRSV).
  • Wives are responsible for helping, supporting and respecting their husbands.
    • Genesis 2:20; Ephesians 5:33; Colossians 3:18; 1 Peter 3:1-2
      • The virtuous wife of Proverbs 31 is good to her husband: “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life” (vv. 11-12).
      • She does this by exercising her own gifts, talents and abilities to “work with willing hands,” “considers a field and buys it,” “her merchandise is profitable,” “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
  • A wife has tremendous power to help her husband and her family.
  • A wife also has tremendous power to hinder and harm her husband and family.

Understanding Your Spouses Needs

  • Marriage is the place for men and women to find expression and fulfillment for their important relational needs.
    • Sexual needs – 1 Corinthians 7:2-5; Hebrews 13:4
    • Family commitment – Ephesians 6:1-4; Colossians 3:20-21; 1 Timothy 3:4-5; 5:10, 14; Titus 2:4
    • Affection – Ephesians 5:33; Colossians 3:19; 1 Peter 3:7
    • Companionship – Genesis 2:20; 1 Corinthians 9:5
    • Admiration/Respect – Ephesians 5:33; 1 Peter 3:1-2
    • Financial support – Ephesians 5:29; 1 Timothy 5:8
    • Husbands and wives have all these relational needs. But personality, temperament, and gender-differences account for differences in how important each need may be for each spouse.
      • Example 1: Joe has a strong need for sexual fulfillment. Jill, his wife, does not have as strong a need for sexual fulfillment as Joe. The differences between Joe and Jill develop into arguments over the frequency of sex in the marriage. Jill “gives in” to Joe’s advances, but feels resentful.
      • Example 2: Sue has a strong need for conversation, a part of relating to her husband in companionship. Sam, her husband, is happy to talk when necessary but is not too interested in chit-chat, as he puts it. Sue feels neglected and unloved, while Sam feels confused and annoyed. Sam agrees to turn off the TV and talk with Sue, but sits impatiently without listening.
      • If Jill understood that Joe’s needs were not wrong, just different, then she could use her caring love for Joe to better meet his need for sexual fulfillment. If Sam understood Sue’s need for conversation was not wrong, just different, then he could use his caring love for Sue to better meet her need for companionship.
      • Learn how to love each other. “Live with your wives in an understanding way” (1 Peter 3:7).
        • Start with Enhancing Your Love Maps
        • Communicate about needs and the way your spouse wants those needs met
          • I may not know what he/she needs
          • I may not know how to give him/her what he/she needs the way he/she needs it
  • Make a plan to meet your spouse’s most important relational needs
  • Follow up with your spouse on progress

Marriage Enrichment Ideas

  • Review this outline: look up the Scriptures and consider how your marriage could better reflect the biblical foundations for marriage. Pray with your spouse about this everyday this week.
  • Couple Conference: Schedule a 20-minute block of time with your spouse. During this time, there should be no distractions (e.g., kids, TV, telephone, etc.). Husband flips a coin, wife calls it heads or tails. The winner of the coin toss speaks first. He/she gets the first 10 minutes to speak freely while the other listens quietly, maintaining good eye-contact and attentiveness. After 10 minutes, the listener becomes the speaker. He/she may speak freely while the other listens quietly, maintaining good eye-contact and attentiveness. Topics for couple conference are open, but it is recommended that you discuss your relational needs, how well your spouse is currently meeting your needs, and how your needs could be better met.
  • Sleuth Your Spouse: Find out five things about your spouse that you didn’t know before.