Monday, August 08, 2011

Until Death Do Us Part

You know, try as I might I cannot find "wedding vows" in the Word of God. And yet I used to cling to them as if they were the end all, be all. Idolatry! But scripture does have plenty to say about marriage. I just have to make sure I have everything straight and give each their due weight. In other words, less worldly-wise and more godly.

God's Definition of Marriage

What example does the bible use to illustrate marriage? That would be Jesus and the church. And Christ Jesus NEVER divorces the church but rather gave himself up for her so:

26that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:26-27. ESV.)

2And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:2. ESV.)

God's Instruction for the Husband

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, (Ephesians 5:25. ESV.)

28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (Ephesians 5:28. ESV.)

33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, (Ephesians 5:33. ESV.)

7Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7. ESV.)

God's Words for the Wife

I am aware there are "How to be a Good Christian Wife" books out there that some believing wives find offensive and perhaps judgmental, without grace, and/or overwhelming. I have to believe the author's intent was to encourage, but actually ended up discouraging a percentage of Christ following wives. (It is my understanding 1/3 of relationships are abusive and I can see where a "How to be a Good Christian Wife" manual would cause upset instead of comfort in such cases.)

I read the intro of one publication where the writer had picked up a "How to be a Good Christian Wife" bestseller and stated it made her feel like throwing it across the room. Again, I'm sure the work was meant to be a loving guide.

(Pride can also be a factor here so I am just going to quote verses verbatim.)

and let the wife see that she respects her husband.. (Ephesians 5:33. ESV.)

5to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:5. ESV.)

3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. (1 Peter 3:3-6. ESV.)

"I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you
."
(Genesis 3:16. ESV.)

10 An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.

13She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28Her children rise up and call her blessed;

her husband also, and he praises her:
29"Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all."
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

31Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.
(Proverbs 31:10-31. ESV.)

For Those with an Unbelieving Spouse

16For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? (1 Corinthians 7:16. ESV.)

1Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2when they see your respectful and pure conduct. (1 Peter 3:1-2. ESV.)

12To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. (1 Corinthians 7:12-14. ESV.)



And, For the 33.3% Making Up Abusive Relationships

If the abusive relationship is marriage, I must say, please be wise! God has provided the body of Christ and pastors for support, encouragement, and bible based counsel. And please pray for your spouse and your situation. Also, God abhors oppression! His Word speaks out against it. Further,

9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. (1 Peter 3:9. ESV.)

26 Be angry and do not sin; (Ephesians 4:26. ESV.)

11let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
12For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
(1 Peter 3:11-12. ESV.)

10To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11(but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife….
15But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. 16For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
(1 Corinthians 7:10, 15-16. ESV.)

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