On Marriage, Love, and Respect:
I was in a public restroom not too long ago when I overheard a mother and her three married/engaged daughters having a gripe session.
It was about men.
According to them, all men are selfish, lazy beasts who don’t look past their own noses. They are jealous, cranky, self-centered, and will only do things if it benefits them.
Oh, the gripe session was a full-fledged, all-out war on men. (This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine, which I will discuss later)
I knew this family – fairly well.
When they came out of the stalls, the mother – who is a believer – saw me.
She asked if I had heard her family issues and I told her I had. (Seriously, how could I not?)
She went on to try to pull me into the discussion of how terrible and self-centered men are, and then stating, “You know how it is, Andrea, you’re married.”
I responded with the truth:
“Actually, I don’t know how it is. My husband isn’t very self-centered. And the things he usually does is either for our protection or to make us happy.”
I wasn’t trying to be smug or rub it in her face. I was trying to let her see that all men aren’t like what she had just described. And I was hoping her daughters were listening.
What really made me sad about this whole conversation is that this woman is a believer, a pastor’s wife, and a pastor. Not that this makes her perfect or above fault – no one is. However, this attitude is not what God wants in our marriages. This could have been a huge teaching opportunity for her daughters in love and respect for husbands even when things aren’t going our way. Instead, she fed into the discord that was happening in the family.
I found out later that evening that about an hour after the bathroom ‘conversation’, one of the daughters’ relationship basically disintegrated.
So, what does a godly marriage look like?
It is full of love, respect, and grace.
God created males and females to compliment and balance each other, not to hate and tear each other down.
I have a hard time dealing with male/female bashing. *Pardon me while I get onto my soap box, here*
Selfishness, laziness, jealousy, etc. is not a ‘man thing’. Nor is it a ‘female thing’.
It’s a SIN thing!
The Bible tells us that ALL have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.
Guess what that means?
It means we have all been jerks at one time or another. So please stop going off on the opposite gender by saying, “Men are so blah, blah, blah.” or “Women are so this, that, and the other.” It does nothing to build each other up. It only tears us down.
*Stepping off soap box for now.* 😉
Having said that, there are certain characteristics and traits that differ from male to female – physically, emotionally, and mentally. We would do well to appreciate the differences and allow them to add uniqueness to our marriages rather than letting them build walls. (I have a hilarious video I will share at the end of this post which describes the differences between males and females in quite the humorous manner.)
How does the Bible instruct us to live as husbands and wives?
Husbands are to love their wives. Wives are to respect their husbands. And both are to submit to each other – I’ll explain that in a second. First let’s look at the scripture that instructs us.
It is found in Ephesians 5:21-33
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
This love and respect revolve around the mutual submission to each other. You can’t have one without the other. I appreciate the way the study notes in my Bible explains this: “Submitting to another person is an often misunderstood concept. It does not mean becoming a doormat… In a marriage relationship, both husband and wife are called to submit. For the wife, this means willingly following her husband’s leadership in Christ. For the husband, it means putting aside his own interests in order to care for his wife. Submission is rarely a problem in homes where both partners have a strong relationship with Christ and where each is concerned for the happiness of the other (NIV Life Application Study Bible, 1997).
This brings to mind another scripture found in Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
I think we have all seen marriages where the husband feels he has unlimited authority over the wife and uses that to his own end. We have also seen marriages where the wife does not respect her husband and undermines his leadership at every turn. Neither of these are a godly example of marriage, and will only lead to disunity and trouble.
So, what do we do when we act like complete jerks to each other?
This is where grace and forgiveness (and a sense of humor 😉 ) comes in.
We are told numerous times in the Word that we are to forgive others when they sin against us. We are also told in 1 Corinthians 13 that love does not keep record of wrongs. So, we are to forgive each other, and not hold past hurtful words/sins/bad decisions/inconsiderate comments/etc. over the other spouse’s head. A good and godly marriage just won’t hold up well if we don’t. It doesn’t come natural to forgive and not hold onto past hurts the other has caused; it’s a choice. Love is a choice.
Okay, now I’m going to share humorous video on marriage and the differences between men and women. There are several, (actually, there are 10 parts in this series but I just posted one – the second one, actually. I encourage you to watch more as they are not only humorous, but quite spot on.