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How Successful Marriages Mirror Christ's Selflessness and Glorify Him

posted Nov 14, 2010, 7:13 AM by Website Administrator   [ updated Jan 9, 2014, 5:20 PM ]

November 14, 2010                

Key Passage: Ephesians 5:21-33


“How Successful Marriages Mirror Christ's Selflessness and Glorify Him" 

Let’s be frank: the problems facing family life today are epidemic.  Values are being compromised; the Christian divorce rate is the same (or higher) than the secular rate; children from good, Christian homes are out of control.  In fact, surveys show that the number one fear of Christian parents today is that they won't pass on their values, morals, and faith to their children.  In a culture that has gone completely insane, it’s more important than ever to live our faith rather than simply state it.  Here's a sobering fact: Dr. James Peterson notes in a survey of couples married 20 years or more that only 5% could be classified as happy and fulfilling.  Many homes are openly acknowledged battlegrounds – others have a mutually tolerated truce, which can be hell on earth.  No shocker here, but the primary reason for failure in marriages is selfishness.  Contrary to popular belief, the Biblical view of marriage is not one-sided, nor is it outdated.  It's not about women becoming servants of men…it's about two people working hard to give of themselves to enrich, compliment, and encourage each other.  Paul's exhortation to the Ephesians (and us) is simply this: because of what Christ has done for us, and the example he's set, the Gospel's model for marriage counteracts the "fall" – the effects of sin – which cause men to become domineering and emotionally distant, and women to not want their husbands to lovingly lead.  We're different, and the Gospel allows those differences to be sources of joy in our relationships rather than sources of tension.  

Key Thesis: The goal of any relationship (marriage or dating) is to honor Christ – to serve and give of ourselves selflessly as he did – not because the other person "deserves" it, but because Christ modeled it.

Don't read this passage and wish your spouse would listen to the part that applies to them.  The reality is you can't change your spouse – only Christ can.  This passage was written for you! 

Ephesians 5:21 – “Submit to (or serve) one another out of reverence for Christ.”  The ideal marriage (and dating) evolves when the husband concentrates on meeting his wife’s needs, and vice-versa! 

* For women, it's important to define submission and respect (your two commands – v. 22; 33) – "encouraging someone to lead and then following their leadership.  It means to support, compliment, and      work with your husband so you both bring honor to Christ by serving each other."  Practically speaking:

* The context of this passage is that of mutual submission.  This is NOT about one person being

   the boss and the other person being the servant.

*The wife is to be submissive to HER husband – not to every husband, nor every man.

*This is a spiritual duty.  It's something done out of love for the Lord.  Your husband may not

  "deserve" this kind of support.  You do it to honor and glorify Christ, not man (see 1 Peter 3:1-2). 

*For men, just as Christ loved the church, we show love for our wives by providing 7 specific needs:

  1. Spiritual Fulfillment
  2. Understanding / Patience
  3. Open, safe communication / Freedom of Expression
  4. Protection / Security
  5. Encouragement / Appreciation
  6. Love / Romance
  7. Companionship / Intimacy

To provide these needs, both the man and the woman must exhibit strong spiritual leadership through:

  1. Regular times in God’s Word
  2. Faithfulness in prayer
  3. Regular church and Sunday School attendance
  4. Fellowship and accountability with Christian friends
  5. Discussions of spiritual matters at home

From an application standpoint, here’s what will trip you up: Influence and attention to media Wrong Friends / No Accountability…Losing your temper…Misplaced priorities (work?)…Bondage to enslaving habits…Pride and selfishness (which actually encompass, in one way or another, everything listed)