There are many institutions in the world today, but only two institutions were established by God. These are the church and the home. It is significant that God chose to create the home first. A home starts when two people get married. Marriage is the most important relationship in the physical world. We should be careful to follow the rules that God has made for marriage.
In earlier lessons we have talked about how marriage is not something that came from men's imaginations. Marriage was planned by God from the beginning. He created one man, Adam, and provided him with one woman, Eve. The Bible gives clear instructions about who is permitted to marry. Only never-married people, scripturally-divorced persons, or people who are widowed are allowed to marry. Men may only marry women.
We have considered how to prepare for marriage and what to look for in a lifelong companion. There are many examples of good marriages in the Bible. Time does not allow us to look at the good marriages of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel, and Boaz and Ruth in the Old Testament.
None of us is perfect. We cannot be a perfect mate. None of us can find a perfect mate. Therefore, the marriage formed by the joining of two imperfect people will never be perfect in every way. We cannot expect our marriages to be perfect, but the Bible teaches us how our marriages can be happy. This lesson will look at some of the ways that build our marriages up and ways that tear our marriages down. As much as possible we want to avoid those things that will make our marriages weaker. As I work to make my marriage better I discover greater happiness for my wife and myself. If you follow God's pattern, you can have a wonderful marriage.
The home is the building block of the church and the nation. First, let us look at what will destroy a marriage. Satan is eagerly working to destroy the home. If he can damage the marriage, he can destroy much happiness of people in the world.
Adam and Eve were very happy living in the Garden of Eden. When Eve listened to Satan instead of God, she caused great unhappiness for herself and her husband. All sinful behavior is caused by rebellion against God when people are deceived by the devil.
No marriage fails except where one or both partners are involved in SIN. When sin is allowed to get out of control in a marriage, the marriage will fail to provide the happiness and companionship that God intended.
Let us consider some of the more destructive sins that can cause great unhappiness in marriage.
LAZINESS is one of the most destructive of all sins. Too many people forget that laziness is a sin. Laziness is a major cause of evil.
Love requires commitment and work. Those who are lazy are seldom willing to use much energy. Lazy people think that love is just something that happens. Love to a lazy person is like an accident. Laziness is why there are so many husbands who do not love their wives and why there are so many wives who do not love their husbands. Marriage fails to bring great happiness when people do not work hard enough to create love and build marital relationships. Many know what the problems are in their marriage, but they are not willing to work hard enough to restore the relationship. People come up with all kinds of excuses about why their marriages do not work. But, marriages fail only when couples are too lazy to do whatever is necessary to make their marital relationship work.
Another sin that can harm a marriage is ANGER. One episode of anger can damage a relationship of kindness and patience that took years to build. We are too quick to find excuses for our anger.
The Bible clearly condemns sinful anger. It is sinful when it is in excess. It is sinful when it is expressed in ways that are harmful.
Anger brings out the worst in people. It can turn us into vicious animals. How many good things have we missed in life because we committed some thoughtless deed while we were angry?
All anger is not sinful. The manner in which we express it determines whether it is sinful. We must learn to have control of our anger, rather than letting anger get control of us.
Confess evil anger to God and the church and ask for forgiveness. Strive to become a meek man or woman who is controlled by the Holy Spirit. Pour out the anger and be filled with God's Spirit.
Remember that the person you want to become angry with was created in the image of God.
Another serious sin that can damage a marriage relationship is PRIDE. Pride is usually the sin that causes all other sins. Pride is thinking that you are better than someone else. It is wrong if you think that you are better than your spouse. Do not think that you are more important to God than your spouse. Jesus shed His blood to forgive your partner's sins just as He shed it to forgive your sins.
Self-respect is different from pride. Self-respect prevented Joseph from committing adultery with Potiphar's wife in Genesis 39. Self-respect causes us to take care of our families.
Another sin that causes much unhappiness in marriage is SELFISHNESS. If you wish to be miserable, think only about yourself. Think about what you want, what you like, what respect people ought to pay you -- and then you will be a very unhappy person and cause your spouse to be unhappy as well.
Those who are selfish are being tricked by Satan. They die without really knowing the joys which they think they should have. Yet, the supposed enjoyment is the very reason for their selfishness.
Selfishness causes a husband to lie to his spouse. It causes a wife to be concerned only for her own pleasure. It causes a husband to destroy his marriage by committing adultery. Such sin against God and against one's spouse usually causes lasting damage to a marriage.
In some families the husband or wife will turn to drunkenness because of selfishness. Drinking alcohol causes them to forget their responsibilities to their families. Drunkenness causes violence within a family. Drunkenness is the cause of the destruction of many marriages.
It is selfish when we expect everything to be done to please us. Some wives stop loving their husbands when they become disappointed with them. Some husbands stop loving their wives because they became disappointed with their wives. Disappointment can destroy a marriage unless we remember that no human is perfect. God expects us to do the very best that we can, but He knows that we will sometimes fail. I should not expect more from my spouse than God expects.
All things can be accomplished by hard work. To have a truly happy marriage requires continually working to make it a good marriage.
God provides us with a guidebook, the Bible, to follow to help us live more successfully with our spouses. When the husband and wife are both determined to follow the laws of God, it is almost certain that they will find greater and greater joy with each other as they grow older together.
In happy marriages the couple gets to know one another by talking and LISTENING. Happily married people express appreciation for and give praise to one another. Happy people learn to live with one another with respect and kindness. Happy husbands and wives trust each other deeply. Couples who are happy enjoy spending time together. In happy marriages the husband and wife share responsibilities.
Marriages succeed by being committed to one another and to God. You must be determined to make your marriage a happy one no matter what happens. A husband who wants a happy wife will not even consider committing adultery. The Christian husband and wife should be too devoted to one another to destroy the trust they have for each other by committing adultery.
Couples who want to live happy lives together are committed to telling the truth to each other. A stable relationship can be built only by being honest.
The most successful way to make your marriage a happy one is to learn better how God wants you to live. We will find the greatest happiness only through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Let us concentrate on how Jesus lived. Let us try to live the same way He lived. Then we will truly be happy in our marriages and we can best make our spouses happy. Strengthen your relationship with God and it will be easier to strengthen your relationship with your husband or wife.
Love your wife more than you love any other person on earth. Love your husband more than you love any other person on earth. But love God more than you love your wife. Love God more than you love your husband. This is the proper way to have a marriage that will succeed.
Who Has the Right to Marry?
Preparing for Marriage
What to Look for in a Spouse
How to Destroy or Strengthen a Marriage
What God Expects and Commands Husbands and Wives to Be
Marriage Should Glorify God
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