God expects and commands that when two people marry that they should no longer be controlled by their parents. When a man and woman marry they are to remain together till God separates them by death. They are to forsake all others and remain sexually faithful to each other.
Marriage was established by God on the sixth day of Creation. (Genesis 1 & 2.) The woman was created from the man and for the man. The woman was the first to sin (disobey God's command). Because of these things, to the woman [God] said, in Genesis 3:16, "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."
We are to be companions, not competitors.
God designed both husbands and wives for equality and submission. (Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.) The moral, intellectual, and spiritual capabilities of men and women are equal. We are of equal value in God's sight. Jesus died for both the husband and his wife. We are equal in our ability to develop a relationship with God.
There are different roles for men and women to play in the church, but we will not be dealing with that in this lesson. It was God's design from the beginning that men and women should have different roles in the home. These differences and the similarities in the home will be considered in this lesson.
The Bible is clear about what God expects and commands about how wives are to treat their husbands and how husbands are to treat their wives.
The wife is to VOLUNTARILY be submissive to her husband as a part of her Christian life. Notice that NEVER in the Bible is the husband told to make his wife submit to him.
No where in the Bible is the husband told to make his wife obey him.
We should teach our daughters not to marry someone that they cannot obey.
The Christian woman who is married to a non-Christian is told that she, too, is to respect her husband.
It is most commonly found that a wife will love, respect, and treat her husband as God commands. God seems to have more to say to the husbands about how they should treat their wives.
God intended that men lead in the home. The wife is to follow his leadership. God is not pleased with the house where the husband does not have or does not develop the ability to lead. God is not pleased where the wife is rebellious to her husband's role of authority. The wife should place her husband in the position of leadership and by her words and actions keep him in that function.
There are many men who have abused their position of leadership. They have ruled over their house rather than led in their house. They act like a king, but do not treat the wife like a queen. Husbands must learn to be the head without being a dictator.
From Ephesians 5 we can learn that the example for the husband's leadership is the self-denying love of Christ. The husband is told to love his wife as Christ loves the church. God expects the husband to be unselfish, caring, gentle, and willing to give up his life for his wife. Such a man would not be hard for his wife to love and to serve.
God forbids husbands from being harsh with their wives.
Husbands are to lead with consideration, kindness, and self-denial. The husband is expected to remember that his wife also is promised eternal life through Jesus Christ. When a man is unkind and disrespectful to his wife, then God pays less attention to his prayers.
Remember that Eve was a GIFT to Adam from God. Let us treat our wives as gifts from God.
As leader in the household, God has made the husband responsible. The husband is responsible for the protection of his wife and children. He is responsible for providing for the needs of his family. He is responsible for the spiritual leadership in the home. God will never hold a wife responsible for a poor decision of her husband.
A husband is to love and lead. To lead without loving is selfish immaturity. To love without leading is irresponsible.
Let us consider how important decisions can be made within a family. This will help us to see how God expects a husband to treat his wife.
Christian families should strive to be molded by the Bible. God knows how we can function best. If we will pay attention to His Word, then He will guide us to greater and greater happiness. It is our responsibility to fill the role that God gave us, whichever role that is.
The Bible encourages a healthy expression of sexuality within the context of love and marriage.
Submitting as a Christian does not suggest that one person is of lesser value than the other.
At nearly every opening of the New Testament we can find instructions about how people are to treat other people. Jesus told us in Matthew 7:12 to treat other people the way we want them to treat us. Jesus taught us in Matthew 20:25-26 that, if we desire to be someone special, we should become servants of one another. Though passages like these do not mention husbands and wives, we must remember that God wants us to live first as Christians within our homes. If Christianity will not work in our homes, how can we possibly expect it to work in the rest of the world?
I Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore comfort each other and build one another up, just as you also are doing.
A husband and wife should be building each other up. This is the opposite of tearing each other down. It is wrong when we discourage our spouse. Let us be encouraging each other.
Husbands and wives must treat each other as Christian brothers and sisters. My wife is my sister in Christ. God is not pleased when I do not treat her as my Christian sister. You must first treat your husband as you would your Christian brother. When we get to Heaven we will still be brother and sister, but husband and wife relationships will be no more. The most important relationships to develop within our marriage must be Christian love as it is explained throughout the New Testament.
In Colossians 3 is a section of Scripture that is meant to be understood by all Christians as the way we are to treat other Christians. Listen to what this passage says especially to you about your relationship with your spouse:
God expects you to treat your wife as Christ would treat your wife. God expects you to treat your husband as Christ would treat your husband. Let us learn to be better Christians in our own homes. Let us treat our spouse first as a brother or sister in the Lord. Only with that kind of relationship can come the kind of love that God commands. With this Christian love we can develop the full marital relationship that God has designed for us to experience.
The divinely ordained relationship between husbands and wives will only exist when we follow God's pattern from the Bible. First, love as a Christian is commanded to love, then love as a husband and wife are commanded to love.
The Christian husband-wife relationship is best seen when both the husband and the wife are easy to live with and each tries to help the other be all that he or she can be for Christ.
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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