7 Biblical Principles of a Highly Successful Marriage – Principle #2 – Your Marriage is More About Your Relationship with God Than it is About Your Relationship with Your Spouse
Hi, this is Pastor Ken thanks for joining me once again for the Monday Marriage Message where we search God’s instructions to experience a highly successful marriage.
We are continuing today exploring 7 Biblical Principles of a Highly Successful Marriage. Last time we covered Principle #1 – Compatibility. In that episode I shared with you that God’s word clearly says that in order to enjoy a highly successful marriage a couple must be compatible. Scripture tells us that the most important compatibility marker to consider is that we are equally yoked, meaning that Christians ought to only ask God to join them with another Christ follower.
Today I want to talk about the second Biblical Principle of a Highly Successful Marriage – Your Marriage is More About Your Relationship with God Than it is About Your Relationship with Your Spouse.
This is a concept that eludes most people and yet is crucial to enjoying a highly successful marriage. Even honest Christ followers most often look at their marriages as ancillary to their walk with Christ. This misunderstanding causes them to think that their relationship with God can be a healthy one, even if their marriage is failing. At the risk of offending I will emphatically state that notion is simply not possible. God uses marriage as an analogy for the relationship between Himself and His creation of mankind far and away more than any other in scripture. The sheer number of times it is utilized should squelch any claim that God does not see the two as intricately intertwined. It is my hope that this edition will help us to recognize that our marriages are fundamental to our walk with the Lord. When you consider both the primary purpose of marriage as stated by God…A man and a woman joined as one to reflect Him, and the high level of importance God puts on the connection between His relationship with us and our marriages it becomes clearer why the first principle is so important. We need to be equally yoked with another Christ follower if we are going to fulfill the purpose of marriage successfully.
As I mentioned last time, God is completely and totally holy and righteous. He graciously endows us with righteousness through faith in His Son Jesus Christ, and the redemptive work of His shed blood as the perfect lamb of God. If we ask Him to join us inextricably with an unbeliever, we have asked Him to join righteousness (us joined with Christ) with lawlessness (us joined with an unbeliever). The scripture we looked at then asked the logical questions. …what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?(2 Corinthians 6:14)
When we look at the scriptural evidence, God clearly draws a connection between Himself and the relationship He desires with us as His people and our marriages, the relationship we experience as husbands and wives. Today we will look at a portion of that evidence.
As I illustrated in the first episode of this series the primary purpose of marriage is unmistakably expressed in the very first chapter of the first book of the bible. In Genesis 1:26-27 it says, 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God referenced Himself as “Us” giving the first indication of the Triune Godhead we have come to know as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Before the creation of the first man, woman and marriage, God identified that He enjoys intimate union among the three persons of the singular Godhead. He also clearly stated that His desire was to create mankind in His Image and His likeness, in other words, beings that would reflect Him. Verse 27 tells us that the completion of that design was accomplished in the formation of an intimately created male and a female.
When we look at chapter 2 of the book of Genesis we find in verse 23, when the woman was taken out of the man and presented to him, Adam (the man) proclaimed that they were “one flesh”. There was no wedding ceremony necessary, they had been created married. Adam and Eve were one, though they were also two. They were two human beings, of differing genders, but made from the same flesh and bone. In the final book of the Old Testament, Malachi 2:15 tells us that God joined them with himself in their married state. That verse asks, But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore, take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. In this scripture we find that God joined Adam and Eve (and subsequently every husband and wife) with a portion of His Own Spirit (the Holy Spirit) so that we could possess innate knowledge of how to act in godly ways within our marriages which were designed to reflect Him. As a result of God making the man and the woman one flesh and by joining them with a portion of His Spirit, He created marriage to be a triune entity illustrating one of the many ways marriage is in fact, reflective of its Creator. If marriage is purposed to reflect God, and by God’s own words it is, and if God is the supreme participant in that union, and He is, then marriage must be primarily about Him. Additionally, the scripture from Malachi points out that the connection marriages share with a remnant of God’s Spirit, is intended to prohibit them from dealing treacherously with one another. God is making the clear connection that He designates poor interaction between a husband and wife as a personal act of contempt against Him.
In Ephesians the Apostle Paul wrote of this connection between our marriages and our relationship with Christ as well. In Ephesians 5:21-33 we read, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Here as nowhere else I am aware of in scripture, the connection between the relationship of God and mankind and the relationship between husband and wife is made abundantly clear. Paul vacillates twelve different times in just thirteen verses, back and forth between the two relationships. My personal view of this passage causes me to proclaim that what Paul wrote here explains how the Great Analogy transcends into the current reality.
In verses 30-32 Paul wrote 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. The connection God identified between our relationship with Him and our relationship with our spouse could not be made more clear. First, Paul stated in verse 30 that we are members of Christ’s body. If you and your spouse are Christ followers then you are each one with Christ, members of His body. Second in verse 31 Paul wrote that the two of you are also one (one flesh, members of each other’s body) made so by God. (Matthew 19:6) Finally, Paul eluded to the great mystery (I call it a miracle) that God continues to this day to recreate the one flesh condition between a husband and a wife. Paul then immediately says however, he is writing concerning Christ and the church, and is making note of the “one flesh” condition or the marriage between Christ and believers. Again, if Christ is the supreme being in that marital relationship then our marriages are in fact more about our relationship with Him than they are about our relationship with one another.
Of final note and quite likely greatest importance is this great truth that speaks directly to the 2nd biblical principal for a highly successful marriage. Remember in Genesis 2:23-24, Adam makes the declaration that he and Eve have been created “One flesh” and are therefore married. Then God endorses Adam’s understanding and makes a declaration of His own concerning marriages to come.“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” This is where we gain the understanding that God recreates that “One flesh” condition enjoyed by Adam and Eve in our marriages. Now, here in Ephesians 5:31 Paul writes of an additional understanding we ought to have. Verse 30 states that we are members of Christ’s body, of His flesh and His bones. Then in Verse 31 Paul says of that truth, “For this reason”, in other words because we are members of Christ’s body, “A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh”. Here I believe Paul is being quite clear that the importance behind our marriages existing is because God exists. We are made one to reflect who He is. What is the thing of greater importance? The reflectiveness of a mirror or the one being reflected in it? I believe that when Paul writes verse 32 He is reiterating that all important point. After quoting Genesis 2:24, Paul is now using God’s declaration concerning marriage to refer to Christ and believers in Christ. This clearly makes our marriages more about our relationship with God, than it is about our relationship with our spouse.
Paul concluded with verse 33 which says, 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. This admonition seems to be redundant when compared with verses 22 and 25 but I believe according to 2 Timothy, it was inspired by the Holy Spirit to be placed here for several important reasons relevant to the 2nd Biblical principle for a highly successful marriage. First I will point out that if it were not for verse 33 it might be possible for us to interpret that only if the wife submits (verse 22) then the husband must love (verse 25) but with the order being reversed in verse 33 (husband is to love, wife is to respect) that mistaken interpretation is less likely to occur. More importantly, with the two commands being given in the closing remarks on the subject in this scriptural context, their connection with the marriage between Christ and the believer is easier to see. Who gives the command to a husband to love his wife? Christ does. Who gives the command to a wife to respect her husband? Christ does. So who is it that they are each responding to when they are obedient to the command? Christ. In this scripture as in others throughout the Bible, husbands and wives are given commands as to how to interact with one another. Their obedience (or disobedience) is a response to Christ and His commands. We interact with our spouse but we do so in response to our Lord.
Biblical Principle #2 for a Highly Successful Marriage – Your Marriage is More About Your Relationship with God Than it is About Your Relationship with Your Spouse.
So now, interacting with your spouse in response to your Lord…Go Be Awesome!