His this is pastor Ken and this is my Monday Marriage Message…Losing The Right
One of the things I tell each couple who comes to see me for pre-marital counseling is that on the day they are married they will have forever given up the right to think as an individual. I understand when a person marries, they do not stop existing as an individual, but another individual is forever directly impacted by their choices from that day forward.
A wedding day is a miraculous one. It is not the preacher, minister, court official or any other human being that marries people, God does. Jesus said in Matthew 19:6 “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.” God is the one who does the marrying. If marriage is what Jesus has said it is, the taking of a man and a woman and making of them oneness, then marriage is a miracle. It is as we have said, a re-creation of the oneness enjoyed and experienced by Adam and Eve as they were in fact literally created one flesh. Miraculous indeed that the same would happen for us!
That oneness is so thorough, so complete, so encompassing that the parts of the whole can no longer claim autonomy. While we have gained the privilege and the right to think as a husband or a wife, we have relinquished the right to think as an individual. It is not what we are any longer, and as such it is not a way we are free to continue to think.
When I gave my life to the Lord, when I chose to follow Him with everything I have, I gave up my right to think like someone enslaved to sin. I am still capable of sinful thought, but I am not right to do so. Why? I belong to Christ. He is not enslaved to sin, therefore as one belonging to Him, I am not within my rights to be enslaved to sin.
It is much the same when we allow ourselves to be joined with one another in marriage. If I am married, then I am married 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. There is no time allotted for singleness. I am now a part of something greater than myself so I can no longer consider only myself.
God’s word actually speaks to this very thing. We will look at this scripture in later podcasts in greater depth but I use it today to illustrate this biblical truth: 1 Corinthians 7:4 says; The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. When you are at work you don’t think like an individual, you think like an employee, someone responsible to the employer who is counting on you. If you are an employer, you don’t think like an individual, you think like someone who has employees who count on you. If you play on a softball team or a bowling league or some other team sport, you don’t think like an individual, you think like a team player when you are in the game. When we are at work or on a team we have to answer to more than ourselves. This scripture points out it is the same in marriage. I am responsible to my wife; she is responsible to me. I cannot afford to consider myself…only…ever…it will make me a poor husband. Likewise, she would be a poor wife if she only considered herself and not us.
I know a lot of people take issue with this and other scriptures like it. While I may be the one offering this podcast, the scriptures come from God’s word. We can take issue with a particular concept in God’s word…but not without taking issue with God. It is not God’s responsibility to get His word in line with our thinking on marriage, it is our responsibility to get our thinking on marriage in line with His word. I will give you time to reflect on the entirety of this scripture, it will be a few more weeks yet before I dive deeper into its meaning. For the purposes of today’s discussion, I use it only to illustrate that as husbands and wives we are responsible to consider our spouse in everything. It would be my hope that if this is not already your practice, that you learn to run every thought, every decision through the filter of: “How will this affect my spouse?” If we as married couples would learn to do that better and more often, many of the marital difficulties I deal with every day in my office would be dealt with by making the best decision in the first place.
Satan has three jobs, they are noted for us in scripture…kill, steal, and destroy. Nothing will kill, steal or destroy the peace and joy in your marriage like selfishness. Your marriage is about two being one, and selfishness sucks the air out of the room marriage is designed to thrive in. It creates an atmosphere that will not support the life of a marriage. That is precisely why the enemy tries so hard to make us resistant to giving up our autonomy…because autonomy makes us selfish and selfish makes us single…at least in our minds.
Questions to answer:
Do you think you have the right to think as an individual though you are married?
Do your decisions back up your answer to the question above?
What are your gut reactions to scriptures like 1 Corinthians 7:4?
In what ways have you still been thinking as an individual?
In what ways have you been doing a good job thinking like a husband or a wife?
Actions to take:
Talk with your spouse about checks and balances the two of you can enact that will keep you thinking as a husband and wife and not as an individual.
If you need to seek forgiveness from your spouse for being selfish instead of selfless…do that now.
Ask God to keep you reminded of the oneness you share with your spouse and to help you be protective of it so that the enemy can’t easily steal, kill, or destroy your marital peace and joy.
So now, recognizing you are not alone, and unable to afford to think and act as if you were…Go be Awesome!