Love in Marriage is a Form of Loving God and Displaying God.

Tom Clark1

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Tom Clark1And being parents with Both Love and Discipline to children is a Display of God.

One of the messages to us in the Bible is that we are to love God. And loving God, we are to love others all around us. And husbands are to love wives; and wives are to love husbands. And as parents we are to use both love and discipline to our children. So these are things that God teaches us in the Bible. And when we do these things we are actually displaying God.

So as we are to focus on marriage and parenting, here are two additional ideas for us to understand as we go along on our relationships in our families:

1.   Our obedience before God is not what gives us our salvation. Rather, what causes us to receive salvation is our belief in Christ and our belief that He paid a debt of our sins.

2.   BUT – Once we have received salvation, we are supposed to obey God in His instructions. We obey Him as fellow-believers in response to our salvation.

OK – Understanding the combination of salvation and obedience before God, let’s see something. He is teaching us on love in marriage, and teaching us on both love and discipline as parents.

Number One – We are to be expressing love in marriage, even if things are difficult:
When we are seeking to be imitating God’s love to us, we are to love each other as family members. One of the ideas here is that we might have a good marriage, but often our marriages are difficult. Sometimes believers in Christ get a divorce even though that is wrong before God. And if we don’t have divorce, we might just have problems between us in marriage.

The idea of us as “imitating God,” we are to love God and we are to love our spouse, despite some difficulties in our feelings, and difficulties in our relationships between each other.

So here is a section of Bible verses teaching us to love – in response to God’s calling toward us:

Ephesians 4:30 to 5:2 – NAS

4:30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

SO – God’s love leads us to obedience. And our submission as believers is having Christ above us.

Number Two – God calls a wife to regard her relationship with her husband.
The idea here is that wives imitate God and obey their husbands. Imitating God involves understanding His authority. And one of God’s requirements is for wives to submit to their husbands.

So here is a section of verses for wives to understand God’s calling regarding their husbands:

Ephesians 5:22-24 – NAS
22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

Colossians 3:18-19 – NAS
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

This next verse – 1 Peter 3:1-2 – calls a wife to obey a husband, even if he is going wrong directions. The idea is that if she loves him and obeys him, she might be getting him to go the right directions:

1 Peter 3:1-2 – NAS
1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.

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Number Three – Husbands are to be leaders and taking initiatives toward their wives. But their leadership does not mean “control.” It is a service to their wives, along with loving them.

Husbands are called by God as leaders, but they are not in charge of their wives. They are, in fact, to take initiatives, but not to be in control. So they love their wives while taking initiative toward her.

So here are some verses. Husbands are to imitate God, and obeying God they are to love their wives.

Ephesians 5:23 and verse 25 – NAS
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.

Colossians 3:19 – NAS
Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.

1 Peter 3:7 – NAS
You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

Number Four – As believers in God, we are to express both love and submission to our spouse.

We as believers are to love God and love many people, including our spouse. That is, we are to love fellow believers and also to love non-believers around us. And so we are to love marriage-couples and our children as we love God. One of the ideas of “love” is that we are obeying God, versus responding to our own feelings. And so one of our aspects of obeying God is our submission to others.

Ephesians 5:21 – NAS  –  “. . . be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”

The “subject to one another” is basically between a husband and wife, but it is also a relationship with believers. But there is a difference:  The husband is to be the leader and to be taking initiatives; and the wife is to obey the leaderships of her husband. So neither husband nor wife is in charge of the other – they just each have God’s different designs and callings in marriage. And the design and calling for each of them includes both love and submission. And the “love” is not a response to personal feelings. Rather, the love is a behavior of God’s teachings, even though in our marriage we can have some difficulties in our feelings and in our relationship.

So, when couples sacrificially love each other, they are probably believers in Christ. Husbands who imitate God are to love their wives, and in their both love and leadership they are also “submitting” not only to God, but also to their wives (Ephesians 5:21). And their leadership is taking initiatives toward their wives. The “initiatives” are to understand and teach God’s calls.

Another pursuit:  We have pursuits as parents toward children – and as husbands to wives:
A husband and wife are to be obeying God, and they are to teach the kids. But their leadership is not to be “in charge” of their children. And a husband is designed to be a leader, but he has submission to his wife and is not being in control. But he is to take biblical initiatives, including “admonition” if needed.

SO – Parenting before children is God’s calling.
Parents are leaders to their kids, teaching them over time. BUT – The biblical idea is that no one is really “in charge” of someone else. That is because God is the One in charge of each of us. So parents are to be showing both love and discipline to their children, and also teaching them to God.

An important idea is for parents to get the kids to obey their parents. The kids tend to have a focus on their own thoughts and feelings. But if they learn to step away from their bodies and obey their parents, they will eventually learn to obey God versus a response to their thoughts and feelings.

Here is a verse that leads in this direction. The children are to obey their parents. And the parents are to be loving, even though they do both disciplines and teaching.

Ephesians 6:1-4 – NAS
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
2 HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise),
4  Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

So the children are to obey their parents, which is an aspect of learning to obey God. We hope that children will learn to imitate God, and to love God and to love others over life.     

Then, in Ephesians 6:4, parents are not to have anger toward their children, but train them with love. Parents are imitating God when they are loving, training, and also discipling their kids. An idea here is that the parents are not in charge. Rather, they are obeying God as parents to the kids.

A Statistic on Children and a Message to the Parents:
Some web-site-statistics show us that 70% of children who grow up in church step away from God and Christ as adults. There are two things that can push kids away from God:

1.   The parents are often relying on themselves versus relying on God.
2.   The husband and/or wife are often not having a genuine love and oneness.

When these two things are true of parents, the kids do not see God inside of the parents. And not seeing God inside of them, they do not believe in God. SO – The husband and wife need to do both ideas:  They need to rely on God versus reliance on self-feelings; and they need to love each other.

So we are doing marriage and parenting before God; not relying on our thoughts and feelings.

The idea is that nothing in life is a pursuit of our thoughts and feelings (“our bodies and flesh”). The idea is that in our lives and behaviors we are to be serving God – and “sacrificing” before God.

Romans 12:1-2These two verses focus on God’s merciful to us:

1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 

So we are to respond to His mercy by “sacrificing” ourselves before Him. And we are not to be conformed to the world – or to our bodies – but to God. Instead of ourselves, we are to prove God’s will, which is good and acceptable and perfect.

When we “sacrifice” to God, one of the things we do is pursue love and oneness in marriage, despite any difficulties in our marriage. And we also “sacrifice” to God as parents to our children – providing both love and discipline – not trying to be in charge of them, but moving them toward God.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views the Virginia Christian Alliance

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