Oneness in Marriage is an Aspect of Obedience Before God
Being God’s disciples, we are to have a successful oneness in our marriage.
We saw in the last article that oneness in marriage is one of God’s ways of displaying Himself to our children and to other people. We can have salvation before God, and then God wants us to display Him by performing His behaviors. So, to do that, we are to be disciples. And as disciples we are to avoid our flesh and love people. We are to love our spouse even if there is any difficulty in our marriage, and we need to display God to children.
A marriage can actually be difficult, but since we have salvation and since we are being disciples, we are to have oneness in our marriages.
There is one of the illustrations I have used in marriage ministry. Here is the illustration:
I would say to the people, “Do you believe in God?”
They would say “Yes! We believe in God!”
I would say, “Do you obey God?”
They would say, “Yes! We obey God!”
I would say, “Do you pursue oneness in your marriage?”
They would say, “Oh! That is difficult! We don’t have genuine oneness between us.”
So I would ask again, “SO – Do you believe in God?”
The idea is that if we believe in God we are willing to obey God. And if we are obeying God, we are willing to have oneness in marriage despite a feeling we have. That is, the connection between us is not a result of our feelings toward each other. Rather, our connection – our oneness – responds to obedience before God.
SO – Since we believe in God and obey God – due to His grace and our salvation and our pursuit of being disciples – we don’t respond to our feelings. Instead, we respond to God. Instead of focusing on our feelings toward spouses we focus on obedience before God.
So there is a biblical message to a husband.
A good Bible message to a husband is Ephesians 5:21-25:
21 Be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
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.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.
Here are 3 points in these messages:
1. Verse 5:21 – We are to be subject to one another in the fear of Christ – as believers in Christ.
2. Verse 5:22-24 – Wives are to be subject and husbands are to be leaders.
3. Verses 5:25 – Husbands are to be leaders, BUT they are not to be in charge (Matthew 20:25-28 helps us to see about not being in charge). Instead, a husband is to love his wife as Christ loves us. As Christ died Himself to save us, so a husband is to surrender himself to his wife.
So a husband as leader takes initiative in spiritual pursuits. But he does not try to be in charge of her or in charge of anyone else. Instead, he sacrifices himself. It is interesting that verse 28 says:
So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.
Also, there are biblical messages to a wife.
A good message is in Ephesians 5:21-24 (above), and also 1 Peter 3:1-6 (just below).
1. In Ephesians 5:21-22, a wife is to submit to her husband – as he submits to her.
2. In Ephesians 5:24, a wife’s role is to be subject to her husband as the church is subject to Christ.
3. Then there is 1 Peter 3:1-2. You can read 3:1-6, but here are just verses 3:1-2:
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.
So the idea here is that the wife is to be submissive to her husband, even if the husband is not doing right things. The idea is that the wife’s love and submission to him might help him to go God’s ways. So, the idea is that your godly behaviors can speak to him without words. So the husband might see the wife’s chaste and respectful behavior toward God and toward her husband.
The verses in 3:5-6 have an illustration of Abraham’s wife. Sarah trusted in God and obeyed Abraham, and viewed him as her “lord.” A wife is being the child of Sarah when she does what is right, not fearing what her husband does.
Another for the husband:
It is interesting that the next verse 3:7, following the wife’s message on 1 Peter 3:1-6, there is a message to the husband to honor his wife:
1 Peter 3:7 (ESV)
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way,
showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life,
so that your prayers may not be hindered.
So his message here is that he is to have pursuits somewhat like hers. He is to live with her “in an understanding way,” as she is bowing before him and “being weaker than him.” And he is to honor her, and his prayers before God will not be hindered. The idea is that if we are doing wrong and not having oneness in a marriage, God is not going to listen to our prayers.
See what do you think.
Does this make sense? If you see the Bible verses on these ideas, can you respond to God? And do you pursue a genuine oneness in your marriage?
A basic idea here is that our oneness in marriage is important to God. When we have love – whether we have good feelings or not, but we communicate love and pursue oneness – then we are displaying God. We are being disciples of God and we are contributing to the extensions of His kingdom.
Tom Clark is a Family Life Ambassador with the Family Life Ministry and on the Advisory Board of the Virginia Christian Alliance.