Biblical Marriage In A Broken World, Part 5

Pin It

[Editor's Note: This summer we at BtT are running some older but good posts. Look out for all new content in August. This post originally appeared on November 3, 2008.]

Portrait Of A Redeemed Husband

Having called a man to love his wife in Ephesians 5, God also instructs a man to “know” or “understand” his wife in 1 Peter 3:7. Moving into the area of practical theology, I want to raise and attempt to answer the question, “what does a marriage look like when a man has come to know his wife as God made her?” How can he love and bless her as he comes to more fully know and understand her? I believe a husband can be a blessing to his wife by loving her as Christ loved the Church and giving her specific gifts of love that speak to her heart as a woman. What do these gifts look like? I suggest seven.

1.Be a spiritual leader.

Be a godly man of courage, conviction, commitment, compassion, and character. Take the initiative in cultivating a spiritual environment for the family. Become a capable and competent student of God’s Word and live out before all a life founded on the Word of God. Lead your wife in becoming a woman of God, and take the lead in training the children in the things of the Lord (Psalm 1; Ephesians 5:23-27; 6:1-4).

2.Give her personal affirmation/appreciation.

Praise her for personal attributes and qualities. Praise her virtues as a wife, mother, and homemaker. Openly commend her, in the presence of others, as a marvelous mate, friend, lover, and companion. Help her feel that, to you, no one is more important in this world other than King Jesus. (Proverbs 31:28-29; Song of Solomon 4:1-7, 6:4-9, 7:1-9).

3.Show personal affection (romance).

Shower her with timely and generous displays of affection. Romance her in a language she understands! Tell her and show her how much you care for her with a steady flow of words, cards, flowers, gifts and common courtesies. Remember, affection is the environment in which sexual union is enjoyed and a wonderful marriage developed (Song of Solomon 6:10, 13; Ephesians 5:28-29, 33).

4.Initiate intimate conversation.

Talk with her at the feeling level (heart to heart). Listen to her thoughts (i.e., her heart) about the events of her day with sensitivity, interest, and concern. Such conversations with her convey a desire to understand her not change her (Song of Solomon 2:8-14, 8:13-14; 1 Peter 3:7).

5.Always be honest and open.

Look into her eyes and, in love, always be truthful (Ephesians 4:15). Explain your plans and actions clearly and completely because you are responsible for her and the children. Lead her to trust you and feel secure with you (Proverbs 15:22-23).

6.Provide home support and stability.

Take hold of the responsibility to house, feed, and clothe the family. Provide and protect, and do not feel sorry for yourself when things get tough. Look for concrete ways to improve home life. Raise the marriage and family to a safe and more fulfilling level. Remember, the husband/father is the security hub of the family (2 Timothy 5:8).

7.Demonstrate family commitment.

After the Lord Jesus, put your wife and family first. Commit time and energy to spiritual, moral and intellectual development of the children. For example, pray with them (especially at night by the bedside), read to them, engage in sports with them and take them on other outings. Do not play the fools’ game of working long hours, trying to get ahead, while your children and spouse languish in neglect (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:19-20).

Marriage and family are good gifts from a great God. They must be treated with tender care. Our Lord has provided a blueprint for us to follow. When we do, we will find the joys and blessings he intended from the beginning when he put a man and woman together in this holy covenant.

Biblical Marriage in a Broken World, Part 4

Pin It

[Editor's Note: This summer we at BtT are running some older but good posts. Look out for all new content in August. This post originally appeared on October 31, 2008.]

Portrait of a Redeemed Husband

Male bashing has been a favorite American sport for some time now. It is epitomized by a cover story in Time magazine dated February 14, 1994. On the cover you will see the body of a man with the head of a pig. The lead story for that Valentine’s edition was entitled, “Are Men Really That Bad?” The gist of the article was “yes they are.” Give them your heart and they will break it. Put your trust in them and they will let you down.

I think it must be admitted that men have too often invited such ridicule and scorn. Too many males have failed to act like men. They have come up short as husbands and fathers. However, this is where Jesus Christ makes all the difference. A redeemed man cannot be satisfied with a half-hearted devotion to his wife and children. Christ in him compels more. Christ in him demands more.

In Ephesians 5:25-33 the Bible teaches that a godly, spirit-filled husband will love his wife. In 1 Peter 3:1-7 the Bible teaches he will “know” or “understand his wife.” Let’s take a look at both admonitions.

Paul calls on a husband to love his wife. It is the Greek word agape. The word occurs six times in Ephesians 5:25-33. Its first appearance in verse 25 is a “present imperative.” A man is commanded by God to continually and consistently love his wife. Not leaving this to our imagination, Paul develops five facets of the Christ-like love every husband is to demonstrate toward his wife.

First, his love should be sacrificial (v. 25). A husband is to love his wife just at Christ “loved the church and gave Himself for her.” The emphasis of the love described here is volitional more than emotional. This love is a choice, a decision, an act of the will. This is not an “I love you if. . .” or an “I love you because. . .” No, this is an “I love you anyway. I love you even when you may not be lovely.” This is how Jesus loved us when we were dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1-10) and alienated from God (Ephesians 2:11-22). Emotional love/feelings have their proper place in marriage. It is usually that which gets us started in a relationship. However, it cannot sustain us for a lifetime. We need something wider and deeper. We need a sacrificial love that seeks the best for another even at great cost to oneself.

Second, his love should be sanctifying (vs. 26-27). Christ gave Himself for His church “that He might sanctify and cleanse her . . . 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.” The truth of this text as it relates to Christ and the church is readily apparent. But, how does it apply to the husband/wife relationship? It works like this. Because your wife is married to you, she is encouraged and enabled to grow in Christlikeness. The husband is her help in the process of sanctification and her being conformed to the image and likeness of the Savior. This means a husband will mentor and disciple his wife. He will lead and guide her to mature into a radiant woman of God. He will help her and not hinder her in her pursuit and passion for the things of God.

Third, his love should be sensitive (5:28). “Husbands ought (there is a moral imperative here) to love their own wives (it is exclusive) as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.” A husband is sensitive to himself. He knows when he is having a good day or a bad day. He knows when he is up or down, happy or sad. In the same way he should be sensitive and aware of what is going on in the life of his wife. He needs to develop what I call a “marital radar system” that picks up signals that come from his wife. I should be quick to add this radar system should improve with practice and age. The way she walks into the room, body language, facial expression, and tone of voice are just a few of the areas a wise and godly husband will study and learn to read.

Fourth, his love should be satisfying (5:29-30). Paul says a wife should be “nourished” and “cherished” by her husband’s love. Both of these words are present participles affirming continuous action. A husband continually nourishes or feeds his wife with his love, and he continually cherishes or honors her with that same love. His love strengthens and sustains her. His love informs her that there is a place in his heart reserved just for her.

Fifth, his love should be specific (5:31-33). Paul (and Peter) not only grounds his theology of marriage in the atonement, he also locates it in the doctrine of Creation. Verse 31 is a direct quote of Genesis 2:24 (note Jesus’ citation of this as well as in Matthew 19:5). It is also pre-fall (Genesis 3). Having left father and mother to join or cleave to his wife, Paul concludes by charging the husband in verse 31, “let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself.” God calls a husband to be a “one woman kind of man.” He calls him to love his wife in such a way that she knows, the children know, friends know, and even enemies know this man is in love with and devoted to only one woman, and that woman is his wife. This man is neither a flirt or a fool. He commits to being alone with only one woman, and that woman is his wife. He constantly reminds himself that it does not matter how much he loves Jesus or his wife: “the wrong person + the wrong place + the wrong time = the wrong thing happening. The tragic example of King David is never far from his mind’s eye.

J.D. and Veronica Greear on Parenting

Pin It

Every Thursday afternoon at Between the Times we highlight the writing of Southeastern alum, J.D. Greear, Pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durahm, North Carolina. This week J.D. and his wife Veronica talk with Southeastern PhD student Trevin Wax about parenting and their new Bible study book, Ready to Launch. 

Here’s an excerpt from their conversation:

The gospel, you see, only makes sense when it is taught in the context of mission. Many kids in evangelical churches are bored because parents look at kids like furniture for the completion of their houses and churches like classrooms to fashion them as “Christian” pieces of furniture.

 

Children are arrows, and arrows are designed to be launched out.

You can read the full interview here.