Marriage 411 - Take God at his word!
Husbands, makes daily sacrifices!
Let me tell you a little story. An irate customer called the newspaper office loudly demanding her Sunday paper. “It’s almost 11:00A.M – where’s my Sunday paper?” The customer service rep trying desperately not to laugh or be sarcastic replied, "Ma’am today is Saturday. The Sunday paper will not be delivered until you know - Sunday." There was a long pause on the phone followed by… "Well, that explains why no one was at church today!"[i] That is truly a senior moment!
Now maybe you’ve never done THAT but we do things like that! “Where’s the mail? Why hasn’t the mail arrived today? “Well, it’s a holiday. Mail isn’t delivered on holidays.” The problem doesn’t lie with the paper boy or the mail man. It’s not his or her issue. Actually it’s our issue. The Bible makes the same comparison when it comes to marriage. I’m curious. How many of you are married? How many of you have never been married but would like to get married someday? Well, married or “someday wanting to be married” grasp this fact. If someone’s marriage isn’t going as well as they’d like – most people blame the other person! If my wife would just do this our marriage would be so much better! OR If my husband would just stop doing that our marriage would be so much better! Last Thursday morning my daughter Jeanna wasn’t feeling too well. She couldn’t sleep, so she climbed into bed with her Mom and Dad. None of us could really sleep, so to pass the time away Tricia said, “What shall we talk about? How about - how to add and subtract positive and negative numbers?” Nothing against adding and subtracting positive and negative numbers but that topic put me back to sleep. The timing had everything to do with that. Can you answer the question – how to change a tire? That’s not as problem unless you’re on some lonely road and have no idea. OR How to lose weight and keep it off? OR If you do not have a job – how to upgrade your resume is probably more important than how to solve the Rubik’s cube? But if you are looking for a solution rubikssolver.com will give you five of the seven steps for free. But the last two steps will cost you $2.95.[ii] Here’s another. How to cook a turkey is probably good to ask in November but not May. And what about today? Today is the prefect day to ask how to have a happy marriage! Honestly, how does a couple experience a happy marriage? Well, since God made marriage and the Bible is his word, let’s find out what the Bible has to say about marriage. Turn in your Bible to Ephesians 5. Now do you need a Bible? Today is week #2 of a series we’re calling Marriage 411. Ephesians is one of 13 letters written by the Apostle Paul. What’s unusual about this letter is that Paul didn’t write Ephesians to resolve any doctrinal errors or people problems like he did in Galatians or Colossians. Paul wants us to see – there’s nothing quite like the church. And by church Paul does not mean religious institution or the home of the self righteous. By church he means the body of Christ! Ephesians 5 IS Marriage 411 – these verses provide inspired marriage information. Today we begin the 1st of six Do’s! Three for husbands and three for wives. Your marriage will change if you concentrate on YOUR “do’s” and not your spouses. Let’s start with husbands. Husbands, here’s how to have a happy marriage! Let’s read Ephesians 5:25. There is no doubt. The Apostle Paul is giving men in and around Ephesus and men in and around Westerville a command. Here is our 1st “Do!” If you want your marriage to be good, do this. LOVE your wife. As a matter of fact he doesn’t command it one time but three times. Let’s read again – 5:25, 28, & 33. Now here’s the age old question. What does it really mean to love your wife?
First of all, wives – do not assume your husband knows how to answer this question. Husbands, have you point blank asked your wife how you can show love to her?
This past week I was introduced to the antics of Christian Comedian Tim Hawkins. Tim Hawkins is one funny guy. Tim sings many songs and one of them is called the Wife Song. His song helps us answer our question – what does it mean to love your wife? (The Wife Song) That really is funny isn’t it? I think we should heed his advice. Tim gives us something not to do. Paul gives us something to do! And both shout love. Three words repeated three times. LOVE YOUR WIFE! Paul says there’s one main role a husband plays for his wife. He is to be her LOVER! Now scripture helps us see just what kind of lover. Paul’s a man so he obviously used the word “Eros” to describe love – right? Wrong? He did not. He also did not use the word “philia” which refers to family affection.[iii] He did however use the word “agapao” which is the highest word for loving. It’s loving like God loves. This type of love is a choice. It’s a matter of the will. It’s not based on emotion or feeling. And that’s where practically every husband gets into trouble. We just don’t FEEL that love anymore and since we don’t feel it, it must be gone! Husbands make this commitment to your wife – my feelings will no longer dictate my love for you! I am willfully choosing to love you today! Now practically speaking what does this kind of love look like? Maybe we need an illustration? Do you know what this is? It’s an illustration. This is my son’s sled. This is what happens when a 210lb man goes flying down a snow covered hill, hits a mogul, sails 3½ feet in the air and lands on his keyster. I easily could have just told you. But I wanted you to see it. When it comes to a husband loving his wife - Paul wants us to see it. He does that by giving us two illustrations. One in verse 25 and one in verse 28. Let’s focus just on verse 25. Practically speaking – how does a husband show love for his wife. One word – GIVE! Give to her. Remember, the example is Jesus. Jesus gave. What did he give the church which of course is any Christ follower? He gave his life!
January 23 marked the five year anniversary of one really bazaar story. I’m sure you are familiar with Romeo & Juliet? Well, there’s a new Romeo and Juliet – Ettore & Rossana. In September 2004, 67 year old Rossana slipped into a coma following a heart attack. Her 71 year old husband, Ettore, sat by her bedside for four months - officials said this devoted husband would come to the hospital as many as four times a day hoping his wife would wake up. She didn’t, or so he thought, so he gave up hope and committed suicide at his home in Padua, Italy. Now here’s the bazaar part. Less than a day after Ettore committed suicide Rossana woke up from her coma asking for her husband.[iv]
I can’t imagine any caring wife wanting her husband to die for her. But Jesus did die for us. And like Jesus – Paul wants all husbands to die to themselves – to give – to make sacrifices for those they love. Husbands, if you follow Christ’s example as stated in scripture – the Holy Spirit will give you strength to give – to make daily sacrifices for your wife. Here are two daily sacrifices: Find Ephesians 5:22. Now wives you might be thinking right now, “Whoa, back up the truck Greg. This verse is about wives – you’re supposed to be talking about husbands.” I am. Husbands, here’s daily sacrifice #1 Loving your wife means you can’t make her submit![v] Making somebody do something they don’t want to do is not submission. Your wife has to want you to lead your family. And if she refuses – you show her daily love even when it’s undeserving. Love means you will never demand “do this or else!” Or else what? That’s not love. Our words lead us directly to daily sacrifice #2: Go from Ephesians 5:22 to Colossians 3:19. (Read) Loving your wife means you will not be harsh in tone or in action! Harsh can be several things – that is physically, verbally and mentally. Are you being harsh to your wife physically. Many men in paul’s day had misunderstandings about treating their wives like property and not a treasured possession. Harsh can be verbal - critical words. Unkind words. You’ve heard the phrase, “Talk is cheap.” The idea is that actions are more important than words, but don’t kid yourself – words help or hurt. Husbands, by your words are you helping or hindering your wife. Are you a blessing to her? Please do not see scripture as condemning – it’s not, it is convicting though. Are your words harsh or kind? Harsh also refers to mental attitude. Mainly an irritable attitude. You have become someone you were never meant to be. Maybe it’s due to life’s circumstances. Life did not turn out like you thought – and your attitude reflects that fact! And your wife gets the overflow of your joy or the brunt of your negativity. That can change. How?
I told you a few weeks ago my wife bought me a Garmin for Christmas. Again, I like it. Punch in the info and off you go. One time I went somewhere, but I keep taking turns GPS Samantha was not suggesting. And every time you make a different turn she’ll say, “Recalculating! Recalculating!” So I made one new turn, another new turn and then another – after about the third “recalculating” I thought for sure she’d say – “if you’re not going to listen to me why did you ask for directions in the first place?” Do you want a God honoring marriage? Then see the Bible as more than information. It’s inspired words from God saying to us – husbands, this is how to have an awesome marriage? If that’s not happening in your life – it’s not God’s fault. Here’s an incredibly loaded question. What does it take to make a woman happy? How much time do you have? Here’s my answer. I really don’t know. I also don’t really care to know! For me, there’s a better question. What does it take to make my wife happy? The Bible says do this. LOVE HER!
[i] Good, Clean Funnies email list/Senior Moment, February 19, 2010
[iii] A. Skevington Wood, EBC, Volume 11, 76
[v] Kenneth Boles, College Press NIV Commentary, 314