Marriage 411 - Take God at his word!
Husbands, make your wife a priority!
(2010 Easter Invite Video) I was in the Kohl’s store in Westerville several months ago. I was in the men’s department looking for something. Two ladies were working in that same location at that moment. They were folding clothes and moving racks and talking all at the same time. Women are amazing as multi-tasking. I was not eaves dropping. They were talking loud enough for everyone to hear. One woman said something like, “So how is your daughter doing? The other lady responded, “Not so good. She’s having some problems in her marriage. The other lady responded, “Marriage - marriage can be complicated. You are so right. The Bible has some things to say about marriage. (AT THIS MOMENT – THEY’VE CAUGHT MY ATTENTION) It does? Oh yes. As a matter of fact I know there’s something about marriage in Genesis. God says something really helpful about marriage in Genesis. Where in Genesis? I know it’s there, but I’m not sure where. Right at this moment – one rack over I’m whispering rather loud. Genesis 2:24! Genesis 2:24! Genesis 2:24! And I kind of give them a little wave. I honestly do not know if they heard me or not. I pray you do! Genesis 2:24 is pivotal when it comes to marriage. Open up your Bibles this morning to the very 1st book in your Bible – Genesis. DO YOU NEED A BIBLE? ALSO DON’T FORGET TO FILL OUT YOUR YELLOW CARD! The word “Genesis” means “beginning!” Remember, “Genesis was written to present the beginning of everything except God.”[i] Genesis 1:1 is the beginning of the universe. Genesis 1:27 is the beginning of man. Genesis 2:2 is the beginning of the Sabbath and Genesis 2:24 is the beginning of marriage. Now this first marriage begins in verse 18. Find Genesis 2:18. (ALONE) Adam wasn’t the only creature standing before his Creator God – it’s just nothing else even remotely looked like him. God knows that Adam is lonely. So he does something about that. (Let’s finish verse 18) That word “helper” will come up again in verse 20, so let’s save it for then – that way I can ask question right now! Do you know of any famous person born on March 2? My son brought home his Scholastic News from school and March edition was all about Theodore Seuss Geisel better known as Dr. Seuss. Do we have any Dr. Seuss fans here this morning? Here’s one bride who apparently likes Dr. Seuss. This is a picture of her wedding cake (Photo) Dr. Seuss was born in 1904 and died in 1991.[ii] One of the reasons why people loved Dr. Seuss was his ability to create funny animals with funny animal names. He drew a camel with seven humps and a lion with 10 feet. Dr. Seuss created a Nerkle, a Bar-ba-loot and a Yop – not to mention Thing 1 & Thing 2. Dr. Seuss said that “he could just look at something and know what name it should have.”[iii] Well, he’s not the only one. Are you still in Genesis 2? Find verse 19? That is so unbelievably cool, but as exciting as that is Adam still appears to feel left out. (But for Adam no suitable helper was found.) There’s that word helper again! Both times the Hebrew word is ‛êzer pronounced ay'-zer which means “aid or one who provides help.”[iv] To all wives – this is Marriage 411. Inspired information from God to Moses to us – one role a wife plays is to be her husband’s aid! “I don’t like that. How demeaning. Could this be one reason why your marriage is not all it could be?”
God sees Adam’s loneliness so again – he does something about it. Let’s read verses 21&22-(23)-24&25. Maybe it’s just me but it’s easy to focus on the naked part and forget about the no shame part. Chapter 3 follows chapter 2. Sin does enter the world and because of sin man and woman not only put on clothes but put on shame. Shame is a consequence of sin. But Jesus destroyed shame and guilt when he died and rose again! Verse 25 is astounding, but verse 24 is the one I kept whispering at Kohl’s. Genesis 2:24! Genesis 2:24! And I’m not the only one.
Turn now to Matthew 19 and find verse 3. Moses said it, Jesus repeats and so does the Apostle Paul. Turn now to Ephesians 5:25. Ephesians 5 is the “mother load” when it comes to Marriage 411. Here Paul gives husbands and wives three “DO’s” each! DO THIS if you want your marriage to be everything God meant it to be! Here are the three “Do’s for husbands: Verse 25 is Do #1! (Read 25) Do this! Love your wife. You do that by giving to her. By making daily sacrifices for her. Verse 26 is Do #2 (Read Vs. 26) Do this! Point her in the right direction. Point her to Jesus! Verses 28 & 31 make up Do #3. (Read 28-32) Do this! Make your wife a priority! Paul gives his second illustration. Look at vs. 28 again. We all make our bodies a priority. According to Paul, men are apparently over the charts on making their bodies a priority! Dr. Kenny Boles said, “To love one’s own body does not mean to admire or adore, but to care about its needs.”[v] So naturally I have to ask, “What are the needs of a woman?” Let’s not reinvent the wheel. Willard Harley wrote a book called His Needs, Her Needs. Harley would summarize a wife’s needs as: Affection, Conversation, Honesty and Openness, Family Commitment & Financial Support. I would not disagree with any of those needs. But I think that’s too broad. I encourage you. Just ask her. And wives, tell us. Don’t make it hard. Don’t play mind games. “You ought to know my needs by now?” I want to say the answer is easy as saying – the opposite of how you feel. Do you know what happened on Friday Night, March 5th? CAVS fans set the Guinness World Record for the "largest gathering of people wearing fleece blankets" at the Cavs Snuggie Night.” 20,562[vi] people all put on maroon Cleveland Cavalier Snuggies and I promise you not five minutes later the majority of the men are saying, “I’m so hot-I’m burning up” while the majority of the women are like – “this is so nice & warm!” Men, if you are cold – your wife is probably hot. Men, if you are hot, your wife is probably freezing. Husbands, do you know your wife’s needs? Do you care to know your wife’s needs? If you are hungry, she might be hungry. Ask her. If you are thirsty – ask her – “do you want something to drink?” If you meet her needs – it shouts love. And the truth is – if you meet your wife’s needs – she might be more willing to meet your needs – if you know what I mean! Paul gave us an illustration now he gives a reason why husbands should make their wives a priority. He quotes Moses in Genesis 2:24. Find verse 31. The Bondurant family has code words. (“N” “A” & “S”) “One flesh” is code for sexual intimacy. Husbands, Paul makes it very simple – crystal clear. If you want to have sex – you’d better make your wife a priority! Because if she feels second rate, low – doormat like – if other people are obviously more important to you – you won’t experience oneness – at least not very often.
Now who in the world could possibly take more priority in your life than your wife? Moses said it - Jesus and Paul repeat it – it’s your parents – especially your MOM!
There’s a book called The Oxford Book of Marriage and on page 34 of that book you will find a proposal from a man named Simon Fallowfield dated November 1866. Simon is asking his girlfriend for her hand in matrimony. This is what he wrote: “I hope you will say nothing about this. If you will not accept of me I have another very nice woman in my eye, and I think I shall marry her if you do not accept of me, but I thought you would suit me mother better, she being very crusty at times. So I tell you now before you come, she will be Master.” If you’re curious, she turned down the proposal.[vii]
Good for her! T or F: Marriage changes everything! The relationship triangle is God first and parents second. That is until you get married!. Then it becomes – God first and my wife second. Many marriages get derailed because other people receive higher priority status. It could be your parents, your in-laws, - old friends. The Bible says that’s foolish. I think Face book is great, but Facebook can put you in contact with people you haven’t seen or heard from in years. Like old flames. Tara Fritsch, Licensed marriage and family therapist said, “We see about 40 percent of the couples coming in, there is a link to Facebook or to MySpace that has caused a breach in their marriage.”[viii] Husbands, are you having conversations with women you should not be having? Are you texting? Twittering? It really doesn’t matter. STOP doing that. Make your wife a priority! In Paul’s day nearly every married man had a wife, a concubine and a mistress.[ix] Paul says this must stop! Find Ephesians 5:3! I can’t be holy – se apart for God’s purposes - unless I make Jesus my life’s priority. I can’t expect my marriage to be holy (set apart for God’s purposes) unless I make my wife a priority - because marriage is more than two people getting together. Think about this – one verse (Gen 2:24) mentioned three times. Moses first – a woman is good. God did good. She is exceptional. Jesus quoted Gen 2:24 because the religious leaders were divorcing their wives for any and all reasons. Ozzie Guillen. Chicago White Sox Manager recently said, “I always have fun. I’ve got a great job. Make a lot of money. My wife still looks good. What can I ask?”[x] Now Paul quotes Gen 2:24. Why? Find Ephesians 5:32! The church is to be one. When it’s not people notice. When we are one – people see Jesus. A wife and a husband are also to be one. And when they are one – even in the middle of our struggles – people see Jesus. Our marriages become evidence that Jesus lived and is still alive today.
Tom Ellsworth is a minister in Bloomington, Indiana. Tom told a story one time. “During a road trip, I stopped in a small town to grab a bite to eat. I walked into a local pizza place and the first thing I noticed was a sign on the wall advising: "Price. Quality. Service. Pick Any Two."[xi]
The Apostle Paul says here are three DO’s and they are NOT multiple choice! You can’t pick any two and expect your marriage to be healthy. Husbands - love your wife. Point her to Jesus. Make her a priority! You won’t do that unless Jesus has priority in your life. We are three weeks away from Easter Sunday. Before Jesus walked out of the tomb he went to the cross. We must go there too. Jesus said – when we die to ourselves that’s when we really begin to live.
[i] Wilkinson & Boa, Talk Through the Old Testament, 7
[iii] Scholastic News, March 2010, Edition 2, 3
[iv] E-sword.net/Genesis 2:18,20/Helper
[v] Kenneth L. Boles, CPNC, Galatians & Ephesians, 317
[ix] Kenneth L. Boles, CPNC, Galatians & Ephesians, 317
[x] Columbus Dispatch, Overheard, March 12, 2010