Marriage 411 - Take God at his word!
Wives, show him respect!
Contemporary Easter Invite Clip. Many of you folks have an interesting sense of humor. You email or text me various signs, photos, video clips and cartoons etc. Some are pretty funny. Here are a few examples…
Cartoon – Honk if you love Jesus. That’s a worthwhile warning - Two dog pictures - Blonde Math - Dummy hanging from gutter - Snow prayer - Marriage problems? “Honey, this new 2010 Prius[i] would be perfect for you!” That’s no way to treat your wife or husband. And that would be true whether it’s the 1st century or the 21st century. Turn in your Bibles this morning to Ephesians 5. Do you need a Bible today? (Yellow card) Today we conclude a seven week series we’ve called Marriage 411. If you are suffering through BIG marriage problems – for instance, is Tiger Woods experiencing BIG marriage problems? Yes he is – that’s what infidelity will create. Maybe you are battling some biggies like infidelity, lying, selfishness, financial mistrust or poor health? Or maybe you are experiencing small marriage problems – he’s such a slob - he won’t pick up his clothes – she’s such a nag – I just want to watch the game! Then Marriage 411 is for you. Faith is “taking God at his word.” Take God at his word when it comes to marriage. Ephesians 5 is just one section of what God says about marriage and the problems that often result. Paul is encouraging Christ followers. Whether they live in and around Ephesus or in and around Westerville. Don’t look at marriage for what you can get – look at marriage for what you can give.
In verses 21-33 of Ephesians 5 Paul gives three “Do’s for husbands and three do’s for wives. Last week we summarized the three do’s for husbands – Husbands, do this – love your wife, point her to Jesus and make her a priority in your life! Today we turn our attention to the wives. Wives, according to Paul you also have three Do’s – those DO’s are found in verses 21-24 and verse 33. Let’s read Ephesians 5:21. Submit means “to subject yourself to another authority.” That authority could be your boss, a military commander, a teacher, the government, your spouse, or your parents. OR someone bigger than all of these combined. Drop down to verse 18. Be subject to the Spirit’s authority in your life. Spirit led people live differently. How so? Find verse 19. Spirit led people speak differently. Our words are filled with praise and thanksgiving. Plus – we do not “insist on getting our own way!”[ii] We submit to one another because that’s what Jesus did for us. Now verse 22 seems to be a little more tolerable. Wives - verse 22 is your first DO if you want a healthy marriage. (Read verse 22 – Wives, present daily offerings!) Submission is not something your husband can force on you – submission is what you offer voluntarily – because you want to.
Have you ever heard of a guy named Jackie Bibby?[iii] Maybe this will help you? He’s known as the “Texas Snake Man.” Jackie set a new Guinness World Record back in 2007 by sitting in a see-through bathtub with 87 rattlesnakes. He shattered his own record by 12 snakes. The snakes crawled under his arms, between his legs and anywhere else they could slither. Bibby said, “The key to the snakes not biting is for me to stay still.” Or not getting in the tub at all! Now if that’s not crazy how about this? That’s not the only Guinness World Record Bibby holds. For ten seconds Bibby held in his mouth 10 rattlesnakes by their tails.[iv] Maybe my wiring is a little loose, but that’s just weird. Speaking of weird – why does Paul tell wives to do what they’re already doing? After all, it’s the 1st century. Women had to submit and that’s just it – Paul wants wives to know – submission isn’t just physical – it’s of the heart – it’s what a spirit filled wife would choose to do!
The second DO for wives leads right into the third. Let me show you. Find verse 23. Wives, this is Do #2: Understand your husband’s God given role. Your husband has been given authority by God to lead his family. That’s what God choose to do. A husband is to be his wife’s lover, leader and protector. That doesn’t mean she’s inferior or unable to love, lead or protect herself. I bet – most women do not have a problem with their husband’s loving, leading or protecting. The problem they have is when their husband doesn’t love, lead and protect. I opened the door for a woman the other day and she said thank you to me allot. Actually almost too much. It appeared to me – this doesn’t happen very often in her life. Husbands, we have to step up to the plate. We need to love, lead and protect. Wives, your role is to know your husbands role and to help him fulfill it – after all Moses calls the primary role of a wife is to be her husband’s helper. Do #1: Voluntarily submit to him as a daily offering to God. Do #2: Understand his role in your life and family. Let him lead. How will he know he’s leading correctly? That’s DO #3. Drop down to verse 33 in Ephesians 5. Do #3: Show him respect.
Would you find an insert in your newsletter that has marriage resources located in our bookstore? There are several books/devotionals that are very helpful, but I want to emphasize one. Notice Dr. Kevin Leman’s book, Have a New Husband by Friday. Here’s what Leman promises. “There isn’t a woman on this earth who hasn’t wanted, at one time or another, to trade in her husband for a new one. Have a husband by Friday? Is that even possible? To tell you the truth, it’s a scam. You can have a new husband by Wednesday if you do it right. Even better, there’s no need to trade your man for a newer model; all he needs is a little tune-up. You can change your husband’s attitude, behavior and communication in just 5 days.”[v] Now how many wives are gonna go buy this book? Now here’s what Dr. Leman does that’s tricky. What he said there is all true except. The only way you can change your husband’s attitude, behavior and communication is to first change your attitude, behavior and communication.
Last week I told you about the five needs of wives based on Willard Harley Jr’s book, His Needs, Her Needs. Very quickly they are Affection, Conversation, Honesty and Openness, Family Commitment & Financial Support. Leman agrees with Harley. He said a wife’s top three needs are affection, honest & open communication and family commitment. He said the top three needs of a husband are: To be respected. To be needed and to be fulfilled.[vi] Dr. Emerson Eggerichs said in his book Love & Respect, if a husband came to his wife and said, “I don’t love you. I’ve never loved you and I never will love you.” It would devastate his wife. And if a wife were to say to her husband, “I don’t respect you. I’ve never respected you and I never will respect you.” She would equally devastate her husband. So wives – what does it mean to respect your husband? Ephesians was written to show us the purpose of the church. That we are the actual body of Christ. People see that we love God because we love one another. We’re united as one – not divided as two. Two married people are also one. So what Paul says about the church is also true of marriage. Go back to Ephesians 4. Find verse 29. Change the word others to husbands. Husbands are others. (Read again) Wives, you show your husband respect by your choice of words. Think back this past week. What did you actually say to your husband? Were your words kind or were they condescending? Have you developed a tone or a critical attitude in the way you talk? Do your words put him down or build him up? Leman said a husband has a need to be needed. Do your words say that you need him or that you’re just find without him? Paul continues… go to chapter 5 verse 1. (Read 1-3) Husbands are to love, give and sacrifice. Well, wives also should love, give and sacrifice. A 2nd way a wife shows respect is by respecting her husband’s need for sex. The English language is astounding, but also a bit confusing. One deer is also two deer. One mouse is two mice. You don’t have two mouses, so wouldn’t it make sense that one spouse would make two spice. But no we have two spouses. Wives, your husband wants a little spice in your marriage. You, your body, is just the right seasoning for him. Don’t kid yourself ladies – your husband thinks about sex allot. And why? Because he’s male. God created us male and female. We think differently. It’s not bad – just different. Paul commands “don’t have sex with anyone other than your wife.” But Satan creates incredible temptation. Go to verse 15. Now go to Ephesians 6:10. (10-11) This world is evil and Satan schemes against your marriage and mine! John MacArthur writes, “Satan’s evil schemes are built around stealth and deception.”[vii] Today is Palm Sunday. Satan whispered into Jesus’ ear as he rode into Jerusalem. “You can’t do this – this is too much. Your father will not allow your death – don’t die – he’ll come up with another way?” What schemes do you think Satan creates against your marriage and mine? Husbands, your wife really doesn’t respect you – I bet another lady would? Wives, your husband just doesn’t pay attention to you – you deserve more! True confessions here. Last Sunday morning I lost track of time and found myself running late to preach. I took off and boom a Genoa Township police officer pulls me over right by the Genoa Bap Church. He gives me a warning. Now what happens if I do not heed his warning? I lose more than just the privilege of driving. What happens if we ignore God’s word?
[ii] Kenny Boles, College Press NIV Commentary, Galatians & Ephesians, 310
[v] Kevin Leman, Have a New Husband by Friday, Back cover
[vi] Kevin Leman, Have a New Husband by Friday, 48
[vii] MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Ephesians, 338